Guest Post by Merrie Destefano – author of LOST GIRLS

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How Writing is Like Combing Your Hair, Sort Of

There are many stages in the writing process. There’s the glittery, I’ve just fallen in love and all of this is SO wonderful stage. This is where words fly off your fingertips, ideas come when you’re trying to fall asleep, and most of your friends get a glazed look on their faces when you ramble on about random plot elements. This is the part of writing that can get you addicted. It’s wild, it’s like caffeine and adrenaline mixed into a yummy cocktail and can I have another one of those, please?

Fortunately, this stage doesn’t last very long. You’d think it would be perfect, if only you could capture this feeling and keep it in a bottle, like lightning bugs. The thing is, not everything that comes out on your computer screen during this stage really makes sense. Some of it is a little bit disjointed and crazy.

It will have to go through another stage first before it sparkles. This next stage is a little bit painful. It’s where you need to look at your work like a reader, instead of a head-over-heels-in-love-with-my-own-creation writer.

For a long time, I’ve thought of this second stage almost like combing your hair. If you’ve ever had long hair, you know that mornings aren’t fun. You wake up with a snarled, tangled mess of hair. It can hurt to straighten out that hot mess. The comb acts like it hates you, snagging on knots that you can’t even see. If you go too fast, there’s a big OUCH waiting for you.

So, at this point, I try to look at my work from a different angle. If I’ve been working on a computer, I print out the pages. I even lay out the document in a graphics program (QuarkXPress), so it will look more like a book. Another trick you can try is to email your story in a Word document to your Kindle. Every time you read your book in different format, it will force you to see it in a new way.

Things I look for include: sentences that sound too much alike, bad rhythm, too much information, not enough information, scenes that seem to have more than one central focus, places where I get bored, characters that aren’t responding correctly, dialogue that feels off, and long scenes where there’s no dialogue.

This is a process that I repeat throughout the writing of my book. I mark the snags and tangles, go back and do my best to fix them, print out the corrected pages and read through them again. Every time, it feels like I’m combing my hair. With each pass, the comb goes through a little bit easier, my hair starts to look a tiny bit better, and I think, hey, this is working!

Because I do this throughout the process of writing, by the time I’m completely done with my ‘first’ draft, it usually doesn’t take a lot of editing. I can almost always finish my final round of edits within a couple of weeks.

Of course, then there is the next round of edits that I get from my agent and my editor. Those usually require a jackhammer, a couple gallons of Coke Zero, and a series of frantic emails and phone calls to my writer pals where I ask them why I ever thought I could write. It can even turn into an existential crisis at that point. But I try to take a few deep breaths and let some time pass. Because I know that if I can make it through this last stage, there will be this thing called A Real Book.

The Real Book stage? That’s the absolute best part. It’s the reason I got started in this business in the first place. It’s pure magic, it’s starlight and fairy wings and feet that can’t touch the ground.

In fact, it’s so amazing, it makes you want to start all over again and write another book.

 

abouttheauthor

Merrie Destefano low res .jpg

Born in the Midwest, magazine editor Merrie Destefano currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two German shepherds, a Siamese cat, and the occasional wandering possum. Her favorite hobbies are reading speculative fiction and watching old Star Trek episodes, and her incurable addiction is writing. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies, and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time.

Connect with Merrie online:

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Aboutthebook

LostGirls_500.jpg

The only rule is: there are no rules.

“Merrie Destefano weaves magic.” —Rachel A. Marks, author of Darkness Brutal

Yesterday, Rachel went to sleep listening to Taylor Swift, curled up in her grammy’s quilt, worrying about geometry. Today, she woke up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised, and missing a year of her life.

She doesn’t recognize the person she’s become: She’s popular. She wears nothing but black.

Black to cover the blood.

And she can fight.

Tell no one.

She’s not the only girl to go missing within the last year…but she’s the only girl to come back. She desperately wants to unravel what happened to her, to try and recover the rest of the Lost Girls.

But the more she discovers, the more her memories return. And as much as her new life scares her, it calls to her. Seductively. The good girl gone bad: sex, drugs, and raves, and something darker…something she still craves. The rush of the fight, the thrill of the win—something she can’t resist, that might still get her killed…

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Interview with Shea McMaster: part of the LOVE ONBOARD! Blog Tour

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I love romance. Sometimes I mix it up with suspense or a little Sci-Fi, but it’s always about love first. Happy Endings rule!

How long have you been writing?

I started in late October 2004. My husband I were separated by job circumstances. He was starting our transition back to Alaska and I stayed in Colorado so our son could finish Jr. High at the fabulous school he was in. I also had a great paying FT job with even better health care. It was a very tough year and writing got me through a whole lot of major challenges.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

If I’m writing a story set in Alaska, I see it as a chance to set the record straight about what it’s really like to live in the Last Frontier. I really get annoyed with authors who have never been here who write impossible things. I once read a book where the author has the hero traveling from Fairbanks (2nd largest city) to Cantwell (small village 2+ hours south of Fairbanks) for medical care. So not ever going to happen! Never mind the other impossible situations she set up for the characters.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I really try to inject humor when I can. I’m not as funny as J. Morgan, or Boone Brux, both dear writing buddies, but I like to keep things light. I’d rather laugh than cry.

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

Right now, getting the quiet time I need to sink into the story. Recently moved into my 87 yo mother’s house to take care of her. Some days I just can’t find ten minutes of quiet, much less the 3-4 hours I really need. Love being here for her, so it’s more a situation of frustration when it comes to writing. Sometimes I can set her up with an audio book, but then I want to listen too!

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

Such a long list! Starting back many years ago Julie Garwood and Jude Deveraux were my go-to reads. Then I added Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Greene, Jennifer Crusie, Rebecca York, and a whole host of others.

In the last twelve years, my favorites come from my AKRWA chapter. We have a whole lot of talent up here! Jackie Ivie, Lizbeth Selvig, Jennifer Bernard, Maxine Mansfield, Boone Brux, Lynn Lovegreen, Tielle St. Clare, and Tam Lindsey to name a few. Sorry if I missed anyone. We all help each other refine the craft and cheer everyone on. Looking forward to some of our newer members catching up.

I also love discovering new to me authors through free ebooks. I often end up buying the whole series and impatiently waiting for more.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I’ve moved from full-time to part-time. So many demands on my time these days. As a result, I find it harder to dig in and write. I’m lucky to get on the computer 2-3 days a week. Often for only a half day, and even that is broken up by interruptions. Sort of like living with a toddler again.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

I did school/Scout/Mary Kay newsletters for a lot of years while working part-time. That really refined my editing skills. While in Colorado, I had a full-time job doing tech-editing and document control. The best training I had for that job was my then twelve-year-old son. I chased scientists around and made sure they did their reporting on time. I had PhDs running and hiding from me!

What do you like to read in your free time?

I’m finding myself reading, and listening to, a lot of cozy mysteries these days. The listening I do with Mom to keep her occupied while we work on getting her eyesight fixed. At night, upstairs with my husband, I find the time to read whatever I want on my tablet while knitting. Some of those are erotic in nature, but mostly I find myself looking for really good stories that are less about sex and more about building the relationship and having adventures.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I have a Science Fiction series sitting in a folder on my computer that I really, really want to finish. Those stories are a bit stalled because of the weak middles and comments from my critiquers I’m still mulling over. But, soon, I hope those are headed toward contracts and editors.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

Don’t knock the shower!  I’ve had some of my best ideas in the shower! The problem is when the characters start talking to each other as I’m trying to fall asleep. I’ll make notes on my tablet then try to pick up the scene in the morning.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Jennifer Greene directly inspired “Her Foreign Affair” with her book “Blame it on Paris.” I wanted the story from the mother’s angle. Then The Robinsons Series was born

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I really try to stay away from cities and regions I’ve never visited. And if I must touch down in one, I find an author who lives there, or did live there, and pester them to death with questions. This goes back to my disgust with people who have never lived in Alaska and write about it. If you want to write about Alaska, come spend a year here. It’s that different. So, I try to respect the denizens of other regions by not making up my own stories about their homes.

Unless it’s Science Fiction. Then nearly all bets are off!

