AuThursday – Tessa McFionn

Tessa BannerTessa McFionn author picTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I would be delighted. So, I have lived in California for the whole of my life, but oddly enough, you’d never know by looking at me since I have no tan and inherited the East Coast attitude from both my parents. I’m a huge nerd, and very proud of the fact. I’ve collected comic books since I was in elementary school, I had a Star Trek bridge play set growing up instead of Barbie, and my idea of a perfect date night is the latest Marvel flick and pizza. Like most authors, I started writing when I was in junior high, but never took it seriously. I took Creative Writing classes in college, got my teaching credential and even taught English for a brief period before I decided to really give my own words their due. I still collect comic books. In fact, as I write this, I’m preparing to attend a comic book convention over the weekend.

How do you make time to write?

Ugh. I carve it out of every day with both hands, since I do have a rather full-time, full-time job as a teacher, that only leaves me weekends and vacations to dive into my WIPs. But I make sure that I make the most of the scant time I do get. Sometimes much to the chagrin of my hubby.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block?

There are times when my muse seems to be more interested in surfing for porn on the internet. (In my mind, I see my muse as a drunken frat boy. Don’t ask.) But honestly, I think because my writing time is so precious when ideas don’t flow, it can be almost debilitating. Generally, I just open another WIP and that usually helps to kick things back into gear.

Give us an insight into your main character, Kahlym cal Jhuen, in “To Discover a Divine. “What does he do that is so special?

Ah, my beautiful misfit. When I first imagined my sci-fi hero, I wanted him to be fierce and strong, yet have a vulnerable side. In the early phase of world-building, I saw him with not just mismatched eyes, but each eye having two colors. This trait made him an outcast from everyone, but through the love and guidance of his brothers, he became the hero Evainne meets. He has telepathy, but for me, it’s his heart and his courage to rise above that makes him special.

How do you select the names of your characters?

Oh, gods. The names. Especially in sci-fi, it’s all about the names. I wanted them to be unique, but still pronounceable. For me, I think of sounds and the feelings and pictures that come to my mind when I hear them. So, I play with variant spellings, like k or an x instead of ch and such, and voila! A new name is born. It’s one of the parts I truly love to do.

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

Honestly, on this part, I think I have a bit of a leg up. I’ve never been very good at being a girl. Remember the whole comic book thing? Yeah, well, I also played D&D, street football, and fenced competitively in college. Also, I spent a lot of time with my brother and his friends until I graduated from high school. So, because of spending lots of time hanging out with boys and listening to their conversations, I found it easy to slip into the minds of my boys. But there are times when I run some things past my current guy friends, and even sometimes my hubby.

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

I am a huge extrovert. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of being shy my entire life. By being more outgoing, I tend to talk to more people and get some amazing ideas, and personality quirks, for new characters. I do love talking to people, and watching people, too. It’s great fun to eavesdrop on Joe Q. Public in open spaces. Tons of great material.

How do you relax?

LOL! Actually, writing is my relaxation. Aside from that, I love watching movies. But for ultimate unplug time, I go to Disneyland. I know, I know. For most people, that would be stress central. Not for me. I have an Annual Passport and go at least once a month. It’s my way to escape the world and be a kid again.

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

I did get them, and it’s so odd. I knew they would be coming. I promised myself I would be strong when they came. And after the first, I nearly folded. So much for being tough. But I put on my big kid pants and kept going. I reminded myself that rejection is a part of persevering and nothing good comes without work.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Never quit. If you have a story to tell, there is someone out there who wants to read it. Trust your muse, and don’t fight the plot.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

If you go to my website, www.tessamcfionn.com, there are links to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, I have a monthly newsletter. Sign-ups for that are also on my website.

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

“I do. Thank you so much for chatting with me.” ~Tessa McFionn

DivineThe dunk into the pool was just what the doctor ordered, the temperature somehow perfect. Evainne hoped it would be cold enough to jolt her brain into some emotional state aside from pissed off, but she didn’t relish the idea of a long swim in the arctic. The thing seemed almost intuitive, the water warming after one lap.

Why was she so angry? It wasn’t as if she’d never been rejected before. She should be used to that, but she wanted so much to believe he was not like the asshats back home. Guess it’s a male thing, no matter what planet you’re on.

So lost in her own head, she didn’t realize he was in the water until she heard him call her name. His voice brushed against her bare back, the single word trailing like fingertips along her skin. She closed her eyes, seeking strength in the darkness behind her lids.

“I don’t know if I’m not mad at you anymore.” She swallowed hard, listening carefully as he stepped closer, the wake of his approach lapping gently at the tops of her thighs.

“I do not wish you to be angered, but you must understand—”

That did it. She spun around to meet his apologetic stare, an unspoken sadness casting shadows in his tourmaline eyes.

