AuThursday – Kate Hill

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Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you for having me as a guest today. I’m a vegetarian New Englander who enjoys romance novels and horror movies. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.

How do you make time to write?

I set aside time each day to work on my writing. When I’m working on a story, I like to have a daily word count goal, even if it’s just 500 or 1000 words.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

That’s a tricky question. Every writer is different. I’ve been lucky because I’ve never had a problem with ideas, but there have been times in my life when I’ve had to place writing aside due to things like an illness in the family. I’m not sure that’s the same as writer’s block, though. When I sit down to write, I don’t have a problem putting something on paper (or screen, since I mostly write on my computer). If I’m stuck on the story I’m working on, I try writing something completely different, just for fun. Usually, that’s enough to get my creativity flowing.

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

I write mostly subgenres of romance. Paranormal is my favorite because I’ve always enjoyed horror movies, monsters, and things from beyond. For me, it’s natural to include the supernatural in my writing if that makes sense.

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

My latest story, Demon’s Grotto, has been released by Changeling Press. I’ve worked with them for many years and they’re great. The publishers, my editor, the staff and other writers are a fantastic group of people who do their best to help each other. That kind of support is important to me.

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

I’m basically a loner, so I’d probably be considered an introvert. To me, it makes writing easier to be comfortable spending time alone to work,

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

It’s a quote from Bruce Lee. He said, “I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing, but if writing is what you truly love, that’s what you’ll do anyway. I’d also say listen to others, but know when to trust your own instincts. What works for one person doesn’t work for another. Everyone gets criticism and praise, so don’t place too much emphasis on either one.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website is https://www.kate-hill.com.

I’m also on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/katehillromance

and https://www.twitter.com/compbeastsblog

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

KH_Fangs3VictorYes, thank you. My latest release, Demon’s Grotto, is an anthology of dark romance stories tied together by a common theme. All the stories take place in the same mysterious building. This excerpt is from the second story, called the Demon Within.

Excerpt:

The next morning when Anna entered Justin’s room, she didn’t take physical form — not even as smoke. She wasn’t there to touch this time, but to observe.

Some other residents of the rooming house were still in bed — dead to the world, as they say, from the previous night’s indulgences. So many times in the past she had taken advantage of their weakened state to satisfy her hellish hunger. After observing their pathetic lives, putting them out of their misery was almost easy.

Justin was different. He slept by day like most people slept at night — a genuine sleep. Few people had such a cycle, and even fewer woke from sleep to meet her outside of the dreams she created, but Justin had.

She realized he was unique. Deep inside, something told her to stay away from him — or take him quickly. Still, an even deeper place pressed her to learn more about him.

Hovering over him, just inches from touching him if she had been in corporeal form, she studied his angular face. He had perfect cheekbones and thick golden eyelashes. Darker gold stubble dusted his jaw and upper lip. He was probably in his forties, but somehow he looked ageless.

Today he lay naked on top of the sheets. The building was chilly, and she thought he must be cold — even though he was hot in another way.

With a suddenness that shocked her into solid form, he reached up and wrapped his arm around her. Anna landed with a grunt against his lean, hard body. They lay chest to chest. Thigh to thigh. Nose to nose.

He stared at her, the expression in his slanted blue eyes emotional, yet at the same time unreadable. “Who are you?” he asked in a rough voice.

“How did you do that?” she demanded, torn between the desire to melt even closer to him and the impulse to fade to smoke so that she could escape this man who had done what no other ever had. He had sensed her and forced her out of her reality and into his.

“I asked first.”

Her jaw clenched and she tugged against his grip, but he refused to let her go.

“I think I have a right to know. You’re invading my space, not the other way around.”

“Unfortunately for you, there’s nothing you can do about it.” She faded to smoke, but not before whispering against his lips, “You can call me Anna.”

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AuThursday – Monique Orgeron

DSC00098CRPTell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Monique Orgeron, and I was born and reside in the great state of Louisiana. Growing up though we traveled the world with my father’s position, and I have lived in Nigeria and in Singapore. Today, I’ve been married for almost 28 years to my honey bunches of oats and together we have two beautiful daughters that are now both in college. As a stay at home mother for 22 years, and yes, I was the mother with stupid written on my forehead volunteering for anything and everything. However, with both my daughters now not needing me like they once did, I found myself needing more out of life. Purely by accident, I found my love of reading turned into a passion for writing. It’s my turn now and couldn’t ask for anything more. When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them, “I write women’s fantasies, I fill their days with love, and intrigue, and their nights with seduction.” What could be better?

What are you working on at the minute?

Currently, I am working on my 8th book called Retribution. It is the 2nd book in my Youngblood series which is a spin-off from my Stern Family Saga.

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

I write contemporary/suspense romance. I love this genre because it is complex. My books are mafia based but they are so much more than that. They are about secrets, deception, love, intrigue, and most importantly they are about family. I also think the excitement of writing in this genre is that not only women but men as well find this genre of romance appealing.

