Tag: Love Inspired

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MY UNROMANTIC HEART

February 15, 2020 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as , , , , , , , ,

By the time you read this it will be the day after Valentine’s Day, and I spent yesterday agonizing about what to write.

This angst over Valentine’s Day and romance is not unfounded.  My first book was a romance.  In Passion’s Defense was about a defense lawyer falling in love with a prosecutor during a gruesome trial.  That should have been my first clue that perhaps mayhem rather than meet ups was my cup of tea.  But I was slow on the uptake, and I wrote eight category romances. I think they are pretty darn good and they got better with each one. I wrote my heart out for Harlequin but I couldn’t seem to color in the lines, so I started writing women’s fiction. The editorial freedom, the more intricate plot lines, and the emphasis on plot rather than relationship helped me thrive. Dreams, Seasons, Vanities were just some of my titles. I wrote a lot of women’s fiction, but still I hadn’t hit my comfort zone as a writer. Then two things happened that sealed my fate.

First, the incredible RWA bookseller—Michelle Thorne—delicately informed me that my idea of romance was the hero chucking the heroine on the arm and giving her a smile. She was right. I was not a sexy writer in the years when other authors were pushing the envelope. My editor at Kensington was more direct. He said ‘You have to stop killing people before they get in bed!’. In essence he fired me from romance. I was devastated. Later I realized this was the silver lining in my very dark cloud.

When I started writing thrillers I found my passion and isn’t passion what love is all about? Still, without the learning curve of the romance genre, without the editors and readers, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to break up with women’s fiction as it was defined all those years ago and move on to my literary partner for life.

That doesn’t mean I left romance behind completely. Every book I write is based on relationships, but the emphasis of stories is little different from the classic romance novel.  And then there’s my mom. One day she asked if I could write a book-without-bodies. I wrote three. On my mother’s ninetieth birthday, I presented her with a trilogy of sweet, romantic comedies: The Day Bailey Devlin’s Horoscope Came True, The Day Bailey Devlin Picked Up a Penny and the Day Bailey Devlin’s Ship Came in. These books encompassed every thing I love about romance: humor, honesty, confusion, honor, and affection for not just one man but all the men in Bailey’s life.  Young or old, they be a lover or father or friend, it was all about love. I will always be most proud of, be in love with, the Bailey Devlin Trilogy because it reflects my definition of romance. 

Today I put those three books in a boxed set and I hope when a reader finishes the stories, her (his) heart will be fuller, there might be a tear in her eye, she will have laughed out loud and then  will turn around and pass all that feeling on to someone she loves.

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day.

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Determination

May 25, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,

Recently I was musing about my writing career. I’ve been fortunate to have published almost 60 books. While I’m not likely to make the New York Time Best Seller List with my Love Inspired romances, I’m pleased with my ‘body of work.’ (My actual ‘body’ needs considerably more work. )
How have I succeeded? Determination.
When I was as yet unpublished, my first agent called to tell me my latest submission had been rejected. That rejection was not my first nor my last. She went on to say, “Older women can’t write love scenes.”
Huh? I wasn’t that old; at least my long-term memory was excellent, and I have always been blessed with a really good imagination.
I remained polite until we hung up. Then I said aloud, “Watch me!”
Subsequently, I managed to author more than 40 books for various Harlequin secular lines – most included a love scene or two.
I come by my determination naturally. Or perhaps it comes from my mother, who when told in business school that she didn’t type fast enough to get a job, she simply went out and got a job.
When I was about four-years-old, my older brother and his friend were playing with their toy soldiers. Digging trenches. Leading tank attacks. Shouting ‘bang’ you’re dead.
Naturally, I wanted to play too. I had my own collection of lead soldiers. My brother was used to having me tag along; not so his friend Skipper. To get rid of me, Skipper offered to buy me a lead soldier (the plastic ones were boring) if I would dig a hole to China.
That sounded like a good idea to me. But I hadn’t been born yesterday. I asked Skipper to be more specific about the depth of the hole I was to dig. He found a stick that was maybe two or three feet long to use as a measure. So off I went to dig the prescribed hole.
In a matter of an hour or two I was back to play with my brother and Skipper. Poor Skipper procrastinated about getting me the promised soldier until finally my mother intervened.
That’s what DETERMINATION gets you – your goal.
What are you Determined to achieve?
Char……
Books that leave you smiling…
Montana Love Letter, Love Inspired, 10/2012
Montana Home Coming, Love Inspired, Spring 2013

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What’s Wrong with this Cover?

