#AuThursday – Marie Lavender

Marie Lavender LogoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well, I am a multi-genre author of 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. And the list just keeps growing. Some of my works in progress include comedy, time travel or dystopian tales.  I come from the Midwestern U.S., and I live with my family and three cats. I’ve pretty much always known I wanted to be a writer, at least since I was old enough to officially write stories.

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

I’m actually more introverted, though my writing career has forced me to be more public than I’m accustomed to. I guess you could say it’s a bit harder to put myself out there, but I do it anyway. I’ve had several radio interviews, I host three blogs and I have moderated lots of major book giveaways. I like meeting new people. Now and then, I still get nervous, though.

How do you make time to write?

When I’m balancing a side job and family obligations, it can be difficult. I usually aim to work a little on my current project every day, even if it’s a paragraph or a scene, or just researching different aspects of the story.

What excites you most about your current WIP?

The book I’m currently editing is Blood Instincts, a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy which is also book two of the Blood at First Sight Series. I adore the characters, and designing the Other World. I’m very excited for fans of Second Nature, the first book, to read its sequel!

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

Oh, I received quite a few when I was submitting Upon Your Return, my first historical romance, to agents and publishers. Whenever I’d get a rejection, I forced myself to feel more determined. I just sent out another five submissions to other places. Perseverance is a good quality to have in this business. And my persistence paid off. Not too long after that, I received my first book contract!

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

Actually, I have. I am in the midst of writing a romantic suspense novel with another writer. It’s titled Certain Death.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

They can find me at my author website, through my blogs at the MLB blog, the I Love Romance Blog, or Writing in the Modern Age. They can follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. I also have an author newsletter, which I send out monthly, so feel free to subscribe!

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

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Sure! This one is from my new release, Directions of the Heart, a modern romantic drama collection, which just came out on July 25th!

Join me on Saturday as we read an excerpt from “Directions of the Heart” by Marie. ~Tina

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AuThursday – Barbara Meyers

Please welcome Author, Poet and Lyric Writer Barbara Meyers.  Barbara, Can you tell us your latest news?

FANTASY MAN is my sixth book with Samhain Publishing and was just released in February. I’m excited about being part of Florida Writers Association’s multi-genre book signing in Altamonte Springs, Florida on May 1st. And my short story, “Hidden Heart” was recently accepted for judging to be part of FWA’s 2016 Collection. More news (I hope) on that later. Oh, and the Lakeland (Florida) Ledger did a great article on me. Barista by day/Novelist by Night. You can read it here: http://bit.ly/1V3wIgY

 Q: To date which of your books was the hardest to write and why?

It might be FANTASY MAN. I started this book a very long time ago and it underwent numerous rewrites over the years because I never give up on a story I love. It was, in fact, initially turned down by my editor (the wonderful Noah Chinn). But Noah did something editors don’t always do. He told me why he turned it down. I rewrote it (again!) based on his input and even after he accepted it, we still had a lot of work to do and we both learned a lot from the process. Why it was a difficult process is because I’ve improved as a writer since I first wrote the story. And, of course, at that time, I did not have an editor. Good editors make all the difference between an okay book and a really good book.

Q:  What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both? Do you use mood music, candles, no noise, when you write?

I’m a total pantser. Zero music although I wrote my first manuscript listening to a Michael Bolton CD on repeat. “When a Man Loves a Woman…” Perfect romance music, right? But now I need quiet. I often light candles, though. I usually start with the idea and I write down every possibility I can think of about who the hero and heroine are and why they are where they are in life. Often it’s just a tiny seed of an idea in a Word document in a file titled “Story Ideas.” I keep adding to it over time until I decide I’ve got enough and the time is right to start working on the book. It’s not a great system and I don’t recommend it to anyone else. But I can’t seem to work any other way.

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

If I’m not working my early morning day job as a barista for a global coffee company, I try to get an early start writing and keep at it until my brain turns to mush.

Q: Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I write on an older laptop that is not connected to the internet which limits distractions.

Q: So, what have you written?
I have written books, short stories, song lyrics, poems and blogs.

Q: What draws you to Poetry and Lyrics?

I have a weird ability to occasionally write poems with a Dr. Seuss-like rhyming scheme in a matter of minutes. I wrote lyrics for a song after my daughter was in a car accident. Later I met up with a friend who plays guitar, sings and also writes songs, so we collaborate. I like telling an entire story in short form through poetry or lyrics.

Q: What are you working on at the minute, and what’s it about?

Finishing up a contemporary romance, Soft Core. A former adult film star starts life over in a small Iowa town.

Q:  What do you feel is the most important aspect for all new authors to remember when writing or creating their own stories?

That their eyes only on their story is not good enough. Their work needs to be PROFESSIONALLY edited. I cannot stress enough what a difference this will make between a so/so book and a really good book. Most authors cannot see the forest for the trees in their own work even though they think they can. This is what I’ve learned from working with an editor like Noah. He does freelance editing, btw.

Q: It looks like some of your works are self-published, what would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

The advantage is the freedom to write what you want to write. The disadvantage is you have to do all the work from cover design to getting it into the marketplace. And, as I’ve learned, you should never put unedited work out there. Find a good editor and invest in your book. It will pay off in the long run.

Q:  What is on tap for the rest of 2016?

I have a couple of contemporary romance projects I hope to release later this year. Also the second book of the Grinding Reality series which I write under my pen name, AJ Tillock, entitled Cool Beans. And another contemporary romance I’m close to completing, entitled Soft Core. And who knows what other surprises the year may hold?

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

Author Barbara Meyers Social Media Links:

Web Site:  http://www.barbarameyers.com

Blog: http://barbmeyers.wordpress.com/blog/

Facebook Author Pages: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraMeyersAuthorPage

https://www.facebook.com/AJTillock/?ref=tn_tnmn

Samhain Author Page:

https://www.samhainpublishing.com/author/210/barbara-meyers

Amazon Author Page:  http://amazon.com/author/barbarameyers

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/barbmeyers1/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/barbmeyers

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/barbara-meyers

Twitter: @barbmeyers and @ajtillock

Twitter URL:  https://twitter.com/barbmeyers

Draft2Digital:  http://books2read.com/author/barbara-meyers/subscribe/1/33163/

Please join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Barbara’s February Release, Fantasy Man. ~Tina