Yes, Mr. Angry Young Man. There is a Happily Ever After.

Diana Belchase:

Another wonderfully poetic post by Sharon Wray. I’m delighted to share this with my readers.

Originally posted on Kiss and Thrill:

If you’re a romance writer, then you are probably aware of the drama going on regarding the question how much romance is necessary for a story to be classified a romance novel. I think of it as the Great Controversy.

If you’re a reader, hopefully you haven’t noticed.

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SInce I’ve always had more romance than plot in my manuscripts, the Great Controversy is something I hadn’t thought much about. Not because I didn’t care but because I know what happens when you try to quantify the subjective.

Fools run errands and those wild geese you’re chasing bite back.

It’s like trying to eat a spaghetti sandwich. It’s possible, but you’re left with a mess and you’ve lost half of your noodles.

So, this summer, I let the Great Controversy go. I left it to others who are more articulate than I to work out the answers. Then I forgot about it.

Until I went to…

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Columbus, Our Lost Hero

Columbus Day hardly gets much notice lately. There are furniture store sales, some government offices and banks are closed, a parade in New York City that is no longer nationally televised, and he’s no longer held up like a hero to school children.

(c) Diana Belchase 2012 Palermo Museum

I feel sorriest for kids everywhere who, it seems, are only entitled to heroes out of Marvel comic books and not from real life. It’s fashionable to hunt down every mistake our forefathers made, to talk of their wrongs against society, to hold them accountable for the barbaric practices that were commonplace in their time period.

To tear them down until there is no shred of heroism left.

Granted, Columbus was far from perfect. Just like the other great men of history who entered the slave trade, unwittingly spread disease, conquered lands that were not their own, and took treasure they were not entitled to, so, too, did he. Some say he might not be the first European to find America. But whether you believe that or not, he was the first to colonize and make these lands known to all of Europe. In essence, he was the first non-native American.

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I think of the dangerous voyage my own grandparents made to come to this country. They didn’t speak English, didn’t have a place to stay, no job waiting, yet they crossed an ocean in a ship much like he did, taking a chance that there was someplace better in this world for them to be. Like the settlers that came after him, Columbus crossed the mighty Atlantic in a fleet of three surprisingly small wooden ships, losing one on the way. That took daring, and intelligence, and perseverance that is rare today.

How many people could do that?

I personally have trouble going out of state without GPS, how did this man do this with only the stars to guide him? No maps, no computer, no one who gave him oral directions. Out alone on a rough sea. hoping to see land, commanding a crew who believed they might fall off the edge of the world and might mutiny any moment. He did this a total of four times in the late 1400’s a remarkable 522 years ago. It was equivalent of being the first man on the moon.

Amazing.

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Columbus means a lot to me as an American of Italian descent. My culture is riddled with forced stereotypes: Mafia bosses, New Jersey Housewives, loud arrogant members of the Jersey Shore. We’re thought of as pizza chefs and mobsters. Less widely remembered are the incredible contributions people of Italian descent have made — with our hands building the infrastructure of the U.S. — tunnels, roads, and bridges — with our genius sculpting and painting the decorative parts of buildings in every major American city, and with our minds as scientists and leaders.

The magnificence of the Capitol dome, scientific inventions like the telephone (only in the U.S. do people not know the true inventor of the telephone is Meucci) are ours. We are doctors, lawyers, and teachers. We carry the culture and refinement of the Romans, Tuscans, and Sicilians in our blood. Places non-Italians love to travel and somehow snobbishly distinguish from the Italians who live in the U.S. We are Supreme Court justices and the guy who carries your mail.

We deserve a hero.

Perhaps that is why I am a thriller writer and love the suspense and romantic suspense genres so much. These stories are at their core about heroes, some unlikely, some highly trained, all imperfect individuals who must summon an extreme level of heroism and courage few, like Columbus, possess.

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Isn’t it a shame this is how we celebrated Columbus’ 500th Anniversary?

Seven percent of the U.S. identifies itself as being of Italian descent. There are probably more, but so many of us have been taught to be ashamed and try to hide the fact of our ancestry. Among us there is no unified voice that asks for a month devoted to our history. We deserve that, too.

