Psyched for Romance

Sports Romance & Romantic Suspense With a Psychological Twist

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group: Who Supports You?

Are you watching the Olympics? I can't get enough--staying up after midnight watching every swim, every floor routine. I find it especially emotional to watch the parents and the coaches react to their athletes' performances.

It's the athletes who work their butts off every day, and I take nothing from them. But this post is to celebrate their support team. Thanks, Mom!

Who first believed in you?

Who first told you "Your writing's really great!"

Who said "Maybe you should get this published?!?"

Whoever that was, you know how important he or she is to your writing career.

Only writers know how grueling it is to finish a novel, but we also realize it's even harder when we go it alone. Having loved ones, friends, and mentors to encourage us makes the path to publication a lot lighter.

I'm blessed to have many supporters on my team. Elementary school teachers who praised my fledgling creative writing professors who challenged me to develop my unique voice...grad school advisors who crafted my professional writing...

And this crazy publishing venture all began with the encouragement of some online friends from around the world. Thank you Lorne, Amy, Janine, Cecile, and Marilyn!

So I ask...

Who supports you?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Swim Reading Challenge

Are you ready for the Olympics? I'm totally stoked, especially to watch my favorite sport of swimming.

To celebrate Olympic swimming and my Young Adult swimming novel Streamline going on sale in August, I'm hosting the SWIM READING CHALLENGE!

The challenge is to read all kinds of books about swimming--novels, short stories, memoirs, biographies, etc. between August and December of 2012.

To participate, post the above button to your blog and leave a comment on this post with your blog url. When you review a swimming novel on your blog, please return and leave a comment with your blog post url and I'll tweet the heck out of it. (Swimming lovers gotta stick together).

To get us started on some recommendations, I created a list on Goodreads HERE. My favorite swimming novels include:

1. Young Woman and the Sea by Glenn Stout HERE...The riveting tale of the first woman to swim across the English Channel

2. Age Is Just a Number by Dara Torres HERE...She won two silver medals at age 41!

3. Swimming to Antartica: Tales of a Long Distance Swimmer by Lynne Cox HERE. Learn about a nutty woman who loves swimming in freezing water!

What are your favorites?

Haven't tried a swimming story before? You can check out my young adult short story Swim Recruit for FREE.

Good luck with the challenge, oh chlorinated ones!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: Feel the Heat by Cindy Gerard

I've been reading, writing, and swimming more than I've been blogging lately, so I plan to share some of my book reviews now and then.

As part of the All Summer, All Series reading challenge, I just finished Feel the Heat by Cindy Gerard. It's book #4 in the Black Ops Series:

Black Ops by Cindy Gerard (Romantic Suspense):
3. Whisper No Lies
4. Feel the Heat
5. Risk No Secrets
6. With No Remorse
7. Last Man Standing (I have signed copies of the last two from RT!)

Feel the Heat (Black Ops, #4)Feel the Heat by Cindy Gerard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I felt the heat! And the emotion. I'm really enjoying the Black Ops series by Cindy Gerard (thanks for the recommendation, Buggy!) Each setting and story is unique and compelling.

This time the main character is a woman (BJ) so hurt by the past that she's terrified of falling in love. Typically that's a role reserved for a man, and it was refreshing to read this gender twist. BJ works as a U.S. Defense Intelligence officer whose sting gets interrupted by a group of BOIs. Quite an auspicious meeting between BJ and the hero.

Of course the hero has his own issues (yay!) Raphael Mendoza, the Latin lover of the BOI bunch, has a mysterious family history in Columbia (which happens to come into play in the plot).

I was impressed by the realistic portrayal of dysfunction in BJ's alcoholic mother. What a bleak family story. Without parents who ever seemed to care for her, no wonder BJ feels like damaged goods.

BJ's character made me quite emotional. The countless number of times she rejects Raphael could totally frustrate the reader, but instead of frustration I felt sympathy for her. Here's a woman who has no problem gunning down the enemy, but put her in the arms of a man who loves her? The fight or flight syndrome kicks in big time.

As he wiped at the blood, she didn't say a word but she didn't pull away either. She just looked up at him with those big blue eyes full of something that could have been challenge, could have been annoyance...or, he realized, could have been bafflement over the fact that he was taking care of her.
That was it, he realized. She wasn't used to having anyone take care of her or sticking tight when she'd done her damndest to warn him away. He guessed he shouldn't have been surprised by that. This one would chew her own arm off before she'd ask anyone to help her out of a bear trap.

