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Everybody needs a little romance–and a transition

In August, my husband of 30 years surprised me.  He’s this Type A, Rock of Gibraltar personality who’d been at the same job for 25 years.  He’d been talking retirement and I’d been slightly panicking.  Having a husband home all the time would take some getting used to.

He talked about April 2013, and that gave me some time to prepare.  In my heart of hearts, I didn’t think he’d actually do it.   Although he’s been at the same job for 25 years, we’re still relatively young and this economy had us both worried.

But the main reason I didn’t want him home all the time was a selfish one. I’m a writer.  During daylight hours, the house is mine.

Most writers don’t sit in a chair, where inspiration flows into their fingertips.  When I want to brainstorm, or I get stuck, I jump up from the chair, pick up the phone, and call someone like blog partner Cynthia D’Alba.  I literally take up the first floor of my house to do this.  I walk out of my office, into the den, walk through the kitchen, into the living room then traverse that same area again and again until I get a plot point figured out.

That’s such a freeing process for me.  And that process didn’t include walking out of my office, to find a man on the couch with the television blaring, wondering, what in the heck is she doing?

Even so, I had plenty of time to prepare, right?  He’d said April 2013.  My budget-minded husband studied his Excel spreadsheets with a specific dollar amount in mind and he was like the proverbial racehorse winding down for the homestretch.

Wrong.  I forgot to calculate into all his preparedness the amount of stress he was under.  In August, when I was at RWA National, he out-and-out quit his job.  The stress he’d just released fell onto my shoulders in a big, thick thud!

There’s a happily ever after to this story—he’s well-respected at work and his bosses wouldn’t accept his resignation.  They offered him a sabbatical and a new position when he returns in January.  It’s also given us a chance to layout some guidelines for when both of us are home full time.  I explained my crazy little writing process and he laughed. The last place he planned to be after 25 years was sitting on a couch and watching TV.

He obviously meant it.  So far, he’s gone to Arizona to hike the Grand Canyon, climbed Pikes Peak, he went elk hunting with buddies; every morning he gets up and either runs or bicycles for a good part of the day.

In a week, after hiring a house sitter, we’re heading to Fort Worth to see our son and his new wife, and then to Las Cruces for a couple of weeks.

I think I might actually be sad when he has to go back to work in January.  I’m blessed I guess to have a man who appreciates that I take up a lot of room as a writer 😉 And I admit it’s been rather fun having him home as he’s not underfoot all the time.  Guess along with everybody needing a little romance—everybody now and then needs a transition.

What do you think?  Ever reached a point where you’ve said enough is enough?

Happy Friday, all.


The Cover Art Form

For the non-writers out there, the cover art form is the thing we fill out, describing what kind of cover we’d like. FULL DISCLOSURE: I’d say 90% of the time, authors don’t get anything remotely like what they picked out. Them’s the brakes, part of the business.
Me though? My publisher is pretty freaking FANTASTIC in that she really looks at my art form, takes into consideration of why I want something and often delivers on it!
The reason Cover Art Forms is on my mind is because I’m filling one out for a 2013 book. I thought I’d poll yall for what you liked.
Head? No head?
Back? Chest?
Cartoon-like? Real people?
Gun and a blood pile? Stack of flowers?
What is it about a cover that catches your attention—and just as important, what turns you off?
Colors you like best?
There are SO MANY options to add on the art form, it’s pretty crazy. My 2013 book is a Mystery Romance. It’s southern. There’s fun parts, but there’s also some dark sections too. What do you think? I have an image I adore at the moment and unless I find something else that screams Taken By Trouble, that’s the image I’ll be sending to my publisher.
If you think I’ll spill the details on the picture I have picked out, you’re crazy. I want to know what YOU like!

Blatant Promo Be Gone

So here’s the deal. It’s very late, I’m just home from a ball game, and I JUST remembered today is my day. (Obvioiusly I’m writing this on Tuesday night…and don’t even ask about the crazy late baseball All-star games!) So forgive me if this seems not quite as polished, but here I go anyway.

I’m tired of promo. There. I said it.

I’m tired of trying to find ways to slip my book into an online conversation. I’m tired of trying to be witty on Twitter and butting my big nose into someone elses’ conversation (and being ignored). I’m tired of posting links to my books, give aways, etc on FB. And I’m really, really tired of everytime I check my email, having someone ask me to an online book launch…or to comment on their blog….or to like their page. I know, I know. We all do it. But, by jimney, I don’t have to like it. But here’s the ol’ rub…I feel like if I don’t spend X amount of time online hawking, participating, and, yes, even blogging that I won’t be doing my job. And, really, is that my job?

I guess it is, but I sure as H-E-double hockey sticks never wanted it.

I wanted to be a writer.


Not a publicist. Not a cover designer. An editor. A marketing executive. A bookmark maker. A clever, witty online personality who leads the multitudes to her fabulous, witty Southern romance books.

I mean, really? Really?

