#WriterWednesday- Interview with M. O. Kenyan!

Today I welcome fellow 5 Prince Publishing author, M. O. Kenyan! She is a versatile writer from South Africa with an overactive imagination and an unlimited amount of stories to tell. Take a moment to get to know her!

author pic

Welcome, M. O.!

What inspired you to write?

Plenty of crazy thoughts go through my mind. I love daydreaming a lot, thinking up situations, relationships, and events that I would like to be in. It’s my time out from the real world. I spend a lot of time in my head. I thought that maybe it would be a great idea to put it down on paper and welcome the rest of the world into my wacky mind.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

Romance is my main thing. I write fantasy and contemporary. I have an action thriller coming out in July COVERT EXISTENCE with LazyDay Publishing. It’s the first I have done and I have developed a taste for it. I am looking forward to writing more of it.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

It depends. Sometime I go to a publisher’s site and see that they have different themes they are looking for. I write to their deadlines. Otherwise if it is something of my own, unattached I can write a book for a whole year. Right now I am finishing a book called THE NEWYORKER’S BETRAYAL. I started it in 2012 June, and I am yet to finish. I at times put ongoing projects aside if I’m stuck and work on something else to keep the creative juices flowing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I can write three books at a time. I have a wandering mind.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

 I go with the flow. Planning hasn’t always turned out the way I want it to.

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

I put a little bit of myself in everything I do. An example is my upcoming release DENOUEMENT with Secret Cravings publishing. The cheating part is something I pulled out of my own experience. It brought a lot of anger to the surface.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?  Write what you want. I am a Kenyan girl, who is living in South Africa. I don’t know how the hell New York looks like, other than what I see on television. That doesn’t stop me from writing. A better example is AVATAR the movie, I am quite sure there are no blue giants walking around somewhere.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I have only self-published one book THE MARA SONG this is set in the Kenyan Mara. My other books are published by independent publishers.

What are your current projects?

Currently I am working with my publishers to get my work published and out in July. I am writing the second book of my sports series SPORT KINGS THE GIANT’S TRUTH. And I am also trying to complete THE NEWYORKERS BETRAYAL. I am keeping myself busy.

ShadesOfSpring1964-1

Maxine tries to deal with her mother’s death in her own way. But when she finds old letters revealing her family’s past she finds herself creating a bond with someone else, not knowing how far their history goes.

Taylor is amused and infuriated with Marine, and no matter how hard he tries he can’t stay away from her. Now he finds himself being her main supporter, the only one she can lean on as she travels back to the past. And when the past is resolved they now have to think of their futures, while they concentrate on their present.

Amazon      Amazon Author Page

About the Author: 

Reading,Writing, Romance, Creativity and Imagination. These are the words that describe my work.
I was born in Nairobi Kenya and had a passion for books ever since I could remember. Romance and love have always been a strange phenomenon for me. I have always wanted to change the ending of a love story. I decided to start writing my own. I am a published author attached to 5 Prince Publishing, Secret Cravings Publishingand LayDay publishing. I have one book out at the moment but more is coming your way in 2013.

Enjoy!!!

 

Twitter     Facebook     Goodreads     Google+     Blog     Website     Linkedin

 

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

 

MJ

 

About Me     Twitter     Facebook     Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

 


#WriterWednesday- Intervew with Belinda Nicoll!

This weeks featured author is Belinda Nicoll, and does she have an interesting story to tell and wonderful advice for aspiring authors! Sit down with your cup of coffee and get to know her!

Belinda Nicoll

Welcome, Belinda!

What inspired you to write?

I grew up in South Africa in an era of storytelling as television viewing wasn’t an option. The National Party (apartheid) government of the time saw television as a potential threat to their control of the broadcasting media—nationwide service only commenced in the mid-70s. Injustice aside, listening to the radio, reading books, telling stories and stargazing were our main forms of home entertainment. I guess it was thanks to this influence that I excelled at literature as a high school student. My formal writing career started as a copywriter in the advertising industry. While I loved the creative process and being part of an innovative team, I really wanted to tell stories. But that opportunity, ironically, only presented itself years later as a compulsory career change, details of which form part of my memoir: Out of Sync.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

My first published book is a memoir. It chose me through the circumstances of my expatriation from South Africa to the United States in 2001. It was a period of upheaval in my life: a divorce and empty nest followed by an unexpected romance, an expatriation motivated by my second husband’s career, arriving in the U.S. on the day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and multiple relocations and career changes over the next ten years thanks to a declining global economy. Working as a life coach for a big part during this period, I was familiar with the dynamics of change, so I decided to write about the impact my own transformation together with the changes in a post-apartheid South Africa and post-9/11 America had on my life, career and relationships.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I make myself comfortable in front of the computer with my first cup of coffee as early at 7am. I break for a gym session or a walk either late morning or early afternoon; I try to be disciplined about this as all-day sitting tends to take it’s toll on my body. There was a time when I’d work some more after dinner and over weekends, but these days I’m more inclined to give myself a break from the computer by catching up on reading, watching TV, going to movies with my husband and socializing with friends. As much as I sometimes allow myself to become preoccupied with a writing project, I believe the world’s obsession with work is more a need to be fashionable than a necessity and has given rise to blatant abuse in the workplace. Everyone seems to be driven by deadlines and social media obligations. Meanwhile, the world is engulfed by information. Have we lost our awareness of the need for balance?

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I tend to over-think things before committing thoughts to paper.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

 I am so NOT a pantser!

Are your stories based on experiences or someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share an example?

 In the case of my memoir, I’d probably answer YES to both questions. I guess my work-in-progress novel can be considered historical fiction, though I’m exploring both historical events and universal concepts. The Anglo-Boer war in South Africa and Hurricane Katrina would be two historical events that feature in my book; the concepts of war, rape and intergenerational shame are examples of universal phenomena that I’m exploring.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Think things through: What are your real motivations for writing? What type of writer do you want to be seen as? What kind of stories would you like to be known for? What can you do to ensure that your writing rises above the clutter, and jewels, out there? Do you aspire to entertain, educate or change the world? Understanding yourself better can only lead to works of greater depth.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I am an Indie author. At one point, my manuscript was under serious consideration; in the end, it did not crack a sale—the writing was already on the wall with regards an industry collapse. I wanted to move on, not only with my book but my career. I don’t regret my decision at all. I don’t expect a literary agent or publisher to back an author unless they feel passionate about the project, but that the chances of perfectly capable newbie authors are jeopardized by the industry’s greed is despicable.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on the novel that I’ve describe above as well as a creative writing guide, which is my first priority and should be published by the end of the year.

About the Author: 

Belinda Nicoll is originally from South Africa. She expatriated to the United States in 2001 and has been a citizen since 2010. She holds a BA degree in the social sciences and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Belinda was a talent agent and drama coach before venturing into the advertising world as copywriter. These days, she works as a freelance writer and teacher of creative writing. She’s an active blogger, and her favorite subject to explore and write about is change.

 Website     Blog     Amazon Author Page     Facebook Profile     Facebook Page     Twitter    LinkedIn

book cover

In 2001, when a couple leaves South Africa for a stay abroad, they land at JFK International Airport on September 11th, unprepared for the sight of smoke billowing from the Manhattan skyline or the horror of a second plane exploding into the North Tower.

