Let’s Talk Vacations! #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop

Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from A. S. Fenichel’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!

This week’s we’re talking vacations. 

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I love summer. I love the sun beating down, I love the sound of the gulls overhead, I love the warm ocean lapping at my feet and the feeling of sand between my toes.

Sadly, it’s quite hard to get that experience in Essex, UK. Unless you count Southend — which does have a beach of kinds, not to mention the longest pleasure pier in the world (the best claim to fame ever). But sadly the water there is anything but warm, and I’m more likely to feel rain plastering my hair to my head than the blissful rays of the sun.

Case in point – I was at the seafront in Southend yesterday. Here’s the pic I took. Welcome to the British summer.

Southend

Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK

This is pretty much why I start planning our family vacations in January. Because we need something to look forward to! This year we will be vacationing in Italy, first spending ten days on the banks of Lake Garda. Looks kind of lovely doesn’t it? And a bit of a contrast to the UK.

Aerial view from Scaglieri castle on Lake Garda and town of Sirmione in Italy.

Lake Garda

Our lakeside visit will be followed by a few days exploring Venice. As an author (and loving wife 😉 ) the idea of a few days in the city of lovers appeals to me. Especially as we’ll be dragging two reluctant teenagers around with us! Ah the romance…

Beautiful water street - Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

Venice

So the big question is will I be writing when on holiday? I guess the truism is that writers never take a vacation, we’re too busy soaking everything up for that. But the good thing is that the whole reason we’re vacationing in Italy this year is because I spent most of January researching the country to write a book, and fell in love with it. Though I can’t tell you much about the book yet, it is a romance (of course) set in a beautiful villa on the banks of Lake Como. George Clooney’s favourite hideout. As soon as I looked into the beauty of the country, the magnificence of the food, and the fact the sun actually shone there in the summer, I was hooked. So while I’m there I’ll be checking everything out, to make sure I’ve described it accurately. I suspect I’ll need to eat a lot of ice creams just to make sure!

How about you? Are you going anywhere nice this year? And by the way, despite my miserable picture, Southend on Sea on a warm day is a wonderful place to visit. So if you have no other plans, jump on a train and come down there. I’ll meet you on the pier with a bag of chips.

Now let’s hop over to Leslie Hachtel’s blog to see what she thinks of vacations. And when you’re done there, don’t forget to check out some of her books!
 Until next time,

Carrie Pink

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Photo credits: Depositphotos & authors own.

What’s in your bag? #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop


What's in your bagWelcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Brenda Margriet’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!

Brenda’s asked us all to share what’s in our bags. So with a little trepidation (because it can get scary in there) here goes!

Bag

 

KINDLE

I never go anywhere without it. I’d even go as far as to say I have a pathological fear of being stranded somewhere without a book. Like so many others I have about 200 unread books on there, just waiting for me to land on that desert island. Maybe one day!

NOTEBOOK & PEN

I’m an old fashioned kind of gal, so if I see some plot or character inspiration while I’m out, I like to be able to jot it down. That notepad is full of ideas and throwaway lines, ones that catch my fancy. And the older I get the more I need to write things down, otherwise I forget them!

LIPGLOSS

Just because!

HAND LOTION

This was given to me by a lovely reader and blogger at a signing event. It has the most delicious smell, and I take it everywhere with me.

BACH FLOWER REMEDY

This is supposed to calm me down when I get too stressed, except when I’m stressed I forget to use it. Doh!

TRAIN TICKETS

I seem to be getting a collection of these. I have to keep the ones I use for work to put into my accounts. The rest, well I guess I’m just a train ticket hoarder!

UMBRELLA

Because I live in the UK!

PURSE / WALLET

It’s a big one, but it fits everything in. Notes, credit cards, receipts, they’re all in there and stuffed to the gills!

 

I was actually surprised to find so little in there. The reason for this is that yesterday I travelled to London for the evening, and had a good clean out before I left. I did come home with half a bottle of wine in there, but luckily for me and you, I took it out as soon as I got home. Otherwise this picture would paint a different story altogether!

Now let’s hop over to S.C. Mitchell’s blog to see what’s in his pockets, because I don’t think he carries a bag!. And when you’re done there, don’t forget to check out some of his books!

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Until next time,

Carrie Pink

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Photo credits: Author’s own.

Summer Memories #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop

Group Of Girls Playing In Outdoor Swimming Pool

Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Leslie Hachtel’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!

