Romance Weekly: Favorite Holiday Song

This week Xio Axelrod of Romance Writers’ Weekly, wanted to know our favorite holiday songs.

Have you come from S. C. Mitchell’s blog at If not, go back to it. Not only will he reveal his favorite holiday song, but you can see the book he released this week,


My favorite Christmas song is “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day.” This moving song was written before the end of the Civil War by Henry W. Longfellow. A series of family tragedies inspired this sombre holiday carol. His wife Fanny died in the arms of her husband despite his frantic attempts to save her. Her death devastated him. The next year, his son died of a gunshot wound in battle. With his family in shambles, Christmas was not a happy time for him.

Deep emotions run through each verse, reminding me that Christmas can be a day of heartbreak and loneliness for some and peace and joy for others.


By Henry W. Longfellow, 1864.


I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet the words repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along the unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


Till ringing, singing on its way

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


And in despair I bowed my head

“There is no peace on earth,” I said,

“For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.”


Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on earth, good will to men.”


Then from each black, accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound the carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn, the households born

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


Head over to Carrie Elks’ page to see what song she chose. Probably more cheerful than mine! And check the release she has coming out on Christmas Day!


Romance Weekly: Thanksgiving Edition

If you came from Jo Richardson Fantastic. Did you check out her book

Cursed Be The Wicked? It’s about a writer coming home to Salem, with a lot to hide!


This week we’re writing about Thanksgiving…

I was never great with school writing tasks, especially Thanksgiving essays where I needed to tell the world what I’m grateful for.

But I took on this assignment, so I shall prevail!


Here’s a few unique reasons that this year has been especially good…

1)   My husband’s inventive, creative side as well as his outstanding skill and bedside manner have made him one of the most sought after surgeons in his field. His work ethic is unbelievable. Seriously, I’m unsure how he does so much and can use coherent sentences at the end of the day.

2)   My children are growing up into amazing individuals. I love their company and their ability to laugh at all the absurd things life throws at them. Their inability to clean the kitchen will be discussed in another post.

3)   My dog’s tumor is benign. And the weight he gained while recuperating is forcing me to exercise more.

4)   I’m published. Three books have hit the Amazon “stacks” in 2014. Two with my sometime writing partner Susan Scott Shelley. We made a few lists along the way, but even more important, we’ve gained a few fans. Next year, Susan and I are publishing a few books separately. Read her, she’s awesome!

5)   My parents are about to celebrate fifty years together. And fifty years of traveling the world together. They are not only healthy this year, but they’re tearing their way across the golf courses of Southern Florida.

6)   My brother’s business is thriving, and his wife loves her job where she truly makes a difference to kids in the classroom and at her house every day. And her ability to live with my brother makes her a saint (I lived with him for 16 years…I know).

7)   Snow on ski slopes.

8)   Almost all music, except that song my daughter keeps playing over and over and over again.

9)   Landlines, especially when my iPhone decides it doesn’t feel like putting a call through.

10)  And chocolate…no exceptions.



Next, head on over to visit Collette Cameron – She’s the author of The Earl’s Enticement. If you like historicals, you’ll love her books.

Romance Weekly: Uncontrollable Characters


Romance Weekly Blog Banner


‘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! 

This week’s questions are from Eden Ashe.

If you came from LaNora Mangano’s blog, welcome! If not, head on over there to see her answers!!blog/c112v


How much free reign do you give your characters during a story?

My character Simon, a secondary character in my book “Untrue Colors,” took over the series and attempted to take over the first book as well. His personality was so strong that his POV ended up in every story, despite being the primary hero in only one of them.

His elevated position as the main character of the series helped make the stories better. His position as an embedded agent in MI-6 gave him access to information and resources I couldn’t give to my civilian characters. In addition, his love for the women in his life went to the extreme, and the feelings he brings into the books are more powerful than in my other heroes. Ironically, he doesn’t want to love as deeply as he does, it’s his biggest flaw and most endearing characteristic.


Jason Statham, my vision of Simon

Here’s one of his scenes as the not quite hero in “Untrue Colors:”

The knock continued, more rapidly and aggressively. Simon placed his finger on Valerie’s lips to keep her quiet and then pulled out his gun.

“Who is it?” he called out in English, stepping to the door clothed only by the Beretta in his hand.

“Open up, lover boy.” Nicola’s voice penetrated the wood and scorched his veins.

What the hell did she want? He opened the door, knowing she’d never leave until she gained entry. Nicola, wearing black leggings, knee high black boots, and a long gray transparent shirt, pushed her way past him without so much as a glance at his naked body until she arrived at the foot of the bed. If he had to choose at that moment between Valerie and Nicola, he’d have to flip a coin. They both oozed sex.

Not one to be disturbed by his state of undress, Nicola examined him from shoulder to toe, making his manhood retreat at the indignity, and then she turned to Simon’s last bit of sanity, the beautiful woman lying in the bed. “Am I interrupting anything?”

“Not anymore.” He slipped on his jeans and threw Valerie her little black dress.

I’ve started a new series that deals with a police officer named Bob. His brother Dex has begun to take over the series almost like Simon did. Some men just crave the spotlight!


