Karen’s in the House! Please Welcome Karen Rossi to the Blogathon!

Karen RossiToday I have Karen Rossi at the Blogathon!
Welcome, Karen! Tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?

I came from Finland as a child with my parents and older sister. I feel really lucky that I was old enough to have learned to read and write Finnish before entering the Canadian school system in grade 3.

My sister and I have always been making up stories together. We started with fairies, trolls, princes and princesses and even had our own publishing company with a logo and several “hard-cover” books: scribblers with cardboard glued on the covers. They had lovely cover pictures! We even produced a five-scribbler serial about a little boy and his sister. Also I did a coloring book, which I then colored in myself. Together we wrote a couple of anthologies with stories and poems, plus several editions that were published in soft cover because we got lazy and didn’t feel like gluing on the cardboard. Luckily there was no market for our output, because now I can pull them out of a filing cabinet drawer and marvel at our great imagination. The earliest stories, by the way, were written in Finnish. After about a year and a bit in Canada we began to write in English.

As we entered our teens, we moved on to write about the usual boy-girl angst.

We still write together, only now we tackle romance novels. The way it generally goes is this: we think of a plot; we discuss it, and I start to write. When I get stuck we have a brainstorming session and always manage to get the story back on track. After the “first vomit” she edits it and points out where I’ve messed up. We brainstorm some more. I revise. She edits. I revise. She edits. And then I swear I’ll throw  the whole thing in the garbage. We talk. I calm down. At last, when the story is finished, she does the final edits before it’s submitted.
I’ve really grown as a writer under this system, because my sister is really nasty! Just kidding! She’s just very critical and doesn’t let me get away with anything. “Are you sure a man like that would, say such a thing? I don’t think so!”

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 actually started with a pencil in hand, drawing. But even then my drawings were the prototypes for modern graphic novels. I didn’t draw pictures of “things”, but rather comics, or stories. Actually they were just the beginnings of stories, because I never finished. Not one of them. After a half dozen pictures I’d pen a quick note to explain how the story would have continued, had I completed it, and then… The end.

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

I began to write seriously about 35 years ago. I submitted the manuscript to Harlequin. It was rejected. I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing…for about 20 years!

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

After this silence of about 20 years, my sister and I started to chat about this first manuscript and decided to make some changes. So I rewrote it. And then we decided to make more changes. And so I rewrote it again. And then we thought it needed more changes, and so I rewrote it all over again. And then I submitted it and it was published by a small publisher. The cover was lousy and it didn’t sell more than a handful of books. I took my rights back and gave it a new name. It’s still not published, but there are a few “nibbles”.

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?

Forget soft music! Forget about being in a room alone. I write whenever I get a few minutes. I’m like Rabbit in Winnie the Pooh: I never wait for things to come to me, I go and fetch them. Thus I never wait for my Muse, but just sit down and start to write. My Muse knows enough to appear, even if it’s just for ten minutes between putting the potatoes to boil and setting the dinner table. And if my husband is watching Jeopardy right near me, it makes no difference. I can just tune it out. I guess I’m lucky that way.

What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?

Goodness, when I think of all I went through in life before I arrived in this calm harbor of my second marriage…! I have used some of my sadder life experiences in one novel which is now an e-book with another publisher. Also I am writing a middle grade novel based on some of the ups and downs I went through, getting used to life in Canada as a nine-year-old. And I am using my life in Northern Ontario to help me with my Work in Progress, where the hero is the chief on a First Nations reserve. His name is Hazard! I got the name from a naval hero Hazard Perry, who won one naval battle in the War of 1812. His statue is in Erie, Pennsylvania. Perry’s, not the chief’s.

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

I read a lot as a kid: fairy tales, Winnie the Pooh, and all those books written for good little children: Little Women, Secret Garden, Heidi, etc. Later in my teens I read a lot of historical fiction: Desiree, War and Peace, and even Forever Amber. When I wrote a book report on this particular novel, I shocked my grade 10 English teacher. She told me, “Young ladies don’t read books like this.” I didn’t know why not, since what I’d found most interesting was the part that told about the Bubonic Plague. I don’t know what she could have been referring to…! ;0)

Today one of my favorite romance authors is Suzanne Brockman because she uses great deep POV. I read her work and try to learn.

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 write relationship stories. I never (so far at least) have villains, spies or bad guys in my novels, nor do I have convoluted plots. Of course there has to be conflict between the hero and heroine, but I don’t think too much about actually setting anything up between them. I just think about the story and how I want it to progress, how much the hero and heroine are ready to give to each other, and at what point in the story this happens. I find it naturally comes into the plot without me having to go to any great lengths to try to create it, probably because of my firm grounding in fairy tales, where the plot is always very straightforward, and conflict is a natural element in every story.

