AuThursday – Rosanna Leo

Rosanna Leo author photoWelcome Rosanna!  Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thanks so much for having me here, Tina!

I’m Rosanna Leo and I write contemporary and paranormal romance. When not writing, I work at my local public library in an Acquisitions role, so I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to see all the new books when they first arrive. I come from Toronto, Canada, and I try hard to insert a bit of Canadian flavour into my books. I’ve been writing for over ten years now and am fortunate to be part of the romance community, as a writer, blogger, and reader.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

With the subgenres of romance that I write, I really do get the best of both worlds. With my contemporary romances, I get to explore the conflicts of “real” people, and I love showing how they can grow and learn to love. In the case of my paranormal romances, the characters and situations might be a bit more outrageous, but it’s fun for me to be able to push those envelopes. Each type of writing compels me to think differently, so it’s a great exercise. The one commonality, of course, is that in those stories, the protagonists have to fall in love and be committed to one another by the end of the book. However, that journey to love is the whole point, and it’s the reason I love this genre so much. It carries a powerful sense of hope. 

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

For me, the part I dread is the initial brainstorming. I know of writers who can just shoot out fresh ideas on the spot, but I’ve never been good at that, not even in non-writing situations. I have to let my thoughts marinate for a while, and I second-guess a lot of my ideas. Nevertheless, as much as it sometimes pains me, I do try to get some ideas down. It’s the first step, after all, so it has to be done.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I do believe in writer’s block, and I know I’ve experienced it before. It tends to affect me at particular times, however. I had it after losing a loved one, during moments of stress in my career and family life, and I’ve experienced when I’ve written myself into a hole (when I haven’t thought out a story properly and I begin to flounder.) It happens. I won’t call myself an expert in dealing with it. For the most part, I just try to either write through it, or I take a break from writing altogether. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

My recent release is A Good Man, Handymen 1, a contemporary romance. It released on June 9, 2020. It’s been published traditionally with Totally Bound Publishing. I’ve been working directly with publishers for a few years now and have worked with some great people. I appreciate that my publisher handles a lot of the details that I don’t feel confident handling (i.e. covers, formatting.) So, for me, it’s a good fit.

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

I haven’t ruled out self-publishing and may attempt it down the road. I have many author friends who prefer that method, and they have it down to a fine art. Not having done it myself, I probably can’t speak to its disadvantages, and I think a writer should always do their research before committing to either path. 

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I like to think my writing is more polished now, more pared down. When I started writing, I used some overly-descriptive language and made some interesting style choices. It’s all part of learning, and it was definitely part of my process. Now, I try to take a lot of care with my word choices, and if I can simplify a statement, I will.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I don’t have a favorite motivational phrase, but I do believe in the power of positive affirmations. For the most part, I try to express gratitude for where I am in life, and I try to be grateful for something each day. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Blog: https://rosannaleoauthor.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeoRosanna

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

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

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rosanna-leo

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Sure! I’d love to share an excerpt from A Good Man, Handymen1:

AGoodManCover_1500x2400Emily threw herself at him and wrapped her arms around his torso, cutting off his words and his breath. Only when he hugged her back did he realize how hard she was quivering.

She wasn’t just crying about the old photos.

“It’s okay, Em. Let it out, sweetheart.”

The collar of his shirt grew wet but he didn’t care. Wardrobe had tons of shirts. Besides, she felt good in his arms, all soft and warm. He rubbed her shoulders and the back of her waist, exploring and familiarizing himself with her luscious body. He breathed, drinking in her scent. His nasal cavities had never known such bliss. It was like that first clear breath after a long period of congestion. His fingers were pretty happy too, enjoying the give of her body. It was all he could do not to slide them down, cup her sweet ass, and pull her up against him.

Just not while she was crying over another man.

She lingered in his arms and he did nothing to push her away. In fact, it surprised him how badly he wanted to keep her there, so much so that when Emily finally extricated herself, he wanted to pull her back into his embrace. Instead, he wiped her cheeks clean of the remaining tears.

“The makeup ladies are going to kill me for making you cry.”

It might have been his imagination, but her tears made her eyes appear even greener. In fact, her entire face seemed a riot of tempting color. Each shade called to him. The crushed roses in her cheeks. Her strawberry lips, so plump and moist. Even the doeskin brown of her freckles fascinated him to no end. He wanted to count them, to kiss and mark them all.

Kissing her made a whole lot of sense right now. Kissing her senseless seemed even better.

Emily’s eyes widened. Her lips parted in invitation. Michael paused, knowing it was wrong, even though every raised hair on his arms told him it was right.

As he debated with himself for a split second, she brushed her lips against his. It was quick and soft, hunger masquerading as something platonic. Even though a spectator might have called it a friendly kiss, he knew the truth. As brief as it may have been, he felt her yield to him, even if just a little.

From the startled look in her eyes, Emily knew it too.

