AuThursday – Vivian Kohlman

LichtPlease welcome Vivian Kohlman to the Clog Blog.  Vivian – Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born and raised—by a single mother—in the Washington, DC area, with one older sister. I’m currently married with no kids (intentionally), and still live in the DC area. I love this town so much that even after my sister moved to Los Angeles, I just couldn’t make the switch—though I tried to live there a couple of times.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in English and an MBA in the Management of Global Information Technology (IT). I work as an IT Consultant for federal agencies and private companies, and I love my job…but I love my hobby—writing romance novels—even more! I picked up writing as a hobby only a few years ago and I’m already on my fifth book as part of the Young and Privileged of Washington, DC series. And I’m sure there are many more to come!

Aside from writing, I enjoy travelling and hiking (well, walking around wooded areas—low-impact hiking, you could say). And I love champagne brunches and Friday happy hours, or taking a walk in nice weather.

How did you come up with the idea for your YOUNG AND PRIVILEGED series?

The very first book started with the urge to write about a story of my youth, but making it play out and end much differently than it did in reality. I used the experiences and characters of my friends and me in our teens and twenties (in all of the books). The first book was very personal; the subsequent books flowed from there.

Most people think of Washington, DC as only a political place, full of stuffy congressmen and sleazy lobbyists. But the DC I know is much cooler, and much livelier. My stories focus on the part of society that doesn’t care much for politics—young and privileged adults who are lucky enough to enjoy life and all the nice things this area has to offer.

Why did I focus on this group? Because their life is fundamentally different than the average young adult’s—and it’s exciting. They live like Paris Hilton or a Kardashian—without the fame and notoriety. I think Gossip Girl (the TV show and the books) helped to lead me to this series, but on behalf of DC youth instead of NY.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on book #5 of the series right now, which is a follow-on to book #4 (“Girls Like Me”). Book 5 (still unnamed) continues the story of Ava and her boyfriend; in book 4, they met and got together.

All of the books in the series can be read alone, in any order, but it’s best to follow the series’ books sequentially to best understand the characters and storylines. Since I’m just starting out as a writer, and self-publishing, I’ve begun to try to market the series and have set up my website, Facebook page, etc—these are all in the beginning stages right now, but I plan to work more on them in 2018.

What genre are your books?

Contemporary romance. Although the characters are aged anywhere from late high-school to late twenties, the books are filled with scenarios and language that only mature audiences should read.

What draws you to this genre?

Who doesn’t love a romance? Especially one that is earth shattering and deep…a love that causes emotional elation and is usually followed by destruction. I get lost in contemporary romance stories, and hope my readers get lost in mine!

Writing romances allows me to express stories and characters from a view of what I find romantic—which isn’t always the norm. I don’t write erotica, but some scenes can be steamy. Writing about the ups and downs of falling in love, or out of love, is as much fun to write as reading about it!

How much research do you do?

Because most of what I write is from my own experiences, I don’t need to do too much research. But each story may cause me to research and item or two, and sometimes ask people for their experiences. On top of that, I sometimes choose to try out new locations around the DC area myself.

Most of the locations—bars, restaurants, neighborhoods, etc—I visit myself often, and feature the places I like (or liked, when I was younger) the most.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Nope, I write in spurts. I’ve gone as much as six months without writing anything new; alternately, I’ve written over 3,000 words in a day before. I have a process worked out where I write the basic story very quickly (usually when the story strikes me), then spend the next 6 months or so revising and adding to it. Since this is just a hobby, I want to make sure I continue to enjoy it, so I put no pressure on myself to write.

Which writers inspire you?

Writers? No writer directly inspires me, but I do get inspired by movies, songs, and TV shows. So much so that I plan to stat a blog someday soon that defines all the inspirations for each book. Book 3 was inspired by a dream I had, the nuances of all the books are influenced with whatever music I’m drawn to at the time, and Games of Thrones inspired a main character in Book 4.

Although I can’t say other authors inspire me, I do enjoy reading other peoples’ work. Ironically, I like easy-to-read romance novels that are contemporary or fantasy, such as:

Jessica Sorrensen

Suzanne Collins

Bella Forrest

Cecily von Zeigesar

Jane Austen

L J Smith

Stephenie Meyer

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.viviankohlman.com

https://www.facebook.com/viviankohlman/

https://www.instagram.com/viviankohlman/

amazon.com/author/viviankohlman

All of my books are currently FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. In the future, I may move to other platforms.

Do you have a sexy teaser you’d like to share with us?Book4Series

From Girls Like Me, Book 4 of the Young and Privileged of Washington, DC

I walked straight to him, knowing that the right thing to do would be talking to Miko first. But I didn’t care; I could still feel King’s arms around me, and that made me feel fantastic.

“Hey thanks for taking me off the floor,” I said, sitting down next to him on the sofa, but not too close.

