AuThursday – Brandy Woods Snow

DSC_0096Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I have a BA in English/Writing from Clemson University. While creative writing has
always been my first love, the media has been my home for more than 17 years, during
which time I’ve built a strong platform that includes articles in Delta Sky magazine,
Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly, and Home Design & Décor magazine (Charlotte, Triangle). I have also worked in corporate communications,
marketing, public relations and business development for several regional and
international companies. At age 35, I finally embraced my true calling as a novelist and
began writing the first draft of what is now my debut release MEANT TO BE BROKEN.
I am a member of RWA and YARWA as well as a number of online romance-inspired
writing communities.

When I’m not writing, reading, or spending time with my husband and three kids, I also
enjoy kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as I can during football
season, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country
roads.

How do you make time to write?

I didn’t for the longest time, which is why it took me 10 years to write my first book after
the inspiration struck. I don’t make that mistake anymore. Life gets busy with the kids, a
husband that’s often away from home, and two businesses under my belt, but I’ve learned to take time where I can get it. My favorite place to write (and where I wrote most of MEANT TO BE BROKEN) is the school car line. I go early, park out front and have an hour or two for focused writing time. In the car line, there’s no laundry or dishes or
countless other chores calling my name. It’s just me and my notebook.

Honestly, though, I also have to give credit to my family. They are so supportive. They
understand this is my passion, and they are terrific about giving me the time I need to
steal away and write in private when inspiration is really kicking into high gear.

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

I wrote an entire blog on my path to publication for MEANT TO BE BROKEN, which
you can find here: http://brandywsnow.com/the-long-and-winding-road-to-publication-installment-1-a-timeline-of-meant-to-be-broken/. It gives a comprehensive look at the
process, from first inspiration to THE CALL.

But to give a quick summary, I did receive rejections on MEANT TO BE BROKEN. I’d
lie if I said they didn’t sting. They do, and there’s no getting around that. But for me, that
was the trick. So many people tell you to shrug off the rejection and consider it one step
closer. And that’s true to a certain degree, but I don’t recommend just shrugging it off.
Sure the industry is highly subjective, and in most cases you’ll get that “it’s not you, it’s
me” explanation after the “no thanks,” but there’s nothing wrong with taking a moment
to FEEL the rejection. Scream. Yell. Cry. Go to the gym and beat on the heavy bag for a
while. Let it out, get in touch with that negative outflow and then harness it and repurpose it—pour it back into your drive to continue onwards, to find success.

Can you tell us your story of getting “THE CALL”?

I got THE EMAIL—the one that led to THE CALL—in July 2017. I was standing in the
checkout line at a local department store, waiting to pay for a fab new pair of shoes when the email notification dinged and appeared on my phone screen. I opened it immediately and cried—tears rolling sort of crying—in the middle of everything.
THE CALL was incredible. A small press publisher, Filles Vertes Publishing, had read
my manuscript and was completely taken. The owner, Myra Fiacco, shared my vision for
it and had a plan moving forward. I loved the fact they were open to my being an active
part in the process, even allowing my input on the final cover design. It took a month to
negotiate contract specifics and call in other outstanding submissions. In the end, I knew
FVP was the perfect place for my book, and I officially signed the contract in August
2017.

What are you working on at the minute?

I think for the moment the question might be what am I not working on? LOL I’m in one
of those unique spaces of time where I’m able to see the industry from several different
angles all at once. While I’m promoting the release of my debut YA contemporary
romance, I’m also busy writing the sequel and another WIP that just won’t leave me
alone (I’ve tried to put it aside until I’m finished with the other one but it just won’t go!).
I’m also once again in the trenches, querying another standalone YA contemporary
romance and am an acting mentor in the #WriteMentor program, helping two mentees
polish their manuscripts for the upcoming agent round in September.

It’s busy, but I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. And I’m excited to be able to
give a little back to the writing community that has been so good to me.

What do you think of “trailers” for books? 

I love book trailers if they’re done right. I think they are essential, especially in cases like
mine where I’m trying to reach the YA market. The younger generations have been
raised on technology and the ease of access to visual information on social media
platforms. Trailers are a perfect way to tap into that vein.
My book trailer was done by Brando Jones Films. I wanted something a little more
cinematic, and they came through with flying colors, planning and putting together a
small production piece that captured MEANT TO BE BROKEN with such style and
artistry.
You can see the trailer for MEANT TO BE BROKEN here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9LjG_02TF8&t=6s

How do you relax?

Oh, lots of ways! Spending time with family is my number one, closely followed by a
long hot bath with a good book. I also have to plug my favorite product, the Spoonk Mat,
which is a therapeutic acupuncture mat that I lay on to alleviate stress and anxiety.
Other than that, I’d have to say a trip to the SC coast always works wonders, too, with
heartaches and all being healed by the sea.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Three things jump to mind immediately.
Find your tribe. A healthy group of critique partners is a necessity to get your manuscript polished to perfection. They’re also great for rooting you on during querying, consoling you during rejections, and cheering you on when that Call does come in.
Read in your genre and then read some more. I know you’ve heard this advice before. It’s
true. The truest true that ever was true. Just do it!