In this genre, I am not limited to one emotion. My readers call my books a rollercoaster ride of emotions. My books will make you cry, laugh at times, and make you yell, “Oh shit, I didn’t see that coming!” or they will make you scream, “What the hell!” Making you want to throw your Kindle out of the window but by the end of them, you will love me for it or at least that’s the goal.

One thing to know about my books is, you will fall in love with each and every one of my characters. The men are hot, sexy and oh so alpha, but you will not find any damsels in distress. My daughters would kill me if I wrote weak women. To me, I believe as a woman we all go through obstacles in our lives but the old idea of needing a man to save us is not my cup of tea. My female leads might start off having obstacles and tribulations in their way but they grow to find their own voices and strength. They don’t need a man to save them or validate them. They simply need a man to love them for who they are and to become a partner in life.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I write full-time and love each minute of it. I’m very grateful to have this ability.

Where do your ideas come from?

Anything can be an inspiration, a picture, a song, a single phrase. I can see or hear something that has piqued my interest, I close my eyes and find a scene playing around it. When I write, it’s like a movie playing out in my head. I call it my mojo and my family knows when my mojo is strong to leave me alone.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Sure, I do. I think it happens to everyone. When it happens, I am a nervous wreck for however long it takes for me to have one light bulb moment.

How are you publishing this book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or digital)

I am an Indie author. I like being in control of my own words, covers, and how my audience sees me. I am extremely extroverted as my readers will tell you. I love being fully immersed with the lovers of my books. It’s one of the things about being able to do this full time, I love engaging with my readers in my reader group on a daily basis. There is so much empowerment to be found with a gang of women.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

Advantages are I am my own boss. I answer to no one. I make all the decisions.

Disadvantages are I am the boss, LOL. I have no one to blame when I make mistakes, and it all falls on my shoulders. I have no team behind me making sure I am on a schedule are helping me to get more exposure.

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Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Practically everywhere and I hope to hear from you.

Monique Orgeron’s Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/c5Zy-L

Amazon Profile: http://amzn.to/2Caa9G5

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMoniqueOrgeron/  

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com1643/  /groups/46497597390

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MoniqueOrgeron

Goodreads Author Profile page:   

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17170531.Monique_Orgeron

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/monique-orgeron

Art of Seduction Final Cover (1)Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

When I get to her bedroom, I hear water running. Realizing she’s in the shower, I take a seat on the chair and wait for her to come out. After a while, the water turns off and I watch as the door opens. Fallon walks out, noticing me sitting there. She’s so beautiful; she has her hair in another messy top knot, with a few strands dangling down her neck, wet from the shower. She is wearing a see-through tank top and a lace thong. Beautiful.

“Where have you been?” The tone of my voice should be a warning to her.

“On a date, with Miles.”

I don’t move from my spot as I ask, “Where the fuck did he take you, and what the hell did you do?”

“That is none of your business, Gabriel. Nothing I do is your business. You made that very clear.”

I rush over to her and pull her over my legs while I sit on the bed and smack her ass. She screams out, but that won’t stop me.

Smack!

“Don’t fuck with me, Fallon! When I ask you a question, I want an answer.”

Smack!

“Gabriel, you have no right to ask me anything.”

Smack!

She finally wiggles out from under me and hurries to her closet. I follow her inside as she twists her body to look in the mirror at her now bright, red ass.

“You have no right, Gabriel! No right to touch me like that!”

Gritting my teeth. “Did you let that boy touch you, Fallon?”

She turns around and starts hitting me in the chest, pushing me into the opposite wall from the full-length mirror. Once I hit the wall, I roughly grab her and turn her around, facing the mirror. I then cross her arms over her chest and lower my head to her neck.

“Did you let him touch you?”

She doesn’t answer me; she just watches us from the mirror.

“Did he, Fallon? Did he touch what’s mine?”

I release my strong hold on her arms, and she is now melding into me. I start to caress her stomach under the tank top.

I kiss her neck and whisper, “Tell me, Fallon, did he put his mouth on you? Did he kiss you?”

I hear her start to breathe heavier. She’s turned on, and leans back into me, still watching us.

“Did he try to touch your breasts?”

Slowly, I glide my hands from her stomach up to her breasts. Her tank top is so sheer, I can see the color of her areolas and her nipples hardening, peeking through. She looks so hot…I‘ve never seen a sexier woman. I grab her nipple and pinch, then start gently caressing them, all while sucking on her neck. She starts to moan. That’s my undoing. I need more. I need to feel more and make sure she knows she’s mine. I push her tank up over her breast and continue to caress them. I look up into the mirror and lock eyes with her.

“See these breasts, Fallon? They belong to me. Only my hands will ever touch them.”

Her eyes close briefly before opening again, with so much desire in them. This innocent girl has no idea what her body is capable of, but I’m going to give her a taste of it tonight. I hold one breast and slide my other hand under her lace panties. Her head falls back onto my chest. She’s such a beautiful sight in the mirror, innocently raw and waiting to be devoured. I start to rub her clit.

“Right here, Fallon…your clit…did he try to touch it? You know it belongs to me. I’m the only man ever to feel how plump it gets. Do you understand?”

Moaning, she responds, “Yours.”

