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What’s a Trope Anyway?

My twitter feed is filled with writers and other industry related people. I learn a TON of stuff on twitter. Seriously, writers. Get on Twitter. Lately, I’m seeing more and more tweets from writers and editors related to Entangled Publishing. When they announced the launch of their new sweet romance imprint, Bliss, I was excited. I love sweet romance and I wish everyone did too LOL You know how something’s so fabulous, you want to share with complete strangers, but they look at you like, “Get away from me Crazy Lady!” No? Is that just me? I get that more than I care to admit. I lean toward the excitable. Annnnyway…

On the Bliss site, they talk about tropes. This was a completely new term for me. I love when I learn things, so I started a research campaign until I read a million blogs with their opinions/explanations about “What is a trope.” If you write romance, and even if you don’t know what a trope is, chances are you already have a couple going in your WIP.

Tropes are popular story lines, ones readers love. They are great for inciting drama and ramping up emotions as well as stakes. Things like best friends falling in love after years of not being more than friends, or amnesia are popular. There are lots of other popular ones too, like boy/girl next door scenarios, accidental pregnancy brings a couple together, lots of things like this. I love the ones where a friend tries to set up another friend w/someone and the first friend ends up falling for the one they tried to set up LOL Been there. Done that. College. *Cough* Awkward.

Military related tropes are great right now too. We’ve had an active military presence in the Middle East – completely televised, media bombarded, for a decade now. We see coverage every single day. We all know people over there today or who have been there since 9/11. Those men and women are relatable and they are incredible as love interests. We want them to be happy. Look at what they’ve been through! Love the military folks in romance *Sigh*

Summary: Tropes are fun and add depth to your story. Layer them. Play with them. Enjoy them. And if you’re like me and the word was new to you five minutes ago, then I just did my job *blows on knuckles* I shared something new!

So, please dish. What’s your favorite trope?

Scholastic Books: A Back to School Tradition

My boys have been back to school for a couple weeks now, but it wasn’t until the Scholastic Book order form came home that fall hit me like a ton of leaves. I think my heart skipped a beat at the sight of the thing. I recognized it among all the paperwork in my 1st grader’s take home folder. I held it triumphantly overhead like the Lion King.

SCHOLASTIC! Who wants books?

The kids swarmed me and we all picked two new books for our library. My enthusiasm is finally rubbing off on them. My middle son is in love with Tim Arnold the author of the Fly Guy series. My 9yo opts for Pokemon and Superhero books. Sweet Little Miss wants everything pink. I don’t think she even looks at who it’s about. And me? I snap up a little of everything and stash them in my gift closet or away for Christmas. I’m still smiling from placing that order. So, it may still be hot as August in Ohio, but fall has officially arrived!

I now know my Scholastic orders benefit the school and classroom. As a kid, I had no idea. As an adult, I’m excited to help. The new order forms said for every order I place online, the classroom gets a free book! I love Scholastic so hard for this. What an amazing company. I hope lots of parents will take advantage, order a book online and get a free book for the kids’ classroom. Scholastic always has a $1 book. So, for a dollar, your kids get to read two books :) Win!

Wow. This wasn’t the way I intended this post to go! I was going to talk about fall and back to school and fostering a love of reading in my kids. Instead, it reads like an add for Scholastic. LOL Well, that’s how the blog post crumbles, or something like that. I do love this company, so I’ll levae this post alone and go write one for Monday about writing. LOL

Have a great weekend!

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop September 1st-7th

2nd Annual Back to the Book Giveaway Hop
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
Buried in Books
September 1st to 7th

I think Back to school means teens and YA lovers, so I have two YA books up this week.

Flirting with Boys by Hailey Abbott

How to Run a Resort:

Make ure employees arrive on time with a positive attitude. (check)

Remember that the customer is always ight. (check)

Keep your boyfriend and your most valuable guest from trying to kill each other. (oops)

Celeste Tippen can’t imagine a more perfect summer. Her boyfriend, Travis, has a job at her family’s resort, which means lots of quality couple time. Unfortunately, she forgot about Nick Saunders, the hot son of the resort’s wealthiest customers. Every year, Nick flirts with Celeste, and apparently this year is no different, despite the boyfriend who’s watching their every move. She assures Travis that hanging out with the resident bad boy is the last thing she wants to do. If only she believed that herself. . . .

