AuThursday – Diane Zhivago

Please welcome author Diane Zhivago to The Clog Blog.  Diane, tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a Gemini.  I’m also a Canadian.  I live in Newfoundland, Canada in a quaint little seaside town with my husband, our 20-year-old daughter who’s still in college, and our 12-year-old son.  I’m also stepmom to my husband’s eldest daughter and step-grandma to two beautiful little boys, 8 and 6. I’m a veterinary assistant by trade, though I’ve worked at everything from postal delivery to heavy equipment operator for Canadian National Railway.    I’ve been writing stories since childhood. My mother was a lover of books and reading and passed on that love to me, so when I ran out of reading material I would sit down and make up my own stories and then read them to my family or friends. I wrote my very first manuscript when I was about 12 or 13.  It’ was over 400 pages handwritten—a romance story involving a boy I had a crush on at the time and with all of my friends as characters.

How do you make time to write?

At the moment I am not working so I usually write during the day when everyone is at school or work.  I carry around a notebook everywhere I go (like to my son’s football games) so that I can jot down any ideas I have for stories or scenes and conversations that might pop into my head.  

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Definitely!  But I find that the best cure is to just sit and read…get absorbed into a story that’s not your own making.  Us writers usually start out as avid readers and reading really does kickstart your imagination so when the words aren’t flowing, I’ll usually take a break for a day and just read.

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

I write steamy romance.  Mostly paranormal though I don’t consider myself locked into that category.  I do enjoy it though! My favorite books to read are paranormal…vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches; I love all of it!  And it’s so fun to write! You can really let your imagination soar when you write paranormal. My family is of Irish descent, so I grew up with stories about shapeshifters, witches, fairies and such.  I think that played a huge part in why I love to read and write paranormal romance. And who doesn’t love great sex in a romance book, right? My paranormal romance stories have it all!

How are you publishing your recent book and why?

I have five books published as an Indy author.  I had submitted in the past to a publishing company but the rules and regulations of word length, descriptive language allowances, etc. just made it so hard to get my style of writing to pass all the checkmarks, though I came very close a few times.  As an Indy author, I get to write MY story, MY way, and I like that. I like having the freedom of being an Indy author.  

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

I’m an Introvert mostly…though, being a Gemini I can’t truly lay claim to it wholeheartedly.  I’m very at ease with my own self and my own thoughts. I can live happily inside my head and I don’t really long for the company of the human variety.  In a crowd I’m never at the center of attention—I hate attention—and yet I can work a room if I have to but it’s an act…not the real me. I like watching people, studying them.  I’m good at conversation when I have to be, but I abhor small talk.  

I’m a very private person.  That’s been the hardest part of being a published author.  Talking about myself and my writing isn’t something I’m used to doing and I haven’t figured out a character to be when I’m doing it, so I’m still in my learning curve. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

My Grandmother used to always tell me,

“As long as you believe in the faeries, there’s always a possibility you’ll see one someday.”

I think that’s motivated me throughout the years to always look for the wonder and joy in the world…to see the magic in every day.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up.  Don’t worry about the critics.  Reviews are only opinions so take them with a grain of salt.  And the most important thing…write the whole story first! Before you fix it.  Before you go back and re-edit that chapter for the tenth time…finish the story!  The mistakes will wait. It’s more important to get the story out of your head and onto the paper first.  You can get lost in editing…write the whole story!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m on Facebook,  www.facebook.com/dianezhivagoauthor

My web page is, www.dianezhivago.webnode.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dianezhivago

AllAuthor.com: www.dianezhivago.allauthor.com

And you can find me on Amazon under my Author Central profile at www.amazon.com/author/dianezhivago 

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

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I’d love to share a little peek of my latest release with you.  Pride & Predator is the fourth book in my Therion Beast series of Paranormal romance.  It’s available on Amazon. The excerpt is from Chapter 2.

Inside, the seedy Montreal bar was a welcome relief from the sleet and snow of the Eastern Canadian winter.  Gregor moved through the bodies of people packed tightly together in the club, his gaze locked onto his target while his companion, Aurora, followed closely behind; her mate, Matthew, waited in the black SUV just outside in the alley behind the dive.

At least Leanna had the sense to take a table far enough away from the crowd of people dancing.  He grimaced, wondering why such meetings had to take place in such unsavory settings. What was wrong with an elegant restaurant as the backdrop for such matters?  He cast a sideways glance at Aurora who was still diligently scanning the crowds, her senses on alert for anything that might indicate a threat. Even as she perused her surroundings, though, he couldn’t help but notice how her body seemed to move to the music blaring from the extra-large speakers on either side of the DJ’s table.  Aurora was young, barely into her twenties. She fit into this crowd with her leather jacket, multiple piercings, and colorful hair. He, however, was decades past his one-hundredth birthday—though still quite young for his kind—not that he actually felt young at the moment. He sighed, his thoughts needing to be put on hold as he approached the table where the middle-aged blonde woman was seated, waiting for him.

Leanna smiled as he took the seat next to her, leaning in to kiss her softly aging cheek.  He introduced Aurora as his niece, though he was certain Leanna knew she was nothing of the kind.  The older woman accepted the presence of the younger woman without question, as he knew she would. Leanna was—along with other things—trustworthy at the least.  She refrained from asking too many questions, another reason why he had reached out to her for this particular job. There were very few humans whom Gregor trusted.  But Leanna was one of them.

Her eyes sparkled as she gazed at him now.  “It is so good to see you, Bastian,” she said, in her careful English, the accent of her Acadian heritage still thick on her tongue.  “You have not changed one bit in the years since we last met. Unlike me.”

