Flashfiction – Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop -25th August 2015

Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Kristi Rose’s blog22268970, hi, and thanks for clicking, and don’t forget to check out her book The Girl He Knows – currently on sale for 99c.

 

This Fiona Riplee has posed the following challenge:

Your hero & heroine are playing an “old-school” board game (one with an actual board or pieces old or new – just not a video game). The winner gets a special prize. 1000 words or less.

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“Okay, so we have Clue, Monopoly, and I think there’s a really old chessboard somewhere back here. Any of those appeal?”
It takes a moment to realise he’s asked a question. I’m too busy staring at the sliver of skin between his belt and the hem of his shirt, revealed when he bent over to sort through the games closet.
“Kirsty?” he prompts again.
Jesus, when did he grow up? The last time I saw Nate Matthews he was still losing his battle with puberty, his voice spanning two octaves with a vocal range an opera singer would be proud of. That was ten years ago. The man kneeling in front of me bears only the faintest resemblance to that long-ago teen.
“I can’t play chess.” My reply is as dumb as the rest of me. I’m too transfixed by his long, thick eyelashes to think of anything else. Calm yourself, woman. He’s your best friend’s little brother. Completely verboten.
Therefore all the more alluring.
“I could teach you.” He sits back on his haunches, flashing me a dazzling smile. “It’s not as if we have anything else to do.”
He isn’t wrong. The rain battering against the windows of his parent’s holiday cottage is a reminder of why we are here alone. His sister, Cara, plus her boyfriend Dean and our other friend Marie should be on the last ferry tonight. But with the weather being as it is, there’s no way the ferryman will chance the crossing. So it’s me and Nate, plus a closet full of board games.
And a whole host of my raging hormones.
“How’s college?” I ask him. Cara keeps me up to date with her family’s news, and I know Nate’s studying Physics at MIT. I graduated last year, being two years older than the kneeling Adonis, and am currently interning at an advertising firm in New York. That’s why I jumped at the chance of a week’s cheap vacation at the Matthews’ lake house in Michigan. Nate and I flew in this morning, hiring a car to cover the 200 miles to the lake, while the others were driving up after work.
Of course they’ll be sleeping on the other side of the lake tonight, while Nate and I weather the storm here. Alone. Just the two of us.
He sets up the chess board with nimble fingers. How many times has he done this? He lays each piece in sequence as if it’s his second nature. There’s something unbearably sexy about his nerdiness.
“Is it hot in here?” I ask. “This storm hasn’t gotten rid of the humidity.”
He looks amused. “I was just thinking how cool it was getting. Do you want me to find a fan? I’m pretty sure Mom keeps one here somewhere…” Nate looks around, his brows dropping into a frown. He rolls his bottom lip between his teeth, and it sparks a memory. Twelve year old Nate trying to explain why the Theory of Relativity was really cool, while Cara and I laughed uproariously at him.
I’m not laughing now.
“I’m okay. Maybe I’m having a hot flush,” I tell him. “Premature menopause or something.”
Nate starts to laugh. “I know you’re older than me, but I don’t think you’re quite middle aged yet. You’re way too young and pretty for that.”
Is it stupid that I want to jump up in the air and scream when he calls me pretty?
“You go first.” He gestures at the board. I reach out for a black pawn. “No, white always goes first in chess.” There go those long eyelashes again. “And you can move two spaces forward if you want.”
I lift up the white pawn and place it two squares ahead. “Like that?” I smile when I ask.
He grins back. “Perfect.”
Nate plays his next move and then I take my turn, both of us flirting to the soundtrack of the storm. When I lift up my knight and slide it diagonally across the board, Nate wraps his hand around mine to show me the right way to move it.
“He moves like that?” I raise my eyebrows. “What kind of game is this anyway? I knew we should have played Monopoly.”
“I’d have kicked your ass at that too.”
“I don’t doubt it,” I say. “But at least I’d have known what I’m doing.”
His hand is still holding mine. “Don’t you like me telling you what to do?”
I’m about to reply when a crash of thunder echoes across the lake and the lights flicker three times before going out altogether. The sudden blackness makes my chest tighten with panic and I reach out, my hand opening and closing until I grab hold of Nate’s top. My fingers close around it in a vice grip.
“Nate? I hate the dark.” Fear strangles my words.
A moment later his arms circle my waist. “Hey, it’s okay. I’m here. It’s just a power cut.”
There’s something warm and reassuring about his embrace, but my heart is still racing. “Do you have a generator or some candles?”
“There’s a whole bundle of them in the kitchen, but I’m gonna have to leave you to get them.” He’s so close I can feel his breath on my ear. “Will you be okay?”
“No! Take me with you.” I stand up, my sudden movement knocking the chessboard. I can hear the pieces scatter across the wooden floor. “Oh shit.”
“Let’s call it a draw.” Amusement is laced through his words. “Or we can have a rematch tomorrow.”
He guides me into the kitchen, one hand circling my waist, the other holding my hand. He’s warm, he’s strong, he makes me feel safe. He may be Cara’s little brother but he’s all man, and I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than lose to chess to him every night this week.
Every day, too, if it comes to that.
“A rematch, definitely.”
I made it in 995 words! Now let’s hop over to  S. C. Mitchell’s blog and take a read of his flash fiction. 

