Monday, February 28, 2011

Guest Blogger: Rita Henuber

I'd love for y'all to welcome one of my fellow Ruby Sisters, Rita Henuber. Her first book will be out in August with Carina Press, and we are all excitedly following her progress to publication. Let's have a nice sitdown under the pavilion on the Playground, for protection from all the stormy weather around here, and talk about the stories we all love.

Photobucket I'm Rita and I write romance. Romantic suspense. I write about strong women, not Alphas, who know what they want and go after it. Women in the military or law enforcement. They are attracted to strong men who love them for who they are and stand beside them.

When Danniele invited me to blog my first thought was to tell you all about me (boring), my book being released in August with Carina Press (exciting- to me anyway) and my views on writing (this has the potential of being double boring).

My mind was changed after a ladies gathering where the discussion turned to books. The conversation led to "why isn't there a book about…?" The ladies said they were tired of searching the local book store for something different and how few books were actually on the shelves. I explained about the economy. Booksellers were being careful with inventory and publishers have to go with stories that sell and make the best sellers lists. One lady harrumphed and asked how Kate Gosselin's book make the NYT list and still hasn't sold seven thousand copies. She had me there.

I have my own wish list of books. I love a good historical, but honestly I would sooo prefer to read a story about the women who left everything in Europe and came to the New World. The adventures of those strong, brave women who made homes in the wilds of North America. Strong men with long flowing hair and muscled bodies who could ride a horse, build a cabin, kill a bear, and make love to his woman the way she needed. A Revolutionary War story, a Civil War story. A long list of potential plots there. Like Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, a physician in the Civil War. She received the Congressional Medal of Honor and was an advocate for women's rights. Some generals, who shall not be named, tried to take the medal back. One reason they felt her unworthy was she wore pants in battle field hospitals. Dr. Walker refused to give it back. I have a friend writing a YA about the Civil War based on her own ancestor's journal. Can't wait to read it.

There are amazing stories out there. How many of you know about the Orphan Trains? Between 1854 and 1929 an estimated 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children from large cities in the US were gathered up, some say rounded up, placed on trains heading west and to Canada. At each stop the children were taken off the train and displayed. Families took them in and treated them as their own. In some cases they were little more than slaves working in households and fields. Can you imagine what these children went through? I had no knowledge of it until a friend's great grandpa shared his story at a family gathering.

What about women who cared for family while her man went off to find work in the depression? Did you know that Canada held German prisoners of war in camps scattered across the country? After the war many stayed and became Canadian citizens. Did you know that the whole US East coast was blacked out during the WWII because German U-boats cruised the coast? Many cargo ships were sunk by the submarines within sight of land. Spies came and went via the boats.

Okay I've gone on too long. What I'm getting at is there is a rich history of intrigue, love, strength and evil right here, all around us. I would love to see these stories told.

Now tell me, what kind of stories do you want to read? Can you find books written on the subjects you like to read?
The really big question is, are YOU writing these books?


Though Rita's book isn't out yet, I'll be giving away a romantic suspense book to one lucky commenter today! Angel

Rita Henuber grew up running the beaches of a barrier island on Florida’s east coast. She married a Marine and feels fortunate to have lived many places and traveled to the states and countries she didn’t live. She writes contemporary women’s fiction and suspense thrillers weaving her experiences into her story telling.

Her first, as yet to be named, book will be released from Carina Press in August 2011.
The story follows Coast Guard helicopter pilot Olivia Carver and sexy DEA agent Declan O'Conner from a torrid one night stand to a fierce gun battle at sea as they work to take down a drug cartel.

Visit her web site .


Jane said...

Welcome Rita,
I do enjoy romantic suspenses featuring strong women and strong men. I enjoy the gritty crime and gripping suspense. I also love medievals set during the Norman invasion.

Smarty Pants said...

Welcome to the playground, Rita. Congrats on the sale. I live strong heroines. I think my mistake has been giving them too much of the hero's glory. If she's a cop and he's a construction worker, who's got the gun, right?

