I have a couple of nicknames at school. Sometimes I’m called the Dress Code Nazi, sometimes the Hall Nazi. In truth, I tend to be both. Why? Because I think rules are important, and I tend to see each and every time a student breaks one.
I hear every single f-bomb. I see every in appropriate skirt. You’ve got a shirt with a double entendre, I’m the one who’s going to catch it. Our students are not allowed to wear hats or have their hoods up. Whenever I walk down the hall, the boys act like Pavlov’s dogs, jerking off their hats or slamming down their hoods the same way those puppies would drool. They know I’ll catch them.
Why do we have rules? To prevent chaos. At least that’s what I tell the students. Funny thing is that where writing is concerned, I never—I repeat never—follow the rules.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am very strict about rules concerning grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Ask any of my critique partners or the entrants I’ve judged in contests, they’ll let you know exactly how strict I am. I’m also very deliberate in my word choices, not wanting to leave the interpretation open to semantics. Where I tend to think the rules have the potential to ruin the book is when there are too many rules about the story itself.
Let me give you an example. Rules of the Game (ironic title, right?) was a book a lot of people told me I would never sell. Why? Because the heroine, Maddie, is a romance writer. The publishing rules supposedly say that no editor wants to buy a book where the protagonist is an author.
Really? Why the heck not? So I broke that rule. I asked an editor I know from Twitter whether a story about an author was dead before it was even born. She told me absolutely not, and she asked to see it. Then she bought it. I’m very proud to say that Rules of the Game won the HOLT Medallion for best novel with strong romantic elements.
Another example is the supposed rules that no readers want to buy books with older heroines. Says who? So I broke that rule, too. Several times, as a matter of fact. Women over thirty still fall in love and still need romance in their lives. I’m not about to let some silly “rule” deprive them of books with older heroines, nor am I going deny myself the fun of writing them. Turning Thirty-Twelve has Jackie, whose forty-second birthday celebration opens the story. Grace in Saving Grace is thirty-nine. To heck with that “rule”!
Despite what my school nicknames imply, I’m actually a rule breaker in the first degree. All I ask is that you never tell my students.
For the fans of Jennifer Probst, Ruth Cardello and Jill Shalvis, comes a series about love, friendship, and lunch!
When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Juliana Kelley tells the Ladies Who Lunch that her life needs an overhaul . . . and gets a whole lot more than she wished for.
Juliana has spent thirteen years in the same teaching job. She’s ready to dive into a new career with both feet . . . when a run-in with the hottest man she’s ever seen knocks her head over heels. But with her failed marriage to a fellow teacher fresh on her mind, Jules can’t afford to lose herself in a relationship-no matter how perfect it may seem.
Connor Wilson has hit rock bottom when he loses his career as a top-notch Realtor because of a large gambling debt. Now, in a small town he finds a fresh start-and a gorgeous redhead who sparks new life into him. Together they start a successful real estate company, but when pleasure sneaks into the business, they’ll have to decide what they can let go . . . and what they can’t live without.
Word count: 75,000-85,000
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Genre - Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG-13
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