Four and a half years ago, a group of women embarked on a blogging adventure where we’d chat about our books, lives, kids, men, old dogs (as opposed to men) new adventures, and food. When we started, I had only met one of the original six women in person. But as we’ve gone through this journey, I feel like I know them–and the others who’ve joined us since–extremely well through their blog posts. Some I’ve been fortunate enough to meet at conferences or author events. Others are valued Facebook friends who I hope to meet someday.
Today marks my final post on Women Unplugged. Over these past years I’ve blogged about my journey as an author–including that magic moment when I got a book deal! I’ve also told you all about my kids and their adventures growing into adulthood. I’ve written about the sadness of my old dog leaving me and the fun (?) of a new puppy in the house. I’ve introduced you to my amazing book club–Talking Volumes–and some fabulous new authors. We’ve talked about football, the junk drawer, and music. It’s been a lot of fun.
But what started as a group of authors standing on the cusp of publication is now a group of women who have achieved some success on that road and who need to focus on other projects. The good news: None of us are going far. I’m on Facebook every day. (I have giveaways on Friday so you might want to stop by today and LIKE my page.) You can also get the latest scoop by going to my website and signing up for my newsletter. I promise I won’t spam you! And each month, I pick one subscriber to win an autographed book, so there’s a little incentive for you!
I’m still blogging each week over on the Happy Ever After blog at USA Today. You should stop by and check it out. We talk about sports and how it relates to romance. I try to give some recommended romance reads that go along with that day’s topic. There might even be a picture of a hot guy once in a while. You can also find me in the Romancing the Jock Facebook group and on the blog of the same name. If you like sports romance, that’s the place to be.
I’d love to meet in person, maybe share a cupcake and chat about books. I’ll be at a variety of reader events and conferences in 2016–including RT in April. Check out the events page on my website for more details. Or sign up to be a member of the Blaze street team. We’re always drafting new members to read and review ARCs and share on social media. Email me at tracy (at) tracysolheim (dot) com if you want to join the team.
My eighth (!) book comes out in a few weeks and it features a hot triathlete who’s running for Congress in his home town of Chances Inlet. (You’ll remember that town from FOOLISH GAMES and BACK TO BEFORE.) RT gave it 4 1/2 stars and named it as a Top Pick for March! Here’s the scoop:
Even love might not prove strong enough to save a man’s promising future from a woman’s hidden past…
All he ever fought for…
Aspiring congressman Miles McAlister has dreamed of representing his hometown of Chances Inlet, North Carolina, since he was a boy. So when he’s asked to help run his mother’s bed and breakfast he moves home and rolls out his campaign at the same time. But political stardom isn’t a given, especially when he’s expected to compromise the very ideals he’s trying to uphold. Making matters worse is the inn’s stubborn, and distractingly beautiful cook. He’s loved and lost before, so falling for Lori Hunt is not part of his plan.
All she ever feared…
Lori just wants to do her job and be left alone until she can safely move on. The last thing she needs is to get involved with her boss’s son. Miles proves to be too sexy to ignore, however. Their heated fling elicits feelings deeper than either anticipated. But everything about Lori is a lie. She’s harboring a secret that will destroy Miles’s career, and when the truth gets out it’s going to shock Chances Inlet to its core, forcing Miles to make the hardest decision of his life.
You can pre-order a copy of ALL THEY EVER WANTED now at these fine book sellers:
Thanks for hanging out with us these past few years! It’s been fun sharing the journey with you all. Be sure to find me on social media and we’ll keep the conversation going.
Can you believe it? Another year has flown by and it’s already 2016! I don’t typically do the whole resolution thing but, like most people, I look at the new calendar as a clean slate, a new beginning. Each year, I try to come up with some goals for myself both personally and with my husband. Early in our married life, we’d sneak off for lunch during those first weeks of January and write down all the things we wanted to get down that year from getting in shape to repaving the driveway. We’d put down our long-term goals too–it wasn’t that long ago when I wrote those crazy words write a book!
We haven’t made one of those lists in recent years. Probably because our life has become so hectic and crazy that our everyday ‘to-do’ lists became priority one. But 2016 will be a seminal year in the Solheim house as we become empty-nesters this summer. Life should slow down a little–I’ve got three books coming out with three different publishers, so I’m using the word ‘should’ loosely here–and maybe my husband and I can get back to adding the dreams back onto our yearly list.
Even though I don’t make resolutions, in the last few years I’ve adopted a one word mantra to be my guide for that particular twelve months. I started a few years ago with JOY. I had finally achieved that dream of writing a book and getting it published and I wanted to try to soak up the JOY that went with the experience.