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

I hadn’t really been writing much for years—after that Harlequin rejection. One day a friend invited me to join a critique group where the leader’s mantra was, “Submit, submit, submit!” At first I wrote poems and even gave a well-attended recital in our town. Then I began to write children’s stories. By the time the group disbanded because the leader moved away, the writing bug was firmly imbedded under my skin. (Ugh! Makes me think of a tick.) I had started to write for real and have never stopped.

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

I don’t surround myself with anything special. I sit down at my computer whenever I have time and start to write. 15 min., 5 min.—I just write. Of course I prefer longer blocks of time, but if I don’t have them, then I do short spurts.
But an after-dinner glass of red wine on my desk is always nice…

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

I’m retired, so I haven’t any constraints on my time other than self-imposed ones. Of course I have responsibilities as a grandmother, and I volunteer as a Vision Mate for CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) and I love to paint with water colors, and take weekly lessons, and I do some judging for my local romance chapter, and attend meetings for children’s writers, and…
But, as I said, those are all self-imposed “constraints”, except for the grandmother part, and the weekly Finnish lessons I give my granddaughter—I wouldn’t stop those! But I could stop doing any and all of the other things and just concentrate on my writing.

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

Getting an acceptance email!!! That is second only to having finally completed a manuscript. Which is almost as good as having finished the submission process, which can be SOOOO arduous! Although in this age of electronic submissions it’s definitely easier than the paper submissions of ye bygone days.
Although, did you know that children’s’ publishers still seem to prefer paper submissions!? Go figger!

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

I always start each book really well, and then…I don’t know what happens. Maybe the plot gets too complicated for me? Like what, exactly, was the name of her best friend—after I’ve changed it four times? Or I lose track of when he said “I love you” to her for the first time. Or when did they kiss for the third time? And how did that compare on the passion-scale to the second kiss? Or how old is the son now, if he was five when she divorced. And how many years ago did that happen? How many weeks have gone by, and could all that have happened in such a short time?
Keeping track of stuff like that is difficult for me. I tear my hair out and then ask my sister to check it out and make a time-line.

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?

When we decide on an idea, I start to run with it. It always seems to evolve into a logical story eventually. I do admit that if I first laid out a plan, it would eliminate a lot of the in-between brainstorming sessions we have to do, but actually those are very nice times and we both enjoy them. A weekend in a hotel room together… wine, a few walks…why not?

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

I’m working on a romance story about a chief on a northern Ontario First Nations reserve and a rich woman from the big city who comes there to teach in the two-room school. She has a six-year-old son from a relationship. She thinks she’s not prejudiced, but some of her remarks about the reserve raise his hackles. She has a lot to learn. But so does he, because he needs to think of how he can help his reserve become self-sustaining, instead of just going fishing and hunting.
And there’s a young girl who has been raped by the teacher in the other classroom and is now pregnant… Okay, so there is a bad guy.

How about some faves of yours?

Of course, like all real writers, I love chocolate and red wine. But I also like a bit of brandy now and then. And being a Finn, I love coffee. My grandmother gave me coffee with lots of cream and sugar when I was just three or four. Lemon meringue pie with a very tender, flaky crust is on the top of my list of favorite foods. I know that even with the lemons, it’s not really a health food, so I never have it in the house, except on my birthday.
I have four grandchildren: three fun-loving grown-up boys, and one beautiful pre-teen granddaughter, whom I’m teaching to speak Finnish. She already understands a lot but speaking it is another kettle of fish. I find that really bizarre…
I like ethnic music and male choirs, and not just because my dad belonged to a male choir. On car trips my family sang together in harmony. I miss that a lot. Now it’s just my sister and I left singing duets. I’m willing to bet not many people sing in harmony with their sisters. Am I right? Or am I right?
Here is a cure a common cold that works for me every time: Echinacea, vitamin C, oil of oregano and a shot of brandy. Works like magic if I take it at the first sign of a cold. It’s strictly my own idea and not recommended by my doctor. My sister says the only reason it works is because I believe it does. But I don’t care why it works as long as it works!
And I love silence. Here’s a poem I wrote. It’s called, “Complete Silence”

One day I was surrounded by silence.

Furnace fan didn’t blow,
the fridge didn’t hum,
no car went by
on the snow-covered country road.

For a second I thought:
have I gone deaf?
And if I have,
is that so bad?

All this glorious silence!