Never give up. Rejection is a part of the process, but what determines our success is our
ability to keep going in the face of adversity. I love to recall this quote from Oliver
Goldsmith: “Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall.”

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I do my best to stay active on a range of social media platforms and on my website’s
blog. I’ve also just started a fledgling YouTube channel to begin posting vlogs soon. Find
me at any of the below:

www.BrandyWSnow.com
www.twitter.com/brandy_snow
www.facebook.com/BWSnowWrites
www.goodreads.com/goodreadscombrandy_snow
www.tumblr.com/authorbrandywoodssnow
www.amazon.com/author/brandywsnow

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

Absolutely! The book is told in a dual POV from both the female (Rayne) and male
(Gage) protagonist. Here’s an excerpt from the book’s opening in Rayne’s POV. I love
these opening lines because they hint at the relationship to come, they give you a good
sense of the small town Southern setting and they set-up the conflict Rayne will face
with her Mama.

MeantToBeBrokenFrontCover

At 9:30 Saturday morning, I find out Preston Howard wants to date me. At 11:30, my mama hears it from old lady McAlister and has a “spell” in aisle three of the Piggly Wiggly. It’s taken seventeen years, but I finally understand the two things my social life and Mama have in common. They’re both erratic and one usually suffers because of the other.

The store manager calls me on my cell and asks me to come get her. He has my number
because he’s Daddy’s best friend’s brother and used me to babysit his kids a few times last year. I answer, expecting another job offer.

“Rayne? This is Dave Sullivan, you know, the manager down at the Piggly Wiggly? There’s been an incident with your mama.”

Apparently, it’d happened in front of the Luzianne tea bags. She was comparing the family size to smaller ones when Mrs. McAlister offered her a coupon… and a piece of news.

The details get a little sketchy from there—something about her sinking to the floor and
gasping for air. That’s when the manager came over with one of those small brown paper sacks they use to bag up ice cream and had her breathe in it. A nurse and a vet, both in the crowd assembled around her, agreed from their varied medical expertise it didn’t appear to be life-threatening. When the paper bag seemed to work, he decided to call me instead of the ambulance.

I pull into the parking lot ten minutes later. She’s sitting on the front bench beside the
automatic doors where the employees go to smoke, under the “I’m Big on the Pig!” sign. Mrs. McAlister sits beside her, a little too close, waving a folded-up circular in her face. I wonder what the store employees and shoppers think of me, casually parking the car, walking-not-running, and looking both ways before crossing the main traffic flow. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out they’re all watching from between the weekly specials scribbled on the plate-glass windows.

I don’t feel the need to rush. It isn’t a heart attack or stroke. I call it her bipolar though Daddy gets mad when I refer to it like that. The diagnosis is anxiety, better known as my evil little sister—always around, always a pain, and always ruining my life.

This sort of episode has happened before, just not too often in public. In most societies that’s considered good news—but not in the South. They say we don’t hide our crazy, we dress it up and parade it on the front porch. And even if we don’t, someone else will do the parading for us—telegraph, telephone, tell-a-southern woman. We know how to reach out and touch some people.

Mrs. McAlister jumps up from the bench and grabs my arm as I step up on the curb. “I
suwannee, child. She liked to turned over her buggy and spilt them groceries everywhere.”

Talking to some of the older ladies in town always feels like walking out of real life and into some part ofSteel Magnolias. She gives me her version of the sordid details. Mama created quite a scene, not just with her episode but also by her scandalous choice of groceries. The mayonnaise was the only casualty, rolling out the leg hole of the kiddie seat portion of the cart when Mama accidentally gave it a rough shove while collapsing on the linoleum.

Mrs. McAlister hadn’t bothered to pick that up and put it back in the buggy, which was now waiting by the customer service desk. It wasn’t Dukes Mayonnaise. She leans in close to whisper because how embarrassing would that be for Mama. To her, it’s further proof Mama hadn’t been feeling well.MeantToBeBrokenFullCover

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AuThursday – Aidee Ladnier

WATC AL BannerAideeLadnier

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi! I’m Aidee Ladnier and although I’ve been writing since I was a preteen, I’ve only been publishing romance for the last six years. I saw a call for submissions online and I’d been listening to a podcast where the host, Kevin Allison, ends each show by saying “Today’s the day. Take a risk.” So I wrote a story and submitted it. I took a risk. And the publisher liked the story and published it. And I haven’t looked back. My writing career is due in part to comedian Kevin Allison.

How do you make time to write?