This week the authors of Romance Writers’ Weekly are talking about about Summer, and the warm memories that make us feel good all year round.

Ah, Summer memories! The ones where the sun is always shining, my body is always beach ready (whatever the hell that means) and there’s always something delicious cooking on the barbecue.

Um, yeah, sorry, I’m confusing memories with fantasies. My bad.

I should probably caveat this with explaining that here in the UK summer can be as short as one day. And if on that one day you happen to be at work, doing something indoors, or catching up on some sleep, then too bad. Hope you like the rain!

Okay, I’m kidding. Well kind of. But summers here in England really are a hit and miss affair. I only realized how bad we had it when I lived in Virginia, USA for a few years, and got to experience what real summers are like. In my case they were hot, humid and were mostly spent around a pool. Yep, hard times. But the thing that really separated the US summers from our UK ones was consistency. Apart from the rare thunderstorm (which was always over quickly and then the sun came out again) I wouldn’t need to check the weather forecast to see how warm it was going to be the next day. Because it was always going to be hot.

Of course, this had it’s downsides. My hair, for one, didn’t like the humidity. I’d go from sleek straightness to crazy frizz as soon as I stepped outside the door in Virginia. Ponytails became my friend. It was also too hot to do much (I’m laughing at this right now). I tended to go from my air-conditioned house into my air-conditioned garage where I’d get into my air-conditioned car. Then I’d arrive at the air conditioned building, and still manage to work up a sweat in the five or so steps it would take me to get in there.

Apart from days in the pool, we rarely spent a lot of time outside in the Virginia summer. As the sun went down and the air cooled, that’s when the insects would come out. And these guys weren’t run-of-the-mill midges we’re used to in the UK. No, they were the Arnold Schwarzenegger of mosquitos. A few seconds outside in the evening would mean a nighttime of scratching and cursing. Even the strongest insect repellent wasn’t enough to stave off those beasts.

Even so, those were some of the happiest days of my life. My kids were little, and they absolutely adored swimming in the pool. We made a lot of friends at the pool, too, and we’d sit with our legs dangling in the water while the kids splashed around, shooting the breeze (not that there was any breeze) and laughing. We’d all take our lunches there, big freezer boxes filled with sandwiches and sodas, fresh fruit and treats. And at lunchtime we’d sit at the covered tables, trying to stop the kids from running back into the water, so the poor lifeguard could have his break, too.

Then in the evening – in spite of the insects – we discovered the best side effect of the pool was the way the kids would be out like a light by eight, their bodies heavy with the exhaustion that only a day at the pool could give. That’s when my husband and I would sit in our netted lanaii – no mosquitos allowed – and stare out at the fireflies that nestled in the trees, lighting them up like it was Christmas. I think that’s the memory of summer I’ll always carry around with me. And even now – in the cold, English weather – it’s warming me up.

I don’t miss those insects, though!

Now let’s hop over to Kathryn Reynard’s blog to get some more mouthwatering recipes. And don’t forget to check out her book, Sidelined!

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 Until next time,

Carrie Pink

Let’s share barbecue recipes! #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop

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Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Jenna Da Sie’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!

This week the authors of Romance Writers’ Weekly are sharing recipes. We’re posting our favourite barbecue food – just in time for the sun to come out 🙂

Before I start, can I just say that I LOVE barbecues. There’s something about lighting that grill that makes me smile every time. We have a gas grill, the pride and joy of Mr Elks, and it’s a thing of beauty. So whenever I get the chance I’ll shove some food in the fridge to marinade, toss a salad together and we’ll eat al-fresco. If I can pour a cheeky glass of Prosecco to go with it, I’m pretty much in heaven. And this recipe is one of my faves. It’s loved by all the family – the kids included. Hopefully I don’t have to put a huge disclaimer, but obviously if you, or anybody you’re cooking for, has a nut allergy, then SKIP THIS ONE!

Without further ado, I present my recipe for Chicken Satay Skewers. Hope you enjoy it!

