Monday, December 10, 2012

Update on Do Over and a new author you should check out!

First off, I'd like to show off my brother Zach's book coming out this month.  It's called Uprising Italia.  As you can tell from the cover, which by the way - ROCKS, it's about Italy, tanks and you guessed it  . . . Zombies.  My brother and I may both have a love for writing but our similarities kind of end there.  He's more sci-fi, fantasy, zombie stuff and I'm all about reality, love and happy endings.  No eyeballs ever get eaten in any of my books.  Weird, I know. But if you or some one you love, has a penchant for the dark side, this book would make a great Christmas gift.

Now, back to ME! Okay, so I know I've been talking about Do Over for what seems like foreeeevvvver, but honestly, February will be here so soon.  I know you don't want to hear that, since you, like me, are just trying to make it through these next couple of weeks.  There are presents to buy, wrap and give and if the fudge doesn't turn out and the Christmas lights don't hang just the right way, then life is too hard to bare.  I know this!!  I am living these next couple of weeks right along with you.  But at the back of your mind, where there's a little space left, please know that the Final edits are done on Do Over and that I have written an extra chapter for the end. The people who have read it are in raptures over it.  I know, it kind of sounds like I'm exaggerating, but I promise I'm not.  

And after talking to my publisher it looks like I might be doing a launch party.  I'm kind of terrified of this, so if you have any advice for me, please send it along.  Now - back to shopping, wrapping, baking, giving, stressing, singing, parties, and more shopping and wrapping and baking. 
Take care!
- Shannon

Monday, November 12, 2012

What Books Are You Grateful For?

     This is the month to be grateful and if you're on Facebook or Twitter it's hard to ignore.  Everyday the people I know will state something they're grateful for.  I think it's kind of sweet.  It's made me think of the books I'm grateful for.  The first one would have to be Watership Down by Richard Adams.  I was in the 4th grade when I picked it up in the library.  I still don't know why I did. It was HUGE compared to most things I'd read at the time.  But I took it home and dove in and for the first time in my life I was dragged under.  I was thrown into this new world of rabbits who had lives and loves and fears and adventures and I became one of those rabbits.  I experienced everything as if I were right there and that's when I realized how magical books were.  Words became powerful to me.  No matter what I was going through or experiencing in my real life, I could grab a book, dive in and escape.  And while I was escaping, I was learning and growing and becoming.  I would have to say Watership Down was my gateway book.  Because of that book, I was able to expand my mind and discover new worlds. That might sound cheesy, but nevertheless, the stinking truth. I also became a good judge of books. If a book can grab me and drag me under and keep me up until 3 in the morning, - that's a good book.
     Another book I'm grateful for is, The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elisabeth George Speare. This was my first introduction to historical fiction and I was hooked again.  Thank you Elisabeth. My grasp of history through the ages has less to do with my history classes and more to do with the books I read that usually had a beautiful but intelligent and adventurous young woman. I owe a lot of my knowledge to those amazing writers who painstakingly researched historical data. And that was before computers.
     The next few books I'm grateful for are mine.  I know, kind of egocentric, but I would be lying if I didn't mention it.  I'm grateful for the first book I wrote, Forever Friends.  This book didn't get published until much later in my career, but it was my first effort and it taught me that not just other people's words could pull me under, but my own could too.  I grew up living and breathing other people's words and I'd had no idea that I could create with them as well.  The knowledge that I could immerse myself into a world I created  myself was exhilarating, exciting and completely mind blowing sometimes.
     I'm grateful for my other published books too because each of them helped me through something in my life.  Whatever I was dealing with, struggling with, hurting over or suffering through ended up in my books.  My latest, Do Over, will always hold a special place in my heart for the healing it gave me. After my divorce, I had this hollow empty feeling that scared me. When I write, I pull from all of the emotions threatening to spill over.  It's like taking a bucket, and dipping it into a surging, powerful river whipping by.  But I felt more like a zombie than a life giving river.  So when I tried to write - and this book started to pour out of me, I was shocked.  I had no idea that my words could unlock the dam I'd placed on my emotions and let the river go free again.  Words are powerful.  Yours, mine, every one's.  They heal, they hurt, they create and they change people.  I'm so thankful for the good ones.
     The last book(s) I'm grateful for would have to be the scriptures.  And to me, that includes the Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.  I read them everyday, not because I'm supposed to, but because I need to.  Reading the words of the prophets and of God grounds me, strengthens me and points me in whatever direction I need to go that day.  In the midst of whatever storm is hanging around, I know that if I want to have peace, I read.  And I'm pulled under and into a world where God is there.  Who wouldn't want that every day?
     So what books are you grateful for?  I would love to hear.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The perfect books for Halloween

     I was about fifteen  years old and so many people were telling me to read It by Stephen King.  I have to admit that I'm a huge chicken and I hate anything scary.  Probably because between the ages of 9 and 13 I lived in a house that had a ghost.  Not even kidding.  Our family lived in a super old spooky house and yep, it had a ghost.  I could hear him walk up and down the stairs all night long.  That thing in books where they talk about the hair standing up on the back of your neck?  That actually happens. How do I know this? My neck will testify to it.  I hope it doesn't happen to you, but yes, that is one of your bodies reactions to being scared to death.  Anyways, where was I? Oh, IT. So I've experienced scary, why would I want to actually scare myself on purpose?  I was 15 though and so I gave in to peer pressure and I read that sucker and I was freaked out.  Oh my word, that man knows how to creep you out in so many ways.  I do believe my hatred for all things clowns stems from that traumatic reading as a 15 year old.  I could talk about the Shining, but I'd rather not.  Eww!
     But since it's Halloween, I can't not talk about scary books. However, I am going to switch things up.  I'm going to talk about the not so scary but still fun Halloween books.  I still hate being scared, but I LOVE paranormal romance.  I'm doing a lot of research now because I'd like to join that genre.  I've been reading a lot about witches and everything that goes with that and I've found that I enjoy the YA paranormal so much more than adult paranormal.  Say what you will about Twilight but Stephanie Meyers did something right.  She enthralled the world. There's no arguing with that or the numbers.  (I actually really like Twilight).  But what I love about YA PNR is that it's clean.  I've read Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books.  Heard of True Blood?  Yep, that's the TV show based on her books about a girl who can read minds and likes to umm, hang out with vampires.
     This is what I'll say about it.  One TV critic called the show Vampire Porn.  I haven't watched the show, but I've heard this is true from friends.  The books are R rated in my opinion.  Sure, I can skip over certain parts, but why bother when there are so many YA stories that are amazing?  There is one adult witch book I love though. Deborah Harkness' A Discovery of Witches.  LOVED IT!  Haven't read book #2 yet, but I can't wait.
But here's a list of YA paranormal romance that will give you a fun read for Halloween without making you want to scrub your mind with clorox:
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.  It's a whole series and my teenage daughters loved it.
Freak of Nature by Katie Lee O'Guinn.  New book out on Kindle that we all really enjoyed.
Paranormalcy by Keirsten White. Another trilogy but so cute.  Super clean and fun.
Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. - Engrossing and addicting.
I'm doing so much research on Paranormal Romance and having so much fun doing it that it's hard to tear myself away to write myself.
Check them out and let me know what you think.  And give me your suggestions!  What's your favorite paranormal book, YA or adult.  I would love your suggestions.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Update on Do Over

