Category Archives: Interview

Do you listen to BTR?

For those who haven’t heard of it, BTR stands for Blog Talk Radio, the latest in on-line entertainment and informational programming. Everyday professionals, experts, and entertainers are hosting their own radio shows and being heard by millions. These topic-driven programs allow listeners to hone in on their interests and hear the latest news in whatever industry that floats their boat. So what does that mean for readers and writers? So glad you asked! PJ Sharon here with the latest scoop on how to help writers find their audience and readers connect with their favorite authors.

Writers can share their books and talk about their writing process with interviewers while sitting behind their computer or on their phones, feet up and fuzzy slippers gracing their desks. All while sipping tea and chatting about their favorite things with whomever decides to tune in. Fans or readers can type in questions to be asked and answered in real time, or a link to the show can be used later for promotion and advertising purposes.

For readers who love romance, it’s a chance to hear your favorite authors dish about their characters, read excerpts, and maybe even share a few spoilers about upcoming books. Basically, it’s another way for readers and writers to connect in a fun, user-friendly format.

The really cool thing is that anyone can host their own show. Of course, that means adding consistent content, being entertaining and engaging, and building an audience over time. It’s not for everyone, but those that are doing it appear to be enjoying the up close and personal interaction and sharing it with listeners.

I’ve done several such interviews over the past year or so and I have to say, I love doing them. It means not having to actually be on camera, but being able to hang out as if I’m conversing with a pal on the phone. It’s very non-threatening. My most recent BTR interview was in February with Linda Mooney from Other Worlds of Romance, who hosts mostly sci-fi/fantasy writers and has a decent following.

She asked me to come on the show and read a steamy excerpt from WESTERN DESERT, book two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy. Several listeners showed up to ask questions and I had a blast sharing my story with them, including behind the scenes insights into the third book, the title of which I’ll reveal at the end of this post as promised last month!

After the show, Linda sent me the link to embed into my website so readers can refer to it and listen at any time. What a great promotional tool and something I can definitely add to my press kit. I’m sure if I use it properly it could lead to TV/radio interviews in the future. It’s a way for media types to hear how well you speak about your books and interact with the interview process. You can find a list of hundreds of shows that might be willing to host romance authors here. Or you can go in and search categories for more specific shows that focus on your genre.

Just one more way to connect readers and writers in the digital age!

Now, to reveal the title of the third book in the trilogy…drum roll, please… we had WANING MOON, WESTERN DESERT, and coming this fall…HEALING WATERS, the continuing adventure of Lily Carmichael and friends as they make their way back home to warn the good folks of Stanton of a coming doom. Will they reach them in time…or is it already too late? Can Lily and Will overcome their differences and find their way back to each other as they race against time to save the human race from certain destruction?

Don’t forget to join me on my PJ Sharon Books FB page as I roll out the cover reveal for my next Contemporary YA novel, PIECES of LOVE, set to release June 21st. POL Picture4The big reveal will take place on April 18th, but pop over and “like’ my page now so you don’t miss out on the fun as I reveal a new “piece” of the cover each week along with an excerpt. Leave a comment on my FB post and be entered to win an ARC of the book, winners to be drawn on reveal day, April 18th, when you’ll also be privy to links for the release of my single, PIECES of Love, the theme song to the book.

Tell me, have you ever listened to BTR?

Use the Muse to Write Your Business Plan

Are you overwhelmed with the “business” aspect of writing? Do you even have a business plan? I don’t know about you, but I had no idea what I was getting into when I began this journey seven or eight years ago. What I’ve learned since then should have equated to at least a Masters Degree in something! Yet, writing a business plan has remained on my to-do list for years. Why? Because every business plan model I’ve ever seen is filled with language I don’t understand or information that appears to have no bearing on the business of writing. Until NOW!

PJ Sharon here, visiting today with Amy Denim, who writes business books for writers and pens contemporary romances in her spare time. She loves hot heroes (like chefs and cowboys) and curvy intelligent heroines (like chefs and cowgirls.) She’s been a franchise sales coordinator, a lifeguard, a personal shopper, and a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. But now she spends her days reading and writing at her local library or in her book cave.

Amy started out her writer’s life scared out of her wits because she didn’t have a business plan, hadn’t yet created an online platform, wasn’t on twitter, didn’t have a Facebook fan page, and had never even heard of Goodreads. Sound familiar? She just wrote books. So

AmyDenim-for-webshe spent a year becoming a publishing industry information fiend and now does consulting for creatives on how to take control of their writing careers. She started Coffee Break Social Media to help writers and artists learn to use SM (social media) platforms effectively (without the scare tactics) but still have time to create. She believes business plans and social media can be every writer’s friend, sometimes they just need an introduction.

Welcome to the Scribes Amy! I’ve been reading your book, THE COFFEE BREAK BUSINESS PLAN, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I can’t wait to get started on creating one for myself! Can you share with our readers how you’ve found a way to use your muse, activate both sides of your brain, and give us a peak into what they can expect in your book?

I’d be happy to, PJ. Thanks for having me today. I would like to start by asking the question, have you thought about putting together a business plan? “But, oh,” you say. “It’s such a long and complicated process.” Ugh. Why bother, when you could spend your valuable time writing.

But, wait, what’s this? A guide to help authors write a business plan on coffee breaks?

Coffee Break Guide to Business Plans copy

Okay, so I find when things get boring and staid that some humor and creativity makes it all so much more fun. And let’s admit that a traditional business plan is anything but fun. But having one can be an important part of taking control of your writing career.

Never fear, we’ll start with your creative side.

The first part of writing a business is often to put together a mission statement. Doesn’t that sound super, umm, boring? Yeah, I thought so too.

So I transformed this dull, no fun task into something I could relate to. I understand the muse. Well…when she’ll talk to me. Best way to get her feeling chatty is to strait up ask her for help. I asked her to help me write something to keep me inspired about my writing career.

Here’s what she told me.

Write one or two sentences that sum up you and your goals for a successful writing career. Think of this as your mantra, or the logline for your writing career. Your books have loglines, why shouldn’t you?