“No, Kahlym. I don’t have to understand anything. I have no friggin’ clue about of the rules here. I was never one to stand on ceremony on my own damn home planet and I’m not about to start now. I was an outcast, tossed out and alone, and I had to make my way without a whole lot of help. Hell, even the crazy homeless had people willing to step up and say, ‘Yeah, that’s my family.’ All I trust is what I see from people’s actions and what my gut tells me. And I just don’t get you sometimes. One moment, you’re all hot and bothered and the next, you shove me away, spouting all about how you’re not worthy. I’m not some kind of princess or anything special, no matter what you might think. I just want…” She paused to take a breath and sort out her thoughts as they rocketed through her head.

That was when she realized he was naked.

 

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Writer Wednesday – Writing tools I use

So I’ve prepped a bit for Camp NaNo and getting The Alchemists of Archangel completed.

Some authors Love Scrivener and there are some wonderful features, that can be very helpful when developing characters, plot lines, timelines for series, etc.  I actually debated purchasing it, but have opted to use Google Keep in conjunction with Google Docs and Word.

I find myself looking back at tools I’ve used in the past.    Here are some tools I use during my rough draft phase:

  1. Cherry Adair’s – Plotting with Post its.   I admit I loved this when I learned it, but I still found it daunting.  The Pantser in me fought it, hard.  I still use a form of it today in Google Keep.
  2. My friend Arden uses an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of Character Profiles and Plot devices, Chapters, etc.   It is daunting.  And I admit I never mastered it the way she did.   Bob Mayer uses an Excel Method as well.
  3. Google Keep – So this is where I use a bit of Cherry’s technique and start mixing in my own blend of stuff (research, worldbuilding, character profiles, setting, and plot)
  4. Source Sheet – I keep a word doc of where I find all my research for the novel.  I also include worldbuilding notes in here.  My outline may not survive the process but this almost always does.  I usually turn in a copy with my manuscript when I begin the editing process, to help the copy editors.
  5. Sex in Romance Website – I don’t use this as much as I used to but it is still a great place when you want variety in your manuscript during a love scene.
  6.  Word Counter – I got this idea from Allie Pleiter’s Chunky Writing Method.   She has some freebie’s on her website for this.  Basically, you are counting words whenever you work on your ms.   I made some modifications to mine. 🙂
  7. Pinterest – Before Google Keep I would create character profiles for my stories.  I actually found looking at pictures beneficial to driving my description of clothes and setting.  Once my book is published, I’ll make the pages private.  The Courtesan of Constantinople is the first book I did this with so Y’all will have to wait. 🙂
  8. Pandora – I love listening to music without words when I’m writing.  Usually, I pick a channel based on the mood of the scene.   I’m sure part of this has to due with the fact that I learned to type to music in school.   Nothing like typing words to the William Tell Overture.

And I haven’t even started on the Reference Books I use regularly…

Writer Wednesday – A few of my favorite things

A lot of writers get asked what kind of tools they use when writing and editing.  Here are a few of mine:

Books

The Romance Writer’s Phrase book by Jean Kent and Candice Shelton – It’s a handy little phrase book, used for tag lines, body language, etc.

A more updated version would be The Emotional Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.   I use these books when I’m in the layer process of my book.   I used to use them during the rough draft, but found I got too bogged down with particulars rather than just writing the damn book.

The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer – I have an old copy of this, but found it useful for understanding aspects of the business like Sell-thrus and royalties.   I believe he has an updated version.

And of course I have a Thesaurus, Dictionary and Two Style Guides.

Online Tools

Pinterest – I use Pinterest to store a lot of my pictures for characters, setting, clothes, etc.   Of course you can totally get lost on there.

First Draught – I have to give a shout-out to these ladies, because they cover a range of topics and they talk about everything from craft to publishing.  I love their Vlog!

Jenna Moreci – Jenna is a YA Indie Writer and she has this Vlog where her topics are humorous and based on her writing experience.   I highly recommend this if you are exploring Self-publishing or are a YA writer.

Google Keep  – I sort of stumbled across this recently and use it in place of Scrivener.    I make up all these little notes on characters, settings and scenes I need to write and then I can have it on the side of my Google Doc.   I’m sort of envious of Scrivener, but the feature I was really wanting was to replace my post-it plotting system that I learned from Cherry Adair.

Last week I covered the importance of finding your tribe, and of course my tribes are some of my favorite things.

~Tina

 

 

 

AuThursday – JC Hannigan

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am a twenty-eight year old mother and wife of two boys. We have a black lab and live in Southern Ontario. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to write books. I would write books, on lined paper with crayon coloured “covers”.

I see you’ve written a lot of series, including COLLIDE, DAMAGED and REBEL. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I love reading series, following as characters grow and change. For the Collide series, I wasn’t quite done with Harlow Jones after the first book…or the second book. So I wrote a third, and I feel like that story is definitely one that couldn’t be condensed and told the same way. I encountered the same problem with the Damaged Series; I knew that Everly and Grayson’s story couldn’t be condensed to just one book.

