AuThursday – Kate Hill

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Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you for having me as a guest today. I’m a vegetarian New Englander who enjoys romance novels and horror movies. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.

How do you make time to write?

I set aside time each day to work on my writing. When I’m working on a story, I like to have a daily word count goal, even if it’s just 500 or 1000 words.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

That’s a tricky question. Every writer is different. I’ve been lucky because I’ve never had a problem with ideas, but there have been times in my life when I’ve had to place writing aside due to things like an illness in the family. I’m not sure that’s the same as writer’s block, though. When I sit down to write, I don’t have a problem putting something on paper (or screen, since I mostly write on my computer). If I’m stuck on the story I’m working on, I try writing something completely different, just for fun. Usually, that’s enough to get my creativity flowing.

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

I write mostly subgenres of romance. Paranormal is my favorite because I’ve always enjoyed horror movies, monsters, and things from beyond. For me, it’s natural to include the supernatural in my writing if that makes sense.

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

My latest story, Demon’s Grotto, has been released by Changeling Press. I’ve worked with them for many years and they’re great. The publishers, my editor, the staff and other writers are a fantastic group of people who do their best to help each other. That kind of support is important to me.

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

I’m basically a loner, so I’d probably be considered an introvert. To me, it makes writing easier to be comfortable spending time alone to work,

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

It’s a quote from Bruce Lee. He said, “I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing, but if writing is what you truly love, that’s what you’ll do anyway. I’d also say listen to others, but know when to trust your own instincts. What works for one person doesn’t work for another. Everyone gets criticism and praise, so don’t place too much emphasis on either one.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website is https://www.kate-hill.com.

I’m also on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/katehillromance

and https://www.twitter.com/compbeastsblog

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

KH_Fangs3VictorYes, thank you. My latest release, Demon’s Grotto, is an anthology of dark romance stories tied together by a common theme. All the stories take place in the same mysterious building. This excerpt is from the second story, called the Demon Within.

Excerpt:

The next morning when Anna entered Justin’s room, she didn’t take physical form — not even as smoke. She wasn’t there to touch this time, but to observe.

Some other residents of the rooming house were still in bed — dead to the world, as they say, from the previous night’s indulgences. So many times in the past she had taken advantage of their weakened state to satisfy her hellish hunger. After observing their pathetic lives, putting them out of their misery was almost easy.

Justin was different. He slept by day like most people slept at night — a genuine sleep. Few people had such a cycle, and even fewer woke from sleep to meet her outside of the dreams she created, but Justin had.

She realized he was unique. Deep inside, something told her to stay away from him — or take him quickly. Still, an even deeper place pressed her to learn more about him.

Hovering over him, just inches from touching him if she had been in corporeal form, she studied his angular face. He had perfect cheekbones and thick golden eyelashes. Darker gold stubble dusted his jaw and upper lip. He was probably in his forties, but somehow he looked ageless.

Today he lay naked on top of the sheets. The building was chilly, and she thought he must be cold — even though he was hot in another way.

With a suddenness that shocked her into solid form, he reached up and wrapped his arm around her. Anna landed with a grunt against his lean, hard body. They lay chest to chest. Thigh to thigh. Nose to nose.

He stared at her, the expression in his slanted blue eyes emotional, yet at the same time unreadable. “Who are you?” he asked in a rough voice.

“How did you do that?” she demanded, torn between the desire to melt even closer to him and the impulse to fade to smoke so that she could escape this man who had done what no other ever had. He had sensed her and forced her out of her reality and into his.

“I asked first.”

Her jaw clenched and she tugged against his grip, but he refused to let her go.

“I think I have a right to know. You’re invading my space, not the other way around.”

“Unfortunately for you, there’s nothing you can do about it.” She faded to smoke, but not before whispering against his lips, “You can call me Anna.”

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AuThursday – Jennifer Vettor

unnamedTell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Jennifer Vettor. I am a Canadian author living in southern Ontario. I’ve been married 28 years to my first husband (he hates this joke.) We have three grown children, two dogs, and 2 cats. I also work as a Reiki Practitioner and a Holistic Nutritionist.

How do you make time to write?

I have the privilege of working from home. This allows free time between clients to write! I also am lucky enough to make my own schedule, so I will often schedule in writing days. (I admit these days have often turned into Netflix binging and Facebook comas. I need more discipline.)

Do you believe in writer’s block?

While I have experienced blocks of time that I’ve been unmotivated, I have yet to experience writer’s block. Even when I’m not writing I have lots of ideas and stories bouncing around my unruly brain.

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

I write spicy romance novels. I love it because it is a place for my imagination to safely wander, AND it keeps me out of trouble.

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

I have chosen to publish independently. I’m a bit of a control freak and am not afraid to get my hands dirty. I was writing as a ghostwriter for an Indie publisher and when the time came to launch my own work, I just followed in their footsteps. I’m not opposed to traditional though. Maybe next time!