Whenever you’re stuck, feeling down about writing or getting published, or need a jump start to your day, get this sentence back out and see if it doesn’t get your imagination running again.

Try to give your muse value. That can mean financial value, but can also be personal values — like family or life philosophies. If being able to support your family financially is an important value to you, include that. If you need to write just to stay sane, include that. If it’s important that your friends and family are proud of you, say that. These are your core beliefs as they relate to your writing career. Include them in your muse statement so that it is valuable to you.

The name of the muse game is inspiration. If you think it, you believe it. If you believe it, you are it. If you use the present simple tense, i.e. I am instead of I want, I will be, or I can, then you’re one step closer to believing you are the writer of your dreams. Another part of inspiration is to use those big dream goals. If you want to be a best-selling author, include that in your muse statement. Whatever your true aspirations are, use them here.

Okay, put your thinking cap/top hat/beanie with the helicopter rotor /tiara on. It’s time to think about what you really want from your writing career.

Here’s an example:

I am a financially successful author who shares award-winning stories of love and adventure with readers around the world.

Be even more specific, and make your goals attainable and measurable. Now try your hand at writing your own. Your muse statement can go through lots of drafts and incarnations. If you add a new dimension to your business plan, you might need to update your statement.

You can have more than one mission statement, too. If you find creating a mission statement motivational, consider creating them for different parts of your life and career. You can have one for your writing career, your marketing efforts, your financial goals, your family life, spiritual life, your health, or anything else that is important to you.

The following questions are to get you started thinking about your goals, but don’t go crazy and spend hours making lists and/or daydreaming about your success as a writer.

I call this the Coffee Break Business Plan. This is all about basic goals, which you can expand on to create a full-blown business plan, so spend only a few minutes thinking about each of these questions. Write a couple of sentences to answer them, or make yourself a nice bullet-point list. If you’d like a template to print out to help you with this exercise, you can download one at www.coffeebreaksocialmedia.com/Books/Resources.

 Grab a cup of coffee and a pen

Write down the answers to these questions.

  • How many books do you plan to write? In what genre?
  • What’s your projected word count?
  • When will you finish each project? Or, how much time will you need to complete each project? (Don’t forget to build in time for critiques, beta readers, editing, and all those other activities… besides actually writing the book.)
  • How will you publish these books? Traditionally, self-published, a hybrid approach?
  • If you’re self-publishing, what services will you need and how much will you spend on those?
  • Who is your competition? Who else writes books like yours?
  • How will you sell and market your books?
  • How much money will it cost you to publish and market? What services might you pay for to help you do that?
  • How much money do you plan to make, and when will you see that revenue?
  • When do you plan to achieve these goals?

There you go. You just created a basic business plan. For real. Laminate that sucker and put it up big and pretty in front of your computer. Every time you sit down to write, take a look and focus on writing to achieve those goals. If the IRS comes knocking, you can wave it in their faces.

If you’d like help expanding your business plan, I can help with that too. Leave a comment on the blog today, ask questions about business plans, mission statements, or anything else you’d like, and one lucky commenter will win a copy my new book The Coffee Break Guide to Business Plans for Authors: The Step-By-Step Guide to Taking Control of Your Writing Career. But, if you can’t wait to win it, it’s available now on Amazon.

Thanks, Amy! And here’s my review of this little gem:

Amy Denim takes the mystery and fear out of writing a business plan.

As a writer, my right creative brain is clearly dominant, making things like business plans and marketing strategies sound like foreign languages. Amy Denim’s step-by-step guide, which focuses on business plans specifically for writers, is set up to be done in small increments…literally on a coffee break. She makes the process simple and totally do-able. Her clear, concise, and entertaining style makes this a must-read for anyone considering writing as a business. Highly recommend!

Jill Richardson Shares Her Latest Hobbit Companion

Jill Richardson is the author of Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World. I wanted toHobbit have her here on the Scribes today, because, for one, I am a Tolkein fan, and two, she brings prizes! But first, let’s find out why she wrote her latest book, Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World.

Welcome Jill!

Why The Hobbit? What sparked your interest in Tolkien?

Hah. Years ago,my brother tried to get me to read the books. He said they were the greatest things ever. I tried first with The Silmarillion and said, “Yeah, right. Don’t think so.” Fast forward to years later when my husband started to read them to our girls when they were elementary school aged. I listened, saw the first movie, then picked the books up myself and devoured them. There is something magic about Tolkien’s skill mixed with real, unforgettable, and deep characters, and a story of epic good and evil fought by everyday heroes. Who else would get away with such unlikely heroes? He manages to show both the greatness and depth of evil in humankind in this small world of his.

Why would teenagers want to read this book?

It might seem that fictional fantasy characters don’t have much in common with real teenagers. But that is so not true. They feel inadequate, afraid, angry, proud, exhausted, hopeful—all the things we all feel. Teens are looking for their adventure in life—how do they fit in this world and what is their task? In Tolkien’s world, it’s all about tasks and unique callings; it’s about normal, average people finding their place and doing great things. How do they do it? How does that matter to God? How do we learn from both of those things

Describe what the book is about, how it’s organized, and what a reader can expect.

It’s about twenty Tolkien characters, who they are, what makes them do what they do, good or bad, and how that relates to both God and the reader. As far as organization, each character is introduced, quoted, and discussed. Add a relevant Bible passage, discussion/journal questions, and action steps for each person to take going forward. Choose to memorize the short Scripture at the end. A reader can expect to be  both entertained and challenged. I try to have a lot of fun with it, but I don’t shy away from tough questions and applications. Teenagers are capable of asking tough questions. They are more than able to recognize things that need changing. I refuse to talk down to a teenager or make it easy for them. They are intelligent, fun, and up for a challenge, and that’s what I make the book as well.

Describe the process of writing each chapter.

Fun? A lot of fun. But other than that . . . I figured out what really stood out as far as a character trait or lesson for each person. Some were easy—some difficult. Then, where do you see that in the book? It was tough using only one quote! Where do you see that in Scripture? How can a person apply that Scripture to daily life? I tried to be very, very practical and fun while working with serious stuff. I think it worked.

Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?