This is a difficult question! I write on the weekends, of course. But during the week I have a demanding day job. So my writing is confined to early mornings before work and on my lunch hour. I sometimes write in the evenings if my DH has something he’s also working on. Otherwise, he gets that time. 🙂 And as you can imagine, prioritizing so little time to write means I only produce one novel a year—but I’m not in a race so it suits me fine.

What genre are your books?

To date, I’ve published paranormal, science fiction, holiday, and mystery. But I have a steampunk novel and a young adult that I’m also working on. I can’t seem to stick to just one genre. LOL! But all of them have love at their core.

What draws you to this genre?

The paranormal shifter genre is well-established and one I never thought I’d be writing in. I’m not that fond of either the alpha male or fated mate tropes. But I started thinking about werewolves and how they might be perceived in our world—as if they had a rare medical condition. My wolf wouldn’t be an alpha or even part of a pack, and he certainly wouldn’t have a fated mate. But he would be awkward and adorkable and lonely. I knew the minute I saw him in my head that I had to write about him.

What are your current projects?

As I mentioned above, I’ve got a paranormal young adult novel I’m working on. In it, two young women discover that it takes two people to lay a ghost. I’m also working on a steampunk novel that intersects the Spiritualist Movement of the 1900s with the delay of Westward Expansion. It’s got strange inventions, a technology cult, and a plot against the government to thwart.

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

Definitely an introvert, but I try not to let it keep me from experiencing the world. I believe that adventure lies behind every corner, but if you don’t answer that call to adventure, you end up sitting at home a lot. Which is pretty boring. I love meeting people and doing new things but I also have to take a little time for myself every so often.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Oooooo! That’s a good question. Usually, it’s television, the internet, online games, and good books. I always give them priority over my writing. I’ve been obsessed with the Great British Baking Show lately. And the Sims. Why oh why are they so much fun?

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

The best advice is to sit your butt in a chair and write. You can never finish anything if you don’t actually write. The second best piece of advice is to read. Read as much as you can in every genre you’re interested in writing. Read genres that you’re not interested in writing. If you like a book, start analyzing why  you like it. Is it the characters, or the way the writer describes the setting, or maybe the plot twist at the end? If you’re not a reader, you’ll never be a writer.

 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I have a website and blog at https://www.aideeladnier.com.  I write about my books, publish short fiction there, and post all my coloring pages there. I love adult coloring pages, so I have one for every book I’ve written. I also lurk on Tumblr (http://aideemoi.tumblr.com/) because it makes me laugh. I post a bit on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/aideelad), too. But Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/aideelad/) is where my horrible sense of humor comes out the most. I find the most bizarre things to take pictures of.

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

I’d love to!! Here’s a scene after the “meet cute” where Tom and Frank are getting ready to have dinner with Tom’s family:

WolfAroundTheCorner-f500

Tom rinsed the arugula, shaking off the water over the sink. “I couldn’t find candied walnuts, so I bought pecans instead.”

“The thweet oneth?” His niece Marcie jumped up and down, trying to see what he was doing. Her lisp was a new development caused by a couple of missing front teeth.

“Yep, the sweet ones, sweet pea.” Tom held one up for her inspection. Marcie smiled back, all but two of her teeth showing, and then took off out of the room.

“I had to drive to Waynesboro to get the gorgonzola, but it will totally be worth it.”

Annie stopped whisking her salad dressing and fixed Tom with a funny stare. “Hey, I hope you don’t mind, but I invited my store manager to dinner tonight.”

Tom shook the greens again but glanced back at his sister. “Sure. Why would I mind?”

“Well, he might be gay.”

Tom set the colander down beside the sink and turned around to face her. He leaned back against the counter and crossed his arms. “Might? Might, as in, you’d like to play matchmaker?”

Annie stirred the vinaigrette again. “Maybeee?”

“Uh-huh.” Tom grabbed the greens and tossed them into the waiting bowl. “I thought we were going to discuss what show to put on in your performance space.”

“Oh, we are.” Annie tipped her vinaigrette onto the waiting arugula. “He’s a creative guy, and he’ll have some good ideas. You’ll like him.”

As if on cue, the doorbell rang. Marcie’s footsteps thundered down the hall.

“Don’t forget to look out the glass first,” Annie called out to her. “You don’t open the door to strangers, remember?”

“Hey, kiddo.” The deep voice wasn’t strange at all.

Tom grabbed a rag to wipe off his hands and ambled into the hallway.

There was the buff guy from his apartment, Frank, clothed this time, in dark jeans so stiff and pressed they could have been dry-cleaned. His biceps bulged out of a short-sleeved brown shirt that brought out the auburn highlights in his hair and made his eyes appear almost golden. Frank’s cheeks reddened just enough to spread across the bridge of his nose, making him utterly adorkable. And gay. Tom so wanted to tap that. All those lascivious thoughts he’d tried to bury about Frank’s lickable frame were now roaring back to the forefront of his mind. And his pants.

