Annual RWA Conference Fun

Every July the Romance Writers of America, the only writers’ organization I belong to, hold their annual conference. This year it was in San Diego.

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It always starts off with a bang on Wednesday night with a huge author signing (over 400 authors took part) to raise money for literacy.  IMG_2329I visited loads of people, but here I am with the lovely Sarah Morgan!

 

As a person doing a solitary job, it is always great to come together with a couple thousand other people who understand what it takes to write day in and day out, to the tune of three books a year for me. Some authors at the conference are prolific writing machines and produce six to eight books a year. Yes, my jaw always drops with that bit of information, too.

IMG_2339Here I am on Thursday meeting with friends at the bar for drinks and appetizers.  L-R: Dee J. Adams, Roz Lee, Me, Trish Cerrone and Roben Grant. I’d been running non-stop all day up until this time. Believe it or not, we found time to discuss works in progress and give each other tips for when we get stuck.  Somehow I managed to say something that cut loose Roz Lee, the short cut red-haired lady sitting next to me, from her block.  It had something to do with starting at the wrong place. See, that’s the beauty of talking the talk with folks who understand.

The point of the conference is to present workshops on craft, career, and self-publishing, plus author panels and chats, as well as publisher spotlights.IMG_2349Here are a bunch of pictures that took place on Friday morning starting at the Harlequin author spotlight and ending with a great lunch hosted by the Medical Romance editors. Left to right – Medical Romance pals Amalie Berlin, double Rita finalist for short contemporary Scarlet Wilson, Amy Ruttan and me! On the right my Harlequin Intrigue pal, Carol Ericson.IMG_2357

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Here I am with my July book buddy, Susan Carlisle.  We wrote Summer Brides stories and decided to set the books in Savannah, GeorgiaIMG_2356

IMG_2363Last year’s double RITA finalist, and winner, Caro Carson surprised me and we had a good giggle.

IMG_2358The highlight of my day on Friday was catching up with my favorite Romance author, Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  Can’t wait to read her next book – FIRST STAR I SEE TONIGHT – due out August 23rd, and available for preorder now!

Then there were the lunches hosted by the editors from both sides of the pond.  Friday was Medical Romance and here is my gorgeous salad. IMG_2360Then, of course Friday night was the Harlequin party. Fun, fun, fun!  Here are the medical romance ladies striking a pose: RWA Harlequin 2016 Med Gals

 

On Saturday I got to have lunch with the Harlequin Special Edition crew, hosted by Gail Chasan, the Senior Editor for the line. IMG_2365L-R: Caro Carson, Terri Wilson, Gail Chasan, Shirley Jump, Michelle Major, Stacey Connelly, Me, Rachel Johns and Judy Duarte.

Can you say B U S Y?

Eighty percent of this conference involved my publisher, Harlequin. Everything from focus groups to the powers that be giving a general state of the state of Harlequin business in publishing, to fabulous editor/author lunches. Of course the highlight of the weekend is the Harlequin party on Friday night (see above masquerade picture) and the RITA awards on Saturday night.

First I had dinner on Saturday night. IMG_2361Then my roommate for the conference, Dee J. Adams and I enjoyed the fabulous RITA awards. IMG_2364

I don’t go every year, but when I do I have a ball, and it takes a full week to recover once I get home.

But I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m sitting here looking at these fun pictures and smiling all over again.

Do you ever go to work or hobby related conferences? What’s your favorite or least favorite part?

Until next time, make it a great one!                                                                                              Lynne

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WEDDING DATE WITH THE ARMY DOC and Zombies

It’s true, I am fascinated with zombies.the-walking-dead-poster

I’m a fan of The Walking Dead, absolutely loved Warm Bodies, thoroughly enjoy Zombieland, laughed my butt off in Shaun of the Dead, got a real kick out of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and had the beans scared out of me in World War Z and 28 Hours Later. So it has been a stealthy plan of mine for a long time, to put them in a book at some point.

R and the girl

Now I’ve done it in WEDDING DATE WITH THE ARMY DOC!

Zombies in a Medical Romance, you say? How did that get through?

“Vee have vays” (to be said with a bad German accent)

No Seriously

How does a writer get zombies in a Harlequin Medical Romance?

Huge build up including DRUM ROLL!

I included a Zombie Run. Sorry to let you down a bit, but I had to be somewhat practical.