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

I tend to be a bit of both. I do love being around others, but I prefer small, intimate occasions. Call me a “social introvert”. I don’t mind the time spent alone and generally use this time to write.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Don’t quit before the miracle happens.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

For the first draft, just write your thoughts, and don’t worry about structure. You ’ll have plenty of chances to edit. Just let your creativity flow or you’ll get hung up on form, and start nit-picking everything. Nothing kills your writing buzz faster than self-doubt. Just bang away on that keyboard!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

jennifervettor.com

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

This is from my recent offering ‘Fated’.

unnamed (1)Meg spent her weekend sorting, organizing, and cleaning, clearing as much space as she could for Kade to move around. She was overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead of her, and several times had to calm herself on the porch with a cup of tea just to stave off a panic attack. Although she might have bitten off more than she could chew, she’d much rather choke on ambition than be swallowed by apathy. She’d just take things a day at a time.

It was late Sunday evening. She was sitting cross-legged on the floor, searching through boxes of old books, piled two and three rows high. She was hoping to salvage much of their contents for the shelves of the bookery, maybe even find a treasure or two, but much of what she found was questionable in its usefulness. Dusty, old fashioned books, perfumed with a musty aroma of decay and neglect.

She assumed most of the books were donated castaways the previous owner never had the time, or the desire, to sort through. He seemed more a hoarder than a collector, Meg thought ruefully. Most of the boxes were untouched, still sealed with yellowed, crumbling packing tape that had long ago lost its sticky residue.

She was about to push aside a box, certain she wouldn’t find anything interesting when something caught her eye. It was a vintage diary, the kind that would have been filled with the longings, secrets, and fantasies of a young girl; red leather with a gold scroll design, long ago faded. It was locked, but the leather was compromised, cracked along the flap that held the metal edge in place. She took a moment to search the bottom of the box for the key, piling the remaining books around her, but found nothing, even after turning it upside down. She placed the box down and retrieved the diary, inquisitively rolling it over in her hands. It seemed a shame to break it, almost impolite, but Meg was curious about its contents. She carried the book with her into the kitchen, hoping to find a tool to unlatch it.

“This should work,” she spoke out loud, to no one in particular. She slipped a small butter knife behind the seal and it easily popped open on the first try, as though its secrets begged to be revealed. She slowly opened the book, pleasantly surprised by the soft texture of the paper. It was quite extraordinary, made even more striking by the elegant script decorating the pages. Meg felt the familiar flutter of excitement that always happened whenever she first opened the pages of a new book; the promise of a new adventure waiting to be devoured, fresh mysteries to unfold, and
delicious characters to fall in love with.

It had been years since she’d read cursive, raised in a computer generation, but there was something mysteriously beautiful about those swirling consonants and vowels. It struck a deep chord with her, luring her into an era where things were simpler, slower, with more attention paid to detail. An idyllic world where folks really took the time to engage with each other; computers, cell phones, and Instagram just a cold, distant, impossible reality. She often felt like she’d been born in the wrong era, dropped onto the planet generations later than she should have been. She longed for those deeper connections. Excited, she opened the first page, allowing the words to transport her, like a literary time machine.

AuThursday – SE Massery

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Sara, although I write under S. Massery. I grew up in western Massachusetts, and I think everyone knew I was going to be an author before I did because I was always writing stories. I went to Emmanuel College in Boston, and I cycled through ten different majors until I ended on English Writing and Literature—emphasis on writing. I moved out to Wyoming and worked on a guest ranch for a few summers. I moved back to Massachusetts, had a brief stint in hospitality, and now I work for a flooring company in my home town. I write in my spare time. Eventually, I hope to be a full-time author.

How do you make time to write?

Sometimes I can get away with writing a little at work (shh, don’t tell). I usually write at night—that’s when I get most of my words on the page.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe it’s a real thing, but I also don’t think that should stop someone from trying to write. My own writing career started after I bought a notebook and vowed to write a passage a day—about my thoughts and feelings, the weather, existential stuff—and strengthening that “writing muscle” helped me transition to writing a full-length novel. Whenever I got stuck in the story, I went back to the journal.

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

I’m a bit all over the place in terms of genre. I originally intended my first book to be a romance, but it took a darker turn and ended up in women’s fiction. I also intended the second book to be a romance, and it is, but there’s a stronger focus on the main character’s journey of self-discovery and action and adventure. My third book, I promise, is an actual romance!

Anyway, back to the question—I think women’s fiction is my favorite to write. I love that it’s a bit more complicated than romance, although there is usually a love story in mine, and that readers aren’t promised a neat or happy ending. Life can be a bit messy, and I quite enjoy pulling on those emotions in my books, too.

