Tag: Abby Gaines

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The gift that gives twice

December 8, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as

One of my dearest friends, author Sandra Hyatt, died suddenly in August–a huge shock for her family and friends.

Sandra meant so much to me, it’s not the kind of thing I can express on a blog…but I can and will express the opportunity for readers to support Sandra’s family by buying her new book!

LESSONS IN SEDUCTION is a December release–the perfect gift for yourself or a friend. Hey, why not for all your romance-reading friends? The great thing is, this is a wonderful book from a wonderful writer. In her brief career, Sandra was a USA Today bestseller, Rita finalist and is also a nominee for Romantic Times best Desire of 2011.

Romantic Times gives Lessons In Seduction its top grade of 4.5 stars.
Reviewer Pat Cooper says: “A charming and sexy takeoff on the movie Sabrina, Hyatt’s chauffeur’s daughter is not only not looking to hook up with a prince, she’s actively helping him find the right woman – and her prince is just priceless in his cluelessness …Readers are the ones scoring the hit when they pick this one up, and it’s a shame that Hyatt’s passing is going to deny them more tales like this one.”

Lessons In Seduction
A prince on a quest to find the perfect wife doesn’t have time to trifle with a commoner. But Adam Marconi’s longtime friend and sometime driver, Danielle St. Claire, has him contemplating a change in plans. Why can’t the royal have a little fun before finally settling down? Then their supposedly quick affair suddenly turns

And Prince Adam finds himself in a quandary. Say goodbye to the one woman who sets his heart and body on fire, or defy all the rules and cause the scandal of the century.

Buying links:

Through Harlequin

Through Amazon

Through bookdepository.com

Thanks so much for supporting Lessons In Seduction. Sandra once wrote in a Christmas blog: “Whatever your religious persuasion it never hurts to stop and count your blessings and the gifts in your life.” She was one in ours.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Sandra Hyatt Memorial Trust which aims to develop emerging romance writers, please visit www.sandrahyatt.com

Postscript: Lessons in Seduction is number three of a royals trilogy.
Book 1: His Bride For The Taking.
Book 2: Falling For The Princess.

And if you’re in the mood for a fabulous Christmas novella try Sandra’s RITA finaling Mistletoe Magic (published in Under The Millionaire’s Mistletoe with Maureen Child). E-book

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What’s in a job? by Abby Gaines

November 9, 2009 by in category Writing tagged as

One of the fun things about writing novels is the different careers and jobs I get to explore as an author, all in the interest of research. A well-chosen job adds affects kinds of aspects of a character—the pressures they face, their likes and dislikes, their ambitions, their education, their skills…. Often I choose a job for my character seemingly out of thin air, then discover that choice says something vital about my character.

Like the florist heroine who lived her life on the sidelines of her beloved foster family, always an observer, never quite allowing herself to be part of the action. Or the accountant who was striving for order and control after her hippie upbringing. Or the lawyer who’d chosen the wrong firm for all the right reasons and now found himself living a lifestyle a million miles from the one he’d always wanted.
Writing about different careers forces me to leave my desk and go experience “a day in the life”…or at least a few hours in the life… Without that impetus, I never would have attended a pre-dawn flower auction, sat in the courthouse all morning, talked with a sports psychologist and toured a funeral home without someone needing to die first.
I’m always looking for new and interesting careers to “pursue” in my fiction. Recently, I met a man who develops specialized nutrition for racehorses. Fascinating!—I’ve warned him to expect a visit from me soon! Do you have a job that you’d love to see fictionalized? Let me know, and just maybe it’ll turn up in a romance novel soon….
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Nora Ephron and Meryl Streep-screen magic!

August 9, 2009 by in category Writing tagged as ,

I’m a major admirer of writer / director Nora Ephron and also of actress Meryl Streep. So to have the two women team up in a movie about another woman I admire (Julia Child) on a subject that is one of my greatest passions (cooking)…ah, I’m in movie heaven. I’m talking about Julie and Julia, of course.

But this isn’t a movie review…today I want to ask, what makes for magic on screen? In a movie, as in a book, you can have two very similar stories, yet one is mediocre while the other steps up to greatness. What’s the difference? In a romantic comedy, chemistry is key – Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail teamed Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, whom I think made a great match chemistry-wise. I know lots of people adored When Harry met Sally, but for me, witty as the movie was, the Ryan-Crystal chemistry wasn’t as great. In books, chemistry abounds between so many of Georgette Heyer’s Regency protagonists, while Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a mistress of chemistry on the page in contemporary romances.

