Tuesday, June 30, 2015

YA and a new kind of Time travel? Yes! Meet Carly Jordynn

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:30:00 AM with 5 comments


 Meet Carly Jordynn, author of Sasha Bishop, Retired Slayer and the YA Forest Mist series. At the end of this post, you'll have a chance to win one of her books.
Carly, lease tell us a little about yourself. 
I was born and raised in Northern Kentucky. I have lived in three houses within a three mile radius my entire life. Following my divorce, I graduated from college, started tinkering with writing, and adopted my daughter. I wrote my first book in longhand because I didn’t own a computer at the time. That book is safely tucked away until it gets a major rewrite. I work full-time in the import/export business. When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy dinner with friends, hanging out with my daughter, planning parties, travel, shopping, and walking.
I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book. 
 I remember that day clearly. I had so many close calls with Forest of the Mist: Travelers. Editors and Agents loved the story, but couldn’t figure out where to place it. I stumbled upon Debby Gilbert and Soul Mate Publishing about a year before I was offered a contract. Like the others, Debby loved the story, but Soul Mate didn’t have young adult or time travel at the time. Almost a year later, I contacted Debby again to see if they would be representing young adult or time travel anytime soon. The answer was yes! She remembered me and my book, which I thought was very flattering. I sent it back to her and was offered a contract within a few days. It was a couple of days after Christmas 2013, when I signed that first contract.
Blurb:
Lily Lavery never dreamed her homecoming night would turn out like this. She never expected to become orphaned, in a coma, and enter an alternate reality, all in one evening. She thought she would arrive at the dance to the cheers of her classmates after being crowned homecoming princess at the big game, dance the night away with her handsome boyfriend, Alex McGuire, and maybe end the night in his arms. Her heart betrayed her when she met and fell in love with Connor O’Brien in the alternate realm known as Paradise Valley. Now she must battle foes in the Dark Land and her own feelings as she struggles to return to reality
I love the cover. I read Travelers and I can't wait to read the sequel. I want to know what happens to . . . (Nope I am not going to do spoilers.)

If it isn’t too nosy. How about the first time you kissed your true love? 
Wow, there have been so many, LOL! I don’t think I’ve met my true love yet, or if I have, I totally missed him. So instead, I’ll tell you about my last kiss. In middle school, I had a crush on the most handsome boy. He had blond hair, blue eyes, nice build, a great smile, fantastic legs, and was an all around nice guy. Everybody had a crush on him. We never dated. Fast forward to late last year when I learned that this man was dying. I made arrangements to go visit, but had to revise those plans when he was moved to hospice. When I did go see him, I was unsure of the reception I would get. I mean, he was only forty-nine years old and dying. We talked and talked and talked some more. I confessed my schoolgirl crush on him. He was very nice about it. While we were talking, he took my hand in his and ZING! the same old butterflies went winging through my body. He kissed me that day. It was the perfect kiss. . . everything I ever imagined kissing him would be like. When I left that night, he said, “I enjoyed our first kiss.” To which I responded, “I’ll be back tomorrow for more.” I’m grateful for the time we got to spend together and the kisses shared before he passed away.
Wow. Thank you for telling us. This is another book. You know that, right? Alternate time line where he doesn't die and you get together.

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre? 
I have lots of these too! One of my favorite heroes is Jace Herondale from the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. That cat was just too cool. He was brave, strong, vulnerable, and sexy as all get out. One of my favorite heroines is from Meg Cabot’s Vanishing series. Her name was Jessica Mastrianni. She rode a Harley, did the right thing even if it would get her in trouble later, and loved the good guy that everyone else perceived as the bad boy. As for the writers, there are many. Meg Cabot, Cassandra Clare, David Eddings, and J.K. Rowling to name a few.
Carly and Meg Cabot
I loved Jessica too. Meg Cabot's 1-800 Where Are You and her Mediator series are on my Keeper Shelf.
What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career? 
That’s a tough one. I guess it would be when I met Meg Cabot, Nora Roberts, and Brenda Novak at a writer’s conference a few years ago.
That sounds wonderful to me. I am going to RWA this year. I hope to meet some of my idols.
What is your favorite pastime, other than writing? 
I love to read. I also enjoy researching my family history.

