Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fall Back in Time

Last night we turned the clocks back an hour here in the USA. We gained an hour of sleep, but we lose an hour of daylight every day until daylight savings kicks in again next year. For now, though, what do we do with all these shorter days and chilly weather? I have just the thing! How about curling up with a soft blanket, a mug of something warm, and a fabulous book? My preference is Historical Romance.

Why Historical Romance, you ask? Oh, only about a million reasons! I love being transported back to days-gone-by. I love the beautiful clothes and the elegant architecture. I love horses and carriages and flickering lamplight. I love that there were no cell phones or televisions—information had to be carried person to person. I love that social rules were different and more complicated to navigate. And I love all the intricate storylines that can be woven into these historical settings.

Are you curious about Historical Romance? Here are a couple great links to check out: Great Escapes Books  and  Historical Romance Network .

Have you read any Historical Romance lately? Leave a comment and tell me what you love about historical romance and your name will be entered in a drawing!
On November 8th I'll select a random winner who will receive a print copy of Yuletide Lies, a Regency Christmas novel full of mystery, a motley menagerie, and the gift of true love.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Regency Ghost Story!

When things go bump in the night, there's no telling what might happen. Miss Amelie D'Arnaud isn't certain what's worse, being trapped in the dark all alone, or having to rely on the gentleman who once broke her heart. In a house full of secrets and specters, does true love stand the ghost of a chance?

THE GHOSTLY GOAL OF SCARY LORD LARRY(view on Amazon) is the first ghost story I've ever written. I had so much fun with it! Of course, my favorite part is the love story, but I really enjoyed putting my characters in a dark, creepy house and then confronting them with strange noises and unexplained happenings. With disappearances and danger all around, the threat of spooks is very real! So is the promise of a dash of humor and the hope of a happily-ever after. (It is, after all, a romance.)
This story is the last in my Lord Larry trilogy. All three stories ("The Delicate Plot to Bury Lord Larry", "The Elegant Scheme to Marry Lord Larry", and "The Ghostly Goal of Scary Lord Larry") are available digitally on Kindle. They are also neatly bound up in a print anthology now, too. THREE TEMPTING TALES OF LORD LARRY(view on Amazon) is full of Regency mayhem, mystery, and romance.

With mild language and sweet subject matter, this Regency collection is suitable for all readers. It would make a great gift, too!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Who's Ben Skrewd?"

Who's Ben Skrewd, you ask? Take a peek behind the Red Door and find out! 

  I've joined forces with some very talented romance authors and we've come up with something I think our readers will really love. Eleven novellas, each with a red door, and one thing in common: Ben Skrewd.

Who is he? Well, we can't really pin him down. He's somebody different in each novella--as unique as the authors who created his various personas. I'll give you a hint, though, he's been lurking on our websites.

  On April 15, 2014, you can check him out for yourself. Also, you can get involved in our hunt for him and possibly win a pretty cool prize. (Seriously, it's a very nice prize!) Visit!whos-ben-skrewd/c1un for details and a complete listing of participating authors and their novellas.

Also, follow us on Facebook ( ) where we'll be doing give-aways and having a party all day! I personally will be offering a prize at 8:00 pm, EDT. It should be fun, and you'll be able to tell all your friends you saw who's Ben Skrewd.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Love What Gets Us Bullied

I usually like to post about happy things and love. However, I had a hard time finding much of either in an article I read recently. It's been gnawing at me, so of course I decided to write about it. That's what writers do. Even the ones who insist on writing sappy endings.

When a nine year old boy in North Carolina complained of being bullied at school his mother went to the school guidance counselor. That's what we're supposed to do, right? And the school did what they're supposed to do by listening and then responding with a solution.

How did the school respond? By telling the child he had triggered the bullying by carrying a backpack with a pony on it. The solution, according to the story I read, was simple. The principal told boy's mother to keep his beloved backpack at home. No more backpack, no more bullying.

Seriously! Here's an article you can read for yourself:  I'm sure there is more to the story than we can learn here--there always is--but let's all agree there is ample credible information for us to get the gist.

The school believes that bullies will stop bullying when they have nothing left to pick on. When everyone is just the same and no one stands out from the crowd, then the bullying will end. Doesn't that sound logical? All we've got to do is be just like everyone else and society will embrace us with love and compassion.

