Archive | July, 2012

Hero Hop and My Favorite Romance Hero Traits

27 Jul

A Hero Hop had to come with some sort of eye candy. And, really, look at those gorgeous eyes!

The Hero Hop is underway! Welcome to our five day celebration of yummy heroes. Join me and over a hundred other authors and bloggers as we share our favorite things about heroes, romance, and men in general. If the heroic goodness isn’t enough motivation to hit all the sites on the hop, check this out: Every stop on the hop is doing a giveaway. I’m giving away a $25 Amazon or B&N Gift Card! Even better, there are THREE Grand Prizes to be awarded at the end of the hop, and every blog you stop and comment on gives you an entry in the drawing. You can enter over 100 times! Grand prizes are: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, a $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card, and a massive Swag Pack, full of books and other goodies.

I love a good romance hero. It takes a lot for a character to turn into an actual hero in my eyes, and we’re not talking a gorgeous face, a sculpted physique, excessive riches, and a lot of–how can I put this delicately?–talent and stamina. Don’t get me wrong, those traits are nice touches on the finished package, but it’s what’s inside a male character that turns him into a romance hero. The heart and soul are the parts that really matter.

My favorite romance heroes, the ones I fall in love with reading–from the fiercest Alpha to the sweetest Beta to the most difficult Gamma–all have four traits in common. They are:

  1. A sense of humor. I’m a huge fan of wry wit and a bit of self-deprecating humor.
  2. A sense of honor. Okay, sometimes that honor is a little twisted in a Gamma, but they all have a code they try to live by. Even if they make occasional missteps, they try to do the right thing and be good men.
  3. The ability to learn and grow. The only thing better than a heroine who grows and develops into a fuller, richer person over the course of a book is a hero who does so. I love watching a hero come to an understanding of his personal failings or flaws and take steps to improve.
  4. A willingness to love. Yes, this applies to those heroes who start out Unwilling. Refer to trait #3, the ability to learn and grow. To me, there’s nothing sexier than an intelligent, funny, genuine man who’s willing to let go and love someone with every fiber of his being.

What’s a trait you love to find in a romance hero?

Remember to leave your email address when you comment for entry into my giveaway and the grand prize drawings. Click here to Continue on the Hop!

Catching Up

25 Jul

Time for another catching up post. At some point soon, I hope to find my rhythm again and get back to posting three times a week, but I need things to return to school-year-normal. Summertime-normal is always a madhouse around here. For now, here are a few random thoughts to bring me current…

The Helvetican and I went to see Dark Knight Rises last night. He picked it apart afterward, as is his nature. No, it wasn’t a perfect film, but I’m much more willing to suspend disbelief and just go with the world the moviemakers have constructed, overlooking bits of unreality in order to enjoy the created world as a whole. And it worked for me. I enjoyed the little twists, the touches like Scarecrow having an appearance, the overall darkness of everything falling apart with redemption well earned. Seeing what a toll being a superhero takes on a person was brilliant, and Christian Bale played it so well. Loved Bane (OMG, Tom Hardy put on some serious muscle for that!). Loooooved this take on Catwoman, now one of my favorite antiheroes EVER. Anne Hathaway was purrrrfect. (I know, lame, couldn’t resist.) And Blake, what a strong character. Great development through the film and a nice setup for him. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has grown into such a fine actor. I really enjoy watching his work.

Ok, enough of the fangirl moment.

The car is still in the shop, one week after it decided to die. Why? Because the darn thing won’t replicate the problem for diagnosis. It started up fine for the mechanic all through the next day until the final time he tried, then it failed to start. That was Friday. First thing Monday, he had the car on the equipment, ready to find out what the problem was…and spent all day Monday without being able to make it fail. Started perfectly every time. The check engine light had cleared itself and no code was in the memory, so we’ve got nothing to go on. Yesterday was a holiday here (Pioneer Day) so, naturally, the shop was closed. The plan today is to run the car hard, on the platform where they can simulate driving without going on the road, with lots of turning off and back on again. If it performs all day properly, we’ll all chalk it up to some weird thing that cleared itself out. I mean, what else can you do? If the car says it is fine, and it behaves fine, it must be fine, right? If there truly is a problem, I can only pray that it shows itself while hooked up to the equipment that will tell us what the problem really is. Cross your fingers for me, okay? Being down to one car is not fun, but I’d hate to get the other car back, only to have it strand us somewhere again.