How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation? 
I have journals for each of my books that I keep complete backstory on every character. I read through these and sometimes an idea for a twist in the storyline will be the result. I also come up with ideas while on the treadmill or going for a walk.Got a recipe you want to share? 
That would require me to cook. So. Not. My. Thing. Thank goodness for microwaves. I tell my daughter she should hangout with my mom, who is an excellent cook, and learn from her so we don’t starve in the future.
Any advice for new writers just starting out? 
I cannot stress editing enough. Also, grow a thick skin for rejection. Never give up on your dream. Learn from the reject and move on. It only takes one editor, agent, or publisher to get your books on shelves.
What genre or genres do you write? I write young adult fantasy romance and paranormal. I also have a couple of adult romances I am working on.
Tell us about Awakening
My newest book is due to release in August from Soul Mate Publishing. Awakening, book two of the Forest of the Mist series. 
Jennifer Burke Kyle has been in a coma. Upon waking, she discovered her infant son was half-grown, has some rather unique powers, and she has been ordered by her dead husband to marry a complete stranger, Alex McGuire. As if that wasn’t enough to make her want to go back to sleep, she, along with her friends from the alternate realm Paradise Valley, must escape the government research group, PRI, and it’s agents, in order to protect the still comatose, Colin O’Brien.

What’s your current WIP? I have a few WIP’s I’m working on. The first is Sasha Bishop: Shifter. This is book two in the Sasha Bishop series. In this book, a shifter vampire has the ability to change into Sasha, making it seem that it is she who is systematically killing off her classmates. Another one is The Last Girlfriend. This is an adult romance about three friends who find love ten years after high school. The last is Guardians, book three in the Forest of the Mist series. In this book, Davy has grown up, taken over as ruler of Paradise Valley and the Dark Land, and has kidnapped the girl who will grow up to be his co-ruler.
They all sound intriguing.  The first Sasha book is Sasha Bishop, Retired Slayer. Such a great title! 
Blurb:
An impending war and ineffectual Slayer has seventeen-year-old Sasha, coming out of retirement. With her 167 year old vampire boyfriend, his great-great-grandson, her Watcher, and a select group of vamps, Sasha faces the monster behind the war, as well as, the battle for her heart.
Love this premise!

And finally, where can we find you? 
Thank you for being here, Carly. Carly is giving away one ebook. Winner gets to choose from her titles.


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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Allison Morse. The Sweetheart Deal and a giveaway

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:30:00 AM with 35 comments

Meet Alison Morse whose debut novel, The Sweetheart Deal came out June 5th.
Allison and I used to be in the same children's writing critique group. I truly loved her work and her input into my work. I saw the beginnings of this story in that group back in 2009 and it's evolved into a wonderful rich story that kept me up way past my bedtime. A story I plan to read again. We are now both members of  the Los Angeles Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, LARA-RWA.Not only is Allison guesting on the blog, she's giving away a twenty dollar Amazon gift card. Details at the end of the post.

Allison, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in a family of actors in Los Angeles; before the age of five I started acting classes, which I adored. I continued in the family business until my early twenties when I decided to consider other interests and professions, like counseling and the law. While continuing to work full time as a lawyer, I pursued a professional writing career. In addition to my just released romance, The Sweetheart Deal, I’m near completion of a mystery novel set in 1970s Hollywood entitled Depth of Focus. I live with my husband in a house in the hills that’s filled with books.
Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers)in your genre?
My two favorite romance writers are Susan Elizabeth Phillips (contemporary) and Julia Quinn (historical). I love Julia Quinn’s entire Bridgerton series. My favorite of the series is Romancing Mister Bridgerton. In this story the heroine, Penelope, is a true wallflower but smart as a whip and she also has a secret identity as a writer. How can you not love that! Susan Elizabeth Phillips has such great and unlikely heroines and the stories are filled with romance and humor. Two of my favorites are Ain’t She Sweet and Natural Born Charmer. They are both a lot of fun. I'm with you all the way on those two!

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?

It’s hard to beat getting my first book published. But the most absolute thrilling moments are when the writing itself is jamming. Then, character and story flow on to the page. To me, being in that state is the most energizing and transporting experience. It’s this writer’s high that keeps me going back to my pad of paper or computer screen no matter the heartache of the rejections or the frustration when I’m stuck for an idea. 

