Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Uncooperative Characters by Leann Harris

I'm working on the next book in my "Rodeo Heroes Series". I know the heroine, Kai Delong. She is the younger sister of the the heroine of my last book. Kai just finished her degree at the University of New Mexico. I know the hero, and where the book is set. It's back in Peaster, Texas, west of Fort Worth. I know the hero has a sister, but none of those folks are talking to me. They're closed mouth. Won't share anything. Both the hero and heroine are second children. (I believe in birth order.) Now I know the horse that is featured in the book that brings the hero and heroine together. The dog that the sister has (therapy dog) happily wags his tail and is willing to lick my face, but that's it.
I am not a pantser, but with this book I plan to sit down and write the first three chapters. I don't like doing it this way, but the same thing happened with my last book. Rats.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Beginnings

Keli Gwyn here to talk about beginnings.

It's the time of year when my Facebook feed is filled with pictures of students heading off to the first day of school. I smile each time I see one, recalling the joy I felt every year when I headed off to begin a new grade.

The first day of school picture at our place looked different this year. My retired teacher husband and our daughter, who is pursuing a teaching credential, are both working as substitute teachers.

To our surprise, their first guest teacher assignments of the year took place on the same day at the same school. They got to carpool to work.

Even though they had to leave the house by 6 am, I was up with camera in hand ready to capture their departure. A surge of pride rushed through me as I watched two generations of Gwyn teachers head off.

Questions for You

Did you look forward to starting a new school year?

What new beginnings are you looking forward to?

Monday, August 8, 2016

You've Got Mail

Howdy, Pamela Tracy, here and yes, I used one of my favorite movies as a title for today.

Since email became more popular, most of the mail I get from 'fans' come via Internet.  Which is cool because it's immediate.   Another plus, is it's easy to file.   I've figured out who writes me for almost every book (I LOVE YOU) and I figured out some people cut and paste their fan letters (and once they forgot to change the title of the book).

Actual fan letter to me.
By the way, I Googled Fan Letters and discovered that there's a how-to site for
writing a fan letter to Taylor Swift.  I did not find my name mentioned in a similar manner .

Used to be (yes, I've been around a long time) fan mail would be sent to the publishing house.  Many editors had files with their authors' names and the mail would go into the files.  I'm not sure whether the editors (or their assistants) would simply transfer the mail to a manilla folder once the file was full or if there were a few times a year when they cleaned all the files.  Doesn't matter.  A decade ago, a few times a year, I'd get manilla envelopes full (okay, not full full) of fan mail.

There were a few different kinds.  Some simply told me what they loved about the book and promised to read all my books (Thanks Mom and Aunt Shari).  Others told me my mistakes (I once typed ASAP instead of ASSET for a teacher heroine).  Some were amazed that I used all the names of their relatives in my book (There are lots of Brittneys, Sarahs, and Mikes in the world).

Fan letters do touch the lives of authors.  I've gotten handmade bookmarks and recipes (I've always admitted that I don't cook.  Some readers think a recipe will change this character flaw.  So far, the perfect recipe hasn't appeared.  Hmm, methinks the only perfect recipe would be one used for the replicator on Star Trek).  I've had readers share poems and ask for prayers.

Yes, I've gotten the letters from prison inmates.

My favorite, though, came not because of a story but because of a dedication.

I dedicated one of my books to my birth mother who I met a little over a decade ago.

I got a fan letter because my birth mother's name is fairly common and one reader saw the name and the sentence I wrote as part of the dedication, called her friend who had the same name, and said, "Wow, you've had a book dedicated to you!"

The second lady said, "Uh, no, there's hundreds of people with my name.  Not me."

But, she went and found the book and read it, too.  Then wrote me and said, "God has blessed your gift of writing.  Thank you for following His path and sharing your life with us."

She was right.  God has blessed me.

A long time ago, I read an article in the Romance Writers Report.  It was a list of things authors should do.  One item was "Write one fan letter a year to an author new to you."

I've done that.  Sometimes I get a thank-you back.  Sometimes I hear from an author's assistant (I want one of those!"  Sometimes I hear nothing at all.   Best of all, I've made a few friends.

So, readers and writers, what are your experiences with fan letters.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Are You a Water Baby?

Keli Gwyn here with an admission: I'm not comfortable in the water.

I come by my fear of the water naturally. Neither of my parents was fond of being in the water. My mom summoned her courage and learned to swim when I was around eight years old. My dad never did learn.

Although I can swim, I'm not a very good swimmer. I didn't learn until I was in high school.

The first day of our swimming unit in P. E. class, the teacher told us to get in the water. Being an obedient oldest child, I did. We were then told to swim a lap. I just stood there.

I'll never forget the look on the teacher's face. She stared at me in disbelief. "You don't know how to swim, do you?" she asked. I shook my head. I'm pretty sure she was shaking hers, too.

That incredibly patient teacher spent the next few weeks making a swimmer out of me. While my friends were logging laps, diving into the deep end and having a blast, I was alone in the shallow end mastering the dog paddle. Talk about humiliating.

I took lessons at the local pool the following summer, determined to avoid future embarrassment. My parks and recreation class consisted of students half my age. I persevered and mastered all the strokes. The side and back strokes are my favorites to this day. Why? Because they don't require me to put my face in the water.

The hero and heroine of my August Love Inspired Historical, Make-Believe Beau, know a lot about water. The hero, Flynt Kavanaugh, is an irrigation engineer. Jessie Sinclair, the heroine, is working as his draftswoman. They and the rest of Flynt's team are helping design the El Dorado Canal, which brought--and still brings--water from the Sierras to the Foothills below, where I live.

Thanks to the efforts of the real men who built the canal, I enjoy water in my glass or in the tub. I give swimming pools and other bodies of water a wide berth to this day.

Questions for You

Do you enjoy swimming?

If so, what is your favorite stroke?

Are you a swimming pool person, or do you prefer lakes or oceans?

(Swimming pool credit here. Canal image is in the public domain)
The Courtship Charade

As a draftswoman in a man’s world, Jessica Sinclair causes a stir as her new male colleagues vie for her attention. And the company manager has an ultimatum: fake a courtship with her boss, Flynt Kavanaugh…or lose her job. But pretending to be smitten with the handsome engineer unleashes a real, complicated attraction—and could reveal the past she hoped to keep hidden.

Jessica is certainly the best person for the job. But as their make-believe romance escalates, Flynt knows that’s not the only reason he wants her on his team. However, with his past shrouded by a shameful secret, Flynt has always focused his ambitions on building a career, not a family. Now he has designs on Jessica’s heart, but can they trust each other with the truth?
Copyright © 2016 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Cover art and cover copy text used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
or its affiliated companies, used under license.