Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Meet Erin Bevan and her book Cupid's Angels

Posted by Susan B James on 3:30:00 AM with 21 comments
Meet Erin Bevan whose debut romance came out this month. When I asked Erin to tell us about herself, she said she wasn't very exciting.  I beg to differ. I took this bio from her blog:
Erin Bevan was born and raised in Southwest Arkansas. She spent her teenage years working for her aunt at the local gas station flipping burgers and making milkshakes, dreaming of the day when something better would come her way, and it did in the form of a five foot six, one hundred and fifty pound engineer.
Fast forward ten years later, she found herself stuck inside an apartment in South Korea while her daughter went to preschool and her husband went to work. Alone and unable to speak the local language she turned to books for a friend. After reading a few hundred in such a short time, she decided to try her hand at writing one.
That first one sucked, but by the fifth and sixth book, Erin started to get the hang of this writing thing. Getting the first contract in the mail was a dream come true. Now, with three babies at home, she squeezes in stories one word at a time, one sentence at a time, one day at a time.
She’s a full time mom, a full time wife, with a little writer sprinkled in whenever she can get the chance. And the laundry? Well, it’s best not to open the washroom door! 
My critique partner Hilde has twins and suffers from the same kind of laundry problem.
I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book. Oh, that’s a story. It was December 2013. I was waiting to hear back from one more publishing house. I had received more “No’s” and negative comments about my writing than I thought I could handle. I hadn’t been writing for long, maybe two years. In reality, two or three years before you get published isn’t that long.
Still, I was pretty down by all the rejections, and I told myself that if this last house said no, I was hanging up writing for good. The e-mail came in and I began to read. The first two paragraphs were basically filled with how bad of a writer I was. I almost clicked the delete button until I saw a huge BUT in the third paragraph.
The last two paragraphs went on to tell me that this editor was willing to take the risk on me if I was willing to do the work, and a contract was attached. Now, I’ve just signed my fourth contract, and I hope they keep coming.
What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
Most exciting moment so far has been release day for Cupid’s Angels. I had published a short story, The Ranch Hand, previously, but Cupid’s Angels was my first novel. It was a day to tell the world, I’m here for good. I am a real writer.
What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
I like going to the gym, and I love shopping. Oh yeah, and eating!

How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation?
Good question, and that’s something I’ve struggled with lately. Usually, I talk it out with a friend. I’m a social person, and I rely on others heavily for help and inspiration.
Got a recipe you want to share?
Nope, sorry. I’m not a great cook, but if you have something you want to share with me, I’ll let you. Sure! Check out my recipe tab and see if something appeals to you.
Any advice for new writers just starting out?
Just write. It’s going to suck at first. Don’t worry about that. With each new word on the page, you learn something. Learn about yourself, learn about your craft, and write for you.

What genre or genres do you write?
Contemporary Romance at the moment.

Tell us about Cupid’s Angels
This was a fun story to write. I like old people. They make me laugh, so I decided to write a book about them. Here is the blurb:

Ellie Childs isn’t looking for love. She’s looking for an AC technician for the Forest Wood Senior Center. But, when the repairman happens to be tall, dark, and handsome, he has the goods to make her change her mind. Unfortunately, he’s taken by a blonde Barbie.
David White moved to Cupid, Arkansas, to be closer to the woman he loves, his grandma, and away from his ex-fiancĂ©e. Believing his broken heart would never work again, he’s proven wrong. Ellie’s shimmering auburn curls and compassionate nature sends his heart thumping. His mind soars with thoughts of giving love another shot. But as luck would have it, she’s taken, and the guy she’s seeing is a real jerk.
When David’s grandmother sees how perfect Ellie would be for her grandson, she gathers the troops. She and her three friends form Cupid’s Angels. Their mission, to bring David and Ellie together. Despite their best efforts, the Angels’ plans backfire, pushing David and Ellie farther apart and into the arms of others. Or, so they think.
Will the Angels’ good intentions win out, or will their plots and schemes undermine what could have been the love of a lifetime for David and Ellie?
I read the opening chapters on Amazon and it sounds great!
What’s your current WIP?
I have two. The Night Train and Wrapped Up In You. I hope they are both available to you next year. The Night Train has been my favorite book so far to write. I’ve connected with those characters more so than any others. They’re just real and raw. I love that story.
I’m a bit stuck on Wrapped Up In You. I’m not sure which direction to go. I’m sure I’ll figure it out. It’s a Christmas story, and I’ve never wrote a Christmas story before. I do enjoy the challenge it brings.
I love Christmas stories!