How incredibly sad!

Yet there's more to BJ than sadness. She's also competent at her job, like when she needs to play a blond floozy hanging off Rafe's arm when they go undercover in Columbia.

The Munozes tried to hide it, but they were clearly appalled by her brash manner.
"Why aren't they saying anything?" she added in a stage whisper that could have been heard in Cambodia.

I was also impressed by the terrorist plot to unleash a special bomb that would knock out a huge power grid and disable the American economy. Cindy Gerard spoke about her intricate research for these novels at the Romantic Times convention I attended, and I'm a believer!

The little character mysteries about BJ's name and Rafe's tattoo keep the story fun, as well as the insulting banter between the boys. I thought the side romance between Stephanie Thompkins and one of the BOI's was interesting but not as well-developed or emotional as it could have been.

I think I only have three more novels left in this series *cries* and I can't wait to read them!

View all my reviews
I'm happy to report the sale for my own romantic suspense series is going great! Get your copy of With Good Behavior (The Conduct Series #1) for only $2.99 HERE.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

Guest post alert! Today I'm thrilled to have Debra Johnson share an inspirational message for all writers. Take it away, Debra!

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

If you’ve ever watched Galaxy Quest, then you know where the title of this post comes from. This idea is essential for all the writers of the world. 

“Never, never, never give up!” -  Winston Churchill

Writing is hard. You almost never got the recognition you deserve. A lot of things are against you. There are many writers out there, and some may be better than you. There are few places that will pay you to write. Very few people can make a successful life writing. Most writers will never be published. Even fewer of those that are published will ever be noted. Even fewer of those that are noted will be financially successful. 

Feel like giving up now? Yeah, me too. But you can’t. Being a writer is more than a job or a hobby, it is a passion nobody can squelch. What you have to remember is that your goal is not to be famous or rich. Your goal is to write, plain and simple.

"Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles, and the bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, have and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else." - Brian Tracy

Writing is not something that you do for money, but it is something that you have to do. Your passion will not allow you to stop writing, any more than your body will allow your heart to stop beating. Your goal shouldn’t be fame or fortune, but rather the chance to express yourself and your stories to the world. Even if you get rejected again and again, you should keep writing.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

How many famous authors were rejected? How many failed over and over again until finally they succeeded? Answer: all of them. I can’t think of one author who was successful on their first try. Many weren't even successful on their fifth, sixth, or sixteenth try. That doesn't make them failures, does it? No. Instead, they let their struggles make them stronger, better writers.

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” - Winston Churchill

No matter what you are going through now, whether you are on your first revision or your fifth you must keep going. Do not surrender to the falsehood that you can’t write. If you have the heart and the passion for writing, then you can write. Find your style, speak from your heart, and persevere. 

“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.” - Charles F. Kettering

About the Author:

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of full time nanny.
She welcomes your comments at her email Id: - jdebra84 @

Amen, Debra! Diligence and drive are so important to success in any field. Perseverance helped me finish my Ph.D. and my first novel. Thank you for the guest post!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Lovin' Giveaway

Summer lovin', had me a blast
Summer lovin', happened so fast!

Welcome to the Summer Lovin' Giveaway, hosted by the wonderful Kathy from I Am a Reader, Not a Writer blog and Tifferz Book Review.

I'm offering an ebook of my Young Adult sports romance / murder mystery STREAMLINE to an international winner.

Seems like Leo Scott has it all: looks, brains, and athletic talent. He's captain of his high school swim team with a bright future in college and beyond. But Leo has secrets. His mother's crippling car accident has devastated his family and left Leo to deal with his father's abuse, battered and alone.

Leo's girlfriend Audrey Rose is poised for her own share of success. As one of Florida's top high school swimmers, Audrey dreams of college swimming stardom. But there's an obstacle to her glorious rise to the top. Her number-one supporter-her father-is in prison for murder. 

Part murder mystery, part tale of young love in a military family, this gripping story takes readers on a journey from Pensacola to Annapolis. Leo and Audrey must band together to rise above the adversity they encounter and find their true selves in the process. When everything's on the line . . . streamline.