“That’s right, Fallon…mine.”

I reach my other hand down and rip her pretty little thong right off her. I need to see all of her; I need full access. I slide one of my hands down to her thigh and slightly push outwards.

“Open, Fallon…I want to see what’s mine.”

She listens and spreads her legs a little, just enough to look hot as hell in the mirror. She’s waxed completely bare, leaving me with a full view of her glistening pussy, so wet with want. I know she can feel my erection, so I push against her just enough to let her know how turned on I am. I go back to fondling her breast with one hand, while the other keeps on manipulating her clit. Once I have her dripping with need, I go further down and sink a finger into her.

My voice is so husky with need.

“Fuck, baby, you’re so tight. Do you feel it? Do you feel yourself wrapped around my finger, smothering it like a vice?”

“Yes…oh, yes.”

Once I’m able to slide my finger in and out of her without any resistance, I slide in another finger, continuing an in and out motion. I take my thumb and rub her clit, going faster still.

“That’s it, baby…rock against me…I want you to feel good. This pussy belongs to me. I will be the only man to be able to feel it, the only one to feel it’s warmth. Shit, you’re so wet, baby…ride my fingers. I will be the only man to taste your pussy, and I will be the only man to make you cum. Tell me, Fallon, who do you belong to? Tell me.”

Breathy, she moans out, “You, Gabriel…only you…I belong to you.”

“You’re fucking right…you do…you belong to me. Now give it to me, Fallon. I want you to cum, cum for me. Let me hear that sweet mouth of yours moan for me.”

She’s panting so hard. I bite into her neck and pinch her nipple, which sets her off. It’s a beautiful sight. I’ll remember the way she looks tonight for the rest of my life. As she convulses in my arms, I grab her face, forcing her eyes back on mine in the mirror.

I ask one more time, “Did he?”

“No, Gabriel.”

I slowly release her, letting her relaxed body slide down mine to the ground. I look at her one more time through the mirror. Stepping over her, I adjust myself then my suit. Approaching her closet island, I reach into my pocket and pull out a black jewelry box. Setting it down, I walk out, leaving her there on the floor. I could have fucked her, but I chose not to. Not until she becomes my wife.

 

 

AuThursday – Jennifer Vettor

unnamedTell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Jennifer Vettor. I am a Canadian author living in southern Ontario. I’ve been married 28 years to my first husband (he hates this joke.) We have three grown children, two dogs, and 2 cats. I also work as a Reiki Practitioner and a Holistic Nutritionist.

How do you make time to write?

I have the privilege of working from home. This allows free time between clients to write! I also am lucky enough to make my own schedule, so I will often schedule in writing days. (I admit these days have often turned into Netflix binging and Facebook comas. I need more discipline.)

Do you believe in writer’s block?

While I have experienced blocks of time that I’ve been unmotivated, I have yet to experience writer’s block. Even when I’m not writing I have lots of ideas and stories bouncing around my unruly brain.

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

I write spicy romance novels. I love it because it is a place for my imagination to safely wander, AND it keeps me out of trouble.

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

I have chosen to publish independently. I’m a bit of a control freak and am not afraid to get my hands dirty. I was writing as a ghostwriter for an Indie publisher and when the time came to launch my own work, I just followed in their footsteps. I’m not opposed to traditional though. Maybe next time!

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

I tend to be a bit of both. I do love being around others, but I prefer small, intimate occasions. Call me a “social introvert”. I don’t mind the time spent alone and generally use this time to write.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Don’t quit before the miracle happens.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

For the first draft, just write your thoughts, and don’t worry about structure. You ’ll have plenty of chances to edit. Just let your creativity flow or you’ll get hung up on form, and start nit-picking everything. Nothing kills your writing buzz faster than self-doubt. Just bang away on that keyboard!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

jennifervettor.com

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

This is from my recent offering ‘Fated’.

unnamed (1)Meg spent her weekend sorting, organizing, and cleaning, clearing as much space as she could for Kade to move around. She was overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead of her, and several times had to calm herself on the porch with a cup of tea just to stave off a panic attack. Although she might have bitten off more than she could chew, she’d much rather choke on ambition than be swallowed by apathy. She’d just take things a day at a time.

It was late Sunday evening. She was sitting cross-legged on the floor, searching through boxes of old books, piled two and three rows high. She was hoping to salvage much of their contents for the shelves of the bookery, maybe even find a treasure or two, but much of what she found was questionable in its usefulness. Dusty, old fashioned books, perfumed with a musty aroma of decay and neglect.

She assumed most of the books were donated castaways the previous owner never had the time, or the desire, to sort through. He seemed more a hoarder than a collector, Meg thought ruefully. Most of the boxes were untouched, still sealed with yellowed, crumbling packing tape that had long ago lost its sticky residue.