Here's the newest update on Do Over.  I just heard back from Cedar Fort and they have decided to keep the boots that they had on the cover before. They did a search for the coolest biker chick boots  in order to get it just right and came up with . . . well, nothing.  I know, heartbreaking.  But on the bright side, we still don't have to look at a hammer.  So we're moving forward. Do Over is already up on Amazon for pre-orders.  I think that's pretty exciting.  Picture me doing a few cartwheels and not landing on my rear or my face.  That's how excited I am.  I'll be doing a Facebook Fan Page for Do Over too.  I've never done that for a book before so if you have any advice, please send it my way.  If you have fan pages for your books, tell us so we can check them out.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sticking with a genre or jumping off a cliff

I've read some reviews of J.K. Rowlings newest book and I feel kind of bad for her.  What writer wouldn't? In my opinion, JK is one of the most gifted writers this world has ever seen.  So to see her hit home run after home run and then to fizzle in the 6th inning is just sad. Not that she couldn't come back tomorrow and write the greatest novel ever read.  But right this second as she's sitting in England, drinking her tea and reading all of the bad reviews, I wish I was sitting there with her. Because I'd probably say, 'You're acting like a loony Muggle! Grab the laptop and tell me what Harry's doing now!'.  I know, rotten, huh?  Not very supportive for sure.  But it does illustrate how we all get stuck in genres.  I'm super comfortable with romance.  If you told me I had to write a Sci-Fi thriller right this second, I'd beg you to shoot me.  However, don't we all need to stretch a little? Get out of our comfort zones just a titch?  Maybe someone should force me to write a sci-fi book.  Who knows, maybe I'd love it? (I really wouldn't)  But it's the trying that makes us better.  The sweat and tears form us into who we're supposed to become right?  So in honor of J.K., I'm going to stretch a little.  I am now writing a book that I never thought I'd touch.  It involves witches, blood and a magic. This will not be LDS fiction.  Yikes, my heart is palpitating.  Notice my cool word choice.  So I'm getting ready to jump of a cliff.  Let me know if you  know of any publishers who'd like to soften my landing.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Procrastination or something more sinister?

     I am starting my new book today! I know, I was supposed to start last month, but then pneumonia plopped itself on my doorstep. And then, yeah, I know, I was supposed to start my new book a few weeks ago, but hey -  my computer died. Really, how can you write without a computer these days?  I actually looked at a pad of paper and a pen for a few seconds but then resisted.  My inner spell check just isn't up to the challenge.  So today is a new day!  Today I will begin my next adventure.  I can't wait to use some of my new neighbors as characters.  He he he. I will keep you posted as to my progress. In the meantime, please wait impatiently for Do Over to come out this February.  Still haven't seen the newest cover for it yet.  I will post ASAP.  Let's keep our fingers crossed that there won't be any tools on the cover this time. And in the mean time, if no more natural disasters or unnatural disasters occur, I will stop blogging and commence the creative process. Prayers would be appreciated.

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Press release for Do Over

Shannon Guymon’s book, Do Over, released on February 2013.
 - Alpine, Utah – Shannon Guymon, author and single mother of six kids, announces the release of her ninth novel and tenth book, Do Over, available at select bookstores and online.
When faced with heart break or getting dumped and kicked to the curb, haven’t you ever wanted a Do Over? Forget Cinderella, that’s the fantasy everyone really wants.
Do Over is a book of second chances. What do you do when your life becomes messy and embarrassing? You tape up your broken heart, pull on your boots and start again. 
But Trey is tired of women. Who wouldn’t be after falling for the wrong woman over and over again? He’s decided to take a much needed break from the fairer sex, but his vacation from women is cut short when Iris Levine tumbles into his life like a tornado on caffeine.  Iris is on the mend from a broken heart as well, but decides a little walk on the wild side is the cure for her.  Trey decides to take his chances with Iris, but Sophie has decided she’ll do anything to save Trey from another broken heart.  Maggie and Allison do the best they can to help, but Iris’ parents are with Sophie.  This romance is either a disaster waiting to happen or the best fairytale since Sleeping Beauty.  It’s up to Trey and Iris to decide which.
Guymon’s book is out just in time for Valentine’s Day.  The perfect book for women who have crossed this holiday out with a permanent marker.  Hate Men? Hate Valentine’s? Don’t throw away your candy hearts just yet.
Visit for more information on this and other books.
About Shannon Guymon
Shannon Guymon is a big believer in happy endings.  Scarlett really should have been happy with Rhett and it’s a darn shame Leo and Kate didn’t float safely into New York on the Titanic.  Since she can only control her own imagination, happy endings are found in: Never Letting Go of Hope, A Trusting Heart, Justifiable Mean, Forever Friends, Soul Searching, Makeover, Taking Chances and The Broken Road. When she’s not writing romance novels for the discerning woman, she tends to spend her time being the single mother of six kids.  Her adventures can be found at: .

For further information, contact:
Shannon Guymon                                           Cedar Fort Marketing       OR

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reviews anyone?