After reading a post on Dear Author about authors correcting their work to suit readers, giving apologies, explaining themselves, I wonder…has it really come to this?

Natalie’s post and the responses yesterday really made me think about the world we live in and the consumers we try to seduce with our words. We live in a please-me-now society that doesn’t really value art in many forms. Gone is the appreciation of the aesthetics in favor of the cheapest, give-it-to-me fast music, books and television. No one wants to wait for anything. The public wants it yesterday. And there’s something to be said for having to sell your work so hard and have it valued so little. Have we come to whoring ourselves out to readers, asking for their approval, changing our books to suit them? If so, I want no part of it. I’m not a whore. I’m a writer. I’m not begging people to read my work. I’m happy if they do, but I’m not going to go on every social media known to man and sell myself. It takes too much out of me for such little result.

I’d like to enjoy blogging because I get to connect with cool people…not just so I can sell them my books, but so I can learn from them and share in their world. I want to go on Twitter to learn the scores on my favorite teams, to enjoy the comraderie of being with other writers, to spy on movies stars. I want to go on Facebook and communicate with my old high school friends, and, sure, share information about what’s going on in my life, including my books. But I don’t want to guilt them into buying them, make them uncomfortable about me being an author.

Somehow, sometime, I have to draw the line. I have to do the job I set out to do…you know, writing.

I’ve treasured the communities I’m in, but more and more, I feel the pressure to claw my way to the top by constantly tweeting about my books, my writing, my covers and anything else that might help me make yet another sale. For those of you who bought my book(s), I thank you. I really, sincerely appreciate your support. But I don’t want my presence online to be defined by how many books I can sell to the people reading my posts or tweets because I’m pretty sure my time would be better served by reading good books and doing my best to write the same.

What about you? If you’re a writer, do you feel like you are plugging up cracks in the vase of promotion. If you’re a reader, what suggestions do you have for writers looking to climb out of the enormous mountain of books offered?


I’m not talking about book proposals or anything like that. I’m referring to real proposals of the will-you-marry-me kind.  A friend of mine just became engaged. I’m so happy for her. She’s giddy, planning her wedding, and hopelessly in love. This made me reminisce about my own proposal and the whirlwind months that followed. So I thought since this is a blog about romance, and June, and wedding season, is coming up fast, I’d love if you’d share your proposal with all of us. It could be a funny proposal or a romantic proposal. Did your then boyfriend hire a skywriter or was it spur of the moment?

I’d also love to hear about the sweetest, most romantic or most unusual proposal you’ve ever heard of.

It’s only fair I’ll start with mine. ; )

It was March 31st, a Thursday if I remember correctly, and I had a killer headache, but I’d made plans with my boyfriend to go on a walk. To be fair, I had a feeling something was up because he’d seemed out of breath for a few days. ; ) He asked if I’d rather go on a drive to not aggravate the headache, which was getting better. Then he said he wanted to take me somewhere that was a surprise. I agreed to be blindfolded and he drove in what seemed like circles…or squares as the city blocks allowed. Once we stopped, he led me out of the car and sat me down. When he took my blindfold off, I was sitting at a tiny bistro table with a candle and a piece of cheesecake, and he was down on one knee with a ring box in his hand. He’d led me to the school soccer field where we first met and fell in love. (he was my daughter’s coach)  I honestly can’t remember what he said before “Will you marry me?” but I do remember saying “You bet!” and thinking I’ve waited for this for what seems like my whole life and I didn’t say, “Yes.”

I found out later that he’d gone to the principle of the school to get special permission to propose to me there. The teachers, custodians and office staff were all in the loop. The next day they all asked to see the ring and congratulated me.

I still don’t know what the cheesecake was for….

But I can’t pass by that field without smiling.

Okay, it’s your turn. Tell us your story, or a story.

Welcome DiAnn Mills

Hi Everybody! Please welcome our guest, DiAnn Mills! Julie reviewed DiAnn’s recent book and gave 4 1/2 Hearts. “It was filled with twists, turns, and jabs that you won’t be expecting”….read more And here’s DiAnn!

Romancing the Prince

Fairy tales about a beautiful princess finding her perfect prince fill women of all ages with sweet satisfaction. We all want happily ever after lives with our princes, even when they lose their hair and their middles get rounder. Of course, at the same time, we women maintain the freshness and vitality of our youth.

But do you remember what it was like to experience first love, the innocence of looking into the eyes of a prince who at that moment was our knight in shining armor? I think the guys get shortchanged. They have to suffer the prospect of rejection while wooing the girl of their heart. They can’t use the tools we women have: hair color and makeup, for starters. Instead they have to take what’s been given to them—plus a white horse (or car or truck)—and a fistful of courage. I feel sorry for them!

