Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Starving Writers, Struggling Heroines

A popular discussion has spurred among authors, regarding how difficult it is to make sales nowadays. I've spoken with other writers in ongoing conversation over the last decade, talking about ways that we can improve our marketing skills but never have I known so many authors to have the same concerns, nor have those concerns ever seemed so critical. Everywhere I look, I see Facebook posts, or read articles circling the same issue, that being that it is becoming increasingly difficult for authors to make money doing what they love. No one ever said this was an easy business. But much like a recent college graduate heading out into the workforce for the first time, many of us were not expecting life after publication to be such a struggle, seeming at times to be next-to-impossible. I sympathize with you, my fellow authors. And, I feel your pain.

One of the most interesting facets of being a writer involves possessing an imagination capable of creating characters, conflict and a unique world in which those two things can thrive in a suspenseful and exciting way. Watching soap operas as I was growing up, I often found it comforting to know that when it came to the larger than life scenarios I observed on the screen, at least one of the characters was having a rougher go of it than I was.  No matter what I might be facing at school or work at least I could say that I hadn't had the paternity results of my baby switched, wasn't being carted off to prison or presumed dead while I was secretly being held captive on a secluded island--well, you get the picture. These stories provided me with a much-needed escape from real life, so it is no wonder that I grew up to write my own stories, stories that both encouraged and inspired me, particularly those of a struggling heroine.

Reading Love Among the Lilacs by Jenna Victoria, I noticed a distinct similarity between heroine Mollie Wright, and Victoria Morrow, heroine in my recent release, A Sultry Performance. Mollie grew up on the streets. And though the demons she's left behind are never far away, she believes she's gained a new lease on life when she purchases Lilac Cottage. Victoria, too, has a checkered past. Though she doesn't know the details of how she came into the world, she is abandoned by her adoptive mother and forced to become an exotic dancer. A new opportunity is presented to her years later when Rabourn Theater's handsome stage manager makes her a lucrative offer. But Victoria's life is hardly sunshine and roses from there--her overbearing fiance is determined to keep her under his thumb and a dangerous secret threatens her very existence, one Victoria isn't even aware of. 

The life of a struggling heroine is far from easy. Every book character faces conflict, but I'm speaking particularly of the heroine who has struggled her entire life to get where she is, whose internal conflict defines who she is at the core, namely, because it is the greatest determining factor in making her who she has become. Overcoming challenges is what defines us as people, what makes us strong. Characters are no exception to this rule, and in fact, they demonstrate how this happens for us in black and white. We all enjoy reading the story of a strong heroine. The greater the challenges she faces and overcomes, past and present, the stronger she will turn out in the end.

Reading the story of a strong heroine, who has overcome enormous challenges to become who she is today, can be greatly inspiring. I for one plan on taking a page out of the strong heroines' book this New Year, as I gear up for another year of this thing I call a writer's journey. Marketing and sales don't seem so overwhelming when I consider some of the alternative challenges I might have on my plate. We get where we're supposed to, when we're supposed to. I plan on having a lot of fun along the way!   

My Review of Love Among the Lilacs 
by Jenna Victoria:

Love Among the Lilacs is the first Jenna Victoria title I've read. Mollie Wright has had a tough life. Growing up was a survival test for her, but she believes her luck has changed. After a lot of hard work and saving, she's purchased a beautiful home for herself, Lilac Cottage. Enter Sean Grady, an attorney whose great-aunt sold Lilac Cottage, much to his dismay. But as he attempts to take the property back, Sean realizes he is attracted to its lovely tenant. The tension between him and Mollie builds to an explosive climax, and after a bit of chaos, a happily ever after that brought me to tears. There are a few places where things are told, which I would have liked to see played out. But, I'm okay with that. This is a fun story, perhaps a bit shorter than I'm used to, but the pacing is done well. I loved the setting. Lilac Cottage sounds like the perfect place to live - the neighbors are warm and welcoming, the flowers are in bloom and there is love in the air. "I'll never look back again. Only to the future with you!" 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Soulmates / Spotlight on YA Fantasy Author Diana Rose

