Week Twenty-Eight: LERA, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and The Great Escape

July 23, 2012 § 4 Comments

July 15th, 2012

This week’s post is ridiculously late. What a crazy week. Romance author Susan Elizabeth Phillips was in Albuquerque last Saturday to promote her latest book The Great Escape. She spoke for an hour at the July Land of Enchantment Romance Authors (LERA) meeting. Then we had an early dinner at El Pinto restaurant before her book signing at North Valley Library. That was my Saturday. I spent the rest of the week frantically wrapping up my seven character bios.


My Susan Elizabeth Phillips books, signed by author

I started reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ new book The Great Escape and I am really enjoying it. In this contemporary romance novel, Lucy Jorik abandons the perfect man on their wedding day. Fleeing the church, she hops on the back of a motorcycle and takes off on an interstate trip with a rough, damaged stranger. Her adventure becomes a journey to discover who she is and what was missing from her life. So far, I might even like this book more than Natural Born Charmer, which I bought back in 2007 and loved. I now have both books autographed by the author.


I finished my character bios, right down the exact day and year of their births. At the LERA meeting, I asked Susan Elizabeth Phillips if she herself does character bios. She said she used to do detailed “what’s their favorite flavor of ice cream” bios, but now she sticks to basics –day they were born, what they look like, the car they drive. The super-detailed method doesn’t work that well for her. That bit of advice gave me the freedom to stop worrying about the items that don’t click for me, such as clubs and superstitions, and focus on what does matter, such as what are their past failures. So thanks to all that, now I am done! On to the timeline and character arc table.


Susan Elizabeth Phillips and me at her book signing in Albuquerque, NM

I thought hanging out with all the single ladies at the clubs in my bar-hopping days used to be rowdy good times. That was nothing compared to hanging out with a group of romance writers from all ages and backgrounds and stages in their professions. We drank Margaritas and ate chips and salsa and swapped stories. Lois talked about being the first woman to work in a bar in New York legally after 6:00 p.m. (Of course, after 6:00 p.m. was the time when all the money was to be made by the bartenders because the high rolling night time crowd spent more money and tipped considerably better than the daytime lunch crowd.) Sarah recounted working in a liquor store in Alaska at age nineteen and having to face off against the local motorcycle gang. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, the classy guest of honor, made the rounds and talked to everybody at the table, and I babbled to her about how great Balloon Fiesta is in October. I compared cute cat pictures with Jeffe Kennedy, who just published her book on Carina Press, the fantasy romance Rogue’s Pawn. I talked politics with Samantha Ann King, who just published her debut novel on Carina Press, Sharing Hailey. Caliente! Now I’m going to have to buy e-books.

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