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Kill Your Darlings- Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop -18th August 2015

Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Fiona Riplee’s blog, hi, and thanks for clicking!

This week I got to set the question (yay!):

Stephen King famously said that it’s necessary to ‘kill your darlings’ when editing your work. Do you have anything you had to remove from a book that you’re still proud of? Or something that embarrasses you so much it will never again see the light of day? If you’re feeling really brave, share some of it with us!

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There was a reason for asking this question. That reason is I’m currently neck-deep in ‘editing hell’, or what I like to call ‘DID I REALLY WRITE THAT?’ I’m the type of writer who doesn’t edit as they type, which means in my first read through I usually have a lot of surprises awaiting me. So when Stephen King tells me to ‘kill your darlings’ I find I’m not only following his advice, but I’m also kicking their sad, dead souls for weeks afterwards.
So what are my darlings? It depends on the book. In Fix You I had a lot of ‘lip biting’ I had to stamp out (thanks Ana and Mr Grey), and in Coming Down I found that every other sentence had something ‘curling’ in it. There was hair, hands, even the air curling around them. It made my manuscript one frizzy mess, I can tell you!
Broken Chords had some trouble with breathing. It got short as the characters became excited, it became a sexy alternative for ‘said’ (as in “Do you want some tea?” she breathed… – sexy, right?) It’s almost ironic because in the story there really is an issue with breathing, but it’s a medical problem, not one related to word over-usage.
Joking aside, there’s something almost depressing about having to cut out hundreds or thousands of words that you’ve slaved over for days or weeks. That’s where having a good editor helps. They can cut through your heartbreak and show you how a simple line makes for a better sentence. To quote Hemingway (who always said the best things about writing) – “Write one true sentence.”

DELETED SCENES

 The second part of my challenge (what was I thinking?) was to give you a little look at a deleted scene. So below is a scene from my book Fix You which never made the final cut. It joins many thousands of other words I’ve deleted over the years. They’re currently buried deep below my river of tears!

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This scene comes in between chapters 6 and 7 of the book. It’s one of my favourites because it shows the lighter side of the Larsen family before things start to get heavy for them in the following chapters. In spite of my enjoyment of this family portrait, it wasn’t necessary for a few reasons, the most important of which – it didn’t move the story on. So it had to go, but here, for one day only, is your brief glimpse of the Larsen family gathering!

After dinner, the Larsen family gathered in the cozy den Claire had created in the basement of their elegant townhouse. Richard sat back on the sofa, watching Nathan getting beaten by Ruby on the PlayStation. His father sat next to him, talking of California.

“Claire and I hope to visit you in November, if you’ll have us?”

“That would be great. I’m not sure if we’ll have a lot of room in the apartment, but there are a couple of hotels nearby.”

Richard looked at his father. The two of them had always maintained a solid relationship, despite the upheavals of divorce, remarriage, and overseas living. It was only as Richard got older that he realized just how much effort Steven must have put into seeing his son, and making sure that Richard always realized he was loved.

“Will you bring Ruby?”

“I hope so, as long as she doesn’t miss too much school. Otherwise Nathan has volunteered to stay and look after her.”

