Susan’s in the House! Please Welcome Susan Hanniford Crowley to the Blogathon!

Susan waiting-in-line-for-the-masquerageToday I’ve got Susan Hanniford Crowley at the Blogathon! And she’s doing a giveaway, so stay tuned for that.
Welcome, Susan! Tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?

Hi! I’m Susan Hanniford Crowley, author of Vampire King of New York. Writing about King Max and his quest for true love was a blast. Max is handsome and regal in a good way, but he sometimes makes mistakes, funny ones.

Little girls attacking or protecting their PeteOn a personal note, I love dogs and cats. My dog Pete died a few months ago. He was fifteen and a half and we still miss him terribly. He raised our two kitten sisters Bella and Buffy. They were found by a rescue group abandoned in a box on a city street and were feed with eyedroppers. They miss Pete too. They used to hug and kiss and bounce all over him. He was a very amiable guy.

Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?

I started writing formally when I was 8. One of my first poems were published in a local newspaper when I was 16. From there I was writing all kinds of things from radio and television commercials to short stories in science fiction and fantasy.

When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?

Smiles. I was serious when I sent in my poem to a newspaper when I was 16. I am a crossover author from science fiction and fantasy. An author friend of mine said to me at a convention in 2005, “I’ve read your works and you’re really a paranormal romance author.” I went to the bookstore and bought 6 paranormal novels, and I realized that I was ‘home’. I started writing paranormal romance and have been having fun ever since.

How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?

I dream all my books. Some books are all from one dream. Others come from weeks of dreams. Then I have to fill in the between spots. The first was a novella and it came from one dream. Vampire King of New York came from a month of dreams. Then came the research. I think it took me about 7 months to write the first draft.

Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone? What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward?

I dream. When I wake, I write as fast as I possibly can. I write in bed. I write on my sofa. Sometimes family is around me. Sometimes I’m alone. When I go to a conference, I’ll write in the hotel room. When I lock into the story I’m writing, the world goes around me but I’m there in the story like an unseen character watching everything unfold. I know what’s in the minds and hearts of the characters. The hardest part is choosing all the important parts to put in.

What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?

I spent many summers in New York visiting an aunt as I grew up, and some of that feel in is Vampire King of New York. I love walking in Battery Park. I’m very familiar with King Max’s home territory of Manhattan. I’ve also been to Iceland where the book begins.

Five vital things surround you as you create. What are they? What makes them special to you?

A journal. A pen. Either a dragon statute or wearing a dragon shirt. Slippers. My laptop. A 3-ring binder. I tend to write between the laptop and the journal. If I get stuck in one place, I move to the other and the flow picks up where it left off. I love dragons. I find them very inspirational. I write wearing slippers most of the time. That’s why I put slippers in my bag when I go to a convention. My writing pen of choice is the Uni-ball Deluxe Finepoint. I love the feel of that pen in my hand. I also collect unusual pens and journals. I print out the book as I finish 50 pages at a time. Then I edit whenever I get a lull in the writing.

Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?

I am the care provider for three family members, and I work part-time three days a week in addition to being an author. I make lists for everything. I write down deadlines and appointments on a calendar. I set my phone alarm to all my deadlines with advance warnings. I also always carry something in my purse to write wherever I am. I doesn’t matter if it’s a small notebook with a pen. I can’t let the words escape when they are flowing. I have at time used a small voice recorder to capture a scene or capture. Even when I’m ill, I’m in bed with a journal or my laptop.

What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?

I love waking up in the morning and knowing I have a new book. Currently there are 3 books in line behind the one I’m currently writing.

What aspects of the writing process do you find most difficult?

Writing fast enough and getting everything down is the most difficult. I dream more than I can possibly write in a day.

Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.

I’m currently working on the second book in the Arnhem Knights series. It’s the story that belongs to Noblesse, King Max’s daughter. She’s had two major heartaches in her 200 plus years of being undead. Prior to her becoming a vampire, her mother disappeared in Paris just before the French Revolution. She never found out what happened to her. In addition, Noblesse has never been in love. She would love to find her lifemate. Two men claim to love her, and well, it’s a problem. Both have lied to her. One wants to destroy her and the other wants to love her forever, but which one? Even then will she ever find out what happened to her mother? These are questions she needs answered.