     So I've been out of a computer for awhile.  I know, I know. One of the worst hardships known to mankind. But I'm back with a new Dell behind me and so there's no excuse for slacking anymore.  Which reminds me . . . I do believe there's a few of you that haven't sent me your reviews yet.  Hmmm.  So strange.  Would love to get the next batch in the next couple days if possible.  I don't want to name names or anything, but you never know.  Hee hee hee.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Awesome Opportunity if you want to be a writer

I got this courtesy of Lisa Mangum - yes That Lisa Mangum

OPEN CALL FOR ROMANCE NOVELS! Shadow Mountain is looking for well-written, compelling, and CLEAN romance novels suitable for a national audience (i.e., not specifically LDS) to consider as part of their "Proper Romance" line. Romances can be in any genre, including contemporary, paranormal, Regency, mystery, etc. Email your one-page synopsis to Heidi Taylor at htaylor (at) deseretbook (dot com). Put the following into the subject line: Author's Think Tank--Proper Romance Query. Heidi will accept queries until 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 30, 2012. And.......GO!

I remember when I was speaking at the American Fork Writer's conference and all of the 

amazing, talented men and women there wanting so much to get published.  

This is a huge opportunity.  I put this on my Facebook page but in case you follow my blog 

and haven't been on FB.  Take a minute and think about that manuscript you have sitting 

around.  Blow off the dust, take a deep breath and DIVE IN!  Shadow Mountain is the real 

deal.  Their new Romance line is geared for the whole world, not just the LDS market.  Do 

you know what that means?  That means this opportunity is bigger than you realize.  You 

only have until tomorrow though so GO FOR IT!

Monday, August 27, 2012

No One Tells You

One of my favorite quotes:

"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners.  I wish someone had told me.  All of us who do creative work we get into it because we have good taste.  But there is this gab.  For the first couple years you make stuff, it's just not that good.  It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not.  But your taste, the thing that got you into the game is still killer  And your taste is why your work disappoints you.  A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit  Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this.  We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we want it to have.  We all go through this.  And  if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know that it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.  Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you finish one piece.  It's only by going  through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good your ambitions. And I took loner to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met.  It's gonna take a while.  It's normal to take awhile.  You just gotta fight your way through. "
                                                                                   -Ira Glass

Friday, August 24, 2012

Do Over Cover Update - I'm so curious now!

Sooo, got a call from marketing and they're changing the cover again.  I might have pointed out that the whole book talks non-stop about these super-tough, butt-kicking, biker chick boots and that maybe the boots they'd put on the cover were kind of girly.  I might have said something about who in their right mind is going to feel tough in those heels?  Don't get me wrong, the boots are very nice, but, they're just not Iris-ish at all.  Soooo, they're re-doing it! Yet again.  I wasn't trying to be a pain the rear or anything, but they did ask my honest opinion.  But let's go back to the original cover they showed me:

Okay, so the boots were a huge improvement, right?  But just not perfect . . . yet.  So as soon as I get the updated cover I will let you know.  As a matter of fact, - you'll be the first to see it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Letter from a Reader - Made my day!

Here's a letter from a young woman.  I just had to share 

because it shows how uplifting books can help us through 

the rough patches.  Made my day!

I just want you to know (again) how much I love your books! They are wonderful! So uplifting and entertaining, and with great lessons and relatable characters and experiences.. I seriously share them with pretty much everyone-even a few guys have been interested to see how a chick book could be so well rounded and full of goodness instead of the usual empty fluff. 

They've become like my therapy when I am craving some good romance or need a pick me up (:

I went through a really painful, kinda ugly broken engagement last year.. I was looking for something to do and I felt like I should reread Soul Searching-and it was seriously just what I needed. I really related to Micah's conforming to someone else's idea of perfection, and of not knowing who she was or what she wanted in life (just thank goodness I didn't struggle with a testimony too) so the book was a huge help to me in picking myself up and rebuilding.

Thank you so much for writing, and thank you for keeping your books real and relatable! They really are terrific novels (:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review #4 from Michelle Kuhn - Loved it

Do Over is a fun, romantic comedy you won't be able to put down.  I laughed out loud so many times my husband wanted to know what was so funny.  I also found myself wresting with my tears to keep them in check while the characters struggled with their emotional scars.  So many people will be able to relate to the characters and what they are going through.  This book was so well written that although Iris and Trey were hurt by the ones they love the most, it was never depressing or negative.  I love that the book offers hope and light and truly shows that there is life after hard trials.

I absolutely loved the characters, their strong personalities and conflicts within the story.  One of Shannon's best creations!  I am definitely recommending this book to everyone I know.

My only complaint, I want to know where to find those awesome biker boots!  Size 8 in black please!

~Michelle Kuhn

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review #3 of Do OVer - You have to read this one!

Shannon Guymon's New Novel, Do Over, is a triumph of clean, fun romance. Want a book you can recommend to your teenage daughter, or your grandmother, and be confident that they'd both find something to enjoy? I'm a newcomer to Shannon's work, but I immediately put her other Alpine books on hold at my public library. Shannon includes just enough touches of past characters to make me curious about their back-stories, without becoming self-indulgent, and boring or confusing me by focusing too much on past plots. Iris and Trey were definitely the stars of their own story.

And what a couple. They were funny. From their witty,sparkling first meeting, Iris and Trey kept me guessing. Iris is not your average romance-novel heroine. She doesn't spend a single minute moping and swooning. And waiting to be rescued by a handsome, dominating hero? Not a chance. Move over, ex-fiancĂ©! Stand aside, men in general! Iris has got big plans, a serious pair of boots, and her hair is on fire. Perfect for a woman of action. As Shannon reminds us throughout the book, Iris is strong, independent, and just a little bit wild. But don't take Shannon's word for it. Iris's actions speak louder than words. All the way to the funny,over-the-top ending, Iris demands respect and forges her own destiny. In her own words, "I’m coming for you, so watch out." Finally, a heroine that doesn't slightly embarrass the entire female gender.

And speaking of strong characters, Iris has met her match in Trey. He's kind, witty, charming, handsome, and tender—when he's not dishing out the sass in a Ben and Jerry's container, that is.

These characters are a lot of fun, and you're pretty sure while you're reading that if you met them, you'd be friends for life. Pick up Shannon's latest book, and they may become just that.

- Heather Clark

Monday, August 20, 2012

Comments on Do Over - Keep'em coming!