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
Besides reading, I enjoy watching old classic movies. In fact, in The Sweetheart Deal I tried to channel the snappy repartee and energy you find in the old Hepburn & Tracy movies, or Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant in His Girl Friday. These are fun films!  You managed it!

How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation?
I tend to make myself sit at the computer for a set amount of time, no matter what. I tell myself I have to sit there, even if I write nothing. Then, I realize, I might as well write something even if it is bad. To be frank, many times what comes out isn’t great, or doesn’t entirely solve the problem that got me stuck in the first place. But, by in large, just the act of doing something starts my mind churning and that will eventually help me figure a way around an impasse.


Got a recipe you want to share?
To go with my stories setting, I thought a classic 50s-type cocktail, a Manhattan, would be fun to share.
Directions: Place ice in a cocktail shaker. Add 3 parts rye whiskey, 1 part vermouth, and 2 dashes of bitters. Then stir contents. Next, rub orange peel around the rim of the cocktail glass. Strain the drink into the glass. Add a maraschino cherry. 
Thank you!
  Any advice for new writers just starting out?
Revise, revise, revise. Then, if you are anything like me, when you think the work is perfect––it’s not. So do another round of revise, revise, revise.

What genre or genres do you write?
I’m a genre slut. The Sweetheart Deal is a summer beach novel. I just completed a Gothic mystery and I’m also working on Middle Grade kid’s novel. To me, it’s always about trying to write a good and emotionally satisfying story, and not necessarily fitting into a particular genre.
I am a fellow slut.

Here's the blurb for The Sweetheart Deal. 
Some people think Ellen Hamilton, the business savvy daughter of the largest employer in town, is too big for her britches. After all, it’s the 1950s and women have no place running factories. But when the Hamilton company is threatened with takeover by John Adair, the man who broke her heart and was run out of town years ago, the game is on. Has Ellen met her match? Or, will this time be different and will Ellen win everything—including the handsome and mysterious John?





I really loved this book. So did Kirkus Reviews.
Allow me to quoteMorse successfully weaves a lively romance together with a tale of complex corporate skullduggery that often feels like a gripping thriller. Its characters and setting are particularly well-developed. Ellen, for example, is a strong, independent heroine who’s determined to live her life on her own terms, even if it means defying her family’s expectations of her. Although John comes to Pitney with a hidden agenda, his feelings for Ellen are genuine, as is his desire to make amends. Their rekindled relationship crackles with romantic tension. The well-described settings render a convincing portrait of life in 1950s California. Meanwhile, a subplot involving Tim’s plan to wrest control of Hamilton from his father keeps the novel moving forward at a brisk pace.
A satisfying romance bolstered by strong characters, detailed settings, and surprising plot twists
Excerpt (516 words)

Ellen slammed the book on her desk and stood. “I knew you were up to something!”
He stalked toward her. “Then why don’t you run and tell Daddy? Let him take care of the big bad wolf.”
Ellen crossed her arms. “I would, except for my brother.”
“Really?” John moved around the desk and hovered over her. “Is that the only reason?”
Meeting the challenge, she stepped forward, lifting her chin, which reached no higher than his chest. “Absolutely.”
He shifted his gaze.
Good! He retreated first.
He picked up her copy of A Room with a View left open on her desk and whispered in her ear. “Why?”
Not so good.
His hand skimmed down her shoulder blade. She jumped at his touch, but that landed her even closer to him.
Why. Her question for him. Why?
No. Even though she spent those first few months after he left crying herself to sleep with that question. She wouldn’t ask it.
John hovered inches from hers. “That’s what the boy says in the novel, right? The great universal why.” His breath slid down along her neck like warm olive oil. “And, of course, the personal why, right Ellie, the very personal, why?” He pulled her to him and kissed her.
Initially, his mouth was surprisingly tentative. Almost awkward, like the first peck he’d given her after years of them being just friends. And, like then, the kiss had not stayed restrained, but grew hot and delicious in its intensity.
Her mind knew to stop this. But her body roared to life and pressed closer for more.
With a rip, reason prevailed, and she broke away, praying her effort to appear composed was working.
“Well, that was novel,” she said, smoothing down her dress. She gave a short cough of a laugh. “Bad joke, I know. So then, let’s move to business. What do you and Tim,  and that Cindy person need from me? Is it my money, my votes, or me out of the way?”
John squelched a laugh like he actually felt embarrassed. “No dice, huh?” He shrugged. “You can’t blame a guy for trying, can you?”
She looked him straight in the eye. “Yes, I can.”
Hey, what about you? Batting your eyes. You didn’t really think I wouldn’t see through that. Come on, I know you, Ellie.”
And you? Quoting E.M. Forster, now that was brilliant.” Ellen’s intent was to be angry, but she couldn’t stop a smile playing upon her lips. “I mean, that you even knew the details from the book. Very impressive.”
“Hey, I was in this library as much as you if remember, with more need of escape.
“And I wonder what would you’ve done if I was reading Jane Austen? No kissing in her books.”
“Even easier.” He leaned in close. “All the lack of kissing makes for great tension.”
Her body flooded with heat, but she caught herself and gazed intently at the fan on the window sill.
“That’s that, huh?” he asked. “I guess I should go.”
Yes, go. Stay. She didn’t know what to say.

