Category Archives: Plans

Lost Orphans News!

silhouette of person riding horse

Photo by Juanjo Menta on Pexels.com

Hello! Oh my gosh, what a busy year! From Sally’s Sailor in January to Lost Orphans coming out on Kindle December 3rd, I’ve been writing like crazy. If you’re a fan of my Oregon Trail series and haven’t tried my American West novels, why not? Tell me about it at lauralstapleton@yahoo.com because I do want to know.

What’s the difference between the Oregon Trail and the American West? Length and heat levels, mainly. I wanted the Trail stories to be as epic and intense as the landscape the settlers crossed. With the American West, my goal was short and sweet stories with happily ever afters. Some of my readers are working mothers, and I remember those busy days all too well. Since the second book in my American West-Orphan Train romances publishes next, let’s talk about that sub-series.

The Orphan Train romance subset of my American West series has been adorable to write. After visiting the Orphan Train Museum in Concordia, Kansas, and reading everything in there, I really had a sense of what the children went through. Of course, I write fiction, but I’ve based as much as possible on facts. I skimmed over the genuinely horrible conditions some children came from and went to because these are short and sweet romances. I feel like in my Oregon Trail series, I could be a lot grittier, but still be within what romance readers want in a story.

Every book I write is not only from my heart, but I also hope it touches readers’ hearts, too. My characters are real people to me, as real as any internet friend I haven’t met. If anything, I know my people so well that I forget to tell you everything about them. So, if you have questions about any of the characters in my books, email me! For some of them, like Nick Granville of Undeniable, I have an entire family tree worked out to one of my contemporary romantic suspense series. Also, if a character in one book reminds you of another in a separate story, they’re probably relatives of some sort. I love playing with genetics and family traits. I’ve come up with more fun stories with thinking, “Hey, doesn’t Joe have a cousin in Wyoming???” So, yes, Joe does have a cousin in Wyoming and I’ve probably written about him or her. If you like steamy contemporary romance, the VERY Manly series might have something you’ll enjoy.

What else is new? Lots! Let’s get to the newest book! Harry Donovan made a guest appearance as a bad guy of sorts in Last Train Home. Because I love nothing more than turning a bad guy good, he’s my hero in Lost Orphans. After all the grief he gave Jack and Alice in Last Train Home, he deserved a little torture before finding a second chance at true love in Lost Orphans.

When Harry Donovan became an adoption agent for the Orphan Train children, he’d been more accustomed to prosecuting criminals. But when his wife, Polly, died in a flu outbreak, he ignored everything except work, until his irresponsibility stared him in the face. Mollie Nelson had been helping the adopted children keep a terrible secret about their new parent’s deaths. Like Harry, she’d lost her spouse to illness. Now that the adoption agent is asking questions of the children and their secret guardian, can either adult ignore the blossoming love between them and do what’s best for the children?

Click here to read more. -> Lost Orphans.

Like potato chips or cupcakes, you can’t stop there! A friend of mine, Cat Cahill, has a new book out for Christmas, aptly titled Forever Christmas, book 5 in The Gilbert Girls series. Since my first two American West-Pony Express books went through Canon City, you know I already have Forever Christmas on my Kindle. Check out the description and see for yourself. It’s going to be a marvelous read.

Forever Christmas

Which is here -> Forever Christmas

A lonely cowboy. A young widow. A Christmas to remember.

Elizabeth Hartley Campbell arrives at the Crest Stone Hotel, widowed, and searching for the brother she hasn’t seen in seven years. Distraught to learn he’s left, she takes a job as a Gilbert Girl and befriends the other girls, finding comfort in helping the hotel prepare for Christmas.

Landon Cooper didn’t mean to stop at the hotel and stay longer than one night. After all, a job awaits him in Canon City. But it’s hard to think straight when Elizabeth is nearby and has him hanging pine boughs for her instead of riding away.

Even though Elizabeth fears falling for another cowboy and Landon knows she won’t forgive him if she knew what he had planned, can they learn to trust in love or be driven apart forever?

So, now that you’re caught up with me and have an extra treat from Cat don’t be shy! Feel free to email me how 2019 went and your hopes for 2020. I hope you have the best Christmas holiday ever and a wonderful new year.

Dmitri’s Heart is available!