Gregor inclined his head.  He knew that she was ribbing him in the way she normally did.  She was aware that he was not human—not exactly human, at least.  But that was as far as her knowledge went.  She had been a young child when he’d first met her.  Lost in the woods where he’d been hunting. He had carried her out, brought her to an area where the men searching could easily find her.  And he’d waited, albeit hidden from their view until she’d been discovered and returned safely to her distraught mother. She had told no one that it had been he who saved her, as he’d asked.  A child who was capable of keeping a secret was a special child indeed, and so Gregor had kept in contact with her, unbeknownst to her family. He had watched her grow into a beautiful woman who was still capable of keeping secrets.  

“I must say, I like this…”

She reached out toward him and stroked the side of his face where the full beard he had worn for decades was now shaved, trimmed, and tightened into a well-formed, goatee that managed to make him look as though he were in his early thirties.  

“You look younger, without the beard.  I suspect you would barely pass for thirty without this.”  She gave the hair at his chin a slight tug, her lips curving suggestively.

Gregor grasped her hand and gently kissed her fingers before placing it meaningfully on the table.  Their time together was in the past. Where it should be. What affair they may have had was long over.

She smiled at him ruefully.  Her gaze drifted over to Aurora.  “Your uncle is a man of singular determination, no?”  She chuckled to herself, not waiting for Aurora to answer.  “Here is the information you were seeking. I assume I will find my bank account has been sufficiently updated?”  She chuckled again.  

Leanna would gladly offer her services for free; Gregor had been the one to insist on payment… especially now that they were no longer involved intimately.  He did not believe in using women. Both parties should gain from the relationship. And so, when their short-lived affair ended, Gregor saw to it that Leanna was well taken care of.  She would always be important to him. A dear friend. He was not a man who took that lightly.    

He looked down at the large brown envelope she was sliding toward him on the table.  He reached for it, extracting the 8 by 10 black and white photograph inside.

“This was taken a few weeks ago in North Sydney, Nova Scotia.  The woman in the picture was going by the name of Eve Radcliff.  She purchased a pass for the ferry to Argentia and was checked in as a passenger in a domestic vehicle.”

Gregor stared at the photo.  In it, the woman was wearing a white baseball-style cap, her long, pure white hair was pulled through the back.  She wore a matching white hoody, dark jeans, and sneakers. Dark glasses hid her eyes from view, but nothing could erase those eyes from where they had burned into his memory.  Electric blue—unnatural, even without any sign of her beast. She looked young, beautiful, and human—the latter of which she was definitely not.

Leanna was looking at him.  “Is she a friend of yours?”  

Gregor pressed his lips together and slid the picture back into the envelope.   “You will mention this to no one,” he said by way of an answer to her question.

“Of course not.”  Leanna was a smart woman.  A man who did not age in the forty-plus years she had known him was not a man one should defy.  She accepted another kiss on her cheek then watched him as he stood. “It was wonderful to see you again, Bastian,” she said, sincerely.

“And you, Leanna.  You will take care of yourself?”

She smiled, her eyes warm if a little misty.  “As always, old friend.” Her gaze followed him as he moved away from her, his niece falling into step just beside him.  

Aurora looked up at Gregor as they walked away, her pierced eyebrow lifted in question.  “Bastian?”

Gregor gave an uncomfortable shrug.  “It is my given name.” He did not like talking about himself.  Ever.

“Bastian Gregor.  That’s your name?”   He heard Aurora give a low whistle.  “You can live with someone all these years and not know a single thing about them.”  She shook her head.

“Gregor Savage, is my name.”  It was his badge of honor as well.  Captain of the Alpha guard, bodyguard to the Alpha.  His name signified his exalted rank within the clan, something he was proud of.

“Wait.”  Aurora’s eyes were narrowing as her brain was busily dissecting this new information.  Gregor had to resist rolling his eyes at her, the young pup was exasperating at times. Had she not been one of his best assassins and a damn good guard, he’d have probably strung her up by her ears long ago.  “Nicolai’s middle name is Sebastian, is he—”

Gregor sighed heavily, knowing she would not stop until she had her answers.  “I am his godfather; his second name was given to honor that.” There. Now she knew.  His connection to the Alaskan Alpha was deeper than mere rank. Which was why failing Nikolai, as he had, was not something he could live with.  The intense need to find the woman in the photograph, Eve Radcliff, was more than a deep sense of duty…it was a matter of deep pride for Gregor. As long as she was free, the knowledge that he had failed his Alpha would eat him up alive.

They left the bar and headed out into the blustery Montreal night, turning onto the street and making their way toward Matthew and in the black Chevy Tahoe.  

“What now?”  Aurora wanted to know, pulling the hood of her jacket up to warm her ears.

“Now you go back to Raven Falls,” he told her, “and I go to Newfoundland.”

“Alone?”

He could hear the doubt in her voice.  “You are needed in Raven Falls, Aurora.  This has nothing to do with you.”

“But you might need me!”  She stopped walking, forcing him to stop as well and turn to her.  He was aware of Matthew’s gaze watching them from inside the SUV. Her sielos draugus mate was rightfully protective of her, though, being only a half-blood Therion, he was strongly outmatched against any of his own kind.  That fact never seemed to enter Matthew’s mind, however, especially when defending Aurora was on the table and, even without an ability to change, he had been proving his inner beast—though unable to manifest—was a powerful one.

