Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hooray! March is over.

This has been a hellish month weather-wise.  Most of the time has been spent hoping all that water falling from the sky won't get in the house and then mopping up what does.  Three nor'eastahs(as we call them here) in a row giving us the wettest March on record.  I like breaking records but could have lived my life out quite happily without breaking that one.

Oh - and that's a Scottish castle.  Trying to remind myself that I need to get cracking on my next Murray tale.  Simon and Ilsabeth are not happy with me right now.  Trying to explain that I need to keep an eye on my home as the winds hit near hurricane force and rip the shingles off the roof is not cutting it with them.  They say - posh(always wanted to use that word), we need to get it on now, woman. My telling them to stuff it and not to get their knickers in a twist, that I need to mop up water in the basement again, gains me little sympathy.  I think they're responsible for the very loud deadline clock now ticking away in my head.  I will be sure to make them pay for that.

Oh, I have managed to get some things done on it but nowhere near what I had hoped to accomplish by now.  My cunning plan was to get it done by May 1 so I would have tons of time to work in the garden before the weeds grew bigger than I am.  Not looking good for that.  There'll be a lot, too, with all this rain. That's the annoying thing about weeds.  While all the plants you want to grow are struggling not to drown or get some disgusting mold, fungus thingy, weeds are popping up all over the place. Even under the water covering the back garden I can see those evil, smirking, green dandelion leaves.

The few times I have gotten to sit down and write I've found the story is behaving in a very peculiar manner.  I never planned to have children in this book.  Yet, there's my heroine, preparing to go to Simon and what - or who - should creep up to her campfire but two orphans.  Even as I'm scribbling away, I'm thinking, where the heck did they come from and what am I going to do with them?  My brain struggles to figure out how they'll fit into the story as my evil-minded Muse snickers in my ear.

Now - when that happens, I have 2 choices.(aside from smacking my Muse upside the head)  Scratch them right out of there or let the Muse rule and do a little replanning.(Notice that I didn't use the word plotting - something I'm not all that comfortable with)  I know they're going to cause a problem or two if only in my ability to give Simon and Ilsabeth a lot of alone-and-get-hot-and-sweaty time.  The smart thing would be to scratch them or even just bring them into the story later.  But, when the story takes a turn I hadn't seen it taking, I'm reluctant to stop it.  There's a part of me that thinks this is the way it's meant to go.  Even if it does cause a problem or two, there must be a reason why I wrote that twist in there.  I hope.  I pray.  The Muse is not always my friend so we will see.

Well, now that the weather promises to be civil for a week, thus drying up some of the foot or so of water we've gotten in the last couple of weeks, I will return to my writing.  But - as I say - I will find a way to make Ilsabeth and Simon pay for being so pesky while I was busy trying to clean up after storms.  (And spending this whole afternoon waiting for the roofer to come and he's proving to be a no-show)  And I will figure out why those two children appeared.  It will work itself out.  I just don't know how yet.  That is something I know would freak out a number of my writing friends but, although it's got me puzzled, I feel I must go with the flow.  Maybe they will help the cold, just-the-facts-ma'am Simon show his softer side - if he doesn't get too annoyed about the fact that he won't be able to seduce Ilsabeth whenever the mood strikes.(Payback's a bitch, Simon, m'boy. insert evil laughter here.

For all my complaining about the evil weather - I wasn't affected as badly as some.  My cellar didn't flood.  The water was moppable.  I have a couple wet spots on my ceilings below where the water came into the attic and the insurance has already sent a check to help repair the roof.  I may be near a river but the bank is 50' high and it'll take Armageddon or 2012 to make me worry about the waters rising high enough to get me.   Others here in New England have suffered far, far more than I have and I send them many prayers that recovery will go smoothly and that they haven't lost too many of the things they cherish to the water.

As for March - farewell and I won't miss you.  Here's hoping April will be better and summer heat and humidity won't come too soon.

A side note - please tune in on Monday as my guest author will be - Jessica Andersen - author of the 2012 series, a contemporary paranormal about the Mayan's predicted end of days.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

(Sorry This is late to get up, guys, but had trouble posting it - Hannah)

I would like to thank Hannah for inviting me to write for her fans. I love her books because like me, she loves exotic locations and exceptional characters.  One of the male writers at a recent book sale said the heroes in romance novels written by women do not act like real men.  My response is that perhaps males might try to be more like the heroes female authors depict.

I wrote in elementary school.  My parents were both teachers with long vacations, so every summer we took off, pulling a seventeen-foot trailer all over North America. I was encouraged to write about our trips and wrote mostly poetry, but in sixth grade I wrote a play that was performed in front of the whole school.  Pretty fantastic, being able to roam the country in our little trailer, but it didn't all go smoothly.  We weren't rich, and once we got stuck in the Rockies when our car gave out.  We stayed in a Sheridan, Wyoming trailer park for a couple of weeks while my parents called on relatives to send money.  Another time, we experienced a flash flood in Mexico and had to pull the trailer across a river on a rotting railroad bridge.  And on the Alcan Highway in the Northwest Territories, I watched people in a restaurant bang a man's head on the floor to knock him out.  The man had a burst appendix, and the nearest hospital was three hours away by helicoptor.  This was all fodder for my imagination.  I was destined to be a writer!