And finally, where can we find you?
You can find me at www.erinbevan.com
or Twitter: @ErinBevan
Thank you for being here, Erin. Erin's is offering a copy of Cupid's Angels as a giveaway. Read on, my friends. Books keep us together.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Char Chaffin and Cheryl Yeko and Rodeo King

Posted by Susan B James on 2:30:00 AM with 12 comments
Love Cowboys? 
So do Char Chaffin and Cheryl Yeko. They collaborated on Rodeo King, a warmhearted, sexy novella. And they plan to do it again. Here's the blurb, and then I will introduce you to dashing duo. Char Chaffin and Cheryl Yeko are, individually, multi published and award winning authors. They are also acquiring editors for Soul. Mate Publishing.

Rodeo King is book one in their Dustin Lovers series.
BLURB:  Caleb Johnson, 'King of the Rodeo,' is on his way to becoming Wyoming's National Champion. Until an ornery bull sidelines him with a potentially career-ending injury. Returning home to Dustin to recuperate puts him in the path of Rosemary Carmichael, the girl he deserted to become a rodeo star.
Now he's got to figure out what he really wants: returning to the rodeo circuit and going for that big, National prize, or convincing the woman he loves that he wants a life with her . . . and the son he never knew he had.

Cheryl and Char, where did you two first meet?

CHERYL:  I first met Char (virtually) working with her as editors for Soul Mate Publishing . . . Then the first year I went to Nationals we were roomies, along with our Power of Three BFF, Callie Hutton. I had known Callie virtually, as a crit partner, before either of us were signed by Soul Mate. Callie and Char were already virtual friends, and it was as if all three of us had known each other forever. Lifelong friendships were established.

CHAR:  We absolutely meshed instantly when we all first met in Atlanta! Up until then we kept in touch online as a threesome. Callie and I were amongst the first sixteen authors released with Soul Mate, and I had started critting for Callie as well, later editing two books in her very successful Oklahoma Lovers Series. Cheryl and I not only found a great deal of editing support when we first started comparing notes, but discovered we had a lot in common, too.
I find duo writing fascinating. How do you split the writing chores? Do you each take a go at the same chapter? Each take a chapter and then send it to the other for revision? Split the POV? It’s so seamless, I can’t tell. I know you also sent Rodeo King to your third Musketeer, Callie Hutton for an outside pair of eyes.
CHERYL:  We take turns writing a chapter, then it goes to the other for a critique. Then, they take over the story and write the next chapter. We do have a tentative outline to help guide us. Very tentative.

CHAR: Ha, can you tell Cheryl’s not about the outline? She’s a pantster and I’m the outline fiend. We ended up compromising, with me easing up on the whole outline-thing, and Cheryl trying her hand at structuring a bit more. What works the best is when we can either sit down face to face and pound it out together (which rarely happens!), or we can schedule a phone chat and get a great deal of it done that way. We talk on the phone almost every day. We do write seamlessly and we’re both proud of that. If a reader can tell who wrote what, then we haven’t done our job well enough!

 It seems obvious that you share a love of the cowboy and rodeo life style. Where did that start for each of you? (I’m older than you, so I will confess I fell in love with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.) Your turns. Got a favorite cowboy hero in book, movies or real life? Or All three?

CHERYL:  I was raised on John Wayne movies. 
I'm pretty sure there isn't a single one I've missed.

CHAR:  For me it was old Western TV shows. Gunsmoke, Alias Smith and Jones, The Big Valley, The Rifleman, Lancer. Newer western flicks such as Young Guns, Tombstone, and Silverado also got me into the western theme. I’m not big on country music so I can’t say it influenced me at all. But rodeos? Yep, I’ve been to a few. I have had to educate Cheryl a bit on western gear. Boot rands, bolo ties, Tony Lamas and Dingo, things like that. I sent her boot-scootin’ tunes to listen to as music does figure in our second in the series, Roping Her In. I may have changed her life forever. *grin*
You did an excellent job educating her. Great details.

