AuThursday – Shivon Gunalan

2020-07-27 (4) (1)

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I have always been working in the corporate sector for years and have loved building relationships. I am passionate in working with women and young adults and have been active in helping women build their confidence and rediscovers themselves. On a personal note, I love to read, cook, travel and just enjoy hanging with my friends.

How do you make time to write?

I used to enjoy writing short stories as a teenager but due to work commitments did not pursue writing. During the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker in Singapore, I had more than enough time to dabble in writing.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes, I do. I think every writer, will face that some point in their life. It will be a time for them to retreat, re-calibrate and just rush into it again.

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

I am writing romance stories, but with a little twist. I absolutely love drama, and I enjoy the interactive characters portrayed by people. I wanted to translate that into a book, where people can enjoy the romance not from a reader’s perspective but actually able to go on that journey with the characters in the book.

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

Indie, as it shortens the whole process.


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

Extrovert. I think its always a challenge to sit still in a place and work on my book, so I try to give myself time limits, and also breaks in between days so I am not too affected.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

 “I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself” -Emma Stone

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Take the tips of established writers, but find your own pace and comfort level. Enjoy the process of writing and not rush to pass a dateline.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I am available on social media platforms like FB, Instagram, Twitter and also on my website www.shivongunalan.com

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

Yes! Rosella meeting Ian for the first time.

51Smgb9tuoL._SY346_Rosella removed her sleeping mask and took a peek when the flight came to a halt. It was a long flight, at least fifteen hours from Rome. She could feel her muscles ache. She couldn’t wait to get out of the plane so she can walk around more freely. The man next to her was unbuckling his seat belt. “We have finally arrived! I am going to head down to the casino first,” he said gleefully. Rosella rolled his eyes at him. She was not able to get a decent hour’s sleep because the man would not stop talking. He kept going on even when she had her headset on pretended to watch a movie. Her ears had ached throughout the journey but thankfully she managed to sneak in a few winks when the man fell asleep.

Rosella has never traveled so far in her entire life. She was both nervous and excited at the same time. When her parents passed away in a car accident, she moved in with her sister, Rina and her husband Hunter. They moved from the city to the small town to take care of Rosella. Rina and Hunter were fifteen years older than her. As they were childless, they doted
on Rosella who was only nine years old at that time. Hunter took on the role of her father and adored her like his own daughter. He always affirmed her so she grew secure in her identity as someone who was cherished. Under their care, she grew into a confident woman of God.

Rosella spent a lot of her time in their local parish church as she grew up. She enjoyed singing to the Lord. Rina will often joke that she started singing even before she was capable to construct full sentences. The local pastor signed her up to be part of their choir team.  During her spare time, she will twirl around the garden with her tambourine, singing hymns unto the Lord. She accepted the Lord as her saviour at the age of sixteen. Hunter and Rina held a massive celebration for her. After the celebrations, Rina came up to her room that night to present her with a beautiful purity ring with the inscription “My beloved is mine and I am His.” Rina had taught Rosella the importance of keeping herself pure for the man the Lord will bring into her life.

She loved the feel of the ring around her finger, as it made her feel valued and important. It has been ten years since Rina gave her that ring, and by the grace of God, she had kept her end of the bargain. She twirled the purity ring around her finger. Her friends had started dating in their teens. But Rosella spent her time teaching the local children in her neighborhood. She was very skilled in arts and was very good at needlework. The Lord had
anointed her with talent in that area and she didn’t want it to go to waste. She wanted to be a good steward of those talents. She also taught the older children in the school to teach and write. When the opportunity to teach at an international school presented itself to her, Rosella was quick to jump at the opportunity.

She shared her desire to work in an international school with Hunter and Rina. She explained how it will give her the advantage to learn how the education system was being structured in a foreign country. She was eager to start her own school in their town one day, and she will benefit from this experience gained. After much persuasion, her guardians relented and gave her their blessings. Rosella had enough savings to help pay for her flight and living expenses.  Hunter offered her some money but she wanted to be independent. After booking her plane ticket with the local agent, Rosella started doing her research on Singapore. The city was vibrant and it featured many interesting sights. She was fascinated with the statue of the merlion and began to list down the names of the attractions that she wanted to see upon her arrival.

The country was also famous for its diverse cuisine. Some of the foods looked too spicy for her taste, but she was ready to begin a new adventure. She will be staying with her friend, Ashley who had moved from Italy a couple of years ago. Her friend was an auditor and she worked in a reputable audit firm in Singapore. The international school was her client and she found out about the job vacancy through them. The school accepted Rosella’s application because of her good credentials and referrals. But she knew in her heart it was the Lord who had opened the door of opportunity for her. She had talked to Him about her dreams of starting her own school one day.

