Romance author Cate Tayler was supposed to be my #WriterWednesday guest for last week, but, well, uh, my website had a meltdown. I’m so sorry, Cate – thank you and everyone for y’all’s patience!
But what better way to liven up your Memorial Day weekend than by bringing you an author of “sassy & sultry romance”?
So without further ado (meaning babbling from me), here’s a bit about Cate and her new novel, Love Me Now!
What inspires you to write?
Much of my inspiration comes from music, believe it or not. I hear a song, or even just partial lyrics, and it will trigger an entire story in me. What that story ends up looking like when all has been written, revised, and rewritten is normally different from what I started with. But it all begins with a lyric or two that resonates with me.
Which type of romance do you love most, and why?
Contemporary appeals to me most. I like to be able to relate to the stories I read, especially if they are set in a location I know well. Favorite tropes of mine are secret baby (but only when the baby is a secret for a good reason, not just because mom is being stupid), fake fiancé/fiancée, and enemies to lovers. But really, any romance that breaks my heart and puts it back together again by the end is at the top of my list.
Name two things people don’t know about you:
This is a tough one, because I think I’m pretty much an open book. But, the majority of people outside my family probably don’t know that I once wanted to be an astronaut, and read the entire official Space Shuttle Manual cover-to-cover in preparation. I was devastated when they retired the shuttles. There went my dream of being accidentally launched into space a la Space Camp, and piloting the shuttle home!
Another thing most people might not know about me is that I have a degree in German, and while I sometimes dream in Deutsch, it’s been so long since I’ve used it, I’ve forgotten most of it.
What fellow romance author do you recommend reading, and why?
Just one? Really? Okay, then I’d have to say Kristan Higgins, because she writes in such a way, you’re crying on one page and laughing your butt off the next. No, wait… I change my mind. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, because she manages to create complex characters whom you can’t help but love and cheer for, even when they’ve done despicable things. On second thought, I’d have to say Lauren Layne, because she writes a perfect balance of sexy and sweet.
[ML says: I see what you did there, Cate. Well done.]
A sassy good girl. A rebellious billionaire. A pretend proposal. What could possibly go wrong?
Calista Markatos is failing miserably at saving her family’s Greek diner. Without a miracle, her parents will lose everything. And it’s all the fault of a land developer whose big ideas are destroying her family’s livelihood.
Driven by guilt over his brother’s death, Miles Gardner plays the role of dutiful son. But he rebels against his father’s choice of a bride. A fake engagement can help him avoid the marriage trap. All he has to do is convince the Greek goddess to go along with his plan.
She doesn’t have to like him to pretend to love him.Thirty days later, they’ll both get exactly what they want—and maybe something they didn’t know they needed.
Cate Tayler is a beach baby, born and raised on the Connecticut coastline. She met the love of her life while serving in the US Air Force, and after extensive overseas travel, they are now raising their four children in the wild suburbs of Maryland.
When she’s not living her own happily ever after, she’s creating them in her small-town romances. Because the world always needs more happy endings!
Welcome to Writer Wednesday! It’s September 21st – the first day of FALL! I am so excited, as this is my favorite time of year (now if only it’d cool down in Virginia enough to match the season).
I’m ALSO super excited to have with us today the delightful, funny Susan Ann Wall, author of racy, rule-breaking romance and women’s fiction. I met Susan when she and fellow romance author Cheri Allaninvited me to participate in a Facebook party with them. They both are such a hoot, and I’m just thrilled to have Susan here today, sharing a bit about herself and her latest release, The Perfect Pairing.
So read on, friends, and then leave Susan some love in the comments section! <3
What inspires you to write?
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had voices in my head. Walking home from school, I would have complete conversations going on in there. Sometimes the conversations were with real people, other times it was soap opera characters (as I’m rushing home to watch General Hospital), and others it was make believe people who seemed to have a story to tell. I didn’t figure out how to do anything with those conversations until about seven years ago when I reconnected with someone I’d grown up with and found out she was a romance writer. She introduced me to RWA and NHRWA, and the rest is history.
Which type of romance do you love most, and why?
I’m a sucker for a fun contemporary romance. I love stories that I can relate to, that give you hope, and make your heart beat a little faster.
Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book:
The last book I finished is Mistletoe Marathon, the story of a woman who is training for a marathon to try and win the attention of the man who tops her “perfect husband material” list, but who ends up falling for her trainer instead. I’m not a runner…honestly, if you see me running, it is because I’m being chased by zombies. So I reached out to my runner friends for input on training for a marathon. The most interesting thing I learned (outside of smelly shoes and protein bars) is that your miles are supposed to get faster as you progress in the marathon, so your first mile is your slowest and your last mile is your fastest. Seems like quite a challenge.
Name two things people don’t know about you:
I’m an open book, so there aren’t many things people don’t know about me, but I’ll share a couple lesser known things that maybe I haven’t shared on a blog before.
My very first job was delivering newspapers to homes around my town. Lots of walking and bike riding, giving me plenty of time to let those voices in my head chatter away.
2. Zombies FREAK ME OUT. I can’t watch anything on TV that has Zombies in it. Hero Husband loves The Walking Dead, so if he watches that while I’m writing, I have to lift the computer up to block the TV screen during the Zombie scenes.
What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?
She thought she landed the perfect job, but what her sexy new boss offers is the perfect pairing.
Courtney Daniels thought she landed the perfect job, but instead of being the marketing specialist at a local winery, she’s hired by the cocky and cute owner as the front desk receptionist. Courtney’s determined to make an impression on Aiden Black and slide into the marketing role, but her attraction to her new boss sends her down a slippery slope. When Aiden kisses her, and kisses her again, and insists he take Courtney on a date, she breaks all the rules she’s lived by since her teenage years, knowing it is going to burn her in the end. With Aiden’s promise that he won’t fire her when their relationship goes south, Courtney finds the attraction growing into something she isn’t ready for but can’t live without, just like the foster dog who keeps humping Aiden’s leg.
After his father’s death, Aiden returns home to rescue his family’s winery from financial disaster. He needs to run things his way, and on his own to prove to his mother he is capable of keeping the winery afloat. His attraction to Courtney complicates matters, especially when her ideas and marketing savvy set the winery on a path to success. Aiden finds putting his ego aside to do what’s best for his business, and his heart, is a bigger challenge than getting the winery in the black, but he’ll do anything to prove to Courtney they are the perfect pairing.
Big dreamer and certifiable overachiever Susan Ann Wall embraces life at full speed and volume. She’s a beer and tea snob, can be bribed with dark chocolate, and the #1 thing on her bucket list is to be the center of a Bon Jovi flash mob.
Susan is a national bestselling, multi-genre author of racy, rule-breaking romance and women’s fiction. Her bragging rights include the Fighting Back for Love series, Puget Sound ~ Alive With Love series, Superstitious Brides Romance series, Sunset Valley Women’s Fiction series, and Devon Taggart Suspense series. She also likes to boast about her three perfect children, two amazing rescue dogs, and a happily ever after that started while serving in the U.S. Army and has spanned two decades (which is crazy since she’s not a day over 29).
In her next life, Susan plans to be a 5 foot 10, size 8 rock star married to a chiropractor and will not be terrified of large bridges, spiders, or quiet people (shiver).
Want to connect further with Susan? Find her here!:
I’d like to throw it forward by acknowledging and honoring those who help promote authors, whether they be fellow authors, book bloggers, Street Team members, crazed fans, or the like.
So many people have blessed me by inviting me to guest blog on their sites, by reviewing my book on their blog or on Amazon or on GoodReads, by spreading the word about A Man of Character in one way or the other. It’s a delight to turn the tables–and the spotlight–back onto them.
Today, as my first honored #ThrowItForward guest, I have Cate from Romance Debuts! Cate recently launched her new blog to celebrate and promote debut novels from debut authors.
Could that be any more helpful to those of us clamoring for readers in a wild and crazy reading world?
She kindly agreed to answer a few questions, so that we could get to know the woman behind the blog. And here we go!
What do you write?
Over the past ten years, I’ve written parenting articles for regional magazines, and I used to write stories about local business owners and personalities for a small town magazine. I’ve been working on and off (interrupted by moves, new babies, etc.) on two different contemporary romances.
How long have you written?
I first started writing a lot after I had my first kiss. I would write terrible, sappy poetry. LOTS of it. Thankfully, I gave up poetry after a few years, and for a while, I only wrote academic research papers. When I got pregnant with my first child, I wrote all the time…on scraps of paper, napkins, everything. I wrote parenting articles, essays, short stories, thoughts on motherhood, everything. I don’t write so obsessively anymore!
