Winter Blog Hop, Day 7 – Love’s in the Cards with Becky Lower, & a Giveaway!

Becky Lower visits again today with a post about where she got the idea for her new Christmas novella, Love’s in the Cards, which releases today from The Wild Rose Press. Happy book birthday, Becky! Scroll down to the bottom for a special giveaway from me and Becky. 

perf5.000x8.000.inddPeople often ask writers where they get their story ideas. I can’t speak for all authors, but for me, it can be something as common as a billboard or as intimate as an overhead whispered conversation. In the case of my latest Christmas novella, it was definitely a memory that had been tugging at me for a while. Since kindergarten, in fact.

Who would have thought an obnoxious little boy who liked to use the soles of my shoes at nap time as a canvas would be the inspiration for Love’s in the Cards? His favorite crayon was purple and my mother would get so angry each time he’d go overboard and mess up my sparkling white shoes. That little boy went on to become a high school art teacher and inspired many of his students to be creative. So Delbert, wherever you are, thank you so much for the spark of creativity you’ve provided to me. But in order to incorporate Del’s childish shenanigans into a story, I needed the proper setting. Fortunately, I worked in a Hallmark store part-time for a year while living in Virginia. It was a sweet little card and gift shop and each Christmas season, the door was flanked by a pair of six-foot tall plastic nutcrackers. Later, when I moved to Ohio, I turned that retail experience into a job as a merchandiser for the biggest greeting card company in Ohio, where I learned all about lines of cards featuring famous people or artists. Love’s in the Cards combines Delbert’s story with my greeting card experiences.

Love’s in the Cards

Penny Beedle’s outlook on Christmas, as her favorite holiday, was destroyed by a messy breakup years earlier and a botched wedding last year—both on Christmas Eve. But since she and her sister now own a greeting card store, and the holidays are their crazy selling season, she has to put on a happy face.

Del Madison has loved Penny since kindergarten. Commissioned by a big greeting card company for a line of Christmas and Valentine’s cards, he has to emerge from behind his alter ego and unveil himself to the public. He chooses Penny Beedle’s shop for the big reveal. If he plays his cards right, he just might gain Penny as part of his life.

Excerpt:

Penny sighed softly. Abbey made sense. They had to do everything possible to compete with the other shops, all chasing the same tourist dollars. Even if doing so meant having six-foot-tall nutcrackers flanking the door for the next six weeks. Penny’s eyes smarted with sudden tears, but she blinked them away quickly, telling herself the moisture merely came from a reaction to the cold weather. “I think we need new names for these boys, especially after last year’s debacle. I now have two reasons to despise the season.”

As she wiggled her nutcracker to his final position on one side of the entrance to their shop, Abbey grunted. “This is our make-or-break season, so your attitude has to shape up, Penny. I had hoped a year would give you enough time to get over last Christmas’s aborted wedding.”

Penny jerked her big statue a bit too hard to the left before she squared him with the frame. She bit her lip at the chastisement as she glanced at Abbey. Anyone could tell they were from the same family, with their dark hair, blue eyes, and slender builds. Often, they were mistaken for twins, even though Abbey had been born two years earlier. The only noticeable difference was Penny could sing in key, but Abbey had a tin ear.

“Even though I’m over both Max and Ricky, their betrayals still hurt. And the fact they both screwed up my Christmases makes me hate the season.”

“Well, if getting your head back on straight this year means we rename Hans and Gunther, let’s do so. What’d you have in mind?”

Penny squinted up at the lifelike plastic statues towering over them. “I don’t mind Hans, but I’ll name mine Solo, since that’s what I am.”

Abbey grinned and wrapped an arm around Penny. “Well then, may the force be with us as we head into our peak season. The weather’s finally turned cold, perfect for putting folks into the holiday gift-buying mood. Let’s get inside. I’ve got something exciting to show you.”

You can find Love’s in the Cards at Amazon.

48988_1025007027_4423_nAbout Becky: Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west or in present day small town America.  Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at beckylowerauthor@gmail.com. Visit her website at www.beckylowerauthor.com.

And finally, enter here for a chance to win a fabulous Maine-themed gift box Becky and put together to celebrate our new releases, both set in Maine. In addition to the items pictured, Becky is offering a copy of Love’s in the Cards!