The moment she exited from the plane, Rosella plugged on her earpiece. Music was her life, and it was also her way of finding her escapism. When she was back home, she had loved the old hymns they sang in church. Recently, Ashley had introduced her to some new worship songs that have been gaining popularity. Her friend has been part of the worship team in a church that was based in Singapore. She always sends her new songs for her to listen to. “I am reaching out, I will chase you down. I dare you to believe how much I love you now.” She was humming the lyrics of the song as she headed to collect her luggage. “Jesus! I know you are going to guide me every step of the way,” she prayed under her breath. She placed her luggage on the trolley and headed out the gate.

She pushed the trolley towards the nearest chair and plopped herself on it. She stretched her legs and massaged the back of her neck. She placed her handbag on her lap and started to rustle around for Ashley’s address. She did not want to trouble Ashley to come and pick her up. She was very grateful to her for offering her a place to stay rent-free for the first two months. “You can start paying rent after the third month when you have settled down,” Ashley told her. As she was looking for the address, she noticed a man seated next to her from the corner of her eye. He was talking animatedly on his mobile phone.“Ia adalah masalah kecil. Jangan risau. Nanti, kita cakap, ya.” Rosella surveyed the man, trying to figure out the language he spoke. She knew the people in Singapore spoke different languages like Mandarin, Tamil, or Malay.

From the side view, the man looked very handsome and had a dimple on his left cheek. He was dressed neatly in a blue checkered shirt and black tailored pants. The Patek Philippe watch on his right wrist looked very costly. Rosella had tried to purchase a watch for Hunter on his birthday. It was so expensive that she decided to buy him a wallet instead. She knew that a watch like that can be very expensive. She heaved a sigh, wishing her future husband could be someone well dressed like this man. She stopped herself quickly and knocked herself on her head to come to her senses. What if he was someone’s husband or fiancee? It was really hard to tell these days, and she did not want to be caught up in any drama. She tore her gaze away from him and started rummaging through her handbag again. She was so occupied with her search that she did not realize the man next to her, had left his seat.

“Finally!! Thank you, Jesus!!” She smiled gleefully holding the address victoriously in the air. Rosella checked her wallet to ensure she had enough local currency for a taxi fare. She had two hundred dollars which should be more than enough for her taxi fare and her meals over the next few days. She stood up, slung her handbag across her shoulder, and started to move her trolley. She then noticed the empty seat next to her. Mr. Fancy Pants was nowhere to be found. As she was about to leave, something on the seat of the chair caught her eye. It looked like a card from afar. She looked around and saw no one nearby. She picked up the card. From the back, it looked like a membership card. She flipped it around and saw Driving License spelled out on the top. The name on the card read, Ian Jacobs.

She looked closely at the picture on the card. He looked familiar. “Aayyy” she exclaimed when she realized it was Mr. Fancy Pants who was seated next to her earlier. “Ian!” So, that was his name. She stood up and walked around with the trolley trying to track him down. But he was nowhere to be found. She looked at the clock and realized it was going to be 10 pm soon. It was getting late and Ashley will be waiting up for her. She did not want her to worry.  Without thinking much, she stuffed the license into her handbag. She proceeded to drag her luggage to the assigned taxi stand. Even as she was waiting for her turn, Rosella kept looking around to see if she can spot him. When her taxi arrived, she got in and told the driver to drive her to Bencoolen Condo.

AuThursday – Christina Lynn Lambert

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I didn’t originally plan on being a writer. I went to school for psychology and then got an MBA. I liked to write poetry and short stories in my spare time but considered any writing I did just a fun hobby, not something to ever share. When I was studying to take a certification in personal training, intending to take my small business to the next level, I had this idea for a story. The idea wouldn’t leave me alone until I began to write it out. As it turns out, studying psychology helped me immensely with the development of my characters. Working in sales and other hectic jobs helped me see the uglier side of human nature. The greedy, lost, warped out villains I create are often caricatures created from different interactions I’ve observed. When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time outside and finding ways to avoid cooking. I live in beautiful Virginia with my husband, two daughters, and a sweet, hairy monster of a dog. 

How do you make time to write? 

