Where Everybody Knows Your Name Winner – Tammy Y

Thanks to everyone who commented! Tammy, you’ve won a copy of ‘A Brevia Beginning’ and a Starbucks GC. Please email me at michelle@michellemajor.com.

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name….by Michelle Major

I was flipping through channels recently and came across a re-run for the show ‘Cheers’ – one of my favorites from the ‘80s. It also had (IMHO) just about the best theme song, with the tagline ‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name’ and the words that begin the song still resonate today:

Making your way in the world today….Takes everything you’ve got….Taking a break from all your worries….Sure would help a lotcheers-header

It made me laugh a little to think of my own ‘grown up’ life and the places I frequent enough where people know me. They are (in no particular order):

The grocery store. Exciting, right? This is definitely where I know people the best. One of the checkers in particular is very outgoing and will sometimes keep my books at the front of the store and sell them to the customers around me as I stand in line. It’s embarrassing and sweet at the same time.

My favorite breakfast restaurant. Never underestimate the power of a good waitress – my grandpa used to request to sit in one section each time we went out to eat and now I do the same thing. I don’t eat out that often, but I could have breakfast every meal of the day and Huevos Rancheros top my list. I don’t make them at home, so they’re always worth the trip to my local morning eatery.

The breakfast burrito drive-through. A bit of a theme is emerging here. We have a local taco shop in town that my kids and I love so any time we’re out and about, this is where we stop. We’ve pulled up so much that now they recognize us.

The Indian restaurant in my neighborhood. More food – what a surprise! My hubby doesn’t appreciate Indian so whenever my girlfriend and I go out for lunch, we hit the Indian buffet. The place we like has recently started winning ‘best of’ awards in town, but despite the new crowds they always find a place for us.

The library. Last but not least! I’m not at the library as much as I used to be because of borrowing books online for my Kindle, but I’m still friends with our branch manager and like to catch up with her when I can.

This list tells you a lot about me. I like to eat and read. That pretty much sums it up.

What about you? Do you have any go-to places in your community where people ‘know your name’ or do you prefer anonymity? I’d love to hear what you have to say and will draw one name to win a copy of my June release, A Brevia Beginning, and a $10 Starbucks GC.

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I have a confession to make – Lilian Darcy

I hate shopping.

I know. I should probably be banished from womankind for this.

When I was first married, my mother-in-law, who lives to shop, flat out didn’t believe me when I said I didn’t love shopping. She thought I was just being a dutiful newly-wed trying to please my husband by not breaking the bank. It took years for me to convince her that I meant it, and then she came back with the worst possible response to give to a non-shopper like me. “Oh, I’ll take you shopping! Then you’ll love it!”

No.

The idea of trailing around a huge New Jersey mall for hours and hours with a woman who buys so many Christmas gifts each February that they are found hidden in the backs of her closets years later because she’s forgotten all about them is…

Well, just no.

My main shopping tactic is like that of a military commando squad. Go in hard and fast, hit the target, pull out and retreat to base. I have a list. I get what’s on the list. I leave.

There is one exception. Garden centers. If I’m at the garden center I suddenly turn into my mother-in-law, browsing and picking up little things I didn’t even know I wanted, spending way more than I’d intended.

Today – probably as you’re reading this – my daughter and I are off on a different kind of shopping trip. We’re horse shopping. It’s not fun at all. I may have mentioned this before. Wish us luck!

And tell me about your most favorite and least favorite kinds of shopping.

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Happy Endings…

by Olivia Miles

9780373658107I’m a sucker for a happy ending – in books, movies, and of course, in life! A good ending will stick with me long after a story as been brought to a close, and the lingering feeling can often shape the impression of the journey up to that point. As a romance writer, creating a solid HEA is an essential part of my process when I sit down to write a book, and today my editor, Susan Litman, and I are discussing the perfect ingredients for creating a happy ending on the Harlequin SOLD! blog. (Check it out here.)

