Thursday, April 24, 2014
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
A dozen years ago – though believe me it doesn’t seem nearly that long in some respects – I wrote my last cowboy. He was Deke Malone, new single father of a two year old son, making peace with his own father after years of estrangement, and discovering that the love of his life had, a long time before, been right under his nose. The book was called The Cowboy’s Christmas Miracle, and it was very much a book of my heart.
I got to “go back” to Elmer, Montana briefly in my Presents, One-Night Love Child, a few years later when the heroine of that book, Sara McMaster, had her life thrown into chaos by the sudden unexpected appearance of her six year old son’s father. Flynn wasn’t a cowboy, most of the book took place in Ireland, but it still made me happy because I got to touch base with that world.
Since then, I’ve been writing other books set in other places – exotic places like Santorini and Fiji and the Cote d’Azur and intensely urban bustling places like New York City. I did sneak back to Montana a couple of times (once in the Santorini book and once in the Fiji book), but my heroes had never been cowboys – and to be honest, I’ve missed them.
Now, thanks to Tule Publishing’s Montana Born imprint, I get to go back. Later this spring (or very early summer, depending on how you define these things, which in Iowa, this year, could still be winter) my new book, my COWBOY book, Last Year’s Bride, will be coming out. And I can’t believe how much fun I’ve had writing it (well, I still am. The fun continues even as I write).
You know what else has been a treat? Working with all the wonderful women I’ve been privileged to work with in the brides’ series in Tule’s Montana Born books. Mine is either the last or the second to the last in the series. I haven’t figured that out yet.
But I’ve been absolutely loving reading the ones that have already appeared. Trish Morey and Sarah Mayberry wrote these spectacular twins – Scarlett and Tara Buck – and I adored both of their stories (Trish’s Second Chance Bride and Sarah’s Almost a Bride), especially how seamlessly their heroines moved from Trish’s book to Sarah’s.
I loved Jane Porter’s Sheenan guys. I read Troy’s story(Beauty’s Kiss) first because I’ve got a scene in his hotel. But then I went back and found Brock’s (Christmas at Copper Mountain) and now I just want her to stop with all this publishing stuff and just write and write and write. (No, Jane, I don’t. I just want you to have more hours in a day – 48 at least – so you can do both!)
read Kelly Hunter’s What A Bride Wants and so loved Ella and Sawyer that I wanted the story to go on and on. I’m caught up on Brides at the moment (though I think there’s a new one this week), but fortunately I have several Copper Mountain books to go back and catch up on. It’s so much fun.
I think the fun is in reading these women whose books I have always enjoyed, writing something a little different. They are branching out, having fun with the lack of “line” to write to, writing instead the stories they want to read (well, I don’t know, maybe they always want to read their other stories, too. I shouldn’t put words in their mouths). All I can say is, I’m really liking being able to see them do new stuff, fun stuff, deeply emotional stuff, laugh-out-loud stuff.
And I’ve so enjoyed doing it with them – loaning a character for a newspaper interview for Kathleen O’Brien’s book, borrowing a character to have a bit part in the back story of my own book. Using the world of Marietta to bring a greater life to my own book has been such a delightful experience.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve loved all the earlier books I’ve written. I’ve been happy creating Elmer, Montana and Day’s Harbor, Maine and various other worlds for my own characters to inhabit. But sharing a world with other writers is something I’ve rarely had a chance to do. It’s exciting, it’s exhilarating. It makes the journey even more enjoyable than the destination.
Watch for all the Montana Born Brides. There will be new books coming out from Katherine Garbera, Joanne Walsh, Megan Crane and me.
Keep an eye out, down the road a ways, for my very own Last Year’s Bride.
Friday, April 18, 2014
A few weeks ago I was in Dublin for a night out with my best mate and we were trying to decide what film to go and see, when we noticed a little music documentary about background singers from the 60s-70s-80s-90s and noughties. We're both soul rebels at heart so the promise of some great voices was enough for us, what we didn't realise is that this is a movie about much, much more than just music.
It's about women with amazing voices but also amazing stories to tell. Stories of hard work, perseverence, constant disappointment, huge talent and cruel setbacks, but the determination to remain strong. It's a story about life really and all those little (and large) things it sticks in your way to stop you achieving your dreams, but most of all (and here's the big inspirational message) it's about how you can still make those dreams count... Even if you may never win the big prize, because sometimes the journey (and the enjoyment in the journey) is enough! Especially if you can sing like an angel.
There's sanguine and justifiably awed commentary from the likes of Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Stevie Wonder - all paying tribute to astonishing singers such as Darlene Love, Tata Vega, Merry Clayton, Judith Hill and Lisa Fischer. And about time too, because when you hear these women sing, you'll realise what a huge part they've played in making these men look good on stage (and on their hit records). But ultimately the big draw of this movie is hearing the women themselves, and finding out how they've stayed true to the music even when what they do has been consistently undervalued - or deliberately erased.