January 12, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

The creation of a book cover is a collaboration of the author (most of whom claim their suggestions are ignored), the editor, art department and marketing. Sometimes things go wrong.
One of the most infamous cover calamities happened to Christina Dodd, author of Castle in the Air, an historical romance. The hero on the cover is standing behind the heroine in a lovely red gown, holding her with, um, all THREE of his arms. Amazing fellow!
Jill Marie Landis, who writes western historicals circa 1880, got an early peek at one of her covers. It featured a cabin in the woods with a TV antenna. Oophs! The publisher had to reprint ALL of the covers. Boy, was that an expensive mistake.
I think my cover for Big Sky Family is both appealing and charming; the colors are positively lovely. It’s hard to beat a cowboy hero (Arnie), the heroine’s young daughter (Torie) and a golden retriever (Sheila) for getting reader attention. But there’s just one small problem.
                   
Arnie, our hero, is sitting on the porch steps. He’s a paraplegic. In every scene in the book he is sitting in a wheelchair (with the small exception of rounding up cattle on a specially equipped ATV).
I’m guessing, and I really don’t know, that marketing has ‘discovered’ that heroes portrayed in wheelchairs don’t sell. Okay, I really want to sell lots of copies of Big Sky Family.
But what will readers think when they get to page 10 and find Arnie in his wheelchair? Will they blame me for the misleading cover and write nasty notes? Ouch!
And what about readers who read Big Sky Reunion, a previous book which featured Arnie’s brother Daniel? Won’t they remember that Arnie was a paraplegic in that book? When they see the cover will they think he’s been cured? And write nasty notes? Oh dear . . .
So do you think marketing is right? Would you be more or less likely to buy a book with the hero on the cover in a wheelchair?
Let me know.
Happy reading…….
Char…..
Big Sky Family, Love Inspired, available 10/19/2011
Written With Love, working title, Love Inspired, 10/2012
Books that leave you smiling by

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Between the Lines with Charlotte Lobb (writing as Charlotte Carter)

November 13, 2011 by in category Interviews tagged as , ,

A multi-published author of more than fifty romance, cozy mystery and inspirational titles, Charlotte Carter lives in Southern California with her husband of forty-nine years and their cat Mittens—an equal opportunity lap cat. They have two married daughters and five grandchildren. When she’s not writing, Charlotte does a little stand-up comedy—G-Rated Humor for Grownups—and teaches workshops on the craft of writing.


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Single mom Ellie James has returned to Montana for a fresh start and a new job at a local school. She sure could use the support of hometown rancher Arnie O’Brien, especially when she faces the opportunity to step up as director. But this cowboy still holds a grudge from when Ellie left him behind eight years ago. Can Arnie trust God’s plan and take a second chance on the girl who got away? He and Ellie will have to put aside the past to face the future together.

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Q. You’ve written SO many books. How do you keep yourself motivated to write?
I’m compulsive! Maybe it’s because I started late in this writing business, but writing, discovering a story, soothes me (when it’s going well, of course). And there’s always another story to tell lurking somewhere in the back of my mind. So little time, so many stories……
Q. You’ve written in several different subgenres. Do you stick with one genre at a time or do you switch it up and change from book to book to keep it interesting?
The vast majority of my books have been romance novels. Now, however, I’m writing for two publishers: inspirational romance for Love Inspired  and cozy mystery continuities for Guideposts Books. I try to alternate between publishers, which is somewhat dependent on my schedule for the Guideposts books in whatever series is current.

Q. What is your writing process like? Linear or dot-to-dot? Planner or pantser? Do you write long hand or on the computer? etc.
I’m definitely linear and a planner, although the characters have been known to give me a surprise now and then. I start off plotting with a pen and college-lined notebook paper. (You can tell  how high-tech I am – Not!)  I establish who the characters are and their goals, diagram a W plot and  work through the hero’s journey.  At that point I can usually write a synopsis, which I do on the computer as well as the rest of the manuscript.

