AuThursday – Stanalei Fletcher

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Please welcome Stanalei Fletcher to the Clog Blog.

Thanks so much for having me today as part of my Blog Tour sponsored by Reviews by Crystal. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my writing world.

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

-I was born in small town in Idaho and raised in an even smaller town, still in Idaho. It was there, through my school years, I had an inkling that I might have a bit of talent for writing stories. I’d even won a contest in high school for a short story.

How do you make time to write?

-Until recently, I struggled to get the time I wanted to write. I set aside Tuesday and Thursday evenings and as much as Saturday as I can get after my chores. But during NANOWRIMO this year, I committed to get up early every morning and write. It was such a success, that I’m committed make it my new routine.

What genre are your books?

-I’ve wrapped up a romantic suspense series. There are five books in the series and they were a blast to write. I also have time-travel story and plans for a contemporary small town series. All the books are romances.

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What draws you to this genre?

-I love romances. I love the promise a happy ending where 1 + 1 doesn’t equal 2, it equals 3. It equals “us”. Where two people create a third, greater than two, entity. What other genre offers that?

What are your current projects?

-I’m currently working on the first book in a two book series for a contemporary, home town romance.

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

-I am an introvert. It helps when I need to hole up and spend time alone to create stories. However, it’s a challenge when I need to market and put myself in group to network. I’m learning, but it’s still hard.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

-Great question! I’d have to say my grandchildren. It’s next to impossible to say “no” when there’s something involving my grandchildren. Whether it’s tending or baseball games, it’s challenging to write when the kids want me around.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

-The best advice I can offer aspiring writers is to study craft, study story. If you want to rise with the cream at the top, you need to learn how to write a story that reaches your reader’s heart and mind. Never stop improving. Stories are the stuff life is made of. Make yours worth giving up hours to read.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

-I can be found in a lot of areas on the World Wide Web. If you stop by my website here: http://www.stanaleifletcher.com/index.html, you can find all my other hangouts, including a place to sign up to join my reader’s club.

Thank you so much for having me here and taking time to meet your audience.

 

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Writer Wednesday – Editing

book-editingI’m not talking about dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s here, or finding spelling mistakes, although those are important.

I’m talking about looking at your work as a whole and saying to yourself – is this working or why isn’t this working.

I’ve finished up my 2nd round of layering and usually when I do the layering I find other issues.  And I’ve found some frivolous plot lines that need to be dealt with.  I can still use them, but they don’t make sense so I need to dig deeper.

I need to make these plot points stronger to thread through this series on a bigger level.  I have a lot of side notes like “Needs to be more significant” or “what are you trying to say”

This is an interesting process – I have to be objective looking at these items and I’ve been fortunate that I’m usually willing to change plot lines if necessary and I think this is necessary.

I’m off to it.  ~Tina

The Editor’s Kisses by Kara O’Neal

The Editors Kisses TRRThe Editor’s Kisses

Blurb:

She’s a suffragette with plans. He’s the editor with a kiss that could make headlines…

Constance Forrester has no intention of getting married. She is a suffragette and determined to change society. When Stephen Dawson, her school chum, starts a newspaper in their sleepy little town, Constance discovers an opportunity. With confidence and an unflinching will, she asks Stephen to take a risk and employ her as a journalist.

Stephen is stunned by Constance’s impossible proposal and immediately turns her down. But the small moments he’s spent with Constance have piqued someone’s curiosity, and Stephen finds himself sought after by the town princess, Madeline Talbut. Stephen has loved Madeline for years, and when the young lady finally shows an interest in him, he concocts a plan: enter into a fake courtship with Constance in order to make Madeline love him, and in return, Constance can be a journalist for his newspaper. Anonymously, of course.

It’s a chance Constance can’t pass up. So what if she has to attend parties and withstand Stephen’s heart-melting kisses? A suffragette must forge through barriers, break down walls and risk all for the sake of freedom. But Stephen changes the game, and Constance finds herself the object of the editor’s desire…

Excerpt:

“Constance,” he uttered. “I’m gonna kiss you.”

She flinched again.

“I won’t hurt you, I swear it. But if I don’t kiss you…they’ll all question us and our…attachment.” He was an ass. He was using their agreement to coax her into acquiescence, and while he knew it, and was ashamed of it, he continued. “It will only be for a second. I’ll just brush my lips with yours.”

