Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How to write a First Draft in 56 Days

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 18 comments
By MJ Compton
Guest poster
MJ Compton grew up near Cardiff, New York, a place best known for its giant, which inspired her to create her own fiction.

Although her 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting her husband, MJ never lost her dream of writing her own stories.

MJ still lives in upstate New York with her husband. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of her passions, and she enjoys baseball and college basketball, but she’s primarily focused on wine . . . and writing.

How to Write a First Draft In 56 Days (While Working a Full Time Day Job)
Omega Moon Rising is the third book published in my Toke Lobo & the Pack werewolf series. The hero, Luke Omega, is the drummer for the country band featured in the series, so he makes appearances in the two previous books. But Luke’s story wasn’t meant to be third. Oh, I had notes on his heroine, a couple of index cards with plot ideas, and the title back in 2004. But Omega Moon Rising was supposed to be book four, not three.
Except the third book (Restin’s story) wouldn’t come together. I would put the manuscript away for months at a time. Then I would plug away it for a few more months. And the plot simply wouldn’t work. Plus I kept getting the feeling that Restin’s story should actually be the final book in the series.
One day in either late May or early June, I decided to write Luke’s story. He and Abby had been knocking around in my head for over a decade. It was their turn. I hunkered down. Fifty-six days later, I had a first draft. Now, maybe that doesn’t seem like a quick draft to some, but I also work a full-time day job. I wrote every moment I could spare. One day, I pounded out twelve pages in the waiting room while my husband had oral surgery. (Thank goodness for AlphaSmart!) I spent the rest of the summer revising. I sent the book to my publisher Labor Day weekend (first weekend in September).

 One desperate woman intent on escape.
One brash werewolf determined to deny his DNA.
Until his destiny becomes her deliverance.

Here are the three keys I used to expedite this book:
·           Portability & Flexibility: AlphaSmart on the patio to enjoy the summer, but still be productive; AlphaSmart in bed before going to sleep; lunch hour writing sprints.
·           I have friends who host writing weekends and writing retreats; I took full advantage. It’s astounding how creative energy surges when a group of authors gather to work in the same space.

·           BICHOK. (Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard)

Thank you, MJ. For those of you who like me, never heard of AlphaSmart - It's a small portable keyboard which functions like and electric typewriter. It had a long lasting battery. I saw some on Amazon available for 3rd party sellers. 

Omega Moon Rising

 Abigail Grant has a secret . . . and a plan to keep her younger sister from suffering the same fate. Her strategy would have worked if she hadn’t been seduced by sweet-talking musician Luke Omega. Suddenly she’s plucked from the life she wanted to escape, but her new circumstances only expose her to a different danger—or is it her salvation?
Luke has a secret, too. He believes he can change his destiny through willpower—and a little blue pill. When he inadvertently gets mixed up in the Grant sisters’ troubles and his pack alpha orders him to marry Abigail, his family insists he tell her he’s a werewolf. But Luke claims Abigail is not his life mate. She doesn’t need to know what happens to him on the full moon.
Until he accidentally stumbles across her secret. Then all bets are off.
Sounds amazing. You can find MJ all over the web. But the best place to find her links is on her website Comptonplations where you can also find her delightful blog.
Thank you for being here. MJ is giving away a copy of the second book of the series:

Lucy Callahan will do anything to save her sister, even if that means marrying a stranger. Even if that stranger is an undercover government agent out to destroy the cult holding her sister hostage. Even if that stranger is a . . . werewolf.
Lucy Callahan will do anything to rescue her sister from a cult, even marry a werewolf she’s just met. But the werewolves are working undercover for the government, and Lucy fears a confrontation between the agents and the cult could be deadly.
Stoker Smith longs to be the best thing that ever happened to his human mate. He wants to take her home, start their family, and compose his music. And although his pack’s treaty with the government says he doesn’t have to work undercover now that he’s mated, he promised Lucy he’d get her sister out of the cult’s heavily armed compound. Lucy’s sister is now family and to a werewolf, family is everything.
But Operation Jericho quickly turns ugly, thrusting Lucy into the middle of her worst nightmare, where she must choose: her sister or the mate she’s grown to love.
If you love paranormal romance, werewolves, suspense, enter below to win below.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What Kind of Blog Posts Would You Like?

