Climate Change, Controversy and the Anti-Cinderella Chronicles

When I began writing The Anti-Cinderella Chronicles, I didn’t know much about the characters. I knew a bit about their history together, about what their future would hold, but as far as interests, careers . . . that was still hazy.

However, I knew from Fifty Frogs that Kyra’s roommate was Vivian’s sister Shelby, and  Shelby was a graduate student at a college in Maine. So that meant Kyra was in Maine, too . . . and it just so happened that my youngest daughter had recently transferred to a college in Maine.

Unity is a young school, established in 1965. It is known as America’s Environmental College, and since my daughter was majoring in sustainable agriculture, it was her dream school. Winning the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship allowed her to realize that dream.

None of us had visited Unity the weekend that we dropped off Cate. But it made enough of an impression on me that I realized something important: both Kyra and Nicky were involved in sustainability in various ways, whether that was food sourcing, agriculture or the over-arching need to redeem our environment.

So that’s how two of my lead characters became activists.

From the beginning, a few readers mentioned this sub-story. For me, it’s important that my characters are well-rounded, with rich histories and deep passions not only for each other but for their talents, their careers or their hobbies. It made perfect sense that if Kyra was pursuing her graduate degree in sustainable ag, she’d have a lot to say on the subject (I might have first-hand knowledge on that!).

All of my books include details and some research into whatever career the characters have chosen. Thus I was a tad surprised that readers seemed to react strongly one way or the other to Kyra and Nicky’s work. And with the release of the latest book, those reactions seemed to ramp up a little more.

So let’s talk about this.

First, we’ll acknowledge the elephant in the room. Yes, I personally  believe that climate change is real, that our planet is hurting and that humans are systematically and definitely destroying our one and only world. That’s something I’ve always acknowledged as truth, even back in the days when I was more conservative politically. I’m a product of the 1970’s, after all, when we were all trying to be more environmentally conscious.

But please keep reading, even if you don’t agree with me.

In addition to my sustainability and environmental beliefs, I also am convinced that climate change and ecological responsibility are not a political topic. Politicians of every stripe have attempted to make them political for their own advantages.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. My daughter and I were talking the other day. She said, “It just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t take much to make some small changes, and even if you’re skeptical about whether or not climate change is real, it doesn’t hurt anyone to make those changes. Worst case, you’ve left the earth a little bit cleaner.”

Hey, I’m not naive. I understand that some of the changes needed aren’t little ones, and I know that they could impact the bottom line of big companies. If you don’t buy that the science is legit, you’d be loathe to make changes that would cost you some bucks.

And while I find recent studies very credible (and damn scary!), I also don’t believe that all science is right on target. After all, we’ve seen that things are changing all the time. But in this case, all the evidence points to the need for all of us, all over the world, to pull together and do whatever we can to help.

I think it’s important to note something, too. I write romance. Fiction. The books in question don’t claim to be treatises on this topic. They’re entertaining stories about people who came from my imagination. So while you may not agree with the inclusion of touchy subjects, please remember that this is all supposed to be fun.

I promise you, the book contains more couple time than controversy.

One reader asked me whether all of my books from now on would include some element of this ‘controversial’ topic. No. That would be silly and limiting, because not all of my characters are involved in this line of work. Kyra and Nicky are . . . and yes, there may be some of the same in the next book in this world, A Dozen Dreams. But I have 71 other books NOT in the Anti-Cinderella World that don’t even mention climate change or sustainability. Try those!

Will I go back and change things in the existing Anti-Cinderella world to avoid controversy? HELL, no. These are my books. These are characters created in my mind, people who are real to me and whose opinions, actions and emotions sprang from genuine inspiration. They remind me of the real-life people whose work I admire, of my daughter and her passion for growing food in a more sustainable manner, of those who sacrifice much in order to make this world a better place.

Today is World Environment Day. If you are offended by the idea of protecting our earth, if you are not alarmed by the dwindling ability of our planet to support its population, if you are not heartbroken by the growing numbers of extinct or endangered species . . . then maybe today doesn’t matter to you.

