Category Archives: Author interviews and guest blogs
Hanging out with some of the authors I love
Good morning! I’d like to introduce you to Caddy Rowland, a fellow author I met during the first online ebook festival in August. She graciously hosted a guest post on her blog, and is going to take over mine today.
Now I’ll turn it over to Caddy!
Writer of Fiction, Painter of Life & Energy
By Caddy Rowland, Author of “The Gastien Series”
Hi! My name is Caddy Rowland and I am an artist. If that sounds like I think I’m at an AA meeting, well, that doesn’t surprise me. Being an artist is tough. I don’t paint because I think it’s cool or because I’m good enough. I paint because I have to. There’s no choice unless I want to feel incomplete. Artistic talent (and not just painting) is a gift, but it can also be a curse. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I can paint and write…but it can be alienating, all encompassing, frustrating, and usually leaves you with very little money to show for it. So, yeah, I wish there was my kind of AA: Artists Anonymous.
Still, when I paint I enter a place that only those of us who are called to pick up a brush can go to. I become one with The Color and I have to tell you, there is no other feeling quite like it. When I am in that place nothing else matters. When I am in that place, I am one with the force of creation.
My painting definitely affected the series that I’m currently working on. The Gastien Series begins with a fictional painter in the bohemian era of France (late nineteenth century). The first book (Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream) is literally that: my first book. At least the first I have published. Gastien is a peasant farm boy who wants to become a painter in Paris. He leaves home under the threat of his father killing him if he ever returns. With no formal training, he is destined to living on the rough streets of the heartless city. Starvation, homelessness and possibly being murdered are very real possibilities.
Still, he presses on. He knows that he was meant to paint and he won’t let anything get in his way. I know the feeling of realizing what you are meant to do, but I have to admit that I have let many things get in my way over the years. Some have been excuses. Others have been the greatest blessings of my life, like my husband. We are one of those rare couples who have a great relationship. Not many can claim that; even less so with any type of artists. That is why I hesitate to allow myself to really paint how I should be painting. I don’t want to wall myself off from my husband or my friends.
And so, I chose to write about an artist. The character and the time period were perfect for keeping my attention. Was there a more talented group than those who came from that time period? Renoir, van Gogh, Degas, Picasso, and dozens more all painted during this time, from about 1860 to 1914. That is when Impressionism started, and once it did all kinds of new art developed.
Plus the era was wild, rude, and raunchy. I doubt there has ever been a more decadent period of time. I am surprised more books and movies don’t center around this era.
The artists of that period were cutting edge and broke a lot of established painting rules. I am like that with my painting, at times with my life, and I also tend to do a little of that in my writing. What can I say? Being indie gives me that freedom. Oh, my books are well edited and proofed. I’m not sloppy. But I don’t hesitate to head hop on occasion. Why? Well, I tend to feel that most readers are intelligent enough to follow more than one point of view. I try to make it smooth, but it is definitely not one point of view.
I’m also not afraid to push boundaries. I don’t write “pretty” stories. I write stories about the anguish of being human. There is beauty, too, but I will never shy away from the gritty. Keeping it real means more to me than making it easy to swallow. I don’t mean to say that my books are full of difficult words and hard to follow plots. However, they are full of drama and, at times, horrific things happen. Just like in life.
Yep. I write like I paint. Not always pretty. Not always commercial. But always real. I hope you take a chance on The Gastien Series. Readers say it is a series that makes them feel every emotion imaginable, and they become one with the main character.
Talking with you has been great, but I hear the canvas calling. It’s been awhile since I’ve picked up a brush because I was working hard getting book four out. I can’t wait any longer. The Color is calling. See ya!
When young Gastien Beauchamp flees the farm for Paris, the late nineteenth century bohemian era is in full swing. Color has always called to him, beseeching him to capture it on canvas and show people a new way of seeing things. His father belittled his dream of being an artist and tried to beat him into giving it up. The dream wouldn’t die, but Gastien would have had he not left.
He also yearns to become a great lover. After the years of anguish he has endured at the hand of his father, it would be heaven to feel pleasure instead of pain.
However, the city of Paris has a ruthless agenda. Unless a man has money and connections, Paris unfeelingly crushes dreams and destroys souls. With neither of the required assets, Gastien faces living in alleys, digging in trash bins for food, and sleeping where a man is often killed for his threadbare blanket.
Left with nothing but his dreams, Gastien clings to the hope that the impossible is possible. He pushes on, regardless of the cost.