Richard looked at his dad and burst out laughing at the thought of leaving Nathan in charge of a twelve year old child. This was the guy that had lost his passport, wallet and ID somewhere in the Andes, and didn’t realize until he tried to board a plane. It was highly likely that he would forget to pick Ruby up from school, or wander off on a whim, leaving her home alone, like a female version of Macaulay Culkin.

“How was Hanna? Did the two of you have a good time today?” Claire asked, walking over to join them. She was carrying a small glass of white wine in her right hand. Sitting down on the easy chair opposite, she leaned towards him, her face animated.

“She was good, she seems very happy,” Richard answered.

“That’s what I thought too. Josh seems to have brought out the best in her.”

Richard looked at his step-mother, as he put his bottle of beer to his lips and swallowed a mouthful. He knew that his family was completely oblivious to anything that had gone on between Hanna and him in New York, but Claire’s easy acceptance of Josh rankled.

“Do you like him?” He knew he was asking a leading question, but a part of him wanted to hear something negative about the guy.

“He seems very nice. A little wary of us, I guess, but friendly over all.”

“Why is he wary?” Richard’s brows knit in confusion. Why would anybody be wary of the Larsens?

“I think the location of our house might have something to do with it. From what I’ve gathered from Hanna, he’s not that keen on people with a lot of wealth. I’m not sure whether we intimidate or infuriate him.” Claire smiled gently.

“Does he treat her well?”

“I think so, darling. I haven’t heard any different. I’ve only met him once, when Hanna first came back to London in July. She brought him over to meet Ruby. And by the way, Ruby isn’t keen on him.”

Richard tried to resist the grin that was threatening to creep across his face.

Hearing her name, Ruby’s head whipped around. Her momentary lapse of concentration allowed Nathan to crush his on-screen opponent, and he let out a whoop as her character died. Having the innate ability of a twelve year old girl to do three things at once, Ruby pressed restart, hit her brother’s leg, and demanded of her mother, “Ruby isn’t keen on what?”

Claire and Richard replied at the same time.

“Nothing, darling.”

“Hanna’s boyfriend.”

Ruby’s nose screwed up, as she hit the pause button, ignoring Nathan’s cries of frustration. She put down her controller and moved closer to Richard and Claire.

“I don’t like him at all. When they came over he treated me like a kid, and every time Hanna tried to tell me something, he just kept on interrupting.” Ruby crossed her arms firmly in front of her chest. “And then he started to kiss her neck as she was trying to play Monopoly with me, even though she kept telling him not to. He was all grabby and horrible.”

Richard’s good mood only lasted a moment. He wanted to grab hold of Josh Chambers’ grabby hands and twist them until they hurt. Maybe until he could hear a crack.

The violence of his own reaction surprised him.

“Why can’t you be Hanna’s boyfriend, Richard?” Ruby continued with her complaints, her face turning to look at him plaintively.

“Yeah, Rich, why can’t you be Hanna’s boyfriend? I noticed the two of you getting cozy on the underground.” Nathan laughed as he poked fun at his step-brother, ignoring Ruby’s dirty look.

“Leave your brother alone, you two,” Claire interceded, placing a gentle arm on Richard’s shoulder as she leaned towards him. “We all know that Richard and Hanna are good friends. And Richard is moving to California next week, do you really think he could have a relationship with somebody so far away?”

“He has a relationship with me, and I’m this far away.” Ruby piped up.

Fair point, Richard thought, interested to see how Claire would respond to her daughter.

“But being a brother and sister is different to having a boyfriend or girlfriend. You two are family; you’ll always have a bond, no matter where in the world you are.”

“Hanna’s family, too. You said so.” Ruby was starting to look confused, and Claire was definitely looking perturbed. Richard played with the label on his beer bottle, trying to keep the amusement from his face.

“I know she is darling, I know.” Claire downed a huge gulp of white wine. Putting her glass on the table, she glanced over at Richard with her eyebrows raised, as if she was asking him for some help.

Richard could feel his father shaking in amusement at Claire’s discomfort. Claire turned to look at Steven, her lips pursed and her eyebrows lowered in response to his laughter.