Business Man Running With Zombie

So, what are Zombie Runs? They’re the big craze, thanks to all of the above mentioned (but mostly The Walking Dead) shows. People want to have the wits scared out of them while being chased by zombies. As always, business savvy and inventive people came up with a way to accommodate them. And I came up with a way to put it in a book.

Zombie Runs! http://www.zombiebites.net/zombie-runs-and-events-2015.html

Yes, these will probably imitate a comet and burn bright for a while then fizzle out, but for now, people are loving them!

How Did I do It?

Fairly close to the beginning of my book, I have my lovely heroine, Charlotte—who happens to be a pathologist, so she was perfect for the zombie aspect—take part in a fundraiser 5 and 10K run for the hospital where she works. Employees could pay extra to get made up as zombies and chase the real runners as they participated in the foot race.

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I was overjoyed when my editor let that stay in the book, but I wisely made that part a turning point scene. Other writers will know what I mean about “turning point” but to explain a bit for romance readers: It is a scene where something happens between the two main characters that changes the course of their relationship. The Zombie Run scene in WEDDING DATE WITH THE ARMY DOC, certainly did that. I hope you’ll read the book to find out how.

But Wait There’s More!

To make the book even more influenced by Zombie shows, I chose Andrew Lincoln as the prototype for my hero – Jackson Hilstead III, M.D. Oh, yeah, I had fun where I could in this otherwise tragic and dramatic story. A writer’s got to keep her sanity some way, right?

See a resemblance here? I do!330px-Andrew_Lincoln_2012

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Here’s a bit about my book: WEDDING DATE WITH THE ARMY DOC (part of the Summer Brides duet with Susan Carlisle in the UK – see above left in book banner)

It started at a wedding…

Since her recent lifesaving—and life-changing—operation, Charlotte Johnson has steered clear of romance…but brooding Jackson Hilstead is too delicious to resist! Surely some harmless flirting with the sexy army doc can’t hurt?

Charlotte knows Jackson has his own emotional battles to fight, but she believes they can be stronger together. So when she accepts his invitation to a family wedding, Charlotte hopes it’s a sign that one day she’ll be walking down the aisle…with Jackson by her side!

Here’s another place it’s on sale in both print and e-book format

Thanks for reading!

Lynne

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FUN IN MAINE – PLUS NEW RELEASE!

I’ve just returned from a visit to one of my favorite places, Maine! Well, Portland, Maine that is.

I was lucky to attend the Maine Romance Writers annual retreat, and to get to give a workshop titled REDEEMING DESPICABLE CHARACTERS. The workshop was well received and the weekend retreat was really fun and informative. IMG_3321

 

I especially liked the workshops on self-editing and writing the male point of view. I met lots of great ladies and got to talk with a few I already know. Had some good laughs with fellow Harlequin author Terri Brisbin (Historical line) and Luanna Stewart from Entangled.

This is the picture everyone liked the most from my presentation. Sexiest of allI wonder why?

The coordinator, Marianne Rice, bent over backwards to make everyone happy, and she did a phenomenal job! IMG_3324

 

What more can a lady ask from an author retreat, you may ask?

 

Well how about this?

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Or this  IMG_3333

 

 

 

 

 

And what about this? IMG_3365IMG_3369IMG_3353

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York isn’t the only place with a flat iron building!

IMG_3385I had great weather, great food, and made new friends.

Portland, Maine at its best.

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IT’S RELEASE DAY!

I’m also super excited that today is release day for my contribution to the Hollywood Hills Clinic series – HIS PREGNANT SLEEPING BEAUTY is book #6.  I hope you’ll consider reading it.

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Until next time, make it a great one!

Lynne

 

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Getting Used to Being Me

After catchin10710741_10153227531464062_175066825557071363_ng myself say this while watching Jeopardy the other night: “I was going to say George Carlin, but I couldn’t think of his name.” I’ve decided it’s time to re-evaluate the “me” I’ve become.

 

 

It’s not all bad.  Turns out I’m good at being a Grandma.  When told my two year old granddaughter, Thea, woke up one morning saying this:  “Trucks wake me up. Beep beep beep.” I’m proud as punch to know at twenty-six months of age, she is speaking in sentences, and though giving the credit to her parents, I also pat myself on the back for singing The Wheels on the Bus with her all the times she asks me to.  The horn on the bus goes beep beep beep.

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Talking and reading and singing to our grandkids is soooo important!