Posted by Susan B James on 1:42:00 AM with 3 comments
I don't have a guest author this week. So . . .
How are you? What would you like to see on this blog? Author Humor?

Hot Guys?

Hot Geeks
Book recommendations?
Currently reading Meg Cabot's new mediator Book. JAK/Amanda Quick's new book arrived in the mail tomorrow, and I have a lineup on my Kindle which includes, among others, Rebekah Ganiee's Fairelle Series and Maggie Marr's Billionaire series.
I could talk about the joys of acting and actually getting roles. I have an audition tomorrow for an AFI film.

or family life

I already have some of those on my recipe tab.
Let me know what would please you. Of course I have a giveaway. If you've read it, you can always give it to your mother for Mothers Day. Blessings to you always.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Linda Lael Miller. New series and giveaway.

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 5 comments
For all you cowboy-romance lovers, meet Linda Lael Miller. Linda has written Time Travel and Vampire books, but her heart is in the West. The “First Lady of the West” writes contemporary and historical stories that have earned her awards and placements on all the national bestsellers lists.
 And this month Linda is giving away a $100 gift card to the winner's favorite spa in her monthly contest because her newest heroine, Grace Emory, runs the high-end resort and spa in Carson Creek.  Hop on over and enter. I already did. http://www.lindalaelmiller.com/news/april-2016/

Linda's new series is The Carsons of Mustang Creek AND I have a copy of Once a Rancher to give away. 
The series is set in the same area as her Bliss County series, so you’ll meet some old friends. I love series with a connection.
 The Carsons of Mustang Creek have the kind of wealth that makes you think of Dallas and Dynasty, but they are way nicer people. Am I love their mom. I hope she gets her own story.
Slater, Mace and Drake Carson may be brothers, but that doesn’t mean they are alike. While all three of them are born cowboys, Slater’s interests lie in documentary film-making, Drake's interest in protecting the wild mustang herd that's been raiding their ranch's mares, and Mace runs the family winery. In the first book of the series, you get to meet all three of them, but Once a Rancher follows Slater.

 Here's the blurb.

Slater Carson might be a businessman by trade, but he’s a cowboy at heart—and he knows the value of a hard day’s work under the hot Wyoming sun. So when he sees troubled teen Ryder heading down a dangerous path, he offers the boy a job on the ranch he shares with his two younger brothers. And since Ryder’s temporary guardian is the gorgeous new resort manager, Grace Emery, Slater figures it can’t hurt to keep a closer eye on her as well… Grace Emery doesn’t have time for romance. Between settling into her new job and caring for her ex-husband’s rebellious son, her attraction to larger-than-life Slater is a distraction she can’t afford. But when the past catches up to her in Mustang Creek, she’ll discover just how far Slater will go to protect what matters most—and that love is always worth fighting for.

I love all the characters I met in Once a Rancher. Grace is a former cop recently divorced from career military man who never invested any time in his family. Before Grace, his parents took care of his son. Grace took on the responsibility of teenage Ryder and divorce didn't change that. She's determined to make a stable life for them both.
Slater's career is documentary film making and that doesn't leave him much time for a family life. He's attracted against his will to the feisty Spa Manager. He's not ready to get married. And neither is Grace. But there's something drawing them together that won't be ignored.
The give and take between the members of the Carson family and the way they reach out to Grace and her troubled stepson make for great reading.    
I'm giving away an ARC of Once A Rancher.  And I have a question for you. I do giveaways every week. Is it easier for you to enter with a Rafflecopter? Or, by simply leaving a comment?    This week please leave a comment to enter. Read on!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Meet Becky Lower and Her Delightful Cotillion Ball Series.

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 13 comments

Becky Lower caught my eye with her Cotillion Ball series. I’ve read several of them and enjoyed her writing and her knowledge of the period.  Becky, Please tell us a little about yourself.                                                                                             I was a typical bookworm growing up. Painfully shy and I had to be in a body cast for 9 monthswhen I was 12, so I stuck out like a sore thumb, much to my dismay. I retreated into writing then. My career got in the way for years, so I’d make up stories about my background and entertain people at parties and the bar. Placing second to Peggy Fleming in an ice skating competition was one of my favorite tall tales. Only when I was contemplating what to do in retirement did I decide to pick up a pen again and put my ideas on paper. Although by that time, it was a computer instead of a pen.

