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Posts Tagged ‘NJRW’

The last time I blogged, we were bracing for Hurricane Sandy, and some people, who shall remain nameless, thought I was going a little overboard in my preparations.  I’ll say this–they later thanked me for stocking up on canned goods and water!   Anyway, I hope everyone fared well during the storm.  Aside from no power, minor damage, and a household of sick people, we made out okay.

Since I had been so prepared, my Nook was fully charged, and I had batteries in my book-light.   I read several books and I’m here to reveal some of my favorites.  First, I read The Witness by Nora Roberts.  It’s a romantic suspense of four hundred and eighty-eight pages.  The heroine witnesses an event that changes her life forever.  I have never read a book of Nora’s that I didn’t like, and this one was no exception.   Then I read a couple of more books that were mediocre until I dived into Lisa Scottoline’s Daddy’s Girl.  Lisa spoke at a New Jersey Romance Writers Conference a few years back and I had bought this book.  Since then, I have read others of hers that I truly enjoyed, but I must have forgotten about this one.  Anyway, Daddy’s Girl was the best thriller I’ve read in ages.  The main character, Nat, is a law professor who happens to visit a prison on the day a riot breaks out and someone dies.  She becomes suspect number one and spends most of the book trying to prove her innocence.  Loved it!

After the storm and all the devastation, I’m not sure what possessed me, but I started to purge and organize my house.  Maybe because so people lost everything, I decided my family has entire too much stuff.  So I attacked my To-Be-Read piles of books.  First, I pulled out several I knew I would probably never read.  In addition to some books I had already decided needed to be donated, I made a separate bag of other books and gave them to a friend.  She is an avid and quick reader, so I asked her to return to me any books that she designated spectacular-must-reads.

Next, I searched for holiday themed books and found three.  I read Holiday Hideout, a collection of novellas, the common thread being a rental cabin that seems to spark romances between couples.  Vicki Lewis Thompson wrote about Thanksgiving, Jill Shalvis, about Christmas, and Julie Kenner about New Year’s.  All were enjoyable, cute and sexy stories.

Now my immediate reading list plan includes the two holiday romances I found buried in my piles, Robin Carr’s Bring Me Home for Christmas and Lakeshore Christmas by Susan Wiggs, and newer titles Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom for my bookclub, Take Me Home by Nancy Herkness, and Jane Porter’s The Good Woman.  This novel is part of the Brennan Sisters Trilogy.

I’m so looking forward to reading all these selections under the twinkling lights of my Christmas tree.

Happy Holidays,

Elizabeth

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New Loves

Meet Max

When my dog passed away suddenly after thirteen years, a little piece of my heart broke.  Crystal was a great friend and companion.  If you’ve ever had a beloved pet, you know exactly what I mean.  It took months before I could give away her things and I couldn’t fathom bringing a new pet into my home.  Nearly a year and a half  later, I still get choked up when I talk about her.

My husband, who never wanted a dog to begin with, started to make comments like, “Maybe one day we’ll get another,” instead of his usual banter of, “Not in my lifetime.”  He even went willingly with me to animal shelters just to look.  It became a family event each weekend.

My daughter stated that all she wanted for Christmas was a dog.  However, we decided it would be better to wait for the summer, since the warm weather would make it easier to train a dog.  Of course, as that famous quote says, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

We found Max at our favorite shelter.  He was scared, neglected, and terribly thin.

Cesar Millan from the TV show “The Dog Whisperer” says something about us getting the dog we need.  I can’t agree more.  Max needed us then and we needed him.  As soon as they cleared him for adoption, we took him.

He will never replace Crystal because she was irreplaceable, but he’s a new chapter in my life.  Speaking of new chapters, he made me realize something.  It’s okay to make room for something new to love.

New Jersey Romance Writers started a writing challenge this month called JeRoWriMo.  I decided to join and start something fresh.  I had been revising two of my manuscripts for far too long.