“Perhaps your father would like to explain it, Ruby.”

“Hey, you’re on your own with this one, Claire. I can’t wait to find out how Hanna is different to Ruby.” Steven winked at his wife.

“Yeah, Mom, how is Hanna different to me?”

Nathan muttered something below his breath. Though his words were inaudible, Richard could hazard a good guess at what he was saying. It almost certainly had something to do with tits and ass.

“Well, put it this way, Ruby. We wouldn’t be having this conversation at all if Hanna were really Richard’s sister, would we? Then they wouldn’t be able to be boyfriend and girlfriend.” With that, Claire stood up and wandered over to Nathan, cuffing the top of his head with her palm. “And don’t think I don’t know what you just said, because I do. And it was rude.”

“Aw, Mom!” Nathan rubbed his hair with his right hand, his bottom lip pouting as he complained. “That hurt.”

“You deserved worse. Now entertain your sister before she asks me any more questions.” Claire hissed, glancing behind her briefly before leaving the room, her skirt whipping out behind her as she beat her hasty retreat.

Finishing his bottle of beer, Richard leaned back and looked at his family, enjoying the warm, happy feeling that suffused his body. They may have been a little weird, and they were definitely annoying, but they were all his.

And he was going to miss them.

 That was a blast from the past! Now let’s hop over to  Sarah Hegger’s blog and see what she has to say. 

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Pushing Through the Pain – Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat Blog Hop -28th July 2015

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

This week the wonderful Tracey Gee has asked us the following question:

As we all know, authors put real people and situations into their books. Let’s look at the times we’ve pushed through the pain by putting bad experiences or relationships into our works whether for therapy, or just as a way to close the door.

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As a child, I used to ‘escape’ into a book, using the printed words as a way to escape the problems of everyday life. I preferred to read about others’ troubles, able to diminish my own worries by comparing them to Frodo’s in Lord of the Rings, or rationalising them when I read Anne Frank’s diary by realising things could be so much worse.
I have no doubt that some of that escapism has spilled over into my writing life. There’s something so lovely about being able to put aside your own fears and thoughts for a while, letting the excitements of a fictional character take over, allowing them to act in a way that perhaps you wouldn’t in real life.
Somehow I’ve always found solving other people’s problems is so much easier than solving my own, and that feeling definitely extends to the characters in my books, too. There’s something quite satisfying about putting your heroine through the ringer, only to see her emerge victorious on the other side, having solved her problems, got her man and found a way to live happily ever after all in one foul swoop.
1486d-brokenchords_coverFor example, when I was writing Broken Chords, I truly empathised with the character of Lara, a new mother suffering from Post-Natal depression following her return to work and her rock-star husband’s tour of America. Though I was fortunate enough not to suffer from PND myself, some of my very close friends were, and it was therapeutic being able to share their story, and also try to make the important point that suffering from depression is nothing to be ashamed of.
As well as finding salvation in a story, there’s another therapeutic aspect to writing which I’ve been able to take advantage of. That’s finding pleasure in the craft, from learning new things and experimenting, and being able to sit down and see what you’ve achieved. At my darkest times–and yes, there have been a few–I’ve been lucky enough to gain some confidence from these achievements, to allow them to bolster me when otherwise I’d be very low. In addition to this the community feeling that being a writer can give you, and the support from other writers, readers and bloggers, can also bring a ray of light to bleaker times.
So all in all, I feel very lucky indeed to be a reader and a writer. Books may be inanimate objects–simply paper imprinted with ink–but they’re also responsible for so many good things in my life. For that I’m truly thankful.
 Now let’s hop over to  Fiona Riplee’s blog and see what she has to say. 

Romance Weekly Chat

Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite #LoveWriteChat – 21st April

Romance Weekly ChatDo 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! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

If you’ve arrived from Fiona Riplee’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!

 

 This week Fiona Riplee has asked us to write a mini flash fiction…

 In 10 words or less, describe a kiss. Include the words pink & sweet.

Before I post, I have to say this might be the hardest flash fiction I’ve ever had to write. Keeping it to ten words means that every syllable counts, and I’ve type-deleted constantly over the past few days, not to mention the number of times I’ve ‘practiced’ with the husband ;). Eventually I think I got there and distilled the essence of a kiss into a few, important words.

