Category Archives: Guest Interview

Guest interview–Katie O’Sullivan

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

Hi, Linda, and thanks for having me on your blog today! While my working background is in advertising and journalism, I became a stay-at-home mom when my first child was born. I covered events and wrote a column for the local paper for a while, but soon got swept up in a cloud of PTA volunteering, and Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts… you name it, I signed up for it. When my youngest went off to full-day kindergarten, I took a class called “Finish Your Novel.” I did just that, and have been writing ever since, with 5 published novels under my belt so far. I’ve also worked as the editor for an online magazine and as a freelance editor and copyeditor.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Since I write both romance and YA, my tagline-of-the-moment is: “Romance and adventure for Young Adults and the young at heart.”

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

We have two big dogs (one’s a Saint Bernard) who like to walk on the beach every day. I love to read, and I like to bake with my kids. And despite eight years as a Girl Scout leader, I still like to “get crafty” with my daughter.

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

Characters come to me first, and the barest outline of their “situation,” but I find the plot twists and turns as I write – I’m definitely what you would call a “pantser” when it comes to writing! But for me, a story is about the characters. I have to care about a character to want to read – or write – about them!

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I guess it qualifies as freestyle, as I don’t work from an outline or character sheets. One of these days I keep promising myself I’ll do those first as they probably make keeping track of characters much easier.

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

 I use the internet extensively to research story concepts and plot points, and can get sucked down that rabbit hole for hours. When I get stuck, it’s usually because something I’ve written doesn’t ring true. That’s when I’ll grab the leashes and take the dogs for an extra walk while I work out what’s bugging me. (They love it when I hit a block like that!)

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

I actually live year round on Cape Cod, which is the setting for the last several books I’ve written. I love the Cape and think it makes a great story location – there are so many different aspects, all nestled on such a small spit of land. But in terms of exotic locales… hmmm… In my second young adult book, the characters fly to the Greek islands, which I visited during college. I spent a semester in London and we took a trip to Greece during fall break – what a great experience!

Thanks again for having me here today!

perf5.000x8.000.indd

BLURB for My Kind Of Crazy

Kendall Roarke is betting everything on making her Harwichport Bed & Breakfast into the premier wedding destination on Cape Cod, despite her recent messy divorce.

Jonathan Reynolds moved back to the Cape to take over his uncle’s business and start fresh after his own marriage ended. He’s not looking for anything complicated – until he meets Kendall, with her big plans and wild mop of curls.

Throw an unruly foster puppy and an uptight new neighbor into the mix and things get a little crazy. Now Kendall has to decide if it’s the kind of crazy that she can live with… for the rest of her life.

BUY LINKS

The Wild Rose Press

Amazon

EXCERPT

He reached out and gently wrapped his fingers around her arm, not letting her leave the front hall. “Kendall?”

Again with the major electrical sparks zinging through her! She was afraid to look him in the eye, afraid he’d be able to see it in her face, the devastating effect he had on her. They stood so close she felt the heat from his body radiating, warming the small space between them. His touch was fire on her bare skin. She finally raised her gaze to meet his eyes, luminous and deep. She felt like she might fall into those green pools and drown.

Breathe in, breathe out. She searched for words to answer the unasked questions in his eyes but none came to her.

“Kendall.” He whispered her name again as if it were the answer to some puzzle he was trying to solve.

Thoughts whirled through her head at lightning speed. Nothing about this made any kind of sense— especially not her attraction to a complete stranger. But there was no denying the electricity that ran through her body from his simplest touch.

“I’m not looking for a relationship right now.” Her low whisper matched his.

“What are you looking for?” He moved closer, his lips brushing her mouth, tasting of beer and salted peanuts. His warmth pulsed through her in shock waves, her traitorous body responding all too eagerly. He tasted so good, the salt sizzling on her tongue. The kiss shifted from soft and gentle to solid and deep. Arms slid around her, pulling her close, but she was too wrapped up in the kiss to protest. Why complain? He felt so good, the hard muscles of his arms and planed chest underneath that thin dress shirt, and another hardness evident, despite his proper dress pants.

Suddenly Kendall remembered that this was the same man who was fooling around with the married cougar of a librarian. She wanted to be outraged for the unwitting spouse, but all she could think was, Lucky librarian.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and shoulders. Vaguely she registered the wall behind her, pressing hard against her back. His clever tongue tangled with her own, sending fresh waves of desire rippling through her.

Even as her body screamed Yes! she slid her hand between them, firmly pushing him backward and breaking the connection. “I can’t do this. I don’t want to get hurt again.” Her eyes searched his before she turned her head to look away. If she looked into those eyes for one more second she would forget all about saying no and let her body do whatever it wanted.

Katie_OSullivan

BIO

Katie O’Sullivan lives with her family and big dogs next to the ocean on Cape Cod, drinking way too much coffee and inventing new excuses not to dust. A recovering English major, she earned her degree at Colgate University and writes romance and adventure for young adults and the young at heart.

Living next to the Atlantic influences everything she writes. Her YA mermaid series begins in Nantucket Sound with SON OF A MERMAID, and continues the undersea adventures with BLOOD OF A MERMAID, both from Crescent Moon Press and on sale for the month of December for 99 cents! Her latest contemporary romance from The Wild Rose Press is MY KIND OF CRAZY, a Cape Cod story of second chances and starting over.

Website: www.katie-osullivan.com

Blog: http://katieosullivan.blogspot.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OkatieO

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3326303.Katie_O_Sullivan

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/katieosullivan

Author Interview–Debra Doggett

Today I’m chatting with The Wild Rose press author, Debra Doggett, and she’s sharing a bit about her writing and her latest release, A Ghost of a Clue, which is part of TWRP’s latest series, Lobster Cove.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’ve been a bit of a wanderer over my adult life, so I have lots of settings in my head. I have three children and each was born in a different state. I’ve always had stories in my head and wrote them as often as I could when I was younger. I got married at 18 (and yes, it was not the smartest move I’ve ever made) and the stories were still there but so were my first two daughters, who are nineteen months apart.

I finally allowed myself to be the writer I always knew I was when my children got older. I moved out west to New Mexico, which was a big change from the Deep South. The desert landscape moves me. I went back to college and got involved in the theatre department. Writing plays helped me hone my skills. I found some wonderful writer friends who read what I wrote and encouraged me. When my first novel sold, they also celebrated with me. Since then, I have written plays and seen them produced, sold essays, articles and short stories along with three more novels. The writer in me is loose and I could never put that part of me away again, so hopefully there will be many more stories from me for folks to enjoy.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

One of the hobbies I spend a lot of time with is theatre. I’ve not only written for the stage, I’ve also acted, directed, done props, costumes and a bit of tech. I even worked as general manager of a local community theater company. There’s nothing like a darkened theatre to get my creativity moving.

I also love to cook and am working to improve my baking skills. Homemade is best to me. This past year, I’ve learned to make my own bagels, tortillas and eggroll wrappers (an odd trio, I know, but each was fun).

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

Hmm, that’s a tough one to answer, because what I get first are scenes (probably all the theatre, lol). I write down the scenes I get and when I feel I have enough of them to start fleshing out characters and a story, I sit down and attempt my version of an outline (it’s not going to pass an English teacher’s critique). The outline is very flexible because often things change quite a bit as I write. I am okay with ditching what doesn’t work, although I usually keep it just in case it works for something else.