She was about to push aside a box, certain she wouldn’t find anything interesting when something caught her eye. It was a vintage diary, the kind that would have been filled with the longings, secrets, and fantasies of a young girl; red leather with a gold scroll design, long ago faded. It was locked, but the leather was compromised, cracked along the flap that held the metal edge in place. She took a moment to search the bottom of the box for the key, piling the remaining books around her, but found nothing, even after turning it upside down. She placed the box down and retrieved the diary, inquisitively rolling it over in her hands. It seemed a shame to break it, almost impolite, but Meg was curious about its contents. She carried the book with her into the kitchen, hoping to find a tool to unlatch it.

“This should work,” she spoke out loud, to no one in particular. She slipped a small butter knife behind the seal and it easily popped open on the first try, as though its secrets begged to be revealed. She slowly opened the book, pleasantly surprised by the soft texture of the paper. It was quite extraordinary, made even more striking by the elegant script decorating the pages. Meg felt the familiar flutter of excitement that always happened whenever she first opened the pages of a new book; the promise of a new adventure waiting to be devoured, fresh mysteries to unfold, and
delicious characters to fall in love with.

It had been years since she’d read cursive, raised in a computer generation, but there was something mysteriously beautiful about those swirling consonants and vowels. It struck a deep chord with her, luring her into an era where things were simpler, slower, with more attention paid to detail. An idyllic world where folks really took the time to engage with each other; computers, cell phones, and Instagram just a cold, distant, impossible reality. She often felt like she’d been born in the wrong era, dropped onto the planet generations later than she should have been. She longed for those deeper connections. Excited, she opened the first page, allowing the words to transport her, like a literary time machine.

AuThursday – SE Massery

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Sara, although I write under S. Massery. I grew up in western Massachusetts, and I think everyone knew I was going to be an author before I did because I was always writing stories. I went to Emmanuel College in Boston, and I cycled through ten different majors until I ended on English Writing and Literature—emphasis on writing. I moved out to Wyoming and worked on a guest ranch for a few summers. I moved back to Massachusetts, had a brief stint in hospitality, and now I work for a flooring company in my home town. I write in my spare time. Eventually, I hope to be a full-time author.

How do you make time to write?

Sometimes I can get away with writing a little at work (shh, don’t tell). I usually write at night—that’s when I get most of my words on the page.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe it’s a real thing, but I also don’t think that should stop someone from trying to write. My own writing career started after I bought a notebook and vowed to write a passage a day—about my thoughts and feelings, the weather, existential stuff—and strengthening that “writing muscle” helped me transition to writing a full-length novel. Whenever I got stuck in the story, I went back to the journal.

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

I’m a bit all over the place in terms of genre. I originally intended my first book to be a romance, but it took a darker turn and ended up in women’s fiction. I also intended the second book to be a romance, and it is, but there’s a stronger focus on the main character’s journey of self-discovery and action and adventure. My third book, I promise, is an actual romance!

Anyway, back to the question—I think women’s fiction is my favorite to write. I love that it’s a bit more complicated than romance, although there is usually a love story in mine, and that readers aren’t promised a neat or happy ending. Life can be a bit messy, and I quite enjoy pulling on those emotions in my books, too.

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

I’m publishing indie! I really wanted creative control over every single aspect. Sometimes that’s scary (okay, a lot of times it’s scary) because if something goes wrong, it’s on my shoulders. My success or failure all depends on me. I’ve learned so many things since publishing Something Special, and I keep learning more every day. That’s the exciting part. I’m also a pretty impatient person, so knowing that getting traditionally published could take a year, or could never happen, played a factor into my decision.

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

Oh goodness. I’m an introvert to the extreme. It works out well for the actual writing part—sit down by myself and bang out a book, sure—but the marketing aspect tires me out. I love talking to new people, discussing my books, doing takeovers and whatnot. It just takes a little more energy than writing does. I’m conscious of that, so I try to spread out everything when I can. Release week is exhausting, though!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.” Pretty sure that’s from the movie Fired Up. It’s true, though! And it’s more fun to say that instead of, “No risk equals no reward.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Writing should be fun. It’s not fun all the time, but remember why you started writing in the first place. And above all, don’t give up. Just get words written, and you can edit it later.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Almost everywhere!

Website: www.smassery.com

Newsletter: www.smassery.com/mailinglist

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorsmassery

Facebook reader group: www.facebook.com/groups/smasserysquad

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorsmassery

Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/authors/s-massery

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/smassery

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/smassery

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

This is an excerpt from Something Sacred, which just released on March 14! It’s free to read in Kindle Unlimited, and it’s book 2 in the Something Special duet, although they’re both standalone novels.

I slip my water bottle back into its pouch, zipping it closed. Cora does the same, swiping at the sweat trickling down her temples. She follows me down a trail for about a half hour, and then I make a sharp turn into the brush.

“Where are you going?” she yells.

“Come on, not every fire has a path leading to it,” I call back. It’s a steeper descent than I thought, and I slide on some rocks, throwing my hands wide to keep my balance. “Careful,” I say. “Take it slow if you need—”

She slips and falls into me. We roll down the hill until I can dig in and stop us. She lands on top of me, her hair in my mouth and her knee dangerously close to my groin.

I grunt as she starts moving, picking herself up off of me. I spit out her hair and start laughing, eyeing her red face. I can’t tell if she’s blushing or if she’s redder from the exercise, but after a second she starts laughing, too.