“Hey, neighbor.” Tom transferred the towel to his other hand and held his right out to Frank.

“Neighbor? I didn’t realize you two knew each other.” Annie had followed Tom out of the kitchen. Her eyebrows rose in faux innocence. “So glad to see you, Frank.” She pecked him on the cheek as she closed the door behind him.

“I’m sure you didn’t, Sis. Especially since you were the one that told me Mrs. Anderson had a vacancy.” Tom booped her on the nose to let her know she wasn’t fooling anyone.

“Fwank, come and thee my new printheth pony!” Marcie hauled on Frank’s hand, her little sock feet sliding as she lost traction on the parquet floor.

“Hey, Frank.” Annie’s husband, John, swooped in to grab his six-year-old around the middle, hefting her up in a tickle hold. “Let’s get you washed up for dinner, young lady.” Marcie’s squeals and giggles echoed down the hall as John carried his daughter to the bathroom.

Annie gestured at the kitchen with a thumb that made her look like she was hitchhiking her way back to dinner. “I’ll go finish cooking.” Her sly grin hitched up the corner of her mouth. “Tom, could you entertain our guest for me?”

Tom smirked as his sister scooted past. He waited until she disappeared around the corner before zeroing in on Frank again. Frank stood frozen in the hallway next to him.

“So, clothes.” Tom did a visual sweep of Frank from head to toe, not missing the fidgeting fingers or the crooked eyetooth that bit into the pad of Frank’s lip.

Frank’s cheeks went strawberry red, and he ducked away from Tom’s gaze. “I usually wear clothes.”

“That is a shame.” Tom laughed as Frank’s ears turned red too. “You’ve got to tell me—what were you really doing in the bushes?” Because no way could somebody this well put together be that stupid. Annie had nothing but good things to say about her “store manager,” so Frank couldn’t be the guy brainless enough to fall out of an open second-story window.

Frank studied his shoes before peeping up, shamefaced. “Running naked in the woods?”

Tom almost laughed out loud at the absurd, obviously untrue answer. And then he sobered up as the image took shape in his mind of Frank’s gorgeous frame, free and unbound, dashing through the forest. That would be a sight to behold. And Tom would pay premium for a front-row ticket.

But he realized that whatever Frank had been doing, it had embarrassed the man, or he wouldn’t keep evading. Tom should just drop it, but Frank was so fun to tease.

“Is that what they’re calling it nowadays…?” Tom strode back toward the kitchen. “Wanna help set the table?”

Frank hesitated a moment in the entryway and then followed him.

Annie had already set out the stacks of plates and silverware. Tom handed the plates to Frank with a bow, their fingers brushing. The heat of that small touch sent a frisson of excitement down Tom’s spine. He met the golden brown of Frank’s eyes, seeing them wide and shocked as if he’d felt it too.

“I haven’t seen you around the apartments much lately.” Tom grabbed the silverware, and they escaped Annie’s watchful eyes by ducking into the formal dining room.

Frank smiled, but it flattened a little around the edges of his mouth. He moved to the other side of the table, laying down plates as he went. “I was afraid of giving you a worse impression than the first one.”

Tom tilted his head and nodded, placing the flatware at attention beside the plates. “Hey, I understand. I’m willing to put awkward first meetings behind us if you are.” He finished with the last spoon and found himself in front of Frank again. “But I have to say, some of what I saw was too good to forget.”

For a moment, Tom stared straight into the gold of Frank’s eyes. A rising anticipation fizzed in his veins. He was definitely going to get to know Frank better on this trip.

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AuThursday – Saloni Quinby

WOR SQ banner

KateHillSaloniQuinby2017author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a vegetarian New Englander and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My first story, a short erotic vampire romance, was accepted for publication back in the late 1990s. I love working out and watching horror movies.

How do you make time to write?

When there’s something I want to write, I usually set a daily word count goal and stick to it, even if it’s as little as 500 or 1000 words a day.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I think it’s different for everyone. Regarding myself, I don’t really believe in it. If I get stuck while writing a story, I write something else for fun until the ideas start flowing again. If I don’t feel like writing, then I don’t and it’s a conscious choice to stop. It’s not that I can’t, but that I won’t.

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

Weapons of Redemption is an erotic paranormal romance collection. I’ve always been a fan of vampires and romance because those genres make me happy to read.

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

Weapons of Redemption is published by Changeling Press. I’ve been lucky enough to write for them for many years.

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

I don’t think I’m either. Sometimes I’m an introvert and sometimes I’m an extrovert. I don’t think it has affected my work, but maybe it has!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

To be honest, motivational phrases are a pet peeve of mine. I think it’s great if they work for you, but most of the time I find that they annoy rather than motivate me.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write what you love.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

http://www.kate-hill.com

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

Yes. Thank you.

weaponsofredemptionsqGuy released a breath as he let his whip fly. It struck his old friend, Ruliff, or Rule, as he preferred to be called. Rule stood, his hands suspended from manacles dangling from chains overhead.

