AuThursday – Brandy Woods Snow

DSC_0096Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I have a BA in English/Writing from Clemson University. While creative writing has
always been my first love, the media has been my home for more than 17 years, during
which time I’ve built a strong platform that includes articles in Delta Sky magazine,
Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly, and Home Design & Décor magazine (Charlotte, Triangle). I have also worked in corporate communications,
marketing, public relations and business development for several regional and
international companies. At age 35, I finally embraced my true calling as a novelist and
began writing the first draft of what is now my debut release MEANT TO BE BROKEN.
I am a member of RWA and YARWA as well as a number of online romance-inspired
writing communities.

When I’m not writing, reading, or spending time with my husband and three kids, I also
enjoy kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as I can during football
season, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country
roads.

How do you make time to write?

I didn’t for the longest time, which is why it took me 10 years to write my first book after
the inspiration struck. I don’t make that mistake anymore. Life gets busy with the kids, a
husband that’s often away from home, and two businesses under my belt, but I’ve learned to take time where I can get it. My favorite place to write (and where I wrote most of MEANT TO BE BROKEN) is the school car line. I go early, park out front and have an hour or two for focused writing time. In the car line, there’s no laundry or dishes or
countless other chores calling my name. It’s just me and my notebook.

Honestly, though, I also have to give credit to my family. They are so supportive. They
understand this is my passion, and they are terrific about giving me the time I need to
steal away and write in private when inspiration is really kicking into high gear.

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

I wrote an entire blog on my path to publication for MEANT TO BE BROKEN, which
you can find here: http://brandywsnow.com/the-long-and-winding-road-to-publication-installment-1-a-timeline-of-meant-to-be-broken/. It gives a comprehensive look at the
process, from first inspiration to THE CALL.

But to give a quick summary, I did receive rejections on MEANT TO BE BROKEN. I’d
lie if I said they didn’t sting. They do, and there’s no getting around that. But for me, that
was the trick. So many people tell you to shrug off the rejection and consider it one step
closer. And that’s true to a certain degree, but I don’t recommend just shrugging it off.
Sure the industry is highly subjective, and in most cases you’ll get that “it’s not you, it’s
me” explanation after the “no thanks,” but there’s nothing wrong with taking a moment
to FEEL the rejection. Scream. Yell. Cry. Go to the gym and beat on the heavy bag for a
while. Let it out, get in touch with that negative outflow and then harness it and repurpose it—pour it back into your drive to continue onwards, to find success.

Can you tell us your story of getting “THE CALL”?

I got THE EMAIL—the one that led to THE CALL—in July 2017. I was standing in the
checkout line at a local department store, waiting to pay for a fab new pair of shoes when the email notification dinged and appeared on my phone screen. I opened it immediately and cried—tears rolling sort of crying—in the middle of everything.
THE CALL was incredible. A small press publisher, Filles Vertes Publishing, had read
my manuscript and was completely taken. The owner, Myra Fiacco, shared my vision for
it and had a plan moving forward. I loved the fact they were open to my being an active
part in the process, even allowing my input on the final cover design. It took a month to
negotiate contract specifics and call in other outstanding submissions. In the end, I knew
FVP was the perfect place for my book, and I officially signed the contract in August
2017.

What are you working on at the minute?

I think for the moment the question might be what am I not working on? LOL I’m in one
of those unique spaces of time where I’m able to see the industry from several different
angles all at once. While I’m promoting the release of my debut YA contemporary
romance, I’m also busy writing the sequel and another WIP that just won’t leave me
alone (I’ve tried to put it aside until I’m finished with the other one but it just won’t go!).
I’m also once again in the trenches, querying another standalone YA contemporary
romance and am an acting mentor in the #WriteMentor program, helping two mentees
polish their manuscripts for the upcoming agent round in September.

It’s busy, but I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. And I’m excited to be able to
give a little back to the writing community that has been so good to me.

What do you think of “trailers” for books? 