“You were just telling me to watch my step and then—”

I tip my head back and laugh louder. “You just took me out, Fletcher. That was like a sliding tackle.”

“Oh my god,” she gasps. “Don’t tell anyone.”

“Are you kidding? I’m telling everyone.”

We grin at each other for a minute before I pick myself up and brush off the dirt. And then she says, “God doesn’t hate you, Jared.”

I shake my head and turn away from her. “It sure feels like he does.”

She exhales and stands, too. “So, do you want to talk about it?”

“Talk about what?”

“The shit hitting the fan with your family, or whatever you said before.”

I start down the hill again. “You used to enjoy silence.”

She snorts. Rocks roll past me as she slides again. In time, she’ll get more graceful on different types of terrain, just like I did. “Yeah, but you’re a bottle of secrets.”

My relationship with my dad fractured right after my fight with Colby. It’s easy to connect the dots: because I got in a fight, I discovered my dad wasn’t the good guy I always thought he was. And my mom is living with a liar.

“Let’s just head back,” I say as we get to the bottom of the hill.

Get it here:  https://amzn.to/2VXkJWJ

 

AuThursday – Adriana Anders

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi there! Thank you for having me today! I write moody, sexy, and suspenseful Romantic Thrillers and Contemporary Romance. While my first books—the Blank Canvas Series—focused on the turmoil and secrets in a small Virginia town, my upcoming Survival Romances take things global. Which makes research especially fun!

So, background… Though I’ve been an avid reader for most of my life, I started writing seriously in a circuitous way. I used to be a singer and actor and did voices for video games—then I translated video games (from French into English) and, finally, got a chance to write them. Getting from there to Romance was a long, arduous road with lots of ups and downs… but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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

I’m 60% extrovert and 40% introvert, which means that after hanging with my friends for a few hours, I need about the same amount of time to recover alone with a good book. I prefer to work in coffee shops, with headphones on. Even better if it’s at a table with other writing friends!

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

I’m a morning writer. I’ve had periods of time when I wake up at 5am to get that special quiet before the kids descend upon me, but I’m generally a morning to early afternoon person. I think it’s because my brain isn’t fully awake, which often makes for better results.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Yes. And how. This past year has been a long, complicated journey of cleaning out a house and moving an entire family’s life from one country to another. Writing has been VERY tough and the thing is, I’ve finally figured out why: If I don’t take the time to just think and be with the characters, then I never quite grasp who they are.  Right now, my goals are to write, think, brainstorm, and let myself get to know my people before putting too many words on the page.

I see you have quite a few series, including BLANK CANVAS, LOVE AT LAST, and THE ROGUE SERIES. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

Series appeal to me on a few levels. There’s something so incredibly comforting about familiarity. It’s what draws me to series—getting to see familiar places and characters and how they progress through the pages. Writing a series around a small town, a family, or other groups of people gives readers a chance to get really entrenched in a way that feels intimate. I love that.

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

My novella, DEEP BLUE, is out in a March anthology called TURN THE TIDE, published by Sourcebooks, which is also publishing my upcoming series of Survival Romances. I love the freedom of publishing independently and the excitement of seeing my books in bookstores, which is what my traditional contracts give me. What’s great is that, though there’s overlap, I am able to reach two different audiences.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

Self-publishing is wonderful because I can decide what I write, when I write it, what the cover looks like, etc. And if none of it works, I can go back to the drawing board and re-brand. I love the freedom and flexibility. But it costs money. And I know that what I invest in my own books (including on edits, promo, etc.) is a fraction of what my publisher spends to put my books out. Beyond the cost, there are two aspects to traditional publishing that I really appreciate: one is the network and reach. My publisher gets my book into places I’d never manage on my own. The second is the team. The number of passes my books go through—from my acquiring editor to the copy editors and proofreaders—the number of people involved—designers, the PR team, and beyond—make the final product as close to perfection as there is, while the experience of having a team to back me up is absolutely priceless.

I’m not going to say to write every day, because it doesn’t work that way for me. In fact, I think there’s a path for each and every writer—a method or habit or system that will work—but it might not be easy to find. I know authors who write all night and sleep during the day, others who can get a thousand words in over a lunch break, others plot everything out before they even start, which isn’t at all how I work. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that if something doesn’t work for you, don’t give up. That’s it, in a nutshell, try things, stop it if they’re only making it harder. Then try something else. And DON’T. GIVE. UP.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

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

Oh, I’d be delighted! This is from DEEP BLUE, my novella in the free TURN THE TIDE anthology from Sourcebooks!

Zoe shouldn’t have come out to the oil platform alone.

How many times had Jane warned her? How many times had she promised her partner that she wouldn’t scuba dive offshore rigs on her own? But she’d done it before, and she’d do it again.

Unless, of course, this time was her last.

Crap.

Eighty-five feet beneath the surface of the water, she spun, taking in details she hadn’t noticed above. The absolute stillness was disquieting, when usually the water around the rig’s coral- and crustacean-coated legs was teeming with life. The sea turtles and tiny reef fish that always investigated her presence were nowhere to be seen. The only sound was her own breathing as she sucked air from the tank, the only movements the gentle swish of sea anemone and the flurry of bubbles rising from her mouth.

