My first romance convention, or “Rosanna geeks out.”

It’s under my belt now. I have attended my first romance convention…and somehow didn’t fall flat on my face…much.

This past weekend, I attended Romancing the Falls 2017 as a signing author. I’d like to offer a huge thank you to author and organizer Freya Barker, who made everyone feel welcome and who had each detail planned so well.

I haven’t been to this sort of thing before and had no idea what to expect. Luckily, I got to share a table with the lovely Crystal St. Clair, who is a pro at these things. She and her pal Christine helped me feel right at home.

Let me start with the readers. Oh, my God, the readers. They were fantastic! As a relative newbie to the con scene, I was able to just take a step back when the event started and witness the insanity. I could see reader wheels turning as they ran toward their favorite authors’ tables. They raced around the large banquet room, collecting their preorders, getting us all to sign books and swag.

Can I just say how pleased I was when a reader arrived at my table, with a page in her scrapbook dedicated to me? I almost died. I’m not kidding. I almost fell out of my chair in gratitude. There were a lot of hugs given out that day.

Did everyone know me and my work? Nah. However, being in that position forced me to thrust myself out of my comfort zone. I smiled and introduced myself to everyone I could. Sold some books, too.

My banner got a lot of attention. That made me happy. Of course, it has a huge picture of Edan the selkie on it, so  no wonder.  Isn’t he pretty? I think he got more attention than I did and rightly so.  😉 Thanks, Edan!

Come dinner time, I approached a table full of smiling ladies. They welcomed me into their group and I made some new friends. I will forever remember their kindness and interest in my work. They said they were happy to have an author at their dinner table but I was so honoured to sit with them.

My verdict? It was a wonderful event and I know I’ve made new friendships that will last.

As an author, did I feel it advanced my career? I believe so. We can’t afford to dismiss the importance of face-to-face connections. Nowadays, we don’t get them very much. Sure, we can connect with a million people online but there is something special that happens when you have the chance to shake someone’s hands and look into their eyes. Simply put, it’s magical, especially when we’re talking about books with fellow book lovers.

And as I’ve always said, romance fans are special. They are warm and enthusiastic and open-minded. They embrace new authors and celebrate the ones they’ve loved for years. I’m so pleased I had the chance to experience Romancing the Falls 2017. I was able to play fangirl and it was an utter delight to speak to so many other fangirls as well.

I look forward to being part of this event in coming years and do hope I’ll be invited back.

Call for Submissions: Corbeau Halloween Anthology 2017

I’m so excited to be a part of this Hallowe’en anthology! Many thanks to Jessica Cale and her awesome team at Corbeau Media. If you have a scary story ready to submit, check it out!

Corbeau Media

CORBEAU MEDIA (2)Corbeau Media invites you to submit your horror novellas for inclusion in our first annual Halloween Anthology.

As you can probably guess from the decor, Halloween is far and away the favorite holiday of the staff here at Corbeau. Once the trick-or-treating is done, we like nothing better than to gather round the campfire, monster make-up dripping down our faces, flashlights gripped in our sweaty palms, to hear some good old-fashioned ghost stories. The problem with the old-fashioned stories, however, is that we know when the bump in the night is coming. Therefore, we would like to invite you to give us a fresh fright by submitting your short horror story to the first annual Corbeau Horror Anthology, 2017.

Although our grim fascination with all things historical and/or romantic continues to border on obsession, we will be also considering submissions which do not feed this burgeoning disorder. All submissions should…

View original post 181 more words

Sale alert!

I’m off to my first romance convention this weekend, Romancing the Falls 2017 in Niagara Falls. As a result, my publisher Liquid Silver Publishing has set up an awesome discount code on several of my books. You can take advantage of it too!

The sale runs from now until May 31.

You can get 50% off the following titles:
For the Love of a God
Up in Flames
Sweet Hell
Sunburn
The Selkie
Predator’s Kiss
The Stand-In

How to get this discount?

Simply purchase any of the selected titles at www.liquidsilverpublishing.com and use coupon code rleomar017greatreads

Please note: the discount cannot be used at any other vendor site.

It’s a great way to stock up on books you may have missed. Don’t let the month go by!

Happy reading.

Adding new content to a previously published book.

This writing journey provides so many adventures. I’m set to tackle one I’ve never experienced before and, I must admit, I find it daunting.

As my readers may know, my contemporary romance Vice will be republished with Limitless Publishing on Sept. 19. I am so excited to see this happen and very grateful.

My new publisher has asked me to provide some bonus content, something along the lines of a bonus scene, character interview, a mock journal entry or whatever I think my readers would enjoy. Sound great, right? After all, if I’m going to ask readers to take a renewed interest in Vice, I need to make sure it offers them something new.

But, boy, I am struggling with this idea. Why? Well, I finished Vice a few years ago. I left the world of Kate and Liam behind. In a sense, I totally disassociated from their hardships, their day-to-day lives, even their love affair. It was complete when it went to publication the first time and I never expected to have to get into those mindsets again.

Now I do.

I have a sense this is going to be a fun challenge but also one that brings up emotions for me. If you recall, this book was based on how I felt having a compulsive gambler as a father. It was a hard book to write. When I shut the door on that world, I locked it, knowing I’d never have to look back. Readers have asked me if I’d make it a series. I can’t, I just can’t. I wrote about that addiction. I can’t write about it again.

And yet now I have to at least dip my toe in the pool once more. I don’t anticipate the bonus content with have much to do with Kate’s father. If anything, I’d like to concentrate more on Kate and Liam, and perhaps explore the beginnings of their relationship. Some readers asked me for a glimpse into their future. Perhaps that would be fun as well.