In the darkness, he felt her slight nod against his chin. His heart pounded at her quiet surrender.

When she pulled back as far as the space would allow, and lifted her head to his, heat slashed through him. He’d never needed a kiss as much as he needed hers.

Madeline had kissed him. Once. Behind the schoolhouse when they were sixteen. And that moment hadn’t caused near the anticipation this one was.

He lowered his head and swallowed her gasp. It wasn’t a brush even though he only set his lips on hers. It was a fire. A shot of whiskey that whipped through him and pooled in his gut. He deepened the connection, and she let him, sighing and sinking into him despite already being as close to him as he could get her.

But there was a melting. A need to move to the ground and cover her, press her down and make her his. He used his tongue, tasting her. She capitulated instantly and opened her mouth under his. He took what she allowed without hesitation as his free hand came up to grip her waist.

The damn closet was too small. His left hand was wedged between her side and the slender door. But though he couldn’t get his arms around her, he didn’t stop the kiss. It went on and on, stealing his breath, tightening his chest, and making him doubt everything he’d ever known about his heart.

Rapid footsteps had him surging backward and he knocked his head on the wall.

The door was flung open and cool air blasted his cheeks. He and Constance fell out of the space, their limbs tangling as they tried to right themselves.

Peals of laughter rung around them as Stephen reached out a hand to balance her. She latched on like she didn’t want to let go, and his muscles vibrated with hope she had enjoyed the moment as he had.

It had taken less than a few seconds for him to realize kissing her had been the wrong thing to do. But also the most right, most perfect, most sound judgement he’d ever made in his life.

As those who’d crowded around the entrance to the kitchen went roaring with laughter back into the parlor, he gazed at Constance. And his world tilted.

Her flushed cheeks and bright eyes made his heart constrict with an emotion he was too afraid to name at the moment. But he knew what it was. He knew.

How in the devil had it happened? Was he a fool? A fickle man?

He swallowed. “Do you want to leave?”

And before his eyes he witnessed a transformation that set his blood on fire. Determination changed her expression, and she lifted her chin.

“Certainly not. I’m quite all right, I assure you.” She gave a shake to her skirts. “We’ve a job to do, Stephen Dawson, and I’ll not let you down.”

She exited the kitchen with a swirl of satin, and he followed with less sure steps. She wouldn’t let him down, he was positive. But he was afraid he might disappoint her, for if she knew the direction of his thoughts, she would never forgive him. Constance Forrester had no time for any man. She had plans. Plans that didn’t include caring for the heart of the newspaper editor.

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Editors-Kisses-Pikes-Run-ebook/dp/B06XP8ZQBR/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1512342384&sr=8-6&keywords=kara+o%27neal

AuThursday – Kara O’Neal

021Please welcome my fellow Resplendence Writer Kara O’Neal to the Clog Blog.  Kara – Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a teacher with three children who are kind people and talented artists. I’ve been married to a wonderful man for almost twenty years, who is also a talented artist. I have always been an avid reader, loving books written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Carolyn Keene, and Louisa May Alcott then on to Jane Austen, Mary Balogh and a plethora of others. My active imagination, which got me into trouble in school because I was often day dreaming, got to work and eventually I wrote my own story. I never thought I’d be an author. It didn’t even cross my mind until after I’d graduated college. But that’s the grand thing about life. A person can decide to do anything at any time. I’m so grateful I’ve had this opportunity.

How do you make time to write?

I write just about anywhere. That’s the only way I get it done. I’ve written in the car, in doctors’ offices, waiting for one of my children to come out of rehearsal, in those few minutes before meetings start, and while I’m cooking supper. Whenever I have a free moment, I’m writing.

What are your current projects?

I have finished the 10th book in the Pikes Run Series – The Cowboy’s Embrace – and I’m preparing to send it to my editor soon. I have also finished my 11th book in the series, but it still needs to go through the critique process. It also doesn’t have a title. (Yikes!)

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

For me, it’s making sure they sound like men. Sometimes I can have a male character explain something with flowery language and several sentences, but when I go back and read it, I realize it’s way too much. Short and sweet – that’s what I say to myself when a male character is talking about feelings or working through some sort of conflict. It usually helps.

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

I’m an introvert until I get to know the person or environment then I’m comfortable and can be the “life of the party”. For the most part though, I’m quiet. Therefore, this makes it hard to talk about myself and to market myself. I don’t want to do it, so I usually steer away from social media and other avenues of a similar nature.

