Thursday, March 28, 2013

(The) Writing Life--Good News Tuesday!

Yesterday morning, I got "the call"--writer Lori Handeland telling me on behalf of the Romance Writers of America that my August 2012 Love Inspired Historical, THE SOLDIER'S WIFE, is a finalist for the 2013 RITA® award for Best Inspirational Romance. In case you're wondering, in the romance genre, this is a big deal. It's both a validating credential and it's a nerve-wracking process. I can say this with certainty because it's the eighth time I've been a finalist. (Won four times, lost three. I have to say I like winning better.) The award ceremony is in July at the RWA National Convention in Atlanta. 
THEN, while I was still dazed from the finalist news, my editor at Harlequin advised me that Thorndyke had selected my book, THE MUSIC BOX, for large print publication. This is excellent news, too. 
THEN, it was "Wait--what?" one more time. My other editor at my other publisher, BelleBooks, advised me that Amazon had selected my book, PROMISE ME A RAINBOW, for a special promo. (I know.)
All in all, Tuesday was Quite. A. Day.
Wednesday wasn't half bad, either. Wednesday afternoon I got flowers from Spencerhill, the agency that represents me in the fierce publishing world. (I said the RITA® thing is a big deal.) Aren't they pretty? A mixed spring bouquet--absolutely my most favorite flowers, especially this time of year.

So. That's the all the news at the moment. Till next time...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

(The) Writing Life--The New Cover Is Here.

Here is the cover for my upcoming Love Inspired Historical, AN UNEXPECTED WIFE.

Release Date: July, 2013

And here is an excerpt:

"Come walk with me," he said.

"I don't think that's a good idea--"

"Don't worry. We have more things to discuss than my willingness to die for you. Or live for you. Whichever you happen to need."

He was teasing her, and she couldn't help but smile.

"I never know what you're going to say."

"Neither do I," he said.

And here are some links:


Barnes & Noble

There are links to additional online booksellers over there ------> in the side panel.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

(The) Writing Life--That First Romance Novel

This is my very first romance novel. It was written for the Berkley SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE line. It's been available as an ebook, but I've just had it spiffed up with a new cover. I had a pen name then--"Cinda Richards." The Berkley editor asked me to pick something that had the same initials as my real name, hopefully to cut down on any interoffice confusion. I chose "Richards" because both the DH and the #1 And Only son  are named "Richard." Clever, huh?  And "Cinda"--well that was because I needed a name that began with a C and because I had read enough baby naming books to know that one's name is supposedly more melodious if hard-sounding consonants--like Rs--aren't in both the first and the last name. "Cinda Richards" would--according to the naming guidelines--sound MUCH better than...say...Cheryl Reavis.  So "Cinda Richards" it was, and I stayed "Cinda Richards" for four subsequent category books and a single title.

Then came the Name War.

The SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE line was suddenly discontinued, and I was hoping to be "Cinda Richards" when I moved over to my new publisher, Harlequin and take my SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE readers with me. But there was quite a squabble between the two publishing houses--Berkley and Harlequin--because I had a single-title about to come out for Berkley. Harlequin wanted the already established "Cinda Richards" name, but Berkley said absolutely, positively not.

So, my first Harlequin, actually for their imprint, Silhouette Special Edition, and titled A CRIME OF THE HEART, came out under my real name. Shortly thereafter, that book was condensed in Good Housekeeping magazine. I was supposed to be "Cinda Richards" for the Berkley single-title book, but then I learned I wouldn't be "Cinda Richards" for the single title book--because Berkley had done an about face and decided to use "Cheryl Reavis" in light of the Good Housekeeping thing. (If you're confused, imagine how I felt. It seemed as if every other day, somebody was calling me and telling me who my writer persona would or wouldn't be. Ultimately I became the real me and I've stayed the real me ever since.)

But I digress.

I've been thinking about how I felt back then--when my very first romance novel came out. Excited. Still not quite believing it had actually happened. I was a paperback writer--a romance paperback writer of all things (never saw THAT coming)--and something I had written was about to be available EVERYWHERE.


I wasn't happy about every aspect of it, though. There was the title, for one thing. I had zero-nothing to do with the title, and WHY the Powers That Be wanted to saddle my lovely romance novel with the same title as an F. Scott Fitzgerald literary masterpiece, I do not know. I came from the "literary crowd," and I could easily imagine the thunderous click of elitist eyebrows flying upward all over creation. And then, was there some kind of cosmic synchronicity to the fact that FSF and I have the same birthday? Unsettling, is what it was.

My THIS SIDE OF PARADISE was released the same week the DH went to Texas on a business trip.  While he was there, at some point, he managed to get to a B. Dalton's (remember those?), specifically to see if he could find it. He did. And when he was checking out, the clerk told him she'd read it and liked it a lot--so he made her "autograph" the book, writing down what she'd just told him. I still have it, and it still makes me smile.

Now. Just in case you're interested in the THIS SIDE OF PARADISE that wasn't written by F. Scott Fitsgerald:

Here is the link.

 Maybe you could check it out.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Writing (About) Life--"Sleepy Hollow," JC Penney and Kellie Pickler.

Well, the film crew is still here working on the pilot for a modern day version of "Sleepy Hollow"--which is great for the restaurant and motel economy. I managed to get by to see the fake cemetery in St. Luke's churchyard today. St. Luke's is also in my upcoming Love Inspired Historical, AN UNEXPECTED WIFE, only my version is in words instead of video.

And the JC Penney store is closing. I remember going to JC Penney when I was a little girl and watching the money-holders going flying across the store on a wire up to the office balcony where you paid for whatever you bought, and then waiting for the change to come flying back again. Fascinating. (Yes, all right. I'm not a spring chicken.) Anyway, I like JC Penney. Make that "liked" JC Penney. We came to a parting of the ways recently after they went "boutique" and started trying to appeal to the 20-somethings who were six feet tall and weighed a hundred pounds.

Finally, I absolutely loved Kellie Pickler's debut on DWTS. That little girl can dance. She was every bit as good as the professionals, and I kept thinking what a long way she's come from one of Sonic's rollerskating carhops to country music star to DWTS--and she's still a sweetie pie. If they ever make a TV movie out of my THE LONG WAY HOME, she'd make a great "Rita," who is as Southern as they come and who loved to dance.