CHAR and CHERYL:  We’re offering a three prizes: an eBook of Rodeo King and a giveaway on our solo books. Winners’ choice! Two drawings, and each winner gets to choose one of Cheryl’s e-releases and one of Char's.
Go ahead. Hit those links and look at all the wonderful books they's written. Then enter below. 
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Thank you so much for being here, Char and Cheryl. Their personal links are below the Rafflecopter thingy. Your chance to know them better. Happy Reading to you until we meet again.

Char and Cheryl's links : 



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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Robyn Carr and A New Hope

Posted by Susan B James on 3:30:00 AM with 11 comments
Every time I see a new Robyn Carr book my thought is Hooray. I’m going to make new friends. I did a conversation with Robyn back in October 2014 after the sixth book in the Thunder Point series, The Homecoming came out.

On June 30th, her latest book came out. A New Hope.

How do you describe Robyn Carr’s brand of writing? It’s a meld of women’s fiction and romance. Robyn creates a town and populates it. I adored Apple Valley and Virgin River. You may have read them. And now there’s Thunder Point. If you’ve never been to her Thunder Point, a small beach town on the Oregon coast, I strongly suggest a visit. While each book is a stand-alone, my preference remains to read them in order.
What is Robyn’s style? I’ll let her speak for herself.
“I began to develop my own brand of women’s fiction, a style that most closely resembles my take on life. I want to laugh through a book, but I don’t want a book that’s a big laugh. As a reader I want to have a genuinely good time, but I don’t want the book to be a joke. I want real women’s issues, real humor and teeth in the story.”

I just finished reading A New Hope and, as usual, that’s exactly what. Robyn delivers.
Yes. Robyn writes to a formula. Nothing wrong with that. I love her recipe. 
In each book we follow one couple, but other stories weave through the book. Stories of friends old and new.
Example: In book 7, One Wish, the main plot is the romance between workaholic Grace, a newcomer with a secret who’s chosen to settle in Thunder Point and high school teacher Troy Headly who appoints himself her fun coach. (No I’m not going to tell you the secret. That would be cheating. But it’s so cool!)
A side story is Ginger Dysart, whose aunt Rae brings her to Thunder Point to try to lift her out of clinical depression cause by her four-month-old son’s death. The whole town rallies to help Ginger through the pain and depression.
In Book 8 - A Hew Hope, Ginger is the main story.
When Ginger agrees to attend the wedding of the town doctor and her new friend, Peyton LaCoumette, she doesn’t anticipate being groped by the brother of the bride. Matt LaCoumette is gorgeous, drunk and disorderly and Ginger knocks him out. A big step on her part.
Ginger is beginning to move out of the depression caused by the death of her baby son and the disintegration of her marriage. Her ex-husband didn’t even bother to come to the funeral.
Matt LaCoumette now known as Mad Matt used to be the most loving person imaginable, according to his sister. But the breakup of his marriage left him bitter and aching. Seeking solace in all the wrong things.
Matt’s attempt to apologize to Ginger is the start of an unlikely friendship. Their almost nightly talks on the phone begin a relationship which deepens into love. But before they can believe in the possibilities, they both have more healing to do. How do you go forward into a new love until you understand what happened in the old love?
Much of the pleasure in Robyn’s writing is meeting old friends and setting up new ones. A New Hope follows old friends like Troy and Grace, and introduces us to Lin Su and her fourteen year old son Charlie. I'm sure that Lin Su and Charlie, whom I already adore, will be the focus of her next book. And guess what? The ARC of Wildest Dreams just came in the mail! I adore ARCS! Bet you know what I’ll be doing tonight? 
I received the ARC of A New Hope in return for an honest review and I am going to give one lucky reader a chance to win it. If the lucky reader hasn’t read the series, I will gift a Kindle copy of Thunder Point # one. The Wanderer. It’s winner’s choice.

 Read on!
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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Meet YA, Romance, Mystery writer Pamela Dumond & Crazy good giveaway!

Posted by Susan B James on 3:30:00 AM with 12 comments
Meet Pamela DuMond, one of my favorite kinds of writers – Eclectic.
I’ve loved her hilarious Annie Graceland Cupcake mysteries. I also devoured Part Time Princesss, a contemporary romance and
The Messenger and The Assassin, her first two YA Time travel books. They are passionate, historical and laced with romance and a spunky modern day heroine.  Pam has a giveaway at the end of this post.
Thank you, Sue!

