Tuesday, May 13, 2014

J.L. (Janet) Greger Shows How to Make a Guy Romantic

J.L. and her dog, Bug
JL Greger is no longer a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; instead she’s putting tidbits of science and romance into her medical thrillers/ mysteries - Ignore the PainComing Flu, and Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight. She and Bug, her Japanese Chin dog, live in the Southwest. Her website is at http://www.jlgreger.com. Her blog JL Greger’s Bugs is at http://www.jlgregerblog.blogspot.com.

What makes a guy romantic in a novel?

The covers of old romance novels suggest that tall men with large chests and wavy hair are sexy, but that’s a cliché. No self-respecting author wants that label for her hero or her novel.

How can authors avoid clichés?
Look to reality, of course. Don’t tell about appearances but show actions.

An article in Huff Press for Women (January 27, 014) listed “the most attractive things that men do.” (Don’t you love reading the results of all those silly surveys? I do.) I turned this bit of “reality” into suggestions for developing a romantic male character in a novel of any genre.

1. Show the hero being kind to pets or strangers at least twice in the novel.
2. Make your lead male character be thoughtful in practical ways to the heroine. Doing a load of laundry without being asked is a romantic gesture.
3. Give your man a sense of humor about himself. Let him have a crooked smile or weird laugh.
4. Show the character participating in and talking about his interests and work with enthusiasm and knowledge. Dumb hunks aren’t attractive to most readers anymore.
5. Have the hero listen to women.
6. Describe the hero looking at the heroine, with something besides lust. This is especially effective if other attractive women are present.
7. Let your hero have at least one irrational fear or love. Indiana Jones was afraid of snakes; your hero could have an uncontrollable taste for chocolate.

The next points from the survey are a bit silly, but I suspect could spice up the image of a romantic male character.
8. Have your man roll up his shirtsleeves and work. Sweating biceps certainly worked for many movie “bad boys.”
9. Have a male character cook.
10. Have the male character hug the heroine from behind instead of kissing her.

Have fun developing interesting heroes.
Ultimately, if the male characters you develop are interesting to you, they probably will also be attractive and romantic to others.

About J.L. (Janet) Greger's Novel
In Ignore the Pain, Sara Almquist couldn’t say no when invited to be the epidemiologist on a public health mission to assess children’s health in Bolivia. Soon someone from her past in New Mexico is chasing her through the Witches’ Market of La Paz and trying to trap her at the silver mines of Potosí. Unfortunately, she can’t trust her new colleagues, especially the unsavory but sexy Xave Zack, because any one of them might be under the control of the coca industry in Bolivia. And coca is everywhere in Bolivia.

Sara and Xave will travel to Cuba in a fourth novel, called Malignancy. Oak Tree Press will be publishing this novel in the fall of 2014.

Amazon Buy Links for J.L. Greger's Novels:

Ignore the Pain (paperback):http://amzn.com/1610091310
Coming Flu (paperback): http://amzn.com/1610090985
Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight (paperback): http://amzn.com/1610090624

Please leave a comment to welcome J.L. (Janet) Greger to Sweet Not Spicy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Multi-Published Author, F.M. (Marilyn) Meredith, About Romance in the Rocky Bluff P.D.

I'm happy to welcome F.M. (Marilyn Meredith) to Sweet Not Spicy, where she tells us about romance in her mystery series. Morgan Mandel

F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith is the author of over 35 published books. She enjoys writing about police officers and their families and how what happens on the job affects the family and vice versa. Having several members of her own family involved in law enforcement, as well as many friends, she’s witnessed some of this first-hand.

More About Romance in the Rocky Bluff P.D.

In an earlier blog post I wrote about Officer Gordon Butler’s travails in the romance department. But Gordon isn’t the only one who has romance in his life.

Early in the series Ryan Strickland had a romance that caused a serious problem, then much to everyone’s surprise, he romanced the widow, Barbara Bertalone, and proposed. Their marriage has worked out far better than anyone ever expected, including Ryan.

Sergeant Abel Navarro has been happily married to Maria since his first appearance in a book. Oh, they are a normal couple with ups and downs, but probably the fact that Maria almost lost Abel once and they both have demanding jobs has helped them cherish what time they do have together.

African American Officer Felix Navarro’s marriage to Wendy has had its ups and downs partially because both sets of parents’ dissatisfaction with their children marrying outside of their race.