But it matters to me. It matters to my children, and it will matter to my sweet grandbaby. And if doesn’t matter to more of us, and soon, the consequences will force our hands.

Happy World Environment Day, y’all. Go hug a tree, plant a flower, turn off lights you don’t need, walk instead of drive, kiss a farmer . . . and hey, read the latest Anti-Cinderella book. Even if you don’t agree with climate change, it’s a dang good love story, and we all need more of those.

 

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The Anti-Cinderella Conquers the World: Sneak Peek!

Releasing May 28th!

The royal wedding was only the beginning of my happy ending . . .

I’m now a full-fledged member of the royal family. That means all my problems are over, doesn’t it?

Apparently not.

Even though I’m now a princess-by-marriage and a duchess-by-title, I’m still the same Kyra who’s prone to putting her sneaker-clad foot into her mouth.

It’s a good thing Nicky loves me. Our work is thriving and our marriage is strong. Together, we can tackle any challenge. But it’s not until our peaceful existence is threatened that I realize how precious it is.

And they lived happily ever after . . . right?

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Enjoy this sneak peek into The Anti-Cinderella Conquers the World!

Later, as we sat at our table eating the salad that my husband had made, I glanced up at him, my brows drawn together.

“Nicky.”

“Hmmm?” He smiled at me, but the expression in his eyes was almost absent-minded, as though he were thinking about something else entirely.

“Do you think we make love too much? Do we use sex to solve our problems? Or to avoid them altogether?”

Nicky choked, coughing violently on the bite of lettuce he’d just taken. Once he could speak again, he shook his head and glared at me. “Where the devil did that come from? My answer, by the way, is hell, no. We don’t have too much sex. I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I was just . . . thinking.” I twisted my napkin between my fingers. “Sometimes I’m a little annoyed with you, or I want to talk about things, and instead, we end up in bed.” I jerked my head back toward the living room. “Or on the sofa, as the case may be.”

“So you feel as though you’re using sex to avoid conversation?” Nicky took a long drink of his water. “Or that somehow, I’m subtly re-directing us down that path, rather than discussing our problems?”

“Well, when you put it that way, not exactly,” I admitted. “I was just musing that we have a lot of sex.”

“And thank God for that,” he replied fervently. “I like that about us. It works for me.”

“I’m hardly complaining, either.” I shrugged. “But I just came home, preoccupied about a situation at work, and instead of telling you all about it, I asked you to, you know.” I rolled my hand. “Do what you did for me.”

“I’d do it again.” Nicky winked, and then his expression faded into something more serious. “Do you want to tell me about whatever happened at work? You know, I’m more than happy to listen to you. Any time.”

I considered. “Not really. It’s probably nothing, just my over-active imagination at play. I think I’m so worried about not doing a good job at Honey Bee, at the prospect of letting down Honey now that my focus is split, that I tend to see problems where none exist.”

“Do you need to cut back on your engagements for the Queen, so that you feel better about your job?” Nicky slid his salad bowl aside and reached for the takeaway containers.

“No.” I shook my head emphatically. “I like doing both. I’m actually not doing badly at juggling both.”

“Okay, then.” He scooped a healthy portion of penne onto his plate. “Here’s my take on everything. We’re newlyweds. Not only that, we’re newlyweds who spent a long time apart during our courtship, because of the whole you-living-in-America deal, while I was here in Britain. So we’re not only expected to be having lots of sex as a couple who are just married, but we’re also making up for lost time.”

I laughed. “All right, then. I feel totally justified now.”

“Plus, sex is an expression of the depth of love I feel for you, Ky. I never want you to doubt that love. I’m male, and it’s my favorite way to show you how much I care.”

“Now that is something I can run with.” I reached across the table and linked my fingers with Nicky’s. “Thank you, sweetheart. I feel much better now.”

He nodded. “Would you feel even better if we followed up this healthy discussion with some vigorous romping in the sheets?”