Over the next ten years, as their host country confronts fundamental change of its own, their marriage buckles under the strain of their disparate experiences. With the international economic crisis making it all but impossible for them to return to their country, they relocate from California to the North, the South, and the Midwest searching for a place they can call home.

Out of Sync is an insightful tale about marital endurance that promises to enthrall anyone, expatriate or not, who has ever felt at odds with themselves or the world.

Out of Sync (where to buy)        Out of Sync (Amazon)

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook     Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

#WriterWednesday- Interview with A.T. Hicks!

This week I introduce you to another great author, A.T. Hicks! She stopped by a few weeks ago to share how she cracked the mystery novel code. This weeks she’s back to tell us why she writes and offers a few tips to aspiring authors.

Welcome back, A.T.! 


What inspired you to write?

 I wasn’t really inspired to write so much as reminded that I could. One day, desperate, I was trying to figure out where my talent lay. What was I supposed to be doing? At that point in my life, I was a directionless college student without the goals and drive that those around me seemed to have. I prayed. The next day I wrote my very first poem. And within a year I wrote my first novel. Albeit a terrible one, but a novel nonetheless! My inspiration for books lies in the madness of everyday life, in the nuances of human behavior, and…in court TV!

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

At the moment, I’m focused on writing a series of not so cozy mysteries featuring amateur sleuth Peaches Donnelly. I love cozy mysteries and have read tons of them. However, I noticed none were written by black authors. I figured I’d change that. However, I wanted the plot of Peaches and the Gambler, my first cozy, to have plot elements that were far more risqué than your traditional cutsie-cutsie cozy. So, with that in mind, I got to work. So, I guess you could say I chose the genre and not the other way around.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Unless I get really busy with my day job, I write nearly every day. I try to stick to around 1500 words a day. But as usual, this goes awry! Novels generally take me two to three months from start to finish.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

 I write all my novels in front of the television while talking to my husband! In addition, I’m not one of those writers who, if they stop, the writing muse disappears. Quite often, I’ll write a paragraph or two, in between cooking dinner.

MJ: Sounds like me this evening! I was cooking and writing at the same time!

Are you a pantser or plotter?

 I’m a panster with a bit of plotter thrown in for good measure. I usually have an idea and run with it. However, I spend a lot of time in my head plotting. Thus, the characters are already well-developed. I generally know exactly what’s going to happen in a book, save a few minor details.

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share an example?

My stories are almost inevitably ideas I’ve gleaned from a combination of watching the news, reading police bulletins and watching court TV. The development of the character for Peaches Donnelly was shaped around one of my girlfriends whose life–I swear to God–is a bad comedy. Every time I spoke to her something funny was going on with her or one of her two daughters. She was too funny a character to pass up. She IS Peaches Donnelly! The car chase in my second novel, Peaches and the Baby Mama, actually happened in real life. It was a story I saw featured on an episode of Judge Alex. It was so unbelievable and ridiculous; I just had to use it!

MJ: Ha ha ha!!! Art imitating life!

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

 I know this is probably clichéd advice, but write all the time. Learn how to shut people out. Put down your phone! Also, watch plenty of TV. That’s where I get all of the characters for my books. Nothing comes out of a vacuum and certainly with the characters in my books, this couldn’t be more true.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I’m self-published. I’m sorry. I’m an Indie Writer. I believe that’s the politically correct term these days!

What are your current projects?

 I just completed Peaches and the Baby Mama. The next novel in the series is Peaches and the Cross Dresser.

Peaches and the Gambler Silhouette

 

Buy Now!

What does a strip club, a dead man and a Dove ice cream bar all have in common? Peaches Donnelly.

Peaches Donnelly has a major problem: she’s just been fired. Unaccustomed to filling her days with nothingness, she embroils herself in the murder of a childhood friend. However, standing between her and the solving of this heinous
crime are two pesky daughters, a selfish opera singer sister, the diet from hell and two sexy men she can’t resist.

Add to this bubbling pot a hasty decision to go undercover as a stripper and you have a story rife with drama, laughs and a little dash of danger.

Follow Peaches and the always funny cast of characters in this first installment of a rollicking series of cozy mysteries.

 


 

Peaches and the Baby Momma

Buy Now! 

 

Bodacious beauty and Baby Mama Extraordinaire Cecily Washington has it all: a Child Support Portfolio that would make any Gold Digger proud, a sprawling McMansion filled with expensive goodies, and a closet full of designer shoes that would bring a diva to tears.

When Peaches is invited to a party at the uber wealthy Cecily’s home, she jumps at the chance. However, poison is in the air when local daycare owner and president of Peaches PTA, Stacey Howard, storms in and confronts the Baby Mama about the torrid affair she is carrying on with her husband.

When the housekeeper finds Cecily dead the next morning, the victim of a vicious—and some think well deserved—knife in the back, Peaches sleuthing/nosy instincts kick into high gear. Stacey Howard is the prime
suspect. But the list of Cecily Haters is long and illustrious. Accepting a lucrative wager to solve the crime before local police, Peaches puts her amateur detecting skills to work to root out the well-to-do Baby Mama’s
murderer.

 

About the Author:

When A. T. Hicks isn’t penning outrageous fiction, she’s shooing a renegade tomcat out of her garden, trying to prevent her escape artist dog from slipping out under the fence once again and negotiating with her teenaged daughter to complete her chores.

Twitter     Blog/Website     Amazon     Email

Thanks for stopping by to share your books with us!

MJ

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#WriterWednesday- Interview with Chicki Brown!

This week I am happy to introduce you guys to one of my writing mentors, Chicki Brown! I met Chicki at Writer’s Workshop that was held at my local library in 2010 when I started writing. Chicki was kind enough to take me under her wing and bring me into her critique group, introducing me to several other very talented women. She guided me as I floundered around, trying to find my writing voice and style. This was just about the time she self-published her first book, Have You Seen Her? I’ve had the privileged of watching Chicki continue to grow as an author, friend, and mentor. So grab that cup of coffee and take a few moments to get to know Chicki Brown!

My Author Photo 

What inspired you to write?

Honestly, it was pure boredom. At the time I worked on a job that was so slow that I was desperate to find something to do to keep myself awake. When I’m bored, my mind wanders, and the idea for a short story about an interracial couple popped into my head. I hadn’t written anything in two decades, but once I started I couldn’t stop. That short story turned into a four-hundred-page manuscript I entitled, Lyrics. I never published the story, because it required too much work to make it publisher-ready.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I write contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and inspirational romance. There are the genres I read, so I suppose they chose me.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

 I get up around six AM, make a cup of tea and go through my e-mail and check my online sales numbers for the previous day. Next, I go to my social networks and respond to messages, retweet for followers and post book promos for the day. That all usually takes about two hours. Around eight o’clock, I’ll shut everything down, make my second cup of tea, read my Bible or daily devotionals and pray before I start writing.

