Stacy Gold's Blog

May 15, 2019

Book Review: Some Assistance Required

Some Assistance Required by C.L. Ogilvie is Well Worth Your Time and Money







If you’re looking for a fun, fast, and quirky read, look no further! Some Assistance Required is a fresh cross between Piers Anthony’s classic punny fantasy Xanth series and Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood books.





In Ms. Ogilvie’s book, vampires and werewolves have openly integrated into human society. But they’re joined by a whole host of fantastical and magical creatures who’ve come into Canada via a portal opened in the City of Doorwayen. They serve as players in a pun-filled story where the main characters never take themselves too seriously–even when lives are at stake. And I mean that in the best possible way.





With it’s unique mix of fantasy and humor, plus a dash of romance, this book hooked me right from the start and didn’t let go. I ripped through it in less than a day. I highly recommend it (and her stand-alone time travel novel, Skipping Out On Henry), to anyone looking to spend a few hours smirking and giggling at the page. Grab a copy now.


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Published on May 15, 2019 15:30

May 2, 2019

Random Musings: Diversity, Politics, Love, and Romance Novels

Washington DC Sits at the Intersection of Diversity, Politics, Love, and Everything Great About Romance Novels







A couple weeks ago, I took a trip to Washington DC with my
best girlfriend. Neither of us had been there since we were kids. And neither
of us was prepared for how emotional the visit would prove to be.





Honestly, we decided to go on a whim because I was on the
East Coast visiting her, and DC is only three hours away. It seems like a great
excuse for a quick girlfriend’s getaway without her son or partner.





While it was a great getaway—we talked and laughed, we ate good
food, and we saw the sites— it ended up being so much more. Because we found
ourselves standing at the intersection of the past and the present, of
yesterday’s norms and today’s reality.





From the moment we set foot on the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial, surrounded by people of every color speaking languages from around the world, we were both overwhelmed. All these people had come from all over to understand and celebrate the characteristics and moral values America was built on. The ones that make our melting pot country strong. The ones that inspire others to create their own “American Dream”.









The dichotomy between our reality standing on the street,
and the rhetoric coming from the capital building just blocks away, was almost
too much to reconcile. Especially while gazing at quotes from Lincoln, FDR,
Martin Luther King, Jr. and more. And visiting the Declaration of Independence
and Constitution.





 “We have faith that future generations will know that here, in the middle of the twentieth century, came a time when men of good will found a way to unite, and produce, and fight to destroy the forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery, and war.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1943





Seventy-six years later, we’re still fighting to destroy the forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery, and war.



I couldn’t help thinking about the recent calls for
diversity in movies and TV, as well as in books, and romance novels in particular.
The Civil War ended in 1865, yet there are people who still don’t believe that
people of color (any color, really. Or people with disabilities. Or people with
different sexual orientations. Or frankly anyone who doesn’t look or act just
like us.) are human beings just like everyone else.





That the vast majority of us, regardless of the color of our skin, the shape of our eyes, or the language we speak, all want the same things. Our fundamental desires are simply human. Not relegated to one kind or color of person or another. We all want to be able to live our lives with freedom. The freedom  to choose our jobs, our lifestyles, our religions, and our partners.





We want to be able to support ourselves and our families. To
put good food on the table, a solid roof over our heads, and clothing on our
backs. When we are sick, we want access to healthcare. We want clean air to
breath and clean water to drink.









“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937





If it’s not too much to ask, we’d all prefer to have these
options and opportunities without fear of violence, rape, murder, war, and mass
shootings.





“Freedom of speech…Freedom of worship…Freedom from want…Freedom from fear.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1941





And I think most of us want a sense of community, a sense of
family, and a sense of value.





We all want to love and be loved.





America is a country
built on diversity.




That is an undeniable truth. We are a country of immigrants.
While diversity has been our strength, it’s also turning in to our Achilles’
heel. When we let ourselves become divided into us and them, we are no longer
the United States of America.





It’s no different than when we forget that we welcome
immigrants with these words:





“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” she wrote. “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”





These words on the Statue of Liberty said nothing about the
color of anyone’s skin, their religion, their national origin, or their sexual
orientation.





Walking through the bustling streets of DC, I could see and
hear and feel our diversity. It made me proud and happy to be an American, even
if I’m not proud of everything that’s happening right now.





Writing romance, for me, is an act of resistance against the divisive politics of today–and an act of love.