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

This is one that I struggle with. All the good writing advice will tell you to just get the first draft down, don’t stop until it’s done, etc. But when I get stuck, I end up setting the story aside. Most of the time this works for me. My mind is a bit scattered and I have several stories going at once, so I will set the problem one aside and work on something else. This works for me and lets my mind be open to getting the scenes I need to work out the problem. I doubt this is good advice for everyone. You probably have to have as scattered a mind as I do for it to work!

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

The biggest surprise was in finding out how much easier it is than actually writing the story! Ideas flow when I have some words to start with so rewriting is much easier than staring at that blank page and trying to get some words onto it. I had thought it would be hard to cut or edit but that hasn’t turned out to be true. There’s a wonderful quote by Stephen King that tells writers to “kill their darlings”. In other words don’t get so attached to your own writing that you aren’t willing to take out what doesn’t work. And that hasn’t been as hard as I expected.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

I love to travel so it’s hard to settle on just one. My bucket list is pretty long. One of those at the top, though, is Tahiti. I have wanted to go there for years. I love the ocean and Tahiti has always sounded not only beautiful but exotic and sort of hidden away from the rest of the world. I got a taste of the Caribbean years ago when I went to St. Maarten and really loved being on an island surrounded by the ocean. One day I’ll make it to Tahiti. I might even set a story there.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

A Ghost of a Clue blurb:

Rory DuMont has had enough of hiding the fact that she sees ghosts. Lobster Cove is a new start and she’s determined to shed the mistakes of the past. If that means she ends up alone then so be it. What she can’t seem to shed is Travis Reed, Lobster Cove’s resident skeptic and biology teacher. Sparks fly when the skeptic and the psychic find themselves alone together but the sparks turn into flames when a ghost takes a personal interest in them.

EXCERPT

Rory blew out a breath. “If I tell you yes, I’m messing with you when I say there were ghosts here tonight then you’re okay with that. You’re comfortable with it. If I tell you no, that there really was a ghost, two in fact, here tonight, then the train derails and you run for the hills.”

He stared at her for a moment with a thoughtful look on his face. “Tell me what you believe you saw.”

“The truth?”

Travis nodded. “The truth of what you believe you saw.”

“That’s a very guarded way of putting it.”

“No. It’s a very scientific way of putting it. I can’t know what to think if I don’t have all the evidence.”

“Fair enough. I saw two ghosts.”

“Whole images?”

“One fairly solid, a little boy and one kind of wavering, an older woman.”

He watched her face as she said it, and Rory held her breath, waiting for the sneer that had always accompanied any talk of her gift in the past. She would be sorry to see him walk away. Even though it had only been a few weeks, she realized she’d come to enjoy his company. Part of her knew she’d been hoping for something more, no matter how much she told herself she wasn’t going to do another relationship. Still, it would hurt, and she steeled herself for the good-bye. At last he nodded.

“Okay, you saw two ghosts.”

“You’re not headed for the door.”

“The kids aren’t packed up yet.” He grinned. “And the train is still on the tracks, Ms. DuMont. Nothing’s derailed yet.”

BUY LINKS

The Wild Rose Press

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

ddoggettavatar

BIO:

I’ve been many things in my life: actor, filmmaker, historian, writer, but putting words to paper is the most satisfying. After years of moving around the US, I’ve settled in the desert of New Mexico, a far cry from my birthplace in Louisiana. You never know where life will go.

social media links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Debra-Doggett/205566736172548?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dgdoggett

Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/debradoggett

Pintrest : http://www.pinterest.com/dgdoggett/

Guest Interview–Karen Cogan

Today I’m chatting with Karen Cogan, an author friend from Prism Book Group.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I have written fiction since elementary school. I remember writing and illustrating stories for my second grade teacher. Since I’m a terrible artist, I’m sure she wondered how the picture went with the story!

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

My hobbies away from the computer are thumbing through recipes, mostly on the computer. I garden occasionally. I have a passion for learning new horse techniques and ride my quarter horse most days.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

My writing style is mostly free-style. A story line occurs to me and the characters that are to fill the rolls. I have an idea of what problems they will encounter and how the story will end. Then, I begin writing and let the characters lead me where they will go.

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

One of my novels is set in Ouray, Colorado. It is a beautiful town set in a valley between the mountains. I became fascinated with the mining history and early settlement. I spent time poking around the town with my husband and getting photos. After that, I did extensive research and enjoyed writing a historical novel set in that location.

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

I have written in several different genres. I have children’s picture books in print and middle grade novels. I also write sweet, adult contemporary and historical novels. I have written a time-travel novel set in the time of Lafitte, the pirate, in Galveston, TX. It is scheduled for release in January.

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

Besides a horse, I have cats and dogs. I always thought of myself as a dog person. However, we took in a cat we found abandoned at a store and she has become one of my “babies”.

In what genres do you read?

I enjoy reading in the genre of mystery and suspense, as well as inspirational romance.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope my readers take away the message that, while life is unpredictable, there is a plan for our lives. Though we are not always in control of events, they may be assured that God knows the plan and will bring it to fruition.

RunawayHearts_Cover

BLURB

Lynn parked her truck in front of the adobe school building, took a deep breath, and let her body adjust to the stillness. It was an odd sensation after jostling over miles of rutted roads in her attempt to find this place. She stared at the doorway for a moment, mustering the nerve to go inside. Since, she’d come this far, She might as well get out of the truck and find out how far over her head she had gotten herself in this time.

EXCERPT

Copyright © 2012 Karen Cogan

Lynn’s thoughts scattered in a million directions as they grabbed their bags and wove their way through the holiday crowds to wait in the car rental line. When they finished the paperwork, they found the dark blue Probe that Greg had reserved for the ten days in which he was to stay at the rental property.

He handed the keys to Lynn. “I may know Albuquerque, but you know Houston.”

“At least well enough to get us home.”

They drove into the late afternoon rush hour traffic. The sun looked pale and anemic peeking through the gray clouds. Lynn turned on the wipers as a light drizzle began to fall.

“This is my least favorite type of weather. Cold and rainy,” she said.

“I thought you disliked snow the most.”

“Snow can be pretty when you don’t have to drive in it.”

“OK. If it starts to snow, I’ll drive.”

Lynn laughed. “Fat chance.”

It was dusk when Lynn pulled next to her mom’s Lincoln in the parking slot of the red brick townhouse. The decorative outside lantern glowed with a soft welcoming light. She turned off the engine and stretched her arms. “We’re here.”

“It’s an attractive place. Georgian?”

“You got it. I didn’t know you knew architecture.”

“I don’t. It was just a lucky guess.”

Lynn started to the trunk. Greg stopped her and said, “I’ll get your luggage after we meet your Mom.”

She smiled, grateful for the offer. She couldn’t wait to get out of the cold drizzle and let Mom know they were here. Mom would have worried all afternoon whether they would be delayed at the airport, have an accident or lose their luggage. The sooner they got in, the sooner they could ease her mind.