It is New Year's Eve, and though this post will not go live until next week, I am excited to have completed the final story that I will read in 2018, Forbidden Love, the debut novel of friend and fellow author Diana Rose. This story, which showcases a Romeo and Juliet trope got me thinking about soulmates, an idea which seems to be rather controversial in this day and age. Many people don't believe their soulmate exists, or perhaps they did at one time but their hopes have been dashed by the harsh reality of the world today, or the overall cynical attitude that seems to dominate our modern society. I'm fortunate, not only to have found my own soulmate after years of searching, but to be a part of a community of writers who believe so strongly in the power of love that they've dedicated their careers and talents to showcasing love and romance. There are many different forms of love, and if I broke them all down I could probably talk about them forever. But for the purposes of this article, I would like to focus solely on romantic love and whether or not a soulmate is a key ingredient in finding it.

What constitutes a soulmate? I think the reason that perhaps this question is so difficult to answer is because the answer really is different for everyone. When seeking a partner, we're all looking for different things. As romance novels often demonstrate, the person that we fall in love with may be the last person we wanted to, and perhaps the worst person that we could possibly fall in love with, at that point in time. This makes for a very interesting conflict and often a very exciting story, but in real-life, circumstances aren't always so larger-than-life. Perhaps we meet our partner at random, while at work, while out with friends or via the internet, as many in our society do today. There are a lot of different ways that someone can become a part of our lives, but determining they are the missing part of our heart, maybe not so easy. Or, maybe it is. Sure, life has its ups and downs but when a force we can't explain drives us in the direction of another person we feel as though we've known our whole lives, maybe we've got something there. Though I encountered a lot of cynics throughout my young life, I always believed I had a soulmate out there and when I became discouraged, I'd read a romance novel, which renewed my belief in the power of love. Keeping the faith isn't always easy. A good book can definitely help!

Does everyone have a soulmate? Is there one right person and only one right person? These are even harder questions to answer. And perhaps the best way to answer them is to simply say that love is a great mystery. Though it is the very foundation that holds us together, we, as people, do not fully understand it, and perhaps that is a part of what makes it so miraculous. If a spouse dies, or if we've partnered with the wrong person, I believe that love can give us a second chance. Perhaps this means there is more than one "right person" out there for us, but more so, I believe that we are all where we are meant to be, at this moment in time. We need to have faith in ourselves, and in our desires. The heart wants what it wants and if we believe that to be true, then we must first and foremost always be true to ourselves.  Listen to yourself, trusts your instincts. Your heart will rarely steer you wrong!

Forbidden Love Blurb:

Fairy tales always say happily ever after comes right after a princess meets her prince. For Amy and Darien, that couldn't be farther from the truth.

Princess Amy of the Moon Kingdom has led a sheltered life and dreams about escape. With a controlling mother directing her every move, she remains insecure in her abilities and afraid to disappoint her family. She doesn't lack courage, but seizing it, even for what she wants most, is harder than she ever thought possible.

Darien, the young prince of the Earth Kingdom is ready for anything that comes his way. When he meets Princess Amy, he wants nothing more than the happily ever after the fairy tales promised.

Amy's mother doesn't approve of the match, but she isn't the only one standing in their way... When Pond Water Prince tears them apart, Amy and Darien must fight for their love or lose that happily ever after...forever.

My Review of Forbidden Love:

A Romeo and Juliet love story for a modern young adult audience, I greatly enjoyed Forbidden Love. Though Amy is a princess, her seemingly-simplistic life is turned on its head when she falls in love with Darien, prince of the earth kingdom. Amy's mother does not approve of the match and she sends Amy away. Though Darien finds Amy, their troubles are far from over as Amy learns about a brother she never had and the Pond Water Prince threatens to tear the two apart. And it only gets better from there! Though there is no shortage of conflict in this tale, be assured that Amy and Darien will find their happily ever after, but it will be quite a battle before they do. Diana Rose's debut novel demonstrates that a character is never too young to fall in love, and love has the power to win out in the end over any forces of evil that may threaten it. Escape into another world with this most unique story!