Pamela, please tell us a little about yourself. 
I’m originally from the Midwest, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and lived downtown for a while before I moved to L.A. to marry the wrong guy. When that tanked, I stayed in California for the beautiful weather.
 I like dogs and cats equally, the beach, working out, a hearty cabernet, dark chocolate, romantic comedies, TV, movies, and non-GMO foods. I have a few life guidelines: Be kind. Don’t litter. Use your turn signal. And… Not my circus, not my monkeys.
I'm adopting that one!

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book. 
 A tiny press loved my comedic mystery Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys and published it in 2010. That was the year everyone got an eReader for the Holidays. I was a no-name, debut author with a teensy publisher who had zero marketing dollars, and yet that book sold decently out the gate. Very exciting!
 I'm not surprised. I devoured it. How could you not love a cupcake baker with an irritating ghost stalking her?

If it isn’t too nosy. How about the first time you kissed your true love?
 He had a lot of hair and a very big black, wet nose. He was rescued from being a guard dog at a factory. Chris was part German Shepherd, part mutt, and I fell in love with him when I was seven years old.

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre? 
That’s tough - I write in a bunch of genres. Hmm. (Puts on thinking cap…)
 YA: Ann Brashares. Suzanne Collins. David Levithan wrote a stunning book called Every Day. I loved. If I Stay by Gayle Forman.
 Romance: Ann Brashares! I haven’t read The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon but I love the TV show. Susanna Kearsley. H.M. Ward. Courtney Milan. I’m currently reading The White Queen by Philippa Gregory and enjoying that quite a bit.
 Romantic Comedy: Elle Casey is hilarious. I’m a sucker for anything similar to Ms. Congeniality or Legally Blonde. Stephanie Bond brings the funny as well.
 Mysteries: Don’t get me started. Cindy Sample writes very cute, funny cozy mysteries. Leighann Dobbs. Robert Crais. There are too many to mention here.
 Thrillers: Lee Child. Harlan Coben.
 Thank you. You've given me some new writers to try. I haven't read any of those.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
 It’s a tie:
 A. I had never done an author ‘reading’ from any of my books. So when The Messenger was optioned for Film/TV, I read an excerpt to the president of MTV and development execs during a pitch meeting. That was my first official reading. (And a major ‘Squee’ moment!) Wow!!!!
 B. When my first book was published.
 C. Getting positive feedback from readers that I helped them through a tough time, or I made them laugh. That means so very much to me.

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
 It’s a cross between my pets, working out, and TV/Film. I love my two cats. I also love exercising: pounding weights, walking, hitting the gym, and even yoga has helps me through many stressful times and keeps me (somewhat) sane. And I wind down at the end of the day or on a holiday with one of my fave TV shows and/or the occasional movie.

How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation?
 For me the key is to write several books at once. That way if the muse is dead on one, it might perk up its ears for another. Therefore writing a book could take anywhere from four months to four years. But eventually a whole bunch of them get completed. I don't know how you do that, but I think it's awesome.
 Here's where I go sideways and ask if Pam has a recipe to share. Why? I love recipes. 
I put the recipe Pamela shared for Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting on my recipe page. Check it out.
Any advice for new writers just starting out? 
Write as often as you can. A minute or two here or there adds up. Eventually you will have a book/short story/whatever if you just keep going. Don’t wait for the perfect time of your life or optimum conditions because that will never happen. I wrote my funniest book, Part-time Princess, when we moved my mom to Assisted Living, she died, and I was dealing with the incredibly awful aftermath.
 As much as you might enjoy your critique groups, don’t get bogged down in them.  Just get your ms done. Please remember your first draft will never be perfect, unless you are Lee Child, and I can pretty much guarantee none of us are Lee Child. (Except for Lee Child.)
When you think you’re done? Hire an editor. I’m constantly amazed at the writers that think they can do that for themselves. God bless, if they can do that. I can’t. Me neither. Not in a million years!

What genre or genres do you write?
 Young Adult. Mystery. Thrillers. Romance. Self-Help. 
Another Genre slut. I love it.

Tell us about your latest release, The Assassin. 

The Assassin(Mortal Beloved, Book Two)

 Good lordy, I love this book series. It’s YA romantic time travel and the followup to The Messenger. It combines fantasy, history, romance, and action adventure.

Book Description:

Time Traveler. Messenger. Beloved. Spy.

