Veterans Day 2014

Today, we celebrate veterans. Let’s take a moment to thank all the members of the US Military who have served or are still serving our country. Their service is a true sacrifice and is appreciated to keep our country free and amazing!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE, VETERANS!

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Behind the Scenes at RWA

Karen and I just returned from San Antonio, TX where we attended the Romance Writers of America Conference. We thought we’d share some of the highlights from the week so you could enjoy the fun with us. For writers, it’s always fun to share news and pictures from signings and reader events since it’s the most glamorous part of our work. Three hundred and fifty days of the year we are decidedly non-glamorous, parked on our couches and dreaming up scenes for our latest creations. To watch us work is not exciting! But when we meet with readers, it’s all good times.

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We had fun signing copies of our books for readers ruing the Literacy Autographing, where all the profits go toward literacy efforts. We were fortunate to find plenty of Young Adult readers in the crowd including these two awesome readers who snagged “I ❤ my Camp Boyfriend” tees.

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We were thrilled to be nominated for a Booksellers Best Award for Camp Boyfriend this year and got to attend a reception for the finalists. We spread the word about the new book in our series, Camp Payback, and hope we intrigued some new readers to try the series. But we also got to leave the conference hotel to explore San Antonio, which was really fun. I snapped a pic of Karen on our riverboat cruise along the Riverwalk:

20140722_204052I’d never been to the city and we were so impressed at how pretty it was. And the restaurants? Wow! We had some amazing meals. Friday night was a party night and we went out to dinner with friends and then on to publisher parties. 

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So yes… non stop fun for days! You can imagine it’s tricky to settle back down and start working again after all that excitement. I really liked going out to dinner every day. I didn’t cook or clean, I just had fun celebrating the accomplishments of another writing year. But if we want to attend this event again, we’ll need to settle down soon and write some books. Next year, I’m inviting you all to attend RWA with us so you can visit with other readers and writers. Next year’s conference is in New York City where we can spend mornings sightseeing, afternoons talking about books, and evenings indulging in much better food than we get at home. It’s a real treat, and even if it’s only for a brief time each year, it’s a really nice reward for all the hard work of the days in between. 

 

When the heat rises, I start giving out prizes

It’s often heard that the publishing business slows down to a halt during summer. While that may be true, there are authors and publishers out there dishing out awesome prizes for readers, keeping the wheels of the book world spinning.

I’m no exception. I have three current giveaways going on, plus a couple coming up soon. Crazy, right? Well, an author has to do what an author has to do.

MTScoverHere are the current giveaways happening right now that you can take part in. Be sure to tell your friends!

The first one is on Goodreads. It goes on until October, so there’s plenty of time to enter. You can win one of three copies of MY TETHERED SOUL, and it’s open almost everywhere internationally! Check it out here!

The next two are Rafflecopter contests. One of them I’m running alone, and the prize is a $30 Amazon gift certificate. The other one I’m running with author Elizabeth Holloway, and the prizes are $50 Amazon or PayPal, signed paperbacks of our books, plus a creepy cool necklace.

Good luck to everyone who enters!

 

COVER REVEAL: PARALLEL TRIANGLES by Kimberly Ann Miller

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Title: Parallel Triangles
Release date: April 28th 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Formats: Paper, e-book
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20656543-parallel-triangles

Book Blurb:

How does a cruise change your life?
By sailing through the Bermuda Triangle.
Carly Carmichael has one goal in life–to perform on Broadway. She refuses to have a Plan B because she’s never needed one–until now. When Carly’s parents send her on a cruise as a graduation present, she takes her best friend and their boyfriends along with her. Once the ship sails into the Bermuda Triangle, Carly finds herself unable to sing or walk, much less perform. And things just go downhill from there. Hoping for help from the ship’s doctor, she ends up with more questions than answers about the mystery behind the Bermuda Triangle and why her life is now unrecognizable. If Carly can’t get her real life back on track, she may end up spending the next sixty years trapped in a life the Triangle chooses for her.

Author Bio:

Kimberly Ann Miller received Bachelor’s degrees from Georgian Court University and Rutgers University and a Master’s degree from The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She’s an avid reader and particularly enjoys true crime and young adult novels. She grew up in New Jersey and currently lives in Monmouth County with her husband and three cats. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel to sunny islands where she snorkels by day and stargazes by night. She always takes her Nook.

I’ll Take Romance in My YA

CampForgetMeNot_FinalCover_2014It’s no secret that the writers behind the JK Rock books are also adult romance authors. I (Joanne) have been writing romance for many years and have written widely across romance subgenres. A little romantic suspense here, a lot of medieval historical there, and a great deal of contemporary steamy stories over all. So when I thought about writing Young Adult novels, there had to be some romance in them.

When my sister-in-law writing partner, Karen, talked to me about possibly writing some YA books, that was my only caveat. I was all in for YA (I love YA!) but if I was going to put my stamp on a story, there had to be a love interest. It didn’t have to be the whole story, but it’s the part of the story I’m always most interested in, both as a reader and as a writer. I want romance, baby!

