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Review for Beach House No. 9


A few months ago Christie Ridgway gave an awesome class at Romance Writers of America. The class was about letting the characters write the plot. I loved the content and, as with any exemplary class, it has stuck with me. One gift Ms. Ridgway gave us, besides so much of her wisdom, was her latest contemporary romance Beach House No. 9. I’ve read a couple of her books and enjoyed them all, but this book is outstanding, stupendous, amazing. I loved this book.

The characters in this book really do write the story. Our heroine is an intellectual who is paired with a reporter who is supposed to be writing his memoirs, but is in denial of the atrocities he witnessed during his embed year in Afghanistan.  The hurt of those memories is too painful for him to revisit, he put the project on hold. I loved the way Christie wrote Griffin and the things he observed about Jane. He sees her as prim and proper. Her shoes always bring a mental response. There are bows or little heels, her clothes trim or ruffled. All of it feminine, but she is always the librarian. Her mouth makes him think things, though.

And she finds him undeniably handsome and virile. The first kiss he gives her makes me shiver just thinking about it. The chemistry between these two is so wonderful! Even before that first kiss in Chapter 2.

She calls him ‘chili-dog’ and he calls her ‘honey-pie’. Endearments designed to push the other away, but in truth, they bring them closer together.

Griffin spends months avoiding work on his book while Jane devises ways to get him to at least look at it. In the middle of it all Jane, a repressed, tender-hearted woman, can’t keep herself from falling for this hard-shelled man. At the same time Griffin can’t stave off Jane’s genuine nature and they finally get together. The love scenes are steamy and the pre-love scenes are hot and make you read to get to the love scenes.

As their relationship progresses, they both learn each other’s weaknesses and flaws. She doesn’t know how to swim. She was always the last considered in her family and he puts her first. He can’t sleep and he always pushes people away.

Jane grows on Griffin, the man who doesn’t want anyone to get close. She realizes all his attempts to keep people away is only a ploy to keep his heart from hurting. And… she falls in love with him.  Jane gets Griffin to start on the book, but it pulls out his demons and leads to mother of all black moments.

I am not giving anything away… the black moment is so intense and goes on and on and all the weaknesses of these two flawed people are made right. The twists it takes will be a wild ride.

There is subplot that will keep your heart pumping too.

You have to read this book. It will make you smile and your heart sing.

Nena

Revisit a Hobby


As a writer, I find my regular life inspires and fuels my writing life. If things aren’t flowing in real life, how can I expect a story to flow and the words to take on meaning? One of the many ways I use to keep brain cells alive is horseback riding. I didn’t ride last year (a crying shame), just because a schedule change had me scrambling to find time to just write.

This year my son asked me to teach him how to ride. (I almost fell over.) None of the kids have wanted to ride. Granted, the first riding horse I had was a 16 hand giant and cantankerous as ever. I was the only one experienced enough to brave his antics.

This little girl, though, is a gem. Naomi is a 14 hand Quarter horse of indeterminate age (around 18 now we think). I found her by accident. The only way I seem to find things of great value.

Naomi

A girl at the feed store was looking for someone to buy a horse she had rescued. Naomi was on the way to the sale barn that weekend. For and easy $350 my husband took ownership. She was very ribby, but not dying or sickly in the least. The girl promised she had looked worse weeks ago. No matter. When I got on her she performed beautifully and didn’t balk in the least.

Today she is an invaluable “kid-broke” mount. After a year and a half of being left to her own devices, she is calm and attentive. I love her. My son hasn’t had an issue with her either. Thank goodness.

She doesn’t have the flawless conformation of our thoroughbreds, but she has a beautiful heart. Riding makes my brain relax and my imagination take flight.

I hope you have as freeing a release as I. I’d love to hear from you. Tell me all about your method of relaxation.

Nena

Jason Aldean Rocks!


Something I have become over the past year is an avid country music fan. I have a Pandora station playing at work all time and the radio in the car playing the local country station. I blame it all on my daughter. She turned the radio on last summer and Luke Bryan was singing “You’ve got your hands up, you’re rocking in my truck” and I was hooked.

So of course the logical thing to do was hit the next concert that comes to town. George Strait sold out in minutes, but I bought tickets to Jason Aldean’s Night Train concert without an issue.

This past weekend my daughter and I spent the weekend together. Making it an awesome time was staying at the Marriott. But the highlight was the concert itself. I’m ashamed to admit it has been almost forty years since I went to a live concert. I’ve attended the ballet, classical concerts, plays, but a real rock concert… nope.

Country music isn’t the twangy stuff from twenty years ago. The new country artists have rock and roll souls with a heart in the country. You feel it when the bass reverberates through your whole body and those drums shake you to your feet. Of course, you’re left half deaf by the end, but the thrill of getting to that stage out weighs the lack of ability to hear.

Opening the event was Thomas Rhett.

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If you know anything about country music, this fellow sings “A Beer with Jesus”.

The next guy singing was Jake Owen. He was awesome. He’s really cute in person. My daughter says he looks like a younger, darker Matthew Mcconaughey. We love his music and band.

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Then came the headliner!! Jason Aldean.

