Tag Archives: Contemporary romance

Guest Interview–JM Stewart

Today I’m interviewing author JM Stewart, author of contemporary romance with titles available from several publishers.

Thanks so much for having me, Linda!

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’m a stay-at-home mom by trade. My husband and I have been married for 18 years now. I’ve been devouring romances since, gosh, probably around high school. I can’t actually remember when I first picked them up. I started writing them somewhere around 14 years ago, when my youngest was a baby. My first book published in 2010. That book has since been lengthened, revised and reedited, and is being republished by Berkley Intermix.

 What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Passionate, heartfelt contemporary romance

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

Characters. My plots are always character driven, so the plot itself requires me to know the character(s) first.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

A little of both. I start with a basic premise and some idea of a plot, because I have to have some idea of where I’m going. But even then, I don’t really follow a plot. I follow my characters, so much of the book is character led. I like to say I just take dictation. I go where I’m told. 😉

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

I really kind of need quiet when I write. Music can be distracting, because my toe starts tapping, and suddenly I’m singing out loud and the page I’m writing has gone forgotten. lol I like a variety, though, usually stuff that moves me, but mostly contemporary stuff. Some of my current favorites: Josh Groban, Rascal Flatts, Adele, Daughtry, Christina Perri, Bruno Mars.

What is the starting point for research—story concept or when you get stuck while writing?

Depends on the story and how much the plot requires it. For example, for Risking It All, I didn’t need much. I needed to know about what it’s like to be a detective, the adoption process and witness protection, but most of it I researched as I needed.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

Kind of. Risking It All and Whatever It Takes are both set around where I live, in Puyallup, Washington. But otherwise, no, not really. I wish.

Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?

Take a break and let it sit for a day or two or five. In other words, however long it takes to get me out of my head. Then I come back to it. Often, when I get stuck it’s because I’m stressing too much about writing the “perfect” story and not listening to my characters. Taking a break allows me to de-stress and get my head back where it needs to be. I need to forget the internal editor and write the story. I can always revise. The perfectionist in me absolutely loathes this, so when I get stuck, it can often take me days to let it go.

What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?

The final product. I’m always amazed at watching the story come alive. For Risking It All, I had a lot of edits/revisions to do. The changes weren’t extensive, but lots of small things needed to be added in order to fully flesh out the story. The overall effect, for me, when it was finished was like looking at a different book.

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

 I’m up somewhere between 4 and 5 am most days. Just can’t sleep anymore. The older I get, the earlier I conk out, which means by the time 4 am rolls around, I’m wide awake. Lol From the time I get up until the time my kids leave for school at 6:30, I do promo (check email, check the street teams I’m on, including my own, check my calendar to see if I have a guest on my blog, write up tweets, etc).

The rest of the day is divided between household chores (laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc), taking care of the dogs, and writing. But really, I write full time, from about 6:30 am until 2pm. The kids get home then, and the dogs get excited, and I like to catch up with my boys, so I take a break. IE: I can’t concentrate in noise, so I give in. lol I take another hour or so to write while I’m making dinner. After dinner, my brain is shot and my eyes are tired.

 Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

 My current release (and the next two, actually) is a contemporary romance on the sweet and heartwarming side. I’m currently writing (and getting ready to submit) a contemporary series that’s a bit hotter than what I’ve written before. Not erotic, but I’ve turned up the heat quite a bit.

 What’s your dream vacation destination?

It’s a toss-up between Hawaii and Paris. Paris is so romantic and the city has so much history. I’ve always wanted to go somewhere foreign, to visit someone else’s culture. But Hawaii is warm and beautiful, and I live in The Pacific Northwest. I’m tired of gray and I’m tired rain. So, somewhere sunny and semi warm would be a dream. lol.

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pinterest, collages) when plotting or writing?

Not while plotting. Though, I do like Pinterest. Most of the time, I just like seeing my story in pictures, because I’m a visual person, but it can also help when I need to describe something. So, in this case, I use it more for research. Like, for example, deciding what the heroine of my current work-in-progress wore to a formal function.

 In what genre do you read?

 Contemporary and historical. Historical is a pleasure read for me.

 What resources do you use for picking character names?

 Most of the time, my characters name themselves. But I like babynames.com for first and middle names. For last names, I look up a website on most common surnames. But in the last two series I’ve written, I had characters who came from specific roots. For example, the heroine of my current WIP is of Greek descent, so I had to research authentic names, in which case, Google is my best friend.

 Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

 Oh yeah. I love most animals, but I’m mostly a dog person. I’ve had them most of my life. We currently have two. Got them both from shelters when they were puppies. Misty is a Lab/Shepherd mix and Tiger is a Chihuahua/French Bulldog mix. Take a guess who runs the house. lol

 What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

 I hope they enjoy the stories. Though, honestly, I hope the stories touch them in some way. My favorite stories are the ones that touch me, that I can’t forget, and that’s what I always hope for. But really, in a perfect world, I want the reader to sit back and think, “Wow. That was a great story.”

Risking It All

Blurb:

She’s everything he wants…

For years, Kyle Morgan has hidden his true feelings from the gorgeous girl next door that he grew up loving and protecting. But when she shows up at his apartment in the middle of the night, desperately needing comfort and support, his iron will begins to waver…

 …and the only thing he can’t bear to lose.

 Kyle was always the big brother Cecelia Anton never had, but suddenly her goofy best friend has become a sexy man she can’t keep her thoughts—or hands—off of. As their deep connection melts into uncontrollable desire, Ceci is willing to put it all on the line for a shot at true love. Only Kyle is keeping a terrible secret about Ceci’s past that could destroy not only their lifelong friendship but their happily-ever-after…

Buy Links:

Penguin

Amazon

Barns & Noble

iTunes

Books-a-million

Excerpt:

 “I need to know, Kyle.”

His answer sat on the tip of his tongue, but the voice of reason sounded in his head. Don’t say it. Whatever you do, do not say it. Just keep walking.

Her soft footsteps sounded behind him. “You can’t just do something like that and walk away and expect me not to question it. You blow hot and cold, do you know that? I know desire when I see it, yet you just keep walking away.”

“Ever think maybe I wanted to kiss you?” The words left his mouth on a hoarse whisper, and God help him, a desperate need to see her eyes seized him. He turned to find her directly behind him. She stared for a fraction of a second too long, heat and curiosity blazed in her eyes. A heartbeat later, a light blush stole into her cheeks, but she didn’t move, didn’t say a word.

Everything inside of him ground to a halt, his mind twisting off in another direction. I’ll be damned. If ever he needed a confirmation, there it was. Whatever had happened between them was definitely not one-sided.

From 5-star reviews:

“I enjoyed this book and I really enjoyed Kyle I just loved him.” — A Crazy Vermonter’s Book Reviews

“While raising the perpetual question, “Can men and women ever be just friends?”, “Risking It All” by J. M. Stewart also adds mystery and suspense to the plot.” – Mari Davis, from Marienela.net

JM Stewart

BIO:

JM writes passionate, heartfelt contemporary romance. She’s a wife, a mother, a spiritualist, and lover of puppies, and happily addicted to coffee and chocolate. She lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. She’s a hopeless romantic who believes everybody should have their happily-ever-after and has been devouring romance novels for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her obsession.

Contact links: Website /Blog /Twitter /Facebook

Guest Interview–Alexa Bourne

 

Today I’m chatting with Alexa Bourne, romantic suspense author.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Suspense to leave you breathless, romance to soothe your soul.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I love reading when I have time. I also love watching sports, especially soccer and football. Oooh, and I’ll travel anywhere over the world because I love adventures

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

The music I use depends on what I’m writing. For my Scottish stories, I listen to a lot of Celtic. For my suspense scenes, I listen to metal/alternative. For a love scene, I’ll toss on love songs. For my New Year’s book, Simple Treasures, I played Christmas and New Year’s songs.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

Yes, I have! I really love the opportunity to set stories in places I can accurately describe so my readers feel like they are really there. My full-length books are set in states I’ve lived in. So far all my novellas are set in my happy place, my favorite place in the world, the UK. Upcoming settings are Austin, TX, Mexico, and Thailand!

What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?

I was really surprised with how long it takes to go through my revisions. In the beginning, I would plan for a certain amount of time and then I’d always have to expand it so I could do my best job.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

I have 2 and I can’t choose just 1 to tell you! As a traveler, I’d love to visit New Zealand. It looks so beautiful there. From friends I’ve heard how different society is there and I’d love to observe it. As a writer, I would love to spend 4-6 months somewhere in Scotland. I would love to have a volunteer assignment so I can interact with the locals and then also spend a huge chunk of time writing new books set in Scotland.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope my readers get an idea of what it’s like to be in other countries, maybe a country she dreams of visiting one day. I also hope readers see ordinary people in my characters and everyday courage and love.

