Saturday, August 07, 2010

Happy to be Home by Megan

Ahh, to be home again. The best thing about traveling away from my family is the homecoming. As much as I enjoy seeing new places and meeting writers and readers, I love being with my husband and children even more. Home is my personal but lesser-known Happiest Place.

However, I admit to having a great time while gone, too.
I returned from the Romance Writers of America conference in Orlando with some fun pix. That's me on the far right with Pooh,

my kids' favorite character when they were small. The other characters are Regan Loyd, Tigger, and Kimberly Killion. :)

And, okay, even I have to admit posing with a sign that says "The American Adventure" was kind of cheesey as an author for Harlequin American. lol But y'all know I'm a sentimental, hokey person.

--And don't look at my hat hair! Kim and Regan made me take off my "Wicked" hat for this one. ;)

During dinner with the American editors, Kathleen, Johanna and Laura, I met Barbara Daly and reconnected with Laura Bradford.

Here we are at the Harlequin party. I'm waiting for a pic of the dinner from someone else's camera, which I'll post on my FaceBook page.

And I got to say Hi again to sweet friend (and fellow Farmville buddy) Laura Marie Altom at the RWA Literacy signing. Laura made me feel welcome back in 2007 at my first Harlequin American get-together, when I was totally intimidated being in a room with authors I'd read and loved. As a newly contracted author with no book, no title, no release date, I kept waiting to get tossed out on my keister as a party-crasher. I'll always remember the kindness of the people in that room, especially Laura and Cathy McDavid. (For some reason, I can't figure out how to post the pic of me and Laura, so head to my FaceBook page for that one too. It's there now.)

Now I return home, spend time with the family and start a new book! Life doesn't get much better than this.

Megan Kelly

Friday, August 06, 2010

What to Look for in a Series Romance

Our own assistant editor, Laura Barth, is a final round judge in the Gateway to the Best contest, which is put on by MORWA, my home chapter in St. Louis. While this could sound like a blatant plug for people to enter, I also thought it would be interesting to read what Laura looks for in a submission. Those interested in entering the contest can visit MORWA at to read about the contest rules and details (like multiple entries being discounted half-price!).
LAURA says: "The most important elements when considering a contemporary series submission are fit, voice, conflict, characterization, and freshness."
If it fits the line for which it's submitted, she then looks at "the author's voice and writing style. The prose should be smooth, clear and natural. The tone should be right for the story and the author should engage the reader without intruding into the story."
And we all know the characters are key to making a story work. Laura says, "The hero and heroine must ultimately be likable and believeable. I want to see a heroine who can stand on her own but be vulnerable and human enough to make me care about her plight. I want to see a hero who's masculine but self-aware and mature enough to show compassion and concern for others."
Sounds like every woman's dream man!
She wants a compelling conflict that's "organic"--it comes from the story rather than the author. It isn't based on misunderstandings and coincidences. And of course, there must be internal as well as external conflicts.
"Finally, it can be difficult, to say the least, to come up with a totally original story for a romance novel and still have it fit within the parameters of your line. But your approach still needs to be fresh." She suggests giving your story "a new twist" to make it stand out from the crowd.
And y'all thought writing was easy? LOL Well, somedays yes, somedays not so much.
The Gateway also has other categories for non-series writers. Deadline is September 10th, so check it out now.
Megan Kelly

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Monthly Recipes - On the Road!

Good morning from Louisville, Kentucky! I'm on a road trip with fellow writer friend Rebecca Russell. Last night we ate local specialties at B.B. King's restaurant on Beale Street in Memphis, TN. Tonight we ate at one of my favorite places, Captain's Quarters, on River Road overlooking the Ohio River. Tomorrow I'm going to foodie haven Lynn's Paradise Cafe in Louisville, which has been featured several times on Food Network.

The reason I'm telling you this is because I don't have a specific recipe to post right now. I'm going to post some photos and details of the recipes used by Lynn's Paradise Cafe later today. Please bear with me as I make this fun and food-oriented road trip from Dallas, TX, to Louisville, Indianapolis, and finally to Carey, Ohio before returning to Dallas next week. (I might even have a report on the food from Careyfest, a local custom in Rebecca's hometown.){91BC1D57-EE40-4291-B151-448DCB226FCD}&DE={B25FF5BD-802A-4D2F-9ED2-3917B97D82A6} See you later!

Monday, August 02, 2010


Congratulations Varina M!! You're the July winner. Please contact Marin Thomas, Lee McKenzie and Laura Bradford through their websites for your free books. To enter the contest simply post to the American blog and your name will go into the drawing. Good luck and thank you for participating in the Harlequin American blog.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Corn Is as High as a Novelist’s Eye…

I’m not really growing corn this summer, because as some of you may recall from a few months ago, we have raccoons poking about and I hear they love corn. Best not to tempt fate.

But we do have vegetables. Boy, do we. Stuff is growing way higher than any decent vegetable ought to. Even the acorn squash … misled by the term winter squash, I figured it took months to ripen, and wasn’t ready to cook till fall.

Instead, I’m microwaving the stuff till I’m green in the face. Acorn squash with butter and salt. Acorn squash with brown sugar. Acorn squash with maple syrup.

Being always in search of new and delicious recipes that use my summer vegetables, I am going to share with you the latest really tasty one I’ve come across (and already forgotten where I found it … sorry, Internet chefs. Anyway, I made a few key changes).

It’s called Sweet and Sour Zucchini.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cayenne pepper, minced (optional)
½ cup chopped, seeded tomato
4 cups sliced zucchini
1 cup thin-sliced onion
½ cup chicken bouillon (or chicken stock)
2 tbsps. sugar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. cider vinegar

Sautée the garlic, onion, pepper and tomato for a few seconds. Add the zucchini and bouillon. Cover and cook for five minutes.
Separately, mix together the soy sauce, sugar and vinegar. Blend these into the zucchini mixture and serve.

This is great over rice because the sauce is so tasty.

Oh, if you're wondering about the acorn squash: Cut it in half (carefully -- it's tough) and scoop out the seeds. Turn cut-side down on a plate or cutting board, cover and microwave for 5-6 minutes. Remove carefully -- don't burn yourself -- and turn it over. Score the interior with a fork and add either 1 tablespoon of butter plus salt, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, or 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Cover again and microwave another 5 minutes until deliciously soft and gooey.