“I get it, Gregor,” she was saying to him now, “I understand you think you somehow let Niko down by letting Eve get away.  I feel the same way. I met her first, remember?” She was shaking her head, her moonlight blue gaze beseeching him. “We—none of us—had any idea what she was at the time.  For all we knew, she was an innocent prisoner, like so many of our kind. We had no idea of what she was capable of… what she’d done…”

Gregor found he couldn’t meet her gaze.  What she was saying might have been true for her, but… “She told me she was the one they sent to lure us in… the one they sent to destroy us when they were done…”  even now, saying the words out loud, his stomach twisted with his deep sense of failure. He had been given an opportunity to stop Eve, and he’d let her slip from his grasp… mesmerized by her beauty, even his beast had been unable to do what was necessary.

“We were in the middle of a war!”  Aurora exclaimed. She held a hand up to stave off Matthew when he would have gotten out of the SUV.  “You were in fight-mode, Gregor. Defending your life and the Alpha. She was nothing more than a prisoner trying to escape.  How were any of us to know that she was one of Radcliff’s experiments? That she’d been born and raised in captivity like an animal?”

“She is an abomination!  I should have destroyed her when I had the chance!”

Aurora’s eyes widened at his angry outburst and he felt ashamed at his loss of control.  He was a creature who prided himself on control. “And what of Matthew?” Aurora was asking now, the hurt his word had caused evident in her soft voice.  “He was an experiment of Radcliff’s—while not raised in captivity, he was created there… experimented on all those years without his knowledge or consent.  Is he an abomination too?”

He couldn’t bring himself to respond.  He felt Aurora’s small hand in his and looked down at her.  She was the smallest in their clan in stature only; her bravery and personality seemed too much for such a tiny creature.  Her eyes searched his, probing and earnest. “We are Therion, Gregor. One blood, one race, whether we are all or some, as the sielos draugus whom we cherish and protect… you taught me that, old man.  Perhaps now is the time for you to listen to your teachings—old, wise, and ancient one.”  

Gregor couldn’t help the twitch in his lips that threatened to turn into a smirk as he listened to Aurora’s little speech.  But she was right, of course. Eve was Therion, no matter what Radcliff had managed to do to her. But it was still his responsibility to find her and bring her in.  Therion Law was absolute. Her crimes against her own kind were punishable by death. At the very least, the Dominai sought to learn from Eve… to find out exactly what it was that Radcliff had done to her.  They expected her capture. Planned to glean as much information they possibly could from her. And then she would be destroyed—her dept for her crimes would be paid with her life. 

 

 

AuThursday – Karlene Tura Clark

Dear Reader,

Recently I attended the North Dakota Library Association’s Author Alley and I got to meet many talented local and regional authors.  Karlene Tura Clark is one of them, and I was ever so glad she consented to be interviewed here.

K head shot 2Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a full time librarian with too many hobbies. Besides writing, I do many handcrafts and have a side business of painting and selling miniature figures for tabletop gaming. I’m married, no children, but with a very sassy African Grey Parrot that isn’t afraid to tell us what she wants. 

How do you make time to write? 

15-minute increments. I use at least my morning break at work to do writing. At some point on the weekends, I will block out an hour or two for editing purposes. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, but only in regards to the story being worked on. When that happens, I set the current project aside and just free write ideas for other stories, voices of other characters, or work on a “rap sheet” with information like you would give to the police if a character was reported missing. 

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

Fantasy has always been a way for me to get away from things, whether that be what’s on the news, what’s happening around me, or simply for the sheer joy and magic of the story. My favorite author is Mercedes Lackey. Many of her creative ideas inspired me. She has books where elves are allergic to cold iron yet race cars, she’s done retellings of fairy tales, and she’s created the Heralds of Valdemar – Vanyel’s story was one of my favorite; I wore out three copies of the book when I was younger! 

Fantasy always involves magic in some form, whether it’s low or high magic. In either case, there are rules and structure that consistently determine the use of abilities. High magic usually means there is a lot of magic with some world dependence on it, while low is just an element of the background of the story. 

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

I have a short story published with Edge, but otherwise, I have done everything independently. The world is becoming more accepting of self-publishing, and doing so gives you greater independence in choosing cover art, design, and royalties. There are also cases where I have known authors that have been “burned” by some of their smaller publishers, which makes me a little nervous. However, I’m still interested in eventually doing a book with someplace like Tor or Orbit! 

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

I’m an introvert. Extroverts tend to be more interested in conversation, engaging others. Introverts like me are people watchers. We observe before we engage. This ability has given me great ideas for stories over the years. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth” (Marcus Aurelius).

It has encouraged me to always consider the other side of situations while I’m writing – what would others think? What might my character have understood incorrectly? What are the results of that misunderstanding?

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Two things. 

BIC-HOK: Butt in chair; hands on keyboard. I’ve heard so many people say “I want to write a novel, but I just don’t have time.” What that really means is you are not serious (yet) about doing it. Think how many times in your life you rearrange things to make time for something. As I said earlier, I often only have 15 minutes a day to write. That means I write. I set a timer. If I get interrupted, I stop the timer until I come back to it. If I get stuck on the current story, I write something else, I journal, I free write. Just… write! No excuses. 

EDIT. Your first draft is never good. It doesn’t matter how many of your friends are impressed – it will still need polish. It will still need details. It will still need to clean up. Do the spellchecks, grammar checks, do a check for words you use A LOT, and have someone check for inconsistencies.A Ranger's Inheritance E-Book Cover Signed

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.amazon.com/author/karleneclark 

https://www.facebook.com/ARangersHomecoming 

https://twitter.com/KarleneTClark 

http://www.edgewebsite.com/books/urbangreenman/ugm-catalog.html 

 

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

AssassinsGift CoverArt Titled - FinalFrom my latest book is Assassin’s Gift.