One of the biggest romances in the series began in Smell of Death when Detective Milligan had Officer Stacey Milligan help him with two gruesome murders. The romance continues through following books and a wedding is scheduled in Angel Lost though Stacey’s preoccupation with her plans nearly ends in tragedy.

As to what kind of romance might occur in future books, perhaps someone will come along for Vaughn Aragon, maybe not from within the department since all the females are taken, but perhaps he’ll meet someone from the community. Who knows, certainly not me.

Though this is a police procedural series, of course there are always going to be crimes and murders, but what happens to my characters has always been most important. Because they are real to me, of course they are going to have the same needs and experiences as people do in the real world—and being loved by someone is important to us all.

And Now, Something about the latest RBPD mystery, Murder in the Worst Degree

The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman. 
Buy Link:

Thank you, Marilyn

Once again I am offering the opportunity to have your name used for a character in a book if you comment on the most blogs during this tour for Murder in the Worst Degree.

Tomorrow you can find me visiting Shelly Guisti at http://shelleyreadsandreviews.blogspot.com/

Please leave a comment to welcome F.M. (Marilyn) Meredith to Sweet Not Spicy. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sweet Romance Author Donna Wright Shares Her Series and Her Tips

Donna Wright, although raised near New York City, is a country girl at heart.  Born in East Tennessee, she thinks of it as the only place to live.  She’s written stories all her life, but became serious about romance writing in 1997 when she discovered a local chapter of Romance Writers of America®

As an extremely active member of the Smoky Mountain Romance Writers, she entered all the contests they sponsored. After being a finalist in several of them, she won one that bragged Erin Niumata as the final round judge. Erin offered her a contract as soon as the book was finished and the rest is history.

 Donna now has four books with Avalon/Montlake called the TENNESSEE: LOVE series. She has spoken at the Romance Writers of America® National conference, and several other conferences and chapter meetings.

Donna's Advice:
The Cautionary Tale by Donna Wright

I was once asked that if I could give new writers advice, what it would be. I think that there are 2 pieces of advice that I would like to share. I hope that someone will benefit from my experience.

First, Be careful.
I can’t stress this enough. Let me explain why. There are several choices writers can make that can damage their careers. First, be careful who you do business with. If you have been offered a contract with and agent, check her out. Compare her contract with others. Is this agency trying to charge you anything up front? No?  Then, they pass the first test. But, make sure you have all your ducks in a row, you’ve done your research and you are going into the relationship with your eyes open.

Be careful what you say and to whom you say it. If you have a beef with someone in the business, keep it among friends. That doesn’t mean all your Facebook friends. It means keep your business your business. Publishing is a small community and everyone knows everyone. Maybe today you aren’t looking for a contract with New York, but plans change. If you look at the face of publishing today it doesn’t look remotely like it did ten years ago. Who knows what it will be another ten years? Cover yourself by keeping your cards close to the vest. Lastly, with all this talk of what publishing is like today, know your industry. It changes almost by the minute. Whatever you decide to do whether it is New York, indie publishing, or finding an agent go into it with your eyes open. Bottom line: Know your stuff.

And the other piece of advice:

I hope you find these thoughts helpful. And, I wish you all the best in writing.


The Tennessee: Love Series by award-winning author Donna Wright takes place in the small fictional city of Ft White, TN. 

In book one; we meet two attorneys who are fighting the biggest custody battle in the state. After much ado they realize the child is really a pot bellied pig, Joey. This little guy appears in all four books and keeps the reader laughing while playing match maker. 

For More About Donna Wright:  http://donnawrightsbooks.com
Please welcome Donna to Sweet Not Spicy by leaving a comment below. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Please Welcome Shirley Martin, Author of Enchanted Cottage, a Sweet, Discreet, Unique Romance

Shirley Martin
About Shirley Martin
Born near Pittsburgh, Shirley Martin attended the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating from "Pitt", she taught school for one year, then obtained a position as a flight attendant with Eastern Airlines. Based in Miami, she met her future husband there. After raising three sons, she devoted her time to writing, something she had always wanted to do.

Shirley Shares How Enchanted Cottage Was Created 

It was fun to write Enchanted Cottage. Whenever I write a novel, I do a rough plot that gives me an idea of where I want the book and the characters to go. I do a Goal, Motivation, and Conflict chart for my main characters, external and internal. Before I started on Enchanted Cottage I wondered what it would be like if a wicked witch placed a curse on a beautiful woman. In this case, Alana is the beautiful woman whose curse makes her break out in ugly purple spots on her face. At the same time, the witch places a curse on the village that causes many of the villagers to die. Then the witch blames the deaths on Alana, and she is chased from her village. She finds a strange cottage in the forest and makes her home there.