BARBECUE CHICKEN SATAY SKEWERS (feeds 4)

Ingredients

1 tbsp peanut butter (smooth or crunchy – I use both)

4 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

1 tbsp Curry powder

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp hot sauce

4 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch chunks

8 Wooden skewers (pre-soaked)

 

Method

Mix the first 6 ingedients together into a satay sauce. Add the chicken pieces, and stir until all are covered with sauce. Cover with cling film and marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I find the longer you marinate them, the better they taste. About 10 minutes before you’re ready to cook, thread the chicken pieces onto the pre-soaked skewers. Warm the barbecue up and then grill for around 5 minutes on each side, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

I like to serve with some boiled rice and an asian salad, but you can also eat these with wraps, grilled vegetables, or just on their own.

Now let’s hop over to Xio Axelrod’s blog to get some more mouthwatering recipes. And after that, be sure to check out some of her books!

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 Until next time,

Carrie Pink

Where I write… #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop

Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Victoria Barbour’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!

This week’s topic comes from author Brenda Margriet – and we’re talking about our perfect writing space.

young beautiful woman lays on a grass in park with a diary in hands

One of the best things about being a writer is the versatility of it all. Unlike my previous jobs which involved being tied into a location — whether that be an office, a factory or a shop — when you’re a writer, the world really is your oyster. I’ve written in so many places it’s hard to keep track. In the kitchen, the dining room, in bed, in the garden; and that’s just in my own home. As long as I have a pen and paper (or in my case a Macbook) I can pretty much write wherever I go.

Last year on vacation I spent an hour a day writing on our beautiful patio overlooking the pool. That was pretty memorable, and I have to admit that it may be my ideal place.

I also spent a day last year writing at Hampton Court Palace. Once the home of Henry VIII (and many of his wives!) writing in the beautiful gardens gave me a sense of history and longevity that made me feel energised.

On a normal (!) day, I’ll mostly write in my dining room. Here’s a picture of my space here:

Carrie

One of the things I love about writing in my dining room is the sense of light and space it gives me. I have a lovely view of the garden here, and can watch the birds, the cats, and my dog chasing around on the grass. I’m also within easy reach of the kitchen, which means coffee on tap – a must for writing days!

I also like the fact that I have a big table to spread out on. The wooden surface is usually covered in sheets of paper — character bios, locations, story plots etc. And then at the end of the day I’ll gather it all together and put on the shelf behind me, ready to serve up dinner to the masses, a real one-stop shop.

Of course, the real question is, where would my ideal writing spot be. For me there’s no question. It has to be hot, needs a good view, and most of all it needs to be comfortable. A cabana on a tropical beach springs to mind. Preferably one that has waiter service (with cocktails on tap in the afternoon). Now I just need to win the lottery!

Beach Cabana on a maldivian island

Now let’s hop over to S.C. Mitchell’s blog to see where he likes to write. And when you’re done there, don’t forget to check out some of his books!

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 Until next time,

Carrie Pink

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Photo credits: Depositphotos & authors own.

Feeling Rejected… #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop

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Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Jenna Da Sie’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!

This week’s topic comes from author Leslie Hachtel – and we’re talking rejection letters (boo!!)

Wooden rubber stamp with “Rejected” impress isolated on white background.

Credit: Depositphotos

When I saw this topic I jumped at the chance to answer it. It coincided with going out to lunch with a lovely group of writers from my local RNA chapter where we talked about writing for magazines in the old days. I’d completely forgotten about this stage in my writing career (blame old age) but boy did it bring back memories. At that time I was working around the clock (it was in my pre-mummy days) and dashing home every evening to write short stories on a very old, clunky laptop which sounded as if it had little men inside, stoking the engines.
This was back in the days when the internet was a wild west frontier, and companies put you on a training course to work out how to use it. Dial up connections at home were rare, and broadband just a dream. On the plus side, I seemed to have a lot more time on my hands back then.
Anyway, so back to rejections. As I said, I wrote a lot of short stories back then, which I submitted to magazines. They were well-paid gigs, around £350 for 1500 words, which wasn’t something to sniff at. So I wrote, I printed, and I sent off sheafs of paper (pre-internet, remember?), and waited for an offer letter to come back through the door.
Instead, what I got was these:
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A few of my rejection letters, ’90s style!