So here, without further ado, is my 10 word flash fiction…

THE KISS 

By Carrie Elks

 kissing-lips

 

A breath, a sigh, sweet hesitation… then pink, soft, forever.

 

The End

Wow that was hard! Let’s see how author Dani Jace describes her kiss. And don’t forget that Romance Writers’ Weekly is having an amazing Mother’s Day rafflecopter giveaway – to find out more click on the photo below!

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Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite #LoveWriteChat – 14th April

Romance Weekly ChatDo 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! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

If you’ve arrived from J.J. Devine’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!

 

 This week Xio Axelrod has asked the question: 

Readers always ask “How much of yourself do you lend to your characters?” Here’s your chance to answer. What traits do your characters have that come from you? And if not you, someone in your life.

They say that your first book is always autobiographical, which isn’t a huge surprise since we’re often told to ‘write what we know’. However, I have to admit that for me a huge part of the enjoyment of writing comes from writing about characters that are completely different from me, facing different challenges and reacting differently.

In ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Atticus Finch explains that “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” and I think that’s definitely true. For me to understand a character, and to write from their point of view, I have to find myself empathising with them, even if they’re somebody I may not like in real life. For me, the essence of enjoying a story is to be pulled in by the characters.

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In my first book, Fix You, the main heroine, Hanna, shares a number of superficial similarities with me. We were born in around the same era, we went to the same university, and we like some of the same music. However, that’s where the likeness ends. Hanna, unlike me, is feisty and go-getting, she’s an extrovert at heart who enjoys being the centre of attention. She also makes a number of decisions that I don’t think I would ever make, but for Hanna they made sense, and I wanted to stay true to her character.

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In Coming Down, part of my Love in London series, Beth is a character I find extremely interesting. A reformed drug-taker, at the beginning of the story she is very weak, only growing into her character as her story progresses. Being the strong, silent type, I also found this interesting. Beth attached a lot of importance to herself from the men she was dating / married to during her life, and though I love my husband dearly, I define myself as more than a wife, even as more than a mother, I define myself as me, which Beth only learns to do towards the end of the book.

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My latest book, Broken Chords, features Lara–a new mother who is fighting for her marriage. Out of all of my characters I’m probably the closest to Lara. Like me she has a smart mouth, and like me she’s devoted to her child. She suffers from Post-Natal Depression–an illness that I luckily have never suffered from, although I did have some close friends who were affected by this and a lot of the things she does comes from my observations of them.

So, to go back to the original question, all writing has to be based on observation–that’s what makes it believable–but the interesting part of the process is to invent characters who are different from me, who challenge my perceptions and make me question my own prejudices and ideas. As a writer–and as a reader–that is perhaps the biggest joy that a book can give.

 

So that’s a little walk around in my skin! Let’s see how much author Xio Axelrod bases her characters on herself. And if she does… I have to say they will be awesome characters!

Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite #LoveWriteChat – 13th January

Romance Weekly ChatDo 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! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

If you’ve arrived from Kim Handyside’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!

 

 This week Elizabeth Janette has asked the question: What’s on your To-Be-Read list?

Wow, what a question. It might be easier to ask me what’s NOT on my TBR list. If I didn’t have an e-reader, I’d have a pile of paperbacks as high as a house. Luckily–and thanks to all those clever engineers and scientiest–instead I have a small, compact tablet full of books I’m desperate to read. When I say I take it everywhere with me, I’m not kidding. If I have five minutes spare I’ll whip it out and start reading, it really doesn’t matter where I am!

Okay, to answer the question, I’ve narrowed it down to the next 5 books on my list. See below for the top five, and a little bit about why I can’t wait to give them a go!

 

1. The Pact by Karina Halle

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I pretty much devour every book by Karina Halle. Like the author, her heroines are ballsy and sassy, the kind of women that you know you’d be friends with if only they were real. Add to that sexy, complicated heroes who are built, protective and always alpha, you have a recipe for success. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this ‘friends to lovers’ story, and I can’t wait to read it!