“At least he’s not dead, milord.” The voice was familiar, coming from someone sitting next to him.

“Bless the Lights for that, you idiot.” A man’s gruff voice barked. “What were you thinking leaving your mixtures about?” From the tone of the lord’s voice, the other had made a grave error in his judgment. “Remedial lessons, boy: he dies, and your life will be forfeit as well. You know the rules. Any errors are your sole responsibility.”

A violent tremor shook Aern as a coughing jag swept the entire frame of his eight-year-old body. He was turned to his side, just barely in time as everything in his stomach rushed out. He could barely catch a breath as wave after wave of retching emptied everything back out. It gurgled from his throat, bubbling as it left him to spray outward, running down his cheek, into his black hair. 

Pulling his knees up, Aern tried to relieve the intense cramping in his stomach. As the fit finally passed, Aern opened his pale blue eyes and looked around. His vision was still hazy, but he could see the boy that had given him the treat. 

 

AuThursday – Kinney Scott

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi Tina, thanks for the invite to your blog. I’ve spent my entire life in the Pacific Northwest and currently live in Olympia. My husband and I raised three kids in a small town in Western Washington. When they all headed to college, I was inspired to finish my degree. Completing that milestone gave me the courage to return to writing. 

How do you make time to write?

I’m fortunate that I can write nearly full time. I’m most creative in the morning and like to wake up, feed the dog, grab a coffee and then get words on the page. Balancing writing with marketing challenges me. If I check on book sales or emails in the morning my creative engine shuts down. So, I try to guard those early morning hours – and sometimes put my computer on airplane mode. The best writing days happen when I forget to turn the internet connection back on. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I do, fortunately, it doesn’t hit me that often. When I hit a wall, I switch gears and spend a day editing, and that change usually resets whatever went off-kilter. I find that time away from the computer, maybe an early morning walk or a few hours of sweaty yard work helps. 

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

I write contemporary romance, mainly in a small-town setting, though my work in progress is set in Portland, Oregon. The books I loved to read when I was young were the “romance classics” – Jane Eyre, Gone with the Wind, Rebecca, East of Eden, Great Expectations, and everything Jane Austen. I didn’t start reading modern romance novels until later. I love the genre because romance characters have the emotional volume turned up high, and their everyday lives become a backdrop for extraordinary conflict and love.

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

For now, I’ve decided to publish everything independently. I’m 53, and I doubt most traditional publishers would take a chance on me. I may submit work someday if the right opportunity presents itself, but for now, I’m consumed by improving my writing, finding other authors who want to collaborate our efforts, and figuring out how to market what we’ve written.

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

I find that writing magnifies my introverted side. One on one, people are great, but crowds exhaust me. Even though I’m really not drawn to the big book events, I value my readers and like to meet my fans online. Someday, I hope to meet the fans of the In Ashwood series in person. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“When you’re going through hell keep on going. Never, never, never give up.” ~Winston Churchill

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. And read it at least once a year. Gather a group of writers you can trust and support each other, then give as much to those writers as you receive from them.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

They can find me at https://kinneyscott.com/ and signing up for my newsletter is the best way to stay in touch.

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kinney.scott.author/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kinneyscott

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

Trouble Undone releases mid-August 2019.

Here’s a little bit from Chapter One of Trouble Undone:

TroubleUndoneNewSmallerWebUse

A soft zip at the tent’s door woke her. “Just me, Kels.” Mark’s familiar voice woke her senses. She eased her sleeping bag open, pulled an extra blanket from her knapsack and made room. The tent filled with Mark’s scent as he slid out of his clothes and settled in.

“God, you feel good,” he said when his cool body made contact with her sleep-warmed skin. “You tired, mermaid?” he asked with a hint of need.

“Yeah. I swam today.” The waves had absorbed her stress, leaving her body slack. He spooned her back, thighs, and butt against his muscled torso, caging her with his arm. She felt his erection nestled against her ass but was too tired to respond.

Before returning to sleep, Kels coiled her fingers into his and eased Mark’s hand from her hip. She slid his calloused touch under her cotton tank top to cup her breast. Mark stroked the velvet skin with his thumb and slowly inhaled the ginger scent from her damp hair.

 If your readers want an early look at the entire first chapter it will be on my blog soon.  https://kinneyscott.com/blog/ 

AuThursday – Christina Lynn Lambert

christina-lynn-lambert-author-bio-pic.jpgPlease welcome author Christina Lynn Lambert to the Clog Blog!  Christina, can you 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 worked in sales, then as a case manager for people with disabilities. I was also a running coach and a personal trainer. 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 in my composition notebook. 

Love, courage, hope, and second chances are a few of my favorite themes. I look forward to writing many more stories with strong heroines and imperfect but determined characters. 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. 

Where do your ideas come from?

For me, the ideas always begin with the characters. I create heroes and heroines who have survived tragedies, who have made mistakes but haven’t lost their humanity. 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.

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

The books I have written so far are a 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 do you make time to write? 

It’s hard to find the time I need to go into the deep concentration mode it takes to create the plotline for a story and write the first draft. My kids interrupt me repeatedly even though they can clearly see me at the computer, either lost in thought with my head in my hands because an idea is evading me or I’m trying to push a pen across paper or type as fast as the words are forming in my mind. I try to manage my writing time carefully and use moments where I am doing something solitary like going for a run or taking a shower to reflect on ideas. 