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

The ability to clean house and cook dinner with the twitch of my nose. Oh, and fold laundry with a thought. I dislike routine, endless tasks. Takes time away from writing and quilting.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

Ireland and Scotland. Both “old countries” for me. And Sweden. I’m one-fourth Swedish, but I don’t like kippers, so I’ll have to think about that.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

I’d want to be a seal. Swim, eat, sleep in the sun. Toss a ball around from time to time. Guess I’d have to get over my dislike of smelly fish for that!

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

See my grandchildren. Of course, my son needs to meet a nice woman before that can happen. But I don’t nag him, often. I just make gentle suggestions on how to meet someone.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I loved reading from the beginning. I crave the escape. I used to tell myself stories will making mud pies, working on puzzles, sewing… When I can mostly disconnect my mind from my actions.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I hope fun can be found in most of my stories. I’m not funny enough for the big belly laughs of true comedy writing, but I want my readers to laugh and fall in love with my characters. Someone once said my characters feel like people who live down the street, people you’d want to hang out with. That was a huge compliment.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

Just sit and write. Let it flow from your head to your fingers and get the story on paper (or in a document file). Save the tweaking and editing until the final draft is complete. Getting critiques on an unfinished document can send me into a tail spin that brings everything to a halt.

FUN STUFF

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

Don’t know how strange it is, but I can stare at the screen for hours and play endless games of Solitaire.

How many donuts are you capable of eating in one sitting?

Unknown as I rarely buy donuts, and when I do I only buy one. Helps that the best donut place is more than an hour away. But put a bowl of chips or a bag of chocolate on my desk… That’s a whole ‘nother story. I try to keep only a glass of water handy.

How violently do you have to fight the urge to scream when you hear the ice cream truck coming?

Since I tend to be one who will spend whole days in my pjs, I’m pretty good at resisting the ice cream truck.

Say there’s like a whole box of your favorite snack in a room all by themselves. Say I left them there and told you not to eat any until I got back. How long would it take you to disobey my wishes?

About five minutes. I have little will power.

What is your go-to method for getting rid of hiccups?

Guzzling a big glass of water.

Do you have a favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

Shortbread kills me every time. And Boy Scout popcorn. I love the cheesy stuff.

This or That?

Dogs or Cats? Dogs

Tea or Coffee? Coffee

Winter or Summer? Summer

TexMex or Italian? Both

Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

Vintage or New? New

Fried or Scrambled? Scrambled

Bond or Bourne? Bond

Fun Facts about Shea McMaster:

I played violin from fourth grade through my first year of college. Had some great times when I was in the Anchorage Youth Symphony. Also, once got to play a Stradivarius that belonged to one of my father’s co-workers. I was too young to fully appreciate the experience.

I’ve sewed for many years. First it was clothes, then I did pillow shams for a craft fair circuit to help a friend fill her booth. These days I’m learning to quilt. I don’t do fancy stuff. I stick to rectangles and squares (same with knitting and crocheting) for the most part, but just learned how to do HSTs (Half Square Triangles). Doubt I’ll ever make anything to put on show. I give away most of what I make. Baby quilts are easy and fast. I’m all about easy and fast. I’m also planning for those future grandchildren I hope my son will someday give me.

I’m very, very ticklish. (Mom threw that one in)

With the exception of five and half years in Colorado, I’ve lived in Alaska since March 1977. My parents moved up as the pipeline was transitioning from construction to production. It was an exciting time and the state has seen so many changes in the last forty years. I also married a man who was born in Fairbanks three months before statehood.

I’m the youngest of five children, and was born in New Orleans. We moved to California when I was two months old, so I never developed the accent.

abouttheauthor

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Shea McMaster is the sweeter side of Morgan Q O’Reilly. Her books tend more toward the traditional romance model and are sensual rather than erotic in nature.

Connect with Shea McMaster online:

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Aboutthebook

LOVE ONBOARD! CUPID’S CARIBBEAN CRUISE has set sail! Join the cruise guests and watch Cupid hit his targets!

Love Onboard: Cupid’s Caribbean Cruise. . . . Waves of New Contemporary Romance stories are coming from some of your favorite romance authors, all set aboard a Valentine’s singles cruise.

Order on Amazon || Add to your TBR Shelf on Goodreads || Watch the trailer on YouTube

>>>>>>>Enter the Giveaway<<<<<<<<

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Too Fast for Love by Lilly Christine – Race Car Driver Luke Devlin’s anger issues bring him to a screeching stop, but Love Expert Lacey Lipinski has the keys to help him recalibrate. Can a cruise ship fling survive life in the fast lane?

When not hunched over her laptop dreaming up strong female leads in sassy dialogue with dashing male counterparts, Lilly Christine can be found hiking and down-dogging with her two dogs and one cat. In addition to reading, she enjoys several outdoor activities including riding horses, gardening, and biking.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads


Just One Look by Deb Julienne – On a secret mission for her father, Diana Clay aka ‘Diana Tolliver’ finds herself alone on a singles cruise. She befriends a passenger and they play a game…date for a cruise. Each must pick out the others date for the duration of the cruise. Between her research on the ship and her new “boyfriend” she has her hands full.

USA Today and Amazon Bestselling Author Deb Julienne has penned multiple romantic comedy and western novels and anthologies. While some say truth is stranger than fiction, her experiences run more along the lines of a slapstick comedy. She makes her own Limoncello…enough said.

After the day job, she loves to play in the kitchen concocting award-winning jams, jellies, preserves, and sauces (with alcohol of course). Born and raised in San Jose, California, she now resides in her own little bit of heaven in the Sierra Tahoe National Forest Basin, with her husband of 35 years, their three sons and one daughter, and five very precious grandchildren with number six on the way.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads || Newsletter Signup


Pirated Pixie by Shea McMaster – Irene Lundquist has no plans for romance while on the cruise with her jilted best friend and his groomsmen. She’s surprised when Dutch Marshal’s good looks and charm do nothing to help her relax, and everything to steal her heart. For Dutch, things get complicated when the best man in charge of the group plans is a gorgeous pixie-sized redhead woman who lights his fire. Can either of them make it through the singles cruise and remain single, or will they get the happily ever after neither of them was looking for?

Shea McMaster lives for traditional romance. Born in New Orleans, raised in California, Shea got moved to Alaska in 1977, where she attended high school before running back to California to get her English degree from Mills College. Alas, once back home she met and fell in love with her own forever true hero, a born and raised Alaska man. Since then she’s had a love-hate relationship with America’s largest state.

With her one and only son grown and on his own, Shea is fortunate to spend her days playing with the furry child, and engaged in daydreaming, turning those dreams into romantic novels and novellas featuring damsels in distress rescued by their own brains and hunky heroes. She also writes under the steamy romances under the name Morgan O’Reilly.

Website || Facebook || Amazon || Goodreads


Healing Hearts by Michele Shriver – After a bitter divorce and custody battle, Taryn Bradfield’s best friend books her on a singles cruise, where she meets Makai Grant, an airline pilot burnt out on love. Sailing the Caribbean, Taryn and Makai find healing and passion in each other’s arms, but too soon, the ship returns to port. Was it a vacation fling, or the start of something more?

Michele Shriver is a National and International best-selling author of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her books feature flawed-but-likeable characters in real-life settings. She’s not afraid to break the rules, but never stops believing in happily ever after. Michele counts among her favorite things a good glass of wine, a hockey game, and a sweet and sexy book boyfriend, not necessarily in that order.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads || Newsletter Signup


Cinderella at Sea by Ellen Wilder – When girl next door Manda Reilly discovers hero country singer Hunter Cross is onboard her singles cruise, Manda finds herself indulging in the exotic. Hunter’s heroism goes more than skin-deep. Can the man she’s known forever really be her one true love?

Ellen Wilder was born and raised in Indiana. She is happily married to her husband of five years and enjoys raising their two girls and one boy in the house where she grew up. They have a border collie/corgi mix named Loki.

Her parents started reading to Ellen and her siblings at a very young age. They quickly tired of books for younger children and turned to chapter books like Tarzan, The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings forging Ellen’s love for reading.

Ellen started writing in Junior High with an assignment from her computer writing teacher. Her first attempt at a modern day Old Yeller crossover with NYPD Blue was “awful”, but that didn’t stop the inspiration from flowing. Ellen now writes contemporary romance novels with a realistic twist to them. If you’re looking for fairy tales, you won’t find them here as her characters deal with real life issues. She loves helping people with their writing, paying forward the help that she has received allowing her to be where she is today.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads || Newsletter Signup


This blog tour was organized by Karan Eleni & KEPR Tours.