Adult fiction for men and women over age 18
Buy links for Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream:
http://tinyurl.com/3ecu8ku For Kindle readers
http://tinyurl.com/3ue4a7h For NOOK readers (Part 1)
http://tinyurl.com/bx3edem For Kobo readers (Part 1)
http://tinyurl.com/3luddg7 To order paperback (Part 1)
Gastien Fanpage: www.facebook.com/Gastien.Beauchamp
Author Blog (Writer of Fiction, Painter of Life & Energy: www.caddyrowlandblog.blogspot.com
Caddy Rowland grew up in the Midwest with a stack of books that almost reached the ceiling before she was five. Books, along with her vivid imagination, have always been her closest friends. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, who was her high school sweetheart. They are owned by two parrots. Yes, they can talk, and yes, they can bite! Melanie, the African Grey has such an extensive vocabulary that Caddy sometimes thinks Melly is preparing to become an author. After over 20 twenty years in advertising sales, Caddy decided to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an author in 2011. There are four books planned for the Gastien series, and many other books in her head. Now, if only she can learn to type 2000 words a minute… Her goal as an author is to make readers laugh, cry, think, and become intimately connected with her main characters. To her, a good main character stays in the mind long after the story has been read. They should become as real in the mind as the person next door.
Thank you, Caddy, for letting inspiration free you long enough to spend some time with us.
I highly recommend her series – you can find all of the books on her Amazon Author Page here.
Thanks for stopping by, and hanging out with us today.
Until next time – read on.
I often get requests through my contact page from people wanting to guest post, and I don’t often accept them.
But this one, from Louis Sharman, intrigued me – and when I read it, I knew I had to have him on my blog.
I love non-fiction crime books. They are the skeletons in closets, the dark secrets in the shadows. My first was Helter Skelter, dealing with the Charles Manson murder spree. Not exactly light reading for a 12 year old – yes, I was precocious.
But it was fascinating, and horrific, and riveting. I was hooked.
So, let me turn it over to Louis.
There is something about non-fiction crime books that just works – the stories, the personalities and the realisation that this stuff actually happened is a heady mix.
In the publishing world there are a plethora of genres and sub-genres for people to dip into, but for some readers there is nothing more fascinating than finding out about an often nasty character and the terrible things they did. The more grisly the situation, the greater the interest it can inspire.
Rather than being a sign that the reader in question is completely barmy or bloodthirsty, it is simply a long-term phenomenon: people enjoy reading these tales.
Of course, not all true crime stories are going to be focused on a glamorous or notorious serial murderer – white-collar crimes can be just as devious if not as bloody – but all share the ability to take you into a world that is essentially your own, but is populated by the sort of people you fear.
Truth is stranger than fiction
Life has a habit of being utterly bizarre, which is part of what makes non-fiction so fascinating, since you know that everything that you are reading actually happened at some point – it has not just been dreamt up by some creative young novelist. This adds weight to every word of the book and makes it much more thrilling when the story takes twists and turns.
It is one thing for someone to tell you an exciting story, but quite another to say that it happened to someone they knew. In this way, you almost feel implicated in the tale, particularly if it is something that happened during your lifetime. You wonder how the criminal got away with it and how you would have reacted if you had encountered them.
To a certain extent these are ideas that a fictional story will inspire too, but the knowledge that the book is real makes it all the more poignant.
Another part of the attraction for some people is the way you can dig a little deeper when you come across a story that fascinates you. Whether you decide to check the National Archives (or an equivalent organisation) for official records of the criminal in question, or simply find another book about them, you are able to develop your knowledge and come across new perspectives.
In contrast, a fiction book is often a little limited in this way, since you are restricted to the material published by the author – unless you indulge in fan fiction you find online. There will always be critical discussions of the best books – both fiction and non-fiction – but true stories offer greater scope for research.
These investigations need not be limited to just the person at the centre of the crimes; you can read around the society they inhabited, the state of the nation during their lifetime or simply the quality of police intelligence they would have come up against. All of these factors can help you appreciate what that criminal did and what this can teach us about humanity.
Author Bio: Louis Sharman is an avid blogger and writes for a plethora of subjects ranging from book reviews to suggesting the importance of ebooks in modern culture. He lives in London, UK and enjoys reviewing the most recent true stories about crime. He is also an amateur photographer and has a great collection of photography books.
Thank you, Louis, for sharing this wonderful post.
Now for the rest of you – do you read these books? What was your first? Your favorite?
I hope you enjoyed delving into this topic as much as I did.
Until next time – read on. With the lights burning.
I am thrilled to have author J.E. Taylor here today, making a stop on her blog tour for Don’t Fear The Reaper.
I devoured the book, and thoroughly enjoyed it. My review will be coming on Friday. Until then, please welcome J.E., and her post on lessons learned.
Hi all! My name is Jane E. Taylor, JET for short, and I’ve been in the business for a couple years now, both as an author and as a publisher. I thought it might be beneficial to other authors starting out if I talked about my experiences leading up to this point.
One of the most important lessons I learned is first impressions are everything.