The Trio, enjoying their new room.

Finally, I don’t think I ever mentioned the latest happenings with the bunnies. Our grand old lady, Brownie, passed away a while back. She was nine and amazed us all every day that she kept going. The Princess, the Helvetican, and I were all there with her at the last, so she was loved up to the end. She was buried between the two mates she had outlived. Her current mate, Smokey, moped around and grew very cranky. We knew he was a lonely bunny, but combining him with the remaining bonded couple didn’t seem like a good option. After all, the boys had their share of fights in the common bunny yard. We ditched both of the bunny condo cages, and gated off an otherwise useless alcove downstairs by the heater/water heater closet. I haven’t measured, but it’s a good 50 square feet or so. Plenty of room for three bunnies. It was a neutral space for all of them, no one had previous claim to it. They tussled a bit, establishing warren ranks, but only the first day. The three have lived in harmony ever since, and the two boys are best friends, while Miss Chelsea is the queen of all she surveys. So, no more lonely bunnies! It was a bit of a change for the Princess, though. It’s the first time in nine years that she didn’t have a bunny living in her bedroom. She had a hard time sleeping for a while because of the quiet.

Writing-wise, I’m working toward a magazine deadline this week, and doing programs for a local theater company production. I’m trying to scribble some fiction here and there where I can, but this may be a lost week. I should add some counters so you can see where I’m at on the books in progress. I’m also trying to clear out some nagging items-that-need-doing around the house before August 1. I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo in August, trying to put out at least 50k words. That should be fun, working around our temporary exchange student who will be here for ten days next month. More on that later.

Have a great Wednesday! Be sure to pop in Friday when the Hero Hop starts!

Ups and Downs: A new review and more car trouble

19 Jul

I’m doing a happy dance this morning. Romance Junkies gave Finding Refuge 4.5 Blue Ribbons! The reviewer called it “Beautifully written, with heart-wrenching emotions and real life problems”. Have a look:

It really helps boost my outlook on the day, given that the car died last night. Really, car? Did I need this? No, I did not. I think the biggest problem is that we took the car to the dealer when it was needing a tuneup because our usual, beloved mechanic was going to be more expensive. We’ve since taken the car back into the dealer TWICE to try to fix a problem they should have fixed the first time. The dealer didn’t end up being less expensive then, did it? I have a feeling that whatever is wrong with the car now is probably related to something the dealer did (or, likely, didn’t do), but I’m not making that mistake again. Even though the dealer might fix it for free, I’d rather pay our mechanic and know that it will finally be done right.

There are two conclusions to take away from this tale. One: A lower price when dealing with car repairs may very well come back to bite you in the backside and cost you more in time and irritation as well as cash in the long run. Two: Old proverbs exist for a reason. In this case, it’s the one about the car dealer being the worst place to get your car fixed.

Onward and upward! Keep your fingers crossed for me that the car repair won’t be horrendously expensive, okay?

Life is a whirlwind

17 Jul

Wow, I missed updating yesterday. Whoops! Life has been more full of hectic than usual the last couple of days. Sadly, nothing exciting to report, just a buzz of activity that threw my schedule off.

So…The Summer Fun Webhunt organized by Night Owl Reviews ended on Sunday. The list of winners overall is HUGE. Check it out at You’ll have to scroll down a ways to get to the list. Jomaho is the winner of my blog’s prize, a $100 Amazon Gift Card! Congrats!

Coming up…I’ll be visiting author Margery Scott’s blog tomorrow. And have a look at that handsome graphic to the right. I’ve joined A Hero’s Blog Hop that starts on the 27th, which should be great fun, with all participating sites posting about heroes. I suspect there will be some excellent eye candy posted as well. There will be lots of great prizes for this one, including gift cards, ebooks, a Kindle Fire/Nook Color, a swag pack, and more!

That’s all for now. Hope your week runs a little smoother than mine so far!

Real Life Romance

14 Jul

I did something completely spontaneous for Friday the 13th. The Helvetican finally had a day off after working eight days straight. So by mid-afternoon on Friday, I hatched a plan to jumpstart his weekend off. 

