AuThursday- Samantha Anne

Please welcome Contemporary Romance Author Samantha Anne to the Clog Blog!

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve been a writer and a dreamer for as long as I can remember. I grew up in The Bronx NY, raised in the heart of New York City. I’ve seen some of the best of the boroughs, and I’ve also seen some of the worst. All of it plays a big role in what makes me who I am, and is part of the reason why I feel I inject a ton of escapism into my writing. Currently living in Texas, I’m still writing within the romance genre – working on my 3rd novel, fine-tuning my screenwriting skills, and considering additional creative pursuits that are near and dear to my heart. I’m a creative when all is said and done after all, so I’m always looking to broaden my horizon and make new things.

How do you make time to write?
I set blocks of time to write, prioritizing it as if I have a part time job, and protect it fiercely. It’s important to treat that time like anyone would a traditional job, and not let family or friends monopolize that time because they might not understand what it is to devote time to a sort of job that doesn’t involve punching a time clock.

Do you believe in writer’s block?
I do – it happens! It’s important, in my mind, to acknowledge that the noise in our brain exists; this makes it easier to combat, so that you can better re-center yourself, pull yourself back to the present task, and ultimately shut that block down. My favorite article about writer’s block is by Gail Godwin, titled “The Watcher at the Gate”. The Watcher, Gail expressed, is your inner critic, the jerk who criticizes your every move as you begin to transfer your ideas from brain to paper. She also tells us how important it is to silence that guy, and how to get over the hump. Check out the article here: https://www.csun.edu/~hceng006/watcher.html

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
My last few books have falle under the Contemporary Romance genre, I do love romance novels and what they’ve evolved into, and I’m happy and proud to be a part of that. They are more real and representative of the average female, even while our writers continue to create characters that are stronger and more empowered. And I am saying that while catching up on romance series involving  Sci-Fi and Dragons! It’s so amazing to be a part of a world where love and life exists everywhere, from the every day to the most fantastical of situations. And today’s She-Ros (She-Heroes *smile*) are ass-kicking, whiskey drinking, outspoken femme fatales who are just as worthy of being celebrated as the gorgeous male characters we write that sweep them off their feet!

How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I’m excited to submit this manuscript to Crimson Romance, now an imprint of Simon & Schuster, as I have my last two books. I’ve loved working with their team, and I can say honestly that they’ve pushed me hard to draw the best out of all my work.

Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert? How does this affect your writing?
I’m absolutely an introvert, but with a little extrovert peppered in. It’s probably more easily explained if there’s wine or beer involved (smile). It probably has affected my writing in that I, like any writer, is limited to my experiences when it comes to truly authentic writing, if that makes sense. I don’t believe that my ability to create dialogue has suffered, because I have tons of friends with whom I do a lot of talking (or texting!), but what may suffer is my grasp of how people are in general, outside of my circle. There are certainly traits and behaviors among people that you don’t get to see by watching movies, news reports, or documentaries.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I have three! They keep me feeling good, and they keep me trying at everything I do:
“Be who you are, and say what you feel – because those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter!” – Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss
“Art must be seen. Art must be heard. You must show someone your shit.” – Taylor Dane, Recording Artist
“Live a why not life, man. Cuz we’re all going to die screaming. …take the shot. The shot is always worth taking.” – Kevin Smith
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
First and foremost, don’t ask yourself why – ask ‘Why not?’ (see the quote above?). Then write. And don’t stop writing. In between? Read. See thing. Travel, even if it’s a couple of miles away. Stare at things, let your mind wander; talk to people, watch people. Fill your brain with ideas to let out onto paper, protect your craft, support your peers – and if Kevin Smith hasn’t said it enough, always the take goddamn shot.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Several places! I’m on Facebook, of course (www.facebook.com/author.samantha.anne) and my website is pretty simple to remember (www.samantha-anne.net). Make sure to also find me on Wattpad (www.wattpad.com/samiannert), Twitter (@SamiAnneRT), and Instagram (@thatrtchik) – and always say hi! 🙂
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Check out the 1st Chapter of my first published romance novel, Kirby, at the following link: https://www.wattpad.com/59217547-kirby-the-1st-chapter and be sure to leave a comment so I know you stopped by!

Thanks for the time Samantha! ~Tina

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AuThursday – Tina Holland (me)

BirthdayI figured since today was my birthday and I’d already have comments on FB and Twitter (at least I hope I do), it might best serve to hog the spotlight, so next week another author can have the limelight to themselves.  🙂   I’ve sent an FB interview out  a few weeks ago, so the format below will feel very familiar. 

