Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Difficult Decision - Please Read

First, I want to apologize for simply disappearing...I've had another "retreat from the world" episode and had to dig deeply for cause and effect as well as solutions. I love this blog and chatting with readers on it, but maintaining it as well as my Facebook, MySpace, etc. takes a lot of time I could and *should* be writing. I want and frankly *need* to interact with my readers, but have realized that in the interest of achieving some level of balance something has to change. I am currenlty spending 12 hrs a day at the computer in order to get maybe 3 hours of actual writing in. It is imperitive for my family and my own mental health that I somehow cull my hours back to a normal 40 hour work week.

Finally accepting this is not going to happen without some serious behavior changes on my part, I've reallized I need to pick one social interactive medium, rather than trying to keep several different social pages up to date and answered.

My Facebook group/fan page is the one I've chosen as it combines the best of all worlds, an opportunity for longer blog type posts (when I have both the time and inclination for them) on my "Notes" tab and daily short updates on the mainpage. (It also updates Twitter & MySpace automatically, so requires no further effort on my part to maintain those social mediums.)

This blog will remain an active page on the Internet, but it will be reserved for announcements, excerpts and the yearly Lucy Monroe Reader Online Conference (ROC). Other than ROC, comments will be disabled. I'm sorry to need to do this, but life is about change. We can't just keep adding on and on and on. I learned that about buying new dishes and the kitchen cupboards, but it's taken longer when it comes to interacting with others online.

If you want to "chat" with me, please visit my Facebook page at:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lucy-Monroe-Fans/338069119152

Thank you all for sharing time with me here. I hope to see you there as well, and if not - at the very least during ROC when we'll have lots of guest authors, prizes, hotties and fun come next February!

Much love and blessings,
Lucy

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Speaking of Trees

People who have read my Call Story, often ask how I kept writing year after year, rejection after rejection, set-back after set-back.
I tell them that Hubcap believed in me when I did not believe in myself. I tell them my mantra, "You can't guarantee success, but you can guarantee failure...by giving up. So don't give up." I tell them I was lucky and my mom supported me, always cheering me one, that I knew I was doing what God wanted me to do. I tell them, truthfully, that an author cannot give up writing. S/he may stop submitting (though I never did), but not actually writing. It's in your blood; it's in your DNA. You simply *can't* give it up.
But only if they're really close to me, do I tell them about Hubcap's vision tree. It's so personal, it's so intimate...it's so overwhelming. But it's also key.
I was reminded of it when I was searching for pictures to include in Monday's blog post about trees. I saw this one and a host of feelings and memories flooded me and I knew, the time had come to share. I'll be celebrating my 50th book release in September - I think that's significant and I think that makes this moment the right one. :) This picture was just the catalyst I needed.

Some of you know that I began writing the stories I'd been telling myself in my head since my earliest memory after a conversation I had with God in the bathtub. Yep, it's a great place to talk to God and Hubcap without outside interruption. ;-)

What many of you don't know is that after I began writing, Hubcap had a vision...a dream, whatever you want to call it - we considered it a vision. He saw a really tall tree with lots of branches. Going up the trunk of the tree and out each branch was a light (that light was me) and on the end of each branch was a manuscript. The tree went higher than he could see and he couldn't count the number of manuscripts, there were so many. He absolutley believed that vision was an insight into the future and that I needed to keep writing, no matter what.

I clung to his belief I would one day publish when my own waned. He never, ever gave up or re-interpreted the image. Though I myself often wondered if the manuscripts were destined to remain just that - unpublished works I had written. He didn't ever doubt they would find a home in readers' hearts.

He drew the image for me to keep on my wall in my office. He reminded me that my gift was just that. I might be a tree in his vision, but he was my rock.

Eventually, my stories did publish and now I can share his vision with not only hope, but with knowledge. Here is a picture of that drawing that gave me so much hope.
It's your turn: has there been a time in your life that you let someone else believe in the future for you? Or when you trusted someone else's view over your own emotions?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Humpday Hottie

One of JudyF's sexy cowboy hotties. :)
We've said it before, but JudyF knows her cowboys! LOL
This week's mid-week pick-you-up hunk for your enjoyment!

Blog Winner for Last Week

Congratulations to last week's blog winner!

Judy

Email your details to Andre, along with which book from my backlist you would like - so he can get your prize sent out to you. (If the link does not work, use the contact form on this page - http://www.lucymonroe.com/contactadmin.htm - messages go directly to Andre.)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Trees in Books

Okay...so loving trees as I do, I really enjoy when they play some kind of pivotal (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), or even minor role in a book. :) You know how some readers just love pets in a book? Well, I'm actually one of those too. But today we're talking about trees. ;-)

I just realized that the cover for Close Quarters is probably one of my favorites, not only because it has a hot rendition of my hero, but a tree. LOL Hmm...what other delish romance covers have trees on them?