Darlene Love's story is perhaps the most agonising and yet the most uplifting. The 'actual' voice behind the Crystals hit Christmas Baby Please Come Home, Love ended up cleaning houses to make ends meet... Until she heard the hit on the radio one afternoon while cleaning a woman's toilet and knew that she had to get back to what she loved. Now in her seventies, she's finally getting all the attention she deserves (and should have had long ago)... And then there's Merry Clayton and her awe-inspiring, send-shivers-down-your-spine singing on The Stones Gimme Shelter. Clayton's short-lived career as a solo singer faltered because... Why? Who knows? You'll be hard-pressed to figure it out when you hear her sing, and think of all those auto-tuned, talent-show micro-celebrities that rack up hit records these days thanks to some nifty packaging by the likes of Simon Cowell... Or Lisa Fischer who had her moment in the spotlight in the eighties, and somehow lost it, by not being tough enough or ambitious enough (or fast enough producing her second album) but can still blow an audience away and is happy in herself with what she has achieved... A lifelong career in a business that happily sucks people up and spits them out without pausing for breath.
Go see this movie, the music is awesome, but the stories are more so. It's an education, not just in life (and the music industry), but in holding on to your dreams.
Heidi is currently working on her 2nd Cosmo Red Hot Read. Her latest Harlequin KISS/Modern Tempted Beach Bar Baby is out now in the US & the UK. come have a natter on her blog, her website, FB or Twitter (@HeidiRomRice).
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Is it spring in your part of the world? You're lucky! Here in Cleveland, we're still waiting, but ever-hopeful that the weather will turn into something that makes us smile, rather than cringe. In the meantime, I'm starting to get ready for brighter, sunnier and warmer days by giving my home some extra-special attention. I'm washing the baseboards (gasp!), scouring the floor on my hands and knees (ouch!) and actually replacing the filter in my window air conditioning units (finally!).
All this hard work is inspiring me to "spring clean" my expectations around my writing.
YES. I am still committed to writing every day and doing my very best.
YES. I am still committed to my writing career and continuing to move it forward.
YES. I am still committed to my readers and potential readers.
But here's what's changing....my expectations around the WHO, WHAT, WHY and WHEN of my writing journey.
WHO: I currently write for Harlequin and I love it, but I am also open to writing for other publishers, and even self-publishing some day. I know that there are many roads to publication, but I didn't really internalize this until recently. The sky is the limit for writers and authors today -- and the opportunities to reach readers are endless -- and that's a good thing! I've "spring cleaned" my tunnel vision and my goals are wider now.
WHAT: I currently write romance, but I'd love to write other genres too. I am just in awe of authors who can do this! I love reading articles about authors who have transitioned into other genres and who still write in their original genre. I've "spring cleaned" my expectation that I always have to write romance.
WHY: When I'm fighting to stay awake at night or I just don't think a scene is working, it's easy to start doubting myself. I've "spring cleaned" my expectation that my writing should always go smoothly, and now I try to consciously write to the joy...and not focus on anything else.
WHEN: I struggle with this one. When will I feel like I'm a success? When will this book ever be finished? Time is something that we never have enough of, and I'm working to "spring clean" my expectation that time is all I need to accomplish my writing goals. Time is important, but I also need strength and stamina and the ability to see past the deadline -- and finish my writing projects.
What about you? Does spring cleaning your home or apartment inspire you to change your thinking about your writing or other career? Comments welcome below!
Until next month -- stay blessed!
Her third novel, LOVING LANEY, will be released in June and is the third and final book in the "The Browards of Montana" series.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
- 1. Story problems
- 2. Physical issues
- 3. Live Events
- 4. Emotional and psychological hurdles.
- Find a buddy and together, do timed writing springs where you are forced to produce something.
- Bribe yourself. If
you produce X number of words, you can watch Game of Thrones on DVR.
- Post motivational signs.
I used to have one that read “You’re Only Writing a Draft” to remind
myself the page doesn’t have to be perfect.
Right now, I have one that says "Keep Calm and Trust the Process" to remind
myself of the page 90 freak out.
- Give yourself a mental pep talk. Argue with your demon. Write a list of positives about your writing
to deflect the inner critic.
- Take a day off.
Granted, you don’t want to walk away too long because that can’t lead to
inertia, but a day away to gain fresh perspective can help quell the demons.
- Reduce your goals. Instead of demanding your muse produce
1000 words, tell her to produce 500. I know some people who do something called
“100 words for 100 days.” The idea is to
take the pressure off your muse so she isn’t so stressed, thus eliminating the
power your demon has over her.
- Change media. Change location. Change your play list. Trick your demons by mixing up the brain signals.
Monday, April 14, 2014
|LL Cool J (Todd Smith)|