#AuThursday – Marie Lavender

Marie Lavender LogoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well, I am a multi-genre author of 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. And the list just keeps growing. Some of my works in progress include comedy, time travel or dystopian tales.  I come from the Midwestern U.S., and I live with my family and three cats. I’ve pretty much always known I wanted to be a writer, at least since I was old enough to officially write stories.

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

I’m actually more introverted, though my writing career has forced me to be more public than I’m accustomed to. I guess you could say it’s a bit harder to put myself out there, but I do it anyway. I’ve had several radio interviews, I host three blogs and I have moderated lots of major book giveaways. I like meeting new people. Now and then, I still get nervous, though.

How do you make time to write?

When I’m balancing a side job and family obligations, it can be difficult. I usually aim to work a little on my current project every day, even if it’s a paragraph or a scene, or just researching different aspects of the story.

What excites you most about your current WIP?

The book I’m currently editing is Blood Instincts, a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy which is also book two of the Blood at First Sight Series. I adore the characters, and designing the Other World. I’m very excited for fans of Second Nature, the first book, to read its sequel!

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

Oh, I received quite a few when I was submitting Upon Your Return, my first historical romance, to agents and publishers. Whenever I’d get a rejection, I forced myself to feel more determined. I just sent out another five submissions to other places. Perseverance is a good quality to have in this business. And my persistence paid off. Not too long after that, I received my first book contract!

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

Actually, I have. I am in the midst of writing a romantic suspense novel with another writer. It’s titled Certain Death.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

They can find me at my author website, through my blogs at the MLB blog, the I Love Romance Blog, or Writing in the Modern Age. They can follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. I also have an author newsletter, which I send out monthly, so feel free to subscribe!

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

DoHpromo15

Sure! This one is from my new release, Directions of the Heart, a modern romantic drama collection, which just came out on July 25th!

Join me on Saturday as we read an excerpt from “Directions of the Heart” by Marie. ~Tina

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AuThursday – Paul Lonardo

Paul_Lonardo_APlease welcome writer Paul Lonardo to the Clog Blog.  Paul can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’ve been writing in various forms my entire adult life. I really began telling stories in the medium of film when I was a teen, making movies with my friends around the neighborhood. I attended a film school in California and came away with an interest in screenwriting. Gradually, I turned to other forms of writing, including short fiction, typically in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres. My first novel was in that vein. Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of ghostwriting and collaborative nonfiction. As much as I enjoy creating my own characters and stories, I’ve found that the truth really is stranger than fiction, and have been fortunate to work on a number of very interesting and inspired projects with people who needed assistance telling their own amazing stories. Writing romance began as somewhat of an experimental phase for me, and also I believe as a way to get back into fiction writing again. Being more mature now, there is a whole new world of possibilities for me to examine and write about.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?coverEnchantedDesire_w10485_850

It was a big moment having had my first novel published close to twenty years ago by a small press, but a lot has changed since then, particularly in the publishing business. Having been working on nonfiction projects for so long, with the fortune of having several published by larger houses, I was unsure that I would have any success writing and placing my fiction. In 2015, with my first romance novella finding a home with a romance publisher, it gave me the confidence to continue writing, in the romance genre, which led to the publishing of my second romance, Enchanted Desire, published by Wild Rose Press last year. I know have several fiction projects and ideas I am currently working on along with my nonfiction.

 

What excites you most about your current WIP?

SoulAwakening.v5Early on in life I’ve had an interest in all things paranormal, and while that element is certainly present in Soul Awakening, my latest romance novella, due out in May 2017, is more of a pure paranormal story, only instead of involving horror and fear it is encapsulated in a romance, a love story with a bit a twist. I’m hoping this book, Soul Awakening, will jump-start a new stage of my fiction-writing.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I would say a bit of both. The energy I feel when I get into a story that starts to develop ahead of me – which I have to keep up with so it doesn’t get away from me – is very invigorating. You can’t stop until it does, until you catch up with it, or until the story comes to an end. At the same time, once you get to that point, and you catch up with the story, you may have used so much energy in the process that no amount of coffee is going to offset that. The exhaustion sets in then. And that’s a good thing, because rest is really important. Whenever you can, you try to make up for all that lost sleep.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Sometimes, such as when I mentioned above that the story is ahead of you and you’re trying to catch it. When that happens, the story may not be done, and it seems as if everything has stopped and you’re in the dark, not sure where the story should go from there. You try to figure out where to go, and just set off in one direction to continue the story toward its conclusion. If it doesn’t lead anywhere interesting, you can always just go out in another direction. I guess you can call that writer’s block, or just uninspired writing. But as long as you’re writing something, making an attempt, it will happen again where the story is leading you and you are following it.