Buy links:

Amazon Kindle: $0.99

Amazon Paperback: $9.40

Forbidden Love Excerpt:

In another part of the universe, darkness was approaching quickly and the sky was veiled in its velvet blanket. Within a small isolated castle located in the farthest parts of the unknown, Pond Water Prince and his parents were plotting to absorb all powers from magical beings to gain immortality. By doing so, they would reign supreme over all else. Their sights were currently set on the powers of the Moon Kingdom.

 For years, Pond Water Prince and his family had tried to destroy Amy and her family, but they had failed continuously. They recently discovered Amy with Darien and planned to take both of their powers to get to the rest of the royal family. The job was entrusted to Pond Water Prince, who began to manipulate Amy’s dreams in order to weaken her and control her mind. In a matter of a few weeks, the dreams would slowly but surely took away the person’s strength and magic. Amy was a gentle person which meant that all she needed was a little push.     

 As soon as Pond Water Prince had created a special series of dreams, he sent them to Amy. They were designed so that her mind would become vulnerable enough for Pond Water Prince to control her mind. With her distracted, he could begin his plan of destruction. No one would suspect that he was behind this. After all, Amy would be too weak to even begin to rationalize about what the cause of her weakened state was. It was the perfect opening to taking over the Moon Kingdom. First, the castle where Amy lived and then with Amy’s unsuspectedly helpful guidance, Pond Water Prince would take over the rest of the Moon Kingdom and the rest of the Kingdoms would follow. Pond Water Prince would wait until the mind-control dreams took effect before he kidnapped her to take her magical powers for himself.

Amy was sitting in the garden with Darien. Darien seemed distant and thoughtful. Amy did not understand why he was avoiding her. So, she decided to ask. “Darling, are you okay?”

Darien turned to her and his sky blue eyes seemed to become darker as he focused on her face, and then he said it, “I’ve stopped loving you long ago. I just don’t feel it anymore. I’d be better off if we weren’t together. You’re suffocating me.”  

Amy always woke up in tears and she would hyperventilate after the nightmare she had seen. Now, all Amy thought about were those dreams. Amy became very sad. She did not know who sent the dreams, but she did not have enough strength to defeat whoever sent them. While she was asleep, her magic was slowly leaving her body.

Diana Rose Author Links:

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Joy of Historical Romance / Review of Eden's Promise by Cassie Edwards

I don't recall the title of the first romance novel I ever read.  I have only a vague memory of the book's premise.  But one thing I do remember was that the title was a historic romance. If you read romance novels regularly, if you attend writers conferences or if you keep up with what's going on in the industry, then you are probably aware that romance novels remain a popular genre of choice in our world today and that many of the titles purchased in a year are historic romance. Though historic is not the sub genre that I've chosen to write in thus far, I greatly enjoy purchasing these titles, and oftentimes the books that I wind up keeping on my shelf are set in historic times.

What's so special about historic romance? Though many of us romance readers enjoy it, it's hard to say exactly what it is about it that we love about stories set in a time long past. Having read several excellent articles in this month's Romance Writers' Report about historic romance, and having just completed Cassie Edwards's Eden's Promise, I thought it only fitting that I attempt to actually answer this question, which I believe to be more complicated than it sounds. Simply said, there is something really magical about reading a story which is set in another place and time. Reading fiction is about taking a journey, experiencing some sort of escapism. What better way to do that than by way of a time and place and setting which is completely different from our own? What better way to create characters, scenarios and larger-than-life happenings than by doing so in a world unlike anything the reader of your story is liable to ever experience for herself?

So why, with such a wonderful world of opportunities at my mind and fingertips, do I not write historic romance? First off, let me be clear that just because I haven't written a historic romance novel to date doesn't mean that I'm not interested in doing so, nor that I never will in the future. One thing I've learned as a writer is that my imagination is constantly surprising me and taking me to places I never believed it would. I did in fact draft a historic romance, which I intended to set in Regency England, only to decide later that the story I had in mind would work better in a contemporary setting. Truthfully speaking, the story in question, A Sultry Performance, would have likely worked as a contemporary romance or a historic, and my decision to make it contemporary had everything to do with personal preference. I honestly believe some writers don't feel they can create a story which is every bit as exciting as it can be, if they set it in modern times. Whereas I fully believe that they can, and with this thought in mind I have committed myself, for the foreseeable future, to creating suspenseful and innovative contemporary romance novels set in the present day. This does not mean however that I don't love to read the historic works of other authors. I love to mix sub-genres when I read, and I often read more than one story at a time. I find the historic romance novels I read to be engaging, exciting and greatly inspiring! 