What is your Kryptonite?

Hmmm. Well, with writing it would have to be the television show, Once Upon A Time. If I turn that show on – usually through Netflix or Hulu – nothing will get done. I can’t tear myself away from the love story of Emma Swan and Captain Hook. (Even though I’ve seen the episodes a million times!) And now I’m blushing because y’all know how much I watch it!

So, when it’s time to write, I can’t have that show playing in the background.

My other weakness would be rain. When it’s raining outside, all I want to do is stay under the covers and write or read or watch a movie.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Finish the book. Even if you know it’s terrible. The best thing you can do for yourself is finish, because the only way to get better is to edit and revise your current work. If you delete or tear up what you’ve done because it’s awful, you’re only going to be in the same spot you were before. Keep going. Write so you can revise. Then once you’ve finished, find a critique group so they can tell you how awful it is, and you can figure out how to fix it. It’ll be hard to hear, but it’s so worth it.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

A few places! Here are the links:

My website: www.karaoneal.com.

My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KaraONeal84/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/karaoneal7/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kara-ONeal/e/B00FL19TH8/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1465007993&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/kara+o’neal?_requestid=845025

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7278350.Kara_O_Neal

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraONealAuthor

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

I sure do! The following is from Love’s Promise – Book 6 in the Pikes Run Series.

She bit down on her back teeth, needing to find some semblance of control. It was as if she felt his lips running over her flesh, and she had the distinct impression he would lick every part of her if given the chance. And she suddenly wanted to give him that chance.

Join me Saturday when we read an excerpt from Kara’s book THE EDITOR’S KISSES. ~Tina

AuThursday – Vivian Kohlman

LichtPlease welcome Vivian Kohlman to the Clog Blog.  Vivian – Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born and raised—by a single mother—in the Washington, DC area, with one older sister. I’m currently married with no kids (intentionally), and still live in the DC area. I love this town so much that even after my sister moved to Los Angeles, I just couldn’t make the switch—though I tried to live there a couple of times.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in English and an MBA in the Management of Global Information Technology (IT). I work as an IT Consultant for federal agencies and private companies, and I love my job…but I love my hobby—writing romance novels—even more! I picked up writing as a hobby only a few years ago and I’m already on my fifth book as part of the Young and Privileged of Washington, DC series. And I’m sure there are many more to come!

Aside from writing, I enjoy travelling and hiking (well, walking around wooded areas—low-impact hiking, you could say). And I love champagne brunches and Friday happy hours, or taking a walk in nice weather.

How did you come up with the idea for your YOUNG AND PRIVILEGED series?

The very first book started with the urge to write about a story of my youth, but making it play out and end much differently than it did in reality. I used the experiences and characters of my friends and me in our teens and twenties (in all of the books). The first book was very personal; the subsequent books flowed from there.

Most people think of Washington, DC as only a political place, full of stuffy congressmen and sleazy lobbyists. But the DC I know is much cooler, and much livelier. My stories focus on the part of society that doesn’t care much for politics—young and privileged adults who are lucky enough to enjoy life and all the nice things this area has to offer.

Why did I focus on this group? Because their life is fundamentally different than the average young adult’s—and it’s exciting. They live like Paris Hilton or a Kardashian—without the fame and notoriety. I think Gossip Girl (the TV show and the books) helped to lead me to this series, but on behalf of DC youth instead of NY.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on book #5 of the series right now, which is a follow-on to book #4 (“Girls Like Me”). Book 5 (still unnamed) continues the story of Ava and her boyfriend; in book 4, they met and got together.

All of the books in the series can be read alone, in any order, but it’s best to follow the series’ books sequentially to best understand the characters and storylines. Since I’m just starting out as a writer, and self-publishing, I’ve begun to try to market the series and have set up my website, Facebook page, etc—these are all in the beginning stages right now, but I plan to work more on them in 2018.

What genre are your books?

Contemporary romance. Although the characters are aged anywhere from late high-school to late twenties, the books are filled with scenarios and language that only mature audiences should read.

What draws you to this genre?

Who doesn’t love a romance? Especially one that is earth shattering and deep…a love that causes emotional elation and is usually followed by destruction. I get lost in contemporary romance stories, and hope my readers get lost in mine!