Interview with Michele Shriver: part of the LOVE ONBOARD! Blog Tour

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I call it real-life fiction with happy endings. I am drawn to writing less-traditional romance characters (like my 50-plus heroine and my plus-sized heroine), and I enjoy tackling some grittier subjects, such as addiction, eating disorders, abuse, etc., but in the end I love my happy endings and want to make sure my characters find theirs.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I am currently writing a new adult romance called Fade into Love that is going into a boxed set of stories centered around a big win- such as a lottery or sweepstakes. In my story, the heroine wins a sweepstakes to visit a movie set and have a walk-on role… and it changes her life forever.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I have three more books planned in my Men of the Ice hockey series, and will be writing books in two mutli0author series- the Happy Endings Resort Series and the Hearts of Braden. And I want to expand Healing Hearts, my novella in the Love Onboard set, into a full-length novel.

FUN STUFF

How many donuts are you capable of eating in one sitting?

Probably only a couple, if they’re full-sized donuts. Don’t me about the mini ones, though!

How violently do you have to fight the urge to scream when you hear the ice cream truck coming?

Scream? I really just want to cover my ears.

Say there’s like a whole box of your favorite snack in a room all by themselves. Say I left them there and told you not to eat any until I got back. How long would it take you to disobey my wishes?

Depends how hungry I am or how bored I am. I can have pretty good will power, unless I have nothing else to do.

What is your go-to method for getting rid of hiccups?

I usually just drink something.

Do you have a favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

Thin Mints. Duh.

THIS OR THAT?

Winter or Summer? Summer- just not too hot.

TexMex or Italian? Tex Mex.

Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

Fried or Scrambled? Scrambled

Bond or Bourne? Bourne

abouttheauthor

author-photo

Michele Shriver is a National and International best-selling author of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her books feature flawed-but-likeable characters in real-life settings. She’s not afraid to break the rules, but never stops believing in happily ever after. Michele counts among her favorite things a good glass of wine, a hockey game, and a sweet and sexy book boyfriend, not necessarily in that order.

Connect with Michele online:

Street Team/ Reader’s club      Website

Facebook Author Page       Twitter

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Aboutthebook

LOVE ONBOARD! CUPID’S CARIBBEAN CRUISE has set sail! Join the cruise guests and watch Cupid hit his targets!

Love Onboard: Cupid’s Caribbean Cruise. . . . Waves of New Contemporary Romance stories are coming from some of your favorite romance authors, all set aboard a Valentine’s singles cruise.

Order on Amazon || Add to your TBR Shelf on Goodreads || Watch the trailer on YouTube

>>>>>>>Enter the Giveaway<<<<<<<<

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Too Fast for Love by Lilly Christine – Race Car Driver Luke Devlin’s anger issues bring him to a screeching stop, but Love Expert Lacey Lipinski has the keys to help him recalibrate. Can a cruise ship fling survive life in the fast lane?

When not hunched over her laptop dreaming up strong female leads in sassy dialogue with dashing male counterparts, Lilly Christine can be found hiking and down-dogging with her two dogs and one cat. In addition to reading, she enjoys several outdoor activities including riding horses, gardening, and biking.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads


Just One Look by Deb Julienne – On a secret mission for her father, Diana Clay aka ‘Diana Tolliver’ finds herself alone on a singles cruise. She befriends a passenger and they play a game…date for a cruise. Each must pick out the others date for the duration of the cruise. Between her research on the ship and her new “boyfriend” she has her hands full.

USA Today and Amazon Bestselling Author Deb Julienne has penned multiple romantic comedy and western novels and anthologies. While some say truth is stranger than fiction, her experiences run more along the lines of a slapstick comedy. She makes her own Limoncello…enough said.

After the day job, she loves to play in the kitchen concocting award-winning jams, jellies, preserves, and sauces (with alcohol of course). Born and raised in San Jose, California, she now resides in her own little bit of heaven in the Sierra Tahoe National Forest Basin, with her husband of 35 years, their three sons and one daughter, and five very precious grandchildren with number six on the way.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads || Newsletter Signup


Pirated Pixie by Shea McMaster – Irene Lundquist has no plans for romance while on the cruise with her jilted best friend and his groomsmen. She’s surprised when Dutch Marshal’s good looks and charm do nothing to help her relax, and everything to steal her heart. For Dutch, things get complicated when the best man in charge of the group plans is a gorgeous pixie-sized redhead woman who lights his fire. Can either of them make it through the singles cruise and remain single, or will they get the happily ever after neither of them was looking for?

Shea McMaster lives for traditional romance. Born in New Orleans, raised in California, Shea got moved to Alaska in 1977, where she attended high school before running back to California to get her English degree from Mills College. Alas, once back home she met and fell in love with her own forever true hero, a born and raised Alaska man. Since then she’s had a love-hate relationship with America’s largest state.

With her one and only son grown and on his own, Shea is fortunate to spend her days playing with the furry child, and engaged in daydreaming, turning those dreams into romantic novels and novellas featuring damsels in distress rescued by their own brains and hunky heroes. She also writes under the steamy romances under the name Morgan O’Reilly.

Website || Facebook || Amazon || Goodreads


Healing Hearts by Michele Shriver – After a bitter divorce and custody battle, Taryn Bradfield’s best friend books her on a singles cruise, where she meets Makai Grant, an airline pilot burnt out on love. Sailing the Caribbean, Taryn and Makai find healing and passion in each other’s arms, but too soon, the ship returns to port. Was it a vacation fling, or the start of something more?

Michele Shriver is a National and International best-selling author of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her books feature flawed-but-likeable characters in real-life settings. She’s not afraid to break the rules, but never stops believing in happily ever after. Michele counts among her favorite things a good glass of wine, a hockey game, and a sweet and sexy book boyfriend, not necessarily in that order.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads || Newsletter Signup


Cinderella at Sea by Ellen Wilder – When girl next door Manda Reilly discovers hero country singer Hunter Cross is onboard her singles cruise, Manda finds herself indulging in the exotic. Hunter’s heroism goes more than skin-deep. Can the man she’s known forever really be her one true love?

Ellen Wilder was born and raised in Indiana. She is happily married to her husband of five years and enjoys raising their two girls and one boy in the house where she grew up. They have a border collie/corgi mix named Loki.

Her parents started reading to Ellen and her siblings at a very young age. They quickly tired of books for younger children and turned to chapter books like Tarzan, The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings forging Ellen’s love for reading.

Ellen started writing in Junior High with an assignment from her computer writing teacher. Her first attempt at a modern day Old Yeller crossover with NYPD Blue was “awful”, but that didn’t stop the inspiration from flowing. Ellen now writes contemporary romance novels with a realistic twist to them. If you’re looking for fairy tales, you won’t find them here as her characters deal with real life issues. She loves helping people with their writing, paying forward the help that she has received allowing her to be where she is today.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads || Newsletter Signup


This blog tour was organized by Karan Eleni & KEPR Tours.

Interview with Deb Julienne: part of the LOVE ONBOARD! Blog Tour

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? 

Life is…well Life. Whether it’s work, kids, family, whatever…I love writing romantic comedies and cowboys, they’re my escape from the world around me. I can create a handsome cowboy or comical situations, I can create characters to get even with, I can fall in love every single day and never get tired of it. I love to think of a character, then search of a picture to match how I see them…when I find the right picture the story practically writes itself.

What do you like to read in your free time?

Janet Evanovich is probably my #1 favorite…I swear she wrote Stephanie after following me, I just wish I had a Ranger and Morelli to make life more interesting.

Greg Iles is another but totally opposite. I love his stories, his characters, and the southern locations. If you haven’t read him, it’s a must.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m working on book 4 of the Twisted Sisters Club, revision Jill’s story. I’m working on a novella for a box set to be released in July. It’s the prequel to the woman who will be the Heroine in Dane Bronco’s story. And then I’ll be writing Dane’s story for The Bronco Brother’s series.

What do your plans for future projects include?

After the above, I still have to finish off that cowboy series with: Clayton, Quinton, Virgil, Wyatt, Logan, and Darcy. I just love this family!

FUN STUFF

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? 

Sort of…when I’m stuck on where to take a story or create chaos. I read what I’ve written then go to sleep. 99 times out of 100, I’ll dream about it and have my answer in the morning. I love when this happens.

