Month: April 2014

Romance Weekly # LoveWriteChat

Welcome! Thanks to LaNora Mangano for the hand-off if you’ve just come from her blog.

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This week’s questions in the Romance Weekly writer round robin come from Dani Jace, author of the steamy shapeshifter novel, “White Doe”.

 

What is the most unusual thing you’ve ever done in the name of research for a book?

images-3For my first book (White Rose – or was it White Nights? White Something anyway, named after the White Mountains, in New Hampshire – written in the ‘90’s – between an environmentalist, Zane and the environmental lawyer, Lisa who opposed him and which will never see the light of day), I hiked up Mt Washington (tallest peak in New England) because that’s what my characters were doing. It was a gruelling climb, with warm temperatures and mild breezes one day, howling winds and frozen whiteouts the next. Lisa succumbs to hypothermia and Zane revives her skin to skin in a sleeping bag. My hunky boyfriend at the time (now husband) was the inspiration for that hero.

Name a nonfiction book you’ve read for research that you wouldn’t have read otherwise.  Not including writing craft books.

images-4I’m actually reading “War and the Soul: Healing our Nation’s Veterans from PTSD” by Edward Tick. It’s an excellent treatise. Gus MacIsaac, the hero of my WIP is the only survivor of an IED that killed his buddies. Riddled with survivor guilt and PTSD, he underwent two years of therapy. At my story opening his new mission is to live life to the fullest (in honor of his fallen friends). This includes reconnecting with his childhood crush, marine biologist Arabella.

If you could travel anywhere to do research for a book, including back in time, where would you go?

images-5Although I have no book thoughts on the destination, any excuse to go to Paris or Eastern Scotland inspires me. Time-wise? Well, I have a thing about pirates. (Stop laughing Sarah Hegger!) If my safety were guaranteed, I’d love to go back to the late 18th early 19th century in New Orleans and/or Galveston and hang out with Jean Lafitte and his crew. (The proverbial ‘they’ say that along with Keith Richards, Johnny Depp’s version of Jack Sparrow was inspired by Lafitte.)

Let’s hop over to author Elizabeth Janette, who is getting rave reviews for her Texas mystery-romance Redemption for Liars

 http://www.elizabethjanette.com

 

Happy Birthday Lisa

IMG_0317My absolutely wonderful oldest daughter Lisa turns 20 years old today.

 

Isn’t she beautiful? (I agree – inside and out)

 

During my writing time this morning, this momentous occasion twigged me onto my personal need for creativity and the impact gestation of both the children and the books in my life has had on me.

 

How they’re alike:

images-1Both bring out a range of emotions from grumbling discomfort to sharp pain, from flutters of excitement to downright whoops of joy. They stir up feelings of longing, projection and fulfillment. They take up residence in my head and heart for interminable leases. I have been by turns, embarrassed and proud of their performances.

How they’re different: (Yes it’s a silly exercise, but I’ve dragged you this far so I’m going to complete it)

book-coverI’d give my life for my kids, fierce mama lion that I am. The stories? I’ll fight hard for them, but certainly not at the same level. I’ve been a television producer, a weatherwoman, one of the best in my field as a voice actor and am becoming a damn good romance writer. Each and every one of these professional chapters has been enormously fulfilling, but pales compared to the joy and satisfaction of motherhood. The stories? I can control my characters, my plot and story arc, whereas I have had limited success controlling Lisa and Jennifer, and very early realized it is better for all involved if I simply shepherd and guide them.

What do you think? Is there method to my madness or have I gone (as friend and brilliant author of The Bride Gift, Sarah Hegger might be caught saying) “bat-shit crazy”? Well, there are all those voices in my head…

Romance Weekly #Lovewritechat

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from SoulMate Publishing

from SoulMate Publishing

Welcome to my corner of the weekly romance writers round robin.

Thanks to Jo Richardson, author of  Cursed Be the Wicked, for the hand-off.

This week’s questions come from Julie Abdinoor, who shares my fondness for Michael Fassbender.

