AuThursday – Rosanna Leo

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Most of my books have taken several months to complete. However, there are others that have taken longer. I worked on one for several years, but that was an on-again, off-again situation. I tend to write each one and complete it before embarking on another project so I’m focused getting the work done.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?  (aka Are you a plotter or a pantser?)

I always research before writing but not every book requires in-depth research. For my shapeshifter romances, I always study the traits of the animals represented in the books and make copious notes about each. For my contemporary romances, I might do research on particular jobs or lifestyles. And for my mythology-based romances, I always reread the legends I’m referencing. I do try to plot out my novels but there is a healthy dose of pantsing involved as well. 😉

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Believe it or not, I adore writing male characters. In fact, I prefer writing them. I love getting into the heads of my heroes and screwing around with the wiring. They’re fun for me to write because many of them are straightforward guys. That being said, I think the toughest part about writing them is not allowing myself to get caught up in stereotypes. Sure, men can be different but they’re not all the same and they’re not all macho dudes who are always thinking about sex and food. LOL

What is your writing Kryptonite?

A lack of caffeine. It sustains me.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

That’s a tough question. Since I started publishing in 2012, so many fellow romance authors came forward and shared their experiences and expertise with me. That’s what I love about this industry: there is a lot of love and support. It would be difficult for me to single anyone out but I have a special affinity for Anise Eden, Selena Robins, and Jessica Cale. Not only do I admire these ladies, I adore their writing and am proud to be friends with them. I learn something new whenever I read their works.

Have you written any other stories in collaboration with other writers?

I have two freebie anthologies that I have written with a former blogging group but each story was written independently.

I see you’ve written a number of series including; GEMINI ISLAND SHIFTERS, GREEK GOD ROMANCES, HANDYMEN, and ORKNEY SELKIES.  What draws you to writing series, and is it hard to keep it all straight?

I’ll be honest, most of my series began as ideas for one book. The readers were wonderful enough to show interest and demand more books. Now, when I begin a new project, I keep series possibilities in mind. For example, my Handymen series is still being written and book one, A Good Man, has just been picked up by Samhain Publishing. I went into that one knowing I would write three books.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I used to read my reviews on a regular basis. However, one will always find negativity in this arena. When I started, I used to let bad reviews get me down. Now I’ve stopped seeking out my reviews. Unless a reader points me in the direction of her review, I won’t go looking for it. It just keeps me saner this way. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate the feedback but I prefer to stay positive. Luckily, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive some amazing reviews and I thank everyone who put pen to paper for my work.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rosanna-Leo/e/B007X5P4I8

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rleoauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826852.Rosanna_Leo

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rosannaleo/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rleoauthor1

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/LeoRosanna

Saturday Sexcerpt -Lady Luck by Julie Lence

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Lucas set the coffeepot over the coals then glanced up at the sky. Missy had been gone for a while, dashing to the lake as soon as she’d set up camp. Not that he blamed her. After they finished their meal, he planned on soaking in the water, too.

He searched the trees beyond the horses for any signs of her. She should have been back by now. She wasn’t safe on her own. Any number of hazards could befall her: wild animals, wilder men.

He checked his gun and went in search of her. Following a trail she’d taken, he pushed past a few bushes and tall trees. Stepping into the clearing, the lake stretched before him.

He looked to the right and didn’t see her. Looking in the opposite direction, the breath rushed out of his lungs as his body pitched forward. Missy stood beside a large boulder, her back to him, wet hair tossed over the front of her shoulder and moisture glistening off her bare skin.

A fat tear of water dripped from her hair onto her nape. The droplet slithered down her spine and plopped into the dirt.

His heart hammered in his chest. His gut coiled tight and sweat beaded his brow as he watched another drop follow the same path.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew he had no business spying on her. He should leave, but his feet wouldn’t move. Neither would his gaze. And the immoral thoughts swarming around inside his head―tasting the water beading her skin, drying her with his hands, helping her step into her clothes―guaranteed him a place in hell.

