Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Painful Breakup

This summer, I've decided to end a relationship that has meant the world to me for most of my life. Through summers on the beach and my parents' boat, to vacations in Florida and the Caribbean, I've carried on a life-long love affair with the sun. And now, it's over... Sob...

I'm in my mid-forties and am suffering from what my friend Chris calls LIS Disease: Lousy Irish Skin Disease. In short, my skin in a disaster area, and I really have only myself (and Mr. Sun) to blame. For years during my misspent youth, I was under the impression that the fifty percent of me that is Portuguese would eventually trump the 50 percent of me that is Irish. No such luck. My brother, who got the Portuguese skin, tans like a God. We'd go on family vacations when we were in high school, and he would return to school brown as a berry while I was red, scabby and peeling. People would ask if we went to the same place. Hardy har har! Not much has changed since then except for the sudden onset of wrinkles and ripples and other stuff that just doesn't belong on anyone's skin. I've already had several "suspicious" moles removed. After one such removal, the dermatologist said, "Congratulations. Now you'll live to see your grandchildren." Great...

Remember the baby oil and iodine years before we all knew that the sun could be bad bad bad for us? Remember the scorching sunburns of childhood before everyone had SPF 250 in their beach bags? Yep, that was me. Burnt to a crisp for most of my life. My parents used to talk about the time my mother took me to the beach as a baby, had me in a playpen under an umbrella and I STILL got burnt. My father was apparently beside himself over this incident, to which my mom said, "SHE WAS NEVER IN THE SUN!" They decided the sun reflecting off the sand had gotten to me. It was an ominous start to my relationship with Mr. Sun... I once had a blistering sunburn on my arm as a kid. Every dermatologist I've ever been to as an adult points to that spot on my arm and asks, "What happened here?" During my five years of working on the docks at a marina, I wore a Panama Jack-style hat that was tied to my belt loop with a shoelace. I'm convinced that hat is the only reason I don't look 90 years old now.

In the ultimate irony of life, my late mother (who also got the Portuguese skin) hated to lay in the sun but tanned effortlessly nonetheless. Traversing from the house to her car, from the car to the boat, from the car to the grocery store, she'd get in five minutes the tan I spent a summer cultivating. Over time, I managed to convince (or perhaps SHOCK) my skin into believing that it could in fact tan. But this past winter, I couldn't deny any longer that the damage I've done over the years is getting worse, and if I don't break up with Mr. Sun NOW, I'm going to look 80 when I'm 50. One of my dad's best friends, a gorgeous red head who has studiously avoided the sun her entire life, looks better at 85 than I do at 46. She says that's ridiculous. I say it's TRUE.

As a mother, I've been MILITANT with my kids about sunscreen. Last year, my son and husband attended the Indy 500 and Jake got a wicked sunburn on his neck--the one spot they missed with the sunscreen. It was an ugly, blistery mess by the time they left Indiana to come home. Knowing this is one of my pet issues, my son called me from the airport to give me advance warning about the ugly burn and to tell me, "It wasn't Dad's fault." (Haha, of course it was his fault! LOL) The warning didn't stop me from SHRIEKING when I saw just how badly he was burnt. Whenever one of my kids gets even the slightest sunburn, they apologize to me because they know how crazy I am about them avoiding the same mistakes I made with my skin. Sadly, their skin is fairer than mine, if that's possible. Poor kids. When attending sailing camp in the summer, Jake's EYES get sunburned even with SPF-protecting sunglasses on all day. Their dad, however, tans like a brown berry. When Emily was younger and drew pictures of our family, Dan was always drawn with a brown crayon to reflect his perpetual year-round tan. I'm after him ALWAYS about using sunscreen so he doesn't look like shoe leather by the time he's 60. He's starting to get a clue, but it might be too late to save him from a leathery fate.