Do you ever get Writer’s Block?

When I get stuck in writer’s block hell, I try to do something else other than stare at a blank page. Often, I’ll work on another book or poem when I can’t figure out how to move forward on a current work in progress. Sometimes I fall into the procrastination trap and avoid the writer’s block issue by cleaning my whole house, reading a book, or watching something on Netflix.   

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

Rejection is all part of the process. The first book I wrote received a rejection but the letter I received had some really helpful suggestions on how to make the book better and I used those suggestions. The rude rejection letters that basically say “thanks but no thanks, your work is trash” aren’t fun for anyone to receive and I recommend not taking that kind of thing personally. After any type of rejection, I look at my work again to see if there’s anything I can do to improve the manuscript and after changes are made, I start sending it out again elsewhere. 

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

I’m probably closer to being an introvert. I’m not really shy but I am quiet, though I find that works out alright for me. I get a lot of story ideas just by observing the ordinary things people do and how they do them, then I ask myself how those people would react if something amazing or catastrophic happened right then and there.  

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Joining writers’ groups can help put aspiring writers in touch with people who can share great advice on writing, publishing, and marketing. Joining groups, whether online or locally also helps writers connect with one another, which can make the writing journey seem less daunting and isolated. I also suggest reading books about all aspects of the writing process, including marketing. Take writing classes if you can. Most importantly, don’t give up. 

There are days when I want to throw my computer out the window because I’ve rewritten the same sentence twenty-five times and can’t think of what should happen next in the story. When this happens, I take a step back, maybe work on a different story or find any number of other ways to distract myself. Every stage of writing has the potential to be hard or overwhelming, but don’t stop writing. Even when you’re faced with piles of rejection letters, keep writing! 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

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

WordPress: https://christinalynnlambertwordpress.com 

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/chris4lamb

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15900423.Christina_Lynn_Lambert 

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

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

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

I would love to share an excerpt from steamy, suspenseful paranormal romance, Bear’s Edge, which is book 2 in my Stranger Creatures series.

Bear's Edge-sc-Amazon-NEWWhat is it about Grant? Looking at the man beside her was no hardship; that was for damn sure. He had the tall, broad body of a heavyweight UFC fighter, but he never used his size to intimidate the people around him. Shayla wanted to sweep his wavy, slightly shaggy dark hair out of his gorgeous brown eyes. His dark hair and eyes complemented his bronze skin. He was hot, in a serious, dangerous kind of way. But in the two and a half years he had worked for her, she had hardly learned anything about him. 

The waitress at the popular nature-themed restaurant, the Greenhouse Effect, showed them to their table. The plants growing around all the walls and columns made the place look like a wild garden. The smell of lavender and jasmine mixed with the delicious scents drifting from the kitchen. She tried not to drool, but breakfast seemed like eons ago. Shayla sat next to Sydney and across from Grant. A too-tall centerpiece of yellow-and-purple flowers blocked most of her view. Being short occasionally sucked. Grant moved the centerpiece to the side and gave her a shy smile. His smile made her want answers, among other things. 

She knew he was from New Jersey and had gone to school in Wisconsin before moving to Richmond, Virginia, to work with Brook’s Comprehensive, a huge company that did everything from urban development projects to financial management for celebrities and politicians. 

“Why do you want to make such a big change from a large corporation to a simple start-up company?” she’d asked him in the interview. 

“Honestly?” He had paused then, the question hanging. 

“Yes,” she’d assured him. She’d take honesty over smooth-faced, calculated interview answers any day. 

“I want to live somewhere I can have a house and some land. Maybe spend more time outside. Also, I want a job where I can do more than just run numbers for projects where I never see the outcome.” 

The last part had seemed to come as a surprise to him. Maybe he hadn’t really known he wanted something more than a change of scenery until he had said it out loud. 

His answer had been simple and honest instead of a long, drawn-out elaboration about the projected success of new companies in the area or an extensive list of projects he had helped to fruition. She could look at his résumé for those kinds of details. He had wanted to be there, so she’d hired him. Simple as that—after a clean background check and drug screening, of course. 

Grant the mystery man—a delicious mystery Shayla would like to unravel, piece by piece, layer by layer. Ah, but I can’t. I’m his boss. In a different lifetime, if we didn’t have the whole boss-employee obstacle going on…. No harm in looking, though, just a little, since he sat so close. She promised herself to keep her thoughts G-rated—okay, maybe PG-13. Grant had a talent with numbers and paid attention to detail. Also, he was a little shy and standoffish to a lot of people when it came to anything other than work. Shayla wondered where he sometimes went in his head, because, every now and then, his smile slipped from his face, just for a second, before being replaced with one a little harder. None of my business, she reminded herself. 

She had really wanted to hug him this morning after seeing him so frustrated but decided it might be wiser and more appropriate to show him there were a few people on his side. Seeing him break things and try to be all strong and humorous about it made Shayla want to unravel the Grant mystery even more. It kind of hurt to watch him pretending to be fine, but all she could offer him was lunch and good conversation. Hopefully, Mr. Strong and Silent—Sydney called him that sometimes, although never to his face—knew Shayla and Sydney cared. And Shayla did care. Because he’s a friend. Just a friend. 

Grant raised his soda in a toast. “To things not being worse,” he announced with a rueful half-smile. “And, uh”—he cleared his throat—“to good company.” He nodded at Sydney, and when he met Shayla’s gaze, he held it. In his dark eyes, she saw hunger, wide-open desire, and about a million other things she couldn’t puzzle out. Grant looked at her that way sometimes, and she did her best to ignore it. He might have a small crush on her, or he could have a thing for petite, small-breasted girls possessing a great fashion sense. 