 

 

 

1. What ages are your characters? 

I write contemporaries and my main characters are from their mid-twenties to mid thirties. Marine biologist Arabella in my WIP Stolen Heart is 29 and ex-Marine Gus is 33.

from Freedom is Not Free Calendar

from Freedom is Not Free Calendar

So, old enough to have had their hearts broken at least once, launched careers or finished school and to have racked up a life event or two. I’d love to see romances with older characters (forties, fifties) because they carry an even richer layer of experience. Plus there’s the whole boomer thing. I may write some myself in the future.

2. What special things or places inspire you to write?

View from my Mom's

View from my Mom’s

I grew up on Lake Erie with this view out my window. Beaches, lake views, anyplace with water, sky and trees do it for me. I’m always very inspired on vacation. Give me a day or two to relax, and I’m cooking up new characters and plot points.

 

3. What is the one message you hope women will receive when they read your stories?

Live life to the fullest. Trust yourself. Nothing is set in stone and the rule book is always being re-written. Explore, dance, sing, live, love, laugh. We only get one go-around. Carpe diem!

 

J.J. Devine knows how to seize the day. Her The Cheyenne Bride was just named Finalist for the 2014 Red Carpet Books Award. Woot! To see how she answered these questions check out:

http://definingjjdevine.weebly.com/ramblings-of-a-writer.html

 

 

Social Media, Book Signings & Why Neither Directly Impact Overall Sales

I met Kristen at an online writer’s conference she organizes—WANA Con (which is fantastic by the way). Author of “Blog are You Out There, It’s Me Writer”, among others, had to share the great post she wrote this week about the value of Social Media.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Original image via Rosaura Ochoa via Flikr Creative Commons Original image via Rosaura Ochoa via Flikr Creative Commons

One of my AWESOME on-line pals posted something troublesome on my Facebook page. Apparently there is a recent article in a major writing magazine that declares social media does not sell books and, in a nutshell, isn’t worth the effort.I’ll warn you guys ahead of time that I went hunting for the article—at the last remaining Barnes & Noble within a 25 mile radius of my home—and couldn’t find said article (and have asked Kim to get me the specific issue). But, since this type of commentary is prevalent enough in the blogosphere, I feel I can address the overall thesis accurately enough.

Social Media Was NEVER About Selling Books Directly—Who KNEW?

Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Zoetnet. Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Zoetnet.

I’ve been saying this for about ten years, because the idea of using social circles for sales is NOT new…

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Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat

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You’ve just landed on my page of the fabulous Romance Weekly author interviews. Welcome, darlings.

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Questions this time around are posed by Dead Awakenings author Rebekah Ganiere, who has the best blog header: “Vampires Werewolves and Zombies, Oh My!”

Check out both her book and her blog:

http://rebekahganiere.com/

 

Who is your favorite character you’ve written and why?

queen-victoria-emerald-diamond-tiara-gothic-style-designed-prince-albertNot to be perverse, but I’m going to quote romance rock star Nora Roberts on this and say, “The one I’m working on.” (Btw, I think Nora should wear this tiara at the #RWA14 Gala. It was Queen Victoria’s and would complement her coloring. Worthy of our own royalty, don’cha think?)

When I first heard this response I thought it was a marketing ploy, but it’s not. I get it now. My head is so wrapped around what my hero or heroine (or antagonist) is 5-sensing as they are shunted through the life-changing events of my story, past characters kind of fall away. Their stories are done. Their problems are nicely wrapped.

Do you prefer to write your Hero or Heroine?

Go Commando Calendar 2014 (2)Now there’s a yin-yang question! I love writing the heroine because I get to put myself in her skin. Vicarious living through her is fun. And it’s easier, because I’m a girl. But I fall in love with my heroes. At least twice. Once as I get to know him myself, and the second time through the eyes of the heroine. (oh that? Just some eye candy from the Royal Marines Go Commando 2014 calendar – hero of my WIP is a marine -sigh)

 

What are the three things you can’t write without?


My laptop, an online thesaurus and wikipedia.