Lynn preceded Greg up the porch steps to the polished oak door. A glow of light shone through the oval etched glass window. Rectangular windows beside the door gave off their own assurance of the warmth and light within. Lynn felt a surge of homesickness for her mother and for the childhood she had left behind.

She rang the bell.

Footsteps reverberated on the marble entry. A shadow crossed in front of the light and poised to open the door. Lynn reached out, ready to embrace her mother.

The door swung open and Lynn gasped. Her arms fell to her sides. Her throat went dry.

“Mark,” she croaked.

“Hi, Lynn.” He smiled a welcoming smile. “It’s good to see you. You look wonderful.”

He noticed Greg, behind Lynn in the shadows. The surprise on his face spoke volumes as he stepped aside to let them enter.

“Your mother told me you were bringing a friend.”

And let you believe it was a female friend, Lynn thought, feeling her face heat with embarrassment.

“This is Greg Martin. He teaches at my school. Greg, this is Mark Andrews.”

The men shook hands and exchanged a greeting as they sized each other up. Lynn wondered what Greg must be thinking. She hoped he knew she had no part in this and was, in fact, chagrined at the comparison Mom had arranged.

Still, it was typical of Mom. And since, it wasn’t Mark’s fault that he had been invited or that she resented his presence, she would have to smile and make the best of things.

Mom glided into the entryway. She was dressed in a peach angora pantsuit, giving off the first impression most people had of her as soft, sweet, and easily led.

Lynn grimaced. They did not know her iron will as Lynn did. Maybe someday, these awkward moments would be funny. Perhaps she and Greg would look back on them with amusement. At the moment, she was not amused.

“I thought I heard voices,” Joyce said.

She held Lynn in front of her as she did when Lynn was a little girl. “I don’t think you’ve been eating well. We’ll have to work on feeding you well enough to finish one more semester.”

She turned to Greg. “This must be your friend.”

Greg extended his hand. “Greg Martin. It’s good to meet you, Mrs. Martin.”

She looked from Lynn to Greg. “Martin? You have the same last name. How quaint. But do call me Joyce. Mrs. Martin sounds so old.”

As “Joyce” wrapped her arm through Lynn’s and led her away, Lynn thought it was funny how her mother wanted to appear old and frail when it suited her purposes and young when it did not.

“I have a nice roasted chicken dinner I bought at the deli this afternoon. It’s all warmed and waiting. You can tell me about your trip while we eat. Did your luggage arrive? I’ve been so worried about having you travel this time of year. I hear there’s a lot of crime at the airports.”

Lynn glanced behind her and wondered what Mark was thinking about being invited to a dinner where his romantic interest showed up with another man. And Greg? His face was an inscrutable mask. She feared that behind that mask were some very interesting thoughts. Just what those thoughts were, she would have to wait until they were alone to find out.

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

from 5 star review:”

“There is plenty of humour and well drawn characters with sub plots that draw us in. Ms Cogan uses the New Mexico setting to set the mood and even play a role in the plot. I really enjoyed this story.”

Karen Cogan

BIO:

A native of Houston, TX, Karen spent her early years enjoying life along the Gulf Coast. After high school, she attended Texas A&M as well as the University of Houston where she obtained a B.S. in early childhood education. She has written numerous articles and stories, books for children and novels for adults. She particularly enjoys writing contemporary and historical romance, and now lives in the Southwest with her family and assorted pets.

Web Contacts:

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

 

Guest Interview–Sharon McGregor

Welcome today to Sharon McGregor, an author with Prism Book Group.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I ‘m a prairie transplant to the West Coast, trying to run away from winter.  I  am moving this month to the warmest spot I can find and still live in Canada- on Vancouver Island, where I will be a block away from the beach. I grew up on a quarter-section farm on the prairies and attended a one-room country school of the sort where  Maggie has come to teach  in Autumn Dreams. Unlike Maggie, I have always loved horses.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I’m a history buff. My favourite period is the time of the Plantagenets. I want to do some travelling if I can ever get away and I plan a trip to the UK with friends next year. I like watching my grandchildren with their sports.  Any time I spend with animals is time well spent. I love horses, dogs, and my cat Zoey as well as any others that cross my path.

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

I would say the two main characters first. Some of the other characters just show up as the plot develops.  In Autumn Dreams, I wanted to start with a teacher of the sort my aunts were when I was young. Then Maggie just walked in and said, “This is my story.”

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I do about sixty percent planned and the rest freestyle.  I don’t feel comfortable without a structure to work within. Then I often change things as I go and the outline goes out the window. An outline is sort-of like your reserve parachute-it’s comforting to know it’s there even if you don’t use it.

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

I lived the location. Maggie was just a little before my time but close enough that the farm, the people the school and the families all seem to be familiar on a personal level.

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

The first thing I try is take the dogs for a long walk.  That usually clears my head and I find on my feet is the best way to think.  Second best is my Lazy boy, but sometimes I goof that one up and doze off.  If I am stuck for too long, I set the story aside for a couple of days and tackle something else-maybe a short story or plotting another book.  Then some little thing hits you and you’re back on track with your work.

AutumnDreams_200x300

Blurb:

Autumn Dreams takes place on the prairies in the late 1940s.

Maggie arrives at her new teaching job, to board with a family she’s prepared to like. What she isn’t prepared for is her landlady’s brother Marshall who seems to hate her on sight. She is captivated by Ellen’s six year old daughter Emma who is having identity problems when faced with the arrival of a new baby. Then Ellen goes into labour in the middle of a storm and Maggie must face her fears to help. Along the way she helps a family grow closer together but what about her hopes for the future? Can she get past the wall Marshall has set up and does she really have a future here amongst the people she has grown to care for?

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

From a 5-star review:

This charming story weaves little touches of 1940s history with romance and endearment. The story is so well written, with delicate description, a great storyline and believable characters. The heroine, Maggie, not only has to adjust to a new life and job, but overcome her fear of horses and find romance along the way, a true inspiration to us all.

Sharon McGregor

 

Excerpt:

Maggie stood in the barn doorway watching for a moment as Marshall threw forkfuls of soiled straw onto the stoneboat.  It was a warm day and his shirt hung on a wooden peg on the wall.  Maggie wasn’t used to seeing a man’s naked torso.  When her father came home from the hardware store, he might take off his jacket and loosen his tie but that was as casual as he got.  She watched in admiration as each muscle moved and realigned when Marshall lifted. She could feel an unfamiliar warmth in her own body as she watched.  She knew from the way his shoulders tightened that he was aware of her presence.

“Ellen says supper will be ready in a half hour,” she said.

“I figured.”  He stopped briefly and stood, fork in hand, one foot resting on its shoulder, a slight smile pulling the right side of his mouth upward.  “Is there more?”

“You used to live here, right?”

“It was our family farm.”

“Your parents aren’t still living?”

“No.”  He pointed through the open north door to a hillside. “My father was cultivating that hillside when the tractor wheel hit a large rock and threw it off balance.  The tractor rolled over on him. He was dead before help came.  Mom died a year later.  Farm life isn’t all baby calves and collecting eggs, you know.  It’s a hard life.”

“Why didn’t you stay on the farm?’

He picked up the fork again.  “Do you always ask so many questions?  If you want to make yourself useful, grab a fork.”  His eyes travelled over her from head to toe sending a shiver down her back. “On second thought, you’d better not.  Those shoes weren’t made for shovelling manure.  Wouldn’t want to soil them.”  He turned dismissively back to his work.