 

AuThursday – Lainee Cole

Lainee Cole author picTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a born and bred Midwestern girl who escaped to Southern California for one year during my early 20’s but came home when I missed the change of seasons. Growing up in Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois will do that to you! On cold winter days, my older bones talk to me, as in “What the heck were you thinking?” Now I live in Central Illinois with my husband, who always wants to talk when I’m trying to write. My two kids and one grandchild live nearby, and we see them often.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember! I wrote horse stories as a child, then poetry in junior high and high school. My friends and I traded romances starting in high school, and it didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to write them. It took me a lot longer to actually do it, but here I am! My goal is to give readers the same escape I discovered in books.

How do you make time to write? 

I’ve learned it’s important to write every day. My muse is happier that way! I don’t have set writing hours, but usually spend a chunk of afternoons and evenings writing, or doing writing-related tasks. In some respects, it’s easier since I retired from my day job last summer. While my husband is doing outdoor chores or golfing with his buddies, I can write uninterrupted. When I was working, I sometimes struggled to make time to write because it took away family time. But writing has always been important to me. Laptops were a great invention! My laptop allowed me to be on the computer as much as possible, even when my kids were sprawled around the family room watching TV or playing video games.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Definitely. If my creative well is low, I struggle to put ideas together, to make words flow the way they should. Self-care is important as well. I try to walk every day for at least an hour. But sometimes the words just aren’t there. In that case, I read, have more conversations with friends, and go for longer walks. Ideas tend to spark for me when I do those things.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

I write sweet contemporary romance. I love it because I can explore characters and their relationships without being explicit. My characters can have all the feels without restricting their actions to MY imagination. Readers can use their own imaginations for what happens with my characters behind closed doors.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

I just Indie published my most recent book in January via Amazon. To be honest, I’ve always wanted to be a traditionally published author, and I haven’t given up on that, but the publishing landscape is open now. I discovered the Common Elements Romance Project (https://commonelementsromanceproject.wordpress.com/) and wanted to be a part of it. All books for the project were required to be self-published, so that’s what I did!

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

I’m an Extrovert, very much a people person. I can talk to almost anyone. Being an extrovert is a blessing and a curse as an author. It’s a blessing because, well, people! Everybody has a story and you never know when someone will trigger an idea, whether from something they say, their behavior, or even just their appearance. People-watching can be interesting! Being an extrovert is also a curse because when I’m working on a book, it’s hard to stay isolated and focused. I crave contact with other people. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” 

— Louis L’Amour

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you are passionate about writing, don’t just take courses or read books – you have to WRITE. The more you actually write, the more you will learn. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Please follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/LaineeColeAuthor/), Twitter (@LaineeCole), and Amazon (https://amzn.to/2VuobuD). I’d love to hear from you!

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

STORMS OF THE HEART excerpt

Storms of the Heart high resHome. She blinked several times. She’d finally grown up and realized people made a place home, not buildings. Her heart climbed into her throat, but she refused to cry. Breathe in, breathe out, she coached herself. You can do this! Despite Uncle Wayne’s pleas and assurances, it had taken a long time to find the courage to return. Now that she was home, she couldn’t wait to feel his firm bear hug.

She straightened her shoulders and pushed away from the house. Yes, she could do this! At twenty-five, she could finally take control of her own life. She could put her past to rest and look forward to her future.

Emerson flinched when another crack of lightning split the air and forked through the sky, illuminating two cars parked at the side of the house. She hadn’t noticed them before. One was a distinctive black and white car with SHERIFF in gold lettering on the side. 

Her breath hitched as she peered through the downpour. Wait. What is the Sheriff doing here? She’d already lost her parents and her aunt. She couldn’t lose Uncle Wayne, too. Not now.

 Swallowing her panicked thoughts, she hurried toward the front door. Her shoes squished cold water between her toes with every step. She stripped off her wet jacket and dropped it in the corner. The dim yellow porch light flickered and went out. 

With her heart beating faster in the darkness, Emerson scrubbed her hands over her wet face. Add cops and power outages to what else could go wrong.

Damn those negative thoughts! She inhaled deeply and shoved them out of her mind. She knocked on the door. The cop car didn’t mean anything. Uncle Wayne was expecting her. Soon she would be warm and cozy inside.

She knocked again, harder this time.

Still no answer. Maybe Uncle Wayne couldn’t hear her over Mother Nature’s cries, but he wouldn’t expect her to stay out in the rain. She tried the knob and found it unlocked.

Another deafening crack of lightning shattered the air. Something hit Emerson’s knee from the side. The momentum tore the doorknob from her hand. Her backpack fell to the ground as the thing brushed by and sent her stumbling through the doorway.

Ooof!

Strong arms caught and cradled her. She froze as earthy cologne with just a hint of citrus filled her nose. A long, whimpering whine sounded before a voice from somewhere above her head ground out, “Get back out there, dog.”

Snug against his chest, her body absorbed the rumble of the man’s words, while her mind struggled to place the oddly familiar scent of his cologne.

“Oh, let him be,” twittered a high, excited voice nearby. “He doesn’t like storms.”

