Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday Talk Time with Samantha Hunter

Today lovely Harlequin Blaze author Samantha Hunter brings us her views on the internet, blogging, and toenail polish. Take it away, Sam!

"How I Met My. . . . "

While a lot of people write computer-oriented romances these days, just as lot of people meet their spouses online, I’m always pleased that I did both before they were trendy. I met my husband online almost fourteen years ago – there was no eHarmony or (though I think those are great!). We met by fate, just being in the same place at the same time, online. We talked online and emailed for three months before meeting for real, and two months later we moved in together, and that was that.

It was the incident that inspired my first book, Virtually Perfect, which was unique when I pitched it to Blaze four years ago, as well. So much so that the editor called me for the full based on the query because she was curious to see how I’d executed an online relationship where the couple wasn’t actually together for the first part of the book. Eight months later, it sold. I kept writing about computers with my HotWires series about computer crime agents, and in my current book, Untouched, an Extreme Blaze with a paranormal slant, computers figure in yet again.

Online life has been good to me, bringing me jobs, friends, pets, shopping, social connections, storylines, business connections, research and one terrific husband! When someone asks me where I found him, I still love saying, “On the internet.” LOL

It’s hard to say how important the internet is to any one person, but it’s been life-changing for me. On top of meeting my husband there, I also became a writer there, talking with other writers, editors, and learning the ropes at eHarlequin. How many people right now would not even be trying to write had it not been for the internet taking them to places like eHarlequin or The Pink Heart Society? What if they had never been able to email with RWA chapters, online critique groups, or authors who dole out advice?

Now that I’ve started blogging, I’m enlarging my online life again, starting my own group blog, guest blogging and visiting other blogs. I wasn’t a blog fan, I’ll admit it, but that was because I thought most blogs were self-perpetuating, masturbatory crap about what color nail polish someone put on their toes that day, as if I care. What I discovered was a wealth of insight, experience, and information that you couldn’t get anywhere else, and from the horse’s mouth. I found more friends, more promotional opportunities, and more industry contacts. I had thought of blogs as separate little spaces where people went on and on about themselves -- and some still are -- but so many are part of a community that shares and supports each other, offering a treasure trove of knowledge. I’m glad I’m getting to share in that, and I hope I keep being able to be part of all the new things the internet has to offer.

The internet, for all of its downsides, and there are some, has been a terrific addition to life, allowing us opportunities and relationships we may never have had otherwise. Real life is made richer by what online life brings us. So I’m always curious about people’s online lives – do you have an online love story? Have you found your job, your calling, your spouse, your best friend, or anything else that changed your life online?

Samantha Hunter is a former professor, quilter, dog lover, environmentalist, and not above picking her husband's brain for plot details. To learn more about Samantha, check out her website , find her on eHarlequin (check the Blaze rooms or the We Call It Research book challenge) or her new blog, Love Is An Exploding Cigar.

Wow, Sam!! You are everywhere! Thanks so much for chatting with us!


  1. OMG -- All I can do is laugh at how much the cartoon with the computer looks like my picture! LOL Of course, that was back in the day, but still. As I mentioned to Jenna, this pic was the one I sent to my husband when we exchanged pictures on the net... LOL

    It's still his favorite, though I've sorta lost the big hair these days... Cute cartoon, tho -- I should grab that for an avatar! ;)


  2. I loved Virtually Perfect! I couldn't put it down till I read the whole thing. As to my online life, I've made a lot of online friends by visiting blogs and being in groups in the romance community. I've also "met" a lot of really amazing men and women by joining a group called I've made a lot of great friends by being in this group and corresponding via email, supporting (hopefully) these wonderful people who serve our country.

  3. I love adding in the pictures! It is my fave part of PHS editor duty.

  4. I love the cover for Untouched! Very hot! I love the internet too. Apart from the wealth of information you can find in seconds (not all of it true), I've made many book sales and found great friends through it. people who I never would have met because they live on the other side of the country from me.
    BTW, i met my husband as a penpal first. We wrote to each other for 2 months, then we met. Three weeks later we were engaged and had moved in together and eleven years later, we're about to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary and have four children!

  5. My single next door neighbor found her love on the internet too! As an aspiring writer, I get a lot of great advice and inspiration from blogs like the Pink Heart Society & sites like eharlequin. I also have gotten back in touch with many old school chums, which would be nearly impossible without the internet, since I graduated from an overseas high school on a now defunct air force base.