Yup! Going to read it again.
What’s your current WIP? 
The story I'm currently working on is very different than The Sweetheart Deal. My new novel is called Depth of Focus: A Hollywood Gothic. It’s a mystery set in 1970s Hollywood. I like to describe it as a bit like Jane Eyre meets Sunset Boulevard with a solid whodunit at its core. Here is its blurb:

Thirty years after the brutal death of her grandmother, the legendary film goddess Gloria Reardon, film student and avid feminist, Kate Bloom, inherits a dangerous legacy. The missing footage from Gloria’s last film could prove, once and for all, who murdered her. But the bit players of Gloria’s time have become Hollywood’s power elite and have their own reasons for burying the unfinished masterpiece. With industry giants rising up on both sides, Kate is abruptly swept into the glittering, turbulent world of 1970s Hollywood and to beat them she must fully own who and what she is, or risk repeating her grandmother’s horrifying death. 
Okay. Can I be a Beta reader? I love this plot!

And finally, where can we find you?
www.allisonmorseauthor.com
US Amazon buy link for The Sweetheart Deal: http://amzn.to/1EfHzHO
UK Amazon link
Thank you so much for being here! Allison is giving away a twenty dollar Amazon gift card. You know the drill, friends. Read on!
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Meet Sarah Wynde, Magical Weddings and Tassemara.

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:30:00 AM with 6 comments

Welcome author Sarah Wynde  I adore her blend of romance, paranormal and science fiction. Sarah has a new Tassamara story in MagicalWeddings 
AND she's giving away a boxed set of  The Tassemara Books. Details at the end of this post.
Thank you so much for having me, Sue! I’m excited to be here and to get the chance to talk about Magical Weddings. The book is an anthology of short stories—fifteen of them total, fourteen new releases written specifically for the book—and it was a fun and very unexpected project for me.
How did you wind up participating in an anthology? 
Author Aileen Harkwood was the coordinator of the anthology. I have no idea how she found all the authors who wound up writing stories but in my case, I got an email out of the blue asking if I wanted to write a light paranormal featuring a wedding. My initial reaction was “no way” because I’ve got two books and a novella that I’m working on and I’ve been struggling to make progress. I knew I didn’t have time to write anything else! But that “wedding” part caught my eye and within just a couple of minutes, the idea of writing about Akira and Zane’s wedding had captured me.
For those who don’t know my stories, Akira and Zane are the hero and heroine of my first book, A Gift of Ghosts (available free at all the usual places). Akira’s sort of an anxious type and Zane’s… well, not… and their wedding would be taking place when she’s several months pregnant. I always suspected that it might be an interesting event. And the more I thought about writing about it, the more my attention locked onto the idea. Pretty soon, I’d shoved my WIP aside and was pinning maternity weddingdresses on Pinterest.
Personally I favor Grecian Maternity Or Silk Sophia. Can't wait to find out which one you chose.