She flushed as she felt her anger rise at his off-handedness.

She marched past him skirting the flailing fork handle. She knew she’d seen a pair of rubber boots earlier by the corner stall. She pushed her feet out of her shoes and into the boots.  A little big but they’d do. She reached for a fork hanging on the barn wall aware of his stillness as he watched her.

“Not that one; that’s a hay fork. Take the one next to it.”

She lifted the shorter heavier manure fork and tentatively shoved it into a pile of damp, smelly straw. As she lifted, most of it fell off but she managed to fling some of it onto the stoneboat. The second forkful went better. Marshall had turned his back but she knew by the way his shoulders moved that he was laughing at her.

I’ll show you she thought. She closed her nose to the stench and wondered if you ever got used to the smell of manure. ‘Oh Dora, if you could only see me now.”

///

Maggie bit the side of her lip and plunged in, partly because she wanted answers and partly just to say something to cover her confusion. “So why didn’t you stay on the farm?  Don’t sons usually take over?”

He gave her an amused look. “You never give up with your questions, do you? Well, let’s see if I can satisfy that curiosity bug of yours.” He leaned back in his chair balancing it on the rear two legs and closed his eyes for a moment. “When our parents died, Ellen was already married to Ray and I was turning eighteen.  That was when the war came.  Ray couldn’t join up; he’s always had weak lungs.  That’s why he keeps getting those bouts of pneumonia.  But I was young and idealistic so I enlisted.  Ray and Ellen moved in and ran the farm.  When the war finally ended I was restless like so many others and I wandered around the country for a bit before coming back to Timber.  Ray and Ellen had put so much into the place and I wasn’t really anxious to become a farmer, so they bought out my share.  I started the lumberyard with a friend and here we are.”  He bounced the chair back to an upright position with a bang.  “Does that answer all your questions?”

“All but one.”

He stood and set his cup down as if to show he’s given her all the time he would allot her and said “What might that one be?”

“Why do you dislike me?”

He gave her a long slow look. “Yes, I can see where you’re one of those people who needs to have everyone like them.”

She flushed and was about to protest when he moved closer and said, “The short answer is I don’t dislike you.” He put one arm around her shoulder turning her to face him and leaned down to kiss her, gently at first and then with a ferocity that shook loose all her feelings for this intriguing man and replaced them with sensations she had never felt before.  Warmth swept through her very essence. Just as she felt she was going to fall over the edge of a cliff he released her, swung around so quickly she couldn’t see his expression and walked out the door.

Bio:

Sharon McGregor is a west coast transplant from the Canadian prairies. Her imagination and story weaving got its start when she was an only child living on a farm. She’s moved on from cowgirl dreams to romance and mystery, but hasn’t lost her love for horses.
In spite of her eternal quest to escape the cold, she does spend time at ice rinks watching her grandchildren figure skate and play hockey.
When she can summon up the nerve to get on a plane she likes to visit with her son and grandchildren who are still knee deep in the prairies.
Sharon loves endings with happy resolutions which is why she enjoys writing romance.

Web Links:

Web site

Blog

Facebook writer page

Twitter name: @sharonmcgr

Google+

Goodreads

Guest Interview–Mary L. Ball

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

Hi Linda, it’s great to be on your blog. Allow me to introduce myself.

I’m an inspirational fiction author and live in North Carolina between the wondrous mountains and beautiful beaches. My writing is about real-life problems, blended with suspense or mystery and of course, romance.

My one hope is that the books I scribe will encourage readers to see the wonder of love and a divine guidance that awaits us all.

My novels include, Escape to Big Fork Lake, Stone of Destiny, Postmarked Ever After and Redemption in Big Fork Lake.  I also contributed to 21 Stories of Faith.

When I’m not working on the latest story, I enjoy fishing, reading, and singing with my husband at church functions.

 Where were you raised?

I was born and raised in Salem, Virginia and still have family there.When I was a teenager, my mother moved to NC. That’s where I’ve lived since the age of sixteen.   

What’s your favorite participation sport?

I guess I don’t have any, unless you count being an angler. Is fishing a participation sport? I suppose it can be.  Actually, it is when hubby and I go. LOL

What are your reading tastes?

I enjoy all inspirational and clean fiction books.

List your favorite movie of all time and why.

I’m a softy at heart, always looking for a story with a spot of romance and a good ending. I know “You’ve Got Mail” is by no means a classic, but I enjoy watching it. I still cry at the end when they meet in the park and realize they’re meant to be together.

Where did you go for your most recent vacation?

Sunset Beach, NC. Hubby and I always go somewhere on the coast of NC for our anniversary.

Postmarked_Ever_After-cover-001

Blurb for Postmarked Ever After

A delayed letter and a message from afar unite two hearts.

Recently widowed, Serena Gray battles the daily drama of the Emergency Room, as well as her grief. When a mysterious letter arrives, it raises questions about a past she’d only heard her beloved husband speak about.

While on hospital rounds, she witnesses a child’s brush with death and recounts a vivid dream that bears a message.

Will she risk happiness for the truth or keep a secret from the past?

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Smashwords

Mary Ball

Get in contact with Mary:

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

Guest Interview–Darlene Fredette

Welcome today to Darlene Fredette, an author friend from The Wild Rose press. Let’s get chatting…

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Heartwarming contemporary romance.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

Hanging out with my family, reading, BBQs, sitting by the fire-pit on a warm summer evening, and day-visits to the Valley.

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

The plot will enter my thoughts first, usually while cleaning the house. By the time the house is cleaned, I have a whole story plotted in my head. The characters are developed through the plot.

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

I don’t listen to music while writing because I end up singing more than writing, lol. But the characters in most of my stories are usually listening to music at some point. In my Christmas novella, my heroine loves listening to Christmas songs by Elvis, and in other stories, music by Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Michael Bublé, and The Rolling Stones will be playing.

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

In my Christmas novella, One Sweet Christmas, the fictional town of Redford Falls was created with pieces of a few local areas we like to visit.

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

I’m a full-time writer, but my day doesn’t consist of just writing. When I get up in the morning, I get my daughter off to school and then start housework. Once the house is clean, I’m off to walk the dog. We’re generally gone for a half hour. Upon returning, I check emails and social media. I then write until lunch. I take a quick break for lunch and another short break outside with the dog. The rest of the afternoon is spent writing until my husband arrives home from work. As a rule, I don’t generally write in the evenings anymore because I was having a hard time falling asleep. The story kept continuing in my head even though my fingers weren’t typing, lol.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Australia and Arizona. There’s a reason behind these choices, other than starting with the letter A. They are both warm locations, lol!

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

I create collages for each story to use as a visual for my main characters and key elements of the story. I also have a note-board with a list of character names and places. If I happen to forget a secondary character’s name, the note-board is an excellent reference. It has also come in handy for follow-up books because the information used in book one is at my fingertips.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

I generally use names that I like. Also, if I’m watching a television show and a character is appealing (lol), I may use their name in an upcoming story. If I’m stumped for a name, I seek out my daughter, who always has great ideas for me.

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

I love all animals, but dogs are my favorite. They love unconditionally. I have a Yellow Lab. He’s ninety-five pounds, but thinks he’s a lap dog.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Released October 1, 2014 from The Wild Rose Press

BUY LINK:

The Wild Rose Press

Amazon

Blurb for Law Of Attraction:

Lawyer Christina Crawford has a successful career and stable financial future, but is it enough?  Her world is disrupted when a routine divorce case means working with a man she never expected—or wanted—to see again.  During their first meeting, she can’t deny a connection still exists.  Her head warns her to run, but her heart yearns to stay.

Steven Mitchell is ruthless in the court room, but outside those doors, his easy charm, good looks and unlimited stream of female companions gives him an unscrupulous reputation.  Six years ago Christina saw beyond his façade, but the emotions she evoked scared him and he pushed her away.  Now he wants a second chance and he is determined to get her back…even if he has to play dirty.

Excerpt:

Heart pounding in her chest, she closed the door behind him. Wearing her best business face, she returned to this disastrous meeting and sat. Christina drew in a deep breath, and a measure of control was restored. She picked up her pen and flipped open the case file. “So, according to these documents, your client is contesting the divorce?”

Steven reached across the table and snatched the pen from her hand. “What’s the rush, Christina? We haven’t seen each other in years. There’s a lot of catching up to do.”

She clenched her teeth together, barely parting her lips as she spoke. “We have nothing but this case to discuss.”

“Come on, don’t be like that.” He leaned back in his chair, frowning. “You’re not still holding a grudge, are you? What happened was so long ago. I hoped we could start fresh, as friends.”

“Are you freaking serious?” She glared an icy stare. Forget a slow death by high heel. She’d get more pleasure strangling him with her bare hands. “You accused me of misconduct, had me fired, and now you want to be friends?” Her heart thumped a rapid beat in her ears. “You’re out of your mind.”

 

About the Author:

An avid reader since childhood, Darlene loved to put a pencil to paper and plot out stories of her own. She writes heartwarming contemporary romances with a focus on plot-driven page-turners. When Darlene isn’t writing, editing, or reading, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and Yellow Lab.

Contact links:

Web Blog: http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarleneLF

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/DarleneLF

Giveaway Draw:

Be sure to drop by my web site during the month of October to enter an awesome giveaway to celebrate the release of Law of Attraction!

Guest Interview–Sydney St. Claire

I’m chatting with Sydney St. Claire who writes for the Wilder Roses at The Wild Rose Press. We promise to keep everything PG-13, although her titles are categorized as erotic romance. And she’s giving away stuff! Rafflecopter entry at the bottom of post.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’ve been writing since 1987, published since 1996. To date I’ve had 12 books published in print and later in E-format. My publisher went out of business so I self-published two more books in each of my two series. As Sydney, I have one book out, Cinderella & Prince Dom, and one coming out Oct 31st (Red & Her Big Bad Dom). Snow & Her Huntsman looks to be a Jan release. When I tally my book count, it shocks me to see that I’m at 17! Wow! Doesn’t seem possible.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I’m a crafty person. Knitting and crocheting are my current favs, and with my first granddaughter on the way, I’ve gone back to sewing as well.

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

As I tend to write series, Once Upon a Dom is my current and third, I usually start with the characters. I always know who they are and sometimes a bit about them, depending on the type of series.

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

I love music when I write. I tend to go very new age in my selections. Celtic music is a must. I love Enya and Secret Garden and several others. My current favorite is Blackmoor’s Night. I also love David Lanz and I also go for stranger stuff like Gregorian Chanters. Neil Diamond makes it into my play lists when the mood hits and oh yeah, mood music like wolves howling and bagpipes, all guaranteed to drive my family nuts. Basically, I love music.

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

I take a break if needed or these days, with such tight deadlines, I power through it. I write for an hour and find that the mind, under pressure, just pulls itself together and spits out what’s next. I do believe the story is there, we just don’t always see it but when our brain knows it is going to have to sit for an hour and produce words, it usually responds. I have a blog post on my blog on Power Writing and how it changed my writing and productivity.

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

I write Historical Romances: Native American and Westerns as Susan Edwards. I hope to get back to those next year but right now, Sydney needs my attention <g>

 What’s your dream vacation destination?

I’d love to go to Hawaii and do an Alaskan Cruise. Both on my to-do list.

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

I used to, but find I don’t have the luxury of those any longer. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I fill out plot or character sheets. I use Scrivener and just jot my notes in there. For my longer Historical romances, I’ll do a bit more but none of the fancy charts of my past. Just the facts, ma’am and get to writing.

In what genre do you read?

I read romance of course, and erotica but I also read fantasy, like L.E. Modesitts Imager series, and David Eddings Belgariad (when will they release the rest of the books in E-format!). Currently, I’ve started JD Robb’s Death series from the beginning. Will take me close to a year to read them back to back! Longer if I sneak in another book here and there…

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

Cats and dogs and oh my! A few years ago, I could have added rats to this but alas, they have so short a lifespan. So, I just rescued a tiny black kitten, 8 weeks. She is number six! I’ve always said I was one cat shy of being a crazy cat lady. I’m afraid that Little Luna shoved me over that line. I also have 3 dogs, including a Great Pyrenees rescue with tons of health issues, including severe allergies. I actually have to cook her food.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope my readers take away a few things. First, some good, old plain relaxation and fun. Reading is a pleasure and a joy. Second, my characters are strong and overcome challenges. I hope readers take away the feeling that they too can overcome life’s struggles. Lastly, for women especially, I hope they realize just how good, strong and important they are. Life can beat us down. My characters might be fictional but my readers are not, and it is my wish that they find one thing positive in my books that they can apply to their own lives to become the special people they are.

perf5.000x8.000.inddBLURB:

Jaimie Newberry is jobless, her rent is due, and her cat just died. On top of that, she was accused of embezzling before she was fired. When her friend invites her for a weekend of kinky fairytale role-playing, she agrees to go as Cinderella. What has she got to lose when sex with a handsome prince is involved?

CEO Bryce Langston needs to know if Jamie is innocent of embezzlement or just very clever. He arranges for her to be his weekend sub but soon realizes the pretty scullery maid is naïve to the BDSM lifestyle. As her prince and her Dom, he intends to not only learn the truth but to make sure she has a fantasy come true.

EXCERPT:

Bryce spotted his Cinderella entering the parlor below. The ruffles of her skirt swirled playfully around slender thighs, and the low cut of her simple top revealed a nice swell of breasts. Deep inside, anticipation hummed, and not just for learning the truth. Annie had been gone five years now, and while he hadn’t been celibate during those long years, he hadn’t participated in the games he hosted either. This would be his first.

And only because he needed to know the truth.

Jaimie had uncovered an embezzling ring in one of his accounting firms. Her boss implicated her, her files backed the man up, but as he’d found out, the man himself had proved to be a liar, and the leader in the group of employees caught.

Lucy, his personal assistant, swore Jaimie was innocent, that she was the one who’d discovered the theft, then been fired because of it. The fact Jaimie had blown the whistle lent her story credence, as did the files she gave Lucy to give to him, all dated before she’d been fired. He’d hired auditors, and they thought she was innocent. But he wouldn’t know until he spoke to her. A study of her employment files indicated the woman was smart. She could easily have done what she did to make herself look innocent and then gotten out before being caught.