    But my life changing experience with the internet was when my husband went to the dermatologist for a lump on his face. She told him they were just some abnormal cells and that he could take his time and schedule an appointment with a plastic surgeon to have it removed. Being a type-A person and a bio major in college, I turned to the internet to research everything I could about his condition and found a site devoted to Cutaneous Lymphoma ( After reading up on the disease, I found that surgery is not a standard option and that radiation therapy is the best avenue for some patients to prevent the spread of the disease. The site also gave me the location of a specialist that was closeby and we immediately changed doctors and began a different course of treatment, that prevented the lymphoma from spreading to his lymph nodes. The information I got off the internet quite literally saved his life.

    There are negetive sides to the internet, but in all I think it is quite an advantage.

  6. Wow, Nina -- what a great thing that that research saved your husband's life -- that's just giving me shivers. Of course, you had to know what to look for, so your own expertise helped. I imagine there are a lot of people who have a hard time telling fact from fiction on the web...

    Pen-Pals! Nicolette that's so cool. :) Do you have the letters? That's pretty romantic. I have the disk of a second set of emails that Mike and I shared before we met, but it's an old Apple disk and I don't even know if we could access it anymore. I had kept all of our email, but then we had an email fight and I erased them all! LOL We had happened to just send our pics in the mail to each other just as we had that argument, and I remember to this day opening the card and finding his picture and just somehow knowing... So we got back together, though I always regretted losing those early emails.

    Cheryl, I imagine the net helps so much with military personnel away from home -- maybe makes things just a little easier...

    Thanks for the good words on the books. I love them, but I'm biased...

    By the way, at day's end I'll pick names and give away a copy of Untouched -- how about that?


  7. Sam, yes, we do still have the letters and occasionally get them out and read them. Can't believe the things we used to write about...!

  8. I think it's cool how you met your husband. My best friend in high school also met her husband online. She lived in Michigan and he lived in Texas. They have been together for 5 years now and live happily in Texas. A bummer for me though since I don't get to see her often. We do chat often using the internet though. By the way Untouched sounds like a great read.

  9. Nicolette, what a nice thing to hold on to, though -- do you talk about then and now? ;)

    Teresa, thanks! It is useful keeping in touch online, I have met several good friends whom I've never actually met in person (I hope to one of these years -- mostly writers), and then again, I've had longtime IRL (in real life) friends who I've never so much as had a major disagreement with in 15-20 year friendships, and yet online, I've had some explosively bad relationships. Then I realize how easy it is, because we were really only a stack of emails to each other anyway -- it wasn't like this is the person who will come pick you up if your car breaks down, LOL.

    Even though what Mike and I had online was special, and a neat way to meet, being together, and making the transition to real life was a whole new ball of wax. I think there's a huge difference between online and real life relationships, don't you?

    I really don't think you can have a real, whole relationship with someone you only know online -- I think it has to go to real life at some point -- though I also know plenty of people who would disagree.

    What do you all think?


  10. Wonderful story Sam!!!

    I remember a few months ago a whole slew of Harlequin authors posted how they had met their respective partners and a huuuuge percentage met them online or through dating agencies. The far lesser number met through traditional avenues.

    Not surprising when you think about it. I mean how is a writer meant to meet someone at "work"???!!!

    Lovely lovely tale Sam!!!


  11. The internet's helped me grow with my writing. I started out 9 years ago doing fanfic and branched out from there. Along the way I've met some wonderful friends and you can't beat the writing resources online :o)

  12. Hi Sam, I loved your story about how you and your husband met. I also know a few women who met their husbands online and are still in love to this day.
    I use the internet to keep in touch with all of my friends who live far from me but, I also have made some really fantastic friends through the internet.
    I belong to a few blogs and messageboards. The great women that I have met through these sites have supported me through some really tough times and we keep in touch both online and offline. They have become some of my most trusted friends.
    I have recently started writing again and, the resources available online are unlimited. I am so greatful for both the friends that I have made and the authors that I have gotten to know through the internet. If it were not for them, I would never have gotten off my butt and started fufilling my lifelong dream of writing. Thank you Sam for being one of the authors who got me off my butt.

    An added note for those of you who haven't read Sams new book Untouched. I have read almost all of Sams books and believe me when I say, This book is her best work so far. I think you will all agree with me when you read this book. You won't be able to put it down.

    Have a great night everyone. Mads:)

  13. Aw, Mads. You are such a sweetheart -- a perfect example of people I've met online who I really mean a lot to me.

    Sorry I didn't get in here last night to announce a winner for a copy of Untouched! I tried, but for some reason kept getting connection errors, but I'm here now, and I'll be around The Pink Hearts often from now on. I really like this site! It's so friendly and fun.

    So... I ripped a little piece of paper with everyone's name and picked....


    You win a signed copy of Untouched, so just email me at and I'll put it in the mail for you.

    Thanks folks!


  14. Congratulations Cheryl! You are going to love Sams book. Happy Reading. Mads:)