Another factor in screen magic is that elusive presence, and that’s something Streep has in spades. In movies from Silkwood to Heartburn, from Kramer vs. Kramer to Adaptation, Streep fills a screen yet doesn’t make it “all about her”. Sheer genius.

Lastly, there’s the need for a story that, though it may be about ordinary lives, transcends the trivial and somehow gets to our hearts. This is what I admire about Ephron. She turns even a light comedy into a great story – and you know it’s a great story when you can watch it four, five, six times and it feels fresh every time.

I think that should be the ultimate goal for any romance writer—to write stories that, yes, provide a few hours’ entertainment. But at the same time, they say something about the human condition and the power of love that we never tire of hearing. Anyone got a favorite Ephron and/or Streep movie they’d like to share?

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Will Ferrell—Your Hero?

June 8, 2009 by in category Writing tagged as ,

Land of the Lost, the movie, not the TV show I used to watch way back when, opened on the weekend and reportedly bombed. In fact, it’s been called “the first bomb of summer.” Ouch. I’m partly to blame, I guess, as I didn’t go. But it’s on my list of  “possibles” so if you saw it, let me know what you think.

However, if it’s any comfort to Will Ferrell, he did benefit financially from me over the weekend, because I rented the DVD of Stranger Than Fiction, a movie he did a couple of years ago with Emma Thompson. He must have made at least a penny in royalties off my rental fee…

Ferrell plays Harold Crick, an IRS agent who starts to hear a voice narrating every action in his tedious life. Turns out he’s a character in a book being written by reclusive author Karen Eiffel (Thompson), though his figuring that out takes up a large part of the movie (the audience is clued in from the start). Bad news for Crick, he’s doomed to die at the end of the book, when he realizes that, it becomes a race against time to save his life just as it starts to get interesting.

I really enjoyed this movie, it was so different and quite unpredictable. And quite unexpected to see Ferrell as a romantic hero (in an unlikely romance with a baker played by the very cute Maggie Gyllenhaal), especially if you’re more used to his Talladega Nights-style of character. I must admit, Ferrell’s not the man I have in my head when I’m writing one of the romantic heroes in my books, but maybe I could rethink that…

Dustin Hoffman played a big part in the movie, too, and of course, he was recently paired up with Thompson in Last Chance Harvey,  another movie I really enjoyed. I wonder if acting in Stranger Than Fiction together was what sparked their pairing in Last Chance Harvey?
So, did you see Land of the Lost?  Love it, hate it? Got any other Will Ferrell recommendations?



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Five Favorite Ways to Read a Book

June 8, 2008 by in category Writing tagged as

by Abby Gaines

If you’re reading this blog, you already know you love to read, and you probably know what you love to read (though hopefully you’re open to some new reading experiences!). But do you know how you most love to read?

Let’s say there’s a book that you’ve been wanting to read for months, and now at last you’ve bought it. It’s not always easy to decide how to read it.

Do you want to drive home from the store, curl up in your favorite chair and start reading right away (are you an Instant Gratification Reader)? Or will you wait, saint-like, until you’ve made dinner and put the kids to bed, all the while knowing your precious book is sitting there (if you listen hard, you can hear it calling, faintly, “Read me…read me…”). You wait because it’s better to have at least a couple of hours to read without interruption.

How about reading for half an hour in bed every night, just before you fall asleep? The upside is, it’s a lovely way to end the day. The downside: it takes a long time to finish the book.

Maybe you’ll choose to make the commute to work more bearable (or waiting for an appointment, or even sitting at a red light), by cramming in pages at every opportunity over the next few days. The reading experience might not be the most relaxed, but it’ll brighten other parts of your life and it keeps the story alive and pulsing in your head.

Or maybe you’ll wait until you can truly savor the book without fear of daily life intruding—you’ll save it until you go on vacation. Reading on the sand can be a gritty experience, but there’s something about having the sun warming you as you read that’s incredibly relaxing….

I love all of the above ways of reading, for different reasons. If I had to choose just one…hmm, I think it involves a window-seat, with the sun streaming through it. It involves a stretch of time—chunks of an hour or two, at least—and several cups of hot tea…or if it’s later in the day a glass of wine. I’m happy to have people around me, but hopefully they’re not expecting me to do things for them—I’m thinking more of a companionable feeling than a busy feeling.

Tell me your favorite way to read a book…maybe I’ll learn something new!

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