It is always so satisfying to see a book of mine on an ebook vendor’s website. A lot of work goes into every story. From the germ of an idea to the cover, the writing, research, editing, and telling readers about the book, I keep busy. The new American West series with its shorter, faster, and more convenient escapes do mean less writing for each book. However, oh my gosh the pace. My plan is to release a book every two months in this series. Two months sounds like a lot of time to write a 100-150 page book, but it’s not.

What’s fun is even the overall American West has four subseries. Dmitri’s Heart is in the Coastal Treasures subseries. I have four more Coastal books planned and the next story is top secret. The book and its series is a terrific surprise I know readers will love. I promise to blog about whatever I can as soon as I’m allowed to do so.

But, back to the book. I grew up in the middle of the United States where there’s very little water. Most of the lakes in my home state are man-made. Even so, I did happen to take a boating safety class while training for my Water Safety Instructor’s certification. And….that’s it. So writing about a ship’s captain who sails from Russia to the continental US and beyond meant a lot of research. So many different types of ships, so much cargo, so many ports of call. Whew! I also feel like Dmitri’s crew, Gleb, Theodor, and Serge, and Grigory are new friends. They didn’t get as much center stage as Dmitri, of course, because heroes need the spotlight. Still, I’d love to see what other adventures might be out there for them.

For now, you’ll have to read Dmitri’s Heart for yourself. Anyone who’s read Unexpected, an Oregon Trail Series short story will recognize the first three chapters. I’d always wanted to follow Anne and Dmitri’s love story. Finally, several years later, I get to do so! Poor Sam. If we didn’t know he’d meet Marie in Undesirable, we could be heartbroken for him losing Anne.

Back to the words since I have the secret project to write this month. Comment below if you’ve read anything from the Oregon Trail or American West series and what you think of them. Also, click the links to go to the books themselves or their series pages.

Pew, Mind Blown, a #MondayBlogs

What happened to me blogging every Monday? Where’s the love? Where’s the romance?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Deadlines. Deadlines are what happened. It’s tough to publish a book every two months even if those books are more novella than a novel. What hasn’t been a book signing, a family reunion of some sort, or a ball game (I brake for the Toronto Blue Jays,) has been me with my butt in the chair and writing. It’s rather grueling to write historical romance and goes something like this:

Patrick gave his horse to the stable hand at Fort Leaven…..wait. What did they do with horses at Leavenworth in 1866? Google, horses at fort leavenworth1866. Nothing. Okay, assume there are stables… Fort Leavenworth. Grabbing his saddlebags…no, would he have saddlebags? Google, army officer saddlebags? Crap. Army officer saddlebags 1866. Eh, no. Again, we punt and assume there are saddlebags. Where was I? Oh, right, Grabbing his saddlebags, he went to the…..crap. They’re not BLQ (bachelor living quarters) or were they? Google, history of army blq. Okay, not an answer.

See? Okay, so this is the hard way. The easy way would be to read all the research first, then write. Maybe. I’ve been to Fort Leavenworth, Fort Larned, and Fort Dodge many times but there’s only so much that’s been carried forward from history. The land has been cultivated and modified into something the early trail riders wouldn’t recognize.

So yeah, when you add the historical accuracy to the spelling and grammar, writing well and engaging the reader, making an ongoing hook to keep the story flowing and interesting, and managing interruptions of all kinds that pull you out of the world you’re writing? It takes time.

I do have two other topics in this makeup post. Romance: My husband has been a darling this past week. We were out getting out the votes for the midterms when I tripped on a dodgy sidewalk. I’m an expert at stumbling and catching myself but when the second foot comes forward to hit the same thing my first foot caught? Boom. I literally landed on my face. My husband ran and brought our vehicle to me, brought every bandage from the drugstore along with ointments, aspirins, and wine when needed. I’m fine, and the injury looks far worse than it hurts. I suppose if I had to be housebound with a black eye, a deadline week was the best time to happen.

Second topic? A writing tip. Okay, when I hit submit to Santa Fe Woman on Friday, I was free at last. Free to play computer games, go shopping (my eye and face looked a lot better by then), and even better? Read! I had a new story in a genre I LOVE but don’t write in to read. Yay!

