AuThursday – Leslie Scott

Please give a warm welcome to my fellow RWA Online member Leslie Scott.  I’m so happy to have her joining us.  Leslie, Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well, I’m a full-time writer and homeschool educator of my gifted ten-year-old son (he teaches me math and dissects sheep brains, no kidding). I’ve been a writer my entire life (winning awards and contests all through school), but it wasn’t until about five years ago, I decided to actively pursue my passion. Since then, I live and breathe the characters and stories I write. Nothing, to me, is more exciting than a good story (whether I write it or not).

Currently, I write spicy Contemporary and New Adult Romance through The Wild Rose Press, though I’m hoping to dabble in a more quirky paranormal romance series soon.

What excites you most about your current WIP?

When you read my new release (The Finish Line) you’ll be introduced to the heroine’s snarky baby sister, Breanna. My current WIP is the third novel of the Arkadia Fast series and Breanna’s novel. She’s cocky, sassy, and all sorts of fun! Also, rather than street racing (the backdrop for the other two novels in the series), Breanna takes us into the world of big-time drag racing. So, not only is she a different type of character for me to write, but the world is brand new for me.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Nah, not usually. As long as I’m writing something, I’m happy. Some days I can throw five to ten thousand words to a page. Other days I’m lucky to hit five hundred.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

No. There was a time when I was a jerk about this and said I didn’t believe writer’s block existed. But then, I read where a famous author said if you get writer’s block then something is wrong with your story and you need to fix it. That got me to thinking. When I first started out there were a lot of half-finished manuscripts (maybe one day I’ll revisit those, lol). Because in truth, I had no real grasp on what conflict really was. Not so much that I could complete an entire novel. Once I figured that out, finishing them became easier. If you’re stuck, there’s a reason.

For me? I don’t allow myself to get stuck. I live by the rule of three. At any given moment, I have at least three projects going. If I can’t figure something out with one, I move on to another. Currently: I have a novel (the third of my Arkadia Fast series) in first draft stages, a novel, and novella in edits with editors, a romantic suspense novel I’m revising to submit, and a proposal I’m working on submitting. It sounds like a lot, but it keeps me motivated and inspired.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?

I’ve only ever submitted (unsolicited) one manuscript. With that manuscript, I received a mixed bag of rejections and requests (and eventually multiple contract offers from small presses). A few I laughed (form letters that had zero relevance to the submission), a few I rolled my eyes (like that one editor who told me I needed a critique partner before I submitted again, not realizing that my critique partner was a bestselling romance author), and one, in particular, was like a punch in the gut.

The gut-punch came after weeks of a back and forth with the editor and her enthusiasm for my writing and my novel (we’re talking BIG house) only to get a form rejection with no personal response. Then a friend pointed out to me that just because you’re rejected doesn’t mean you aren’t good. It means at that time, that particular publisher doesn’t have a place for your novel.

I suck it up and keep trying. I make sure to be polite and kind and grateful that an editor took the time out of their busy schedule to talk to me and especially they read or make comments on my manuscript. I make those connections because I never know when I might have exactly what they are looking for.

Can you tell us your story of getting “the call” (or e-mail)?

It’s a depressing story, actually. No party, no celebration. I was sick as a dog, sitting in the waiting room at the urgent care clinic when I got the email. I looked at it, made a strained attempt to smile, coughed up half my lung, and then went back to see the doctor. I told my doctor I just sold my first novel and she celebrated with a little dance. But me, I was too sick to care in that moment.

About two weeks later it finally hit me. From then on, it’s been rather busy and non-stop. My dream has become reality, it’s a surreal and amazing thing.

How do you relax?

Writing or reading, usually. Both relax me and make me happy. There are a lot of other things we have to do as authors, so sitting down for the sake of just writing takes my mind off those responsibilities as well as everything else that comes with being an adult.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

In the words of Nora Roberts: ASFK. Ass to seat, fingers to keys. Get your butt in the chair and write. Never stop writing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website:  http://lesliescottromance.com

On facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lesliescottwrites

On twitter: @leslieSwrites

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from the Finish Line.~Tina

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AuThursday – Kryssie Fortune

HOWR by KF Banner

KF author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m first and foremost a reader. It’s an addiction. I also love words—the way they go together and paint pictures fascinates me. That’s why I write. I’m a Brit who doesn’t drink tea, read the Times or have a stiff upper lip. I cry at romantic movies and weep for characters in books.  I live by the North Sea on the East Yorkshire coast and make a point of walking on the beach every day.

