Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Posted by Susan B James on 6:30:00 AM with 2 comments

I got this from Sue Fitzmaurice's Facebook Page and I love it. Those are my New Year's Resolutions. I have others, of course. I want to thank all the authors who showed up on my blog this year. I linked their pictures to their interviews on the blog. 
(Some day, maybe in 2015, I will learn a better way of doing pictures and links. This took a ridiculous amount of time due to Blogger erraticisms.) I would also like to thank them for their books and for the recipes they contributed to my Recipe page.
If any of you would like to join me next year on the blog, please contact me.

 Cheryl Yeko

Jayne Anne Krentz

  Bethanie Avery

             Beth Carter                                           

Kristan Higgins

Maggie Mundy  

Christine Ashworth

Robyn Carr  

CD Hersh

Lani Diane Rich

Tami Lund

I am travelling and left my blog calendar on my desktop PC in Los Angeles. So I don't know who's up next. I do know Sarah Addison Allen and Laryn Ford are visiting in January and Linda Lael Miller in February.  I have a a mystery giveaway - A never opened hardback copy of one of these authors' books. Why was it never opened? I love this author so much I pre-ordered two copies by mistake. - One on Barnes and Noble and one on Amazon.

Happy New Years to all. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Blog Hop for Writers

Posted by Susan B James on 9:14:00 PM with No comments
I’m participating in a Romance Writers Blog Hop.  Not only do you get to know a little about me and my writing process, but I get to introduce you to fellow romance authors and learn their individual writing styles and processes.
My fellow author, Claire Davon has tagged me to be next on the “My Writing Process Blog Tour” (#MyWritingProcess). Claire writes urban fantasy, paranormal and contemporary romance.Right now Beginning Time is 99 cents on Amazon
Visit Claire on her blog to see her writing process
Let’s move on to the four required blog questions:
What am I currently working on?
I’m working on Kate’s Hero. Kate’s a romance writer who doesn’t believe in real life happy endings. Her second book is stalled because she broke up with the guy she’d planned to model her hero on. Now everything her hero says, comes out snarky. She makes a wish and ends up with a chance to take the trip she’s always dreamed of - to Ireland. The catch is she’s acquired a rather odd travelling companion who promises to help her find a hero.
Michael is a doctor who believes in happy endings, but not for himself. He’s taking his favorite patient back to Ireland to see her family for the first time in fifty years. What he doesn’t know is Nessie’s the last of a line of true matchmakers and she’s determined to find Michael his true match.

How do my romances differ from others in the genre? 
My first novel, Time and Forever is about two women in their sixties time travelling back to 1969.
In Kate’s hero, Michael is Sherry’s son from Time and Forever. I cannot seem to write a book without a touch of magic.
Why do I write what I do?
I love stories with a touch of magic. I also write children’s books as Susan J. Berger. I am drawn to humor and I think everything I write has humor in it. It seems to me I was born to wonder and to laugh.

How does my writing process work?
All my adult works have started as NaNoWriMo projects. I say all, because there is one more out there waiting for revision. When writing a longer work, I need a goal and motivation. NaNo provides that for me. At the end of a month, I have a first draft. And then comes the real work. Revision.
I am way better at character and dialog than I am at plot. My MS goes through at least two drafts before anyone else reads them. I thought the first forty pages of Kate were in great shape. I entered the first twenty five pages in The Golden Palm. I also asked fellow LARA member, Christine Ashworth to critique the first forty pages. I made all the changes they suggested. But the biggest and hardest change is that my story starts in Ireland, so I need to lose the first five chapters. That hurts. I am hoping the next draft will be much better.
Where you can find me besides here:
Children's Lit Blog: Pen and Ink

I’m now tagging my fellow Soul Mate Author, Becky Lower. Becky is a gifted and prolific author of Historical and Contemporary romance. I am currently following her Cotillion Ball series with great pleasure.
Where to find Becky:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas to All and a Joyous New Year.

Posted by Susan B James on 12:00:00 AM with 3 comments
Last year I turned 70. (I know I should spell that out, but I like writing 7. It's my lucky number.) I know this is a lucky decade for me. I think my first year of the decade has proven that in spades.