Karen’s debut with Soul Mate is short story Hot Romp at the Beach, included in HOT ENCOUNTERS Anthology:

HotEncountersWere Dave and Barbara attracted to each other just because they were nude, or would every magical thing have happened even if they’d been clothed?

BUY LINK: AMAZON:

Karen, thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Posted in 2015 August Blogathon, Anthologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

RB is in the House! Please Welcome RB Austin to the Blogathon!

RB AustinRB, welcome to the Blogathon! Tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?

I’m married to a wonderful, supportive, and would-not-be-where-I -am-today-without-him husband. I have a beautiful, most-of-the-time-drives-me-crazy-with-her-teenage-hormones daughter. I work full time as a school secretary at a high school.
I’ve been creating stories most of my life, and my dream is to be able to quit my day job and write full time. Besides writing, I wouldn’t be able to survive without my Kindle Paperwhite and chocolate.

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 in high school. My first piece was a happy birthday horror story for my best friend.
Characters will act out scenes over and over in my head until I write them down. My muse can sometimes be a relentless bastard. . . . It’s why I love him.  ::smile::

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

In my early twenties, I started writing with the dream of becoming published so other people – besides family and friends – could be taken on the same journey I am when my characters speak to me.

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?

During the pre-writing phase, I can work almost anywhere. While writing, I listen to my book’s soundtrack. It keeps me focused on the characters and their story. If I’m editing . . . you’d better be dying if you dare ignore the giant DO NOT DISTURB sign I have posted on my door.  ::grin::

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

Weirdly, it wasn’t when I received my first publishing contract, which when I was an unpublished author it was all I could think about. It was when I received my first review saying they loved my characters just as much as I did, that they couldn’t wait to read the next book. It was the most wonderful, validating experience. Not only do I think I’m a WRITER, but complete strangers do as well. It’s awesome.

Five vital things surround you as you create. What are they?

Chocolate
iPod
Swedish Fish
Windows – The things that let you see outside, not the operating system. ;)
Laptop

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

I love the pre-writing phase. Discovering all the delicious, intimate details of my characters; learning what makes them squirm; then, figuring out how I can use it to the plot’s advantage. Ha, maybe Muse isn’t the only bastard here . . . ;)
The writing phase is cool, too. Sometimes the characters will veer off from my carefully, constructed plot and take me to places I haven’t dreamed of yet. I just sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.
Then there’s editing. When I tweak and tone a line, a paragraph, or a scene and it’s transformed from mere words on a page to a living, breathing, emoting entity . . . the rush is like no other.
Grr, it’s hard to pick just one.

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

I do love every aspect about writing, but I have moments of hate, too.
Pre-writing is when my characters begin to live. The process isn’t always gradual. Sometimes they arrive fully formed and immediately start banging on my head, demanding I skip ahead to the writing stage. My explanations of “I’m a plotter not a pantser” seem to go right over their head . . . Or they’re just too impatient to care. This is when I have to put on a pair of internal noise-cancelling headphones in order to complete the stage.
The writing part can be difficult, too. Remember when I mentioned my characters like to take over the story and completely derail the plot? Yeah. It’s fun while it lasts, but in most cases they dump me in a completely foreign place and run away, forcing me to figure out how to get back on course . . . A lot of cursing happens during these moments.
With editing the moments of greatness are, well, great, but the process it takes to get there is long and tedious. It involves less right-brained creativity and more left-brained logic and rules. This is the stage where I keep a stash of headache medicine next to my chair.

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

The second book of my Trihune Series, Fallen Darkness, will be out next month. Squee!
I’m currently working on the third book in the series. It has a tentative release date of July 2016.

RB’s debut release with Soul Mate, Fallen Redemption (The Trihune Series, Book One):

fallenredemptionKilling Fallen to save mankind is Cade’s redemption for murder and only one human—mouthwatering and absolutely forbidden—stands in his way.

Cade committed himself to saving lives before he learned the full consequences of his life-altering decision. It wasn’t until he was tending his sick wife that he learned the enormity of what he’d done and he was unable to save her from the monster he had become. Consumed with guilt and praying for absolution, he threw himself into killing every Fallen he could find to save the humans he’d sworn to protect.

But then Emma, deliciously mortal and completely forbidden, swept into his world, stirring an overpowering desire. Now he’s not only fighting soulless creatures, but also his inner cravings, trying to maintain his distance and continue on his path to forgiveness. He won’t lose control again and lose another love.