To coincide with our post, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of my personal favorite happy endings:

  • You’ve Got Mail – The scene where the dog, Barkley, comes around the corner gets me every time :-)
  • Dirty Dancing – I won’t even admit how many times I have replayed that final dance sequence.
  • Crazy, Stupid, Love – Many people I know haven’t seen this great film, so I won’t give the ending away, but…it was perfect.
  • Mermaids – One of my all-time favorite movies, I love the the way the ending stayed true to the delightfully strong and quirky family dynamic.
  • Silver Linings Playbook – As if that ballroom dance scene wasn’t perfect enough, the ending not only addressed each of the carefully threaded conflicts, but the heroine finally got to kiss Bradley Cooper. (It doesn’t get better than that, folks.)

I can think of many more favorite happy endings, and many more perfect endings that were not necessarily happy. One of the things Susan and I discuss in our post is making sure the ending is as true to the essence of the characters and storyline as it can be, so a satisfying resolution can be made. In my current release, RECIPE FOR ROMANCE, I worked hard to bring all those pieces together, and to celebrate the happy ending (i.e. release!) of this book, I’m giving away a signed copy to one commenter.

So tell me, what are some of your most memorable happy endings? :)

 

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The Soundtrack of Your Life – Penney Wilfort–You are a winner!

Penney– Email me at stacyconnelly@cox.net for your gift card! Thanks to everyone for participating!

 

by Stacy Connelly

Growing up in the eighties, I was a huge Duran Duran fan, and hearing one of their songs can take me back to those pre-teen years. record

A few eighties songs even take me back to The Civil War. Crazy, right? :) Let me explain. What happened is that back in the day, I used to record songs off the radio. I had a tape that probably had no more than 30 minutes of recording time available and had only 5 or 6 songs per side, and I listened to that tape over and over as I wrote a report on The Civil War. All these years later, and Glen Frye and Tears for Fears will still make me think Abraham Lincoln. :)

Then there’s the song that played at my cousin’s wedding and other songs that immediately remind me of high school. How about you? What songs take you back to that “Time of Your Life?”

Leave a message, and I’ll draw a winner of a $10 gift card.

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Whatever Happened to Spring Break? by Judy Duarte

Whatever Happened to Spring Break?

 biker

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always looked forward to spring vacation.  As a kid, the school year really began to drag by the time March rolled around.  So having a week off was a nice way to take a breather from homework and class projects.  Just having that ten-day break allowed me to hang in there until summer.

 

As a mom, I enjoyed having some time off from the daily grind of fixing breakfast, searching for missing shoes and backpacks, while rushing everyone to the car—or the bus stop.  Boy, did that get old!  J

 Now, that my children are grown with little ones of their own, I thought it might be fun to plan a family trip to Disneyland.    spring3

 

 

 

But with everyone having a different spring break, that’s not going to work out the way I’d hoped.

 

It doesn’t seem that long ago when everyone took off the week leading up to Easter.  But, now, it seems that every school district and college operates on its own schedule.  As a result, we’ve evolved into a spring break season.

 

I suppose there is an upside.  The vacation destinations get to see a bigger sales boost over a longer amount of time, but it’s not so great for those of us who want to plan a family vacation without being subject to the higher prices.  And it also means that college students can’t all make a mad rush to places like Fort Lauderdale or Palm Springs…

 

No, Spring Break—or Easter Vacation—ain’t what it used to be.  

 

Do you have any fond memories of your spring break?  I’ll be giving away a copy of my latest book to one lucky commenter.  A HOUSE FULL OF FORTUNES! is an April release—and book 4 in the new 2014 Fortunes of Texas series.

 

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APRIL FOOLS!

funky concept illustration for april fools dayLynne Marshall here.  It’s been ages since I’ve blogged at the Special Edition Authors blog, so some of you might think I’m pulling an April Fool’s Day joke and am highjacking the site.  Nope. I really belong here.  I’ve been fortunate enough to write a book or three for the Special Edition line over the past couple of years.  I’m also very excited to say I’ll have my third SE out in July 2014.  A DOCTOR FOR KEEPS is the kick-off book for a trilogy, which I’ll talk more about as July approaches.