I love book trailers if they’re done right. I think they are essential, especially in cases like
mine where I’m trying to reach the YA market. The younger generations have been
raised on technology and the ease of access to visual information on social media
platforms. Trailers are a perfect way to tap into that vein.
My book trailer was done by Brando Jones Films. I wanted something a little more
cinematic, and they came through with flying colors, planning and putting together a
small production piece that captured MEANT TO BE BROKEN with such style and
artistry.
You can see the trailer for MEANT TO BE BROKEN here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9LjG_02TF8&t=6s

How do you relax?

Oh, lots of ways! Spending time with family is my number one, closely followed by a
long hot bath with a good book. I also have to plug my favorite product, the Spoonk Mat,
which is a therapeutic acupuncture mat that I lay on to alleviate stress and anxiety.
Other than that, I’d have to say a trip to the SC coast always works wonders, too, with
heartaches and all being healed by the sea.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Three things jump to mind immediately.
Find your tribe. A healthy group of critique partners is a necessity to get your manuscript polished to perfection. They’re also great for rooting you on during querying, consoling you during rejections, and cheering you on when that Call does come in.
Read in your genre and then read some more. I know you’ve heard this advice before. It’s
true. The truest true that ever was true. Just do it!

Never give up. Rejection is a part of the process, but what determines our success is our
ability to keep going in the face of adversity. I love to recall this quote from Oliver
Goldsmith: “Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall.”

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I do my best to stay active on a range of social media platforms and on my website’s
blog. I’ve also just started a fledgling YouTube channel to begin posting vlogs soon. Find
me at any of the below:

www.BrandyWSnow.com
www.twitter.com/brandy_snow
www.facebook.com/BWSnowWrites
www.goodreads.com/goodreadscombrandy_snow
www.tumblr.com/authorbrandywoodssnow
www.amazon.com/author/brandywsnow

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

Absolutely! The book is told in a dual POV from both the female (Rayne) and male
(Gage) protagonist. Here’s an excerpt from the book’s opening in Rayne’s POV. I love
these opening lines because they hint at the relationship to come, they give you a good
sense of the small town Southern setting and they set-up the conflict Rayne will face
with her Mama.

MeantToBeBrokenFrontCover

At 9:30 Saturday morning, I find out Preston Howard wants to date me. At 11:30, my mama hears it from old lady McAlister and has a “spell” in aisle three of the Piggly Wiggly. It’s taken seventeen years, but I finally understand the two things my social life and Mama have in common. They’re both erratic and one usually suffers because of the other.

The store manager calls me on my cell and asks me to come get her. He has my number
because he’s Daddy’s best friend’s brother and used me to babysit his kids a few times last year. I answer, expecting another job offer.

“Rayne? This is Dave Sullivan, you know, the manager down at the Piggly Wiggly? There’s been an incident with your mama.”

Apparently, it’d happened in front of the Luzianne tea bags. She was comparing the family size to smaller ones when Mrs. McAlister offered her a coupon… and a piece of news.

The details get a little sketchy from there—something about her sinking to the floor and
gasping for air. That’s when the manager came over with one of those small brown paper sacks they use to bag up ice cream and had her breathe in it. A nurse and a vet, both in the crowd assembled around her, agreed from their varied medical expertise it didn’t appear to be life-threatening. When the paper bag seemed to work, he decided to call me instead of the ambulance.

I pull into the parking lot ten minutes later. She’s sitting on the front bench beside the
automatic doors where the employees go to smoke, under the “I’m Big on the Pig!” sign. Mrs. McAlister sits beside her, a little too close, waving a folded-up circular in her face. I wonder what the store employees and shoppers think of me, casually parking the car, walking-not-running, and looking both ways before crossing the main traffic flow. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out they’re all watching from between the weekly specials scribbled on the plate-glass windows.

I don’t feel the need to rush. It isn’t a heart attack or stroke. I call it her bipolar though Daddy gets mad when I refer to it like that. The diagnosis is anxiety, better known as my evil little sister—always around, always a pain, and always ruining my life.