 

2. Sweet Bea by Sarah Hegger

Sweet Bea

I’m a huge fan of historical romances (thanks in no small measure to a certain Scot named Jamie), and when I saw Sarah Hegger’s Sweet Bea was on sale this January I snapped it up. The story of Beatrice and Garrett has some wonderful reviews, and I know it’s going to be swoontastic!

 

3. The Diplomat’s Wife by Pam Jenoff

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I read Pam Jenoff’s first book–the Kommandant’s Girl–all in one night. The sad story of a Nazi Kommandant and a Jewish girl in hiding, it not was touching and emotional, as well as rich with historic detail. The Diplomat’s wife looks set to be just as fulfilling, telling the story of Marta Nedermen, a Polish girl who survies the horrors of a Nazi Prison camp.

 

4. Reasonable Doubt by Whitney Gracia Williams

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I picked this book up on sale this week, and I have to say I LOVE a series that has a hot, alpha male with problems. This one’s short–only 78 pages–but it looks like it’s going to be a great and fun read.

 

5. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion was one of my favourite books in 2014. I’ve been hoarding the follow up to read when I’m next away on holiday. Don Tillman, the hero of both books, is one of my favourite characters; methodical, adorable and yet somehow very masculine. I can’t wait to find out what he and his wife Rosie get up to in this sequel.

 

So that’s the next five books I plan to read. Let’s see how big author Sarah Hegger’s TBR list is. And while you’re at it, take a look at Sweet Bea, it’s on a super-duper January sale! 

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Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite #LoveWriteChat – 6th January

Romance Weekly ChatDo 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! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

If you’ve arrived from Lesley Hachtel’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!

 

 This week Xio Axelrod has asked the question: What do you do when you’re not writing?

 

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When I’m not writing I’m usually thinking about writing, and that’s the honest truth. I can be driving in my car, but in my mind I’m in a scene, working out what my heroine would say, and what the hero would do. Sadly, sometimes life gets in the way and I also have to do other stuff. So here’s a brief rundown of my life outside the written word.

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I also like to drink coffee with friends. Preferably in some chic Rive Gauche cafe wearing 1920s gear. Don’t ask me why, I’m just a bit crazy that way.

buried in books

I also read. A lot. An average of two to three books a week. So if I’m not on the Rive Gauche, I’m probably buried under a pile of my latest downloads!

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The rest of the time I like to be a superhero, or what I call ‘Mum’. This involves resolving angry disputes (whose turn is it to fill the dishwasher), rally-driving for hours (Scouts, followed by Football, followed by a party – yay!), running a top-class restaurant (what’s that, you want Beouf Bourgingon tonight darling? Of course), and running a 24 hour laundry service.

mad housewife

 

No wonder I need a glass or two of wine in the evening! Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

Let’s see how author Dani Jace spends her non-writing time by hopping over to her blog !

Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite #LoveWriteChat – 9th December

Romance Weekly ChatDo 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! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

If you’ve arrived from Veronica Forand’s blog, hi and thanks for clicking!

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 This week we’re sharing our favourite Holiday Songs!

This is an easy one for me. There’s one song that I can’t wait to put on my stereo as soon as December 1st rolls around, and you can guarantee that I’ll play it at least once a day in the run up to Christmas. It may not be the most traditional song, and it certainly isn’t the cleanest, but it has a charm of it’s own that captures my heart every time.

Fairytale of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty McColl

Why do I love this song so much? Well, for one thing, it has the most beautiful melody, one that is haunting yet traditional, and it crescendos into a chorus that’s insanely catchy. The mixture of Kirsty McColl and Shane McGowan’s voice, added to the beautiful orchestration adds a gaelic feel to this New York-based song. And those of you who have read Fix You know how much I adore New York, so the thought of New York at Christmas is enough to warm the cockles of my heart.

There’s also the little matter of the lyrics. With words like “You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap, lousy faggot”, the song tells the tale of a couple whose love is falling apart, yet they’re reminiscing about the times when they first fell in love. Christmas isn’t always perfect, it isn’t always a fairytale, it can be dark and bleak and bring out the worst in people, too. This song brings that out in spades, and yet it still has a hint of hope that’s laced through it, as the bells are ringing out for Christmas Day!