A Royal Match by Tyne O’Connell

Can a normal American girl really catch a prince?

When LA-born Calypso Kelly arrives at the exclusive all-girls British boarding school, St. Augustine’s, she’s determined to become popular. But when a photo of Calypso kissing England’s heir to the throne, Prince Freddie, ends up in the tabloids, it will take quick thinking to save her reputation-and her relationship with the prince.

After the tabloid disaster, Calypso hopes her next term at St. Augustine’s will be better. But nothing could be further from the truth. Her archenemy (and culprit of the tabloid disaster) Honey O’Hare is her new dorm mate and her invite to the Annual Euro Royal Bash is nonexistent. Will a flirtation with a hot new sports star from the boys’ school ruin her chances with Prince Freddie? Calypso has some work to do if she wants to go from pumpkin to princess in time for the ball.



To enter leave your email in the comments. That’s all. You can put it in secret ninja code if you want. So long as I have a way to reach the winner, we’re all set! You can like my facebook author page by clicking on the right if you want. I just like giving people books :)

Don’t forget to use the linky below and enter to win lots and lots of free books this week!

That Smells SO Romantic

I think the most underused tool in writing today is scent. Of all the senses, this is the one least represented. I don’t think this is horrible, if writer’s are strategic with it. I mean, sometimes things smell the same. But when they don’t….what a way to pull a reader in and get them smiling along or nodded with understanding. Connecting to you. Your words. Your characters.

This is something I’m working on. Scent is on my mind. I thought I’d list a few things that take me immediately to another place or time. Many scent memories are personal and individual. For the purposes of blogging to the Universe, I thought I’d stick to those general scents that most people will “get.”

I titled this post “That Smells SO Romantic” not because all these things are romantic in the kissy-smoochy way, but because I think scents that bring on nostalgia are romantic in their own way. Also, all three of my kids are home from school today, so the list may be short. LOL We’ll see what I can conjure up fast.

1. Cooking on a grill. Scents of barbecue sauce and meat heating the air.
2. Coconut suntan lotion. Hawaiian Tropic. All those from pre-sun cancer fear days remember this. My mom and every woman on the beeach smelled of this for three months a year in Ohio. It’s probably the reason I buy coconut lotions and candles to this day. The smell reminds me of happiness, easy days and warmth. I also enjoy a good pina colada. Mmm.
3. The tangy-metaliic scent of a sparkler lighting up
4. Old lady perfume. Powdery-floral gas that burns your eyes and makes you picture housecoats and curlers. Bleh.
5. Apples. It might be a Midwest thing, but around here apples are in the air for a month. Fresh, crisp apples hanging heavy on trees, softer, sweeter scents of apple pies in the oven, even the tart piercing scent of apple cider under your nose.
6. Speaking of the Midwest, every spring my town smells like a barn stall. Yep. Farmers turn the soil and fertilize it with what is available. Guess what’s available? Gah. I can smell it just typing the words!
7. OK, how about scents from the county fair? Deep fried everything from veggies to snickers. Cotton candy and sifted sugar on elephant ears and funnel cakes.
8. LEMONADE! Fresh squeezed, sugar laden heave. Tart, sweet, citrus *drool*
9. For the parents out there: baby power. The way a baby’s skin smells after a warm bath in Johnson’s.
10. Love. This one is personal. What does love smell like to you? Who comes to mind? Your grandpa’s sweet pipe tobacco and peppermints? Grandma’s snickerdoodles? The scent of earth on your mother’s gardening gloves? Licorice in a candy dish? Oil soaked into your dad’s coveralls after a 12 hour shift at he factory? Drakar Noir – a first love? Big Red on a high school boyfriend’s lips? Cherry lip gloss on yours?

Love comes in a million scents, as unique and powerful as those who carried them.

What does love smell like to you? Personally, I still enjoy the scent of freshly sharpened pencils, but I’m a self-confessed nerd.

Writer Wednesday Welcomes: Rachel Brimble!

