May is National Get Caught Reading Month.

If I’m going to get caught doing anything, reading would be right there at the top of my list.

Other things I wouldn’t mind getting caught doing:

  • random acts of kindness
  • laughing
  • cuddling a cat
  • enjoying a meal
  • listening to music
  • being with my friends

What would you like to get caught doing?

 

 

I had my first book signing this past Saturday.

When I received the author copies of my first book, Moonlight Serenade, I dashed to my local library branch and donated a copy. The Adult Services Librarian asked me if I’d be interested in doing an Author Spotlight and Book Signing. Well, duh! That was a no brainer. We settled on a date.

The library set up a lot promotion. I was on the front page of the county library system website. My appearance was announced in the local newspaper’s events section. The front page of the branch newsletter carried a feature about the book. And there were postcards available at the checkout desk. 2015-05-17 18.10.012015-05-17 18.09.25 2015-05-17 18.09.03

 

Lovely posters were made up and hung.

2015-05-17 08.51.09(Yes, this poster now adorns the door of my office.)

I had read a great blog about what an author should have at a book signing. That was a blessing. (Thank you Ryan Jo Summers!)I purchased clear plastic stands for signage, a business card holder, a postcard/brochure holder, and individually wrapped berry-flavored candies for a heart-shaped glass dish I have. I packed business cards for my local RWA Chapter, as well as membership brochures. I made stickers about my new release, Summer Flingfor the back of my werewolf book postcards. I had a bottle of water and a pack of tissue. I had my books.

I had a nice turn out. One of my critique partners showed up with a small vase of lilacs and “Local Author” stickers for me. The audience asked great questions.lilacs

I came away with a bit of a sore throat, but feeling good about the event.

Aran West, Adult Services Librarian and MJ Compton, Author

Aran West, Adult Services Librarian and MJ Compton, Author

 

Fellow author Christine Wenger reading a passage from Moonlight Serenade

Fellow author Christine Wenger reading a passage from Moonlight Serenade

 

Author MJ Compton with her husband, "TV Stevie"

Author MJ Compton with her husband, “TV Stevie”

Signing books

Signing books

Today is my parents’ 61st wedding anniversary. How’s that for longevity?

They knew each other 3 months before they were married. How’s that for romance?

They’re the main reason I believe in love-at-first-sight.

.mom Dad

X-Chromo, a creative writing major in college, called the other night. She may be taking a class on Literary Citizenship next semester. I had no idea what she was talking about until she explained the concept to me. Then I realized, yeah, I am a literary citizen.  In fact, as I type this, I have taken off time from Day Job so I can promote my current release. There are blogs to write, blogs to schedule, Facebook and Tsu blurbs to post, and Tweets to Twitter.

Image credit: andrejad / 123RF Stock Photo

Then I ran across this article. The truth may set you free, but sometimes it’s depressing as all get out, too.

I’m lucky. Both of my publishers market their authors. But the “good old days” really are gone.

On the bright side, we authors can interact with our readers on a regular basis. We can develop true relationships with them. We can created communities of like-minded people. There’s lots to be said for good citizenship.

Hello to those I know, and to those I don’t, I’m Kris Fletcher, and I write for Harlequin Superromance. This June, to celebrate the release of my  release A Family Come True, I will be hosting a fundraiser – Authors and Readers for Kids (ARK) – to benefit the Alliance for Children Foundation. At this time, I am asking my fellow authors for donations of prizes that will be awarded to folks who make a contribution to the Foundation.
The Alliance for Children Foundation is a Massachusetts-based international relief organization devoted to improving the physical and emotional well being of orphaned and at-risk children worldwide. As an author of family-centered romances, I wish to support the Foundation as they provide shelter, food, medical attention, and loving caregivers to children who may never know what it is to have a family of their own. As the mother of five children, two of them adopted through the Foundation’s sister agency (the Alliance for Children), I have seen firsthand some of the ways the Foundation enriches the lives of little ones.
Here’s how the ARK will work:
  1. Awesome authors donate prizes. Books are the obvious choice, of course, but feel free to branch out! All authors are welcomed with open arms and tons of gratitude, but I would ask that the prizes themselves be kept to about a PG-13 level. Or PG-16, if there were such a thing J  If you write super spicy or erotic, something like an Amazon gift card, candy, or an item that relates to your story’s setting would probably be a safer bet than a copy of your book (awesome though it is). My 14-year-old wants to share this event with her friends, and I really don’t want to end up as the main topic of discussion at the next PTA meeting :-)
  2. Awesome readers make donations to the Foundation and are then entered into drawings (conducted by me) for the prizes. Prizes will be awarded throughout the month of June. All prize announcements will be done on my website.
  3. I gather any necessary shipping information from the prize winners and pass that on to the donating authors, who ship the prize directly to the winner.
All participating authors will be recognized on my website, both on a permanent page listing contributors and in the post in which her prize is awarded. There is also a high probability of a mention or two on Twitter and/or Facebook, depending on how many end-of-school-year events I have to attend during June.
If you would like to help make the world a brighter place for a child, please email me (kris@krisfletcher.com) with the following information:
  • Your prize
  • If it is a physical prize, please let me know where you are willing to ship (US only, North America only, worldwide, etc) (Remember, if you’re donating a physical book, the Book Depository ships worldwide for free!)
  • Your website address (and if your website is an 18-and-older-only one, please let me know so I can indicate that)
  • The title of your latest release and, if you wish, the cover. I can’t guarantee I will use all titles and covers I receive (see the abovementioned concerns about the PTA)  but I will do my very best.
And of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thanks so much for your generosity. Whether you are able to offer a prize, make a donation to the Foundation, spread the word about ARK to your readers and groups – or all three – you can be sure that our combined efforts will make a world of difference for children in need.

Welcome Doreen Alsen to Work-In-Progress Wednesday! May is National Date Your Mate Month. Can you share either the funniest moment of your dating your husband or the most romantic?

DA:  Eberhard, a.k.a. Mr. Doreen is an avid sailor. On one of our first dates he took me sailing. Now, even though I grew up on the beach, Id never sailed on a boat bigger than a Sunfish, so it was a brand new experience to go sailing on Cayuga Lake in the spring. It was a total rush and I loved it. But when it came to getting back into the harbor, the outboard motor failed and we had to sail into the utility dock. It was totally too windy but what did I know? So he made me sit on the foredeck and put my feet out to break the collision with the dock. I stuck my feet out ready to cushion the blow  when we rammed right into the dock, nearly crippling me. Like, total ouchiness. Mr. Doreen had no clue. He yelled out Good job!  I married him anyway and weve had many more hair-raising sailing adventures.
 
MJ: LOL! If you didn’t write, what would be your creative outlet?
 
DA: I come to writing as a singer, with a background in opera and musical theater. Id be throwing myself at that if I didnt write.
 
MJ: Other than writing, what would be your dream job? Why?
 
DA: Id like to own a restaurant. I started waiting on table when I was fourteen and I loved being in that whole milieu, especially meeting all these new people all the time. I grew up in Provincetown, MA and it was all tourists all the time – all these people from all over the world. It was so cool.
 
MJ: Describe your ideal/dream writing space.
 
DA: A screened in porch looking out at Provincetown Harbor. No phones. No music, since being a musician, I cant listen uncritically.
 
MJ: What do you love most about your WIP hero?
 
DA: Tim was nearly killed by ISIS. Even though he wants to hide away and let life pass him by, he really cant disengage totally. And hes a sailor. He might just take the heroine sailing on a date that ends somewhat like what happened to my date with Mr. Doreen
 
MJ: What do you least like about your WIP heroine?
 
DA: was a horrible person in A Taste of Hope, my most recent release from the Wild Rose Press. Shes had to apologize for a lot. Shes lost her dream and she doesnt deal with it well. She doesnt see that shes worthy of love given what shes done in the past.
 
MJ: What genre is your current WIP?
 
DA: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
 
MJ: How did you come up with your hero and heroine’s names?
 
DA: Tim was a secondary character in my first book, Mikes Best Bet. I never intended for him to have a book, but he ended up in Lobster Cove, ME, which is a fictional town in Maine invented by the Wild Rose Press. Tim spent summers there. Angelique started out as the heros sister in A Taste of Hope. I never intended for her to have a book either, but the two of them demanded their HEA.
 
MJ: How did you choose the setting for your current WIP?
 
DA: Worth A Thousand Words is set in Lobster Cove, ME as part of a multi-author series invented by the Wild Rose Press. My January release Working My Way Back to You is also set in Lobster Cove.
 
MJ: Please share the 1st five to ten sentences of Worth a Thousand Words.
            “I now pronounce you man and wife! You may now kiss your bride.”
            Tim Baldwin watched his best friend, Jeff Myers, wrap his arms around his brand, spankin’ new wife, Beth, a lip lock worthy of the record books.
            Jeff and Beth deserved all the happiness in the world. After years apart, they finally found each other. Tim knew better than anyone how much Jeff suffered after Beth had disappeared. His buddy deserved his happily ever after.
            As for himself, Tim thought, not so much.
MJ: The title of Doreen’s current release is A Taste of Hope (Book 4 of At The End Zone), which can be purchased from the Wild Rose Press website or Amazon.
Doreen, how can readers stay current with your writing?
DA: I have a website and a blog. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
MJ: Thanks again for joining me today, and good luck!
 

My landscaper said he’d be around last weekend, but it was too cold. At least, that’s our theory.

In the mean time, spring has finally come to this part of the world, and the posies I planted the first autumn we lived here are now making me cheerful.

2015-05-02 08.06.10

Greek windflowers, grape hyacinths, tulips.

(I’ve never had much luck with daffodils, which I adore.)2015-05-02 08.05.57 2015-05-02 08.05.53 2015-05-02 08.06.10 2015-05-02 08.05.00 2015-05-02 08.04.30And these two items were here when we bought the property.

2015-05-02 08.07.15

2015-05-02 08.06.30The peonies are sprouting, but I believe my rose bush is gone.

Maybe the landscaper will show up this weekend. I’d love to get moving on my outdoor office!

 

 

On Saturday, May 2, one of my dearest friends and critique partners (Gayle Callen/Emma Cane/Julia Latham) is going to be talking to my local RWA chapter about writing in two genres. She’s published in historical romance (Gayle), medieval romance (Julia), and small town romance (Emma) by Avon Harper Collins.

All of my critique partners write in two genres. Kris Fletcher writes Women’s Fiction and for Harlequin Super Romance, and Christine Wenger writes romance for Harlequin Special Edition and cozy mysteries for Obsidian (Penguin).

I felt like such a slacker. Then I realized that on Tuesday, May 5–less than one week from now–I, too will be published in two genres: paranormal werewolves with Soul Mate Publishing and contemporary baseball romance with Loose Id.

And what do my two genres have in common? The heroes are men in organized groups (packs & teams). They’re the guys who break away from the stereotypes to find a life beyond the safety of male bonding. This was not conscious on my part, but it’s certainly been a lot of fun.

What’s next? Maybe a baseball playing werewolf!

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“Baseball lasts as long as it takes. Like life, like love, baseball exists in real time.” Carol Travis

I went to opening day of the local Triple A baseball team last week. Opening day frequently isn’t kind to baseball in my neck of the woods, but not this year. It was a beautiful, sunny day. There were hugs a-plenty as I greeted my baseball family. There were a lot of people in the stands.

Several innings passed before I noticed it. I probably wouldn’t have noticed if someone hadn’t mentioned it.

A clock. A countdown clock.

“Part of the game’s genius is the absence of a running clock, granting us the coveted commodity of time, in which anything can happen before the last out is made.”  Jean Hastings Ardell

The pitcher now has 20 seconds from the time he receives the ball to throwing his pitch.

It seems “people” think the leisurely pace of baseball is out of hand.  It could be TV/radio wanting a fixed block of time; it could be the MTV generation with its lack of focus prompting the change. Regardless, I am appalled.

Baseball is the only North American team sport played without a clock. The game allows its fans to breathe. It’s spiritual, like yoga.

The clock could force its way to the big leagues by next season. That would be a terrible thing.

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(DISCLAIMER: This blog post originally appeared on Cathy McRae’s Bits & Bobs on Feb 11, 2015.)

Fleshing out Stoker Smith, hero of my new release, AND JERICHO BURNED, was a bit of a challenge. You see, he’s a werewolf. And werewolves, as opposed to the general population, are very alpha. Stoker is intimidating, dominating, and confident: all signs of alpha maleness. And yet, he’s not an alpha male. At least, not in his pack. He’s delta. A real middle of the pack kind of guy.

He has no desire to lead anything, mostly because leading would involve thinking and making decisions, and he has many more important things to do than clutter his brain with details other people are more qualified to ponder. Mostly he likes to compose music. He co-writes most of the songs performed by Toke Lobo & The Pack, the country band his pack alpha started. When he meets Lucy Callahan, heroine of the book, even making music takes a backseat to wanting to take her home and start making babies with her. His ultimate bliss is within reach–except for one or two things.

First of all, there’s Lucy. Lucy thinks. She plots and strategizes, and even failure doesn’t stop her from doing it again. Stoker knows he should be flattered when the pack alphas listen to her, because that’s an honor, but he and Lucy are delta. Deltas don’t think. His mate needs to learn that.

Then there’s her sister, Michelle, who is now part of his family. He promised Lucy he’d get Michelle away from that heavily-armed religious cult she joined. The pack alphas don’t want to hear that, so he has to deal with it himself. And while he’s capable, he’d much rather be led.

Except when someone hurts Lucy. Revenge is his and his alone. And that’s what makes it a romance.