I like stuff that's different. I write stuff thats different. Unfortunately, like you said, they aren't buying a lot that's different. Apparently 'Snooki's' book is a safer buy than mine, not for being better but for having a built in audience of morons to buy it. Can never forget the business side of all this.

Rita said...

Thanks for the welcome.
There is an embroidered tapestry 250 feet long and about 2 feet high in Bayeux France (Normandy) depicting the Norman invasion. My husband dragged me to go see it and I didn't want to leave. It's mesmerizing and supposedly has secrets and mysteries. I think it was that the women who were sewing it were telling the real story. Up until now men have been the historians. Is it possible women took a greater role in history then men want us to know?

Rita said...

Good morning Miss Smarty Pants,
For me it doesn't matter who has the weapon. I want the hero to support the heroine in whatever she does. Most strong women are commitment -phobic and don't trust. It can make writing her character-arc very challenging but rewarding.

Elisa Beatty said...

Great post, Rita!

You're so right about all the untapped history out there that's begging to find its way into romance fiction--I'm thinking World War II has many, many stories to be told, and I'm hoping that Kristina McMorris's new LETTERS FROM HOME will be just the start of a new run of interest in that period. It's just naturally romantic! All the heroism, the sacrifice...and, hey, the great music!

Can't wait for August, and your debut with Carina!

Rita said...

Thanks. I'm also looking forward to LETTERS FROM HOME.
Please if any of you have parents or grandparents who served in WWII take some time and ask them about their service. Don't let their stories be lost.

Instigator said...

Welcome to the Playground, Rita!
You know, I just got finished reading SEP's newest book. I always LOVE her stuff. And I can't find anything like it to read inbetween her releases. I would love to have more light hearted/comedic kinda books. I can't write them myself, I just don't think I'm funny. But I love reading them.

I've also found that I'm eating up the boom of YA novels. That subgenre seems to be taking some risks while the rest of publishing is holding back a bit.

Congrats on your first sale! Can't wait to read it.


Rita said...

Thanks for the welcome Instigator. (love the name) It's nice to be here.
Recently a 43 year old man confided he checked out a book his daughter was reading and loved it. He was into the third book of the series before he learned it was YA. Roxanne St Clair's first foray into YA has produced a movie deal. Crossing my fingers that the changes taking place in the publishing industry will produce a better variety of book topics that are appealing to all ages.


Love humor. I write about ordinary people in extraordinary situations, which I've been told no one wants to read about. But me.

Rita said...

Kelly thanks for coming by.
HA! THEY are wrong. Your books would certainly change their mind.

Darynda said...

Rita, this post is fantstic! It got me really excited because it touched upon a time period in which I'm working on a YA as we speak.

Loved this! Thanks!

Taryn Kincaid said...

Looking forward to your August romantic suspense, Rita.

I'm trying my hands at one of those now. One of my strongest heroines. I guess they have to be, right? I didn't used to read a lot in that subgenre, and then I got totally hooked on Roxanne St. Claire's Bullet Catchers series. Smokin' hot and hunky heroes. Capable, confident, strong heroines. In fact, the owner and boss of the Bullet Catchers agency is a woman!
Lots of fun.

Rita said...

Darynda, very exciting. can't wait for all your other books coming our way.

Rita said...

Thanks for stopping in
I love Roxanne's writing also. I was surprised when she went to YA. But to already have a movie deal it must be great.

Virginia said...

Hi Rita, congrats on you sale. I read a little of everything although romanctic suspense is one of my favorites. I love the edge of your seat feeling that you get with the suspense books.

Rita said...

I do too. I love figuring out who did it. I have a friend who reads the first five pages then the end of the book. Ugg!

Playground Monitor said...

Hi Rita! Sorry I'm late to the party. I had a dentist appointment and another stop on the way home. But I'm cavity free!

I'm really looking forward to Rocki's YA book. I think it was sparked by a comment her teenage daughter made and Rocki ran with the idea. I love her writing and have no doubt the YA will be just as good as the rest of her books.

I started reading some of last year's nominees in the Romantic Elements category and have enjoyed those. They have strong women who aren't twenty-something years old. I also enjoyed Harlequin's short-lived Next line because it featured older heroines.

