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Best Friends #MFRWAuthor

Sometimes in my blog posts I write for both of us. This week for the MFRW Blog Challenge I’m writing as the female half of Adriana. I’m actually married to my best friend, and he and I write romance together – but today I want to talk about the role of women’s friendships in my life and in our fiction.

Wherever we’ve lived, I’ve gathered or been gathered into groups of women. To be fully known, understood, received and supported by these women has been a lifeline for me. By now some of those friendships go back decades—and even though distance separates us, we gather periodically and are always able to pick up where we’ve left off. I cannot begin to describe how powerful I find this.

When we write a leading female character (we’ve never done a book without one!), we almost always give her a friend, a group, a support system. Their role in our character’s life is the same as it has been in mine. Sometimes they hold up a mirror, alerting the character to what she’s not seeing. Sometimes they challenge assumptions or push the character to take that next courageous step. Sometimes they just offer hugs and solace for a flood of tears and sobs. And when we write a character who’s missing such a friendship, its absence is palpable. Learning to trust and open up in relationship becomes central to that character’s growth through the novel.

Of all our fictional characters, Cassie Travers (Cassie’s Hope) and Traci Steele (Detour Ahead) from our Riders Up series most deeply reflect this level friendship. In this excerpt from Detour Ahead, Traci has fled from Scott because she’s convinced she can never meet his needs. Holed up in her Chicago apartment, she’s miserable and defeated.

EXCERPT

A week later, Traci’s apartment buzzer rang incessantly.

“Shit,” Traci muttered, dragging herself up out of bed. She punched the intercom button. “Who is it?” she demanded.

“It’s me. Is your answering machine off?”

“No, Cassie, it’s not off.” She pressed the button to let her friend in the downstairs lobby and then waited for the knock.

It was a bang, actually. Traci opened the door and Cassie Travers stormed in. Traci knew she’d made a tactical error by not returning the redhead’s calls.

“What are you doing holed up here like some recluse? You can’t move on by shutting out your friends.” Cassie pulled herself to her full height and pointed at Traci. “Look at you. You look worse than you did when you first got back from California. So what do you have to say for yourself?”

Traci pulled her robe tighter around her body. She didn’t want to argue with Cassie. She didn’t have the energy. “Do you want some tea?”

Cassie slapped her own head with her palm. “What do I have to do to get through to you?” She sighed and pulled off her jacket. “Okay, I’ll have some tea with you. Along with some toast and jam. And orange juice, if you have any. At least maybe I can make sure you eat something.”

 

Yes. Friendship that knows when to challenge, confront, insist that we reach inside ourselves and put one foot in front of the other. Here’s to the women in my life who have been there for me. They live in our books.

 

Cassie’s Hope

Riders Up, Book One

High stakes, a fiery Irish redhead, her stunning racehorse, and a fiercely loyal rancher

 

 

 

 

 

Detour Ahead

Riders Up, Book Four

Threatened race horses, city slicker attorney, sexy California wrangler—what can possibly go wrong?

 

 

 

Click on the links to find out about other authors’ best friends!

 

 

#%&*@ Typos! #MFRWAuthor

Welcome to the MFRW Weekly Blog Challenge! This week’s topic is “Sorry, Editor: My Common Writing Mistakes.”

I like to think hubs and I are pretty good at submitting clean manuscripts, so this is a hard one to fess up to, but here goes!

When we first decided to try our hand at fiction after having done some academic writing together, we were fortunate to find the Romance Writers of America and join our local chapter. It wasn’t long before the chapter offered a day-long romance writing workshop facilitated by Jennifer Crusie, which was an eye opener for us. We had a steep learning curve ahead!

One of the invaluable things she spoke about, however, was what she called the “Don’t Look Down” draft. You know the moment – when Wile E. Coyote runs off the cliff, he doesn’t start to fall until he looks down and realizes the earth is no longer under his ninety-mile-an-hour feet.