That doesn’t mean I write about diversity, or religion, or
politics overtly. It means all characters are worthy, regardless of the color
of their skin, or where they’re from, or who they sleep with, or who they pray
to, or any disabilities they may have. It means I have an opportunity to show
people that everyone has value.





That everyone should have the choice to be who they want, do what they want, and love who they want—as long as they’re not hurting anyone else.





That everyone should be treated equally, and everyone deserves love.





Maybe, by doing that, I can help change minds. One reader at
a time.


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Published on May 02, 2019 11:40

March 28, 2019

Book Review: Make You Mine

Make You Mine by Tia Louise is the Best Romance I’ve Read So
Far this Year







I’ve read seven romances since January. Or at least tried to (see my recent blog posts on Quality vs Quantity and Why I DNF Books). Out of those, only one has stood out as worth reviewing—because I only write reviews of books good enough to recommend to others. If it ain’t four star of better, you won’t hear about it from me!





Make You Mine was fabulous. The kind of book that sucks you
in from the first page and doesn’t spit you out until long after you’re done.
It had just the right amounts of sex, sexual tension, angst, and love. Plus, a
twist or two I honestly didn’t see coming.





I’ll do my best to share the gist without spoilers (because
I’m cool like that). The story starts with a pair of late teens lovers who end
up torn apart by life, war, and fate. The setup emphasizes how much they’re
into each other, but they’re young, and it seems the biggest obstacle to being
together is that he’s her brother’s best friend. So, she is off limits. This helps
push the sexual and emotional tension off the charts from the first chapter.





When the two boys enlist, it adds a more adult level of
angst and emotion I wasn’t expecting at the beginning. The first twist, while a
little more obvious than later ones, does a great job of setting up the true
conflict between these lovers.





It’s the woman who chases the man in this one, which is
always refreshing. And the writing style goes down smooth and easy—which is
something I always look for in a book. I don’t want to think about the writing,
I want to be immersed in the story.





Anyhoo, I can’t say much more about Make You Mine without spoiling it, so I’ll just say buy it, read it, enjoy it, review it.


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Published on March 28, 2019 15:47

March 18, 2019

Random Musings: Women’s Fiction and Men’s Fiction

Why Do We Need a Separate Category for Women’s Fiction, but Not Men’s Fiction?

I’m always fascinated by the responses of my male friends when they read my books. Yes, I write romance, which is typically considered a sub-genre of “women’s fiction”. I also do a whole lot of outdoor sports that are male-dominated. In my stories, I blend romance, love, and sex with skiing, mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, and more to create adventure, drama, and tension. I also tell the stories from both the male and female point of view.


Given that men love sex, extreme sports, and outdoor adventures you’d think my work would interest them. Yet every single one has admitted they were surprised by how much they enjoyed my stories — usually with a few sheepish glances and some foot shuffling. Despite liking them, only about half have gone on to read all three of my novellas.


Why? Because they’re romances. So, they’re only “for women”.


Apparently men simply can’t relate to books written by women, that have a woman as one or more of the main characters, and discuss relationships (IE: “women’s fiction”). If they try, their heads could explode. Or, they might develop “feelings”. Gasp.


Why do we have “women’s fiction” but not “men’s fiction”?

The expectation is that books written by men are for everyone. We should all be able to enjoy and relate to the male perspective—particularly the white male perspective.


However, books written by women, about women, are only for women. That goes double if they’re about women actually getting what they want and deserve in careers, relationships, or the bedroom.


In other words, only women should be able to relate to and enjoy these books. Which is fucking ridiculous.


It devalues the work of women authors. It also immediately reduces the number of potential readers and sales of those books. This helps keep women from being as successful and financially independent as they could be.


It’s a power play, and it’s been pervasive in our society for a long time.


Think about it… Music written and sung by men is for everyone. Music written and sung by women is primarily for women. Sure, there are exceptions (it’s pretty hard to say Aretha isn’t for everyone), but on the whole music by women has often been dubbed “chick music”. Which really isn’t so different from “chick lit” or “women’s fiction”.


If you’ve ever wondered why there are so few women directors in movies and TV, and so few meaty roles for women, you can stop now.


Separating out women’s voices is bad for everyone.

What this segregation really means is that what women say, think, feel, want and experience is less important. It’s less interesting. And it’s inherently less valuable.


Yet one of the most valuable things in the world is experiencing other: other perspectives, other ways of life, other people’s experiences. The more different they are from your own, the better and more valuable.


