Tag Archives: writing

Guest Star: Sandra Owens

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Hello everyone. Thank you Butterscotch Martini Girls for the invite. I’m honored to be here today. I write contemporary romantic suspense and Regency romance books, and as a romance author, I understand how important first encounters are to a story. Is there instant attraction, or do the h/h dislike each other on sight (or at least think they do)? Is the first encounter a funny one or an embarrassing one?

I will always fondly remember my first actual encounter with my husband. It went something like this…

“I ran over my coat this morning.”

I looked up from whatever I’d been doing at the time to see a tall, blue-eyed, blond man standing in front of my desk. I knew him as he worked at the same place I did, but we’d never had much contact. I will admit, though, that I had noticed him.

“You what?” I asked, not sure I’d heard him right. For opening lines, his was certainly original.

A silly grin quirked his lips, as if he amused himself. “I ran over my coat. With my car.” There was laughter in his eyes, and I really liked that. “There’re tire tracks on the back of my coat now.”

“Okaaay,” I said, biting down on my bottom lip to keep from laughing.

He put his hands on my desk and leaned toward me. “It’s a good story, but I’ll tell you the rest over dinner.”

His nearness, the low timbre of his voice, the scent of him, stole my breath. A cliché, I know, but it really did!

I’m married to that man now—have been for years—and he still makes me laugh, and he can still steal my breath when he turns those blue eyes my way, leans close, and whispers something naughty in my ear.

Although I knew him in passing before the legendary coat caper (yes, he really did run over his coat), I consider that moment our first encounter. It was the first time he made my heart go pitter-patter. It was memorable, and it changed my life.

In books, that first encounter is one of the most important scenes of the story. It is the event that will change the hero and heroine’s life! It sets the tone, and it tells us whether the hero and heroine are going to fight the attraction (because there must be attraction, else who cares about them?). Or maybe they go at it like bunnies, then some conflict or other comes along and threatens to kill any chance of a happily ever after for them.

I’ve read books were the first encounter just didn’t do it for me, and when the chemistry is missing, the story ends up being a disappointment. Then there’s those books that grab you the moment the hero and heroine set eyes on each other, whether from across a crowded ballroom, or across the baselines of a small town baseball field.

The author just got it right! You can’t wait to get to the end because even though romance means you’ll get that satisfying HEA, you just have to be sure. Wait, never mind, you don’t want the book to ever end.

Not long ago, I read two books that began with the same type of first encounter. In both stories, the hero and heroine got right to it the night they met, before they even knew each other’s names. In one, by a well-known author, I was totally turned off. It was just creepy, and set a tone for the story that I couldn’t get past.

In the second, I was blown away. I’m not usually a fan of sex with strangers in books, but the author made it work. As the book progressed, I fell in love with hero and heroine.

First encounters can be powerful whether that first meeting is humorous, or sizzling with heated looks, or sad, bringing tears to our eyes. One of my favorites from a book I read long ago and can’t remember the name of, at his first sight of the heroine, the hero thought, Here she is. That was all. Here she is. He didn’t know why the words flashed through his mind, and he promptly dismissed them as not having any meaning to him. But we knew!

In the first book of my K2 Special Services series, Crazy For Her, my hero, Logan, feels an immediate connection with a woman sitting at the table next to him and his friend. Logan’s first encounter with Dani was a here she is moment, and he recognized it as such. Yet, it didn’t seem meant to be. The time wasn’t right for them, and sometimes that’s the way it happens. Other events must occur, sometimes years must pass, and tears shed before one has their chance for that happily ever after.

In my just released book, Falling for Her, my hero is attracted to the heroine at first sight, but he isn’t happy about that. She’s the exact opposite of the kind of women he thinks he wants. Of course, we all know he’s wrong, and the fun is in seeing him figure that out.

Question: First encounters are not only critical to set the tone of the story, but they’re so much fun. Do you have a favorite first encounter story, either from a book or real life?

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Click to Purchase Falling for Her

Blurb for Falling for Her: Known to the K2 Special Services team as “Saint,” Jamie Turner lives by his own strict rules to compensate for his past sins and the two-ton boulder taking residence in his heart. He doesn’t drink or smoke. He never swears. And he only dates nice, safe women until he meets Sugar Darling, the fill-in receptionist at K2. She’s as sweet as her name, but this wild woman is definitely trouble, with something to hide. He knows he should avoid her…but can he?

