Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat





Ever wonder how the minds of authors tick? Welcome to Romance Weekly, the blog tour where we unscrew the watch face and let you see the inner workings. This week’s questions come from Leslie Hachtel.


Do you prefer to write futuristic, contemporary or historical romances and why?


artworks-000060768775-b90ps9-originalThough I love to read all three (and dystopia and paranormal), I write contemporary because the authors that have more recently inspired me most are most prolific in this time period. We live in very exciting times filled with lots of conflict even on a day-to-day level. Staying in the now helps narrow my study of human relationships and emotions. I really want to capture the essence of the struggles and joys of falling in love.


What is your favorite time in history and how and why does it inspire you?

82f249f591efceed6dcc3ddcac39bc12As a kid, I was a sci-fi junkie. Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury. I ate them for breakfast, lunch and midnight snacks. I also love, love, loved the 19th century, and stories by authors from Austin and Dickens to the Bronte’s and Jules Verne. Maybe that means if I do venture out of the contemporary world, I should try steam punk, or at the very least the Victorian era. Hmmm. Future fodder.


How has your life experience contributed to your writing?



Not him, but he's cute, right?

Not him, but he’s cute, right?

I’ve had some pretty diverse experiences, so um, wow. Running a kids theatre school, dating a medicine man in training and living with Lakota in South Dakota (not my husband now), weathergirl on national cable, surviving a production business with 2 friends, Girl Scout leader, homeschooling for 9 years, radio dj, converting to Judaism, celebrating a 20th wedding anniversary, becoming vegan. See what I mean? (just a few highlights) I guess through all of it I’ve always studied human behavior and story. I don’t write about any of those experiences, but all that I’ve learned about people, and myself, certainly contribute to this. I think—or is it hope—that it makes my characters razor defined, my plots iron bright, my hooks gourmet irresistible. Like, I said, it’s my hope.


J.J.Devine has racked up a few compelling life experiences herself. See how she answers these questions at the next stop on our blog tour: http://definingjjdevine.weebly.com/ramblings-of-a-writer.html


Book Love

I love books like I love Ethiopian food.


Ever had a plate? Uber delicious. A yummy variety of simple foods, spiced in deliciously surprising ways, that sits trencher style on a large flat round of teff, soaking its mouthwatering goodness into the spongy bread. Spread on a large round plate meant for ripping into and sharing with one or two others.


I want to soak up the head bread of the books I read (and write) like airy crepes sop up the stewed spinach, lentils and beets. I want to rip into the characters with heart like fingers tear teff into spoons to gather every spice soaked morsel.



Shared on the same plate with a loved one. The ultimate finger food. Secrets of the soul. Intimate sustenance. Prepared in a time honored way.

Let’s dig in.

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…

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…

View original post 1,955 more words

Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat



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




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:



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.


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:





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


Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat



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.


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?

MF Erik Xmendamianlewis

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:



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!

Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite

Welcome to my corner of the weekly romance writers round robin. This week’s questions come from Nina Mason, who just released her smexy paranormal The Queen of Swords, available on Amazon. Here’s her site. http://ninamasonauthor.com/

How does your writing impact you inner life?

images-2I first noticed my reading impacting my inner life when I was 19, cutting grass for the City Parks Department under the broiling sun in the midst of the Dune trilogy. Water, its celebration and conservation became my obsession that summer.  I think whatever I’m writing kind of takes over like that. My WIP takes place in the Caribbean. Great setting for mind-retreats during the quasi-eternal Montreal winter. My characters and their problems take up a lot of my free time. The fam-jam has gotten used to knowing where I am when I get that far away look in my eye. The hard part is switching back and forth between reality and inner world.


How do you hope your books affect your readers?


NYC-subway_book_readers_07When a character, like the unstoppable Scarlett O’Hara, or a setting, like the desert planet Arrakis in the Dune series, stays with you and impacts your world view I think that’s the highest achievement a writer or any artist can have. Ultimately, that’s what I wish to impart in my stories. But my more realistic goals are to provide diversion and joy in some of the moments we steal to read…sitting in the mommy-line up at school waiting to pick up the kids, on the bus on the way to work or sitting in the hospital with a sick loved-one. All these times when we seek to be enlightened, entertained or inspired by the lives and problems of someone’s imagination.


Has anyone ever told you your book changed their life? If so, how?

images-5I’m unpublished, so far, so no, not yet. But the underlying theme of all my writing seems to be the ability to love others without sacrificing your own power. This was a lesson in give-and-take that personally brought me to my knees and cut up my heart when I was younger. I’m hyper aware of maintaining that balance now in my 20 year marriage and in observing the lives of others. If a story of mine ever helps someone struggling with that, wonderful. Otherwise, I write to bring an authentic emotional experience to my readers with diversion and joy. Because, as Susan Elizabeth Phillips says on her website wall, “Life’s too short to read depressing books.”

Thanks for stopping by. Meggan Connors, coiner of the phrase “There’s a bee in my bodice” is next on today’s blog tour. Check out how she responded to these questions by hopping over to http://megganconnors.wordpress.com

Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite


Welcome to the wonderful tag team of talented writers in Romance Weekly’s round-robin interview. Each week a bunch of authors answer the same three questions We invite you to blog hop to see how we all answered and learn a little more about us. Ronnie Allen asked us:

1.Who us your favorite author other than yourself in your genre and why?

Such a tough question. It’s so hard to whittle it down to just one. But if pressed, I guess I’d have to i.d. Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I always feel for her heroines, cheer them on in their journeys of growth, and grow they do, fall in love with her heroes and get caught up in the lives of all the other cast members in her books. Also her situations can be downright hilarious. SEP is good for several genuine laugh-out-loud’s per book, and a good cry every now and again too.


2.What is your favorite book by them and why?

Ouch. This question actually hurts. I’m such a fan and it’s so hard to narrow it down. I mean who can resist the moment in Fancy Pants when spoiled rich Francesca Day throws her last 25 cents into a cornfield to start her life anew, or brave Sugar Beth Carey who comes back to the town she destroyed to face her demons. But I guess, Natural Born Charmer wins out for me. SEP had me at the first line, when Dean Robillard stops to rescue damsel Blue Bailey in distress (she’s actually tromping down a dusty road in a headless beaver costume). Blue, whose mother has stolen from her to rescue South American women at risk, is really down and out and up against a wall, but do she shrink and swoon? No. Like so many of SEP’s heroines, Blue uses what tools she has and emerges strong and smart and triumphant. SEP’s heroes are pulled into the vortex of change the heroines storm through and like Dean in Natural Born Charmer sees who his ladylove really is and does what it takes to win her over.


3.What about their style inspires your writing?

Whew. This one’s easy peasy. Her warmth, her humor, her penchant for finding novel authentic meets, plot points and twists. Then there’s her ability to bring strong characters together in love, and to address tough issues with a sincere but soft touch. Mostly, it’s how she paces the growth arc of her heroines. They become Protagonist 2.0, where the biggest thing that has changed about them is a shift in their own perception which encompasses their ability to love.

Have you read how Sarah Hegger answered these questions? Link to her here: http://sarahhegger.wordpress.com