Have your characters ever done something so out of the blue that not only changed your story, but changed the tone and maybe even the genre you were originally going for? (Like your contemporary romance turned into a spicy paranormal)

Suspense slips into almost every story I write. I can’t help it. My characters crave action and danger. My first novel, however, was women’s fiction. As I wrote the sequel, I added blackmail, murder, and kidnappings. Not exactly women’s fiction. The third book in the series had even more intrigue and soon I was addicted to adding suspense to my stories.

The women’s fiction book is lost under my bed forever, but the two sequels I colored with suspense are both on their way to being published.


Do you have one character in your head that is sort of boss over all the rest? Or do you decide who to work on and when?

I’m fairly rigid about what books I’m working on at any one time. Mostly my own self-imposed deadlines force keep blinders on me so I can finish a project by a certain date.

Characters are free to give me any ideas they want at any time and I respect the process enough to take five to ten minutes to write down the ideas or even the bits of dialogue that come through my head. Each story has a Scrivener file and has spots for research. Characters, and plot ideas. I prefer full immersion into a story, however, and will leave those pieces until I can delve into the whole book for a period of time.

Head over to Mishka Jenkins’ blog and see how she answered…

Dating Disasters: #LoveWriteChat

Romance Weekly Blog Banner


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

Romance Weekly Blog Banner

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.


Romance Weekly Blog Hop: Flash Fiction Challenge

Today’s Romance Weekly Blog Hop gave the writers a challenge. Create a 100-150 word Flash Fiction using the words, scarf, candle, and chocolate.

If you’ve just come from S. C. Mitchell: welcome! If not, check out his Flash Fiction. Does he keep it under 150 words? Does he kill anyone? ….hmmmmm.


Don’t challenge me. I never lose.

I dipped each finger in the hot wax of a candle to hide my fingerprints. The burn soothed my nerves more than the three pieces of chocolate I’d inhaled.

Every last wisp of my red hair hid under a black headscarf. Black robes completed my disguise. He’d never see me coming.

Steady, even steps through the marketplace, blue eyes pointed to the ground, I became one of a thousand women maneuvering through a rainbow of silk and leather hanging from wood frames. Several hundred dollars dropped from my hand in the middle of the crowd. My stomach tightened as I stepped to my target. During the frenzy of greed on the ground behind me, I unlocked the glass case and took the ruby ring. Child’s play.

I turned and smacked into a hard chest. Jake’s chest.

He clasped my arms and grinned. “You lose.”


When this Flash Fiction Story is made into a movie, as I’m sure it will be considering the depth of the characters and the intensity of the emotion, I’m casting Ryan Reynolds as Jake and Jennifer Lawrence as the crazy woman putting her fingers in hot wax.

Hop over to Gemma Brocato to find out what she wrote in the Flash Fiction Challenge!

Romance Writers Weekly

Welcome, if you came from J.J. Devine’s blog: If not- go back! She recently published “Into the Darkness.” It’s vampires, it’s witches, it’s way more. 

This week’s questions come from the awesome Fiona Riplee.

1.Does humor help or hinder you in your creative process?

I love using humor in my stories, but I never add something funny if I have to force it. Natural humor in dialogue or situations can turn a regular scene into something special. If I can’t think of something funny, I leave it out.

I once tried to make a character have a funny comeback to an insult. It took me months to try to find the perfect phrase. Never happened. Instead, I shot it out to my critique partners and ended up with something far better than the comebacks I had created. Same thing happens in my real life.

Robin williams

Robin Williams: He made it look easy.

2.What is a favorite go-to book or movie you use to unblock a problem in your writing?

I struggle to avoid creating boring passages. When I’m stressed, my words flow fast. Fast and generic. Dick and Jane books have more description and feeling than anything I write under pressure.

“She walked into the room and sat. He dropped the paper and glanced at her. She smiled.” Are you asleep now?

I have one major “go to” source to kick my rear back into quality writing. I re-read Susan Elizabeth Phillips novels. I love her voice and the fast pace she brings to every scene. More important, she uses words like an artist uses color. Each word is chosen to provide background, action, or emotion. I could read other authors as well, but I find reading a few pages from her books shows me how slowing down and focusing on the art of writing makes a difference.

“Gwen sashayed across the room and dropped her left hip onto the corner of his desk. Her skirt slid up enough to reveal the edge of a black lace garter. He noticed. The legal brief he’d been reading floated from his hand to the floor. His gaze floated down as well, stopping at the hem of her skirt.

‘Can I help you?’ His fingers tapped out his annoyance, but his eyes stayed transfixed on her thigh.

‘Nope. I just wanted to observe that iron clad control you’ve been bragging about.’ She touched her finger once under his clenched chin. ‘Impressive.’”


3.What’s the most inspiring book you’ve read this week or month that’s generated a new idea?

I listened to Kristen Higgins “Catch of the Day” on a recent road trip. Her hero, a lobsterman named Malone, barely spoke throughout the entire book. In addition, his POV was never used to provide a fuller picture of him. Despite all of this, he captivated me. Kristen Higgins formed a perfect picture of an introvert who felt deeply, but didn’t express himself to the outside world. A very tough hero to create. I love challenges and I’d love to create a Malone type character someday.


Next up is Kim Handysides. I can’t wait to see how she tackled the questions!