So these were my first rejection letters. And thank goodness they came, because I re-read some of those short stories yesterday and they were truly terrible. They’ve been filed away in a box under my bed for the last seventeen years, and that’s where they’ll be staying!
I can laugh about it now, of course, because time is happiness’ friend, and it can give you a perspective like no other. But the first time I got a rejection letter it really hurt. I think it’s because I had been writing alone for so long, I thought I was really good. I thought I was going to take the world by storm. These are pretty much the same feelings I always get whenever I launch a new book. This time, everybody’s going to see inside to my real genius.
And yeah, that feeling usually lasts for five minutes, until I double over and laugh at myself uproariously. But that’s the thing about writing. You put yourself out there for rejection over and over again, in small hope that somebody — anybody — might find something they like about your words. It doesn’t have to be a lot of people, it doesn’t have to be an agent or publisher, you just want your story to touch somebody’s heart. And when they do, it’s as though all your Christmases have come at once, and it spurs you on to write more.
So I’m happy to keep on getting the rejection letters (or emails are they more often are nowadays), because the communication I can’t live without is from my readers. A Facebook message, a comment on an Instagram post, or like yesterday, a tweet where somebody says they loved my book. These are the things that make my day.
Long may they last!
Now let’s hop over to the lady herself, Brenda Margriet’s blog to see what she thinks about rejection. And don’t forget to check out her fabulous new release, When Time Falls Still.

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 Until next time,

Carrie Pink

Guest Post – On Writing by Brenda Margriet

Today I’m delighted to welcome fellow writer, Brenda Margriet, to my blog. I first got to know Brenda through the Romance Writers’ Weekly bloghop we both participate in, but then we started to beta read for each other, which has been a wonderful experience. Brenda has a new book coming out very soon, one I really enjoyed reading. More details are below Brenda’s post!
So without further ado, let’s see what Brenda has to say about writing!

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Writing is a lonely business. Most of us sit in an empty room, being taunted by a blank screen and bombarded by the silence – at least until the voices inside our head start talking.

I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember. At first, my only goal was to finish the damn thing. I told myself I didn’t even care if it was ever published – I just wanted the satisfaction of putting thousands of words on paper in a semi-coherent format that told a story. Preferably a good story, and one that people might want to read some day. But finishing it was the goal.

I achieved that goal five years ago, and since then I’ve written four more manuscripts. My first two were published by a small press, and my third, WHEN TIME FALLS STILL (my first foray into the world of self-publishing) was released in all formats yesterday!

But here’s the point I’m trying to make: while the first draft of the words on the screen was done in solitary confinement, none of these books would have come to fruition without the community of writers I’ve discovered online, including the lovely Carrie Elks.

In a world dominated by cats on youtube and ridiculous memes on Facebook, social media is also a life-saver for those of us writers in smaller communities. I live in a good sized town in Northern BC, but finding other romance writers is difficult. Online, however, the chances to connect are endless, and I’ve made some very good virtual friends, both writers and readers, who are truly my support and my inspiration.

So thank you all – thank you very much!

One of the ways I’m hoping to connect with readers is through my brand new newsletter! You can find the sign up form on the front page of my website (http://www.brendamargriet.com/) and on my Facebook Author Page (https://www.facebook.com/BrendaMargriet/app/100265896690345). As a thank you for signing up, I will be pleased to send you a free copy of my short story, The Life She Had Before.

And one more thing! I’m giving away 5 copies of When Time Falls Still. Enter here http://gvwy.io/t9drasv by April 15th for your chance to win!

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Blurb:

Professor Charlotte Girardet is focused on one thing – securing tenure at a large, prestigious university.

Her career is firmly on track, but her life is complicated by her attraction to rough and rugged security guard Justice Cooper. It isn’t only Charlotte’s heart in danger, however. Tensions blaze on campus after several students are viciously attacked.

Struggling to balance her ambitions and her growing passion, Charlotte takes a leap of faith, and trusts Justice with her deepest secret. But when the assailant’s attacks escalate to kidnapping, will Charlotte have the chance to decide between her long-held dreams or a new life with Justice?

 

Excerpt:

Charlotte braced herself against the motion of the elevator, but not before her breasts, protected only by thin fabric and thinner lace, brushed Justice’s chest. He was standing so close she felt overwhelmed. Not intimidated—he didn’t scare her—just…swamped by his nearness.

Or maybe it was the heat in his eyes.

Ocean depths had nothing on the blueness searing into her, she thought wildly. Vertigo weakened her knees, but she couldn’t look away.

“I—” She broke off, swallowed, and tried again. “I don’t know what to say.” He toyed with the end of her braid, and she swore she could feel the touch of his fingers fizzle up the strands, down her spine and into the soles of her feet.