Here are some comments from readers of Do Over. So far - So good! If you haven't gotten your review done yet, no worries.  Just get it to me when you can. And thanks to everyone for your support and your kind words.  This is what makes being a writer worth it.  Love you guys! - Shannon

LOVED it!!!! It was great!! thanks for letting me read it! Now I can clean my house poor kids get neglected when I read a book :)
                                                                                              - Meredith Urry

It was so fabulous!
I agree with your publisher, this could be my new favorite!
                                                                                               - Liz Hall

Read the book in less than a day and loved it...  You did such a good job tying in the all of the characters from the other book.  I really enjoyed reading it but then again, I enjoy all of your books.
I also love the cover!!!!!  Way to go...
Thanks for letting me read it..
                                                                                              - Cathy Walker

I had so much fun reading "Do Over!" Having just moved away from Highland and Alpine, it made me wish I was back even more. I love Iris and Travis...but I also fell in love with your minor characters. Those women crack me up! I love their friendship and how they stay friends no matter what...but they don't let anyone get away with "stuff" either. Successful relationships are all about love and trust not only between couples but between friends of any kind...and I adore the way you show that in this story. "Do Over" is a delightful tale. thank you for sharing it with me.
                                                                                                -  Kari Pike

I absolutely LOVED the book!!!! I really liked how Iris is so strong, strong enough to know when it is ok to fall in love again after a grueling heart break. ( believe me I know how she feels in that department!) You helped restore the feeling of a happily ever after with this story!!!
                                                                                                 -  Kim Henne

Friday, August 17, 2012

Do Over Book Review #2

Thanks Amie!

      If you love fun clean romances you will love this book! Be prepared to stay up late, because once you start this book it is impossible to put down. You will fall in love with the characters! Iris is a fun, smart, sassy, misunderstood woman with a heart of gold. Trey is the prince every woman dreams about sweeping off her feet, even if they are in a man hating zone. I love how the beloved characters from the other Alpine books are back. It is always fun to see a sneak peek of what has happened to them since the last book!

    This book will have you hooked from the very first page until the end. The chemistry and the relationship between Trey and Iris is fun and quirky. I love how he accepts her for who she is, even when others don’t approve. This story really shows you what it is like to find true love and happiness. I love how real Shannon makes the relationships and friendships in her books. Relationships aren’t always rosy there can be bumps along the way, and she clearly illustrates that in this book. This is definitely a book that once you finish; you will want to read again! I recommend this book to everyone who loves a good clean fun romance!

Amie Aycock

Thursday, August 16, 2012

First official Book Review of Do Over

Hey Everyone!
Here's my first book review by Susan Wrathall.  So tell me, after reading this, would you want to read Do Over?  I think the answer to that would be: Yes!  Thanks Susan, you did an amazing job. Susan is also an author so after you're done reading this review, go grab Susan's book, The Corporate Kid.

I just finished reading Do Over, a book reconnecting characters from Shannon Guymon's previous novels.  I was happy to see Sophie, Maggie, Jacie, and Allison and their families again.  This book introduces a new character, Iris Levine, Luke's cousin who has just moved to Alpine.   Iris has just experienced a humiliating and devastating breakup at her wedding reception and she moves to Alpine to heal...and to ultimately reinvent herself.  If you've read Shannon's other novels you will remember Trey, Sam's younger brother.  Sophie, Sam's wife, is very protective of Trey and has the perfect girl in mind to heal his broken heart after Allison, the girl he loved married someone else. Macie Jo Jackson is a beautiful blonde and  the former Miss Altlanta who just started working at her salon.  Maggie, however, thinks Iris just may be the one for Trey.  Sophie and Maggie make a bet and the results are funny, tragic, and oh so much fun to read about!  I truly loved this book.  The main characters are so realistic and likable that I want to hop in my car and drive to Alpine to meet them.   Reading this book is like hanging out with some really great girlfriends.  Like Shannon Guymon's other novels, Do Over is not just a pleasure for adults to read, but it's the kind of book you could confidently give your teenage daughter to read.   Her characters are wholesome, funny, interesting, and lovable and the messages about being true to oneself are powerful. I will think about this book for a long time to come. Shannon, I hope this is not the last of the Alpine books.  I don't want to say good-bye to all the characters I've come to know and love.  And you are just getting started with Trey know who! 

Susan Wrathall
Mother of two
Special Ed Teacher
Co-author of The Corporate Kid

Monday, August 13, 2012

I need help! Yes - again

So I've been working with my marketing team and it looks like it's time I get a few reviews and endorsements going.  Actually, I probably should have been working on that a couple months ago.  Yikes!  So who out there can read super fast, loves my books and wants to read my new book Do Over before anyone else??  All in exchange for a concise, well written and hopefully complimentary review or endorsement.  Review if you're a great reader, Endorsement if you're a published author.  Please help!!  I'm in a time crunch here and I would hate for my publisher to hire a hit man because I've been a schlub.  I really have.  Let me know!  (ASAP)  By the way, here's the new cover!  Would love to know what you think. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Do Over Cover!

Here's a look at my cover for my new book Do Over! Let me know what you think.  Remember when I told you that the first cover at a pictuer of a hammer?  This is a huge improvement. 

Yay!  I'll keep you updated on the progress as it comes. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Publishing Contracts = Nirvana

I'd like to say congratulations to my brother Zach.  He just got offered his first contract from a publisher.  His new publisher wants to publish not one, but 2 of his books!  I'm excited for him.  One is his Zombie book and the other is a book based off his serial blog.  You can check it out here: .  But it reminded me of the first time I got that contract in the mail.  I've never taken drugs before, but holding a contract in your hand and reading the part that says, 'We want to publish your book.' has got to be one of the highest highs known to man kind.  Maybe we should round up all the drug dealers and put them in writing classes?  It's a thought.  Because it takes a long time to come down from that nirvana. Life goes back to normal when you get all the changes your editor wants you to make.  But still, life is kind of forever changed after that.  My brother has been trying to get published for a long, long time.  I think it's been a decade actually.  So for all you writer's out there I just want to say, don't give up.  Keep trying.  Keep writing. Keep believing in yourself.  Because someday, maybe even years down the road, you'll get that letter in the mail and it will all be worth it. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sometimes Life gets in the Way

