It’s been a LONG time since I updated this blog. A WHOLEDARNYEARTOBEEXACT. Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes. There will be an extended blog post coming up within the next few weeks updating you all on what’s been going on with me and why I’ve been absent with posting. In the meantime, allow me to get back on track by introducing you to a fabulous lady (emphasis on FAB).
If you don’t know Olivia Dade, you’re missing out on pure unadulterated joy. Don’t believe me? Keep reading!
What is the biggest culture shock you’ve experienced since moving to Sweden?
I could expound all day on the Swedish love for pastries (vast and delicious) and tendency to put béarnaise sauce on pizza (troubling, very troubling), but in all seriousness: The realization that what I once considered my strengths are now my weaknesses has been hard. In the U.S., I handled most paperwork and logistical issues for our family, and I literally make my living from my love and knowledge of English. In Sweden, I don’t know how things are supposed to work, and not feeling comfortable with the language is a real barrier. Please don’t misunderstand: My ability to move here was and is a privilege, and I love so much about Sweden. But the adjustment is hard sometimes. Even if I avoid béarnaise-tastic pizzas. Which I do, commitedly. ::shudders::
What’s your favorite musical instrument, and why?
Electric guitar! In key ways, I’m still a child of the ’80s, rocking out to a guitar solo as my bangs feather majestically in the wind.
Would you rather only be able to have sex in a room full of bugs or no sex at all ever?
My plan: befriend the bugs, make them all little blindfolds and/or a hangout spot in a corner with a tiny flat-screen TV, thus keeping them otherwise occupied during Olivia’s Bug-Free Intimate Moments.
What’s the worst thing your parents caught you doing as a kid?
For a brief time, I made the most embarrassing, dad-joke-esque prank calls of all time. There were inquiries as to whether someone’s refrigerator was running (“you should go and catch it!”), and, of course, jokes better suited for elderly Victorians than a seven-year-old: “Do you have Prince Albert in a can? Then you’d better let him out!”
Yeah. I was definitely a super-cool kid, as you can see.
Waffles, pancakes, or French Toast? *I want you to know I judge how people answer this, Olivia!*
Ask Mia Sosa about my apple-sour cream pancakes! They are my crowning achievement in the breakfast food arts!
How long does it usually take you to write a novel?
If I can immerse myself in the story, I can write a novella in several weeks and a full-length novel in a couple of months. If I can’t immerse myself in the story…well…
::sobs quietly:: ::grows old::
In one word, sum up Romancelandia.
For me: transformative.
If you could ask your favorite author (dead or alive) three questions about their writing, writing process, or books, what would they be?
I love Joanna Bourne’shistorical romances. LOVE. I think she’s the master of immersing readers in her characters’ points of view. I was lucky enough to see her speak about the topic several years ago, and she also has lots of useful writing information on her website, so if I saw her in person once more, I’d probably ask the following questions:
1. Do you agree that your amount of talent simply isn’t fair to other authors?
2. Is there any scientific and/or medical way to transfer some of that talent to me?
3. Why not, dammit?
If you had a signature dance move, what would you call it?
The Awkward-but-Enthusiastic Flail.™
Finish this sentence: The secret to a happy marriage is ______.
👀 *LOL, the emoji is a Harper addition, I couldn’t help myself*
Okay, my real answer: emotional generosity on both sides and admiration for one another. The ability to laugh together, even after many years and on a hard, hard day, is a definite plus too. (Mr. D makes me laugh all the time. Even on purpose, usually!)
While I was growing up, my mother kept a stack of books hidden in her closet. She told me I couldn’t read them. So, naturally, whenever she left me alone for any length of time, I took them out and flipped through them. Those books raised quite a few questions in my prepubescent brain. Namely: 1) Why were there so many pirates? 2) Where did all the throbbing come from? 3) What was a “manhood”? 4) And why did the hero and heroine seem overcome by images of waves and fireworks every few pages, especially after an episode of mysterious throbbing in the hero’s manhood?
Thirty or so years later, I have a few answers. 1) Because my mom apparently fancied pirates at that time. Now she hoards romances involving cowboys and babies. If a book cover features a shirtless man in a Stetson cradling an infant, her ovaries basically explode and her credit card emerges. 2) His manhood. Also, her womanhood. 3) It’s his “hard length,” sometimes compared in terms of rigidity to iron. 4) Because explaining how an orgasm feels can prove difficult. Or maybe the couples all had sex on New Year’s Eve at Cancun.
