Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Aloha to Amanda Berry and HIS SMALL-TOWN SWEETHEART

Writing: A Solo Effort?
By Amanda Berry

I know for a lot of people writing seems like a very solitary venture. They imagine us writers sitting in our office with our computers. A cup of coffee steaming beside us as we wrestle to put the visions in our heads into cohesive words that other people can follow. We may take a break to stare longingly at the sunshine just beyond our reach through the window. Before we return our gaze to the words jumbled up on the page.

While that might be the pretty (or not so pretty) vision of writers, it’s pretty far from the reality for me. First off I generally sit in a recliner with my laptop. Office chairs tend to cause back aches and hip aches for me. And I never fail to have company. Whether it’s our Jack Russell beagle mix, Lucy, trying to squeeze her 22 lb body on my legs behind my computer without taking the whole recliner down with her, or the constant battle between old grumpy cat Toby or young crazy cat Shade trying to vie for warmth and position in front of the keyboard on my stomach, an animal is never far from me while I write.

Then there is the internet. Sure I do the whole Facebook is on in the background and I’ve even occasionally had Twitter up too, but there are all these writers from everywhere in the world that I can connect with in the touch of a button. I’m constantly chatting with my BFFs in St. Louis, Shawntelle Madison and Jeannie Lin, along with Stephanie Draven up north. We have a Google hangout just for us that’s always open on my desktop. We even have a book coming out in May, This Wedding is Doomed, that we all contributed to.

When I really need to buckle down, I’ll head into one of the many chat rooms where writers get together to “sprint” their books. We set a timer and you have to write until the timer goes off. No one gets chastised for not working (we all do it), but you do get praise for any progress (very motivating). And you know you aren’t writing alone, which makes things even easier.

Creating characters can definitely make you feel not alone as you spend time crafting words that would naturally flow from characters that may not be anything like you. In His Small-Town Sweetheart, Nicole is a talker. I can be a talker when given the right dosage of caffeine and/or alcohol, but I try to sit back and think about what I say before saying it (this doesn’t always work, but I do try). Sam is closer to me, but just a little bit more reluctant to say anything. These characters do come to life for us and in doing so writers hope they come to life for the readers as well.

While we are the only ones putting words on the page, writers don’t have such a lonely job after all.

Vintage typewriter from the Annapolis Bookshop

Best Friends…Forever

Twenty years ago, Nicole Baxter left the only home she knew—and the boy who shared all her secrets. Now, with nowhere else to go, she's back in Tawnee Valley to figure out her next move—and cry on her old friend Sam Ward's shoulder. Except the gentle dreamer has become a brooding loner who's gearing up to sell the place he loves most.

When Nikki moved away, Sam lost the best friend he ever had. The beautiful, elegant woman who comes home is a world away from the tomboy with pigtails and skinned knees. And he's no longer the dreamy kid who believes in happy endings. Until Nikki starts to convince him they share the same dream: a future together right here in their own backyard…

Amazon link
Barnes and Noble link

Between walking her Jack Russell-beagle mix, petting her two cats and driving her two kids all over creation, Amanda Berry writes contemporary romance novels (thanks to a supportive husband). A Midwest girl stuck in the wetlands of South Carolina, she finds inspiration in her small-town upbringing.


I am giving away a book choice from my convention to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Other than reading, do you engage in any solitary activities?  How about group activities?  I ride my exercise by myself but I like to walk with my kids.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, January 24, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, January 25.


Kim in Baltimore 
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Mills and Boon Cover


  1. I exercise by myself and often go to the movies in a group.

  2. I try to be good about doing the treadmill. I like to bake. Group activities are basically getting together with friends or going out with husband and friend.

  3. I like to quietly work on my crafts by myself. Going out for coffee with friends is always fun.

  4. Reading is about the only thing I do on my own... Everything else usually involves my kids or husband. Though I do try to get to the bookstore once a month by myself :)

  5. Either walking or going to the shopping.

  6. Apart from reading, I love going to the library by myself. I love to wander along the romance aisles and admire all the beautiful books. I also look for new releases that I've heard about.

  7. When I want to get something finished quickly I tend to do that by myself, but sometimes it's nice to have company and chat while shopping. I definitely prefer company when having a meal out.

  8. I visit the library on my own. I cook on my own & I ride my bicycle by myself. I watch old movies that are really old and fun, even though my family doesn't agree. I knit scarfs and hats & I write in my journal every day.

  9. I'm on my computer a lot so tht would be my solitary pleasure - I also bowl in a league and we do lunch, go to the movieswith a
    group once a month and lunch, belong to a card club, a bocci league in the summer and game night in the winter at our American Legion.

  10. I have a book group on fb. Solitary activities watching horror movies unless my daughter comes over to join me. Hubby doesn't care for them.

  11. I like doing things by myself....walking, shopping, spending time at home alone. I like going out with a few friends for lunch, and I do not mind group activities but they aren't something I would want to go to all the time.

  12. Being an introvert, it is much easier for me to do things by myself. I do enjoy getting together for lunch with a couple of friends every now and then, though.

  13. I love to listen music,but also I love to spend time with my family :)

  14. Play games with the family and exercise by myself! :-)

  15. I do like to exercise in the early morning by myself but I enjoy shopping with the family.