Even if Rule screamed, no one would hear him, deep in the cellar of this mansion owned by their vampiric kin, Ansley and Brayden. Rule wouldn’t scream, though. It wasn’t in his nature to show what he believed to be weakness. To drag more than a groan from Rule, Guy would be forced to practically kill him and his sessions weren’t meant to cause permanent damage. They had already been at it for longer than usual, even for someone with a supernatural constitution.

Five more times Guy struck him with strategically placed blows before he paused and approached Rule. Using the handle of his whip, he traced an especially fierce-looking welt on Rule’s sweat-slicked back. Rule had a tremendous capacity for pain. Always had.

Guy recalled the days when they, along with Brayden, Ansley and the fifth member of their “family,” Bryce, had sailed with Tarun, a genuine monster. The five men had shared a strange and violent past, one that could have destroyed them, but together they had overcome it. Still their days at sea with the vampire pirate — the master who had tried to mold them in his image — had left scars on their souls as well as their bodies. These sessions with Rule reminded Guy of how strong yet vulnerable they all were, even if they refused to admit it.

Rule could be stubborn to the point of stupid.

Guy tightened his hand around the whip and struck Rule again with a blow that would have had most men screaming. A strangled groan escaped the tall, dark-haired man and Guy curled his lip in disgust.

He loved the whip and was an expert with it. Like his vampire kin, he had taken what he’d learned about pain and battle from their hated master and made it a form of expression. They had ultimately used their

skills to fight back, not only for themselves but for victims who crossed their path. Each of the five men had mastered certain weapons. Guy’s obsession was the lash. From bullwhips to floggers, all were slaves to him, bringing pleasure or pain as he saw fit. His love of leather had melded into every part of his life, including sex. He used his floggers to pleasure and punish, sometimes separately, sometimes both at once.

Long ago, Guy had honed his skills on his willing brothers, except for Bryce, who refused to submit to anyone, even for fun. Only Rule to this day came to Guy for regular sessions. Guy decided this one had gone on long enough. He knew Rule would push himself past his limits. He needed a strong but sensitive Dominant who knew when to stop.

Glancing at Rule, Guy noted that he seemed to be in a trance. His blue eyes were narrowed to slits, his lips parted and his breathing shallow. Wet black curls clung to his perspiring forehead and neck. Blood trickled from his lower lip where he’d pierced it with his fangs.

“Our session is over for today,” Guy said without room for argument.

Rule ignored his authoritative tone and said in a deep, hoarse voice, “More.”

“Your name might be Rule, but you don’t rule here,” Guy said.

“Fine. Release me then.”

“Not until you calm down.”

“I am calm.”

“You forget how well I know you.”

Rule’s cool facade snapped. Bellowing, he yanked at his bonds.

Now he screams, Guy thought, but he knew it was probably a good thing. Rule wouldn’t allow Guy to comfort him like some clients enjoyed after a session. Guy worked mainly with supernatural beings — vampires, wizards, and even an occasional werewolf paid well for him to tease and torment them with his leather and chains. But even those creatures had a tender side. Rule’s was buried deep and Guy hoped that eventually someone would reach it.

Despite Rule’s impressive strength, he couldn’t break the chains. Guy’s survival often depended on knowing how to properly bind supernatural beings.

Guy placed his whip next to a heavy purple flogger on a table covered in red plastic. He’d clean his tools later. He was about to clean Rule’s back when his cell phone rang.

He knew who it was by the ringtone.

He picked up the phone and said, “What’s up?”

“It’s Bryce. I need your help. It’s business.”

Although the five men had different careers in the human world, their true purpose was to protect those in need. The weapons they had once used as criminals were now their means of redemption.

Bryce worked as a police officer in the city. Sometimes he called upon his brothers to help him resolve crimes in which the human world could offer no justice.

“What does he want?” Rule asked, having ceased his rampage when the phone rang. “Is there a case for us? Let me go!”

“Do you have Rule strung up in the dungeon again?” Bryce asked.

“Yes. I’m putting you on speakerphone.”

“You don’t have to. I can hear him quite well,” Rule said, straining to look at Guy over his shoulder.

Though keen senses were an advantage of vampirism, the speakerphone would make a three-way conversation easier.

“I’ve been working on what we believe are serial killings,” Bryce said. “You’ve probably heard about them. The media calls them the Bodybuilder Murders. We’ve found a common denominator and, Guy, I believe you can get the evidence I need. Will you help?”

“You have to ask?” Guy said.

“Can you use me?” Rule asked.

“Right now this is a one-man job,” Bryce said. “But thanks.”