A good query letter can make all the difference in the world in whether the agent or publisher will actually read your submission, so make sure you understand what a query letter entails BEFORE you start shopping your manuscript around.
I hate writing query letters and book blurbs. Most writers do. It requires us to boil the story we’ve spent the last who knows how long sweating out onto the page into a few short snappy sentences created to get an agent or publisher to raise an eyebrow and read the rest of our submission.
I’ve found that most times, a well crafted blurb means a well crafted book – especially when the book.
I know I’m not alone in this opinion, so how do you get from a 70,000 word novel to a paragraph or two summary that’s compelling and captures the essence of the book?
Well it’s time to go back to school and the notion of a book report. What’s the main theme? I’m sure you could write a ten thousand word dissertation on your theme but that’s not going to catch a reader’s attention.
Because I don’t have his actual query letter, let’s take a look at the original cover copy for my favorite all time book – The Stand:
“This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.
And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail — and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.”
Now Mr. King could have chosen any number of key characters but he focused on the central theme of good and evil. He goes a step further by leaving us hanging; tickling our interest without hinting at the battle we know is inevitable when people take sides.
Read the blurb aloud. I dare you.
Now tell me that didn’t give you goosebumps. Even if you’ve never read The Stand – this is enough to get you to read the first few pages of that mammoth manuscript.
As an editor, if this blurb passed over my desk, I would be compelled to stop and re-read it, relish the unspoken poetry of it and of course, I’d ask for the full manuscript. Not because this is Stephen King, but because he gave me just enough to tickle that spot. That spot that demands attention, demands to be scratched. Just enough for me to have to know what happens next.
Incredible power and that’s exactly what you should strive for in writing your query letter, but don’t stop there, the book has to deliver the promise you make in the blurb, so make sure your prose are just as sharp and satisfying.
Thanks for hanging with me for a bit.
In the meantime, check out Don’t Fear the Reaper, the first book in The Death Chronicles series that I wrote with my twelve-year-old son!
buy at Amazon
The day Nick Ramsay’s eighth-grade teacher drops dead in his classroom, Nick sees his first reaper. When another cloaked figure appears at his grandmother’s bedside, Nick issues an order for the vile creature to leave her alone.
This simple act of defiance creates a domino effect that brings Fate and Death to Nick’s door and reveals his true lineage, throwing his world into chaos. To make matters worse, a group of rogue reapers declares war on humanity and Nick is the only one who can stop them.
Thank you, J.E.! I will be interested to see the comments on this post. You can find out more about J.E. at her website.
Come back on Friday for my review of Don’t Fear The Reaper.
Until next time – read on.
I am thrilled to have Elyse Douglas here, taking over my blog for the day. She has a powerful and thought-provoking post on people, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
So, without further ado, please welcome Elyse.
What do you like about people?
by Elyse Douglas
The total history of almost anyone would shock almost everyone.
Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960.
I love people’s eccentricities, weaknesses and shortcomings. I love the endless variety of personally and the diversity of race and cultural background. I find it utterly fascinating how crazy we all are and yet how successfully we manage to hide this behind facades of cultivated responses, religious beliefs and cultural brainwashing. I love to observe myself and others and then marvel at the variety of creative ways we struggle to be right and good and wise. Of course, we can never be any of these most of the time, because we are human, even if we can’t accept the fact or are afraid to do so.
As Benjamin Franklin said: “Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.”
All people want the same things: happiness, fulfillment, health, freedom and a good life for their children and for themselves. As a writer, I like to observe how people go about trying to achieve these noble pursuits. Will they steal for it? Kill for it? Die for it? Work three jobs for it? Will love cause a man to go insane? Will a woman sacrifice family, career and respect to chase after a no good lout. “But he’s really good, and true and loving on the inside.” It is the exposing of the “awful thing” that someone did, or thought about or wants to do that often sets up a good potential story. And, as a writer, I must confess that I am daily attracted to studying these things in people.
If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others.
~Francois duc de la Rochefoucauld.
So, I love people because deep down, I believe we all want to be good and true and loving. I believe there is something in all of us that is heroic. Otherwise, how could we shoulder on, battling “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”
What gets in the way and stops us from our finding happiness and “I want to be a good person” goals? I once had a writing teacher who said you can build all your characters upon one simple emotion: Fear. What are your characters afraid of? Fear drives everyone: fear of failure; fear of loss; fear of love and of not being loved; fear of dying; fear of inadequacy, fear of not fitting in; fear of fitting in; fear of doing a bad thing and fear of getting caught… and on and on. This intrigues me. It is what I explore as a writer. What motivates people to act and react, based on fear.