For the rest of the morning I write/research, break for lunch then write until I have to break to fix dinner. After dinner I watch TV or read until I crash, because by then my brain is so fried I’m useless.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

This probably isn’t all that interesting, but I have to work with music. Complete quiet stifles my creativity. Vocals are distracting when I’m writing, so I listen to smooth jazz, New Age or classical instrumentals. When I work out in a public place, my headphones are standard equipment.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I am definitely a plotter. My normal process when I begin writing a new book is to start with a general outline, fill out character profiles for each of my main characters, find photos that represent what the characters look like, where they live, what they drive, etc. and create a collage. This helps me to keep everything fresh in my mind. Recently I even purchased a copy of Scrivener, a well-known writing software program to help me with my plotting ways.

MJ: I must say thank you again, Chicki, for staying on me about the panster thing! I remember numerous conversations on the phone and in your car about why I should stop flying by the seat of my pants and plot it out! When I did, I really did see a difference. Now I can’t write any other way!  J

Are your stories based on experiences or someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the character/stories you write? Can you share an example?

I have included some childhood memories in my stories and have thrown in a character or two based on someone famous. For instance, in Have You Seen Her? Dani Reynolds recalls happy days as a young girl with her family in Atlantic City, one of my father’s favorite places to take our family when I was young. In Hot Fun in the Summertime, Kinnik was loosely patterned after an infamous former video dancer who made a name for herself by sleeping with famous rappers and music moguls.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become better writers? If so, what are they?

I talk to a lot of aspiring authors online, and the main point I always try to stress is that being a published author is a business and it is a LOT of work, particularly when you are self-published. They will need to learn how to go from creative mode to analytical mode, from artist to businessperson in order to do the necessary e-book formatting, marketing, promoting, accounting tasks. As authors we thrive when we’re in the creative zone, but the business tasks can’t be ignored.

Getting the story down on paper is only the start. They need to learn as much about the craft and about the industry before they jump out there. Things are changing in the publishing industry at the speed of light, and if they don’t know what’s going on, someone will inevitably take advantage of them.

If they understand the basics of their genre and sub-genre and the basics of how the publishing business works, they will have a much better chance at success.

MJ: Great advice! Yes, being aware that being an author is more than just writing, it’s about marketing and selling your product (yes, once it’s published, it’s a product!) and time management – and that’s before you add in real-life responsibilities – is something every aspiring author needs to know. Learning that too late can make the dream of becoming a published author turn into a quick nightmare! Thanks for the warning! J

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

After trying to go the traditional route for almost ten years, I made the decision to self-publish. Back in 2008-2009 I had been following the rise of electronic publishing and was fascinated by author Joe Konrath’s Great E-book Experiment (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2009/08/great-ebook-experiment.html.)  The more I learned about his success, the more I wanted to try it for myself. I released Have You Seen Her? which was actually the sixth book I’d written, onto Kindle in 2010. It became my bestselling book up until the release of Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.

What are your current projects?

 I had an idea about writing a family story about a large family with several sons. As I began searching online for pictures that represented my idea of each of the sons, I ended up with eight men that looked similar enough to be related. Eight was too many, so I cut it back to six and decided that each brother would have his own story.
The patriarch of the Stafford Family is a successful doctor who wanted all of his sons to follow in his footsteps. Three of them went into medicine. The youngest has just finished college with an undergraduate degree focusing on pre-med courses, but is still undecided about making medicine his life. Only two of them went against the grain – Greg, who became an on-air television host and Marc, who went as far from traditional medicine as he possibly could.

A Woman’s Worth, the first book in the series, is Marc Stafford’s book. He is a personal trainer and raw vegan who lives in Las Vegas.

AWW REVISED COVER

When Marc comes home to Atlanta for the first time in four years for a family celebration, he meets Gianne Marvray, a woman who hijacks his heart. He soon discovers she’s recovering from a catastrophic illness and that she is his father’s patient. I can’t tell you too much more without giving spoilers. J I anticipate a late summer release

Where can readers find you online?

Blog      Twitter     Facebook     Amazon Central Author Page     Pinterest

Thank you so much for stopping by!

MJ

#WriterWednesday- Interview with Christopher Bynum!

I crossed paths with author Christopher Bynum in one of the Facebook book clubs I belong to.  We first conversed when he dropped by for an author chat about my first book. I was floored when I learned he wrote Erotica. I have not ran across many male authors (I know they exist!) who write Romance, much less Erotica…and man is he good at it! But Romance and Erotica are not the only genres he  has explored.  He goes by the pen name, The Black, and has an extensive catalog of stories to read on his website. You have to check them out!

Chris Author pic

Welcome, Christopher!

What inspired you to write?

 I think I’ve always had stories in my head. Early on I wanted to be an artist. I was always good at illustration, and I thought that I’d tell my stories that way. Then one day it dawned on me that I could tell my stories more efficiently with the written word than with a series of illustrations or paintings.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I write everything. My back up hard drive is loaded with stories of every genre – Action/Adventure, Romance, Erotica, even Science Fiction, Fantasy and Old West tales. Most of my published works are erotica, a genre I kind of fell into. The year before I retired from the Air Force the IT guy at my headquarters asked me what I was going to do after I retired. I told him the same job I did in the Air Force, but that what I really wanted to do one day was to pursue my passion, which was writing fiction. I also commented that I thought that reading books on computers would be the wave of the future. He agreed. He told me that in every new technology, sex always leads the way, whether it be VCRs, video on CD, and the new technology (at that time), DVDs. He suggested that I write about sex. So that’s how I started with erotica. I made my bones on a certain adult web site, and over about a decade became quite popular there writing serialized erotica. Many of those stories became published books.  

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I’m usually up by 7:00, and the first thing I do is sit down with a cup of coffee at my laptop. I try to do no less than four hours of writing a day. It usually works out to be many more hours – sometimes eight or ten on a given day because if inspiration strikes, I’ll usually stop whatever I’m doing and go fire up my laptop.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I come up with some of my best stuff in the shower. I’m talking about specific narrative and dialogue. Then by the time I’m dry I’ve lost over half of it. If someone ever invents a waterproof laptop I’m going to rule the world. Okay, maybe that’s not interesting; just strange.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I plot. Mentally. I can’t sit down in front of a blank Word document with no idea and just start writing and hope it turns out okay. Today I wrote the first 2,000 words of a story that’s been in my head for weeks. The crazy thing is that until a couple of days ago it hadn’t occurred to me to write it at all. It was just something bouncing around in my imagination while I was doing other things. That being said, I rarely create a written outline before starting a story or novel. Usually the story plays out in my head, including character dialogue. If I get stuck, I get up and walk around and let the characters talk to me. Lately however, I’m finding that I need to lay out at least a rough overview of the primary elements of a story, because my new stuff is more complex. Right now I have pages of bullet statements for a book project I’m working on taped to the wall behind my laptop. 

