Our Firsts

We always remember our firsts, don’t we?

Whether it’s our first taste of chocolate, our first crush, first kiss, first true love – what can you expect? I’m a romance writer!

And for authors it’s also our first book.

One of my summer viewing pleasures was Bunheads on ABC Family Channel. In short, it was about a Las Vegas showgirl who marries a man who’s been in love with her for ages, moves to a small Northern California town and he dies in a car accident pretty much after they arrive. Michelle inherits the house and the dance studio his mother runs. Michelle and Frannie, mom-in-law are at odds, no surprise, but more funny than nasty. And we have a variety of high school ballet students with their own problems.

Why did I enjoy this show? Ballet, which is something I’ve always loved and as a little girl wanted to be a ballerina. I even walked around on my toes. Years later a close friend and I took beginner’s ballet class. I wasn’t too much of a klutz and enjoyed it.

It also gave me the idea for my first book. If I was going to strain my body every week I may as well make it worthwhile.

I picked my dance teacher’s brain, watched ballet videos, and picked up a book on ballet terminology.

And started work on a book about a ballerina and a soldier who meet and fall in love. Since we’re talking the late 1970s the story was about an alpha heroine and delicate virgin heroine then threw in a secret baby after she fled their doomed marriage.

Even with all the research I did Dancer in the Shadows didn’t have a lot of ballet in there, but it didn’t matter. I knew what the heroine was all about and that’s what mattered to me.

As my first book written and then sold, it’s very special to me. And always a nice reminder of the class I took so long ago.

Watching Bunheads is another reminder of the book that started my career.

Do you have anything that does that for you? It wouldn’t even have to be a movie and television show. Perhaps a book or even something you’ve seen when you’ve been out and about.


Cover reveal: Chantal by Yvone Lenard

This book has it all, Nazis, war, French aristocrats, but mostly it is about a young girl trying to find her place in the world after experiencing tragedy after tragedy. This book was originally published in 1989 and we at Joyride are happy to bring Chantal to you soon in e-book.

The painting in the cover below is Yvone in her younger years and I think it says a lot about the book. What do you think?

The Evolution of a Writer

Any author will tell you that writing is a journey. Sometimes there are smooth roads, other times there are hills. Then let’s talk about those Alps for writers.

My first book was published thirty-two years ago this December. This was a year after my agent called me with the news that a brand spanking new publisher called Silhouette Books wanted to buy my first two books.

The best part was I wouldn’t be a one book writer and it was time to see if I could write more books. Plus, I was fired for selling those books, so I said sink or swim time.

What a journey it’s been

Just like the transition from childhood to adult, it’s an evolution of a writer.

Back in the late 1970s authors were expected to write books with only the heroine’s point-of-view, craft alpha heroes who were usually quite a bit older than the tender-hearted virgin heroines and we won’t even go into the bitchy ‘other woman’ that tended to make the sensitive heroine believe there was no way the brooding hero could love her. And love scenes were behind closed doors. Yawn!

Romance writers were the red-haired stepchildren. Wild to say since I’m a redhead. Story had it romance writers always wore pink, smiled constantly, ate bonbons, and chirped instead of talked. So not me at all. I avoided pink like the plague, smiled but not as if I was in a beauty pageant, preferred See’s Bordeaux, and was shy so talking in groups wasn’t always easy.

Even back then I knew I wanted to write ‘more’ and I pushed the envelope any way I could. So many of us felt the same. It meant coming up more with more innovative storylines, and strong characters that stood out. I tried to break a rule with each book.

I wrote the hero’s point of view in Dancer in the Shadows, my first book. I couldn’t understand why it had to be deleted, but I was determined it would happen in a later book. After all, that third and fourth book were simmering in my imagination

I got to do that and more as I wrote hero oriented plots, role reversal stories such as my male housekeeper book, Caution Man at Work and Guardian Angel that featured a female bodyguard, and other books with a variety of stories. I know this author/avid reader wanted more so why shouldn’t other readers.

Yes, it meant a lot more work, but it was worth it, because it allowed me to grow as a writer and even as a person. It hasn’t always been easy and there were times I wondered whether I should continue writing, but every writer will tell you it’s not something you can easily quit. Your imagination won’t allow it.

We never remain stagnant. I mean, how boring would that be? No way I want to be the same person I was 34 years ago when I started my first book. I wanted to move forward, change my hairstyle a few million times, the way I dress and how I think.

I always knew I couldn’t write what I wrote in the beginning because I’ve progressed so far. And I’d like to think it’s all for the better. That my evolution knew what to do with me.

Even now, I wonder what my next evolution will bring me.

What about you? Do you feel you’ve evolved over the years? That even if there have been bumps in the road, you’ve kept going?