Every time I see a Kate Gosselin or Snooki get a book deal I just cringe and ask, "Why? Who wants to read about them?" I certainly don't.

Roxanne St. Claire said...

A little bird told me my name was being thrown around so I had to stop in a comment! Rita, it's so cool to see you here! I remember when I met you up in Jax a while back and I think you'd either just signed with an agent or were about to - you had the air of success (sweet!) all over you!

And thanks to the commenters who mentioned my books! Yes, I am writing a YA and yes it has been optioned for film (the contract arrived today - it's surreal, I tell you, but also a longshot!). And yes, the book was inspired by a question my teenaged daughter asked me. I've finished the manuscript, which was kind of scary easy to write. I guess I spend a LOT of time with teenagers!

Strong women are hard to write! (No matter their age!) It's a fine line between strong and b*tchy, and heroines must straddle it daily.

I didn't know about the orphan trains - reading that gave me chills. Great post!!


Rita said...

I was soooo excited to read about your movie deal. Don't you become an Academy member the moment you sign that contract? Last night I kept thinking next year we'll be talking about how fab you look on the red carpet.
Yes that was Jax right after the GH announcementd and signing with Jessica. Thrilled you remember.
All the best to you.

Rita said...

Dear playground monitor
No need to worry, everyone has been behaving.
Glad you are cavity free.
I'm hoping the trend to e-publishing and self publishing will allow stories that appeal to a certain demagogic be told. Niche publishing it's being called. When you look at the statistics of who buys the most books it is people over 50. My question is why aren't more books written for people in that age group?
Look at the Oscars. The producers went with much younger hosts to appeal to the younger crowd. Did you follow any of the tweets on the Oscars? OMG they trashed Franco and Hathaway. It was so awkward. The few minutes Billy C was on stage it was fun again. Or was it just me because I'm old? What did you think?

Diana Layne said...

Hi, Rita,

Love different! It's harder to sell for sure. Maybe one day. Congrats on your sale, so happy for you!!

Rita said...

Thank you Diana my Ruby Sister. your day will be here soon.

Playground Monitor said...

I kinda sorta watched the Oscars last night. I just wanted to see if Colin Firth won, and he did! The King's Speech is a fabulous movie, not at all young and hip, but very touching and about an era gone by. I've seen the reviews of Hathaway and Franco's performance and ouch! Maybe they'll bring back my fave, Hugh Jackman. ::grin:: To be honest, I didn't even know who James Franco was. Still don't actually.

Playground Monitor said...

Oh... and a friend from church posted on Facebook and asked if a movie was made about an event in your life, who would you want to play your part. I figured since this was a fantasy I'd shoot big so I said Helen Mirren, Dame Judy Dench or Diane Keaton. They have all enjoyed tremendous success beyond age 60.

Rita said...

Playground monitor,
What an interesting question. Dame Judy would have to be my choice. She's short like me and she gives a great stink eye. There aren’t that many actressed in that age group still working. Sad

Barbara said...

Hi Rita,
Wonderful post and great information. Can't wait to read your book. I love historicals and am a nut about anything to do with the Civil War. The Orphan trains were so sad but many children found good homes. Unfortunately as you said, some were slaves as well. On one of Jane Seymour's "Medicine Woman" series, one episode featured them.

Tracing the genealogy of those orphans is extremely difficult though.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Hi Rita -- good post. I agree that history is a rich source of stories. I'm particularly interested in history from the woman's point of view because you're right--most of history has been written by men. I hope I get a chance to see the Bayeux Tapestry for myself one day! And I'm looking forward to reading your book!

Rita said...

Thanks for stopping by. Everyone, Barbara is the friend who is writing a Civil War story based on her ancestors journal.
What a great bit of trivia about the MEDICINE WOMAN episode. I would think it darned near impossible to trace their history given what I know.

Rita said...

I hope you get to see it also. There are replicas in England and I think in Australia. My DH was a huge history buff and when he said he wanted to see this I did the eye roll and groan thing. I mean here we in France and he wanted to go and see a tapestry? It's in a glass case that snakes around the room. It depicts some pretty crazy stuff.