“Does it matter if she is as guilty as the others?”

Bryce nodded. “Yes. If she was part of it, I’ll press charges. No one steals from me.” He’d already gotten confessions out of the rest of his employees and fired those who were supposed to oversee that department. Fools were more concerned with their ladder climbing and brown-nosing instead of doing their job.

Determining Jaimie’s level of involvement was unfinished business. Was his Cinderella truly innocent, or had she been framed? He couldn’t find any money trails leading to her bank accounts, but that didn’t mean she didn’t have money squirreled away elsewhere, under another name. No, he needed to know for sure.

Glorie laughed low in her throat. “My, your little playmate looks ready to bolt, and it’s not even midnight.”

Bryce narrowed his eyes. Glorie was right. Jaimie was staring at some of the costumes with mouth agape. He couldn’t see her eyes but imagined they were wide with shock. Even from where he stood, he could see her face was flushed with embarrassment. She took a big gulp of her champagne then grabbed Lucy by the arm. Though he couldn’t hear the conversation, it was clear his sub was having serious doubts.

BUY LINKS

Wild Rose Press

KINDLE        

NOOK                       

KOBO            

IBOOKS

 

Sydney St Claire

BIO:

Sydney St. Claire is the pseudonym of Susan Edwards, author of 14 Historical Native American/Western/Paranormal romances and the author of the popular “White” Series.

Sydney loves writing and sharing stories of love, happiness and dreams come true with her readers. She credits her mother for her writing success. Encouraged to read as a child, she always preferred happy endings which meant romances were her favorite genre. Sydney takes her readers into the world of erotica romance where her characters come together in explosive passion as they solve life’s problems and find true love along with the best sex our hero and heroine have ever experienced.

Sydney’s office is quite crowded with three dogs at her feet and five cats to keep her company while she writes. Three cats always insist on beds on her desk, barely leaving enough room for her monitor and keyboard. Life gets fun when all five insist on supervising…

When not writing, she enjoys crafts of all sorts including quilting, sewing, cross-stitch and knitting. She and her husband of 30 + years are avid gardeners. He takes care of the veggies, and Susan is in charge of the ‘pretties’. Her medicine wheel garden is in a contact state of war: flowers vs. weeds. Sadly, right now the weeds are wining…

While writing, she listens to a wide variety of music. Her current favorites are Blackmore’s Night and David Lanz.

Where to find Sydney on the web:

Trailer:

Email:              Sydney@sydneystclaire.com

Website:

Twitter:

Facebook:

Blog:

Goodreads:

Pinterest:

CONTEST:

Once Upon a Dom Tote Bag and goodies (mug, flash drive & more). See pictures of prizes and details here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Interview–Nancy Bolton

Welcome to Nancy Bolton, author of both contemporary and historical stories. She’s sharing her writing life and a peek at her release from Prism Book Group, The Right Ingredients. (Details for the giveaway are at the end of the post)

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I live in rural upstate New York. It’s humorous how most non-New Yorkers think if you say you’re from New York, that you’re from New York City, or another large metropolis. It’s funny because New York is a big state, and has tons of state parks, forests and long stretches of sparsely populated back roads. Like the dirt road I live on! I’m married for 41 years, have 5 sons and two grandchildren, a boy and a girl.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I like to cook, and am in the process of learning how to lacto-ferment instead of canning. Very interesting and much healthier! Plus I like to knit, crochet, garden, and listen to music.

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

Usually the characters.

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

Classical, especially Beethoven symphonies conducted by Leonard Bernstein. That’s my standard. Then, when writing historicals, I also listen to music of the time period. It really enhances the writing experience for me.

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

I usually have more than one story going, so if I hit a snag with one, I work on one of the other ones, until I’m refreshed. Also, during those times, I try to get caught up on household tasks like cleaning and organizing. I’m usually always behind on those. Really behind!

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

How many times I repeat words or phrases. Embarrassing! But I’m learning!

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

I also have historical romances, women’s fiction, a fantasy I’m working on, and a children’s book I’ve started.

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

When I write historicals, I do. I like to look at pictures or drawings of the people and objects during the time period.

In what genre do you read?

I read practically everything! I’ve got an extremely curious mind.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope they gain an understanding of how faith and love are relationships that challenge everyone in different ways. I find the exploration of these vital relationships endlessly fascinating!

Thanks for interviewing me!

The Right Ingredients

BLURB:

Ann’s hectic work responsibilities demand all her time and effort, and what was once a useful, satisfactory life has become a burden. Her bakery partner Susan has lost none of her enthusiasm for their business, and Ann can’t understand her exuberance, or her friend’s Christian faith. So she trudges along, hiding her dissatisfaction from Susan, resigned to a life of work, sleep and problems.

Unexpected comments offered by two different people cause a crack in Ann’s armor and her thoughts careen into unexpected directions. Attention from a young widower with a son challenges Ann’s resolve to stay safe and uninvolved. Susan’s example of faith through trial furthers Ann’s curiosity about God. Ann must choose to step toward the unfamiliar freedom of giving and receiving love, or stay in the shadows, stuck in the grip of past hurt and long-standing barriers.

From a review:

“This debut novel reminds me of the early Mitford novels. A slice of life story with a gentler feeling to it. Some interesting plot twists surprised me, and I fell in love with the characters.” –Lena Nelson Dooley, multi-award winning author of the McKenna’s Daughters series–Maggie’s Journey, Mary’s Blessing, and Catherine’s Pursuit

EXCERPT:

Ann hoped the bakery stayed empty of customers. She needed every bit of concentration to decorate the cake the way she envisioned it. Her light blue eyes scrutinized the last patch of undecorated surface. Almost done. Shifting on the chair, elbows planted on the low icing table, she pressed her lips together and leaned closer. She calculated the perfect angle to hold the frosting bag.

A stray hair drifted into her line of vision and she blew out a quick upward breath to deflect it. How on earth could any strand escape her coiled braid? She should have worn the hairnet. But hairnets were old-womanish. Still, she preferred them to the flimsy paper hats she and Susan wore the first year they opened the bakery. They never fit well, and exasperated her by sailing off her head when she rushed past the ceiling fans.

The bell on the bakery’s front door tinkled. Ann sighed and wished Susan would return from deliveries. She glanced through the archway and out the picture window. Maybe she’d appear. No such luck. Oh, well.

“Be right there,” she called. Ann set down the icing bag, rose from the chair and angled her hips to slip past the table. As she stepped sideways, two bees zoomed in and flew toward her. She startled, brushed both hands to scare them away and lost her balance.

In helpless shock, her stomach fell as her forearms, palms and chin landed on the cake and sunk in. She groaned, lifted her head and stared in total horror. Loud moans erupted.. “No, no, no.”

As though a protest would change anything. Tears gathered. She drew away from the cake, and straightened up. One little wobble, and her handiwork was destroyed.

“Are you okay?”

Ann stared at a tall, sturdy man in jeans and a tee shirt. He stood in the archway between the front and back rooms and surveyed the scene. “I’d have stayed out there, but I heard you cry out and thought I’d better check on you.”