This sort of episode has happened before, just not too often in public. In most societies that’s considered good news—but not in the South. They say we don’t hide our crazy, we dress it up and parade it on the front porch. And even if we don’t, someone else will do the parading for us—telegraph, telephone, tell-a-southern woman. We know how to reach out and touch some people.

Mrs. McAlister jumps up from the bench and grabs my arm as I step up on the curb. “I
suwannee, child. She liked to turned over her buggy and spilt them groceries everywhere.”

Talking to some of the older ladies in town always feels like walking out of real life and into some part ofSteel Magnolias. She gives me her version of the sordid details. Mama created quite a scene, not just with her episode but also by her scandalous choice of groceries. The mayonnaise was the only casualty, rolling out the leg hole of the kiddie seat portion of the cart when Mama accidentally gave it a rough shove while collapsing on the linoleum.

Mrs. McAlister hadn’t bothered to pick that up and put it back in the buggy, which was now waiting by the customer service desk. It wasn’t Dukes Mayonnaise. She leans in close to whisper because how embarrassing would that be for Mama. To her, it’s further proof Mama hadn’t been feeling well.MeantToBeBrokenFullCover

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AuThursday – Gloria Joynt-Lang

Beyond Circumstances Blog Tour BannerGloria's Author pic

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in prison. In fact, I headed to prison every morning for twentyfive years as an employee of the Canadian Criminal Justice System. As a Correctional Officer and Parole Officer, I was used to spending a good portion of the day writing reports. When I retired, I found myself missing the writing component of the job, so I started writing fiction. I’m a proud book nerd, who can be found lurking in bookstores enjoying the new book smell.

I left the city a few years ago, for a small community in Alberta, Canada. I spend my summers at the lake with my husband and our two dogs. During the winter months, we escape the cold and head to sunny California.

How do you make time to write?

Being retired one would think I would have lots of time to write, but I still have to make the effort to set time aside. I usually don’t start writing until late morning, as I need a good workout first. My husband would agree I’m a better human when I burn off energy. I normally write for a couple of hours, take a long coffee break, and then work another hour or two. If I’m busy doing something else during the day, I try to sit down and write for at least a couple of hours in the evening. I have more on the go now than when I was working full time. My husband is quite sociable, so he ensures I take time off to hang out with family and friends on a regular basis. When I first started, I wasn’t so good at setting boundaries and I would write all day. I’m much better now. Achieving balance is key in whatever you do.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block?

Surprisingly, not as often as I thought I would, but it still happens from time to time. When it does, I try not to worry and do something else. Going for long walks or heading to the movie theater seems to help get the creative juices flowing again.

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

When I first started sending the dreaded query letter, I thought agents and publishers would be brutal in their rejection. I envisioned them to be meanspirited and total dream crushers. But they aren’t. I’ve received some wonderful rejection letters. They’re polite, professional, and usually they noted that my work was not a right fit for them. But they also mentioned that it’s a very subjective business and encouraged me to continue to query. Most of them were form letters, but every once

in a while I received some specific feedback. It was like hitting the jackpot when this happened, even though it was still a big fat no. A few times I did get discouraged, but my wonderful husband always steers me out a funk.

Can you tell us your story of getting, “The call”?

I was having one of those downer days when I received the offer from Fiery Seas Publishing. It was late in the evening, and I was just about to take my pity party to bed when I opened the email with an offer. I ran down the hallway of our house to tell my husband, causing our Yorkie dog to lose her mind. There was a lot of pandemonium. My husband started calling our family and friends to share the good news. I was pretty quiet about writing, so a lot of them were shocked that I had even written a book.

What genre are your books?

I write contemporary romance. After seeing the darker side of humanity, I felt drawn towards uplifting stories. I deal with a rather heavy topic in Beyond Circumstances, but it’s a love story at its heart.

What draws you to this genre?

There are a lot of horrible things that happen in the world, and unfortunately, they often happen to really great people who deserve better. I’m an optimist, but I’m also a realist, so I don’t believe a positive attitude will overcome all obstacles or falling in love means you won’t have problems, but it can sometimes make a difference in getting through a difficult time. Romance novels provide a sense of hope and I think we can all benefit from hope.