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born on October 26th (today) in Frankfurt, Germany.  We moved to North Dakota when I was seven, and I have lived here ever since.   I married my high school sweetheart and we currently live on a hobby farm with two horses, two dogs, a cat, a catfish and a parrot.

How do you make time to write?

I have a full-time job, so I tend to write in the evenings or on the weekends.  I’ve written before work and on my lunch hour too when I’m trying to finish a project.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block?

I do.   Not in the sense of I’m just not feeling it, but in the sense that a life-event can interrupt your flow on a project.   I believe stress creates true writer’s block.  Writing yourself into  a corner or reigniting passion for a project can be fixed.

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

I write in both contemporary and SFFP (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal) subgenres of romance.  I love writing contemporary, because it makes for a quick write, as it doesn’t require the level of world building that SFFP does.   SFFP is fun to write because I love exploring legends, myths, and fairy tales, putting your own twist in for readers is wonderful.   They say you should write what you read.  I love historicals, but have not tackled them because I’m so intimidated by the history aspect.   When I discovered Steampunk, which usually requires changing history and including fantasy elements I knew I discovered a niche that I’d love.

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

I just finished a Steampunk Novel, titled The Courtesan of Constantinople and am currently seeking representation for the traditional publishing market.   I’ve been digitally published in the past with both Liquid Silver Books and Resplendence Publishing, but am looking for a different (and hopefully expanded) market for my current story.

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

I’m an Extrovert.  I learned recently that how you get your energy is what determines whether you’re an Introvert or an Extrovert.  I get mine from people.   It makes it very easy to write in noisy (like coffee houses) environments.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? swimming

“Just keep swimming.” ~Dory from Finding Nemo.   It’s simplistic but when I don’t feel like writing, it puts my butt in chair.   I have a goal to write 200 words a day, knowing if I write 200, I’m just as likely to write 500 or more.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

No one cares more about you and your story than you do.   I think knowing yourself and what you want out of writing is the most important thing you can do for your story.

Creating a work of fiction is a tremendous success and what you want when you in type “The End” is just as important as publishing (if that’s what you want).    I would recommend each writer get to know themselves and figure out their own path, which might be similar to other writers or completely different.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.tinaholland.com

https://www.facebook.com/

https://twitter.com/haveubeenaughty

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3122975.Tina_Holland

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003OLKLA6

I hope you enjoyed this insight into my writing life.  Next week we’ll get back on track meeting other writers. 🙂  Until then be Naughty. ~Tina

 

 

AuThursday – Karen Docter

Please welcome author Karen Docter to the Clog Blog!

Thanks so much for allowing me to visit your blog. It’s always fun to talk to readers!

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I fell in love with stories when I was really young. My mother would take my sisters and I to the public library every Saturday. We’d load up on the maximum number of books we could check out and we’d start reading them the moment we got back to the car. We couldn’t wait to get home. I was out of reading material by mid-week but I’d just reread my favorite ones until we could trade them out. I went through the entire children’s section by the time I was nine.

I loved our librarians because they knew me and were able to transition me to the adult section. I read way beyond my years. I moved into SciFi (loved all of the greats, Heinlein, Asimov, etc.), Suspense (grew up on my mother’s Perry Mason and Ellory Queen stories from her Writer’s Digest Books) and Romance (ala Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer) I read everything those two ladies wrote (which was A LOT) and I got hooked on romance. SciFi and Suspense are also my “go to” reads, although I’ve since started picking up just about any romance across the sub-genres now.

I have a Technical Journalism degree and taught English Composition at a community college, but never really wrote for anyone but myself and English classes until I decided to write my first romance novel <mumble> years ago. J I have so many romance stories in my TBW, “To Be Written” pile I’ll have to live forever to finish them all.

How do you make time to write?

This has been a challenge in the past couple of years. I have been battling a number of health issues and my writing efforts were not productive. Last month, I climbed back in the saddle and am finally writing again. Marketing and social media cuts into my writing time so I seldom get to my writing until noon. But lately, I’ve been forcing myself into some new habits to get writing into my schedule.