Falling in love is my story. It’s the tale that is important to me. I love hearing couples’ “first meet” tales or listening to older couples reminisce about the first time they saw one another. It doesn’t matter how old a guy is when he talks about the first time he saw “The One.” He is transported to that moment. He sees his loved one all over again in that perfect, shining light, with the movie slow-motion effect. Ten years, twenty ye9780373608706 (2)ars or fifty years later, it’s still a magical moment.

In YA stories, we aren’t always dealing with “The One.” Not many people find their love of a lifetime as a teenager, although it certainly happens. But I like that the experience of the duds—the cheaters, the liars, the people who don’t like you as much as you like them—all combine to give a character the vision and understanding to recognize the right person when they come along. Dating can be equals part fun and frustrating, but it’s necessary work to help us figure out what qualities we really need or want in a romantic interest. What are your deal breakers? What quirks can you live with and even learn to love?

I guess I like romance in my YA for all the obvious reasons—the swoony moments, the great kisses and my_ladys_favorthe encounters that make my heart beat faster. But I also like it for some less obvious ones. Romance teaches us about love and in doing so, it teaches us about ourselves. Even better, reading romance can provide some of those insights without all the risk to our hearts! I really think that reading romance helped me to know what things I couldn’t accept in a relationship. By reading about a heroine who got her heart broke, I could be a little wiser about dating.

Nothing takes the place of the real thing. Of course. But give me a love story any ay of the week. It’s a story that never gets old for me.

Where’s the Love?

OK, maybe this marks me as a crotchety spinster (heck, maybe this is why I’m a spinster, crotchety or not) but lately I’ve come across a number of romance manuscripts in which there’s all kinds of lust…and hardly any romance.  The protagonists take one look at each other, realize that their opposite number is sizzling hot, and after that there’s nothing but lust, interspersed with quarrels and story obstacles—and almost nothing of getting to know each other, getting to like each other, discovering why this really hot person is worthy of being loved…

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not a prude.  I don’t have any problem with a good sex scene.   (Though when you’ve got one every 20 or 30 pages they do get kind of repetitive.)  I also like nudity in movies, and profanity in most forms of fiction.  But if you’re going to call it a love story, shouldn’t there be a bit more connection in this personal connection?

I also have to confess that I don’t read a lot of romance (like you hadn’t guessed that already) but surely there should something more heartfelt, to even category romances than a classy version of, “Oooooh.  I’d like to get me some of that.”

I’ve lately found that even in the romances I read (Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Elizabeth Lowell) I’ve been more interested in the relationships between minor characters than the protagonist’s romance, or with the mystery than the romance.

And maybe it is me…but whatever happened to “the meeting of true minds?”  Whatever happened to hearts and souls, as well as bodies?

In fairness, I should say that I think it’s a lot harder to create characters who fall in love for reasons of character, instead of hormones, and that I don’t think I could do it—though I’m beginning to be inspired to try.

For my money, the best romance writer today is SF author Lois McMaster Bujold, and I think the reason her romances work so well for me is because her characters aren’t interchangeable.  In most romances, you could probably swap any of the author’s heroines or heroes out for any of their other protagonists, and write exactly the same book—but I can’t imagine Aral or Cordelia ever loving anyone but each other.  The Sharing Knife series is the most “romantic” of all Bujold’s books, and Fawn and Dag’s May/December love story works for all kinds of reasons.  But mostly it works because, while I must admit that Fawn might have been able to find happiness with someone else, she was clearly Dag’s last chance for happiness in this life—and he gave up just about everything to hold onto her because he knew it.  (Though I have to say, that first sex scene between Fawn and Dag was delightful—but that was probably because it was more about Fawn and Dag than about sex.)

Anyway, does anyone but me feel the same way?  And what authors have you found, whose characters fall in love, as well as in lust?

 Bell_Thief_cover-12-16Hilari writes SF and fantasy for kids and teens—without, it must be confessed, a lot of romance.

BOOK EXPO AMERICA 2014

I attended Book Expo America a couple of weeks back at the Javits Center in New York City. For those of you unfamiliar with BEA, it is the most amazing place in America for book lovers to be! Authors, editors, agents, publishers, librarians, bloggers, readers—you name it, they come! Publishers showcase their newest titles, give away tons of ARCs, and authors sign their books throughout the conference.

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My highlights from BEA:

*When I first arrived, a girl walked past me and yelled out, “I read your book! I read Triangles!” It made me feel like a celebrity! It’s an awesome feeling that I hope every writer gets to experience one day.

*Hanging out at the Spencer Hill Press table with the amazing people of SHP and their authors.

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*Meeting some new friends in person that I’d only met online.

*Having a delicious dinner at Five Napkin Burger with a fellow book lover and new friend as a storm swept through the area, followed by an evening of chatting at the hotel in the bar area.

*Of course, collecting upwards of 75 ARCs from some familiar and some new authors! Every year at BEA I find a few new authors to love, which is my favorite part of BEA.

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Were you at BEA? What was your best moment?