In January I traveled to Portage, Michigan for my granddaughter, Eleanor's second birthday. As you can see, her parents are raising a reader.
Two days after her birthday, my debut romance, Time and Forever came out. You know what a gift that is.

1969. Love was free, man walked on the moon, and Sherry and Lorena found the loves of their lives. Sherry shared a kiss that dreams were made of, with a stranger on the tube in London, and ran away. Lorena found the love of her life in Los Angeles and married him.
2014. Sherry’s a successful businesswoman with two grown sons. Lorena’s an actress on a popular sitcom. Sherry’s husband dumped her for a younger woman eighteen years ago. Lorena’s husband died of cancer. Sherry wants a second chance at love. Lorena can’t imagine loving anyone but Dave.
When Lorena finds The Castle, which specializes in Virtual Reality adventures to any point in time, they both jump at the chance to play. But when the door opens to 1969’s London, it’s apparent they’ve walked into more than just a game.

I started sending it out for reviews. So far I have 44 with a 4.9 star rating. I am over the moon about that.

I came home to Los Angeles and took my first course in Musical Improv from UCB's Tara Copeland. I fell in love with the form. My son, Christopher Corbin, decided we would be the only Mother/Son musical improv group. We hired a coach and did our first show. Chris belongs to the Musical Improve group, Meaningful Touch. Stephanie Bentley, one of his team mates, read Time and Forever and loved the characters so much that she offered to do the narration for the audio book.
I think she did a wonderful job.

In May I began traveling, First to Chicago for  a wedding, then back to Portage to visit my granddaughter. From there I went to Burlington for my cousin's graduation from college. She's 79 and has already started graduate school.

Luiz Guzman and Ansley Carnahan
On Memorial day weekend, my critique group staged a reunion at our partner, Lupe Fernandez's wedding.
Pen and Ink and adjunct correspondents.
Victoria Krol, Lupe Fernandez,  David Krol, Susan Berger, Kris Kahrs, Angel Fernandez, Hilde Garcia Krol and Sam Krol
I had two months to concentrate on writing and revising. before leaving again.
I submitted a picture book, Mom Is There A Santa? to Guardian Angel Publishing and Lynda Burch accepted it. Hooray. One of my favorite illustrators, K.C. Snider will be illustrating.

In July I went to Brazil to see John of God with a group from my church. A profoundly lovely experience. After that, in rapid succession, I went to Honolulu for a memorial service for my beloved friend, Cynthia Mooney, Seattle, where I attended a Jayne Anne Krentz book signing and Port Angeles to visit my sister, Kelly.

When I came home, I attended the SCBWI Writers retreat - One of my favorite writing events.
I attended the meetings of my local RWA chapter, LARA and met some wonderful encouraging fellow authors. And I discovered some great new reads.

This year I learned that my best revision tool is reading aloud. This tool helped me through the latest revision of my multicultural mid-grade MS, Tasha the Magnificent.
I submitted my WIP, Kate's Hero,  to four people. Biggest lesson: My story starts five chapters in, I finished a second draft during NaNoWriMo. There will most definitely be a third draft before I send it out into the world to Beta Readers,

On December 9th I flew to Baltimore to be my friend Donna's chemo partner for nine days. I am amazed at how well she handles it.
While I was there, Time and Forever came out in paperback. I immediately ordered a copy for Donna. She is a voracious reader and prefers real books. Donna had already been through the first fifteen books I sent her, She read the book in two hours! If I could read that fast, my life would be a lot simpler. Donna had read a beta version and wasn't impressed. I am happy to say this time she loved it. I loved holding my first paperback.

On December 18th I flew to Portage to spend Christmas with Jim, Mary and Ella.  We are having a wonderful, but tiring time. Ella's sleep schedule has turned erratic.

If you'd like a Christmas bit of Doggerel, I also post at Pen and Ink and this week, it's my turn.

