What Makes a Good Hero? #WriteWed

I had the pleasure of attending the Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference this weekend and a workshop by the marvelous Virginia Kantra. Virginia is a lovely lady and an amazing speaker. I always get something worthwhile from her panels and speeches.

The panel I attended was one on “What Makes a Good Hero?” It had lots of information and got me to thinking about how to refine the hero in book #2 in the At the Shore Contemporary Romance series. But it also had me contemplating what inspired Owen Pierce, the hero in #1 – One Summer Night.

When I think of Owen, I think of someone who is almost too perfect to be true. Someone who always does everything by the book. Owen is honorable and full of integrity. He’s hard working and demands a lot of himself because of a father who belittles him and a brother who needs his love and support.

Owen would sacrifice anything for the people he loves and he’s not afraid of commitment. But to have the woman that he loves in his life, Maggie Sinclair, he may have to lose all that he’s worked for as well as his honor and integrity. It makes for an interesting story, trust me! LOL!

Here’s how I pictured Owen. Sexy, right?

Nacho Figueras

Photo Credit: By Jiyang Chen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

And just in case that smoldering look wasn’t enough, how about this one courtesy of his Facebook Page?

You can order One Summer Night at the following retailers:

Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/2krMwfE
Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/2kYLWZV
B&N: http://bit.ly/2kNuo0p
iBooks: Coming Soon!
Kobo: Coming Soon!

#WriteWed The Ironbound Section & At the Shore

One of the things that I wanted to show with the At the Shore contemporary romance series is the diversity of New Jersey, both ethnically and economically. While Maggie and Owen from ONE SUMMER NIGHT are both well-off, Connie and Emma, the heroines of #2 and #3 in the series respectively, have both had to work hard to achieve what they have.

As for ethnically, Connie represents the large Cuban population of Union City. Emma is a suburban girl from Edison. The hero in #3 is Carlo Texeira from the Ironbound section of Newark.

I’m getting ready to write a scene in #2 where you find out a little bit more about Carlo and his family, who play a substantial role in #3. In that scene, you get to see a big Portuguese-style family dinner at their Ironbound home.

The Ironbound is a unique section of the city of Newark. It’s located not all that far from Newark Penn Station and between the airport and the Passaic River. It is a largely Portuguese neighborhood with the first immigrants from Portugal arriving in the early 1900s along with Spaniards from Galicia (my family’s part of Spain). In fact, many Portuguese food dishes are very similar to those from Galicia.

The main avenue in the Ironbound is Ferry Street which abounds with a number of mom and pop Portuguese shops along with a number of other Latin restaurants. In #3, the hero’s family has owned a successful bakery there since the 1930s. Carlo’s older brothers now run the business and Carlo has struck out on his own to make a life down the shore. He’s Emma’s Go-to-Guy in more than one way, although she refuses to admit that.

Ferry Street, as you might guess, was named after a ferry that ran between Newark and other locations to the east. Check out the video below that shows you Ferry Street. If part of it looks familiar, it’s because it made an appearance in the beginning of the 2005 remake of War of the Worlds (2:30 to 2:45 in the video). If you can’t see the video below, use this link: https://youtu.be/PGP_94G3Vms

#WriteWed Writing Romance and Empowering Women

I had the pleasure of being the keynote speaker at the 2016 Nielsen Romance Summit at the RWA Conference in San Diego. It was exciting to speak about my experiences with diversity in the publishing industry. But it was just as important for me to discuss what I called the nation’s largest woman-run and woman-centric industry: The Romance Novel Industry.

From authors to agents to editors and publishers, the romance novel industry is one that provides opportunities for countless women. But it isn’t just about that end of the business, it’s also about the readers and the messages that we deliver in our romance novels. It’s about showing that two people can be partners in a relationship and that the relationship can be loving and fulfilling.

It’s about showing heroines who control their lives whether they are stay-at-home moms, soldiers, astronauts, librarians, lawyers, doctors, police officers, firefighters. . . You get it. Women are everywhere in all walks of life now and romance reflects that. Romance helps spread the word that as a woman, you can be anything that you want to be.

So help a women-centric women-powered industry by reading a romance!
WhereLoveAlwaysWins

#WriteWed The Power of Pets

I remember when I wrote THE LOST and one of the opening scenes including Spottie, the hero’s pet beagle. In the original version of the scene, it wasn’t quite clear whether the shapeshifting hero drained the dog of life and everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, said “Don’t kill the dog!”

