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Author Interview Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS Holiday Musings

Ash Keller–Fresh, FUNNY, and Wickedly Talented. A Must Read for Romantic Comedy!

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WHAT DO YOU WANT IN YOUR HORN OF PLENTY?

Life is ripe with choices, spilled out like a Horn of Plenty. Cornucopias if you’re putting on airs. And why not? Accents and attitudes are fun. Entertaining, absolutely, but often necessary.

Who hasn’t changed their tone for that critical interview? The BE-THERE party or that dreaded public speaking encounter? (Raise a hand for keeping it real!)

But kid-me loved drawing cornucopias at the kitchen table when the leaves began to fall. Why? I could select my favorite things–grapes with fanciful tendrils, bumpy gourds, and yummy artichokes–and stuff them inside. Favorite things, in whatever color I chose, could spill out or hide in the tip.

The more the better.

ASH AND HUSBAND JAMES KEEPING IT REAL–REALLY PLAYFUL AT HALLOWEEN!

There’s nothing like a jumbo box of Crayolas and a kid–of any age–eager to decide for herself. To choose her friends. Select her surroundings. And engage fully on the path chosen or change course with unflagging courage!

DON’T TELL ANYONE ASH IS REALLY A ZOMBIE LIBRARIAN!!!

That leads me to today’s guest. The delightful and ever demonstrative, Ash Keller. Chock full of talent, brimming with personality, wholly accessible, and a consummate professional in terms of career and the care she extends everyone in her circle. She’s almost too dang fun.

Dead serious.

Ash writes romantic comedy from experience, folks, and how sweet it is.

This SASSY SCRIBE is one to watch for antics, information, and FIERCE mother-love. The bear type that roots out injustice, slays snarling or suited beasts, and plucks that thorn from your paw with the gentlest touch. (Okay, I’m thinking bear costume. I know Ash has a weakness for those lovely ones. Wild, YOU BET, and bad to the bone. I dig bears, too!)

SUPER CUTE!

The pairing of big dreams with big trouble is familiar territory for Ash. Absolutely read THE CHRISTMAS SECRET, Ash’s hilarious and so-sweet romantic comedy, one of eight diverse voices in SNOW IN LOVE: Sweet Romantic Holiday Collection.

Brought to you by Readertainment.

If you like your heroes broody and your heroines skilled, self-aware, and determined not to let moods or men ruin time spent in FORCED PROXIMITY, get thee to Amazon. NOW! The .99 cent pre-order price is days away from ending.

Do you really want to deprive yourself? I hope not if you follow this blog or happen to stop by. Whatever your catnip–GO FOR IT. Life is short and the chief reason to make this go-round count.

So, forgetting the serious, what’s your favorite time of year, Ash, and why?

Everyone loves fall, right? Sweater weather, pumpkin spice lattes, bonfires! And Halloween is my very favorite holiday. My husband and I always throw a Halloween party (except this year…Covid is a party pooper) and I have tons of fun choosing a theme every October.

CHOOSING!!! Great theme, Ash, anytime of year, but we’re racking it up for #teampumpkinspice! Here’s a how-to from one of my favorites. The Mom Life Balance!

Then again, there’s a reason spring green is my favorite color. There’s nothing better than watching the earth come back to life after a harsh winter. And it’s the best time of year to put my pink kayak in the water. 

FEELIN’ THE PINK!

But it’s hard to beat summer. Fireflies, camping, lake days…need I say more?

The only season I’m not a fan of is winter. I hate to be cold. But that’s why God gave us electric blankets, hot chocolate, and snuggly cats! (YES, YES, and–hmmm–heck, YES!)

LOVING THE ENEMY? YIKES.

This talented must-read author has another romantic comedy on Amazon that you’ll really like. If close proximity and fake relationships–putting on attitude?–tickle your funny bone, check out Not Happy Campers, included in THE FUNNY THING ABOUT LOVE. A collection of feel-good sweet, romance stories by Enchanted Quill Press. How enchanting!

What’s your favorite animal, Ash? Do you have ONE??? This choosing business is difficult sometimes.

MEET KIRBY!

I’m a crazy cat lady. It’s a good thing I’m married or I’d have enough cats to form a kitty baseball team. My husband says no more than two…so we have three.

Ha!

OMG. Crazy cat lady. Can you feel the fur, peeps? The love? There’s a reason Ash and I gravitated toward one another along with our SASSY SCRIBE sisters!

So, tell us more. I *KNOW* that can’t be all. Animal fans could use some assurance about sharing the cuddles with all God’s creatures. Empower us!

SMART CHICKS!