What is your go-to method for getting rid of hiccups? 

I drink from the back side of a glass, upside down. Hold a glass of water, put your mouth on the far side, bend your head over and take sever swallows. It’s awkward at first but works every time.

Do you have a favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

Peanut Butter

This or That?

Dogs or Cats? Dogs

Tea or Coffee? COFFEE, IV STAT

Winter or Summer? Both

TexMex or Italian? Italian

Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

Vintage or New? Vintage

Roller Coaster or Ferris Wheel? Ferris Wheel

Fun Facts about Deb Julienne

I love to play in the kitchen concocting award-winning jams, jellies, preserves, and sauces (with alcohol of course).

My best year yet was winning First Place, Best in Division and Best in Show for Peach/Tahitian Vanilla/Butterscotch Schnapps Jam. The judge said he wanted to take a bath in it. Here are a few other combinations I’ve done:

Banana-Tahitian Vanilla with Kahlua Jam

PMS Jam – Peach, Mango, Strawberry with Spiced Rum
Caramel Apple Scotch Jam
Mandarin Orange-Cranberry-Ginger with Triple Sec
Blueberry Amaretto
Pear with Pear Brandy
Peach with Mango Rum
Pumpkin-Apricot Grand Marnier
Raspberry Vodka
Raspberry, Blackberry, Salmonberry with Blackberry Wine
Apricot with Apricot Brandy
Plum with Plum Wine
Blackberry with Blackberry Brandy
Raspberry Amaretto
Raspberry Chambord
Blackberry Chambord
Peach-Orange-Pecan with Brandy
Jalapeno Jam with Mango Rum
Habanero Jam with Pineapple Rum

abouttheauthor

USA Today and Amazon Bestselling Author Deb Julienne is the author of multiple novels and anthologies. While some say truth is stranger than fiction, her experiences run more along the lines of a slap-stick comedy.
Born and raised in San Jose, California, she now resides in her own little bit of heaven in the Sierra Tahoe National Forest Basin, with her husband of 36 years, their three sons and one daughter, and six precious grandkids, and a menagerie of animals: 2 horses, 5 goats and 3 sheep.

Connect with Deb Julienne online:

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Aboutthebook

LOVE ONBOARD! CUPID’S CARIBBEAN CRUISE has set sail! Join the cruise guests and watch Cupid hit his targets!

Love Onboard: Cupid’s Caribbean Cruise. . . . Waves of New Contemporary Romance stories are coming from some of your favorite romance authors, all set aboard a Valentine’s singles cruise.

Order on Amazon || Add to your TBR Shelf on Goodreads || Watch the trailer on YouTube

>>>>>>>Enter the Giveaway<<<<<<<<

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Too Fast for Love by Lilly Christine – Race Car Driver Luke Devlin’s anger issues bring him to a screeching stop, but Love Expert Lacey Lipinski has the keys to help him recalibrate. Can a cruise ship fling survive life in the fast lane?

When not hunched over her laptop dreaming up strong female leads in sassy dialogue with dashing male counterparts, Lilly Christine can be found hiking and down-dogging with her two dogs and one cat. In addition to reading, she enjoys several outdoor activities including riding horses, gardening, and biking.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads


Just One Look by Deb Julienne – On a secret mission for her father, Diana Clay aka ‘Diana Tolliver’ finds herself alone on a singles cruise. She befriends a passenger and they play a game…date for a cruise. Each must pick out the others date for the duration of the cruise. Between her research on the ship and her new “boyfriend” she has her hands full.

USA Today and Amazon Bestselling Author Deb Julienne has penned multiple romantic comedy and western novels and anthologies. While some say truth is stranger than fiction, her experiences run more along the lines of a slapstick comedy. She makes her own Limoncello…enough said.

After the day job, she loves to play in the kitchen concocting award-winning jams, jellies, preserves, and sauces (with alcohol of course). Born and raised in San Jose, California, she now resides in her own little bit of heaven in the Sierra Tahoe National Forest Basin, with her husband of 35 years, their three sons and one daughter, and five very precious grandchildren with number six on the way.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads || Newsletter Signup


Pirated Pixie by Shea McMaster – Irene Lundquist has no plans for romance while on the cruise with her jilted best friend and his groomsmen. She’s surprised when Dutch Marshal’s good looks and charm do nothing to help her relax, and everything to steal her heart. For Dutch, things get complicated when the best man in charge of the group plans is a gorgeous pixie-sized redhead woman who lights his fire. Can either of them make it through the singles cruise and remain single, or will they get the happily ever after neither of them was looking for?

Shea McMaster lives for traditional romance. Born in New Orleans, raised in California, Shea got moved to Alaska in 1977, where she attended high school before running back to California to get her English degree from Mills College. Alas, once back home she met and fell in love with her own forever true hero, a born and raised Alaska man. Since then she’s had a love-hate relationship with America’s largest state.

With her one and only son grown and on his own, Shea is fortunate to spend her days playing with the furry child, and engaged in daydreaming, turning those dreams into romantic novels and novellas featuring damsels in distress rescued by their own brains and hunky heroes. She also writes under the steamy romances under the name Morgan O’Reilly.

Website || Facebook || Amazon || Goodreads


Healing Hearts by Michele Shriver – After a bitter divorce and custody battle, Taryn Bradfield’s best friend books her on a singles cruise, where she meets Makai Grant, an airline pilot burnt out on love. Sailing the Caribbean, Taryn and Makai find healing and passion in each other’s arms, but too soon, the ship returns to port. Was it a vacation fling, or the start of something more?

Michele Shriver is a National and International best-selling author of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her books feature flawed-but-likeable characters in real-life settings. She’s not afraid to break the rules, but never stops believing in happily ever after. Michele counts among her favorite things a good glass of wine, a hockey game, and a sweet and sexy book boyfriend, not necessarily in that order.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads || Newsletter Signup


Cinderella at Sea by Ellen Wilder – When girl next door Manda Reilly discovers hero country singer Hunter Cross is onboard her singles cruise, Manda finds herself indulging in the exotic. Hunter’s heroism goes more than skin-deep. Can the man she’s known forever really be her one true love?

Ellen Wilder was born and raised in Indiana. She is happily married to her husband of five years and enjoys raising their two girls and one boy in the house where she grew up. They have a border collie/corgi mix named Loki.

Her parents started reading to Ellen and her siblings at a very young age. They quickly tired of books for younger children and turned to chapter books like Tarzan, The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings forging Ellen’s love for reading.

Ellen started writing in Junior High with an assignment from her computer writing teacher. Her first attempt at a modern day Old Yeller crossover with NYPD Blue was “awful”, but that didn’t stop the inspiration from flowing. Ellen now writes contemporary romance novels with a realistic twist to them. If you’re looking for fairy tales, you won’t find them here as her characters deal with real life issues. She loves helping people with their writing, paying forward the help that she has received allowing her to be where she is today.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads || Newsletter Signup


This blog tour was organized by Karan Eleni & KEPR Tours.

Interview with Ellen Wilder – part of the LOVE ONBOARD! Blog Tour

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I love romance novels, but I found a lot of the ones I ended up reading were too “romanticized” and perfect. I wanted to write about real relationships and real people. My first published book is based on my relationship with my husband. My very bipolar husband. We have our ups and downs, but in the end it is our love that keeps us together and makes everything worth it. I wanted to write a book about love that lasts through the trials of life, so that’s what I did.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I was inspired to first start writing from an assignment my computer literacy teacher gave me in Junior High. She assigned us to write a story based on the book Ol’ Yeller but put it in modern times. I had fun writing that story and adding characters from my favorite TV show at the time NYPD Blue. I started writing a lot from there.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

The element of realism and character flaws. Real people, real situations, real problems. I deal with unplanned pregnancies, mental health issues, health issues, things that happen in real life. Things that people have to work through. I’ve also been told I write male characters very well.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I have two projects going on right now. The first is a series of three books called Love Grows Wild, and I am co-writing it with my friend Amber Root. The series, at the beginning, is about two teenagers who end up in a long distance relationship and it extends to their journey to adulthood. And how their relationship grows and falls throughout the years. It’s been fun to deal with these two characters. And it is also been interesting to put realism into a young adult book, showing what healthy relationships are and what issues comes up between the two of them.

The second is a novella that is going to be the fourth book in my current series, And Then Came Love.