Enter the hero, Colin, a mercenary soldier who's been demoted and badly wounded in battle. On the way home to recover, he takes a shortcut through the woods and comes across this isolated cottage in the woods. There in this strange cottage, Alana and Colin find they can help each other. There, too, they find that true love can break a curse.

Enchanted Cottage
Avador Book 3

An evil witch places a curse on Alana Cullain, turning the once beautiful woman into an ugly hag. Chased from her village, Alana seeks sanctuary in the dark forest. There she finds a strange cottage, one she had never seen before,and makes her home there.

Demoted and badly wounded in battle, mercenary soldier Colin Duffrey heads home to recover. Along the way, he discovers a cottage in the midst of a forest and finds refuge there. 

A woman, marred on the outside, and a man, afflicted on the inside, meet in an isolated cottage. There, they learn that they can help each other. And with a bit of magic, miracles can happen.

Find Shirley Martin at: 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Anne Ashby Shares The CEO Gets Her Man

Leave a comment and your e-mail address for your chance to win a PDF copy of  The CEO Gets Her Man - or, if you've already read CEO, you can choose one of Anne's backlist stories.

Anne Ashby grew up in a very small coastal town in Southland, New Zealand. An eagerness to travel, fostered by her mother, led her to join the Royal NZ Navy where she enjoyed a very satisfying career. She has travelled extensively and lived in Singapore and Maryland USA. Her stories are either set in NZ or have NZ characters. It is her dream to bring something of her beautiful country to romance readers everywhere.  Anne has a keen interest in genealogy, an obsession for rugby and a definite dislike of housework. Anne has recently begun speaking and teaching about the skills required for romance writing. When not reading or writing, Anne finds plenty to occupy her time with her family commitments. She lives in Auckland with her husband and the youngest of their four children.

Anne Tells Us How The CEO Gets Her Man Was Born -Hi, thanks for having me visit with you today. I thought I would tell you a little about the 'birth' of my latest book The CEO Gets Her Man.
A few years ago my older sister took me to task (as older siblings are prone to do) about the settings for my stories. She pointed out that while I have based most of them in New Zealand, I had never set a story in Southland where I grew up and my extended family live. It took me some time to come up with the idea, but The CEO is primarily set around my childhood home. I changed the name of the town from Riverton to Riversleigh so I couldn't be 'caught out' by possible changes since I left the area to join the Navy, and to disguise the most certain fact that this quiet backwater of a town would never be the location of a 5 star resort hotel despite its beautiful coastline. But as writers we're allowed a little poetic licence and I used this to the max.
The title is pretty cheesy, isn't it? I admit I'm not good at coming up with titles, but this one sort of struck me right away. I figure it tells a reader up front quite a bit about the story. My heroine is a CEO, so we can assume she's hard-nosed, focused, confident and not one to suffer fools gladly. That's Debra! Or at least the persona she projects to the world. Badly duped by a relationship in the past, she's determined no-one will ever take advantage of her again. Learning someone is skimming money from one of her hotels is enough to send her into attack mode. No one cheats Debra Laurie!

Since reading some of the reviews of The CEO, I admit there are a couple of things I could have done differently. But I don't regret the abrupt change of location two thirds the way through the story. Once Debra unearths the culprits, her job at Riversleigh is done. It would have been totally out of character for her to stay even a moment longer. By transferring the story to Wellington, and her home ground, she regroups and returns to the cold, hard businesswoman that had been showing signs of crumbling under Jase's influence and in the friendliness of Southland. I believe presenting a new situation in Wellington where Jase gets the upper hand allows for the continuing thaw in her character which eventually leaves them together. Having that change occur completely in Riversleigh would have had me as a reader asking "what about when she goes back home?" The CEO isn't a 'holiday' romance where you're left pondering that question. You find out what happens when Debra's life returns to 'normal'.
NB: CEO is a sweet romance, but it is a modern contemporary - there is the inference of sex (outside of marriage) behind closed doors

Leave a comment and your e-mail address for your chance to win a PDF copy of  The CEO Gets Her Man - or, if you've already read CEO, you can choose one of my backlist stories.

What The CEO Gets Her Man is about -
Ensuring her company's success is Debra Laurie’s life. But when she goes undercover to investigate a failing hotel in southern New Zealand, she finds her confidence crumbling. Masquerading as a waitress is a disaster—especially when the hotel’s assistant manager is a former rugby star she once had a crush on.