Rule looked a bit disappointed, but with all the trouble in the world, he was sure to have another case to work on soon.

“Guy, can you meet me in an hour?” Bryce asked.

“Absolutely. Where?”

“Stay put. I’ll come to you.”

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AuThursday – Marianne Rice

MRiceAuthorPicTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a wife and the mother of three children. Two girls (17 and 14) and a son (12). I moved from California to the east coast in high school and made Maine my home. Now, you can find me teaching high school English, writing when I can, or curled up with a romance novel.

How do you make time to write?

Ha ha ha! This is a funny one. I don’t seem to be able to “make” time, but I take advantage of the little bits I get here and there. Family watching a movie? I escape to my room to write. Stuck at lacrosse practice? I hide out in the car to write. Summer vacation? Mommy writing time!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Nope. But maybe it’s because I have such little time to write. I’m always thinking about my stories so when I have a moment of peace at my laptop, the words fly pretty quickly. The issue is…not enough time to write it all down!

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

I fell in love with Jill Shalvis, Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, Brenda Novak and many, many more. I love reading about real-life romances, especially those set in small towns. Well, the stories are made up but they could happen, right? My books are sort of a blend between contemporary romance and women’s fiction. I focus on the characters and their internal conflict and the budding romance between the hero and heroine. I also love writing about friends and families. There’s so much material there, right?

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

I’m a hybrid. I have three series with small presses and my latest series in self-published. I like the blend; I’ve learned so much from my small presses and have gained fabulous writer friendships with my fellow authors, but it’s a whole new adventure self-publishing!

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

Total extrovert. However, I was a major introvert–I’m talking social anxiety disorder–until my college years. I was shy in my early twenties, and then something happened. I have no idea what. I absolutely love going to writer and reader conferences and have no trouble speaking in front of a huge crowd. Which is helpful with my day job. Standing up in front of 16-18 year olds trying to inspire them to write and love literature is one of the most challenging jobs I can think of. Talk about daily rejection!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Confucius and “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” C.S. Lewis

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t stop writing. Ever. And reach out to fellow writers. Often. Attend local writing groups (my local RWA chapter is fabulous, even if you’re not a romance author) and conferences. NEVER stop learning. And don’t publish a book just because you “can”. Get your work in front of as many eyes as possible. And I’m not talking about your Aunt Mabel. You need advice from those in the writing community. Also, hire a professional editor and do your research!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m everywhere!

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

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Marianne-Rice/e/B00SICUIRM

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mariannericeaut

My website: http://www.mariannerice.com

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

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marianne-rice

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

“Sure! This is from Where There’s Hope. It’s the second book in my Well Paired novels, but each book is a stand alone.” ~Marianne Rice

Where There's HopeThe front door opened before his foot touched the front step. Hope’s welcoming smile lit up the front stoop, and he did all he could to keep from picking her up in his arms and covering her mouth with his.

Those lips, though. Julia Roberts had nothing on Hope Windward.

“Hey,” she said coyly, her voice wrapped around his heart, giving it a gentle squeeze he hadn’t felt since he was a young boy.

“You’re beautiful.”

Hope looked down at her feet then back up at him, scrunching her nose in that adorable manner she did when she was confused. “I’m wearing jeans and a sweater.”

“I didn’t notice.” And he hadn’t. It was her rich hazel eyes and her sunshiny sparkle that brightened his dark world. She wore her hair down tonight, soft ribbons of dark blonde hair flowing just past her shoulders. Hair he longed to run his fingers through.

Cameron walked up the steps, stopping in the open doorway.

“Well, I’m noticing you. And you look very handsome. I don’t know what I like better, though. Sexy whiskers or the soft skin.”

Cameron rubbed his cheeks with his fingers. He’d shaven tonight for her family, thinking the clean look was more presentable to her parents and her daughter than the usual scruff on his face.

“You name it, beautiful, and I’ll do it.”

Hope raised an eyebrow and her gaze dropped to his lips. “You should probably come in and meet my parents first, don’t you think?”

 

AuThursday – Madeline Smid

FF MS BannerMS Author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am married and live with my husband in a small development on the South Saskatchewan River, in Saskatchewan, Canada, surrounded by ancient rolling hills. We have two grown children and three granddaughters. My husband is a retired pilot and Air Traffic Controller and has worked around the world. We have a wonderful life, flying, sailing, skiing, and adventuring together.

How do you make time to write?

I consider myself a full-time writer because I usually have three or more books in various stages of publication at all times. I write a book a month (well now I can do it in two weeks). I form the story in my head until it is ready, then sit down and write between 5,000 and 10,000 words a day. I put the completed story away for two weeks or more and then go back polish and submit. I do this about three times a year. In between, I am editing drafts or galleys on other submitted books, or editing an anthology for my writing group, or downloading one of my nonfiction books into my blog, chapter by chapter. I keep busy year round.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

No. I think that is just an acceptable name for being paralyzed by fear—that you’ll fail.