“Did you honestly think I wasn’t attracted to you?” His voice rumbled, low and sexy.

The doors slid open. Thank God the hallway was empty. Her legs felt disconnected from her body, but she managed not to stumble. She unlocked her office, seeking refuge inside. Justice followed.

“Charlotte?”

He wasn’t going to let it go. Perseverance was his greatest strength—and his most irritating habit, she thought peevishly. “I threw myself at you and you walked away.”

“I just about took you up against your front door.” Frustration coloured his tone. He scrubbed his hands over his close-cropped head.

“Fine. Maybe you were right.” She lifted her satchel off her shoulder and tossed it into a nearby chair. “Maybe I wasn’t thinking clearly enough.”

“Maybe.” He crossed his ankles and leaned against the wall, the casual stance belying the tension evident in the fists jammed in his pockets, the set of his shoulders. “Now what?”

“I don’t know.” The collar of his uniform jacket had kinked up on one side. Without thinking, she stepped forward to smooth it down. He caught her hand and held it. Her fingers curled into his.

The connection felt good. It felt right. Maybe she should stop thinking altogether, and just go with her gut.

She never did that. She planned and researched and debated and planned some more. Trying to regain her equilibrium, she tugged away and escaped behind her desk.

“Let’s look at this rationally,” she said. His scarred eyebrow arched and amusement flickered in his face, but she battled on. “We are both healthy, single adults. For some reason, we seem to have strong physical chemistry.”

“Some reason?” The amusement was uppermost, now. His lips remained firm and straight, but she could see it in his eyes, as usual.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but you are not the kind of man I ever thought I’d be attracted to.”

​He lowered his lids and regarded her through narrow slits. “Right back at you.”

She bristled, but took her own advice and let it go. “Regardless, we could take advantage of this mutual appeal.”

“There’s the professor I know and…admire,” he murmured.

She ignored the sarcasm. “I’m only here for a few more months.” The exam today was the last she needed to invigilate. As soon as they were marked and the results submitted, she was flying out to spend Christmas with Sonny and family, returning a few days before the start of the winter session. “Are you in any of my classes next semester?”

He shook his head, watching her closely.

“Would you consider a short-term, exclusive relationship, with a predefined end date?” There, she thought. That sounded mature, sensible. No need to let emotions colour what promised to be a satisfying adult affair.

He straightened from the wall, looming to his full height. “Would this so-called relationship be strictly physical? Or could it involve social aspects as well?”

Once again, she sensed an underlying current of laughter, but she ignored it. “I can’t see why not.”

“And it would come to an end the same time as your contract?”

“Or earlier, of course, should either of us find it no longer meets our needs.”

“I thought English professors were supposed to be romantic.”

Romance. Love. That’s what hurt you. Sex, on the other hand, was just sex. “Not all of us.”

 

Reviews:

If you’re looking for a great contemporary romance, WHEN TIME FALLS STILL is the book for you. The romance between Justice and Charlotte was full of ups and downs but their connection, friendship and attraction a constant. A fantastic introduction to a new-to-me author, I will happily browse through Brenda Margriet’s backlist.

The Romance Reviews – 4 Stars

http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooks.php?bookid=21212

Margriet’s voice produces a smooth flowing narrative, intriguing sexual tension, and a well-plotted romance that takes it’s time developing as Margriet sets out to address and resolve the internal issues of the protagonists while flirting with a light suspense filled subplot.

Smexy Books – Grade B

http://smexybooks.com/2016/03/review-when-time-falls-still-by-brenda-margriet.html

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B01CXB7OAC

Website (with all other links): http://www.brendamargriet.com/when-time-falls-still—where-to-buy.html

 

Bio:

Brenda Margriet write contemporary romances with heroes you’d meet at the grocery store. And by that she means real-life men – sexy, smart and looking for the love of their life. Her heroines are bold, savvy and determined to accept nothing less than the man they deserve.

A voracious reader since she was old enough to hold a book, Brenda’s idea of the perfect holiday involves a comfortable chair near the water (ocean, lake or pool will do), a glass of wine, and a full-loaded e-reader.

She lives in Northern British Columbia with her husband, three children (all of whom are taller than her) and various finny and furry pets.

Join Brenda’s newsletter and be the first to know about new releases and other exciting news! Plus, receive a free c-copy of her short story, The Life She Had Before.

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