DanceAwayDanger_v2

BLURB for Dance Away, Danger:

Sensible dance instructor Tessa Gage likes her life organized, risk-free and on her own terms. When her cop brother goes missing, his crooked partner tries to kill her, and a handsome stranger claims he’s come to protect her, she’s forced to leave her comfort zone. With more dance and business sense than survival skills and no idea who to trust, Tessa has no choice but to rely on this man who’d rather be anywhere but by her side.

When carefree carpenter Matt Rylan gets a late night call from an Army buddy who once saved his life, he finds himself where he never again wanted to be—responsible for someone else. Honor demands Matt cooperate, but he never expects his simple babysitting job to test the limits of his self-control. Nor does he expect it to explode into a race against time for his very freedom.

As Tessa and Matt get closer to the truth, and to each other, Tessa learns to step outside the safety of her world to help set the wheels of justice in motion. For Matt, supporting this courageous woman suddenly becomes everything to him.  Yet, his biggest challenge remains sharing his closed-off heart with her before the danger silences them both forever.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

All Romance ebooks

EXCERPT

“Hammer, I’m callin’ in a favor.”

Matt Rylan tightened his grip on his cell phone. Hammer. No one had called him that in three years, not since his friendship with Jason Gage had drifted apart.

“Jason?”

A strained sigh pushed through the phone line. “You remember.”

Matt gritted his teeth and crushed his lucky fishing hat in his fist. “Did you doubt I would?”

“Truthfully? Yeah. It’s been a while.”

He tossed his cap into the half-filled suitcase sitting in the center of the unmade bed. “What’s up?” he asked, like it hadn’t been years since they’d spoken. From the dresser, he grabbed the plane ticket he’d reserved two weeks before. The one he’d sacrifice tomorrow because Jason had called to collect a debt. And regardless of what his old friend wanted, Matt couldn’t say no to the man who’d saved his life on a battlefield in a far-off country most Americans didn’t know existed.

“My sister, Tessa….” Jason began.

“What about her?”

Jason had shared stories of the teenager during breaks between missions. Their parents’ death in a car wreck had hit her especially hard, which was understandable, but soon after, Jason couldn’t shake her. She became a clingy, paranoid pain in the ass. Jason had to take care of everything for her while he was in high school. Apparently, she hadn’t learned to do anything for herself since.

Matt shuddered at the thought of someone clinging to him like that. He’d willingly surrendered those burdens when he signed on with Uncle Sam and left his permanently discontented sisters to their husbands.

Jason ripped something and let loose a string of vicious swear words. “I need you to protect her.”

Matt’s stomach muscles clenched like a vice grip around a two-by-four. He’d been a contractor since he got out of the Army, taking care of buildings instead of people, which was exactly how he wanted it.

“What kind of trouble is she in?” He tossed the plane ticket into the suitcase and concentrated on his buddy’s words.

“Not her. It’s all me.” Jason wheezed and coughed. “Tell me you’ll do it.”

“What about the cops?”

“I’m not…sure which ones I…can trust.”

Matt straightened at the urgency in his one-time friend’s voice. He’d left soldiering, left responsibility, in his past where it belonged. He’d carved a sweet life for himself, working when he wanted and taking off when he damn well pleased. He answered to no one.

“Come on, Hammer. I got nobody else.” Jason gasped in between words.

A cheer erupted from the TV as Matt returned to the living room. Which of the teams had scored?

No way could he say no. Man, he was a fool. “I’m in.”

 

Bio:

Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romance writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance and is thrilled to have the chance to share her stories with readers everywhere.

When she’s not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV, and thinking about exercising. Okay, she also spends way too much time interacting with readers and writers on social media sites. But don’t tell her editors! Find out more about her and her books on her website, www.alexabourne.com.

http://alexabourne.com/cuan-macdougall-pub/
https://twitter.com/AlexaBourne
http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexaBourne
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5818611.Alexa_Bourne

Story Inspiration for Stone Of Destiny

Behind the scenes with Stone of Destiny by Mary L. Ball

Wouldn’t it be great if we could look ahead and see our destiny?  There are fortunetellers who claim that for a price they can tell you what lies ahead. Most of it’s lucky guessing and common knowledge which statically fits 95% of all individuals.

What if an object could change the outcome of our future? People everywhere would struggle to get hold of any item-if they thought it would clear the path to a carefree life.

