Monday, June 22, 2015

Free Online Read

A MARRIAGE MADE IN MONTE CALANETTI
Last year, when HQ asked me to be a part of the Vineyards of Monte Calanetti continuity series for Harlequin Romance, I had to juggle my schedule to make it happen. Who wouldn’t want to be involved in a series of books that take place in the beautiful vineyards of Tuscany, Italy?
Bride of the Italian BossMy book, the first in the series, A BRIDE FOR THE ITALIAN BOSS releases July 1. It’s the story of temperamental chef Rafe Mancini and Dani Tate, a teacher who falls in love with Tuscany as well as Rafe and must choose between the life she knows and the life she wants…if only Rafe wanted her the same way she wants him.
Since you have to wait a looonnnng month for A BRIDE FOR THE ITALIAN BOSS, you’ll be pleased to know HQ invited me to write a prequel to this series which they are putting up, one chapter at a time, as a FREE online read at Harlequin.com.
This is the story of Mic, Rafe’s protégé, and his former love Liliana. These two lovers never lost their feelings for each other in eight years…but can they forgive the past?
As I tell the story as Mic and Liliana, you’ll meet charming (but gruff) Chef Rafe and see the inside of Mancini’s a few weeks before Dani Tate arrives.
A MARRIAGE MADE IN MONTE CALANETTI is a fun story, but the entire VINEYARDS OF CALANETTI mini-series is full of fun and emotional romances that will have you on the edge of your seat until you sigh with satisfaction.
Here’s the link for A MARRIAGE MADE IN MONTE CALANETTI
Harlequin
Join us five days a week for a new chapter each day, and while you’re at Harlequin.com, skip over to the message boards to chat about the story and even ask a question or two!
Until next time, happy reading…
Susan signature
PS Here’s the link to the excerpt for A BRIDE FOR THE ITALIAN BOSS

Saturday, April 25, 2015

It's a confusing world out there...

It's a very confusing time to be an author. Most of us who love to write are writers because we are introverts. We spend a lot of time in our heads analyzing life and then putting the results of our analysis into stories. We're deep thinkers. We love people. We hope our stories give you a new perspective on a thorny problem...or maybe just a new way of looking at things. We hope our stories inspire you.

To be able to put all that into a story, all that thinking, all that time...we need some alone time.

But, we're told by agents, editors and pundits...you don't have that luxury anymore. You need to be on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google Plus, Instagram....Tell readers what you're doing, what you're thinking, how you feel...

All of which doesn't just take away time for writing, it also feels like I'm giving you bits and pieces of information that hasn't had enough time to gel in my brain.

So to avoid telling you things about a book that might change, lots of authors have taken to false personas. It's a way to "be somebody" in public, while you race to figure out your next book and get it into the hands of readers. You see a lot of pix of author pets. You see a lot of "quotes" authors found in books or on the internet. You see a lot of I'm-eating-eggs-for-breakfast posts.

And that's cool. I look at that sort of like a place holder. It's like authors (including myself) saying, Here I am! I haven't forgotten you. Here's something that interests me. Hold on until I'm done with my book and I can get back with real information about the story, the cover, my inspirations!

But I've also seen a lot of interaction that upsets me...both as a reader and a writer. I received an email yesterday on a loop of authors who are supposed to be friends. I read the post as a personal request for help with something, and I did as the post requested. But two people had questions. Those questions went unanswered...meaning the author wasn't actually on the loop, chatting with us...which led me and probably everybody else on the loop to realize we'd just answered a cross-posted request for help, which wasn't personal at all. Almost like being spammed by someone we considered a friend.

As an author, I recognize this woman was/is busy. I cut her some slack.

But if I were a reader, thinking I was getting a "personal" request for help...realizing that post had been cross-posted to other loops, other friends, perhaps thousands of other people when it read like a personal request to a group of intimates...I might have been insulted. Really insulted. Maybe even insulted with a dash of embarrassment because I was too simple (or trusting of the author) to realize that.

So the world of reading and writing is probably every bit as confusing to readers as it is to authors.

And I'm guessing that when you, a reader, gets an email from an author, you've been burned enough that you automatically believe it's the same email that's been sent to thousands of other readers. Even messages that look personal, could be a "form" email of a sort, thanking you for signing up to a newsletter or thanking you for liking a post...whatever.

So the system that was meant to bring readers closer to authors isn't really bringing us closer at all. Yes, some days you will know what I had for breakfast. :) You WILL see pictures of my cat Sophia because she's beautiful. I will show you my covers. You will know bits and pieces about my stories and how I feel about them. But really there will always be a distance between us....

And maybe that's a good thing? I'm not incredibly cool. I have my interesting moments, but in general I'm a normal person...except that I think about things most people don't have time to think about. I ponder the stuff that really matters. I root around for the real meanings of things. So that my stories grab you, enrich your life, make you think about things differently.

I can do that for you because I'm not a socialite, dashing around New York city sipping champagne. I'm not always on vacation in some sunny locale. I'm not a baker, painter, revolutionary...I'm a thinker.

And thinkers aren't always online. :) Our pix wouldn't thrill Instagram. Our hair sometimes looks like Einstein's. We forget to eat or eat a lot of fattening takeout because we forget to cook. We shop from catalogs. When we do get out we ask a lot of questions that seem personal or intrusive because we're curious -- in a good way, not a gossipy way. In short, we're introverts who love to read, to think, to ponder.

But -- if you read and love my books -- maybe that's a good thing?

Happy Reading

susan meier

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hey, it's my birthday this week...