Welcome to the club. It was too dark to see the woman, but she must be the live-in housekeeper Uncle Wayne had mentioned. Mrs. Beresford. This man, though. She inhaled his scent again. His embrace warmed her chilled body as he steadied her, but didn’t let go. She felt strangely safe in his arms.

“I’m sorry. The lightning startled me,” she offered into the darkness as she pushed against the man’s chest. He released her and she shivered.

“It’s not the dog’s fault.”

The man sighed, and then she heard the front door close heavily against the wind. The dog pressed against the back of her legs. Her jeans soaked up his dampness. He whimpered and her heart went out to him. I’m with you, buddy.

The strong odor of sulfur wafted through the air, followed by a welcome glow lighting the room.

“You must be Emerson.” A woman with a short, layered bob of red hair held a lantern as she came forward, reaching out a thin hand. She smiled, and her touch was gentle on Emerson’s arm. “Wayne told me all about you.”

She squeezed the woman’s hand and smiled. “You must be Mrs. Beresford.”

The older woman glowed with pleasure. “Please, call me Irene.” She gestured toward the door and her smile faded. “This is Sheriff Lomax.”

Emerson’s pulse jumped, but she pasted on a smile and turned. 

Max. His hair was darker than the last time she’d seen him, but even in the shadowy light, she knew those grayish-blue eyes, that straight nose, and that little cleft in his chin. It had been seven years, and yet she’d never forgotten the heat between their bodies as she’d pressed against him down by the creek. The tenderness of his kiss had surprised her, had made her feel when she didn’t want to feel anything. 

She’d tried to seduce her crush and failed miserably. What had she been thinking? Oh yeah. That was the problem. She hadn’t been.

“Hello, Emerson.”

 

 

AuThursday – Shelly Sharp

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a business owner with my husband, I have three adult children and one 17-year-old. I homeschooled my kids for twelve years, I have loved to write since I was a child and now I’m finding time to write books. I’ve published two on Amazon, one last April, and one this February. 

How do you make time to write? 

I have a goal of a chapter a day. I make a list of all I have to do each day and I write a page between each chore or project on my list. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

No. I write several books at a time so if I get stuck on one book I simply move to another. 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

I have a goal to write five books, all of them a different genre. I love to read many different genres so I want to try to write a book in each genre that I enjoy. So far I’ve written non-fiction and romance. Right now I’m writing a psychological thriller, a suspense trilogy, and a satire. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both) 

I self-publish on Amazon, so Indie I guess.

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

I am definitely an introvert. I think this enhances my work. I can spend a lot of time alone writing. I enjoy my own company and I find my sense of humor hilarious! I am my own best friend and my imagination is amazing which makes for good writing. The books I write are in my mind in movie form, It helps me visualize the characters I write about. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”– Helen Keller 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Publish that book! Hesitation leads to fear. As Winston Churchill said,

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal.” Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

My books are on Amazon.com, I’m also on Twitter and Facebook. 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us? 

As they descended the hill, the largest bull with the longest horns Dae had ever seen emerged from behind a bush on the path ahead of them.

Jack stopped and stood very still, but the bull noticed him anyway and began pawing the ground and breathing heavily.

Dae moved up to Jack and managed to get in front of him on the narrow path. Dae wanted to put Rose down, but the child was now sleeping heavily and Jack was too small to hold her. Dae shook the picnic basket at the bull and yelled, but that just seemed to make the creature more agitated and focused on them. Dae turned sideways to protect the sleeping child she carried from possible harm and ordered Jack in a quiet voice to back slowly up the hill, gesturing with the picnic basket.

This, unfortunately, seemed to incite the bull, who bellowed and shook its massive head. When the bull began pawing the ground again and lowering its frightening horns, Dae screamed, “Run Jack!” and turned to run up the hill herself, throwing the picnic basket on the ground and moving as fast as she could with one hand holding up her skirt and both arms cradling Rose…

AuThursday – You could be here!

If you are an author looking for some promo opportunities, this space has over 850 subscribers. Most of the viewers here are aspiring writers or fans of romance.

If you write Romance (any genre) I’d love to interview you. If you write another genre but like to talk about writing and your process, again, I’d like to interview you. Are you seeing a pattern?

I have this FORM you can fill out and send to me along with a head shot and or book cover and I can get you schedule in the next available spot or we can post close to a release date.

Thanks for your time. Hope to hear from you soon.

AuThursday – Jacie Floyd

Please Welcome Jacie Floyd to the Clog Blog! Jacie, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

From the time I read my first Nancy Drew mystery, I’ve been an avid reader and writer. The public library was my happy place when I was a child. Throughout my professional career, I utilized my non-fiction writing skills in business and legal writing, but the desire to create my own stories became a secret obsession. While polishing my craft as an unpublished author, I was lucky enough to be named a six-time Golden Heart Finalist and two-time Golden Heart winner by the Romance Writers of America. After years of scraping together whatever time I could to generate one manuscript after another, I gave in to the inevitable, abandoned my day job, and moved away from the chilly Midwest to Florida in order to write full-time and self-publish the kind of stories I like to read. 

