AuThursday – Stanalei Fletcher

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Please welcome Stanalei Fletcher to the Clog Blog.

Thanks so much for having me today as part of my Blog Tour sponsored by Reviews by Crystal. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my writing world.

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

-I was born in small town in Idaho and raised in an even smaller town, still in Idaho. It was there, through my school years, I had an inkling that I might have a bit of talent for writing stories. I’d even won a contest in high school for a short story.

How do you make time to write?

-Until recently, I struggled to get the time I wanted to write. I set aside Tuesday and Thursday evenings and as much as Saturday as I can get after my chores. But during NANOWRIMO this year, I committed to get up early every morning and write. It was such a success, that I’m committed make it my new routine.

What genre are your books?

-I’ve wrapped up a romantic suspense series. There are five books in the series and they were a blast to write. I also have time-travel story and plans for a contemporary small town series. All the books are romances.

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What draws you to this genre?

-I love romances. I love the promise a happy ending where 1 + 1 doesn’t equal 2, it equals 3. It equals “us”. Where two people create a third, greater than two, entity. What other genre offers that?

What are your current projects?

-I’m currently working on the first book in a two book series for a contemporary, home town romance.

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

-I am an introvert. It helps when I need to hole up and spend time alone to create stories. However, it’s a challenge when I need to market and put myself in group to network. I’m learning, but it’s still hard.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

-Great question! I’d have to say my grandchildren. It’s next to impossible to say “no” when there’s something involving my grandchildren. Whether it’s tending or baseball games, it’s challenging to write when the kids want me around.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

-The best advice I can offer aspiring writers is to study craft, study story. If you want to rise with the cream at the top, you need to learn how to write a story that reaches your reader’s heart and mind. Never stop improving. Stories are the stuff life is made of. Make yours worth giving up hours to read.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

-I can be found in a lot of areas on the World Wide Web. If you stop by my website here: http://www.stanaleifletcher.com/index.html, you can find all my other hangouts, including a place to sign up to join my reader’s club.

Thank you so much for having me here and taking time to meet your audience.

 

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AuThursday – Kara O’Neal

021Please welcome my fellow Resplendence Writer Kara O’Neal to the Clog Blog.  Kara – Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a teacher with three children who are kind people and talented artists. I’ve been married to a wonderful man for almost twenty years, who is also a talented artist. I have always been an avid reader, loving books written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Carolyn Keene, and Louisa May Alcott then on to Jane Austen, Mary Balogh and a plethora of others. My active imagination, which got me into trouble in school because I was often day dreaming, got to work and eventually I wrote my own story. I never thought I’d be an author. It didn’t even cross my mind until after I’d graduated college. But that’s the grand thing about life. A person can decide to do anything at any time. I’m so grateful I’ve had this opportunity.

How do you make time to write?

I write just about anywhere. That’s the only way I get it done. I’ve written in the car, in doctors’ offices, waiting for one of my children to come out of rehearsal, in those few minutes before meetings start, and while I’m cooking supper. Whenever I have a free moment, I’m writing.

What are your current projects?

I have finished the 10th book in the Pikes Run Series – The Cowboy’s Embrace – and I’m preparing to send it to my editor soon. I have also finished my 11th book in the series, but it still needs to go through the critique process. It also doesn’t have a title. (Yikes!)

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

For me, it’s making sure they sound like men. Sometimes I can have a male character explain something with flowery language and several sentences, but when I go back and read it, I realize it’s way too much. Short and sweet – that’s what I say to myself when a male character is talking about feelings or working through some sort of conflict. It usually helps.

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

I’m an introvert until I get to know the person or environment then I’m comfortable and can be the “life of the party”. For the most part though, I’m quiet. Therefore, this makes it hard to talk about myself and to market myself. I don’t want to do it, so I usually steer away from social media and other avenues of a similar nature.

What is your Kryptonite?

Hmmm. Well, with writing it would have to be the television show, Once Upon A Time. If I turn that show on – usually through Netflix or Hulu – nothing will get done. I can’t tear myself away from the love story of Emma Swan and Captain Hook. (Even though I’ve seen the episodes a million times!) And now I’m blushing because y’all know how much I watch it!

So, when it’s time to write, I can’t have that show playing in the background.

My other weakness would be rain. When it’s raining outside, all I want to do is stay under the covers and write or read or watch a movie.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Finish the book. Even if you know it’s terrible. The best thing you can do for yourself is finish, because the only way to get better is to edit and revise your current work. If you delete or tear up what you’ve done because it’s awful, you’re only going to be in the same spot you were before. Keep going. Write so you can revise. Then once you’ve finished, find a critique group so they can tell you how awful it is, and you can figure out how to fix it. It’ll be hard to hear, but it’s so worth it.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

A few places! Here are the links:

My website: www.karaoneal.com.

My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KaraONeal84/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/karaoneal7/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kara-ONeal/e/B00FL19TH8/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1465007993&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/kara+o’neal?_requestid=845025

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7278350.Kara_O_Neal

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraONealAuthor

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

I sure do! The following is from Love’s Promise – Book 6 in the Pikes Run Series.

She bit down on her back teeth, needing to find some semblance of control. It was as if she felt his lips running over her flesh, and she had the distinct impression he would lick every part of her if given the chance. And she suddenly wanted to give him that chance.

Join me Saturday when we read an excerpt from Kara’s book THE EDITOR’S KISSES. ~Tina

AuThursday – Vivian Kohlman

LichtPlease welcome Vivian Kohlman to the Clog Blog.  Vivian – Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born and raised—by a single mother—in the Washington, DC area, with one older sister. I’m currently married with no kids (intentionally), and still live in the DC area. I love this town so much that even after my sister moved to Los Angeles, I just couldn’t make the switch—though I tried to live there a couple of times.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in English and an MBA in the Management of Global Information Technology (IT). I work as an IT Consultant for federal agencies and private companies, and I love my job…but I love my hobby—writing romance novels—even more! I picked up writing as a hobby only a few years ago and I’m already on my fifth book as part of the Young and Privileged of Washington, DC series. And I’m sure there are many more to come!

Aside from writing, I enjoy travelling and hiking (well, walking around wooded areas—low-impact hiking, you could say). And I love champagne brunches and Friday happy hours, or taking a walk in nice weather.

How did you come up with the idea for your YOUNG AND PRIVILEGED series?

The very first book started with the urge to write about a story of my youth, but making it play out and end much differently than it did in reality. I used the experiences and characters of my friends and me in our teens and twenties (in all of the books). The first book was very personal; the subsequent books flowed from there.

Most people think of Washington, DC as only a political place, full of stuffy congressmen and sleazy lobbyists. But the DC I know is much cooler, and much livelier. My stories focus on the part of society that doesn’t care much for politics—young and privileged adults who are lucky enough to enjoy life and all the nice things this area has to offer.

Why did I focus on this group? Because their life is fundamentally different than the average young adult’s—and it’s exciting. They live like Paris Hilton or a Kardashian—without the fame and notoriety. I think Gossip Girl (the TV show and the books) helped to lead me to this series, but on behalf of DC youth instead of NY.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on book #5 of the series right now, which is a follow-on to book #4 (“Girls Like Me”). Book 5 (still unnamed) continues the story of Ava and her boyfriend; in book 4, they met and got together.

All of the books in the series can be read alone, in any order, but it’s best to follow the series’ books sequentially to best understand the characters and storylines. Since I’m just starting out as a writer, and self-publishing, I’ve begun to try to market the series and have set up my website, Facebook page, etc—these are all in the beginning stages right now, but I plan to work more on them in 2018.

What genre are your books?

Contemporary romance. Although the characters are aged anywhere from late high-school to late twenties, the books are filled with scenarios and language that only mature audiences should read.

What draws you to this genre?

Who doesn’t love a romance? Especially one that is earth shattering and deep…a love that causes emotional elation and is usually followed by destruction. I get lost in contemporary romance stories, and hope my readers get lost in mine!

Writing romances allows me to express stories and characters from a view of what I find romantic—which isn’t always the norm. I don’t write erotica, but some scenes can be steamy. Writing about the ups and downs of falling in love, or out of love, is as much fun to write as reading about it!

How much research do you do?

Because most of what I write is from my own experiences, I don’t need to do too much research. But each story may cause me to research and item or two, and sometimes ask people for their experiences. On top of that, I sometimes choose to try out new locations around the DC area myself.

Most of the locations—bars, restaurants, neighborhoods, etc—I visit myself often, and feature the places I like (or liked, when I was younger) the most.

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

Nope, I write in spurts. I’ve gone as much as six months without writing anything new; alternately, I’ve written over 3,000 words in a day before. I have a process worked out where I write the basic story very quickly (usually when the story strikes me), then spend the next 6 months or so revising and adding to it. Since this is just a hobby, I want to make sure I continue to enjoy it, so I put no pressure on myself to write.

Which writers inspire you?