I had never meant for the hero to harm the dog and he didn’t, but I had to make sure that was obvious in the scene. Since it was a gflashback to the hero’s youth, that was the only appearance of Spottie. Here’s a photo of the real Spotty who was my husband’s childhood pet.
Spotty the Beagle

Now, while working on #2 in the AT THE SHORE contemporary romance series, I realize that I’ve never really had a book where a pet plays a real role in the story line until now.

Meet Dudley, Jonathan Pierce’s terrier that he rescued from the shelter.
dudley
You’ll first encounter Dudley in #1 in the series – ONE SUMMER NIGHT – but it’s in the second story that Dudley really seems to bring people together. There is just something about this cute, smart and obedient pup that breaks down barriers.

The power of pets to do that isn’t something new. There have been various articles that tout the marvelous benefits of pets in helping people to heal emotionally and physically. When you’re feeling down or alone, what’s better than the love freely given by your cat or dog? I confess I have a turtle also, but it’s not very easy to cuddle up to her (or him?)

I’d love to hear about your pets and how they make your life better!

#WriteWed At the Shore #2 DANCED ALL NIGHT

Sorry I wasn’t with you earlier this week, but I took the opportunity of a long weekend to plant my butt in the chair and do a marathon writing session on #2 in the AT THE SHORE contemporary romance series. This book is tentatively titled DANCED ALL NIGHT, but I’ve really been rethinking that title based on the themes that are emerging as I plow more and more into the book.

The hero and heroine of the story, uptight lawyer Connie Reyes, and laid-back surfer dude inventor Jon Pierce, are like oil and water. Dynamite and a match. Despite that, they are perfect together and it’s been really interesting so far showing how they came together a long ago summer (wow – another possible title concept) and where they both are now.

I love second chance at love stories like this one, especially when there is an unexpected surprise as well. I suspect that these two characters are going to have yet more surprises for me as I write their story.

Since this book happens at the same time as ONE SUMMER NIGHT (a true writing challenge), you’ll get to see more of Maggie and Owen from that story and also check out the hero and heroine for #3, unromantic wedding planner Emma Grant and sexy chef Carlo Texeira. It is a stand alone story, however. No worries on that one.

Anyway – if you’ve ever wondered what my winter writing place down the shore looks like, here it is! In the summer you’ll find me out on that little balcony amidst the flowers that I plant.
#WriteWed Writer's Desk

#WriteWed Location Inspiration #NYC

I’ve told you about some of the location inspiration for my AT THE SHORE Contemporary Romance Series. Places like the long gone department store B. Altman’s as well as some still with us Jersey Shore mansions.

The first story, ONE SUMMER NIGHT, starts in the fictional Shore town of Sea Kiss and I’ll share more about the inspiration for that town later.

Today’s photo is of the inspiration for where Maggie Sinclair and her best friend Connie Reyes work and hangout – Bryant Park and the Chrysler Building. There are a number of scenes set in this Midtown NYC area, although both Maggie and Connie are Jersey Girls at heart.

I took this photo in the early morning, just as sun was rising. It’s a lovely time in the city. Peaceful. Quiet. Well as quiet as New York can be because even in the quiet there is a nervous hum of activity. I love the juxtaposition of nature against the bricks and the man-made skyscrapers. I hope you will as well!
Chrysler Building and Bryant Park

#WriteWed Inspiration #Amwriting #Amreading

One of the absolute best parts of the writing gig is getting to meet other authors and readers! It’s why I love going to conferences and events. These are the ones I’ll be attending so far this year and if you’re in the area, I would love to see you and get to spend some time with you! Of course, since I’m a reader as well as a writer, I can’t wait to meet other authors and find out more about their books. It’s a win-win situation.

March 18-19, 2017
Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference
Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel
Iselin, NJ

April 19, 2017
5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Ocean County Author Fair
Lakewood Branch Library

April 22, 2017
12 pm to 5 pm
A Day of Wine and Romance
Brook Hollow Winery
594 State Route 94, Columbia, New Jersey 07832

July 26–29, 2017
RWA Annual Conference
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort
Orlando, Florida

October 13th & 14th, 2017
Fall in Love with New England Romance
Reader/Author Conference

Best Western Plus Executive Court
Inn and Conference Center
13500 S Willow Street
Manchester, New Hampshire 03103

#WriteWed Inspiration