How do you make time to write? 

Now that I’m a “full-time” writer, I can structure my writing time to fit my schedule. Outside activities and travel do interfere, but I’m a night owl and don’t need a lot of sleep. I’m often at my desk writing from 10 PM to 1:00 or 2:00 AM. I realize not everyone has that kind of flexibility.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

No, not for me. It’s a real thing that some people do experience, but I always have three or four projects going on simultaneously. If the words don’t flow for the one I’m currently slaving over, I switch to one of the others for a while. I believe that if I just keep writing, the right words will break free.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

Since I’m currently writing four series (The Good Riders, Sunnyside, The Billionaire Brotherhood, and The Billionaire Brides), I’d have to call myself pro-series. I prefer to write books that stand alone in the series but are loosely related by some unifying element like setting, club, friend group or family relationship. The main characters appear in multiple books, but their conflict or story arc don’t necessarily overlap. I consider series the most reliable way for an Indie author to build an audience—the theory being that if readers like Book One of the series, they’ll want to read Book Two and so on. Hopefully, if they happen to stumble on Book Four, they’ll go back and look for the previous ones.

I see you are Indie Published.  Why did you choose this route?

I think it’s safe to say that my daughter chose it for me! Back when I started writing seriously, the Indie route wasn’t a viable option. I tried for years to get a traditional publisher or agent interested in my books through standard queries, conference attendance, and contest entries because those were the only options. I got really, really close several times, before receiving soul-crushing rejections. In 2013 I was a Golden Heart finalist, and my brilliant, tech-savvy, librarian daughter went to the RWA conference with me. Indie publishing was really starting to boom, and after attending a lot of workshops, she encouraged me to go in that direction—with her technical help. I sorted and revised my existing completed manuscripts into series, published MEET YOUR MEET in 2014, and things grew from there.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Now I always have to consider my readership and ways to keep that number growing. I have to determine which characters from the existing series have the most compelling story that needs to be told next. And I have to stick to a schedule, so I write better, sharper, clearer first drafts than I used to. And even when the book is finished, I have to allow time in the schedule for social media, promotion, and even occasional personal appearances. Writing is a business for me now instead of a diversion, but the writing part is still fun.

How do you relax?

Time on a beach with waves lapping the shore, clear, sunny skies, sand in my toes, and a book in my hand is absolutely my happiest, most relaxing place. Luckily, I live close enough to the beach to make that happen as often as necessary.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

I have seven pieces of advice:

  1. Complete a manuscript and then another one. Until you know for sure you can get from the start to the finish, all you have is a hobby. 
  2. Don’t overlook the necessity of learning your craft and polishing your manuscript. 
  3. Whether you’re planning on Indie or Traditional publishing, a competent editor is a must. 
  4. Establish a media presence for your author name BEFORE you have anything to promote. 
  5. Have clear career goals, not just writing goals. 
  6. Join writers’ groups and make friends with other aspiring authors. 
  7. Don’t take rejection too personally.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m everywhere! I love to talk to readers and authors, old friends and new about reading, writing, books, travel, cooking, shopping, you name it! Feel free to reach out to me on your favorite social media platform and sign up for my newsletter on my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bookbub, Goodreads 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Absolutely! Thanks for the opportunity to visit with you and your followers. This excerpt is from my latest release ALWAYS ALLIE, the first book in The Billionaire Brides series.

-Jacie Floyd

As Allie slipped into bed, a familiar form emerged from the shadows. Her hand went to her heart, and a gasp escaped her.

But not from fear.

She propped herself on an elbow. “How did you get in?”

A light twinkled in his eye. “It wasn’t so hard.”

“Why are you here?”

Wearing the same jeans and T-shirt he’d had on earlier, Buck took a step toward her. “Wyatt called. He thought you could use a friend. I told him you’d made it clear you didn’t want to see me tonight, but he said that might have changed.”

And just like that, the tears Allie had been holding back all night filled her eyes and spilled over.

He rushed to her side. “Sweetheart! What’s wrong? Don’t cry. Are you all right?”

With her shoulders shaking, she nodded. “I’m fine.” Wiping her eyes with the corner of the sheet, she shrugged. “I’m sorry. That’s not like me.”

“Don’t be sorry. If you’ve had a bad night, you’re allowed to cry.” He scooted her over and climbed into the bed beside her. “How can I help?”

“I’m shocked to be saying this but having you here has helped.”

“Good.”

She’d had to be strong for Xander, and Mother hadn’t been sympathetic.

But Buck was here to support her, not lean on her. He had no expectations whatsoever about how she should behave, and he’d let her vent in whatever way she needed. All of that was a rarity. She knew they had issues to discuss, but for now she just wanted to breathe him in.

He stacked her pillows behind them and put his arm around her. “Can you give me a clue? Is it Xander? Something with the business? Your mother? Are you sick? I’m not trying to pry, I need to know what kind of support to offer.”