Last, but definitely not least, there’s the small matter of the video. Matt Dillon was one of my crushes when I was a teenager (The Outsiders, sigh), and seeing him in a NYPD uniform definitely makes my day.

 

So how about you? Leave me a comment and let me know your favourite holiday song. Then hop over to J.J. Devine’s blog to enjoy some more festive entertainment!

Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite #LoveWriteChat – 18th November

Romance Weekly ChatDo 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! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

If you’ve arrived from Leslie Hachtel’s blog, hi and thanks for clicking! This week we are doing something a little different. As the nights draw in, we’ve decided to share our favorite seasonal recipes with you. So take a look at mine, then follow the links to see what the rest of the Romance Writers’ Weekly team will be cooking. If you’re lucky, you should have enough ideas to keep you going for weeks!

Winter is quite possibly my favorite season. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that the dark nights come early, encouraging me to hibernate inside the house, or whether it’s the lure of Christmas, but either way as soon as the clocks turn back I find myself in a baking frenzy, trying to fill all my cupboards ready for the holiday season. Today I’m going to share a recipe my grandmother taught me, which we traditionally cook on ‘stir up Sunday’ – the last Sunday in November. 

Grandma Elks’ Fabulous Christmas Pud

christmas pudding

For us Brits, Christmas Pudding is the only thing to eat after the Turkey and roast potatoes have been cleared away. It’s a long-lived tradition here, harking back to the middle ages when Plum Puddings were boiled over an open stove. Every family has their own recipe and way of serving it, and here in the Elks household we like to pour brandy over the top then light it before carrying it to the table, to the accompaniment of ‘oohs and aah’s. 
Though rich, my children always ask for extra helpings. Not because they like the taste of it, mind you, but because the pudding contains money (which is wrapped in foil and pushed inside the pudding just before serving), and it’s a game to see who can make the most.
Like many dried-fruit based recipes, this one is best made weeks in advance and left to mature in a cool, dark place (if you visit an English house during Christmas, you’ll be surprised what you can find beneath our beds!). 
Ingredients
  • 500 g mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, cranberries etc)
  • 1/2 grated nutmeg
  • 100 g dates, chopped up
  • 125 g suet
  • zest of 1 orange (I like to squeeze in the juice too)
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 150 g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Napoleon brandy
  • 1 handful blanched almonds
  • 1 large egg
  • 150 ml milk
  • brandy to serve
Method
Grease a 1.5 litre pudding basin with some butter. In a mixing bowl, stir all the ingredients together, except the serving brandy. (In our house it’s tradition that every family member has a stir). Put the mixture into the greased bowl and cover with a double layer of aluminium foil or greaseproof paper. Tie a piece of string round the side of the bowl. Place in a large saucepan with water halfway up the sides of the bowl. Bring the water to the boil, put on a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 3 hours. Check the water regularly to make sure it doesn’t boil dry. Remove from the pan.
Let it go cold, replace the foil and store in a cool, dark place for until Christmas morning.
On Christmas morning, fill a saucepan quite full with boiling water, put it on the heat and, when it comes back to the boil, place a steamer on top of the pan and turn it down to a gentle simmer. Put the Christmas pudding in the steamer, cover and leave to steam away for 2¼ hours.
You’ll need to check the water from time to time and maybe top it up a bit.
To serve, remove the pudding from the steamer and take off the wrapping. Slide a palette knife all round the pudding, then turn it out on to a warmed plate.
Place a suitably sized sprig of holly on top, and carefully push some foil-covered coins inside the pudding, making sure not to break it up.
Now warm a ladleful of brandy over direct heat, and as soon as the brandy is hot ask someone to set light to it. Place the ladle, now gently flaming, on top of the pudding – but don’t pour it over until you reach the table.
And there you have it, one perfectly tasty, rich (in more ways than one) Christmas pudding.

 

And now to read more Romance Weekly Recipes go to Xio Axelrod’s blog and read her answers!

Romance Writers’ Weekly Holiday Giveaway Event

Join the authors of Romance Writers’ Weekly for an amazing day of fun and giveaways, on the 2nd December. The Facebook event will be taking place from noon (EST) right through until the early hours. So pour yourself a glass of something festive, curl up on the sofa and join us.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS

RWW Christmas event