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

Many of my stories are based on my experiences or are inspired by the experiences of others that I’ve observed. Some come to me out of thin air. An example of a story inspired by real life would be one I started about five years ago. I had an idea for a story about a man who was in a marriage that ended suddenly, catching him by surprise. My thought was that after his marriage ended, the character would go on something of a sexual rampage, having many physical relationships without allowing himself to become emotionally involved with any of the women and be hurt again as a result. I was going to call the story Insatiable. I was married at that time, and all of a sudden real life events started to look like they would mirror my story idea. My fictional story became emotionally too close to reality, and I wasn’t able to finish it. Fast-forward to my post-marriage life: I met someone who was externally the (stereotypical) model of the strong, independent, successful black woman. You step to her wrong and she would verbally crush you. But we discovered that beneath her strong exterior, she was a submissive at heart. Boom – a new story idea. I created a character based on that woman. I needed a male costar for her story, so I dug up the character I’d put aside – the man who’d experienced the failed marriage – made him a writer named Simon Bishop, and wrote a story titled, Elle. I posted Elle on the adult web site, and I was surprised at all the positive email feedback I received from women readers. They wrote that they could relate to Elle’s character – not necessarily her sexual submissiveness, but her desire to have a man she could trust enough to allow her to let down her guard, to not always have to be in control. The emails highlighted to me that many women don’t want to be controlling or in always control of every aspect of their lives, but feel that they have to be because they haven’t found a man they could trust enough to hand over the reins to. Based on that feedback, I knew that Elle would have to become a published novel. I published it as Elle (Insatiable: Book One). I still have plans to publish Simon Bishop’s story (the story I put aside), probably as the fourth book in the Insatiable series.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they? Read a lot. Read works by your favorite authors. As you read, think about what makes you enjoy that author’s work. From a technical perspective, examine the way they lay out a story and draw you into it. Then sit down and write, but don’t try to imitate those other authors. Instead, find your own voice and run with it. Don’t worry about how bad you think it might be. That’s what editing is for. For instructional/reference material I suggest Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, and J.A. Konrath’s A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing. Grab a copy of Writer’s Digest Magazine every now and then. I always find good tips or motivation there.  Also pick up a copy of Gone With the Wind. Even if you don’t like the subject matter and some of the character portrayals, the novel is a classic for a reason. Author Margaret Mitchell laid out a blueprint for character and plot development that’s as good as any you’ll ever read. One thousand pages fly by. Most important, write! Writing is like exercising a muscle. You won’t get better at it unless you work that muscle and make it stronger.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I’m self-published.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on three projects currently: A vampire novel titled Nightwalkers, which will be much different than any vampire tale ever written, a romance drama titled Anything Worth Having, and I’m compiling the many short stories that make up The Hitman Chronicles. The one is long overdue for publishing, but it’s my pet project and I want to get it just right.

Connect with Christopher on the following links:

Twitter     Facebook     Google+     Goodreads     Blog/Website     Amazon     Email

Interview with Christine Steendam!

I am excited to introduce you to fellow 5 Prince Publishing author, Christine Steendam! If you love Historical Romance, check out her debut novel, Heart Like an Ocean! I wish her much success! Take a moment to get to know her, then be sure to grab a copy of her book!

Christine Steendam

Welcome, Christine!

What inspired you to write?

I can’t really think of one thing that inspired me. I’ve always written, for as long as I can remember. However, Heart Like an Ocean was inspired while I was living at a ranch learning to train horses. I was sitting, listening to music, staring out at the horse pasture, and I envisioned a girl running across the field to her horse, looking for an escape. From there Heart Like an Ocean was born.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I write romance. Heart Like an Ocean, my debut novel, is a historical romance and the book I’m working on right now is a contemporary romance. I always thought that my genre would be science fiction or fantasy but it seems my inner muse had a different idea.

MJ: I can relate to that! I used to read Sci-Fi, but when I decided to write, Women’s Fiction is where my muse took me.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Work schedule? I used to have a schedule but with baby #2 on the way that all went out the window. Now it’s more like I find a moment between chasing after my son and exhaustion to get 500-1,000 words out daily. I’m working on getting back on schedule though.

MJ: Congratulations on your upcoming new addition to your family!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

This isn’t really a writing quirk but once I reach the editing stage I actually print out the entire manuscript (I know, I’m not saving trees at all) and go through it with a red pen. I can’t edit on the computer or with any other color pen. It has to be red.

MJ: *raises had in air* I’m guilty of the same!

Are you a pantser or plotter?

A bit of both but probably leaning more towards pantser. My first drafts are almost always just bare bones idea of a beginning, middle and end that I rarely even write down. I basically just go with the flow and get it all out. Once I’m done the first draft though is when the real fun begins and I end up plotting it out in great detail so that I know what needs to be fixed up.

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

One of my beta readers said that when she picked up Heart Like an Ocean she saw a lot of me in it. She tells other people we know that when they read it they’ll just know it came from me. I don’t agree completely, but definite aspects of my life and attitude while growing up are reflected. To say no aspect of my real life gets into my writing would be a lie because real life is what inspires me, but there are no characters or events based on anything in particular.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

#1. The first step is to get it all out. Finish your first draft. You can never get better if you don’t first finish. #2. Hearing “you’re awesome, your writing is great, I loved the story” is great for your ego but not great for improving your writing. Search for honest and constructive criticism. It might sting a little but you’ll learn from it.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

Indie pubbed by the fantastic 5 Prince Publishing. I love everyone there. It’s like a big family.

*Virtual High-Five to my 5P Sister!*

What are your current projects?

I am currently working on a contemporary romance set on an Alberta cattle ranch. It’s tentatively titled Unforgiving Plains. I’m currently in the editing stages right now but will hopefully be ready for submission soon.

HeartLikeAnOcean-Cover

Heart Like an Ocean– Released in eBook on Feb 2,2013 on Amazon and 5 Prince publishing.

In a society where she doesn’t belong, Senona Montez, a strong-willed and free-spirited woman refuses to follow the path expected of a Don’s only child.

On the eve of her marriage to a stranger, she saddles her horse and flees everything she knows, only to discover the petty concerns of society did not prepare her for the harsh life on the open sea. She finds an unlikely protector in a reckless privateer, Brant Foxton.

Straddling the worlds of independence and privilege in 1600’s Europe, this captivating man challenges her in ways she never thought possible, shows her what living to the fullest really means, and allows her to follow her heart wherever it leads.

 

Excerpt:

Prologue

Spain-1666

Senona looked around the room full of swirling dresses of so many shapes and colors. It was like a dream and left her overwhelmed and unable to tear her eyes away. Tonight she was a princess in her new dress with her hair curled, cascading in loose waves down her back. Tonight she was perfect.

Browsing the room, this time in search of familiar faces, Senona spotted Caton Amador, and Isidro Amato. The boys, although older, were her friends and a welcome relief to the overwhelming nature of her surroundings. She made her way around the perimeter of the room in their general direction.

Isidro was never very serious about anything and enjoyed teasing Senona, which annoyed her to no end. Caton was much more subdued and quiet, at least around her. Although they were not as close as they once had been, the families remained good friends, and the three of them spent many hours riding around the countryside or playing games in the garden. When they were younger, Isidro and Caton had been her constant companions, helping her sneak out of tea with their Madres or rescuing her from lessons with her tutor. Now they never voluntarily saw each other, but due to their families’ relationship, they found themselves together often enough.

“Senona, my Chica! You are a picture of beauty, as always,” boomed Isidro’s obnoxious and teasing voice.

Caton turned to look at the young girl. “Leave her alone, Isidro.”

“Come on, Caton. She’s glad to see us.”

