here come the holidays

Today is my last day in the States after a brilliant three weeks spent getting married (!) and taking a road-trip honeymoon from Kansas to California. A full recap entry is forthcoming, but in order to cheer myself up ahead of the 40ish hours of travel awaiting me tomorrow – and in honor of the Christmas decorations I saw for sale in Topeka’s Cracker Barrel restaurant last night – I thought this was the perfect time to reveal the cover for Hero’s Homecoming, my military holiday novella!

So without further ado:

Releasing from Carina Press on 21 November

Releasing from Carina Press on 21 November

I’m so proud of this novella, which is significantly darker and more angsty than The Striker’s Chance, and I’m hopeful readers will love it as much as I do. It’s available now for pre-order on its own from Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble or as half of the Gifts of Honor anthology alongside the inimitable Stacy Gail!


visiting the minxes

Things are hectic this end as I scramble to finish edits for my March release with Samhain (fyi y’all, the cover is amazing) and get the manuscript for its sequel to the same editor before I leave for my wedding – oh, yeah, and that wedding shindig takes up some time too! Happily I completed this interview for the lovely Minxes of Romance in a less busy period – check it out!

save a horse

I’m back at the Contemporary Romance Cafe today, with a gratuitous cowboy butt shot:

There’s lots of other exciting stuff coming soon – my first-ever cover reveal, a new title reveal for my holiday novella, and the madness of attempting Camp NaNoWriMo in the same month I’m moving continents. Stay tuned y’all!

guest post – Romy Sommer

Whilst preparing for my ever-nearing move to South Africa, I stumbled upon ROSA, a local community of romance authors. The warm welcome and unfailing support I’ve gotten from this bunch has already been staggering, and one of the best introductions to my new home I could’ve hoped for. Today I’m delighted to welcome Romy Sommer, a ROSA member and one of the newest names at Harper Impulse, to the blog!

On the Yahoo loop for South African romance writers, we recently had a discussion about choosing settings for books – do we set our books in places we know, or do we set them in exotic locales we’ve only researched?

I’m definitely in the latter group, because (for me, at least) where I live isn’t that exciting.

Part of the fun of writing is getting to research these exotic locations, and I think I’d feel cheated if I didn’t get to spend hours of internet time surfing for pictures of Caribbean islands, visiting tourism blogs, or scrolling through maps of places I’ve never been.

Waking up in Vegas starts in Vegas (where I’ve never been) and ends up in a fictional European nation that I’ve certainly never been to (because it doesn’t exist).

My 1920s novellas, published under the name Rae Summers, also require large amounts of research and even larger leaps of imagination, even though two have been set in places I’ve actually visited. Because let’s face it, things were different back then!

For me, the trick to writing about a place you’ve never been is to research, research, research. And not just the usual touristy spots and websites that only show one side of the place, but read blogs of people who live in those places and talk to people who’ve been there.

ImageWith Vegas I got lucky – one of my CPs got married there, and one of my work colleagues spent a raucous boys’ week there (guess who was the most help with finding outrageous stuff to do, and who could tell me what the inside of a Vegas hotel room looked like!) And another writing friend had an engineer hubby who’d worked on constructing Vegas hotels and could tell me exactly how far the windows could open!

But it was in writing the second half of Waking up in Vegas that I had the most fun.

ImageIn creating my own fictional nation of Westerwald, getting the details right mattered much less, and the setting could serve the story rather than the other way around. Since the place exists entirely in my own head, I didn’t have to worry about practicalities like building safety regulations and how far the windows could open!

My preparation for writing this book included creating a rough map of Westerwald, putting together photo albums, and even wrote a history for the little nation. While almost none of that made it into the final novel, it gave me a much clearer picture of the setting and I hope provides the story with a much richer backdrop.

Please read the novel and let me know if I succeeded! Do the settings in Waking up in Vegas work for you? Or have you been to Vegas, and did I get it abysmally wrong?

ImageAnd if you’ve read the book and wish you could visit Westerwald … you can! My fictional nation is based on the Rhine River area in Germany.

I love hearing from readers, and if you’re a writer please tell me: do you set your stories in places you know – or in places you wish you knew?

ImageWhat happens in Vegas…

Waking up to the bright lights of Vegas in an unfamiliar penthouse suite, cocktail waitress Phoenix Montgomery finds she’s covered from head to foot in gold glitter and not alone – aside from the empty bottle of champagne, there’s a mystery man in the shower and a huge sparkly ring on her finger!

Stays in Vegas?

There’s no denying Max Waldburg’s demi-god sex appeal but commitment-phobic Phoenix doesn’t do relationships. Only it seems her new husband (agh!) has other ideas…he’s trying to keep that ring on her finger and his wife firmly back in his bed. The only question on her lips is – why? Or maybe, why not?

Waking up in Vegas is published by Harper Impulse, a division of Harper Collins, and is available from the following online retailers:

Amazon * Amazon UK * Barnes & Noble * Kobo * iTunes

You can follow Romy on Twitter, Facebook or on her blog.

my sophomore effort

After a long time spent sitting on my hands, I’m delighted to announce that my novella, Love at Last Sight, has been accepted for publication in one of the annual holiday anthologies compiled by Carina Press!

This novella, about a wounded infantry officer returning home to Kansas and the woman he left behind there, was my NaNoWriMo project for November 2012. I absolutely fell in love with the characters and the words have never flowed more easily, so I felt extra sensitive about sending this manuscript out into the big bad world to face potential rejection. When I received my acceptance e-mail from the Executive Editor, I actually cried with happiness that my hero and heroine, Chris and Beth, had found their home. I can’t wait to share them with readers, who I hope will be swept up by their story just as thoroughly as I was.

In the meantime, you can read Angela James’s announcement here. Yes, that’s my name!

sometimes you feel like a nut

The Easter weekend – for which we get two public holidays in the UK – is always a phenomenally productive time for me, writing-wise. With my fiancé and most friends out of town for the holiday, it offers a great excuse to spend the whole day in front of the computer screen, busily tapping away at my latest WIP. Considering my writing always comes easiest between about 11 PM and 2 AM, not having to get up early for work means I can maximize my creative witching hour.

This weekend was no different. The weather was gray and freezing, which alleviated any guilt about spending so many hours indoors, and that the Monday bank holiday coincided with the first day of April’s Camp NaNoWriMo was an extra incentive. I wrote furiously, and accumulated about 5,500 retainable words over three days (which, for my 1k-a-day average, is not a bad result).

This morning, however, as soon as I opened the Word document where I’m drafting the novel, I knew I’d be lucky if I got 30 words today. The story that insisted on being written yesterday has dropped somewhere to the back of my brain, behind work and wedding planning and going to the gym. If I had the time and inclination I could forcibly wrench it back to the front – probably by staring at the screen and plucking out a handful of sentences until my brain shifted gears – but today, I don’t. Today will most likely be a zero word count day. And I’m fine with that, because it’s all part of the process.

Some days characters shout so loudly that any other noise – conversations, television programs – are nothing but an annoying distraction. Other days they’re completely silent, percolating quietly in the background while the next step in their story slowly, slowly takes shape.

Today I’ve taken advantage of the latter to get various other bits of admin finished, because I know that sooner or later the words will be clawing to be written again, and I’ll be unable to focus on anything else. The key is to be at peace with the quiet because you know the noise will return. That’s where I am right now, and I’m trying to enjoy the silence.