“How many kinds of support are there?”

“There’s the goofy, silly kind where I bring you a Beanie Baby.” He pulled a little green frog wearing a crown out of his pocket. “That often works for Bella.”

“Cute, but I don’t think a frog will do it.”

“There’s the huge soul-crushing disappointment where I buy you a Lamborghini.”

“Thanks, but I don’t need a new car.”

“There’s the small heartbreak or scuffed knee where I offer you a chocolate kiss.” Yep, he dug in his pocket and pulled one of those out too. Taking the candy out of the shiny silver wrapper, he held it to her lips. “There’s emotional distress where something unfixable has happened, and I give you a big hug and sit quietly with you while your head wrestles with wrapping itself around the new normal.” He put his other arm around her and pulled her against his chest. Holding on tight, he rested his chin on her head and rocked her back and forth. “Like this.”

“Ding, ding, ding, ding. That one works.” She listened to the reassuring beat of his heart against her ear, but she wanted more. “If accompanied by a real kiss.”

“Happy to oblige, but what kind? Sweet, sexy, comforting, hot?” He stopped between words to bestow a sample of each one.

With her hands cupping his face, she leaned in. “The kind that makes me forget everything else.”

“My favorite.” Sitting up, he pulled off his shirt and tossed it over the side of the bed. “And for the record, that’s always my goal when I kiss you.”

When he tapped her hip, she lifted up, and her gown followed the way of his shirt. “Not fair. I’m naked, and you still have on jeans and who knows what else.”

“Jeans and nothing else, but hang on, we’ll get there. I’m concentrating on you first. I can see I’ve got my work cut out for me.”

“Take your time. I’ve got all night. My trainer doesn’t get here till six.”

“You won’t need him,” he assured her as his lips teased hers. “You’ll get your workout tonight.”

AuThursday – Janet Walden-West

MeCC3 (1)Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I live in the southeast with a couple of kids, a pack of show dogs, and a confused but supportive husband.

Fun fact—I never considered myself creative enough to be a writer. There’s a professor out there with a chronic eye-twitch thanks to The Great Thesis Crisis of 20-mumble-mumble. I only picked up a pen thanks to a newborn. Who. Would. Not. Sleep. I multi-tasked while also not-sleeping, and caught up on a favorite show. Where the writers killed off my favorite character.

DED, dead.

I’m blaming it on the sleep deprivation because my (very fuzzy) thought process went something like ‘What? WHAT??? Are you kidding me?’ I could come up with a better ending.” 

Yeah, not really. But that drunken moment led to my debut coming out this year. 

How do you make time to write? 

I’m lucky in that I can write anywhere, and in spurts—in the grooming area at shows, medical waiting rooms, sports’ practices, in the parent pick-up line.

 That also means plot breakthroughs scribbled on the back of receipts, and notes on Starbucks sleeves. Everyone in my household has learned to ask if random wrappers and bags are book outlines or safe to go in the recycle bin.

What are your current projects?

I always, accidentally, have multiple projects going at a time. Right now, I’m working on another contemporary romance, and an urban fantasy romance. Watch my website and newsletter for deets.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Is there ever an answer other than yes? 

As a reformed pantser, I don’t hit as many walls as compared to when I first began. When I do stall out, I turn to my Coven crit partners. So named because tossing around ideas and brainstorming with them is magic. Shiny, sparkly, save-my-butt magic.

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

Laughs until tears ruin my latte 

I have enough to wallpaper my house. And car. Maybe do the front and back porches to tie the look together. 

No lie, those first rejections as a baby writer hurt. But they also kinda felt like a badge of honor. I was sending my work out in the world. I was in the game. This is where my writing community was priceless though. It’s always cathartic to vent to people who get it, and are willing to cheer-lead and send Jason Momoa* gifs. 

*Dwayne Johnson gifs also work.

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

My path was more like a labyrinth. 

I had stacked up rejections for SALT+STILETTOS. There were still agent queries out, but let’s just say they’d been out there for… a while. After a heart to heart with Brighton Walsh, my Pitch Wars mentor, I had the option of shelving yet another story, or querying imprints and publishers accepting un-agented work.

Critically, my manuscript had been through several in-depth revisions, and was sound. Emotionally, thanks to an anthology, I’d had a taste of the fun side of writing, and wow, was it tasty. Like, Samoa Girl Scout cookies tasty. I wanted more of that, so January 1st 2019, I queried every publisher I was interested in. It was one and done. Either someone gave my story a chance or I had to move on.

At the same time, I entered the Golden Heart as part of a pact to get my crit partners to enter. I’d sent in a different version of SALT+STILETTOS in 2018 so didn’t hold out any hope, but wanted to see my girls shine. I was just there as a cheering section.

Then I got the call that I had finaled. At Brighton’s urging, I updated my queries with “GH Finalist.” 

Things blew. Up. I got multiple publisher offers. Updated the outstanding agent queries, only to be polite, while I angsted over which publisher to go with.