The truth is there is no way of looking into a crystal ball and knowing what you’ll be doing five years from now and I’ve never known a rabbit’s foot to guaranteeing that life will be a bed of roses. Think about it, the rose is a beautiful soft flower, but the stem has thorns. At times, we all face an unpleasant situation and wish there was a magic potion for problems. Some of us have an   inclination to hold onto sentimental objects, and place our dreams around them. YA fantasy books portray many of those imagines.

One day I passed by my oldest grandson reading a fantasy book. I glanced at it and immediately thought. I need to write about a different kind of magic, a divine guidance that comes from faith and trust. Over the next few days Stone of Destiny was born.

The novel focuses on a sapphire ring and the importance it plays in a family’s life. I choose this symbol because the dark-blue gem is my birthstone. Once the manuscript was submitted to Prism Book Group and the edits began, I began to second-guess the story.

Does it really fit the message I want to convey?

Have I been true to myself while writing this book?

As I pondered those questions Joan, the editor-in-chief of Prism Book Group emailed and said, “Mary, have you researched the Christian meaning of the sapphire stone?” She sent me a link to follow.  I hadn’t check out anything about the sapphire, but as I read the information, I smiled. The words, “the sapphire symbolizes mental clarity, faithfulness and truth,” explained the underlining plot of my story.  When I continued, the explanation said, “The sapphire is often called the stone of destiny,” I knew that once again, the Lord used someone to answer my concerns and that the fictional story should be told.

StoneofDestiny bigger-001 (Mobile) (Custom)

Stone of Destiny blurb:

 Taylor Harrison has given up on everything but her work. The youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, her life is complete. That is, until her grandmother asks her to oversee renovations at the family home and find the missing heirloom.

 First contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning. Taylor experiences strange dreams. Feelings surface; she doesn’t understand; thoughts that should remain unspoken, voiced. 

 Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself.

  Is this a fairy-tale or her soul, reaching out for a life she can only find through faith and trust in God?  

Amazon.com: Stone of Destiny eBook: Mary L Ball: Books

Mary Ball

Bio-

Mary L. Ball lives in North Carolina and writes Christian fiction novels blended with romance to encourage readers to see the wonder of love and divine mercy.

When she’s not working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and singing with her husband.

Readers can connect with her on Face Book and Twitter. https://twitter.com/inspires4mary

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Inspirational-author-Mary-L-Ball/200478210087932?ref=hl

Guest Interview–Jennifer DeCuir

Welcome to Crimson Romance author Jennifer DeCuir who is my guest today and has lots of share.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Visit Scallop Shores – Fall in love in a small town. Small town contemporary… that’s me.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I love to crochet and I have the yarn hoard to prove it. Baby items are my favorite to make and give as shower gifts. My kids’ teachers get crocheted gifts every year.

 If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

I concentrate best if there are no words. I prefer movie soundtracks. I love “Concerning Hobbits” from Lord of the Rings, the Game of Thrones opening theme song, Last of the Mohicans music – I even have some from Frozen (just not “Let it Go”). I’ve tried Enya and Loreena McKinnett but it just throws off my focus, no matter how beautiful the music.

Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?

I hit the shower. Seriously, there is something about the water drumming down that brings me my best “aha” moments. I have an Aqua Notes notepad and pencil in the shower stall to make sure I can write it all down as soon as it pops into my head.

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

I’ve never had the nerve to write anything but contemporary romance, but I have a nugget of an idea for a series of paranormal books, each focusing on a different mythological creature. It’s percolating.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Ahhh… Ireland. Anywhere in Ireland, really. And for as long as I can stay. Have I ever been? Nope. It’s still just a dream.

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pintrest, collages) when plotting or writing?

Yes! Pinterest is invaluable in helping me picture my characters, my town, everything I need. When I was writing Five of Hearts and was picturing a young Chris Hemsworth as Dean Patterson, my husband went out and bought me a large Thor action figure. He stood on my desk every day while I wrote that book. I have a drawing of a fairy that my daughter made when she was five years old, that was the start of Drawn to Jonah.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

I LOVE pets! Currently we have two cats and a rescue pup named Luna.

 What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

The warm fuzzies. Seriously, I’m not trying to solve world issues or presume to teach lessons. I just want my readers to have a chance to check out for a little while… leave their troubles behind and just relax and enjoy a fun story with a guaranteed happily-ever-after.

Those are the questions Linda has graciously provided. I welcome any others you’d love answered. Leave your questions in the comment section and I will answer them asap. Thanks so much!