What has it been like to be involved in a group project?
What a learning experience! It’s been fascinating to work with fourteen other people on all the aspects of publishing a book, from keyword selection to promotional ideas, events and giveaways. I find the whole social media stuff ridiculously difficult—writing a 140 character tweet can take me twenty minutes sometimes and navigating Facebook makes me want to pull my hair out—so it’s been interesting to see how other people handle it. I don’t know that I’ve gotten any better at it, unfortunately, but I’m getting to admire other people’s competence up close. It’s probably good for me! And it’s been really amazing to see how many different ways we’ve interpreted the idea of a magical wedding. Our stories are so different. We’ve got witches and time travel, historical and present-day, small towns and big cities. The magic ranges from metaphorical, as in the story that opens the anthology, best-selling author Leigh Michael’s Her Wedding Wager to absolutely real, as in Aileen Harkwood’sThe Last Wedding at Drayhome with the others being everywhere in-between. 
What’s been the best part? Worst part? The best part is easy—it’s been such fun to bounce ideas around with other people and we’ve really done some great stuff with giveaways and creative marketing. Aileen made wedding invitations that we could send out to our mailing lists and Eve Devon created some beautiful beaded bookmarks that we’re giving away at our Facebook release day party (happening today, June 16th, at https://www.facebook.com/events/866080153462480). The worst… well, trying to keep up on Facebook! Some of our threads wound up with dozens of comments in them and I was never sure what I’d read and what I hadn’t. But overall, it’s been a great experience. I’m definitely glad I decided to give it a try.
I have the same problems with twitter and Facebook. I am much fonder of writing than promoting.

Got a recipe you want to share? 
Oh, absolutely! Background first—in The Wedding Guests, my heroine, Meredith, is tempted to skip the reception, but goes in part because she loves an appetizer the caterer makes. She calls it the “gorgeous” one. It’s a gougere, a French cheese puff made of choux pastry, light and airy with the tang of Gruyere and a hint of nutmeg. Yum, just the thought makes me hungry. A good recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/alain-ducasses-gougeres I checked out the link and the recipe sounds wonderful. I have to make this! Have to buy a pastry bag.
When can we expect the next Tassamara book? 
Alas, I’ll be breaking an earlier promise that it would be ready by July. September, maybe? I’m working on it now, but it’s been going slowly. It’s called A Gift of Grace, and features Grace Latimer, the youngest member of the Latimer family. I’m starting to discover, now that I’ve written four books, that my process seems to involve writing and re-writing and re-writing the first five chapters over and over again before I can finally break free of them and move on. It’s a terrible process. Everyone says that you should write a first draft and then go back to revise and I’m quite sure that’s much more efficient. But I can’t seem to do it that way. I think I need to really get to know all of my characters before I can find their true story. Even with The Wedding Guests, which is just a short story, I spent more than a month on the first scene—in fact, more than a month on the first 2000 words! If I had to give advice to other writers, it would be to not ever do that. But unfortunately, I’m like Alice in Alice in Wonderland—giving myself good advice, not following it! I've been listening to the CD of  2008 RWA National Conference and I went to see the new documentary, Love Between the Covers. One thing I learned: Everyone's processs is horrible.
Thank you so much for being here, Sarah.
Magical Weddings comes out today. I pre-ordered, so it will already be on my Kindle. How could I resist? Blurbs and Buy links are below.