Do you have any advice for Aspiring Writers?

Write what you’re passionate about, and don’t give up. Often people will look at what a particular agent or publisher is looking for in their wish lists, and that’s okay as long as it’s what you want to write about. If not, create something fresh. Something that hasn’t been done before.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’d love to hear from readers through twitter, facebook, or my website.

https://twitter.com/glojoyntlang

https://www.facebook.com/gloria.joyntlang.1

https://www.gloriajoynt-lang.com/

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

Absolutely.

Beyond CircumstancesShe reached into her purse to grab her phone. Hopefully, tow trucks operated on

Saturdays in this rural area.

Crap. The phone was dead. She had meant to charge it, but then forgot. Just calm down, she told herself. Maybe there’s a charger in the glove box. Frantically, she searched. Damn.

At least she had a full tank of gas. She could avoid freezing to death for several hours.

Hours? God no. She couldn’t imagine being stuck in the vehicle for even several more minutes.

Maybe someone would come along. Yes, she was in the countryside, but it wasn’t some remote mountain village in Peru. She was only about an hour and a half from Chicago, and although it wasn’t a highway, it was a paved road. She thought back to how many cars she had passed on the way to town. She cursed, unable to recall any.

She tilted her head back and closed her eyes. No, she wasn’t going to cry. Not because she was strong, but because tears weren’t going to get her car to move back onto the road. She opened her eyes and looked around. It was so hard to see with all the snow swirling around. It was what meteorologists referred to as a ground blizzard. There wasn’t snow falling from the sky. Rather the white stuff was violently twisting up from the ground. The sixty-mile-per-hour winds were creating havoc on visibility. If only the wind could slow down for a second.

Then it happened. There were a few seconds when the wind paused, and Lexie was able to catch a glimpse.

“A driveway,” she exclaimed. She did a quick fist pump in the air. The gravel clearing was only a few yards away. The driveway would lead to a house. She would walk up the snow

covered road and ask to use a phone.

Oh, but what if it was a long driveway, or what if no one was home? Or maybe it was just an entrance to some wheat field with no house or residents.

She slammed her hands on the steering wheel in frustration, making the horn blare.

No, no. Don’t you dare cry.

She stared into the distance as she racked her brain for options. None came to her. Finally, she pulled the hood on her jacket over her head. She would take her chances and trek down the lane. If it looked like it was too far, she would simply return to her car.

She was about to open the door when she saw the outline of someone approaching. Relief washed over her. However, it quickly turned to fright when she saw an ax-wielding, masked man coming toward her.

Oh, my God. I’m going to die.

Quickly, she locked her door. If he was intent on killing her, she wasn’t going to make it easy for him. No, he would have to smash the window and pry her clenched hands off the steering wheel. She would make damn sure he exerted energy while dragging her away. Bludgeoning her to death would be work.

AuThursday – Megan O’Russell

Boy of Blood BannerTell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Megan O’Russell, and I am the author of three YA series: Girl of Glass, How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days, and The Girl Without Magic. I am also a professional musical theatre performer currently on The Wizard of Oz national tour.

How do you make time to write?

I use any chance I can get. Backstage at my dressing room station, on the tour bus, late at night after a show. Writing is a priority for me, so I’ll do what I must to make the time. I’m also lucky enough to have a partner who supports my checking out of life to type whenever I can.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Not very often (knock on wood). It’s usually more of trying to find a way to untie a knot in the plot. When it happens, I like to hike. Find a nice long trail and just go for it. By the time my legs are hurting so badly I don’t want to think about them anymore, I’ve figured out where I want the story to go.

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

Oh, I’ve gotten plenty of rejections. There are some that stung. Like when an agency or publisher requested a full manuscript. There are some that made me giggle. Like when you get a rejection for a book that was already published a year ago.

I know it sounds awful, but you’ve really just got to brush it off and keep going. There will be plenty of nos for every yes. You have to accept rejection as a part of the process.

Can you tell us your story of getting, “The call”?