A friend and fellow author once advised me not to read historic romances published many years ago. They don't speak true of the industry today, I was told, as the publishing industry has changed and with it, the guidelines authors will need to be aware of in order to secure a contract with a publishing house, or to sell books. Speaking to the opposing point, I've found I can learn a lot from these novels, which really weren't written all that long ago at all. Older novels often demonstrate the stark contrast between what is expected of an author today and what was expected 30 years ago, and they do so in black and white.  As an author just starting out, it's good to know the history of the industry and I personally find that I'm inspired by authors who wrote during a time when the "rules" were not necessarily as strict as they are today. It is when we overthink the "rules" and work overtime to develop what we believe to be the story that we're "supposed" to write, when our creative mind shuts down, exactly what we don't want to be doing when attempting to write the story in our hearts!

Reading Eden's Promise, I was reminded of how an exciting historic setting, like the one in this title, can make all the difference in a novel. For some time, I've been considering writing a series for which there are references to the past, flashbacks set in another time, as in, 100 years+ before the present day. I'm very excited to begin this next chapter in my writer's journey. Credit in many ways is due to the amazingly talented historic romance authors on my bookshelf! 

My Review of Eden's Promise by Cassie Edwards:

I enjoyed this pirate romance by Cassie Edwards! At the beginning, I wasn't certain I'd want to keep this one on my bookshelf - the romance between Eden and Zach happens so quickly. Though, there is so much excitement in this story I was able to let that go, in the end. Eden Whitney, a lighthouse keeper's daughter, who sometimes sneaks into town without her overprotective father realizing, finds herself drawn to the handsome and mysterious Zachary Tyson, a man we quickly learn is a former pirate. For reasons later revealed to us, Zach found himself engaged in a lifestyle not of his choosing, and which he would like nothing more than to leave in the past. But when local judge, Judge Pryor, learns of Jack's connection to the murderous pirate captain, Pirate Jack, he takes Zach hostage and threatens harm to Zach and Eden unless Zach will rid the seas of this dangerous man. The adventure only gets better from there! I loved this story, not only because it was incredibly suspenseful, but because Cassie Edwards creates a number of interesting characters, accounting for 3 different romances, and in turn, 3 happily ever afters. If you don't like engaging side characters, perhaps this isn't the read for you, but if you like a nice variety of things happening in a story, as I do, definitely give Eden's Promise a read!

Now Available!

Chris Gordon will do anything to avenge his wife's murder, but falling in love with her killer's fiancee wasn't part of the plan...

Friday, December 21, 2018

Interview with Poet and Short-Story Author Jack Donahue / I Hear You Mom

I'm so excited to welcome Poet and Short-Story Author Jack Donohue to Passion Between the Pages!  Jack will be chatting with us about his Writer's Journey, and sharing one of his short stories with us, I Hear You Mom. Welcome, Jack!

Tell us a little about yourself.  When and how did you decide you wanted to become a writer?

I began writing poetry when I was in my late-teens, and it came naturally to me. I wrote poetry sporadically over the years except at Christmas when every card I wrote has at least one or two unique verses in it.

I began writing prose about eight-years ago shorty before I retired; it was difficult for me at first, and I find it more challenging than writing poetry, but I also find it more fulfilling.

You’ve written a number of short stories and poems.  Which one is your favorite, and why?

‘I Hear You Mom,’ a short story I wrote about my mother is my favorite. Every word is true, and it reflects the fact that my mother is in my thoughts daily.

How do you create your characters?

I do it intuitively. I first immerse myself in the type of story I’m creating e.g. a western, comedy or romance. That suggests the type of character who would be in the story e.g. funny, angry, playful, heroic or curious. That in turn reminds me of a person, or persons I’ve met in my life. The final character profile is often a composite of several people I’ve known.