Sooo hard to answer. I have to say I love Eowyn. I didn’t at first; I thought she was too cold and discontent. But her loyalty and fierce need to do something important—I can so relate to that. Plus, she’s a princess who isn’t afraid to pick up a sword and fight for what matters to her. How cool is that? I love strong female models, since I have three girls.

How could this book help youth leaders disciple kids?

The book takes twenty  character traits everyone can relate to. It pulls that trait out of a Tolkien character and then relates it to the Bible. Can a teen learn about dealing with pride, frustration, or fear from Thorin, Eowyn, or Aragorn? Can she learn to find hope in hopelessness from Arwen? Can he understand how to channel his crazy whims from Pippin? Absolutely—and I have a few national youth leaders, college professors, and authors backing me on that claim!

What’s here they won’t get in the book or the movie?

A relationship between the fandom and the Bible. What is the unique Christian perspective Tolkien wrote with that may not have translated into film? Also, teens can see themselves in these characters when they study them individually. They have take home value.

How do you see teens, parents, and churches using this book?

Of course, it’s a devotional, so I see teens using it for their daily (or sort of daily–I know what it’s like) reading and praying time. Parents and grandparents play a huge role in finding resources for their kids and giving them to them. Parents, youth leaders, grandparents, any caring adults in a kid’s life (and let’s face it, some have so few)–should be seeking out resources to help kids build character. That’s really the point. That it entertains as well—bonus! I can easily see youth leaders using it in a group setting, and I actually have lesson plans for that. Best of all—kids can give it to their friends. The ones who love these movies/books but may not necessarily think about God too much.

Why do you think Tolkien is of such enduring interest to people?

The reasons I mention in question one. People can completely relate to his characters. They are not larger than life—they are us. (Except maybe a wizard or two. They’re a bit larger than we are.) They don’t start out amazing—they grow into it with hard work and love. That’s who we are, or who we should be. And we know that. We feel it. It’s very real. Also, everyone feels intrinsically called to something important. We are constantly seeking that. Some find it—some don”t. But we’re pulled toward stories that speak to that.

Do you really own Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit and can you really beat anyone at it?

Short answer—yes. Thought I am a bit rusty. OK, my middle daughter and I are a pretty matched pair. But put the two of us together on a team—yeah, bring it on.

jill portrait webTell me something more about you.

I used to teach high schoolers, and I loved it. Odd enough for you? I truly think they are a great age. I’ve spent ten years working in community theater, performing and directing. I have pictures of me doing so that will never see the light of Facebook. Pink hair, purple tights, giant false eyelashes? Yep, I’ve done it on stage. But—I’m a flaming introvert. Hugely so. I am also a pastor, which is a fun bit of mold breaking as well as serious stuff. I love my three daughters and one husband, manage our three cats, garden on an acre in the western suburbs of Chicago, and love planning our next vacation as soon as we get home form the last one. In fact, my last book before this one was about taking your family on short term mission trips.

Oh, I will be looking for your book on taking your family on short term mission trips, for sure!

Readers, here’s a little more on Jill:

Jill’s love for hobbits and elves comes from her time as a literature  teacher and as a lifelong reader of great stories. She also loves an epic challenge and a chance for grace wherever they exist. Jill has a BA in English and Education and an MDiv in theology and is an ordained minister who has served as a worship, preaching, and discipleship pastor. She has published four books previously, as well as articles in national magazines such as FamilyFun, Discipleship Journal, and Today’s Christian Woman.

Jill enjoys speaking on a variety of topics and has been very active on the MOPS circuit, as well as in junior high and high school classes. She enjoys speaking for retreats for all ages.

With three daughters, three cats, and (thankfully!) only one husband, she keeps busy otherwise with community theater, gardening, reading, scrapbooking, and traveling. Jill loves oceans, cats, chocolate, teenagers, her family, the Cubs, and God, not necessarily in that order.

Jill Richardson contact info:

jillmarierichardson.com

https://www.facebook.com/jillwrites                                

http://jill-theimperfectjourney.blogspot.com

https://twitter.com/JillMarieRichar

Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World–Amazon buy link. Only $3.00 for the kindle.

Hobbits, Elves, and Dragons More Real Than You Believe 

Hobbits, elves, and dragons have become common fantasy characters but do they have more relevance to your life than you think? Are they as real as, or the same as, people you meet every day? Maybe not literally, but J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous characters bring to life real character qualities we all can learn from, whether good or bad. What can the bravery of a hobbit, the faith of a elf, or the greed of a dragon teach teens about themselves? How can their stories lead us to the real Kingdom where God is working out way more than a fantasy for his people? Dig in to these familiar characters and relevant Bible passages to find out. Come out understanding how to live your own epic story!

Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy, Boston College, Author of The Philosophy of Tolkien has said this about Jill’s book:

“Jill Richardson has done a doubly difficult deed. She has written a book about the Bible and The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and she has written a book that both adults and teenagers will enjoy. Her trick is that this is a book that successfully uses Tolkien to understand the Bible instead of a book that unsuccessfully uses the Bible to understand Tolkien.

For another thing, it’s a book for teenagers that most adults will also enjoy, understand, and profit from instead of a book for adults that most teenagers will enjoy, understand, and profit from (which is much more difficult). And it works. It’s both sprightly and profound, funny and serious, full of loving sarcasm and realistic moral truth.”

Some more thoughts from others: 

Author Jill Richardson may well have been born in the Shire, so well does she know the inhabitants of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. But the truths in this book are anything but fantasy. They strike close to the heart where we all have the God-given desire for valorous deeds and new worlds to explore.

Wayne Thomas Batson
, Bestselling Author of The Door Within Trilogy,
The Dark Sea Annals, and GHOST

And now for the prizes!

From December 1 through December 16, the John 3:16 Marketing Network is hosting a Christmas Book Launch and Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World is a featured book. As part of the event, the Network is offering a $200 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky winner. For a chance to win, go to http://bit.ly/Christian_Books and enter the Rafflecopter (toward the bottom of the page). And be sure and pick up your Kindle version of Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World at Amazon.

Book Launch

Marie Higgins-Waitingforyou (2)

New releases and a time traveling guest.