My word for 2015 was GRACE. This one is a little tougher to live by in today’s competitive world, but once I finally let go and just treated others as I wanted to be treated–whether they returned the favor or not–I felt a lot better in my own world.
This year, I’ve adopted the word RELEASE. Well, technically I stole the word after I posed the question about New Year’s resolutions on Facebook and Kelly Thompson posted this:
My resolution is “release.” I need to let go of clutter in my house and in my life. Emotions that hold me back. Old habits. One word that covers a lot of things I need to do in my life.
I LOVE this! Especially this year when so much is changing for me. I’ll be letting go of my youngest child and my everyday life will be forever different. I’d like to ‘release’ all the anxiety and stress that has plagued me these past few months, not to mention the physical stuff that has been cluttering my world. I definitely need to ‘release’ some old habits–dessert for starters!
This doesn’t mean I’m ‘releasing’ the concepts of JOY and GRACE. I’m still going to keep those two words front and center in my words and deeds. I’ll just add a new word to the repertoire this year. I guess you could call that a resolution!
If you could pick a word to live by for an entire year, what would it be?
What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
The holiday season for me is all about home, friends and family. I love decorating my house with items my family and I have collected throughout our travels. The big family dinners and parties with friends make the season. Growing up, I felt a little cheated out of the Hallmark Christmas because my dad was in the military and, more often than not, our holiday consisted of my family of five and whatever pets might be living with us. Don’t get me wrong, I loved “growing up military” but I always felt sad those years—which were most of them—when we couldn’t get together and celebrate with extended family.
This is probably why I can relate to Jenna Huntley, my main character in Holiday at Magnolia Bay. Jenna is a military brat herself, a woman looking for a place to call “home.” She finds it in the small coastal town just south of Charleston, South Carolina. Magnolia Bay is the one place that’s been a constant in her life, the summer vacation destination she and her family visited every year while Jenna was growing up. Now a marine biologist, she works at the town’s Sea Turtle Rescue Center.
Just to make Jenna’s life a little more interesting, I threw in a love interest who’s actually a Navy SEAL. Jenna has sworn off the military life—which means all military men—but the sexy Lieutenant Commander is very potent. Of course she’s attracted to the one guy who she’s vowed to stay away from. Yeah, I’m evil that way.
Drew’s not interested in family, though. In fact, he’s pretty much isolated himself from relationships with everyone in his life because he fears that if something happens to him, there will be collateral damage. He’s set on being alone the rest of his life. Or so he thinks.
But I couldn’t leave their HEA to fate—or sea turtles, as the case may be—someone had to do a little meddling. I chose an octogenarian spinster for this. The character of Evie Song is named after a fan named Evie who also happens to be a very lively senior citizen herself. I try to name a minor character in each of my books after someone I know but Evie needed to have a bigger role. I’ve never met Evie, but she treats me like she she’s known me all of my life. She sends lovely fan letters and hand sells my books to everyone she meets. If anyone deserves to be immortalized as a character in one of my books, it’s Evie.
You see, Evie, and the friends I’ve collected along my life’s journey, are as much my family as the people I’m actually related to. All those holidays spent on military bases without family? We celebrated with a tribe of friends around us instead. And when we finally did get to celebrate with our relatives we enjoyed those times and savored the memories.
I hope you enjoy Drew and Jenna’s story. As a military brat myself, I love sharing with readers the complexity of life in the military, whether it’s serving in the armed forces or loving someone who’s served. Times are a little crazy right now in our world and I ask that you keep those who serve and their loved ones waiting at home in your hearts.
Grab a copy to curl up with this holiday season!
These first couple of years as a published author have been a wild ride with lots of magic moments–including hitting #1 on Amazon twice. But last weekend I had one of those moments that romance authors–and readers–dream about. I got to spend the day with Nora Roberts!
It all started at the RWA conference in New York this past July. During the mayhem that is the”Readers for LIfe” Literacy Autographing, I was approached by Janeen Solberg, the manager of Turn the Page Bookstore, in Boonsboro, Maryland. The same bookstore that happens to be owned by Nora Roberts. Janeen mentioned that my book, BACK TO BEFORE, was a favorite with readers in the store. One thing led to another and the next thing I knew I was being invited to travel to Boonsboro as a guest author at one of Nora’s book signings. It took me all of a nano-second to say yes. 🙂
So, on a beautiful fall weekend, my husband and I traveled to western Maryland. Nestled at the base of South Mountain, Boonsboro itself is only a few blocks long, but it is steeped in history. The town was founded in 1792 by George and William Boone, cousins of Daniel Boone, Boonsboro serves as a gateway to relevant colonial and Civil War heritage sites including the National Road, Washington Monument State Park, South Mountain and Antietam National Battlefield. But two of the town’s biggest attractions are the Turn the Page Bookstore and the Inn Boonsboro, also owned by Nora Roberts.