"I was a Messenger: I kept the memory of all our encounters, our lives, like a locket that brushes the skin and bones covering my heart. But Samuel was a Healer: he didn't time travel. His kind lived, died, re-incarnated, and he didn't retain memories from his past lives. Every year I landed in required starting our relationship over: from ashes, from scrap... Every place I journeyed had beauty as well as darkness; all my time-travels were bittersweet." ~~~Madeline.

Teenage Madeline’s a Messenger: time traveling across lifetimes and delivering messages that could change one life or many. When she discovers that her true love, Samuel, is alive in present day, but doesn’t remember her from their past, she journeys to a deadly royal conflict in medieval Portugal hoping to rekindle his memory. Mortal assassins as well as dark-souled time travelers seek to kill her.

Will Madeline and Samuel be together again in life—or only in death?

The Messenger (Mortal Beloved, Book One) is optioned for Film/TV.  
These books are so right for a film series. I can't wait to see what they do with it. 

Coming soon to Kobo, iBooks, and ARE.

What’s your current WIP?
Part-time Princess (Ladies-in-Waiting, #2) — I can’t think of a title yet.
The Seeker (Mortal Beloved, Book Three)
Cupcakes, Bars, and Rock Stars (Annie Graceland Mystery #7)
I want to read all of these books. Three at a time. All completely different from each other. I think you may be a multiple personality and I mean that in the very best way,

Sue - you asked me to write about why I self-publish…
I signed with my *third* agent in 2009 after nine months of querying. Unfortunately shortly thereafter the agency fired her, and then me as well, because I hadn’t sold yet. I was devastated. My friend gave Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys to a man who had a very small press. He loved my book and published it late 2010.

In 2011 I crunched the numbers and wondered why I was giving away 60% of my profits to a publisher. So I wrote a Cupcakes novella, hired an editor, cover artist, eBook formatter, and uploaded it myself to the various platforms. Lo and behold it sold just fine. In 2012 my contract with the publisher for my first book was up. I gratefully left, and pursued self-publishing, which was a good move.

In 2014/2015 book sales are all over the map. But new, fun opportunities arise: collaborating with other authors in box sets, having book sales and selling a lot of copies in one day. There’s no reason for me to go with a big or small press trad publisher for my cute mysteries or romances unless the deal (and I don’t mean an advance) was very special. Unfortunately most of the deals now days are not all that special.

So I ask myself in all sincerity — what can a publisher do for me that I can’t do for myself? 

Here’s what I think a good publisher could do for me in 2015:
1. Obtain reviews from more prominent review sites. 2. Provide a bigger marketing launch for a book. 3. Possibly get my books in print into bookstores. (For how long?) 4. Get books into libraries. (That’s changing for Indies.) 5. Enter my books into ‘traditional’ contests. (That’s changing for Indies.) 5. Negotiate foreign sales. (Some Indies are doing that.)  6. Provide in-house marketing for the book when sales start to slide.  7. Invite me to their party at a convention.

Is this worth giving a publisher control over my book forever? No. A few years? Maybe.

I’m not against traditional publishing. I would go that route for the right reasons with the right publisher, for a specific intellectual property, a good contract, and a reasonable length of time.

I love self-publishing.

I love the hard work, the control, the speediness of moving through the publishing process. (Notice I didn’t say ‘writing process.’) I can change a cover if it doesn’t work. I’m learning formatting. I can update my books to include links to my other books. I control pricing and decide when I have a sale on a book. No one ever remainders my books.

I don’t need traditional publishing to validate me as a published writer. My readers do that.
Thank you! I love hearing from self published authors. My fears stem from hiring the right editor. And  the outlay to hire a good editor and a good cover artist. I get the feeling you have a lot more business savvy than I do. Not sure I am ready to careen along another learning curve. But I am so glad you did. 

And finally, where can we find you?

Pamela DuMond’s
Sign up for my newsletter here: http://www.pameladumond.com/contact.html

Sue - thanks bunches for having me on your blog. Congrats on your 2015 Golden Quill Best First Book Finalist Award and I can’t wait to read your next Time and Forever romance!


Pamela DuMond
Thanks Pam.
 I have two Second Chances romances in the works.
Pam's offering a crazy good Giveaway:

 Two eBook giveaways of The Mortal Beloved Series, Books one and two.
$10 dollar GC to Amazon or B&N (Winner gets to pick.) 
(I never knew this before, but you have to a tiny triangle on the right to see the second prize. It's there. I promise you.)

Enter Below. Be good to yourself this week. There's only one of you.

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