Ready For Hawaii

I’m ready for Hawaii!

It’s been too many years since I made a trip to Hawaii. My first trip was with four other ladies, aged twenty-three to eighty-two. We ate many delightful meals and had a great time as sightseers.

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But a few years later, when I traveled with family – that – was the trip of a lifetime. We did most everything that was on our itinerary. From early morning to late night, we were on a mission to see as much of the Islands as we could. And we did. Absolutely breathtaking, and quite an experience.

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As much as I love the snow, a trip to beautiful Hawaii sure would perk up my mood. Warm sand beneath my toes, enjoying a gentle breeze sweeping over my skin, while I soak in the heat of the sun.

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A luau is a must if you ever visit Hawaii. Definitely a must. We experienced the kindness of the people and wonderful food presented, while we participated in one of their traditions. They’re such fun. The dancers were amazing as they put on a fabulous show. Yes, I’m so ready to return to the Islands.

On another note, Christmas Cookies on Main Street our latest seven author book set is available at Amazon. The entire set is only .99 or Free through KU. As a bonus, each story is followed with a sweet recipe!

My story – Christmas BlessingsApple Lake series Book 4 – is included in Christmas Cookies on Main Street. Christmas Blessings will be out shortly as a single read.

Christmas Blessings (small)

Look for another Small Town Romance coming soon!

Loving Lexi was originally written for a five book bundle four years ago. I’ve spent a great deal of time, the past few months, rewriting the entire book to reflect new characters, new setting and storyline. It’s been quite a work in progress…but a work of love. The book will be a stand alone novel. 

I hope you enjoy! 

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Loving Lexi

Journalist Lexi Warner detests dragging someone’s name through the mud. However, due to her dwindling funds, she accepts an assignment in South Carolina to interview Tate Hunter, who was the best sportscaster in Miami, Florida, that WCJD had ever hired.

Big hearted Tate Hunter rose above a bumpy upbringing became #1 sportscaster in Miami. Primed for a #1 TV station, his life falls apart after he’s accused of his wife’s death.

Found not guilty, Tate burns all bridges and relocates to Hideaway Harbor, South Carolina to begin a new life.

Lexi withholds her reason for being in the town of Hideaway Harbor from Tate. They begin to form a relationship until a mishap informs Tate who Lexi is, and worse, why she’s in town.

May your 2020 be filled with good health and lots of love.

Until next time…I wish you Music, Butterflies 087d7f0069385dd543178c4c2fca3430--blue-butterfly-butterfly-wingsand most of all…I wish you Love

Looking Forward to 2020

back yard

I’m sitting here in my dining room in the aftermath of a snowstorm, realizing as I look out at the thick layer of snow outside that there’s something like 10 weeks until I’ll see grass again. It’s bleak. But that’s okay – instead of letting the weather get me down, I’m thinking about the things I’m looking forward to this year. Simple things, mostly; I don’t have any grand plans or life-changing goals.

Writing: I’ve plotted out a Christmas story that I might be able to get done for the fall if I can find the time to do it.

Editing: It’s work, but I enjoy it. I’m lucky because the authors I work with are awesome, and I look forward to working on the new stories they come up with.

My dad’s 80th birthday: Don’t tell him, but I’m already working on my speech for his party in March. I hate giving speeches, but I love my dad to bits, and he deserves to be celebrated.

My fave TV shows returning: Outlander, Stranger Things, Killing Eve, The Crown, Dead to Me… After reading all day in my day job and then doing freelance work in the evening, I love to lose myself in the next chapters of these stories I’ve been following – especially if I’ve had a bad day and I need to just veg out.

Summer vacation: It’s not Disney World, but we might take the kids to Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto this year. I think they’ll go crazy for the rides and the water park. I always enjoy creating special memories for my girls, and we don’t have to go far away or spend a ton of money to do that.

What simple things are you looking forward to in 2020?

 

The End of a Decade…and the beginning of a new one

doorClosing the door on the 2010’s really was an exercise in ending one stage of life and entering another.

We lost both my parents, the last of our first three deerhounds, and started two new businesses – one of which is still growing, the other closed.

Our children are now adults. One an N.D. One entering the master’s program in Criminal Justice.

My husband and I are empty-nesters who still feed and house one child we see sometimes.