Because when our range of experiences is small, we can only think within a tiny box. We begin to label anyone or anything different as scary, bad, or lacking in value. The easiest way to experience the world, and otherness, is through books and movies that show you different perspectives. It’s only when we give other voices and perspectives credence that we all grow.


Agree or disagree?


Do you think we should get rid of the “women’s fiction” category? Why or why not?


Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment.


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Published on March 18, 2019 21:13

February 26, 2019

Random Musings: On Becoming a Writer

So You Want to Become a Writer? Here Are My Five Best Tips…

It seems like every day on social media somebody asks “How do I become a writer?”. Of course, the simple answer is, “If you want to be a writer, write.” And that’s not incorrect. It’s a simple answer to a simple question. After all, the definition of writer is: one that writes.


Now, if the question is how to be a good or great writer, how to get paid to write, or how to become a published author, my answer is a bit different. You still need to write a lot. But you can write all day long and not be a good writer, a paid writer, or a published author.


After almost 20 years writing professionally, I’ve been there done that. I’ve written for magazines and newspapers. I’ve been a marketing copywriter creating content for catalogs, websites, speeches, and more. And recently I became a romance novelist with three novellas published by The Wild Rose Press.


Along the way I’ve learned more than a few things about what it takes to write well–and get paid for it. Today, I’m going to share my top five tips for becoming a good writer who actually gets paid (or offered contracts).



Read often and widely. In addition to writing a lot, you have to read a lot. Particularly in your area of focus but not exclusively. Why? Because you need to understand the conventions and expectations of your genre or type of writing, as well as have an idea of what’s been done before and in other genres, before you can do your own thing.
Study the craft. When I started out as a marketing copywriter, I read endless books on marketing, psychology, sales, copywriting, and advertising. I took workshops online and went to conferences. I developed a solid understanding of what works and why so I could deliver terrific results for my clients.When I switched to fiction, I read (and am still reading) countless books on writing novels, romances, and screenplays. I joined local and national professional organizations and attended conferences and workshops. Basically, I spent the next three years getting good enough to write something worth submitting to a publisher.
Get help. Great writers are rarely formed in a vacuum. When I started writing for magazines, I was lucky enough to have an editor take me under his wing. He answered questions and provided feedback and guidance (and editing) that was invaluable.As a copywriter, I took online courses and sought out other copywriters at conferences for advice and commiseration. When I switched to fiction, I made a point of finding a pull-no-punches critique partner and a network of nitpicky beta readers. And I’ve hired my own editors.
Prepare for seemingly endless versions, drafts, and revisions. Whether I was working for clients, or teaching copywriting, most people believed that professionals wrote a single perfect draft and called it a day. Like it came out fully formed day one. That couldn’t be further from the truth.Drafts are not called final versions for a reason. While I strive for no more than two rounds of revisions or rewrites, that’s rarely reality (hello versions six and sixteen). And that’s okay. Writing is a process, and processes take time. Like a good stew, ideas often need to simmer to achieve optimal depth and flavor.
Develop a system or method that works for you. Whatever kind of writing you’re doing, you need to discover your own best process for organizing ideas and information into a cohesive story. The more work you do planning and organizing upfront, the easier it becomes to write well quickly and effectively (yes, even if you’re a pantser).

Writing well is both an art and a science. While you very well may be that unicorn who’s born with an innate talent, most of us aren’t. It takes time, effort, and practice to be good, and more of the same to be great. But I think it’s worth it.


Do any of my suggestions surprise you? Are there any you’d like to add? Please do share in the comments below.


 


 


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Published on February 26, 2019 13:35

February 9, 2019

Hearts & Chocolate Valentine’s Romance Giveaway

Enter this Romance giveaway for a chance to win 1 of 16 eBook & Chocolate Prize Packs!  

Do you enjoy reading bestselling romance ebooks and snacking on high-end chocolate? Then this special Valentine’s romance giveaway is for you!


Enter now for your chance to win!


Whether you like your romance sweet, sexy, or steamy (or your chocolate light or dark), we’ve got prizes to make your Valentine’s month rock including: bestsellling ebooks from romance authors Nora Roberts, Madison Faye, Susan Mallery, Alexa Riley, K.F. Breene, Carolyn Brown, Scarlett Scott, Tracy Brogan and more. Plus, the best chocolate from Godiva, Lindt, Ghirardelli, Ferrero Roche & others!


Go here to enter now!


