Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop


It's time again for the Romance Weekly blog hop. Every Tuesday several authors from around the globe get together to answer the same three questions. This week, I posed the questions so I had better answer them.

Which type of character do you prefer writing about: Sexy, romantic, sweet, quirky, mean, old, young, smart, silly or other?

I discovered in my debut novel, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS, that I really, really LOVE creating nasty and/or quirky characters. Mrs. Biltmore is a pretentious, racist, horrible mother of the bride who drives my poor wedding planner, Suzy, crazy. I also liked creating a bad-boy cop and writing in a male POV. My hippie parents are quirky and were a blast. Plus, I loved the seventies so it was a fun throwback for me to reenact some of those memories.

 Have you ever killed off (or gotten back at) an ex in your writing? On paper, of course.
 
YES! I won't say who exactly but it was someone I dated. And he deserves it! So far, this character is in a yet-to-be published novel. I did change his name and profession to avoid a lawsuit (yes, he'd do that!) and it was quite fun to give him his due. So, there!

What hobbies do you have that you incorporate in your writing?
Decorating, gardening (especially planting flowers), dancing, and shopping. Also enjoying wine with friends just like my characters do every Thursday at Coconuts. My characters also do crazy things that I wouldn't do and I can't wait to get them into trouble in my sequel.



Monday, September 8, 2014

Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop



It's time again for the Romance Writers Weekly blog hop from romance writers from all over the globe. Each week, many of us answer the same three questions so you can get a fun peek into a writer's mind. I submitted this week's questions. Here they are:

1.What’s your favorite aspect of novel writing? Dialogue? Setting? Conflict? Narration? Explain.

By far, my favorite aspect of novel writing is dialogue. I write character-driven and dialogue-driven novels. I especially love creating nasty characters and have a lot of fun writing from a male point of view. I get bored when a novel is too flowery, has a lot of backstory, and narration. I like to get right to the action. I want readers to feel like they are in the scene and to have a hard time putting my book down. That said, I also adore throwing conflict at my characters. I say the more plot twists the better!

 2.How do you choose the setting for your plot? Are they always similar settings or does it vary? (i.e., small town, big city, castle, etc.)

I write contemporary novels--women's fiction, romantic suspense and contemporary romance. My debut novel, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS, is set in a fictional town, Crystal City, and is modeled after a mid-sized town in Missouri where I grew up. However, my sequel will have several chapters devoted to small-town life. I've never written about a small town before, but my grandmother lived in one and my parents do now. Life is a much slower pace in my yet-to-be-named tiny town, and some of my characters need that, believe me. Others are going to hate it, however. Fair warning!

3.I’m a big six-word memoir fan. (Hemingway even wrote one.) Describe your writing day using just six words.

Coffee. Facebook. Email. Coffee. Facebook. Write.

What it should be:

Trudge to coffee pot. Start writing.

If you haven't tried six-word memoirs, you should! My memoirs are in three six-word memoir collections--two books and one calendar. It's great fun. Celebrities and famous authors get involved. Warning: They're highly addictive. http://smithmag.net

So what is your favorite aspect of novel writing? Which settings do you prefer? Tell me and then be sure to visit other RWW bloggers, Leslie Hachtel http://lesliehachtelwriter.wordpress.com and Eden Ashe http://edenashe.com.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS is here!

I can't believe I haven't blogged about my debut novel, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. It seems as though everything has gone from 0 to 200 in five seconds flat this summer. I've been spinning a lot of plates while my daughter got married, doing three rounds of edits, setting up a website and preparing for this launch. I'm afraid a couple of plates crashed to the floor, including this blog.

The great news is THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS  is now available on Amazon as an ebook for just $2.99 (cheaper than a fancy cup of coffee at Starbucks) and I'm thrilled to say it has garnered 20 amazing reviews in less than two weeks. The majority are from complete strangers! It's surreal. I know that's an overused word but it is. Don't pinch me if I'm dreaming.

My publisher is Soul Mate Publishing from New York and I'm eternally grateful they believed in me and my story. In fact, I thanked them as well as a TON of other people on the Acknowledgement Page. You might be one of them but you'll have to get a copy before you can take a peek. Here's the buy link where you can read five chapters to get a feel for my novel: tinyurl.com/l9m26ht

THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS is women's fiction at its core but has many elements of romance and mystery. I love plot twists and surprising the reader. I can almost guarantee you'll be surprised while reading it.
To celebrate the release, I had a big launch party on Facebook. It was a virtual party where I had contests to win swag and gift cards. It was on my birthday, August 14, so that added to the fun. I'll talk more about the virtual party and swag in another post. For now, I'm enjoying the ride. A huge thanks to everyone for their support, downloads, and reviews. I wish we could all meet on a Thursday at Coconuts so I could buy a round of drinks! 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Two-Line Promotional Hooks

My editor at Soul Mate Publishing asked me to write a two-line hook for THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. She'll use this for promoting my novel online. I'm not sure why but this is really HARD--almost as difficult as writing the back cover blurb but not nearly as bad as the dreaded synopsis.