How do you make time to write?

I write anywhere. On the bus. In the car—as long as I’m not driving—and on planes. Once I decided to finally put pen to paper, I couldn’t stop. Writing’s my second addiction. The third, and most important, is my husband and kids, so as addictions go, I’m okay, I guess.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?

I’d love to say I shrug them off and ignore them. Honestly? Get real. I hate them. It took me a while to find my writer’s voice, and I honed my skills with magazine articles. I had about a 50% success rate but when someone turned me down, I hurt. Fortunately, I’ve not had one of my books rejected. If I did, I’d take a serious look at the manuscript and consider what I’d done wrong.

What genre are your books?

I started out writing paranormal romance. I’ve almost finished the first draft of my next stand-alone Scattered Siblings story, To Submit to an Overlord. In a new venture for me, I’ve written a very naughty Regency romance, but we won’t even start the edits for a while. My other books are contemporary romances, one – Taken by Twin Doms – set in a pleasure hotel and the other four—my Heroes of Westhorpe Ridge Series set in a fictional North Carolina Town.

What draws you to this genre?

I love all romance genres as long as they have happy endings and no cliff hangers. Each time I finish a book, I think, This is my favorite genre. I love the escapism of a well-crafted romance.

How did you come up with the idea for your series, HEROES OF WESTHORPE RIDGE?

Boy, was it hard. Back in Autumn 2016, my publisher, Loose id, put out a call to their authors for three linked holiday stories. I couldn’t think of anything for weeks and I’d decided to pass. Three weeks before the deadline, I came up with a decent storyline, but I had to write fast. I have this great relationship with my editor and I kept telling her, They’re coming. Two months later, I had three novellas about former military men trying to rebuild their lives in the North Carolina town of Westhorpe Ridge. There’s an evil great aunt who is still pulling the heroine’s string from beyond the grave, millions of dollars to inherit, and husbands to find. Although the books are hot and explicit, to me, story always comes before sex. The mobsters, spies, and would-be murders add another dimension to the romance.

What are your current projects?

So many. As I said, I’ve almost finished the first draft of To Submit to an Overlord. I have a vampire story just itching to be told. I always write in the third person, but this one might be a first person story from the captive heroine’s point of view. Then there’s this romantic suspense series I’ve been making notes for. Oh, and another Regency romance.

Are you an Introvert or Extravert?  How does this affect your work?

I can put on a confident, outgoing veneer, but inside I’m an introvert. The first time I gave a book reading, my bones turned to jello. I’m proud that I did it though.

Kryssie loves to hear from readers. Here are her social media links:

Facebook  

Twitter    

Blog      

Website   

Or you can email her direct on Kryssie.Fortune@aim.com

Do you have a sexy teaser you’d like to share with us?KF_HeroesofWesthorpeRidge3D

She slowly lowered the zipper on the front of her catsuit. He whistled in a breath when he saw what she wore beneath it. White lace stretched over her breasts before the boned and laced bodice flowed over her flat stomach. Once she’d hooked her thumbs in the catsuit, she wriggled her hips and pushed it over her thighs. It pooled around her ankles, and as she stepped out of the folds, she kicked it over by the wall.

When she reached to unlace the front of her basque, he snapped, “Leave it.”

Again she smiled behind her cat mask, happy she’d made the right choice.

Master Jay lifted a blindfold from the table next to his chair. Lace trimmed and made from thick satin, the blindfold offered a chance to lose herself in a euphoria that blocked out reality and let her drop into subspace. Once he slipped it over her eyes, she concentrated on nothing but her desires and the way he filled her with wicked longing.

He beckoned her closer. “Come here and straddle me. I want a lap dance first.”

Abigail moved toward him, hips swaying as she rested one hand on his shoulder and walked around him. Once she stood behind him, she leaned toward him and ran her hands over his chest. The movement made the smooth blonde ends of her wig whip around his shoulders.