I have a special treat for you all today. I’m doing double duty and bringing you a couple of wonderful new releases! First of all, the Scribes are thrilled to celebrate with our very own Sugar Jamison, and are proud to announce her debut novel, DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD.

Here’s what it’s about!

dangerous curves aheadEllis Garrett is dumping her critical boyfriend, opening a plus-size clothing store, and starting a blog—all to spread the word that fashion shouldn’t require a size-two body, and happiness should allow for the occasional cupcake. Or two. But is indulging fantasies about her sister’s long-ago ex, the still-hunky Michael Edwards, biting off more than she can chew?

Mike must be losing his detective’s touch. He doesn’t recognize Ellis when he bumps into her at Size Me Up, and he certainly doesn’t remember his ex-girlfriend’s outspoken sister being so irresistible. Her curves are indeed dangerous—and so is her wit. Could it be that Ellis is his Perfect Fit? One thing’s for sure: Mike will make it his sworn duty to find out…

Congratulations, Sugar, on your debut release! If anyone wants to purchase a copy (and you ALL should because it’s heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny) you can find it here:

AMAZON, B&N, and Indiebound

 

From Romantic Comedy to a Time Travel Romance with mayhem and mystery, please welcome today’s guest, Marie Higgins, author of WAITING FOR YOU.

Marie Higgins Author picMarie Higgins is a best-selling, multi-published author of sweet romance; from refined bad-boy heroes who make your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. Visit her website / blog to discover more about her – http://mariehiggins84302.blogspot.com

I asked Marie to share some of her deepest darkest secrets with us and answer her favorite Scribes interview questions.

  1. How do you battle the doubt monster?  Doubt Monster: the nagging feeling while writing, that your prose is terrible, you plot is silly, your characters are insipid and no-one in their right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.

For many years I struggled with this. I usually ran across the Doubt Monster while writing my first draft. I was told by other authors to keep writing just to get the story idea on paper, then take a little break and return to the story to make it better. That helped for a little while, but then the Doubt Monster returned with a vengeance. During this time, a good author friend of mine suggested I join the online reading place – Wattpad. This website has literally thousands of readers, and most of them are people who like to write stories. I was leery about giving my stories away for free, but I decided to give it a try. I couldn’t believe how many readers ‘followed’ me…and how many uplifting comments I received. If not for Wattpad, the Doubt Monster would have conquered my fears.

  1. I’ve had wonderful feedback from Wattpad readers as well, Marie. They are voracious, supportive, and loyal about authors they love to read. Have you thought about writing something that is completely different for you?  Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t done before.

I’ve written many genres already (mostly different historical eras), but I’ve tried my hand at paranormal (ghost stories, and werewolves), and Sci-Fi (time-travel). Once I’m finished with all the projects I have on my plate right now, I’d love to write a Young Adult Fantasy. I even have a crazy idea for a series, too! It’s like a Mad Hatter meets Harry Potter kind of story.

  1. That sounds awesome! What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?

Do you mean besides my career taking off?LOL  I took my chances and started writing clean romance (no sex or swearing), and even a few Christian/Inspirational romances (where the Christian element is strong in the plot). I have been greatly surprised of the success I’ve received from these books!

  1. You should definitely have a chat with our resident Inspirational Romantic Suspense author, fellow Scribe, Katy Lee. She has found a warm welcome from the inspirational reading community.     How do you come up with your shtick?

Funny you should ask… I write what I love to read. Some authors I love because they write such beautiful historical romances. Some authors write very humorous stories. And some are famous for their suspense. I wanted to combine all the things I love into my writing, and in doing so, I have created some great hooks, and twists / turns. My readers have called me “Queen of Tease” before…and I’ll happily wear that particular crown proudly!

  1. Not a bad crown to wear for a romance writer! Are you working on another project?

 When I finished writing WAITING FOR YOU, I realized how fun and challenging it was to write time-travels, so…the story I’m working on now that hopefully will be released next month (Sept. 2013), is also a time-travel. This one is titled LOVE LOST IN TIME. Sheri McGathy is my wonderful cover-artist and has made the best book covers for me! I’m so in love with the covers for both of my time-travels!

Check out the book trailer for LOVE LOST IN TIME here – http://youtu.be/E1C_IKJqwC4

6.    Tell us about your new release, WAITING FOR YOU.

My latest release “Waiting For You” is a ghost story / time-travel / humorous romance. I’ve added lots of twists and turns, and it has a great mystery as well! Here’s the blurb:Marie Higgins-Waitingforyou (2)

When a beautiful woman claiming to be a ghost from 1912 appears in Nick Marshal’s new office and begs for help in solving her murder, he’s intrigued enough to consider her plea. A scandal that rocked Hollywood almost destroyed his law practice, so taking on a client who insists she’s dead seems a good way to refresh his career. The more history he uncovers, the deeper he falls for the ghost. Abigail Carlisle believes Nick is her heart’s true desire, but how can happily ever after happen when she’s already dead?

 Excerpt:

“What can I do for you, Miss Carlisle?”

The woman’s stiff, aloof behavior pricked Nick’s curiosity. In an attempt to draw her out, he flashed his most charming smile. She did not so much as bat an eyelash in return. It stung his ego just a bit, since women usually melted beneath that smile. Nonetheless, he wasn’t here to make her weak in the knees but to gain her trust and represent her.

She re-positioned herself on the chair, pulling her shoulders back primly as she faced him. “I have searched a long time to find you. You are the only person who can help me.”

What an odd thing to say. The urgency in her tone made him curious. It was in total contradiction to her outward, ice-queen appearance. “Really?” he asked. “Why do you think I’m the only person who can help?”

“I don’t think, Mr. Marshal. I know.”

Nick cocked a skeptical brow. “How do you know?”

A flash of hesitation, or perhaps embarrassment, skirted across her face. “My maternal grandmother,” Miss Carlisle paused to draw a short breath, “—told me that one day I would find the man who could help me.”

Nick should be amused at the absurdity of her story, but instead the little she’d said so far—and the desperate pleading in her voice—intrigued him. “And she actually said my name?”