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

I’m publishing indie! I really wanted creative control over every single aspect. Sometimes that’s scary (okay, a lot of times it’s scary) because if something goes wrong, it’s on my shoulders. My success or failure all depends on me. I’ve learned so many things since publishing Something Special, and I keep learning more every day. That’s the exciting part. I’m also a pretty impatient person, so knowing that getting traditionally published could take a year, or could never happen, played a factor into my decision.

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

Oh goodness. I’m an introvert to the extreme. It works out well for the actual writing part—sit down by myself and bang out a book, sure—but the marketing aspect tires me out. I love talking to new people, discussing my books, doing takeovers and whatnot. It just takes a little more energy than writing does. I’m conscious of that, so I try to spread out everything when I can. Release week is exhausting, though!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.” Pretty sure that’s from the movie Fired Up. It’s true, though! And it’s more fun to say that instead of, “No risk equals no reward.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Writing should be fun. It’s not fun all the time, but remember why you started writing in the first place. And above all, don’t give up. Just get words written, and you can edit it later.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Almost everywhere!

Website: www.smassery.com

Newsletter: www.smassery.com/mailinglist

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorsmassery

Facebook reader group: www.facebook.com/groups/smasserysquad

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorsmassery

Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/authors/s-massery

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/smassery

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/smassery

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

This is an excerpt from Something Sacred, which just released on March 14! It’s free to read in Kindle Unlimited, and it’s book 2 in the Something Special duet, although they’re both standalone novels.

I slip my water bottle back into its pouch, zipping it closed. Cora does the same, swiping at the sweat trickling down her temples. She follows me down a trail for about a half hour, and then I make a sharp turn into the brush.

“Where are you going?” she yells.

“Come on, not every fire has a path leading to it,” I call back. It’s a steeper descent than I thought, and I slide on some rocks, throwing my hands wide to keep my balance. “Careful,” I say. “Take it slow if you need—”

She slips and falls into me. We roll down the hill until I can dig in and stop us. She lands on top of me, her hair in my mouth and her knee dangerously close to my groin.

I grunt as she starts moving, picking herself up off of me. I spit out her hair and start laughing, eyeing her red face. I can’t tell if she’s blushing or if she’s redder from the exercise, but after a second she starts laughing, too.

“You were just telling me to watch my step and then—”

I tip my head back and laugh louder. “You just took me out, Fletcher. That was like a sliding tackle.”

“Oh my god,” she gasps. “Don’t tell anyone.”

“Are you kidding? I’m telling everyone.”

We grin at each other for a minute before I pick myself up and brush off the dirt. And then she says, “God doesn’t hate you, Jared.”

I shake my head and turn away from her. “It sure feels like he does.”

She exhales and stands, too. “So, do you want to talk about it?”

“Talk about what?”

“The shit hitting the fan with your family, or whatever you said before.”

I start down the hill again. “You used to enjoy silence.”

She snorts. Rocks roll past me as she slides again. In time, she’ll get more graceful on different types of terrain, just like I did. “Yeah, but you’re a bottle of secrets.”

My relationship with my dad fractured right after my fight with Colby. It’s easy to connect the dots: because I got in a fight, I discovered my dad wasn’t the good guy I always thought he was. And my mom is living with a liar.

“Let’s just head back,” I say as we get to the bottom of the hill.

Get it here:  https://amzn.to/2VXkJWJ

 

AuThursday – Adriana Anders

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi there! Thank you for having me today! I write moody, sexy, and suspenseful Romantic Thrillers and Contemporary Romance. While my first books—the Blank Canvas Series—focused on the turmoil and secrets in a small Virginia town, my upcoming Survival Romances take things global. Which makes research especially fun!

So, background… Though I’ve been an avid reader for most of my life, I started writing seriously in a circuitous way. I used to be a singer and actor and did voices for video games—then I translated video games (from French into English) and, finally, got a chance to write them. Getting from there to Romance was a long, arduous road with lots of ups and downs… but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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

I’m 60% extrovert and 40% introvert, which means that after hanging with my friends for a few hours, I need about the same amount of time to recover alone with a good book. I prefer to work in coffee shops, with headphones on. Even better if it’s at a table with other writing friends!

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

I’m a morning writer. I’ve had periods of time when I wake up at 5am to get that special quiet before the kids descend upon me, but I’m generally a morning to early afternoon person. I think it’s because my brain isn’t fully awake, which often makes for better results.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Yes. And how. This past year has been a long, complicated journey of cleaning out a house and moving an entire family’s life from one country to another. Writing has been VERY tough and the thing is, I’ve finally figured out why: If I don’t take the time to just think and be with the characters, then I never quite grasp who they are.  Right now, my goals are to write, think, brainstorm, and let myself get to know my people before putting too many words on the page.