Travel to distant places is usually what inspires me to write novels, but my next book due out from Five Star in July 2010 actually is located close by.  The historical romantic suspense, Winter Harvest, takes place in the Hancock Shaker Village in 1838 when the Hammonds, their farm failing, decide to leave their seven-year-old daughter, Lucy, with the Shakers while they move west, braving Indians and uncultivated land to find a new farm.

Keepers of the garden, the United Society of Believers, better known as the Shakers, await the second coming of the Lord with strict rules.  Men and women live together in a commune but are physically separated to discourage coupling.  The men and boys tend to the farm and livestock while the women cook, clean, and make crafts to sell in the neighboring villages.  For a century, the celibate community flourished by taking in young children and training them to eventually become hardworking members.

Lucy becomes accustomed to the rigorous work and unusual form of worship, but is lonely.  So when an orphan, Sarah, is indentured to the group when she is twelve, Lucy immediately befriends her.  But having lived with her father on the outside, Sarah is wordly and often breaks the rules, expecting Lucy to follow.

When Sarah suddenly runs away with one of the boys in the commune, no one belikeves Lucy when she announces that Sarah is in trouble - no one except a bank detective who is visiting the commune in search of a bank robber.  Harvest time usually precedes winter.  But not all harvests are done in the fall.  In the winter, we used to have to harvest the ice that we kept in barn-like icehouses preserving it well into summer.  But this winter in the mid 1800s when the young men work to gather the ice from the Shaker farm, they get more than they bargain for.

Lucy earnestly continues to prepare to take her vows and give her life to the Shakers, but her esteem for the detective grows too.  Will their relationship interfere with her plans?

Winter Harvest is my fourth published book.  I have three others.  Two of them, women's fiction, Passup Point and Lety's Gift, take place in the rugged desolation of Newfoundland/Labrador.  My third, a mystery called L'Oro Verde, featuring a nun detective in Tuscany, was published under the name L E Chamberlain.

While my books are not romance novels per se, they all have romantic elements.  In Passup, after dealing with their pasts, both the hero and the heroine find love.  In Lety's Gift, the heroine falls in love with a fellow priest.  And in L'Oro Verde, there is unlikely passion and a relationship between two of the characters.

Lety's Gift also has some paranormal elements.  Sophie is born with the gift - a gift that leads to her breakdown in an orphanage.  After she is ordained, she becomes the chaplain in a hospital on the remote tip of western Newfoundland, and spirits in the closed-up mental ward on the fourth floor warn her of dangers.

You can visit my website at  or go to my Facebook account under Coralie Hughes Jensen or my twitter account under Corkyhj.
You can also veiw Letty's Gift at'sGift   and L'oro Verde at'oro

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Where's my Muse?!

See that?  Those are the feet of my cat Jackson.  I just spent a lot of time getting him to stand on the copier so I could scan them in.  It's called procrastination taken to the heights of a true art form.  Oh, sure, I could claim I was practicing how to use the scanner so I could scan in old pics and important papers but the mind scoffs at such an excuse.  Big loud scoffing.  I was - plain and simple - wasting time.  Dithering about.  Doing anything but what I should be doing - working on the next book.

Sent the next vamp novella in Monday.  Began to think it was cursed as I changed the start and it required a lot more rewriting than I had anticipated and then - just as I'm about to get it sent in - the lights go out for a day.  So, yes,one could say I deserve a little break - but scanning a pic of my cat's feet into the computer?  That's stretching it.

The thing is, I have another Murray tale to write and I just don't know how to start it.  Have about three beginnings in mind and don't know which one I like best.  My heroine Ilsabeth is not helping and all the hero wants is for me to get her delicious self to him ASAP so he can seduce her.  Men.  No help at all.

My Muse?  Obviously on vacation or just plain undecided.  The solution is - write all three openings and see which one starts the old creative juices flowing.  The urge to do that is lacking.  I seem to think I can just mull it over and inspiration will strike.  Ain't happening.  Instead I'm scanning weird things into the computer. 

Oh, I know what is to happen at the start, what will send Ilsabeth running into Simon's arms, but just how that takes place is the puzzle.  Beginnings can be a real pain in the buttsky.  You want them to grab the reader, entice the reader,  make the reader want to turn the page and keep on going.  That can actually be very intimidating to a writer.  Yes, sometimes it's just there, ready to practically write itself .  Other times it's almost there but maybe this would work better or this - you get the drift.  It's not writer's block but it can be just as bad.  Roadblock - you're sitting there wondering which way to turn and the Tom-Tom in your brain is giving you too many ways to go.  So - you idle there.  Not good.