When my children are in school during the day is when I usually write. I also try to get some writing done in the evening, but mostly I get interrupted by my family continuously asking me questions and talking to me. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Writer’s block catches us all at some point. I try not to think of it as a bad thing, just a pause where the story is taking shape in my mind. I remind myself to be patient and wait for the next scene or chapter to be ready. I’m not always patient, though.

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

The books I have written so far are paranormal romance with a major suspense element. I like the paranormal genre because I can bend reality to create a strange, extraordinary version of our world. I add a dose of suspense to everything I write because I have always loved to read stories that keep me wondering what will happen next.

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

I chose a small publishing company, so I’m somewhere in between Indie and traditional. I chose a sort of traditional option because I had all these ideas for stories but I had no formal writing background. I needed someone professional to help me edit my work and give me pointers and ideas to help my stories flow more smoothly. I also didn’t want to spend the limited time I had trying to figure out how to format each manuscript and create book covers and all the other responsibilities of self-publishing. Maybe someday, I will do some form of self-publishing, but for now, I like being on middle ground and having a small publisher take care of all of the publishing tasks for me. 

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

I am probably an extroverted introvert. I talk to people when I want to and I enjoy meeting people but I definitely don’t want to be in social mode with acquaintances and strangers for hours on end. I’m shy and I would rather not just go up to random people and start marketing my books. I find the right time and place that works for me. Being able to meet readers and other writers online is amazing. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I don’t really have a famous quote that I live by to motivate me. Usually I tell myself that if I don’t do the thing, the thing won’t get done. And then I turn on some music and sometimes that makes doing whatever I have to do suck less.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. The beginning is the hardest part. It’s a good idea to take a few classes or read some books about writing. Practice every day and remember that the practice sessions could be as simple as a ten-minute writing exercise. Also, editors are crucial. They find the mistakes that the author misses, both with content and with spelling and grammar.  

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Amazon author pagehttps://www.amazon.com/Christina-Lynn-Lambert/e/B01MCYK0K7

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/christina-lynn-lambert

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/christinalynnlambert

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15900423.Christina_Lynn_Lambert

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinalynnlambert

Twitterhttps://www.twitter.com/chris4lamb

WordPresshttps://christinalynnlambertwordpress.com

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

My latest book is Tiger’s Last Chance (Stranger Creatures book 3). Tiger’s Last Chance features Sean and Nikki’s story and takes place in the fictional town of Great Oaks, Virginia. Here’s a little excerpt:

For the briefest moment, Nikki felt the depth to which Sean might be capable of pushing her. His kiss was crushing and brutal. His tongue pushed past her lips and his grip in her hair tightened. If desire were a vine, it would have wrapped itself around her veins and encased her heart. The heat between them flooded her. There was a sweetness, too, in his kiss, and the sweetness made her burn hotter. 

A polite cough from inside the waiting car put a quick end to things. Sean pulled away and met her gaze. No words, but she got the message. She wasn’t alone. Comfort and friendship; he’d probably meant the kiss to comfort her and had gotten carried away in the heat of the moment. He’d carried her away with him, and she wanted to take him so much further into the unknown. 

With each second, each step towards the waiting car, she tried to find reasons and more reasons to ignore her growing attraction to Sean. The number one reason to forget about the kiss they’d shared—relationships were trouble. She had plenty of other amazing things in her life, including her career, her volunteer work, and her band, even though the band rarely played anywhere because the members had trouble aligning their schedules. She didn’t need a man. Besides, he was probably still messed up over Sydney. Also, he was a regular. Or mostly regular. Not to mention he lived over a thousand miles away in Texas. She should tell him the kiss was a mistake. One look at him and she couldn’t bring herself to say the words. The kiss they shared had been anything but a mistake.

Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/b088p6mydb 

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/b088p6mydb

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tigers-last-chance-christina-lynn-lambert/1137033221 

Google books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Christina_Lynn_Lambert_Tiger_s_Last_Chance?id=PnzoDwAAQBAJ

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/tigers-last-chance/id1513644203

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/tiger-s-last-chance

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1022227

AuThursday – Darlene DeLuca

Please welcome Darlene DeLuca to The Clog Blog! Darlene can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi, everyone. Thanks for having me, Tina! My degree is in Journalism, and I started my writing career as a newspaper reporter. That was before kids. The hours were long and I spent many nights attending planning commission meetings and city council meetings. While I learned a lot, after a few years, I moved into corporate communications. I spent about 25 years writing for employee and consumer publications with a little art direction thrown in as well. Then I was “downsized” and left Corporate America for creative writing. I have to say, writing novels is a lot more fun! Summer is my season. I love a sunny day at the beach with a good book, a little dark chocolate and a cold glass of iced tea!