Sorry I haven't written (blogged) in a while.  I think it's because I haven't written in a while.  That was all supposed to change this week.  I was going to dive into a writing marathon, but a little something called my daughter's pneumonia changed my plans.  No biggee.  My next book will have the most awesome hospital scenes ever.  Real life = real writing.  We'll see.  But this put me back a ways.  I'll now have to start my new book when my kids go back to school.  That's only a couple weeks away, so it's not the end of the world.  But the more I put it off, the more anxious I am to get started.  So hopefully this will be the best book ever.  The more passion and angst I have roiling around inside my head, the more emotional (amazing) my writing will be.  Right?  I guess we'll just have to wait and see. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lifting the Load

I remember listening to a fellow writer years and years ago and she was telling me that one time a neighbor of hers was in the hospital with her dying husband. She knew she wanted to do something to help her friend, but she just wasn't sure what she could do. Should she bring cookies? Flowers? What?  Well, being a writer she decided she'd run down to the local bookstore.  She grabbed a few books on CD (this was before Kindle) and took them to her friend.  She hugged this woman, told her she loved her and then gave her the gifts and left.  Later, after the funeral, her friend came to her and told her that listening to those stories on CD had saved her sanity.  For a few moments she could escape into a story and get a little peace. They helped her survive the hardest moments of her life.

 That story has always stayed with me because I think it's powerful.  Books can inspire, they can teach, they can help and sometimes when we need it, they can help us escape a bad situation for just a little while until we can gird up our loins so to speak and go back to the war.  There have been many times in my life when I have turned to books for help.  During my divorce, my choice was number one, the scriptures.  I read them 3-4 times a day and I was able to have peace in the middle of a horrifying and tragic storm.  But every now and then I'd pick up a light hearted romance to brighten my day.  They were little rays of sunshine when I was feeling cold and drenched. 

So as a writer, I like to keep in mind the people who read my stories.  What can I do to lighten someone else's burden?  How can bring laughter to someone's day?  Because I know how grateful I am for writers who have done that for me. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

More on Clean Romance - yes those 2 words do go together!

I just had to re-post this article by Studio 5 on Clean romances.  Love it!

Clean Romance Reads
July 26, 2012

Who doesn't enjoy the sigh-worthy romance of a well-crafted love story? Studio 5 Contributor Teri Harman shares her favorite 10 clean romance books.

Unlike movies and television shows there is no content rating system for books. The pages may contain sex, violence and foul language or be perfectly clean; it's a gamble. If you are content conscious, it is especially risky to pick up a book about romance or love.
But who doesn't enjoy the smolder, intrigue and sigh-worthy romance of a well-crafted love story? So if you want all the good stuff of a romantic read without worrying about content, look no further than this list of favorite clean romances. All of these books are free of graphic/descriptive sex scenes (in a few of the books sex occurs, but is only mildly described or happens "off- stage") and contain no or only small amounts of foul language and violence.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hazel is terminal. She's known it since she was diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at age 13. Now at age 16, thanks to a miracle drug, she's been given some time to live a quiet life, but knows there are still fewer days ahead. The last thing she expects is to fall deeply in love, but when seriously handsome, intelligent, bold Augustus Waters appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's simple life takes a whole new direction.
This book is simply amazing. The story is so real and achieves that elusive goal of speaking about life, death and love in a way that is meaningful instead of pretentious. Bold, slightly irreverent and genius.
The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

Abby, a senior in high school, has a normal, predictable life: good friends, reliable boyfriend and college applications in the works. But all her normalcy is interrupted when mysterious, gorgeous and Italian, Dante Alexander shows up. He's unlike anyone she has ever met and Abby soon discovers that she cannot resist Dante's allure. But as Abby is swept up in his love she is also pulled into his world of danger and time travel, filled with secrets that reach all the way back into the sixteenth century.
Pick up this beautifully written young adult novel, the first in The Hourglass Door Trilogy by local Utah author Lisa Mangum, and forget everything else for a day or two. The love story is loaded with swoon-worthy moments and the time travel adventure feels fresh and new.
After Hello by Lisa Mangum

After you finish The Hourglass Door Trilogy, get your hands on Lisa Mangum's next young adult book, After Hello, which hits shelves in September 2012. With inviting writing, a quick pace and a wonderful first- love story, this book is a pure delight to read. Mangum has a gift for subtle, but smoldering romance.
It's Sara's first trip to New York City. With her camera in hand, she is ready to capture every moment of the experience. As she stands on the busy streets of the city she watches a handsome guy step out from a bookstore and she impulsively takes his picture. From that one picture a whole day of adventure is born. Sam and Sara partner together to find an elusive piece of art work and along the way discover the unexpected: love and themselves.
To join in a special promotion for the book visit
Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

The Kerr family is a family of secrets. Lady Elizabeth Kerr hides her devotion to the auld ways. Her husband, Lord Donald, hides his shameful behavior from the household. And the dowager Lady Marjory hides gold under her floor boards and harbors regrets of the past. As the city of Edinburgh is turned-over in the wake of a rebellion, so, too, are the Kerr's secrets left bare for all to see.
Everything about this book is intoxicating: the romance, the writing, the emotions, and the vivid eighteenth-century Scottish history. It's nearly impossible to put down and, thank goodness, when it ends there are two more books to finish the story (a trilogy).
Thorn in My Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs

Ah, the fated love triangle. In the autumn of 1788, on the mysterious Scottish Lowlands, Jamie and Evan McKie fight to inherit their father's lands and flocks and two sisters, Leana and Rose, vie for the attention of one handsome man. Only one brother can inherit and only one sister can be the bride.
Liz Curtis Higgs, master of historical fiction, pulls the reader in from the first word and takes them on a journey of passion, drama, deceit, betrayal, jealousy and secrets. This is also the first book in a trilogy.
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

From a harrowing attack by a highway man to the unexpected attention of a handsome gentleman, Marianne's visit to the fabulous English country estate Edenbrooke is nothing she expects. Local author Julianne Donaldson's new Regency (think Jane Austen) love story is a pure delight. The first in a new brand of novels called "Proper Romances" from local publisher Shadow Mountain, this book has all the smoldering romance without any of "that other stuff." Watch for more "Proper Romance" titles coming out yearly.
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Can a hummingbird cake bring back lost love? Is there a ghost dancing in the woods? In the small Southern town of Mullaby, North Carolina, these kinds of questions are not a rarity, but the norm. When Emily Benedict comes to town to stay with the grandfather she's never met, in hopes of learning more about her mother, she is surprised to find that strange is around every corner. From the wallpaper that changes to fit her mood to the strange light flitting around the yard late at night, Emily finds nothing she expects, but everything she needs.
Sarah Addison Allen's writing is magical. This endearing story of every-day magic and loveable misfits will enchant readers from the very beginning.
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), of the small English village of Edgecombe St. Mary, is everything a proper English man should be: loyal, wry, courtly and an expert on a properly brewed cup of tea. After his brother's death the Major finds himself in an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. As they share a love of literature and bond over the shared grief of the loss of their spouses, the two soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But the village society is not entirely comfortable with their relationship. Can they push past culture and tradition to find happiness?
A perfectly charming and thoroughly enjoyable book. As funny as it is sophisticated, Major Pettigrew's love story between two older people will leave the reader with a smile and a warm heart.
A Time to Love by Barbara Cameron