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Well actually I can, I have proof in the two penned but unpublished romance novels I wrote before my kids were born, but electronic gadgets make a hard thing so much easier. More minimalistic? Quiet, full imagination, no interuptions. More lush? A nature view to ground myself, a loungey chair or couch to put my feet up while I write, and kombucha to refresh.

 

5456280Wonder how Brenda Margriet answered these questions? Check her out at:

http://www.brendamargriet.com/blog.html

 

 

 

Comments and likes welcome and make sure to visit al the other talented authors on this blog hop.

 

Cover Reveal – Sarah Hegger

Today I have the tremendous pleasure of unveiling the stunning cover for THE BRIDE GIFT, the upcoming debut from Soul Mate author Sarah Hegger. You may recognize her from the Romance Weekly blog chats. She’s really quite a brilliant author. Without further adieu, I’ll let Sarah tell you all about her new book! 

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It’s 1153 in the period dubbed ‘The Anarchy’, King Stephen and Empress Maud are not the only ones embroiled in a fierce battle of the sexes.

Determined to control her own destiny, wilful Helena of Lystanwold has chosen just the husband to suit her purposes. But, when her banished guardian uncle attempts to secure her future and climbs through her bedroom window with a new husband by a proxy marriage, she understandably balks. Notorious warrior Guy of Helston is everything Helena swore she would never marry; a man who lives by the sword, like the man who murdered her sister.

This marriage finally brings Guy close to his lifetime dream of gaining lands and a title. He is not about to let his feisty bride stand in his way. A master strategist, Guy sets out to woo and conquer his lady.

 Against a backdrop of vengeance, war and betrayal, Guy and Helena must learn to forge a united front or risk losing everything.

 This is my very first cover and it marks one of those milestones for me as a writer. I’m still struggling to get past my name on the cover.

 Feel free to tell me what you think.

 Or drop by and see me on:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Unknown-3About Sarah Hegger: Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.

Mimicking her globe trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother.

She currently lives in Salt Lake City with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.

Thanks, Sarah! Please come back to visit when your book is released. We’d love to help you celebrate!  The Bride Gift is set to hit Amazon on May 14th, 2014. 

Highland Deception by Meggan Connors

Looking for a great weekend read?

ImageMeggan Connor’s Highland Deception drew me in like the scraped mountains and wistful lochs of Northern Scotland and held me captive to the last page.

Identical twins, Kenneth the outlaw and Malcolm the laird trade places on Malcolm’s deathbed for the good of the MacKay clan. The challenge for the proxy is to fit into the very mold he despises and fool his kin, his mistress and his wife Isobel.

The late laird had not been attracted to his lady wife, but Kenneth is. He must keep his attraction hidden if he is to pass for his brother. Laying with Lady Isobel could very well mean his life. Both Kenneth (as Malcolm) and Isobel are deliciously tortured because lust and love are never as powerful as when you can’t have what you want.

It’s a brocade of courage and love, woven tightly with the thread of lies. Highland Deception is the second in Meggan Connor’s Highland series.

I like the unique series premise which follows a fated family ring and the unlikely love matches it spawns. This match is set in the Eve of the Great Highland Migration (1725). I read it in a day — couldn’t put it down. Am now going to get the prequel, Highland Sons.

Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat

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Unknown-3Unknown-5This week I follow Victoria Barbour, who just released Against Her Rules, set in Newfoundland, one of the loveliest places on Earth. Welcome to my corner of Romance Weekly, where we hop from blog to blog answering the same questions in  different ways. Today’s round comes from Joanne Guidoccio, author of Between Land and Sea.

Scenario: A Hollywood producer is interested in your book. Can you come up with an enticing logline (plot summary of 25 words or less)?

Loglines–the obligatory evil. I like the Save The Cat logline template and have used that in the past. Right now I’m taking an online course from Margie Lawson’s school, which suggests a simpler format.