As for today, I want to spotlight a few of the bigger and better April Fools jokes.  According to the Museum of Hoaxes top 100 of all time, I’m sharing a sampling of the pranks: http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool/

  1. 1957: BBC news reported a bumper spaghetti crop for Swiss farmers since eradicating the dreaded spaghetti weevil.  The picture shows a family picking strings of spaghetti from a large tree.
  2. 1985: George Plimpton pulled a good one for Sports Illustrated magazine, revealing a new pitcher for the Mets who could pitch a ball at the speed of 165 miles per hour (65 miles faster than ever previously recorded).  Plimpton left clues throughout the article about the magical and elusive to professional sports pitcher.  Only the savvy readers noticed the acrostic spelling out Happy April Fool’s Day.
  3. 1996: The Taco Bell Corporation took out ads in several papers stating they had bought the Liberty Bell and were renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. (I remember this one)
  4. 1992:  National Public Radio convinced a large portion of their listeners that Richard Nixon was running for president again and his slogan would be – “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.”
  5. Burger King took out full page ads in USA Today one April 1st saying they’d created the Left Handed Whopper where “all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers.”  Before the next day when they admitted the ad was a hoax, apparently thousands of customers had asked for the new sandwich.Close up portrait of hard laughing young man. Isolated on white

The only prank I ever pulled that was of any significance (and worked) was to call our good friends, who’d recently experienced a small tornado touching down in their unlikely community – a strange phenomenon that blew through their town without doing much damage.  I changed my voice and said I was from a newspaper and wanted to interview them about their experience.  Their middle-school aged son answered the phone and gave me a great interview.  Then I asked to speak to his mother (my good friend), and could barely get the first question out without breaking into laughter.  It’s a good thing she has a great sense of humor, because she’d just sat nearby as her son earnestly told me (the fake interviewer) the whole story, including sound effects.

Pulled any good ones lately? Or had a good one pulled on you?  If not, which of the five examples I gave did you like best? Care to share? Do Tell!

 

Watch for A DOCTOR FOR KEEPS this July. No book cover to share yet :(

Her lifelong search for home…  

Desdemona Rask never knew much about her family. Now she is finally getting a chance to learn about her roots in the town of Heartlandia. For the first time, Desi feels like there’s somewhere she belongs…but there’s more to her welcome home than she expected! Her grandmother’s next-door neighbor looks like a Viking warrior, and he’s giving Desi all sorts of unwelcome feelings….

might be closer than she thinks! 

Caring for his son, Steven, is single dad Dr. Kent Larson’s first priority. But the boy’s stunning new piano teacher makes him take a second look at his to-do list. Still, he’s lost at love before—how could he risk another heart-battering? Does the doctor dare to go all in?

 

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C-Jay M wins a $10 gift card

pearls headshotC-Jay, congrats!  You won on my What I Love Most About Writing Romance blog.  Email me at christine@christinerimmer.com or message me on Facebook to collect your gift card.

Thanks everyone for the visit!  XOXO!

Christine Rimmer

 

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Rita Day – Lilian Darcy

Among romance writers, there’s always a huge skirmish of excitement around this time of year, because it’s when the finalists are announced for the Romance Writers of America Rita Award for published romance novels, and the Golden Heart awards for unpublished manuscripts.

Last year, Special Edition had a fabulous showing on the finalists lists. This year I couldn’t see that we had anyone, but that’s the way it goes. There are so many great books, just one judge giving one point less for one of the four scoring criteria can make the difference between finalling and not.

Since we *don’t* have any finalists to celebrate this year, I thought instead I’d give a sneak peek into the behind-the-scenes of the Rita process as it unfolds each year.

Step One - The board of Romance Writers of America changes the contest.

This step is pretty much as inevitable as the blooming of crocuses in spring (although maybe that’s not happening this year…) They add a category.They tweak the scoring system. They remove a category. This is always contentious, but it’s also done for good reasons. With the romance publishing industry constantly evolving, the contest would become stale and irrelevant if it didn’t evolve, too. The big changes for this year were that self-published titles were permitted into the contest for the first time, and that any book that scored over 90% of possible points would earn a place on the finalist list.

Step Two – Writers enter the contest

Bit of angst here, usually. Is it worth entering “Book X” or is that one too out there for the judges? Since they’ve changed the categories, where does “Book Y” fit now?

Step Three – Everyone judges the preliminary rounds

With each book being read by five judges, and the contest now accepting up to 2,000 entries, almost all writers who enter the contest also judge it – although for obvious reasons the contest organizers try to avoid having them judge in the same category in which they’re entered.