This month is Hispanic History Month. I have been aghast at how little I know of Hispanic history — of which Columbus is a key figure.  It is right and apt that this Italian American’s birthdate falls in the midst of this particular month. Without the support of Spain, Columbus would not have discovered the Carribean and Latin America. He would not have been Governor of Hispaniola. He is as much a hero for those of Spanish descent as he is for those of Italian.

But let’s not squabble. To me, he is a hero for us all.

Eustress: Help Carey Celebrate JUDGMENT’S Release

Diana Belchase:

Help celebrate Carey Baldwin’s fantastic new release, Judgment, and you might win a wonderful massage!

Originally posted on Kiss and Thrill:

Hi Friends!

popping champagne corkI hope you are all having a wonderful fall! This is a special day for me, and I love celebrating it with you. I’m definitely eustressing today. Have you guys heard this term? I first learned about eustress way back when, in graduate school, but to simplify I’ll just use this definition from Wikipedia –which is right on the money:

“Eustress occurs when the gap between what one has and what one wants is slightly pushed, but not overwhelmed. The goal is not too far out of reach but is still slightly more than one can handle. This fosters challenge and motivation since the goal is in sight. The function of challenge is to motivate a person toward improvement and a goal.”

So Eustress, while uncomfortable, is really a positive thing. The source of my “good stress” today is the release of JUDGMENT, the first book in my…

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Heather Ashby’s Never Forget: A Suzanne Brockmann Recommendation

Diana Belchase:

Heather Ashby is donating proceeds from her book to a great charity. Keep reading to hear about it and her wonderful novel, Never Forget.

Originally posted on Kiss and Thrill:

I am so excited to welcome back one of my favorite Golden Heart sisters Heather Ashby. Today we’re talking about her newest release  Never Forget and the most amazing author endorsement ever!!!

“A must-read for fans of military romantic suspense. This book is part of a series, but it stands very much alone. If you enjoy my Troubleshooters, Heather’s definitely an author to check out! Amazing book, amazing author, amazing series.”

                                                                                             – Suzanne Brockmann

NeverForget

HA: Thanks for inviting me today, Sharon. It’s always exciting to visit “Kiss and Thrill.” I’m thrilled to share Book #3 in my “Love in the Fleet” series with your readers.

 Never Forget

 With 7.5 tons of World Trade Center steel melted into her bow, what if there are more souls aboard the USS New York than the sailors and Marines stationed there? And what if those souls can help the troops defeat…

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Up All Night With Harlan Coben

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“I want to keep you up all night”

Harlan Coben is no nonsense. He’ll sit down for an interview, give it his all, but he’s not the kind of guy to schmooze or waste time.

An air of mystery surrounds him like an invisible cloak. Fangirls flirt with him at conferences, but you can always tell, though he might be flattered, they’re wasting their time. Because the one subject Harlan Coben will stop and talk about is his family and how much he loves them.

I sat down for an interview with Harlan and discussed how his own kids inspired him to write his Mickey Bolitar series. With twenty bestselling novels, every imaginable award, and over sixty million books in print worldwide, he’s a legend.

So much so that if you think I’m nervous interviewing this giant, you’re right. (Please, Harlan, forgive the insertion of an “R” into your last name. You must think me an utter fool, but were nice enough to never even correct me.)

His focus is amazing. Despite people knocking on doors and barging into the interview room, he never missed a beat. I am sure that’s what makes him the powerhouse he is. His take-no-prisoners, stick your butt in the chair and write, attitude means that he’s centered on quality product.

As he says in the interview,  “I want to keep you up all night, I want you to curse me in the morning, and that’s really my job.”

Behind the Scenes with Nancy Cordes

TV is always looking for that miraculous combination: girl next door appeal, IMG_5035steel trap mind, and the spark of something more in their news correspondent’s eyes. Lucky for CBS, Nancy Cordes fits the bill.

I met with Nancy last night at her studio in Washington, D.C. She has timeless grace, an easy way of making you feel as if you’ve been friends forever, and a body that is wonderfully photogenic even when she isn’t posing. She evokes instant trust.

Nancy spoke about growing up in Hawaii and how she wanted to go to college as far from home as possible. She settled on the University of Pennsylvania and Nancy Cordes with Diana croppedgraduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude. After getting her MPA from Princeton, she started her career as a freelance reporter and was tapped for a full time job one year out of school. From there, she worked 3 AM shifts at local stations, on the affiliate desk, and finally for the last 7 years as Congressional Correspondent for CBS.

Walking into CBS in D.C. is interesting. It’s a smallish, not very modern building on a busy street, jam-packed with wires, and cameras, and monitors, everywhere you look. The halls are lined with photos of some of television’s greats. In the control room is a newspaper sheet with Walter Cronkite’s photo on it. DSCN5598A young Connie Chung is on another wall. On the main desk sits a little rubber capitol with a small flag rigged to flutter above it. Patriotic symbols are everywhere.

The studio space is tinier than you’d think. A IMG_5015chair with a teleprompter sits in one corner of the newsroom ready for live commentary. The only real studio is for Face the Nation, one of CBS’s Sunday stalwart programs.

Beneath Nancy Cordes’ charming exterior, her Ivy League education and nascent intellect bubble to the surface. Her life-experience as a mom does, too. She speaks about the members of Congress with an in-depth knowledge that is astounding. When asked about the bipartisan deadlock, she said, “It is frustrating when you think it can’t get worse, and then every year, it does get worse. Both parties need to spend time in my son’s preschool for a few days and relearn the concepts of cooperation and sharing.”

 

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And her opinion on term limits? “Well, it’s an idea, but you also need people with experience to run the government. Would you want someone who’d only been elected three years ago to chair the Senate Armed Services Committee, making decisions about whether or not we go to war?”

When pushed to disclose whether there was partisanship in IMG_5021newcasting, she said, “I don’t even know the party affiliation of most of my coworkers. You wouldn’t last long in this business if people did know. They’d assume you were biased, so most reporters don’t mention it.”

She defends CBS’s integrity with great credibility. Nancy Cordes believes in the job she’s doing and you see that in every word she speaks. She’s one of the rare few that can digest all the governmental garbage flung at her each day and turn it into soundbites worth listening to.

“It’s been a really frustrating year,” she says. “It’s hard to report on a Congress that isn’t doing much.” Then a breath later. “Who else can have a job where you can question Senators as they come out of the lunchroom, or from a meeting with the President? And if you really need an answer to a question, you can wait all day outside a Senator’s office. They have to come out of there sometime.” She grins mischievously.

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Over all, she’s charming. She poses for photos, offers her personal email address, then showed off the Face the Nation set and the new scenery backdrop that will air this Sunday.

In a glass enclosed booth with wall-to-wall monitors, telephones and other equipment, she excitedly introduced Phil who runs the control room. Next are Joey, a video editor, who explains how video is cut and inserted into shows, and Rebecca Kaplan, a political DSCN5585correspondent for CBSnews.com, whom she invites to talk about the inglorious joy of reporting on the campaign trail.  She waits patiently for Josh, who mans the night desk, to finish a phone call, so he can discuss organizing staff, watching for breaking news, and making sure footage is properly archived.

Each time, her clear regard for the importance of each person’s role stands out. Their smiles and laughter mix with hers. In a gloomy, IMG_5033windowless TV station, where the fluorescence of monitors is the primary lighting source, their sunny dispositions really make a difference.

It seems CBS has a lovefest going on in the newsroom.

Now, that’s news I like.

 

 

Candice Gilmer’s Just His Taste

What do you get when you cross a motorcycle-riding,22181805 leather-wearing, fairy godmother, intent on finding her male charge the woman of his dreams, with Cupid, the Greek gods, and pure mayhem? Answer: Candice Gilmer’s fantastic new book: Just His Taste.

Here’s the back of book blurb:

Avalynn Fay is not a typical Fairy Godmother. She wears leather body suits, rides motorcycles, Continue reading