Still, I could use your input. I thought we could have a little fun. How about helping me with this? Let me know which hook "grabs" you. Which one would entice you to know more about (or hopefully purchase) my novel? I've written five hooks below. They are in no particular order. Please vote for your favorite in the comments.

#1 
Best friends, hippies, neurotic brides, and sexy cops.
What could go wrong?

#2
Best friends. Sexy cops. Hippies. Neurotic brides.
It’s complicated.
 
#3
A wedding planner, bad-boy cop, neurotic brides, and hippies.
Not your everyday romance.

#4 
A wedding planner who can’t find wedded bliss. A banker involved with a bad-boy cop.
A counselor who enables her hippie parents. It’s complicated.

#5 
Best friends and wine solve everything—bad-boy cops, bitter betrayals, hippie parents, and neurotic brides. Bring it on.

I'll be eager to see which one comes out on top. Thanks for your input!
 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

#AmEditing

#AmEditing takes on a whole new meaning after you've gone through your 400-page manuscript a gazillion times. It feels like the editing process will never end. My back is killing me, my eyes are bloodshot, and I keep forgetting to eat. Sound familiar?

 I am now working on the final galley for THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS so this is the LAST go-around before the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy). I'm very nervous about this process. I hate typos but we're human and they're inevitable. I decided to have a print copy made and bound but the print is so light I am straining my eyes. I don't have time to have it redone and didn't bother looking at my printed masterpiece(!!) at the store. Oy.

I've learned many things from my talented Soul Mate Publishing senior editor, Debby, and will share those with you after I'm finished editing. Don't let me forget. It's good stuff. For now, I'm finding errors since my editor asked me to change a couple of small plot points and they were woven throughout. I thought I had found them all on the second major edit but I didn't. Scary. I'm going underground Jack Bauer style until I've tackled my 400 pages. I can do this. That's what I keep telling myself. That said, it's a dream come true. I'm not complaining. It's an incredible whirlwind of a process and I'm thrilled to be in this position, bloodshot eyes and all.


Side note: Please mark Aug. 14, 3-6 p.m., on your calendar. That's the date for my online launch party on Facebook. It's going to be fun!. I'll give away tons of prizes/swag, gift cards and books. More about that later, too. I may have an in-person launch party later in the fall after my print books are available.

I also have a couple of other BIG announcements in the wings. So, stay tuned. A new website will be launched next week as well.

Whew! When is a writer supposed to sleep?! How do you like the editing process?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Author Spotlight: Lisa Medley on Zombies

I want you to meet a good friend of mine and fellow Ozarks Romance Author, Lisa Medley. Lisa writes about zombies. Zombies! She is such a fun-loving person, married, with a beautiful daughter, Grace, who sent my very first fan letter. She's also hilarious and positive, yet she writes about zombies. Let's find out how this came about.

Welcome, Lisa. Tell us about your new release—the inspiration, genre, characters or anything you want us to know.

Reap & Repent is the first of my urban fantasy series about reapers. The grim kind. I started writing about reapers because the field wasn’t quite as saturated with that particular monster. After a few visits to local graveyards, the story began to fall together.

 You visit graveyards? I guess that would be good inspiration for zombies!


Q. How long have you been writing? What is your typical writing day like?

I started writing fiction in 2010. I had written newspaper articles and columns off and on through the years but never fiction. After finding and falling in love with the paranormal romance genre, I read more than a hundred books in the field and finally decided I could do that too. So I did. My first attempt stunk. Vampires. Nothing new there. Then I stumbled onto the idea for a series about reapers and I’ve already begun the fourth book in the series. The first three will come out this year.

I don’t really have a typical day. I have a full-time day job, a husband, a child, pets and farm animals. I stay up late after everyone has gone to bed to peck out a few pages. I can usually write 1-2K in two or three hours depending on how things are flowing.

 I'm impressed that you get so much writing done with a full-time job and family. Not to mention your critters!

Q. How many books have you written or is this your debut?

Three books in the reaper series are completed. Reap & Repent (#1) is out now at all online book retailers. Currently, they are all e-books but Repent will publish in print on Harlequin.com sometime in December. Reap & Redeem (#2) comes out Oct. 6 and Reap & Reveal (#3) will come out in January. Currently I’m working on a ghost romance called Haunt My Heart (unrelated to the reaper series) and will be finishing the first draft within the month. Reap & Reckon (#4) insisted on starting without me so I do have the first ten pages started on it as well.

 Wow! You're making me look like a real slacker. I love your Harlequin story. Maybe you can discuss it more in the comment section. Also, I love how you incorporated "Reap" into your four titles. Great branding!

Q. Any suggestions on balancing writing and social media?

It’s hard to do both. I’m not going to lie. But without the writing, you have no need to work on building your social media platform. Definitely spend more time on the writing than on social media. The way social media is changing so rapidly, I hate wasting too much effort there. Building the relationships is the most important thing. So far, I can’t tell that I have sold one book as a direct result of Twitter. I have sold books during and after my online Facebook Launch Party, otherwise it’s all about talking to people and making contacts with other authors and readers.