I love judging the Ritas. Receiving that package of books in the mail in early January is like having a second Christmas. You never know what you’re going to get, and you really can’t judge a book by its cover. This year, the one whose cover made my heart sink as I thought, “Uh-oh, I’m going to hate this one…” turned out to be my favorite. I gave it a high score, and was thrilled to see it on the finalists list.

And, no, I’m not going to tell you which book it was. The judging is confidential, and I wouldn’t dream of breaching that.

Step Four – Squeeeeee!

This, of course, is the bit that’s just happened. Every entrant in both the Ritas and the Golden Hearts is on edge on Rita Day, waiting for a possible phone call. In Australia, it’s tough because with the time difference you never know when it might come in. As a five-time Rita finalist, I’ve had calls on Sunday morning, Monday morning, Monday afternoon, Thursday night, Saturday morning…

But nothing this year. I went to bed last night still thinking, “Maybe…” and woke this morning to rush to the computer to check the list, knowing by now that I wouldn’t be on it but wondering which of my friends I’d be excited for.

Well, there are quite a few. In no particular order, Frances Housden for her Scottish historical, The Chieftain’s Curse. Frances has had more than a few ups and downs in her career, and it’s so exciting to see her receiving this accolade. Then there’s Megan Crane, a good friend, who is in the Short Contemporary Romance category under her other writing name, Caitlin Crews, for A Royal Without Rules. There’s another good friend, Anne Gracie, with The Autumn Bride. If you love historicals with both heart and humor and you haven’t read Anne’s books, then you really should. She is fabulous. Finally, there’s Jane Porter in Best Romance Novella for Take Me, Cowboy. Jane started a publishing company last year and this is the first of, I’m sure, many Montana Born Books to make the Rita cut.

Step Five – Final Rounds are Judged

(whoops, this is getting long!)

The organizers select five judges for each category, and the ones judging Contemporary Romance this year are in for a) a treat, in having 18 great books to read and b) a challenge, in having 18 great books to rank in order of preference. I don’t know if those judges have been chosen yet. If not, I don’t know whether to hope I’m one of them.

Step Six – Rita Night

The RWA National Conference is in San Antonio this year, running from July 23 to July 26 at the Marriott Riverwalk hotels. The Rita Award Ceremony on July 26 is a glamorous occasion and a great night, however it’s only open to registered conference attendees. (So, you know, the lavish dessert buffet… sorry.)

But if you’re anywhere near San Antonio on July 23, come along to the”Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter Hotel in the 3rd floor ballroom. There, you can meet all your favorite authors and buy signed copies of their books, including most of the Rita finalists. All money raised goes to support literacy organizations. Last year, the event raised over $50,000 during that frenzied two hours.

Any chance you’ll be there? Drop us a line in the comments and let us know, and then come visit with us – we’ll be arranged in alphabetical order. We’d love to see you!

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Iconic Movie Lines – Christina Helin Wins!

Christina–Email me at stacyconnelly@cox.net with your email address for your $10 gift card! Thanks to everyone for participating!

 

by Stacy Connelly

I was thinking about iconic movie lines the other day. You know the kind of line that is now a part of pop culture and perhaps even part of Americana. Sometimes it seems like a truly famous line can become bigger than the movie itself.movie tickets

For me, the most memorable lines are from movies I saw as a child or teenager. I don’t know if it’s because the movies were better then (a real possibility, in my opinion) or just that they meant more to me in those younger days.

Either way, I’ve compiled a list that’s mostly off the top of my head (so forgive any paraphrasing) of some favorite movie lines. The first few are oldies but goodies with a nod to my mom’s favorite. :) Can you guess the movies? Or do you have any lines you’d like to add?

1. Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

2. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she had to walk into mine.

3. There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home.

4. Mirror, mirror on the wall… Who’s the fairest of them all?

5. We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

6. Luke, I am your father.

7. Nobody puts baby in a corner.

8. Go to the light, CarolAnn!

9. Are you crying? There’s no crying in baseball!

10. Stay alive! Stay alive no matter what, and I will find you.

Leave a post, and I’ll draw a winner for a gift card.

Posted in Books, Giveaways, Great Escapes, Life's Little Pleasures, Movies, Special Edition series | Tagged | 34 Comments