Sydney broke the silence. “To good food and even better friends.” She clinked Grant’s glass, and Shayla came back to reality and smiled, pretending she wasn’t experiencing several different kinds of inappropriate thoughts and feelings for a sexy, complicated man who was her employee and also her friend. She needed to behave and remember things could never go any further than a panty-melting gaze.

 

AuThursday – Seelie Kay

seeliekayrevisedphotoWelcome to the Clog Blog, Seelie!  Tell us about your latest release.

My latest release is “Cult.” It’s the third book in my romantic suspense series: Feisty Lawyers. Feisty Lawyers.3books.release day

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

When I write depends on my work schedule. I also ghostwrite and edit for clients, and their needs have to come first. So, I write my books around those assignments. I keep a regular work schedule, though. I am at my desk at 8 a.m. and work until 5 p.m. unless I have appointments out of the office and need a break. 

Where do your ideas come from?

I find inspiration everywhere. A news story, a conversation with a friend, a Tweet, the grocery store, a funny sign. As a journalist, I am a natural observer. Wherever I am, my mind is recording and cataloging ideas. 

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

I start with an idea and really have no idea where it will go. The stories just seem to flow and when they don’t, I know I’m headed in the wrong direction. 

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I have a lot of colleagues I am touch with online, primarily those associated with my publisher, eXtasy Books or the Marketing for Romance Writers group. I have found my fellow authors to be exceptionally helpful in responding to questions, providing assistance with marketing, and just generally serving as cheerleaders.

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

The only rejection letter I received was for a book I wrote many years ago. It wasn’t very good and I didn’t know what I was doing, so it was a kick in the butt. After that I decided to get serious and learn about writing books, actually following the rules for submissions. eXtasy Books was the second publisher to offer me a contract for my first book. The first sent me an incredibly one-sided contract and as a lawyer, I knew it was unacceptable. We haggled, then I began to submit to other publishers. So, I guess the answer is that I took the rejection to heart and learned from it.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

My problem with that term is the definition. For example, sometimes I get stuck in a story, so I take a break and work on something else, or shut down my computer and head into the kitchen to bake. But I have never taken more than a day off, so I’m not sure that was writer’s block. I know people who, for various reasons, have been unable to write for weeks, months, even years, but again, I’m not sure if they were actually blocked or simply distracted by other things. To me, writing is pretty instinctual, so it is hard for me to imagine that part of my brain shutting down. However, if someone else claims to have writer’s block, who am I to doubt them?

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I think I care much less what people will think about my books now. I am not self-editing my words and thoughts anymore. When I first started writing, I got some negative feedback about the fact that some of my stories were erotic. I finally realized that if I was going to enjoy writing, I had to write for me and hope that I could find an audience. 

How do you relax?

Many years ago, I participated in a study about how people relaxed. I was required to wear a “mood dot” 24/7 and record the color and what I was doing at certain times throughout the day. Guess what? I was most relaxed while I was writing! However, my fingers would fall off if that was all I did, so I also enjoy cooking, reading, gardening, live theatre, light opera, and just chatting with friends.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website: www.seeliekay.com

Blog:  www.seeliekay.blogspot.com

Twitter: @SeelieKay https://twitter.com/SeelieKay

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/seelie.kay.77

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Seelie-Kay/e/B074RDRWNZ/

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

Cult.onsale.reviews 6.8.19Here’s the blurb:

It’s supposed to be a simple assignment. A quick trip to a South American country for an “in and out” fact-finding mission. Unfortunately, the cult has other ideas.

When college students begin disappearing from American campuses, a notorious cult, God’s Delight, is the primary suspect. God’s Delight has been hosting shows featuring sex, drugs, and rock and roll around the country, and young people are flocking to them. 

Among the missing is the President’s goddaughter, and he wants answers. When he asks Agent Cade Matthews, a member of a secret covert organization, to find her, the mission appears fairly straightforward. Find the God’s Delight compound, determine whether a welfare check on American cult members is warranted, and get out. Simple. Clean. Easy. 

Cade sends newly-married Agents Dianna Murphy and Anders Mark to the University of Wisconsin to follow the trail to God’s Delight, but when they wind up in Bolivia, things go sideways. Suddenly, what appeared to be nothing more than a simple in-and-out could cost Dianna her life. When an Agency extraction is ordered, chaos erupts, and the question becomes, will anyone survive?

cult awardHere’s an excerpt:

“But everyone can leave when they want, right?”

Tillie cocked her eyebrow, clearly amused. “Of course. But why would they? This is paradise.”

“It is indeed, darling Miranda,” drawled a deep sultry voice. A tall, well-built man dressed in a white cossack, a thick wooden cross draped around his neck, wrapped his arms around her and kissed her cheek. His loose, long blonde hair framed a tan, handsome face with a strong nose and a wicked, full-lipped grin. He turned his piercing blue eyes toward Dianna and smiled. “Hello,” he said. 

The man studied her, his expression predatory.

Dianna shifted uncomfortably. So, Tillie is using another name. Meaning she’s undercover. Noted. Dianna stuck out her hand and said. “Hi, I’m Bennie. I’m one of the students from Wisconsin working over at the orphanage. You were kind enough to allow us to stay here.”

The man took her hand and stroked it, his expression suddenly thoughtful. “Tell me, Bennie from Wisconsin, what do you think of my paradise?” His hand moved to her lower arm.