 MAGICAL WEDDINGS: 15 Enchanting Romances Whether real or only in the hearts of the bride and groom, the magic of weddings is undeniable. And irresistible! As these 15 enchanting happily-ever-afters by bestselling and award-winning authors prove. From sweet to spicy, the romances bundled into this set, 14 of them new releases, cross time and unite hearts, cast spells of laughter, battle wedding jitters and fight back tears, while weaving love’s hopeful magic throughout 1400 pages. Her Wedding Wager by Leigh Michaels, National bestselling and Award-winning author of over 100 novels. Celia's doomed to an arranged marriage—unless she can win the most important bet of her life! The Last Wedding at Drayhome (Breens Mist Witches) by Aileen Harkwood. Never underestimate the power of a witch and warlock in love who have nothing left to lose. The Dress by Eve Devon. Two couples, 400 years apart. From a masquerade ball in Venice 1615 to a wedding in England 2015, can a dress laced with magic weave its spell through the fabric of time? Second Chance Bride by Raine English, USA Today bestselling and Award-winning author. She thinks she's marrying the man of her dreams, until a telepathic rescue dog leads her to someone else... Will this bride-to-be say "I do" to the wrong man? Two Hearts Surrendered by Tamara Ferguson, Bestselling and Award-winning author. Will two warring hearts be strong enough to survive the ultimate battle? Something Borrowed, Something Blue by Lynda Haviland. She has a wedding to crash—until love gets in the way! Heart of the Secret (Witches of Lane County) by Jody A. Kessler, Bestselling and Award-winning author. A 500 year-old curse, a witch who will do anything to marry her one true love, and the heart of a secret that will either divide them or bring them together…forever. The Jealous Love of a Scoundrel by Jane Lark, National bestselling author. How do you fight a calling that comes from your soul? A Wedding Across the Winds of Time by Bess McBride, National bestselling author. Darius and Molly found each other Across the Winds of Time. Now, it's time for their wedding! Kiss This by L.L. Muir, National bestselling and Award-winning author. You never expect the florist to catch the bouquet… Caution is a Virtue by Jennifer Gilby Roberts. How much is too much to risk for love? Loving Lindy by Jan Romes. In order to become the bank's new Vice President, Gunther Justin has to be "settled." With Lindy McPherson posing as his fiancé everything is set to go off without a hitch—until real feelings get in the way. With this Kiss by Heather Thurmeier. Does a simple kiss have enough magic to reunite lovers? Real Magic by Elsa Winckler. She's the bridesmaid, he's a best man. Will the magical evening stay just that or will it turn out to be real after all? The Wedding Guests (A Tassamara Short Story) by Sarah Wynde. When unexpected guests attend Akira and Zane's wedding, lives will change forever. But for better or for worse?


Buy Links: Available  at:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1GEDBPe 
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1ewV9SE 
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1dyBCRp 
B&N: http://bit.ly/1dAAdtJ 
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1SrS6us 
iTunes: http://apple.co/1RcL2Ai 
GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/1emycBp 
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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Interview with Joanne Guidoccio

Posted by Susan J Berger on 2:00:00 AM with 19 comments

3 More Days to enter the giveaway!!
Sue, thanks for participating in the Countdown to a Season for Killing Blondes.

Delighted to do it. I read an advance copy of A Season For Killing Blondes and thoroughly enjoyed it. Joanne, please tell us a little about yourself.
 For most of my life, I was a poster child for left brainers. I gravitated toward degrees in mathematics and education and found teaching to be a good career fit. But after thirty-one years, I was ready for a change.

So, I put pen to paper and I revisited a writing dream from my high school years. A writing practice slowly emerged, and I watched with delight as my articles and book reviews started appearing in newspapers, magazines, and online. Buoyed by this success, I took on the challenge of revamping A Season for Killing Blondes, a manuscript I had written during my “cancer” year. While shopping it around, I wrote Between Land and Sea and was thrilled when Debby Gilbert of Soul Mate Publishing offered me a contract.

This summer, two of my novels—A Season for Killing Blondes and The Coming of Arabella—will be released. 

What genre or genres do you write?
 Right now, I’m alternating between cozy mysteries and paranormal romance. On the back burner, I have a collection of angel short stories and a memoir of my cancer experience. While it may sound like dabbling, there is one theme that connects all of my work – reinvention. And the protagonists are all boomer women. In short, I write boomer lit. Reinvention. I love that.

How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation?
 February and November are my most difficult months. The gray and unpredictable weather dampens my mood, and I tend to move more slowly during those months. When this happens, I recall the wonderful advice I received from one of my mentors: “Do not make any major changes or decisions during February or November.” Keeping that in mind, I release all expectations and focus on short pieces such as guest posts, articles, and book reviews.

Who are your favorite writers in your genre?
 Whenever I pick up a new book, I scan the blurb for any mention of second acts and second chances. Some recent favorites include books by Maeve Binchy, Anna Quindlen, Louise Penny, Adriana Trigiani, Jane Green, Gail Bowen, Louise Penny, Adriana Trigiani, and Susan B. James.
Moi????! I am thrilled. Thank you! 

Any advice for new writers just starting out?
 Experiment with different genres while discovering your own unique voice. Sign up for a creative writing course—online or offline—that exposes you to short stories, children’s and adult writing, creative nonfiction and poetry. Search until you find a warm, supportive environment where your words can flow freely. And most important of all, enjoy the journey.