I started a JUST WRITE session from noon to 4:00 every weekday with other writers on Facebook. Turns out I’m not the only one that is finding it a challenge to make writing time! J My Just Write sessions have grown a bit. We check in at noon and JUST WRITE for one-hour stretches. At the top of the hour, we check in with our progress (not word count generated, just progress – word counts make me crazy) and I encourage everyone to get up and stretch and take care of bodies. Too many of us don’t take proper care of ourselves and that is why so many of us experience health issues. Anyway, I run the JUST WRITE sessions until 4:00 when we sign off. I am creating another habit to go to the gym pool for a couple of hours weekdays.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes, and no. I used to have problems with what people call a traditional writer’s block before I learned how to use the “W” plotting technique. I’m a pantser (writing by the seat of my pants) at heart. But I’d get sidetracked and then lock up because I didn’t know how to proceed.

It took me a while to find a plotting technique that allowed my pantser self to create without shutting down my need for direction. I wrote my first three books as a pure pantser, and then had to spend years trying to revise my babies into something I could sell to a publisher. It was miserable. When I learned the “W”, it allowed me the structure I needed without compromising my creativity. Now, I seldom experience true writer’s block.

That said, I do run into times when I can’t write because of health reasons. I may want to create, but when I’m in severe pain I can’t. I also discovered I wasn’t getting enough oxygen (took doctors forever to figure this one out) which meant my brain wasn’t getting what it needed to climb out of the fog. I’m on the upswing and my brain is clear so I’m crossing my fingers that blockages because of health are a thing of the past.

I highly recommend finding ways to take care of you. It’s hard to be creative when your mind or body is stressed. If your writer’s block is caused by this don’t beat yourself up. That just adds to your stress. Take the time you need to decompress. Go outside. Do something fun. Get completely away from your writing. When you get back to the writing, it’s highly likely you’ll know what’s blocking you. That’s the way it works for me.

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

I actually write two genres, contemporary romance as Karen Docter and romantic suspense as K.L. Docter. For years, I was focused on getting published at Harlequin/Silhouette. Because of my love for suspense, though, I was finding it challenging to rip the suspense elements out of my contemporary stories. The publisher lines I was aiming for didn’t allow for that element.

I was struggling to rip apart one particular story and ranting about it to one of my CPs (critique partners) about how difficult it was, and she told me to write it as a romantic suspense. I told her, “But I don’t write suspense.” She told me, “Karen, you already do. Just let it go.” I let go and K.L. Docter was born. It became much easier to write contemporary romance because I was able to switch personas and pour all of my suspense leanings into those books instead.

Interestingly enough, I started a contemporary romance series called True Love in Uniform that you would think would be filled with suspense but I’m able to focus the stories on the cops outside of their jobs. There is a bit of cop shop because let’s face it, police officers are cops 24/7 but it’s not the focus on the stories. I can go hog wild with my serial killers and woman-in-jeopardy stories as K.L. though so my muse is happy.

…and, related back to your question about writer’s block? I no longer face blockages that stop me cold because if a cop book isn’t working for me, I just turn my thoughts over to the suspense book. Something is always working now. The other benefit to splitting my personality! J

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

I’ve gone completely Indie. Before my health issues reared their ugly heads, there wasn’t really anything that had the same distribution model as the traditional publishers. When I came back to my writing, though, Amazon was breaking loose and I could finally see a way for me to publish myself. I was tired of trying to break into the few spots the traditional publishers had available—I had several senior editors who liked my work but I could never get the right book on the right desk at the right time—and I decided that I had the background to do what I needed to do, as long as I was willing to work hard.

It was a no-brainer for me. I was in the business world for over 30 years and could run a business. Why not? I published a book I had at a traditional publisher for two years, through four senior editors, and never looked back. I had a few hits and misses as I got started but, once I identified my strengths and weaknesses, I hired professionals to do the stuff I couldn’t and did the rest myself. I have two professional cover artist (one for each genre) and a formatter (I’d rather have a baby than format my own books J ) and I do the rest. Someday, I’d love to hire a PA who can take a lot of the marketing off my desk because I’m spending half my day doing that when I want to be writing. Someday!