So, on those many times where I have to consult my favorite thesaurus in order to come up with the exact word for what I’m writing, and by the time I find it, I forget that perfect sentence I’d planned to use it in…

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I will choose to go easy on myself instead of withdrawing from the human race

11987115_1294635350641395_2391152954603421360_nRather than becoming a recluse, I’m gonna keep chugging along embarrassing myself with delays in conversations while I remember what I started out to say, inadvertently repeating the same story to the same person again and again, and insisting I need ten seconds longer to fish the answers out of the deep recesses of my brain while playing along on TV Jeopardy.

White Wine And Grapes

I also intend to take time to smell those flowers and taste the wine along the rest of the journey of my life.

HAPPY MOTHER‘S DAY FRIENDS AND READERS!

 

Until next time, make it a great one,

Lynne

Watch for my new book HIS PREGNANT SLEEPING BEAUTY June 1st, available for pre-order now:

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Ran a Contest and Discovered a Survey

Hands At WorkFor those who may not know, I make it a habit to run a contest of some kind with every newsletter I sendIf this interests you, feel free to sign up in the sidebar next to this blog to receive occasional e-mails from me.  I promise not to send out more than six in a year, and as I already stated, I always run a contest when I do.

 

On April 1st, I mailed a newsletter with a different kind of contest – multiple books (5) and multiple story tropes to choose from.  Normally, I use Rafflecopter for my contests, since I get so many entries, but this time I took a different route.  I was very specific about how to enter – here’s what I wrote:

Send me an e-mail. Include in your e-mail whether you would prefer a print or e-book and include your address if you want a print copy. Then tell me which one of the following you are interested in reading: 1.) Western setting, 2.) Adoption theme, 3.) Road trip, 4.) Reunion story, 5.) Not the hero’s baby.  I will randomly choose one winner for each of the five choices and contact the winners before April 10th.  The winner’s names will be listed in the June newsletter. 

As the entries came in, I realized I had the perfect opportunity to turn my findings into a survey.  Of course, this, by any means, isn’t a scientific survey, just anecdotal findings. Nevertheless, I think the results are interesting, and they will make me think twice before I plan my next books!

Here are the results:Story SurveyNot Hero’s baby 7%; Road trip 14%; Reunion Story 19%; Adoption theme 19%; Western Setting 28%; Happy with any 13%

It seems that the western set romances are a big hit with the most readers.  I was sorry to see that “not the hero’s baby” isn’t as popular because I have written 2 or 3 such stories and find them both satisfying and challenging.

What do you think?  Do you agree or disagree with these findings?  Let me know what your favorite trope is in the comments section.

Until next time, make it a great one!

Lynne

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FOOL ME ONCE…FOOL ME TWICE

funky concept illustration for april fools daySpecial Announcement: I’m retiring from writing!

Not!

We all know the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me,” yet every year on April 1st many of us fall prey to yet another April Fool’s prank.

 

 

 

Here’s a list of the top 100 pranks of all time beginning with the top ten.

Find a favorite?  Which one?

Close up portrait of hard laughing young man. Isolated on whiteI’ve never pulled off a really good hoax, but once I did attempt it. I got the bright idea to call some good friends and disguise my voice to pose as a local journalist wanting to interview them. There had recently been a mini tornado whipping through their town, and I wanted my friend to describe what had happened in her own words. Here’s where the prank went sideways, instead of her giving me the details, she put her twelve-year-old (at the time) son on the phone to do it. What seemed funny to pull on my friend just the second before, suddenly seemed like a mean joke on an impressionable preteen, and, well I couldn’t go through with it. Instead, after the young man began his completely sincere experience, I confessed that it was me, their family friend, and apologized. So you see, I don’t have the heart for pulling the wool over people’s heads. Or let’s just say I have my limits on who I am willing to make a fool out of.  Friends? Sure.  Children of friends? Nope.

I thought it would be fun to share some April Fool’s pranks that went terribly wrong – here

So let that be a lesson. What may seem funny at the creation stage, could turn out to be a total disaster!april-fools-day-joke

I hope your April 1st is a good one. If you pull off a joke, make it a fun one. None of us want to be responsible for someone else’s heart attack, right?

Have any doozy pranks to share with me?  Please leave a comment.

Until Next time, make it a great one!

Lynne

Here are the beautiful new covers for my two bigger romances:  Check them out at Amazon

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Romance When You Need It – Thanks Harlequin

I’m sharing this fun video with everyone.  Plus – Harlequin is giving Seventeen free books to those who might like to try a new line or who have never read one before.  Check it out!

Here’s the link to the free books deal: www.RomanceWhenYouNeedIt.com  Download you free book now.

You’re Welcome!

