My Ultimate Crush: Rob Lowe

Happy Monday everyone! This week’s Ultimate Crush is by Carina Press author, Lynda Aicher and we have to say, it is just so lovely! Enjoy! 

Growing up, my ultimate crush was Rob Lowe. I loved that man and his posters covered my walls. I thought he was absolutely the most gorgeous man and watched every movie or show he was in. He was “The One” of my teenage years.

As I matured (way matured) I’ve come to realize that my ultimate crush still has the same facial characteristics that I latched onto with Mr. Lowe. The strong square jaw, high forehead, easy smile, stunning eyes and shorter hair—that is my man.

I’ve also grownup enough to realize that it takes a lot more than looks to make a man worthy of crushing on. Now, my ultimate crush has those looks, is confident and sure, but backs it all with a tenderness he isn’t afraid to show.

He is caring of others, nice to children and grandparents. He laughs openly and knows how to laugh at himself. He touches a lot, small strokes or brushes when he’s near. He’s in good health but not obsessed about staying fit. He does little things to make my life easier or to see me smile. He isn’t perfect—not by a long shot, but he also doesn’t claim or try to be.

Fictional or real, my ultimate crush is a man who is strong while remaining gentle.

*Sigh* We couldn't agree more with @LyndaAicher and what about that Rob Lowe!
Tweet or comment below and let us know what you think about
this week's Ultimate Crush!

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Sunday Writing Inspiration!

Read, write, inspire & share!


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Weekend Writing Tip: Elizabeth Mazer

This weekend, Love Inspired Associate Editor Elizabeth Mazer is here to tell you all about how to write the perfect proposal!

Enjoy, and happy writing!

The Sold Editors x

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It’s #WritingChallenge time!

We hope you’ve all been enjoying entering our #WritingChallenges as much as we’ve been enjoying reading them – we’ve been so impressed with the quality (and quantity!) of the responses!

So, after a couple of challenges that have focused on the darker moments in your potential story, we thought it was high time to have a more upbeat one!

Drum roll please for this weekend’s #WritingChallenge….

What’s the most embarrassing scenario in which your heroine could run into her ex, the hero?

Have fun with it, and we’ll be checking back in on Monday to give our feedback!

Happy Writing!
The Sold editors x

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Interview with… RaeAnne Thayne

RaeAnne Thayne first sold to Harlequin in 1998. Her Silhouette Intimate Moments debut was The Wrangler and The Runaway Mom and since then, she has written 48 books.
Don’t miss RaeAnne’s next book, Redemption Bay, out July 2015!

Follow RaeAnne on Twitter and Facebook!


1. What book first got you hooked on Harlequin?
I started reading Harlequin Romances extensively when I was about 12 years old. I can’t pinpoint one specific book but my favorite authors back then were Betty Neels and Margaret Way. When I was in high school, my best friend’s older sister bought all the Harlequin Presents books and would kindly let me borrow them when she was done (lucky me!).

2. How did you celebrate selling your first manuscript?
We went out to a seafood dinner. I remember sitting in the restaurant with my husband and our five-year-old daughter and feeling like the luckiest person in the place. How many people in that restaurant actually knew what it was for a dream to come true?

3. Which of the many books you’ve written has stayed with you the most and why?
This is so hard to answer! I truly love each one of my books and the characters seem like old and dear friends. I loved Saving Grace, which was my first RITA finalist and I also have a special place in my heart for Blackberry Summer, which was my first single title book after nearly forty category romances for Intimate Moments, Special Edition and Bantam Loveswept.

4. What’s top of your TBR pile?
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

5. What’s harder – first or last lines?
Last lines are definitely harder for me. How to you wrap up 90,000 words in the perfect way that will make readers want to come back for more? I struggle a great deal with them, usually in a panic because of an all-consuming deadline, and I usually end up with something I’m not a hundred percent thrilled with – though when I re-read the book during the edit stage, the endings always seem to work, somehow.

6. How do you choose your characters’ names?
The main characters’ names often just come to me. A name I like or something I’ve heard. For secondary characters, I sometimes turn to the phone book. :) Recently I’ve found an app called NameShake that is amazing. I can punch in nationality, gender, etc. and it will keep spilling out names until I find one I like.

7. How do you push through writer’s block?
The only way possible – by forcing my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard. I write, even if it is horrible dreck that I end up tossing out later. Usually in that dreck, I can find a nugget or two or three that I end up keeping. I follow the Nora Roberts school – I can fix crap but I can’t fix a blank page.

8. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever had?
I’ve had so many great mentors along the way, I’m not sure I can narrow it down to one thing. My dear friend Nicole Jordan pushed me to try my hand at writing single titles about six years ago and I’m deeply grateful to her for that. My agent suggested I set a series in a bead store, something I never would have imagined without that suggestion and now I’m an avid beader (of the obsessed variety, actually!). Years ago, my best friend in high school was always telling me I should write a romance novel some day because I loved them so much.