I can’t imagine ever selling to a publisher now. I like having control over my own work and hate deadlines. J

Are you an Introvert or Extravert?  How does this affect your work?  I’m kind of an introvert, although many who know me on Facebook would call me an extrovert. Like all social media, I can be a lot more open hiding behind my pages. I grew up an introvert, hands down. It took getting married to change that. My husband’s entire family is giving and gregarious and open. They taught me to be myself and not apologize for who I am. It was amazingly freeing. Because of them, I transferred my ability to manage businesses into runningan RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter for over 20 years. I donned a lot of hats, both on the board and as chair. The demands of the positions forced me to get more “out there” in the industry. I’m still not comfortable going into a new situation or talking to a crowd of people, but I can usually hold my own now.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play”~ Arnold Toynbee

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Karen – This is a hard one. I’ve given a LOT of advice to aspiring writers over the years. I even taught hundreds of writers how to plot using the “W” plotting technique. But the truth is there’s so much to learn, I can’t give you specifics in this space. However, let me try to talk generalities.

  1. Learn your craft. Join writers’ groups and take online classes. Build your knowledge base. Research. Do whatever it takes to learn your craft, including industry and marketing.
  2. Write the best story you can. I know it’s easy to say something is “good enough” but for whom? Ultimately, to me, that means my readers. I believe readers stick around for the authors who give them the stories they want to read again and again. I don’t think “good enough” is good for the long haul. Of course, that’s just me. I can’t publish a book I’m not behind 100%.
  3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. I don’t think any of us ever stop learning. Or we shouldn’t stop learning, no matter where we are in our career. The market is always changing. Readers change. You change. Stay up to date on the industry and beef up your strengths.

If you don’t know something or are weak in some area, either learn how to do it or pay professionals to do it for you. I don’t have the expertise to do my own graphics. I don’t want to learn. I’d much rather just write my stories. I’m stretched far enough as it is. So, I will always have a professional do my covers. Covers don’t have to cost a fortune to be professional. It’s one of the costs I’m willing to pay for my career because covers sell my books. Formatting makes me crazy. Friends keep telling me, “It’s easy.” Yeah, right. Did I mention I’d rather have a baby than format? J Getting a professional is soooo much less expensive and I can again turn that time to my writing. I can market and play the social media game but someday (hopefully sooner rather than later) I’ll hire someone to do that for me, too. I want to write full time.

  1. Always believe in yourself. The sad truth is that writing is a solitary career and you have to be your own cheerleader, first and foremost. Don’t let the naysayers control your dreams. If you want to write the book, you’ll write it…as long as you believe in yourself.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t surround yourself with like-minded authors and readers, filling your life with more cheerleaders. The more, the merrier! They’ll be there when you start to question yourself…and you will. Take my word for it. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wanted to throw up my hands, wondering why I’m beating my head against one wall or another. My support base is always there to help me over the rough patch. You need this support for those times when it’s difficult to believe in yourself.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website/Blog: http://www.karendocter.com

Twitter: @KarenDocter

Karen Docter FB: https://www.facebook.com/karen.docter

K.L. Docter FB: https://www.facebook.com/kldocter/

Book Bench for Romance Lovers (FB Group): https://www.facebook.com/kldocter/?ref=bookmarks

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/bsswDd

Karen’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Docter/e/B008TST8TY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1506370391&sr=8-1

K.L.’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/K.L.-Docter/e/B00JV92NFQ/ref=la_B008TST8TY_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1506370395&sr=1-1

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Karen’s book, Cop on her doorstep.~Tina

 

AuThursday – Jennifer Field

IMG_1294 (002)Tell is a little about yourself and your background?

Little about myself.. Hmmmm, well my name is Jennifer Field, I’m an only child raised by a strong single mom in the 70’s (go ahead do the math). When I was in school I had trouble reading and spelling and I’m sure if I had grown up today I’d be labeled as having some sort of dyslexia. But lucky for me I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s (I still can’t spell to save my life), but I can write one heck of a story.

I’ve always written, sometimes it was short stories, sometime poetry but always just for me. Then a few years ago I had read 100+ books in 1year and at some point said, “I think I can do that.”. But seriously how many people say they are going to write a book someday. So… I had this bizarre dream, thought it would make a great story, so I started writing. It morphed and changed into my first novel Twice Lost which came out in 2014.

How do you make time to write?

This is always hard but what I have found that carrying a journal ( or two or three ) with me at all times gives me time to write whenever and wherever I am. Now finding time to type it all out… that’s an entirely different question. It seems to me the more authors I get to know the more I seem to realize we all seem to have this “late night” writing thing going on.

Do you believe in writers block?

Oh you bet and it can happen at any time. You think your just whizzing along with a story then BAM, none of your characters want to speak to you. I usually have a couple of story lines going on (hence the 2 or 3 journals I carry around) and I have found that if I start to write something else, they come back.