I rolled my eyes, but I couldn’t hold back the wide grin that curved my lips. “You’re incorrigible, Prince Nicholas.”

My husband waggled his brows at me. “I am, indeed. But that wasn’t a no.”

Digging into my pasta, I heaved a long, happy sigh. “You’re right. It wasn’t a no. It was more like a . . . convince me to say yes.” I paused. “After I enjoy my dinner, that is. And maybe after we cuddle a little and catch up with each other’s days.”

Nicky nodded. “I get it. Priorities.”

As it happened, that night we didn’t, uh, romp in the sheets as my husband had phrased it so eloquently. But we did end the evening wrapped in each other’s arms, content.

And that was perfect bliss, in its own way.

 

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Why football romance?

 

Not everyone is aware of this, but until recently, sports romance was not considered a viable literary genre. In the old days–think ten years ago–the thought was that women didn’t want to read romance that featured men who played sports or women who loved sports.

That, of course, is ridiculous. These days, more than half of the viewing audience of any given NFL game is female–and advertisers know that. Just look at the demographics of most ads that run on TV during Sunday games, not to mention Monday and Thursday Night Football.

So why NOT football romance is probably the better question!

For me, personally, football has always been a passion. It was something I shared with my dad. He passed down to me a love of Army football, in particular. My dad and my husband both graduated from West Point. Army is my one constant in college football love; I’ve been cheering on Army as long as I can remember, and no matter what, I’ll be an Army fan until I die.

#GOARMYBEATNAVY

And there’s just something about a romance that happens against the backdrop of football that gives me an extra thrill. I’m not alone. Sports romance as a genre is h o t.  We like the teams, the ambiance of the game, the thrill of competition–oh, and we love the players.

I always knew I wanted to write football romance, so tackling the Keeping Score series was a pure labor of love. The story began with Leo, Quinn and Nate and then continued with Tate, Gia, Tuck and Zelda. Next will come Gideon and Sarah–and then a spin-off college football series.

Your Wildest Dreams, which releases tomorrow, is the book only peripherally related to the game, even though football plays a huge role in the story line. Eli Tucker might not be on the field anymore, but football is still a constant in his life.

Right now, the entire Keeping Score series is on special at Apple Books. The prequel, Young, and Book 1, When We Were Us, are both free this week. Hanging By A Moment, Book 2, is only 99 cents. Days of You and Me, Book 3, is $1.99. And finally, Not Broken Anymore, Book 4, is $2.99.

Of course, Your Wildest Dreams releases tomorrow!

So go get your football romance on! The Keeping Score series page is right here.

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like . . . Christmas Romance!

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And join us on Thursday, October 25th, for the big holiday party!

Twelve bestselling and award-winning authors each bring you a sexy night of romance, fun and a little magic. ‘Tis the season for falling for the right guy! Can a magical fruitcake be the special ingredient for falling in love?

**‘Tis the season for giving, too!** 20% of the proceeds will be donated to the hunger relief organization Feeding America

December 25: “Scrooge You” by MK Schiller Christmas is nothing but a reminder of Eva’s tragic past. To make matters worse, her boyfriend invites his entire family over…so she goes into Scrooge mode. When three ghosts visit her, will she be able to remember the joy in her heart and the true meaning of Christmas?

December 26: “Unexpected Daddy” by Gemma Brocato She let him go to pursue his dreams without telling him she was pregnant. Five years later, he’s back in town and her secret’s out. Can they get over past hurts to seize a future for their small family?

December 27: “The Meant to Be Girl” by Tawdra Kandle When Ashley Webbar meets Zane Fletcher, it’s insta-lust, but she soon suspects he’s already smitten with someone else. Ashley is so busy matchmaking that she might miss out on her own happily-ever-after…if something doesn’t intervene first. This just might call for a Christmas miracle.

December 28: “For One Night Only” by Carrie Elks When two strangers are stranded at a rest stop in the middle of Nowheresville—thank you, Mr. Bus Driver—they’re forced to spend the night together. But when morning comes, they both find themselves asking one question. Will they see each other again, or was their connection for one night only?