“Don’t mention it. I saw the fight brewing from up here, so went down to warn you girls. You were about to be in the middle of it and my yacht’s parked closer than yours…I didn’t want to have to take you back to my place and get blood all over my pristine decks,” he said, not looking at me once, just staring at his phone.

And we’re back to mean King.

I wasn’t sure what to say, but I didn’t move an inch either. I pulled my eyes away from his face and looked down, resting on the amazingly large watch he was wearing—it was a Breitling that had diamonds around the face and it glittered slightly when the club lights hit it. Strong/soft, basic/decadent, nice/mean, hates me/wants me…this guy is an enigma.

Why is he being a dick again? Didn’t he just purposely save me from harm? So why is he acting like he hates me now?

“Uh huh. Well, I can take care of myself, you know,” I said, feeling hurt for some strange reason.

“No, you can’t. You didn’t move. Every other person outside of the fight fled the dance floor—you stood in one place, dumbstruck,” he said.

He still hasn’t looked at me once.

“Have I done something to greatly offend you, King?”

“No.”

“You seem to be, I don’t know, angry with me,” I said tentatively.

“You’re wrong.”

“So, what’s up with the short answers and you not even looking at me?”

He put his phone down and looked me directly in the eyes. Damn his eyes are so beautiful. A heat wave went through my body when our eyes locked.

“I’m pissed as hell for having to touch you. You felt so fucking good,” he said, putting a lot of emphasis on the last part of that statement.

 

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Writer Wednesday – A few of my favorite things

A lot of writers get asked what kind of tools they use when writing and editing.  Here are a few of mine:

Books

The Romance Writer’s Phrase book by Jean Kent and Candice Shelton – It’s a handy little phrase book, used for tag lines, body language, etc.

A more updated version would be The Emotional Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.   I use these books when I’m in the layer process of my book.   I used to use them during the rough draft, but found I got too bogged down with particulars rather than just writing the damn book.

The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer – I have an old copy of this, but found it useful for understanding aspects of the business like Sell-thrus and royalties.   I believe he has an updated version.

And of course I have a Thesaurus, Dictionary and Two Style Guides.

Online Tools

Pinterest – I use Pinterest to store a lot of my pictures for characters, setting, clothes, etc.   Of course you can totally get lost on there.

First Draught – I have to give a shout-out to these ladies, because they cover a range of topics and they talk about everything from craft to publishing.  I love their Vlog!

Jenna Moreci – Jenna is a YA Indie Writer and she has this Vlog where her topics are humorous and based on her writing experience.   I highly recommend this if you are exploring Self-publishing or are a YA writer.

Google Keep  – I sort of stumbled across this recently and use it in place of Scrivener.    I make up all these little notes on characters, settings and scenes I need to write and then I can have it on the side of my Google Doc.   I’m sort of envious of Scrivener, but the feature I was really wanting was to replace my post-it plotting system that I learned from Cherry Adair.

Last week I covered the importance of finding your tribe, and of course my tribes are some of my favorite things.

~Tina

 

 

 

Writer Wednesday – Decoding Agent Lingo.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

~Tina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AuThursday – Ava Wood

Ava Wood (002)Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Ava Wood and I’ve been independently published since 2014. I got the writing bug pretty early on, but stuck with poetry through my adolescent years. It wasn’t until I was nineteen that I decided to try my hand at novels. For many years, I dabbled with writing, but never really pursued it, because I was working as a photographer with my husband. But I finally decided to buckle down in 2013 and finish my manuscript.

How do you make time to write?

I’m a stay at home mother who writes full time. With children who are very active, I’ve learned that sometimes I have to say no to activities in order to meet my deadlines and stay on task, but it’s a “sacrifice” I decided to make in order to pursue this full time.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Absolutely. I have bouts of writer’s block quite often. Sometimes I have to take a step back and let the characters work through their issues so that they can speak to me again, but they always come around. I’m too darn loveable to ignore.

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

I write YA contemporary under Ava Wood and Adult Romance under Ava Lynn Wood. All of my books have human connection and are heavily immersed in emotion.

I love the inner workings of relationships, how people interact and what makes them tick. I love to see, feel, hear people fall in love. I love to be moved to tears, to feel my heart being pulled a hundred different directions. Humans are fascinating, fabulous, flawed creatures and I love to catch the little bits and pieces that make them who they are, that build their character and determine who and how they love. Being a writer is an absolute blessing, because I get to experience so many emotions through my characters on a daily basis!

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

All of my books are published Indie, because I feel I have so much more freedom. Sure, there are drawbacks to publishing indie like the cost for cover art, editing and formatting, but I’m not under anyone else’s deadlines and I feel like my work is my own.

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

I’m an introvert until I get to know someone or am able to assess a situation. This doesn’t necessarily affect my writing, but it does affect my marketing and my anxiety before signings. I love getting to interact with readers, but the nerves beforehand are something else.