Why did you decide to start a blog?
Writing a novel is such an isolating task, as is being a stay-at-home with three kids. I felt like this blog could help connect me to the romance writing community while helping new writers connect to readers and motivating aspiring writers to finish their books.
(ML says: I hear you on the isolation thing! I don’t think I would have survived as an at-home mom if I’d lived before the Internet era.)
What’s your favorite thing about the romance genre?
What’s not to like! The engaging characters, the developing romance, the happily ever after. At this point in my life, I read for escape, and I want to read something fun and up-lifting.
What’s your favorite kind of romance to read?
I stick primarily to contemporary romances and occasionally historical. I’m not terribly discriminating, though! I just love a good story!
Who are your favorite authors, and why?
My all-time favorite is Kristan Higgins. I know when I read one of her books that it will be funny and that I will be able to relate to her characters.
My favorite book of hers is Too Good To Be True, because I completely relate to the protagonist, Grace, who makes up fake boyfriends to deal with romance challenges. Now, before you jump to conclusions, know that I haven’t done exactly that. But, through much of high school, I had a “boyfriend”—a real life boy I met at the beach who lived about 8 hours away. We did talk on the phone and visit each other a couple of times, but it wasn’t exactly an exclusive, serious relationship, especially considering that we lived so far apart and neither of us had a private jet … or even a driver’s license. But I remember talking about him whenever someone asked if I was dating anyone … embarrassing!
Name two things people don’t know about you?
I think I embarrassed myself enough with the last question, so I should be off the hook with this one.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to newbies – or, if you are a newbie, what’s the one burning question you most want answered in regard to writing/editing/publishing?
How do writers keep going with that first book when there’s no external demand for their writing and they get rejected by lots of people? How do you develop the confidence to keep going?
(ML says: Great question! For me, I had to write for myself, because I needed to get the story out. Worrying about what others thought came later. The key for me was finding a writer’s group and a critique group–I’ve had amazing friendships develop out of those, and have had lots of help and support because of those groups, as well.)
Do you like books or ebooks?
I love actual books, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give them up. The feeling of holding a real book in my hand can’t be duplicated. That being said, I recently read my first ebook (I know, I know, I’m a late bloomer), and I actually enjoyed it!
Traditional or indie?
Whatever I get my hands on! Most of the time, I read whatever books my mom loans me, I find in the free library down the street, or I find quickly at the bookstore or library. I know that sounds terrible, but with 3 kids, I don’t have the time to browse. That’s also partly why I wanted to do the blog—to help time-crunched readers discover new favorite authors.
Where do you see the romance market in 5 years?
I’m certainly not an expert, but I think it’s going to continue to grow and become more diverse. There seems to be a growing demand for more types of romances, and I feel that independent publishing and the increasingly diverse tastes of readers will help level the playing field somewhat. Maybe there will be fewer big-name writers who sell tons of books and more writers who do pretty well.
Are you involved in any professional writing communities?
Not yet. Signing up for Romance Writers of America is on my to-do list, though!
Where do you find support for your writing?
I am fortunate to have a wonderful husband and a few really amazing friends, including my mom, who provide the emotional support I need to keep going.
Are you formally trained?
When I took a college course in popular fiction, the teaching assistant passed out a brochure published by Harlequin about how to write a romance…does that count? 😉 At the time, I really, really wanted to try writing one, but I didn’t think writing romances was a “serious” enough thing to do. Just think where I could be now if I had taken it more seriously!
What are your top 5 romance novels of all time?
These are the ones that have stuck with me the most (though I’m sure I’m forgetting some!):
Too Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins
Remember Me? By Sophie Kinsella
The Cinderella Pact by Sarah Strohmeyer
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
If you could tell the world about any one newish author you think they should read, who would it be?
Margaret Locke, of course.
(ML: Wha? Holy cow! Thanks so much. Now I’m blushing!)
What most energizes you about writing?
That it’s very different from the day-to-day tasks of being a stay-at-home mom. When I write (usually at the end of a long day), I get completely immersed in the story, and it’s the only time in the day that I don’t have to think about the burning questions of my daily life: Has my 3-year-old gone potty recently? Has the puppy gone out to pee recently? Have all the kids brushed their teeth?
What most scares you about writing?