Then multiple agents asked to be upgraded to fulls or promised to read by the deadline. Many passed, because this is real life. But I ended up scheduling several calls. Ultimately, I signed with the fabulous Eva Scalzo, who seemed to get the story and my career hopes, dumping the publisher offers in her lap five minutes later. 

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

The writing community has its issues, but when it comes through, it comes through big time. 

I was blessed with Brighton Walsh and JC Nelson, both amazing mentors during my Pitch Warsstints. Some wonderful contest judges reached out post-judging to an obvious newb writer, as well as the ladies from The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. I won a random draw during Mentees Helping Mentees before Pitch Wars, and Jen DeLuca’s encouraging notes came just as I was ready to trash this story. Laura Threntham, my TGN mentor, has been invaluable since. 

I’m also lucky enough to have the best ride-or-die crit partners evah—Anne Raven, Gia De Cadenet, and Megan Starks.  

Have you written in collaboration with other writers?

Not yet, but the idea is intriguing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website: https://janetwaldenwest.weebly.com/

Twitter: @JanetWaldenWest

Instagram: janetwaldenwest

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon

The Million Words Blog

BookBub

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

I hope you enjoy Brett and Will’s first meeting in SALT+STILETTOS.

Brett turned to Will and that softness evaporated. He froze while her gaze tracked over him.

When she pulled a phone out—from where in that tight outfit, he had no clue—and her fingers danced over the screen, he breathed again, one thankful wheeze.

Right. “I’ll be in the kitchen. It was nice to meet you, ma’am.” And by nice, he meant terrifying. Like looking at a tiger in the zoo. Gorgeous, but strictly hands-off.

He bobbed his head at the seemingly oblivious woman and scouted a path out.

“Don’t move.” The command snapped out though she didn’t put away the phone.

He shot Richard a look, begging for help.

“Don’t you dare let him leave.” She used some creepy sixth sense in place of vision, flicking away on the phone.

“You could start tomorrow,” his friend said, but rocked back on his heels, gaze on the rafters. Avoiding Will’s silent plea.

“With forty-five days until opening? I think not.” She continued a conversation Will didn’t get.

“Um—”

She closed the screen and her gaze pinned Will in place. “Let’s begin immediately. Either stay silent or state what you have to say. No ums, likes, qualifiers, or upticks at the end that turn statements to questions. None of those engender trust in listeners or viewers. The absolute first thing you must do is establish that you’re an authority.”

Anxiety settled in, turning the sweat on his skin clammy. “Man, what’s—”

“Ahht.” Brett’s sharp noise shut him up. “No questions.”

This was a waking nightmare he couldn’t escape, where he was destined to never get the right answer.

Richard slapped Will’s shoulder. “Breathe. We talked about Brett.”

Betrayal replaced the last of the confusion. He’d trusted Richard. “The makeover thing? You said we’d discuss that. I don’t—”

“Oh, you do.” Brett tapped the phone on her chin, eyeing him again.

Will’s stomach lurched, swirling chimichurri, eggs, and distrust together.

Like she felt it, Brett sighed. “Let me explain. ‘We’ll talk’ is Richard-speak for the topic being a done deal.”

“I never agreed.” Will pulled up to all six and a half feet, which usually intimidated people whether he meant to or not.

Brett just did that eyebrow thing again. “You signed a contract with Richard.”

“Yeah, but only with him.” Will gave up and slumped, hands in his pockets since the attempted intimidation didn’t do anything but make him feel like a bully. 

“Richard’s standard Fleur de Lis Hospitality contract language states that you are committed to any and all modifications necessary to further the FDL line and brand, in a favorable light. The clause was originally my idea.”

“But—”

“FDL has a standing contract with me for my company’s services. Which means you are mine for the next forty-five days. I assume you’re testing at The Coop with Richard since Khalli isn’t completed yet. I’ll meet you there.” She crooked a finger at Will, then slid through the crowd, slick as a shark through a wave, clearly expecting him to follow.

AuThursday – Laura Brown

Laura Brown author photoPlease welcome author Laura Brown to the Clog Blog, I’m so happy she could join us.   Laura, your tagline is “Romances full of heart, heat and hearing loss”, can you tell us more about you and your stories? 

As a Hard of Hearing person I grew up without many role models, and felt I was less deserving of love because of my disability. In my stories, I put characters with hearing loss front and center and give them their happy endings! I love stories with complex characters, where the reader roots for them to find love and other ambitions, and I do my best to create characters worthy of this.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

As a mom with a day job, I feel like I steal time to write wherever I can! On my days off while my son’s at school I write, slow moments at the day job I write, weekends at home. I used to write at night but that time is now reserved for unwinding from the day and watching something with my husband.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Titles. Hands down the titles. I always struggle with them and so many of my titles get changed before publication.