I wish all of us Holidays touched with magic and a bright and creative New Year.
Of course I have a giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Love funny and suspenseful romance? Meet J.L. Hammer

Posted by Susan B James on 12:00:00 AM with 11 comments

I read J.L. Hammer’s NOTHING BUT TROUBLE and immediately asked her if she would appear on my blog. Here's why:
“Nothing But Trouble is everything I love… hysterical, sexy, page-turning fun!”– USA Today bestselling author Samanthe Beck
With an angry loan shark hot on her heels, Frankie Delenski flees a Vegas gentlemen’s club with one thought in mind: hide before she’s nothing more than a chalk outline. Now on the run…she finds herself stranded in a sleepy Colorado town during a storm. Her only salvation becomes the suspicious and gorgeous deputy sheriff determined to arrest her…

From the get-go, Wes Malone must restrain his lust for this stunning, unpredictable woman in a sequined bra and rely on his instincts as a cop. As he sifts through the haze of lies, the truth about her predicament is like a sucker punch to the gut. She’s in serious danger and getting involved with her means nothing but sweet, irresistible trouble…
She took a moment to study the virile man before her. The strippers worked their clients into a mouth-drooling frenzy by a few shakes of their hips and a little lip-gnawing. If Frankie could work her charms on Deputy Malone, he would be at her beck and call. A strange thrill zinged through her.

With a sexy strut, she approached, giving him her best heated look. She brushed the tips of her polished nails across his chest. Hopefully, he hadn’t noticed the mud smeared across her hands or her missing pinky nail. His dark brows lifted and his expression was…amused. Determination squared Frankie’s shoulders. With a thrust, she pushed out her well-padded female attributes.

“Can’t we just forget about all this? Couldn’t you just help me get my car out of the ditch and then let me go on my way?” She tried to purr, but it sounded more like she needed a throat lozenge.

“Are you hungry?” he asked.

She frowned and then remembered she was being seductive and smiled shyly. “Hungry?”

“Yeah. The way you keep chewing on your lower lip I figured you must be starving.”
 I loved this book. J.L., Please tell us a little about yourself. And inquiring minds want to know – What does the J. L. stand for. 
I’m a California girl and enjoy living in my small mountain town with my hubby and two teenagers. My name is a bit extreme, being the product of hippie parents and all, so I went with my initials. I couldn’t see Justice Love Hammer on the cover of a novel. Okay, I’m completely full of it…about the name and hippie parents. But J.L. are my real initials.
 I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you found you’d made your first sale.  
When I received the email from a publisher offering me a contract, at first it was suspended disbelief and then I danced with excitement. It was nice to finally get a “yes” after so many rejections. Even after five contracts, I still get excited when I receive one.
 How about the first time you kissed your true love?
I’ll never forget meeting my husband. I was with a girlfriend on a barefoot cruise in the Caribbean when our ship was overtaken by pirates. The leader took a fancy to me and hey, he was downright handsome so when he said we would marry, I agreed. As you can see from our wedding photo I was still in shock but our first kiss was magical. Hmmm. Can you tell I’m a fiction writer? You have to admit fiction is so much more intriguing than reality. In truth, my hubby kissed me on my front porch, and I remember grasping his biceps and thinking “nice muscles.” As you can see from the picture (costume ball) after fourteen years of marriage we still have fun together.
 Fabulous picture. 

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre? 
I’m a fan of Karen Robards and Sandra Brown. I love their ability to weave intricate plots and keep the romance sizzling. 
What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career? 
When my latest novel, Nothing But Trouble, released in November it ranked #80 on the Amazon bestseller list for a romance series and #20 for romantic suspense on KOBO. It was nice to reach a milestone, and I look forward to many more.
What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?  
I love to read and drink wine. I also enjoy traveling with my husband. Some of my favorite places are France, Scotland, Fiji, the big island of Hawaii, and New Zealand.
 Any advice for new writers just starting out? 
Finish the book and find critique partners who write well and listen to their advice. I also recommend taking a class. I took three online classes from Gotham Writers’ Workshop. I learned a lot from the published authors teaching the courses.
 What genre or genres do you write?  
 Romantic suspense. Gotta have my danger and hot guys.
Tell us about your latest release.

