Thursday, August 14, 2014

Meet My Character Blog Tour


Jennifer Griffin Bryce, author of the soon-to-be-released HALEY’S SONG, a YA historical western romance, tagged me in the “Meet My Character Blog Tour.” Jen’s a young mother of active boys, took adult jiujitsu classes, twice a week, this summer before going back to nursing school this month, and she still finds time to write! She’s my inspiration with her seemingly endless energy. Below are the six questions that are being passed from one author to the next, and it’s my turn to answer them. What fun!

Where does your story take place?

RELATIVE EVIL is a romantic suspense set in the west; from Phoenix, Arizona, and Salt Lake City, Utah, to southern New Mexico and on up to Santa Fe.

What is the name of your character? Is he/she historical or fictional?

Claire Abney is a purely fictional character, but she looks just like my daughter-in-law. When you’re a writer, you get to model characters after whomever you want, good or bad, and I have beautiful DILs and sons to draw from. 

What should we know about her?

Claire, twenty-five and single, is a struggling author whose two published romance novels sold barely enough to keep her in new boot money, it certainly didn’t give her that “fame and fortune” she thought would come with being a writer.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

Claire doesn’t necessarily believe that her new stepmother deliberately causes her dad to have accidents bad enough he breaks his bones. Well, maybe she does after she sees the way Adelaide marinates in the praise she gets from being the perfect caregiver. Claire turns to her writing as a coping mechanism. She loosely bases the evil villain in her new suspense on her stepmother, giving her an obscure mental illness, Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy. Not wanting her family to find out that she wrote about their lives, Claire uses a man’s pseudonym, and her publisher furnishes her the man—for book signings. How do you spell “love interest?” 

What is the personal goal of the character?

After Claire’s dad has a heart attack and dies, she suspects Adelaide committed murder, but trying to find the evidence may be impossible. Being the obstinate, sometimes oddly dressed woman, Claire vows to either prove her stepmother is truly sick, or a cold-blooded murderer before another member of her family is targeted.

When can we expect the book to be published?
RELATIVE EVIL was released July 25th and can be purchased through Amazon HERE, and from Smashwords HERE, and for your Barnes & Noble Nook from HERE 

I tag Julie Coulter Bellon, the author of RING AROUND THE ROSIE, Hostage Negotiation Series #4, a romantic suspense novel, over at the LDSWriterMom blog. I highly recommend all of the Hostage Negotiation Series. Do it! 

I also tagged Marsha Ward, the author of GONE FOR A SOLDIER, a soon-to-be-released historical romance set during the civil war. Go to her blog Writer in the Pines.   



Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Single Moment in Time


In writing contemporary romantic suspense, like any genre, it's hard enough to sit down and write that first paragraph of a new story. But most of us don’t necessarily have a clear plan plotted out all the way to “the end.” At least I usually don't. Why not?

Because I am a “pantser,” or, I tell a story by the seat of my pants, without knowing from one scene to the next what is going to happen. When I first heard that term, I resented being called it, mostly because I have a hard time defending myself against anybody criticizing me. It’s not in my nature to confront anybody. But after I had a chance to think about it, I figured out that I am not a true pantser. No, I am a cross between a plotter and a pantser. I mean, I can clearly “see” exactly how I want certain pivotal scenes to “look like” and all I need is the time to find the right words to describe those scenes, including the ending. I always know how I want the story to end, even before I know how it begins.   

I’ve been an artist since I was six or seven years old, and I’ve always been able to “see” the piece of work before I start it—I mean actually see it! It’s called visualization. Every pencil stoke, every swipe of colored pastel brings me closer to that finished product. I don’t do anything to that painting that isn’t advancing my project. Why would I? It would be a complete waste of precious time and energy--and it might ruin the project.  

A painting is a single moment caught in time. I think that's why I like writing so much. It takes that moment and makes it move, creating a scene that leads to a whole story. Visualizing each scene as if it were real life is important, but what is more important is having that scene mean something. It needs to work. 

Everything you write needs to push your story forward! 

Would you have your main character stop and smell a pretty rose if it had absolutely nothing to do with the story or her character other than you wanted to have a chance to describe a rose? I don't think so. It would be a waste of your time in writing it, and a waste of time for your reader to read it. But--if she needed to be there so a handsome hero could push her out of the way of a truck with darkened windows intentionally trying to run her down, then you've just driven home that fact that your character is in mortal danger--and advanced your narrative forward. 

Ah, but in the next scene your character clobbers the handsome hero with a solid upper cut to his jaw with a closed fist and tells him she doesn't need or want his help, you've just given us insight to her unappreciative, or even independent nature. This is also moving the narrative forward. As readers, we need to know more than just the action around the characters. We want to know what makes that characters tick, their motives, the desires, their idiosyncrasies. If they are stiff and uninteresting, then we won't care if that truck runs over them, and we most likely won't turn the next page, either. 