What do your plans for future projects include?

There are so many projects for the future. I have three more books and two more novellas in my And Then Came Love series. I have more books that I am working on with my co-writer Amber Root. We also have another anthology planned out with my publisher.

Fun Stuff

How many donuts are you capable of eating in one sitting?

More than I like to admit. Probably three of four.

Say there’s like a whole box of your favorite snack in a room all by themselves. Say I left them there and told you not to eat any until I got back. How long would it take you to disobey my wishes?

I would wait until you got back.

What is your go-to method for getting rid of hiccups?

Stretching.

Do you have a favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

Samos or Tag-a-longs, can’t decide.

How many times does it take for you to listen to a song that you love before you actually hate it instead?

Most of the time, if I love the song, I can listen to it thousands of times and not get sick of it.

Finally, and this one is important, so please pay attention What do you think cats dream about?

How to drive their humans crazy.

This or That? 

Tea or Coffee? Tea

Marvel or DC Comics? Marvel

Winter or Summer? Summer

Vintage or New? Vintage

Fried or Scrambled? Fried

Roller Coaster or Ferris Wheel? Roller Coaster

Fun Facts about Ellen:

I love to co-write books. I think it is super fun. The best part is writing something that you think you’re going to know the other person’s response too only to have it come out completely different!

abouttheauthor

Ellen Wilder was born and raised in Indiana. She is happily married to her husband of seven years and enjoys raising their two girls and one boy in the house where she grew up. They have a border collie/corgi mix named Loki.

Her parents started reading to Ellen and her siblings at a very young age. They quickly tired of books for younger children and turned to chapter books like Tarzan, The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings forging Ellen’s love for reading. Ellen now writes contemporary romance novels with a realistic twist to them. If you’re looking for fairy tales, you won’t find them here as her characters deal with real life issues. She loves helping people with their writing, paying forward the help that she has received allowing her to be where she is today.

Connect with Ellen online:

Website: http://andthencamelove.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ellenwilder82/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authellenwilder

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Ellen-Wilder/e/B01GT4IOOO

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15307413.Ellen_Wilder

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bolcE1

Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/281388505565305/

LOVE ONBOARD! CUPID’S CARIBBEAN CRUISE has set sail! Join the cruise guests and watch Cupid hit his targets!

Love Onboard: Cupid’s Caribbean Cruise. . . . Waves of New Contemporary Romance stories are coming from some of your favorite romance authors, all set aboard a Valentine’s singles cruise.

Order on Amazon || Add to your TBR Shelf on Goodreads || Watch the trailer on YouTube

>>>>>>>Enter the Giveaway<<<<<<<<

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Too Fast for Love by Lilly Christine – Race Car Driver Luke Devlin’s anger issues bring him to a screeching stop, but Love Expert Lacey Lipinski has the keys to help him recalibrate. Can a cruise ship fling survive life in the fast lane?

When not hunched over her laptop dreaming up strong female leads in sassy dialogue with dashing male counterparts, Lilly Christine can be found hiking and down-dogging with her two dogs and one cat. In addition to reading, she enjoys several outdoor activities including riding horses, gardening, and biking.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads


Just One Look by Deb Julienne – On a secret mission for her father, Diana Clay aka ‘Diana Tolliver’ finds herself alone on a singles cruise. She befriends a passenger and they play a game…date for a cruise. Each must pick out the others date for the duration of the cruise. Between her research on the ship and her new “boyfriend” she has her hands full.

USA Today and Amazon Bestselling Author Deb Julienne has penned multiple romantic comedy and western novels and anthologies. While some say truth is stranger than fiction, her experiences run more along the lines of a slapstick comedy. She makes her own Limoncello…enough said.

After the day job, she loves to play in the kitchen concocting award-winning jams, jellies, preserves, and sauces (with alcohol of course). Born and raised in San Jose, California, she now resides in her own little bit of heaven in the Sierra Tahoe National Forest Basin, with her husband of 35 years, their three sons and one daughter, and five very precious grandchildren with number six on the way.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads || Newsletter Signup


Pirated Pixie by Shea McMaster – Irene Lundquist has no plans for romance while on the cruise with her jilted best friend and his groomsmen. She’s surprised when Dutch Marshal’s good looks and charm do nothing to help her relax, and everything to steal her heart. For Dutch, things get complicated when the best man in charge of the group plans is a gorgeous pixie-sized redhead woman who lights his fire. Can either of them make it through the singles cruise and remain single, or will they get the happily ever after neither of them was looking for?

Shea McMaster lives for traditional romance. Born in New Orleans, raised in California, Shea got moved to Alaska in 1977, where she attended high school before running back to California to get her English degree from Mills College. Alas, once back home she met and fell in love with her own forever true hero, a born and raised Alaska man. Since then she’s had a love-hate relationship with America’s largest state.

With her one and only son grown and on his own, Shea is fortunate to spend her days playing with the furry child, and engaged in daydreaming, turning those dreams into romantic novels and novellas featuring damsels in distress rescued by their own brains and hunky heroes. She also writes under the steamy romances under the name Morgan O’Reilly.

Website || Facebook || Amazon || Goodreads


Healing Hearts by Michele Shriver – After a bitter divorce and custody battle, Taryn Bradfield’s best friend books her on a singles cruise, where she meets Makai Grant, an airline pilot burnt out on love. Sailing the Caribbean, Taryn and Makai find healing and passion in each other’s arms, but too soon, the ship returns to port. Was it a vacation fling, or the start of something more?

Michele Shriver is a National and International best-selling author of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her books feature flawed-but-likeable characters in real-life settings. She’s not afraid to break the rules, but never stops believing in happily ever after. Michele counts among her favorite things a good glass of wine, a hockey game, and a sweet and sexy book boyfriend, not necessarily in that order.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads || Newsletter Signup


Cinderella at Sea by Ellen Wilder – When girl next door Manda Reilly discovers hero country singer Hunter Cross is onboard her singles cruise, Manda finds herself indulging in the exotic. Hunter’s heroism goes more than skin-deep. Can the man she’s known forever really be her one true love?

Ellen Wilder was born and raised in Indiana. She is happily married to her husband of five years and enjoys raising their two girls and one boy in the house where she grew up. They have a border collie/corgi mix named Loki.

Her parents started reading to Ellen and her siblings at a very young age. They quickly tired of books for younger children and turned to chapter books like Tarzan, The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings forging Ellen’s love for reading.

Ellen started writing in Junior High with an assignment from her computer writing teacher. Her first attempt at a modern day Old Yeller crossover with NYPD Blue was “awful”, but that didn’t stop the inspiration from flowing. Ellen now writes contemporary romance novels with a realistic twist to them. If you’re looking for fairy tales, you won’t find them here as her characters deal with real life issues. She loves helping people with their writing, paying forward the help that she has received allowing her to be where she is today.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon || Goodreads || Newsletter Signup


This blog tour was organized by Karan Eleni & KEPR Tours.

Character Interview with Sunny Drysdale (EXPLOITS by Clara Grace Walker)

 

Have you ever read a book and found yourself wondering what a given character would say if you had the chance to interview them?  Me too!  Fortunately, being an author, and fiction being what it is, I have found this is entirely possible.  In fact, I frequently interview my major characters before sitting down to write the first draft.  This interview with heroine Sunny Drysdale, however, was conducted after publishing my novel, Exploits.  I thought it might be fun to check in with Sunny, and get her perspective on events after they had played out.

Happy Reading!  Clara

An Interview with Sunny Drysdale:

If you had it to do all over again, would you do anything differently when you found Boyd’s body in your car?

It’s easy to think if you knew all your mistakes in life ahead of time, you could avoid them.  What’s not always immediately clear, however, is how avoiding those mistakes will change, not only the way events play out in your life, but who you become as a person because of them.  Growth is a result of trial and error…of making mistakes and learning from them.  While deciding to try and return Boyd’s body to Darla was clearly the wrong decision, I really grew as a person, becoming more self-confident and courageous in the process.  More importantly, if I hadn’t been en route to Darla’s that fateful morning, I wouldn’t have come across Jeremy, stranded on the side of the road and in need of a lift…and might never have met the love of my life.  So, taking everything into account, I’d have to say no…I wouldn’t change a thing.

When did you first become aware of Darla Arnold’s negative/competitive feelings toward you?  