Have you read a book where a tree-house brought back special memories and/or sparked some action on the part of the main characters? Or what about where trees created a setting that you could picture so easily in your mind's eye? In Close Quarters, there is a love scene set amidst a group of trees. In Moon Burning, the trees in the forest are my heroine's allies...twice...in saving her life.
Wow...I wonder if I'm obssessed and just don't realize it? :) I think we get so caught up in urban life, we forget how important our connection to nature is. Hubcap, being Mr. Green himself, keeps me reminded. And I think that comes out in my books sometimes, after all - we write what moves our hearts. Or at least, I do. :)
So, here's my other question for you: have you read a book lately (or even years ago) where a tree or really nature of any kind was a key element?
In Clear Cut by Alexa Smith, one hero is a logger and the other - you guessed it - an environmental conservationist. Trees were only part of their conflict. :)

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Tree Outside My Window

I have a deciduous tree outside my office window. It's some kind of Maple, but don't ask me which one. That's Hubcap's department and he's not here to reference. :) Right now, the leaves and little reddish-pink flowers block my view of anything but the sky and the tree itself.

While I may not be a dab hand at identifying the subspecies (is that even the right word?) of a tree, I love them. Always have. Our last house backed up to a greenbelt (area that could not be developed) filled with towering Douglas Firs that danced in the wind like tall-skinny hula masters. I loved that view and will never forget the morning mists that made the small forest magical. I still miss it. Sigh...

So, if you think I'm saddened all I can see is a tree out my window, you'd be wrong. Its gorgeous and inspiring and does a lovely job of blocking off the rest of the world. Which sometimes I need. Want. Enjoy. Not absolutely sure which is the exact feeling, but think need may be the closest. :)

When I was a little girl (maybe 8), I used to sit under the big willow tree in our front yard and draw. I loved that tree and when it had to be cut down because the roots were growing into the plumbing and basement foundation, I cried. I still love willow trees more than any others, though when we went to Hawaii this past spring, I fell deeply in love with the Banyon trees. They're so old and majestic and intricate - just like a great book!
I loved trees so much, I counted the number in our yard back then and proudly proclaimed it to all who would listen. (There were 13.) We have trees now, but they're young...the house isn't old and it was built on a cleared lot. One of the trees in our back yard died this year. We don't know why, but we're looking at it as an opportunity to plant a fruit tree. Both Hubcap and I like them. :)

We had a play area between two trees that I spent a lot of time playing make believe in too, when I was young. Before my parents divorce, before we moved to a mobile home park space with no trees. The play "house" was between two huge Evergreens. One of them had something like a cave on the opposite side to where the branches had been trimmed to make the "house". It was another spot where the lower branches did not all grow together, but the ones above draped down, protecting it from sight. I hid there once in a while, from the world.

Hubcap plays tree for me somtimes. Like the other night when we went to visit my mom and she was so confused she tried to answer the phone with the remote. Her amonia levels were too high and it was scary, but nothing we haven't faced before. She's doing better now, but for a while there, I needed Hubcap to just block out the rest of the world. And like the true hero he is, he did it.

Sometimes books are my trees...when I'm so stressed by deadlines, I *can't* think of my own stories, I hide in someone else's. It works. For me. Reading is a place to go when where I am is tough, or scary, or simply boring. :)

Sometimes the hot-tub is my tree. With all the bubbles going, I can't hear anything else and I can just float and think about stuff that isn't going to make my heart bleed. It's okay, we've all got stuff like that in our lives and sometimes its more prevalent than others, but joy is so much sweeter because it rarely comes without cost.

Maybe that's why I write romance, I want to be a beautiful, blocking tree for someone else - I want to give books that will make hearts glad and remind us that no matter how harsh the pain, there is the hope of redemption. Does that sound too grandiose?

I'm not sure, but one thing I do know...I love trees.

It's your turn: what do you turn to to soften the rough edges of the world, or simply block it out entirely?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This week's blog post winner will receive a signed copy of a book of choice from my back-list. :)

Friday, June 04, 2010

For Writers

Week 3 of my class on the “11 Senses, Who Knew?” based on Marilyn Kelly’s book by the same name in my free online Yahoo class group.

To make it fun, I’m giving away weekly “mentoring” prizes including two copies of Marilyn’s book over the 11 week course. It’s a very light course – no huge time commitment. If you aren’t a member, but would like to join, it's not to late. :)
This week we're discussing the Sense of Touch. :) New "lessons" posted every Friday.
NB: While I'm not giving Marilyn's workshop per se (though I *highly* recommend anyone attending RWA Nationals to take it), I am doing an 11 week not-so-intensive course on the use of the 11 senses.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

More on Epilogues

Have you ever re-written the ending of a movie or a book in your head? You know, when they original writer just got it *wrong*? LOL Okay, so that sounds bad, but we all know that there are times that the ending of books or movies just infuriate us, or depress us, or just plain annoy us.