Television over-seas correspondent Jenny Knight faced the unthinkable while in a war zone and almost lost her life. Now, as part of her recovery, she's staying with her grandma at her home in an Amish community. As her body heals from the devastating injuries sustained in a car bomb attack, Jenny finds a teenage crush for her grandma's neighbor, Matthew, sparking to life again. But can she look past her scars and their different lives to find love?
This book is filled with hope, redemption and sweet romance. Not only is the story romantic, but also intriguing as life in the Amish world is revealed. A quick, satisfying and memorable read. This is the first book in the Quilts of Lancaster County series.
A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin

Violet Hayes is a proper young lady of wealthy society, but she longs to experience mystery and romance, the kind she secretly reads about in novels. After discovering a shocking truth about her mother, Violet manipulates her way into visiting Chicago, intent on tracking down the woman she thought she'd never see again. Her grandmother and three quirky sisters open their home to Violet and each decides it's their duty to help her find a purpose and a husband. From the thrills of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 to the city's depressing slums, Violet's journey will be everything she hoped for and many things she never dreamed of.
This light, fun read is rich with interesting history and keep-you-guessing romance.
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adrianna Trigiani

Enza and Ciro first meet as teenagers in the majestic beauty of the Italian Alps. But after one night of heart-felt conversation and a first kiss, circumstances beyond their control pull them apart. They meet again, unexpectedly, far from their native home in the hustle of turn-of-the- century America, but still fate seems to want to keep them apart. Fate, however, is not strong enough to keep these star-crossed lovers apart forever. From the beauty of Italy, the drudgery of garment factories, the trenches of The Great War and the glamour of the Metropolitan Opera, this epic and beautifully written story of love and family is one that everyone will be talking about.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

One of the bestselling novels of all time, Rebecca deserves every accolade it gets. "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." With this haunting first sentence, the second Mrs. Maxium de Winter begins her tragic story of romance and mystery. Married young to a husband she barely knows, the new bride is forced to live in the shadow of the life of the first Mrs. De Winter, the beautiful Rebecca.
This mysterious, suspenseful romance should be on every love-story-lover's list. The writing is so atmospheric and the emotions of the poor second Mrs. De Winter heart-wrenching. A must-read!
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre's quiet patience, endless perseverance and sharp mind catch the eye of her handsome and arrogant master, Mr. Rochester, after she is employed as governess to his ward. Despite the fact that Rochester is far above her station, Jane falls irrevocably in love with him and soon discovers that he may share her passion. But tragedy and old secrets arise to stand in the way of Jane's happiness.
Deep sigh. Few love stories are as affecting or as tragically romantic as "Jane Eyre." First published in 1847, Bronte's quiet but stalwart heroine broke the mold of standard class conceptions and is one of the most endearing female characters of all time.
Book Rating Websites
Also, check out these on-line resources that are helping readers take the gamble out of picking up a book.
Rated Reads ( - Book content rating website, all genres
The Literate Mother ( - Content ratings for youth and young adult books
Compass Book Ratings ( - Book content rating website, all genres

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Creative people need rules? Seriously? . . . no really, seriously?

I'm re-posting this from O Magazine. Read it Writers!!
Why the Best Way to Get Creative Is to Make Some Rules
By Aimee Bender | From the July 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

writing in closet
Years ago I lived in a two-bedroom apartment with my boyfriend at the time, and initially we shared the office, back-to-back, each working away at our computers.

But he was a newshound, and he'd read Internet news extensively while I was writing, making thoughtful grunts at each article. Months went by like this, and other times he'd give up on the news and I'd hear him typing away behind me. Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap. I couldn't ask him not to type; it was his office, too. But the distraction was overwhelming.

And the office space felt too big to me, anyway. When we had looked for a place to live, I'd been intrigued by the idea of writing in a hall closet, creating a little writing chamber all my own. Some of the apartment buildings in Hollywood were endowed with beautiful, substantial closets, with tiny windows and sometimes even a built-in shelf, perfect for the printer! Ours turned out to be windowless and fairly small, so I gave up and hung my clothes in it. A year later, unable to bear the drumming of fingers on keys, I drove myself to Target, bought a standing hanging rod, took the clothes out, cleaned up, placed a card table at one end, and, with some geometric maneuvering, shoved a desk chair into the other. By angling myself into the chair, there was just enough room to sit. We strung extension cords along the floor and ceiling, and hooked the computer up to a plug in the living room.

The first morning I stepped inside, I was dizzy with a strange new panic; the closet seemed too small, too dusty—and what was this ominous gray electrical box to my left? I kept the door half open. I told myself I'd give it two weeks, and then decide.

I don't remember when the two weeks passed. I wrote in that closet for more than two years.

I'd always assumed that when Virginia Woolf referred to a room of one's own, she meant a light-filled studio by a lake. But the truth is, there can be something very useful about a small, dark space. Large meadows are lovely for picnics and romping, but they are for the lighter feelings. Meadows do not make me want to write.

Writing can be a frightening, distressing business, and whatever kind of structure or buffer is available can help a lot. For almost 17 years now, I've been faithful to a two-hours-a-day routine, every morning, five or six days a week. I get up, sit down, check e-mail briefly, turn off my e-mail and Internet, look at the time on the computer, write the two-hour marker on a little pad of paper on my desk, and begin. Inspired by the highly regular routines of writers like Stephen King, Flannery O'Connor, Trollope, and many more, I tried to tailor mine to my own idiosyncrasies. In my rule book, I don't have to do anything except sit at the computer, but I'm not allowed to do anything else, and I usually get so bored I start to work. I generally stop to the minute, because I'm so ready to stop, and because I don't want to mess with the rules. The rigid time structure, much like the idea of the cramped closet, is freeing, and for me, the more I can externalize the ritual, the easier it is to submit to it. It's all a declaration against the regular dread I used to feel all the time when I wasn't writing. Once the structure was formalized, the dread diminished dramatically.

