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    Back Forever

    The sequel to 'Bring Me Back', out now. “Poignant, bittersweet and satisfying, Back Forever sustains the plausible fantasy-to-reality charm of Bring Me Back.”-Manic Readers

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    Hiding in the Spotlight

    David got the chart topping success. His best friend got it all. “Hiding in the Spotlight is a fun, fast, and sexy read!”-Scandlicious Book Reviews

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    Bring Me Back

    Winner, Turquoise Morning Press Reader's Choice Award. "Fast-paced, sexy, and altogether irresistible. A flat-out fabulous read!"-NYTimes Bestselling Author Celia Rivenbark

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    Erotic Romance

    Erotic Romances published by Ellora's Cave

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    Claire’s Diary

    The prequel to 'Bring Me Back'. Download the eBook for free!

whamPlease don’t assume that two Rock ‘n’ Roll High Schools this week means that I suddenly have my act together. I’m the Popeye of blogging…I blog when I blog and that’s all that I blog. (I know. It was a stretch.) Today’s FAB guest is British author Louise Bay. I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Louise’s brand new book, Hopeful, and immediately fell under the spell of her hero, Joel. If you like dreamy Brits (and you do if you read my blog–I require it!), and if you like my books, you will definitely enjoy Louise’s writing. Her RNRHS contribution is awesome as well, bringing Wham! back into our lives in a meaningful and super-relatable way. It makes me want to wiggle my hips (in a white skirt while being unflatteringly lit from behind) and recall the reasons I had a passing thing for Andrew Ridgeley. Perhaps the JT-esque blonde bangs coupled with the Stuart Copeland-esque tennis shorts? Always a lethal combination.

Louise Bay

UK, Class of 1991, Currently: I write sexy contemporary novels

Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: I was TOTALLY obsessed with Wham! when I first got to High School, up until they split about a year later in June 1986. We had family friends that lived about 20 miles away from where George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley grew up and went to school. My mother used to drive me around the area and past the school because I was desperate to spot them! She was the best mother ever for indulging me like that.

My favorite song from that time which I still love now, was ‘Boys of Summer’ by Don Henley. It’s such an awesome song. I’ve owned it on vinyl, CD and I’ve downloaded it. 1984 for a bumper year for pop music. In the UK it gets played every summer and hearing it on the radio every year I always get excited because it’s a sign summer’s here.

Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: My first poster of George Michael a friend gave me because it was all wrinkled. I took it home and ironed George Michael’s face.

Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: At the time, I didn’t get the bands that all the boys loved: The Cure, New Order, Madness etc. I LOVE all those bands now! What was I thinking?

Best show or concert you saw in high school: Well obviously, going to “The Final” (Wham!’s final concert) at the beginning of High School was a huge thrill, even if my Mum tagged along with me and my best friend! BUT right at the end of High School I got to see Prince. Anyone who has seen Prince knows he’s INCREDIBLE live. Fifteen years later I got to see him three times when he played 23 dates in London. I wish I could have gone to every single one. He was just as good as he was back in High School. He is my all-time favorite live performer.

Best high school make-out song: My first slow dance was to Spandau Ballet’s ‘True’. It was and is a great song but my dance partner had no rhythm and it was the 12’’ – I thought it would never end!

Hopeful CoverLouise Bay writes sexy, contemporary romance novels. Her latest, Hopeful, is out now. She loves the rain, the West Wing, London, days when you don’t have to wear make-up, being alone, being with friends, elephants and champagne. You can find out more about Louise and her books at louisebay.com.

johntaylor_0921Today’s RNRHS comes from Jennifer Gracen, romance author and all-around wonderful person. I first met Jen at the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York a few years ago, waiting in line with my critique partner, Karen Stivali, for the scariest thing an author can face–Pitch Slam. For those of you who don’t know about Pitch Slam, it’s a literary cattle drive involving long lines and a din of voices so loud you can’t remember the title of your own book, ending with you blurting out the fine details of the manuscript you’ve spent years perfecting for a leery and slightly bored literary agent. My fondest memories of that day involve a cowbell and copious sweating. Hanging out with Jen was an awesome distraction, as she’s friendly and easy to talk to. If only I hadn’t been so damned vague when I told her about the book I was pitching, which was Bring Me Back. I told her it was about a woman falling in love with the rock star she was obsessed with in high school. All true, but not particularly illuminating. I really should’ve specified that it was about an 80s, BRITISH rock star, and then gone on to explain that it was inspired by my own 80s teenage rock star crush, John Taylor. Then we would have discovered, in person, that we share one of the most powerful bonds two women can share–a mutual love of Duran Duran and of course, eternally hot JT. I’m sure there would have been much squealing.