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

I mainly write Paranormal Romance but I have also dabbled in Sci-fi, contemporary romance and straight up erotica.

But my favorite is always going to be Paranormal because I can make a world that before I put it down in writing never existed. I pull from a variety of mythology when writing and I always have some hidden gems in ALL my stories. For instance in the Harbinger Series if a character has a last name it will give the reader insight into who they are, Jenna Thanatos in Twice Lost… Thanatos is Greek for death.

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

Currently I am under contract with Forever Red Publishing for the Harbinger Series. They are a small publishing company and really … because they gave me a chance.

Are you and introvert or extravert? How does this affect your work?

Both I guess. I think I’m an introvert until you get to know me then I’m an extravert. As an introvert it makes me the worst self-marketer ever.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. ~Judy Garland

Just be the best you.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing, even when you think everything you’ve typed is complete crap. We all read our own writing and think… “WOW, this is pure genius.” And five minutes later while reading the same thing we think “Who wrote this crap, oh right… I did.”

Oh… and BACK UP YOUR WRITING. Twice Lost got its name because of 2 separate and total hard drive failures. So now every few chapters not only do I back up to the cloud but I email them to myself… just in case.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website is www.JenniferField-Author.com  (sadly it is in desperate need of an update like yesterday)

You can also follow me on Twitter @sexyharbinger

And on FB Jennifer Field Author  https://m.facebook.com//JfieldHarbingerSeries

Instagram: Jennifer_field_author

Join me Saturday when we read an excerpt from Jennifer’s First Book in her Harbinger Series. ~Tina

AuThursday -Ann Everett

ann-everett-photo-and-coversPlease welcome Ann Everett to the Clog Blog.  Ann, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up—until I started writing. I’m a native Texan, having grown up in a small, small, really small town, population 406. I’ve been married to the same man since dirt. I love shopping at thrift stores. I don’t remember my first kiss. I hate talking on the phone. A really sharp pencil makes me happy, and I’m glad wrinkles aren’t painful.

What genre are your books?

I write contemporary romance, new adult romance, and I have a trilogy of light mystery, steamy sex, and plenty of humor which makes it hard to put in a category.

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

No, but I’m always on the lookout for other authors who might want to do a joint box set of books.

I see you’ve dipped into the Indie publishing world.  What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

The disadvantage of indie publishing is you have to do everything yourself…find an editor, formatter, book designer, etc. When I was with a small press, they did all that for me. The advantage is control. I get to look at my sales every day and have the final say in all aspects. I’m somewhat of a control freak, so self-publishing is perfect for me.

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

I do both. After having every chapter critiqued by other writers, I usually do 2-3 rounds of editing on my own, then have an editor go over it. After that, I have a team of beta readers who give it a once over. I think it’s important to have “readers” in place of writers go over the book before I publish. They pick up on things no one else does!

Who designs your covers?

I’ve used several. Octagon Lab did all the covers for my trilogy. For my romance books, I’ve used Pink Ink Designs, Gemma James, Upchurch Design Studios, and for my non-fiction, I used vendors from Fiverr.com.

What are you working on at the minute?

I just finished my seventh novel. It’s a new adult romance and hopefully, will be published in December. The tagline reads: A girl hiding from her future~~A man running from his past

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Join a critique group, either online or locally. I belong to both and the help I get is priceless. Just be sure and find one with members who will be brutally honest. If the members aren’t finding things wrong with your work, then they aren’t helping.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

http://www.anneverett.com

Join me on Saturday when we read an unedited sneak peek from Ann’s soon-to-be-released new adult romance, CHIRP. ~Tina

Saturday Excerpts by Nicole Evelina

Daughter of Destiny eBook Cover LargeFrom Daughter of Destiny

Prologue

 

I am Guinevere.

I was once a queen, a lover, a wife, a mother, a priestess, and a friend. But all those roles are lost to me now; to history, I am simply a seductress, a misbegotten woman set astray by the evils of lust.

This is the image painted of me by subsequent generations, a story retold thousands of times. Yet, not one of those stories is correct. They were not there; they did not see through my eyes or feel my pain. My laughter was lost to them in the pages of history.

I made the mistake of allowing the bards to write my song. Events become muddled as ink touches paper, and truth becomes malleable as wax under a flame. Good men are relegated to the pages of inequity, without even an honest epitaph to mark their graves.