Like my beloved Crystal, it’s time to put them to rest and open my heart to a new love.  I’ll never forget those stories and hope somehow, someday they will live again.  For now, like Crystal, they are a fond memory.

I look forward to my adventures with Max.  He is gaining weight and looking better each day.  And he and I can’t wait to meet new characters and discover their stories together!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  Do you have any new love stories to share?  I’d love to hear them.

Fondly,

Elizabeth

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I recently attended NJRW’s Put Your Heart in a Book Conference and had a great time with friends and fellow authors.  It never ceases to amaze me how energized I become when surrounded by nearly four hundred like-minded people.  We came in all shapes and sizes, were of different ages, races, and religions, but we had at least one thing in common–every one of us loves books!  And like our appearances, books come in different formats too.

Elizabeth John with Mary Kennedy and Roni Denholtz

This leads me to something that has been troubling me lately–the latest advances in technology.  Now I think technology is wonderful, but sometimes I feel bombarded by too much of a good thing.  Not too long ago, I read books that were made of paper, not a digital version on an ereader; I sent letters to friends who had moved away via snail mail, not through email; and I dialed a phone with, dare I say it?—a rotary wheel, not a touchscreen.  I often feel so overwhelmed to keep up with gadgets, particularly in my writing career.  It’s tough enough to  juggle a writing career along with the responsibility of  a day job and family.  Now, in addition to promoting my work the traditional way, I have to keep up on all the social networks? Yikes!

At the conference, I decided to ask authors how they manage to cram it all in.  I got a variety of responses.  Some authors said they blog and take bits of their posts and repost on Twitter and Facebook.  Others claimed they hire assistants to help them promote.  A few said they do only the basics, but have a website.  Some admitted they don’t sleep.  Hmm, the last one was not an option for me.

As I gathered this information, I went to workshops, heard keynote speakers, caught up with old friends, and met some new ones.  By the end of the conference, there was one message that stood out above all the rest.  Promotion is important, but in the end, just write a great book.  It doesn’t matter how many people follow you on Twitter if your books don’t shine.  In my heart I always knew this to be true, but hearing this message comforted me.

Elizabeth John and Kate Davison having dinner at Kona Grill with NJRW conference friends. Roni took the picture!

Case in point, my book club is reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, written in 1852 by Harriet Beecher Stowe.  I rolled my eyes when the book was chosen.  I wanted something current, fast-paced, and not full of flowery description guaranteed to put me to sleep.  After all, the story is more than one hundred and fifty years old!  Well, I must apologize for the eye rolling because the story is rich with sympathetic characters and conflict.  It’s surprisingly fast-paced.  This book deserves to be a classic.  It embodies what a great book of any time period should have.  And it’s available as an ebook !

No matter what the future holds for the technology world, one thing’s for certain—a fabulous book will stand the test of time!

Fondly,

Elizabeth John

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NJ Autographing2011

This weekend I will be attending one of my favorite annual events: The New Jersey Romance Writers’ Conference!
I’ve been going since 1989 and never miss this fantastic conference. It’s everything a conference should be. It includes great workshops, on everything from the craft of writing to business knowledge of the publishing industry; opportunities to meet with editors and agents; wonderful breakfast and lunch speakers; roundtables on timely topics for published authors; and a glittering awards ceremony.  The atmosphere is always upbeat and leaves you feeling that you can achieve your dreams!

But the best part, for me, is the time I get to network with fellow writers. Since writers usually work alone the camaraderie among our fellow writers is especially important.  I have met other romance writers who have become special friends at this conference and I get to catch up with others who live far away and don’t come to NJ often. I also get some quality time with my critique partners–something I cherish as we are friends as well as critique partners.

On Saturday, Oct. 22, the conference’s fantastic booksigning is open to the public and a portion of the proceeds is donated to NJ Literacy.  Many authors will be there so come join the fun!

With anticipation,

Roni Denholtz

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