Sunday, November 24, 2013

Author Interview for Romance Junkies

Earlier today I had an interview over at Romance Junkies!  Check it out: 

I am so glad you could join us here at RomanceJunkies. To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current projects? Right now I am working on the first book of my newest series Village Vixens: Diary of Zelda Mae Pearl. I hope to have that out before the end of the year!  I currently have two series out so this will be three I’m working on simultaneously.  For my California Dreamin’ Series I have released Finding Home and Playing with Fire.  For my Small Town Series I have out Taking Chances and I am working on the second book, Down for the Count.

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?
It took me a long time to admit it…nearly two decades!  I loved to write, but always thought it wasn’t good enough.  Finally I made myself finish a whole book and not just a chapter.  Then I read it and realized I AM a writer.  That book was Finding Home (pretty fitting name now that I think of it!)!

Every writer dreams of getting "the call". What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first? 
I never got the call.  All it took was one rejection letter for me.  A friend asked why I put myself through all that process when I could self-publish.  After a few months of researching I went for it and haven’t looked back since.  I most definitely will never forget hitting that ‘SEND’ button to make my first book available for sale.  I knew in that moment my life would change course, I just never guessed how much!  It was 2:30 in the morning and I was too excited to sleep that night so work was extra long that day!

Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day? 
Deirdre Martin -another great romance writer- her advice was so simple – just keep writing!!

Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you?
The perfect hero both in my books and for me (whenever we eventually meet) is someone who knows how to handle a strong, independent woman, who respects her and knows how to make her feel like a woman.  My heroes all seem to have a touch of sarcasm and mouthwatering chests…which really are good things in real life too. ;)

What are some of your favorite pastimes?
I am a big baseball fan; more of the minor league games then watching on TV…just something about being third base side with the smell of the grass and the crack of the bat ringing over the field…love it!  I love camping, fishing with my son, having pedicure days with my nieces, and spending time with friends at the local pub (great people watching and I get so many ideas!!). 

Do you have any hobbies or collections?  I used to collect oil lamps, Native American figures, and dolphin stuff … but four major moves in less than ten years and I was tired of packing/unpacking so I majorly downsized to my few favorite pieces.

What has been your biggest adventure to date?
LIFE!!!  There are too many things to mention – 2 divorces, multiple moves/job changes/life events.  I think the best adventure so far has been my son, Jake.  I adopted him when he was 22 months old. He will be 14 in February and any mom of a teenage boy can tell you that is its own kind of adventure!

If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?
The Smoky Mountains….a cabin just outside Gatlinburg that is close enough to get the necessities, but far enough to not have all the people.  I love it there, to sit on the porch and watch the morning fog hug the mountains, to relax in the hot tub at night and listen to the sounds of the woods.  And don’t get me started on cozying up in front of the fireplace!  Oh and let’s not forget those handsome Southern men and their accents – need I say more!

When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes?
I’m not opposed to trying new things now and then, just not a fan of seafood.  When all else fails most places (even Red Lobster) have great Chicken Cesar Salads!  When I do cook, I love recipes from my grandmothers like homemade dumplings, cornbread, beef and noodles (also homemade).

What is your favorite season? What do you love about it? I love Fall.  I love Halloween, the changing colors, the smell of burning leaves, the warmth of a hot chocolate on a fall night at a football game.  I also love it because it means wrestling season is just around the corner and I love watching my son wrestle for his middle school team!

What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without? My laptop!  Between my writing, Facebook, YouTube, Hulu, bill paying, banking, and checking my son’s grades – I would be so lost without my laptop!

What is this romance writer's idea of the "ideal romantic evening"? My idea may be different than most would think for a romance writer.  I’ve been single since February and haven’t done a whole lot of dating for a while so I’m rusty. For me, my ideal romantic evening would be going to a sporting event (baseball, preferably, or hockey, MMA, etc.), then dinner afterward.  I am a ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of girl so me in my blue jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers is what he’s gonna get! I like things low-key and fun.  Now once dinner is done maybe a drink at the local pub to listen to the DJ or bad karaoke, or maybe going back home for a movie or some other cuddle time. 