Caton frowned but said nothing, turning his attention back to the pretty girl standing next to him. Isidro seemed to accept that as permission to continue, and he smirked mockingly at Senona, beckoning her. The small flock of girls that surrounded the two boys giggled, causing her to blush and become hesitant and uncomfortable. She had never seen the boys in this environment, and she quickly questioned her decision that she belonged with them.

“It’s okay, Isidro. I just wanted to say hello.”

“Well then, run along. There must be some of your friends around.”

Senona forced a smile and turned to Caton. “Hello, Caton.”

He barely acknowledged her with a brief glance and nod in her direction, and then returned to ignoring her. Unsure of how to deal with Caton’s rejection, she walked away, her eyes burning with angry tears that threatened to spill over. Why was he being so rude? Not even so much as a hello, as if he were embarrassed to be associated with her.

As she pushed her way through the crowd, she heard one of the girls laugh. “Caton, I do believe you hurt her feelings.”

Caton’s deep, unmistakable chuckle cut through the din and his voice was all she heard. “She’s a silly, strange girl. I would rather not encourage her.”

Senona expected this behavior from Isidro, but from Caton? She had always thought he was honest and simple, but his actions tonight had shown her otherwise. She had been a fool to think that these older boys were her friends.

Escaping into the shadows, she hid from the sneering glances and mocking laughter that seemed to follow her wherever she went. She had thought that tonight would be different, but nothing had changed. She was just a strange little girl.

The night was a blur, a blur of swirling skirts and obnoxious voices. To nearly everyone she was invisible. Even her Madre and Padre, who had never been overly affectionate towards their daughter, seemed to have completely forgotten her existence. But that wasn’t so different from normal. They weren’t very affectionate people ever, even towards each other.

At the end of the night, Senona lay in bed, her new dress hanging in her wardrobe, mocking her. She had realised tonight how far she fell from society’s standards, her own parents’ standards. Any illusion she had of being a princess, of being perfect for one night had been shattered. But that didn’t really bother her. The truly odd thing was that she felt a weight lifted from her shoulders. Perhaps she didn’t have to be that way. Perhaps now she had the freedom to do as she wanted. It wasn’t as if anyone cared about her anyway. She was just a strange little girl.

####

About the Author:

Christine has been writing stories since she could put pen to paper and form words. Now, many years later, her debut novel is scheduled to be released and her second book is in the works.

Christine has spent the better half of her life owning and working with horses, and these four legged companions often find their way into her stories. After all, no work of women’s fiction would be complete without a horse or two (in Christine’s opinion at least).

She currently makes her home in the center of the world—no, really. Look at an atlas.

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Interview with Raine Delight!

Today I welcome  author Raine Delight. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to her via Facebook and the fact that she writes for two different types of Romance  is very interesting!  Grab that cup of coffee and take a moment to meet her!

Red Hot Magic Cover

Welcome, Raine!


What inspired you to write?

Actually it was reading one too many books that had too stupid to live heroines and heroes who made me want to scream. An author friend dared me to write something better and after a few tries I got my first book, Sticky Magic, as well as my first series set up.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I write Paranormal Contemporary, either M/F or M/M, depending on the how my characters want to go. I love paranormal, contemporary stories and felt right at home with them.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I work from home so I have a bit of a flexible schedule. I normally write during the day when kids are at school and sometimes after they are in bed depending on if the story really gets its grip in me.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I like having green tea and skittles nearby if I need a break and I need music for background noise. Sometimes the music even makes it into the story. J

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I am a pantser all the way. I tried an outline once…my muse laughed his fool head off and proceeded to take the story in a completely other direction. Let’s just say outlines and myself are not good bedfellows. J

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

It all depends…sometimes I draw from experiences in a bakery I used to work at like I did in my latest story, Moonlight Masquerade found in the On Valentine’s Day Anthology or other jobs but otherwise it is all make believe.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Write every day or whenever you can. Read whatever genre you want to read. Talk to other authors, let yourself learn as you write your books and eventually things do stick in your head when you write. J

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

RD: I am published through Secret Cravings. I have six books there right now and plan to send in three more to them this year and I also am involved in two anthologies a bunch of us got together and self-published. Both anthologies I am in, Hot Summer Fun & On Valentine’s Day were both best sellers at All Romance Ebookstore and on Amazon Kindle. I also have another story I am getting ready to self-publish called Second Chance at Love on my own.

What are your current projects?

I am promoting my story Moonlight Masquerade, now out in the On Valentine’s Day Anthology then I am getting into my next Devon Falls story, Mistletoe & Magic (Paranormal M/M) and I am eager to get to my space pirates finished and sent out for submission.

Author/Reader Loop    Email     Secret Cravings Publishing    Haunting Magic book Trailer

Red Hot Magic Book Trailer    A Summer Night Fling Book Trailer    Sticky Magic book trailer

Facebook      Website     Raine’s Blog

Valentine Anthology Cover

Mysterious roses keep popping up on Skylar Everclear’s doorstep. No idea what is going, a little disturbed by this secret admirer, he tries to forget it all since he just got rid of the latest line of loser boyfriends and just wants to do his job at the local bakery. But when he meets his new neighbor, Marc Douglas, he finds himself drawn to the quiet young man even as he tries to not let his libido take over. But on Valentine’s Day, a mysterious rose again pops up with a note to meet his admirer that night. Will Skylar take a chance that this time, love is right there waiting for him?

Excerpt:

Skylar opened his door and groaned. Another damn rose was lying on his doormat. It ticked him off that he had no idea who was doing this but every freaking night this week he either came home to a rose on his porch or opened the door to it. It was enough to feel creeped out now. He looked around, seeing no one, shut the door with a soft click and leaned against the door in despair. It has been three months since he threw out his lover, Saul, after catching him fucking some other guy after one of the numerous block parties the neighborhood held in the summer and autumn months and frankly he didn’t know what to do anymore. All he did was work, sleep and work some more. He always seemed to pick those guys who are bound to break his heart.

“I must have ‘Loser’ tattooed on my forehead the last few years.” Skylar muttered to himself.  “Why can’t I find a nice guy for once? One who won’t lie, cheat or steal and break my heart by telling me I wasn’t good enough for them.” Sighing, Skylar grabbed his backpack, keys and cell phone as he hurried to get ready for work. As a baker in the local bakery, his day started earlier than many others. With Valentine’s around the corner, he was working longer than normal hours. He was in the bakery at 4 am and not coming home till almost five at night. It made for long hellish days but he enjoyed what he did. Plus he enjoyed seeing the people enjoy his desserts and hey, the paycheck after days like this made a nice chunk of change in his bank account. His mind on what items he needed to get done for the next few days, he opened then shut his door, locked it and made sure to pick up the rose before he stepped all over it, crushing the fragile blooms. As he turned and walked to his car, he wondered who his mysterious admirer was.

Skylar’s day got off to a good start at work as he hummed a long with a local radio station playing 80’s rock bands while he rolled out dough for cookies, breads and made delicate fruit pastries. He was finally able to take a quick break around noon when the front sales person, Marlene, poked her head in the doorway saying they needed more pastry hearts. Seemed everyone was buying those desserts for their significant other, or ordering the smaller ones for class or office parties. He sighed as the fleeting dream of getting off his feet for ten minutes went on by as he got to work making more goodies. By the time five o’clock hit, Skylar was exhausted but pleased. They sold out of many of the Valentine themed items and the specialty breads were also almost gone. He made a note on the dry-erase board what needed to be replaced tomorrow and clocked out, waving to the front sales people as he went through the door to the parking lot.