The flat, washed-out blue she usually found so calming looked dead without the flash of garibaldi dashing between the old oil platform’s maze of support beams like playful orange flames. Usually they’d be swarming, but today…nothing.

It was Sea Lion Bob’s absence that transformed her sense of general unease into full-blown worry, however. He’d greeted her every time she’d come to check the Polaris platform reef.

Something was very wrong.

Get out of here, her instincts screamed, even as her training forced her to relax. A slow inhale, the sound thin under the weight of the water, and a kick up, as languid as she could make it with the panic weighing her limbs down. A long exhale churned the water above, and she added bubbles to the mix by venting enough air to rise slowly.

Relax. Stay calm.

Why hadn’t she paid attention to the niggling in her belly as she’d driven her boat toward the platform? It was impossible to pinpoint exactly when the feeling had started or what had set it off, but it was undeniable. Funny how fear changed things. It turned the platform’s shell-encrusted support beams into a phantom forest. The pinks and purples, leached of all color, were the wan gray of death.

I’ll never come alone again, she promised the Fates or God or the ocean itself.

As she slowly ascended, her eyes searched feverishly for some clue as to what had turned a busy, dynamic reef into a foggy, blue ghost town.

Had she missed something on the trip out here?

She remembered passing the two working platforms closer inland. Nothing strange there. A few miles farther out, just before San Elias Island, she’d spotted the Daphne and drawn her boat up alongside her, as she did nearly every time she came this way. Blushing, of course. Always blushing with that guy.

“Hey, Eric.”

Slow as syrup, he had leaned against the rail of his boat, lean body indolent-looking, though his face remained serious as always. “Evening, Zoe. Kinda late today, aren’t you?”

She had shrugged, working hard to keep her gaze above chest level so she wouldn’t stare. What was it about this guy that made her want to eat him up with her eyes? He wasn’t even her usual type, which was dark and intellectual. No, this guy had Paul Newman good looks, with the build of a roughneck. She’d bet anything his hands were as coarse as his voice.

“Yeah,” she’d managed to shout against the wind. “Been a couple weeks since I checked in on Polaris.”

“I noticed,” he’d said without the hint of a smile.

The words—straight, serious, and a touch accusatory—did things to her. Good God, what was wrong with her? Those two innocuous words made her heart race more than anything she’d done with her last boyfriend. Ridiculous, considering that Eric showed no more interest in her than in his fishing pole.

Besides, she knew absolutely nothing about him.

“All right.” She reached forward to pull the throttle out, but stopped at his next words.

“You alone today?”

“Yeah,” she had to admit. “Jane’s not—”

“You diving the rig?”

“Yes.” She had sounded defensive. Weird how that came back to her now, with a hiccup of embarrassment.

The lines around his mouth tightened, his too-blue eyes narrowed, and he nodded once, quick and short.

“Careful. Weather headed our way.”

When his worry warmed her insides instead of sparking a snarky Yes, sir, she’d known she should get out of there. Throwing him a smile and a wave, she’d taken off as fast as she could. Everything about the man said trouble—for her, at least. Oh, he’d always been friendly and respectful, but it was the unspoken stuff that got to her, like the hungry way he eyed her or, much more worrisome, the way that look lit her up inside.

She should have listened to his warning about weather, should have turned around right there and headed back to the mainland. Or, even better, she should have paused there longer, flirted a bit, maybe even screwed up the courage to finally ask him out.

But she hadn’t. And now she was pushing back the panic and slowly working through the eerie calm to the surface, which seemed to be getting farther away with every kick of her fins.

Inhale…stop kicking. Loosen up. Be big. Exhale…

BOOM!

The sound hit her, and she threw up her hands to cover her ears. Less than a second later, the rig’s supports shook, releasing a blinding dust cloud that could mean only one thing—earthquake.

Oh God, oh God, oh God. At fifteen feet below the surface, she fought the desire to head all the way up and counted down the seconds for her three-minute safety stop.

Calm down. I’m better off in the water than on land.

Not if the platform collapsed.

She’d never been scared like this on a dive, never shivered so hard underwater.

BOOM!

Another gray puff billowed from the platform, joining the dust rising from the depths like smoke from a forest fire.

She didn’t have to check her gauge to know she was running low on air.

Yeah, I’m done here.

Buy Links

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NWZJT8Y

 

 

 

AuThursday – Constance Bretes

EITM CB Banner

CB Author PhotoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born and raised in Michigan, met my husband there, and worked for 38 years for the State of Michigan before retiring. We moved from Michigan to Montana in 2015, and then last year, we moved from Montana to Alabama for medical reasons. I have no children of my own, but I do have a step-son. I am owned by 3 kitty cats and the doggie that lives next door. I published my first book, Delayed Justice, in 2014. Elkhorn in the Moonlight is book #9, and Midnight Escape will be #10 and published later this year. When I’m not writing, I like to spend time with my husband and our fur babies, love to read romance novels, love to basket weave, fiddle on the piano, and sit on the swing on my back porch.