BUY LINK: AMAZON:

RB, thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Thanks for hosting me. ::smile:: I’d love to connect with you and your readers again. When I’m not writing, I hang out at the following places:

Facebook: fb.me/rbaustinauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorrbaustin

Blog: http://www.2unpublishedgirls.com

Website: http://www.rbaustin.com

Goodreads: https://goodreads.com/rbaustin

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/authorrbaustin

Posted in 2015 August Blogathon, Paranormal Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Gerri’s in the House! Please Welcome Gerri Zimmerman to the Blogathon!

Gerri Zimmerman
Welcome, Gerri! 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 have always wanted to be a published author. I wrote a science fiction story when I was about eight years old; had a neighbor read it; and then I threw it away. Apparently, I lacked confidence. Let’s face it—I was too young.

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

I became serious about writing just before I retired from the workforce in 2011. I had started writing Master of Seduction and Ancient Martian Echoes before I actually retired. Retirement has given me the ‘time’ to write (inspiration to write has always been with me).

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

Master of Seduction took about a year to complete. Ancient Martian Echoes took about nine months. Both stores flew from my little fingertips and ‘insisted’ on being written. It was as if I had no choice. I felt compelled to write them. I couldn’t believe it.

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?

For me, the writing process requires a ‘quiet’ atmosphere’. I find it is easier to develop my stories when it is quiet.

My writing mood hits me at the strangest times. For instance, I can be dining out at a restaurant and get an idea(s) for a new story or a story I am already working on. I write the idea(s) down on a pad of paper I carry in my purse for just that purpose. I refuse to lose or forget an idea, if I can help it. There are times motivation to write or new ideas will develop after I go to sleep. My mind doesn’t always shut down after I close my eyes—it seems my stories won’t always let me sleep.

What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?

Life experiences that have infiltrated my stories would originate from exposure to the old Twilight Zone and Star Trek series that were (and still are) on television. These were truly inspiring television series by unforgettable creators/authors. I was inspired and still am.

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

Novels/stories that were a literary inspiration to me would have been: The Egyptian and Ben Hur and The Martian Chronicles. Granted, those novels/stories are not science fiction (with the exception of The Martian Chronicles), but they left me with the thought (‘Someday, I want to create something like that…’). Those novels/stories were compelling and well done.

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 don’t set the mood for romance, precisely. I expose my reader to the H/Hs as the story develops. My H/Hs are usually on guilt trips to a great degree. Whether they have chosen to go their separate ways and reunited by unusual circumstances, my H/Hs will handle their conflicts one way or the other. Most readers will be able to relate to my H/Hs, most likely because my readers might have experienced the same/similar conflicts in their lives.

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

My shining moment in my journey came when Debby Gilbert, Senior Editor at Soul Mate, offered me two book contracts for the first two books I wrote. I was in shock for quite some time after I heard from her. To be added to a list of talented authors at Soul Mate was an honor for me. Talk about a shining moment—that would be mine.

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

Five vital things that surround the writer when they create would be (in my opinion): hearing, smelling, tasting, seeing, and touching. I make every attempt to incorporate the latter in my stories. I want the reader to visualize what the H/Hs are experiencing.

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

Time-constraint challenges affect our everyday lives. It doesn’t matter if you work a 40-hour week or you are retired. You can only do so much. If I have an editing deadline, I make sure I set aside the time needed to meet that deadline. Nevertheless, I make sure I set aside ‘quiet time’ for me to do nothing, if that’s what I want to do.

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

The whole writing process is thrilling for me. It’s challenging and exciting—and yes, demanding. What more could one ask for?

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

Fortunately for me, I have not found any aspects of the writing process to be difficult (at least, not yet).

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?

My stories begin with the Title I have decided on. I take it from there. The story flows and my characters come to life magically (at least, for me they do). I’m lucky in that respect.

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

I am working on eight science fiction and fantasy stories at present. I am taking my readers to planets Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune. In addition, I am working on a sequel to Ancient Martian Echoes. It’s mind boggling, but there it is.

How about some faves of yours?

I’m probably a stick-in-the-mud because there isn’t much I can reveal about myself. Maybe I could say kudos to my son who has the patience of a saint. I constantly badger him with another one of my great story ideas (well, I think they’re great). Since reading science fiction and other genres is not his cup of tea, I cannot thank him enough. Oh, by the way, I do like nature and watch as many nature stories as time will permit.

Gerri’s debut release with Soul Mate, Ancient Martian Echoes:

ancientmartianechoesEarth astronauts Scott Saunders and Tony Bellows have landed on the red planet Mars. Their mission is to search for signs of ancient Martian culture.