Shivering as he hurried to his car, Skylar fumbled with his keys before unlocking the door and sliding into the seat. Turning the heat up on high, he waited a bit before putting his car in drive to go home. All he wanted to do was grab a shower, order a pizza and veg in front of the television. He was so exhausted it wasn’t funny. Watching couples come into the bakery or men buying items for their partners/girlfriends was a downer to be sure. He never liked Valentine’s Day to begin with. He felt it was a holiday that Hallmark cards liked so they could guilt people into buying cheesy cards and florist could raise the prices of roses so high it was mind boggling. He never had a nice Valentine’s Day where a lover surprised him with dinner or gave him something romantic or funny or sweet. He was always alone on Valentine’s day and he tried to make sure he didn’t have to deal with people who were so sugary sweet they made his teeth ache. Finally feeling the car heat up, he drove off determined to not think of hearts, flowers and all the things associated to Valentine’s Day. It was for couples, people in love and not for him.

####

 

 

Interview with Denise Moncrief!

Today I welcome another talented author with 5 Prince Publishing, Denise Moncrief, as she shares a bit about herself, her writing process, and wonderful advice for aspiring authors!

Denise Moncrief author pic

 Welcome, Denise!

What inspired you to write?

I began devouring every book I could get my hands on in high school. I’ve been a prolific reader ever since. All of that reading has fed my imagination. For years my daydreaming made me feel somewhat guilty. I had no problem imagining myself in other places, with other people, doing other things. One day I got the idea of channeling all my daydreaming into a manuscript. That was nine, maybe ten years ago, and since then I’ve been writing practically non-stop with only a few short sabbaticals due to a recalcitrant muse refusing to cooperate and give me a fresh spurt of inspiration.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I started writing romance, but I found an element of suspense slipped into the plot line every single time no matter how I manipulated my characters and their actions, so the suspense genre grabbed my imagination and wouldn’t let me go. I love suspense and that’s what I write.

I bend and blend genres. My stories are usually suspense and _________. My daughter tells me I can’t write anything without including at least one dead body in the story line. Well, I don’t know, maybe that’s true. Aside from traditional suspense plot lines, I find there’s an element of suspense in any conflict, a moment when the breath catches. I strive to portray that one thing in any situation that will affect the heart rate, tug at emotions, and make the reader anxiously turn the page to read what happens next.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I have a part time accounting position, so my weekday mornings are spent crunching numbers, but once I get home I divide my time between taking care of my family and pursuing my career as a writer and editor. My evenings are split between writing, editing, and marketing. Lately, it’s been difficult to squeeze working on my current work in process between editing and promotion deadlines, but thankfully, the new manuscript is within 5,000 words of being complete. I’ve never been a scheduled writer, writing for a certain amount of time at the same time every day. Now, that I’ve also been hired as an editor, I’ve had to schedule chunks of time to get alone and write for several hours at a time. If I don’t do that, the editing and marketing pursuits will swallow all my free time. So it’s definitely become a balancing act.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Hum…A writing quirk? Am I quirky? I’m not sure about that. Well, I don’t write in my polka dot pajamas, sip herbal tea, or listen to any particular style of music. I don’t have to have the house quiet either. I put on a pot of coffee and slip into my most comfortable jeans and a t-shirt. I might write on my bed or at my desk or on the sofa in the living room. Perhaps my biggest quirk is that I don’t do rough drafts. I’m probably obsessive compulsive or a raving perfectionist or something. I edit as I go because I can’t stand the thought of overlooking something that needs a tweak. I’ll write a few chapters and then edit. Write a few more and reread from the beginning, editing as I go. I find this gives me a greater sense of continuity and helps me fine-tune my plot and my characterization.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I imagine the opening scene of the story and decide how the story will end. Between the beginning and the ending, I am a certified pantser. I let the plot evolve as it goes along, letting my characters and their developing personalities decide what to say and how to react in any given situation, as long as they get to the end of the story right where I want them to go.

Are your stories based on experiences of someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share an example?

No, I can’t think of any instance where I’ve based a plotline on my own experiences or the experiences of anyone I know personally. However, the underlying theme of all my stories is forgiveness and reconciliation. I heard someone say one time that unforgiveness is the poison one drinks with the hopes of injuring someone else. I believe this to be very true. I’ve experienced personally how destructive unforgiveness can be, not only to the offender, but to the offended.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

I remember well my first rejection. I submitted a series of four stories to a publisher. He very kindly suggested I should continue to hone my skills by perhaps going to a writer’s workshop. It was an excellent piece of advice, because I did as he advised and realized how much I didn’t know about the craft of writing. That was years ago. An author should never believe he or she has learned all there is to know about the art and craft of writing.

Commonly accepted style evolves and changes over the years. Be aware of trends. The trends readers preferred ten years ago might not be what keeps a reader’s interest today. For instance, a common trend is to use as few he said/she said type dialogue tags as possible, replacing the tag with action beats.

When you finish writing your baby, after pouring all your heart and soul into plot and characterization, put the manuscript aside for a few days and then come back to it. Read it aloud with the critical ear of a reader, not the emotionally attached heart of a writer. The exercise often reveals glitches in the flow of the narrative.

There is an abundance of information and guidance available to aspiring writers on how to hone writing skills. Not all suggestions work for every writer. Research editing and writing. Read blogs and books on the subject of writing. Build relationships with other writers. A writer should test different approaches and find out what works best for her. For instance, I’ve read more than once that a writer should write straight through a rough draft, then go back and edit. This approach clearly doesn’t work for me.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I have been published or have been contracted by three wonderful indie publishers, Still Moments Publishing, 5 Prince Publishing, and Crooked Cat Publishing.

What are your current projects?

My last single tile release was Deceptions of the Heart, a full-length paranormal romance suspense novel from Still Moments Publishing. Crisis of Identity is romance suspense with a humorous bite, scheduled for release this week from 5 Prince Publishing. My current work in process is paranormal romance suspense set in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with the working title The Memory Catcher.

My full library at Still Moments Publishing, including Deceptions of the Heart, can be purchased at http://www.stillmomentspublishing.com/p/ebook-store.html, Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nook, Create Space, or Smashwords. My new release, Crisis of Identity, when it becomes available this week, can be purchased at http://www.5princebooks.com/buy.htm and Amazon.

CrisisOfIdentity

Tess Copeland is an operator. Her motto? Necessity is the mother of a good a con. When Hurricane Irving slams into the Texas Gulf coast, Tess seizes the opportunity to escape her past by hijacking a dead woman’s life, but Shelby Coleman’s was the wrong identity to steal. And the cop that trails her? He’s a U.S. Marshall with the Fugitive Task Force for the northern district of Illinois. Tess left Chicago because the criminal justice system gave her no choice. Now she’s on the run from ghosts of misdeeds past—both hers and Shelby’s.