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
 During my teaching years, I immersed myself in the life of the school and had very few outside outlets. When I retired, I was determined to widen my range of interests and achieve yin/yang balance in my life. While writing occupies the lion’s share of my time, I also enjoy reading, yoga, scrapbooking, blogging, movies, Toastmasters, artist dates, and meeting friends for leisurely brunches and lunches.
Artists Dates. Aha. I, too, am a huge fan of Julia Cameron's books. I've done The Artist Way several times. Tell us about A Season For Killing Blondes. (I can't say how much I love the cover.)

Blurb 
Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.

When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.

As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.

I love your trailer. Take a look, friends. 

Here's the list of Buy Links. I used the USA one above. Wonderful idea to give all the links.
Amazon (Canada) - http://is.gd/t0g1KZ
Amazon (United States) - http://is.gd/jADjPp
Amazon (United Kingdom) - http://is.gd/8mknFJ
Amazon (Australia) - http://is.gd/r843iX

For the Countdown to A Season For Killing Blondes. Joanne is giving away  a twenty-five dollar gift card.  AND Joanne is also give away a copy of A season for Killing Blondes on theis website and I get to pick the winner. Whoohoo! I'll do that from the comments.
Thank you for being here, Joanne. I loved both your books and am looking forward to the next one.
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Where to find Joanne...

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Meet multi published author Lauren Linwood

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:30:00 AM with 9 comments


Meet Lauren Linwood who's romantic suspense novel, Leave Yesterday Behind releases June 3
Lauren, please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m all about variety! I’m a fan of Downton Abbey, but I also enjoy Game of Thrones and everything in-between. My music tastes range from Kelly Clarkson and The Eagles to Fall Out Boy, Matchbox 20, and One Direction. I eat almost anything you put in front of me (especially if it involves dark chocolate). I’m the same when I read. I love to cozy up to a good thriller, romance, biography, mystery, or horror novel.

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book.
I’d attended a writing conference in Houston and met with Debby Gilbert, the founder of Soul Mate Publishing. She asked for the entire manuscript of the book I pitched to her—not three chapters. Not a hundred pages. The WHOLE enchilada! Two weeks later, I heard from Debby. She’d fallen in love with Music For My Soul and wanted to publish it. I did my Happy Dance, delirious to know that I would be able to share Garrett and Madeleine’s medieval love story with readers. Fabulous!!!!

If it isn’t too nosy. How about the first time you kissed your true love?
It didn’t take a kiss to know. I met my husband and clicked with him instantly. He called out of the blue one night and said he was in my neighborhood (on purpose) and asked if he could stop by. As we sat talking on the couch in my apartment, a calm washed over me. I knew I was looking at my future husband. Of course, it took him a bit longer to realize that!

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?
Up till now, I’ve published six historical romances. My favorite historical heroines are written by Amanda Quick. They’re smart, quirky, and fun to read. And there’s nothing like a Julia Quinn hero! Now I’m branching out and releasing my first romantic suspense, with a plan to alternate writing and releasing in those two sub-genres. So in romantic suspense, I’d have to go with the heroes and heroines that Linda Howard and Julie Garwood create. They’re intelligent, interesting, and make perfect couples. Amanda Quick and Julia Quinn are two of my favorites too. I love anything Jayne Ann Krentz writes under any name.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?

I believe it’s a tie between seeing my characters come to life on my very first cover and holding my first paperback in my hand. Those are watershed moments.

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
I’m going to cheat here and say walking. I do a long (4-5 miles) walk each morning and a shorter one after dinner each evening. I enjoy the physical activity, the way my mind clears and stress melts away, and I love the music I listen to. Of course, being a writer, sometimes I “walk out” problems in my books, or I brainstorm creating characters and think of plot lines as I’m walking. I guess no matter where or what, I’m always writing. I'm impressed. two miles is about my limit, unless I am at Disneyland. I do somewhere between a mile and two every day. Longer if I am lucky enough to be at the beach.

How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation?

I’ve found that I need to put aside anything that’s stalling. It’s not worth fretting and tearing my hair out and staring at a blank page. I start something new! Eventually, I’ll come back to what was working. I’ve found the break from it helps me view it with new eyes and a renewed spirit.