Shortly after attending her open house in Delray Beach, it became clear she, for whatever reason, really had it in for me.  I think it was only two weeks after that she began posting negative reviews of my books online and tagging me in her social media posts.  From there the animosity really escalated.  I was stunned and hurt when the harassment started, and did my usual crawl into my shell routine.  Now I’d be much more likely to call her out on the behavior…and take more proactive steps to try and stop it.

Have you heard anything from Darla since your rescue from the cave? 

She sent me e-mail a few days after our rescue, complaining about how Jeremy and I were hogging the limelight.  I did mention to Lila Goodwell that she might want to interview Darla also, but that suggestion was not well received.  Apparently, something went on between them that really upset Lila.  I’m not sure what it was, and frankly, I’m glad not to be a part of it.  Anyway, she did say thank you for saving her life, and shortly after that she started dating Armani, at which point I stopped hearing from her.  I think she’s happy now…at least, I hope she is.

Tell me about Lou Narducci. Did you expect to find him funny?  Are you still in touch? 

Oh gosh…I never expected to find him funny…or even human really.  I think my writer’s imagination had built him up to be some terrific monster…like a one-eyed Cyclops or something.  Discovering that was, in fact, funny…and just a human being like anyone else surprised me.  Although as a writer, I should have known better.  After all, that’s always something I’m trying to portray when writing the villains in my books, that they are real people.  As for being in touch with Lou, yes, I write to him in prison, (he’s a little miffed his lawyer wasn’t able to get him off the hook), much to Jeremy’s chagrin.

Going back to the night you first saw Jeremy at Mindy and Earl’s wedding reception…what is the one word that comes first to mind?  

Destiny

How about when you saw him stranded on the side of the road the next morning? What one word would describe that encounter?    

Insanity

When did you first realize you loved Jeremy?

The romantic in me wants to say it was love at first sight…and it was probably close to that, however, I think in reality it was our second date when he drew me out of my shell and got me onto the dance floor.

When did you believe he loved you?

When he saved me from the cave and didn’t arrest me.

What’s next on the horizon for you? Any new books in the works?   

Haha!  Funny you should ask.  I’ve just started a time travel where Lady Elaine travels forward in time to present day.  Guess I wasn’t lying to Jeremy after all! 

Any news in the Jeremy department?

I’ll let you look at the ring on my left hand and answer that question for yourself.  We’re still working on a date.

Aboutthebook

Book Title:  Exploitsfinal-exploits

Category/Genre:   Mainstream Romantic Suspense

What would you do if someone left a dead body in the backseat of your car?

Publicity-shy author Sunny Drysdale is forced to find out. After bumping into celebrity impersonator Boyd Bradford at a wedding reception the night before, and seeing him leave with rival author Darla Arnold, Sunny knows exactly who to blame for his appearance in her car. She’s suffered countless dirty tricks at Darla’s hands, and Sunny is determined this one will be the last. Her plan to return the body to Darla is thwarted, however, when she is flagged down, corpse still in car, by handsome police Chief Jeremy Jennings.

How can you love someone if you can’t trust them?

Jeremy is torn by his attraction to Sunny. If life has taught him anything, it’s that relationships are a trap. Wteaser.jpgorse still, he has two main suspects in Boyd Bradford’s disappearance, and Sunny Drysdale is one of them. With counterfeit bills popping up all over town and Boyd rumored to be a mob hit, Sunny is either in way over her head, or a beautiful, but devious criminal. His head says she’s only using their romance to distract him. His heart is determined not to care. Telling himself his interest in Sunny is only about solving his case; Jeremy loses himself to the passion simmering between them.

Will these two ever be honest with one another, and give in to the desire tempting them both? Or is their romance doomed to a catastrophic end?

buy-now-button-4

abouttheauthor

clara-grace-walker

Bestselling romantic suspense author, Clara Grace Walker, writes about fictional worlds populated with characters living out soap opera style lives.  Expect sex, murder, and more than a little back-stabbing inside the pages of her books. Her debut series, Desire Never Dies, is comprised of three books, Gratification, Gossip and Redemption, all of which have made their mark on Amazon’s bestseller list.  People and circumstances are rarely what they seem in these stories, and getting to the truth can be a dangerous thrill-ride.  So hop on board and hang on by your fingertips as you read your way to Happily Ever After.

Currently, Clara is immersed in the romance, danger and intrigue of her four-book series, Sex and Secrets. The first book in the series,Exploits, was released in July . Learn more on her website.

Listen to The Librarian’s interview with Clara Grace Walker

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Connect online with Clara Grace Walker:

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Interview with Lily Blackwood

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I’d wanted to try my hand at writing a book for as long as I could remember, but I’d only ever written short stories. I discovered the genre of romance late in life. My only experience with romance novels before college had been reading the condensed versions of Victoria Holt books in my grandparents’ Readers Digest library, or the teen romances I could buy at the PX on the Army bases where we lived.

When I was on maternity leave, my mom and I were at a used bookstore and she found a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’ Shanna and bought it for me. Holy cow! After I read that novel, I went back to the same used book store and loaded up. It didn’t take me long to decide romance was what I wanted to write. There’s just something very exciting about that first moment an amazing couple first encounters one another, and the sometimes dangerous and challenging dance that follows before they can find their happily-ever-after. 

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

From my mother, and her side of the family. Everyone in my mother’s family are readers and book collectors. My aunt is a retired university librarian. My best early memories are of my mom reading to me. I had a younger brother as well, and every night at bedtime, he went to his room, and I went to mine, and mom came to our rooms separately to read a book of our own choosing, sing a song, and say a goodnight prayer. It was our special time, where my brother and I weren’t competing for her attention, and being that we were an Army family, with all the irregularities of life that brings, it provided us with comforting structure. Even now, as an adult, I usually read for at least ten minutes before bedtime. As we grew up, my brother and I would write silly round robin type stories back and forth with each other, trying to outdo each other–and there were just always books and full bookshelves and gifts of books and reading for entertainment. 

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Whenever I sit down to write a book, I set out to capture the story of my characters’ “most exciting days”! If they are 100 years old, and looking back on life, what memories are the most grand and epic? What’s the most exciting or dangerous thing that ever happened to them? What’s the biggest decision of their life? The most critical fork in the road? How did they almost lose the love of their life? That’s the story I want told on the pages of my book.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

My favorite place to write is in the car. I’d write in the car all the time if I could. When my house is a little too lively, I have gone and sat in the driveway in my car to write, just to isolate myself and focus.

How many donuts are you capable of eating in one sitting?

I’m a two donut girl. Or one donut, plus one kolache. (I confirmed this yesterday).

How violently do you have to fight the urge to scream when you hear the ice cream truck coming?

I have a very strong reaction to ice cream trucks, indeed!! Ice cream trucks are happy things, in my mind. One of my earliest memories of my dad is of him acting like a total fool, and insisting that I RUN with him to go catch the ice cream truck. I was probably four at the time. We ran across our neighborhood in the Army base, with him picking me up and carrying me most of the way, so that we could have ICE CREAM.

Say there’s like a whole box of your favorite snack in a room all by themselves. Say I left them there and told you not to eat any until I got back. How long would it take you to disobey my wishes?

The first thing that came to mind with this question was PIZZA!! which may not be a snack food, but hey. PIZZA! I’m not sure how long it would take me to disobey your wishes, but PIZZA! I’m thinking I probably misheard your instructions because (PIZZA!) you wouldn’t want it to get cold.

Finally, and this one is important, so please pay attention What do you think cats dream about?

I’m pretty sure my flame point Siamese, Tango, dreams about world domination.

THIS OR THAT???

Tea or Coffee?                      Coffee

Winter or Summer?             Autumn!

TexMex or Italian?               TexMex. Oh, gosh, but lasagna!

Chocolate or Vanilla?          Chocolate.

Vintage or New?                  Vintage

Aboutthebook

From the author of The Beast of Clan Kincaid comes the second installment of the dangerously tempting Highland Warriors series.

Set on the captivating hills of Scotland, THE REBEL OF CLAN KINCAID (St. Martin’s Press; December 6, 2016; $7.99; 978-1-250-08475-0), is a story of revenge, rebellion, and, most importantly, desire…

image001-1

Magnus isn’t who he thought he was. Unbeknownst even to the laird himself, Magnus is in fact Faelan Braewick the second son of the murdered Laird of Kincaid and his wife. Magnus wants nothing more than to unleash his revenge. Yet rather than reveal his identity outright he returns to Alwyn’s treacherous hall in search of answers about what really happened the night his parents were killed—but also to free the mysterious young woman imprisoned in the laird’s tower and claim her for his own.