It’s happened a few times. Always through email. You see the response in your inbox. Your stomach soars. You warn yourself that it’s probably a rejection. You open the email, read it three times because you’re sure you’ve missed the part where they say they don’t want the project. Then you squeal and dance and buy nice wine. Getting a manuscript accepted makes any day great!

What genre are your books?

All of my books are young adult, but each is in a slightly different genre.

The Girl of Glass series is YA dystopian.

The Girl Without Magic is a YA fantasy.

And How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days is YA Urban Fantasy.

What draws you to this genre?

I love young adult because of the amazing possibilities it offers. You’re dealing with protagonists who are entering a world of firsts. First love, first big mistake, first taste of independence. But they also have the autonomy to move in the world of adults without the weight of actual adulthood.

Do you have any advice for Aspiring Writers?

Just write. You can’t edit a blank page. If you write a thousand words and have to edit nine-hundred, you’ve still got a hundred words left, which is a lot better than nothing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

On my website (which is home to my author blog): https://www.meganorussell.com/
My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ORussellauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeganORussell
And on my non-author blog: https://lifebeyondexaggeration.com/

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

Sure! See below!

“You’re going to throw us out to starve? You’ve got extra food and space and you’re going to send us out into the city as soon as you’re done with us? Let us burn in the riots or bleed for the Vampers? Better yet, be meat to feed the wolves? You’re worse monsters than any of them! At least when a wolf wants you dead, he’s got the courtesy to do it fast with no lies about saving the world or pretending it isn’t plain old murder!”

A sharp pop sounded from the pack of guards. A tiny silver dart hit the side of the woman’s neck, instantly dropping her to the ground.

It was only a tranquilizer dart to make the woman sleep, but the outsiders didn’t seem to know or care.

The others in the screaming woman’s group ran forward, stepping between her and the guard that had shot the woman. Screams echoed from all sides of the Amber Dome as people started to panic.

“They’re going to kill us!” a man shouted, charging toward the guards and hitting one in the stomach with a shovel before being knocked backward by another guard, who shot a silver dart into his neck.

All of the guards in the dome surged toward the fighting. And the rest of the outsiders ran toward the fight, as well.

“Beauford, no!” Catlyn screamed, catching his arm as he moved to join the fray.

A young man had run forward and was using a ladder to push back the guards. A dart struck him in the chest, but two women grabbed up the ladder, using it like a battering ram to attack the guards.

“It won’t help!” T held onto Beauford’s other arm, but he was strong. The two women wouldn’t be able to hold him much longer.

“Follow me.” Nola added her weight to Beauford’s arm as she helped Catlyn and T drag him away.

“We can’t let them do this to us!” Beauford shouted, fighting to pull away from them.

“You can’t stop it either!” Nola said. “Try and fight if you want, but it’ll only be one more dart they have to fire.”

Beauford froze for a moment before his arms sagged.

“Good, now come on.” Running away from the fighting, Nola led them toward the back of the dome, where thick rows of vines sat low along the wall.

Ducking under the leaves, Nola winced as she felt a vine snap.

More voices were shouting in the dome now. Nola glanced back. She could barely make out a dozen black-clad guards running up the stairs to join the fight.

“Get down and be quiet,” Nola whispered, as she pushed aside the last of the vines. A set of low, thorny bushes were between them and the glass. Creating a gap between bushes, she ignored the thorns that pulled at her palms, crouching down and using her weight to ease the way through the brambles for the others.

“Are we just going to hide back here?” Beauford hissed as soon as he was through.

“Yes, we are.” Nola leaned back against the glass.

The sounds of the fighting were already changing.

Guards were shouting orders, and Lenora Kent’s voice cut above it all.

“I don’t care what you’re trying to do, stay the hell off my plants!”

Nola smiled. Of course, her mother would be standing in the middle of a fight, screaming about plants.

Blood oozed out of the scratches on her hands. She wiped it onto her gardening suit; she would be able to wash her hands soon enough.

“I didn’t take you as the type to run from a fight,” T whispered, as the last of the screaming stopped. “I figured you for the type to run in and try to stop it.”