“Well, not exactly,” Miss Carlisle replied, “but it was close enough. She gave the initials N.M., and she said you would be a solicitor.”

“Solicitor? When you use that word, you are referring to an attorney?”

She shrugged, her head bobbing to the right. “They mean the same thing, do they not?”

Disturbing tingles crawled up his back, the sort of sixth-sense sensation one experiences while walking through a cemetery in the pitch dark of night or after a scary movie. Nick shook off the feeling. Was her grandmother some kind of fortune-teller? “So how do you know N.M. is me?”

“She was a gypsy—a spiritual woman in her day.”

“All right, but how do you know I’m the man she had spoken about?”

Finally, a timid smile touched her mouth. “Because you are talking to me right now.”

He shook his head. “I’m afraid I don’t quite understand, Miss Carlisle.”

She closed her eyes as though in pain. “I knew explaining my situation,” she spoke the words carefully, as though testing its meaning, “would be difficult, but I’m at quite a loss for how to clarify myself.”

“Please try, Miss Carlisle, because you have me confused. Why exactly do you need an attorn—er, a solicitor? And why do you believe I’m the man your grandmother spoke of?” More to the point, why are you dressed like someone from the Titanic? The last question would have to wait until he ascertained her reason for seeking him out.

Her breathing quickened as a touch of trepidation touched her stony expression. “Mr. Marshal, the reason I know you’re the man who can help is because you—you can…” She cleared her throat. “You can actually see me.”

Nick stifled a chuckle. “Of course I can see you. You’re sitting right in front of me.”

“True, but your lady friend could not.”

He silently cursed Vanessa again. “I don’t think my friend was paying much attention at that moment.”

“When she walked into the room first, she looked my way, but she didn’t see me.”

He flipped his hand. “I do apologize for that. Vanessa can be a little self-absorbed at times.”

“No, you don’t understand. The reason she couldn’t see me is because, well…” Her blue eyes locked on his with something akin to fear shadowing their depths. It brought about a surge of protectiveness Nick was not entirely used to experiencing, especially with a woman he just barely met.

“I’m a ghost,” she ended in a whisper.

BUY LINKhttp://amzn.com/B00EQQMACU

Coming in print soon!

Great excerpt, Marie! It sounds like another winner. Thanks for being our guest today and sharing the spotlight with Sugar. We love to bring as many great authors and fabulous books as we can to our reading audience. 

Marie has agreed to check in today if you Scribe’s fans have any questions about writing time travel romance or anything else you might be curious about. She is a wealth of information!

A Visit with Shannon Vannatter

Please welcome Shannon Vannatter to the Scribes! We’re so happy to have you, Shannon, and excited to hear all about Rodeo Regrets, your Heartsong Presents book release.

Readers, Shannon will be here on Monday to reply to your questions and comments. SheShannon Taylor Vannatter Headshot - red is excited to interact with you, so be sure to say hi! And she’s giving away a copy to one lucky commentor. Winner announced next Sunday.

But first, Shannon answered a few questions the Scribes had for her to help you get to know her better.

The first was how she battles the doubt monster?  Doubt Monster: the nagging feeling while writing, that your prose is terrible, you plot is silly, your characters are insipid and no-one in their right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.

So tells us, Shannon, what do you do?

When that happens, I find a writers meeting to go to. Being around other writers always gets me going.

Have you thought about writing something that is completely different for you?  Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t done before.

Not really. When I first started writing, I dabbled with inspirational romantic suspense and realized I really stunk at it. There was very little suspense and I kept focusing on the romance. Plus I didn’t want to learn about guns and dead bodies. Finally, at a writers conference I heard an editor say that if you’re not sure what genre you want to write, pay attention to what you read. The genre you enjoy reading is probably what you should write.

It was an ah hah moment for me. Occasionally I read romantic suspense, but I have to be in the right mood because it keys me up. Occasionally, I read women’s fiction, but I’m always leery because I want a happily-ever-after. I don’t enjoy historicals or Amish. My consistent favorite read is romance. And I’ve given up on reading secular. I read to relax and I don’t want to be cussed at or unholy images planted in my head.

All that said, I can’t imagine writing anything other than inspirational contemporary romance.

What story haven’t you told yet that you want to tell? What is holding you back?

This French guy has been in my head for several years. I haven’t had time to deal with him because of deadlines for contracted books. A good problem to have. But I plan to carve out some time and write his story later this year.

What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?

When I learned that the Heartsong Presents line was being discontinued. And two of my books would die in the process.

And then Harlequin bought the line. My two books released and I got to continue the series with three more books.

Wa-hoo! So happy for you!

So, what would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?

I guess I’d just be a stay at home mom. And when my son gets grown, I’d go back to some office job like I had before.

They say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere.  What is yours?  What is it about?  What makes it terrible?  Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?

Mine’s actually complete. And it’s the first book I ever wrote. It was a good story, but I had no idea how the mechanics of writing worked. It was about a girl with a stalker and the private detective who became her bodyguard. I actually completely rewrote it a few months ago. It’s now a rodeo queen with a stalker and the Texas Ranger she dated back in high school. It’s releasing in November. I don’t believe in leaving books in a drawer. All of my first efforts have been published—after lots of learning and revision—except for two and I haven’t had time to rework them yet. But I plan to.

Author Jane Haddam says that anyone who seriously annoys her gets bumped off in her next book.  How do you incorporate your real-life experiences into your stories?

Things I see or experience often go in my books. This whole rodeo series started because my dad announced at a very small town rodeo when I was a teenager and I worked in the concession stand. Years later, I saw a cowboy wearing his wranglers, boots and hat holding hands with a girl in a pin-striped suit at the Arkansas State Fair. I wondered how they met and what they had in common. That became the basis for book one of this series.

How do you come up with your shtick?  (By shtick I mean that thing that identifies the story as belonging to you)

There’s always a dark-haired guy with green eyes. My husband has that coloring and that’s what I’m attracted to. So I can’t write a blond hero. My characters live in real small towns. They usually come with a southern drawl, use southernisms, and they all say y’all and drink sweet tea.

How did your current release come about?