Q. What is your most reliable “go to” tool when you realize your story is broken and needs fixing?
For many years, my favorite “go to” tool was Mindy Neff and Susan Phillips, my critique partners. More recently I’ve been whining to Karen Leabo (aka Kara Lennox), who is great with the ‘black moment.’ If they aren’t handy, I may take a second look at Save the Cat by Blake Synder, do Debbie Macomber’s list of 20, or let my subconscious solve the problem while I sleep. I will say, by chapter 3 I pretty well can tell if the story is going to work.

Q. How have you managed to brand yourself, given the different genres you have written in?
I’ve never quite understood this ‘branding’ business, but I do have a motto and a promise that I make to readers: Books that leave you smiling….by Charlotte Carter.  When I was writing for Harlequin American (as Charlotte Maclay) I wrote warm, family stories. Now, with Love Inspired (w/a Charlotte Carter) I’m writing warm, family stories but with a more emotional tone and characters who are dealing with serious problems — a heart transplant recipient, loss of family members, and in my current book, Big Sky Family, a hero who is paraplegic.

Q. You have a wonderful sense of humor that serves you well when speaking publicly. How does your humor serve you in your writing career?
I wish I could say my sense of humor allows me to laugh at copy editors, but that would be a lie. In my writing, humor tends to worm it’s way into the story via children, who are always unpredictable, or by creating a ‘fish out of water’ story for the hero or heroine. Often it’s the reaction of a ‘straight’ character to a humorous situation that can make a reader smile.

Q. What authors and genres do you like to read?
I most often read suspense and romantic suspense, single title romance, legal thrillers, and the like. I’ve recently read James Patterson (Alex Cross story), John Grisham, Iris Johansen, and Rachel Lee books. And to my delight, our own Deb Mullins and Tessa Dare (Eve Ortega) have brought me back to historical romance, my first love.

Q. What piece of advice do you consider most important sharing with an aspiring author?
Write! Write! And write some more. I was very fortunate when I joined OCC and RWA that I could come home from a meeting and immediately use whatever information I’d gleaned  in my work-in-progress.. It’s impossible, in my view, to learn to write without having somehow finished a story.  My various critique groups have also been invaluable. (My technique is to be the dumbest one in the group so I can learn the most; so far I’ve achieved that goal..) I continue to learn by attending workshops and taking online classes in the hope of improving my craft. As Susan Macias said at our October Birthday Bash, “The only guarantee that you won’t sell is if you quit writing.”
Find more information about Charlotte and her books at: CharlotteCarter.com 
Interview is conducted by Brenna Aubrey, aspiring author whose first publication, a short story, “The Love Letter” was recently published in the Jane Austen Made Me Do It anthology, currently available.

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Concert in the Park

September 5, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

While much of the east coast was being pummeled by hurricane Irene, my husband, a friend and I were enjoying a concert in the park performed by the Torrance Symphony Orchestra.  Lots of show tunes, a couple of operatic arias by a wonderful tenor and soprano, and a classical violin piece performed by a young lady who is about 16-years-old. (Makes me feel like I wasted my youth!)

If I can make you envious for a moment – picture a clear blue sky, 74-degrees with a light breeze blowing. Music lovers seated in folding chairs on a hillside, some enjoying picnic lunches, toddlers making mad dashes only to be snared up into a parent’s arms before they could get into trouble, and dogs and puppies straining at their leashes.

In the shallow pond in front of the bandstand ducks are swimming in the water or napping on the concrete shore. The alpha seagull defends the ‘best’ perch against all comers.
Overhead, palm trees sway and eucalyptus leaves shimmer silver and green in the breeze. When the audience applauds, a flock of pigeons take flight, soaring over the trees.
What a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon — and to celebrate my birthday!
What do you like to do to celebrate your birthday?
by Charlotte Carter
Big Sky Family, Love Inspired, 10/19/2011
New Beginnings, Guideposts Books, 9/2011

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