I would love to have your input. If you read Vice the first time, please tell me what would make you pick it up a second time?

Perhaps it’s time to stop using “romance” as an insult.

I recently had the opportunity to attend an event for writers. As in the case of any event for writers I’ve attended, I was excited to be there.

Until the inevitable happened.

Someone used “romance” as an insult.

The event catered to writers of every genre, beginners as well as some vets. In discussing a piece of work, one of the participants said, “It was well written. I expected it to be more like a romance. Or even a Harlequin.”

When it came time to introduce ourselves, I looked that person in the eye and let him know I was a romance author. I glimpsed a bit of shame there, I’m happy to report.

Come on, fellow writers. It’s bad enough romance authors get dissed on a constant basis by fans of other genres. Do we really need to get these slaps in the face from other writers, people who understand our struggle? Of all people, you know what goes into writing a book. You understand the pain and sacrifice and sweat. You know how we bleed. You know how we cry when our characters do exactly what we need them to do.

You get it.

And yet some of you still insist on badmouthing an entire genre.  Why? “Oh, I read a romance back in the 1970s and it was pure rubbish.” Perhaps it’s time for an update, fella.

Oh, and by the way, some of you take issue with romance as a whole, but have no problem asking romance authors for favors. It happens to me all the time. I’ve been asked for favors by several wannabe authors who have no interest in my work or in my genre. They were just looking to cash in on a potential contact in the industry.

“You’re published? Well, romance really isn’t my bag but would you be willing to critique my manuscript? You know, seeing as you’re a published author. By the way…do you know any published non-fiction authors? Could you introduce me?”

Talk to the hand, as they say.

I don’t mean to sound bitter but I’m growing tired of hearing the same recording over and over. Romance isn’t “real” writing. It’s fluff. It’s easy to write. It’s formulaic.

I’ve never followed a “formula” in my entire writing career. The only hard and fast rule I follow is providing a happy ending. If you don’t, you’re not writing romance and romance readers will let you know it.

I’ve always found the writing community to be an inviting and supportive one. Not everyone resorts to this bad behavior. Have an opinion, by all means, but if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all. And certainly don’t say it at an event attended by writers of every genre.

As for the romance authors out there, we won’t waste our time badmouthing you.

Why? Because, darling, we’re too busy writing the stories the world is reading. Have you heard we’re one of the highest selling genres out there? No? Well, now you know.

Happy writing.

There is power in frailty.

I can usually be found in a corner, struggling with my latest manuscript. Honestly, it really is usually a struggle. There is always something that trips me up along the way. No matter how detailed I have been in my plotting, obstacles present themselves.

My current obstacle is my heroine. Her name is Bernadette “Bernie” Nolan and she is one of the protagonists in book 2 of my unpublished series Handymen. When I began writing this book, one of the themes I wanted to explore is that of taking one’s life back. Bernie was bullied as a young woman and she has been on a quest ever since to make sense of her struggles. It hasn’t always gone well and she’s made some bad choices. At times, she has underestimated herself, as we all do here and there.

I really wanted her to kick some ass and take charge. She deserves it, after all.

However, at about the 20,000 word mark, I made a realization. Bernie is still having trouble sorting out the mess of her past. She still carries shame and fear.

In other words, she isn’t quite ready to kick life in the ass. In fact, one could argue life is kicking her ass right now.

As much as she wants to be strong, she is beginning to understand just how frail she could become. However, there is a sort of power in such frailty. For Bernie to move forward, she may just have to embrace the emotions holding her back.

Some of these realizations will come to her as she relates to hero Eli Zorn. I love the character of Eli. He’s a good guy and understands the pain of loss. Something tells me he will be the one to help Bernie on her difficult journey.

Now if only I had someone to help me on my author’s journey! I had this story sorted in my head. I pictured Bernie bursting forward in a blaze of glory, ready to defeat her former tormentors. Instead, she and I are huddling together, wondering how we ended up on a more introspective path. We’re clearly learning things together.

Hopefully, once we embrace our frailty, we will emerge victorious.

Trolling a hashtag and the women who use it.

It’s not very often one gets the opportunity to see something good turn ugly.

I had that opportunity today on Twitter. (I know, Twitter can be an ugly place. Why am I surprised? Perhaps it’s because it can also be a place of tremendous support.)

While scrolling today, I caught a glimpse of a hashtag that piqued my curiosity: #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear

As a woman and a writer, I couldn’t help having a closer look. Although there were a lot of cringe-worthy moments posted by women in writing, it was empowering to see so many of us dealing with the same misconceptions. While I would never credit a hashtag with any sort of real importance, it was interesting to see this one act as a sort of bond between women writers of every genre.

It didn’t take long for the trolls to chime in.

Some criticized “middle class” women for sitting on their duffs, complaining. Others bashed them for creating a furor out of nothing. Others appropriated the hashtag in order to advertise a product. Others just criticized women and their “bellyaching”, in general.

As one women writer said,  and I’m paraphrasing, “Folks, if this hashtag doesn’t speak to you, then it isn’t for you.”

Writers, men and women, have to deal with a lot of interesting comments. We get it. We’ve all been there and understand not everyone is appreciative of the effort and passion that goes into writing. I’m sure many male writers shake their heads when people make judgments about their work as well. However, as in so many professions, women still get the shaft on far too regular a basis. We all know this but apparently it’s a sin to rally around each other to point out the discrepancies.

God forbid women writers have their own hashtag.

Give it a rest, trolls. We have to deal with you in every arena of life. Must we deal with you and your ignorance in this way as well?

I propose a new hashtag: #TakeItSomewhereElse