Connecting with the Why, not the what

Hello everyone out there!

5I hope your April is off to a great start. Mine has been rich, we’ll say. Rich with new experiences and thoughts. From hosting a bachelorette party for the first time (on April Fool’s Day no less, and I’m embarrassingly awkward and shy so you get the picture) to prepping for this weekend’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books where such iconic heroes as Buzz Aldrin will also be appearing (my mind is beyond the moon that I’ll be there signing too, just craziness). It’s definitely shaping up to be a month to remember.

When a month like this hits, when you can just sense that the norm will not necessarily be the norm, I feel it’s always a good idea to assess yourself, see where you’re at in life and with your goals. And one thing that was posed to me last month that still has me thinking today, by the incredible author and teacher, Mary Buckham, was a very simple question. She talked to my writing group about what we are writing. Once we all kind of figured that out–you know, our specific genres and subgenres–she then got “real” with us. Mary explained that readers don’t buy what you write. They buy why you write what you write because that is where the special connection between a reader and author is formed. And then she challenged us to figure that out. Amazingly, the answer came to me as clear as day. (This is not usually the case. I think too much, do you do that too? Try to come up with one simple answer and end up with thousands of “could be” answers? You’re not alone!) But to this question, I knew right away.

My why is simple…

I don’t ever want you to feel ashamed or alone. I think one of the worst things that can happen to a good-hearted person is that they make a mistake, or something bad happens to them. An unforgiving person (or society) then shovels so much unwarranted guilt and shame on top of them that they can’t dig their way out. This can happen to a child or an adult. Their good heart is buried, and the rest of us never get a chance to see what it was that made them so special and unique. I write so that I can show you those souls. I want you to see and feel their worth. In turn, I want you to remember your own worth.

Whatever it is that you do, I’m inviting you to share your “why” here in the comments. Or if it’s something you’d like to keep to yourself, something you’re not ready to share yet, I’m always understanding of that too. I hope I’ve helped by posing the question. If you can answer your “why”, then I think you’ll be primed to take on the month of April like a champ. I’m in your corner. I know what you’re worth. A lot.

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If you have a chance, come on out to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I’m happy to say that general festival admission and all outdoor programming is free to the public! I will be signing in Booth 916 on Sunday, April 10th, from 2 to 5 pm. I hope to see you there! Click HERE for the romance author signing schedule and HERE for the festival at large. Serioulsy. Buzz. Aldrin.

Always love (to the moon and back),

Carlene Love♥

Love for my mentor…Lynne Silver #Beshert

Tell a person they’ve done a good job and often they will tell you the name of someone they couldn’t have done it without. For me, that person is Lynne Silver. This past weekend, Lynne was presented the Nancy Richards-Akers Mentoring award at the Washington Romance Writers annual retreat in Westminster, MD. I cannot tell you how honored I am to have had the nomination letter I wrote be a small part of that. If I’m a good writer, it’s because Lynne is an outstanding mentor to me…

Dear WRW (Washington Romance Writers) President,

I am nominating Lynne Silver for the Nancy Richards-Akers Mentoring Award.

I’m not sure when I realized that the lady I’d seen at monthly chapter meetings and Lynne Silver were one in the same. What I do know is that on November 16, 2011, my birthday of all days, I left a light-hearted, somewhat joking response to Pintip’s Waterworld Mermaids post about Accountability Partners. Lynne left a thought-provoking comment that had me staring at my laptop, hand over mouth, gawking. See below:

Carlene: I think I need an AP for shaving my legs! And writing of course but darn, with the cooler weather lately and the long pants, I’m just saying!!! Love your post P.H.!

Lynne: I’d love an accountability partner. I’ve been eyeing large wall calendars at Staples to start planning manuscripts and due dates. Hey- we all want to have multiple deadlines at multiple publishing houses someday, we might as well pretend we’re there now and get some practice in. Carlene, if you’re really looking, I’d love to be APs with you. Email me cause I also have something else to ask you about. Lynne

Lynne Silver wanted to work with me? You’d think I’d just been asked out on a date by Casey James! (This is major, friends. It would be the equivalent of most people in the room being asked to take a trip to the moon with Jamie Fraser.) I had a small freaking out moment as I read her words. And then I went and Googled Lynne and saw that she had published like, a load of books! They looked so good too. There were dukes and mistresses and debutantes, all super sexy looking to little ole me who had written a couple gigantic stories that needed serious work. She wanted to work with me? Maybe this Lynne Silver person was crazy.