Even that wasn’t enough to shake him from his reverie. It wasn’t until he stood behind her, holding his shirt open like a towel, did coherent thought finally poke through his mire. By then it was too late. Instinct and desire shoved aside all proprietary and urged him to drape his shirt around her.

“Oh!” She jumped, twisting her neck to see behind her. “Lucas, you scared me half to death.”

“You don’t have a towel,” he murmured.

“The sun can dry―”

“Not as well as my shirt can.” He hunkered down on his knee and gently rubbed her calf with the worn material.

“Lucas, ah, that feels wonderful.” She closed her eyes as his strong hands glided up and down her legs, soothing the soreness from days spent in the saddle. He dried her lower back, moved his hands around her hips and over her abdomen. His fingers dipped low to massage her, and she froze.

The last time a man had touched her there fat fingers had rubbed so hard they’d left bruises. Jagged fingernails had scratched and cut her flesh. But this hand was gentle, almost loving with its strokes. Instead of a dry, coarse feeling, hot moisture pooled between her thighs and made her throb.

Fear shot down her spine at this new feeling. Another method of torture she was sure. “Lucas.” She trembled and sniffed back the wetness stinging her eyes.

“You are beautiful,” he whispered. “Soft and sweet.”

Words of praise, though nice, offered little comfort. Her knees nearly buckled. Somehow, she held herself upright, but she couldn’t control the pulse – pounding between her ears. Warm air breathing on her neck, large hands covering her breasts; she had trouble separating reality from memories.

He turned her to face him. His hands fastened gently around her neck. Slowly, he pulled her mouth toward him and touched his lips to hers.

“Ah, Missy.” He slid his tongue past her lips to tangle with hers. His hand slipped around her waist and drew her closer to him. His other hand moved to her hair, caressing it with the sure, soft strokes she knew well. Calloused, strong yet gentle, she’d favored that hand at the cabin and many nights on the trail.

Warmth stole down her back. Confidant Lucas held her and not Harley, she kissed him back, savoring the taste of coffee and tobacco on his lips; her fingertips tingling as she traced the vein along his arm.

“I want you, Missy. I’ve got to have you.” His raspy voice filled her ear, and her blood ran cold.

I want you, Lady Luck. I will have you.

Lady Luck is available for purchase here: www.amazon.com/dp/B0063WCXO0

 

Julie’s Bio:

Julie was born and raised in upstate New York. She married her high school sweetheart and accompanied him on his twenty-year career with the United States Air Force. Presently, she resides in the Pikes Peak region, where she’s a stay-at-home mom enjoying a career writing western historical romance.

Throughout her school years, Julie enjoyed reading and writing. A friend introduced her to the romance genre in the late 80’s and she was instantly hooked, crediting Judith McNaught and Johanna Lindsey as her inspirations to pen her own novels. As she puts it, Ms. McNaught’s voice is flawless and Ms. Lindsey’s Malory family is endearing and addictive. Combining her fondness for horses, John Wayne and the television series, Dallas, Julie settled into writing about cowboys, outlaws and the ‘old west’ early in her career.

Julie self-publishes her work at Amazon.com. She also designs her covers. When she’s away from her computer, she enjoys taking care of her family and home, exploring the Rocky Mountains and meeting fans of the romance genre.

AuThursday – Julie Lence

me-mediumI see you write Western Romances. What draws you to this genre?

I grew up watching John Wayne on Sunday television. I loved his cowboy characters and the fact he rode horses (horses are such beautiful creatures). I also liked the long, colorful dresses his female costars wore, the ranch houses and the scenery. Something about that era was simple and fascinating and stayed with me through. When I began writing, I started with a contemporary story but quickly switched to western romance. The heart of a cowboy, the code of the west, the horses and the rugged land were too hard to ignore.

How much research do you do?

It depends on the story and the characters. Two books I did a lot of research for Lady Luck and No Luck At All. Lady Luck is set in 1860 San Francisco and I needed to find out what the city was like at that time. I discovered tall ships permanently dry-docked, the color of a policeman’s uniform, and a street map from that time; all of which were incorporated into the story. For No Luck At All, the hero is a doctor. His heroine is a Boston socialite.  For that to work, I had to find out if Boston had a medical college and what medical discoveries were made in between 1860 & 1874 that I could use in the story.