A number of years ago, I cosigned a contract with a friend, Sarah Shute, a very good writer who wanted to work on her stories more regularly but found it difficult to prioritize the time. Writing every day can be a powerful action, a gesture of belief in one's own imagination, and she knew it. "I just wish someone would order me to write every day," she said. "Because otherwise I just don't do it." We were painting yellow stripes in my office at the university where I teach. She paused, brush in hand. "Would you ever do something like that?" she asked.

Next: Creating a writer's contract
She went home and drew up an official document, using contract language she'd picked up at her day job where she was writing contracts all the time, only this one, instead of enacting some corporate agenda, was for her alone.

A few days later, we met at Philippe's famous French dip sandwich shop in downtown L.A., and she showed me the rules she'd chosen.

She would write five days a week for an hour. As a firm reminder, every day, when she finished her hour, she would e-mail me one word: Done, and at some point during the day, I would e-mail back Check. No other words were necessary. All that was being acknowledged was that she'd sat at her computer for an hour with the intention to write, whether or not she did.

The contract would run for three months. She was allowed five vacation days, which she would mark by e-mailing me Vacation (1), Vacation (2), etc. If she was actually out of town and couldn't e-mail, we'd work it out. No Internet allowed. No phone. We bit into our drippy sandwiches and marked up the page, and both of us got a bizarre amount of glee, looking at that piece of paper. The more details the better. She must e-mail me by 5:30 P.M. She could write in a journal but never e-mail. She could revise, but only fiction. If she fulfilled the contract, she would give herself a reward. Many people might find this kind of rule-creating revoltingly constraining, but for both of us, happily adding details as we drank wine and ate coleslaw, it was joyous. We signed and dated it, and laughed and made fun of ourselves, but beneath it all was something solemn and powerful. The next day, when I received the first Done, I felt a little thrill. Check! I wrote. I added an exclamation point, which I later amended. No exclamation points. No commentary except acknowledgment. I found I started to wait for her e-mails in the back of my mind, around 5 P.M., as it underlined my own commitment to my work when she sent me that one word.

Once she'd been on the contract for a couple of weeks, she told me her whole concept of weekends had shifted. "I can actually enjoy the weekend now," she said. "Because I am not allowed to write on the weekend."

I understand completely. If left to my own devices, a blank page and a free day and that meadow, little will get done and I'll feel awful about it. But put me in a box for two set hours and say go? It is one of the most steadying elements of my life.

Many psychologists have devoted time and writing to the concept of the therapy "frame," that set box of 50 minutes in a room where a person comes in, sits, talks, emotes, and leaves. It has been made fun of often: "Your time is up!" says the therapist, checking the clock, just as things get good. But aren't they related? Don't things get good sometimes when a person knows the time is almost up? Isn't it easier, right at the 45-minute mark, to say something of import, knowing you're soon allowed to go?

In my experience, this seems to be true for writing as well. At readings, audience members sometimes ask if I keep writing past the two hours if I'm on a roll, but I don't. I figure that if I'm on a roll, it's partially because I know I'm about to stop. I believe Hemingway's great advice, about leaving the work when the going's good so that there's excitement when the writer sits down the next day. Plus, if I start modifying the rules, the whole system begins to erode, and with erosion comes the fast return of dread and guilt. The integrity of the system itself is actually more important to me than the daily content, because content will return, and it mostly needs a reliable container in which to put itself. Our preoccupations do not go away, much as we might like them to.

In an essay called "The Analytic Frame, Abstinence, and Acting Out," Robert M. Young, a psychotherapist, takes it even a step further. Yes, he says, you need a set and specific time and space to explore, but why that's important goes very deep. "The analytic frame," he writes, "is the place where the madness is held so that the therapist and patient can have a space to think and feel about matters felt with a degree of intensity which is painful but still bearable."

Although psychotherapy and writing are distinct in many ways, they are two fields whose great resource is the vast plains of the unconscious mind and how this landscape gets translated into words. As a writer, you are often asking your mind to dream while awake, and if remembering dreams is difficult in general, then it seems to follow that it would be sometimes grueling to conjure up the murky depths on call, eyes open. Young calls it madness, which is a strong word, but it's not a bad one in exaggeration, because he's talking about creating a safe and bound space in which to explore all sorts of darknesses that collect in the recesses of the mind. He's talking about what we do not understand, or know about, or have control over. And the unconscious, if treated well, is the writer's very good friend. Allowing it room is crucial. Allowing it structure can be the safest way to access it without feeling overwhelmed.

Next: What the contract taught me
I moved out of the closet after a couple years, and by then it was a huge relief; the closet, it turned out, was good as a novelty but hard to maintain. It was dusty in there, and I felt a little trapped. People laughed when I told them, said I was coming out of the closet and all that. It did feel liberating to get out, but my hope had been that the closet was actually a way to get closer to the scarier feelings: to combat repression, not to court it. And in fact, I did write two of my darkest stories in there. Monster in the closet? Found a couple of those. Lynda Barry has a comic strip called Holy Terror, where her character Marlys provides excellent instructions on how to tolerate horror movies. "I learned a great way to watch scary movies...," she says. "Pretend you are the frustrated monster."

By going inside the closet to write, I was trying, in some very literal way, to follow her advice. But ultimately, the closet was a little too symbolic, too neat—it was too fun to show people, to show off, which had nothing to do with the actual two hours of work.

The idea of the contract, by the way, caught on. People wanted to do it. I haven't looked at one in a while, but at that time I kept forwarding Sarah's template* along, and several other writers took up the task, individualizing it to their needs (two pages a day, four hours a week, no nonfiction allowed, only nonfiction allowed); they, in turn, started up contracts with others they knew. The two steps are fairly direct: Make or modify the contract in a way that is suitable, and realistic, and then find someone to take on the e-mail/notification role, someone who will acknowledge what you are doing, and know that it is hard, and that it is important. Someone who will call you on it if you stop.

It's an externalized discipline, but it's a formal step on the way to making the contract with the self.