How do you describe yourself? How would your family and friends describe you?
I am a small town girl through and through.  I hated being from a small town as a kid, but after my first divorce it was the place I came to recover.  My town now is about 3,000 people, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s 3 times the size as the town I am originally from!  I am funny, sarcastic, at times dramatic (helps being a writer), I love to laugh and be silly.  I would give anyone the shirt off my back, love helping others, hate to cook most of the time, take too many bubble baths, date all the wrong men, have very few close friends – but they mean the world to me.  As far as my friends and family, I think they will say the same.  I also think they will tell you I am too humble, I never give myself enough credit, and I am a strong woman who goes after what she wants and doesn’t let a bump in the road stop me.

And lastly, no interview of a writer would be complete without this question: what is your favorite comfort food?
I am SO addicted to Pepperridge Farm mutli-grain chips and hummus right now!  I can’t get enough!  When nothing but ice cream will do I reach for Ben & Jerry’s Heath Coffee Bar.  Now I’m hungry!


Top Ten Reasons I Love Writing Contemporary Romance - Guest Blog for Book Lovin' Mamas

Earlier today I did a guest blog over at Book Lovin' Mamas....check it out: 

10 - I have an overactive imagination and since I am single I need some outlet for all these great ideas.

9 - It’s passive revenge for all the terrible dates I’ve had…every book needs a creeper, crazy ex, unstable neighbor, etc.

8 – I come from a long line of characters that deserve their funny stories to be exploited. 

7 – The couples are regular people so it’s not as hard as having to study vampires, werewolves, or shapeshifters.  Let alone having to read up on the different eras like Medieval, Victorian, Western, etc. 

6 – It inspires me to continue to believe in true love and I hope it keeps other lonely women out there believing as well.

5 – Writing about strong, feisty women helps me stay strong and feisty myself.

4 – It’s my no-cost way of reading a good story…. Sure I could buy a book or go to the library (where they already know me by name and my reading history), but why not write it myself for FREE! 

3 – It’s going to be my ticket to working from home in my jammies … someday …years from now.

2 - It gives me an excuse if I’m staring at some hottie too long in the bar… “Oh, I’m sorry.  I’m a romance writer and I was just studying you.  You seem like the perfect leading man.”  (Amazingly it really works too)!!

1 – Because in the end I always get my man.  Yeah, so it’s only in fiction for now – details, details!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Writing a "Leading Man" without having a "Leading Man" - Guest Blog for Mythical Books

Earlier today my guest blog spot is over at:Mythical Books

Do you want to know what the kryptonite is for this romance writer; that one thing that defeats me from my goal of writing?  I’ll tell you.  It all comes down to a man, not just any man, but the leading man.

I thought the worst thing for a writer to go through when she was in the middle of writing a romance was her own divorce.  It turns out I was kinda wrong.  I mean that was terrible and all, but I’m finding that dating and writing are a horrible mix! 

Why?  – you ask.  I have a question for you in reply – have you ever online dated?  Don’t … just don’t.  Unless you want a good laugh or a good cry; in either case I highly recommend a bottle of wine at the ready. 

In the stories I write, contemporary romances where he’s the ‘average joe’ or the ‘executive casanova’, my men are charming, sexy, funny, and know how to make even the most fortified woman bring her walls crumbling down.  Not so much the case in real life.  For some reason, men in my age range (mid-30-ish) seem to all be going through a mid-life crisis where they think selfies and flexing while making a duck lip face will win the heart of the right woman.

Maybe I’m old fashion, maybe I shouldn’t have read all those old Harlequins of my mother’s…you know, from the 1970s -1990s when the men had nice hairy chests and weren’t afraid to take charge.  They were the kind of men who opened doors, paid the check, and didn’t ask to get you naked before dessert arrived.  I think men today hear us women are reading “those” books and think they can’t compete.  Or they are too busy shaving their chests and practicing their next photo op!

Now imagine telling a potential date that not only do you read “those” books, but you write them too!  If I hear ‘I’ll help you research’ one more time I will throttle whomever says it.  Contrary to popular (and inaccurate) male belief - I keep my real leading man all to myself.  I never write him as a character and if I ever use any part of him it will be a small gesture he’s done or a funny scene….not what goes on behind closed doors….or against the wall….or on the counter…man, I hate being single!