None of us is as bad as we think we are or as good as we want to be. We are simply struggling to evolve, to understand, to be a little more conscious and hopefully a little more compassionate with ourselves and others. We are all living on a little round rock that is spinning out in the middle of nowhere and we don’t know how we got here or where we’re going. Most of us live with this incredible fact, calmly.
In most people, there is a splendid beauty. Call it the human spirit or soul or whatever. The majority of people live their lives the best way they can. I find that heroic. I find that admirable. I have great respect for that. Do we all fail? Yes, most of the time. But that does not negate the heroism (to quote Dorothy Fields) of picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and starting all over again.
I do not believe that enlightenment will come in a dramatic illumination, but in suffering stumbles and lengthening strides of patience, compassion and self-forgiveness. I suppose that is the way of the hero. And what keeps the hero going? Well, a good story can help. A good and true and loving story can always help a little. At least, Elyse Douglas likes to think so.
Want to know more about Elyse? You can check out her website.
And buy The Astrologer’s Daughter at Amazon.
Thank you for that post, Elyse. Well written, and loads of food for thought. What did you all get from it? I’d love to hear your comments.
Until next time – read on.
Posted in Author interviews and guest blogs
Good morning! I am thrilled to have Shannon Mayer here today, the author of Sundered, which I am reading on my Kindle as we speak.
I normally don’t do zombie stories, but hers sounded so intriguing I had to give it a try, and I’m glad I did!
Shannon dropped by to answer some questions for you all – so without further ado, here she is.
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
For sure the past! I love history, the feel of place with age and stories behind it. I’ve always been drawn to the mythology and legends from long ago, which probably explains why I wove Irish mythology through my book “Dark Waters”.
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Hmm. Five people? In all honesty, I’m not one for those who have “famous” status. A great dinner party would be my three cousins and my two brothers. We would have a riot as they all have a wicked sense of humor, something I absolutely can’t get enough of. Boring maybe to the rest of the world, but to me they family comes first, always.
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
My husband (he’s Mr. Handy), toilet paper (I’m a believer in the small comforts in life) and some sort of musical instrument (I assume I’ll finally have time to learn to play ;p)
What is one book everyone should read?
Oooh, that’s a hard one, there are so many that I think are THE BEST EVER, until I find the next BEST EVER BOOK. At the moment, I would say that it would have to be The Gunslinger series by Stephen King. Really, this is a book/series that I have read and re-read. Not your typical gore, it’s a blend of fantasy, urban fantasy, western and horror. I think that’s one of the books that has influenced my writing the most, at least when it comes to genre bending.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
The sequel to “Dark Waters”, “Dark Isle” will be out in June if all continues to go well, then I have the third book in that trilogy set to be released in July. After that I have two standalone full length novels, (both urban fantasy) set to be released. In September is “Priceless” the story of a Tracker who hunts down children kidnapped by supernaturals, and in December “The Chronicles of Sin” follows Toni, a woman who carries Gluttony within her and how she sets out to free herself from her vice.
What inspired you to want to become a writer?
I think it runs in my blood, my mother fed that by encouraging me to read books way beyond my age which only pushed me further into the world of the imagination. So, I guess it’s my mom’s fault.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. Anytime I get a 4 or 5 star review, I just feel the flush of knowing that what I’m doing/writing, is making people happy. That is an incredible feeling.
If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be?
Kushiels’ Dart by Jacqueline Carey, without a doubt. Very cool world and if that was a no-no, I would jump into Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Both books have such a depth to the world building it feels as though you could easily stumble across them.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
The Chronicles of Narnia, but of course! What proper writer of fantasy would say anything else?
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Not really, though I was listening to the Transformers Score while I wrote. Love the orchestra, the power of the music really inspired me.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Just keep at it, the only way you will fail is if you give up. Don’t worry about hard critiques and one star ratings, all authors get them, in fact, I would warrant that until you get a one star rating, you are still a baby in this business
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
A few, but I ain’t saying more than that, too incriminating!
What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
ROFL! Well, I did have this vague idea to blend vampires and pirates, but it faded once the laughter from my writing group subsided.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Dreams are meant to be chased. So chase them and know that you are following the path that God laid out for you.
Thank you, Shannon! Some great questions, and fun responses. I always love discovering what other people have to say when random questions are thrown at them.
If you want to grab a copy of Sundered for yourself – and I highly recommend it! – just head over here.
And you can learn more about Shannon at her website.
Thank you again, Shannon, for stopping by. Now I’m off to read more!
Until next time – read on.
Good morning! I am thrilled to have Suzanne Anderson as my guest blogger today. She is the author of God Loves You. – Chester Blue, a book that is now at the top of my TBR list.
She has a wonderful post on the evolution of publishing. So come join us, and share your own thoughts.
Take it away, Suzanne!
What are Your Thoughts on Tradition? The Evolution of Publishing
By Suzanne Anderson
When I think of tradition, I think of the comfort of the tried and true. Traditional is comfortable because the way has already been taken by those who came before, so you know what to expect.
Non-traditional is riskier. And there are likely to be fewer gatekeepers, which means that anyone can enter onto the gates of the country club.
Which is exactly why I think this is the best time in history to be an author. Yes, indie-publishing has created a crowded field where anyone can publish a book and there are no gatekeepers to pronounce who is worthy of presenting themselves to readers. But for authors it means that you now have more options. You can pursue the traditional route of agent and publisher, or you can do it all yourself. Which is a wonderfully entrepreneurial freedom in an industry which was for so many years dominated by a few huge mega-corporations.
For readers, the blasting open of the publishing world means that they not only get introduced new authors, they’ve enjoyed enormous price reductions in the cost of paper books, and in the case of e-books, a daily download opportunity of free books. When you, as a reader, look back at the books you’ve read in the past year, how many of them were by new authors you would never have considered if not for a free book offering? How many indie-authors have you tried in the past year? How have these changes in publishing changed your reading habits or the books you’ll consider reading?
As with any evolution in business that makes quantum leaps in a few years, due to technological advancements (e-readers), there will be bumps and bruises for both sides. But in the end, I believe the revolution that we are now living through will ultimately be viewed as blood transfusion that saved a dying industry.
Thank you, Suzanne – a great post, with some thought-prooking questions for both writers and readers.
And here is a bit more about Suzanne and her book.
What if when you most needed help, a blue bear appeared with a note from God?
One night, Miss Millie of Blossom, Ohio turns her face to the stars and asks God for help. The next day, a package arrives on her doorstep containing a blue teddy bear and a very special note.
Over the course of a year, this remarkable blue bear travels across the country, showing up just when he’s needed most. During his journey, Chester Blue helps a young girl trying to impress her big sisters; saves a sailor caught in a terrible storm; reunites two constantly fighting brothers; helps a cowboy become a rodeo clown; and aids a father and daughter in bonding after divorce.
If you ever needed a message from God, it’s here…
Find out more about Suzanne here.
Buy her book at Amazon.
And connect with her here:
Thank you for stopping by, Suzanne – it was a pleasure having you here today, and you are more than welcome to come hang out anytime.
Until next time – read on.
Good morning! I am thrilled to have Deidre here today, with her fascinating book Saving Mary.
Here’s a little intro:
If you’re a fan of supernatural fiction then you will be captivated by this true story about a spiritually sensitive girl and the path that led to her possession. Part one of a two-part series, Saving Mary is the story of a modern-day Mary Magdalene—the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons.
What is Your View on Authority?
By Deidre Havrelock
I have a saying, “There’s nothing that terrifies women more than religion or marriage—everyone wants authority over us.” So those are my two events, marriage and religion. My first view of authority came from my nightmare where Satan forcibly married me. As I grew older, I felt the “marriage” was there to make me feel “bound by his authority.” I belonged to him. And, therefore, I would have to obey him. And since marriage to a little Catholic girl is “forever” … well, you can imagine how I felt.
But my view of authority changed because of the women in my life. My mom had full authority in our house mostly because my dad was an alcoholic and was unhealthy and unavailable to help out. My grandmother was just as authoritative, if not more. She fought for women’s rights in Canada and eventually changed a law—for the better. I saw her as a woman who wasn’t scared to stand against something that was wrong, even though most people accepted it. She was a great role model for me in terms of guts and courage.
But God also played a huge part in my life. God to me was never mean or a dictator. I believed he was working to get me out of my life’s circumstances and eventually he did (even though it took a long time). When I became a Christian, the Holy Spirit revealed her feminine nature to me and I was awestruck. God was male (Jesus) and also female (Spirit). One was not “over” the other—they just belonged together as one person. But when I began attending church religion kicked in, and that’s when things got weird. I was told my husband had authority over me (he was the “head” and I was more like a “neck”) and that a good wife submits to her husband’s leading. This all felt terribly wrong to us (after all, the Holy Spirit kept wanting to lead us both). I was also told (not by everyone mind you) that feminists were angry man haters who were bucking the natural order of submission. They were “rebellious.” I was never sure who these “rebellious feminists” were, but I didn’t want to get branded with the same title. So I stayed silent about my feelings, for a long while.
My husband and I, however, wanted to be a team and not a hierarchy. We wanted to share authority. Most churches we attended often seemed so confused over men/women relations (women could do this but not this). My husband and I just stayed close to the Holy Spirit, and God got us through the confusion of church. All and all, I would say I grew up with an extremely healthy view of authority. Evil always seeks authority, but submit yourself to the unity of God and you’ll be okay. I’m a Bible teacher now and I love to teach on the biblical view of authority: men and women standing side-by-side, sharing in Christ and the Spirit’s authority—as though they were all one person. Yes, that’s actually in the Bible. Who knew!