Make every word count. Make every scene work optimally.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Janice Sperry's REBEL PRINCESS blog tour


Life can be so stressful for a teenaged fairytale princess living in the real word. Raven Perilous, who is “more evil witch than princess,” has her scowl down to a science.
Thirteen-year-old Raven, prone to losing shoes, Cinderella-like, whose kind words produce sparkling jewels from her lips, but since being nice isn’t on her list of things-to-do, frogs and slugs slide out instead. Ew! The day her nemesis arrives, in the form of the cutest-boy-who-ever-lived, named Eric Charming, strange things happen. Uh, stranger things happen, like her almost-BFF begins to sparkle.  
 
Janice Sperry creatively weaves an entertaining story of what life might be like if a princess grows up in the “real world,” using elements from children’s fairytales we all know and love. I read this adorable story in one sitting, riding the adventure along with Raven and Charming, as well as Edgar, Raven’s sorcerer, flame-throwing twin brother. 

This is a middle-grade fantasy, published by Cedar Fort. I received an advanced readers e-copy in exchange for this review, but that didn't taint my view of Janice's story. I loved it. My guess is, you will too. 

Rebel Princess
(This damsel is NOT in distress!)

"I was born to be evil.
Nice is NOT in my blood.
Besides, nice girls get locked in towers."

Raven Perilous is like any other middle school girl--if middle school girls are usually evil princesses. The daughter of a gentle princess and evil sorcerer, Raven spends most of her time being as wicked as possible to avoid being stuck in a tower.  So when Prince Charming shows up at her school.  Raven knows she has met her nemesis.

In The Rebel Princess, loyalty, heroism, and a pinch of enchantment are perfect for conjuring up an adventure that you'll never forget.

                              
Janice Sperry lives in Utah with her husband and three children and assorted kitties.  She enjoys volunteering at the local elementary school and is exceptionally good at finding missing shoes, unless they are her own. You can follow her blog at www.comeoutwhenyourehappy.blogspot.com.

Buy your copy from Amazon here (The Kindle version is only $5.99)

Buy your copy from Barnes and Noble HERE
Click HERE for a link to her Goodreads author's page. 
Click HERE to go to her author's Facebook page.
Click HERE to go to her Twitter page


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cover reveal: Laura Johnston's REWIND TO YOU


I am very happy to be a part of Laura Johnston's cover reveal for her debut YA novel REWIND TO YOU. 

BOOK BLURB:
One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…





Laura Johnston lives in sunny Arizona with her husband and two children. Growing up in Orem, Utah with five siblings, a few horses, peach trees, beehives and gardens, she developed an active imagination and always loved a good story. Laura enjoys running, playing tennis, sewing, dancing (deduced to dancing around the kitchen while cooking dinner these days), traveling, writing, writing and more writing, and above all, spending time with her husband and kids. REWIND TO YOU, her debut novel, was inspired by the loss of her father as a teenager.

AUTHOR LINKS:

BOOK LINKS:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Publishing, Book Contracts, and Patience.

Nothing in life is ever easy, I can attest to that without hesitation. Ask most woman who have given birth: is it worth it? Besides those few who are probably currently sleep deprived, the answer will be a resounding "Yes!" There are those who spend years in higher learning institutions earning degrees for a specialized career. Is it easy? I wouldn't be the one to tell them that it is and still be within arm's length.


I don't know how many of you know this, but I signed two book contracts with a publisher nearly two years ago. Through some very high ups, and too many extremely depressing lows, I terminated those contracts last year. I crashed smack-dab in the middle of Disappointment Valley knowing that my writing career would be set back by at least two more years. 



I didn't stop writing. In fact, I wrote two more books, honed my skills, took in conferences, and talked to friends who understood the writer in me. I've entered short story competitions, and had them accepted. My name appears in three anthologies, and this winter another one of my short stories will come out in Michael Young's Advent Anthology. So far, I'm a just a little fish daring to swim in a larger bowl. 


It's nearing my predicted loss of time--two years, and today I enthusiastically signed my contract with Hamilton Springs Press/Xchyler Publisher for my full-length Romantic/Suspense novel, RELATIVE EVIL (I sure hope they keep the title!) scheduled to come out this summer. This time, I won't be swimming in dark waters.

And how do I know this, you ask? I did my research on HSP/Xchyler Publishing, and although they're a fairly new company, (Ironically enough, two-years-old) they have a strong staff. Before I signed, I met with Senior Editor McKenna Gardner in person for an hour-long face-to-face conference. Her protectively caring attitude went a long way in my decision. Also, Heidi Birch, the managing partner who sent me the contract, patiently explained clauses I didn't understand clearly. These are just two hallmarks of why I'm besotted with HSP/Xchyler Publishing.  