So my dear friend, Mr. Sun, we had a good run, you and I. I had lots of fabulous days on the water basking in your glow. I spent lots of days hiding my now-wrinkled toes from your wrath by burying them in warm sand. But the sunscreen people have yet to make the SPF that will protect my disastrous skin from your mean side. Now, just because you and I are through doesn't mean I'm forsaking the beach or the boat. No way! Before my first trip to the beach (and day now), I'll be purchasing a large umbrella and a sledgehammer that will live forever in my beach bag to make sure I can get that sucker deep enough that I won't be chasing it down the beach at the first strong gust.

I'll miss you, dear friend.

Have any of you broken up with Mr. Sun?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why I'm a Selfish Author :-)

So it's occurred to me recently that I'm a rather selfish author. Now, now, it's TRUE. I write my books the way I want to and don't spend much time obsessing or worrying if there's something about them people don't like, or if a reader doesn't like the entire book. That's okay. That's their prerogative. I've decided it's far, far, FAR more important that I please myself than it is that I please anyone else. See how selfish I am? :-)

Let me give you an example. When it comes to my McCarthys of Gansett Island Series, there is a small camp of readers who do not like the fact that I include rather extensive stories for characters other than the hero and heroine. I absolutely get why they don't like it. The thing is, though, I like it. I love going back and revisiting couples who starred in past books and seeing what's up with them. Sometimes it's big stuff. In Season for Love, for example, Grant and Stephanie from Falling for Love hit a rather big speed bump in their love story. Doesn't that happen in real life? Don't people who are madly in love one minute start to wonder in the next minute if this thing that's sprouted between them will go the distance? See, I thought so! That's right when it starts to get interesting to me. How about you?

In Longing for Love, book 7, Evan and Grace from Hoping for Love will hit a bump when her parents come to the island for a surprise visit and discover that not only does their daughter have a boyfriend she never told them about, but he's living with her, too. Something tells me Evan is going to be rather hurt by the fact that she never bothered to tell her folks about him. Will that be the main story in Longing for Love? Nope. Tiffany and Blaine will be the main attraction in that book, but life hasn't stopped for the rest of the Gansett Island community, and I like to write about that. I suppose that makes me a selfish author, and shockingly, I'm quite okay with that.

The first person I have to please with my books is ME. If I don't love them, how can I expect any of you to love them? I will be the first to admit there is a LOT going on in Season for Love. I can totally see how some people might think it's too much, and I've already acknowledged that we can't have story for every past couple in every future book. Season was  definitely Laura and Owen's book, but I also used it as a wrap-up of the first six books and a launch pad for the next few. Did I succeed? I'll let you tell me!

The vast majority of readers, especially those in my McCarthy Reader Group, enjoy the subplots and want more of them in future books. Those of you who agree with them are in luck, because I do, too. And since I'm a selfish, selfish author, I plan to please myself first and foremost. :-)

Of course I'm teasing about being selfish. I always hope readers will enjoy my books, but if I'm not enjoying the writing of the books, there won't be any more. I've made a career out of breaking the mold a bit, such as the Fatal Series that features the same couple in every book (supposedly a no-no in romance) and now the McCarthy Series that keeps past couples front and center in future books. You may not always get what you expect from me (hello, Seamus and Carolina?), but just as I hope to keep things interesting for you, I've got to keep things interesting for me, too. Thus the road less traveled. I hope you'll continue to come along for the ride, even if I take you places you didn't expect to go. After all, my journey would be absolutely no fun without my lovely readers riding shotgun.

So tell me, are you in the "Want more of the past characters" camp or the "Want less of the past characters" camp?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reader Mail

It's always so great to hear from readers, especially after a new book is released. Here's a round up of some of my favorites from this week. I wish I could post them all, but please know I love each and every one of them!