Do you work with a critique partner?  What is a typical writing day like for you?

Typically, I write for one to two-hours each morning. I share each completed story or poem with eight to ten friends who vary in age, background, education, writing skills and knowledge of the story topic. They are kind enough to give me their honest feedback.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned (thus far!) as a published author?

Each time I publish a story or poem, I raise the bar for myself which is the way it should be; the more I write, the better I should become. I know this is true because when I look at some of my older stories I can usually detect a few small tweaks or improvements I can make to them.

Have any authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?

Many, many people have helped me over the years, some by their encouragement and support; others by their constructive criticism, and suggestions.

Where do you write?  Is there anything you need or like to keep handy when you’re writing?

I seem to write best in a coffee shop. Having my smart phone handy allows me to confirm facts, or to get answers to questions which may occur to me as I write.

I’ve observed through my own experience that many agents and publishers are hesitant to work with poets, and to publish poetry. 

Since all of poetry success has been on a relatively small scale I haven’t had to face any poetry disappointments. Even if I knew I would never get a poem published I would continue to write poetry as long as I found it fulfilling, and my friends enjoyed reading my work.

What challenges have you faced with regard to the industry, and how have you dealt with those challenges?

Up till now, all my publishing success has been at the local newspaper, township, state park, and hiker web page level, and I have found it to be relatively easy. As I advance up the ladder to magazine and book publishing, I expect to find it much harder.

Besides writing, what other interests do you have?

I have always been very active in the outdoors. My primary activities are hiking, fishing and environmental education.

I have hiked all over the country, and have completed more than 2,000 miles on the Appalachian Trail.

A fisherman for forty-years, I fish year-round, and have won or placed in several bass fishing tournaments.

I was an environmental consultant for more than thirty-years, and I continue to lead environmental education programs both in the classroom and in the field.

These and other outdoor experiences provide wonderful material for my stories.

What do you like to read?  What is the best story(ies) you’ve read in 2018?

With racks of free and discount books at the library I read anything I can get my hands on.  I try to read a wide range of topics. This year I have enjoyed reading works by Larry McMurtry, John Muir, Stephen Ambrose and Louis L’Amour among other, but I don’t have a favorite book or author.

 What is the best advice you’ve been given along your writers’ journey?  What advice would you give to aspiring authors who are just starting out?

I’ve learned to read a lot from a wide range of authors. Write every day and be open to constructive criticism, and continue to find ways to improve e.g. writing workshops. I would give the same advice to others.

What are you working on now?

Since I write short stories and poems each of which can be completed relatively quickly, I usually work on multiple stories at a time. At present, I am completing a Christmas poem, a story about a life lesson learned, and going on a ‘bottle hunt’ as a kid. I have also just started a story about a poacher of trout.

“I Hear You Mom”

Yesterday, as I ran out the front door, I hastily blessed myself. When I heard my mother’s voice tenderly scold, “Do it right,” I stopped, and made the sign of the cross properly.

Though my mother passed away fourteen years ago, I still hear her voice often. She’s always there to remind me, in case I temporarily forget, all the many things she taught me.

I don’t need to refer to diaries, old photographs or diplomas to verify significant dates in my life; my mother has branded those dates in my memory bank. For instance, when I’m handed palm each year at church, I hear my mother’s voice recite, “Jackie, you were baptized on Palm Sunday, and your sister Mary was baptized on Easter Sunday.” And, whenever I look at the scar on my right knee, I can hear my mother’s voice, “You got that scar on your first day of school, when you tripped and fell in the playground. You got three stiches.”

No one had to observe my mother’s attendance at daily mass, or hear her distinct Irish brogue to know she was a devout Catholic, and a proud Irish-American; it was evident in the way she lived her life. Like the way she would sprinkle holy water on anyone leaving the house, and the small green shamrocks that would mysteriously appear on my lunchbox, or the covers of my school books.

With mom ever-present, I learned to be mindful of everything I said. Like one beautiful late March morning when I greeted mom, “Happy St. Patty’s Day.” She softly chastised, “It’s Saint Patrick’s Day. Say it properly son. He’s the patron saint of Ireland, where he drove out all the snakes, and explained the Holy Trinity to the people symbolically, by using a three-leaf clover.” 