Jennifer Gracen

Valley Stream South High School; Valley Stream, NY; Class of 1988, Currently: Mother, Writer, Copy Editor/Proofreader, & Social Media addict

Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: Duran Duran. I could say “Nuff said” after that, but there are so many. I was OBSESSED with music in my teens (still am, really) but 80s New Wave/Pop music and culture was my life. So… anyone who played at Live Aid? I loved them. Especially if they were British.

Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: My Duran Duran posters/records/pictures. I was a hardcore Duranie. John Taylor was my first consumingly huge crush. I’ve had a soft spot for bass players ever since. And JT is still hot as hell.

Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: The hair metal bands. Sooo not my thing. There were a few songs that I liked, but I could count them on one hand. I was a New Wave/Pop princess.

Confession: I was a full-fledged Madonna wannabe for 2 months in 1984. Went to school dressed like her, the full nine. Ah, memories… *shudders and laughs*

Best show or concert you saw in high school: U2 at Madison Square Garden, 1987, Joshua Tree tour. Need I say anymore? It was close to a religious experience. Closely followed by Sting at Radio City Music Hall, 1985, the Blue Turtles tour. Power Station at Jones Beach, summer of ’85, was memorable too, for the teen girl screaming factor.

Optional bonus question: Best high school make-out song: Spandau Ballet, “True” OR Depeche Mode, “Stripped”. (I plead the 5th on both selections.)

WH CoverJennifer Gracen writes contemporary romance and romantic women’s fiction. Her latest release is Winter Hopes, Book 2 in the Seasons of Love series. It’s available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and everywhere eBooks are sold. You can find out more about Jennifer and her books at jennifergracen.com.

 

My badge of honor will be a John Taylor button. Now to bedazzle him!

My badge of honor will be a John Taylor button. Now to bedazzle him!

With conference season in full-swing, I swear that every writer friend of mine has spent the last few months formulating pitches, cranking out synopses, and strategizing about which publishing house is best or which agent they think is the prettiest. They come home from a conference PUMPED, then they send out submissions and their inbox becomes their mortal enemy. Those of you playing at home can experience the misery, too. Just query a dozen agents and wait for the fun to begin. You’ll get a ride on a rickety roller coaster, the wooden kind that rocks from side to side and makes you regret that second corn dog like crazy. If you’re new at this, you get to go on the same ride, except you get to feel like you’re getting over the stomach flu. You need advice, you crave war stories. You want to know that there’s a teeny-tiny chance that this will be worthwhile.

The first novel I wrote is Bring Me Back. That book is and will always be my baby. It is Karen on a plate. I went through months and months of querying and submitting. I did my first in-person pitches with that book, which scared the crap out of me, even though it was so exciting to have an agent say to my FACE, “I’d like to see the full.” My final tally was 89 agent rejections, or non-answers, which are the worst–you always wonder if they ever got your submission in the first place. Note to agents: YOU WILL SAVE YOURSELF AND AUTHORS A LOT OF MISERY IF YOU USE AUTOREPLY. Thank you. I had an additional 5 publisher rejections and 1 acceptance, from Turquoise Morning Press, who went on to publish the book and its sequel, as well as (insert shameless plug here) my latest book, Hiding in the Spotlight.

Most authors have an awesome rejection story (which tells you what masochists we all are). A personalized rejection that said to you, “Oh my God. I’m on to something here.” Sure, it was a “no”, but it was an amazing “no” brimming with wonderful words about your writing. Followed by a “no”. I had two of those on Bring Me Back, the most memorable of which was from an agent who stayed up all night reading my book. She said she couldn’t put it down. It was by far her favorite slush-pile submission of the year, perfectly polished, with characters that stuck with her. BUT, she didn’t think she could sell it. It was too cross-genre, I was an unproven writer, and worst of all, Mercury was in retrograde. That was that.

I thanked her in the acknowledgments of my book, because even when I felt like quitting, that rejection told me to keep going.