US readers can also enter the Goodreads giveaway for a signed print copy of Streamline on the sidebar of this blog.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please hop over to more participating blogs!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Surrender by Pamela Clare: Review

Today I'm over at Just Romantic Suspense blog talking about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in fictional characters. If you leave a comment, you enter a giveaway for With Good Behavior, my novel featuring PTSD.

I'm working through series for the All Summer, All Series challenge and I just finished book one in the MacKinnon's Rangers series by Pamela Clare: Surrender. I adore Ms. Clare's romantic suspense I-Team series, and I already love her take on historical romance.

The best news is I just won a signed copy of book #3, Defiant, from Karla and Steffi at Swept Away by Romance blog! Woo hoo!

Surrender (MacKinnon’s Rangers,  #1)Surrender by Pamela Clare

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a shock--another 5 star review for a Pamela Clare novel! Here I thought she couldn't top her romantic suspense I-Team series but she comes damn close with this first novel in her historical romance series MacKinnon's Rangers. I know the series' third novel, Defiant, just came out, and I can't wait to catch up.

Surrender features Iain MacKinnon--the oldest of three Scot brothers, and Anne Campbell--a Scot aristocrat who was forsaken by her uncle. Both Iain and Annie were accused of crimes they didn't commit, and are now paying the consequences. The despicable Lord Wentworth has forced Iain and his brothers to fight for England in the French and Indian War. And after her uncle accused Annie of theft, she has to sail to the new world as an indentured servant.

Iain and Annie meet in the wilds of 1758 America. Indians have just attacked Annie's masters and she's about to be defiled and scalped when Iain rushes in to rescue her. Problem is, Iain's heroic efforts to see Annie to safety completely contradict his orders, and it's not pretty when soldiers disobey their English superiors.

Complicating Iain's plight is his strong attraction to the virgin Annie, who hides her criminal status from him. She's just as infatuated with her strong tattooed rescuer, with his barbarian exterior but loving and gentle character.

Pamela sure does know how to write hot romance, as seen through Annie's inexperienced eyes:

When next she looked up, she found his eyes squeezed shut and his head turned to the side, exposing the corded muscles of his neck. One strong arm was thrown above his head, his fist clenched. His hair had fanned out across the dark bearskin, like the black of a raven's wing against the night sky.

There's also a fair bit of humor, like when Iain deflowers Annie:

"Holy Mary!" Morgan glared at Iain in disgust. "When McHugh told me you'd given the order not to be disturbed, I thought you'd gone to comfort her. What did you do?"
Iain looked at his brothers. "We need a priest."

Lord Wentworth is difficult to figure out, and I like his complexity. He acts like a cold bastard most of the time but then there are glimpses of humanity, and I'm eager to see what Ms. Clare has in store for his character in the next two books.

I've read every book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, and I found myself comparing this story to those wonderful novels. Similarities include the Scottish brogue, a military Scot hero full of integrity paired with a sassy English sympathizer heroine nurse, prison scenes, and a hated English lord who lashes the Scot hero mercilessly. Though I love Jamie Fraser from Outlander, I appreciate the sharper focus of this shorter novel. I'll say more about the comparisons once I've read more of this series.

This is a page-turner that's thoroughly enjoyable. Highly recommended!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group: Price Points

I continue to learn so much about marketing my novels. One important aspect of selling books is their PRICE.

How do you feel about the price your publisher sets for your novels?

Or, if you're self-published, how do you go about pricing your novels?

Recently I bought an ebook recommended by a Goodreads friend. The author wasn't known to me, but because her book was only $2.99, I eagerly purchased it. That got me thinking of my own novels.

My publisher has set the price of my ebooks at $6.99. How willing is a reader to shell out this amount on an unknown author? Since I'm not a famous bestselling author, many readers will feel like they're taking a chance on me, and that's an expensive chance.

All the more reason I was ecstatic when Omnific Publishing put my novel With Good Behavior on sale for $2.99 this month for the Freedom Sale.

Check here to find some great Omnific titles on sale, like Three Daves by fellow IWSG author Nicki Elson, Seers of Light by Jen DeLucy, Pieces of Us by Hannah Downing, Eve of Samhain by Lisa Sanchez, The Guardian's Wildchild by Feather Stone, Indivisible by Jessica McQuinn, and more.

I'm also stoked my YA novel Streamline will go on sale in August.

Now I need to get the word out about the sale for With Good Behavior. I've been tweeting and posting on Facebook. Any other suggestions you can offer?

Upward and onward, insecure writers!

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