A knee – not mine – is scheduled to be replaced and I have more sparkle in my hair that I like (so far).2020

2020. It seemed so far away in 1990. Now, it’s here.I never imagined then I’d be doing what I’m doing now.

Old doors closing…….New ones opening.halo

May every door that closes create an even more beautiful one.

What door are you imagining walking through from now until 2030?

What does the next decade hold?

May it be filled with opportunity and growth.

Leigh

2020 Vision

At the close of each year, I like to pause and look back on my business goals and see what I’d planned to do and what I actually accomplished. Here are last year’s projections.

2019

WRITE 5+ NOVELS:

3 Destination Romances I WROTE TWO

1 Christmas novella for the annual Authors of Main Street Box set DONE

The seasons series, my collaboration with Greta Boris    DONE

Flesh out the novella The Music of You and Me turn it into a novel and publish  DONE

PLUS, I REWROTE THE MUSIC OF YOU AND ME AND PUBLISHED IT IN A BOX SET AS THE INCOGNITO BILLIONAIRE

Rework and republish early mysteries and create pen-name and promotion schedule. If this goes well, create a romance pen name separate from my YA books. I DIDN’T DO THIS, BUT IT’S STILL ON MY TO-DO LIST.

PROMOTION

Have a free day once a month and book promos. MOSTLY

Make all books into paperbacks: MOSTLY

Make all series into book bundles: STILL WORKING ON THIS

I DIDN’T DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING THINGS ON A REGULAR BASIS:

3-4 BLOG POSTS FOR EACH FREEBIE BOOK–TWEET AND PIN

EXCERPT PLUS RECIPE

EXCERPT PLUS RESEARCH

EXCERPT PLUS WRITING CRAFT

EXCERPT PLUS BOOK’S ORIGIN

Take AMS course (January 7th) DONE

Experiment with Facebook ads  STILL EXPERIMENTING, BUT MY FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS HAVE GROWN SIGNIFICANTLY. I’VE FOUND THAT BOOSTING POSTS IS LESS EXPENSIVE THAN PLACING ADS, AND WHEN I BOOST A POST I’LL GET NEW FOLLOWERS. LAST MONTH, I HAD A 100 NEW FOLLOWERS.

Speak at:

Foothill Ranch Library (February 5th) DONE, PLUS, I TAUGHT A WEEKLY WORKSHOP FOR THREE MONTHS

Goleta book club (March 5th)  DONE

Get more involved in RWA I DIDN’T DO THIS, BUT SINCE RWA BECAME SUCH A HOT MESS, I’M GLAD I’M NOT INVOLVED

Go to two writers’ conferences DONE

CRAFT

Outline all books and create vision boards

REFLECTIONS:

2019 was a glorious year with lots of ups and downs. Two grandbabies were born. I helped my son’s family of five move from Boston to nearby Carlsbad, California. My daughter graduated from college, moved home and has fallen in and out of love. Larry and I travel to Egypt, Isreal, Jordan, and Moscow, and it was life-changing. My 98.5 year old father died in October. I was able to spend 10 days with him at the end. (He died the day I left.) I spoke at his funeral.

Some important things I learned:

It’s okay if someone doesn’t like me, but it’s not okay for me to intentionally give them a reason for doing so. Their behavior should never dictate my own.

I’m done with obsessing about how much I weigh or how my clothes fit. But I’m also done with  sugar-highs and lows, indigestion, and irritable bowels. I’ll do whatever it takes to maintain vibrant health.

I adore my children and grandchildren, but I need to learn how to not be emotionally involved in their decisions. This is hard.

Writing can, and should be, fun. It’s not fun when I obsess about numbers–sales numbers, pages written, and numbers on my bathroom scale. So, I’m taking a break from writing fast and furious. I will lead and enjoy an active lifestyle–like I used to. I’m returning to the person I really am, even if I can’t recapture my size six body, I can try and recapture my energy.

2020 GOALS

Book business-wise, I have five main goals:

Write a 350+ page mystery and get feedback from past writing professors and other professionals.

Polish the women’s fiction novel I wrote with Greta Boris and find a publication path for it. Begin working on book two. (Tuesdays)

Write and publish a Better Late Romance novel in a world shared with five other authors. (May. This sounds ambitious, but it’s already half-done.)