So I can do the only thing possible right now and that is to focus on the type of men I think my readers are looking to find.  Speaking for myself and my friends I’ve discussed this with – we want a strong man who knows who he is, who isn’t afraid of a strong woman, respects her and treats her like a lady, and knows how to make her toes curl long into the night.  If he’s 6’3, built like a brickhouse, and drives a truck I’m sold!  I mean, for writing purposes.  I’m focusing on more of the writing the leading man instead of looking for him in real life. I have no doubt the right man will come along when I least expect him too.

Oh, one last thing … if ever you read one of my books and think ‘no way is this jerk for real’ I can tell you he is, because even though my leading man will never be in my books, all those who didn’t pass muster are fair game.  I’m like the Taylor Swift of romance writing, but with more detailed imagery and less of a good-girl image. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Author Interview for Why I Can't Stop Reading

Earlier today I did an author interview over at Why I Can't Stop Reading!  check it out: 

1.            How would you describe The Small Town Series to someone who has not read any of your previous work? The Small Town Series is contemporary romance and set in the town I live in – Blissfield, Michigan. It really is like any other small town and I think my characters come across as the same people you’d find at any backyard barbeque or bonfire across the country. 

2.            Which part of researching Taking Chances was the most personally interesting to you? Were there any facts or themes that you would have liked to include, but they just didn't make into the story? Taking Chances was the most personal, and will be the most personal, of all the books I write.  I used a past relationship as the basis for it.  The only difference between fact and fiction is that in real life, he picked the other woman.  It was nice to walk down memory lane, I had a lot of fun in that relationship, but an out-of-state job opportunity and distance made us much better friends…which is saying a lot!

3.            What are you reading right now? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences? Sometimes I get romance overload and need to read something different, I love self-help books and right now I’m reading Woman Food God by Geenen Roth.  As far as influences, I love Rachel Gibson and Deirdre Martin.  As a new writer I reached out and Deirdre was wonderful with her advice and support.  I hope to be that kind of influence some day!

4.            What was the book that most influenced your life — and why? Heaven by V.C. Andrews!!  I just love the story about a girl who’s seen the worst poverty in a shack in the mountains and finds her way to wealth…the whole series is amazing, but at the time I read it (I think I was around 15 years old), it made me believe that if this ‘person’ could overcome that, then I could deal with the struggles I faced back then. 

5.            If you had a book club, what would it be reading — and why? Probably Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed & Totally Sober) by Harlan Cohen.  I’m halfway through reading it and I think it would be fascinating to see what other women (and men) would say about it. 

6.            How personal is your writing? My first novel, Finding Home – California Dreamin’ –Book #1, was very much me as the character.  It wasn’t until after I read it again once it released that I realized how much of why I am the way I am was in there…almost too much of me.  Taking Chances was personal because it was a based on a relationship.  By time I wrote Playing with Fire – California Dreamin’ and my newest work in progress (Village Vixens: Diary of Zelda Mae Pearl) the characters really aren’t based on me.  Some of the supporting characters may be remnants of people who’ve been in and out of my life. I tell everyone be careful how they treat me as I can put them in a book and not always in a nice way…lol.

7.            Who designed the covers? Since I’m self-published I design all my covers.  I have tried to keep them in the same style, but as time goes on I know future covers will be different.  I have a cousin who is an amazing graphic artist and we have talked about collaborating.

8.            What did you want to be when you were growing up? From middle school on I was so sure I was going to be a marine biologist.  In reality I have an Associate Degree in Travel Management.  At the time, I was told I would always have a job in the travel industry…that was before the internet.  It was a major killer for a travel agent and her commissions!!

9.            Do you ever write naked? ;) No, but that’s a thought!!  Actually, my writing room faces my back yard, which normally isn’t a problem, but the police department is on the other side of that yard and I’m pretty sure those officers can see anything from there!  Then again, that could add some excitement to their small town routine!  Lol

10.         Who would play you, in a film of your life? I would love to say Sandra Bullock – love her!  But I’ve been told I sound like Judy Tenuta…minus the accordion. 

Some quick word association:

1.    Food – pita and hummus (addicted to it right now)
2.    Animals - dolphin
3.    Moon – full
4.    Flowers – Roses of Sharon
5.    Red - Blood
6.    Cell Phones – another body part
7.    Ocean - snorkeling
8.    Books – my world
9.    Diamonds – baseball (favorite sport!)
10. Time – Hammer (lol…couldn’t resist)

Thank’s for taking the time to answer my questions

Here is what you missed!