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

I am very much an introvert. It’s probably one of the reasons why I turned to story-telling early in life, and became a writer. If I was any other way, I may not have found refuge in writing. I believe that being introverted allows me to express myself through my characters in ways that I could never imagine in real life. Writing provides an outlet for so many expressions, feelings and desires that are inhibited or restrained in some way. You hear about certain performers, actors and musicians, who are reserved and shy until they get on stage or in front of a camera. I think there are many writers who are the same way, me being one of them.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I don’t know if what I’m about to say would be considered a literary pilgrimage, but I have mentioned that I had an early interest in the paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy and horror genres. Literary influences ranged for me, but I always tended to gravitate more toward the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, as well as H.P. Lovecraft. So it was with a somewhat morbid fascination for the macabre that I was drawn to a New England college to earn a degree in mortuary science. Yes, an education for people who wanted to work as a mortician, funeral director or embalmer. I would say that this was more of an exploration than a pilgrimage, but it was very short-lived career. Writing romance now, I don’t know what pilgrimage I might embark on in order to get a more comprehensive understanding of this genre, but I am open to suggestions.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

The only thing I would add is that my writing is fluid, and I enjoy writing no matter what the genre or topic. I find being open to change is a form of freedom. That’s why I do as much freelance writing as I can, regardless of how much time I put into my own fiction or collaborative nonfiction. Contributing to a local monthly magazine allows me to write personal profiles on interesting and inspiring people, and I feel fortunate for all the readers who find the topics I write about worthy of their time.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://www.amazon.com/Paul-Lonardo/e/B000APQ0Z4/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/734960.Paul_Lonardo

http://paullonardo.com/

http://smithfieldtimesri.com/

Join me next week when I interview Susan V. Vaughn.  ~Tina

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching at Writer Zen Garden

wzgI’m teaching my FEARS workshop this weekend at Writer Zen Garden if anyone is interested. Classes are free to members. Membership is free.

http://writerzengarden.com/forums/

Feel free to share with any writer friends.

Works in Progress – Riding Wes to Vegas

Below is an un-edited excerpt from one of my upcoming projects

Brittany Combes got out of bed, her planets were aligned, and she could feel it in the core of her being.  Something significant was going to happen today.  She padded across the floor of her efficiency apartment to her kitchen.  Brittany started the coffee pot and walked the short distance to her front door.  She opened it to find that Timmy, her neighbor left his newspaper once again on the welcome mat outside her apartment.  He was nice but much too young for her blood.  Brittany checked the stars the day she met him and found that they were meant to be lifelong friends, nothing more.

Brittany treaded back to the counter, poured a cup of coffee and sat down at the table to read her horoscope.  For the most part she felt that paper horoscopes were generic, to appeal to the masses.  She felt once you studied a person as a whole and where they were in their lives, then look at the stars to find the answers.  Her astrology hobby managed to get her a weekly gig at the Starving Artist, matching people up according to their sign.  Her friend Courtney thought the idea would help the coffee house make some extra money on Monday nights.  They called in Matchmaking Monday. 

Brittany leafed through the paper until she reached the horoscope section and scanned for her sign, Pisces.   She read:

Pisces:  The stars are aligned for a winning combination.  You are at the top of your game.  Thinking too much is not for today,  go with your feelings not logic.   Cancer brings unexpected changes.  Tonight:  A dark beauty will enter your life.

A dark beauty, could refer to her friend Courtney Wagner, she was a Cancer and due any day.  Why that would affect her, Brittany wondered.  Perhaps the baby would arrive tonight and  the child would likely be dark like her mother.  Brittany decided it was worth a call to check on Courtney.  She picked up the phone and dialed the number she knew by heart.

“Starving Artist, this is Daisy.”

“Is Courtney there?”

“One moment.” Brittany heard footsteps and muffled background noises. 

“This is Courtney.”

“Courtney, it’s Britt.”

“Yeah Britt, what’s up?”

“I was calling to see how things were going.”

“Fine.  Why do you ask?”

“I just wanted to make sure everything was okay.”  Brittany decided not to tell Courtney about her horoscope.  It would probably cause her to worry unnecessarily.

“Everything is good.  My accountant is coming to look over the books.  That’s pretty much the highlight of my day.  You’re still coming tonight?”

“Of Course.  I wouldn’t miss it.”

“See you then.”

“Yep.”  After hanging up the phone Brittany wondered what her horoscope meant.  She didn’t have time to go through her charts, she was already late for class.  She was starting to wonder who this dark beauty was though.

Do you have a project you would like to share?  Please let me know.

Thanks,

Tina