I love this book already because it gives a different view of Noblesse from the business woman who is her father’s bodyguard in Vampire King of New York. It takes a more personal look at Noblesse. The Arnhem Knights play an important roles, as Noblesse is also a knight. You really get to know them, and it’s very much part of a larger family saga of the Royal Family of vampires, the Vander Meers of New York.

How about some faves of yours?

I have so many faves. Cool dark nights. Lightning. Dogs. Cats. My family. My granddaughter. I’m multi-national in ancestry. I found out a few years ago that my great-grandfather Alexander Kennedy was a Scotsman and related to the Clan Kennedy of Culzean Castle in Scotland. How cool! I even visited the castle a few years back as a tourist, but I didn’t know my Scottish lineage at the time. It’s gorgeous.

I write to have fun and my only goal is for my readers to have fun too.

Susan’s debut release with Soul Mate, Vampire King of New York:

VampyreKingOfNewYorkMax Vander Meer, is a modern day Viking, CEO of VMeer Industries, and a Vampire. He makes a plea to the Goddess Freya to find the only woman who can heal his heart, the woman haunting his dreams. But, the Goddess strikes a bargain with him. To find this special woman, Max must return to the city he helped build–New York, which is threatened by an ancient terror. When he meets Evelyn, he is astounded. Could she be the one who inhabits his dreams? But Evelyn is haunted by loss and betrayal. How can Max win her love when she doesn’t trust him as a man, and she doesn’t want to be a vampire? If Max returns to Iceland without her, he will be encased in ice . . . forever!

 

BUY LINK: AMAZON:

Susan, thanks for visiting with us today!

Susan’s Website: http://www.susanhannifordcrowley.com

Susan is giving away a signed copy of Vampire King of New York to one lucky commenter! To be eligible, please include your email address in your comment.

Posted in 2015 August Blogathon, Paranormal Romance, Soul Mate Publishing, Susan's Snippets! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A.E. is in the House! Please Welcome A.E. Snow to the Blogathon!

Anna SnowToday I have A.E. Snow at the Blogathon!
A.E., tell us all about you! Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?

I was born with a pen in my hand! I wrote my first “book” when I was six and I haven’t stopped writing since.

When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?

I got serious about writing after my daughter was born. Having two little kids under the age of two is hard work! I made writing my little escape from diapers and spitting up. I was slow going but when once I had written about half of the book, I knew I had to finish it.

How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?

It took about two years. It began very slowly and a great many things changed. Once I reached the halfway point, it started to go very fast and I didn’t want to do anything else!

Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone? What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward?

I write in total silence with soft lights and classical music. Hahaha! I write at my desk or the kitchen table in the middle of two children, a big dog, and three cats running around. I am excellent at tuning out noise. My writing mood just strikes and I have to sit down and do it at the expense of everything else. Thankfully, my husband understands.

What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?

I mostly write YA. It isn’t experiences that infiltrate my stories as much as feelings. I have vivid memories of how I felt when I was a young adult so I draw from those.

Literary Inspiration: throughout your life, what novels have lifted you, made you think, “Someday I want to create something like that . . .”

There are so so many. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson had a profound effect on me. I love everything Judy Blume has ever written. Patricia MacLachlan’s work deeply affected me as a child. Sarah Dessen has really inspired my writing as well.

Let’s talk about romance. How do you set the mood for your characters, what do you draw from that helps your H/H achieve oneness with each other? And how much conflict do you give them, along the way?

I always make a Pinterest mood board for how I want things to feel. The board for Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick is filled with summery scenes like couples on the beach just having fun. I consult the mood board and make a playlist every time I write and especially when writing a romantic scene. I try to give them a fair amount of conflict to sort through.

What shining moment in your journey stands out the most as a real turning point for you as a writer?

The day I wrote The End on my first book. It was only the rough draft but it was the moment that I thought “I can do this. I did this.” It’s not an easy road but finishing a novel, even if it’s a rough draft, is a feeling like no other.

Five vital things surround you as you create. What are they? What makes them special to you?

I like to diffuse essential oils while I write so my diffuser and oils are super important. I have lots of sticky notes with inspirational messages on them or lines of poetry. I like to be able to see them while I write so I have something to refer to when things get hard. A view.

I need something beautiful to look at while I write. My desk is facing a window with lots of trees and not much else so it’s beautiful but not distracting. Coffee is a necessity. Or tea.

Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?

I have small children and two part-time jobs that I do from home. My biggest challenge is balancing work, family, and writing. Sometimes I feel the pressure and I think that I have to finish everything before I write but I’m not happy when I’m not writing so I’m trying to shift that to make writing more of a priority. So instead of work, family, then writing, I’d like it to be family, writing, and work last.