Work with a marketing professional on a weekly basis and set up weekly promotions. (Wednesdays) Try outside the box marketing ideas. (Monthly) Publish book bundles. (Monthly.)

Create a mystery marketing cartel and set it in action when I publish my mystery series.

More projections:

We’ll travel to Spain and Greece in May, and take an extended road trip to Canada this summer. My daughter will graduate from college in April and find a fabulous job.

Florence

box setThe books I wrote and published in 2019

My word for 2020 is phenomena. This means that whenever I hear the word, I’ll mentally sing: Phenonema

Do do do do do de do do do do do do do do do
Mahna Mahna
Do doo be-do-do
Mahna Mahna
Do do-do do
Mahna Mahna
Do doo de-do-do de-do-do de-do-do de-do-do-doodle do do do-doo do!

What will you be singing in 2020?

 

My Scifi Movie Buddy

From the time I was watching black-and-white Buck Rodgers features on my TV as a kid,  I have loved science fiction movies and television shows-wires and cheesy special effects and all.

My parents divorced when I was 10 years old and my brother was 5. My dad got us every other weekend. With the hours he had worked, he didn’t know how to entertain us for a whole weekend. So, between the ages of 10 and 18 I must have seen every movie that came out. All the Bond movies, from Connery to Moore. An all-day viewing of all the Planet of the Apes movies in a little Berkeley movie house. Every movie Woody Allen made. I don’t think there is a horror movie of the ’70s I missed. LOL

Then in 1977 something magical happened. Star Wars. My brother and I saw it 35 times that summer, sometimes staying until after the credits to watch the next showing. I’ve tried over the years to explain to my children what Star Wars meant to science fiction fans. The special effects were so well done that you didn’t notice the special effects. You could be wrapped up in the story without looking for wires or noticing it was a model of a spaceship. When the landspeeder swept over the sands of Tatooine, you believed. When Luke and Leia swung over that infinity drop on the Star Destroyer, you held your breath. George Lucas, Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2D2 transported us to a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away and we’ve stayed there for 40+ years.

This week, I went with my scifi movie buddy, my son, now almost 30 years old to see the latest episode, The Rise of Skywalker. I cried at every familiar face. I laughed at the creatures that only existed in the writers minds until they appeared as if by magic on the screen. I was once more swept away to that galaxy far, far away.

I wasn’t at the movies. I was on an adventure to save the galaxy!

 


Jill James, romance writer and movie fan.

Falling in Love Again

My personal romantic hero (PRH) and I used to co-ordinate marriage preparation classes for our diocese, and were also hosts for one of the five evening sessions — the one on intimacy.

We spoke of the triangular theory of intimacy, and how most relationships started with passion and liking, and developed as the couple moved into commitment.

We also talked about levels of within each of the types. For full consummate love, the couple must be fully into friendship, passion, and commitment.

The science of love

We romantic novelists tend to write about the movement from the second stage of romantic love to the beginning of the third. Stage one is the initial physical response to the person — lust, usually. Attraction, the step after that initial physical response, comes next. Attraction is that heady feeling when passion and liking combine like sparkling wine as the hormones dopamine, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine light up the brain, producing elation, intense energy, sleeplessness, craving, loss of appetite and focused attention.

The science says it isn’t a permanent thing.  On average it lasts two to three years. At some point during this period, attachment, the third stage, comes into play as we get to know the person, faults and all. Our chemical helpers here are the hormones produced during sex and during moments of affection and commitment (oxytocin, vasopressin and endorphins, if you want to be technical).

We used to tell the couples on the course about the research that suggests most people fall in love (that second, attraction, stage) multiple times in their lives — an average of seven relationships that moved from attraction to the beginnings of attachment. The trick of a permanent marriage is to fall in love with the same person over and over again.

Just after Christmas, PRH and I celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary. We are currently deliriously, utterly, and blissfully in love, and have been for several years. Maybe the fizz lasts longer as you age and slow? We must be up to around eight or nine times through the cycle by now, and it deepens.

I had lunch with another romance writer today, my friend Rue Allyn, who is visiting from America. She suggests that listening is key to a long-term marriage is to listen. Just to really, really listen. I agree, and would add commitment. It takes two, but if both parties are committed to permanence, and truly listen to one another, all they have to do then is keep breathing.