This one is from Maria:

First and for most, I like to thank you for bringing your love for writing and sharing those with people like me, people that enjoy love and like to lose themselves in a good book, you have captivated me to the fullest. I have enjoyed and loved each and everyone of your McCarthys of Gansett Island Series, I really hope they never end, but I know eventually all good things come to an end, but I like to be optimistic and faithful in your work. Thank you for inviting me amongst others into a wonderful and refreshing  world of love, devotion and the strength of what a relationship should really be. With that said i really hope that there are many series to look forward to, or at least until I am old and gray or even senile lol. I look forward to updates on your next book, that is of course if there is one. Thanks again

From Ilona in Australia:

Thank you so much for Season for Love.  I absolutely loved it.

I couldn't put it down and am now sad that I have come to the end of your latest book (which I always anxiously await the release of!). Note to self - read slower next time to savour the enjoyment!

I have really enjoyed Laura and Owen's story.  I particularly liked the side story of Carolina and Seamus as well.  I love the way you capture love stories that are not necessarily "conventional" and "obvious" (I mean, that¹s life isn't it?).

Congratulations on your latest release.  I thoroughly enjoy my holidays to Gansett Island (with you as the tour guide) and always look forward to planning (and thinking) about my next trip! In saying that I have thoroughly enjoyed my other trips into the lives of your characters (Everyone Loves A Hero and Line of Scrimmage are is still a faves).

Keep up the great work Marie and wishing you all the very best,

From Jill:

Just finished reading Season for Love absolutely loved it.  As soon as I saw the email announcing that it was available I had to immediately purchase it and of course start reading.
Please keep up the writing  I so look forward to your books. Can't wait for Longing for Love  also  can we expect another in the Fatal series soon?   Please?

From Gina:

I just wanted to say that Season of Love was wonderful and I cannot wait until book 7. Thank you for the books you write. I read alot and while I was up at 3:30 in the morning I found this book out for sell it was a nice surprise, it made my day to read a good book.

From Tanya:

I am getting ready to buy it on my Nook right now!!!!  I cannot wait, and then will be depressed when I zoom thru it.  I downloaded Love at First Flight the other day, and stayed up until midnight reading it.  I finished the Treading Water series right before that, and can I say wow!!!  I phoned my sister and told her to buy this series of books as she would enjoy them immensely.  You have truly become one of my favorite authors.  When I look at the books I have purchased on my Nook that you have written, all I can say is keep writing, because there are very few left for me to purchase.  I am spreading your praises with all my friends. (Also loved True North and The Fall!)

From Deidre:

I just wanted to share w/ you that I hope you write lots more Gansett Island series books.  They remind me of Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series books.  Please keep them coming.  These fictional characters have turned into people, family and friends that we want to continue following and learn more about.  Please don’t stop writing about them!!!!

From Marion in Australia:

It was rich, diverse, beautiful, sad and thoroughly wonderful. 

I know you are going to get hounded with praise and thanks for such incredible work!!!! Enjoy the well deserved kudos amazing lady!!!

Thank you to all of these lovely readers and all the others who take the time to write. You make me feel truly blessed to get to do what I most love to do.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Fun Continues on Gansett Island

Season for Love, Book 6 in the McCarthys of Gansett Island Series

His idea of permanence is the old van that takes him from one gig to the next. . .

Owen Lawry has made a living as a traveling musician and enjoys his footloose and fancy free lifestyle. But after meeting Laura McCarthy and helping her to land the job as manager of his grandparents' hotel on Gansett Island, Owen decides there's something to be said about a roof over his head and a warm, sexy woman in his bed.

Laura, a newlywed who discovered that her husband never quit dating, came to Gansett for her cousin's Janey's wedding, but ended up staying after she met Owen and took on the renovations to the dilapidated Sand & Surf Hotel.

As Owen and Laura's attraction simmers during months of close proximity, they form a tight bond that will be tested when her estranged husband refuses to grant her a divorce. As summer turns to autumn and Laura and Owen take baby steps toward love, favorite characters from past Gansett Island stories continue to live their happily ever afters.

Read an excerpt from Season for Love.