Writing romances allows me to express stories and characters from a view of what I find romantic—which isn’t always the norm. I don’t write erotica, but some scenes can be steamy. Writing about the ups and downs of falling in love, or out of love, is as much fun to write as reading about it!

How much research do you do?

Because most of what I write is from my own experiences, I don’t need to do too much research. But each story may cause me to research and item or two, and sometimes ask people for their experiences. On top of that, I sometimes choose to try out new locations around the DC area myself.

Most of the locations—bars, restaurants, neighborhoods, etc—I visit myself often, and feature the places I like (or liked, when I was younger) the most.

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

Nope, I write in spurts. I’ve gone as much as six months without writing anything new; alternately, I’ve written over 3,000 words in a day before. I have a process worked out where I write the basic story very quickly (usually when the story strikes me), then spend the next 6 months or so revising and adding to it. Since this is just a hobby, I want to make sure I continue to enjoy it, so I put no pressure on myself to write.

Which writers inspire you?

Writers? No writer directly inspires me, but I do get inspired by movies, songs, and TV shows. So much so that I plan to stat a blog someday soon that defines all the inspirations for each book. Book 3 was inspired by a dream I had, the nuances of all the books are influenced with whatever music I’m drawn to at the time, and Games of Thrones inspired a main character in Book 4.

Although I can’t say other authors inspire me, I do enjoy reading other peoples’ work. Ironically, I like easy-to-read romance novels that are contemporary or fantasy, such as:

Jessica Sorrensen

Suzanne Collins

Bella Forrest

Cecily von Zeigesar

Jane Austen

L J Smith

Stephenie Meyer

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.viviankohlman.com

https://www.facebook.com/viviankohlman/

https://www.instagram.com/viviankohlman/

amazon.com/author/viviankohlman

All of my books are currently FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. In the future, I may move to other platforms.

Do you have a sexy teaser you’d like to share with us?Book4Series

From Girls Like Me, Book 4 of the Young and Privileged of Washington, DC

I walked straight to him, knowing that the right thing to do would be talking to Miko first. But I didn’t care; I could still feel King’s arms around me, and that made me feel fantastic.

“Hey thanks for taking me off the floor,” I said, sitting down next to him on the sofa, but not too close.

“Don’t mention it. I saw the fight brewing from up here, so went down to warn you girls. You were about to be in the middle of it and my yacht’s parked closer than yours…I didn’t want to have to take you back to my place and get blood all over my pristine decks,” he said, not looking at me once, just staring at his phone.

And we’re back to mean King.

I wasn’t sure what to say, but I didn’t move an inch either. I pulled my eyes away from his face and looked down, resting on the amazingly large watch he was wearing—it was a Breitling that had diamonds around the face and it glittered slightly when the club lights hit it. Strong/soft, basic/decadent, nice/mean, hates me/wants me…this guy is an enigma.

Why is he being a dick again? Didn’t he just purposely save me from harm? So why is he acting like he hates me now?

“Uh huh. Well, I can take care of myself, you know,” I said, feeling hurt for some strange reason.

“No, you can’t. You didn’t move. Every other person outside of the fight fled the dance floor—you stood in one place, dumbstruck,” he said.

He still hasn’t looked at me once.

“Have I done something to greatly offend you, King?”

“No.”

“You seem to be, I don’t know, angry with me,” I said tentatively.

“You’re wrong.”

“So, what’s up with the short answers and you not even looking at me?”

He put his phone down and looked me directly in the eyes. Damn his eyes are so beautiful. A heat wave went through my body when our eyes locked.

“I’m pissed as hell for having to touch you. You felt so fucking good,” he said, putting a lot of emphasis on the last part of that statement.

 

Writing Wednesday – Goal Setting

Welcome to the new year! I, like many people, have set resolutions for the new year.   In coming up with this year’s goals, I found a theme – Exploration.

Since I lost my day job, I’ve decided to explore my creative side.   There will be some definate focus on writing, but I want to try new things like:

  1. Acting – either in local Theatre or Narration.
  2. Sewing – I love the idea of making clothes
  3. Baking – I’m a passable cook, but haven’t really mastered the baking of breads, pies, cakes, cookies, desserts, etc.

These are just a few things I want to Explore, and I feel they will help me grow as a writer as well as a person.

And of course I have writer and personal goals as well, but I’m still fine tuning those.