How do you make time to write? 

For me, the great thing about writing is the flexibility, because life happens and often eats into regular business hours. I can, and do, write whenever. I’m probably most productive in the middle of the day when I get all the busywork out of the way and I have the house to myself. I’m not one of those get-up-at-4 a.m.-and-start-going types. I need my beauty sleep! 

What genre are your books and what draws you to this genre?

I write women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Basically, I like stories about people. I like the affirmation that generally accompanies women’s fiction, and I like the good old-fashioned happy ending of a romance.

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

Oh, yeah, I’ve received them! They’re hard, but you’ll never achieve success by quitting. The hardest ones are the “passes” after a revise-and-resubmit because it’s easy to get your hopes up then. I just try to glean what I can from them and move on. It helps to have a support network of other writers!

How did you come up with the idea for your Women of Whitfield series? 

It’s hard to ever pinpoint an exact moment of inspiration. The tiniest thing can spark an idea and it just grows with time and attention. Once I started developing the characters, it became obvious that each one of these friends needed her own story. I also liked the idea of featuring women in their fifties and delving into the issues of that life stage.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I like the Whitfield series and the characters began to seem like real people to me, but honestly, by the time I finished the third story, I was ready to move on to something else. I’m currently developing a romance series that I’ve dubbed the “Masterpiece Series, where Love is an Art and every Romance a Priceless Treasure.” The stories are all related to art in one way or another.

How are you publishing your most recent book “The Story between us” and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or small press)

This is my first step into traditional publishing. My earlier works were self-published on Amazon’s direct publishing platform. “The Story Between Us” is part of the Sweetheart Line from The Wild Rose Press. It’s a very different process, and I’m hoping to reach a wider audience through their publishing connections. It would have been much faster to publish myself, but I’m happy to try something new!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Learn the craft. Read a lot. Join a critique group. Look for and accept genuine feedback and criticism. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Everywhere, I hope! Here are the links to my social media sites:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6879809.Darlene_Deluca

https://www.instagram.com/darlenedelucaauthor/?hl=en

https://www.facebook.com/Darlene-Deluca-282385088481413/?ref=bookmarks

Website:

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

Reed pulled his keys out of his pocket. In the doorway, he folded his arms and leaned against the casing. “Can I ask you a question?”

Chest pounding, Kristen forced a smile. “Of course.” She took a couple of steps toward him and braced a hand against the back of the sofa.

“Is writing your only reason for being here?”

Heavy, charged air closed around her. How to answer that? Honestly, of course, but…how honestly? “Well, writing is my goal for sure. But—” She glanced around the room before looking at him again. “I’d love to ride my horse, er, Star, and spend some time with…with people I like, too.”

As he pushed off from the door, a slow grin spread across his face. “Sounds like an excellent plan.” He sauntered closer. About a foot away, he stopped. “You’re good with dinner at the main house tonight? Don’t let Dylan bully you. You decide.”

She gave a shaky laugh. That was the plan, right? She couldn’t remember for sure. Her brain was going fuzzy. “I’d love to,” she managed to say.

He leaned closer, his breath warm on her cheek. She braced herself for a friendly peck, but when her eyes fluttered shut, his lips grazed hers. Hovered there, and when she thought her legs might give out, Reed caught her arm and pulled her slightly toward him, his lips covering hers again.

Sparks exploded in her brain, and she grabbed hold of his arm. All of her senses came alive and responded to the unexpected deluge.

A long moment later, he pulled back and brushed a thumb across her cheek. “See you in about an hour.”

Kristen could only nod. As soon as the door closed behind him, she collapsed against the sofa. She ran a finger along her bottom lip. That kiss…Oh, man. The chances of her getting any writing done this weekend just dropped from unlikely to who-said-anything-about-writing?

The Wait is the hardest part

still-waiting-for-responseSo I’ve finally started submitting The Courtesan of Constantinople to Publishers.  I’d spent six months looking for an Agent and didn’t get feedback – positive or negative steering me in a direction that required changes to the manuscript.

I got a lot of letters saying, “I like this and that, but don’t feel I’m right for this project.”  So started to wonder if I missed the boat on Steampunk.   Hard to say.    I did a couple Twitter parties and nothing there either.