In complete fan-girl mode, I wrote back to her. Don’t have a clue as to what I said but whatever it was, it must have been good because we became not just accountability partners, but critique partners. I actually do remember that she wanted me to read her work because of my infatuation with Sherrilyn Kenyon. Note to writers, let your freak flags fly and obsessions be known, they could snag you an amazing partner too. The first thing I read for Lynne was amazing, the first of her Coded for Love books. I loved it. It was pretty much flawless but I did get to have one moment where I felt worthy of being this woman’s partner. She’d misspelled her heroine’s name and also left a butt plug (can we say that in an award nomination letter?) (Sorry Ms. WRW President, wink) in place and forgot to remove it. Score one for little ole me ‘cuz I caught the mistakes! Now, I wasn’t just blushing and walking around the house grinning from reading Lynne’s super-hot writing (I’d never read anything like it before), I felt like I might be “writerly” enough to hang with her. Lynne was super appreciative of my comments, excited even, which made me feel overjoyed.

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The book where those wee little mistakes were caught.😉

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Evernight’s Holiday Hangover Blog Hop! iPad Mini Grand Prize!

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Happy New Year from Evernight!

Now that the Christmas cookies are gone, gifts unwrapped, and your holiday visitors have left, you’ve earned some well-deserved TLC. Evernight authors not only have the cure for your holiday hangover, they have fantastic new books for your 2015 reading list, too!

Be sure to visit every stop on the hop and answer each question. The more blogs you hop, the more chances to win the GRAND PRIZE of an iPad Mini sponsored by Evernight Publishing (one entry per blog). Plus, hop each blog for a host of other fabulous prizes.

So sink into your favorite chair and enjoy your holiday hangover!

Make some noise for 2015, friends!! Woo-Hoo!! Full disclosure … I’ve never had a hangover, at least not from alcohol. But like you, there have been many nights of staying up way past my bedtime and indulging in addictive, sexy romance books only to wake up the next morning wishing I’d gotten at least a few more winks of sleep. The cure to perking back up? More romance reading, of course! While the men from my current series, The Sin Pointe Novels, know how to throw a seriously good party, it’s the new series I’m working on for Evernight that I want to share with you. Here is a sneak-peek at Stay for Me, book 1 in the new series, These Three Words, about a lovable, sexy group of male revue dancers. I’m very happy to say this first one is tentatively releasing in February of 2015!

The night that inspired Stay for Me.

The night that inspired Stay for Me.

One night to finally make it right before it all gets torn apart… Continue reading

Mid Week Tease! Thank the author goddess for Romance! #MWTease

Welcome back to Mid Week Tease!

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Hello friends and Happy Almost Thanksgiving! Sandra Bunino, I am so very thankful for you, my friend. Thanks for being one of the most giving, talented, truly good people I know, and for making it possible to hang out with so many other talented, lovely ladies in the tease. I’m blessed to know you all.

In the spirit of being thankful, I’d like to share a snippet from the very first romance novel I ever read. Not only did this book suck me in for life as far as the romance genre goes, but it also inspired me to become a writer. That book was Seize the Night by author goddess, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and it is my honor to share this bit between the tragic hero, Valerius, and his kick-butt heroine, Tabitha. Their story, with the sexy, witty, vulnerable words, stole my heart from page one and to this day, has never let go. Thank you to Sherrilyn, for writing such a beautiful, inspiring book.

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“Let’s Run Away” with some favorite books…

screen-shot-2013-04-24-at-8-52-04-amMy dear friends, this week my step-dad passed away from prostate cancer. He was a wonderful man who always took such good care of my mom, something I’ll always be grateful for. They divorced almost 30 years ago, but he was the love of my mom’s life and she never remarried. He always checked in on her and they remained very close friends until the end, this week. It breaks my heart to imagine that kind of love, those circumstances. Having that fierce kind of love up close and then having it from afar. I write romance. We read romance. But I’ve always known that happy endings are subjective, individual and unique to each person, each couple. That’s one of the things I’ve loved about reading and writing for Evernight publishing. Sometimes love doesn’t live inside the confines of a little pink box. Sometimes it’s the mottled color of bruises, or the beautiful yet scary shade of blood. Sometimes it is the color of the sun. Sometimes it’s midnight black. I think the best of times is when it’s all these and more. There are days when it’s hard to understand the intricacies of love and relationships and it’s those times when I think it helps to escape into someone else’s heart. Continue reading