Paradise Regained

Just before Christmas, I released the novella Paradise Regained. The hero and heroine are married and have eight children. But the magic of attraction has faded. Can they get it back?

It is set in 1794, in Central Asia, and is the prequel to The Children of the Mountain King, a series that begins in 1812, when the hero of Paradise Regained returns to England to inherit a dukedom.

One of the reviews says:

This may be Jude Knight’s finest work—and considering her other wonderful stories, that is saying something. This story of love gone cold, love under attack, and love rediscovered touched me profoundly. Here careful research is only exceeded by the depth of her characterization and the beauty of her prose.

James yearns to end a long journey in the arms of his loving family. But his father’s agents offer the exiled prodigal forgiveness and a place in Society — if he abandons his foreign-born wife and children to return to England.

With her husband away, Mahzad faces revolt, invasion and betrayal in the mountain kingdom they built together. A queen without her king, she will not allow their dream and their family to be destroyed.

Amazon US * More buy links

Only 99c.

EXTRACT

James sent Peter with a message to Mahzad, inviting her to join him for a private dinner. The message didn’t need to say “and bed after.” Mahzad would guess.

Peter returned with a note and a glum face.

“Your humble servant begs leave to be excused, most excellent lord,” James read. “Your obedient wife, Mahzad.”

Like hell! He brushed Peter aside and strode through the halls, the people he passed taking one look at his face and getting out of his way.

The guards on the door to the zenana stepped aside and let him through without a challenge. Mahzad wasn’t in the central room. She wasn’t in her chambers, either. He emerged back into the great room, casting an eye around the ladies who were there. Cecily, who was sitting with Mahroch, made as if to get up.

Mahroch put out a hand to stop her. “Sit. You have caused enough trouble.”

James directed his glare at Mahroch, but the old woman was not discomposed in the slightest. She needed the help of a maid to rise, but she waved the girl off and walked with much of her old grace toward Mahzad’s chambers.

“Come, Lord James. You and I need to talk.”

“I need to see my wife.” He snarled.

“Not before we have talked.”

He followed her, of course, but his irritation was rising by the minute.

She deflated him by rounding on him as soon as they were in private. “James, I always thought you to be an intelligent man and one with enough sense to see what was in front of his nose, but I am disappointed in you.”

Attack being the best form of defence, he answered hotly, “Don’t tell me that you believe these scurrilous rumours about Mrs. McInnes. She is not my mistress. Not that I owe you or anyone else an explanation.”

Mahroch lifted an elegantly plucked eyebrow. “Not even my granddaughter?”

“Mahzad should know I would never dishonour her.” James relieved some of his tension by striding swiftly across the room and then back again. “Yes, and the rest of the citadel, too. It is a ridiculous conclusion to jump to. Insulting to me and to Mrs. McInnes. I can understand the Qajar commander but my own people?” His temper, barely in check when he’d arrived, was now at boiling point.

Mahroch was neither intimidated nor impressed. “Your own people, including your wife, would have been less inclined to make assumptions about your relationship with Cecily McInnes had she not been at pains to give the impression that you and she are lovers.”

“No.” That couldn’t be true. “She didn’t, did she? But why?”

The old woman dismissed his question with an elegant wave of one hand. “She had her reasons, and I am somewhat in sympathy with her, though I have put a stop to her mischief.” She bent forward, meeting his glare with her own. “But it remains for you to undo the damage that she—and you, I might add—have done.”

“What have I done?” James protested. “I have done nothing!”

“You will have to discuss that with my granddaughter, James,” Mahroch replied sharply. Her voice dried as she continued. “I suggest you spend at least part of the time listening. You will find her at the archery butts, I imagine. When she left here, she felt like killing something. Oh, and just a small hint. It would not harm your masculine essence to tell her how you feel about her.”

What was that supposed to mean? As James stalked through the citadel and down into the cellars, he tried to think about Mahroch’s last remark, but the injustice of the accusations against him kept shouldering out other considerations. Not least because, for a fraction of a moment back at the caravanserai when Cecily had offered herself, temptation had reared its serpently head. Only physically and he dismissed it, of course. He should be receiving credit for that, not suspicion and a cold shoulder for thoughts he’d never had and actions he’d not taken.