Lynne

 

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The Story behind the (En-)Counter

United hands on bright background. Conceptual photo of teamworkLet me start by saying we interact with people each and every day, and sometimes we don’t like how the interaction goes. Having lived a long time, I have come to understand that the problem is we, none of us, know what is going on in the person’s life who has just irritated us. There are simply too many scenarios to consider—cancer, debt, abusive spouse, lousy night’s sleep, anxiety—like I said, so much goes on behind the scenes in people’s lives. When we focus on ourselves, it’s easy to take everything personally and to get offended easily. I say this as someone guilty of just that.

Let me share a story that happened to me a few years back. I went to the market and stepped up to the deli counter to make an order. No one was there. I thought, okay, I’ll do my shopping and come back later. Well, later I went back to the deli counter and saw a couple of people running around like crazy in the back putting food on a cart and pushing it outside. Inwardly I got upset, irritated, you know the saying the customer must come first, and right then I felt completely overlooked. It ticked me off.  So I gave up, feeling neglected and upset that I didn’t get my sliced turkey breast deli meat, and I showed them, they lost my purchase. Yeah, I showed them all right.

As I left the market heading for my car in the parking lot, I saw a deli counter person helping a man load the food into the back of his car. When the deli guy passed me as he headed back into the market, I said, “You guys don’t have enough help today.” He said, “Yeah, we had a last minute order that needed to get filled. It’s for a funeral for a two-year-old, and this needed to get to the church ASAP.”

Insert that moment when you feel like a total selfish jerk HERE.

Puts things into perspective doesn’t it? Need I tell you how awful I felt for being resentful that my personal needs hadn’t been met by the deli department during my shopping that morning? I stopped right there and asked for forgiveness in a prayer for being so self-centered.

white fluffy clouds in the blue sky

When I wrote the difficult opening scene for A MOTHER FOR HIS ADOPTED SON, I wanted to portray that kind of encounter where one party hasn’t a clue what the other party has just gone through, and then reacts in a negative way. But I walked a fine line of setting up my heroine, Andrea Rimmer, as unlikable if I did. I believe I found a balance by showing what she was struggling with on a personal level while dealing with the hero in their first meeting.

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The set up: Dr. Sam Marcus has just come from watching his 3-year-old son have surgery to remove his eye for retinoblastoma. He seeks out the person who makes prosthetic eyes in the hospital expecting to find the head of the department. Instead, he finds a young woman. Focused on his need he comes off a little arrogant and demanding toward her. The problem is, Andrea doesn’t know this guy and she has a history of being pushed around by her surgeon father who is also arrogant and demanding. She reacts to Dr. Marcus from her viewpoint in a very negative way, and he reacts to her from his position of need, also in a negative way. Let’s just say that first meeting doesn’t go well.

If both characters had a clue what the other was dealing with in their personal lives, they would have both cut each other some slack. And that’s my takeaway for this blog. To go out into the world less focused on ourselves. Consider what might be making that prickly person who has just annoyed the heck out of you act that way, and cut them some slack. Then treat them with respect–who knows, you may be the only person to do it that particular day.  Oh, and it never hurts to say a little prayer giving thanks for our blessings either.

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A Mother for His Adopted Son

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you haven’t YET checked out A MOTHER FOR HIS ADOPTED SON, I hope you’ll give it a try.

Available at all online book outlets.

  

Kobo Books   Google Play   iBooks

Until Next time, make it a great one!

Lynne

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Are the Eyes Mirrors to the Soul?

close-up eyes and green leaf

If the Eyes are the mirror to the soul, than I guess the heroine of my current book is a soul starer.  As an Ocularist her job is to meticulously re-create the iris for clients who’ve lost one eye.  For someone who has lost an eye either to an accident or disease, this is a most important job indeed.

Dear Reader,

Writers are often asked where they get their ideas for stories. I can tell you I get mine all over the place! The spark that spurred A Mother for His Adopted Son came from an article about an Ocularist in a regional magazine I subscribe to from Maine. I’d never heard of the profession, and was fascinated by this woman who’d been an art student but for the last thirty years wound up making beautiful prosthetic eyes for clients. I clipped and held onto that article for a couple of years and it percolated in the back of my mind.

Blue Eye

Another day, I was driving around doing errands and listening to the radio when an intriguing interview aired, about a sightless man who was amazingly independent through using a technique called echolocation. The interviewer began by describing this man as having beautiful blue eyes, and, yes, they were prosthetics. He’d lost both of his eyes by the time he was eighteen months old to retinoblastoma, but his mother never let his blindness hold him back from exploring and being adventurous. That sparked my dormant ocularist idea and, as they say, a story kernel was created!