What aspects of the writing process do you find most difficult?

Editing. I hate editing and it takes me forever.

How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?

I begin with an idea. I let it simmer for a while, sometimes weeks or months, and then I do character sketches. I usually start writing and when I get to page fifty or so, I start over and make a plan. I have tried to plan and create detailed outlines but I really need a strong sense of the character before I do that or it feels inauthentic. It’s not the most efficient process but it’s my process and has actually taken years to figure out.

Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.

I’m working on a YA novel unlike anything I’ve written. The structure is not typical and hopefully tells the story of my main character Willa through a linear story with other threads woven in like newspaper articles, playlists, and her imagination. It’s fun to try!

How about some faves of yours?

My children are awesome. My son is almost five and his view of the world is so precious and exciting. Everything is an adventure. My daughter is three and is very strong in her sense of self. They are incredible. I also adore my twelve-year-old diabetic cat, Sam. I like to be surrounded by books, coffee, and the color blue while I listen to the Black Keys or the Arctic Monkeys.

A.E.’s upcoming debut release with Soul Mate: Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick:

MeadowPerkinsTrustySidekickBeing someone’s sidekick stinks, but it has kept Meadow safe. She has always been the funny friend of the most popular girl in art school, but hiding her light under a bushel has its consequences and now Meadow’s painting teacher thinks the talent that runs in her family must have skipped a generation. After Emilia, Meadow’s best friend, deals her a blow in the form of public humiliation in the middle of the cafeteria of Hobart School of the Arts, Meadow’s first instinct is to drop out of school and go into hiding.
When an old friend moves back into her life, she inspires Meadow to take charge of her own life and her own heart. Her heart just won’t shut up about the brooding Alejandro, or about Jack, who is tall and funny and totally gets her.
Meadow and Isla rely on each other when things get complicated, but after Meadow makes a shocking discovery, she realizes that she must stand on her own two feet, fix the mess she’s made, and try to win back the boy she like likes.

A.E., thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Posted in 2015 August Blogathon, Young Adult Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Layne’s in the House! Please Welcome Layne Macadam to the Blogathon!

Layne MacadamToday at the Blogathon we have Layne Macadam!

Layne, welcome! Tell us a bit about yourself. Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?

I live with my husband on the east coast of Australia in a beautiful part of the world. I have a university degree and I work full-time. I’ve always had a love of the written word and voraciously read anything I could get my hands on. I certainly wasn’t born with a pen in my hand and didn’t really try my hand at writing until much later in life. I do have a lot of ideas flitting around my head but they’re incomplete. I have to extract them bit by bit and dissect and rearrange them and then work on them again.

When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?

It was probably about ten years ago now. I’d just finished reading a most woeful book and happened to say to my husband it was so bad I could have written a better story, (joking about that bit of course!) He turned to me and said “Well, why don’t you?” I’m always up for a challenge, so I did, and I found that I absolutely loved it.

How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?

My first manuscript, Desire Unleashed was about a team of Navy SEALs. It was meant to be a short story of about twenty-five thousand words just so I could get a feel for the craft, but one hundred and five thousand words later I had book one in my Desire Series. The story emerged slowly and it took about ten months to complete and much longer to find a publisher. After a lot of automated rejections one publisher gave me some very good feedback. She said the story was great and she liked my voice but there were other technical issues that needed addressing. As a novice writer I wasn’t even aware that I had a voice! Links were also provided. I followed the links and consumed all the information and then of course I could see what she was talking about, so I set to work rewriting turning telling into showing and including more dialogue. That took about another few months of hard work and it was probably another year later before I received my first contract.

Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone” What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward.

I’m a bright lights, white noise, and confusion writer. Ninety per cent of the time the TV is switched on and the laptop is in my lap (where else!!) More recently, the new puppy is scurrying around my feet or trying to get into my lap, which makes typing a challenge. I’m quite organized and driven. I treat my writing as a second job, that way I can’t slack off. Funny enough, it’s the characters that push me forward. As strange as this might sound, they all have their own personalities and want their story to be told. Often if I can’t sleep I’ll think about where I’m up to in my writing and new thoughts emerge which may enhance my story or indeed take me in a different direction.

Let’s talk about romance. How do you set the mood for your characters, what do you draw from that helps your H/H achieve oneness with each other? And how much conflict do you give them along the way?