During those thirty years, I accomplished a few things. I graduated from Wake Forest University and earned my M.A. in American History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I worked at a variety of jobs that required me to bury my bawdiness and potty mouth under a demure exterior: costumed interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, high school teacher, and librarian. But I always, always read romances. Funny, filthy, sweet—it didn’t matter. I loved them all.
Now I’m writing my own romances with the encouragement of my husband and daughter. I have my own stack of books in my closet that I’d rather my daughter not read, at least not for a few years. I can swear whenever I want, except around said daughter. And I get to spend all day writing about love and iron-hard lengths.
So thank you, Mom, for perving so hard on pirates during my childhood. I owe you.
It’s Friday, and I am so ready for the weekend. Those of you who follow the blog know I usually post on Mondays, but this week I was on a mission and blogging fell to the wayside. Bright side? MYPRODUCTIVITYISTHROUGHTHEROOF! For the rest of the year, posts will likely be sporadic which is probably best since I have yet to figure out how to clone myself. My latest WIP has been hogging most of my attention these days. I’m trying to get revisions completed so I can hand it off to my editor. I HAVE A RELEASEDATEFORTHISBOOKINMYHEAD, AND I WANTTOSHOUTITFROMTHEMF’INROOFTOPS, but I never share release dates until I’m at least 70% done with edits. In any case, that’s what I’ve been up to and why most of my social media platforms look like friggin’ dead zones, LOL. My apologies to my Facebook friends, I know people are like does she even use this thing? I do, I swear!
BUUUUUUUTENOUGHABOUTME.LET’S TALKABOUTROSANNA! I met Rosanna through Twitter, and it has been such a delight getting to know her. Keep reading to learn a little bit about this gem of a lady!
Take it away Rosanna…
I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?
What a great question, Harper! I’ve never had this one before. My evil doppelganger is alive and well and is, no doubt, plotting as we speak. As far as revealing information about me, my doppelganger would take great delight in letting everyone know how clumsy I am. Like, super clumsy. Falling-down-on-a-regular-basis clumsy. I’m not sure I have anything too questionable in my history, though…or do I?
How do you recover from a setback?
Well, there are setbacks, and then there are setbacks. I’m pretty good at maintaining focus and sticking to a plan but when something especially difficult happens, I like to give myself time to recover. Writing can be cathartic, and I will write while happy or sad, but if it becomes hard, it’s better to take a break. If it’s a case of writer’s block, I try to write through it, even if I’m writing rubbish.
If you had to change your name, what would your new name be, and why would you choose that name?
As a younger person, I spent a lot of time hating my name and probably would have gladly changed it. However, I’ve grown to like it and wouldn’t change it now. But, if I had to, I’d pick something that would cause confusion at Starbucks, like Niamh or Siobhan.
I know you’re married but if you could give the last person you dated an exit interview, what would be the number one question you’d ask?
Dude, what took you so long?
What ridiculous thing has someone tricked you into doing or believing?
My younger brother has always been somewhat of a joker. As a kid, he used to love making prank calls and often did it to family members as well. He can be convincing. A few years back, he called me and pretended to be one of our Italian relatives (one of the ones who doesn’t speak English.) My Italian is very rusty and I kept trying to get information out of the “mystery caller,” but he just kept saying, “Pronto? Pronto?”
What’s the last five-star Romance you read?
I recently finished The Last Wolfby Maria Vale (*HI, HARPERHEREBUTTINGINFOR A SHAMELESSPLUG*MariahappenstobeanRWANYCCHAPTERMEMBER,YAY✨🎉) and loved it. The world-building was outstanding. Before that, I read Pas De Deuxby Lynn Turner. Another wonderful 5-star read that gave a terrific behind-the-scenes look at the world of ballet.
What are some of the easy things people can do to keep improving their intelligence?
Well, I can only tell you what I try to do. I try to open myself up to new experiences as often as possible. I like to see the world and hopefully, in seeing it, I learn something about the people who live in it. And reading! I’ve learned so much just from picking up books.
When crafting a story, what’s more important originality or delivering what readers want?
I think readers want originality, but I also understand that for some readers, comfort is a big factor. I have reader friends who only read the same subgenre because it’s their catnip. They’re okay with similar stories cropping up on their e-reader. As for me, I try very hard to inject something new into each of my books. I hope it keeps my readers interested, and it keeps me interested as well.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Ooh! I can’t give up coffee or salty snacks. How about ice cream? I’d give up ice cream. (*immediately regrets it and eats all the ice cream*)
What would a world populated by clones of you be like?