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So in my WIP it’s: After drug smugglers endanger her life and cutting edge shark study, Dr. Arabella Beaumont agrees to let ex-marine Gus MacIsaac, her nemesis from her awkward teen years protect her to secure her place in the global marine scene. That’s 38 words. Sorry. Seems I can’t do it with less.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

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Already picked them out. Gus MacIsaac is inspired by a slighter younger Michael Fassbender tempered with Damien Lewis. And, if I could cast anyone to play Dr Arabella Beaumont it would be the inimitable Jennifer Lawrence (slightly older).

Does the storyline of your novel compare with any films out there?

Not really. The banter between my socially insecure brainiac and her proud, but wounded ex-Marine is similar to Bones and Booth, but situation is different. Gus wouldn’t act on his crush on Ara when they were young because she is his best friend’s sister. 9/11 happens and Gus enlists. 3 tours with the Marines later, he seeks her out. It’s about a second chance at love that never made it off the ground the first time, mixed with drug runners, mobsters, voodoo and sharks. Ooh. There’s another logline. And yay. 25 words.

Next up? Darling J.J.Devine. You can read her responses to these questions at this link:

http://definingjjdevine.weebly.com/ramblings-of-a-writer.html

 

The Best Writing Advice I Don’t Feel Qualified to Give…

More great motivational advice for writers from Marni Bates, author of YA novel, Awkward. Thanks to a fb post from Karen Y. Bynam. Had to repost this. Not to mention the Depp AND Cumberbatch

Marni Bates

Hey everyone,

So…it’s really weird being asked to give writing advice. I instantly want to say this…

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Fun fact: Nearly every writer I know (myself included) deals with imposter syndrome. Sadly, that does not mean we buy ridiculous outfits from thrift shops and pretend to be the reigning monarch of Khazibekustanzia. It means that we stare at the laptop screen and wait to read an email that says…

failed

Most writers spend most of their time thinking that they mostly suck at writing.

We tend to believe that everyone else has it figured out and that at some point (if we can just crack the NYT bestseller list!) then we’ll also feel like extra special unicorns. Except it doesn’t actually work that way. We just go right on doubting ourselves.

So why am I sharing this? It’s not, y’know…inspirational.

Except…it kind of is.

Hear me out, okay?

See, young aspiring authors…

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Motivational Whips and Chains

Until very recently, I have been wiggly about my daily word count. I have dithered in finding facebook, research, cooking, the narrations I must do because that’s what pays the bills, all more pressing than piling up words in the manuscript.

Well, to quote Mr. Zimmerman, the times, they are a-changing.

imagesFriend and Kensington author Sarah Hegger pushed herself into the troposphere (catch her incredible debut The Bride Gift , see http://sarahhegger.com/ )

by committing to 2K words a day. Eyes on the prize, she completed three and a half manuscripts in a year. Within two years she had sold five books, including a three-book deal to the aforementioned Big 5 publisher.

As Sarah said, now it’s my turn.

 

So upping the word count. Easier said than done? Not necessarily.

18246276Award winning author Sophie Littlefield (latest release: House of Glass) gave an awesome RWA workshop called “How to Slay your Inner Slacker” where she describes a practice she calls writing 45/15. (Here’s her blog that actually mentions me!: http://sophielittlefield.blogspot.ca/2014/03/my-top-trick-for-finishing-that-book.html) As simple as it sounds, she advocates writing for 45 minutes, then getting up for 15 minutes and taking care of bodily functions, warming your coffee or tea, walking the dog around the block, chopping carrots for supper, whatever would normally barge into your writer brain and derail your little engine that could. After your quarter hour break, get that cute little derriere back into the chair and fly those fingers over the keyboard.

 

 

21522614A Romance Weekly writer buddy, beautiful Brit Carrie Elks (Fix You, see http://carrieelks.com/ ) sent me a link to a Rachel Aaron blog about how she went from writing 2000 words per day to 10K!

For a peek at Rachel’s light-speed nuggets, check this link: http://thisblogisaploy.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/how-i-went-from-writing-2000-words-day.html

Not certain if I’m up to a 10K/day challenge, but like my daily exercise routine, these are goals to work toward!