My latest release is the Vegas Vixens series which is centered on a bold, yet quirky group of heroines who live in the same Vegas trailer park next to the airport. Now these girls find themselves in high-stakes danger and drag the most gorgeous heroes into their messes. In NOTHING BUT TROUBLE, my heroine Frankie is working at a gentlemen’s club when she flees Vegas with a loan shark hot on her heels. She ends up in a small Colorado town with a sinfully handsome sheriff just itching to arrest her. Sigh. Some girls have all the luck.

Nothing, But Trouble introduced Lily and I can't wait to read her story.
What’s your current WIP?
I’m currently editing the next book in the series. The excitement of the Vegas Vixens continues in book 2, DEADLY TROUBLE (releasing May 2015), when Frankie’s best friend Lily takes the spotlight as she faces off with a drug lord in the jungles of Belize. Of course, she drags a drool-worthy doctor into her plight, but hey, after all a girl needs a hero. 
And finally, what would be your best Christmas present ever? 
 I would love to have another white Christmas. There is something about snow on the ground with all the lights that makes the day even more special. I live at four thousand feet, and we had a white Christmas about five years ago.
Thank you so much for being here. Where can we find you?
Giveaway alert! One lucky reader will win an ebook copy of my novel BLUE HORIZON, an exciting story with a secret government project and a hot mercenary. Good luck and happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Meet Best Selling Author, Leanne Banks

Posted by Susan B James on 12:30:00 AM with 7 comments

I bet you already know Leanne Banks
Leanne is a national #1 best-selling author of romance novels. She is the winner of the Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards in Series Sensuality and Love and Laughter. She is also the winner of the Florida Writers Beacon Award, the Golden Quill Award, the Georgia Romance Writers' MAGGIE Award and Booksellers' Best Award. Her books have been recognized by the Award of Excellence Contest, the Romance Writers of America Rita Contest, and the National Readers' Choice Awards. (Took that from Leanne’s website.)

The first book I read of Leanne’s was Hot Stuff which she co-authored with Janet Evanovich. I loved it so much, I searched for any Leanne books I could find. I haven’t found them all so I still have lots of good times in store.

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you found you’d made your first sale.
I was in a low place.  I’d entered several writing contests and the feedback hadn’t been encouraging.  I’d also sent my book to three publishers and they’d all rejected me.  I remember I was upstairs taking a break and my husband came to cheer me up.  The phone rang and it was Kate Duffy with Meteor Books.  She not only wanted to buy my book, she wanted to offer me a 2-book contract.  It felt like an out-of-body experience.  My family used the advance from that book to take a trip to Disney World.  Lots of great memories.
Awesome. I'm so glad you went to Disney World on the advance. I would do exactly the same thing.

If it isn’t too nosy, how about the first time you kissed your true love?  The anticipation was killer.  All my senses were heightened.  At the time I may not have known he was my true love, but it soon became very clear. 

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?  Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Linda Howard … I also enjoy authors with a strong sense of ordinary characters in extraordinary circumstances in their writing such as Curtiss Ann Matlock and Cheryl Reavis.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips is my top go to writer followed closly by a herd of others. I will have to check out Linda, Curtis and Cheryl.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?  I’m blessed to have had several exciting moments.  The first was receiving that first call from Kate Duffy.  Others include making important lists such as The USA Today bestsellers and The New York Times bestsellers… receiving various book offers, having a book party at a fashion show during New York Fashion Week, receiving calls that I was a finalist for the RITA award, presenting at the RITA awards and always – FINISHING the current book!
Oh yes. Finishing the book . . . 

What is your favorite pastime?   Visiting the beach.

We’ve all got them. What’s your favorite way to avoid writing?  Reading the news, googling and facebook.

Got a recipe you want to share?  I have many recipes.  How about Chocolate Fudge Cake? 
-1 9" pie pastry (do not pre-bake)
-1/2 cup butter melted
- 3 Tablespoons unsweetened Cocoa powder
- 1 cup white sugar
-  2 eggs beaten lightly
-  1 tsp. vanilla
-  1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Mix melted butter and cocoa.  Beat sugar into mixture for two minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix.  Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour.  Mix well.  Pour into pie crust.  Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes.  Top with ice cream or whipped cream.
That sounds devilishly delightful.
Any advice for new writers just starting out?  Show up and write.  Be persistent.  Persistence will win over just about anything.