Arthur and I were human, no more, no less, though people choose to see it differently. We loved, we argued, we struggled, all in the name of a dream, a dream never to be fulfilled. Camelot is what fed the fires that stirred us to do as we did. History calls it sin, but we simply called it life.

The complexity of living has a way of shielding one’s eyes from the implications of one’s role. That is left for others to flesh out, and they so often manipulate it to suit their own needs. To those god-awful religious, I have become a whore; Arthur the victim of a fallen Eve; Morgan, a satanic faerie sent to lead us all astray. To the royalty, we have become symbols of the dreams they failed to create and Arthur is the hero of a nation, whereas to me, he was simply a man. To the poor, we are but a legend, never flesh and blood, a haunting story to be retold in times of tribulation, if only to inspire the will to survive.

We were so much more than mute skeletons doomed to an eternity in dust and confusion. We were people with a desire for life, a life of peace that would be our downfall. Why no one can look back through the years and recognize the human frailty beneath our actions, I will never understand. Some say grace formed my path; others call it a curse. Whatever it was, I deserve to be able to bear witness before being condemned by men who never saw my face.

It ends now. I will take back my voice and speak the truth of what happened. So shall the lies be revealed and Camelot’s former glory restored. Grieve with me, grieve for me, but do not believe the lies which time would sell. All I ask is that mankind listen to my words, and then judge me on their merit.

 

From Been Searching for You:Been Searching for You eBook Cover Large

To Whom It May Concern,

I think I wronged the love goddess in a previous life. How else do you explain that I’ve written you so many letters yet we’ve still not met? Everyone I know is either married or in a committed relationship, and here I am, pen in hand, writing to someone I can’t even prove exists.

There’s an old Chinese folktale that says soul mates are connected from birth by an invisible red thread and that they can feel one another’s emotions, no matter the distance. It is this connection that eventually enables them to find one another. I believe it too.

As I write, I find myself trying to imagine your face, grasping at flashes of memory from dreams, wondering what name to voice in my prayers that you will soon be by my side. The irony is that by the time you read this, the color of your eyes will be second nature to me and your name will roll off my tongue as easily as my sister’s.

So please, my unknown love, hold tight to your red cord and follow it like a lifeline into the safe harbor of my arms.

“Are you ready yet, birthday girl?” Mia’s impatient voice broke through my romantic reverie, scattering my lovelorn thoughts.

“Almost,” I yelled back as I scanned what I had written. I wanted to say so much more, but Mia wouldn’t wait. But there was one more thought I couldn’t let go unsaid.

I just want you to know that I haven’t given up on you. I don’t trust easily, but I trust in you. I’m still waiting, though not so patiently anymore.

All my love,

Annabeth

The note was short compared to other years’ letters, but it would be after midnight when we returned home, so this would have to be enough. My one rule in this long-standing tradition—I’d been writing these letters since I was sixteen—was that the letter to my soul mate had to be written on my actual birthday. I folded the paper, slipped it inside the matching envelope, and licked the flap, then I pressed down to seal it.

Mia stuck her head in the door just as I drew the big numeral on the front. It matched my age—thirty-four. She shook her head, making her flaming tresses bounce. “You and your letters. If you two don’t meet soon, he’s going to have to buy an extra plane ticket on your honeymoon just for that box.” She nodded toward the big square hatbox that functioned as a hope chest for my letters to my future husband.

I slipped the newest letter in front, envelope awaiting further decoration. “Yes, but it’s romantic, don’t you think?”

“For a young girl, maybe, but you’re well past that, hon.” Her tone softened when I made a face. “You’ve got plenty of declarations of love. Maybe this should be the last one. You know, new year, new traditions?” She held up a shot glass filled with golden liquid. “Come on. We need to get this party started.”

Still scowling, I took the glass and downed the tequila with a small shiver. “If you say so.”

As I locked up, I cast one last glance at the box on my desk. She had a point about growing up, but I had no intention of giving up my beloved letters. It was only one each year, and it meant something to me. Those weren’t just letters; together, they were my gift to my future husband. Old-fashioned? Maybe, but it was me. Anyone who wanted to marry me would appreciate that. I smiled with a sudden thought. It was good I didn’t want to marry Mia.

If you are in the Chicago area today, Nicole will be signing at the The Spring Fling 2016.  Book signing will take place on Saturday, May 21st from 3-5pm at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg, IL.   ~Tina

 

AuThursday – Nicole Evelina

Nicole Evelina headshot horizontalPlease welcome, Award Winning Author, Nicole Evelina to the Clog Blog.  Nicole, you write in multiple genres, are there any particular challenges with that?

