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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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AuThursday -Kat Henry Doran

kathy_4june2016Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am a nurse by (the) first profession. A volunteer position at the local Rape Crisis Service turned into a paid position and eventually I was promoted to Director of a four-county regional program serving more than 1,000 survivors of rape and child sexual assault, and their significant others, each year. Eventually, I went back to school and became a paralegal which turned into my current job as a legal nurse consultant.

So, what have you written?

Under Kat Henry Doran, I’ve written two full-length romantic mysteries, Captain Marvelous and Try Just Once More, both published through the Wild Rose Press. Try Just Once More won the Barclay Gold for best in romantic suspense several years ago

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

sh-cover_newWriting as Kat Henry Doran and Veronica Lynch, I’ve been part of four anthologies for TWRP:  Out of the Dark [Raising Kane] The Class of ’85 [ The List, Mad Dog and Archangel, Embraceable You]; Candy Hearts [For Keeps] and Haunting in the Garden [Caper Magic]. Each was a lot of fun to write. Currently, I am involved with an anthology out of the Maine Romance Writers group, Welcome to Serenity Harbor [my story is It Had to Be You]. Embraceable You was a finalist in the IDA contest a few years ago.

 

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

I write when I can which isn’t often enough I’m sorry to say. Weekends are the best time for me, especially between January and April.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

If I do, I take a nap and wait for it to go away.

What book/s are you reading at present?

I just finished Stephen King’s “On Writing”. Loved it, laughed out loud in fact. I’m a huge fan of audio books and just finished Sandra Brown’s “Sting”. Great story, terrific ending. More recently, Nora Roberts’ “Obsession” knocked my socks off.

How do you relax?

I sew. I like to design and create tote bags and aprons. While I’m doing that, I listen to the audiobooks so I’m able to kill two birds with one stone. I sell those totes and aprons [along with other items] at craft shows so I travel a lot and listen to audio books while driving.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read what you want to write, particularly works by those authors whose message reaches out to you. Go to conferences, large and small, and take workshops. Listen to the pros who’ve been there and done that. Take rejection with a grain of salt and remember, your writing will always improve. Above all, listen to what others are saying about your writing. If more than two people say the same thing [as in weak POV or conflict or plot structure] about your stuff, pay attention. One person’s thoughts may be full of beans, more than one is telling you something. Listen to it.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

www.facebook.com/wildwomenauthors

www.wildwomenauthorsx2.blogspot.com

www.amazon.com/author/KatDoran

www.amazon.com/author/VeronicaLynch

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Kat’s story TRY JUST ONCE MORE. ~Tina

AuThursday – Cerise Deland

Please help me welcom fellow Resplendence author, Cerise Deland.  So Cerise, when and why did you begin writing?

Not counting my writing from age 8 as anything professional, I would tell you that more than 25 years ago I began to write for newspapers, magazines and then corporations and finally fiction! (Although I often say that what I wrote in the corporate world was also fiction, the time I spent there was invaluable in terms of character studies. And because it was Capitol Hill in Washington, I learned ever so much more!

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

Tough question!  I think making it realistic is the biggest challenge to any writer. This means so many aspects, such as dialogue, action and period details must be accurate.

Q:  Do you have a specific writing style?

I am a good mimic. That quality made me a good speech writer on Capitol Hill and it makes me a good dialogue writer. Given that, I think my voice changes according to the period, but my themes do not. What are they? Ah. I have discovered them (as I think most writers do, over a long period of time just by writing) painstakingly.  They are that romance and love are essential to a full life. That love, when honored, soothes the wounds of reality and makes life joyful.

Q:  What books have most influenced your life most?

KATHERINE by Anya Seton I read when I was a teenager and it inspired me to write historical fiction that was accurate, dramatic and yes, romantic.  Kathleen Woodiwiss’s novels were the next most influential, because I saw that this kind of writing could be commercial and accurate.

Q:  What are your current projects?

Under my real name, I write a non-fiction book, but also a big novel about an American nurse on the battlefields of World War I. Also with my son, I write a screen play about a woman who saved French art from Nazi destruction in World War II.

As Cerise DeLand, I am finishing two projects –both erotic thrillers—with my dear good friend, Desiree Holt!

Q:   Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

I would not be where I am without the guidance and inspiration of those who head ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA, a wonderful organization that has helped to make female authors of fiction respected in this industry.

Q:   If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

One allllllllllllways wants to change something!  That’s why every author writes The Next Book!

Q:  Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Plotting. Plotting. Plotting!

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

My new website (not yet complete but working) at www.cerisedeland.com

or my blog, http://cerisedeland.blogspot.com

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Cerise’s Hat Trick!

Tina

Have you been Naughty Today?