Writers? No writer directly inspires me, but I do get inspired by movies, songs, and TV shows. So much so that I plan to stat a blog someday soon that defines all the inspirations for each book. Book 3 was inspired by a dream I had, the nuances of all the books are influenced with whatever music I’m drawn to at the time, and Games of Thrones inspired a main character in Book 4.

Although I can’t say other authors inspire me, I do enjoy reading other peoples’ work. Ironically, I like easy-to-read romance novels that are contemporary or fantasy, such as:

Jessica Sorrensen

Suzanne Collins

Bella Forrest

Cecily von Zeigesar

Jane Austen

L J Smith

Stephenie Meyer

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.viviankohlman.com

https://www.facebook.com/viviankohlman/

https://www.instagram.com/viviankohlman/

amazon.com/author/viviankohlman

All of my books are currently FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. In the future, I may move to other platforms.

Do you have a sexy teaser you’d like to share with us?Book4Series

From Girls Like Me, Book 4 of the Young and Privileged of Washington, DC

I walked straight to him, knowing that the right thing to do would be talking to Miko first. But I didn’t care; I could still feel King’s arms around me, and that made me feel fantastic.

“Hey thanks for taking me off the floor,” I said, sitting down next to him on the sofa, but not too close.

“Don’t mention it. I saw the fight brewing from up here, so went down to warn you girls. You were about to be in the middle of it and my yacht’s parked closer than yours…I didn’t want to have to take you back to my place and get blood all over my pristine decks,” he said, not looking at me once, just staring at his phone.

And we’re back to mean King.

I wasn’t sure what to say, but I didn’t move an inch either. I pulled my eyes away from his face and looked down, resting on the amazingly large watch he was wearing—it was a Breitling that had diamonds around the face and it glittered slightly when the club lights hit it. Strong/soft, basic/decadent, nice/mean, hates me/wants me…this guy is an enigma.

Why is he being a dick again? Didn’t he just purposely save me from harm? So why is he acting like he hates me now?

“Uh huh. Well, I can take care of myself, you know,” I said, feeling hurt for some strange reason.

“No, you can’t. You didn’t move. Every other person outside of the fight fled the dance floor—you stood in one place, dumbstruck,” he said.

He still hasn’t looked at me once.

“Have I done something to greatly offend you, King?”

“No.”

“You seem to be, I don’t know, angry with me,” I said tentatively.

“You’re wrong.”

“So, what’s up with the short answers and you not even looking at me?”

He put his phone down and looked me directly in the eyes. Damn his eyes are so beautiful. A heat wave went through my body when our eyes locked.

“I’m pissed as hell for having to touch you. You felt so fucking good,” he said, putting a lot of emphasis on the last part of that statement.

 

AuThursday – Nix Whittaker

author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born in South Africa but because of the violence and political turmoil, my parents moved the whole family to New Zealand. The best move ever. It also helped to broaden my view of the world. I work full time as a high school teacher so a little cliché that the English teacher is writing books.

How do you make time to write?

I’m single without kids so not too hard to find the time. The problem is not to be distracted by everything else in my life. Also, I have trained myself to write anywhere. As part of my job, I’m often lugging around a laptop so I write whenever I have time, a lunch break, waiting for parents at a parent-teacher interview. I think we would be surprised by how much time we waste waiting for something.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes and no. If you have writer’s block it is your brain trying to tell you something is wrong with your story. You have to figure out what is wrong before you can write again. I usually leave things to stew in the back of my mind and start writing short stories while I leave my subconscious to come up with another dilemma for my character instead of getting kidnapped for the sixth time. That is my block at the moment. Out of my 7 books that are published my character getting kidnapped is the number one crisis.

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

I write Science Fiction Romance. Though really I consider steampunk to be more fantasy than Science Fiction. I love it because you can deal with serious issues with a lightness to it. I have a lot of discussion about prejudice in all my books but somehow it is easier to write about when people are being prejudiced against dragons.

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

I’m an Indie publisher all the way. I didn’t even look at Trad. I’ve had this discussion with fellow authors, some who are exploring both. I like the freedom and the speed that Indie gives me.