How do you make time to write?

Since I’m retired, and a homebody, I have plenty of time to devote to writing. The hardest point for me is to just sit and write. When I finally do sit to write, I have all my resources at my fingers, and my husband is gone to do his thing……

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I have a loose outline to guide me through the story. Just something that tells me what I want to put in.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Yes, a couple of times I went through writer’s block because of my medication. While in Montana, I was sick quite a bit, and couldn’t sit down to write, and when I could, I couldn’t due to the medications. Other times like right now, I have so many manuscripts in various stages of edits, that I just can’t sit and write, so I work on edits.

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

I put them away. Then look at them later, when the sting goes away.

What are your current projects?

I am working with my publisher on the final edits for Midnight Escape to be released this summer. I have a military romance I’m working on, Operation Code Name: Desert Love, I am almost ready to submit another manuscript to my publisher called Love, A Second Time Around, I’m also working with a group of ladies called Common Elements Romance Project, we have taken 5 items, and have agreed to put them in our books, and we are publishing our books later this year. It is the first time I’ve ever self-published. My book is called The Haunted Love Affair. I’m working on three books, Roadside Love, Roadside Desire and Roadside Passion. It centers around two brothers and a sister who find love in a small town in Wyoming. All are related but standalone.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

No actress for Nicole, in Elkhorn in the Moonlight, but someone I know in Basin, Montana, where we lived. For the hero, Marcus, I have Martin Sensmeier, a Native American actor.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing, keep mastering the craft of writing and don’t give up.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

http://constancebretes.com

https://www.facebook.com/conniebretes/

https://twitter.com/ConstanceBretes

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7737457.Constance_Bretes

Email:  bretesc@gmail.com

http://beachwalkpress.com/constance-bretes/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/constance-bretes

https://www.amazon.com/Constance-Bretes/e/B00IKSKRES/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ConnieBretes

Instagram: constancebretesauthor

Newsletter:  https://www.constancebretes.com/news–things.html

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

CB-ElkhornintheMoonlight-1600x2400 (6)“You pass it every time you go into Mason. The other two are on the other side of the overpass. Sandpiper Mine you can see from the highway, but you have to go on Gulch Mine to get to the Elkhorn Mountains. The mountain ranges there are the highest, and there are a lot of vertical drops, so you’d have to travel where you can walk it. It’s not something where you can climb it and be there. You have to go in a roundabout way.”

“Do you have a very clear vision of where this cave is, and how to get to it?” he asked.

“Yes. I remember it clear as day now.”

“How soon can you get yourself ready for the hike?”

“What? I’m not going there. You are. I can’t just take off and leave, I have work to do. Plus, it’s way too cold to go there right now. The mountains in that area still have snow on them.”

“You think I would know where to go by the information that you provided?”

“I gave you very good information,” she said.

“Do you have the coordinates for GPS?”

“No. I don’t.”

“So, you think that I, who have never traveled these mountains before, would have no problem finding that cave?” Marcus’s eyes narrowed as he regarded her.

“I don’t have any idea how you intend to get there. Personally, I think you should wait until summer to do it. The weather in the mountains is unpredictable.”

Marcus sat thinking about the situation for a second, and then he said, “Name your price.”

“Huh?”

“I said, name your price,” he repeated.

“I need you to lead me to that cave, and I have to do it this week.”

“You’re not listening to me. I can’t take you there. I have work to do here. I can’t leave to go on a weeklong camping trip.”

“You can for a price,” he said grimly.

“You can’t buy me off to get what you want,” Nicole said defensively.

“Everyone is willing to do certain things for a certain price. Will thirty thousand get you interested and willing to go?”

“I…I…thirty thousand? No, I won’t be bought,” she stammered.

“Look, Nicole. Let’s quit with the games. I’m going to go there to get those Sacred Arrows, and you are the one who is going to take me there and bring me back. I’m offering you thirty thousand for a week…week and a half of work. I think your brother and his wife can handle the motel for that length of time.”

“I’m sorry.” She stopped for a few seconds.

“I won’t be bullied. My answer is no.” She stood up to leave.

“Just think about this. Like I said, thirty thousand for a week and a half of work. Think what you could do with that money. Think of all the possibilities and opportunities you’d have. As for the weather, I know you have lived through worse weather right here in Mason. You know what to expect. I would not let you go up there without your GPS, your cellphone and satellite phone, your two-way radio, and letting your brother know exactly where you’re at should there ever be an emergency. I’ll give you until tomorrow at noon to tell me your decision, and if I were you, I’d think about this very seriously. I intend to have my way in this,” he said sternly. Grabbing his maps and the pictures she gave him, he walked back to the causeway and to his room.  

 

AuThursday – Dana Ross

FGE Banner

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

Like many writers, I was born into a family of bookworms. My maternal grandmother was a librarian for seventy-five years and she was a heavy influence on everything I read growing up. My father was a jeweler, and I grew up in the industry and was groomed to take over my family’s store. I worked under his wing for almost a decade, but after I left Maryland to attend the Gemological Institute of America and earn my Graduate Gemologist degree, I was encouraged to apply for a teaching position at the school. I relocated to California and worked as an instructor at G.I.A.’s Santa Monica campus.

