You may have noticed I’ve been relatively absent from social media and certainly absent from my blog. Or maybe you haven’t. No biggie.
Where have I been?
Mourning the loss of my mom. Much of my summer I was helping my stepdad and sister in caring for her as cancer robbed her of so much. On August 23rd, it robbed her and us of her life.
I was blessed to be very close to my mom. I know not all people are so fortunate. It’s made this all the much harder. I intentionally took the first month after her death to mourn. That month is now leaching into the next, but I can’t seem to keep the author hat on for any great length of time – the winds of grief blow it off when I’m least expecting it.
Thank you to all who’ve stuck with me and continue to stick with me. I’m determined to write for National Novel Writing Month in November. Whatever I produce may not be anything worth salvaging, but I *am* going to write.
Now the question: What?
Which would you rather read:
Sophie Mattersley‘s story, the fourth in the Magic of Love series, tentatively titled A Delicate Matter? Sophie was a rather surprise character in A Scandalous Matter. A number of you have asked for more about her – which of course makes me happy!
Or The Legendary Duke, the second in the Put Up Your Dukes series, featuring Gavin Knight, the Duke of Cortleon? He got about one sentence in The Demon Duke, but he’s familiar to several of that tale’s characters. His own story takes its inspiration from Gawain and the Green Knight. (And for fellow Merlin fans, yes, you’ll recognize Gwaine/Eoin Macken above, who’s serving as physical inspiration for Gavin!)
How many books do you read over the average summer? Could you read 80? Because that’s how many ebooks one lucky winner will walk away with in the Books at the Beach Giveaway, including the latest titles from Nora Roberts, Catherine Bybee, Debbie Macomber, and Gena Showalter, plus dozens more. You could also win one of two runner-up $25 Amazon gift cards.
Books at the Beach Giveaway & Book Fair – June 19-30
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Alina K. Field • Allyson Lindt • Amy L Gale • Anna Durand • Astrid Arditi • Barbara Lohe • Beverley Oakley • Bianca D’Arc • C. A. King • C.E. Wilson • Carmen Fox • Casi McLean • Catherine Kean • Chloe Flowers • Christa Paige • Constance Phillips • Cynthia Clement • Danica Favorite • Debbie White • Denise Jaden • Dianne Venetta • Elizabeth Rose • Gayle Parness • Helen Scott • Jacqueline Diamond • Jina Bacarr • Josie Riviera • Judith Keim • Karen • Michelle Nutt • Katherine Lowry Logan • Kris Michaels • Kristina Knight • Kristy Tate • Margaret Locke • Mari Carr • Naomi Bellina • PG Forte • Quinn • Raine English • Regan Walker • Sheila Seabrook • Shelique Lize • Soraya Naomi • Stacy Gold • Stella Marie Alden • Stephanie Julian • Stephanie Queen • Sydney Aaliyah Michelle • Sylvia Hubbard • Tamara Ferguson • Tena Stetler • Traci Douglass • Vicki Crum
My favorite numbers are 37 and 17 (in that order). I have no idea why; they just always have been, and they regularly pop up in my life.
In the spring of 1995, in celebration of college graduation, my U of Iowa roomies and I embarked on a crazy day trip to Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland – a whirlwind 28 hour experience I’ll never forget.
The first thing I noticed upon arrival? The address: 3717 Elvis Presley Boulevard.
I shrieked like a madwoman.
Later I learned that was merely the tourist area’s address; Graceland’s actual house number is 3764. Still, it was a sign.
That fall, I moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, to pursue doctoral studies in medieval history at UVA.
To escape the stresses of academic life, I taught myself HTML (it was pretty new then) and created a website, Elvis Lives In Evil Levis, dedicated to my obsession of the time: Mr. Presley. (The link takes you to a version archived by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine – for which I’m grateful, since the original, though tidier looking, is long gone. Click on the “My Trip” link at the bottom to read all about my Graceland adventures.)
That website introduced me to my husband.
He found it, emailed me, we started chatting all things Elvis, then discovered we were both grad students at the same university. (Given my site had fans all over the world contacting me, I consider this a miracle.) We met up. We kept meeting up.
Elvis brought us together.
Twenty years later, we’re still going strong. Which brings me to my second example:
For Christmas 1996, my mom gave me a numerology book, her way of gently teasing me about my weird numbers thing.
Well, imagine ALL of our surprise when I calculated the numbers for my then-friend/soon-to-be-boyfriend/now-husband’s name: his first name added up to 17, and his whole name to 37. I kid you not.
I knew right then he was the one.
Why the heck do I post about this today? Because it’s March 7th, 2017 – or, in shortened American style, 3/7/17. My two favorite numbers, side by side. It will never happen again in my life time!
I feel as if I ought to play the lottery. Or that Colin Morgan should show up for a visit.
Welcome to Writer Wednesday, that one marvelous day of the week on which you get to indulge in mini-interviews with authors and learn about them and their latest work.
Today I’m happy to bring you Teresa LaBella, author of contemporary romance and the New Life In Love trilogy. Teresa resides in my home state of Iowa, so a special shout-out from one former midwesterner to another!
Grab your favorite libation and settle in for this short but delightful interview with Teresa as she talks writing and her latest book, Belonging.
What inspires you to write?
Reading well-crafted stories written by other authors inspires me to keep writing. I’m always amazed at the power of the written word to open our imagination, take us to places we may never have been or will be, and care so deeply about the fictional characters that their story stays with us until and after we turn the last page. I write with the goal of taking my readers to that place of wonderment with the characters I imagine.
Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book:
There’s a scene in Belonging where Marisa watches her husband Alistair dress in his formal Clan McKenzie kilt. I researched the historical significance of the tartan and function of each kilt accessory – the sporran pouch, the flashes that hold up the kilt hose, and the sheathed sgian dubh once used for cutting food as well as self-defense. Then I asked my husband to put on his kilt for me as Alistair did for Marisa for a wee bit of authentic show and tell research!
What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?
I just finished reading my favorite romance novel of all time and what could be the best book I’ll ever read. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover literally changed my formerly biased attitude toward women and men suffering the physical, emotional and psychological pain inflicted by domestic abuse. This first-person account of an intimate taboo is powerful storytelling at its best about a loving relationship at its worst.
When Marisa’s certain path to her future ends, the struggle to recover from heartbreak begins.
The daughter of Darien McKenna admires and adores her Michelin star chef father. Lessons learned at his side earn her acceptance into a prestigious school of culinary arts and an apprenticeship at the upscale mid-town Manhattan kitchen Chef Darien once commanded. Pressure to succeed in a high-stress career crushes her confidence. Devastating loss shatters her world.
Marisa’s search to find a new path leads to the land of the McKenna Clan and the arms of a heart-stopping handsome, yet lonely man. Alistair McKenzie traded his barrister career and life in Glasgow to preserve family history and honor on a farm in the Scottish Highlands. He’s tired of wearing his kilt to weddings and lifting a glass to another happy bride and groom. He yearns for everlasting love with the lass who will be his wife. Smoldering attraction and ignited passion bring them together.
Have Marisa and Alistair found forever love in their desired place of “Belonging?”
Teresa LaBella published her first contemporary romance novel, Reservations, in 2013. The story continued in Heartland published in 2015 and concludes with Belonging, the final novel in the New Life in Love trilogy, published in October 2016. A freelance writer and consultant, the Iowa native resides in her hometown with her husband John and three rescued Husky kids.
Want to connect further with Teresa? Find her here: