AuThursday – Kathleen Rowland

ONIH Bannerkathy2(1)Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I grew up in Sioux City, Iowa.  My dad was the first psychiatrist in town and mother was a nurse.  I’m married to the love of my life who is a CPA.  Our five children have flown the coop.  We have four grandchildren and one on the way.

How do you make time to write? 

Writing is a fun emotional outlet, and I write about four hours a day.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, and that happens when I have something else must do.  I am chairing a writers’ contest this year.  My chapter, OCCRWA, is depending on me.

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

I love the combination of mystery and romance. There’s a time clock. Urgency adds to the impact of the entire book.

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

Traditional with Tirgearr Publishing in Ireland. What an amazing publisher, and I feel so lucky with great editors and cover artists.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?

How does this affect your work? I’m an extrovert and people person. I like socializing with family, friends, and other writers.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Just do it.” I had to remind myself to find judges for the Orange Rose Contest before the date of publicizing the contest.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Take classes.  Join a chapter for writers. Maybe join a critique group if inclined.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/786656.Kathleen_Rowland

http://www.amazon.com/Kathleen-Rowland/e/B007RYMF7S/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1450835163&sr=1-2-ent

https://twitter.com/rowlandkathleen

https://kathleenrowland.wordpress.com/

http://www.kathleenrowland.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/romanticsuspense.kathleenrowland/

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

OneNightinHavanabyKathleenRowland200 (1)One Night in Havana

Through binoculars, Carlos Montoya had been watching Veronica when she’d had a conversation with a security guard from the cruise ship in question. As a part-time Cuban border enforcer, he was aware of all of the different ways dirt-bags smuggled crap into and out of Cuba. He worked this job to stop them.

Something made her nervous. Now onboard, he’d smothered a smile when she watched the action heat up across the water. Time for a bit of fun. She was a fish out of water when it came to drug transport via cruise ships.

He had his eyes where hers were, on tonight’s final loading of drugs across the channel. Some shady characters he’d encountered through the past few years made regular nocturnal visits. Each night, a variety of activities took place with a procession of scantily clad women. Not that he’d get an opportunity to try them out. He was stuck here on his boat until he nabbed the bad dudes. When this stint ended, he’d catch up with his grandmother’s tenant, a woman with an edgy, artsy vibe that suited her business of running a hair salon. If she weren’t available, he’d find a pretty vacationer looking for fun. Too bad Veronica would be heading home in twenty-four hours.

Tonight’s boredom had disappeared when his competitor in the black silk dress had dropped in and inched along to the back of his boat.

Carlos had stood inside and watched from the hatch as she leaned against the side of the cabin so close to the hatch, he could have reached out and touched her with a hand. Sometimes people under the influence stepped onto the wrong boat. There were plenty of drugs if someone knew basic operations. This wasn’t the case. She made her way to the back of his boat with purpose. She sat her adorable ass on an old life jacket for a perfect vantage point.

Veronica was a looker without the jaded appearance of the many women he’d seen wandering from her cruise ship. Most of the time she dressed in business attire, but her curves smoldered underneath. Her high heels fit with Cuban fashion. The moonlight highlighted her shoulder-length blonde hair. While scuba diving, he’d forced himself to look away from her long, bare legs for fear he’d run his hands up them and tuck his fingers beneath her thighs. At the restaurant, he’d enjoyed a little banter, but tonight he’d gotten another glimpse of her toned body as she crept across the deck. The short dress plastered against her and she hitched it up to move around. The light sway of her hips brought him to his knees. He shuffled around the cabin, his dick pressing against his zipper. Cruise vessels were being monitored by Border Protection, and he’d make sure no harm came to her. He glanced across the water and reminded himself to be useful.

It’d been the same since he and his buddy, Alberto, from the military police put two and two together. They’d sat on a rooftop deck of a bar overlooking the harbor, watching local criminals getting on and off her ship, the Ecstasy.

“That operation needs extra eyes,” Alberto had said with a swig of beer.

“What’s going on?”

Alberto had glared at him. “Crims are dealing from the cruise ships. Your boat has—”

“A perfect location?” The next day, with military cameras and other equipment installed, Carlos started his surveillance job. Same drugs, different participants and ways of operation. Stuck on his cabin cruiser with no company was tough on the libido. Before leaving in the early hours of the morning, he connected his recording device to a landline provided by the port authority. At his house, he filed reports, uploaded photographs to support his narrative, showered, and then changed into his usual garb.

Most days he taught students studying abroad in English at the University of Havana. Cuban students interacted with American, South American, and European exchange students. Socializing made them seek a better life. New hopes and dreams threatened to divide their insular Cuban community. Now, during winter break, he attended the Oceanography Conference.

Every session had been a snore until he’d learned Veronica was pitted against him for the same grant. Stiff competition brightened the experience. The daughter of the late Cephalopodiatrist, Ronald Keane, didn’t churn out an article a month for ten plus years without honing in on the power of eight. Octopuses changed shape and color at will, squirted ink, vanished through tiny cracks, and even tasted with their suckers. The predators reminded him of himself, but everything about Veronica put her in the guileless category.

Did she not know he’d invited her to scuba dive with a handful of judges to even out the playing field? He’d won a handful of grants. Networking was about making connections and building mutually beneficial relationships. Instead of joining the crew afterward for drinks, she’d assisted his eighty-year-old abuela off the boat and down The Malecón seawall. That day a cold front blew in, and massive waves crashed against her chances to expand her sphere of influence. Too bad Bela had lit on her like a sticky butterfly. His heart skipped with Veronica in the midst of a beat.

He was aware of the routine when anyone researched and wrote scholarly articles. She had to plan. Make predictions. Envision. Check data, and then double-check. On paper everything was perfect. But in reality, when competing for a grant, something went wrong. She didn’t sell herself. Perhaps he’d frostily point that out, later, somehow, and help her future efforts.

Movement on the deck outside his cabin brought him back to the present. Veronica stood and turned toward the dock, and he followed her silently to the front of the boat.

A guard in a light blue uniform stormed down the dock. Will she jump toward him?

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AuThursday – Gail Ward Olmsted

 

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Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I spent my career in the field of marketing in the telecom industry and have now been teaching Marketing and Consumer Behavior at the college level for more than twenty years. I have been married to the love of my life for over thirty years, have two adult children (a daughter and a son) and two cats. I didn’t start my writing career until after AARP came calling. It’s been a wonderful life!!

How do you make time to write?

I really enjoy writing, so a better question for me is: how do you make time for anything other than writing? I also enjoy my day job- I have my summers free and I try to balance time with my husband, kids and our friends. We moved to a house on a lake a couple of years ago and do a lot of boating and entertaining. Multitasking works for me. I read while on a treadmill, listen to books during my commute and knit while watching TV with one or more cats on my lap. I don’t sleep all that much or clean my house or cook very often. My family would probably say that I didn’t clean or cook very much even before I started writing and they’re probably right!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Sure, it happens but I usually work through it fairly quickly. My writing time is limited, so if I’m stuck on something, I will read over what I’ve already written or do some research to get through it. If you sneak a peak at my search history, you would see just how crazy I truly am. Recent searches include: covers of Tiger Beat magazines over the past 20 years, signs of Erotomania (fans stalking celebrities) symptoms of clinical depression and life on the Upper East side of Manhattan. I love Google!!

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

I write contemporary romance, which I absolutely love. There are no rules in dating these days, which is so refreshing. I grew up in a time where my friends and I spent hours waiting by the phone for a certain boy to call us. What a waste of time and opportunity! I like to write strong women characters, who don’t spend much time sitting around and waiting for anyone. A common theme of mine is second chances because I believe that we all deserve a second or even third chance at a ‘happy ever after’. When I wrote JEEP TOUR, I truly wasn’t sure until I was 2/3 of the way through whether my main character Jackie would ‘get the guy’ or a different guy or end up blissfully single. Any of these would have been satisfying endings.

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

Second Guessing is my 4th novel. I decided to seek a traditional publisher and was thrilled when Roane Publishing offered to sign me. In 2014, I self-pubbed my first book JEEP TOUR. The following year, I went with hybrid publisher Booktrope for publishing my second book Guessing at Normal and they also re-repubbed JEEP TOUR. They went out of business shortly before publishing my third title Driving on the Left. So I regained my rights and self-pubbed all three titles. In less than 4 years, I’ve experienced self-publication, hybrid publishing and now a traditional form of publishing. I have to say I truly enjoy the support I get from the Roane team.

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

I’m an Extrovert so I truly enjoy readings, signings and book club appearances. That being said, I also enjoy the solitude of writing quite a bit as well. I try to find a healthy balance which keeps me somewhat sane.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Do something now and do exactly the right thing later. What this means to me is- don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to do something. If you can’t make time to prepare a home-cooked meal for a sick friend, call for takeout or send a card. Don’t wait to lose that final five pounds to buy that dress you’ve been wanting. If it’s on sale, buy it now! If you don’t have the whole morning free to hit the gym, take a walk around the block. If you don’t have unlimited hours to devote to writing, take the hour you do have and get the most out of it that you can. If I waited for the perfect opportunity to do anything, I would waste so much time. You’ve just got to make the most of what you do have instead of wishing for more or better. I sound like a Nike ad- just do it!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write often. Talk to other writers. Listen to how people really talk and watch how they react to things. Join a group on FB or an actual writing group. Study what’s selling in your genre. Get feedback. Don’t quit your day job. Develop a really thick skin. Don’t expect your friends and family to be your biggest fans. They might be, but their feedback might be biased, because they love you. Find an editor and a proofreader and a cover designer. This is money well spent if you are self-publishing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

All of my titles are available on Amazon, Kindle Unlimited and Barnes & Noble.  My author page on Amazon is www.amazon.com/author/gailolmsted and my website is www.GailOlmsted.com .  Readers can interact with me via Facebook www.facebook.com/gailolmstedauthor on Twitter @gwolmsted, on Instagram gwolmsted or via email gwolmsted@gmail.com

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

SecondGuessing_Cvr“Sure do!! This is from Second Guessing. Jill and Ben are on their first date. They saw a movie and are now in a Chinese Restaurant.”~Gail Olmstead

“I hope you enjoy it. I already ordered,” Ben began somewhat apologetically. “Well, actually it was my assistant Ian.”

Jill was already chewing a second dumpling and she nodded enthusiastically. As soon as she could swallow, she placed the uneaten portion of the dumpling on her plate and leaned forward to squeeze his hand. “This is amazing. I can’t believe you went to so much trouble just for me.”

“I don’t want you to think I always have to be in charge, you know? I mean tonight, it’s all been organized, but I usually like to be more spontaneous.”

“So next time, I get to choose?”

Ben’s gaze was warm and he grinned at her. “I hope there’ll be a next time.”

Jill looked at him and her heart did another in a series of little flips. What is this man doing to me? She felt herself blushing again, but managed to nod enthusiastically. Ben popped a dumpling into his mouth and chewed and they grinned at each other happily. They managed to make short work of the appetizers and Jill moaned with pleasure as, after removing the empty plates, their server replaced them with huge bowls of pork fried rice, shrimp lo mein and chicken in a garlicky sauce. Their dinner was served family style, and Jill helped herself to large portions of everything. They ate in companionable silence, punctuated by Jill’s moans of delight as she sampled each dish.

After she had eaten most of the food she had taken, she drank some water, and then sat back with a satisfied sigh. “Carly says I could have a food baby and no one would even notice.” God, where had that come from?

“No one, huh?” he said with a smirk. When he saw Jill blush, he sat back and smiled. “I’m dying to know more about you, Jill Griffin.”

Jill shrugged her shoulders. Always shy and intensely private, she had grown increasingly wary over the years and disliked talking about herself. She had been burned a few times by those claiming to be interested in her, when all the while they only wanted to learn something about James, as if she would relay some juicy bit of gossip about him, posthumously or not.

She knew that since Ben was well on his way to the level of celebrity James had enjoyed, it was highly unlikely Ben had any kind of ulterior motive. He was probably sincere in wanting to get better acquainted with her. But even though she felt comfortable with Ben, she was out of practice with any sort of personal narrative.

“Not much to tell. I was married to James and we had Carly and then James died.”

Ben frowned at her and his brown eyes looked sad. “I’m not asking about Jill the wife or Jill the mother.”

“Well, that’s all there is to me, I’m afraid.” Jill laughed nervously.

Ben was shaking his head at her. “I think you’re wrong. I see so much more than that. I see a beautiful woman. A talented woman. A woman I want to get to know much, much better.” Jill put down the cloth napkin she had been folding and unfolding underneath the table. She had regained some of her self-confidence and she watched him closely as she spoke.