Tell us about your latest release.  My latest release, A ROYAL CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL, features a single mother princess with a special needs child.  She has been assigned a bodyguard that she doesn’t want, but he is so good with her son that he begins to win her over.  I explored some of the extra things that parents of special needs children must do to help their children.  I found my heroine very inspiring. J    

What’s your current WIP?   I’m currently working hard on THE PRINCESS AND THE SINGLE DAD due out this summer.

And finally, where can we find you?

For the most up-to-date news and giveaways, friend me on facebook!

Thank you so much for being here, Leanne. I have a paperback copy of A Royal Christmas Proposal to give away. Please enter below to win. I am leaving town tomorrow, but I've put the book in a manila envelope with five Christmas stamps and it's in my suitcase ready to mail to the lucky winner.. Happy Reading.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Meet Tami Lund

Posted by Susan B James on 12:48:00 AM with 2 comments
Tami Lund is a funny and prolific author and I am delighted to introduce you to her. Tami, Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a hopeless romantic, and have been since I read my first Sweet Valley High book. Actually, I’m sure it started well before that point, because I remember when I was young, really young, that I was forever begging my mother to let me keep the latest stray animal I happened across, because the poor thing could not possibly survive without our love and affection. 

In between rescuing stray animals, I was a huge bookworm, and I loved writing as much as reading, as far back as middle school. By high school, I had been convinced I would become a writer. Unfortunately, in college, I decided writing wasn’t a sensible career choice, so I majored in public relations, which led to careers in event management and hotel sales, and eventually during the recession I was laid off from said sensible career. That was when all those characters and plots that had been hiding in the deep, dark recesses of my mind suddenly demanded my attention. Actually, they practically slapped me in the face for waiting so long to acknowledge them. 
Since then, I’ve published eleven books, with one more coming out this month, another next month, and yet another scheduled for April 2015. I guess you could say I’ve become obsessed.
Outside of my fantasy world, I actually have my own reality, a husband, two beautiful children, and a furbaby, who, you will be shocked to note, we rescued and adopted just a few months ago. It occurs to me that every pet I have ever had was rescued in one way or another. Did I mention bleeding heart romantic? 

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you found you’d made your first sale. 
Well, that’s a little tricky. I self-published my first book in 2010. I literally uploaded it to Amazon and did nothing else. I was so clueless. In January 2013, I self-published my second book, The Resort, which was the beginning of a five book series. By then, I had learned a thing or two, and actually spent a little time promoting it. Imagine my shock when, a month later, I received a royalty payment from Amazon!

If it isn’t too nosy . . . (well of course it is!) How about the first time you kissed your true love?
It was May 1, 1998. Yes, I remember the exact date, because ours was such a romance-novel-worthy courtship. I met him through a friend, at a party. Because, at the time, I lived on the other end of the country, he jokingly asked my friend if I would be interested in a one-night stand. We kissed that night – boy did we! – and six weeks later, he moved across the country to be with me. Six months later, we were engaged. Six months after that, married. We celebrated 15 years this past June.
Defintiely romance worthy. Love it.

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?
I have a few I can think of right off the bat. I am not monogamous to my book boyfriends, unfortunately for them. I love Drake Vireo from Katie Macalister’s Dragon Series. He has been my longest standing book boyfriend. I also utterly adore Phineas Tucker from Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation. I love a hero who doesn’t take himself too seriously. In fact, Phin inspired my hero, Brandon, from Candy Crush. Uh oh, does that mean I wrote fan fiction? Anyway, my third and most recent book boyfriend is Sage, the hero from Rebekah Ganier’s book, Snow the Vampire Slayer. He’s laid back, confident, and charming, despite incredibly dire circumstances during most of the book. All top book boyfriend characteristics, in my world. 