Once Harlequin bought the line, my agent contacted an editor about me. The editor had just read book two in my series and wanted to know if I had anything similar to submit. I’d given all my characters in the series a happily ever after since it was only supposed to be a three book series with the previous publisher.

Except for Natalie. She was the rodeo slut who hit on every hero I created, got pregnant, gave her baby up, and skipped town two books ago. I figured out a way to redeem her, which went back to what happened to her to make her the person she was. I gave her a sister and a cousin for two more books. The editor liked the concept and another three books were born.

What was your biggest misstep in your writing career so far?

It took me three tries to end up with the right agent.

Do you have a word related pet peeve?

Padding. There for a while, it seemed like all the heroines were taking off their shoes and padding across the room.

What is your junk food of choice?

Milk chocolate, caramel, and nuts together in the form of a Snickers Bar or Turtles.

What’s the most dangerous or risky thing that you’ve done?

Skip study hall. I almost got caught and I never did it again. I’m pretty tame.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Sappy Hallmark movies. They’re nice, clean movies, but they’re a guilty pleasure because I should be writing, or cleaning, or something useful.

Oh, Shannon, don’t worry about those sappy movies. Consider it inspiration for your own stories. They get your mind set on the right track!

Thank you so much for sharing. I especailly appreciate the three agent misstep. Proof that you don’t want to take the first agent that comes along. Make sure you are a good fit.

Thank you, Shannon for being here! Readers be sure to check out Rodeo Regrets and get connected with Shannon too!

Rodeo Regrets coverRodeo Regrets:

NATALIE WENTWORTH’S PAST IS ABOUT TO CATCH UP WITH HER

Natalie once dreamed of finding true love. Then Lane Gray broke her heart. After running wild to fill the emptiness inside her, she heads back to her hometown to heal. But when she sees the cowboy she once loved so much, she finds him hard to resist.

Lane Gray is a changed man. The handsome cowboy wants Natalie’s forgiveness-and more. Natalie has made plenty of mistakes in her life, but so has Lane. Could falling for each other again be the worst one yet? Or the path to redemption?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Regrets-Heartsong-Presents-Shannon-Vannatter/dp/0373486669/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373158598&sr=8-1&keywords=rodeo+regrets

http://shannonvannatter.com/

A Rose By Any Other Name . . . Our Guest, Rebecca Rose

Happy Friday! Casey Wyatt here. Please join me in a big Scribes welcome for Rebecca Rose! Rebecca is a fellow member of CTRWA and a very talented, multipublished author. Also, she’s a lot of fun and fearlessly wears shoes that cause a mere mortals to weep!!

Tell us about your latest novel –Midnight Sunrise?

Gunnery Sergeant Jake Sanders may have survived the ambush, but he will need more than Marine strategies to escape the mental warfare he now lives in. When Sophia Agnés begins working for Jake, her stubborn and sometimes volatile qualities never picture038allude to her fight for self independence, or the passionate impact she will have on his recovery.

Being an ex-ballerina Sophia understands the words loyalty and hard work. When she falls for Jake with the force of a concussion grenade, she must decide if she has the courage, honor, and commitment, to make them a team that can defeat any enemy. Even an invisible one.

-A long time ago I read a story about a Gunnery Sergeant who came back from the war. He seemed perfectly fine, did normal things. Until one day he dressed in his military uniform, shined his shoes, and killed himself. This story stuck with me because of the many in my family who serve, and have served, in the armed forces. My grandfather never talked about his time in WWII, but I occasionally heard his screams in the night when I stayed with them.

This story took me two years to write and research. I needed to get all my information correct as to honor the men and woman who have served. My uncle Sergeant First Class Bernard Bolduc and my step-father First Sergeant Scott Ryer, assisted me with the scenes that were too emotional and too complicated for a civilian to understand. My step-father also helped me understand PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and Disassociation Disorder in the military. Being the man military personnel go to setup health appointments with, Sergeant Ryer’s input became vital to the authenticity of my story. (I was totally drained when I finished this novel and in bad need of a beer!)

Tell us about your previous publications –

 Divine Redemption is a story I selfishly wrote all for myself. It took two and half weeks and I didn’t change much of the original draft. I love a redemption story and believe everyone deserved a second chance. I’m just really glad my family gave me one at the end of this writing blitz. There was no food or clean clothes during that time.

BLURB: Sometimes Redemption Is The Only Salvation Needed To Forgive Yourself.

In his first ever selfless act Donald Write takes a bullet for a man he just met, Daniel Allen. Now he’s changed his name and moved across the country to live with Daniel’s family whose welcoming home reception wasn’t very warm.

Jacqueline is Daniel’s daughter. This soft spoken, well dressed lady soon teaches Donald that looks can be deceiving and her heart can be his if he’s willing to open up and except her gift of love.

Donald hadn’t counted on the intense and immediate attraction to Jacqueline. She’s the boss’s daughter and off limits; that is until he finds himself with an irresistible primal need to be with her. She shows him love in a way he’s never felt before and gives him the strength to become the better man he’s always wanted to be. But how can Donald touch and care for someone so pure of heart when their future can be destroyed by his past? A future built on redemption and second chances.

 Divine Turmoil is the first novel I ever wrote and it changed my life. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, even did small poems and stories for my local newspaper. However, this particular story cemented the storyteller in me. J

BLURB: Who Said Coming Home Was Easy?

Many people have felt the urge to get out.  It can affect even the most practical of people.  When one leaves and has to return, it can evoke feelings of failure.

Serena O’Neal is feeling just that.  Her resentful sister is now tossing their mother’s illness in her face. The blame needs to be placed somewhere, and Serena is the perfect scapegoat.

Brian Allen doesn’t believe in second chances.  He’s been down that road before, and thinks of himself as a failure when it comes to relationships.  However, Serena’s carefree personality and hidden fragility are too much for Brian to ignore.  He finds himself needing to take care of her, while his heart is falling deeply in love.

In life, unexpected surprises can be the most pleasant of astonishment’s. When Serena is faced with unconditional love, she runs once again. With a sudden revelation, she’s forced to go back home and face the mess she has created.  In doing so, she must not only convince the man she loves to forgive her, she must also forgive herself.