Get it at:





All Romance E-books


I had the BEST time writing this new book! It features a couple we first met in book 4, FALLING FOR LOVE, and they've been on "slow burn" status ever since. In Season for Love, Owen and Laura go from slow burn to BOIL as their romance takes off. While you'll have a front row to Owen and Laura's romance, you'll also hear from past favorite couples, including Mac & Maddie, Joe & Janey, Luke & Syd, Grace & Evan, Grant & Stephanie, among others. In this book, I'll introduce you to some new friends on the island who will be featured in future books.

Readers often ask me how long I plan to write the Gansett Island Series, and this is my answer: As long as you all are enjoying it, I'll keep writing it. :-)

Hope you enjoy Season for Love!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Reader Mail

I mentioned yesterday that I'm the recipient of quite a lot of lovely reader mail. I spend an hour or two each evening (seven days a week) responding to the wonderful readers who take the time to write to me. This week, an interesting trend has emerged that made me want to write this blog. At least four or five times this week alone, readers have written some variation of "I'm not sure if Marie Force will see this, but. . ." or "I'm sure Marie doesn't answer her own mail, but. . . OR, "I can't believe you wrote back to me. . ." and "Is this really you?"

Let me assure you: I see every single message that lands in my in-box. I respond to each one personally. It is an honor and a privilege to receive emails from readers. It is also an honor and a privilege to answer each one personally. I have a part-time assistant coming onboard next week. Answering reader mail is NOT on her to-do list. :-) If you've ever written to me and NOT gotten a reply, it's because I didn't get your message. 

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite reader emails from the last week. Each one of them, and so many others like them, make me feel so fortunate to be doing something I love and to be connecting with people who appreciate my books. There's no other thrill quite like that, so can you see why I'd never allow someone else to experience the thrill on my behalf? :-)

This one was from Stephanie:

I'm not even sure who reads this, but I first wanted to see if I could be added to the mailing list for information about the release of Season for Love? Thank you!

Second, I just wanted to shower some praise and gratitude on Ms. Force. This past Friday of Memorial Day weekend, I downloaded the 1st Gansett Island book after my mom recommended it to me. By Monday afternoon, I had read all 5 books and was praying that she would have the 6th one finished VERY quickly. I am an avid reader and am often embarrassed by how much I read and how engrossed I get into the books I read. Books become my life and characters become my friends. However, I am also very particular. I have little tolerance for poor writing, and it seems like I have pretty high expectations with regards to plot and characters. That being said- THIS SERIES WAS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) Each story on it's own was wonderfully crafted with characters that I was drawn to and stories that I couldn't put down. I often see reviews for contemporary romance stories that say things like, "predictable plot" etc. Hello? Yes, the plot is usually somehow structured with a boy meets girl situation, resistance to falling in love from one or both sides, some conflict or problem that threatens to ruin things, and then a happily ever after. This is why I read love stories! When my own life sucks, I want to escape into my predicable dream world. For me, a great book/series/author/etc is one that can take that "predictable formula" and make a great story that I don't want to put down and that stays with me for quite sometime. These books completely did that! However, my undeniable favorite aspect was the continuous return to the characters that I loved so dearly. Even my most beloved series have minimal inclusion of characters from earlier books. With the my Gansett Island friends I am constantly getting to visit with them again. I. Love. It. There are so many characters and subplots and peek into everyone's lives that it should be too much- but it's not! It's perfect and I can't get enough. :-) Thank you so much for pouring out these characters, who have become so dear to me, and their heart warming stories. 

From Trista about the Treading Water Trilogy:
AMAZING!! I just finished the trilogy and am in tears! For one I'm so sad its over but it eneded beautifully:) Your work is some of my favorite reads! I needed something to read while waiting for the next book in the McCarthy series that I also LOVE! The first book of yours I read was The Fall and was hooked to your writing from then on! My sister and neighbor are both caught up in them now also! Cant wait to see what's next!
From another Stephanie:
I just finished reading the McCarthy of Gansett Island series. I could not put them down and I look forward to the next book in the series. Please keep me posted as to when the next books are set to be released.  Thanks for giving me an escape from my hectic life with my husband, job and three kidsJ

From Lisa:
I just had to drop you a line to tell you how much I loved the “Treading  Water Trilogy”! Oh my goodness, I cried so hard throughout the series.  I finish the 3 books in 2 days, because I couldn’t put them down.
You write such amazing characters and weave such wonderful stories.  I am forever a fan and look forward to each new book.
Thank you so much for sharing your gift!