Born and raised on a small farm in County Cavan, Ireland, my mom’s speech, and now my speech, is peppered with Gaelic words.

Whenever I’m clumsy or do something foolish, I hear my mom playfully call me an, “Omathon” (Om-a-thon). And when I look at old photographs of myself as a young lad, I can hear her soothingly call me her little, “Gossoon” (Gos-soon). When a day is dreary and cloudy, I can hear her lament, “It’s a droddy (drod-dy), cloddy (clod-dy) day.” Every time I see a narrow, grassy, country lane, I hear her gentle voice tell me it’s a, “Boreen green.”

My mom’s Irish expressions are always prominent in my consciousness too.

When I experience a sunny, cool spring morning, I hear my mom’s joyful voice, “It’s a good day to take the cattle to the fair.”

Days when I hike, and encounter an uneven, difficult stretch of trail, I hear my mother say, “It’s a rocky road to Dublin.”

Wonderful postscripts are the moments when my boyhood friends include Gaelic words and expressions in their own vocabulary. It’s obvious; they’ve heard my mom’s voice too.

Lately, my mother has been speaking to me more frequently in the kitchen. After pouring boiling water from the kettle to make a cup of tea, my mother’s favorite drink, I can hear her say, “Always keep the kettle full of water.” I never understood why this was always so important, but I do what I was taught, and refill the kettle.

At least two or three times each year, I make Irish soda bread; my mom’s recipe. It’s a big hit with everyone who tastes it. After I assemble the ingredients and put it in her old Pyrex bowl, I place in it the pre-heated oven at the appropriate temperature. As I close the oven door, I hear her voice remind me, “You forgot to use your knife to insert a cross on top of the dough. It will let the bread stretch and expand as it rises, and help heat get into the center of the dough while it cooks.”

When I take the soda bread out of the oven, I hear her gently scold, “I know you want to eat it when it’s piping hot, but it will cut without crumbling if you let it cool for a while.”

I never know when I’m going to hear my mother’s voice, but when I do, I embrace and cherish those moments fondly. And whether I’m alone or with someone else, I always respond, “I hear you mom.”

Enjoy all of Jack's Stories on his new Blog!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Interview with Contemporary Romance Author Jennifer Wilck / New Release Learning to Love

Happy Wednesday, Readers and Writers! Contemporary Romance Author Jennifer Wilck joins me today. She's sharing an excerpt from her New Release, Learning to Love. Welcome, Jennifer!

Tell us a little about yourself.  When and how did you decide you wanted to become a writer?

I think I’ve always entertained the possibility of being a writer in the back of my mind. There have been several writers in my family, so I grew up around the excitement of published books and name recognition. I’ve always loved writing but didn’t consider seriously pursuing it as a career until I joined the New Jersey Romance Writers of America and saw that it was indeed possible. My kids were young then, so I wrote when they were sleeping. And I haven’t stopped since!

Tell us about Learning To Love.  What inspired your story?

This was such a fun book to write. It’s part of my Serendipity series, but can be read without knowing about the other books. The characters are Jewish, and the hero briefly visited in the other books, but he was more of an antagonist or best friend. I wanted the chance to redeem him and make him hero material. In the previous books, he’s a pretty shallow guy and I searched long and hard to find his soul.

How do you create your characters?

They tend to pop into my head in some form. Dina, the heroine of Learning to Love, was inspired by the character of Spencer Reid of Criminal Minds. He’s a genius with a photographic memory, and I loved the idea of taking some of his attributes and giving them to her.

Do you work with a critique partner?  What is a typical writing day like for you?

I have several critique partners without whom I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. One is a huge help with plot. She and I talk about the big picture and how to get our stories from A to B to C. My other three meet with me once a month and we critique about 25 pages at a time of each other’s work. We approach the work like a reader would, so we don’t know what’s going to happen. They find things that I’d never find on my own, and they all make me a stronger writer. As for my typical writing day, I usually start with marketing and editing in the morning, and writing in the afternoon. Of course, that can change depending on other things going on in my life, but in a perfect world, that’s my schedule.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned (thus far!) as a published author?