One book I didn’t do much research for is Debra’s Bandit. Since this is the 3rd story in a series, the facts I needed had been researched with the 1st book. But Debra does work in a mercantile, so I did read up on mercantile (stores) to get an idea of what her day would be like and how important the mercantile was to society in the 1800’s.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

About 1 year. Sometimes less than that. I self-publish, so writing, editing, and cover design fall on my shoulders, which I love.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Making them speak like a man. A man’s dialogue is different from a woman’s. They usually don’t string together a bunch of sentences or speak in complete sentences. Nor do they overly describe something or talk about their feelings. They speak in as few words as possible. Perfecting their short answers, comments and sarcasm is often a challenge.

How do you select the names of your characters?

Girl names are easy. We all have our favorites, or what we think is a pretty name. I have a list of girl names and add to it when I come across another that I like. Boy names are harder. I do have a short list that I refer to, but if nothing catches me attention, I begin running through my mind character names from television shows and movies. From there, I branch out to country music singers and football players. Football players have great unusual names and often I find the last name that makes a great first name for a cowboy or an outlaw. My biggest challenge is the last name. I obsess on last names until I hit on one that ties perfectly with the character’s first name.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Getting my muse to cooperate. Usually, I find on the days I have time to write, the muse is sleeping and takes forever to wake up and get in gear. On the days when I don’t have time to write, I have complete conversations between characters in my head. Or, I’ll hit on a plot point and run for a piece of paper and a pen to jot down notes.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

No. I have critiqued with other authors, contributed to a round-writing blog where each author writes one chapter to the story and contributed to a compilation of authors who each wrote about how they met their husband, but I’ve not co-authored a book with someone else.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Writing is a hard and lonely existence. To succeed, one must write every day and write what you know or love and for yourself. Keep at it, develop a thick skin when it comes to rejection, and don’t worry about what other authors are doing or have accomplished.  Stay true to yourself, dedicated to your craft, disciplined, and have a set of goals to work toward.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website: www.julielence.com

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/julielence

Facebook: https://facebook.com/#!/JulieLence

Twitter: @julielence

Saturday Excerpt – Bast’s Warrior by Janet Walters

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Tira wanted three things in life and she had little chance of gaining any of them. She wanted to be financially independent. She wanted to go to Egypt and study the ancient ruins. And she wanted her sister to stop using drugs.

The last desire brought memories of this morning’s quarrel.  The money squirreled away to see them through the rest of the month was gone. “Luci, why?”

“You don’t understand,” Luci screamed.

True. She didn’t understand why her sister needed to escape into a drugged stupor instead of studying and working to step onto the road leading from the slums. Tira’s hands stung with the memory of slapping her sister. And the words she’d shouted as she slammed out of the apartment echoed in her thoughts. “I hate you. I wish you were dead.” A shudder rumbled through her body. She hadn’t meant those words. As soon as she reached the apartment she would tell Luci.

With a sigh she turned back to the museum display. The Egyptian artifacts awed her. For a short time she allowed the beauty of the objects to carry her into dreams of pyramids and temples, of gods and pharaohs and of digging in the earth to uncover treasures of the past.

The dream hovered beyond her grasp. Her chances of gaining a position on a dig in Egypt were slim. Positions were avidly sought by students who had chosen the right colleges and the right professors. Those choices had been beyond her financially. She sucked in a breath. Instead of adventure, when the summer ended, she would take her place in front of a classroom teaching history at an inner city high school.

A glance at her watch said dreamtime was over. She had to reach the apartment in time to change for her evening shift at a restaurant several blocks from the cramped fifth floor efficiency she shared with her older sister. Once again, flash moments from the morning’s quarrel exploded in Tira’s thoughts. She’d been so upset she’d missed her morning martial arts session at the local center.

Tira cast her dreaming self aside and donned the role of practical sister. She hurried to the exit and stepped from the past into a steamy August day. Heat shimmered from the sidewalk. The air hung heavy and filled with the odors of the city and the noises of traffic. She strode along the crowded area taking advantage of every opening.

