|Hailey - 2003
|2012 (Thing 1 with Riley & baby Cassidy)
|2018 (with barracuda)
|Stony Creek Trail, Branford, CT - 2019
|Genuine Florida Driver's License + Car
And now our baby can drive all by herself. Ack! Truth is, the family is moving, and though still in the same county, not in the same school district, so a car & driver were necessary for both Hailey & Riley to remain in Lake Mary High School. Therefore, used car + brand new license. I'm sending up prayers.
I wasn't going to add any more to the above, but Hailey's mother posted a pic to Facebook on Friday morning that has to be included. Susie, having spent nearly a decade adding to her income as a professional singer by doing beauty makeovers for Lancôme, is well qualified to transform Hailey for something at school called "Decades Day." (I believe that's Mom's '80s jacket she's wearing.)
~ * ~
GRACE'S "MOST READ" AUTHORS
No, I am not going to name names—I'd like to keep my friends, thank you very much! But over the past year I've become more and more aware just how far my taste has strayed from Romance even though that is considered the genre I write. Truth to tell, I never embraced the simplistic Harlequin/Silhouette view of Romance, never read any of those little books displayed on their own rack in bookstores. And I did not try to write one until I knew I had a chance to be published if I did (He Said, She Said - Kensington Precious Gems). I wanted to write Romance, yes, but with action, adventure, suspense, a murder or two, etc., etc. And that's what I ended up doing, my only other "cave" to Traditional Romance, my six Regencies for Penguin Putnam's Signet. (Fun to write, but shorter and far less adventurous than The Sometime Bride and Tarleton's Wife.)
But even when I went indie in 2011, I continued to write Historical Romance and contemporary Mystery/Suspense with a strong emphasis on Romance. So how did I stray from the fold in my reading? Truthfully, I'm not sure. But this week I took the time to make a list of books and series I keep going back to, reading over and over again, enjoying them anew each time. To my complete astonishment, only three were Regency authors. And one, I admit, was an author who wrote the Australian version of Harlequin/Silhouette novels. (Guess she just struck the right chord with me.)
Of the remainder, two write contemporary mystery series, some of them better than others. But I've read them all more than once, and buy each new book as it comes out. Yet another author favorite writes contemporary mystery with a goodly touch of the paranormal. And four write Fantasy/SciFi with more than a little paranormal, and varying degrees of Romance. One went eleven books into a series without so much as kiss; one writes books well sprinkled with hot sex. (So no surprise that I took time out from the Regency to write my Fantasy/SciFi series, Blue Moon Rising.)
At the RWA conference here in Orlando a couple of years ago, someone at a SciFi seminar made the remark that Regency and SciFi have a lot in common—most particularly, the creation of an entirely different world than the one we live in. So perhaps it's not so surprising I feel at home in both worlds. And I have discovered from my sales figures that many Regency readers must also enjoy a goodly dash of adventure and the paranormal, for my Regency Gothics outsell all my other books.
Why have I veered more and more toward Fantasy/SciFi and the paranormal? Well, in high school my extracurricular reading was almost entirely SciFi. And then I discovered Anne McCaffrey, enjoying all her series, although the Dragonrider series remains outstanding in my mind, one of the great classics of the genre. And then I discovered Georgette Heyer and became a Regency fanatic, long before I ever heard of Romance Writers of America. As I recall, my mother—the children's book author, Wilma Pitchford Hays, who put me through college writing series romance for Modern Romances—first steered me toward RWA (and later toward e-books). And after that, I was caught in the web, struggling between what I wanted to write and the kind of book that would get me published!
So, as I've said so many times over the years, it was the e-book industry that allowed me to write the stories I wanted to write. First, my thanks to early e-publishers who put my "real" work out there. And, finally, indie pub that allowed me the freedom to be the storyteller I wanted to be. But wait . . .
We all want to make money—that's a trap we can't ignore. Hence, my emphasis on my Regency Gothics. And back to the appeal of the Paranormal.
I suspect the harsh reality of our world—not just the present but back into the mists of time—accounts for our desire to believe in something more. This "more" most certainly includes our many religious beliefs, but there is always the temptation to go beyond, to tell tales of things that go bump in the night. I, who inevitably stick to Happily Ever After endings, prefer my paranormal creatures to be benign, but that's just me. If your taste runs toward Stephen King, fine. Yes, it's escapism. But we all need it, never more so than right now when our politics has turned almost as scary as the coronavirus.
Therefore—to name another name, even though I said I wouldn't—perhaps that is why I prefer the works of Jayne Castle to the works of Jayne Ann Krentz or Amanda Quick. (All three the same author.) I read all her books, but it's the Jayne Castle books I read over and over again. JC writes stories set in a fantasy world far, far away, with the Paranormal exploding all over the place in every book. I don't know how many times when I was "down," I've lost myself in the Fantasy world of the planet Harmony, and immediately felt better.
As for Mystery, I enjoy the intellectual challenge of "whodunit"; most particularly, I enjoy the expert writing often found in the Mystery genre. And if there's a goodly dash of the paranormal, all the better.
Moral of the story: Do not turn your back on Escapism. It's fun and it's good for morale. If Romance does it for you, great. For me, I prefer Action and Intellectual Challenge, though my favorites also have a goodly dash of Romance. So never fear stretching your reading—or writing—beyond the confines simple Romance. Who knows? If you like the Regency World, you just might find Fantasy or SciFi series you like as well. Or vice versa. Be flexible. Give other people's worlds a try.
~ * ~
For a link to Making Magic With Words, click here.
For a link to Shadows Over Greystoke Grange on Amazon, click here.
For a link to Shadows Over Greystoke Grange on Smashwords (20% free read), click here.
For a link to Blair's updated Facebook Author Page, click here.
Thanks for stopping by,