Praise from a 5-star review…

“I set out for a relaxing afternoon of reading and ended up on a rollercoaster of emotion. I feel as if I now have a motley crew of friends, that range from open and vulnerable to cantankerous. Taking the step outside of Scallop Shores made me miss it more than I thought I would.”

Wynter's Journey

BLURB:

A childhood promise brings Wynter and Sam together again after tragedy ripped them apart over ten years earlier.  Fate has given him a second chance to tell her how he feels.  This time he’s not going to run.

EXCERPT:

Now came the hard part. Sam wasn’t expecting her. More to the point, he’d been avoiding her for the last twelve years. She knew the reception she’d get wouldn’t be a welcome one. But that was okay. She had her trump card—a promise Sam had made years ago. Her baby’s future depended on him honoring that promise. Her means of escape having driven away, Wynter took a deep breath and knocked at the big red door.

She shuffled her feet, wishing she’d had enough money to purchase a thick pair of winter boots for her impromptu cross-country adventure. Okay, to be fair, there really hadn’t been much time. One minute she held a one-way ticket to Florida, purchased by her parents, the next she had changed her destination, and hopefully, the overall direction of her life.

At one time, too long ago for her taste, Sam had been her rock, one of her closest friends and someone she could go to in a moment of crisis. Now Wynter was newly widowed, about to raise a baby on her own. She could no longer afford the apartment she had shared with her husband in California. And, at thirty years old, she was forced to consider moving back in with her parents—an option she’d desperately like to avoid. If ever there was a moment of crisis, this was it.

Why wasn’t Sam answering the door? Wynter’s eyes flew to the curtain-covered window beside the door, looking for movement. Did he know who was out there? Had he seen the ugly green and orange cab pull up and dump out the last person on Earth that he expected to see? Was he hiding on the other side of the door, willing her to turn around and walk the five miles or so to town?

Well, it wasn’t going to happen. Wynter swallowed hard, past the lump forming in her throat. Her Sam wouldn’t leave her out on his doorstep to freeze. His mom had raised him right. Even if he didn’t want her there, he’d invite her in to warm up and rest. She rubbed her arms and stamped her sneakered feet. He wasn’t here. She hadn’t even considered that option.

A little bit wildly now, she paid closer attention to her surroundings. The next house over was barely visible through the spindly winter-bare trees on the other side of the road. Sam’s covered porch offered little in the way of protection from the wind. Fear clawing at her throat, Wynter eyed the glass windows and pondered how she might break in. But any rocks were buried beneath at least a foot of snow, and the only furniture on the porch was a swing, attached to the shingled roof with thick chains.

She crumpled onto the swing, defeat sapping the rest of her strength. Making herself as small as possible, she huddled against the cold wood, tears stinging the backs of her eyelids. Her idea had been to ask Sam for a place to stay, temporarily. She knew, through his sister, that he lived alone. She’d intended to look for a job, something she could walk to until she saved up enough for a beater car. Choking on a sob, Wynter realized the futility of her hastily made plans.

She hadn’t counted on Sam living in the boonies. She wasn’t sure where the actual town was, or if there was even the possibility of a job. Wynter was so desperate to stay independent, to keep her domineering parents from taking over her life and the raising of her child that she’d run to the one person she could think of.

“Where are you, Sam? I need you.” And the tears that had threatened from the moment the cab started to creep deeper and deeper into no-man’s land finally caught up with her.

Hunching into her thick parka and pulling her knees up as best she could, Wynter tucked herself into the swing and gave in to the hopelessness that she could no longer hold at bay. Wrapping her arms protectively around the life that grew inside her, she started to cry.

 

BUY LINKS:

Buy links for Wynter’s Journey:

Crimson Romance: http://www.adamsmediastore.com/wynters-journey

Amazon: http://amzn.to/Qlv4cG

B & N: http://bit.ly/1m2yOxy

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wynters-journey/id841057559?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/wynter-s-journey

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jennifer_DeCuir_Wynter_s_Journey?id=SlsXAwAAQBAJ

Jennifer DeCuir

BIO:

Jennifer DeCuir lives in the Pacific Northwest where sunshine is at a premium and coffee is a must. Her crazy family keeps her hopping and provides an endless supply of writing ideas. Chocolate keeps her sane.

Author web contact links:

Website: www.jenniferdecuir.com

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/HdgQXi

Twitter: http://bit.ly/160UYHt

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1aE8XBg

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1k35SPl