The astronauts find the remnants of an ancient city and meet Icon, powerful leader of an elite Martian Administrative Council, and Carnac, leader of a band of rebels.

Carnac wants a position on the Council. He will resort to do just about anything to convince the Council that he deserves the position. He believes in taking extreme measures to accomplish what he wants. It becomes apparent that the Earth astronauts’ lives may be in grave danger. They may not be able to return to Earth.

Will Icon be able to save the astronauts from possible death, or will Carnac be forced to demonstrate just how much power he really has?

Gerri, thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Posted in 2015 August Blogathon, Sci-Fi Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Kellie’s in the House! Please Welcome Kellie Wallace to the Blogathon!

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

I live in Australia and been writing for as long as I can remember. Writing gives me an outlet – transports me to another time and place. I’ve written and published seven books and currently writing my eighth. I’m the type of writer who can’t stick to one genre. I like to dapple in a few and see what I like.

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 remember writing my first story at aged three about a fairy. After that I can’t really pinpoint the moment I decided to write novels. I penned my first published book in 2007 and started to write again more fluently. I’ve written books back to back since 2011. My brain doesn’t stop working over ideas, plots, characters.

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

I first became serious when I self-published my first novel. I knew it was my love and passion and adored the idea of being a novelist.

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

If I count my first traditionally published book, it took me 12 months to write and research. Looking back I invested so much on it, that I fell in love with my characters and mourned them when I finished writing it. I love the research process. I learn so much about history.

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 have to be in the mood to write. If my mind is distracted and lucid, I can’t write. I don’t have an office at home so I write on my bed while watching TV as background noise. Ideally I prefer to write at the desk in silence so I try to write on my lunch break at work.

What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?

Any author will tell you a little bit of their life appears in their work. I do inject some aspects of my life, but mostly about the people I meet and their stories.

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

Hands down, that’s Cry Wolf by Tami Hoag. I’ve read that novel 40-50 times over 10 years. Tami’s characters are so lifelike and believable. I felt for them, loved them, cried with them. That’s a great author. She changed my view on writing and really inspired me to write.

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 try and create likable and relatable characters with realistic relationships. I draw inspiration from books, movies and songs I listen or watch. Once I finish a draft I always hand it over to beta readers who will always help me flesh out the relationships.

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

When my first book sold copies!

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

My laptop, my phone, Internet, Kindle, and notepad. They all add to the creativity and creation of my work.

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

I get distracted very easily, so I try to focus and work hard to open my laptop and continue writing. Of course it all comes down to my mood too. I’m a big believer in not forcing yourself to write.

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

Finishing the first draft!

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

Research and believing the work I create is good enough.

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?

At first I have a plot idea and stem it out from there. I might take bits and pieces of ideas I jotted down ages ago and create my novel piece by piece

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

It’s currently a thriller with sci fi elements called ‘I Am Seth.’

How about some faves of yours?

Tami Hoag – Cry Wolf

Kellie’s current release with Soul Mate, Edge of Tomorrow:

edgeoftomorrowTwenty years after The Great Global Riots and the collapse of humanity, Alex Locke struggles to save his family, and his home colony of Pena, from starvation.

When a letter from the corrupt Govern arrives dictating a game of survival penning local colonies against each other, Alex must trust a childhood friend, and seven others, on a certain death march to win the bounty or lose the only hope left in a war-ravaged world.

BUY LINK: AMAZON:

 

Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Kellie!

Posted in 2015 August Blogathon, Sci-Fi Romance | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Katie O’Boyle’s In the House! Please Welcome Katie to the Blogathon!

Katie O'BoyleKatie’s here at the Blogathon! And she’s doing a giveaway, so stay tuned for that.

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

It may not be obvious from my Lakeside Porches series of romance novels that, personally, I’m a curious mix of tech savvy, intellectual, and romantic. I’ve developed software, gotten a doctorate, taught North-South-East-and-West, and met wonderful people in my life. While I don’t write about any of the real people I’ve met along the way, there’s no question that aspects of their personalities, stories, passions, dilemmas, and the gifts they’ve shared have found their way into my books, all jumbled and interwoven and shiny new. I have to say that writing books is possibly the most fun and fulfilling thing I’ve done!

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?

Seriously? For the first ten or twelve years of my life I desperately struggled to read. Forget writing! No one knows how or why, but something finally clicked and I was able to decode the written word. Once I began reading, a whole new world opened up to me. I couldn’t get enough Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books to satisfy me. It wasn’t long before I wanted to write my own stories and share my thoughts through writing.