I see you have quite a few series, including BLANK CANVAS, LOVE AT LAST, and THE ROGUE SERIES. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

Series appeal to me on a few levels. There’s something so incredibly comforting about familiarity. It’s what draws me to series—getting to see familiar places and characters and how they progress through the pages. Writing a series around a small town, a family, or other groups of people gives readers a chance to get really entrenched in a way that feels intimate. I love that.

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

My novella, DEEP BLUE, is out in a March anthology called TURN THE TIDE, published by Sourcebooks, which is also publishing my upcoming series of Survival Romances. I love the freedom of publishing independently and the excitement of seeing my books in bookstores, which is what my traditional contracts give me. What’s great is that, though there’s overlap, I am able to reach two different audiences.

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

Self-publishing is wonderful because I can decide what I write, when I write it, what the cover looks like, etc. And if none of it works, I can go back to the drawing board and re-brand. I love the freedom and flexibility. But it costs money. And I know that what I invest in my own books (including on edits, promo, etc.) is a fraction of what my publisher spends to put my books out. Beyond the cost, there are two aspects to traditional publishing that I really appreciate: one is the network and reach. My publisher gets my book into places I’d never manage on my own. The second is the team. The number of passes my books go through—from my acquiring editor to the copy editors and proofreaders—the number of people involved—designers, the PR team, and beyond—make the final product as close to perfection as there is, while the experience of having a team to back me up is absolutely priceless.

I’m not going to say to write every day, because it doesn’t work that way for me. In fact, I think there’s a path for each and every writer—a method or habit or system that will work—but it might not be easy to find. I know authors who write all night and sleep during the day, others who can get a thousand words in over a lunch break, others plot everything out before they even start, which isn’t at all how I work. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that if something doesn’t work for you, don’t give up. That’s it, in a nutshell, try things, stop it if they’re only making it harder. Then try something else. And DON’T. GIVE. UP.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

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

Oh, I’d be delighted! This is from DEEP BLUE, my novella in the free TURN THE TIDE anthology from Sourcebooks!

Zoe shouldn’t have come out to the oil platform alone.

How many times had Jane warned her? How many times had she promised her partner that she wouldn’t scuba dive offshore rigs on her own? But she’d done it before, and she’d do it again.

Unless, of course, this time was her last.

Crap.

Eighty-five feet beneath the surface of the water, she spun, taking in details she hadn’t noticed above. The absolute stillness was disquieting, when usually the water around the rig’s coral- and crustacean-coated legs was teeming with life. The sea turtles and tiny reef fish that always investigated her presence were nowhere to be seen. The only sound was her own breathing as she sucked air from the tank, the only movements the gentle swish of sea anemone and the flurry of bubbles rising from her mouth.

The flat, washed-out blue she usually found so calming looked dead without the flash of garibaldi dashing between the old oil platform’s maze of support beams like playful orange flames. Usually they’d be swarming, but today…nothing.

It was Sea Lion Bob’s absence that transformed her sense of general unease into full-blown worry, however. He’d greeted her every time she’d come to check the Polaris platform reef.

Something was very wrong.

Get out of here, her instincts screamed, even as her training forced her to relax. A slow inhale, the sound thin under the weight of the water, and a kick up, as languid as she could make it with the panic weighing her limbs down. A long exhale churned the water above, and she added bubbles to the mix by venting enough air to rise slowly.

Relax. Stay calm.

Why hadn’t she paid attention to the niggling in her belly as she’d driven her boat toward the platform? It was impossible to pinpoint exactly when the feeling had started or what had set it off, but it was undeniable. Funny how fear changed things. It turned the platform’s shell-encrusted support beams into a phantom forest. The pinks and purples, leached of all color, were the wan gray of death.

I’ll never come alone again, she promised the Fates or God or the ocean itself.

As she slowly ascended, her eyes searched feverishly for some clue as to what had turned a busy, dynamic reef into a foggy, blue ghost town.

Had she missed something on the trip out here?

She remembered passing the two working platforms closer inland. Nothing strange there. A few miles farther out, just before San Elias Island, she’d spotted the Daphne and drawn her boat up alongside her, as she did nearly every time she came this way. Blushing, of course. Always blushing with that guy.

“Hey, Eric.”

Slow as syrup, he had leaned against the rail of his boat, lean body indolent-looking, though his face remained serious as always. “Evening, Zoe. Kinda late today, aren’t you?”

She had shrugged, working hard to keep her gaze above chest level so she wouldn’t stare. What was it about this guy that made her want to eat him up with her eyes? He wasn’t even her usual type, which was dark and intellectual. No, this guy had Paul Newman good looks, with the build of a roughneck. She’d bet anything his hands were as coarse as his voice.

“Yeah,” she’d managed to shout against the wind. “Been a couple weeks since I checked in on Polaris.”

“I noticed,” he’d said without the hint of a smile.