I'm excited for whatever comes next! 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Julie Coulter Bellon's Cover Release!

Isn't it dramatic? It's beautiful, yet mysterious. Ring Around the Rosie is the forth book in Julie's Hostage Negotiation Series. I've loved her other three books, and I can't wait to read this one. I'll let you know when you can find it--just as soon as I know. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Bonnie Gwyn's ESCAPING SAFETY



I'm participating in Bonnie Gwyn's blog tour of her new book ESCAPING SAFETY, which goes from February 23rd right on through March 1st. I was lucky enough to get an author's interview! That's Bonnie. *points to the left* Isn't she adorable? Now on to my questions! Let's get to know Bonnie a little more. 

Deb: What makes you passionate about writing?

Bonnie: I believe that everyone has a story – fictional or real – and (as is my mantra) that every story deserves to be told. We’re all here in this life for a reason, and sharing our experiences is one of the main ways we can help others. The same goes for sharing the experiences and stories of beloved characters. My characters are like my family – and my family knows that, too. :) I love them. I love writing. That makes writing much easier – and truly a fantastic journey!

Deb: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

Bonnie: I’ve realized that, truly, stories can have happy endings. :) When they don’t in real life, they still can in writing, and creating new endings can be rather healing. I think a lot of writers live by that. :) I’ve also finally found a place in the world where I can belong and still be my crazy self. Authors aren’t expected to be normal. It’s fantastic!

Deb: Haha! I have a canvas messenger bag that has a graphic on front that reads "It's okay. Writers should be strange." Where do your ideas come from?  How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?

Bonnie: They come from dreams/nightmares, random things that catch my attention, people I meet, really anything and everything! They say that writers should always have a net out to catch inspiration. It really is that simple. :) I know it’s good enough when I’d want to read a book about it.

Deb: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?

Bonnie: I tell my writer’s block the same thing I’ve always told boredom: It doesn’t exist. It’s only a phantom. My mind is strong enough to conquer. Hehe ... Well, most of the time. I have boredom down. It’s really never even been possible for me to shut up my brain. But writer’s block has a way of making appearances. The best way to conquer is to simply sit down and write!

Deb: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?

Bonnie: God. When trying to create, who better to ask for advice than the greatest creator? :)

Deb: What do you do to relax and unwind?

Bonnie: I write :) Which may or may not come as a surprise! I’ve been keeping a daily journal for years and it helps clear my mind. When I really need a break, I lock myself in a room with a device or notebook of some sort and just write it all down. It really does work miracles! I also love taking walks in my beautiful forest of a backyard.

Deb: I admire anyone who can keep a journal. I've tried a couple of times, but it never worked out. That may sound odd for a writer, but I consider my life kind of … boring. Which is probably why I like to write exciting suspense adventures. Yeah...
  
Here is a synopsis of ESCAPING SAFETY. 
Christina has grown up literally ‘sheltered’ in a sanctuary run by mysterious Officials who offer safety in exchange for captivity. She’s already suspicious of the Officials when she meets Tyler Andrus, commander of the T-Squad: a group of rebels on a quest to destroy the sanctuaries and bring light back into the world. Having yearned for freedom all her life, she joins them in a journey of hope, terror, and self-discovery. 

Buy your copy on Amazon HERE.

Bonnie Gwyn wrote her first book, about a talking grandfather clock, when she was six – and hasn’t stopped writing since. In fact, she can’t “not write,” and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She hasn’t missed a day of writing in her journal for the past four years!
As a winner in this year’s National Novel Writing Month challenge, Bonnie produced her latest dystopian novel, Escaping Safety, and is now working on its sequel. She is also close to completing a fantasy romance series, The Legends of Elldamorae, whose characters have captured her heart and can’t wait to have their stories revealed.    
Bonnie’s mantra is, “I write because I believe every story deserves to be told.”
You can learn more about Bonnie, and read her inspirational blog posts, by clicking on the links below:
Visit Bonnie's Facebook HERE
Follow Bonnie on Twitter HERE
Read Bonnie's Blog HERE 
Follow Bonnie on Pinterest HERE 


Blog Tour:
Sunday – February 23 
            http://tntreviews.weebly.com/
Monday – February 24
            http://sixmixedreviews.blogspot.com
Tuesday – February 25
            www.hererisparadise.blogspot.com
Wednesday – February 26
            Renee Clark
            http://thepleasureofreadingtoday.blogspot.com/
Thursday – February 27
            www.jamesduckett.com
            http://roomwithbooks.com
Friday – February 28
            http://debraerfert.blogspot.com/
            http://thereadersrealm.com
Saturday – March 1
            http://writtenbymikey.blogspot.com
            Elliot - https://www.facebook.com/pages/EllieSewSweet/215666981796455?ref=hl