Enter Trevor Smith, a pseudo-cowboy from Houston, Texas, with good looks, a quick tongue, and testosterone poisoning. Will Tess succumb to his questionable charms and become his damsel in distress? She doesn’t have to faint at his feet—she’s capable of handling just about anything. But will she choose to let Trevor be the man? When Tess kidnaps her niece, her life changes. She must make some hard decisions. Does she trust the lawman that promises her redemption, or does she trust the cowboy that promises her nothing but himself?

 Buy your copy today!!!

Author Bio:

Denise wrote her first story when she was in high school—seventeen hand-written pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she read. She earned a degree in accounting, giving her some nice skills to earn a little money, but her passion has always been writing. She has written numerous short stories and more than a few full-length novels. Her favorite pastimes when she’s not writing are spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and scrapbooking. She lives in Louisiana with her husband, two children, and one very chubby dog.

Connect with Denise on the following links:

Twitter   Facebook    Google+    Goodreads    Blog/Website   Amazon   Email   SmashWords

Interview with Nia Forrester!

One of the fun things about social networking is meeting  other authors who are taking various publishing paths to see their work put into readers hands. No matter what path you take, our experiences are different and can alter the voice of the writer. (If you’ve been through the query gambit  you know what I mean.)

Recently I was contacted by Nia via Facebook when she messaged me to say she’d picked up a copy of my book because of hearing great things about it. I in turn got a copy of one of  her novels. We later talked privately about our books, both   impressed with the others approach to writing. I was floored by  how much – in my opinion – out style of storytelling mirrors one another, despite the difference in our writing voices.

The book I read, Unsuitable Men, has me anxious to read more of her work. Her novels are on my TBR list! Be sure to grab a copy of her latest release, Secrets!

Secrets cover picShayla has a secret. She’s very different than the person she used to be three short years ago; that person she finally feels like she’s left behind and never wants to be again. And she’s been doing fine so far with her plan to reinvent herself. Trey Denison wasn’t going to put even a dent in those plans.

All she needed from him was an extremely short, extremely hot, purely sexual affair and she had no reason to believe he wouldn’t provide it. After all, that was his specialty. But after one crazy weekend, Trey decides that a ‘short affair’ with Shayla is the last thing he wants . . .

BUY you copy today! 

Welcome, Nia!

What inspired you to write?

Some of my earliest memories are of being read to, and seeing my parents read. My father was a voracious reader, and he read just about everything—the newspaper, of course, but also popular fiction, history books, biographies and the classics. My childhood memories are of a home filled with books. I started writing at the same time I started reading, stringing words together that were probably nonsensical at first.  And I’ve been a writer ever since. The only period I remember not writing was when I was in law school and just didn’t have the time. I remember those years as among the most miserable of my life—wanting to write and not being able to was excruciating. The only thing that probably kept me from going completely out of my mind was that I was journaling, even though not writing fiction. After that, I pledged that nothing would ever keep me from writing again. So while a love of the written word and of the process of reading first inspired me to write, I’d have to say that now I view it as so much a part of who I am that I almost don’t need “inspiration” to write, I just do it because I have to.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I write whenever I have a spare moment, or when a thought about my characters occurs to me. I don’t maintain a set schedule, but when I am actively working on a book, I cram as much as I can into the hours I have. I also have a day job, so that means I write well into the night and early morning hours if my characters are speaking to me. I also write in my head almost all the time, meaning I craft new details about the people in my books while I’m showering, cooking dinner, driving to work, or grocery shopping. And I carry a pocket-sized leather-bound notebook with me at all times so if I hear a word, phrase or snippet of conversation that I want to use in my writing, I can jot it down. Occasionally an idea comes to me out of nowhere for a story or a detail about a character and I use the notebook to record those as well. But if I had to give an average, I would say that in an active writing period (sitting in front of the computer, actually typing ), I probably write 6-8 hours per day.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Not sure how interesting or quirky it is, but while I’m writing, I can’t read anyone else’s work, or anything at all really. I think it may be similar to “getting into character” if I were an actor —I have to screen out every other voice except my own and that of the people in my book. If I watch television at all, it cannot be fiction; it has to be the news only. I don’t want anyone else’s stuff to creep into my writing. And that’s easy to do because writers’ brains are like the most sensitive of sponges—always gathering data for the next work. So I try to put myself in a kind of creative sensory-deprivation chamber, in the hopes that the only creative ideas I produce on the page will have come from within, not the latest popular song on the radio, or book I read, or drama I watched on TV.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

No question, I’m a pantser! I never outline a book or a character. They become real to me and all I want to hear is what they have to tell me about themselves, all of which I allow to unfold on the page, I can’t determine what they will do until I write it, I can only determine who they are. In Secret, for instance, I knew who Shayla was and what her past was, and what she looked like. I knew what her family background was, and I knew she was moving into a house with Trey Denison, a playboy with a painful past of his own. Specifically what would happen as a result, I honestly did not know until it unfolded on the page. I knew they would have a relationship but not much more than that. And that’s always how I write. Whenever I’ve tried to use outlines to predetermine what should happen, the dialogue, the situations, everything feels and sounds forced. So I stopped trying.

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

Despite my trying to screen out the rest of the world as I’m writing, there’s no doubt that I get ideas from the world and experiences I’ve had before I write. For instance, ‘The Seduction of Dylan Acosta’ was inspired by one summer watching bad reality television when those “ . . .Wives” shows were all the rave—Basketball Wives, Football Wives, Mob Wives. I watched some of the women change their appearance, behavior and values as they became more immersed in this persona that was determined almost completely by who they were married (and some of them not married, but simply attached, to). And it made me wonder how that process of redefining yourself might unfold, and how gradual it probably is.

In some of the “. . . Wives” shows, I watched as some of the relationships with the men they had come to define themselves by unraveled and ended and how desperate the women seemed to be to hang on to those relationships even though they had become bitter and alienated. I tried to understand that desperation and finally reached the conclusion that they were desperate because they had become the Football Wife or the Basketball Wife and no longer knew who they were apart from that. Without that, they would have no identity. So in The Seduction of Dylan Acosta, I wanted to explore how that process happens and the world that these women live in, and how it can threaten the very relationship that they use to define them.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

My only suggestion is to never stop writing. Don’t write to be published, just write. I only recently came to terms with the fact that while I’m newly published, but not a new author, and one thing I can say for sure, is that when I stopped writing fiction for 3 years and then started again, I was not as good at it as I had been. By stopping, I lost valuable developmental years and lessons. And my voice changed so much! Some of my old stuff that I haven’t published sounds so different, and some of it is much better (in my opinion) than anything I am writing now. But I am no longer that person, and so even editing that work and trying to do rewrites to publish it has so far been an abject failure. It sounds like two different people, because it is. So my advice would be: write uninterrupted.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

With my fiction, I am self-pubbed. I also write policy and social commentary under another name.

What are your current projects?

My current projects are ‘The Art of Endings’, the spin-off (not sequel!) of ‘Secret’, and an as yet untitled spin-off  of ‘Commitment’ that features Chris Scaife, one of the secondary characters in both ‘Commitment’ and ‘Unsuitable Men’.

Connect with Nia via these links: 

Twitter     Facebook      Goodreads     Blog/Website      Author Page     Email

 

Interview with Candace Shaw!