She repeated the action twice more before she completed the full circle around him. Rotating on the spot, letting him study her heels and basque before she took a step away and turned until she had her back to him. Running both hands down her right leg, she gave him a long look at her lace-covered ass. She stood slowly, but when she heard his breath hitch, she repeated the action, running her hands over her other thigh and down her leg until she held her ankle.

Tossing her head, she let the ends of her blonde wig slide over her body as she flowed upright, taking the move into an overhead stretch that emphasized her narrow waist and generous breasts. She turned toward him, hips swaying as she moved in so close she stood between his legs. The way he sat there unmoving felt like a challenge. She might be submissive by nature, but she liked how he made her work for it.

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Writer Wednesday – Time

writing-timeWhen I first started in this business over 15 years ago.   A common thought was that you needed to quit your job and write full-time in order to be successful (i.e. make money).

Granted the Romance Industry is full of female writers, who maybe started out as a stay at home mom’s and wrote on the side.   I believe this is where the myth of full-time writing started.  I think of authors like Nora Roberts and Heather Graham whose mythology stories contain elements for writing from home.  If any of you think they were successful because they didn’t have a job, you’d be wrong.  Motherhood is a full-time job in itself, regardless of whether you work outside the home or not.

I read recently that John Grisham wrote A Time to Kill over three years while still working as a lawyer.

What makes these authors successful is not whether or not they wrote full-time, but that they wrote in every spare moment.

A book I’ve found helpful in carving out time is The Chunky Method Handbook by Allie Pleiter.  She breaks writing blocks down so that even the slowest writers among us can create a schedule.

What makes this so relevant to me is that as of December 1st of this year, I’m no longer employed with a company I’d worked with for 21 years.  I was released as a series of layoffs.

While my job took time away from writing, if I had made time for it I would’ve been more successful (i.e. written more books).  As I head into the new year, I’ll be looking at some serious goal setting.    For me it will be evaluating what Success looks like to me – Finishing Books.   I feel like everything else will fall into place as long as I just keep writing.

~Tina

 

 

 

 

Thursday Thirteen

Today is my last work day.   I will be leaving my M-F job of 21 years due to downsizing.   So here are 13 things I’m looking forward to:

  1. Sleeping in I get to sleep in another hour.
  2. No commute     I won’t have to drive 45 mins each way. 🙂
  3. No Month-ends.  Once a month my regular work hours were extended the last two days of the month in a rush to get everything put into our software system – SAP.
  4. No SAP – If you’ve ever worked in this system you know what a nightmare it can be if things aren’t done right.
  5. Writing whenever I want.   I can write from my home office rather than sneaking in writing before work, after work and over lunch.
  6. Weekends – I won’t have to write on the weekends unless I want to because I’ll get to write during the week.
  7. Middle of the week errands – I can have lunch with a girlfriend mid-week or do the grocery shopping and now how timely Christmas shopping.
  8. Baking – I get to bone up on my baking skills.
  9. Sewing – Ditto baking but with sewing.
  10. Teaching – I’ve been planning to take on more teaching projects since I can do them during the week.
  11. Time with my family – Since I don’t have to work during the week and my husband has a non-traditional job we can spend more time together – hanging out, brewing beer and he can sample all my baking projects.
  12. Less stress – No more customer complaints, no work drama.
  13. Gym time – There’s not really any excuse not to get to the gym.

Those are the 13 things I’m looking forward to.   Overall losing my job will force me to write full-time and I think that can only be a good thing as long as I stay positive.

~Tina

Writer Wednesday – Twitter Pitch Parties

publish-maybeIf you’ve been writing for more than a few months you are probably familiar with Twitter Pitch Parties – Where authors pitch their unpublished novels to agents and publishers in a tweet.

I’ll be participating in #PitMad on December 7th, as it might be a way to reach agents and publishers that are interested in Steampunk Romance.

I recently talked to a fellow author who had been searching for an agent for over a year and finally found one through a Pitch Party.  My favorite party is #Pit2Pub, but that only comes around two times a year.

This is really like giving your elevator pitch on Twitter.   Here’s mine:

Courtesan of Constantinople-#PitMad #A #R #SP Visit a world of Magic, Mystery & Romance as heroine Laurel Gunn pursues a killer known as the Cleaver.