It is common for one’s view of authority to develop in their adolescent years. What is your view of authority, and what event most affected it?
Thank you, Deidre, for that insightful post - and for sharing so much of yourself with my readers. I look forward to the comments on this post!
Want to find out more about Deidre, or connect with her? You can find her here:
Thanks for stopping by, and thank you again, Deidre, for sharing your experiences. I look forward to reading your book.
Until next time – read on.
I had the pleasure of meeting Kay Dee when she hosted me on two of her blogs during my tour. She was so generous, and we made an instant connection. I am thrilled to have her here today, talking about writing, and her novel, Staring Into the Eyes of Chance.
She is also giving away an ebook copy to one lucky reader! Just leave a comment for your chance to win.
Now, on to the interview!
Hi Kay Dee, and welcome. I’m thrilled to have you here today. How long have you been writing?
It’s always been something I did. Not sure when I first began, but I know I was in grade school when I first wrote my rendition of Lost in Space show *grins* I’ve been writing seriously the last twelve years.
We must be twins! I started writing then, as well. Great memories. So, what was the first thing you wrote that told you yes, I could be a writer?
My first book is a Sci-fi/mystery for tweens, The Secret in Wolf Lake (under a different name). I actually sent it out to about fifteen traditional publishers (thinking it was the best book ever written on Earth – LOL). Every one of those submissions came back with rejection letters…and what that did was make me try harder. I wanted published more than ever and did everything I could to learn the trade – correspondence courses, on-line classes & workshops, writers conferences, joining writer’s groups, critique groups and reading any book out there on the craft of writing.
I think that is one thing that separates a writer from someone just wanting to write – that absolute drive to get your work out there. Let’s talk about your latest – what was your inspiration for Staring Into the Eyes of Chance?
There were many things that culminated and then came together – a dear friend of fifty-five losing her husband, my doing a piece on an animal rescue and preserve, my love for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and of course my big time favorite being paranormal…shifters.
I was born in Michigan! What a small world. And the Upper Peninsula is just gorgeous. I am a huge paranormal fan, have been since I was little. Okay - now, in 5 words or less, describe the type of writer you are.
Paranormal, Contemporary, Erotica, Romance writer.
Now there’s a great list! What do you want everyone out there to know about you?
That I love the pay-it-forward concept…and practice it as much as possible with other authors. I enjoy introducing romance authors and their work/books on my blog site. It’s a great energy exchange…all positive:)
I can vouch for that. Your kindness and generosity, and getting to know you, was one of the best side benefits of my blog tour. If you could have one do-over, what would it be?
Gosh…at this moment I can’t think of a one. I’m of the belief all things happen in its time, and without one thing unfolding as it should, you don’t get the next…you know what I mean? If I would have begun my writing career without all of my life experiences…would it be the same? AND, would I appreciate it the same?
I’m right there with you. I believe, absolutely, that we step on this path when it is the right time for us. Even five years ago, when I thought I was ready – I wasn’t. Thank you for sharing that with us. Any final thoughts?
Yes, Cate, thank you for inviting me to your lovely place. I’m grateful to have met you and to be able to spend time with you. I appreciate all of the time you spent putting this interview and post together. Big hugs!
Thank you for stopping by, Kay Dee! It was a pleasure and a privilege to have you here today.
Now, here’s a sneak peek of Staring Into the Eyes of Chance for you all – and remember to leave a comment for your chance to win your own copy!
Staring Into the Eyes of Chance
By: Kay Dee Royal
A LIIA (Lycan International Investigation Agency) Book (Series ~ Book One)
Paranormal Erotica Romance ~ Must be 18 or older, Explicit Love Scenes Rated Sizzling Hot
Olivia swears off men until she meets Chance, a Lycan alpha. He ignites an undeniable hunger they can only sate together.
Olivia endures a thirty-four year passionless marriage, discovering her dead husband’s philandering history at his funeral. She devotes her energy and life-long sensitivity with animals to her wildlife refuge and preserve.
Chance, a Lycan alpha and leader of the Lycan International Investigation Agency (LIIA) throws himself into his investigations. He chooses to neglect his duty of finding a primal-mate after watching his father become an empty shell over the loss of his.
A murderous rogue pack draws Chance onto Olivia’s wildlife preserve, sending Olivia’s animal sensitivities into overdrive. Chance and Olivia discover a sizzling force driving them together.
Will they succumb to its enticing tether, or fight to resume their loveless lives apart?
Where the hell is it?
Sharp prickles raced up Olivia’s spine as the deepest, longest, eeriest wolf howl she ever heard echoed through the forest. Her body froze and her fingers clung white-knuckled around the tranq rifle. A longer ominous howl answered. It came from the back side of the barn. She took a deep breath, stood up with gun ready, rounded the corner, and ran the length of the barn. Olivia paused for another breath before dashing around to the backside of the structure.