Tara Iverach is a prisoner. Ordered to marry Bryce, the Laird Alwyn’s brutish eldest son, she’s been confined to the laird’s tower “for her own protection.” She fears the day she will be forced to marry Bryce…but fears even more that the laird has decided to keep her for himself. The only light in her days comes from Magnus and their fleeting glances and clandestine messages. But with her wedding day approaching and a dark secret rising to the surface, can Tara trust her heart to this rebel?

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abouttheauthor

liliy_authorpic-150x1882x

Lily Blackwood lives in Texas, with her husband, their two teenagers, a devoted red golden retriever and two rascally cats. She enjoys flea markets, cooking, eating and not cleaning her house! She recently taught herself to knit and has been making a mess with yarn ever since. She loves all things historical, and finds it thrilling to imagine a time period where each day held very real dangers, and true love stories and happily-ever-afters were precious and rare. Lily loves to hear from readers!

Lily is also the RITA Nominated author of Regency romances, Lily Dalton.

Sign up for Lily’s newsletter and follow her online!

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Interview: Donna Grant on her new SONS OF TEXAS Series

the-hero-blogger-banner-851x315

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

My parents cultivated a love of reading early on. Both read all the time, and I had a vast library of their books to read, and when I found other books, they never hesitated in taking me to the bookstore to load up.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve always written, but didn’t seriously consider doing it as a career until 1999 when I sat down and wrote my first book. Two years later I had four books written, and I knew what I wanted to do.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Every author has a thread throughout all of their books. For me, it doesn’t matter if I’m writing historical or contemporary, paranormal or military, it’s always good vs evil.

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

Not using the paranormal element I’ve been using since I began writing.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Not using the paranormal element I always use.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

A writer picks up things throughout their life. Every book I’ve ever read influences me in ways I can’t begin to understand. It’s why its so important for writers to read.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I write full time. It’s my only job – besides being a mom. There are so many aspects of being an author nowadays with social media, publicity, marketing, conferences, along with the writing, that I normally work 14-16 hour days. I used to leave my weekends free, but even now, I’ll take an hour in the mornings and get 10 pages written on the weekend. With writing five different series, I have to or I get behind.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

Dance teacher, waitress, and bookkeeper

What do you like to read in your free time?

I tend to stick to the romance genre or the thriller genre

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m writing the 12th book in my Dragon King series and getting ready to do edits on the 11th book. I’ll have the book and edits done, along with a novella in my LaRue series by the end of the year. Then I start the next Reaper book.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I’m releasing a Dragon King coloring book just in time for Christmas. I’m very excited about it. It’s something my readers have been asking for, and I’m glad I get to deliver it to them. I got the rights back to my first ever series that I sold – Druids Glen. Those books are getting fresh covers and will re-release in January in print and ebook. I’m also returning to my roots and doing a historical paranormal series that will debut in 2017. All while continuing my Dragon Kings, Reapers, and the Sons of Texas while wrapping up the Chiasson and LaRue series.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

Names are everything. Sometimes I’ll have a name before I flesh out a character. Other times, I’ll choose a name, but it won’t fit the character and I have to search for one that does. I like unique names. I also can’t use a name if it’s someone I know well in real life. At least I won’t use them as main characters.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I won’t write horror. I hate those movies, and I can’t read the books.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Teleportation so I wouldn’t have to get motion sickness, and I could travel as much as I wanted.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

I’ve got a huge list of places I want to visit. Paris, Rome, Venice, hell – all of Italy really, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Greece, Norway, Prague, and the list goes on and on

Aboutthebook

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“The Hero (Sons of Texas, Bk #1)” by Donna Grant

 

 

THE HERO’S HOMECOMING

Owen Loughman is a highly-decorated Navy SEAL who has a thirst for action. But there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to forget – his high school sweetheart, Natalie. After over a decade away, Owen is returned home to the ranch in Texas for a dangerous new mission that puts him face-to-face with Natalie and an outside menace that threatens everything he holds dear. He’ll risk it all to keep Natalie safe – and win her heart. . . .

Natalie Dixon has had a lifetime of heartache since Owen was deployed. Fourteen years and one bad marriage later, she finds herself mixed up with the Loughman’s again. With her life on the line against an enemy she can’t fight alone, it’s Owen’s strong shoulders, smoldering eyes, and sensuous smile that she turns to. When danger closes in, she holds close to the only man she’s ever loved…

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The Sons of Texas Series Links
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Join the fun and chat with Donna Thursday, December 1st at 8pm ET

 

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. Her latest acclaimed series, Dark Kings, features a thrilling combination of dragons, Fae, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children and an assortment of animals in Texas.

Author Links:

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Guest Post by Kendra C. Highley, Young Adult Author

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Writing for a YA Audience

Many people ask YA author’s what it’s like to write for a YA audience, and what the challenges are. Personally, I love to write Young Adult, finding it a fertile ground to explore things like love, friendship, struggles, and triumphs. Teenagers face things for the first time, and that adds a richness to each situation that isn’t there in Adult fiction. It gives an author a license to explore things on a whole different emotional level.

Think about being a teen—I know for some of us it’s painful—and how BIG everything seemed. When you look back from an adult lens, it’s easy to say “melodrama” and “angst” because you’ve faced those issues many times as you grew and aged, but back then you hadn’t. Are teens “melodramatic?” They can be, but it’s not an unreasonable reaction when you understand where they are in life. Most of the teens I know are actually far more levelheaded than we give them credit for. And more mature, too. But when you’re dealing with your first breakup, and your heart is broken, it’s a little difficult to be rational.

But, to me, the biggest challenge is staying real. Is my vocabulary too adult? Now, I’ll argue with anyone who says “a teen wouldn’t say esoteric”—have you looked at the SAT vocab list lately? I literally heard a band kid use that on the bus when I chaperoned a few weeks ago. But, it’s not the vocabulary, per se. It’s the voice. Do they sound teen; do they sound less aware of themselves and issues? Do they tackle things with less information than an adult would? Do they make decisions that makes my mom-self shake my head? If the answer’s yes, then you’re closing in on authentic.

My other challenge is “adult” situations. Here’s the thing…as much as we parents don’t want to believe it, our teens (even as young as thirteen) hear—and say—curse words every day. They hear about sex…and many of them are having sex. They drink, too. I don’t love to hear about underage drinking one bit, but they do. So, when a YA uses foul language, explores sexuality, and shows drinking, here’s what we’re actually doing: we’re creating a risk-free space for your teen to experience things, and hopefully showing them what responsible relationships look like. Oh, and demonstrate that bad decisions can have consequences. That’s not to say we preach to teens, but we want them to see a character acting in a way that might keep a reader safe down the road. To parents who take issue with these themes in books…sheltering your kids from literature doesn’t mean you’re sheltering them from the thing itself. In fact, you might be taking away the one place they can learn how things should go.

All in all, I find YA to be one of the most exciting areas of literature today. The rules are very broad and creativity soars. Teens can suspend disbelief for anything as long as the emotions strike a chord with them. I think that may be why so many adults read them too.

 

Aboutthebook

The Bad Boy Bargain by Kendra C. Highley

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Entangled Teen – Crush

Publication Date: November 14, 2016

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Baseball player Kyle Sawyer has many labels: bad boy, delinquent, ladies’ man, fearless outfielder… Only one of them is actually true. But then sweet ballet dancer Faith Gladwell asks him to help wreck her reputation, and everything goes sideways.

Faith knows a thing or two about love, and what she had with her cheating jerk of an ex wasn’t it. When he starts spreading rumors about her being an Ice Queen, Faith decides it’s time to let a little bad into her life.

Lucky for her, Kyle Sawyer—dark, dangerous, totally swoonworthy Kyle Sawyer—is landscaping her backyard over Spring Break. Shirtless. And if she can convince him to play along, “dating” Kyle will silence the rumors.

But Faith’s plan threatens to expose Sawyer’s biggest secret of all…and that’s a risk he’s not willing to take.

Disclaimer: This book contains drop-the-book-and-fan-yourself kisses…and touches. Fall in love with a bad boy at your own risk.