Ann’s lip trembled. She pushed against the tide of emotion. No tears in front of customers. The two bees danced on the frosting, poking around on her ruined cake. “It’s all their fault. I tried to do everything right, and see what happened?”

She pointed a frosted finger at them, while her tears overflowed. Through the blur, she glanced from the excited insects over to the man. She blinked to clear her vision. His eyes were sympathetic, and his mouth wore a suppressed grin. He stood in a firm stance, yet appeared poised to offer assistance. Ann searched for a clean part of her arm and brought it up to first brush the tears, then the frosting beard off her chin. She must look like some sort of clown.

The merriment left his face. “I’m sorry. I think maybe they flew in when I opened the door. Can I help?”

“That’s kind.” Ann attempted a smile. “But I don’t think you can fix this cake. And please don’t feel bad about the bees. They love to break in here with all this sugar.”

She strode to the sink and turned on the water to wash off the pastel colored mess. “I’ll be out front in a moment.”

“Okay.”

Ann finished her clean-up, wiped off her chin, hands and arms, and dabbed the towel on her eyes. She tied on a clean apron, straightened her shoulders and stepped to the front room of the bakery.

“Well, you look better.” He laughed. “I’m sorry, but that was pretty funny.”

Ann imagined her ridiculous appearance before she cleaned up and couldn’t help joining him. When their laughter subsided, he asked, “Feeling better?”

“Thank you, yes.” She needed a laugh.

“I’m glad. Must’ve been frustrating.” His obvious sympathy unlocked her natural reserve.

“I’ve decorated it for almost an hour, and now I’ve got to start the whole thing over from scratch. My business partner isn’t back from deliveries and I have more cakes to make.” She didn’t like to complain.

Take a breath. She shrugged. “… Anyway.”

He grinned. “You seem pretty young to run a bakery.”

“I don’t feel young today.” She grimaced and shook her head. “I guess it’s technically not a bakery, either. We only make cakes and cookies. Susan and I work here together, four years now, since college.” She blew out a breath. “Gets pretty crazy sometimes. Who knew the organic cake business would be so popular?”

He chuckled. “I’m not surprised, after all the raves I’ve heard. You know, I’ve had days like yours.” He stretched out his hand. “My name’s Tom Tillman. Sure hope your afternoon gets better.”

She clasped his offered hand and gave it a shake. “Ann Shaw. Around here most days are hectic, though I don’t usually fall on the cakes. I want to thank you for offering to help.”

“Wish I could have. I’m a capable farmer, handy with the livestock, but no good at cake fixing. Or baking, which is why I’m here.” He spread his hands out towards the display case.

“Hey, how ironic. A farmer with the last name Tillman. Till-man. Do you get teased?”

“Sure. Especially back in college. They loved to goof on me and make up nicknames. They also told me I had no choice in professions because of it.”

They shared a laugh.

“So, that’s why you’re a farmer?”

Tom shook his head. “No, I’d be one even if my name was… Ann Shaw.”

Ann’s cheeks grew warm at the way his tone dropped. She’d never connected to a customer so fast. He was easy to talk to.

BUY LINKS:

PRISM

AMAZON ebook

AMAZON print

Nancy Bolton

BIO:

Nancy Shew Bolton is a wife of 41 years, mother of five grown sons, and grandmother to a boy and girl. Ever since she learned to write, she would jot down her thoughts and impressions in little snippets of inspiration in the form of poetry, song lyrics, or short essays. About six years ago, she decided to try her hand at writing a full length book. She’s since written five works of fiction, two non-fiction, and is working on an idea for a children’s book, as well as more fiction manuscripts. Writing a full-length work is much more challenging than she thought, and she has received so much valuable assistance from other writers, especially from the ACFW critique groups. Her husband has been supportive of her long hours spent at the keyboard. Many thanks to her beloved Johnny! And now she’s under contract with Prism Book Group with a novel set to be released in September 2014! What a journey! She thanks God and His Son for her life, her loved ones and the spark of creativity inside every person. She believes each person is a unique creation, with their own special voice and place in this amazing universe. God’s handiwork amazes her every day!

Contact links:

http://boltonnancy.com/

Facebook

On Twitter

The Diamond Mine group blog

Giveaway:

I’ll give away a free copy of The Right Ingredients to one lucky person who leaves a comment here.

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

Author Interview–Anna Kittrell

Today I’m interviewing Anna Kittrell, an author friend from Prism Book Group, who shares interesting tidbits about her writing style. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance at a free book.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

For the past thirteen years, I have enjoyed working as a middle school secretary in my beloved hometown of Anadarko, Oklahoma, where I reside with my high school sweetheart-turned-husband of twenty-five years, Tim, and our seventeen-year-old daughter. With a son, daughter-in-law, and precious grandbaby nearby, life is my favorite story.

I have written for as long as I can remember. I still have most of my tattered creations—leftover stories I was unable to sell on the playground for a dime—scrawled in childish handwriting on notebook paper, bound with too many staples. My love of storytelling has grown throughout the years, and I am thrilled my tales are now worth more than ten cents.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Drenched in a combustible mixture of love and hate, Anna strikes a match.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I love spending time with my little grandbaby, watching a good movie with my husband, and reading.

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

They arrive simultaneously. Characters approach me in the middle of their experiences.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

Planned. The more time I spend planning, the quicker and cleaner the manuscript. I create a binder for each story filled with tabs for my outline, character sketches, visuals, research information, and—perhaps most importantly—a CALENDAR! I write nothing without first planning my characters’ calendar. Early on, I learned of the tangled, inescapable web caused by neglecting to create a solid character calendar. Never again.

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

I do some research ahead of time, usually just by googling the topic on which I need information, such as the demographics and climate of the area in which the story is set, how big my character’s school or house is, or the specifics of any special skills or afflictions that my character might have. As the story progresses, I always find more research is needed, so I do more and add it to the research tab in my binder.

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

My first romantic suspense novel, Skinbound, is set at Lake Chickasha, Oklahoma, which is just fifteen miles from my house. I’ve trampled those red lakeshores many times.

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

My outlines are so detailed, that if I get stuck, it is usually in the planning stage. A brainstorming session with a plain old pad and pencil usually does the trick. I write down a lot of “maybe this” or “maybe that” and do some idea clustering. It helps to just look at my thoughts on paper. If that doesn’t work, I take a shower. lol. For some reason, a hot shower often fills me with ideas and compels me to jump out—naked and soaking wet—to write them all down.

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

In addition to YA Christian suspense, I write romantic suspense and YA contemporary.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Hawaii. More specifically, Fantasy Island. I’m a dreamer—and an 80’s chick.

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

I love searching for my characters’ hairstyles, attire, and jewelry online. This is especially fun when I am planning a high school prom or a wedding. I also pick out their automobiles and homes. I always print out pictures of people who resemble my characters to use as a reference guide.

In what genre do you read?

It sometimes surprises people to learn that I enjoy reading classic horror. The Picture of Dorian Gray and Frankenstein are two of my favorite books. Also, I am a teen at heart, so I love to read YA. So many important things can be said in the young adult voice that can’t be said in the adult voice. Whether reading or writing, YA allows me to be completely transparent—emotional, dramatic, explosive, silly—and best of all, honest, without fear.