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

I had written three or four novels and published books and articles in my professional field (educational technology) for a few decades before I got serious about publishing fiction a few years ago. I’m very fortunate that my first romance (with the working title Manda the Brave) caught Debby Gilbert’s eye. We agreed the title was a pretty darn YA, while the subject (recovery from alcoholism and sexual abuse) was very adult. With a lot of help from my beta readers, a new title emerged— Stepping Up To Love— and a series was born. The “To Love” books will number 4 this October when Waking Up To Love is released by Soul Mate Publishing.

What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?

My history includes violence, addiction, and recovery, and you see those themes play out in my villains and heroes, in the context of moving beyond to build a happy, purposeful, loving life. It’s important to me to write messages of hope and compassion. My greatest reward as an author is having a reader say my book helped them see a problem in a different way and come to believe there’s a solution.

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

This question made me chuckle, and I’ll tell you why! I had a wonderful therapist who once said she wanted to write articles for Redbook and Ladies Home Journal and other women’s magazines, rather than for scholarly journals, because those magazines are what women read, not “the literature.” With all due respect to literary fiction, I’ve always been drawn to books of genre fiction, especially mystery and romantic suspense, that embody values like my own. Who inspires me? Authors like Robert B. Parker and Sally Goldenbaum rock. Louise Penny walks on water. Alan Bradley makes me laugh out loud, and I can’t wait for the next Flavia deLuce story. Peter Lovesey’s plot twists and plays on words challenge me to keep learning and growing as an author. And Colin Dexter sets the bar high.

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

I’m deep into a very romantic cozy mystery series set in Tompkins Falls, the setting for the Lakeside Porches romances. In fact, Kyle Pennington and Lyssa Doughty, the hero and heroine of book four of Lakeside Porches are the protagonists of the new series. They solve campus murders with brains and class, and many Tompkins Falls characters are important cast members.

Watch for the fourth book in the Lakeside Porches romance series, Waking Up To Love, coming in October! Fall in love with Kyle and Lyssa.

Katie’s current release with Soul Mate, Finding the Way Back to Love:

findingthewaybacktoloveThirty-two-year old Gwen Forrester, Ph.D., gifted psychotherapist and beautiful widow, is stuck in a rut, dating hotties on the fast track, when what she really wants is a life partner who’ll help her raise a family and make a difference in her home town of Tompkins Falls.

New in town, Officer Peter Shaughnessy, thirty, has recovered from the damage he suffered in a drug bust in his hometown of Syracuse, but he’s still smarting from his ex-wife’s betrayal and, before that, the years of abuse from his alcoholic father. When Gwen’s very-pregnant niece Haley trips the security system at Gwen’s lakeside home one moonlit summer night, it’s love at first sight for responding Officer Peter and stunned Aunt Gwen. By joining forces to help Haley, Peter and Gwen discover they’re a good team. Long, exhilarating canoe trips convince them they’re on the same page with their life goals.

Then a destructive squall lands them on the rocks, and a night of stormy passion reveals painful truths that drive them apart. Are they willing to go to any length to find their way back to love?

BUY LINK: AMAZON:

Katie is doing a giveaway! A Kindle e-copy of Finding the Way Back To Love can be won by a lucky commenter. Please be sure to add your email address to your comment in order to be eligible for the giveaway.

Katie, thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Katie’s new blog: http://www.katieoboyle.com

Posted in 2015 August Blogathon, Contemporary Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Katie’s in the House! Please Welcome Katie Hamstead to the Blogathon!

Katie Hamstead
Today at the Blogathon, I’ve got Katie Hamstead!

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

That they are awesome! Seriously, my writing would go nowhere without them. I won’t say it’s pointless, because writing is still a great outlet for me, but having people appreciate what I do write almost validates my work.

But, about me. Hmm, I am third of four kids, two older brothers, and one younger sister. My sister is all kinds of awesome, and I love that my hubby and hers are totally bros in the non-biological sense. I’ve live a good life, my parents never divorced and are still going strong, so they taught me the value of prioritizing marriage and working hard on it. They showed me that love is a verb, while media told me otherwise. Because of them, and wonderful grandparents who also showed unwavering dedication to their spouses, I learned what real love is, and how deeply it can run. I wouldn’t say I was sheltered, but definitely kept safe from the harsher realities of life. I think that’s why I portray deep loves that are beyond the butterflies and dizzy spells.

I also used to be a travel agent. One day, I will see the world!

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 think I was born with it. As a child I told stories with my toys and wrote longer narratives than the rest of my class. I daydreamed through exams too. I definitely had a strong creative streak.

What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?