In the end, what I will do is write the first couple sentences of each beginning - maybe even the first paragraph - and see which has more snap.  Or which makes me want to keep on going and thumb my nose at all the other possibilities.  So Ilsabeth best step up to the starting line because I intend to get this book done by May.  I want to be able to do some gardening and not spend that all important month(to gardening) sitting at the computer.  But right now I see Perkins - Jackson's sister who has a lot of extra toes - and am wondering if I can get her to stand on the copier.

Monday, March 1, 2010


As countless thousands of her loyal readers know, Hannah Howell has written many wonderful books set in sixteenth century Scotland. The level of heat between hero and heroine is suggestive but not explicit.

You can read Hannah’s books in the cafeteria at work, on public transport, or anywhere. My favourite place is the bathtub with water hot, white wine chilled and dark chocolate within reach.

There’s just something about a tall, strong man in a kilt that sets my heart beating. That broad chest, those muscular thighs, that kilt blowing in the wind….

Then there’s cowboys, riding high in the saddle, setting blood pumping through my veins. The broad chests, muscular thighs, snug jeans cupping butts that just makes you want to smile.

I should mention I write hot and erotic romance.

COWBOY SANDWICH, electronically published by Siren-BookStrand, Inc. in June, 2009, features two hot cowboys. Adam and Bryan are eager to prove to our heroine that live is worth living fully.

The sequel, COWBOY DOUBLE-DECKER, due out electronically by June 2010, has even more fun. While happy with his life, Bryan heads out from their Montana organic cattle ranch to find himself a wife of his own.

But no matter the level of heat, the men in Hannah’s kilts and my saddles are heroes. The sort of man you rarely see anymore in cities. No office ‘cube dudes’* the heroes in these books are the type of men who go out in all weather, facing dire consequences, to do what must be done.

So, what is it about these heroic men that makes us want to jump into stories featuring them? Yeah, great bods are a given. And isn’t it wonderful to take those arrogant so-and-so’s down a few pegs?

Real men wear kilts with pride. These men know what they’ve got and how to use it with dignity, perseverance and a twinkle in their eye. Muscles? Go to any Highland Games and you’ll see men tossing the caber (56 pound telephone pole, end to end) or throwing a (16 pound) hammer. Watch them dance the fling or the sword dance (two crossed swords, dancing between and around the sharp bits). See the kilts, well, fling as they dance.

Is it hot in here or is it just me reacting to all that testosterone?

And while we’re on the subject of heat, what about hot cowboy romance? Erotic romance featuring cowboys fly from electronic publisher’s shelves, downloaded by eager readers all over the world. The men in my COWBOY SANDWICH are so hot they’d leave a brand in the saddle if they lived in real life.

Ah, yes. Real life.

Would we want to marry any of these men?

I know what you’re thinking: have one man to fix all those things falling apart, another to cook and clean, and the third to amuse you. In fantasy-land the master bedroom is larger than the back half of your home or whole apartment, the bathroom is the size of your kitchen and you never have to bend over to scrub the darn tub!

But real life? We get up before the crack of dawn to start on our day. Working outside the home, or even harder inside it, with hungry children with homework to supervise, food to cook, laundry to wash and that man holding the remote with an iron grip until everything’s done and he wants to get frisky.

THAT’S why we need to read a romance book. To sigh over wonderful heroes in kilts or saddles who take us far from reality.

To Scotland, where the midges never bite naughty bits while we’re rolling in the heather with our heroic man, sans kilt.

To the mountains and plains where our cowboys ride hard and fast in tight jeans to meet us by the secret pond. Where we then enjoy kisses and more without black flies, mosquitoes, chiggers, snakes, or [insert your choice here] to bother us.

In both cases we return home to castle, keep or ranch where some helpful servants take care of all those boring chores. Then it’s happily ever after time.

We close the cover of our book (or e-reader), sigh and realize the bath water is cold, the wine warm and the chocolate melted.

Whether it’s with a cowboy or hunk in a kilt, we’ve spent some wonderful time far away from reality.

We might even learn something to teach our partner(s). With erotic romance, you might point out to your partner a few choice sections to provide ideas of what you’d like. Maybe not the whipped cream and chocolate because we know who’ll end up doing the laundry, but maybe that thing about the silk ties and blindfold….

* Reece Butler claims the phrase ‘cube dude’, referring to men who sit behind computer screens all day, surrounded by five foot high cubicle walls, yet think they’re wild and free. Some are, but others only live it through the television, trading one screen for another. They race from one to the other in revved-up vehicles with more acceleration than common sense. Perhaps it’s a compensation thing, to make up for their oh-so-normal jobs? Unless the large, heavy trucks and SUVs are to compensate for something else, something no romantic hero would ever sport. Yeah, this does have something to do with that three-syllable ‘O’ word. But I digress.

Reece Butler writes hot and erotic romance. Her first two publications feature Montana cowboys (plural) having a lot of fun after working all day on the Double R ranch. You can find her work at to