December 29: “Best Friends for a Night” by Alice Gaines Every year, Steve has been cheering up his army buddy’s widow with popcorn and zany movies on the anniversary of her husband’s death. Will a little holiday magic make Steve and Hannah more than friends?

December 30: “Entwined” by Kristi Rose Donovan survived combat, but can he survive being stranded over Christmas with the girl of his dreams? He swore he’d stay away from his best friend’s kid sister years ago, but after a helicopter crash, this sailor knows second chances don’t come around often. Loving Bailey would mean risking not only his friendship but his heart.

December 31: “Rekindled” by Stacy Finz Branna and Drex are over…or at least they thought they were. But a little time trapped in an enclosed space with a magical fruitcake might just change that.

January 1: “New Year’s Negotiation” by Kate Allenton When Detective Elizabeth Cross’s high school crush and star of her what-ifs shows up at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve ready to take her on a trip down memory lane, she’ll have to decide if this is a second chance at her happily ever after or the start of another broken heart.

January 2: “Playing House” by Kim Golden Cassie Delk isn’t having the best holiday season. With her ex-husband about to get remarried, she’s not thrilled about still being single. The last thing she expects is for a second chance at love to turn up on her doorstep.

January 3: “Book of Love” by Cd Brennan Nothing infuriates Melanie more than the one-armed, ex-army hunk who chucks her mail at her book shop door. When Nick delivers a special package at the end of the day, a blizzard strands them together, and the fruitcake delivery sparks magic between them instead. Melanie isn’t sure what she wants to give him—a piece of her mind or all of her heart.

January 4: “A Winter Wonderland” by Rebecca Hunter Coming face to face with Jace after ten years is a reminder of everything Selena left behind when she moved from Delilah’s Cove. It’s even more dangerous when mixed with a little magic.

January 5: “Wild Honey” by Sarah Hegger Two people who couldn’t be more different. One elevator, a dark and stormy night, and a magical, bourbon-laced fruitcake. What could go right?  

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The Career Soldier Collection Goes Wide!

 

These are the men of the 94th ID. They fight with honor, they defend their nation and their brothers fiercely, and when they love, they do it with single-minded passion.

Maximum Force

Max Remington has never been anything but a soldier. The oldest son in a family that served our nation for generations, he’d never considered any other path. The army is his life, his home and his one true love.

Until he meets Samantha Crewe.

Temporary Duty

Kade Braggs grew up wild and free, surfing on a California beach without much ambition, until an impulsive decision led him into joining the Army. What started out as a joke turned into a career, and now he’s a company commander, leading several platoons of soldiers. Still, Kade does it all on his own terms; he plays as hard as he works, and having a good time is non-negotiable.

Until he meets Leah Samson.

Hitting the Silk

Once upon a time, Delia Rollins was an Army wife, until the unthinkable happened. Now as a young widow and school teacher, she’s vigilant about protecting her heart. Her number one rule for the future? No more military men in her life. She can’t handle the risk.

Until she meets Shaw Kincaid.

Zone of Action

Jake Robinson is the most easy-going soldier in his battalion. For the last few months, he’s been watching his friends find love, commitment and even babies . . . but he knows that path isn’t for him. Been there, done that and got the scars to prove it.

Until he meets Harper Drummond.

Damage Assessment

When a freak accident seriously injures Derek McTavis, he’s afraid that his Army career might be over. Even after he returns to Fort Lee, he has a hard time recovering and returning to his old lifestyle, despite the encouragement and support of his friends.

And then he meets Tasha O’Hare.

Scheme of Maneuver

Owen Hughes is an enigma among his friends. He’s a man of few words, and although he enjoys his share of fun with women, he’s never found anyone worth making an effort to pursue. With all of his friends now married or in committed relationships, Owen feels like a lone wolf, the last man standing. He’s not sure if that makes him a hero or a loser.

And then he meets Jacey.

Get your copy today!


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