But for the Rebel Series, I did try something different…while it is a series, each book can be read as a standalone as each book focuses on one of the three Miller siblings; Brock, Becky, and Braden. The first book–Rebel Soul, is Brock and Tessa’s story. Rebel Heart is Braden and Elle’s story, and Rebel Song is Travis and Becky’s story. I had a blast writing this series, and I think I’ll do more in the future because it appeals to both series lovers and those who prefer standalones.

What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

A LOT, I owe them a lot! Everyone around me has influenced or inspired aspects and personality traits in my characters. For example, Bill Armstrong (from the Rebel Series) is a lot like my father–traditional, productive, stubborn, hard-working, a man of few words. Everly Daniels (the Damaged Series) has my naive nature and wears her heart on her sleeve.

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

Nailing their emotional response to things! I always have to hit up my husband for advice with my male characters.

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

I have tried the hybrid publishing house method, and that didn’t end well. The publishing company went under, and that kind of stress and uncertainty didn’t jive well with me, so I really like the control I have with independant publishing. But I can only really speak from my experiences thus far. I’m not against traditional publishing, or closed off to the idea, and who knows what the future will bring.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

I’m not really good at letting things stew, so I edit right away. But I usually do several cycles of editing, revising, and tweaking before sending it to the editor and beta team. In between those edits and revisions, I work on other projects.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

MUSIC! I need music!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes, writer’s block is definitely a thing. I like to refer to it as “word constipation”.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just keep writing 🙂

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Author Website – http://jchannigan.com
Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/2bvioNg
Twitter – http://twitter.com/jcahannigan
Facebook – http://facebook.com/jcahannigan
Google Plus – http://tinyurl.com/qaqex3f
Instagram – http://instagram.com/jcahannigan
Personal blog – http://sarcastica.ca
FANnigans – https://www.facebook.com/groups/FANnigans/
Do you have a sexy teaser you’d like to share with us?

Sure do! This is a teaser from my new release, REBEL SONG. Available in KU September 18th!

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Join me next Thursday when Izzy Syn joins us.  ~Tina

AuThursday- Nona Raines

Please welcome my fellow NGWN (Nice Girls Writing Naughty) Nona Raines to the Clog Blog.  

Hi, Tina. Thanks for having me today.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a former librarian who still loves books and reading. Visiting libraries is one of my favorite things to do! I’ve been writing for many years, but for the longest time found it difficult to finish anything, I think that came from a lack of self-confidence and fear of putting my work “out there.” When I finally decided I must get serious, I joined a nearby RWA chapter (Central New York RWA for the win!) and finally finished a book. It was ONE GOOD MAN, my first published romance.

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

No, I haven’t, but a writer friend and I toy with the idea. She used to be a truck driver and knows all about the business. I told her it would be cool for us to write a romance–or maybe a whole series–feature women truckers!

I see you’ve written series including, NOT THE HOT CHICK, THE MAN SERIES, and THE SPECTRUM SERIES.   What do you like about writing Series for your readers?

Sometimes I think I write my series more for myself than for my readers. J I tend to love in love with my characters and want to continue their stories. Sometimes a supporting character calls out to me demanding his or her own story be told, LOL, and I just can’t resist. I hope my readers like my characters, too, and enjoy going along for the ride.

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

It’s a challenge for me to “think like a man” and convey that through dialogue. I want my heroes to be masculine without being overly macho or sounding like they’re women in men’s bodies.

How many hours a day do you write?

I try to write three to four hours a day. I’m a slow writer, so, unfortunately, that doesn’t produce as many pages as I wish it did.

What is your writer Kryptonite?

Mine is getting going in the morning when I’m at my best and not let little things distract me to let me fritter away the day.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe it exists for some people, but I’ve been lucky (knock on wood) that it hasn’t affected me yet. Some days are harder than others and feel like I’m squeezing blood from a stone, but so far I haven’t experienced anything that might be a block.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing! And keep learning. Read blogs by other writers, take classes (online or otherwise), read books on craft, and if you can, join a writer’s group. My local RWA chapter was invaluable to me.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Thanks for asking! They can find me here:

My website: http://www.nonaraines.com/

Author Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/nonaraines.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nonaraines

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5137998.Nona_Raines

Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/nonaraines

My group blog–The Nice Girls Writing Naughty blog: http://nicegirlswritingnaughty.wordpress.com/

A multi-author FB group of which I am a member: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NGWNreaders/

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Nona’s story “Not the Hot chick” ~Tina

 

Teaching at Writer Zen Garden

wzgI’m teaching my FEARS workshop this weekend at Writer Zen Garden if anyone is interested. Classes are free to members. Membership is free.

http://writerzengarden.com/forums/

Feel free to share with any writer friends.

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