Dianna flushed. My paradise? Is this Reverend John? “It’s beautiful. Peaceful. But hot. And humid. Really humid.” She gazed up into the man’s eyes, somewhat stunned at the lust she found there. My God, he looks like he wants to devour me. Dianna quickly looked away.

The man chuckled. “You get used to it. But we keep the air-conditioning on in the dormitories for the newbies and limit their time in the sun. And of course, we all take a siesta during the hottest part of the day if we need one.” He released her arm. “We worship at day’s end when the air begins to cool. Otherwise, things get a little…sweaty.” He leaned down and kissed her on the cheek, gently tugging her hair. Then he walked away. Dianna’s gaze did not leave him as children followed him, playfully competing for his attention. Just like Jesus.

Buy links:

Publisher:  http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2538-8-cult/

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07S2T722Y/

Barnes & Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cult-seelie-kay/1131766268?ean=2940156528615

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/cult-13

Coming soon: Book 4, “Hope!”

About Seelie Kay:

Seelie Kay is a nom de plume for a writer, editor, and award-winning author with more than 30 years of experience in law, journalism, marketing, and public relations. When she writes about love and lust in the legal world, something kinky is bound to happen!  In possession of a wicked pen and an overly inquisitive mind, Ms. Kay is the author of multiple works of fiction, including the Kinky Briefs series, the Feisty Lawyers series, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, and The President’s Daughter. 

When not spinning her kinky tales, Ms. Kay ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. She resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she shares a home with her son and enjoys opera, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine. 

Ms. Kay is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS:  Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Prior Books:

The Kinky Briefs Series:

https://www.extasybooks.com/kinky-briefs/

https://www.extasybooks.com/kinky-briefs-too/

https://www.extasybooks.com/kinky-briefs-thrice/

https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1734-5-kinky-briefs-quatro/

https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2023-9-kinky-briefs-cinque/

Novellas:

https://www.extasybooks.com/the-garage-dweller/

https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1795-6-the-presidents-wife/

https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1504-4-a-touchdown-to-remember/

https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2032-1-the-presidents-daughter/

https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2349-0-seizing-hope/


The Feisty Lawyers Series:

http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2263-9-snatching-diana/

https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2291-2-infamy/

https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2538-8-cult/

 

 

 

AuThursday – Gabbi Grey

FTLOFM GG BannerPlease welcome Gabbi Grey to the Clog Blog!  Let’s dive right into it, shall we? Gabbi, tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I work for the government by day and write by night.

How do you make time to write?

Fortunately, I have a nice long commute and try to fit in some writing every trip.  Also, my little dog is my only familial commitment so I have more time to dedicate to writing and editing than if I had children or aging parents.  I have great admiration for writers with multiple responsibilities who manage to fit writing into a busy life.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I have a mental illness and there are times when writing is very difficult.  As for writer’s block, I sometimes have to move on to another project for a break.

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

I studied English and Theatre in university so had plenty of exposure to literary fiction.  When I started writing, though, I discovered I had to give my characters a happy ending.  I’ve been writing romances ever since.  I also read romance, reveling in the guaranteed happily ever after.

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

Currently, I am traditionally published.  I’ve been fortunate to find homes for my short romantic stories.  I am hoping to soon publish a full-length book.

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

I am an introvert through and through.  My biggest challenge is attending writer conferences and interacting with other writers and industry professionals.  I put on my best face and try to make the most of the opportunities.  Networking can be an important part of the business but also the most challenging for someone like myself.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Writing a book, just like building a library, is an act of sheer defiance. It is a declaration that you believe in the persistence of memory.” Susan Orlean author of The Library Book

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Persistence and a good editor.  I have been writing seriously for almost six years but only when I started working with a freelance editor did I really begin learning the craft.  I’m a much better writer because of finding the right person to work with.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

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

Genre: Erotic Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Excerpt from For the Love of Max:Max cover

Procrastinating was getting him nowhere. She was either home or she wasn’t. She was either going to kick him off her property or she wasn’t. She was either going to let him in or she wasn’t.

Wiping his damp palms against his jeans, he sauntered up the steps and knocked.

The door cracked, but the safety chain prevented it from opening fully. He glimpsed a veil of long, black hair.

“Maxine?” She squinted. Damn. The sun behind him was bright in her eyes, casting him in deep shadows.

“It’s Dodge. Remember me? I brought you home after the company Christmas party?” After Garth got wasted and abandoned you? Happy to step in, Dodge had driven her home, trying not to look at her gorgeous legs encased by her tight silver skirt and sheer pantyhose. Red-blooded man he was, he’d adjusted himself when she looked away and had done his best to hide his erection when escorting her to the door.

“Wait.” Say something that’ll keep her talking.

“I—”

The door closed, opening a moment later.

Dodge was a sucker for sun-kissed light-brown skin, wavy long black hair, almond-shaped dark-brown eyes, soft cheekbones, and a pert nose. The bangs were new as was the yellowing bruise on her cheek.

Damn.

Ducking her head, Maxine’s hand shot to the bruise.

He gently touched her chin, and when she didn’t recoil, he tipped it, forcing her gaze to his. “The man is an animal. I’m not like him.”

The smile was tentative. “I know.” Soft words, replete with meaning.

Not going to send him away. Yet. But he needed more.

Maxine extended her hand, which he gratefully took. The electric shock shot through him, so strong he expected a blue arc between them.

Her cheeks flushed, her gaze flying to his before lowering. She tried to pull away, but he held tight.