I checked out the listings for one of our favorite bed & breakfast inns, the Armstrong Mansion, and found one room available for that night. Lucky me, it was a room we’d stayed in before and enjoyed, one of the few with a king bed. A king bed is a requirement when your hubby is 6’5″. Oh, and it has an awesome, huge, jetted tub. Anyway, I hurried and booked the room, then changed into a cute summery dress, packed for the overnight stay, and snuck the bag out to the car without him noticing. I told my daughter what I was up to, then grabbed the Helvetican, and off we went.

First stop: dinner at a local Middle Eastern restaurant we hadn’t been to in a while. Mazza is soooooo yummy. We noshed on pita with labneh and hummus, potatoes Harra, baked kafta, and the signature lamb shank. Everything is so perfectly prepared and packed with flavor. I do love that place. 

Then, off for a lovely little drive through the east side of the city to a) confuse the Helvetican, and b) eventually work our way to the B&B. He had NO clue until we pulled into the lot and parked. The local power grid was off for a bit, so there were candles everywhere inside the inn. Perfect for the setting, a mansion built in 1893. We had a wonderful stay, full of romance and a really, REALLY good night’s rest, free of needy dogs and yowling cats. While I planned the evening as a refresher for my hubby, it gave me a break that I really needed, too.

Have you ever done anything fun or romantic on the spur of the moment?

Final week of the Scavenger Hunt!

9 Jul

Hi all. Just a quick reminder: We are in the final days of the Summer Web Hunt. If you haven’t finished (or started, LOL), then click on the Web Hunt banner to the right to get started. The prizes are plentiful and excellent. I’m giving away a $100 Amazon gift card! So, what are you waiting for? Get your entry in, because it all comes to an end on Sunday!

Kindle Romance Novels: Finding Refuge Hearts Redemption by Lucy Francis

8 Jul

Kindle Romance Novels: Finding Refuge Hearts Redemption by Lucy Francis.

Yes, yes, this is a shameless plug for Finding Refuge, but I also wanted to give a huge shout out to Donna Fasano for maintaining the Kindle Romance Novels website and twitter feeds. She does a lovely job spotlighting new romance novels every day and giving them a publicity push.

She’s also a best-selling author, so check out her page:

Girl Time!

6 Jul

This has really been a week for rejuvenation for me, where I’ve taken some rare time off to spend hours at a time out of my office, away from writing, away from all of my usual hats. It’s given the creative well time to refill, as well as being a great refresher for the mind, soul, and heart. Today, I added some body rejuvenation too.

I spent the afternoon today with my daughter. The Princess and I had lunch, checked out the comic book store to see if new issues were in for her fave comics, and stopped in at a new hobby store where she picked up a remote control helicopter. But before all that, we did a mother/daughter spa trip.

The spa was fantastic, the ambience serene, the decor lovely, the staff perfectly accommodating and enjoyable to chat with. We each had an hour long massage (the lime aromatherapy was heavenly), and hour long pedicures. My toenails are now deep red. The Princess went for sparkly green. Then she had her brows waxed and tinted, because they are naturally blonde and practically invisible without assistance.

Sooooo much pampering. It’s far too expensive to do very often, but it was so worth it today, when I could share the experience with my daughter. Maybe we can turn this into an annual experience!

What’s your favorite way to pamper yourself?

Happy Independence Day and Fishing

4 Jul

It’s birthday time in the U.S.! Happy Independence Day! Everyone stay safe, and be extra careful with the fireworks in dry areas.

Mirror Lake, Uinta Mountains

Now then, fishing… I spent yesterday having a day off with the Helvetican and catching fish. We drove up to Mirror Lake in the Uinta mountains, which sits at about 10,000 feet above sea level. Temperatures were perfect, with a great breeze. Such a relief after the high-90s in the valley.

Another view of Mirror Lake, looking north.

My primary fishing love is fly fishing, but given that we were fishing mid-afternoon, I went with spin casting instead. I only hooked four, though given that it was not prime fishing time, I was pretty happy with that.

The water was so clear that with the polarized lenses on my sunglasses, I could watch the fish swimming around. I had a lot of fun watching fish get all territorial and chase my lures, even though they weren’t interested in biting.

A pretty butterfly that landed near the shore where we were fishing.

A good day all around, and hey, a bad day fishing is still better than a good day doing a lot of other things. I feel refreshed and ready to write!

Going fishing, back later…

3 Jul

I’m heading up to Mirror Lake with the Helvetican for a day off and some fishing. I’ll pop back on later, maybe with photos. Take care and stay cool, everyone!