Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Favorite First Lines!

Just for fun today, we're talking about favorite first lines in books. Come join us!


Losin with Susan

In January, I started a diet and lost 17 pounds! :)

Then I fell off the wagon and put 5 back on. :(

Then we went on vacation and I put on another 5. :(

So now I'm scrambling to lose another 17 or so ... so that I'll be ahead of the game.

I figured I'd announce it here to give myself a little accountability.

What am I going to do?

The same thing as last winter. I eat six times a day, but each snack or meal only has around 200 calories. 100 some times.

I also walk on the treadmill every other day. I'm up to 45 minutes.

I got some great recipes for salmon and pasta from some friends. But I also bought HUNGRY GIRL. 200 UNDER 200. (200 recipes under 200 calories.) I also got EATING RIGHT and SHAPE magazines.

I'll be testing out some of those recipes.

So stay tuned. I know I don't sound very enthusiastic today. But -- thumbs up -- I had a sandwich thin with a thin spread of peanut butter this morning...so I've started. Yay, me!

It's also hair dye day today so I'll be too busy to worry about food.

Now the hard part is getting my family to eat what I make or ask me to cook things I don't want to eat! LOL!!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Christmas Book for 2011

Just agreed to do a Christmas book for 2011!

It's always so much fun to write a Christmas story that I couldn't resist!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Real Love Scenes

With the recent surge in popularity of erotica, there’s a lot of discussion these days about love scenes in books. How much is too much? What words can be used? Which words go too far?

I haven’t really been paying attention. My books don’t have sex scenes in them. Though I like to think I do have a good many love scenes.

I suppose it’s a difference in definition, but when my hero realizes in MAID FOR THE MILLIONAIRE that his ex-wife volunteers her precious little free time to a charitable organization that helps abused women find a safe place to live, and his heart turns over in his chest…Well, I sort of think that’s a love scene.

A real love scene. Sex scenes can absolutely involve love. But I don’t they are the only love scenes in town.

There are several great ones in MAID FOR THE MILLIONAIRE as the hero tries to deny his love for his ex-wife. She’s back in his life, working as his once-a-week housekeeper. Technically, they shouldn’t even see each other. But he loves her. He always has. He can’t admit it because she left him and he’s one of those alpha males who doesn’t like people leaving him. But having her in his house tempts him beyond belief. He simply can’t stay away.

Not because he wants to sleep with her, though they do have amazing chemistry. But because they have an unresolved past. And part of what needs to be resolved is the love that he just can’t seem to get rid of.

Liz, the heroine, has some real love scenes too. When Cain pitches in and helps out with the charity as a way to get close to her, Liz sees his kindness to kids who’ve been forced to leave their abusive dads. She sees him take them under his wing, provide a male role model, show them how men are supposed to behave.

They’re strangers, people Cain doesn’t have to help or love or even like. Yet he can’t resist that either. And as Liz watches, her heart expands, the way a heart should expand to accommodate real love.

MAID FOR THE SINGLE DAD, the August release in The Housekeepers Says I Do duet for Harlequin romance, is a tad different. Mac Carmichael is divorced with two kids and needs a nanny. The first thing Ellie Swanson notices is that his kids are love starved. Not that Mac has tried to fill the void of the missing mom, but it’s hard for a dad to be a mom. Ellie, a former foster child who had run away when she was in her teens and has been without family since, is as in need of someone to love as the kids are in need of someone to love them.

When Mac arrives home unexpectedly and finds Ellie playing tea party with his daughter, Lacy, under a tree, dressed in bed linens knotted into a party gown, his heart turns over. As Ellie tells Lacy the story of Cinderella, Mac realizes his little girl’s own mother never told her fairytales, but this virtual stranger is so good she’s willing wrap a sheet around her and fill in the blanks.

Real love scenes frequently sneak up on readers. They happen in those normal moments that somehow turn extraordinary when a hero forgets himself and steps out of his comfort zone to make someone else feel special. They happen when a heroine forgets her own troubles and steps up to be a mother of sorts for a little girl starved for affection.

They happen when a heroine sees her hero really acting like a hero and her heart unlocks a bit.

I have no problem with sex in books. In fact, I sometimes read erotica, but to me there’s nothing that takes the place of a real love scene. A scene where real love blossoms. Sometimes from sacrifice. Sometimes from someone simply going the extra mile.

To me that’s where real heroes and heroines are made.

Monday, August 2, 2010

My First Love!

My first love

I'm not going to tell you the year. I won't even tell you how old I was. But the summer I fell in love for the first time, it wasn't with a boy, but with a book. A Harlequin Romance.

My family wasn't poor, but we weren't wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. I have ten brothers and sisters. We grew up on a small farm too far out in the country to get cable or the Internet. Winters were cold, but summers were long and boring. Tuesdays I'd walk to the bookmobile and usually pick up a biography. One day, I casually grabbed a paperback on my way to the checkout desk. After my chores were done the next morning, I took the Harlequin to a shade tree and that began an adventure that continues to this day.

Except today Harlequin Romance authors don’t write about downtrodden heroines. Our heroines are women of the twenty-first century. Educated. Talented. Their troubles aren't financial. They're deeper, richer. The ordeals my heroines face are the same trials faced by modern women. Broken marriages, miscarriages, widowhood, abuse, betrayal. My heroines have already gone through the ringer. They aren't searching for someone to take care of them. They can take care of themselves. They're searching for someone to share their journey.

Our heroes aren't overbearing wealthy guys willing to step in and save the day if only our heroine will submit to them. Nope. They might be rich. Some might even be Alpha males. But they quickly recognize our heroine doesn't want to be saved. She wants to be considered an equal. Which usually throws the hero for a loop. It's easy for a rich guy to provide a bit of cash. But give his heart? For real? Forever? That's usually a deal breaker.

And that's also what makes the journey to real love in Harlequin Romances so interesting and so diversified. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no formula for getting a hero and heroine together. Just as in real life there is no one way men and women fall in love, there is no way to predict or formulize how our strong-willed, sometimes broken, always determined, big-hearted heroine will fall in love. No way to predict or formulize how our equally strong-willed, sometimes broken, always determined hero will allow himself to be vulnerable enough to find real love.

But when they do, ah, when they do, it's magic. Your heart lifts. You realize that happy endings can be found. You'll smile. There might even be a spring in your step. The world won't change, but you might see it through a happier perspective.

So take a Harlequin Romance to the beach this summer. Hey, take one of MY Harlequin Romances to the beach this summer -- MAID FOR THE MILLIONAIRE or MAID FOR THE SINGLE DAD. Lift your heart. Inspire your soul. Make yourself happy on vacation this year. Come home rested, happy you took a journey with two people on their way to destiny.

susan meier