Please share your path to publication. I understand you started out with a digital e-publisher. What was that experience like? And why did you decide to go the traditional route?

I can’t say I really decided to go the e-pub route because I feel it picked me. After a hundred or so rejections from publishers and agents (some held Divine Turmoil up to ten months) I made a decision…if I didn’t land a contract in six months, I was going to self the career change. One day surfing the web I found Lyrical Press’s website. The minute I saw it, read about Renee Rocco, I knew it was my home. I sent my query, synopsis, and full manuscript (per their request) and a week later they offered me a contract. I loved being a Lyrical Press author; they all work together so well. But, I wanted a bigger press; somewhere I would be able to touch more readers with my divine redemption covertales.

Favorite pastime when not writing?

Totally messing with my children! LOL Really, we have the most fun. We’re a household of jokers. What’s really great is that as they’ve gotten older (17, 13, & 9) they still want to spend time with us. How crazy is that?

What advice do you have for newbie writers?

WRITE IT AND BE PROUD!! I didn’t tell anyone that I was writing until after receiving my first contract. I didn’t want to hear, “Oh, Becc thinks she’s going to be a writer. What is she thinking?” Actually, I did hear that one, but ignored them all. Believing in yourself is the key to any success. Now when people excuse my profession for writing fluff and eating Bon-bons it doesn’t hurt so much. I know the pain, tears, and sleepless nights they don’t realize are part of the job. I believe there is an illusion when it comes to a writers’ life and the reader really doesn’t want to know about. For instance; that I’m typing this (right now) with two cats curled up to me, I’m bone tired with eye strain from typing for hours, I don’t have high heeled feather slippers on but I do have pink flannel PJ’s and mismatched socks. See? I ruined it for ya, didn’t I? LOL

If you could travel back in time and forewarn your newbie writer self, what advice would you give her?

Oh Gosh! There are so many polar sides to me. I think I would tell her to be kinder to herself. While I don’t mind being late–most of the time, while I manage to let many things roll off of me, when I first started writing seriously I gave myself NO wiggle room. I’m still a stickler with perfection and reprimand myself for not knowing enough; however, I’m not losing sleep anymore from second guessing me. So, yes. I’d tell myself, “chill out!”

Do you have any other novels coming out soon? And can you give us a hint about them?

Yup, I have Midnight Sunrise and it’s follow up, which is yet to be titled. The follow up is fun. I really like torturing my characters.

Then I will be finishing up Noble Deception, which is an emotional mess for two people who clearly are supposed to be together except one of them is engaged!

Then I have the third installment to the Divine Series, Divine Valor, which will tell Gabe’s story.

Yikes, I better get cracking!

Now, you didn’t think you’d get away without answering a question about The Doubt Monster, did you? Does he or she plague you? And if so, how do you deal with him or her?

Oh, I didn’t think you would let me slide on that one! LOL That darn Doubt Monster is awful. J

My monster is conflict. I never feel I have enough of it, and adequate emotion to go with it. This is usually when my family suffers because I get upset about the scene not working out and I end up causing the conflict! LOL I tend to get the scene done after that. (In all fairness, I announce when this is happening and tell them that I’m looking for a fight. Everyone in the house is well trained now.)

Quiz time!

Favorite food?  Guacamole!! YUMMY (I do consider this a food)

Favorite place to visit? Our family vacation spot in Maine. It’s a little scary because we’re so far from civilization but, with no electricity all you can hear is your thoughts. The beavers and loons in the water are pretty cool, too.

Guilty pleasure? Really, really bad movies and TV. I’m so addicted to it. I drive everyone in the house nuts. Heeheehee

Sexiest man on earth? Sexiest woman?  Besides my husband? Hmm…Hugh Jackman. The man is incredible and I love him. The body, the talent, and–oh my–the accent!!! Guacamole and Hugh, now that’s a dream come true. J

Sexiest woman I would have to say Angelina Jolie. She beautiful inside and out. I like how she’s just a little crazy and believe that’s what makes her a great mom. Her volunteer work has touched millions and she’s ready to kick butt at any time. Truthfully, I think I might have a girl crush.

Stiletto heels or flats? Stilettos!! I’m a heel girl. Love, love, love them. Mark, my husband, gave me six inch stilettos for Christmas. Then there are these totally cool pink ones I just bought last month. I wasn’t wearing them for a while because moms can’t run after active kids in them. So, they were turned in for funny, ugly sneakers. The kids are glad I’m in heel mode, again.

On a guy – Tattoos or piercings? Oh, dear. The hubby has both! I’d have to say tattoos. For our eleventh anniversary we didn’t know what we were going to do without children.

He said, “Hey, wanna get tattoos?”

“Sure! Why not,” I said. And that’s how I got the phoenix on my hip. Mark has…umm…five, I think. Maybe more. I keep trying to convince him to get more. I giant one across his chest would be…WOW! *giggles*

BIO:

Once Rebecca Rose picked up her first romance novel she knew her destiny was typed on those pages. She lives to find romance in ordinary life doing everyday things, and believes we only need to be mindful enough to find it. While being slightly dyslexic creates some challenges, she feels compelled to write about the characters who reside in her head.

Now with multiple books published, she is a full-time writer with a nag for a muse who even talks obsessively in the car. That is, of course, when the voice can get a word in edgewise with her three children and husband of nineteen years along for the adventure.

Rebecca hopes her writing brings you to laugh, cry and rejoice with her characters. picture004Maybe even leave a lasting impression on your soul.

Buy link: http://lyricalpress.com/divine-redemption/

EXCERPT: When an intense attraction leads Donald into Jacqueline’s compassionate arms, he discovers redemption and second chances can be his–if he can stop his past
from destroying their future.

“Hey, Donald, I need that expense report. Where are you?”

“Under the desk.” Since Donald started working for the Allens, he’d learned a valuable lesson in patience. Not touching Jacqueline was the hardest thing he’d ever done.

“You know, Donald, there’s talk that you’re the most eligible bachelor in town.”