“A mature woman. Ben, I’m 42 years old. I have an 18-year old daughter. I don’t know what you want from me. I’m not a ‘Mrs. Robinson’ okay? You’re so…young,” she ended weakly.

But Ben was not to be put off. “I like you Jill. Yeah, I’m a little younger than you, but so what? Just a number, am I right? I want to know what makes you tick. How you come up with all those amazing song lyrics. What you love, what you wish for. And more than anything, I want to know how it will feel to hold you in my arms. What it will be like to kiss those lips. What you taste like…” He stopped as he noticed Jill was staring at him, open-mouthed.

He pushed his chair back and slipped over next to her in the banquette. Jill needed to say something, before she started kissing him like she had been dreaming about all day.

“I just want to keep this private, okay? I haven’t been with anyone since, well, you know. Carly says she’s ready for me to start dating again, but I’m not at all sure I believe her. You and I kind of work together, and I have to keep it professional. And there’s going to be a big tribute concert for James this fall and there will be a ton of press. I can’t have this, whatever it is, taking center stage. So this is just between us, okay?”

Ben was watching her closely and at his nod of agreement, she continued. “And just for the record,” she whispered, “I imagine I taste like Whoppers and garlic sauce.”

 

Ben took her in his arms and just before he started kissing her, he assured her, “That’s my favorite.”

 

 

 

AuThursday – Tina Holland (me)

BirthdayI figured since today was my birthday and I’d already have comments on FB and Twitter (at least I hope I do), it might best serve to hog the spotlight, so next week another author can have the limelight to themselves.  🙂   I’ve sent an FB interview out  a few weeks ago, so the format below will feel very familiar. 

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born on October 26th (today) in Frankfurt, Germany.  We moved to North Dakota when I was seven, and I have lived here ever since.   I married my high school sweetheart and we currently live on a hobby farm with two horses, two dogs, a cat, a catfish and a parrot.

How do you make time to write?

I have a full-time job, so I tend to write in the evenings or on the weekends.  I’ve written before work and on my lunch hour too when I’m trying to finish a project.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block?

I do.   Not in the sense of I’m just not feeling it, but in the sense that a life-event can interrupt your flow on a project.   I believe stress creates true writer’s block.  Writing yourself into  a corner or reigniting passion for a project can be fixed.

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

I write in both contemporary and SFFP (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal) subgenres of romance.  I love writing contemporary, because it makes for a quick write, as it doesn’t require the level of world building that SFFP does.   SFFP is fun to write because I love exploring legends, myths, and fairy tales, putting your own twist in for readers is wonderful.   They say you should write what you read.  I love historicals, but have not tackled them because I’m so intimidated by the history aspect.   When I discovered Steampunk, which usually requires changing history and including fantasy elements I knew I discovered a niche that I’d love.

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

I just finished a Steampunk Novel, titled The Courtesan of Constantinople and am currently seeking representation for the traditional publishing market.   I’ve been digitally published in the past with both Liquid Silver Books and Resplendence Publishing, but am looking for a different (and hopefully expanded) market for my current story.

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

I’m an Extrovert.  I learned recently that how you get your energy is what determines whether you’re an Introvert or an Extrovert.  I get mine from people.   It makes it very easy to write in noisy (like coffee houses) environments.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? swimming

“Just keep swimming.” ~Dory from Finding Nemo.   It’s simplistic but when I don’t feel like writing, it puts my butt in chair.   I have a goal to write 200 words a day, knowing if I write 200, I’m just as likely to write 500 or more.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

No one cares more about you and your story than you do.   I think knowing yourself and what you want out of writing is the most important thing you can do for your story.

Creating a work of fiction is a tremendous success and what you want when you in type “The End” is just as important as publishing (if that’s what you want).    I would recommend each writer get to know themselves and figure out their own path, which might be similar to other writers or completely different.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.tinaholland.com

https://www.facebook.com/

https://twitter.com/haveubeenaughty

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3122975.Tina_Holland

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003OLKLA6

I hope you enjoyed this insight into my writing life.  Next week we’ll get back on track meeting other writers. 🙂  Until then be Naughty. ~Tina