For some of us, that calls for rewriting. It's something I taught my kids to do when they were young. I had a few of my nieces and nephews staying for Spring Break. We'd watched Jack Frost and everyone was saddened by the ending, so I gathered them around and invited them to rewrite it. Their imagination and vision was the cause of much giggling and outright laughter, but in the end - they learned a valuable skill. The writing of your own epilogue. :)

I'm inviting you to do that now. You have the power to rewrite history if you want to. You have the ability to change dissatisfaction to joy. Do it now. :) Write a different ending, or an epilogue that makes the ending work *for you* for a book or a movie that ended in a way that left you feeling cheated or let down, or simply sad.

You don't need to write the dialogue, or setting, or anything complicated...just tell us how you would have ended the movie instead.

For me, it would be "Gone With the Wind." Scarlett would have let her love overcome her pride and chased after Rhett, she would have apologized for once and told him she loved him and no other, instead of scheming. And he would have forgiven her as only an alpha hero can.

See, short, simple...but a total rewrite. :)

It's your turn: post your Epilogues to your most discombobulating books or movies here. :)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Humpday Hottie


Judy kindly shared this hero inspiration with me - he so looks like a Brava hero to me...or maybe a raven shifter from Children of the Moon, what do you think?

Blog Winners for Last Week

Monica Burns generously offered a signed copy of Assassin's Honor to a poster off her guest blog! The winner is:
Please email Monica off her website (http://monicaburns.com/contact.php?firstname=Monica&lastname=Burns) with your full name and address so she can ship the book to you.
Congratulations to last week's Lucy Monroe blog posst winners!

Each name listed below has won a copy of a "My Romance Story" - a romance graphic novel containing two illustrated romance stories produced by Arrow Publications.


Email your details to Andre, so he can get your prize sent out to you. (If the link does not work, use the contact form on this page - http://www.lucymonroe.com/contactadmin.htm - messages go directly to Andre.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Speaking of Epilogues

Once in a while, readers will ask what is going on in the lives of my characters and while I wish I had time to write ongoing epilogues for all my stories, I don't. But I might find the time to write at least one...if you could choose one set of characters for me to revisit in an epilogue or bring back in an upcoming book, which would they be?

And for those of you who weren't around to read it the first time, here is a slice of life for some of your faves from Ready and Silver Bella:


Cowboys & Mercenaries
(c) 2008 Lucy Monroe

Jake swore six ways from Sunday as he pedalled the spindly ten-speed bike. He damn well was not going to accept a challenge bet from his sneaky bastard brother-in-law again.

When he got back to the ranch, he was going to make any kind of betting impossible because he was going to drown Wolf in the creek. Even if it was summer and there was only about six inches of water in it. Of course that might upset Bella some. She was fond of her ex-mercenary half-brother. Heaven alone knew why.

Well, okay, when he wasn't luring Jake into bets that left him riding a bike he'd paid a couple hundred dollars for that was worth maybe thirty on the long road that led from town to his ranch, Wolf wasn't such a bad guy. Lise certainly seemed to think he was something special. As did his baby son, little Joshua Jr. JJ was sure a doll. Hard to believe he was the offspring of such a devious SOB.

Jake smiled to himself. No one was here to see it, so he could admit he more than appreciated his brother-in-law's intelligence and cunning.

Jake was a cowboy from the top of his black Steston to the bottom of his handmade boots. He rode horses. He drove a dually truck that scared the hell out of smaller cars. He did not ride bikes. Not even Harleys, but for sure not dilapidated ten speeds with balding tires and questionable brakes.

However, the bike was a better option that walking the whole way back to the ranch. His backside was gonna be sore though. A bike sit hit a man in places a well-worn saddle didn't.

****

Lise laughed outloud when she saw her brother riding up to the ranch on the bike. Oh man, her husband was in so much trouble. It was a good thing to two men were so well matched, but Lise thought she might want to warn Bella to get the breakables out of the way.

Lise and Joshua's baby boy toddled out onto the porch. "Mama."

Just one word, but she had no problem knowing what it meant. JJ had started walking at seven months, but speaking was coming more slowly. With Joshua for a father, that wasn't a surprise.

The man gave definition to the word monosyllabic most days. It didn't matter, she loved him more than her own life and he'd proven he loved her more than his.

Life was good.

She picked her son up, but his attention was firmly on his uncle, who had dropped the bike and was standing there looking like a man ready to commit murder.

"Daddy!" Genevieve went hurtling down the stairs and landed against her daddy's legs with all the enthusiasm of a rambunctious toddler.

All of Jake's ill humor melted away like ice in the summer heat of Texas. He swung his daughter into his arms and kissed her cheeks, blowing raspberries in her neck and making her screech.

Bella came out onto the porch.

Lise grinned at her. "Good tactics. I think he just might refrain from killing my husband."

"Those two are more like brothers than in-laws."

"You think?"

"I think if we don't stop these betting challenges between them, they aren't going to have to pound each other into the dirt. The stupid bets are going to do it for them. I doubt Jake has ridden a bike since he was a kid."

"I'm sure you're right."

"His thighs are going to be so sore."

"An excuse for a lower body massage?"

Bella hummed with thought. "Now, that has potential."

Lise agreed, wondering how soon her own little darling would sleep tonight.