First off they must have instant chemistry, even if they antagonize each other, the attraction must be strong. Most of the time, although I create rather extreme conflict, it is always a believable scenario with the characters more alike than they originally thought possible. I always have internal and external conflict for both and even though the resolve comes together for their mutual benefit and happiness, it usually takes some time!

Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?

A full-time job and family commitments keep me pretty busy. I’m lucky that I have a supportive husband who likes to cook. During the week he mostly prepares the evening meal, which frees me up to do some writing. As I said earlier, I treat writing as my second career. I put in three or four hours work at night and more on the weekends. Generally. I begin by going over the previous chapter and tweak or make changes then spend quite a bit of time writing new material. Most evenings I also do some promotional work.

What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?

When I type “The End” it’s always with a sense of accomplishment and excitement, but I think probably the most exciting aspect of the writing process is when the contract lands in my inbox as it validates my work as an author.

What aspects of the writing process do you find most difficult?

I enjoy my work very much, but funnily enough the most difficult for me is creating an outline for my story and sticking to it. Organizing chapters and how I want everything to unfold, is easy enough. But then nine times out of ten when I get into the nitty gritty something happens and all my good strategies go out the window. The characters take on a life of their own and I just have to go with it. It can get very infuriating, but in the end it’s much easier to follow where the story leads me, than to fight it!

How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?

If you’d asked me this question a few years ago, I would have said I just sat down and started writing. Now however, I try to be more organized. I do a character and appearance sketch for all the individuals, and a rough draft of the direction I want my story to go. Research is vital. I find out relevant facts about where the book is set, the time it is set in, all this information, I believe, is needed for credibility.

Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.

At present I have two books on the go. I’m about thirty thousand words into each one. Desire Rekindled is the 3rd novel in my Desire Series and will finish up between two hundred and fifty and three hundred pages. It is a little different from the other two in as much as it has both paranormal and historical elements to it. I’m quite excited about it and hope my readers enjoy all the twists and turns. The other book I’m working on is a wolf shifter novella, the second book in my Heritage Series and as yet untitled. It also has a lot of unexpected surprises.

How about some faves of yours?

There are so many wonderful authors out there, but I do love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series and Shannon McKenna and of course JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Series.

Layne’s current release with Soul Mate, Obsession Down Under:

ObsessionDownUnderAspiring author Jessica Butler-Reid has never done anything exciting in her entire life. The daughter of a Minister and his aging wife, she sees her life heading down the same tedious predictable path as her mom’s, organizing church fetes, bazaars, and bake-offs. But when she innocently posts a help request on an Internet forum for some technical advice with her book, her life is changed forever when Australian cattle rancher, Whip McGregor, answers the call.

She embarks on an adventure of a lifetime, but little does she know her decision to accept his offer of a two-week paid vacation to the land Down Under will jeopardize more than one life and have far-reaching consequences neither she nor Whip could have foreseen.

BUY LINK: AMAZON:

Layne, thanks for visiting with us today!

Layne’s Website:
http://www.laynemacadam.com

Posted in 2015 August Blogathon, Contemporary Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Zen’s in the House! Please Welcome Zen DiPietro to the Blogathon!

Zen DiPietroToday I have Zen DiPietro at the Blogathon!
Zen, welcome! Tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?

Whatever they want to know! I think the internet has been fantastic in letting authors and readers interact. In a way, there’s never been a better time to be a bookworm.

I guess the biggest thing about me as a writer is that I write the stories that I want to read. That means fresh ideas, avoiding trope, and characters who become “real.” I’m always looking for a new take on something or other. That’s how new ideas start forming, which makes the imagination take off.

Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?

I was definitely born to be a writer. My mom enrolled me in a book club before I was even born. Books were my friends and my favorite thing was story time. My first story was a fairly incomprehensible one about a bunny rabbit painter named Carrots. Apparently, he accidentally painted another bunny’s nose and they became friends. I love a happy ending!

How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?

The first one I completed took probably over a year. It was like pulling teeth. The first one is hard. And bad. I’m glad it didn’t get published, though I was crushed at the time. But each book is better than the last. Kind of like how the first pancake is always a throwaway, but it’s the precursor to the golden, delicious ones.

What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?

Everything I experience goes into the big imagination hopper, and I never know when something will pop out when I’m writing. That’s why I collect experiences like other people collect coins or signed copies of books. If I get a chance to do something new, I’ll try it just to have the experience.

