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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Celebrating!

Once upon a time, I wrote a book . . . and then I wrote a bunch more. I published my very first book (FEARLESS) on December 6, 2011, about seven and a half years ago.
I remember the feelings I had, the trepidation, the anxiety–and then the inevitable let-down, because honestly, not much changed. I didn’t hit top lists or even sell more than a couple of copies. {Side note: there was good reason for that. I had no idea what I was doing, the cover sucked and I didn’t know from promotion and PR in those days!}
For subsequent releases, I had more realistic expectations. I didn’t wait for accolades and confetti; I did everything I could and hoped for the best, and that’s still been my philosophy.
But I have a confession: from the beginning, from that first book, I wanted the celebration. I wanted my family and friends to be excited for me. This was huge in my world! I wanted to go out to dinner, I wanted to talk with people who’d read the book, I wanted flowers and wine and  . . . well, recognition.
In the years between that debut and now, today, when my 75th book went live, I’ve gotten used to low-key releases. The positive part is that I don’t stress. I don’t worry. I know authors who need Valium to get through each new release day, and I’m glad I don’t. That being said . . .
I still want the celebration.
And that’s why today, this very morning, I had an epiphany. If I want the celebration, by gum, I’m going to make it myself. Today I’m not doing housework or hunkering down to hit my word count. Today, I’m going to treat myself to a leisurely bath. I’m going to read for pleasure. I’m going to eat something delicious for lunch, and when my family comes home, we’re going to have a celebratory dinner (they don’t know this yet).
What’s more, I’m not containing my celebration to only one day. No, sirree! Tomorrow, we’re having a family dinner to recognize that 75 releases is a damn good thing to appreciate. Thursday, I might go get a pedicure. On Friday, I’m taking the whole entire day completely off. And Saturday, I’m going to the beach.
I think that’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my fifties. We have to ask for what we need–and if no one else is going to supply that need, we have to be willing to do it ourselves.
Meanwhile, I want to recognize that YOU my amazing readers always make me feel special, loved, appreciated and yes, celebrated. My Temptresses especially post on release days, share the memes and pictures and tell their friends that they LOVE my books. All of you truly are my joy, and I thank you for that.
So celebrate with me this week. You deserve it, too! Watch on Instagram as I chronicle the celebrations . . . and tell me your favorite ways to mark special occasions. <3

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?

Live Now!

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Two new Career Soldier Books! Are you ready?

I have a super-fun surprise for everyone who loved the sexy six soldiers and their strong and sassy women in the first Career Soldier books.

The next two books are about to be released. Evergreen: A Career Soldier Christmas and Army Blue: A Career Soldier Wedding, will both go live on Tuesday, September 25th.

You can preorder the books on iBooks, Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Google . . . OR you can buy them now right here on my website.

But wait, there’s more! If you buy Army Blue on my web store, you’ll get a special bonus chapter won’t be available anywhere else. Ever.

Three more Career Soldiers will release in 2019, too. You’ll meet some of those characters in Army Blue.

So grab your copies now or place your preorders.

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Why West Point?

When I wrote SCHEME OF MANEUVER, the final book of the first six in the Career Soldier series, I realized fairly early in the process that Owen Hughes, the lead soldier, was a West Point grad. It was really only a matter of time that one of these soldiers would be a grad, after all; the Academy is such a part of my family and who I am that it would’ve been odder if I’d avoided idea. 

My dad and his roommate, my uncle Mitch, in the barracks

I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn’t know what West Point was. I can’t remember when Army wasn’t the football team closest to my heart. I can’t recall a time when I didn’t know what Duty-Honor-Country meant. My father had graduated in 1965, two years before I was born, and that was so much a part of him that it naturally became part of me.

When I was a teenager, my dad began to do some unofficial, volunteer recruiting for USMA. I became used to cadets visiting during breaks and holidays, as they often visited local high schools to speak about the Academy. When I was a sophomore in high school, a guy from a nearby high school started visiting my father to talk about attending West Point. They became friends after this kid was accepted to USMA; now he too came by during school holidays. 

Graduation, right after commissioning 
Ten days before our wedding!

And then one Christmas break, when I was a senior in high school, he asked me on a date. Little did I know that my entire life would changed based on that date . . . and that once again, West Point would play a huge role!

For the next two and a half years, I spent most weekends up at USMA. As a matter of fact, I think it’s probably fair to say I spent more time there than I did at my own college, University of Richmond. And there is no doubt that I’ve always felt more affinity

It wasn’t surprising, then, that Owen and Jacey decided to get married at West Point. I was excited about setting a book there, revisiting many of my old haunts and the places I’d heard about but could never see. Many of the experiences they have in the book were things that happened to me or to people I knew. Memories that Owen mentions are based on our own. 

My initiation into being
an Army wife

If you are not an Academy grad or the child of a grad or the wife of a grad, you can’t understand what it means to be connected to West Point. But I hope that Owen and Jacey’s story gives you a glimpse of the old gray home by the Hudson.

You can preorder ARMY BLUE on all vendors now–OR you can buy it right here from my webstore, Buy The Book. Buying it here means you not only get it early–you also get exclusive added content not available anywhere else!

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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