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

My last nine books have been romantic suspense, re-categorized to action suspense. I like this genre because it lends itself well to plot-driven books, which I prefer. I also believe in the power of love—agape, familial, narcissist, erotic, romantic as an influencing agent in all motivation and action. I love to explore how love becomes the cause and effect for my characters.

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

Fatal Flight is published by The Wild Rose Press and marketed worldwide as both digital and print books.

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

I am able to act extroverted for short periods with a lot of people, but at heart, I’m an introvert. I get my energy from ideas and being alone in nature.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I did the best I could, with what I had, at the time.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t think about writing, talk about writing, or take endless writing courses. If you want to be a writer – write.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.madelonasmid.com

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

FatalFlight_w12058_300[Sky] “You consider going to Max behind my back being upfront?”

[Adam] “Max came to me. I was interested and after crunching the numbers, researching your top-notch standing on the circuit and talking with my father, thought this was a great PR opportunity for our corporation. I didn’t know you were against the idea. My experience is that as soon as someone knows what I’m worth, they want something from me.”

“And you assumed I was sticking my hand in the pot.” She stopped at the entrance to the big tent, where oceans of food were served all day. “Okay, I see where you were coming from. Pax.” She offered her hand.

She took quiet satisfaction in the fact he looked like she’d turned him on his head. Good, keep him off balance, and he couldn’t do the same to her. He took her hand, his long fingers warm and dry, just the lightest of squeezes. He’d never used his size and strength to intimidate, she realized. He was a true alpha male, for only the strongest, fastest and smartest protected the vulnerable. A weaker male took advantage of them.

“Thank you got this wonderful opportunity to share my joy in writing, and pleasure in this story with your readers.”~Madeline Smid

Reviews by Crystal button (1)

Writer Wednesday – Conferences – Are they worth it?

My general viewpoint on conferences is that they should be viewed as a working vacation.  Part of this is because of what I write and what my expectations are.

The big conferences for Romance writers are RT (Romantic Times) and RWA National (Romance Writers of America).   They serve different purposes.

RT is geared mostly towards readers, although they do have some writing classes.  I’ve attended this conference as an aspiring author, published author and a reader.  I’ve always viewed this particular conference as a working vacation.  It was a chance to visit my author friends, Lyn Armstrong and Debbie Cairo.   It was a chance to see a new city, visit friends and attend parties.  I always attend writing classes there and go to publisher spotlights.  I actually met both my publishers (Liquid Silver Books and Resplendence) at RT.

RWA is geared mostly to the business side of things.   I’ve yet to attend this particular conference, even though I’m a member.  I have attended regional RWA conferences including Midwest Fiction Writers and WisRWA.  I found both beneficial to my writing career.  Classes tend to revolve around business, craft, and publishing in general.

Some other conferences I’ve attended are Lori Foster’s RAGT (Reader and Author Get Together).  This is also a reader geared Con, unlike RT it is much smaller and there are about ten readers for every published author.   Lori keeps the author roster small so readers can interact.   Maddy Barone introduced me to this Con and we’ve traveled the last two years together.

I’ve attended two local Sci-Fi con’s since I write Paranormal Romance.  CoreCon and ValleyCon.   I highly recommend if you write in a genre that falls into the genre of SFFP (Science-Fiction, Fantasy, and Paranormal) that you consider attending a local or regional Con.  It is a great way to meet readers and I find the communities, in general, to be very supportive of creatives.

There are also many Romance Reader Cons popping up.   I ran across this website that might be helpful for those of you writing in the Romance Genre.

http://www.romancerefined.com/list-of-romance-conventions-and-conferences.html

I usually attend RT when I can and if I can rope someone into going with me.   RWA is still on my bucket list.   I’ve attended Lori Foster’s RAGT the last two years.  This year, due to my job loss,  I’ve cut back on my conferences.  I will likely only attend the local sci-fi cons and my annual writing retreat at the end of September.

Overall I love conferences and attend as many as my budget will allow.  If nothing else I get a few classes in, meet a few new authors and network.   That’s a win in my book.

 

AuThursday – Tessa McFionn

Tessa BannerTessa McFionn author picTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I would be delighted. So, I have lived in California for the whole of my life, but oddly enough, you’d never know by looking at me since I have no tan and inherited the East Coast attitude from both my parents. I’m a huge nerd, and very proud of the fact. I’ve collected comic books since I was in elementary school, I had a Star Trek bridge play set growing up instead of Barbie, and my idea of a perfect date night is the latest Marvel flick and pizza. Like most authors, I started writing when I was in junior high, but never took it seriously. I took Creative Writing classes in college, got my teaching credential and even taught English for a brief period before I decided to really give my own words their due. I still collect comic books. In fact, as I write this, I’m preparing to attend a comic book convention over the weekend.