This fabulous Valentine’s Romance Giveaway is sponsored by these terrific romance authors:


S.L. Sterling, Jennifer Wilck, Sarah Williams, Melissa McClone, Debbie White, Anne Stone, Zoe Dawson, Soraya Naomi, J.M. Walker, Joanne Dannon, Laurel Greer, Jana Richards, Kerri Keberly, Cara Marsi C.A. King, Josie Riviera, Marie James, Amanda Uhl, Judith Sterling, Laura A. Barnes, Elizabeth Rose, Cassie Mae, Susan Kiley, Stacy Gold, Marilyn Peake, Carrie Pulkinen, Karen Michelle Nutt, Brianna Hale, Ellen Mint, Allyson Lindt, Jacquie Biggar, Blake Andrews, Betty Shreffler, Tena Stetler, Anna Santos, Meg Ripley, Tracey Cramer-Kelly, Angel Lawson, Theresa Paolo, Kerry Blaisdell, T.J. Quinn, Yumoyori Wilson, Kim Petersen, Stephanie Queen, Dani René, Jordyn LeFay, Elizabeth SaFleur, Sienna Snow


Giveaway ends February 18


Enter here


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Published on February 09, 2019 12:07

January 30, 2019

Random Musings: Writing Quality VS Quantity

Why Great Writing Matters—Even in Romance Novels

I was an avid reader long before I became a writer. As a kid growing up in a volatile household, books were my escape. A great book was one I could read over and over. One with great writing that let me keep getting lost in some special world far more interesting than the one I lived in.


Until about ten years ago, there was only one book that I could remember not finishing. Nowadays, I DNF more books than I finish – especially if the books happen to be free. The older I get, the less willing I am to give up and irreplaceable hour or two of my life to trudge through a poorly written book.


It’s now rare that I read a story so well-written that it makes me forget I’m reading. Instead I’m constantly jerked out of the narrative by poor grammar, flat writing, Illogical storyline or characters, and so many other issues that could have, and should have, been fixed.  “I didn’t spend near enough time writing and editing this to turn it into something amazing.”


This lack of great writing is primarily due to three things:



The ease with which anyone can self-publish a book (not that there’s anything inherently wrong with self-publishing—unless you skip the editing and proofreading parts).
The availability of free e-books.
The push for all authors—and especially romance authors—to keep putting out new content as fast as possible to stay visible and relevant and make money.

It’s sad.


E-books could have been the great equalizer, letting otherwise underrepresented authors gain an audience and make a living. Unfortunately, the advent of e-books, Amazon Unlimited, and social media as a promotion tool, also turned writing from a pursuit focused on quality, to one focused on quantity. And because romance readers are known for being particularly voracious, the pressure to produce is really on in that genre.


Nowadays it’s like every great book is a single, treasured pearl out of hundreds of thousands of oysters. One I deem well worth paying for.


Sometimes I question whether—now that I’m a romance author—my standards are too high. That because I can see behind the curtain, I’m too particular. Or that because I was a professional journalist and copywriter for years my expectations for quality writing are out of alignment with the genre. Then someone turns me on to an amazing read, and I’m reminded of how truly mind-blowing, and even life-altering, a kick-ass romance can be.


I want to write books like that. The kind of books I want to read. Books I can be proud to put out into the world. Ones filled with compelling, intimate, and adventurous stories, characters I love, and writing that sweeps readers deep into the outdoors.


Doing that takes a lot of time and thought and care and effort. And professional editing. Maybe my career will suffer because I’ll never be one of those romance authors who cranks out three or more books a year. I don’t care. I believe great writing is worth the work AND the wait.


Do you think overall book quality has suffered in the past few years? Why or why not? Please do share your thoughts and comments below.


 


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Published on January 30, 2019 11:04

January 16, 2019

Break Out the Bubbly! All-Genres Romance Giveaway

You could win a Kindle Fire 7, Romance Ebook Prize Packs, Amazon Gift Cards, or a Jane Austen Tote in this fun romance giveaway!

It’s a new year, romance lovers. We’re breaking out the virtual champagne to celebrate the 365 reading days ahead with a romance giveaway packed with prizes.


Enter now for your chance to win!


Plus, visit our book fair to enter a bonus giveaway, and get to work on your New Year’s resolution to read more books. The book fair is packed with more than 50 awesome romance ebooks all priced at 2.99 or less!