Like the time I wore a pair of glasses that tracked my eye movements and did some faux shopping at the grocery store They wanted to see where people’s eyes were drawn as they shopped the store. Or the time I was a movie extra. I’m a major introvert, but I’m very adventurous, because I always endeavor to experience new things.

Five vital things surround you as you create. What are they? What makes them special to you?

ZenWell, let me look around here. My laptop is at my fingertips. My phone is always nearby. My two cats are often vying for space in my lap, so it gets crowded sometimes.

Really, that’s it. All I need is my laptop, a comfortable place to sit, and some quiet. All the important things are in my head.

Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?

Mostly, my family. I have two sons and a husband, and sometimes it seems like they exist purely to keep me from writing. I have to jealously guard my writing time, which means working whenever they are not home. On occasion, if I am working on a deadline, I have to lock myself in the bedroom and tell my husband he’s on his own, but mostly I have to bide my time and wait until I can be alone.

What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?

Writing an awesome scene. My heart pounds all the way through, and after, I dance around the house and sing loudly. Probably badly, too.

How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?

I work things through in my head and take notes as I build the world and the characters. I keep notebooks everywhere. I outline and get as much structure down as I can before the words start demanding to get out. From then on, I go with the flow. My characters always do things to upset my outline, so I have to follow their lead.

Zen’s debut release with Soul Mate, Seeking Sorrow (Guardians of Terath, Book One):

GUARDIANSOFTERATHSEEKING SORROWAn earth-like world of high-tech humans faces the reality that their world is not as safe as they thought it was. Five people are thrown together to quietly get to the bottom of an unfathomable event that must stay quiet. If the population of Terath becomes aware of the truth, it will spark a civil war. That war would pit the majority of the population against the powerful minority with the ability to harness and manipulate mana. The resulting cataclysm would decimate the population and tear apart the foundation of society.

The five people chosen for this must reconsider everything they thought they knew about mana, even as they learn to trust one another’s abilities. They must embrace everything they never wanted in order to prevent the devastation of their world. One of them will be forever changed. Love will be denied, badassery will be unleashed, and Terath will never be the same.

Even success comes at a price.

 

Zen, thanks for visiting with us today!

 

Posted in 2015 August Blogathon, Fantasy Romance | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Victoria’s in the House! Please Welcome Victoria Smith to the Blogathon!

Victoria SmithToday I have Victoria Smith at the Blogathon!

Victoria, welcome! Tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?

I’m a mom of four with three grandkids. (I’m really not that old, I still have kids at home!) I’ve been married for coming up on 29 years. I love writing, my family, my pets. I don’t have any real hobbies, except for keeping up with stuff… ha!

Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?

Both. I have some interesting stories I wrote when I was little (my mom found them a few years ago and gave them to me), but then I put writing aside for a long time.

When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?

About 12 or so years ago. I’d been talking about it and planning things before that, but didn’t get serious until after I read a ‘wall thumper’ and my husband challenged me.

How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?

It flew, but I had no idea how to format, paragraph, or anything. I wrote about the characters taking bathroom breaks. It was pretty awful.

Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone? What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward?

All of the above? It really depends. I tend to change things around depending on my mood and how deep into the story I am. (and how crazy things are in my house)

Literary Inspiration: throughout your life, what novels have lifted you, made you think, “Someday I want to create something like that . . .”

I can’t remember specific titles, but definitely Dean Koontz, Stephen King – yes, I know they are mostly horror writers, but their books have always spoken to me.

What shining moment in your journey stands out the most as a real turning point for you as a writer?

There are many, but recently it was the contract for this book. My mom loved this book. She was one of my biggest fans. We lost Dad very quickly last July. We lost her ten months later – before she could share in the release with me, but she was ecstatic when I got the contract. It was a high moment for both of us. She got to see my cover hours before she died. This book is for her. Hands down.

Five vital things surround you as you create. What are they? What makes them special to you?

Special vital things? My family and friends and their support, though I don’t necessarily need them right next to me when I write! Ha! Music, because it inspires me. My computer is special and vital… I very recently had to get a new one after seven years with Red. I’m on a learning curve here. Red was amazing and fought the good fight. This new one is testing me. That’s only three… I’m missing things…

Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?

I have a very challenging and brain draining day job. I’m on a computer all day at work, so it’s sometimes challenging to even think about turning on my computer at home. But I do. I also have four children, three grandchildren, a husband, a dog, cats… Generally, chaos. They’re really supportive and do their best to leave me alone, but sometimes…

What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?