I already have an author who I worship in that particular genre and made grabby hands for the new author in the same genre. They are worship author equals author A, and new author equals author B. Okay, B was good. I read her first book in the series and loved the world, the couple, thought the sex happened a little too soon after traumatic events, but I’ve been married 24 almost 25 years. My perspective is different. Author A tends to wait longer for her naughty stuff even if the attraction is instant between the couple.

Still, I did love author B and will, of course, read more. But it got me thinking about something. Why will I read the grocery list of A as soon as she writes or types it and I don’t mind waiting when B does the same? Why the hero worship of one and not the other when most things about their work are the same with the same elements?

I was laying in bed thinking about this before going to sleep when it hit me. Emotional events and the point of view. Boom. I’m going to make up the events, so they’re fiction, but here goes. Let’s say, and I’m going to use situations NOT in these authors’ genres, that a train’s boiler explodes when our hero is nearby and hurt. The heroine comes up on the scene and begins to help him with his near-fatal wounds.

Author A would have the hero’s point of view during the explosion. We would feel his fear, surprise, and pain during the event. Then, when the heroine arrives, we’d switch to her point of view to feel her fear, surprise, and empathy for the hero’s injuries. All the feels.

Author B happened to do the opposite, and I bet I’ve done this in my books, too. She wrote the explosion in the heroine’s point of view when she arrived. Then, in a bit of a tell, not show, we got the hero’s point of view during the heroine is caring for him scene. So we missed out on the initial shock from him of the explosion, and we missed the fear for the hero’s life from the heroine. We do feel, but superficially.

I’ve always known point of view matters. The same story told by different characters ends up being vastly different. I use this in the last half of Undesirable and the first third of Uncivilized. Undesirable is through Sam and Marie’s point of view. Uncivilized is the exact same events, conversations, everything, but through Del and Ellen’s eyes. Words in the conversations are identical, but the feelings surrounding them are vastly different. Making sure the dialogue perfectly matched was tough but I had a blast with writing those books because of the point of view shift.

So there you have it! Part of what I did on my summer vacation! By the time you’re reading this, I’m getting ready to or on my way to Florida for a conference. I plan on learning more and meeting people I’m in awe of while there. The husband and I are crossing off Cape Canaveral from our bucket list. Should be fun!

Comment below with any concern, questions, or even random thoughts.

This started on a Monday… #MondayBlogs Interrupted

If you’ve been following along on my Monday Blogs, you’ve seen the helps and hints on romance and living a more love-filled life.

I have serious plans for future posts about love and romance…not advice per se, but certainly information and actionable items.

This week, however, I haven’t had a chance to plan my blog plan. In fact, you could say I didn’t plan to plan the plan very well. Ha ha!

It doesn’t take much to amuse me, obvs.

So this week, the blog post is going to be quick and not so much dirty. What am I doing that I couldn’t focus on the blog? Traveling! I’m going to the Vancouver Author Event on May 26th. We’re spending extra time on the Northwest coast for me to research at least one book coming out soon and two new series I have set for 2019.

I have a loose schedule and it’s fixed in place only by the hotels we’ve booked. I’ll get to see where Aaron was pushed down the cliff by his brother in my book Betrayal. Even better, I’ll be able to meet some of my favorite readers and Facebook friends. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see the photos in real time. I’ll write blog posts and create videos for my Youtube channel, too.

Laura Stapleton's Newsletter

This should probably link to my newsletter signups, but it’s nearly 2am.

I had a major interruption this evening, so this post needs to be short because sleep, shower, you know the drill. Follow me on any or all of my social media to see my trip events. (It’s late, and my brain is done.)

Now is NOT a Good Time. #MondayBlogs

Laura Stapleton's BlogSo when IS a good time for love and romance? Like everything else in the world, the answer depends on what you need and what stage of your life you’re in.

For example, and he’s going to LOVE this, my husband made up his mind on how exactly he was going to fall in love, with what type of woman, and approximately where he’d meet her. And? He did. The guy had a template in his mind and while he might have dated around, he didn’t deviate from his internal list.

Side note: If you’re in for a quick lesson on how to create your own perfect partner template, check this out. I plan on having a longer post later on how perfect is a moving target when it comes to people so click the follow button wherever it is at the moment.