The words—straight, serious, and a touch accusatory—did things to her. Good God, what was wrong with her? Those two innocuous words made her heart race more than anything she’d done with her last boyfriend. Ridiculous, considering that Eric showed no more interest in her than in his fishing pole.

Besides, she knew absolutely nothing about him.

“All right.” She reached forward to pull the throttle out, but stopped at his next words.

“You alone today?”

“Yeah,” she had to admit. “Jane’s not—”

“You diving the rig?”

“Yes.” She had sounded defensive. Weird how that came back to her now, with a hiccup of embarrassment.

The lines around his mouth tightened, his too-blue eyes narrowed, and he nodded once, quick and short.

“Careful. Weather headed our way.”

When his worry warmed her insides instead of sparking a snarky Yes, sir, she’d known she should get out of there. Throwing him a smile and a wave, she’d taken off as fast as she could. Everything about the man said trouble—for her, at least. Oh, he’d always been friendly and respectful, but it was the unspoken stuff that got to her, like the hungry way he eyed her or, much more worrisome, the way that look lit her up inside.

She should have listened to his warning about weather, should have turned around right there and headed back to the mainland. Or, even better, she should have paused there longer, flirted a bit, maybe even screwed up the courage to finally ask him out.

But she hadn’t. And now she was pushing back the panic and slowly working through the eerie calm to the surface, which seemed to be getting farther away with every kick of her fins.

Inhale…stop kicking. Loosen up. Be big. Exhale…

BOOM!

The sound hit her, and she threw up her hands to cover her ears. Less than a second later, the rig’s supports shook, releasing a blinding dust cloud that could mean only one thing—earthquake.

Oh God, oh God, oh God. At fifteen feet below the surface, she fought the desire to head all the way up and counted down the seconds for her three-minute safety stop.

Calm down. I’m better off in the water than on land.

Not if the platform collapsed.

She’d never been scared like this on a dive, never shivered so hard underwater.

BOOM!

Another gray puff billowed from the platform, joining the dust rising from the depths like smoke from a forest fire.

She didn’t have to check her gauge to know she was running low on air.

Yeah, I’m done here.

Buy Links

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NWZJT8Y

 

 

 

AuThursday – Dana Ross

FGE Banner

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

Like many writers, I was born into a family of bookworms. My maternal grandmother was a librarian for seventy-five years and she was a heavy influence on everything I read growing up. My father was a jeweler, and I grew up in the industry and was groomed to take over my family’s store. I worked under his wing for almost a decade, but after I left Maryland to attend the Gemological Institute of America and earn my Graduate Gemologist degree, I was encouraged to apply for a teaching position at the school. I relocated to California and worked as an instructor at G.I.A.’s Santa Monica campus.

Later, after marriage and kids and moving to Florida, I decided to try writing. After a few poor unstructured attempts, I joined a few critique groups, switched careers, attended grad school. There, I earned my MFA in creative writing. I still have a passion for gems and I try to infuse my writing with gemological factoids whenever possible.

How do you make time to write?

When my children were young, I wrote when they napped or attended school. I knew I had only a few precious hours to get words onto paper, so I made writing part of my daily routine—as much as brushing my teeth and flossing. My kids are almost grown now, but I still adhere to my writing schedule: Coffee first. Then treadmill (to fill my head with ideas/mentally flush out stories). Then I plant myself in my writing chair and work until my son comes home, hunger pangs beckon, or the dog whimpers for attention.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

“Ugh.” Unfortunately, yes. I’ve heard people say they don’t believe such a thing exists, but I suffer from it on occasion. Recently, I started working on two novels, one story I began while participating in NaNoWriMo, and one story that “came to me” out of the blue. I love both ideas, but I haven’t been able to commit fully to either, and until the “Eureka!” or “Aha!” moment comes to me, I can’t find the momentum to write. To help speed along the process, I play songs that remind me of my imagined chapters or work on character profile worksheets or try to write the synopsis of each book until the proverbial “block” has been lifted.

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

Great question. My true love is YA because I love teen angst and quirky characters. The first manuscripts I wrote were YA stories, because writing is cathartic and through YA, I could deal with teen issues I, myself, went through, and issues my daughter experienced. That being said, my first published book is a contemporary romance with elements of suspense. It was a lot of fun to write outside my “regular” genre.

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

My recent book was published traditionally through The Wild Rose Press. I’d learned they had earned an award through Predators & Editors and heard great things about the company, so I queried them and they accepted my “baby.” TWRP really love their authors and go out of their way to teach us about the writing industry, which can be overwhelming at times.