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

From start to finish, it takes me about three months to write a book. I tend to “word vomit” my first drafts, so they roll out quickly, revising often takes much longer.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Definitely. I hit many walls along the way as I write and revise. Sometimes it’s because I haven’t figured out the right direction the scene needs to go. Other times it works out to be that I know where it needs to go, but I’m fighting with myself because it doesn’t feel like the right direction just yet. I’m working on trusting those ideas more.

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

Rejection is part of being a writer. You get rejections from agents, editors, readers, etc. I don’t always have the thickest skin, but I expect to get those rejections. When I was a querying author, I took those agent rejections and turned around and sent out another query. I also find that you can learn things in rejections. My first main character with a hearing loss came from a comment in a rejection letter. For those rejections that sting more than the others, I reach out to my close group of writer friends and they hold my hand through it.

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

I’m on my second agent, and it really is just as exciting the second time around! Different, because the experience was not brand new, but a good different. We get conditioned to the rejections, so when I saw the email I thought it was going to be a pass, but it turned out to be a request to chat. I’m super nervous on the phone, and with my hearing loss I have a caption phone to help me understand, so I scheduled some time when I was home to use my caption phone. Connected with my agent right away and then was on cloud nine when it turned into an offer!

Where do you see publishing going in the future?

Good question. Things are shifting more digital in many ways, but die hard book lovers still love the feel of a paper book. I think we’re going to continue seeing digital and paper mixing together.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Connect with other writers. I wrote in my own bubble for years and it wasn’t until I ventured out and met fellow writers that I truly expanded on my craft. That’s where I learned all those little rules and tips and tricks. And where I gained critique partners to help show me where my writing needed to be stronger, and point out where it already worked! I would be nowhere without my fellow writers.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://www.laurabrownauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LauraBrownAuthor/

https://twitter.com/AuthorLBrown

https://www.instagram.com/a_laurabrown/

https://www.pinterest.com/LauraBrownAuthor/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7829692.Laura_Brown

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Not an excerpt, but I can share my latest blurb:

MatzahBallSurprise_1600Gaby Fineberg just wants to get through Passover Seder without her “well meaning” family playing matchmaker. She needs a date, just for one simple meal—that includes singing, the history of her forefathers, and not one bit of yeast. The hot guy at her gym would be perfect. He probably hates bread, anyway, with a body like that. But when she finally works up the nerve to ask him, he doesn’t hear a word she said…

Levi Miller is Deaf and happily single. He doesn’t know why this beautiful woman is talking to him, but it’s clear she needs help—and suddenly so does he. When his bad-news ex shows up trying to rekindle their romance, pretending Gaby is his new girlfriend is an easy decision. But to return the favor? He has to convince her family they’re the perfect couple, when they can barely communicate without writing every word.

This Passover is starting to feel like the ten plagues might be coming back to haunt them before the weekend is over…one hilarious misstep after the next.

 

Saturday Spotlight – In Mistletoe by Tammy L. Bailey

in mistletoe banner

In Mistletoe 

by Tammy L. Bailey 

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Print Length: 292 pages

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc

Publication Date: December 2, 2016

im - about the bookAt twenty-five, Grace Evans is steadily picking up the pieces of everyone else’s life. So, when her younger sister decides to turn into a runaway bride just four weeks before the wedding, Grace, drops everything to chase after her and bring her back home. Only, when the trail leads to Mistletoe, Washington, she finds herself at the mercy of the town’s most handsome and emotionally unavailable bachelor.

Ex-Army officer, Ayden McCabe, has three creeds in life: never make the first move, never fall in love, and never take anyone to Mistletoe’s Christmas Dance. Wanting nothing more than to keep his matchmaking sister from meddling in his personal life, he agrees to help Grace if she agrees to play his girlfriend. Too brunette and meek for his taste, Ayden believes Grace can’t tempt him enough to break any of his creeds. He could not be more wrong. 

Add to Goodreads

Amazon * Apple * B&N * Google * Kobo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/32491047

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Buy Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mistletoe-Tammy-L-Bailey-ebook/dp/B01M1ON4NN 

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/in-mistletoe/id1164139164

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-mistletoe-tammy-l-bailey/1124805191

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Tammy_L_Bailey_In_Mistletoe?id=yQmLDQAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/in-mistletoe-1

im - about the author

Tammy L. Bailey_316x400A LEO wife, mother, and military veteran, Tammy began writing when the shows and movies she watched didn’t end the way she wanted them to end. Whether it’s historical or contemporary, for her, there must always be a happy ending.

When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her husband and two boys near Cleveland, Ohio. Without their sacrifice and understanding, she believes she would have never been able to pursue her passion of writing or her accomplishment of becoming a published author. 