An ocularist isn’t a “usual” job for a Medical Romance character, so I ran it by my editor, female surgeon with her surgical team on backgroundwho was open and encouraging about the idea. Soon the character Andrea came to be, and shortly after that a little boy named Dani, too. But who would be the hero of this story and why? It didn’t take long for the gorgeous pediatrician “Dr. Sammy” to come into being—a dedicated doctor who believes in medical missions and adoption for very personal reasons.

I hope you enjoy the dramatic and often emotional love story between Andrea and Sam as they find their way to their happily-ever-after.

Eye

I always enjoy hearing from readers at www.lynnemarshall.com. Friend me on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/LynneMarshall.Page

Love,
Lynne

More info about ocularists

More info about echolocation

Reviews at Amazon LM_FB_header_4

Do you know anyone with a prosthetic eye?  Or do you wear one? Please share your story.

Thanks for reading!

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What’s New in 2016

Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were spectacular and now you are resting up and getting back into your routine. Between you and me, I’m glad 2015 is over. Once we hit Halloween, it seems to all go downhill and there isn’t a chance to blink before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whew, what a wild ride.

The New Year is always something to look forward to. It’s a clean slate, a chance to start fresh, and many of us need that. Renewal is a good word, and we all need to renew our enthusiasm, hope, and perseverance with each new year.   I hope you’re looking as forward to starting again in 2016 as I am.

Speaking of 2016, I’m happy to say I will have three books out with Harlequin Medical RomanceJanuary:  A Mother for His Adopted Son, June: His Pregnant Sleeping Beauty (Book #6 as part of an 8 book continuity called L.A. Docs.), July: Wedding Date with the Army Doc, in a Summer Weddings duet with Susan Carlisle.

I loved writing each of the books for different reasons, and I’ll share more about that as the year goes along, but first, let’s start with the newest release. A MOTHER FOR HIS ADOPTED SON. I am blown away by the early reviews. Check out these reviews from CataRomanceReviews, and GoodReads by Virginia Campbell. A writer can’t ask for better than that.

So let me tell you a little about this book. Here’s the blurb:

Notoriously cool, calm and always in control, single dad Dr. Sam Marcus is facing every parent’s worst nightmare. His adorable adopted son, Dani, has cancer, and Andrea Rimmer is the only woman who can help! 

As Andrea treats his son, Sam sees the warmth and compassion behind her independent exterior. Can he prove to Andrea that she’s the only mummy for Dani, and that together their family is a perfect fit?

Now you may be tensing up and thinking, a child with cancer? No! Who wants to read that, it’s too heartbreaking, and everyone knows you can’t kill a child or a dog in a book if you want anyone to read it. Believe me, this story was a tough one to write, but trust me, I didn’t kill anyone off!!!!  Promise.

Here’s what Sam, Dani, and Andrea looked like when I wrote the book.

Sam, Andrea and Dani

Why did I write the book? Because a few years ago I read an article in a magazine about a lady who was an ocularist. A what? A person who makes artificial eyes. Prosthetics. I found what she did fascinating, and when I decided to write an artist heroine who was also an ocularist, well, I needed patients for her to help. Also, I really pushed the envelope in the definition of “medical professional” with her particular talent. Surprisingly my editor was completely onboard with this pairing of doctor and apprentice.

As usual, with Medical Romance there are three covers – US, UK, and Australia.  All different, all wonderful in their own way.

9780373010844A Mother for His Adopted Son

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia A Mother forThis love story was both a challenge and a blessing to write. I had to delete and rewrite the original ending, about 5,000 words worth, then added 6,000 more words for the new ending, which was tough, but it made the book so much better. So it’s true, tackling hard topics isn’t easy and writing books where two people are supposed to fall in love in those difficult situations is an even bigger challenge. Believe me, I know! But I’m going to end by saying this, it was well worth the effort. I love Sam and Andrea’s story. That’s all there is to it, and that’s the best job satisfaction a person can ask for. Right?

Have you read or written a particularly tough storyline lately, or one in the past that still sticks with you?  Please share!

A similar blog will be posted at Love is the Best Medicine (the Medical Romance Author’s blog) on January 8th by me.  If you’ve never visited that blog – check it out.  Blogs are posted there on MWF and there are occasional surveys and giveaways.

Until next time, make it a great one!

Lynne

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