The point is that when the muse is flowing and the characters are talking is NOT the moment to get all bungled up in grammar, spelling, commas, and proper English. Get the ideas down, however rough. Go with the flow. Don’t look down. Go until it stops…

And Then: Take a deep breath, face what’s on the page, and edit it mercilessly.

Which we do. But I’m here to tell you that even with two of us (plus a couple beta readers) passing a manuscript back and forth what seems like countless times, there are typos that still pop up when it gets to our editor.

That’s because our brains are a marvelous invention – in their mad dash to bring us meaning out of what we read, our brains readily supply what ought to be there, instead of what’s actually on the page.

So our apologies to our editors, who have to weed the typos out and fix them. Sadly, it’s not even a learning experience. If I make a grammar mistake and someone teaches me the correct solution, I can learn that and apply it in the future. But typos? #%&*@ Typos? Random events, it feels like, twice over: randomly hitting the page, and randomly being missed by several pairs of eyes.

Tedious work, but worth it in the end. Thank you, editors!

Be sure to click to travel for more confessions…

 

“TV” and “Binge” – hardly ever! #MFRWAuthor

Welcome to week three of the #MFRW blog challenge!

This week’s topic is “TV Shows I binge.” Be sure to click on the links to other authors at the bottom of today’s post!

TV bingeing? Not a habit either of us ever developed. We have so many interests, if there’s open time, we’re much more likely to head outdoors, go dancing, take a road trip, ride our bikes, or do something else active. But I will confess to a (very few) TV vices, mostly carried out in the late afternoon or evening.

Downton Abbey – an all-time fave, for both of us. We now own season One (which we missed when it came out) and will probably purchase season Two, only part of which we caught. After that we never missed an episode (made easier by our “genie” which recorded them all if we couldn’t be there on a Sunday night). And yes, we do re-watch them on occasion. Miss those people, keep wondering how they’re doing, which is probably related to why we also keep expecting to run into characters we’ve written. Fiction takes on a life of its own at our house.

The Big Bang Theory – who doesn’t love Sheldon Cooper? He has a special spot in my heart because he’s my dad, to a T. Total science nerd, brilliant, socially inept, endearing. Since both hubs and I are trained as social scientists, we also wonder how many people actually understand some of the research terms Amy and Sheldon throw at each other. We loved the A B A design of their experiment in living together, for example – who in our fiction world gets that? Maybe we should write a science nerd hero, though anthropologist Matt Bayfield from our romantic suspense The Unmasking is close. We also think Amy and Sheldon have helped mainstream the spicy side of what we write, with their spanking jokes and her marvelous schoolgirl outfit.

I do have to add sports, though hardly ever at binge level. A Wisconsin boy, Hubs is a Green Bay Packer fan, and we never miss a game if we can help it. We’ll be rooting for them this Sunday in yet another do or die scenario – only two more games to Run the Table, as Aaron Rodgers promised! Both of us spent our college years in the ACC conference, so March Madness is always on the docket. We followed Michael Jordan when he played for UNC (my arch-rival, but recent years have been pay-back time). And baseball – hubs lived 3 blocks from Wrigley Field when we got together, so you can bet we were thrilled when our cubbies FINALLY brought home the World Series pennant last fall! Professional golf rounds out our sports selections, something we not only follow on TV but also have attended in person. We already have tickets to the US Open in Wisconsin next summer, when it turns out we’ll be traveling in the Midwest. Of all the sports we watch, it’s the only one in which we also participate (well, hubs golfs, I’m just starting lessons).

And that’s pretty much it! But we will confess to a twenty-four hour binge in our (somewhat) recent past.

Do you remember all the hoopla about Y2K? Without planning to, we happened to tune in to Peter Jennings and the ABC network’s 24 hour coverage of the 1999-2000 midnight hour across the globe. We dropped in on it not long after Y2K crossed the international dateline, and watched in fascination as fireworks went off over Sydney harbor. Hubs and I and our college age son stayed up for the next 24 hours and watched the entire unfolding drama of nothing terrible happening, along with rich coverage of so many foreign cultures. Loved it.

Be sure to click on the links to check out everyone else’s TV binge vices!

 
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