What Does Love Have to Do With Golf?

Yesterday somebody asked me why I wrote about golf in my new novel when I’m not a golfer myself.  Great question!  

I consider myself a comic writer.  I think it’s funny when adults get it into their heads to take up a new sport.  It’s even funnier when they discover they have no talent whatsoever for it.

Love on the Linksis about a young woman who knows nothing whatsoever about golf, but has to learn how to play so she can fit into her fiancé’s family.  Since I—just like my main character, Deb—have never played on a real golf course, part of the fun of writing Linkswas to poke fun at the process.  

Although Deb grew up putting at the mini-golf courses that dot the Cape Cod coastline, she not eager to fly down to Florida and speed-learn how to play the 18 holes at the Pelican Isle Resort before her fiancé’s family arrives for Labor Day weekend.   

It’s hard enough to master this tricky sport—but to do it in five days puts a lot of pressure on Deb.  The task gets even more difficult when Deb shows up for her first lesson and finds out her female instructor has gotten the flu.  The substitute is wily golf pro Scotty McCloud—a hard drinker and womanizer who chafes at having to teach a beginner.

Along with Deb—an innocent who has never donned a visor and skort before—I took a lot of pleasure in learning the sometimes-goofy language attached to golf.   And I hoped my readers—golfers and non-golfers—would get a kick out of watching Scotty teach Deb the difference between an iron and a wood, a bunker and a sand trap.  

But as the title suggests, Love on the Linksis also about the electricity that sometimes develops between two people who have very little in common.  Will Deb’s few days out on the course with Scotty derail her relationship with her fiancé Troy?  Read Love on the Links and find out!     

Romance & Red Tide

            Right now the beautiful beaches I've written about in my romance novels are littered with dead fish.  Red tide is a toxic algae bloom that kills marine life and causes respiratory problems in humans. 

            I've been on Lido Beach and Longboat Key during red tide outbreaks, and it is not a pretty sight.  The normally pristine water of Sarasota Bay turns brown and muddy.  Fish carcasses are piled on the fine white sand.  It's impossible to breathe without feeling like your lungs are taking in not air, but a noxious gas that stinks like ammonia. 

            This is not the landscape of love, but an apocalyptic scene that speaks--and smells--of death.

            Right now it seems difficult--almost a betrayal of the truth--to ask readers to enjoy my new novel, Love on Lido Key.  And yet maybe now is the best time for readers to delve into a little fantasy.  In my story, the water is so clear that the characters can see their feet as they tread in the deep.  The air is pure, the sky is bright, and love, instead of algae, blooms in the beauty of ordinary Florida days.    

Fun Facts About Florida You'll Never Find in My Romance Novels

--It rains here.  A lot.

--Frogs can enter your home through the toilet.

--Snakes can enter your home through the toilet.

--Honestly?  No one except Heidi Klum looks good in shorts. 

--No one looks good in AS SEEN ON TV! special ops sunglasses. 

--Women who really shouldn't be wearing yoga clothes live in their yoga clothes.

--Ask a Florida man to dress for dinner and he'll take off his baseball cap and put on a Hawaiian shirt (and we aren't talking Tommy Bahama).

--Red tide.

--Seaweed invasions.


--The real version of hurricanes.

--Sometimes sunshine is depressing.  But so is torrential rain for thirty days in a row.

--We romanticize Florida because the real thing is so. . . there are no words.  There are no words for how homesick you sometimes feel for northern lands, where the leaves blaze red and orange every autumn and ugly stuff only flushes down, not up, the toilet. 

photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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Join me on the Coffee Time Romance blog!

I'll be on the Coffee Time Romance blog on Saturday, August 25 talking about my two contemporary romances, Love on Longboat Key and Love on Lido Key.  Barring a hurricane (knock on wood!) join me for a day of fun!  More info forthcoming.  

Fear of Missing Out: Tips for Those Who Can't Attend RWA 2018



The annual Romance Writers of America conference is coming up.  If you--like me--don't yet make enough money from your writing to pay for conference fees, hotel and airfare, there's no need to sit around and mope. 


Sure, you're going to be missing a lot.  There's nothing like meeting other authors face to face, trading business cards with writers who share your interests, attending master classes with industry professionals, or sitting across the table from an editor or agent to speed pitch your next project. 


You already know that!  That's why you're not going to mope--but turn your fear of missing out into something constructive.  Here are some tips for those of you (like me) who will be home instead of in Denver July 18-21.


--Do you have a friend, editor, or agent who may be attending?  Ask them to take notes for you or help distribute postcards or business cards. 


--Follow the conference on Twitter and other social media sites.  Many authors will be blogging about their experience and you can benefit from their summaries of sessions (although you may find yourself getting a little teary-eyed over photos of the cocktail parties and signings you'll be missing). 


--Remember that time you weren't invited to Homecoming dance and ended up having a much better time with your girlfriends at a slumber party?  Put out a call on social media to other authors who won't be going.  Maybe you can plan a book swap or blog hop.  RWA is all about community--so make some of your own! 


--Plan a mini-conference for yourself by downloading some good books on craft or helpful guides to publishing.  Reread a great coaching book like BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott or Margaret Atwood's NEGOTIATING WITH THE DEAD.  Atwood has some fun resources up on her website for newbie and seasoned authors.


--Consider "attending" the Harlequin YouTube video series, where you'll find author interviews, master classes, and behind the scenes looks at the romance industry.  It's a conference unto itself. 


--Finally:  give yourself a gentle reminder that you might be gasping for breath in the thin mountain air of the mile-high city.  Who needs high altitude?  Start dreaming about attending RWA next year in New York!    



On the joys of starting a new contemporary romance series

So I'm at that point where I have to make a hard decision.  I've got two novels on the burner and I need to commit to one or the other.  The answer would be simple if these were single-title contemporary romances.  But my goal is to kick off another series. 

My last trilogy was set on the barrier islands off mainland Sarasota.  Part of me just wants to stay there and do Florida all over again--only this time with dogs.  I swear I can think of a dozen plots of love stories that revolve around noble German shepherds and cute poodles and naughty beagles.  And--while I should be writing--I've been trolling through dog breed books trying to pick out the perfect canine characters, and visiting websites devoted to most popular dog names, and watching dog videos on YouTube.

 The other part of me wants nothing to do with dogs or the beach.  She wants to go to. . . drumroll. . . Vegas!   I'm thinking one story set on the Strip, another set in old Las Vegas, and another set out by Red Rocks.  Sin City really lends itself to fiction, as anything can happen. 

Which way will I go?  I'll know as soon as I finish writing the first chapter of either my Florida or Vegas novel.  But this morning, at least, the sounds of the slot machines are distant.  I hear two dogs barking, calling me back to the beach.    

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Does writing romance make you a happier person?

Does writing romance make you a happier person?

I've been thinking about this question over the past year, in which I've noticed an uptick in my glad-to-be-alive moments.  At first I thought my newfound happiness had to do with my daily practice of yoga.  Then I thought the beta-blockers I've been taking for my wonky heart have had a positive side effect. 

But the third and perhaps most decisive factor has been a switch in my writing gears.  I used to write dark, depressing stories of love gone awry that--truth to tell--no one had much interest in publishing.  It was bad enough being stuck in those dreary imaginative worlds for three or four hours every morning as I toiled away in my study.  Yet after I stepped away from my writing, I couldn't shake the feeling off.  I was growing as morose as the women I was writing about. 

I needed some happy in my life, and I'm grateful to my agent for suggesting I step outside of my comfort zone--which is women's fiction--and try writing some traditional romance.  I soon found that writing toward a happy ending gave me something to smile about.  Romance writing is like playing a baseball game knowing that at the end of the ninth inning, you're going to come out the winner--a chance to imagine everything going well for both your characters and yourself.   

Here's to sunshine after a long rain!