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

I can be both. I’m originally an Introvert but since my job literally requires me to be bubbly and outgoing I’ve learned to be the extrovert as well. The skills I’ve learned as an extrovert has given me a thicker skin to criticism so I recommend at least exploring all aspects of yourself and making yourself more flexible.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Give yourself permission to write a bad book. You can always fix it but getting to the end is more important. You can learn so much from writing a book to the finish that it doesn’t matter if it is terrible. You don’t have to know everything when you start.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.nixwhittaker.com

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Nix’s Book, Blazing Blunderbuss. ~Tina

AuThursday – Irina Shapiro

Irina (400x400) - CopyTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born in Moscow, Russia, and came to the US when I was twelve years old.  Unlike many Russian immigrants, I had no trouble adjusting and becoming part of a new culture.  I found it extremely liberating to have choices in what I read and what type of music I could listen to.  My literary interests turned to British history, and it’s still one of my favorite subjects and the background for most of my books.

How do you make time to write?

I left my job ten years ago to focus on my autistic son, so I’m a stay-at-home mom.   I’ve always been a morning person, which means that I do my best work at the crack of dawn.  I sit down to write as soon as my son leaves for school and keep at it for at least three hours each day.     Sometimes I’m really not in the mood, or the ideas aren’t flowing, but when I open my manuscript and put my fingers on the keyboard, I instantly get sucked into the story, and the words just come.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I haven’t suffered from any prolonged bouts of writer’s block, but like any writer, I’m afraid of running out of ideas, and I think that one day I will.  We all tend to return to certain themes and time periods in our writing, and eventually, it becomes repetitive and feels regurgitated.  Once I think that that’s beginning to happen, I will either stop writing altogether or maybe switch genres and try my hand at something new.   I like cozy mysteries set in England.  That could be an option.  I could be the next Agatha Christie.

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

I write time-travel romance and modern gothic.  I love those genres because I can incorporate my love of history and travel into the narrative, enriching my characters’ experience and broadening their horizons and range of emotion.   Time travel opens up all kinds of new possibilities since my characters can go anywhere, anytime.  I can allow them to come back, or leave them trapped in a time period of my choice and watch them struggle for survival.

And with modern gothic, I can add a supernatural dimension without going full-on paranormal.    For example, the main character in my new series, Echoes from the Past, has the ability to see into the past when holding an object that once belonged to the dead.  As an archeologist and a historian, she finds this gift very useful, if at times frightening and unsettling, because she gets drawn into the stories of the dead and relives their tragedies.

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

My newest book, The Lovers (The Echoes from the Past: Book 1) is a Kindle Scout winner and has recently been published by Kindle Press, the new publishing branch of Amazon.   I’m excited to see how it will perform against my self-published books, which I promote regularly.

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

I think I’m actually a little of both.  I love being around people, socializing, and getting involved, but I also enjoy being alone.  I spend a lot of time in my head, but I’m rarely bored.  I have all these thoughts and ideas that frequently find their way into my stories.  I also quite enjoy doing research.  I’ve learned so many new things since I began writing, and I look forward to learning more.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Just do it, because ultimately, that’s what it all comes down to.  We either do something, or we don’t.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

My advice to aspiring writers is to stick with their projects, get professional, but affordable help, and grow a thick skin.  There will be many people who will criticize their work and hurt their feelings, especially in the beginning.  Bad reviews and cruel comments come with the territory.  If they truly want to succeed, they need to look beyond that and keep moving forward.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

You can find me at www.irinashapiro.com

https://www.facebook.com/IrinaShapiro2/

or on Twitter at Irina Shapiro Author@Irinashapiro2

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 – Time

writing-timeWhen I first started in this business over 15 years ago.   A common thought was that you needed to quit your job and write full-time in order to be successful (i.e. make money).

Granted the Romance Industry is full of female writers, who maybe started out as a stay at home mom’s and wrote on the side.   I believe this is where the myth of full-time writing started.  I think of authors like Nora Roberts and Heather Graham whose mythology stories contain elements for writing from home.  If any of you think they were successful because they didn’t have a job, you’d be wrong.  Motherhood is a full-time job in itself, regardless of whether you work outside the home or not.

I read recently that John Grisham wrote A Time to Kill over three years while still working as a lawyer.

What makes these authors successful is not whether or not they wrote full-time, but that they wrote in every spare moment.

A book I’ve found helpful in carving out time is The Chunky Method Handbook by Allie Pleiter.  She breaks writing blocks down so that even the slowest writers among us can create a schedule.

What makes this so relevant to me is that as of December 1st of this year, I’m no longer employed with a company I’d worked with for 21 years.  I was released as a series of layoffs.

While my job took time away from writing, if I had made time for it I would’ve been more successful (i.e. written more books).  As I head into the new year, I’ll be looking at some serious goal setting.    For me it will be evaluating what Success looks like to me – Finishing Books.   I feel like everything else will fall into place as long as I just keep writing.

~Tina