Donald craned his head to look at her. “That’s my chair you’re sitting in.”

“Yes, but I like the view of your behind.”

He wiggled it for her and she laughed.

“Donald, what are you looking for?”

“I dropped my paperclips.”

His dry response had another giggle coming from her.

“You’re too cute.”

“I’m not trying to be cute. This job really sucks sometimes, you know.”

“But you’re so good at it.” She rubbed her foot along his bottom, then attempted to go between his legs but Donald closed them.

“We talked about this, Jacqueline.” He turned and placed a hand on each of her knees.

“I’m only flirting with you.”

“You’re sexually harassing me, and I believe there’s a strict policy about that.”

“Donald,” she said, bringing her face close to his.

“Ya.” His eyes went to her lips and back to her eyes.

“I need that expense report.”

Thank you so much for having me I had a lot of fun.

Have a Sparkling Day!

Rebecca Rose

Thanks for being our guest today, Rebecca! Don’t be shy Scribes fans, if you have a question, ask away!.

Yummy Love: Interview with Author Kimberly Kincaid

Hello, Scribes Fans. Do you like food? Do you like love? Then I have the perfect author for you. Kimberly combines the two in her delicious foodie romances. LOVE ON THE LINE is available right now for a great price. But before you run out and buy your copy check out Kimberly’s great interview. 

Portrait of young attractive happy amorous couple in bedroom

1. How do you battle the doubt monster? Doubt Monster: the nagging feeling while writing, that your prose is terrible, you plot is silly, your characters are insipid and no-one in their right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.
Oh, Doubty and I go way back! I edit. A lot. And I do it as I write. Watching my drafts go from fumbling to fantastic (and they all start out fumbling) is really self-affirming. And it helps banish that doubt. I also have amazing critique partners who tell me straight-up what needs help.
2. Why Foodie romance? What drew you to it?

Honestly, I love to eat. I come from a big Italian family, and I married into a big Italian family. We have lots of food traditions, and I live by the mantra that “food is love”. It wasn’t a stretch for me to make my characters feel the same way.

3. What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?

I am continually surprised by the journey. But I think the thing that threw me the most was selling my Pine Mountain foodie series twelve hours before I left for Nationals last year. I can honestly say I was SO not expecting that phone call. It changed the whole trip for me!

4. What would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?
Probably shrivel up, really. No, let’s see. I am a certified fitness instructor, so I’d likely be in mind-body wellness. As much as I love food, it takes some serious grace-under-pressure mettle to be a chef. I could never do it!
5. They say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere. What is yours? What is it about? What makes it terrible? Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?
I can’t leave a story undone. Ever. So I actually have two totally completed, absolutely terrible books under my bed! My first manuscript ever, and my third (my second is the one that snagged my agent!) They’re terribly written—it was before I knew anything about craft or pacing or plotting or…well, anything. But I love them both because they remind me how to write because I love it.
6. Who are your favorite authors?
I hope there’s a lot of room on this list. Aside from my critique partners (Tracy Brogan, Jennifer McQuiston, Alyssa Alexander, Robin Covington and Avery Flynn), I adore Amanda Usen (fellow foodie author!), Susan Donovan, Bella Andre, Kieran Kramer, JR Ward, Kristen Callihan, Julie James, Louisa Edwards…honestly, I could go on all day!
7. What was your biggest mis-step in your writing career so far?
Probably that when I started writing, I queried too fast. I didn’t get the process of editing (and editing, and editing some more) before sending my manuscript out to agents. But I learned quickly!
8. Do you have a word related pet peeve?
The word “um” rattles me when spoken. And I could do without the word “whatever” for the rest of my life.
9. What is your junk food of choice?
I am going to totally out myself. Fritos. They are my crack. The big scoop-shaped ones, with a giant bowl of chili? I could eat that every day and die happy.
10. What’s the most dangerous or risky thing that you’ve done?
Despite being very outgoing, I am very cautious. I don’t like risks! No jumping out of airplanes for this girl. No bungee jumping. No tightrope walking. Just not for me!
11. What is your guilty pleasure? {Remember: this is a ‘G’ rated blog! :) }
Reading in the bathtub. I do it weekly. I just sit and soak and read til I turn pruny. It’s awesome.
12. What’s next for you? Upcoming projects? Life events? Anything you would like to share or brag about?
I have a companion novella to Love On The Line coming out in the early summer (title TBD, but it’s Jason’s story). I also have an anthology coming out in October with Kensington to kick off my Pine Mountain foodie series, called The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap. Then the full novels will follow starting in early 2014. I’ll also be at RT in May and RWA Nationals in July. Come over and say hi!

Thanks for stopping by, Kimberly! If you want to learn more about her you can find her at these places:

www.kimberlykincaid.com

http://www.amazon.com/Love-On-The-Line-ebook/dp/B00BL77PKO/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1_H542

www.facebook.com/Kimberly.kincaid1

And on Twitter @kimberlykincaid

And if you still haven’t gotten your copy of LOVE ON THE LINE here’s an excerpt to convince you to run out and get one.

As soon as Noah got behind her, the smell of coconuts and warm sand filled his senses, delivering a crystal clear image to his brain. His heart slammed in his ribcage, and without thinking, he cupped Violet’s elbow and swung her around, so tight to his body that he felt her gasp as much as heard it.
“You were in my hospital room yesterday. Before I woke up.”
“I…I—”
But he barreled on, the memory as bright and vivid as if it had just happened a minute ago. “Your hair was braided, on your shoulders, and you were wearing a…a bracelet that sounded like wind chimes. You said the doctor was coming. It was you.”
The fan of her gold-tipped lashes fluttered wide, and the warm puff of her breath heated his cheek as she nodded. “I didn’t mean to intrude. I was looking for Jason, but I didn’t think you’d wake up.”
Noah shook his head to quell her apology. “It doesn’t matter,” he said, his resolve locking into place, and Violet went utterly still against him.
“It doesn’t?”
“No. You’re the first thing I’ve been able to remember since I got shot in the first place. In fact, you’re the only thing I can remember since I got shot.”

 Kimberly will be stopping by to answer all your questions. Please say hi!