Slow and steady wins the race…

I decided to write a little bit about my writing journey today seeing as I am enjoying the status of becoming a new Harlequin Superromance author. My first novel with them will be available January 2013, yay!

To say I am happy would be a gargantuan understatement!

The thing is, this success did not happen overnight by any means and no matter what happens with regards to my future career, I will always shout the benefits and advantages of the quality small presses out there. For me, they are worth writing for and they are worth learning from.

Too many aspiring writers view small press as a last resort. They write their stories and then submit to every agent going, every big publisher that takes unsolicited submissions, every mid-list publisher until they say, “Fine, small press it is then.”

Then wonder why they get rejected from them too.

For me, writing is a craft – a huge robust learning curve that you have to open your mind and heart to if you stand any chance of making it. Reputable small presses are run by people who love books, love writers and especially love readers. They want to deliver good quality stories that will appeal to their genre readers and more than that, they want them to come back for more.

So why would they accept a story that you tossed at them as a last resort? They won’t. They know they deserve more respect than that.

I started writing short stories about ten years ago and gradually moved on to longer and longer novels, until I found my happy place at around 85-90,000 words. I went from being multi-published with the likes of The Wild Rose Press and Lyrical Press to my position now of being a Harlequin Superromance writer, hoping to secure a series of books. Yet, I will endeavor to write novellas for the people who molded my success as often as humanly possible. Why? Because I won’t forget the people who believed in me from the start.

You can do this too – if you believe in yourself and are willing to soak up as much knowledge and experience as possible. The editors I have worked with have taught me SO much and I know I wouldn’t be anywhere near the writer I am today without them.

Embrace small press – I do!

Rachel’s latest release is a “Love’s Debt” a Victorian romance novella, available Sept 5th from The Wild Rose Press.

Love’s Debt by Rachel Brimble

To keep herself from the depths of poverty, Milly Shepherd needs to be appointed manager of the Red Lion Tavern.  The elderly owner is in failing health and has promised her the job permanently if no one more suitable applies.  Milly will fight with her entire being to make the job her own.


Joseph Jacobs needs to supplement his income to pay off his father’s creditors and save him from debtor’s prison.  Though the job as manager of the local tavern looks promising, Milly is favored by both the owner and customers.  Instead, Joseph swallows his pride and agrees to tend bar.

As they work together, their attraction grows, their goals cross, and both Millie and Joseph find they must face their fears …the question is whether they face them alone or together?


“No, I take it from here.” His jaw tightened. “I mean it, Milly. I don’t want you in there.”

“Why are we arguing about this? I thought we’d built a trust between us.”
His gaze darted over her face, lingered at her lips. “This has nothing to do with trust.”

“Then what?”
“Pride. If I haven’t got that…if I’ve stooped so low as to put a woman at risk, then there’s no point in going on at all. I won’t do it, Milly. I won’t expose you to whatever is behind that door. If you can’t stay here, then go back to the tavern. I’ll see you there shortly.”

His face was set, his shoulders stiff and Milly’s irritation grew. She poked a finger into his chest. It was like iron. She swallowed. “Have you heard the saying, pride before a fall?” He nodded. “Good, because if people don’t reach out to other people, Joseph Jacobs, they fall further than ever with nobody there to catch them.”


She raised her hand. “Go. Do what you want. I’ve got more important things to worry about that a man full of so much pride, he looks fit to burst.”

Turning, Milly gripped her bag tightly in her hand and strode away. She did not look back, and she didn’t stop walking. Her stupid heart had let her down. Made her get involved in a man’s life and begin to care about him. Well, the buck stopped there. No more. If Joseph Jacobs ever needed her help again, he could take a long walk off the dock.

Buy Link:

Rachel’s Links:

Twitter: @rachelbrimble

HUGE HUGE Thanks to Rachel, a most wonderful woman, writer and friend. She’s an inspiration to me and I couldn’t possibly agree more than I do with this beautifully articulated post. Small presses are amazing gifts and opportunities for a new author. I sing the praises of mine long and often :) Thank you Rachel for sharing with us today. Congratulations on your new and upcoming titles. I cannot wait to read them!


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