What a shame, then, that NONE of us is just like everyone else! There is no "everyone else". There is just "everyone" and we are all a part of that: ALL of us, with all our many flaws, talents quirks, and very obvious differences. We can no sooner leave those at home than we can our arms and legs.

And what if the things that make us different ARE our arms and legs? What if instead of a backpack, this little boy was being bullied for his prosthetic leg, or a paralyzed hand? Could the principal so glibly tell him to just leave those at home? Of course not. I'm sure there are many days when my own son's principal would love to ask him to just "leave his autism at home" so he can be like everyone else, but since he can't do that we've all had to learn to live with him just as he is.

This is what really bothers me about this story. "Leave the backpack at home" isn't simply about a little boy inviting youthful teasing by waving a fuzzy pony in the face of other kids, it's about some deep-rooted human urge to avoid facing the "different" in our midst, to avoid learning to live with uncomfortable things.

We aren't living in generations past when the physically handicapped, the mentally challenged, the blind, the deaf, the ones born a little bit "different" DID get left home. Or worse, they didn't stay home but where sent away to some institution so they couldn't bother "everyone else" with their differences. The bullies didn't bully them, but only because they didn't see them. Those bullies never had the benefit of learning not to bully. They just simply had to find other targets.

This is what I fear will happen in North Carolina. That little boy did end up staying home. He's being homeschooled now for his own safety. He learned that society is no place for him, that he can't trust his counselor or his principal to keep him safe, and he certainly can't trust his peers. The only way he can be himself is to just stay home.

And what did the bullies learn? Exactly what they believed from the start: if something outside their comfortable norm makes them feel awkward and unsure, they can raise their perceived confidence and social status by declaring that someone else is beneath them. Then they'll be all right. Then they'll be "normal." They won't have to stay home.

But now they do have to keep bullying. With no better skills to navigate life, these kids become victims of their own misguided efforts to "fit in". Because they haven't learned to love other people's differences, they haven't learned to love their own. They have to carefully manage their environment so that everything around them perfectly suits their tastes and abilities--failure at this would mean they might not fit in; they might seem "different". And we all know what happens to those who are different!

Bullying hurts everyone. That's because EVERYONE is different. We all have things a bully might pick on, and we all have the capacity for bullying. Both are just part of our human condition. Unfortunately, we can't leave that condition at home. We have to sling it over our back every day and carry it everywhere we go. Each one of us has our own very unique backpack, not like anyone else's. We can fill it with love or intolerance, ignorance or pride, wisdom or fear.

Our backpack's appearance is the last thing any of us should care about. What really makes us different is everything we pack inside. So let's all love what gets us bullied, and just hope that someday those bullies can learn to love themselves.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Funny Thing About Love

Love's funny sometimes. That's my tag line; my motto. I believe it wholeheartedly.

But don't get me wrong, there's nothing funny about love! It's serious business. It's not always easy to love, and sometimes it's too easy to love the wrong stuff. (Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Gelato, anyone?) Ah, love... so many different kinds of it.

Miss Farrow's Feathers final FRONT.jpgI write books about romantic love. Every romance writer knows that the quickest way to put readers to sleep is to be skimpy on conflict. The path to true love simply must be paved with all sorts of difficult things for our characters to get over. 
In MISS FARROW'S FEATHERS my prim and proper preacher's daughter is stuck with a foul-mouthed parrot and a handsome bird trainer who does more than just ruffle a few feathers.

The Earl's Passionate Plot final cover 2.jpgIn my upcoming THE EARL'S PASSIONATE PLOT, Lord Dovington is trying to evict a very unwilling young lady who is not about to go down without a fight.
Lord Woodleigh is having more trouble than expected finding a husband for Miss Canton in THE EARL'S INTIMATE ERROR. He never dreamed he might want her for himself, especially since he's already arranged to marry someone else.

Oh, the drama! Life is full of it; sometimes it feels like too much. But that's why love is so very important. Love keeps us going. Even in our darkest days and greatest conflicts, if we hunt really hard, we'll find a little bit of love.
Usually, we can find a little bit of Funny, too. The more often we can put those two together, the better off we'll all be. I try to do that in my books as well as in my real life. Whether it's love for a puppy, love for a pizza, or love for the love or your life, I think it's pretty safe to say that really "Love's funny sometimes!"