It would be populated by clones who are mostly confused but doing their best.
Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?
Because I have teenage sons who are mortified at my behavior on the best of days, I will politely decline to answer this one. LOL Besides, a little mystery never hurt anyone. 😉
Rosanna Leo is a multi-published romance author. She is a double finalist in the 2018 Northern Hearts Contest for A Good Man (Best Contemporary Romance and Best Canadian Author.) From Toronto, Canada, Rosanna occupies a house in the suburbs with her long-suffering husband, their two hungry sons and a tabby cat named Sweetie. When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair.
Happy Monday! It’s hard to believe we’re thirteen days into August. WHEREDIDTHELASTEIGHTMONTHSGO?! I’m hustling to ensure I reach all of my goals for 2018. Every week I look over the list I created at the beginning of the year and while I’ve been able to check off some boxes, I still have a lot more to go. I got a little behind, and now it’s a never-ending race of catching up because once August ends, instead of my calendar slowing down, it will only become busier. Now’s the time for me to organize and get my shit together. There might be a few weeks of blog hiatus because I have PRIORITIES! Rather than bore you with a discussion of what’s sure to be a hectic fall and a productive winter, let me tell you about all the shit I’ve been digging lately!
Shooter is the USA Network original series based on the 2007 movie of the same name starring Mark Wahlberg. Fun fact: Wahlberg is also a producer for the small screen version. I never saw the movie, but I tuned into the TV show because Netflix was like, “Harper, why are you not watching this? It’s your jam lady!” Well, if Netflix says something is likely to be 97% liked by me, I listen. Except in the case of Dr. Strange. I WILLNEVERSTOPTALKINGABOUTHOWNETFLIXGOTTHATONEWRONG! NEVER!
Back to Shooter, I plowed through two seasons in a week! The seasons aren’t very long. Season one is only ten episodes and season two is eight. Season three is currently airing on the USA Network. You can watch it On Demand until October! If you like suspense, assassins, shadow organizations and conspiracy theories, you’ll want to dive into this show. Ryan Phillippe does a GREAT job playing Bob Lee Swagger. The casting is incredibly spot on. It’s also great to see Omar Epps in a TV role. Check out the trailer for season one below.
These Engaging Articles
My inbox is a searing dumpster fire at the moment, but whenever I get the chance to catch up I come across some great articles. You should check out the following reads below:
In between writing, I’ve managed to get in some fun reads. I’m also beta reading for two authors. MOVEOVERREGENCYHISTORICALS, MOREROMANCESSETDURINGTHECIVILWARARECOMINGTHROUGH.YAAASSSSSS! I dunno about you, but I’m dying to seeing American History accurately depicted in romance and not glossed over or distorted. This is why it’s good to encourage writer friends, they just might give you what your reading heart desires lol. Anyway, if you’re looking for delightful storytelling, I highly recommend the books pictured above.
Autoboyography is a lovely queer YA romance between two boys, one of them Mormon. Probably my favorite romance I’ve read this year. There were a lot of heartwarming moments.
Interceptedis a fun debut from Alexa Martin! If sports romance is your jam, you’ll want to read all about Marlee trying to figure out her life while juggling two football players.
We Are Never Meeting In Real Life is a book of essays written by Samantha Irby. I subscribe to Sam’s blog and I’m in her book club. Holy shit, this woman is hilarious. What I find incredibly charming about Sam is her brutal honesty when it comes to the obstacles she’s encountered in life. The death of her parents, battling depression, her failed relationships. It may not sound like the best sales pitch, but I guarantee this book has heaps of laugh out loud moments. I think I hyperventilated on the subway when she talked about the first time she went down on a woman. #DED
This album is the latest release from Meshell Ndegeocello and it is FANTASTIC! It’s filled with revamped versions of your favorite 80s and 90s hits. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard the Force MD’s “Tender Love” with a harmonica. Check out the video for Waterfalls, originally recorded by TLC below. The musical arrangement is LOVELY!!!
AHHHHHH!!! Peeps, if you’ve read past Shit I’m Digging entries then you know I am a HUGE fan of Paris is Burning and more recently, Ryan Murphy’s Pose. About two weeks ago I discovered Viceland did a series on NYC, Philly, Chicago, and Detroit ball culture. ITISEVERYTHING. I’m team Tati and Precious. You can watch episodes On Demand. Check out the trailer below and be prepared to practice your duck walk. #strikeapose
And this concludes the shit I’m diggin’ this week. Till next time, folks! 😉