My granddaughter, who is five, told me about an incident at her preschool. She is in a class of children who missed kindergarten due to late summer and early fall birthdays. They are all fast friends. One day at lunch, my granddaughter saw one of the little boys sitting by himself.
“And he had big tears running down his cheeks, Mimi,” she said. “He was so upset he couldn’t eat his lunch.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because he was sitting alone. When we sat down, none of us noticed that he wasn’t with us.” Her blue eyes widened, and she nodded. “I made him feel better.”
“So what did you do?”
“I got everybody to go over and give him a group hug. We told him we were sorry that he ended up sitting alone.”
“How very nice of you,” I told her. I was so proud of her.
“I promised him he’d never be left out again,” she said.

Shedding a few tears of my own, I thought on what she had said. For a brief moment, no doubt she had become this little guy’s princess.

Which got me to thinking. In our stories and in real life, most of the time it’s all about the princess, what she wants, what she needs. Maybe it’s time as women we think about flipping the coin, about romancing our princes. Make them feel special for the sacrifices they make. After all, (most of) the men in our lives are devoted to helping us, to making us happy, to solving our problems. To them, this is romance. The bottom line: Everybody needs a little romance. It just could be, that by focusing on our guys’ happiness, we might inspire them to respond to us more with the kinds of gestures we consider romantic

Have you ever turned the tables on your prince and been rewarded in return? If so, tell us about it!

Keri here again. DiAnn, since this is Everybody Needs A Little Romance, what’s your idea of romance?

DiAnn: My idea of romance is when my husband surprises me with flowers or a special gift or tickets to see something he knows I’ll enjoy. That shows me he cares. We all have a love language, and mine is unexpected gifts that take thought.

Keri: sounds wonderful!
For more on DiAnn, check out these links!
Her Website

And don’t forget to look at her release,The Chase

Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BAM | IndieBound | ChristianBook.com | Lifeway | Mardel | Parable

Sunrise, Sunset. . .

One of my favorite musicals is FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.  Who isn’t moved by tradition, and the scary proposition of marrying the wrong man or woman?  I saw that musical in college and the music and lyrics spoke to me then.  MATCHMAKER, MATCHMAKER, TRADITION…

These days the lyrics still speak to me, but now up close and personal, they encircle my heart.  In a little over a month, tradition, matchmaking and a wedding will enhance our lives.

 My son is getting married to the love of his life.  These two have dated since their freshmen year in college, and as my son’s fiancee will tell you, she knew he was the one from the moment they met–six years ago.

But although my son probably doesn’t know the words to MATCHMAKER, (ha! he’s probably never even heard of it), he’s not the type to rush into anything.

So much like his daddy, he’s a planner.  So when he says “I do,” I’m pretty confident that, well, he really does.

Still, the mom in me can’t help but reminisce, and at the same time think of a song from FIDDLER ON THE ROOF that makes me choke up just a little.

Maybe you’ve heard the words …

 Is this the little girl I carried, is this  the little boy at play?  I don’t remember growing older.  When did they?  Sunrise, Sunset.  Sunrise, Sunset . . .Swiftly fly the years.  One season following another laiden with happiness and tears . . .

Romance is abundant in the Bell household these days.  My heartfelt wish is that all of you celebrate such glorious Sunrises & Sunsets.

The Chase by DiAnn Mills

Book Description:

To the FBI it’s a cold case. To Kariss Walker it’s a hot idea that could either reshape or ruin her writing career. And it’s a burning mission to revisit an event she can never forget.

Five years ago, an unidentified little girl was found starved to death in the woods behind a Houston apartment complex. A TV news anchor at the time, Kariss reported on the terrifying case. Today, as a New York Times bestselling author, Kariss intends to turn the unsolved mystery into a suspense novel.

Enlisting the help of FBI Special Agent Tigo Harris, Kariss succeeds in getting the case reopened. But the search for the dead girl’s missing mother yields a discovery that plunges the partners into a witch’s brew of danger. The old crime lives on in more ways than either of them could ever imagine. Will Kariss’s pursuit of her dream as a writer carry a deadly price tag?

Drawing from a real-life cold case, bestselling novelist DiAnn Mills presents a taut collage of suspense, faith, and romance in The Chase.


First of all, I’d like to say I’m sorry.  Oh, I could tell you so much about this book because I liked it so much I could just ramble on and on.   My fear is that if I ramble on and on like I would like to do I would fill this review with spoilers, and I don’t want to do that.  This is a book that you really need to read without spoilers.

If you’ve read my reviews before then you are well aware of the fact that I like to figure the mystery out before the author spells it out for me, and this book was no different.  It was filled with twists, turns, and jabs that you won’t be expecting.  The Chase will have such a handle on you that you will dream about it until you are able to pick it up again.  I kid you not!!

One thing that isn’t really about the storyline, but about the book itself that I liked is the cover.  I loved how they put a photo of Tigo and Kariss on the cover, because I really think that is why I dreamt about their story and why I wanted to pick it up every chance I got.

I really hope you check this one out.  It is great!!  Like I said earlier, I’m sorry, I feel like I’m not reviewing this one much, but for fear of telling you too much I really think I should end here.

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