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

I’m an intro/extrovert if there were such a thing. I love working and hanging out with fellow writers, but I’m also introverted at times. While crafting a novel, I’ll retreat into my writing cave and shun friends/society, and I can go days without contact from the outside world. Fortunately, I’m also a mom and the host of a local writers’ critique group, so I get pulled out of the proverbial cave and pushed back into society when my son is with me or when it’s time to moderate the writing group.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

That’s an easy answer. I stumbled upon this quote by Gloria Steinem and for years it has been my mantra: “Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

First, the obvious: write and read every day, even if it’s only a paragraph or a page. Second, read and write outside your comfort zone; our writer minds can get stagnant if we do the same thing every day. Third, read the craft books written by the masters. There are many but my favorites are Stephen King’s “On Writing,” Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style,” and Browne & King’s “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.” Last, but not least, don’t give up. Your writing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and writing is a glacial process, but if you write because you love what you do, stick to it, toughen your skin, and be patient. Your day will come, and there’s no greater feeling than having a complete stranger love your prose.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Thanks for asking, Tina. I’m constantly on social media, and I love to connect with readers and fellow writers. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and my (under construction) web page:

Website: https://danarossauthor.com

Twitter: @danarossauthor

Instagram: mommawriter (Dana Ross Author)

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

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

Yes, thank you for offering. This excerpt comes from chapter two—a scene where my protagonist meets face-to-face with the story’s antagonist.

FullGirlfriendExperience_w11805_750

There were three things I could not stand—cheap shoes, bad wine, and the man seated across the table from me. William Drummond was staring at me like a half-starved animal. Maybe his greedy gaze was due to my dress’s plunging neckline, but the man obviously had other things on his mind—complications that involved me. And like the pan-fried calamari appetizer slowly digesting in my belly, sharing company with the man who almost killed one of my girls did not sit well.

Nonetheless, I had problems. I had to at least hear him out.

I lifted my empty champagne flute and motioned for a refill.

Drummond obliged.

The bubbly was good and dry, one that cost a pretty penny, which the sockmuppet would probably write off and charge taxpayers. It was tempting to slug my drink down and ask for a third glass, but I refrained since I was dealing with someone less trustworthy than my dry cleaners. As Drummond refilled his glass, I remembered how easily he polished off drinks without showing a hint of an altered mind. In addition to the champagne, there was a glass of whiskey with melting ice cubes by his plate.

Bells in my head rang a warning.

He was slick. Just like that suit. Which was decent, though, probably an Italian label that cost more than my rent. He also sported a rose-gold designer watch—last year’s model—and diamond pavé cufflinks that practically blinded me with their shine. His nails were trimmed and glossy, like he’d had a recent manicure, and his jet-black hair shined like an asphalt lake.

His eyes were a forgettable brown, but they revealed intellect—correction, cunning intellect.

Drummond lifted his champagne glass and aimed the rim in my direction. “Let’s make a toast. To old times.”

I leaned forward and clinked his glass. “Old times.”

 

AuThursday -Barbara Monajem

TROTS BM Banner2OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’ve been making up stories ever since I could read and write. The first story I remember writing was in third grade about apple tree gnomes. Unfortunately, I have lost that story!

How do you make time to write?

Luckily, I can write anywhere, anytime, but since I have a job during the week, I get most of my writing done on weekends, or on vacation while my husband does the driving!

What genre are your books?

Most of them are Regency romance, but I also have some vampire mystery/romances out there, and I just finished writing a Regency mystery. Some of my romances have magic in them. They’re a lot of fun to write.

What draws you to this genre?

I love reading both mystery and historical romance, so I naturally tend to write a blend of the two.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on a Regency romance where the heroine is a French refugee and a smuggler. She’s VERY feisty and fun to write. I’m also writing a Regency with magic, in which the heroine can see the fairies, and therefore people think she is crazy. The hero is half-fairy and super sexy and exciting. Lastly, I’m polishing my Regency mystery about a wealthy lady who has to confront all her class prejudices while solving a mystery that centers around herself. The hero of that story is a clever, intriguing Scot.

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

Introvert all the way. It means I’m pretty terrible at being sociable. I love hearing from my fans, but I dread meeting them and having to make small talk!!

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Um…well, so far I haven’t found it. Yikes, is that something more to worry about?

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Persevere. Get critiques, enter contests, learn to rewrite and revise, believe in yourself. And again, persevere.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

http://www.facebook.com/barbara.monajem

http://twitter.com/BarbaraMonajem

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3270624.Barbara_Monajem

http://www.BarbaraMonajem.com

TROTS Teaser 4.3Do you have a sexy excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Hmm. Not really, because the heroine and heroine don’t get together until pretty late in the book. But here’s a teaser.

redemtionoftheshrew480Years earlier, Gloriana tried to seduce Philippe by coming to him naked in the moonlight, but he spurned her and left. Now they can hardly tolerate each other…but the attraction still lingers.

Gloriana gaped at Philippe, and their eyes met. It was dim in that tavern, but not dim enough. The awareness in his eyes sent a bolt of desire through her, top to toe.