I think life always filters through to novels. Whether it’s an actual event, a personality trait, or personal beliefs, they make it onto the pages.

A fair few of my books are set in Australia, and that’s because I was born and raised there. I know Sydney, the culture, the people, the landscape, so it makes it into the books.
What shining moment in your journey stands out the most as a real turning point for you as a writer?

Having a baby. Up until that point, I was busy doing other things so never took my writing seriously. It filled my time as a hobby and to relieve my feelings, but once I was at home with a newborn ad not much else to do, I became an avid, passionate writer. Not long after I wrote something that I thought, Hey, I could actually publish this, so I pursued it. It soon became my debut novel, and the rest is history.

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

My biggest time constraint is being a mother. Taking care of a child/children can be very consuming. There’s no real time frames, because anything can pop up, even after they’re supposed to be in bed! I can plan to do something one day, but then someone will wake up sick, or just extra clingy.

To overcome this, I just need to be flexible. I take moment when I can, and give them up when I need. I do have set times for working and I make them clear, but I can never guarantee an interruption free slot!

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

Getting into the characters’ heads. I love getting to know them, to see how they react to their circumstances. My characters are everything, and I come to love them.

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 completely a pantser! I have an idea and run with it. I know where I want to guide the story but mostly I let the characters take me there. It’s fun, and often surprising.

Katie’s debut release with Soul Mate Publishing, Branded:

brandedTerrorists have invaded Sydney, and Allison King barely escapes her brother’s wedding reception alive. She and her siblings flee, but their parents are killed by firing squad.

Now Ali’s on the run and terrified. While searching for other survivors, she is captured by the General who leads the invasion. He’s smitten by Ali, and when she refuses to submit to his whims, he brands her for death. In a wild act of defiance, she snatches the branding rod and sears the mark onto his face. Marking not only him but also sealing her fate. Ali manages to escape and flees into the bush once more where she finds a group in hiding. Even with the scars left by the General, Ali learns to love and falls in love with the young man who found her—Damien Rogers.

But the General is hunting her. When he discovers their location, and finds her with another man—Damien—his wrath is kindled and his obsession is inflamed. Ali must put herself on the line or the General could kill her family, those who help her, and most significantly, the man she loves.

BUY LINK:  Amazon:

GOODREADS LINK:

Katie’s upcoming Soul Mate release, Dancing in the Athenian Rain:

DancingintheAthenianRainWhen Donna is sent back in time to Classical Athens, she’s furious at Dr. Stephens for sending her against her wishes. Then a Greek soldier purchases her to be his wife.

She’s forced to learn a new language and culture, and faces her fears of never returning to her own time. The society hates her, especially because they think she’s an Amazon, which forces her to confront her issues—being compared to her genius brother, borderline abusive friends, and a cheating boyfriend.

But her husband, Peleus, is kind and patient. Although against her best judgment, she allows him into her heart. He counters all the negative voices from her past, but those voices drive a wedge between them. She must let go of her fears, her inhibitions, and insecurities, and admit her feelings, or she could lose him and the life they’ve built.

GOODREADS LINK: 

Katie, thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Posted in 2015 August Blogathon, Contemporary Romance, Katie's Catch-All, Suspense | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Linda’s in the House! Please Welcome Linda O’Connor to the Blogathon!

Linda O'ConnorToday I have Linda O’Connor at the Blogathon! And she’s doing a giveaway of two of her ebooks, so stay tuned for that!

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

Hi, I’m Linda O’Connor, and I’m very excited to be a part of the spotlight on Soul Mate authors. I live in Ontario, Canada and write contemporary romantic comedies. Most of my stories have a medical bent.

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?

My interest in writing developed later in life. I’m a physician and after working with young people, I had the idea to try to incorporate medical advice in a romance novel. I hoped it would be a little bit more appealing that the myriad of educational posters up in my office!

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

I started writing with the goal of getting published about four years ago. I figured it wouldn’t happen right off the bat, but I did everything I could to try to achieve that. Initially, I entered contests and posted my stories on wattpad.com to get feedback. Now I focus on taking workshops, participating in writing groups, and most importantly, I keep writing.

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 manuscript took about nine months to write. I loved that I could take my time and as the story unfolded in my mind, write it down. Now it’s closer to three months (and fewer dinners are made along the way).

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 prefer silence. I look into space a lot (which has led to a few odd looks when I write on a plane or train) so silence and alone is even better. A friend of mine told me she was going on a ten-day silent meditation retreat. All I could think of was how much writing I could get done at something like that!

What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?