Me? I’d been building my internal list all of my life by dating men who were almost but not quite right. One had the master’s degree and physical appearance but not the sexual preference. Another had the solid family background but not the appearance or ambition I wanted. Still others didn’t have the financial knowledge, something I lacked and wanted my life partner to have, but did have mechanical knowledge.

Another side notes: Turns out, my perfect partner doesn’t have mechanical knowledge after all, but knows how to hire people who do. Thus, a good example of how perfection is a sliding scale at times.

And that’s the bottom line. My perfect is not only NOT your perfect, sometimes, I have no perfect and that’s okay. No one is 100% every minute. The secret is to find the person who compliments you without needing to complete you.

I know this is another short and sweet, but in author news, I’m researching the Pony Express like a fiend, planning for the Vancouver Author Event and week researching the Pacific coast’s history, and marketing our latest release with my anthology partners. In personal news, I’m helping a friend by being a quilting guinea pig, studying for my ice skating test (yes, it’s a thing), and resuming the five to six miles a day trail walking.

Whew! I need a nap. 😉 Comment below with what you have going on this spring. It’s my favorite time of the year and I love how everyone celebrates the new season.

#MondayBlogs and Leaving My Comfort Zone

This is going to be one of those short and sweet posts because I have words to write. Lots and lots of them.

pexels-photo-235922.jpegWhich leads me chatting about comfort zones and why they need to be crashed through sometimes. I’d read in Canadian Runner about how embracing the discomfort makes a better runner. Speed goes up, the mental outlook improves, and crossing finish lines are easier when someone accepts and ignores the desire to stop.

Tamed by Laura StapletonWhen I sit down to write on my latest story in progress, the article came to mind because Tamed, a paranormal shifter romance, is way way outside of my comfort zone. Not that writing had become easy. I don’t know if telling stories and fretting about my Shatneresc use of commas ever will be. What I’m sure about is researching a new genre to make sure readers’ expectations are met is not my usual work.

The best part about this project is interacting with the other authors in the anthology. I’m an extrovert (ENTP if you’re curious) and love people most of the time. Another enjoyable aspect is “having” to read paranormal romances by the other authors. My job is the best.

So now, while I’m here trying to figure out where the guy’s clothes go when he changes from man to lion and back again, I have a challenge for you. What is a comfort zone for you and how can you break out of the rut? Or add to the activity and make it tougher than usual? Comment below and tell me about your comfort zone.

Where’s The Love? An #amwriting post.

Okay, so I didn’t come up with anything romantic for yesterday because there was a little too much romance in my own life. Lunch date with my husband, grocery shopping together, a nap because it felt like -10F outside and 10F is my limit on coldness when it comes to walking in the park.

So, what now? Writing! The MLK holiday is over, and the house is quiet. I’m smashing everything I should have done yesterday into today’s schedule. Laundry, dishes, writing 6,000 words, which seems a little much. Fair warning, I might not get to my word count goal.

What am I working on? A historical romance set in Liberty, Missouri during the 1870’s. Alice, a lovely young woman from New York City, is bringing three young children to their new parents, Jack and Ellie Dryden. Only, they arrive at the Liberty depot to learn Ellie has gone back home to Boston. Does the adoption go through, or does Alice turn them over based on Jack’s promise to be a good single parent? ::cue dramatic music::

I love this story. My only problem with it is there’s not enough about the orphan situation overall. The romance needs to be front and center, and there’s nothing romantic about children selling newspapers by day and sleeping in the streets at night. In an era where birth control wasn’t as easy to find as it is today, the amount of abused, neglected, or abandoned children was incredible.  There’s no definitive number, but it’s estimated that 250,000 children and babies were sent west to new homes.

In this book, like all the other historicals I write, I’m researching to the nth degree. I have plans to photograph the depot where the kids arrive, to not use the word “kids” no matter how tempting it is, and to research 1880 farms near Jack’s fictional place.

There are three more books planned for this Pioneer Romance series. Next up is the Pony Express based story, the Santa Fe Trail story, and the Northwest Shipping story. They’re all plotted. I just need to park my butt and write them.

African lion

This guy? He’s a hint for an anthology story I’m also writing at the moment.

Meanwhile, if there’s a romantic topic you want to be researched between now and Sunday, comment below! I personally LOVE researching stuff, especially romance.