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Every song was awesome. I sang the words to every one of those songs. That is an eerie feeling knowing every lyric he sings. He opened with “Take a Little Ride” and I waited and waited, along with the whole arena of fans, until he sang “She’s Country”. The roar of the crowd was overwhelming. I can only imagine what it feels like getting that reception on the stage. Exhilarating I guess.

The man looks great in a pair of jeans, by the way.

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I had to use the little point and shoot camera for these pics. The concert promoter wouldn’t allow cameras with detachable lenses inside the arena. I still managed a few decent shots, but nothing as stunning as my regular Nikon delivers.

This is a short post just to get all this off my chest until I write about on my real person blog.

It was such an exercise in people observation. The writer in me went bonkers. I have so much going on inside my head it’ll be a few weeks before it all calms down.

Love this kind of stuff.

Nena

A Visit From Best Selling Author Sylvia Day


This weekend my local RWA chapter was fortunate to enjoy the company of best-selling author both US and Internationally, Sylvia Day.

Sylvia came to Little Rock to attend the city’s Literary Festival as a panel member discussing erotic romance (quite a stretch for this Bible belt community). I can’t tell you how excited we are to have her here. As a small chapter of Romance Writer’s of America, we seldom have the funds to bring in such well written and renown writers. I should also mention Sylvia is the President of Romance Writer’s of America.

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Most impressive to me was the resolve with which she spoke about handling our careers as authors. She was very adamant about knowing where you are going and walking into a new contract with your eyes wide open. She stressed looking at each contract by evaluating its value not only now, but how it will impact your next work. If you have to, don’t sign.

Right now, I’m just trying to write something someone will want to buy.

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Sylvia also stressed that this is the best time in the world to be a writer. We are not under the thumb of the big publishers. She has made more money on her self pubs than the she has after she turned them over to the NY publisher. Her decision to do that was to enable those books availability on the international market. She is one savvy lady. I loved every minute.

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This was one of our largest turnouts for our chapter. So worth it. Had a blast ladies!

Nena

Magic Mike Birthday Blast


That is some gorgeous man flesh staring you in the face.

My birthday was a few days ago and my dear friend Voirey Linger took me to see Magic Mike on my birthday!! It was the nicest birthday, I tell you. This movie has to be viewed with your girl friends, because too much hooting and hollering will ensue. And any other family members will only be embarrassed by your tawdry and loud behavior.  Only your best friends will understand the attraction.

The theater was filled with nothing but women… oh wait! One fellow braved the rowdy crowd with his girl. No doubt that man was aptly rewarded.

Oh it’s rainin’ men!!

There is an abundance of washboard abs and smokey looks, not to mention bare asses and… some other unmentionables.

Matthew McConaughey is sexy and funny and … did I say sexy? Gorgeous.

This movie feeds every woman’s fantasy and more. Even better, it has a great plot. So ladies, it isn’t just an hour and a half of lust inducing man-flesh. A real story lurks behind it all. Just in case you might need some form of justification to see this movie.

And Channing Tatum is charming….

And I certainly don’t want to over look the stunning, yet young, Alex Pettyfer (for my girls enamored with this hunk of yum.)

Amazing moves and stunning routines do everything to show off every desirable attribute females seek in their man.

Have a blast when you see this.

Nena

A New Inspiration


I just had to write about this.

I discovered a new television series a few months ago called “Justified”. It comes on FX I believe. We don’t have cable or satellite, only rabbit ears so our choices in shows is limited. Perusing the choices on Netflix, I stumbled across this show and rented it. I chose it for my husband, but little did I know I would just love the show. With the plethora of police shows being produced astounds me. That some have a run of almost twenty years is equally as flabbergasting. This show beats them all if you ask me. It is the police meets the unorthodox lives of country ner-do-wells.

It’s a police show set in the hills of Kentucky. The setting is rife with scenarios of back-hills feuds and rivalries and at the center of it all is one beautiful man.

Timothy Olyphant plays Raylan Givens,

a DeputyUS Marshall with several character flaws that makie him a believable, realistic and endearing hero. Not to mention his beautiful good looks.

I love a hero like Raylan. He is strong and fearless, but all too human. He has heart. I swear the next hero I write will likely be very much like Raylan Givens.

Aside from the our lickalicious hero, we have an assortment of antagonists reeking havoc in the hollers and hills of Harlan, Kentucky.  They are involved in family feuds rivaling the Chicago mafia. Countrified drug deals and killings. I hate to say it, but it is a refreshing look at the common crimes. One of the bad guys is almost beguiling.

One last look…

One last word… being a self proclaimed western lover, I love Raylan’s signature hat.

Nena.

Day Late and…. don’t want to go there


I’m just posting to let the world know I really haven’t fallen off. The only writing I did last week was post a blog about a book I loved. The remainder of the week was spent on the coast of Alabama attending my son’s wedding. It was a blast and so much fun. I’ve never been to the beach before. This was so different from everything we’ve ever done before.

I took tons of pictures. Though there was no time for the written word, my creative outlet still flowed like crazy. I saw so many photo ops, and took them. It will be forever before I get these pictures all up. I also have a photo album I want to print for my son and his wife.

This coming week I must finish editing Buried Treasure to get it to a crit partner.

That is enough said for the week.

Nena.