9. Your preferred writing snack?
Pistachios. A few go a long way and they give energy along the way.

10.Who is your favourite fictional couple?
Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

11. If you could rewrite your life, what would you change?
I would have travelled more when I was young, before I had kids that made it tough to get away as much as I would like. My husband and I are both avid travellers but our kids have this pesky thing called school.

12. What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I was once caught in a flash flood in Morocco (see above note about my love of travel … though that experience did make me reconsider!).

13. What is your most overused word?
Probably “but”. I always seem to find the “but”.

14. If I wasn’t a romance author, I would have liked to be
A teacher.

15. When was the last time you said ‘I love you’?
About ten minutes ago to our daughter on Skype.

16. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Before I became a writer, I might have said reading but I consider that absolutely necessary to the creative process now. If I had to choose something, I would probably have to say beading. I could spend hours at it when I know I should be writing. And don’t get me started on how much time and money I spend buying more beads than I can ever use.

17. What’s your most romantic song?
An old one, Dan Fogelberg’s Longer.

18. Every hero needs a… quest.

What a lovely Interview with… RaeAnne Thayne! One thing’s for sure… we’re so glad RaeAnne got such fab career advice, we love her books! Have you got a RaeAnne Thayne favorite? Tweet @RaeAnneThayne or comment below and let us know! 

Happy writing! 

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Advice From The Archives: What About S-E-X?

It feels like a long time since our last Advice From The Archives but fear not! We’re back this week with a topic we know you’ve all been waiting for! This fabulous post is from the 2011 New Voices competition and sure to help you create some powerful scenes between your hero and heroine… enjoy! 

There’s an area of romance that we don’t tend to discuss as often as the necessity of having a gorgeous hero – and that’s the nitty gritty of the sex scenes.  I think most people would agree that sex is an important part of any relationship, no matter whether we see it on the page or not, or before or after marriage. We at Romance HQ think there’s nothing better than a really great, utterly compelling sex scene between two fantastic characters we care about, but sometimes sex in romance books can come across as less ‘caught in the throes of passion’ and more ‘fumble between the sheets’!

When done poorly sex scenes in a book can be embarrassing, hysterically funny (everyone likes giggly sex, but laughing-out-loud for the wrong reasons does tend to kill the mood…) or, at worst, simply boring. But when sex scenes work they can be some of the most powerful and memorable parts of a romance. So how can you make sure your sex scenes stay steamy, not smutty?

It’s all about the chemistry A sex scene is hottest when it stems naturally from the building tension between your characters. Understanding why this sex scene is so special for these characters, whether it’s an unbelievably good one- night stand or the result of having held back and finally giving into their temptation – this is what will give the scene its impact. If your chemistry’s hot enough, your readers will be longing for the moment when the hero and heroine touch, so the sex scene will immediately be more powerful.

Know when enough is enough – It’s great to see that there’s heat between your characters, but if their time in bed is all they have then your readers might get jaded by repetition. Make sure that the sex continues to develop the relationship and has emotional implications for both the hero and heroine. After all, sex is complicated, and often leads to confusing, intricate emotions – exploring these will keep the sex scenes fresh and unique every time.

Don’t be coy – It’s easy to pull your readers out of the story with over-flowery vocab. As we all know, sex is very rarely a case of one touch and instant fireworks – if one touch is enough then the tension between your characters beforehand needs to be unbelievably intense to keep it realistic! Don’t feel that you have to dress up the scene in euphemisms – sometimes keeping it simple will allow the emotion and passion to shine through.

Most importantly… sometimes less is more! We get loads of questions about how many sex scenes we want in a story, what level of detail there should be, but the truth is – it doesn’t matter! Every relationship is different because every character is, or should be, unique. The quality of their chemistry is what will determine how hot your romance is, not the level or amount of graphic description. Some of the sexiest stories around leave the bedroom door closed!

Don’t be afraid to explore the chemistry between your characters – it’s the only way you’ll be able to create truly sensational (and sensual) sex scenes between them! Keyboards and pens at the ready… give this advice a whirl when you’re next writing and let us know how you get on!

And don’t forget – if you have a question about your manuscript that you’re wrestling with, or have been given feedback that you’d like more clarity on, drop us a line at and we’ll answer your query on the next ‘Dear Editor’ feature!

Happy writing! :)

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I Sold My Book!

AliWritingFrom #BlazeBlitz to Harlequin Blaze’s newest author – congratulations to the fabulous Ali Olson!

Having heard about #BlazeBlitz on SYTYCW—an opportunity to get feedback on my writing from real Harlequin Blaze editors—I eagerly submitted my synopsis and the first chapter of my book, Vegas Passion!

Ten days later, I got an email in my inbox requesting the full manuscript, which I sent in after a few tweaks.

Weeks went by. I tried not to think about it too much, but it nagged at the back of my mind. Would they like it?