Got a recipe you want to share?
Tortilla Soup is a standby in my family, especially during cold weather. My daughter always wanted it when she came home from college. It’s easy to make and tasty.
  (The Tortilla Soup link will take you to the recipe. If you want to check out the whole recipe page, click here) You have no idea how much I wish I really knew HTML code.
Any advice for new writers just starting out?
My first piece of advice is to keep reading. So many time we writers get caught up in our own work. You need to take time to see what’s out in the market, as well as enjoy the pleasure of reading. Second? Write. Every. Day. Make that commitment. Writing is like a muscle. You need to keep using it to keep it in shape!
What genre or genres do you write?
I write historical romances that take place in the medieval era or the American Old West. I’m now writing contemporary romantic suspense, as well.
Tell us about your latest release.
The easiest way to do that is to share my back cover blurb and an excerpt for Leave Yesterday Behind.  
Blurb:
Callie Chennault vaulted to fame on the nighttime soap Sumner Falls, but after a decade of playing the same role, she is ready for a new acting challenge. When Callie is attacked by a stalker on the streets of New York, she takes a leave of absence from the show and returns to her roots in Aurora, Louisiana, to heal both physically and emotionally and determine her next career move.
Former professional baseball pitcher Nick La Chappelle has also come to Aurora to lick his own wounds after a messy divorce. A Cy Young winner and one-time ESPN broadcaster, Nick longs for the quiet of a small town in order to write murder mysteries under a pen name.
Sparks fly when Callie believes Nick is taking advantage of her great-aunt’s hospitality, but they resolve their differences—and surprise themselves by falling in love. Their bond is tested when both Nick and Callie become the focus of a serial killer nicknamed Lipstick Larry. Can they outwit a murderer bent on seeing them dead and survive to build a lasting relationship?
Excerpt:
Maybe she should take a cab home. But her subway station was only a block and half away. It would be foolish to stand out in a downpour after nine at night when she could duck in and be on her way downtown in a couple of minutes. Callie liked that people left her alone on the subway. A few sometimes stared at her and frowned, wondering if they’d ever seen her before. Most turned away, not quite able to place her.

After all, she left Jessica behind at the studio every day. No chic clothes, Ravenous Red mouth, or fancy hairstyle. She didn’t often get recognized in real life unless it was a die-hard fan. Even then, most New Yorkers were cool about it and simply ignored her.

Chill out. Just move.

“Jessica?”

She turned automatically and saw a man standing behind her. He was probably the reason she’d had the feeling of being followed. He seemed a little out of breath, as if he’d been keeping up with her awhile. It had happened before. She knew it would happen again.

And always with this type.

He was non-descript in every way—average height and build, brown hair, glasses. Harmless looking. Dopey grin on his face, like he’d hit the lottery because he’d actually had the balls to speak to the crush of his daydreams. She knew enough to be firm. Give him a brief little personal moment, a smile and her signature on something, and get back to her life.

Then a quick flash of John Lennon signing an autograph for Mark David Chapman zipped through her brain. He’d been average, too.

And he’d killed Lennon hours after someone snapped a photograph of them together.

“You don’t look like Jessica up close.” His voice was silky, almost caressing, yet the tone was definitely disappointed.

Her pulse quickened. She took a step back to put a little distance between them and brushed against a brick wall.

“I like to give my skin a rest away from the studio. All that heavy make-up and hairspray can cause a girl some damage.” She kept her tone calm and friendly as she glanced over the man’s shoulder.

No one was in sight.

“I want to see Jessica. She’s my favorite.”

He pulled something from his pocket and held it up. “Put this on. It’ll help. It’s the perfect shade.” He smiled shyly. “I’ll even let you do it. You’re the expert.” He reached out and grabbed her wrist and laid the item in her hand before letting go.

Chills ran through her as she opened her palm. In it lay a gold tube of Jessica’s signature Ravenous Red.


Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Lauren-Linwood/e/B00CSSG8BC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1406670019&sr=8-1

Excerpt sounds great.What’s your current WIP?
I literally have just finished another romantic suspense called A Dance Around Death, about a journalist and a Dallas cop working together to track a serial killer.

And finally, where can we find you?
Website: http://www.laurenlinwood.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/laurenlinwood
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LaurenLinwood
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Lauren-Linwood/e/B00CSSG8BC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1406670019&sr=8-1

Email: laurenlinwood@gmail.com
Thank you so much for being here! Lauren has graciously offered an ebook of  Leave Yesterday Behind to one lucky reader. Do the Rafflecopter thingy. Bless you for dropping by. Have a happy week. 

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