Direct promotion, organic or paid, has not yet proven fruitful in my situation. Still, the more your name is out there and in front of people, the more likely that they will eventually track you down.

 Yes, name recognition and building relationships are both important. It does take time.

Lisa was in a Zombie Parade in Lebanon, MO, recently.
She really gets into her characters!
Q. Tell us something quirky about you that we may not know.

I keep bees. Or more, I have a beehive in which bees live. They occasionally produce honey for me, which I eat with joyful glee. I have a suit and everything. I’m legit.

Interesting. You are legit--and, I'd add, courageous!
 
Q. What is your favorite marketing tip/promotional advice?

Be assertive but not aggressive. I skim over social media, buy me tweets and shares 95% of the time. If I see something interesting about YOU that catches my eye, I’ll drill down to see what you are all about. I’ve bought books because of WHO people are not necessarily because of WHAT they were screaming.

I agree. Some people overdo it. Way overdo it and I can't scroll past fast enough.
 
Q. What’s your next project?

Finishing Haunt My Heart is my first priority. I’m at 60k on it and should wrap it up in another 5-10K. Then it’s back to my reapers. I have a soft spot for monsters. And monsters in love? Well…mmmmm.

You're a nut. But a funny, likeable nut who is a good writer.

Q. I love first lines. Post your first sentence. Hook us.

 What does a guy have to do around here to get some service? Deacon Walker marveled as he glared at the undulating queue of grotesque reapers in front of him.

Reap & Repent blurb
They see death. Can they share a life?
Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.
Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.
A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound power.

 
Want to read more?  AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO 
BIO:
Lisa has always enjoyed reading about monsters in love and now she writes about them. Reapers. The grim kind.
She adores beasties of all sorts, fictional as well as real, and has a farm full of them in her Southwest Missouri home, including: one child, one husband, two dogs, two cats, a dozen hens, thousands of Italian bees, and a guinea pig.
She may or may not keep a complete zombie apocalypse bug-out bag in her trunk at all times, including a machete. Just. In. Case.

Connect with Lisa Medley here:

Now, tell us what you think about zombies in love?


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop



It's Tuesday which means it's time for another installment of the Romance Writers Weekly blog hop! Each week, an author from the group poses three questions for several romance authors to answer. Follow us and you'll get insight into our writers' minds! Be sure to like our page on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/RomanceWritersWeekly and stay tuned. There's going to be a HUGE give-away toward the end of this month!

This week's great questions come from author Tessa Gray. Thanks, Tessa. I enjoyed these.

1.   Do any characters you've written into your books remind you of yourself? Explain which ones and why.

It's sometimes hard to keep bits of ourselves out of our writing. Sometimes we do it purposefully and other times, for me, it sneaks in. In my August debut, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS, I have a character named Alexandra (Alex) who is quite a bit like me. For instance she has a "touch" of OCD (some days I have more than a "touch") and she loves T.J. Maxx (so do I). Alex also occasionally falls for the bad boys and likes men in uniforms, especially cops. Enough said.
 
2.   Was there a teacher or mentor in your life who helped nurture your writing?
 
I had three--one in junior high, one in high school and one in college. Don Sharp was my English teacher at Pipkin Junior High. Mr. Sharp was entertaining, nurturing and pushed me to become a reporter for the school newspaper. Several of my articles were published and I was hooked.
 
In high school, Laura Fleetwood was my English and literature teacher. She had a lovely, easy, conversational way about her with an ability to draw the students in. I remember she had us put our desks in a circle which I thought was cool. Mrs. Fleetwood also had a section on mythology which I loved.
 
My college professor, Jo Van Arkel, was amazing. I told her once that she could make a rock creative. She gave us several observation exercises which were very helpful and she had us write and write some more. I always made "A's" and received encouraging comments on my papers. During one of my expository writing classes, she made a comment that I remember almost verbatim. "I'm not exaggerating to suggest that this article could be published in a major women's magazine." I've never forgotten that. I was in my mid-to-late twenties and a single mom. I just held onto her encouragement--and that essay--for years but never sent it in.
 
3. Every author has that moment when they doubt their ability to write. When that happens to you, how do you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and continue? What do you do to inspire YOURSELF?    
 
I think this happens to every author. On many days we're filled with self-doubt. Isn't that why Hemingway drank?! What I usually do is either reread things I've written in the past to boost my confidence or I'll read a book. Reading others' work always gives me confidence and courage. It's not that I think I'm better than those authors, but I see exactly how they string sentences together to create a story and reading someone else's book always makes me ready to get back to my own storytelling.
 
Please leave a comment, and after you're finished, be sure and check out answers from the next writer on the hop. She's the lovely, talented actor-turned-writer Kim Handysides  http://kimhandysides.com