My medical career influences my writing. I talk to people for a living so I feel I have an easier time writing engaging dialogue, and I hear about a whole array of people’s experiences, which gives depth to my characters. Delivering a baby (well I’ve delivered a few, but delivering my nephew when I didn’t expect to) crept into my writing. The other scene that was influenced by a real life experience is in Perfectly Honest when Mikaela’s specialty eclipses Sam’s. My husband is a surgeon, and his specialty often garners more interest than mine when we meet someone new. Except once. One day, in the midst of a family doctor shortage, we were at the bank and the two women helping us were so excited that I was a family doctor that my husband’s specialty never came up. I had to chuckle when he mentioned that he’d noticed.

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

After I wrote my first novel, I gave it to my friend to read. She liked it. That was a shining moment. If she’d have been lukewarm, I wonder if I would have continued to write. Probably not.

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

photo Kratkys-in-winter--250x300Computer – I can’t imagine writing longhand. I’d probably forget what the end of the sentence was going to be.

Journal – I need the notes for a series.

View of the water –it’s very calming.

Uninterrupted time – because usually I think of the perfect line just as my husband asks me a question about the laundry.

I think I only need 4 things.

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

I’m balancing work and family with writing so having protected time to write is vital. I set aside two days a week to write (it used to be one). I won’t schedule any meetings, repairmen, or appointments on those two days. I also try to write first and finish a chapter before spending time on social media and my website.

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

I love figuring out the pieces of the puzzle for the storyline. I need my character to do this or experience that – how can I make it happen so it fits with the story and their personality? How can I write it so it’s unique and funny? Those are the challenges I enjoy most.

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

Creating conflict that draws the reader in but doesn’t leave them feeling sad.

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 start with an idea for the beginning, middle, and end of the story and then develop the characters. I try to get to know them very well, and I have to nail down their names. Male names are the hardest because I don’t want to use my sons’ names or the names of any of their friends. It has to be a completely new person in my head and not remind me of anyone (kind of like naming a child!). I’ve tried to make a detailed plot outline, but the characters often do something unexpected and it goes off the rails. Usually by the fifth chapter I can start to outline in more detail.

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

Right now I’m busy with the “Perfectly” series. Perfectly Honest (Book 1), Mikaela and Sam’s story, is available now. Perfectly Reasonable (Book 2), Margo and Trace’s story will be available this month! I’m currently editing Perfectly Planned (Book 3), Chloe and Rip’s story. Chloe is one of my favorite characters – she’s a bit crazy, but has a heart of gold.

How about some faves of yours?

When I finished Perfectly Honest, I hadn’t realized how ‘Canadian’ I wrote until I entered Canadian flagthe manuscript into one of the RWA chapter contests in the United States. The main character, Mikaela, was tired at the end of a long day and agreed to do a favor for a friend, so she stopped on her way home for a double double. Two of the contest judges commented that they had no idea what that was. What?? Canadian babies’ first words are momma, dada and double double. How could you not know what that was? Haha. It’s a coffee – two creams, two sugars. Plus, Mikaela routinely went to the drive thru at Tim Horton’s (our most popular, one-on-every-corner, don’t drive anywhere until you’ve stopped there first, coffee and donut shop) to pick up the double double. One judge wrote, “Who is this Tim Horton? Need to develop his character.” I was going to write back that he’s a relative of Dunkin’!

Since then I’ve learned a few things about writing for an American audience!

Linda’s upcoming release with Soul Mate Publishing, Perfectly Reasonable:

PerfectlyReasonableLove what you do and do what you love. It’s great advice, but sometimes it takes a little hard work and a lot of luck to find the perfect job.

Margo MacMillan finished medical school, but in the process, her self-confidence and self-esteem took a beating. So for the sake of self-preservation, she decided to step away from medicine and re-group. In the meantime, painting soothes her soul and pays the bills.

Trace Bennett set his sights on a medical degree and has to prepare the perfect medical school application. His big plan is to paint his condo for a little feng shui divine luck. When Margo shows up to paint, he realizes he’s found exactly what he’s looking for. He’s got the spark, but she has the heart. He just has to convince her to share more than the art of medicine.

She’s got it. He wants it. It’s Perfectly Reasonable.

Linda, thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Thanks for having me – I always enjoy connecting with readers. *grin*

Here are links to Linda’s website and social media.
http://www.lindaoconnor.net
https://www.facebook.com/LindaOConnorAuthor
https://twitter.com/lindaoconnor98

Linda’s gifting a copy of both Perfectly Honest and Perfectly Reasonable! Leave a comment, with your email address in your comment, to be eligible to win one of these wonderful releases.

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