Finally, we come to Tuesday of last week. I was teaching, just like any other regular weekday morning. After getting my students working, I glanced at my computer quickly to see if I had any new texts (yes, teachers are guilty of checking messages during class, just like students) and I had one from my husband. All it said was, “Want some amazing news?”

Of course I did. Who doesn’t want amazing news? I messaged back asking what the news was, and he teased me with a hint: there had been a missed phone call from Canada.

My heart sped up—I’ve read enough SOLD blog posts to know who might be calling me from Canada. After a few moments of frantic typing, he shared the good news.  An editor named Johanna had left a voice mail asking me to call her back!

I wanted to call immediately, but I had a class full of students. It took some effort, but I managed to control the impulse to bolt out the door and call back in the hallway. I resigned myself to waiting the nearly four hours until lunch.

Those hours were spent with a constant litany running through my head: “They wouldn’t call just to reject my book, would they? But that doesn’t mean they want to print Vegas Passion, either. Maybe they have some questions about it, or are interested but need some huge changes that may be too daunting. Or maybe I dreamt those texts and none of this actually happened at all.”

Suffice it to say, those probably weren’t my best teaching moments ever.

I’m a patient person, but this was almost too much for me. Finally lunch came, and as the last student walked out, I ran to my phone, typing in the number with hands that were literally shaking (and I’m an English teacher, so when I use literally, I mean it!). I begged my phone to please please please work—my cell phone is not exactly top-of-the-line, and it sometimes has trouble with phone calls.

No luck. Tried again… It got through! But Johanna couldn’t hear me, and I had to hang up. Argh! In a panic, I ran to the room next door and begged the teacher there to lend me her phone.

I was FINALLY able to talk to Johanna, and she told me that Harlequin Blaze wanted to print my book! I proceeded to bounce around this other teacher’s classroom and giggle into the phone for a few minutes while Johanna tried to tell me things that I’m sure are important but are now a blur despite my attempts to focus.

I eagerly shared the good news with my husband, mom, sister, mother-in-law, friends, other teachers, strangers, my cats, and pretty much anyone else who would listen. I felt a glow that lasted for days, and I’m still in a bit of disbelief. It’s not every day you get The Call!

Congratulate Ali on Twitter and her blog, and look out for her Harlequin debut in early 2016!

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Sunday Writing Inspiration!

Wise words to get you writing.
Write, share & enjoy!

Nelson Mandela Large

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My Ultimate Crush: Jamie Fraser (Yes, again)

We’re back this week with a Special Sunday Ultimate Crush by a member of the Jamie-Fraser-appreciation club, especially designed for everyone who has been eagerly awaiting today’s release of the next installment of Outlander! Because we know it’s not just us… Stepping up to the mic this week is… Harlequin Historical author Sophia James! 

My Ultimate Crush… is Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Why? Because…

1. He’s a man of the 18th century with a world view from that time that is whole and intact. His core characteristics are never compromised by 21st century understandings. I think that is vital to make a historical believable.

2. He’s a clever man with a wide outlander 2and eclectic education. He uses this often to make sense of his world in a logical and rational manner. He uses quotes from the Bible, books, poets, bards and philosophers and they never seemed forced on him by the author but come organically from the story itself.

3. He is a leader of men with a religious and moral bent. He takes on responsibility without complaint. Strong but fair he is also not perfect. He angsts over some decisions but once he makes a decision he sticks to it without waiver.

outlander 44. He falls in love with one woman and loves her all of his life. Completely with body and soul.

5. There is a sense of mystery and danger about James Fraser that keeps a reader guessing. He is on the one hand fair, generous and honest and on the other brutal and dangerous. But he never kills without good reason and he accepts his flaws without excuse.

6. The author has used a series of words particular to James Fraser and actions that are repeated often during the books. This helps the reader get a deeper knowledge of his character.

7. Using layering Diana Gabaldon only gives us bits of his back story at first, a tantalizing technique that makes the reader want more.

8. His integrity and honesty are paralleled with the rampant dishonesty of politics in the time in which he lives.

9. His ‘unflagging joy’ is heart-warming and poignant given all the trials he has suffered. He maintains a sense of humor and honor in everything he does.

outlander 510. And none of the above mentions his physical beauty or prowess on a battlefield or in a bedroom.
James Fraser is a man who leaps off the page without remorse or apology, damaged but hopeful, a man of danger and integrity.  His deep point of view is largely missing in the first few books of the series but despite this the reader knows him, right to the very marrow of his bones. And loves him.

We hope you enjoyed your second Jamie Fraser related Ultimate Crush – we certainly did! And we promise… this won’t be the last you see of this delicious hero!   

Don’t miss: Wednesday’s Advice from the Archives!
Happy writing! :)

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Weekend Writing Tip: Kathryn Cheshire

This weekend, Kathryn Cheshire – Harlequin Historical’s Assistant Editor – gives you her top tip on how to bring your writing to vivid life!

Happy Writing!

The Sold Editors x

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