Here’s Crossing my fingers that my Tweet hits an agent or publisher’s #MSWL

Saturday Spotlight -Forsaking Hope by Beverley Oakley

FH Banner Forsaking Hope

Fair Cyprians of London

By Beverley Oakley

 Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

About the Book:

Two years ago, she missed their secret assignation and disappeared without a trace. Now the divine “Miss Hope” is in Felix Durham’s bed – a ‘surprise cheering-up gift’ sourced by his friends from London’s most exclusive brothel. Felix is in heaven – and he wants to stay there.

So does Hope, but she can’t.

Hope Merriweather lives by a code of honour – even if she’s a prostitute.

Having sold her soul, she’s prepared to sacrifice everything else to protect what she believes in.

Even if honour – in her eyes – comes at the cost of thieving and breaking hearts. Including her own.

Available for preorder here:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

~*~*~*~*~*~

Forsaking-Hope-Generic

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Wilfred Hunt.

If there was a name to tip Hope into the abyss of despair she was hearing it spill from Madame Chambon’s lips now as the older woman directed Hope to take a seat in the reception room, presumably so Madame could loom oppressively over her.

With her hands on her ample, expensively padded hips, Hope’s benefactress—procuress, employer, and gaoler were other monikers—sent Hope a beetling look that needed no interpreting: Regardless of Hope’s true feelings, Hope must project the required show of warmth and delight at being the chosen one.

Madame patted the side of her faux curls. Years of hot irons had reduced her hair to the texture of wool but her crowning glory these days was supplemented by the lustrous locks of those girls who dared cross her – before they were thrown back into the street from where most had come.

Nevertheless, Hope had to make her resistance clear. Surely Madame who knew her history would understand her loathing for this man, above all others. “I shan’t do it,” she whispered. There was little evidence of the willful child and wild adolescent who’d been the despair of her family. “I won’t—”

Outside, the noise of the traffic rumbling over the cobbles and the shrill calls of competing vendors settled upon the tense silence. Madame Chambon’s other girls ranged around the sumptuously appointed room on red velvet upholstered banquettes, watched the exchange with prurient fascination. Hope knew it had been a calculated ploy of Madame’s to conduct her interview in public so that Hope would serve as an example to them.

No one crossed Madame Chambon.

The shrill cry of a fishmonger caused Madame to look pointedly out of the window. With something between a smile and a sneer, she smoothed a Marcel wave. “Is that where you plan to return, Hope? The gutter?” Her nose twitched and in the sunlight that filtered into the room, the grooves chiseled between mouth and chin were thrown into harsh relief, highlighted rather than hidden by the thick powder she used to conceal her age.

Madame Chambon’s comfort, now and into retirement, depended on obedient girls. Hope knew that as well as anyone. She’d had to bury her rebellious streak just to ensure food in her belly.

The Frenchwoman raised a chiseled brow and began to pace slowly in front of her girls. A painter with an eye for beauty would have been ecstatic at capturing such a spectacle on canvas. The discerning young man about town who visited 56 Albemarle Street was frequently rendered ecstatic by the range of delights Madame Chambon’s girls offered in addition to the visual.

“You forget yourself, Hope. I put a roof over your head and deck you out as handsomely as Mr. Charles Worth ever did for his most discerning customer.” There was acid in Madame Chambon’s tone. “But for me, you’d be starving and glad of the pennies you could trade for a grubby stand-up encounter in a dark alley.” Madame Chambon thrust out her bosom and breathed through her nose, her response a calculated warning to the other girls arranged in various languid poses about the ornately decorated reception room that intransigence would not be tolerated.

“Mr. Hunt has requested you.” She paused and when Hope remained silent, though her stance and expression left no one in any doubt as to her horror regarding this enforced assignation, went on. “Remember what I told you—what I tell all my girls when they first come here? The past must be forgotten the moment you step over my threshold. You are reborn, remodeled, refashioned into the most exquisite delectation of womanhood. A marquess, a prince, is well recompensed for the tidy sum he hands over in order to enjoy your sparkling wit, to converse with you in French, or if he chooses, on philosophy…to enjoy your charms…and,” she added significantly, “your gracious hospitality and tender ministrations to his needs. That is our agreement and you are no different. If Mr. Hunt wishes you, Hope, to attend him at his residence then you will go.”