Later, after marriage and kids and moving to Florida, I decided to try writing. After a few poor unstructured attempts, I joined a few critique groups, switched careers, attended grad school. There, I earned my MFA in creative writing. I still have a passion for gems and I try to infuse my writing with gemological factoids whenever possible.

How do you make time to write?

When my children were young, I wrote when they napped or attended school. I knew I had only a few precious hours to get words onto paper, so I made writing part of my daily routine—as much as brushing my teeth and flossing. My kids are almost grown now, but I still adhere to my writing schedule: Coffee first. Then treadmill (to fill my head with ideas/mentally flush out stories). Then I plant myself in my writing chair and work until my son comes home, hunger pangs beckon, or the dog whimpers for attention.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

“Ugh.” Unfortunately, yes. I’ve heard people say they don’t believe such a thing exists, but I suffer from it on occasion. Recently, I started working on two novels, one story I began while participating in NaNoWriMo, and one story that “came to me” out of the blue. I love both ideas, but I haven’t been able to commit fully to either, and until the “Eureka!” or “Aha!” moment comes to me, I can’t find the momentum to write. To help speed along the process, I play songs that remind me of my imagined chapters or work on character profile worksheets or try to write the synopsis of each book until the proverbial “block” has been lifted.

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

Great question. My true love is YA because I love teen angst and quirky characters. The first manuscripts I wrote were YA stories, because writing is cathartic and through YA, I could deal with teen issues I, myself, went through, and issues my daughter experienced. That being said, my first published book is a contemporary romance with elements of suspense. It was a lot of fun to write outside my “regular” genre.

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

My recent book was published traditionally through The Wild Rose Press. I’d learned they had earned an award through Predators & Editors and heard great things about the company, so I queried them and they accepted my “baby.” TWRP really love their authors and go out of their way to teach us about the writing industry, which can be overwhelming at times.

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

I’m an intro/extrovert if there were such a thing. I love working and hanging out with fellow writers, but I’m also introverted at times. While crafting a novel, I’ll retreat into my writing cave and shun friends/society, and I can go days without contact from the outside world. Fortunately, I’m also a mom and the host of a local writers’ critique group, so I get pulled out of the proverbial cave and pushed back into society when my son is with me or when it’s time to moderate the writing group.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

That’s an easy answer. I stumbled upon this quote by Gloria Steinem and for years it has been my mantra: “Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

First, the obvious: write and read every day, even if it’s only a paragraph or a page. Second, read and write outside your comfort zone; our writer minds can get stagnant if we do the same thing every day. Third, read the craft books written by the masters. There are many but my favorites are Stephen King’s “On Writing,” Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style,” and Browne & King’s “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.” Last, but not least, don’t give up. Your writing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and writing is a glacial process, but if you write because you love what you do, stick to it, toughen your skin, and be patient. Your day will come, and there’s no greater feeling than having a complete stranger love your prose.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Thanks for asking, Tina. I’m constantly on social media, and I love to connect with readers and fellow writers. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and my (under construction) web page:

Website: https://danarossauthor.com

Twitter: @danarossauthor

Instagram: mommawriter (Dana Ross Author)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanaRossauthor

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

Yes, thank you for offering. This excerpt comes from chapter two—a scene where my protagonist meets face-to-face with the story’s antagonist.

FullGirlfriendExperience_w11805_750

There were three things I could not stand—cheap shoes, bad wine, and the man seated across the table from me. William Drummond was staring at me like a half-starved animal. Maybe his greedy gaze was due to my dress’s plunging neckline, but the man obviously had other things on his mind—complications that involved me. And like the pan-fried calamari appetizer slowly digesting in my belly, sharing company with the man who almost killed one of my girls did not sit well.

Nonetheless, I had problems. I had to at least hear him out.

I lifted my empty champagne flute and motioned for a refill.

Drummond obliged.

The bubbly was good and dry, one that cost a pretty penny, which the sockmuppet would probably write off and charge taxpayers. It was tempting to slug my drink down and ask for a third glass, but I refrained since I was dealing with someone less trustworthy than my dry cleaners. As Drummond refilled his glass, I remembered how easily he polished off drinks without showing a hint of an altered mind. In addition to the champagne, there was a glass of whiskey with melting ice cubes by his plate.

Bells in my head rang a warning.

He was slick. Just like that suit. Which was decent, though, probably an Italian label that cost more than my rent. He also sported a rose-gold designer watch—last year’s model—and diamond pavé cufflinks that practically blinded me with their shine. His nails were trimmed and glossy, like he’d had a recent manicure, and his jet-black hair shined like an asphalt lake.

His eyes were a forgettable brown, but they revealed intellect—correction, cunning intellect.

Drummond lifted his champagne glass and aimed the rim in my direction. “Let’s make a toast. To old times.”

I leaned forward and clinked his glass. “Old times.”