While I submitted to Agents 5-10 at a time.  I was doing large batch by January. 🙂   For Publishers, I only do about 3 at a time.   I don’t expect to hear back from any of them until May. Because they are larger houses I may not hear back at all. I think I’ve been spoiled by the almost instant responses of small presses  🙂

In the meantime, I’ll work on Alchemists of Archangel and maybe Ryder Hard if I get blocked, just to keep moving.  Also, I have this book about writing I want to do, so plenty to keep me busy while I hurry up and wait.

Writer Wednesday – Twitter Pitch Parties

publish-maybeIf you’ve been writing for more than a few months you are probably familiar with Twitter Pitch Parties – Where authors pitch their unpublished novels to agents and publishers in a tweet.

I’ll be participating in #PitMad on December 7th, as it might be a way to reach agents and publishers that are interested in Steampunk Romance.

I recently talked to a fellow author who had been searching for an agent for over a year and finally found one through a Pitch Party.  My favorite party is #Pit2Pub, but that only comes around two times a year.

This is really like giving your elevator pitch on Twitter.   Here’s mine:

Courtesan of Constantinople-#PitMad #A #R #SP Visit a world of Magic, Mystery & Romance as heroine Laurel Gunn pursues a killer known as the Cleaver.

Here’s Crossing my fingers that my Tweet hits an agent or publisher’s #MSWL

Writer Wednesday – Decoding Agent Lingo.

As I continue down this journey of finding an agent, I have a hard time finding agents with an #mswl (Manuscript Wish List) that includes Steampunk Romance.     Steampunk, yes.  Romance, yes. Not necessarily both. 

Romance is a broad genre and it includes a lot of subgenres.  I usually end up looking for Paranormal Romance, Fantasy Romance or Sci-fi Romance.    Arguably Steampunk fits into all of these but forms don’t usually account for the historical piece of steampunk.   Sigh.  

 

BTW – If anyone out there is writing Steampunk that has YA(Young Adult), NA (New Adult) or even MG (Middle Grade) elements – Agents are looking for you.  

Women’s Fiction seems to be making a come back but I’ve seen these variations; Women’s Commercial Fiction, Women’s Literary Fiction, and Women’s UpMarket Fiction.   I was starting to wonder if these were all snooty code for Romance.   For Your Information they are not.   

UpMarket Fiction is a phrase that bugs me…once I looked it up,  it bugged me even more.  According to my Google search as an adjective it means, “relatively expensive and designed to appeal to affluent consumers.”   Okay… I still have no idea what that means. 

I was speaking to another author recently and she was telling me that she’d received over 83 rejections in a year and then just last month found an agent on a Twitter Pitch Party.    I’ve only sent out a handful of queries…so I have a long way to go. 

I imagine agents are much like readers, they know what they like, and they probably have an easier time selling what they like to read.   So here’s crossing my fingers that I find that agent who loves what I write and can sell it into the market. 

~Tina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer Wednesday-Beta Readers

Beta Readers are becoming more popular as authors go Indie and want a reader to look over their work rather than an editor.

As I’m looking at a more traditional publishing model via an agent, I’ve considered looking at Beta Readers as well.

When I digitally published, this wasn’t as much of a concern as there was enough editing done in-house, I worried less about content as there were so many eyes looking at it, and I had really good editors. 🙂

I’ve asked my fellow authors who use beta readers how they go about finding them.   There seem to be a number of ways to do this:

  1.  Post to FB, Twitter, etc and ask for Beta Readers to read your latest book.  I think there are Beta Reader Groups out there.   I plan to post to a Local Steampunk group as I think they might be interested in reading my story. 
  2. Readers you meet randomly – I actually found a reader at a Con last year, and I think she will work out well.  I’d like more beta readers, but one will do for now.
  3. Friends and Family – I’ve heard reason’s not to use friends and family, but my argument would be that you are looking for continuity in your story.  That being said, make sure you pick a friend who is an avid reader.   Also,  if you write Mystery and your sister is a hard-core YA reader, you may want to take that into consideration when reviewing her feedback.  She can likely still provide great character insight, but may not enjoy the read as much as she might a YA read. 

I’ve heard Indie authors who use Beta Readers prior to Editing and some use them after.   Obviously I will use them before hiring an editor.  I’m looking for Beta readers to review for content, character likeability, plot holes to some extent and the like.   I’m looking for an overall critique, not editing.  I believe that should be done by the publisher, as I’ve experienced in the past.  Honestly, if an agent tells me to hire an editor – I will likely skip the agent process all together. 🙂 

Until next Writer Wednesday, be naughty. ~Tina 

P.S. If you are interested in being a Beta Reader for a Steampunk novel, go ahead and comment below. 🙂