Jase McEwan is struggling to keep the hotel afloat. An unpredictable manager, ridiculous demands from the head office, and employee unrest are problems enough. Now a haughty new waitress is causing mayhem in the restaurant—and in his heart.

Determined to be impartial, Debra sets out to discover if Jase is responsible for the hotel’s drastic situation. But the more she investigates, the more she likes his work—and the more their attraction sizzles. Before long, Jase has turned Debra’s world upside-down. But what happens when he learns the new waitress is really his CEO?

Buy link:     
Currently part of the Amazon KDP programme this story is only available through Amazon until 15 April 2013 when it will be released in both print and digital format by The Wild Rose Press. Until it's full release it's on sale!
Get your copy here for half price!    http://www.amazon.com/The-CEO-Gets-Her-ebook/dp/B00AU50QHW

Remember to comment with your e-mail address for a chance to get a free copy of The CEO Gets Her Man, a sweet, discreet book, with some sensuality.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sweet Romance Freebie March 1 Thru March 3

For our Sweet Romance Readers --
Her Handyman
by Morgan Mandel
Here's your chance to get a free copy of Her Handyman, a romantic comedy chick lit featuring a hardworking guy, a zany artist and a crazy dog. When Jake the handyman answers a frantic call in the middle of the night about a bathroom flood, little does he know his perfectly laid out life is about to be disrupted!

Mark your Calendar for March 1 through March 3 and get your freebie copy of Her Handyman at:


Monday, February 18, 2013

Leanne Tyler Shares Ava, her Love Letters Novel

Ava by
Leanne Tyler
When You Are Clueless, You can Still Find Love, says Leanne Tyler

When my editor asked me to write a novella for the Love Letters series I agreed. She told me about this a few months before the actual call for submissions went out so I began trying to come up with a story idea. After a few attempts at it, I found I was getting nowhere. This was frustrating, but I finally had inspiration hit while watching adaptation of Emma by Jane Austen. I had always loved that story. I even liked the teen flick Clueless with Alicia Silverstone. At first it wasn’t the matchmaking schemes of Emma that attracted me to the films. It was Emma and Mr. Knightly or Cher and her older step brother once removed. In other words, it was the potential for romance between the characters that drew me into the story.

However, that isn’t what inspired me when I tried to write my Love Letter story. It was the matchmaking. I thought what if Ava did the same thing and what if John tries to stop her. And what if John is secretly in love with Ava, but she is too clueless to notice? And then there was the character of Miss Jane Tippens. She was the perfect lamb for Ava to meddle in her life. I even heard Toni Collette’s voice in my head as Harriet Smith every time Jane spoke. (Yes, I hear voices in my head when I’m writing. I think most writers do!) I had lots of fun writing this American inspired story. And I hope you will enjoy reading it too.

What is Ava About?

Ava Monroe loves matchmaking and even though she promised her best friend John she'd stop, she can't. Determined to find her new friend Jayne a suitable mate, Ava even contemplates matching her with John. 

John Franklin wishes nothing more than to marry Ava, but she is too engrossed in her mischief to see his love. Taking matters into his own hands, John attempts to foil Ava's match for Jayne by proving love is better left to fate than a matchmaker.

Can a clueless matchmaker and a literary scholar find happiness when she breaks her promise to him?

Buy Links:
About Leanne Tyler:

Award winning author, Leanne Tyler lives in the South and her writing reflects her heritage. She writes Sweet and somewhat Sensual Southern romances whether historical or contemporary. Leanne's debut release Victory's Gate was the 2007 American Rose winner of the Through the Garden Gate contest and was released electronically by The Wild Rose Press in December 2007. Finally in December 2009 the Through the Garden Gate Anthology became available in print and includes the four winning entries.
Stepping into the Contemporary circle, she debuted with her Class of '85 Reunion story It's Always Been You in August 2011. And her first full-length historical novel Season of Love (Nov. 2011) is a time-travel set in 1850 Charleston, SC. A recent release from Books to Go Now A Country Kitchen Christmas (Feb. 2012) is a light inspirational romance. In May and August 2012 the first two books of The Good Luck Series was released from Amazon The Good Luck Charm and The Good Luck Spell. Ava, a novella in the Love Letters Series was released in November 2012.
She invites readers to step into her world and enjoy the passion.
Author website/blog site:  http://www.leannetyler.com
Twitter: @LeanneTyler