Sugar isn’t hiding something—she’s hiding everything. And K2 seems like the perfect place to lie low, thanks to the big, protective guys who work there. The drop-dead-handsome Saint makes her heart race, yet he keeps his distance. When Sugar’s traumatic past rises up to haunt her again, she desperately turns to Saint for help, and he has to decide what’s more important: playing it safe or risking everything for love.

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Author Bio:  A best selling, award winning author, Sandra Owens lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her family and friends often question her sanity, but have ceased being surprised by what she might get up to next. She’s jumped out of a plane, flown in an aerobatic plane while the pilot performed death-defying stunts, has flown Air Combat (two fighter planes dogfighting, pretending to shoot at each other with laser guns), and rode a Harley motorcycle for years. She regrets nothing.

Sandra is a 2013 Golden Heart® Finalist for her contemporary romance, Crazy for Her. In addition to her contemporary romantic suspense novels, she writes Regency stories.

You can sign up for her newsletter or find all the social media places to connect with her on her website:  www.sandra-owens.com

Sandra will give a signed copy of FALLING FOR HER to one lucky commenter.

Loving the Writer’s Life

There’s nothing like a fabulous vacation to get the creative juices flowing. As writers we’re always looking for an exotic location for our next book.  So when my dear friend, and Ellora’s Cave author, Lexi Post, invited Cathy McDavid and myself to visit with her and her husband, we were absolutely thrilled to accept the invitation. They live on the island of St. Croix in the Caribbean. And she asked us to bring our books. The local bookstore invited us to have a book signing while there.  

St. Croix is in the United States Virgin Islands so a passport wasn’t needed. This was perfect because I was worried I wouldn’t have enough time for one to be issued before we planned to leave.:

As soon as our plane landed we got a craving for a tropical island cocktail. The first one I ordered was a Pina Colada. Cathy ordered a Mango Daiquiri. Both were absolutely delicious. However, it wasn’t long before we switched to rum punch. It seemed to be the drink of choice for the island.

 

We spent the first morning relaxing on the porch enjoying the view. We worked on our current work in progress (cause that’s what writers do) until noon then took a drive to downtown Frederiksted.    

Frederiksted was named after Frederick V of Denmark, who purchased the Danish West Indies in 1754.

 

A cruise ship had docked and all the local shops had set up tents along the sidewalks. We had to check them out and buy a few souvenirs.

We were invited to brunch by Lexi’s friend, Tanisha.  Tanisha has lived in St Croix all her life and would not consider leaving her island paradise lifestyle. And who can blame her?

How’s this for a view?

Next we stopped by the Domino Club in the rainforest. We had to see the beer drinking pigs.  Do I look a little scared? Yep, kinda was.

The rainforest and this tree is absolutely huge.

We made history on the island of St. Croix. We were the first romance authors to ever hold a book signing on the island. Thank you so much. Undercover Bookstore, for giving us such a warm welcome.

Cathy McDavid, Lexi Post, Tia Dani

The following day we did a tour of the island. We walked where Columbus and his crew landed and came ashore. We drove over to Point Udall. Point Udall, St Croix, V.I. the Easternmost point of the United States of America. Named for Stewart Udall, United States Secretary of the Interior under Presidents John F. Kennedy and L.B. Johnson. Then on for drinks at a nearby resort. Rum punch on the patio.       http://www.gotostcroix.com/historic-sites

After a quick stop by the casino it was on to dinner in Christiansted.

There is plenty to do while on the island. if you plan to go check out the cultural events.http://www.gotostcroix.com/crucian-culture

For a great Chai stop in the local coffee house, Polly’s. https://www.facebook.com/pollysatthepier 

We decided we could not leave the island without taking a sunset cruise. The cruise definitely turned out to be one of the high points of the trip. We had so much fun. Our captain and his mate were quite handsome and the run punch flowed.

Great story about these two guys. They met on the island and turned out they were half brothers. Wasn’t long before they started up a business together.

The beautiful sunset

Tia Dani, Cathy and Lexi

All good things must come to an end including vacations. now it’s back to work finishing our book in progress while dreaming about where our next adventure will take us. Hawaii anyone?

BTW the next trip will include both Tia and Dani.  Who knows, maybe we’ll all go and make it a Butterscotch Martini Girls vacation? We can’t wait to find out.

Tia Dani

Time's Enduring Love

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