I think it depends on how the first draft goes. All out writing wins hands down, though sometimes editing is amazing.

What aspects of the writing process do you find most difficult?

Depends on the book – sometimes it’s putting the words on the page, sometimes it’s editing, sometimes it’s coming up with the blurb…

How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?

General idea usually. I figure it out as I go most of the time, though I have had decent success with planning the story and researching before I start.

Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.

I’m working on a sequel to Prelude of Lies – it’s Daisy’s story about finding her birth mother and her happier ever after – and a short featuring Graham from Prelude of Lies that will be in an anthology.

Victoria’s debut release with Soul Mate, Prelude of Lies:

preludeofliesWhen Daisy and Sydney Brooks inherit their grandfather’s decrepit campground, they get way more than they bargained for. First, there are the ghosts – ghosts Sydney can interact with though she doesn’t want the ability.

Then, there’s their grandfather’s second wife, the evil and unbalanced, Vile Violet. She’s doing everything, legal and illegal, to cause the forfeiture of the property so she can build a casino.

Add two perfect and ideal mates for each sister, Daisy’s drug addicted, money hungry birth mother, a kidnapping, and a box of money, and it’s no wonder the sisters have no choice but to learn to rely on each other more than they ever have.

BUY LINK: AMAZON:

Victoria, thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Posted in 2015 August Blogathon, Paranormal Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Rena’s in the House! Please Welcome Rena Koontz to the Blogathon!

Rena KoontzToday I have Rena Koontz at the Blogathon! And she’s doing a fun giveaway, so stay tuned for that.
Rena, Welcome! Tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?

My career as a newspaper reporter exposed me to the seedier side of life as a crimes reporter but it also allowed me to experience real happy-ever-after stories. All of my books, including “Crystal Clear Love,” have a thread of truth in them and are based on stories or people who touched me. Sometimes, it’s an actual story, with fictionalized details, or a real person, masked to avoid recognition.

Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?

I’d have to guess I was born with a pencil, crayon or pen in my hand. When my mother died, I found a drawer full of notes she saved, notes I’d written as a child, some on the double-lined paper with the dashed line through the center from grade school. My handwriting has improved since then! As for my ideas, my brain is always full of stories. I can’t sit in a restaurant without imagining the lives of the people around me and – sometimes – inventing the conversations they’re having. It drives my husband crazy.

When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?

I graduated the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English and immediately began working as a part-time reporter for a tiny, weekly newspaper. I saw my name in print as my first byline and it thrilled me. I never grew tired of seeing my byline, especially on the front pages of two of the country’s top ten newspapers. My desire to see my name on a book cover took root in college after I read “The Flame and The Flower,” by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I knew then that someday, I wanted to write romance novels.

How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?

It took almost a year to write my first manuscript. The story floated in my brain for years so yes, it flew off my fingertips. But I knew nothing about the business of writing a romance novel so there was so much to learn. My first manuscript was single spaced – that’s how much I didn’t know!

Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone? What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward?

I learned to write on deadline, sometimes in the midst of chaos and drama. And I’m deadline oriented, an obvious result of my career as a news reporter. I set a goal to write 1,000 words a day and treat it like a deadline. It doesn’t matter if it’s quiet, noisy, in a room full of people with the television blaring or flying solo at my desk. I make my goal most days but I don’t beat myself up if I fall short. My characters encourage me to sit and write, which helps motivate me. They want their stories told.

Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?

I am a wife and the mother of an 11-year-old rescue dog, half blind and arthritic. Both my men seek my attention. While I enjoy the luxury of not having a day job, I still deal with running a household (laundry, cooking and the dreaded cleaning) and I am committed to exercise classes three times a week. Plus I have a social life and friends I don’t want to neglect. But I don’t neglect my characters either. They don’t let me. Setting a daily writing goal – and meeting it – helps keep me on track. I confess, when I take a Sunday off, I feel guilty.

What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?

Two things: Opening that first blank page and typing the first sentence of a new novel. And writing the story’s end – the last line. Both are a rush.

What aspects of the writing process do you find most difficult?

On days when I’m “in the zone,” so engrossed with my characters that nothing else matters, the most difficult thing for me is to stop. If only I didn’t have to shower, take time to eat and let the dog out!

How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?