Once you know me, I’m quite the extrovert. I love to be the life of the party, to make others laugh and smile. And sometimes, I say inappropriate things, but that’s just me.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. (In other words, if you’re going to do something, give 100%)

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

NEVER EVER EVER compare your journey to someone else’s. You don’t know what roads another author traveled. You don’t know the obstacles they faced or the forks they took along the way. Their journey is not your journey. Your journey starts with you, with writing what you love and being true to yourself. When you are focused on yourself, on doing everything you can to make yourself better, everything else will fall into place.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.avawood.net

www.facebook.com/authorawood

www.goodreads.com/authorawood

www.pinterest.com/authorawood

www.amazon.com/author/avawood

www.twitter.com/btfl7

www.instagram.com/btfl7

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Ava’s upcoming romantic suspense, In a Dream. ~Tina

 

 

Recovering from the Romantic Times Con

So drove the nine hours back from #RT13 yesterday, following Speed Dating with some Awesome readers.

In hindsight I think I would’ve gotten a 3-day pass for this particular con having really pushed it physically as an author this year. 🙂

Here’s a brief re-cap

Wednesday
1. Not at RT. 😦 I’m at my M-F job doing month-end from 7am to 7pm. Ugh!
2. Head home, finish packing eat dinner and go to bed.

Thursday
1. Get up at 1am to drive to KC – hoping to be there by 8 or early morning at the latest. DH & I get delayed by winter storms in IA and end up arriving at 11:00 am.
2. Check into hotel. Get to room and find out the work books are not closed. So I have to work for an hour at said job above. Finish at 2pm. Go get lunch in shops under the Westin.
3. Make it to one panel, Steampunk: It’s not about the goggles, do an impromptu pitch of my current WIP and realize the editor is looking at me like I’m an idiot. Clearly I have to re-evaluate this story. 😦
4. Go to the Book Expo hosted by ARE. Quick run over to Isabella Drake’s table and drop off gift basket for The Sex Goddess Hour friday am, don’t introduce myself so not sure if she even knows who I am other than a crazy lady. 😛
Manage to score some swag from Sylvia Day for a co-worker.
5. Go have drinks with Liquid Silver Books (the highlight of my con) and visit with fellow authors. Robyn Peterman shows up – sweet!
6. Go get ready for the 30th annual ball, Debbie Cairo saves me a seat.
7. Attend the 30th Annual Ball, great speakers but given my long day I start nodding off between speeches. Debbie says we have to leave because I’m snoring. :O

Friday
1. Get up at 8am sicker than a dog. DH holding back my hair as I worship the porcelain god. Ugh!
2. Finally manage to recover by noon and we make our way to the shops to find food.
3. Attend one class What rights do you have and how much are they worth? – Really good, decided if I ever go the NY route I would look at the agency that hosted this (Janklow & Nesbit). Smart ladies.
4. Feel bad DH is stuck back at the Westin so go visit him and skip other classes – stupid move Note: Always take classes – that’s what you paid for. DH and I have an early dinner because I heard rumors that there won’t be food at the Vampire Ball.
5. Attend Entangled Publishing’s “Candy & Spoons Reader Event” – another great highlight. I’m pleasantly pleased with the publisher’s marketing techniques and authors seem happy. Hmmm.
6. Attend Heather Graham’s Vampire Ball and guess what? – There’s food. Dang! I have a great time dancing the night away.

Saturday
1. Already a slow planned day as most events are for readers not writers.
2. I’m up early so DH and I head over to the Sheraton to get some breakky. I go to The Giant Book Fair to get the books I’ve won signed and to see if I can picky of Maya Bank’s and Cathy Maxwell’s latest historical.
3. Standing in line, I meet Rosalie Stanton, who also writes for LSB. We have a nice chat and talk shop. For anyone who knows me – you know I could sit and chat shop all day. I love it.
4. Get into the bookfair and get books signed by YA authors Jus Accardo, Lisa Burstein & Victoria Scott. For my personal collection I score Beth Ciotta, Cathy Maxwell & Katee Robert. Alas Maya is nowhere to be found. 😦
5. Head back to have lunch with DH & Debbie. Go for a swim and get ready for evening parties.
6. Attend Carina Press Cocktail Party – this is a fun event I recommend for anyone attending. It’s a great promo opportunity for their authors and readers get to find some new reads. 🙂 The give-aways are pretty good too. Stay for HQN dance party -got a dress just for this.

Sunday
1. Originally decided to stay all day but hotel is no longer extending the RT room rate and parking is crazy so DH & I opt to leave.
2. Attend Author Speed Dating – this is a fun event and I would do it again. I paired myself with the lovely Lila Dubios, who is both charming and chatty. A nice match for my reserved self. We meet with readers and they ask us questions. Great!
3. Drive 9 hours back to the Dakotas and drink horrible coffee along the way. 😦

All in all it was a nice RT, but wonder if I should’ve stayed local and attended Corecon instead since I missed out on so much.

Until next time be naughty!
~Tina