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Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to four self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes in everyday magic, extraordinary love stories, and the restorative powers of dark chocolate.

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Interview with Romance Author Lilly Christine

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  

I wanted to tell stories that everyone could relate to: I chose love stories because we all need to believe in a Happily Ever After, whether we find it in our personal relationships, or in another of our life’s passions.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

As a child I read voraciously, and began to intuit dialogue and plot. I loved the magic of getting lost in a story, being transported to the emotional and sensory world the author created. I love words: nuances of expression, the breadth of vocabulary, the cadence of language, turns of expression, how subtle shifts could convey vasty different moods and meaning, in both literary description and nuance of dialogue. I’ve become pretty confident in my storytelling skills; I don’t have the command of language that true literary figures possess, but it’s something to aspire to!

How long have you been writing?

I started writing seriously in 2010; I’d been part of a writing group that got together once a month and worked from Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing the Bones” since about 2000. One of Natalie’s prompts is “mashed potatoes”. As I free associated garlic and roast-tipped,  the butter-and-love, hand-whipped version my grandmother served came back to me. That’s the magic of words; transporting a reader viscerally to a place defined by specific sensation. I loved to craft witty reflective essays on personal interactions that made everyone’s sides split, and incorporate comedic elements in my novels. The “funniest” of my books are “Designs on Daphne” and my new release “New Year, Baby!”, but the character of Aunt Olivia offers comic relief in my debut novel, “Crashing Into Tess”. Tess was released in September 2013; I’ve written two more novels since, and eight novellas to date, with six more planned releases by June 2018.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

All of my work is personal in some way. “My Kinda Bull” pits Greenpeace activist Christina Rodriguez against petroleum engineer and geophysicist Heath McGreer. The passions that climate change precipitates served as an underlying external conflict between Chrissie and Heath, also an internal conflict for Heath. Heath understands in a nuanced way what the impacts are; he has guilt about his role in fossil fuel exploration, which Chrissie doesn’t at all expect in a guy who’s made a fortune in that field.

I once dated a geologist working in acid rain mitigation, introducing him to another geologist friend involved in petroleum exploration at a bar. I thought they would have geology in common, but they were on opposing sides, philosophically. Both had dedicated their life’s work to geology; the tension was palpable. Ironically, the first conflict in “My Kinda Bull” occurs outside a bar. Climate change would seem to be about very broad global policy, but I loved the very real way issues around climate change were interpersonal in Heath and Christina’s story, at first deeply divisive, then powerfully unifying.

“New Year, Baby!” was fun for different reasons; it’s another frenemies to lovers trope, but the underlying conflict is Mollie’s inability to trust. Set in Philadelphia, Derk, aka “Jerk Derek” remembers Mollie as a guileless, innocent University of Pennsylvania freshman, the girl he kissed on Boat House Row. That’s the girl Mollie still really wants to be, but life has been rough, shoving her in a completely different direction. With an overbearing mother, an overbearing ex-husband, and overbearing male work colleagues, Mollie’s on the verge of becoming bitter, and Derek has somehow become her target. Her feelings for him initially confuse her; she’s resentful of their shared past, bogged down by her own personal baggage: her parent’s untimely divorce, her father’s selfishness, her own divorce, precipitated by her ex’s selfishness, and the bitter custody feuds she finds herself in the midst of daily as a divorce attorney. She’s also drawn to Derek; admitting to herself that it feels like she hates him, yet she deeply admires his life’s work as a documentary filmmaker, forcing her to face her own personal conflict about her profession, which drives the inner shift she needs to see Derek as a prospective mate. “New Year, Baby!” is the launch of “Philadelphia Love!” a four novella holiday series with “Valentine, Baby!” coming Feb, 2017, “Sing It, Baby!” March 2017, and “Independence, Baby?” June 2017. The characters lives will overlap, as they do in my McGreers Series, because I love giving readers glimpses into past characters continuing lives. I love extending the character trajectory for each novel, into the overall series.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book?  If so, discuss them.

The romance genre gives me a tiny soapbox, allowing me to incorporate real racial and socioeconomic tensions, as well as contemporary issues, into happily ever afters.  It makes writing books, and the books themselves, more interesting, I think. The McGreer boys are all white alpha males; well endowed, well financed, noble, and easy to love. The hero of Loving Lulu (McGreers #5), Julio Rodriguez, faces very different challenges.Julio is the child of migrant laborers: his dad was deported when he was only six, his mom had already become a US citizen. He married young, quitting a promising career in professional baseball. Now, with two young children at home, his wife Luanne has become frustrated by her limited options, and wants to stretch her wings. The real financial pressures of being a ranch worker, instead of a ranch owner, are taking his toll on his marriage, compelling the reader to root for him even harder.

His sister Christina, the heroine of “My Kinda Bull”, channels her grief over her deported father, who she barely knows, into climate activism, by fighting the establishment. Christina and Julio’s mother, Angelica, is Ty McGreer’s housekeeper. Christina is a very driven achievers, academically and professionally, yet in some ways, she still feels less than. Torn by her mother’s disapproval of the match, she’s intimidated by Heath’s wealthy parents.

I flavor my books with contemporary political and social issues, which might make them a little bit edgier than typical romance genre flair. I launched my own publishing company, Libra Press, specifically because I didn’t want to force my themes into a publisher’s line restrictions.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

I’ve been fortunate in the high quality support and coaching I’ve received, which pushed me to read and study plot, turning points, beats and characterization.Jennifer Crusie’s blog, “Argh, Inc” has great writing analysis and plot structure commentary.  Robert McGee’s ‘Story’, which I listen to while driving, illuminates “beats”. Understanding that each scene needs a turning point to drive the plot has helped me become a much better editor and tighten my craft. As a pantser, I thought of a scene shift as a setting shift. It took me the entire first act to understand character, I toiled through the second act, and the third act was torture. Understanding story mechanics has helped with story conception; I can now define key turning points from the outset, which drives scene formulation, tightens plot, and helps me write better stories faster, without angst, or having to wait for inspiration, or laborious editing and revisions. It also helps drive dialogue, choosing which point to feed back story and conflict to raise tension and reader interest. It’s been a labor of love; each story has taught me a craft and writing lesson as well. It’s the thrill of discovery in characterization, plot evolution, and process, that drives me to keep writing.

Aboutthebook

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Once Upon a Schuylkill, there were magical, moonlit kisses. . . After years of friction, Philadelphia divorce attorney Pit Bull Mollie is out for blood, and Jerk Derek, a talented documentary filmmaker, still doesn’t know what he did wrong. A chance encounter on an overbooked flight leads to a showdown.

Why is Jerk Derek still trying to get it right? His attraction to petite, fiery Mollie must be some wierd kink! And what is it about Derek, anyway? He’s sexy, accomplished, kind…really not at all a jerk, so why can’t Mollie leave it alone? Old sparks kindle an explosive encounter, promising the New Year’s Eve of a lifetime!

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New Year, Baby! Philadelphia Love #1

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Also out now…

McGreers Series #8, My Kinda Bull

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My Kinda Bull

Sassy Cowgirls snag Can’t Miss Cowboys. . Check out all the McGreers!

abouttheauthor

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Lilly Christine’s debut novel, Crashing Into Tess, won TRW’s 2013 “Catherine Award”,  was a 2014 finalist in DRW’s “Best First Book”, and “Best Contemporary” categories, and is the first in the popular McGreers Series. Lilly returns to her birthplace for the setting of “Philadelphia Love!” an exciting new urban rom-com Holiday Novella Series! In 2017, look for “Valentine, Baby!” “Sing It, Baby!” and “Independence, Baby?” 

About Philadelphia Love Series . . 

I first fell in love with Philadephia as a child. Born there, I remember learning to read via Sesame Street, playing in Fairmount Park and our cozy city-block stone house with the deep front porch. We moved to the country before I was five, but I could explore all the city had to offer on visits  to grandparents and aunts. Wanamakers, City Hall, Independence Hall, Betsey Ross House, Ben Franklin Press, the Zoo and the Thanksgiving Parade were childhood delights.  It’s been great fun to set my Philadelphia love series in that city. I hope you are transported. .

Lilly currently resides in Reno, Nevada. When not writing, she can be found walking her Daschahuahua rescue puppy on the Truckee River

Follow Lilly Christine online:

Newsletter: Lilly News

Email: LillyChristine13@gmail.com

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