I gave up posting blogs about writing mostly because I've already taught every lesson that needs to be taught on writing. Look at those archives! LOL

But the behind-the-scenes reason I wanted back the time I was spending on those blogs was to give myself time to live my life.

Right now, some of you are frowning. If you're breathing, aren't you living your life? Yes. LOL So maybe I don't want to say that I wanted time to live my life as much as to appreciate the life I was living.

This morning, watching Oprah's SUPERSOUL SUNDAY with a guest who spoke on living mindfully...I also played Words with Friends! LOL  We live in a society that applauds being overly busy, multi-tasking, being scheduled to the hilt. But at the end of the day, how much of the day do we remember? How much is worth remembering? And -- more importantly -- what did we miss?

I don't really want to miss anything anymore. I want to read in the sun. I want to learn to cook. When I'm lucky enough to be in a conversation...I want to listen.

So in this happy week as I add another year to my age, I want to be present, mindful, of all my wonderful blessings, as well as the inflammation in my knee and the beginnings of gray I see in my hair. Not to go nuts over the fact that I'm aging. (The alternative is worse. LOL) But if life is a journey of experience, then the whole point is to experience it. :)

Happy Reading (in the sun)

susan meier

If you're a writer, looking for a writing lesson...the archives are all yours. :) Enjoy.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dear Readers

I spent a bit of time over the weekend working on a new series I plan to write...2 years from now! LOL

Lots of authors get asked why they write the books they write, choose the subjects they choose or just plain how do they come up with their ideas. For me, the answer is a lot of thinking.

A subject has to resonate with me. The Donovan Brothers Novels (which I wrote for Entangled -- working on the 3rd book now) are about three brothers who had survived abuse, beatings, from their father. When they turned eighteen, each went into the Marines -- and grew up. No longer fearing for their lives and "motivated" by drill sergeants, LOL, they became men and returned to their hometown to help their mom get away.

There's so much great stuff in redemption stories. Even though these brothers were technically redeemed BEFORE the start of the book, my challenge was to see how that would play out when they fell in love.

Or even if they could fall in love. <3 p="">
Every writer figures out her own process -- usually as she's writing -- and even now I can's say I have my process down pat. It's always evolving.

But...

I do like time to think about my stories. I want to find the best way to tell every characters' story. I want to come up with the best scenes, the best angles, the best themes to investigate. And for me that takes time.

Still, I love that part of storytelling. The "pondering" time. Because I'm not just sitting around staring out the window wondering. Even as I write book 3 of the Donovan Brothers Novels, I'm getting down to business with my next Harlequin -- writing a synopsis and character motivations. I'm even close to writing the storyboard -- as well as pondering that "new" series that I won't write for two years. LOL

Because that's what writers do. We're always thinking about something. Wondering why.  Which is probably why you're so intrigued by our stories. They aren't just off the top of our heads. We write about things we're curious about, and hopefully we satisfy your curiosity too!

Happy Reading.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Saying Goodbye to Writing Posts

It looks like the writing post I put up two weeks ago will be my last. :(

I haven't necessarily run out of things to say, but I did notice that I was repeating myself. A LOT. LOL

Just about everything I know is now archived and can be easily accessed.

It's been fun doing these writing posts, but it's time to move on.

Enjoy the archives and good luck with your writing.

Happy Monday and Happy Reading...

susan meier

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Release Day! HER BROODING ITALIAN BOSS!

Happy Release day to me! I hope your go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble or your favorite bookstore and add HER BROODING ITALIAN BOSS to you TBR pile!





Happy Monday!

From busy Susan Meier! :)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Characterization

I got a book recommendation a few weeks ago and immediately ordered it because the topic was Characterization. One of my bugaboos. Sort of. After you've written sixty books, you know how to do everything. But I'm still seeking refinement. I will ALWAYS seek refinement. :)

Anyway, I bought this book expecting to be wowed or at least enlightened, but before we were out of chapter one, the author/teacher said something like...a great plot doesn't make a great story. It's only when characters' goals and motivations drive the conflicts associated with the plot that your story really comes alive.

Well, duh.

Romance writers have known this forever.

It's why we focus on goal, motivation and conflict. It doesn't matter how crafty your twists and turns, if they don't significantly impact the CHARACTERS and somehow raise the stakes...Romance readers say, "Meh." Whatever.

I used to laugh at how blatant action/adventure movies were with their motivations...We must steal 60 cars in one night or our leader's brother will be killed by a gangster. Or "You killed my wife...I'm coming after you." Or...Let's not forget TAKEN. Daughter kidnapped. Daddy goes after her.

The movies spend most of their time on the shoot 'em up, car chases and fist fights with kicking and head butts. But my husband buys into the premise every time. "Well, yeah. I'd be pissed if someone took Sarah." (Our daughter.) He puts himself into the shoes of his action heroes because he understand their motivations...no matter how cliché. LOL

Your reader wants to do that too. She wants to believe your hero's reasons for not wanting to commit and your heroine's reasons for not wanting to fall in love again. She wants to feel them fall in love. And feel them fight it because their experiences have taught them that love can be painful.

She wants to believe your sleuth when he can't walk away from the murder he investigates. She wants to believe the motives of your mainstream heroine or hero. She wants to believe.

And the only way you can make her believe is by creating strong goals, motivations and conflicts. Characters who have a real journey. (Let that last line sink in. Think about it. Do your characters have a REAL journey?)

So don't just come up with a "this happens, then this happens, then this happens" plot. Have your plot evolve logically from your characters, their hopes, their dreams, the barriers to those hopes and dreams, and the actions they take. And you will have a much better...dare I say compelling...story.

Happy Monday

susan