Cecily’s treachery didn’t bother him as much as Mahzad’s willingness to believe the lying woman. Felt like killing something, did she? James felt like spanking someone, and he blamed Mahzad for that entirely. He’d never raised his hand in anger to a woman in his life, especially not Mahzad, who had been his equal and his partner since the day they had escaped her father’s caravan.

Mahzad had posted a man at the doors to the range to prevent anyone else entering.

“Try to stop me,” James invited, and the guard wisely stepped to one side.

Inside, every lamp was lighted, but even so, the butts wavered in and out of shadows. Not that Mahzad was fooled for a moment. Arrow after arrow slammed into the centre of each target as she drew and shot, drew and shot, drew and shot, a dozen arrows at a time and then only seconds to reach for the next dozen and begin again.

***

For more about the hormones that support love: How love works

A New Year A New Decade

Wow, it’s 2020, and it’s a new decade. As a little child, I tried to imagine myself far into the upcoming century like in the year 2020 and thinking I’d be really old. No idea why I chose that date. But it’s arrived – I’m looking at the calendar. It’s here and so am I. And I’m not that old.

Last year was a good year. Every year has its ups and downs. The year 2019 wasn’t marred with anything super horrible and actually it was filled with lots of good things that offset the sad things, such as losing a good friend. Unfortunately, it came with some frustrations and disappointments, but all of that is quite normal. Life isn’t a bowl of cherries. But when the lemons hit, I prefer to make lemon meringue pies or at least a good glass of iced tea with lemon.

I’m already looking forward to my trip to Texas in March to the national convention of the Association of Writers in San Antonio. After the convention, I’ll spend time with family who lives near there. Vacation! Yippee! Spending time with the people I love…I don’t think it gets much better than that.

My newest book,  A Sister’s Christmas Gift finally went live on Amazon on Christmas. It got hung-up in their system and didn’t publish when it was supposed to, but that’s fixed. Originally the book was in the boxed set Christmas Babies on Main Street.

My historical novel, Loving Matilda, is coming out this month. Then Loving Ellen will follow that in March. Loving Arabelle was published this past fall. Cynthia Woolf also has books set in Homestead Canyon, Thorpe’s Mail Order Bride, Kissed by a Stranger, and A Family for Christmas. Kissed by a Stranger is scheduled to release in February. We’ve had fun combining the stories of these early pioneers and placing them in Homestead Canyon.

I have a contemporary book with an older hero and heroine, Waverley Beach’s Bookstore, which will soon be available. I loved writing about these two people because they weren’t young, not that they are old, but they both have full lives. Plus they had young adult children. The heroine lived with her mom and grandmother. The multigenerational family, and the townspeople made for some interesting situations in the very small island town where everyone knows when you sneeze.

And I have another Wedding Vow book in my Montgomery family saga series. That will release this spring.

There’s a local group boxed set of beach reads that will be coming out before summer, and I have a book in that. Yes, it’s been a busy year. Isn’t that wonderful?

I took some time off this fall to do a few other things. I still don’t have those projects completed, but I am back to writing. I should have several more books finished and ready for release before the year is through.

People ask how long it takes me to write. I really don’t know. It depends on how much research goes into the book, how much time I actually spend typing, and the length of the book. That’s the simple easy part. Then it goes to editors who also have other commitments and often don’t get the book back to me for a few weeks. The editing process is the longest. I’m picky enough to want everything perfect so it takes extra time. Plus I’m not a speed demon on the keyboard! Actually I’m slow – three fingers on one hand and two on the other.

I’m very excited because my website might be live in the next week. You’ll be able to click on the book and read a chapter. How’s that for nifty? I’ll post a notice on this site and on Facebook when it goes live.

To some extent I feel as though life is tossing things at me at the speed of light. Then another part of me feels as though it’s all very normal. I think everyone goes through phases where life tosses the ball at them faster than they can react. Other times life just keeps moving in its normal pace. Maybe age says that I must keep up. I’ve started the New Year, healthy and happy. Maybe that’s all that really matters.

Please read the sample provided. In fact take a moment and read the sample that Amazon provides before you buy any book.

A Sister’s Christmas Gift

FREE SAMPLE

If you haven’t bought this year’s boxed set by the Authors of Main Street, you’re missing out on some great stories, and it’s only 99c.