I’m a pantser. I don’t outline my stories ahead of time. Sometimes I’m only sure about how I want the story to open and how it will end. How I get from the first page to the last is often unknown, except for bits and pieces of scenes I know I’ll include. I rely on my characters to tell me what comes next and I fret on the days when it seems they aren’t sure either. My husband shakes his head when I make statements like, “Crystal and Mike just kissed goodbye at the airport and plan to never see each other again. I hope they reunite.”

Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.

All of my books are about law enforcement because, in my mind, cops are the good guys. Thus far, my heroes have been the ones in uniform I’m working on a romantic suspense where the heroine is the police officer. And she kicks butt!

How about some faves of yours?

I’m always looking for better ways to do things. Have any suggestions for me or thoughts on the above comments? I’m giving away a free E-copy of “Crystal Clear Love” to someone who posts a comment today. Have at it.

Rena’s debut release with Soul Mate, Crystal Clear Love:

CrystalClearLoveCrystal Kenethey’s safe, plain yogurt life turns upside down when she runs into her old love, Mike Perzelle. She’s struggled for ten long years to forget him and his betrayal, only to come face to face with him, and all the old questions and doubts, again. Mike destroyed Crystal’s trust in him and she walked away without a backward glance. But she always wondered if she’d done the right thing. She’s been playing the “What If” game for years, since no man has sparked the heat and passion Mikey could.

Seeing Mike again stirs those feelings she has long buried. She learns the truth about the incident that led to their demise and realizes she has never stopped loving him. She never gave him a chance to explain himself when the incident occurred, and now she’s too late. He’s carved out his own life in a new city and there isn’t room for her in it, not the way she wants. Mike is a man of honor and has promised another woman he will not abandon her, despite his own renewed feelings for her and the love he admits never died. Can there be a happy ending to a pivotal reunion ten years too late?

BUY LINK: AMAZON:
Rena, thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Rena is giving away an e-copy of Crystal Clear Love to one lucky commenter! Please include your email address in the comment to be eligible for the giveaway.

Posted in 2015 August Blogathon, Contemporary Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Sloane’s in the House! Please Welcome Sloane B. Collins to the Blogathon!

Sloane Burke CollinsToday I’ve got Sloane B. Collins at the Blogathon! And she’s doing a fun giveaway, so stay tuned for that.
Great to see you, Sloane! Tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?

I’m a fifth generation Texan, with roots that can be traced back to a spy in the Civil War. While I’m very proud of my heritage, I honestly think I’m a New Englander at heart. I want to live somewhere again that there are actually four seasons, not just winter then it jumps to hot summer for six months.
I’ve been married for almost twenty-seven years to my own hero. No kids, but we do have four cats who keep us on our toes. I’m an avid photographer and scrapbooker, as well as author, and my goal is to set books in every place that we visit. I love reading and writing in the Romance genre because I truly believe everyone deserves a Happy Ever After.

Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?

I’ve always loved reading, and I think I’ve always wanted to write. It wasn’t until we moved to the Dallas area nine years ago that I joined Romance Writers of America, and the local Dallas Area Romance Authors chapter.

When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?

I have about a dozen manuscripts started, but I committed to becoming published in 2011 when I was inspired to write a novel set in France. That novel was released this past November in ebook format, and will be releasing late summer in print.

How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?

I have a very demanding day job, so it did take me longer than I expected, but I still completed the book in about six months.

Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone? What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward?

I like to immerse myself in the story, so I have playlists for each book and use headphones to drown out the world. I also have my inspiration journals in front of me. I’ve started creating journals or scrapbooks with pictures that inspire the characters, settings, scenes, etc. It has propelled me into writing much cleaner descriptions by doing this

CoverOn the photo of “Roman’s House”, I saw the wisteria walkway and knew I had to use that in the book. Roman's house

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the ‘French Kiss Connection’ series I’m writing, I like to have the good-luck Eiffel Tower a friend gave me on the desk nearby. Desk

Literary Inspiration: throughout your life, what novels have lifted you, made you think, “Someday I want to create something like that . . .”

Little Women was a big influence on me – I really wanted to be Jo March, and write from the heart. Julia Quinn’s “What Happens in London” is a favorite, and I’ve read it so many times I can quote from it. In fact, I’m on the twentieth reading right now. I love the dialogue and the subtle snark the characters have.

Let’s talk about romance. How do you set the mood for your characters, what do you draw from that helps your H/H achieve oneness with each other? And how much conflict do you give them, along the way?