The Inn Boonsboro is a bed and breakfast that feels more like a boutique hotel. With the exception of the penthouse, the Inn’s eight guest rooms are named after literary romantic couples. There’s the Jane and Rochester room, Elizabeth and Darcy, Marguerite and Percy, Westley and Buttercup, Titania and Oberon, Eve and Rourke (of course!) and, the room where we stayed, Nick and Nora, inspired by Dashiell Hammett’s THE THIN MAN.
The Inn also features a dining room, a parlor where wine and cheese is served nightly and a library that featured a cozy fireplace and an ample supple of Jameson whiskey, much to my husband’s delight.
There’s also some inviting garden areas and porches to find a quiet place to read in. The best part about the stay is that many of the other guests are there for the signing, as well, and we all bonded over our love of books. I met some fabulous new friends and readers including Nora’s UK publicist, Antonia.
The day of the signing–Halloween–arrived crisp and clear which was a good thing because fans were lined up outside the bookstore before I came down to breakfast at eight! At ten o’clock, timed tickets were handed out so that folks could return to the store at their allotted interval to buy books and get them signed by Nora and the eight other authors who’d been invited to the event. Nearly four hundred tickets were handed out. The signing started at noon and we signed books until nearly four o’clock with only a short break for pizza and champagne! .
I spoke with some wonderful readers who came from as far as Texas and Canada just for the signing. Best of all, I was able to catch up with old friends from the Washington, D.C. area who trekked out to Boonsboro. Okay, I’m sure many of them came to see Nora, but that’s okay, I did, too! The weekend truly was an awesome author experience.
If you ever get to western Maryland, be sure and make the trip to Boonsboro to see the civil war battlefields, the trolley museum and, of course, Nora Roberts’ Inn and book store. Tell them I sent you!
GIVEAWAY!! I’m giving away a copy of BACK TO BEFORE, Nora Robert’s latest book STARS OF FORTUNE (both signed!) and THE THIN MAN to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment below.
Do you have a favorite book by Nora Roberts? Have you ever stayed in a historic home or B&B? Would you want to? Have you ever visited a Civil War battlefield?
Comment by midnight on November 8 to be eligible!
Last weekend I traveled to Dallas to participate in the tenth annual Buns and Roses Tea and I have to admit I was more fan-girl than author! The event benefited the Richardson Library’s Adult Literacy Center which seeks to transform lives by providing English as a second language instruction to adults who live or work within Richardson—a suburb of Dallas—and its school district.
Best-selling author, Lorraine Heath, is a member of the RALC committee, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a HUGE fan of her books. It was such an honor and a privilege to be invited to join the twenty-five romance authors from around the country hosting tables at the event.
The weekend kicked off with a fun book signing at a local Barnes & Noble store. I’ll let you in on a little secret: book signings are scary. I’m always nervous that no one is going to show up, but with fifteen other authors there to keep me company, it was a party. AND readers showed up! Of course, they may have just stepped in off the street after hearing what a good time we were having. 🙂
Afterwards we headed back to the hotel bar for some libations and to relax before heading out to dinner at the beautiful home of one of the RALC committee members. There was a lot more laughter throughout the evening, not to mention some great food. Committee members, VIP readers, and authors mingled and chatted as everyone got to know each other. We talked about books, food, football, food, families, and, did I mention food?
The following afternoon, it was time for the big event. Over two hundred readers adorned hats (author Katharine Ashe’s table wore tiaras!) and headed to the ballroom for an afternoon of fun.
We sipped tea (author Diane Kelly’s table sipped moonshine!) with readers, signed books, and bartered on some very impressive auction items including a trip to Scotland and a gorgeous handmade quilt commemorating the event. Tessa Dare delivered a heartfelt keynote while emcee, Candace Havens, kept the audience laughing.
One of the highlights of each year’s tea is the keepsake bears that are outfitted in a unique costume. Guests hold up twenty dollar bills to secure one, but they go fast.
The folks on the committee are still tallying up this year’s contribution, but they estimate they raised more than $10,000 for literacy programs. Additionally, Barnes & Noble is making it easy for readers to contribute to the cause. Just use the code #11685054 (at checkout) while shopping online or in-store with from Oct. 1-14. To learn more about the RALC, go to http://www.ralc.org.
Be sure to make your plans now to attend next year’s Buns and Roses Tea! I know I am.