Am I ever going to be able to finish a project? I have two drafts that I’m trying to work on and limited time to work on them. And no one is waiting for me to finish a book, whereas there are people who need me to do laundry, cook, clean, make lunches, pay bills, drive them to practices, etc.
Welcome to Writer Wednesday! Today I’m delighted to host Cheri Allan, author of hopeful, humorous contemporary romances. Her newest book, All or Nothing, is out today!
Here she shares with us a little about her writing life:
What inspires you to write?
They call it ‘falling in love’ for a reason. People usually do it gracelessly, hurling themselves forward in messy, humiliating, stumbling spectacles of ardor. I LOVE THIS about love. I adore the fact that the most transformative experience on earth is so, incredibly, wonderfully awkward and, well, human. I want to experience that process again and again with my characters, because what is more relatable and what makes us feel less alone than to watch someone else bumble their way toward happiness?
What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?
Never stop moving forward. I spent too much time waiting on others over the years: waiting on contest results; waiting on editors and agents; waiting on inspiration to strike. The fact is, no one wants your success more than you, and no one else can tell your stories. No matter what, keep moving forward; whether it’s taking a class, doing free-writing, sending pages to a critique partner or just getting that next cup of coffee. Inertia is a powerful force, so make it work for you and not against you.
What fellow romance author do you recommend reading, and why?
It’s no secret I have a major girl-crush on Kristan Higgins. Her books never fail to make me alternately snort through my nose with laughter and weep into my dog’s fur like I’ve just finished Where a Red Fern Grows. She is brilliance on a stick with her quirky characters, relatable small-town dynamics and a writer’s voice that makes you feel you’re sitting down for coffee with the most entertaining of friends. She cannot ever write fast enough, and if I ever heard she’d read and liked one of my books (!!!), I’d squeal like a 12 year-old at a Taylor Swift concert. Then I’d faint. You are forewarned.
Want to know more about All or Nothing?
When finding Mrs. Right goes oh, so, wrong…
Self-made tech millionaire Ian McIntyre has suffered through a reality dating show only to return home to idyllic Sugar Falls, New Hampshire, empty-handed, swarmed by paparazzi, and hounded by a Hollywood producer determined to deliver a Happily Ever After. But then his home is invaded by a sexy, snarky local staging it for the season finale, and Ian finds himself more interested in the cute and scrappy hometown girl dusting off his action figures than the audience’s favorite southern belle.
Auto mechanic Bailey Adams grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and is struggling to patch together enough odd jobs to buy a garage of her own. When the Golden Boy of Sugar Falls entangles her in his disastrous season of Happily Ever After, they both discover that some long-held dreams are only as ‘real’ as ‘reality’ TV. Now, with the deal on her dream garage in jeopardy and her unlikely love affair with America’s favorite geeky hunk playing out on national TV, Bailey must decide if she’s willing to risk it all for love… or be left with nothing.
Craving more already? Here’s an excerpt:
“Then take off your coat and avoid hypothermia.”
Her bottom lip jutted out. “You first.”
He shrugged out of his parka and hung it on a hook by the door, raising one eyebrow as he did so.
She took another long drink then tugged her coat off and hung it next to his. Melting snow dripped onto the floorboards beneath it. Stubborn woman.
“Your lovely flannel shirt is also soaked,” he said.
“Yeah, like I’m falling for that.”
“Don’t flatter yourself. I’ve seen lumberjacks make flannel sexier than you do.”
He didn’t know why he was goading her, but he felt on edge… wet, chilled and restless.
“Like you could resist me if I were standing naked in front of you,” she said.
She paused, as if she weren’t sure how those words came to be floating in the air between them. But there they were, raining down over him like hot sparks. Heat flooded through him, and he could feel his blood pumping. He watched her, the air crackling with awareness. The fire in the stove popped and something tumbled inside. His heart thudded in his chest at the word ‘naked.’
“Try me,” he finally said.
Cheri Allan writes humorous, hopeful contemporary romances. She lives in a charming fixer-upper in rural New Hampshire with her husband, two children, two dogs, four cats and an excessive amount of optimism. She’s a firm believer in do-it-yourself, new beginnings and happily-ever-afters, so after years of wearing suits, she’s grateful to finally put her English degree to good use writing romance. When not writing, you might find her whizzing down the slopes of a nearby mountain or inadvertently killing perennials in her garden.