Ah, romance. The whole reason I write Contemporary Romance – because it’s all about love. I find pictures of people/actors who personify my characters, which makes them come alive. Then I put them in all sorts of romantic situations. But the inspiration comes from who that character is. For instance, Gigi loves pink roses, so Roman fills the room with them. Another character is not much of a cook, so to her, it’s romantic when her man cooks a special meal for her, drawing on her favorite foods. As for conflict, I’m all for keeping the peace in my own relationships…but in books that’s boring, so I’m learning to torture them as I write. <Grin>

What shining moment in your journey stands out the most as a real turning point for you as a writer?

While writing Love Redesigned, the character of Gigi’s best friend just walked onto the page – I hadn’t planned for him or anyone to fill that position, but there he was! It was so awesome to actually have that happen – I felt like a “real” writer at that moment. So from then on, when stories take an unexpected turn, I continue on to see what happens.

Five vital things surround you as you create. What are they? What makes them special to you?

• Playlist geared toward each book – helps me sink into the story and mood.
• A special item from the city/state/country my book takes place.
• Scrapbook I’ve created for each book – it’s a big visual inspiration.
• My kitties.
• Plotting board or rough outline so I know which direction the story needs to go.

Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?

Biggest time constraint for me is the day job. When I can, I try to write on my lunch breaks, or at least jot notes down for scenes.

What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?

When I’m in the zone writing, and I’m completely immersed in the story – the characters become so real to me, it’s like a movie playing in my head.

What aspects of the writing process do you find most difficult?

Discovering the GMC of the main characters – goals, motivations, and conflicts. That’s the part that makes books so interesting, and keeps the reader reading to the end!

How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?

Honestly, I’m such an organized person that I set out as a plotter. But I found it more fun to “pants” my way through the story. I get to know my characters as well as I can ahead of time, and then start writing.

Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.

I’m working on the prequel to Love Redesigned, as well as the sequel. I plan to have at least four books in the ‘French Kiss Connection’ series, but I’ve fallen in love with France, so I have another two book ideas I’m playing around with set in Provence.

How about some faves of yours?

My husband and I were adopted by a pregnant stray last year, and the day we brought her in to our home, she had three boys. We named them (well, okay, I named them) after characters in my favorite Julia Quinn book. My darling husband had lashed two boxes together, cut holes between so they had extra room, and padded it with towels and a quilt. As the kittens grew and started climbing out, we separated the boxes and they could use Harry & Oliverthe “windows” on the sides to get in and out.

One day I saw two of the babies, one in each box, chattering to each other through those side “windows”. It instantly reminded me of “What Happens in London”, which if you’ve read the book, you know is how Olivia and Harry began their relationship. So, et voila, they became Harry and Olivia. However, when I took the kittens for their first shots a short time later, we found out that Olivia is actually an Oliver. (Side note: even after Googling “how to tell the sex of kittens,” I got it wrong.)
3 kittensSo Harry and Oliver are replicas of their tabby momma, and Sebastian is a gray tabby. We actually call him Scooter (since he was the first one to scoot around in the boxes), but his real name is Sebastian Gray, after Harry’s cousin in the book.

My favorite part of each day is when I go to bed, and Oliver plops down and curls up right under my arm. I love these babies and their mom!

 

Sloane’s debut release with Soul Mate, Love Redesigned:

LoveRedesignedGive American cake artist Genevieve Haywood a picture of anything, and she’ll turn it into a sweet and decadent creation. She’s not going to let hard work or competition stop her from opening her dream business. But when she’s hired as the cake artist for her cousin’s wedding in France, she never expected to run into the French fashion designer who broke her heart fifteen years ago.

Roman Duchaine is done with living life in the fast lane. Tired of being in the haute couture spotlight, he’s moved back to the small French village where he was born and raised.

Roman’s ready to settle down and have a family until the lost love of his life arrives for his cousin’s wedding. Seeing her reminds him just how devastating falling in love can be.

Their fragile truce is meant to last through the wedding, yet every second together makes their attraction and long-buried feelings undeniable. But old habits and hurts die hard, and while Roman is ready to weave their lives together, Genevieve can’t afford to lose herself in his shadow.

BUY LINK:  AMAZON:

Sloane, thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Sloane has a great giveaway for two lucky U.S. commenters: e-copies of Love Redesigned.  Please leave your email address in your comment to be eligible for the giveaway.

 

Posted in 2015 August Blogathon, Contemporary Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments