August 16, 2014

Excerpts

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Because I write contemporary romantic comedy, my books have no carriage sex. There are a few sexy moments in cars — but the scene I’m featuring for this week’s My Sexy Saturday post isn’t one of those, either.

This scene is from SLIDING INTO HOME, Book 3 of my All Is Fair in Love & Baseball series, published by Turquoise Morning Press. I went the short route this time — only 7 sentences. The better to share it in a fun, pinnable quote card!

QuoteCard.inddSliding into Home is available now at Turquoise Morning PressAmazonBarnes & NobleAll Romance eBooksSmashwordsKobo and iTunes (Sliding Into Home – Arlene Hittle)

August 14, 2014

Musings

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Most conference attendees fly to the conference city. Me? I’m not big on airplanes—and even less tolerant of airport hassle. Schlepping a suitcase between terminals? Barefoot strolls through security? Interminable layovers?

Thanks, but no thanks. When it’s at all feasible, I’d rather travel by car.

A car trip from Flagstaff to San Antonio for Romance Writers of America’s 2014 National Conference seemed do-able. At least that was the conclusion my NARWA chapter mates Anne Marie Becker and Alison DeLaine and I came to.

I can hear you now: Two days and 14-plus hours in the car is do-able? Are you nuts?

Quite possibly. But when you regularly drive an hour and a half just to get to RWA meetings, 14 hours in the car doesn’t seem nearly as ludicrous. (Lengthy drive time is one of the—er—perks of a chapter that encompasses the northern third of Arizona.)

Believe it or not, there are advantages to taking a real road trip to and from conference.

9. Better scenery. Instead of staring at clouds and an endless expanse of blue sky (if you’re lucky enough to get a window seat), you get to see giant windmills dominating the plain and farmers in their fields. Texas farmland is is just as green as Indiana’s. Smells the same, too.

Near Sweetwater, Texas

Near Sweetwater, Texas

Tried to take a photo of the sunset reflected in the mirror.

Tried to take a photo of the sunset reflected in the mirror. It kinda works, right?

8. Time for side jaunts. As we drove through New Mexico on our way to Texas, we took a short detour to Billy the Kid’s gravesite. Just outside of Fort Sumner, the sign beckoned us … so Anne Marie turned down the side road and drove until we reached the historical marker at the cemetery.

Being a fan of "Young Guns," I didn't turn down the chance to stop.

Being a fan of “Young Guns,” I didn’t turn down the chance to stop.

Billy the Kid grave

7. Cargo room. Unlike the poor suckers who flew to San Antonio who had to pay to ship stuff home, we had plenty of room to bring back swag. That I didn’t come home with a ton of new reading material is because I still have unread books from Anaheim in 2012. And I only fit all my clothes in one smallish suitcase because I didn’t have that many clothes to pack. Four dresses, two pairs of pants and matching shirts, sleepwear and (too many) shoes.

Apparently, I pack light.

Apparently, I pack light.

Note to self: Next time, don’t bother with the sneakers. You won’t make it to the gym anyway.

6. Crazy timetable. If you decide to make the return trip all in one day (instead of splitting it in two) because one of you (*cough, cough* ME) is scheduled to work Monday afternoon, no one will stop you. The SUV put up a bit of a protest, dishing out hot air through the air conditioner vents in the midday Texas sun. But we drove with the windows cracked for  about an hour and then, when we turned the AC back on, it was fine.

5. Excellent conversation. Sitting in the car for so many hours, you have nothing but time to work out sticky plot points, brainstorm ideas for the chapter and sing along with Apple’s “Ladies of the 80s” station … at the top of your lungs, of course. Car singing is best done at full volume.

4. Plenty of diet Dr Pepper. Only in Texas, where you see billboards advertising my favorite diet soda every 30 minutes or so, can you get diet Dr. Pepper at most soda fountains. Look hard enough and you might just find an entire refrigerated case full of Dr Pepper. (This one was in Texico … N.M., I think. But it’s on the border.)

Only in Texas ...

Only in Texas …

3. Flexible arrival/departure times. On our way to San Antonio, we crossed two state lines—and lost an hour each time. It didn’t matter much on Monday, when we went from Arizona to New Mexico. But Alison and I had dinner get-togethers planned Tuesday night. We didn’t properly account for the lost hour from N.M. to Texas and had to book it through Texas to make it to dinner.

2. Ample rest stops. You never know what you’ll find in those convenience store/gas stations. I considered buying this mug — until I figured Starbucks didn’t sell a drink big enough to fill it.

Everything?

Everything?

1. It’s a grand adventure. From racing a monsoon storm to Interstate 40 to touring beautiful downtown Clovis, N.M., by moonlight on the way to our mid-point hotel, you make countless memories. I think I Instagrammed more photos in that one week than in the whole month prior.

Bonus: (Mind you, this has nothing to do with the car trip, but I couldn’t resist adding it anyway.)

Cowboys. ‘Nuff said.

At the Amazon reception

At the Amazon reception

RWA14 was a blast—not that I doubted it would be. For me, it was a true road trip. Two of my chapter mates and I carpooled from Flagstaff to San Antonio (more on that soon). I caught up with friends old and new, and learned so much from the workshop sessions I attended. I went to so many marketing/social media sessions that my head threatened to explode.

One of the key points emphasized in many of them? You need a blog.

Umm … Does it count if I have a blog but post sporadically?

The experts’ answer, of course, is a big, fat “NO.”

So now that I’m back in Flagstaff, trying to resettle into what passes for a normal routine, I’m going to aim to blog more regularly. (How is it possible that my last post was in mid-June?) Blogging is heaped on top of all the Twitter/FB/Pinteresting things I should be doing—and none of them are as important as actually writing the next book.

Anyway …

LynnSexySaturday_buttonIt occurred to me that My Sexy Saturday is a great way to guarantee I post something fresh on my blog every week.

A quick refresher on the rules:

Post 7 paragraphs or 7 sentences or 7 words ONLY. The choice is yours. It can be from a WIP or something you already have published. Your post should be live by 9 am US Pacific Time on Saturday. Put those lucky 7s to work for you!

Here’s a snippet from my June release, BLIND DATE BRIDE. Who needs “Married at First Sight” when you have Kari and Damien?

***

Damien leaned across the table, and for a second, Kari thought he’d kiss her again. Her lips parted in anticipation. However, he merely turned her hand over, palm up, and ran his thumb over the skin at the base of her fingers. She watched it move back and forth, fast then slow, fascinated by the friction-generated heat.

His eyes never left hers, so she saw the instant his desire flickered back to life. Her thighs clenched as her body answered Damien’s call.

The dampness she felt provided a rude wake-up call. She clamped her knees together as she jerked her hand out of his grasp, ruthlessly reminding herself how badly her last run-in with lust at first sight had ended.

Seemingly undeterred, he grinned. “You ready to head to my place?”

“Y-your place?” Surely he wasn’t a mind reader.

“Or yours, I suppose.”

“My place?” This time, Kari’s voice came out in a panicked squeak.

Blind Date Bride is available now as an e-book at AmazonBarnes & Noble and Kobo, and in print at CreateSpace or Amazon.

Complete strangers getting married the first time they meet?

Sounds crazy, right? There’s no way it would happen in real life.

Umm … think again. Turns out the premise of BLIND DATE BRIDE isn’t so far-fetched after all. It was just years ahead of its time.

When I came up with the idea of two losers at love finally winning the “Get a Love Life” contest they never entered (way back in 1990-something), it might have been out there. Not so today, when reality TV show premises get nuttier and nuttier.

One of the latest? “Married at First Sight,” an A&E networks presentation.

Married, an adaptation of a hit Danish format, will also include four specialists who will create what they believe are three perfect couples based on scientific matchmaking. The first meeting for these couples, each comprised of people who’ve had no prior luck in the love department, will be as they walk down the aisle.

(Emphasis is mine.) Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it?

Of course, my Kari and Damien don’t win the contest’s grand prize based on scientific matchmaking. They’re merely the folks with the worst love lives in America, as selected by a panel of experts that includes Dr. Drew and Danielle Steel. And they marry and live together to get the prize money, of which there appears to be none in the A&E show.

“Married at First Sight” premieres on A&E’s FYI network (formerly BIO) on July 8. Find more info here.

As a romance writer, I sincerely hope they succeed. Realistically, I know they probably won’t.

Luckily, my BLIND DATE BRIDE can satisfy your need for happily-ever-after. Find it at AmazonBarnes & Noble and Kobo, and in print at CreateSpace or Amazon.