I think the most surprising thing is the highs and the lows that can come from the smallest incidents. A great review can put a smile on my face all day. A rejection from an editor can make me doubt myself, even while I’m looking at all the things I’ve done and still plan to do. So I’ve learned that I have to find a way to be happy with what I’m doing regardless of external forces.

Have any authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?

Again, I’d say my critique partners have been invaluable.

Where do you write?  Is there anything you need or like to keep handy when you’re writing?

I have a desk, but I tend to write at the dining table or on the sofa, depending on what other things I’m doing (like eating). I write on my laptop, so I can move around when I want. I enjoy looking out the window and in the nice weather, I like to write out on my deck.

I’ve always considered Contemporary Romance a difficult genre to write in, as it is a task to make seem extraordinary what we might observe around us in everyday life.  What draws you to this particular sub-genre, and how do you tackle its challenges?

I agree with you. It’s the genre I find easier to write in, as I don’t think I’d be able to tackle all of the research required for something like historical romance, and I’m unable to create worlds for paranormal. But I like tackling issues from everyday life and giving them the solutions I often wish for.

Beside writing, what other interests do you have?

I spend a lot of time with my family, and I love to read and watch TV and movies. I also enjoy photography.

What do you like to read?  What is the best story(ies) you’ve read in 2018?

I love reading historical romance and military romance, as well as some women’s fiction. I just finished Sonali Dev’s A Bollywood Affair and I think it might be my new favorite book. Her descriptions were so vivid, I felt like I was there and the characters have stayed with me long after I put it down.

What is the best advice you’ve been given along your writers’ journey?  What advice would you give to aspiring authors who are just starting out?

Don’t give up. Keep writing what you love. Study the craft and don’t be afraid to try something new.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a four-part series about wealthy philanthropists and the women who bring them to their knees.

That sounds exciting! I'll definitely be on the lookout for your next series! In the meantime, keep reading for an excerpt from Jennifer's latest release, Learning to Love!

Jennifer's Bio

Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. When she’s not writing, she loves to laugh with her family and friends, is a pro at finding whatever her kids lost in plain sight, and spends way too much time closing doors that should never have been left open in the first place. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.

She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters. She’s published with The Wild Rose Press and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Learning to Love Blurb

Dina Jacobs is a single librarian who has never fit in due to her off-the-charts intelligence, frizzy hair and rounder-than-socially-acceptable figure. She left her past behind until she receives an invitation to her ten-year high school reunion, and all her insecurities return.

Adam Mandel is a single corporate attorney who just missed his third deadline at his father's law firm, the law firm where he is up for junior partner. With his reputation on the line, Adam needs all the help he can get to convince his father that he deserves the promotion.

When Dina and Adam run into each other on a deserted road, Dina thinks Mr. Flashypants can't possibly be interested in someone like her. Adam thinks Dina is just the person to help him improve his reputation. Lies and insecurities force them to take a look at themselves. Can they trust each other to look beyond the surface?

Learning to Love Excerpt

What the hell just happened? She wanted to be friends. The only kind of “friend” he wanted to be with her had “boy” attached to it. No, that wasn’t true. He enjoyed her friendship because he loved talking to her, hearing her opinions, sharing himself with her.
But he was becoming more attracted to her. So far, they’d only kissed, but that one kiss, that unbelievable kiss, haunted him. His lips still burned where they’d touched hers, his insides still turned to jelly when he thought about it. In fact, he’d been hoping there would have been more kissing in her apartment once he’d apologized for his gaffe.
But she’d focused on their arrangement and her overreaction, and here he was pulling away from the curb into rush hour traffic.
She thought he was dating her only to impress his father. If he were one hundred percent honest with himself, he’d acknowledge the partial truth in that statement. But the more time he spent time with her, when he wasn’t royally screwing things up with her, the more he wanted to move beyond their arrangement.
His head was another matter. It was still focused on not making a fool of himself, on maintaining the right reputation, on spinning the right message.
But listening to his head was probably what had gotten him into this mess in the first place. As unbelievable as it might sound, it was time to follow his heart.

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