Vivi Andrews said...

Hi Rita,
I like my stories on the lighter side. I love history, but there's only so much tragedy and trauma I can take before I need some giggles. Best wishes with your upcoming release.

Rita said...

Hi Vivi,
Another Ruby Sister. Thanks for stopping in and the congrats. I can hardly wait for the release date.
For those of you looking for different and light hearted checks out Vivi's books.

Susanna Fraser said...

I'm with you on Revolutionary War stories, and might try to write one one day. And on the really gritty side, I want to write about the Trail of Tears, especially since I'm the wife and mother of Oklahoma Cherokees, but I'm not sure how good a fit it would be for my writing style.

Rita said...

How exciting. You have access to a wealth of information. Can you get history from your family now before any is lost? You can play with it until you decide to get serious. Why do you think your style would get in the way of telling the story?
My aunt and uncle lived on the Apache reservation on the Grand Canyon's north rim for close to fifty years. He was a minister and they lived there until he retired.

Susanna Fraser said...

Can you get history from your family now before any is lost?

Not that much, unfortunately. My husband's family are your average suburban Tulsa-ites, and while they think (and I agree) that it's important to maintain some degree of Native identity and make sure the next generation is enrolled in the tribe, it's not like we've got diaries from the 1830's or anything.

Why do you think your style would get in the way of telling the story?

Because the two main things I've written are Big Adventure Stories with happy endings and Intimate Love Stories within a Big Adventurey situation, also with happy endings. Not sure Big Tragedy is within the scope of my gifts...

Rita said...

Very few people are lucky enough to have a written history. So much comes from memory. I interviewed family about an event and got three different views of what happened. Even written journals can be out of whack according to who wrote them.

PM's Mother said...

Actresses over 60?

Goldie Hawn 65,Gina Rowlands 80, Jane Fonda 72, Blythe Danner 67 (one of my favorites for her voice), Catherine Deneuve 67, Glen Close 63,Jacqueline Bisset 66, Kathy Bates 62 (have you seen her new TV serial "Harry's Law"? Pure Bates.) Meryl Street 61, Phylicia Rashad 62, Sally Field 64 (to me she's still the flying nun), Shirley McLaine 76, Susan Sarandon 64, and Sophia Loren 76.

I'm sure there are others.

If I wanted one to portray me I guess it would be Shirley McLaine.

Rita said...

WOW! What a list. I think of them as young.

Problem Child said...

Why does Blogger hate me so? It ate my comment again.

Anyway, Welcome Rita!

Cate Rowan said...

Congrats on the upcoming release, Ms. Rita!

Cool info, too. I didn't know about the Orphan Trains. *shudder* I only knew about the blackouts on the East Coast because I recently read an Anne McCaffrey book that included that in the plot (THE MARK OF MERLIN).

History: what a crazy place.

Speaking of it, I recently came across the blog Unusual Historicals ( and have been learning new things every day.

Rita said...

Oh! thanks for sharing the blog. I occasionally visit and it is very good.

Angel said...

Oohh, that blog sounds cool!!! I love to learn about history in interesting ways! Thank you, Rita, for joining us today!!! I've really enjoyed reading through everyone's comments.

I can truthfully say now that I'm writing what interests me: southern gothic romance. May not appeal to anyone else, but I'm loving it. :)


Rita said...

Southern gothic?! very interesting. who knows? next week on twitter an agent may say "anyone out there with a southern gothic?"
I firmly believe if you don't enjoy writing the story no one will enjoy reading it. Gld you are lovung it.
Thnak you for having me here today

Rita said...

Thank you, ladies of the playground, for having me today it's been fun. I hope you ask me to visit again. I'll say goodnight now

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Hi, Rita! I'm sorry for popping in late. Congrats on your upcoming Carina Press debut!

Rita, I need more comedies in my reading life. Please write one--I know you're good at it!

Elyse Mady said...

Rita - I love strong women and I love obscure history. Combine the two of them, and nothing can pry me away from the pages :)


catslady said...

I love reading it all lol. But I do have a weakness for historicals. But I've found lately that there are many mixed genres and I'm really enjoying them.