Merry Christmas and happy #MondayBlogs!

There’s going to be so much in this post! Grab something to drink and get comfy because this’ll be fun.

First off, happy holidays! No more Christmas music! Yay!

Whaddya mean you're glad it's over?

Whaddya mean you’re glad it’s over?

I know. I’m one of those people who dread the music every year. I do try to like it, but nope. I’ll let others enjoy the tunes. Even better than the lack of Jingle Bells sung a million different ways? Free trash pick up! That may be for only our city, but it’s wonderful and I love it. Trash men are magicians, no kidding.

My writing is my life, but my publishing is my business and I have goals for 2018. Readers will be happy to know I’m expanding a beloved series and adding more to a currently in progress series. If I stick to plan, I’ll have at least eight novels and three short stories drop in the next year. They’re all plotted and waiting for me to write them. Along with all the writing, I’ll be creating  another spin off series and maybe launching it late in 2018. Everything depends on God not laughing as I plan.

Meanwhile, 2018 will find me upping the romance in my life and hopefully in your life, too. I’ll be researching and posting practical action items we all can take to help add love and romance to our day. I don’t intend for my posts being all for married people. I want to help singles find their best match possible or how to enjoy being on their own.

I hope you either join or continue on this vastly fun journey with me in 2018. Click subscribe or follow me on the various social media outlets I play on right now.

 

Romance after 50? Is it possible? Here is what I know for sure. #MondayBlogs

Once upon a time, I was a teenager who read copious amounts of romance novels. Ah, love. Full of longing, conflict, and the inevitable happy ending. Every new relationship was a rosebud waiting to bloom.

Um, no.

Even with the optimistic point of view, seeing my parents manage their real-life marriage kept me grounded. A truly successful commitment took work and compromise and I knew nothing was perfect. In fact, my father often said if two people never argued, someone was giving in. I vowed to never knuckle under to some knuckle head.

Fast forward to my fifties and all of the lessons I learned about love? I can see why older men go for younger women. Someone in her twenties is far more malleable than a woman in her fifties or even forties. My personal example?

While married to my first husband, I was twenty-one when he said he wanted a vasectomy because he didn’t want children. If I wanted to have a baby, he continued, I’d have to have one with someone else. His proclamation to my until-death-do-us-part mindset was as if a doctor said I was sterile. I was heartbroken.

If my husband said such a thing now? He wouldn’t, because he’s a far better human being than my ex ever will be, but if he did? My older and wiser self would say, “Challenge accepted and I have candidates picked out.”

There are several more examples of a boyfriend giving me orders while I scrambled to be a better person for him. Ah, youth. So how does a woman who’s outgrown the wide eyed optimism about relationships make her own life more romantic? My answer was to marry a romantic man, but I know that can’t work for everyone.

Going forward in this new #MondayBlogs series of mine, I’m digging deep and exploring how to bring out the love and romance in life for everyone. A life of love, fulfilling relationships, and happiness is possible for people willing to reach for more.

Collaborations and why I’ll never do it again.

October 1st is when the third Hunt anthology is published and we’re all excited. Some of the authors, like me, have been there from the first Hunt, and then Hunt 2. Overall, the three books showcase some of the finest authors in the thriller, paranormal, and mystery genres today. I’m extremely proud to be included with the others. They truly are amazing.

But never again? I don’t like saying never, but after writing my own paranormal, it’s not going to be one of my ongoing genres. The Hunted: Welcome to Whitbridge was such a challenge and one I enjoyed. We were given a world and characters to play with. It’s a lot easier to boss around people in your own mind versus those created by others. Still, while I had a great time playing around in the paranormal world, I feel like my story, Return to Whitebridge is a dead end until finishing a few other book series I have planned.

Collaborations themselves? I happen to love them. The extrovert I am loves interacting with other creatives. There are so many brilliant people out there. I feel fortunate they consider me a friend and someone they want to work with. So if a paranormal group comes knocking, I’ll open the door to reading anything and everything. Writing my own paranormal book or series? Um, outlook not so good.

Treat yourself to an amazing book of quick reads in the link below and don’t be shy about getting a copy of The Hunt and The Hunt 2 from my Amazon page. Sure, I have stories in there, but the other authors are amazing. I love every story.