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

That email I received from Crimson Romance, telling me they loved my manuscript and would like to offer me a contract. That was for Naked Truth, which was published in June 2014. It was the first non-rejection email I ever received from a publisher. The coolest part was literally a day later, when I received a similar email from Liquid Silver, telling me they wanted to contract Into the Light, which was published in July 2014.

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing? 
Drinking wine. No wait, I do that while I’m writing. Reading and gardening are my top two fave pastimes, neither of which I ever have enough time to do. 

What’s your snack of choice while writing?
Wine. Preferably red. 

Got a recipe you want to share?
Ha ha. I’m not the cook in my family. Far from it. My hubs is, in fact, a phenomenal chef. I maintain that he missed his calling, although I’m grateful he practices his skill on the family. Also note, this is why you often see chefs as characters in my books. I think it’s sexy to be able to cook well.

Any advice for new writers just starting out?
My advice is no different from any other author, I’m sure. Edit, edit, edit. And then have someone else edit. And then repeat. Don’t put something out there unless you are one hundred percent confident in it, because readers will notice.
What genre or genres do you write? 
I write romance. I love a happily ever after, so that’s what I write. In regard to sub-genres, I write both contemporary and paranormal. My favorite paranormal beings to write about are shifters (by far the sexiest of the paranormal beings, in my opinion) and faeries. Although I have created my own beings, called Lightbearers, and am about to release the second book in that series. 

Tell us about your latest release.
Well, I actually have two releases this month. The first was yesterday (yay!). I have a short in a holiday anthology called Unwrapping Love. Twenty-one contemporary romances. Yes, twenty-one. It’s something like 700 pages long, so well worth the less than $5 price tag. Mine is about halfway through and is called The Perfect Christmas. 
My heroine, Anna, is in love with Jesse, a super sweet guy who happens to be married to Anna’s bitchy older sister, Jessica. Things happen, Jesse and Anna end up hooking up, and then Anna learns he only did it to get back at Jessica, who was cheating on him. I know it sounds impossible, but there really is a happy ending!
My second release this month is, as I mentioned earlier, the second book in the Lightbearer Series. The first book, Into the Light, came out in July 2014, and was Tanner and Olivia’s story. This one is called Dawning of Light, and it focuses on Finn, a shifter, and Cecilia, a lightbearer. Finn’s job is to protect Cecilia, who doesn’t particularly want to be protected. Personalities clash, but of course there is a strong, underlying sexual tension, which comes to a head about halfway through the book. I love this series. I mean, I adore it, and I think paranormal fans will too. 
Quick note: while each book can be read stand alone, I recommend reading them in order, as there are quite a few over-arching plots that carry from book to book. So far, I have something like eight books outlined in the series, and a few minor details from book one will suddenly become crazy important in some of the later books.
I really love the covers.
And finally, where can we find you?
Everywhere. That’s funny because it’s true. I’m on practically every social media out there. But, here are the key places to stalk me:
My website – I update the main page every time there’s a new release (which is pretty frequently), and I’ve just started a new page called “Meet the Characters” which is a work in progress, but so far there are some wonderfully hot guys up there, plus a little background on a few of my heroes. I also blog at least once a week, which is part of my website:
Facebook – I love to post funny pics or antidotes, and I especially love posting teasers from whatever book I’m currently working on:
Twitter – I’m a huge fan of retweeting others, especially if the tweet is funny:
Thank you, Susan, for hosting me on your blog today. It was truly a pleasure to give you far more information than anyone could possibly want!

To wrap up this interview, let’s give you a few book links:

Here’s the link to Unwrapping Love, which is free, if you’re an Amazon Prime member (and only $4.99 otherwise!):

And as a special treat, for taking the time to read my ramblings, I’d like to offer a prize. With Dawning of Light coming out in two weeks, I figure I should give you a chance to read Into the Light… for free! So, if you love paranormal, and you want to give a new series a try, just go to my Facebook Author Page, like it, and note it in the comments here. In one week’s time, I’ll pick, hmm…. THREE WINNERS. Three people will receive a complimentary e-book of Into the Light, the first in the Lightbearer series. Sound good? Well get to it!
Sounds good to me. I am entering. Thank you, Tami for being here.