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Winter Blog Hop, Day 5 – Becky Lower

Good morning, all! Welcome to Day 5 of the Winter Blog Hop. Today features the first visit from historical (and a few contemporaries) romance author, Becky Lower. Many authors are content with releasing one, maybe two, books per year. But Becky, who has the creative energy of most of the people I know combined, is releasing three this month.  The first is a boxed set of her beloved Cotillion Ball series.

9781507202487

You’ll fall in love with the spirited Fitzpatrick family as they find romance in turbulent Civil War-era America. Raised to defy societal convention and follow their passions, these siblings’ rebellious hearts meet their matches. Settle in to enjoy these 10 tales of independent, passionate, and strong American heroines and heroes, set in the 1850s and 1860s. American history comes alive as each child in the family comes of age.

Hop over to Becky’s blog to read more about the Fitzpatricks, and stop by tomorrow to hear from author Landra Graf!

 

Father’s Day–Better Late than Never

I was supposed to post this last Sunday, but I was traveling from Oklahoma to Missouri and, well, too lazy to write anything.

So today, in a belated tribute to Father’s Day, I thought I’d write about notable fathers in romance novels–I’m referring specifically to the father of the hero or heroine, not heroes who are fathers, as there are a fair number of those–Google “fathers in romance novels” and you’ll see what I mean. There aren’t that many of the other kind. If they are mentioned at all, they are either gravely disappointed in their child, villainous, or dead, so the fathers who are not any of those things are significant. Here are a few of my favorites:

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

C’mon, you knew this had to be first on the list. Mr. Bennet is justifiably famous. “Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character.” His affection for Lizzie is surpassed only by his long-suffering tolerance of his wife. He is flawed, of course–his habit of hiding in his study instead of taking a more active role in the raising of his headstrong younger daughter does get them all in trouble–but that makes him all the more relatable, even 200 years after he was written.

 

The Viscount Who Loved Me, by Julia Quinn

The father of the titular viscount in this book is, in fact, dead, but his influence is felt so keenly by Anthony Bridgerton that he is almost another character. Anthony so adored his father, who died unexpectedly at age 38, that he “simply couldn’t imagine ever surpassing his father in any way, even in years.” That sentiment so colors his thought that he puts his own happy-ever-after in serious jeopardy.

Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

Yes, I know, it’s trendy to bash Twilight, but I never bash other authors. We put too much of our heart and soul into our books to deserve the shaming that is sometimes heaped upon us. Plus, I enjoyed the series quite a bit. Charlie loves his daughter, Bella, but he doesn’t understand her at all, and his awkward attempts to parent her are endearing.

 

This Thing Called Love, by Miranda Liasson

Olivia’s father is protective of his daughter–at one point he threatens to castrate the hero “like a county-fair hog”–but he also respects her enough to make her own decisions. “Frank Marks looked around. His gaze did a panorama of Brad’s naked chest, Olivia’s wild hair, Annabelle’s drooly smile, and the spread of food at the table. He chucked the baby under one of her chins and sat down. ‘Well, I don’t know about you all, but I’m starved.'”

The Reluctant Debutante, by Becky Lower

“Ginger watched her father’s jaw flex. He was not an imposing man, but he had a will of iron. He needed a strong constitution to have successfully raised nine children and to have provided a privileged life for all of them. So, when she saw the movement of his jaw, she knew what it meant. Things were not going to go her way.” I love this description of the patriarch of the Fitzpatrick clan in Becky Lower’s first book. He is a strong, serious, and thoughtful man, but he loves his children and would do anything for them.

StirringUptheViscount_w9340_750Stirring Up the Viscount, by Marin McGinnis

Last but not least, I love the hero’s father in my first book. Lord Longley is a bit like Mr. Bennet, in that he would rather leave the running of the household, and the children, to his wife and stay out of it, but there the similarity ends.  “The man never met a stranger. He likes everyone, and everyone likes him. Her ladyship is a bit more practical, but she has a fun side, too. She and his lordship are always laughing, and I’ve seen ’em kiss a time or two when weren’t no one looking.”

I’m sure there are more out there–do you have a favorite father in a romance?

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