“I do covet you, but I am an honorable man,” Philippe said. “I shall not act upon my desires, however, tempted I may be—or have been in the past.”

She surged up, gripping the tankard. “There’s nothing honorable about being a coward.”

His eyes flashed, but he slouched at ease in his chair. “Shall I call you a few choice names, too?”

She flung the tankard at him. Ale dripped down his waistcoat. He rose slowly to his feet. A babble of crude commentary broke out. Hands shaking, she dug in her reticule, dropped a shilling on the table, and stalked out into the night.

To the sound of laughter and jests, Philippe’s among them.

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AuThursday – Aidee Ladnier

WATC AL BannerAideeLadnier

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi! I’m Aidee Ladnier and although I’ve been writing since I was a preteen, I’ve only been publishing romance for the last six years. I saw a call for submissions online and I’d been listening to a podcast where the host, Kevin Allison, ends each show by saying “Today’s the day. Take a risk.” So I wrote a story and submitted it. I took a risk. And the publisher liked the story and published it. And I haven’t looked back. My writing career is due in part to comedian Kevin Allison.

How do you make time to write?

This is a difficult question! I write on the weekends, of course. But during the week I have a demanding day job. So my writing is confined to early mornings before work and on my lunch hour. I sometimes write in the evenings if my DH has something he’s also working on. Otherwise, he gets that time. 🙂 And as you can imagine, prioritizing so little time to write means I only produce one novel a year—but I’m not in a race so it suits me fine.

What genre are your books?

To date, I’ve published paranormal, science fiction, holiday, and mystery. But I have a steampunk novel and a young adult that I’m also working on. I can’t seem to stick to just one genre. LOL! But all of them have love at their core.

What draws you to this genre?

The paranormal shifter genre is well-established and one I never thought I’d be writing in. I’m not that fond of either the alpha male or fated mate tropes. But I started thinking about werewolves and how they might be perceived in our world—as if they had a rare medical condition. My wolf wouldn’t be an alpha or even part of a pack, and he certainly wouldn’t have a fated mate. But he would be awkward and adorkable and lonely. I knew the minute I saw him in my head that I had to write about him.

What are your current projects?

As I mentioned above, I’ve got a paranormal young adult novel I’m working on. In it, two young women discover that it takes two people to lay a ghost. I’m also working on a steampunk novel that intersects the Spiritualist Movement of the 1900s with the delay of Westward Expansion. It’s got strange inventions, a technology cult, and a plot against the government to thwart.

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

Definitely an introvert, but I try not to let it keep me from experiencing the world. I believe that adventure lies behind every corner, but if you don’t answer that call to adventure, you end up sitting at home a lot. Which is pretty boring. I love meeting people and doing new things but I also have to take a little time for myself every so often.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Oooooo! That’s a good question. Usually, it’s television, the internet, online games, and good books. I always give them priority over my writing. I’ve been obsessed with the Great British Baking Show lately. And the Sims. Why oh why are they so much fun?

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

The best advice is to sit your butt in a chair and write. You can never finish anything if you don’t actually write. The second best piece of advice is to read. Read as much as you can in every genre you’re interested in writing. Read genres that you’re not interested in writing. If you like a book, start analyzing why  you like it. Is it the characters, or the way the writer describes the setting, or maybe the plot twist at the end? If you’re not a reader, you’ll never be a writer.

 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I have a website and blog at https://www.aideeladnier.com.  I write about my books, publish short fiction there, and post all my coloring pages there. I love adult coloring pages, so I have one for every book I’ve written. I also lurk on Tumblr (http://aideemoi.tumblr.com/) because it makes me laugh. I post a bit on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/aideelad), too. But Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/aideelad/) is where my horrible sense of humor comes out the most. I find the most bizarre things to take pictures of.

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

I’d love to!! Here’s a scene after the “meet cute” where Tom and Frank are getting ready to have dinner with Tom’s family:

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Tom rinsed the arugula, shaking off the water over the sink. “I couldn’t find candied walnuts, so I bought pecans instead.”

“The thweet oneth?” His niece Marcie jumped up and down, trying to see what he was doing. Her lisp was a new development caused by a couple of missing front teeth.

“Yep, the sweet ones, sweet pea.” Tom held one up for her inspection. Marcie smiled back, all but two of her teeth showing, and then took off out of the room.

“I had to drive to Waynesboro to get the gorgonzola, but it will totally be worth it.”

Annie stopped whisking her salad dressing and fixed Tom with a funny stare. “Hey, I hope you don’t mind, but I invited my store manager to dinner tonight.”

Tom shook the greens again but glanced back at his sister. “Sure. Why would I mind?”

“Well, he might be gay.”

Tom set the colander down beside the sink and turned around to face her. He leaned back against the counter and crossed his arms. “Might? Might, as in, you’d like to play matchmaker?”