Recently I had the privilege of meeting the very talented author, Candace Shaw, who has published her second book, The Game of Seduction, the second novel in the Arrington Family Series. It is the follow up to her Amazon Bestseller, Cooking Up Love. Thank you for stopping by Candace!

Every writer has their own story as to why they chose to write.  What inspired you?
 I have a very vivid imagination and plenty of ideas and stories in my head that I want to get out. I believe it has to do with the fact that I grew up as an only child. I always played with my Barbie dolls and made up fabulous scenarios for Barbie and her friends to experience.  Now my heroines are experiencing my imagination. In the end, I think they’re happy with my choices for them.
Do you have a day job, and if so, how do you fit in time to write?
No. I write full-time.

I have a purple amethyst stone that sets on my desk to encourage creativity. Do you have any special rituals you do to get ready to write?
I honestly do not have any special rituals to get ready. But I do listen to music for inspiration.

Are you a pantser or plotter?
I start out as a plotter but along the way I tend to change my mind and other ideas will pop up while I’m writing. For example, in my latest release, The Game of Seduction, I was wrapping up a scene with the heroine who was on the phone with one of her girlfriends. Well all of a sudden there was a thunderous knock at the door, and my hero was standing on the other side it. Like my heroine, I was surprised as well. Neither us were expecting him!

As writers, we often find inspiration from news events, people we know, or even our own life experiences.  Do any of your stories reflect parts of your life experiences?  Can you share and example?
In my books, I do incorporate bits and pieces of things I’ve experienced or people that I know. In my first book, Cooking Up Love, the hero was a chef who owned a southern style/soul food restaurant but believed in healthy eating, so his recipes reflected that.  His character was inspired by my grandfather who was also a chef who owned a soul food restaurant but with healthy recipes.  In my latest book, The Game of Seduction, the heroine Bria, is a traditional medical doctor who also practices alternative methods such as acupuncture. I prefer alternative routes whenever possible as well and received acupuncture treatments for almost two years.  I incorporated my alternative medicine beliefs into my heroine.
As an author, do you have any advice to share with others who just started their own publishing journey?
As a newly published self-pub romance writer, it wasn’t exactly something that happened over night. I started writing my first novel in the summer of 2006, and I sent it off to a few publishers the following summer. I received about three rejection letters, and I didn’t understand why. I put writing romance on the back burner, but in 2009 I decided to join Georgia Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America. That was one of the best moves I’ve ever made. As an aspiring author, one should surround themselves with authors who are aspiring and published. As an educator, I only had educator friends, including my husband. But by joining a writer’s group, I became exposed to a world that I knew nothing about. I saw my book in a whole new light after receiving critiques from published authors as well as attending conferences and workshops. Also, find a critique partner or critique group that writes in your same genre. They will give you honest opinions about your work and help you work out the kinks. Also, find a published author in your genre that is successfully published to guide and mentor you along. Listen to any advice they give you.

What are your current projects?
My second book, The Game of Seduction was released on August 28th.  It’s the second book in the Arrington Family series. It’s about Dr. Bria Arrington, an allergist who works for her family’s medical practice. Much to her father’s dismay, she prefers to incorporate naturopathic medicine with traditional for her patients. She wants to practice freely, but her father is against it, therefore Bria is contemplating accepting a position in Atlanta at a medical practice that will allow her to do both. On top of all that, she’s falling for her best friend the handsome, arrogant, mocha-covered playboy, Rasheed Vincent. An ex professional basketball player, he is a self-proclaimed bachelor after his fiancée left him when he opted to retire after a knee injury. This book definitely has some hot scenes and more of a sexy tone unlike Cooking Up Love, which was more of a fun and flirty tone, in my opinion. You can check out an excerpt below.

I’m also reworking the first book I wrote in 2006 about an interior decorator, Megan Chase (cousin to the Arrington family), who is being pressured by her family and friends to date even though they don’t realize how happy she is being single. Her friend, Congressman Steven Monroe, who is running for the US state senate, is being pressured by his campaign team to settle down with one woman. He’s a self-proclaimed bachelor, switching women all of the time like George Clooney. It’s sort of chick lit and contemporary romance. The book is titled The Perfect Candidate for Love and will be out summer 2013

Blurb:
Dr. Bria Arrington has had her heart broken by one bad boy playboy and doesn’t want to travel down that road again. However, she finds herself attracted to her best friend, self-proclaimed bachelor, Rasheed Vincent. After a passionate kiss leaves them desiring more, seducing each other is the only cure.

A retired basketball player, Rasheed is a player on and off the court. When a woman gets too close, he bounces to the next one. But the condition he’s in makes him want a permanent dose of Bria’s love, and he’s ready for the shot. She knows falling in love with Rasheed is a prescription for trouble, yet she’s willing to risk it. But can she trust him with her heart?



The Game of Seduction Excerpt: 

Rasheed leaned against the wall in the VIP section sipping on rum and Coke and trying hard not to stare at Bria. Her short black dress was hugging her lethal curves, and he wanted to take it off and wrap her cocoa legs around his waist while she called out his name repeatedly. He tried to pretend to flirt with the groupies passing by, but they weren’t doing anything for him. Bria had awakened a passion and lust in him that he couldn’t ever remember feeling before. Her long hair fell over her right shoulder in a sexy manner, and he imagined running his hands through it or holding onto to it as he gave it to her from behind. The night before, he couldn’t sleep. The thought that she actually needed and wanted her flames of desire extinguished, prevented him from resting peacefully and filled his mind. Images of her naked mocha-kissed body next to him invaded his brain all night, and the erection that prevailed only went away after a cold shower.
Rasheed downed the rest of his drink, sat the glass on the table, and walked over to her as she held a conversation with Raven.
“Excuse me, ladies. Bree, do you wanna go dance?”
“Sure.” Bria excused herself from Raven and walked onto the dance floor.
The DJ was playing an upbeat party mix that included Lady Ga Ga, Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Rihanna. Rasheed danced behind Bria, grinding on her to the fast beat. He was surprised she hadn’t resisted, especially when he pulled her by the hips close to him and a hard-on started to manifest, but she continued dancing, swishing her butt on him in an erotic manner as if they were naked and joined together. When Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” came on, she turned around to face him and sung the entire song as she continued her seductive dance on him.
He bent down and whispered in her ear.
“You keep doing that, you’ll find out how rude this boy is. Because trust me, baby, I’m more than big enough, but the question is, can you take it?” He gave her a slow grind so she could feel exactly how hard he was.
She looked up at him from beneath her lashes with a sexy, confident expression on her face.
“I can handle all of you.” She caressed the back of his neck, and he knew it was time to go before he pulled up her dress on the dance floor.
“Let’s get out of here,” he groaned as his erection hardened more by her confident words.
Once in the limo, Bria straddled his lap and her dress rose around her hips to reveal a pair of black lace panties. His lips sought out hers, and he kissed her slow, nibbling on her bottom lip.
“I’ve been aching to kiss you again, Bree,” he said. He pulled her tongue further into his mouth, savoring the sweetness of it and feeling himself completely losing his mind. “You have the sexiest lips that I can’t get enough of.”
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You can connect with Candace through the following sites:

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