This romance giveaway is sponsored by these fabulous romance authors:


Anne McClane • Ashlee Price • Aubrey Wynne • Blake Andrews • Brenda Whiteside • Brooklyn Knight • Candace Sams • Chloe Flowers • Christine Grabowski • CJ Zahner • Clarissa Lake • Claudia Burgoa • Crystal Dawn • D. Lieber • Donna Fasano • Elena Gray • Eliza Watson • Elizabeth Rose • Honey Phillips • Jacqueline Diamond • Jacquie Biggar • Jan O’Hara • Jennifer Wilck • Joan Reeves • Joanne Dannon • Jordyn White • Josie Riviera • JS Bright • Lucy Lakestone • Karen Michelle Nutt • Kat Drennan • Katherine Gilbert • Kelli McCracken • Kerry Blaisdell • Liza Street • M.C. Cerny • Meg Ripley • Maria Geraci • Mona Sedrak • Natalie Ann • Nicole Casey • Nina Crespo • Rachel Everly • Rose Pearson • Sarah Williams • Skyler Andra • Soraya Naomi • Stacy Gold • Stephanie Queen • Sydney Aaliyah Michelle • Theresa Paolo • Victoria Grant


 


The Break Out the Bubbly! Romance Giveaway ends January 21, 2019


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Published on January 16, 2019 10:38

December 21, 2018

In Deep Wins Best Erotic Romance

In Deep Is Now an Award-Winning Novella!

I am super excited to announce that In Deep, my second Emerald Mountain novella, has won BEST EROTIC ROMANCE in the 2018 NN Light Annual Book Awards! SQUEEEEEEEE!!!


This year, the team at NN Light’s Book Heaven blog read and reviewed around 1500 books. All the ones that earned five stars were entered to win in their annual book awards. Last year, my first novella in the series, Just Friends, was a finalist. This year, I actually won!


Sometimes you really need someone to say your writing is awesome.


Becoming an author takes a lot of time, energy, and hard work. Getting people to find, buy, and read your books might be even harder. It can begin to feel like a thankless task. I know I had started to wonder if it was worth all the work.


Sure, I enjoy writing for writing’s sake—it’s fun and challenging and engrossing and I get to play God in my own little world. But the point of writing a book is for someone else to read it, and hopefully enjoy it. Or be inspired by it. Or moved by it.


When you’re a newer author, you don’t get read a whole lot. That, along with a combination of injuries, surgeries, and family emergencies this summer, has made carving out any time to write difficult. In fact it’s made it seem like maybe that wouldn’t be the best use of my time. I mean, nobody is reading my work anyway, right? Wrong. Apparently.


Winning an award, and knowing that other people are reading my work and think it’s awesome, has definitely given me back some of my missing motivation. I want to write great books that others read. Seems like I’m finally on  my way.


All this is to say I’m thrilled and honored and thankful to have won this award. May it be the first of many more to come.


Learn more and grab a copy of In Deep here.


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Published on December 21, 2018 11:20

December 18, 2018

Christmas Romance All-Genres Giveaway

Enter the Christmas Romance Giveaway and You Could Win a Kindle Fire 7, Ebook Prize Packs, Amazon Gift Cards, & More!

This is your chance to win some romance-filled holiday gifts for yourself (or the romance readers in your life). Go here to enter now 


Christmas is where you find it. You could be at home with loved ones, at a chance meetup with strangers, or basking on a tropical beach. But for seven lucky winners of our romance giveaway and book fair, a bit of holiday spirit will arrive in the form of a Kindle Fire, ebook prize pack featuring romances from all genres, or an Amazon gift card.


Enter now for your chance to win!


While you’re there, be sure to visit our book fair for romance bargains. Plus, get your FREE exclusive download and enter a bonus giveaway!


This romance giveaway is sponsored by the fabulous romance authors listed below:


Allyson R. Abbott • Amanda Uhl • Amy Knupp • Angel Lawson • Bethany Strobel • Cailin Briste • Christine Ashworth • Constance Phillips • D. Lieber • Danni Rose • Debbie White • Elizabeth Rose • Holly Cortelyou • Honey Phillips • Inge-Lise Goss • Jacki Delecki • Jan O’Hara • Jana Richards • Joan Reeves • Jordyn White • Katherine Gilbert • Laura Ashwood • Lucy Lakestone • Melissa McClone • Mona Sedrak • Naomi Bellina • Nicole Casey • PG Forte • Rose Pearson • Simone Leigh • Stacy Gold • Tena Stetler • Aileen Harkwood


Giveaway ends December 25th


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Published on December 18, 2018 11:16