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

My little editing partner, Bruce the Chihuahua, passed away last summer at the age of 13. I really miss him. I may get another dog when my six-month-old grandson gets a bit older.

 What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

When the book closes, I want readers to remember my characters as friends—the same way I do. I hope the tale will seem more like a memory experienced than a story read.

DIZZY BLONDE

BLURB:

All of her life, Lenni has been the perfect child, but still her parents are divorcing. Invisible and angry, Lenni trades her innocent princess image for the rebellious likeness of her favorite rock icon, Dizzy. In an effort to shed the old Lenni, she turns her back on those who love her most, trading true friendship for a dangerous affiliation with a shady upperclassman. When deception and rumors threaten to ruin Lenni’s life, she learns the value of good friends and the importance of an honorable reputation. But can this realization save her from the clutches of danger? Or was the lesson learned too late?

EXCERPT:

I stepped through the automatic door, the cold night air piercing my lungs. Snowflakes, too waterlogged to float, splattered on the pavement like wounded birds. I spied Dad’s sports coupe and watched the milky snow plop onto the shiny red paint. On second thought, the stuff falling from the sky looked more like what birds do.

Mom’s parking space was two over from Dad’s, next to an iron lamppost. I pulled my hood up, jogged to the champagne-colored car, and tugged the passenger door handle. Locked. Pressing my forehead against the cold window, I watched the tinted glass fog with my breath. I stooped and cleared the side mirror with my coat sleeve, checking my reflection. With a shiver, I drew in a frigid lungful of air then released it slowly through pursed lips, scissoring my fingers around an invisible cigarette. Impressed with how I looked, I shook back my hood and took another invisible drag.

“Seriously?” Misty’s cackle rang out through the hushed parking lot, causing me to throw down my imaginary cigarette and bury my head in my hood.

“What are you doing, you dork?” she asked, her voice closer. I turned toward her as she stepped into the light, her hair wet with snow, a wisp of real smoke curling, rising above her. “You’ll like this brand better—it has more flavor.” The red glow on the end of the cigarette grew brighter as she sucked on the filter.

“Won’t you get in trouble if your dad smells smoke on you?”

“What’s he going to do, send me to rehab? He already took my phone, thanks to you.”

“Cigarette rehab, is that a real thing?” I asked.

Misty glared and took another drag. “You know, I used to be a lot like you. A pampered little princess. My parents’ pride and joy. A good girl. Then one day, I woke up and realized I was only being good because I was afraid of being bad. I was a fake. Pretending to be perfect so I wouldn’t disappoint my parents. So I changed. Now I call the shots.”

“Glad you can call something,” I muttered.

“Was that a crack about my phone? Don’t worry, I’ll have it back by this time tomorrow. Wait and see.” She flicked ashes to the wet pavement. “I bet you’ve never done one bad thing in your entire pathetic life. Seriously, how do you stand yourself?”

“Maybe I like how I am,” I said, knowing she could see right through me.

“Yeah. Sure you do. That’s why you’re standing out here in the dark pretending to smoke. Here,” she said, offering her cigarette to me.

The burning tobacco caused my pulse to quicken. Something tingled inside, a maddening mixture of thrill and dread—like riding a rollercoaster up the track. I formed a V with my fingers and extended my hand, on the edge of the most exhilarating moment of my life.

Misty handed the cigarette off to me and I brought it to my lips with shaking fingers, knowing my next breath would leave me forever changed.

“What on earth do you think you’re doing?” my mother screeched, her boot heels clacking across the wet parking lot.

I froze, cigarette smoldering between my fingers, somehow unable to flick it to the ground.

Misty backed away from the glow of the lamppost into the shadows, her quick footsteps fading as she darted across the parking lot, leaving me to burn alone in my mother’s fiery glare.

“Kids will be kids.” I swung around at the sound of Dad’s chuckle as he strode up the hospital sidewalk with Mayor Lincoln. “I’m just glad the girls are all right. Happy holidays.” They shook hands before parting on the curb then Dad glanced over and paced toward us. “Hey, what’s up?” He frowned at the cigarette glued between my fingers.

“Apparently Lenni has taken up smoking,” Mom informed him, her voice wavering.

“Smoking? Lenni?” He shook his head and grinned. “Surely there’s a rational explanation.” My father looked at me expectantly. “Let’s hear it, Len. Did you pick it up off the pavement because it was a fire hazard?”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake, Neal, look around you. The parking lot is completely saturated. If she’d picked it up off the ground, it would be soaking wet and extinguished.” Mom rolled her eyes. “She was smoking.”

“Now hold on. Lenni’s already been through a lot tonight. I’m not convinced—”

They ignored me and argued about what I was or was not doing. My ears rang. A headache pounded behind my eyeballs. Trading digs and snide remarks, their rising voices ignited a fuse in the pit of my stomach that twisted through my entire being.

Smoke wafted into my face and I breathed it in. My parents narrowed their eyes at one another, lost on some angry planet of their own as I brought the cigarette to my lips and drew the smoke into my lungs. I probably could’ve stood there, invisible, and smoked the whole thing, had my sputtering, coughing, and wheezing not snapped their heads in my direction.

With a gasp, Mom lunged and slapped the cigarette from my fingers, grazing my lip. I clamped a hand over my stinging mouth.

“Keep your hands off her,” Dad yelled, grabbing Mom by the wrist. She twisted her arm and grunted, trying to get free.

I jammed myself between their rigid bodies, shoving them apart. Screams ripped through my cigarette-raw throat. Dad dropped Mom’s wrist and they stared at me. I jumped up and down screaming until I ran out of air, ending with a breathy screech.

A young woman holding a bundled child against her shoulder passed by, her eyes wide as she hurried through the wet parking lot to her car.

“She’s okay,” Dad called after her, and then reached his arms out to me.

I took a step back. “Mom, take me home.” My voice plunged to a watery sob that shook my shoulders and weakened my knees.

BUY LINKS

Prism Book Group

Amazon

Snippets from 5-star reviews

I sat down today and read from cover to end. I could not put it down. This book made me feel, it made me ache and yes, in two scenes brought me to tears. I recommend this book to every parent who has a teenager. Read it. Then pass it on to your child.

*Ms Kittrell did an excellent job with this fast paced novel. She handled a very current and troubling situation involving children and teenagers. The intrigue and danger keeps the reader turning pages and the meaning of true friends and a relationship with God clearly shines through.

A Kittrell

Anna works as a middle school secretary in her beloved hometown of Anadarko, Oklahoma, where she resides with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband of twenty-four years, and their seventeen-year-old daughter. With a son, daughter-in-law, and precious grandbaby nearby, life is her favorite story.

Anna has written for as long as she can remember. She still has most of her tattered creations—leftover stories she was unable to sell on the playground for a dime—written in childish handwriting on notebook paper, bound with too many staples. Her love of storytelling has grown throughout the years, and she is thrilled her tales are now worth more than ten cents.

 

CONTACT LINKS:

Website http://annakittrell.com/

Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/AKittrell

Twitter https://twitter.com/KittrellAnna

email kittrellbooks@gmail.com

Goodreads http://alturl.com/qu6as

Author will give away free e-copy of Witcha’be and a free e-copy of Dizzy Blonde to two random commenters.