She stepped away from the building, intent on walking her yard perimeter, head pivoting in all directions, scanning the short grass and fallen leaves. Movement to her right alerted her too late as she pivoted toward the motion.
“Oomph!” She took a hit, like a truck slammed into her front side. A flurry of black and silver fur, claws, and teeth. She fell flat on her back, her head bouncing off the ground. The rifle flew from her grasp. No footfalls, no heavy breathing, but a pungent scent of musty dog fur lingered in the air. Olivia lay there, afraid to move, afraid the wolf had just called in his pack.
Buy your copy here:
And find Kay Dee here:
Thank you again, Kay Dee – it was great fun having you here today! *hugs*
Until next time – read on.
I’d like you all to welcome fellow author Stacey Joy Netzel. I met her when I became part of the WG2E Street Team, a fabulous group of writers who support each other, cheer each other on, and just hang out together. I had Stacey here before, when I reviewed her wonderful book, Lost in Italy. You can read that review here. She is one of the talented authors participating in the Beach Book Blast, May 23-25. You can find out more here.
Now, on to the interview!
1. How did you get started in writing, and how long have you been writing?
I started in high school as an extension of my love of reading. Life interfered when I graduated in 1990, and I quit writing until 1996. It took me 8 years to finish my first book (which is still unpublished and rightfully so), and I seriously began to pursue a writing career in 2004 when I joined Romance Writers of America. I published in 2007 with The Wild Rose Press.
2. I’m right there with you on never publishing the first novel. What genre do you enjoy reading? Do you stick with what you write, or play the field?
For the longest time I’ll admit I was a bit of a snob and only read romance. Since becoming published, and more recently moving to indie-publishing, I’ve branched out and enjoyed YA, thriller, and Sci-fi as well as romance (in which I enjoy all the sub-genres; historical, contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, ect.).
3. It’s so easy to get sucked in, isn’t it? What do you find most challenging in the writing process?
Most challenging for me is getting the plot just right along the way while weaving in the character’s internal conflict. Gotta be careful not to write myself into a corner.
4. I agree – there’s nothing worse, and it’s tough to write yourself back out. What do you enjoy most about the process?
Going back a month, 6 months, or even years later and still loving my characters and the story. That’s a thrill! That, and typing The End. When I first started with RWA, I heard it’s amateurish to have that at the end of the book, so I sometimes type the words, and then delete them when I’m editing later.
5. Love that! I may have to try it. Okay – what do you have in store for readers next?
I just released my contemporary romance MORE THAN A KISS, and I’m currently getting started on the sequel to LOST IN ITALY, tentatively titled RUN TO ROME. I hope to release it by Christmas, but I’m about 2 months late on my start, so *fingers crossed*. For fans of the Welcome to Redemption Series, Donna Marie Rogers and I are each working on a new story, so keep an eye out for them as well.
Thank you, Stacey! I really enjoyed having you here today. And I will be looking for that Lost in Italy sequel.
Here’s a bit more info on Stacey:
Stacey Joy Netzel fell in love with books at a young age, so for her the graduation to writing them was natural. An avid reader and fan of movies with a happily ever after, she lives in her native Wisconsin with her husband and three children, a couple horses and some barn cats. She works part-time as a travel agent, and in her limited free time enjoys gardening, canning, and visiting her parents in Northeastern Wisconsin (Up North) at their cabin on the lake.
Her romantic suspense titles include Lost In Italy (2012 RS finalist WisRWA’s Write Touch Readers’ Award), and her Colorado Trust Series, Trust in the Lawe, Shattered Trust, and Shadowed Trust. Contemporary titles include More Than a Kiss, Ditched Again, Welcome to Redemption Series (books 2,4,6), Chasin’ Mason, Dragonfly Dreams, If Tombstones Could Talk, and her Christmas anthology, Mistletoe Rules, which took 1st place in WisRWA’s 2010 Write Touch Readers’ Award.
And here’s where to find her:
Be sure to check out Lost in Italy, which will be free during the Beach Book Blast!
Until next time – read on.
Good morning! I would like to welcome my guest blogger, Chris Karlsen, who has just released Golden Chariot, and is touring the blog circuit.
She is also doing a giveaway – just leave a comment on this blog to enter for a chance to win a free ebook copy of Golden Chariot.
Here is a sneak peek:
GOLDEN CHARIOT By Chris Karlsen
Genre: romantic thriller
Myth, murder, and money clash in this gripping undersea adventure.