Another budding writer I knew was curious. We were at lunch, and she was intrigued by the contract idea, but halfway through the conversation, she leaned forward over her place setting and whispered, conspiratorially: "This contract is only for good writers, right?" The question caught me completely by surprise. Um, I said, after a minute, no. The contract is for all writers. It's completely separate from what is good and bad. It is entirely about investment in process. It's not about publication; it's not about workshops, or prizes, or critics, or book jacket photos. But in the prioritizing of voice, things shift. They improve. As far as I'm concerned, if a person desires to write, it's worth trying to find a way to do it, even five minutes a day, and what happens to the writing afterward is a separate issue. The act of doing it has enormous value on its own.

With all its wonderful bureaucratic stick-in-the-mud specificity, the contract is then also a fighting gesture against the ever-present idea that writers walk around with alchemy boiling in their fingertips. That we are dreamy wanderers carrying a snifter of brandy, with elegant sentences available on call. It's such a load of crap. Sure, there are writers who work this way, who embrace their writerliness and are still able to get work done, but most I know have found their voice through routine, through ordinariness, through some kind of method of working. Guilt and dread, after all, are creativity killers. And isn't the greater mystery here supposed to be about the work itself, as opposed to the person and his dreamy wanderings? Routines are not mysterious. That's why they're fun to talk about—because we can. And if the fantasy of writerhood is punctured, the focus, then, can shift to where the most interesting and magical mysteries arise: on the page itself, in the paragraph or sentence or scene that comes from a place unrecognizable in the mind.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Romance without sex?

A fellow author posted this article on Facebook and I jumped on it.  After having 50 shades of grey thrown in our faces everywhere we turn, it's the nicest, most refreshing feeling to see an article about how well Romance novels without sex are doing.  Yay! It's a new trend and it's catching on.  In the article the publishers themselves are surprised at how well these books are doing.  There is hope for the future. 

Romance Novels Without The Sex?    
written by Ariel Smythe for the Huffington Post
Shadow Mountain Publishing debuted its new spin on the Romance novel recently -- the brand "Proper Romance," a line of "No-Sex" Romances, and its enchanting debut title Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson [$15.99].

While "No-Sex" and "Romance" might seem incongruent, especially given those bodice-ripper covers we've come to know so well, Edenbrooke has proven itself to be a winner right out of the gate. Released this spring in trade paperback, the book has already received a coveted starred review from Publisher's Weekly and has been designated "delightful and completely engrossing."

Whether we've thought, "oooh," "yuck," or "ho hum" about Romance, this genre, translated into 90 languages, is a publishing economic force to be reckoned with. Romance Writers of America reports sales volume of $1.4 billion last year (yes, that's the "b" word), and the consumer group for this product, women aged 30-54, is becoming more financially powerful by the minute. Add to this the fact that this genre has been morphing over the years to adapt to readers' changes in taste with an amazing flexibility (from Jane Austen's work to Regency period books with men in breeches that inspired Edenbrooke to Stephanie Meyer's Twilight), and one can easily appreciate the staying power and growth potential of the genre.

"There are two new trends we're seeing," Heather Moore of Sourcebooks says. "The first is small town/Main Street romance and the other is 'steampunk.' Steampunk Romances are set in Victorian era Britain or in the Wild West era of the U.S. when steam power was widely used. These incorporate elements of science fiction or fantasy." And yet again the genre is expanding.

As for the "love" aspect of Romance, C.S. Lewis wrote that there are four kinds: storge/"affection," philia/"friendship," eros/"romance," and agape/"unconditional." Lewis throws the "sex part" in as an afterthought, calling it simply "Venus." At one end of the spectrum is the "No-Sex" Romance, and at the other are books like the recent surprise bestselling erotica trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey.

As for the lust side of Romance, Rabbi Schmuley Boteach, host of Shalom at Home and author of the marital guide The Kosher Sutra: 8 Sacred Secrets for Reigniting Desire and Restoring Passion, took a look at this topic recently when prompted to address the sales phenomenon of Grey.

"Lust is the most powerful force in the universe," Rabbi Schmuley says. "It is where you are made to feel intensely desirable. It's where a man can't stop thinking about you, obsessing over you, can't keep his hands off you." In his Sutra, the Rabbi describes how post-marital lust is a necessary component to great relationship. He also says "modesty is erotic," so a little less "saturation," if you will, might go a long way.

"I think the pendulum has swung as far as it can in the erotica direction," Edenbrooke author Donaldson says. "What was once exciting for readers is getting a little old, and a lot of readers are ready for something different." Affection and fidelity are utmost in the Regency reads, and a kiss on the cheek, a touch on the hand, are enough to inform characters- and readers.

"In the case of Edenbrooke," Donaldson says, "it's the romance of restraint, and the passion of unfulfilled longing... I am not saying every romance should be like mine, but I am saying that there should be room for a variety, and before now, that was very difficult to find outside of the inspirational category."

It's worth noting that, while there might be a religious component to some of the Romance books, more and more purchasers of general Young Adult titles, both retailers and librarians, are seeking "No-Sex" Romances. Again, as with Romance, numbers here are impressive: The Association of American Publishers reports that the Young Adult category saw a 61.9% increase in sales from 2010 to 2011, and in 2012, eBooks in the combined Children's/YA category saw a 475% increase.

"I am always looking for 'No-Sex' romances," Kristie Revicki, Teen Librarian at the Suffern Free Library, says. "And we get a lot of adult readers looking for YA Romance, too, especially paranormal and dystopian- you know, those stories where the collapse of society is only slightly more important than the romance." Revicki reports that her reading population also includes the Hasidic community, another reading group interested in the "No-Sex" stories.

"A lot of preparation went into the creation of the 'Proper Romance' brand," Heidi Taylor, Publishing Manager and Acquisitions Editor at Shadow Mountain Publishing says. "We worked in partnership with (Donaldson's) agent who is very familiar with the Romance genre and was able to give us a feel for how big this 'niche' audience really is." The publisher did brainstorming sessions, tested stories with readers, and were then ready to launch their "Proper Romance" umbrella. The end result was what Taylor calls a brand of "clean, smart, engaging, romantic stories that will never embarrass the reader."

"Edenbrooke has already exceeded our sales expectations," Taylor says. "We are well into our second printing, and we've received multiple offers on the film rights."