From Teresa:
I am not sure if you will receive this but after finishing yet anther great bookof yours. I have read everything except all of the Fatal series (but give me time). I just finished the "Line of Scrimage" and have decided that you are officailly my favorite author ... I haven't had a favorite for a very long time. You have surpassed Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts. Every book I have read of yours I have fallen in love with the characters and the locations. I find my self waiting to see if the characters from one book will meet a character from another book that is not directly linked to it. I am waiting foe the next book to come out. You are very talented and wanted to say Thank You for sharing you talent with us. I am going to stop writing now. (I have never done this before, but felt I really wanted you to know how appreciated you talent is. 

From Virginia:
I was recently introduced to your books by reading your McCarthys of Gansett Island series and let me just say how much I love your books.  I read all five books in less then a two weeks time and  I am anxiously waiting to read Season for Love and even more anxious to read how you will unfold Tiffany and Blaine's love story.  Please tell me that you are going to write about Adam. He can't be the only brother to not fall in love.  Linda needs to have all her children partnered with the one they are meant to be with. In addition I wanted to add how I am really loving how all the women in these stories have come together to be friends.  I love even more that you continue to include the other characters from the previous stories which clearly defines the meaning of series.  

If possible, please include me in your mailing list as I plan to let my friends know about your books!! 

From Susan:
 I LOVE your Gansett Island Series! They make me feel they are all a part of my own family.  I laugh, cry, and love right along with these terrific couples! Wow there are so many places you can take the characters.  I love how you keep us updated on all our favorite couples as you move to the next story!  I love all the couples but I think Mac and Maddie have to be my very favorite with Janey and Joe being my close second. But who am I kidding, I love all the others that follow.  The very first book I read of yours was True North and I became an instant fan of yours!  I love your special talent and can't wait to read more.

From Roxanne:
Marie, I just wanted to let you know how much your series: Treading Water is still on my mind even after reading it about 3 weeks ago.  I've enjoyed Gansett Island. Look forward to more of the stories of both series. I'm already on your mailing list. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your stories. Keep up the writing.  

From Lee Ann:
I would like to take a moment to say that being the proud owner of a Nook I just finished your Treading Water trilogy and they were the best books I have read in a long time. I read them all in less than 3 days. I would love to hear from you when you have anything new coming out as you have topped the list of my favorite author. Thanks for a great many hours of wonderful reading material.

From Susan:
Good afternoon. Hope you are having an amazing preSummer.  Just wanted to let you know I took your suggestion regarding the Treading Water Trilogy and you are so right, I did enjoy!  In fact, that was what I did most of the Memorial Day weekend.  Started Friday night and wrapped up Tuesday night.  Yes I did have to break for "family time" with my husband and daughter but sat up late at night because I couldn't put the stories down...Just had to know what was going to happen.  Jack/Andi/Clare story literally had me in tears...LOVE THEM...glad it worked out for all of them.  Enjoyed Clare's story (along with Kate's...wow!).  But then loved the Brandon story and fell in love with Colin believe it not.  I did have my share of tear sessions with Brandon, especially the kidnapping portion.  But like I said with the Gansett Island series, you pull your fans right into the story as if we are there, experiencing their trials as well as their hard fought and well deserved accomplishments!  So now I'm starting the Fatal Series while I wait for Owen and Laura's book :)  Just wanted to touch base to let you know how much I enjoyed the Treading Water Trilogy!

No, I won't ask someone else to handle my mail for me. Why would I? Can you see why I feel so very blessed to have the nicest readers in the world? Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to write to me. Keep it coming. You make my day, each and every day!