The rare discovery of a ship sunk during the time of the Trojan War has been found off the coast of Turkey, near Troy. Charlotte Dashiell is an American nautical archaeologist and thrilled to be part of the recovery team. The wreck may contain proof of her highly controversial theory about the Trojan War.
Charlotte is present when the Turkish government agent assigned to guard the site is murdered. Her possible involvement and a questionable connection to a private collector of black market relics bring her under suspicion. Atakan Vadim is the Turkish agent sent to investigate her. Unknown to either of them, the smuggler behind the murder plans to steal a valuable artifact and frame Charlotte for the theft…after they murder her.
Shouts of “fire” came from all sides of the camp. The west wind blew sparks in the direction of the lab. They could lose the entire camp, but not the lab, not the artifacts.
Charlotte grabbed an empty barrel from the fire line. She ran with it and started climbing the stairs to the shower stall’s water tank. A man’s large hand covered her mouth. His other hand brandished a gun. With the cold barrel to her ear, he walked her backwards down the few steps to the ground.
“Don’t scream.” Little-by-little his palm came away from her mouth.
Now, I’ll turn you over to Chris.
By Chris Karlsen
I read and enjoy both plot driven and character driven books. I prefer to write character driven stories. After attending numerous workshops and seminars, I’ve learned that like plotting, how characterization is handled is individual to the author.
I find the variance among my favorite authors intriguing. With some thrillers I read, the protagonist’s appearance is vague. This seems especially true when the running character in a series is male. In others, the hero is easy to picture, his appearance is well detailed. But in both styles, the reader is given much more of the hero as a person, which is what is truly important. I like knowing how he dresses, what music he listens to, and what he does to relax. The part that pulls me in, engages me is when I learn what he’ll forgive. I want to see how he goes about analyzing a problem and what he has to do to solve it. What is he willing to do?
In romance, which is what I write, the hero and heroine’s appearance has a more dominant role in the story. By personal choice, I don’t make either the handsomest or prettiest person in the room. I’ve made them handsome and pretty, yes, but in the cases where I’ve done that, I worked to build in many aspects of their personalities. The hero and heroine’s attraction for each other is more than physical. In my latest book, Golden Chariot, I deliberately played down the physical. Is the hero, Atakan Vadim, a nice looking man? Yes. Is the heroine, Charlotte Dashiell, a nice looking woman? Yes. Their relationship and how it grows is based on respect, shared humor, and trust. They didn’t have to be the handsomest or prettiest in the room. What mattered was how they saw each other.
I chose to focus more on their goals, what they wanted for themselves and what path they took to overcome adversity. As I wrote them, I strived to uncover what they were willing to sacrifice.
In Golden Chariot, Atakan is an agent of the government. He prides himself on his professionalism. There is a point in the story that he must make a choice regarding Charlotte that jeopardizes his position. Charlotte, a nautical archaeologist, is driven to prove a controversial theory. She has one opportunity, which is the shipwreck project in the story, to find evidence for her theory or forfeit all she’s worked toward for years. That ambition drives her decisions even though it puts her life at risk.
While attending a Don Maass seminar I received a great piece of advice when developing characterization. I’m paraphrasing, but Don suggested having the characters do the unexpected. Your hero or heroine says or does something that he or she can’t take back. It doesn’t have to be a game changer but it has to have dramatic effect. This can also apply to the antagonist. He or she does a random act of kindness or shows an unexpected sense of humor. This doesn’t have to be a game changer either or have the same dramatic effect as the unexpected deed of the protagonist. But it does help to flesh out the antagonist as a character. It adds interest, he or she is not a one-dimensional villain.
I had finished the rough draft of Golden Chariot when I attended the seminar. When I did the second draft I applied Don’s suggestion. I had Charlotte make an unethical choice, foolish and knowingly wrong. Her choice had a dramatic negative effect on her relationship with Atakan. It ramped up the tension and gave her a new stressor. She had to regain his trust or lose everything.
The antagonist is a contract killer, cold blooded and without mercy. He was once with an elite Russian military unit that fought in Chechnya. I gave him a moment with a blind veteran of that war. It didn’t change him as an evil character but I feel it added an interesting side to his personality.
I think the most important part of characterization is your willingness as an author to dig deep. Don’t shy away from having the hero and heroine react in a way that makes the reader sit up and go, “Oh, no.” Or “Oh, yes.”
About the Author:
Chris Karlsen is a retired police detective who spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. Her father was a history professor and her mother an avid reader. She grew up with a love of history and books.
She has always loved traveling and has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Near East (especially Turkey and the Greek Islands), the Caribbean, and North Africa.
Born and raised in Chicago, Chris has also lived in Paris, Los Angeles, and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four rescue dogs.
Thank you, Chris, for sharing your process on characterization.
Remember to leave a comment, so you can be entered in the giveaway for a copy of Golden Chariot.
Until next time – read on.