“That lady shouldn’t have attacked the guard,” Nola said, closing her eyes against the bright sun. “But the domes shouldn’t be using you the way they are. Sometimes I feel like the right thing is too abstract for me to understand.”

“How poetic.” Catlyn smirked.

“But I do know that all those people will be put outside on the road before dark, and I don’t want that to happen to the three of you. The most right thing I could think of was to keep you three safe. So that’s what I did.”

“Who the hell’s got time for a moral compass when north keeps changing?” T smiled.

AuThursday – Tessa McFionn

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

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

How do you make time to write?

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

Do you ever get Writer’s Block?

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

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

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

How do you select the names of your characters?

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

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

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

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

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

How do you relax?

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

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

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

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

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

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was when she realized he was naked.

 

AuThursday – Leslie Scott

Please give a warm welcome to my fellow RWA Online member Leslie Scott.  I’m so happy to have her joining us.  Leslie, Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well, I’m a full-time writer and homeschool educator of my gifted ten-year-old son (he teaches me math and dissects sheep brains, no kidding). I’ve been a writer my entire life (winning awards and contests all through school), but it wasn’t until about five years ago, I decided to actively pursue my passion. Since then, I live and breathe the characters and stories I write. Nothing, to me, is more exciting than a good story (whether I write it or not).

Currently, I write spicy Contemporary and New Adult Romance through The Wild Rose Press, though I’m hoping to dabble in a more quirky paranormal romance series soon.

What excites you most about your current WIP?

When you read my new release (The Finish Line) you’ll be introduced to the heroine’s snarky baby sister, Breanna. My current WIP is the third novel of the Arkadia Fast series and Breanna’s novel. She’s cocky, sassy, and all sorts of fun! Also, rather than street racing (the backdrop for the other two novels in the series), Breanna takes us into the world of big-time drag racing. So, not only is she a different type of character for me to write, but the world is brand new for me.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Nah, not usually. As long as I’m writing something, I’m happy. Some days I can throw five to ten thousand words to a page. Other days I’m lucky to hit five hundred.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

No. There was a time when I was a jerk about this and said I didn’t believe writer’s block existed. But then, I read where a famous author said if you get writer’s block then something is wrong with your story and you need to fix it. That got me to thinking. When I first started out there were a lot of half-finished manuscripts (maybe one day I’ll revisit those, lol). Because in truth, I had no real grasp on what conflict really was. Not so much that I could complete an entire novel. Once I figured that out, finishing them became easier. If you’re stuck, there’s a reason.

For me? I don’t allow myself to get stuck. I live by the rule of three. At any given moment, I have at least three projects going. If I can’t figure something out with one, I move on to another. Currently: I have a novel (the third of my Arkadia Fast series) in first draft stages, a novel, and novella in edits with editors, a romantic suspense novel I’m revising to submit, and a proposal I’m working on submitting. It sounds like a lot, but it keeps me motivated and inspired.

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

I’ve only ever submitted (unsolicited) one manuscript. With that manuscript, I received a mixed bag of rejections and requests (and eventually multiple contract offers from small presses). A few I laughed (form letters that had zero relevance to the submission), a few I rolled my eyes (like that one editor who told me I needed a critique partner before I submitted again, not realizing that my critique partner was a bestselling romance author), and one, in particular, was like a punch in the gut.

The gut-punch came after weeks of a back and forth with the editor and her enthusiasm for my writing and my novel (we’re talking BIG house) only to get a form rejection with no personal response. Then a friend pointed out to me that just because you’re rejected doesn’t mean you aren’t good. It means at that time, that particular publisher doesn’t have a place for your novel.

I suck it up and keep trying. I make sure to be polite and kind and grateful that an editor took the time out of their busy schedule to talk to me and especially they read or make comments on my manuscript. I make those connections because I never know when I might have exactly what they are looking for.

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

It’s a depressing story, actually. No party, no celebration. I was sick as a dog, sitting in the waiting room at the urgent care clinic when I got the email. I looked at it, made a strained attempt to smile, coughed up half my lung, and then went back to see the doctor. I told my doctor I just sold my first novel and she celebrated with a little dance. But me, I was too sick to care in that moment.