Annie stirred the vinaigrette again. “Maybeee?”

“Uh-huh.” Tom grabbed the greens and tossed them into the waiting bowl. “I thought we were going to discuss what show to put on in your performance space.”

“Oh, we are.” Annie tipped her vinaigrette onto the waiting arugula. “He’s a creative guy, and he’ll have some good ideas. You’ll like him.”

As if on cue, the doorbell rang. Marcie’s footsteps thundered down the hall.

“Don’t forget to look out the glass first,” Annie called out to her. “You don’t open the door to strangers, remember?”

“Hey, kiddo.” The deep voice wasn’t strange at all.

Tom grabbed a rag to wipe off his hands and ambled into the hallway.

There was the buff guy from his apartment, Frank, clothed this time, in dark jeans so stiff and pressed they could have been dry-cleaned. His biceps bulged out of a short-sleeved brown shirt that brought out the auburn highlights in his hair and made his eyes appear almost golden. Frank’s cheeks reddened just enough to spread across the bridge of his nose, making him utterly adorkable. And gay. Tom so wanted to tap that. All those lascivious thoughts he’d tried to bury about Frank’s lickable frame were now roaring back to the forefront of his mind. And his pants.

“Hey, neighbor.” Tom transferred the towel to his other hand and held his right out to Frank.

“Neighbor? I didn’t realize you two knew each other.” Annie had followed Tom out of the kitchen. Her eyebrows rose in faux innocence. “So glad to see you, Frank.” She pecked him on the cheek as she closed the door behind him.

“I’m sure you didn’t, Sis. Especially since you were the one that told me Mrs. Anderson had a vacancy.” Tom booped her on the nose to let her know she wasn’t fooling anyone.

“Fwank, come and thee my new printheth pony!” Marcie hauled on Frank’s hand, her little sock feet sliding as she lost traction on the parquet floor.

“Hey, Frank.” Annie’s husband, John, swooped in to grab his six-year-old around the middle, hefting her up in a tickle hold. “Let’s get you washed up for dinner, young lady.” Marcie’s squeals and giggles echoed down the hall as John carried his daughter to the bathroom.

Annie gestured at the kitchen with a thumb that made her look like she was hitchhiking her way back to dinner. “I’ll go finish cooking.” Her sly grin hitched up the corner of her mouth. “Tom, could you entertain our guest for me?”

Tom smirked as his sister scooted past. He waited until she disappeared around the corner before zeroing in on Frank again. Frank stood frozen in the hallway next to him.

“So, clothes.” Tom did a visual sweep of Frank from head to toe, not missing the fidgeting fingers or the crooked eyetooth that bit into the pad of Frank’s lip.

Frank’s cheeks went strawberry red, and he ducked away from Tom’s gaze. “I usually wear clothes.”

“That is a shame.” Tom laughed as Frank’s ears turned red too. “You’ve got to tell me—what were you really doing in the bushes?” Because no way could somebody this well put together be that stupid. Annie had nothing but good things to say about her “store manager,” so Frank couldn’t be the guy brainless enough to fall out of an open second-story window.

Frank studied his shoes before peeping up, shamefaced. “Running naked in the woods?”

Tom almost laughed out loud at the absurd, obviously untrue answer. And then he sobered up as the image took shape in his mind of Frank’s gorgeous frame, free and unbound, dashing through the forest. That would be a sight to behold. And Tom would pay premium for a front-row ticket.

But he realized that whatever Frank had been doing, it had embarrassed the man, or he wouldn’t keep evading. Tom should just drop it, but Frank was so fun to tease.

“Is that what they’re calling it nowadays…?” Tom strode back toward the kitchen. “Wanna help set the table?”

Frank hesitated a moment in the entryway and then followed him.

Annie had already set out the stacks of plates and silverware. Tom handed the plates to Frank with a bow, their fingers brushing. The heat of that small touch sent a frisson of excitement down Tom’s spine. He met the golden brown of Frank’s eyes, seeing them wide and shocked as if he’d felt it too.

“I haven’t seen you around the apartments much lately.” Tom grabbed the silverware, and they escaped Annie’s watchful eyes by ducking into the formal dining room.

Frank smiled, but it flattened a little around the edges of his mouth. He moved to the other side of the table, laying down plates as he went. “I was afraid of giving you a worse impression than the first one.”

Tom tilted his head and nodded, placing the flatware at attention beside the plates. “Hey, I understand. I’m willing to put awkward first meetings behind us if you are.” He finished with the last spoon and found himself in front of Frank again. “But I have to say, some of what I saw was too good to forget.”

For a moment, Tom stared straight into the gold of Frank’s eyes. A rising anticipation fizzed in his veins. He was definitely going to get to know Frank better on this trip.

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