Guest Author: Manda Collins & Giveaway!

My most excellent friend Manda Collins is back with us on the blog today.  Manda writes witty Regency-set historical romance with a dash of mystery for St. Martin’s Press.  Her books are simply lovely and fun, and if like historical romance and you haven’t read Manda…well, do!

But Manda is branching out these days, and she’s here to tell us all about it.  Take it away, my lady!

And Now for Something Completely Different

Have you ever felt yourself falling into a rut? Doing the same old same old starts to pall. The tried and true routines that might have given you comfort in the past begin to grate on your nerves. And soon you find yourself searching for something—anything—to change up the sameness of the days.

This is the just the situation that the heroine of my novella, Legally Yours, finds herself in. After years spent raising her younger sister after the death of her parents, Julie Streeter finds herself in the unusual position of suffering from empty nest syndrome—at the ripe old age of 30!

Now, I’ve never been in that kind of situation, but I can definitely relate to the feeling old bit. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you view it), I was one of those kids who was born old. My Great Aunt told me this hilarious story once of how she was riding in the car with my Mom and me (and it was the 70s so like any 4 year old of the era, I stood/sat on the armrest between the two front seats) and I very calmly and precisely told my mother where she should turn, and basically was being a big old back seat driver.

At age FOUR! So, you can imagine what I was like as I got older.

I read somewhere once, that Capricorns—among whose ranks I fall—tend to age backwards. That is, they start out as “old” children and then gradually as they age they become more and more carefree and childish. Not that I will EVER admit to being childish, but I can totally understand how this character assessment could be spot on for me.

When I was a child and a teenager, I was far too busy being a grownup to behave in a childlike manner. The same holds true for my writing career.

Though I’ve applauded and read lots of erotic romance over the years, always something has held me back from trying to write it myself. Perhaps it’s the whole Catholic upbringing thing. Perhaps it’s my family’s lack of respect for romance as a genre (though since I’ve gotten published they’ve gotten more respectful). Whatever the case, something kept me from taking the plunge, so to speak, into the erotic arena.

Now keep in mind, this has NOTHING to do with my respect for erotic romance. I respect the hell out of anyone who writes openly about sex. My reticence has more to do with my own fear of putting myself out there.

But, I realized something a few weeks ago when I turned in the revisions for my third Ugly Duckling book. I am not so very many years away from the big 4-0. And like Julie, I’ve realized that there are some things I’d like to do. Some risks I’d like to take.

So I wrote Legally Yours. And self-published it. And the sky did not fall! (Though we did have that enormous supermoon! Coincidence? Who knows!) So, item one on my own “Before Forty” list has been dutifully checked off! Woohoo!

So, dear reader, what about you? Have you ever found yourself feeling the need to change the status quo? Have you ever taken a risk just for the heck of it? Or, is there something you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t gotten up the courage to try yet? Inquiring minds want to know! I’ll be giving away FIVE copies of Legally Yours to randomly chosen commenters. And one sixth commenter will receive BOTH a copy of Legally Yours and an ARC of my next Ugly Ducklings book, How to Romance a Rake!

Vanessa, here.  Zounds!  What an offer!  Five copies of Legally Yours AND an ARC of How to Romance a Rake!  That is one heck of a deal.  So, readers, get to answering Manda’s question.  Let’s get this conversation going!

35 thoughts on “Guest Author: Manda Collins & Giveaway!”

  1. Sometimes I’d wish I could have a career change. Something totally different from what I’m doing now but would mean going back to studying 1st which makes me think…more than twice at my age (which I’m not going to admit here. LOLs!). Lots of other things I’d like to try (skydiving!). I’ve always had a desire to fly a jet plane…wayyyyy too expensive of course.

    • I sympathize on the back to school front, Linda. I am so over school at this point. But, my goodness, you are far more adventurous than I am when it comes to actual physical risk! I could NEVER skydive! Hats off to you!

  2. I’ve checked one thing off my list by writing again (on my blog) —

    I started “sorting” through my life in 2011 and I’m trying to do things for myself: read, cook, try to learn to sew (failing miserably on this one) and basically taking better care of myself.

    Really enjoyed Manda Collins’ debut and am looking forward to the rest of the ducklings. 🙂

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed my debut, Tin! And good for you for writing again and taking better care of yourself. I think as women we are so trained to think of others first that we tend to take ourselves for granted. I’d love to take a sewing course. But right now there’s just not time. One of these days, maybe…

  3. I’m not a risk taker. I’m the kind of person that keeps lists & thinks things through carefully. I’m not a “full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes” type of person. AT ALL!!!