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book.                                                            It really was an anti-climax. As a newbie author, I submitted my work all over the place, hoping to catch someone’s eye. My email inbox was filled with rejections at every turn. I was on the phone with a fellow author and multi-tasking, getting rid of the negativity in my inbox when I was surprised to see Crimson Romance, a newly formed company of F&W Media, liked my book and wanted to offer me a contract! Both my friend and I thought it was a mistake. Surely they meant they wanted to see the full. But, I checked what had been sent, and they already had the full, which they read before extending the contract. Now, the series that started with that initial contract is coming to an end. Nine book plus a novella. What a ride. And what a grand one. I am sorry to see the series end.
You write about New York Society in the 1850’s. What drew you to that period?
My time period choice was a total fluke, and a lucky one for me. I love to read regencies, with the Cotillions and all the pomp, but my first love was American history. I recalled some of my friends from high school had been involved in the Cotillion and their coming-out balls, so I began to dig into when the tradition first made its way to the states. Turned out it was 1854 in New York City. Fortunately, that era was stuffed full of historic events, which led me to create the rest of the series.
Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers)?

Julia Quinn, of course. Love her Bridgeton series, which my series resembles in a lot of ways. I also am a huge fan of Jude Deveraux, and of course, I bow to Nora Roberts daily. Ditto for me. I love all three of them.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
When I was 4 books into the series with Crimson, a new company head came on board. She decided to treat every author as if they were a new candidate and a few of the initial authors at Crimson were not given further contracts for their work. I was really nervous, since I was half-way through at this point, so I sent a note to the new person, and was offered a 5-book deal to finish out the series with them. Relief, excitement, and panic were in equal measure that day.

Any advice for new writers just starting out?

Learn your craft well. Take as many workshops as you can. If you even get only one tidbit from each, you’re ahead of the game. And your first book is your only chance to write what you want to write, since editors and agents will weigh in on future endeavors, so have fun with it.

Tell us about the final book in the series, The Forgotten Debutante

In 1863, America is war-weary. Fifteen-year-old Saffron Fitzpatrick, whose teenage years have been spent mourning the dead rather than dancing at her debutante ball, just wants to visit her beloved horse after being housebound due to the draft riots. A chance meeting with soldier Ezekiel Boone changes everything.

Three years ago, Ezekiel ran away with his older brothers to join the war effort, welcoming the chance for adventure. But when all four of his brothers die at Chancellorsville, he retreats home, despondent and depending on the kindness of strangers, like Saffron, who help him on the journey. They share a wild ride and a breathless kiss, parting with fond memories.

Fate reunites the couple three years later, and their former attraction rekindles as they discover unexpected common ground and begin to build a relationship. But though the war is over, a future together may still elude them … especially if Saffron’s older, protective brother and the U.S. Army have anything to say about it. 

You so beautifully meld historical events with romance. I can't wait to read this.

What’s your current WIP?
I’m working on three books simultaneously. They’re all in different stage of development. I have a historical set in Ohio in the 1860s, which features a secondary character from the Cotillion series, although this book is in no other way related to my series. I also have a contemporary set in the Finger Lakes region of New York, and I’m working on a contemporary Christmas novella set in Ohio.

Wow! Busy Lady!

And finally, where can we find you?
Website: www.beckylowerauthor.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/becky.lower
Twitter: http://twitter.com@BeckyLower1
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/authorbeckyl/
Blog: http://beckylowerauthor.blogspot.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6159227.Becky_Lower

Google+: https://plus.google.com/?gclid=Cj0KEQiAg7ayBRD8qqSGt-fj6uYBEiQAucjOwRV3YX7U9YEJt4AWl0oDZK8uJ6TCU3Tu1lKZJvVqQk0aAj7P8P8HAQ

Amazon page: http://amzn.to/1FOy3SdThe Forgotten Debutante  comes out on April 4th. You can pre-order it on Amazon here.
http://amzn.to/1V0b11r Thank you for being here, Becky. 

Becky is giving away a copy of  The Reluctant Debutante ,Book 1 of the Cotillion Ball series.
Leave Becky a comment telling her who your favorite author is.  I put it in a Rafflecopter because that way you don't have put your email address in the comments. Happy Reading.