How do you make time to write?

Ugh. I carve it out of every day with both hands, since I do have a rather full-time, full-time job as a teacher, that only leaves me weekends and vacations to dive into my WIPs. But I make sure that I make the most of the scant time I do get. Sometimes much to the chagrin of my hubby.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block?

There are times when my muse seems to be more interested in surfing for porn on the internet. (In my mind, I see my muse as a drunken frat boy. Don’t ask.) But honestly, I think because my writing time is so precious when ideas don’t flow, it can be almost debilitating. Generally, I just open another WIP and that usually helps to kick things back into gear.

Give us an insight into your main character, Kahlym cal Jhuen, in “To Discover a Divine. “What does he do that is so special?

Ah, my beautiful misfit. When I first imagined my sci-fi hero, I wanted him to be fierce and strong, yet have a vulnerable side. In the early phase of world-building, I saw him with not just mismatched eyes, but each eye having two colors. This trait made him an outcast from everyone, but through the love and guidance of his brothers, he became the hero Evainne meets. He has telepathy, but for me, it’s his heart and his courage to rise above that makes him special.

How do you select the names of your characters?

Oh, gods. The names. Especially in sci-fi, it’s all about the names. I wanted them to be unique, but still pronounceable. For me, I think of sounds and the feelings and pictures that come to my mind when I hear them. So, I play with variant spellings, like k or an x instead of ch and such, and voila! A new name is born. It’s one of the parts I truly love to do.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Honestly, on this part, I think I have a bit of a leg up. I’ve never been very good at being a girl. Remember the whole comic book thing? Yeah, well, I also played D&D, street football, and fenced competitively in college. Also, I spent a lot of time with my brother and his friends until I graduated from high school. So, because of spending lots of time hanging out with boys and listening to their conversations, I found it easy to slip into the minds of my boys. But there are times when I run some things past my current guy friends, and even sometimes my hubby.

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

I am a huge extrovert. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of being shy my entire life. By being more outgoing, I tend to talk to more people and get some amazing ideas, and personality quirks, for new characters. I do love talking to people, and watching people, too. It’s great fun to eavesdrop on Joe Q. Public in open spaces. Tons of great material.

How do you relax?

LOL! Actually, writing is my relaxation. Aside from that, I love watching movies. But for ultimate unplug time, I go to Disneyland. I know, I know. For most people, that would be stress central. Not for me. I have an Annual Passport and go at least once a month. It’s my way to escape the world and be a kid again.

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

I did get them, and it’s so odd. I knew they would be coming. I promised myself I would be strong when they came. And after the first, I nearly folded. So much for being tough. But I put on my big kid pants and kept going. I reminded myself that rejection is a part of persevering and nothing good comes without work.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Never quit. If you have a story to tell, there is someone out there who wants to read it. Trust your muse, and don’t fight the plot.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

If you go to my website, www.tessamcfionn.com, there are links to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, I have a monthly newsletter. Sign-ups for that are also on my website.

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

“I do. Thank you so much for chatting with me.” ~Tessa McFionn

DivineThe dunk into the pool was just what the doctor ordered, the temperature somehow perfect. Evainne hoped it would be cold enough to jolt her brain into some emotional state aside from pissed off, but she didn’t relish the idea of a long swim in the arctic. The thing seemed almost intuitive, the water warming after one lap.

Why was she so angry? It wasn’t as if she’d never been rejected before. She should be used to that, but she wanted so much to believe he was not like the asshats back home. Guess it’s a male thing, no matter what planet you’re on.

So lost in her own head, she didn’t realize he was in the water until she heard him call her name. His voice brushed against her bare back, the single word trailing like fingertips along her skin. She closed her eyes, seeking strength in the darkness behind her lids.

“I don’t know if I’m not mad at you anymore.” She swallowed hard, listening carefully as he stepped closer, the wake of his approach lapping gently at the tops of her thighs.

“I do not wish you to be angered, but you must understand—”

That did it. She spun around to meet his apologetic stare, an unspoken sadness casting shadows in his tourmaline eyes.

“No, Kahlym. I don’t have to understand anything. I have no friggin’ clue about of the rules here. I was never one to stand on ceremony on my own damn home planet and I’m not about to start now. I was an outcast, tossed out and alone, and I had to make my way without a whole lot of help. Hell, even the crazy homeless had people willing to step up and say, ‘Yeah, that’s my family.’ All I trust is what I see from people’s actions and what my gut tells me. And I just don’t get you sometimes. One moment, you’re all hot and bothered and the next, you shove me away, spouting all about how you’re not worthy. I’m not some kind of princess or anything special, no matter what you might think. I just want…” She paused to take a breath and sort out her thoughts as they rocketed through her head.

That was when she realized he was naked.