  4. Hmm… the most adventurous thing that I have ever done was to force myself to start networking for work. I am basically a shy person so it’s hard for me!

  5. Not a big risk taker… a huge planner.. am organizing our stay in Alabama for a month or so in the late winter…2013… This is with another couple and a single friend..

  6. I’m not much of a risk taker but I do find that after a while the status quo will becomes static and changes have to be made. Now whether the changes are small or sweeping all depends on what needs to be changed. About five years ago, the change was HUGE! I went from working FT at a very good job to a SAH Gigi! Talk about risk then. It was well worth it. You never know what life will throw your way.

  7. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever done anything risky my whole life. I’m an overthinker, and the type that plans and researches every decision I make. My hubby however, is the type that sometimes just acts first then thinks later. I admit, it drives me crazy but I think we balance each other. He pushes me to do things I would probabaly never do, and I get him to stop and think (or I end up doing all the planning myself).
    When we moved basically across the country for his work I planned the move down to very last detail (from where we lived to how we would move our stuff) and he just drove. What he did before me I haven’t a clue lol

  8. I’m a huge risk taker, my motto is “action first, consequences later.” But their is one thing that I really want to do and I’m really ashamed to say it. Want to get myself my FIRST boyfriend! I’m already 26 but I’m an NBSB “No Boyfriend Since Birth” almost all of my high school friends has already a family of their own. I want to try going on a date but I get so clumsy and awkward. 🙁

    • Lee, you are not alone. Although I dated during my twenties, I did not have my first real boyfriend until I was well into my thirties. And I didn’t get married until I was on the other side of 35. Just be true to yourself and love yourself first, and then the other kind of love will follow. *hugs*

    • Leigh, don’t be ashamed! I didn’t have my first boyfriend until college–and he doesn’t even really count because I don’t think he technically considered himself my boyfriend. (!) Just be yourself and hang in there. And though I am a romance writer, I do think in many cases it’s perfectly all right to go it alone.

  9. The big 4-0 is coming up fast for me. Looking back and looking forward are both hard. So many things want to do just need to take the initiative to do them

  10. I’m not a big risk taker either. When trying to change the status quo, I would probably still weigh the pros and cons.

  11. I took a huge risk last year after my divorce. I decided I wanted to start over somewhere fresh. I moved from Chicago to Seattle. I had never been to Seattle but it had everything I was looking for. I also didn’t know a soul in Seattle. Since I moved I have met many wonderul people. I didn’t want to live in the past anymore. Now I’m carving out a future for myself on my own terms.

  12. I can’t say that I’ve ever been much of a risk taker–I tend to hang back a lot. However, I do think that because I want to model a slightly bolder approach to life for my kids, I have done a few step-outside-my-comfort-zone things.

    One was riding on a Ferris wheel with my oldest, who was maybe 3 at the time? I am terrified of heights, and the Ferris wheel is probably one of my least favorite kinds of rides, EVER. (Sure, a roller coaster gets high, but it’s fast, and then you’re done in a couple minutes!) But he asked to try it, and I couldn’t very well send him up on his own ;p (It was an outing with a few other moms, and one of them kindly offered to hang out on the ground with the baby for me ;)) Anyway, once we got up there, he decided he didn’t like it much after all, and I had to do the whole “hey, isn’t this neat? Look at all the stuff we can see! We don’t have to be scared–it’s totally safe!” routine, while trying not to hyperventilate myself. LOL!

    And one other risky thing (at least it feels risky to me!) is agreeing to be part of our local dance school’s annual spring show. Each of the classes learns a dance starting in January, and performs it in June at the show. While I love taking dance classes, I’m not much of a performer and struggle not to pass out from stage fright even though it’s not a huge audience and I’m only one of a group of more than a dozen dancers. I do it in part because I think it’s good to push myself, and I want my kids to see that even though I’m scared, I can do this, and the next time they are nervous about something that feels scary to them, they can push through it, too. Now if I could just learn to smile while I’m doing this… ;p

  13. Congrats on the release, Manda. I’m not a big risk taker, but I did quit my job without having another one lined up. Many would think that was not a responsible thing to do, but I was so unhappy and knew it was something I had to do.


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