Branding is a little more difficult because I can’t simply say I’m a historical fiction author or a romantic comedy author, I have to explain that I do both. But it’s not much of a hassle. I mainly write historical fiction and I have more trouble moving from one time period to another when I change books than I do from moving from past to present or from historical fantasy to straight historical fiction.

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

I have a full-time job, so most of my writing happens on the weekends and on vacation days. My day job is as a writer in a marketing department, so a lot of times by creativity is done by the end of the day, but I do write at night or on my lunch hour if I’m particularly inspired or if it’s during NaNoWriMo.

Q:  How did you come up with the idea for GUINEVERE’S TALE TRIOLOGY?Camelot's Queen eBook Cover Large

When I was in college, a friend of mine gave me a copy of The Mists of Avalon for Christmas. I LOVED it, but I hated the author’s portrayal of Guinevere as meek and well, boring. That made me seek out other books about Guinevere and I read Parke Godwin’s Beloved Exile, which tells the story of what happened to Guinevere after the fall of Camelot. That made me wonder what happened to her before and after Arthur, which is something you don’t hear much about. Then Guinevere came into my head, telling me she wanted me to write her story, including her time before and after Arthur (which I thought at the time would be all one book). The rest, as they say, is history.

Q:  Why did you choose Indie (self) publishing vs. Small Press or Traditional Publishing?

It was a combination of things, and a decision that I took a long time in coming to. One of the main factors was that it was time for me to get my work out there. It had been four and a half years – and six books – since I started querying agents. My work was just stacking up with no place to go, even though I had people telling me through my blog and social media that they wanted to read it. I wanted to be able to learn from it, which I can’t do unless others can read it. That, combined with wanting to have my historical fiction book Madame Presidentess published before the November 2016 Presidential election (which was by then impossible to do traditionally because of the time it takes to produce a book), and a desire to have more control over my career, led me to start my own publishing company. However, I am open the possibility of traditional publishing in the future. I haven’t ruled anything out.

Q:  What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?

Marketing and gaining visibly in a crowded marketplace are the biggest challenges for me. Even though my background is in marketing, it’s still a challenge because there are so many books out there and without a big house behind you, it’s hard to get people’s attention. I’ve been doing everything myself up to this point, but for my next book I’ll be working with a publicist, so I’m hoping that will help.

For me, the biggest benefit is the control. I get to have full input on the cover, the blurb on the back of the book, how and when sales take place and am responsible for quality control. I get to pick my own audio book talent and give them direction based on how I’d like the book to be performed. Those are all things most traditional authors have little to no say in. The downside is that all of this takes time and money, valuable commodities for every author, and you don’t have anyone helping in that department.

Q:  Who edits your books and how did you select him/her?

My editor is Cassie Cox of Joy Editing. I found her on the recommendation from an author friend who had used her previously. Listening to that friend is one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.

Q:  Who designs your book covers?

Jenny Quinlan (Jenny Q.) from Historical Editorial. I found out about her at the Historical Novel Society annual conference. She’s designed covers for many highly-respected authors and I couldn’t be happier with her work.

Q:  How do you market your books?

The short answer: every way and everywhere I can!

Obviously I use my website and blog, my newsletter and social media. I also do a blog tour for every book. I have one coming up with Chick Lit Goddess for my romantic comedy, Been Searching for You, and for my historicals I use Historical Fiction Blog Tours. I make use of guest posts, articles in publications like The Huffington Post and giveaways to get my name out there and my books into people’s hands. I also attend several conferences a year. Sending books to reviewers is high on my list and I do occasional advertising on Goodreads and Pinterest.

Q:  What are your current projects?

I’m hard at work on final edits to Madame Presidentess, a historical fiction novel about Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President in the United States in 1872, which comes out on July 25.

After that I will be writing the final book in the Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy, Mistress of Legend, which will likely be out in early 2017. I have a first draft, but it needs serious help.

Next will be a WWII book that tells the story of an unsung real-life heroine. But you’ll have to wait to find out who.

Q:  Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website/blog is http://nicoleevelina.com.

 

I can also be reached online at:

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from not one but two of Nicole’s stories.  Also if you are in the Chicago area, Nicole will be signing at the The Spring Fling 2016,  book signing will take place on Saturday, May 21st from 3-5pm at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg, IL.   ~Tina