Ten days to dream. Ten days to walk the halls of the museum. Ten days to study the artifacts that had become her lodestones.She breathed the aromas of real time, spices of cooking foods, metallic scents of passing traffic and the odors of people, some pleasant and some not.

Several blocks from the apartment building the crowds thinned. In an alley she glimpsed furtive movements in the dark shadows. She hurried past. On the corner across the street a group of gang members gathered. She sucked in a breath and held her head high. For all her twenty three years she’d avoided the gangs. As she strode past she heard the usual crude remarks about her body and her attitude.

Get a life, she wanted to scream.

When she saw the ambulance and two cop cars in front of the building where she lived she halted so abruptly she stumbled. A hand caught her arm. Tira saw the gray-streaked beard of one of the winos who slept in the doorways or the alley. “Get your hands off me.”

“Don’t go home,” he whispered. “Lose yourself in the crowd and keep your head down.”

She saw a keen intelligence in the man’s dark eyes. Who was he? He wasn’t as old as she had imagined either. “Why?”

“Your sister’s dead. Cops’ll be looking for you. They heard about the fight.”

Tira’s stomach clenched. She blinked away a rush of tears. Though hearing about her sister’s death wasn’t unexpected another dream shattered. There would be no rehab for Luci. “Junkies O.D. every day,” she said.

“She was murdered.”

A chill slithered down Tira’s spine. A rush of acid burned her throat. What? Why? Who? Keeping her eyes on the ground she inched away from him.

“Murder. Murder.” The murmured word spread through the crowd gathered on the sidewalk and stung like attacking wasps.

The EMTs wheeled a gurney from the building. When Tira saw the body bag strapped to the frame her nails bit into her palms. Despite the heat of the day she felt chilled. A wave of guilt made her knees buckle. She stuffed her fist against her mouth to keep from crying aloud.

What now, she wondered. The apartment was a crime scene. Until the cops finished their investigation she wouldn’t be allowed inside. An officer stepped from the building. “More along, folks. There’s nothing to see here.” He stepped from the stoop. “Anyone seen her sister? We have some questions for her.”

Join me next week when we meet another author. ~Tina

AuThursday – Janet Walters

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Janet Lane Walters here. I’ve been a published author since 1968 though there were a few years taken off to return to work as a nurse to help children through college. I’ve been married to the same man for 55 years and there are four children. The youngest is an adopted biracial daughter. There are seven grandchildren, four biracial and three adopted Chinese children. I live in the scenic Hudson River valley. Billed as an eclectic writer besides short stories, poetry, and 3 non-fiction books, I write in a number of genres.

What genre are your books?

Genres – There are romances, paranormal, fantasy, mystery, historicals. I also have a YA fantasy series published under J. L. Walters.

What draws you to this genre?

Since I write in a number of genres I’ve chosen the ones I really enjoy writing and reading. Often there is some kind of medicine in many of my books. This goes back to being a nurse and my fascinating with alternate methods of healing.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

I write seven days a week and being retired I can write where I want and when I want.

I see you write a few series including MOONCHILD, AT FIRST SIGHT, and OPPOSITES IN LOVE.  What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I enjoy reading series and also trilogies. Sometimes there need to be more stories to finish the story. My YA Affinities series is one of those. Readers like series. Sometimes a character in one of the books asks for their own story.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? 

I have not dipped into self-publishing. I am mainly with two small publishers. One US and one Canadian. For me self-publishing would present problems since I really like to do everything myself and having to hire people to format, edit, covers and etc. wouldn’t suit me at all. I do admire those who have taken this route but it’s not for this 80-year-old writer.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I do proof my own books but then they go off to my current publisher Books We Love and they are also proofed by an editor there. I belong to a critique group and thus for content I have ten other voices to keep me on track.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Finish the book before tinkering with it. Trying to make each page perfect before reaching the end and you won’t ever finish the book.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://twitter.com/JanetL717

http://janetlanewalters.com/home

https://www.facebook.com/janet.l.walters.3?v=wall&story_fbid=113639528680724

http://bookswelove.net/