About two weeks later it finally hit me. From then on, it’s been rather busy and non-stop. My dream has become reality, it’s a surreal and amazing thing.

How do you relax?

Writing or reading, usually. Both relax me and make me happy. There are a lot of other things we have to do as authors, so sitting down for the sake of just writing takes my mind off those responsibilities as well as everything else that comes with being an adult.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

In the words of Nora Roberts: ASFK. Ass to seat, fingers to keys. Get your butt in the chair and write. Never stop writing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website:  http://lesliescottromance.com

On facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lesliescottwrites

On twitter: @leslieSwrites

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from the Finish Line.~Tina

AuThursday – Kryssie Fortune

HOWR by KF Banner

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

I’m first and foremost a reader. It’s an addiction. I also love words—the way they go together and paint pictures fascinates me. That’s why I write. I’m a Brit who doesn’t drink tea, read the Times or have a stiff upper lip. I cry at romantic movies and weep for characters in books.  I live by the North Sea on the East Yorkshire coast and make a point of walking on the beach every day.

How do you make time to write?

I write anywhere. On the bus. In the car—as long as I’m not driving—and on planes. Once I decided to finally put pen to paper, I couldn’t stop. Writing’s my second addiction. The third, and most important, is my husband and kids, so as addictions go, I’m okay, I guess.

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

I’d love to say I shrug them off and ignore them. Honestly? Get real. I hate them. It took me a while to find my writer’s voice, and I honed my skills with magazine articles. I had about a 50% success rate but when someone turned me down, I hurt. Fortunately, I’ve not had one of my books rejected. If I did, I’d take a serious look at the manuscript and consider what I’d done wrong.

What genre are your books?

I started out writing paranormal romance. I’ve almost finished the first draft of my next stand-alone Scattered Siblings story, To Submit to an Overlord. In a new venture for me, I’ve written a very naughty Regency romance, but we won’t even start the edits for a while. My other books are contemporary romances, one – Taken by Twin Doms – set in a pleasure hotel and the other four—my Heroes of Westhorpe Ridge Series set in a fictional North Carolina Town.

What draws you to this genre?

I love all romance genres as long as they have happy endings and no cliff hangers. Each time I finish a book, I think, This is my favorite genre. I love the escapism of a well-crafted romance.

How did you come up with the idea for your series, HEROES OF WESTHORPE RIDGE?

Boy, was it hard. Back in Autumn 2016, my publisher, Loose id, put out a call to their authors for three linked holiday stories. I couldn’t think of anything for weeks and I’d decided to pass. Three weeks before the deadline, I came up with a decent storyline, but I had to write fast. I have this great relationship with my editor and I kept telling her, They’re coming. Two months later, I had three novellas about former military men trying to rebuild their lives in the North Carolina town of Westhorpe Ridge. There’s an evil great aunt who is still pulling the heroine’s string from beyond the grave, millions of dollars to inherit, and husbands to find. Although the books are hot and explicit, to me, story always comes before sex. The mobsters, spies, and would-be murders add another dimension to the romance.

What are your current projects?

So many. As I said, I’ve almost finished the first draft of To Submit to an Overlord. I have a vampire story just itching to be told. I always write in the third person, but this one might be a first person story from the captive heroine’s point of view. Then there’s this romantic suspense series I’ve been making notes for. Oh, and another Regency romance.

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

I can put on a confident, outgoing veneer, but inside I’m an introvert. The first time I gave a book reading, my bones turned to jello. I’m proud that I did it though.

Kryssie loves to hear from readers. Here are her social media links:

Facebook  

Twitter    

Blog      

Website   

Or you can email her direct on Kryssie.Fortune@aim.com

Do you have a sexy teaser you’d like to share with us?KF_HeroesofWesthorpeRidge3D

She slowly lowered the zipper on the front of her catsuit. He whistled in a breath when he saw what she wore beneath it. White lace stretched over her breasts before the boned and laced bodice flowed over her flat stomach. Once she’d hooked her thumbs in the catsuit, she wriggled her hips and pushed it over her thighs. It pooled around her ankles, and as she stepped out of the folds, she kicked it over by the wall.