Buy Links:

♥♥ GiveAway ♥♥

Gabbi is giving away a $10 Amazon GC and 2 ebooks of For the Love of Max during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember there is a chance to enter everyday so be sure to follow the Blog Tour. You may find the tour schedule and locations here http://bit.ly/FTLOMGG

a Rafflecopter giveaway

AuThursday – Allie McCormack

AMc Indie Author-1200Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a disabled US Army vet, living in sunny Tucson, Arizona with two cats. I’ve been a writer all my life… I remember hiding under the bed covers with a flashlight scribbling in a notebook when I was in 3rd grade… but I didn’t start “writing” ™ as in, writing a complete novel, until 2000. That was a life-changer!! In one month I went from “always wanted to write” to “OMG I can really do this!”

How do you make time to write?

Due to my disability, I have lots of pain and related insomnia issues which make writing challenging. So basically… if I’m lucky enough to feel awake, alert and kick-ass despite the pain, I write until I don’t. It sucks for having any kind of actual schedule, but in fact, it works out pretty well for me.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

It isn’t that I disbelieve in it, but I don’t really suffer from it. I mean, I do have phases where I don’t feel like writing, but block, no. I’m a pantser, so if I get stuck in a particular scene or the story just isn’t coming to me, I work on something else instead until I figure things out.

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

I write romance genre; both paranormal and multicultural. I just love romance, and happy endings, and good things happening to people. I’ve never written anything else, and never wanted to!

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

I’m self-publishing all my books. I like having the control… choosing the title, the cover, not having someone tell me what I can and can’t write. Mind you, I’m not *against* traditional publishing, and I’d adore if Berkely (who’s never heard of me) would suddenly discover me, right? LOL. But at this point, I’d need to be offered a pretty good reason (marketing!! Promotion!!) to make the change.

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

I’m totally an Introvert, also a recluse. I don’t think it affects my writing, so much as it does the marketing, ugh! Introverts may not get out there and mingle, but we tend to be very good at observation, which is all to the better for writing purposes!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

You can’t edit a blank page.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just sit down and write. Seriously. That’s the best way to learn. Yep, you’ll make mistakes but you’ll also learn from them. And mistakes can be corrected. But first, you have to write!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.alliemccormack.com

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

Sure! This is from Wishes in a Bottle, my first paranormal romance:

“Come on, come on.”

Robert cast a nervous glance about him, hoping that no neighbors could see through the overgrown jungle that his sister-in-law had allowed to take over the yard. If this were his, he’d rip out all these stupid plants and seed it with grass for a smooth lawn. And no swings or sandboxes to muck the place up, either. He wasn’t having any more children to take his wife’s attention and keep her from taking care of her husband, who should have been her main concern. No, a brick barbecue was what he’d have, maybe a nice hot tub.

He struggled to fit the slim piece of plastic through the narrow space between the door and its jam. Everyone went on and on about how door locks could be opened with credit cards, but it sure didn’t seem to be working. Still, he was confident it wouldn’t be much longer. Alessandra was such a fool, so trusting. She didn’t even have deadbolts on her doors. Didn’t she know that a simple knob lock could be easily opened?

“Yes!”

The tongue of the latch gave, and the plastic slid forward, holding the tongue in its groove, and the handle turned under Robert’s fingers.

From the other side of the door, he heard a low rumbling. Startled, he straightened, peering through the glass window set into the door. Staring back, almost head-even with him, was the largest, blackest Great Dane he had ever seen in his life. Its great jaws were parted, the teeth frighteningly sharp and white. The snarls emerging from those open jaws were vicious.

The dog lunged, flinging its huge body against the door separating them. Robert let go of the doorknob and pushed away so hard he fell, almost cracking his skull on the cement step. He pushed the pain aside, scrambling back from the door, praying that the slender door jam would hold as the full weight of the beast hit it again, shaking the door. Robert thanked God that he hadn’t actually opened the door and that the kitchen door opened inward, not outward.

The animal ceased his lunges at the door and was standing on his hind legs, paws on the window sill, watching Robert through the glass. Slavering, menacing snarls crescendoed to loud, ferocious barking, the dog’s eyes fixed on him with murderous intent.

Robert picked himself up from the ground and ran for his car. Who would have thought that such a frivolous, irresponsible woman would keep such a dangerous animal? Robert reached his car, almost falling into the driver’s seat in his haste to reach safety, not breathing easily until the door was safely shut. His hands were shaking and he fumbled with the keys, fingers trembling as he found the right one and fit it into the ignition. He backed out of the driveway, aimed the car down the road and headed out of there in a screech of burned rubber. If he never came to this house again in his life, it would be too soon.

Back in the house, Julian dropped onto all fours and padded into the living room. Now that the intruder had been repulsed, the danger of invasion that had brought the canine’s instincts to the fore, Julian was in complete control of the animal body he had inhabited. Stopping to sniff the books on the coffee table, and drawing in Alessandra’s scent on her sofa, her easy chair, the shawl she had left draped on one corner of the bookshelf, he found he was rather enjoying the experience. It was rather cool, in fact.

He walked about the house, experiencing the long, easy strides of the Great Dane, his toenails clicking on the polished wood floors. He paused in front of the television. The morning news that had just come on when Robert had shown up was over by now, but there would be more. He curled his massive body up on the hearth-rug before the fireplace, feeling a bit awkward managing the unaccustomed long limbs, but he achieved a comfortable position finally and laid his head on his outstretched paws. His doggy self heaved a sigh and prepared to snooze, even while he kept an eye on the television. This was definitely nice.

His jaws parted and his tongue lolled out as he laughed to himself, wondering what Alessandra would think if she came home to a large, black Great Dane that evening.