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Author Links

Website: https://www.tammylbailey.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tammylbaileyauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tammylbailey 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tammylbailey.author

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tammy-l-bailey

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tammy-L.-Bailey/e/B017OFHX6M

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14613472.Tammy_L_Bailey

im- giveaway

$25 Amazon 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/in-mistletoe-book-tour-and-giveaway

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AuThursday – Justin Cancilliere

FB_IMG_1573480310475Please join me in welcoming my fellow North Dakota Author, Justin Cancelliere, whom I met at October’s ND Library Association Meeting.  Justin, Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born and raised in Cleveland, OH. As far back as I can remember I’ve always loved writing and had a passion for the arts. In 2017 I took the plunge and self-published my first book, “The Legendary Creature Project: The Gryphon.” In Feb. of 2019, I decided to create the BisMan Writer’s Guild in an attempt to bring together local writers to uplift them and be helpful to them and their work.unnamed (2)

How do you make time to write?

In between working full time, helping my wife with her business, and podcasting it can be difficult to make time for writing. But I try my best to make at least an hour in the day, it usually ends up being an hour a week but… 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I do, especially when you can’t get behind a story. 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

I write in science fiction, for the most part. But I love science fiction because it delves into the horror that can come from the advances in science and technology.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

As of now, Indie. I love Indie publishing because there are no deadlines except for the ones you set for yourself.

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

Believe it or not I’m kind of a combination, but for the most part introvert. I’m not quite sure how it has affected my work.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I really don’t have one.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Whatever you do, never stop writing. It’s very easy to fall into the mentality of “my writing isn’t going to go anywhere, so why bother.” But I beg to differ, if you’ve reached one person with your writing, then that’s one more person that has read your work.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.justincancilliere.com

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

From “The Legendary Creature Project: The Wyrm”:

It had been a week since he had injected Steven with a new DNA sequence. It wasn’t too soon after that Steven began to develop scales and large, razor-sharp claws which now protruded out of his fingers. His face had also begun to transform, taking on reptilian-like traits. All of his hair, nails, and teeth had fallen off and laid at the bottom of the tank.

 

AuThursday – Cindy Tomamichel

Please welcome Cindy Tomamichel to The Clog Blog.  Cindy, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I live in rural Australia and have lived and traveled around the country. I have been an underground mine geologist and then worked in environmental science involved in cleaning up soil and groundwater. 

How do you make time to write? 

Squeeze it (and the more onerous marketing and social media aspects of being an author) in around a few other jobs and life stuff. I have been known to write a story while making dinner, and sticky notes for random thoughts are my friend!

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Usually, you are stuck for a good reason. Either the story needs more research, you are trying to force it in the wrong direction or something – your subconscious is arcing up about it! Otherwise, you may be feeling tired or burnt out, and need rest or fresh air. Search for the reason and the words should flow once more.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

I write across genres, with short stories in fantasy, sci-fi, and alternate history anthologies. My main novel series is Druid’s Portal, a multi-generational time travel action-adventure romance. I love it because I get to combine historical research with a dollop of fantasy.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

My Druid’s Portal series is published with Soul Mate Publishing, a small traditional publisher. Other works are small indie publishers, and I hope to dive into self-publishing next year. Why? Firstly, I got accepted by the publisher Soul Mate, and I have found them a great team. Indie and self-publishing mainly to try out a new adventure!

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

Introvert – makes it easy to spend time alone reading and researching or writing.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Writers write.

It helps focus when it is often way too easy to get distracted by social media.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read widely to fill your head with ideas – including non-fiction. Generally just start writing- short stories, poems, etc. you need to write a lot of words to get into a rhythm and find your style. Doing NaNoWriMo (write a novel in November) is also a fun way to challenge yourself.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Contact Cindy on

Website: http://www.cindytomamichel.com/ 

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CindyTomamichel 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16194822.Cindy_Tomamichel 

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

Newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/AdventureNews 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/cindy-tomamichel 

Amazon Author page: https://amazon.com/author/cindytomamichel

Youtube: https://tinyurl.com/EscapeTheEveryday

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

An excerpt from Druid’s Portal: The First Journey

DP seriesThe pendant was solid gold, with a stylised oak tree and some symbols and dots she recognised as Ogham, the ancient language of the area. She frowned, turning it over in her hands.

It felt hot, and the heat pulsed through her until she felt dizzy, as if she was standing on the edge of a precipice. She held onto the cabinet as the museum faded around her.

Then she fell into a grey void.

There was a smell of forest earth, long undisturbed, centuries of leaf mould, of the secret growing business of trees. Quiescence. A sense of time. A time long ago, ruled by gods long forgotten. But not far away—distance didn’t register. Somewhere nearby—close to her home and Hadrian’s Wall. Where she had grown up and where the stone and earth were part of her. 

The void split into shadows as the peace was shattered.

Danger. Around her, the grey void echoed with screams of hatred and of death that pounded in her ears. She was in a battlefield, surrounded by the misty shapes of men as they bellowed in agony, and she choked as the smell of blood smothered her. A tall shadow filled her vision. Right in front of her, a shadowy figure raised a sword, and she cried out and fell to her knees. 

Death and danger.

And love.

The grey void vanished, and Janet opened her eyes. She shook her head. It had been the impression of a moment, but death, danger, and love seemed intertwined in a way she could neither explain nor fathom. 

To read more, this is a link to the preview: https://goo.gl/ydf8qK