When she reached to unlace the front of her basque, he snapped, “Leave it.”

Again she smiled behind her cat mask, happy she’d made the right choice.

Master Jay lifted a blindfold from the table next to his chair. Lace trimmed and made from thick satin, the blindfold offered a chance to lose herself in a euphoria that blocked out reality and let her drop into subspace. Once he slipped it over her eyes, she concentrated on nothing but her desires and the way he filled her with wicked longing.

He beckoned her closer. “Come here and straddle me. I want a lap dance first.”

Abigail moved toward him, hips swaying as she rested one hand on his shoulder and walked around him. Once she stood behind him, she leaned toward him and ran her hands over his chest. The movement made the smooth blonde ends of her wig whip around his shoulders.

She repeated the action twice more before she completed the full circle around him. Rotating on the spot, letting him study her heels and basque before she took a step away and turned until she had her back to him. Running both hands down her right leg, she gave him a long look at her lace-covered ass. She stood slowly, but when she heard his breath hitch, she repeated the action, running her hands over her other thigh and down her leg until she held her ankle.

Tossing her head, she let the ends of her blonde wig slide over her body as she flowed upright, taking the move into an overhead stretch that emphasized her narrow waist and generous breasts. She turned toward him, hips swaying as she moved in so close she stood between his legs. The way he sat there unmoving felt like a challenge. She might be submissive by nature, but she liked how he made her work for it.

White Reviews by Crystal button

Writer Wednesday – Find your tribe

Writing-GroupOn my writing journey, I know I would not be where I am today without the tribe of writers around me.

Having a supportive partner and family is important too, and I’m fortunate to have that as well.

But when I write myself into a corner, cuz I’m a pantser and we do that, DH is of no help.   But I can call my friend Arden Richards, whose not yet published but is the best plotter I know.

I belong to a number of tribes –

The F-M Word Weavers – This is my local critique group.  Arden is a member as well.  Also in my group are published Authors Maddy Barone and Mary Jean Adams.  The wealth of knowledge in this group is wonderful, and my writing has greatly improved over the years thanks to these ladies.   I found this group on Meet-up and It helps that most of the group is made up of Romance Authors.

Romance Writers of America – I highly recommend this group if you are looking to establish a career in the Romance Writing Industry.   I’ve been a member since 2004 and belong to an online chapter.   I met my first critique partner Holli Winters through RWA.    If you want to learn more about this particular tribe I recommend, if you have Netflix, that you watch “Love Between the Covers”.  First time DH watched it with me he said, “Sounds like your writer friends.”  Yes, yes it does.

Of course there is also Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers or America.  As I do not write in these genres, I’m unfamiliar with their membership. 

Romance Divas – I’ve recently joined Divas, but I have friends who have been members for years and rave about the mentorship and learning there.   It seems too that Divas is on the leading edge of trends within the Romance Industry.    Also they are FREE, so that is helpful for those watching their budget.

Marketing for Romance Writers – Despite the name, more than Romance Writers belong to this community.   If you follow my AuThursday interviews, many of the writers are from this group.  This group is also FREE. 

Writer Zen Garden – I’ve been with Writer Zen Garden for about five years, brought in by my friend and founding member, A. Catherine Noon.   Writer Zen Garden has authors of different genres.   They are wonderful for writers just starting out and maybe not so Romance focused.   To me the focus is very creative and  wonderful  cheerleading group. And Guess what – also FREE.

I continue to join groups as I see what they have to offer and if it is a good fit for me.   I highly recommend that if you aren’t a member of a tribe that you join one.   There is something about the writing journey that shouldn’t be done in a bubble.   I mean you can, but there are so many options to connect with people and learn, why wouldn’t you. 

The groups above have helped me through Writer’s Block, Rejection, Plotting, Marketing, Networking, and supporting me through my writing journey.   I can’t imagine writing without my tribes. 

~Tina