Faith, one of the kinder girls, patted Hope’s arm in silent solidarity. Hope didn’t expect any of them to speak up in her defense. Not when they all relied on Madame Chambon as much as she did to provide them with the necessities of life. Anything more than that was part of a strict contract that indentured a girl for life unless she was able to secure a generous benefactor to settle Madame’s severance bill. The fine clothes were part of the charade, necessary to entice a more elite clientele. Hope’s exquisite wardrobe did not belong to her though she’d have forsaken all the dupion silk and Spitalfields lace for the freedom of the gutter and to be mistress of her own destiny – and her body – if she could only be sure of a plate of gravy and potatoes every second day.

Closing her eyes, she hung her head, the carefully coiffed curls that fell forwards brushing against her tear-streaked cheeks. It was as well that they not be in evidence. Tears, weakness, vulnerability were like a red rag to a bull where Madame Chambon was concerned.

“How long…do I have to prepare myself?” She was not so stupid she couldn’t admit defeat when there was no alternative. Obduracy was beaten out of one, but tears ensured a girl got the very worst next assignment. Their clients weren’t all marquesses and princes, though they did require a very fat pocket book.

“Tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow.” Hope repeated it in a leaden tone, and stared at her hands, clasped in her lap; white-knuckled. As white as the rabbit-fur that edged her fashionable black-and-white striped satin cuirass. Hope had the tall, slim figure suited to the scandalously tight tie-back skirts that were all the rage, the back flowing into a train adorned with elaborate swags and trimmed with bows. She’d turned heads the length of Oxford Street as she’d promenaded along the pavement following a walk through Hyde Park earlier that afternoon. In fact, for the first time in two years, she’d almost felt happy as she’d pretended a sense of freedom in the afternoon sun, blocking her mind to the prison to which she was returning.

She drew in her breath and forced herself to be brave, knowing the punishment she’d invite for daring to speak her mind. “Please tell Mr. Hunt I will see him again under sufferance.”

Madame Chambon’s voice was surprisingly caramel. “Well then, now that you have made your objection clear, Hope, you will be pleased to hear that Mr. Hunt’s desires are not only motivated by fond memories of your no-doubt mutually satisfying congress. I believe he wishes to acquaint you with news of your family.”

Hope hid her shock. “I have no family.” With care, she modified her tone so it was as leaden as before though emotion roiled close to the surface.

“Not even a sister?”

Hope raised her chin. Here was the chink and Madame knew it. The woman did her research.

Aware that the other girls who surrounded her were tense with anticipation, Hope struggled not to respond. Camaraderie existed at surface level but one never knew when it might profit one to have the dirt on a fellow prostitute. It was, clearly, another reason Madame Chambon had chosen to make this conversation public.

“Mr. Hunt will see you at nine tomorrow evening,” said the so-called Frenchwoman who, it was whispered, was from the gutters of Lambeth, not Paris. “At his apartments in Duke Street. Now go and prepare yourself for Lord Farrow. Married to a monolith like the venerable Lady Farrow, he likes his girls vivacious and free-spirited. There’ll be less coin in your pocket if you sully the transaction with that long face, Hope.”

~*~*~*~*~*~

beverley-eikli-author-pic-copyAuthor Info:

 Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.

Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.

Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honour – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.

Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth-century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances tarring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.

You can get in contact with Beverley at:

 Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving-background-hd2As you all are reading this I’m on my way to Southern Minnesota to spend time with DH’s family.

This year I’m thankful for my spouse – he’s a great guy and super supportive of this writing thing I do.   My two awesome girls who are spending thanksgiving with their fiancee’s in Texas and Montana respectively.

My tribes – Kudo’s to the Word Weavers, Maddy Barone, Mary Jean Adams, Krystal, Laura and Kat.   The Founders circle including, A. Catherine Noon, Rachel Wilder, Nikki, Darla, Evey, and newcombers Stacey and Jonni.  And lastly RWA Online – Including my old CP Holli Winters, President Karen, and recent ties like Leslie Scott and Misti.   You all make my writing better and remind me why I love the written word.