I also LOVE chickens and have a backyard flock. In exchange for eggs, I hand-feed them grapes. They spoil me so I spoil them. It’s only fair.

Oh, yes, bring on the feather babies. Hens are the BEST!! And with you giving them grapes, they will follow you to the ends of the earth. (Mine used to follow my shovel to get earthworms!)

What’s your biggest fantasy?

Paying off my student loans (and my husband’s!), buying an RV, and traveling to every national park. (In search of bears, I hope. Ash will keep us posted on her newsletter. Sign up for laughs and the continued assurance that what makes you smile is the way to go!)

WE KNOW THE ANSWER!

Okay. Final question. Do you feel the pressure??? Think Miss Universe and tell me, would you strive for world peace? Why or why not?

Of course. What kind of monster wouldn’t want world peace?

FULL MARKS, Ash. Direct, impassioned, and too true. That must be why you pursue precisely that in your Horn of Plenty. That is the colorful embrace of life, love, GOOD HUMOR, and those little things that bring true joy. Your example is the best and something I’m determined to promote. Why? There are so many readers, writers, women, and men who will benefit from the go-for-it spirit that surrounds you. ((HUGS)) And thank you.

It’s been a pleasure, Ash, as always. And as I always do, I ask you dear readers to communicate with Ash and myself and all the SASSY SCRIBES. We’re determined to brighten our individual corners and yours, too. So, drop us a line. Help us help you. It really can be a win/win for world peace and a lot of laughs along the way there.

Write ON!

STAY CONNECTED

 

 

 

 

Categories
Author Interview Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS

Heather Scarlett: A Smart and Sassy Debut Author Who Does It All. Really!

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MULTI-TASKING MAGIC

Jack-of-all-trades equals Master-of-None. That’s the saying. But that saying has featured “Jack” for far too long.

What about Jill, our unsung heroine?

Or in our case, Heather Scarlett?

Professional career woman, ENGAGING wife and dear friend, ON IT MOM, and romance writer. Hello!! (Satisfying role reversals go far beyond fiction.) Doing it all is no easy thing, however. Nobody ever said it would be, but the faint-hearted need not sideline themselves.

Not in Heather’s world. One of the sassiest of the SASSY SCRIBES, Heather advocates going for it on every level. That and being yourself. (If you note, dear readers, a renewed sense of mojo in yours truly, look to Heather and the SASSY SCRIBES. Follow her and you’ll encourage yourself…whatever your dream may be.)

Here’s one of her secrets.

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Can you FEEL those pages? The potential? When you write dreams down–plan what you want to achieve–you make dreams real! And how.

Heather’s debut contemporary romance, Joy of the Season, is coming to you inside SNOW IN LOVE: Sweet Romance Holiday Collection–still ONLY .99 cents on pre–order–so don’t miss out. Not on the holiday feels and certainly not on the concrete example of going for it!!! (Remember, SNOW IN LOVE features 8 diverse new voices, a variety of holidays, and the tropes you love! Thank you Readertainment, our breakout publisher.)

Now here comes one of my favorite questions.

Tell us, Heather, Jill-of-All-Trades, are you  a panster or a plotter? And why? (What does method bring to your stories? Can you feel the tension, my peeps???)

DON’T FENCE ME IN!

As in most things in life, I’m in the middle. I do a fair amount of pre-writing to get to know my characters and major plot points. Then, I dive in to write. I often am surprised right along with my characters when the story takes an unexpected turn. I often don’t know the black moment until I’m well into the first act, then it all starts to come together. (Oh, sweet reason. Mixing it up is often how life sorts us!)

 

Do you prefer city or country living? Does this impact the settings of your stories? (It certainly does for me.)

WHY CHOOSE?

I grew up in a large city–Los Angeles–and lived in Montana for six wonderful years and that experience has absolutely influenced my stories. I write small town western as well as urban settings. There are aspects of both settings I love. (Oh, YES, and another reason why Heather speaks to me. Being reared on the West Coast but living in the East–small towns and BIG ONES–adds levels of insight. People are people, but background and context has a definite effect. I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of Heather’s edgier romances, urban settings, and wow. Just wow. Another reason to follow Heather Scarlett…very closely! She aims to PLEASE!)

So, what’s your favorite time of year, Heather, and why?

BEAUTY IS WHERE YOU FIND IT!

All of them! Living in New England, I especially love watching the leaves change in the fall. I am a warm weather girl, so summer is my all time favorite season. I love that each season has a different pace and different things to enjoy. (Another shot across the bow for those struggling with the unavoidable. Try to find something good in that which you cannot control. Goes far in translating that smile into a joyful heart.)

Now that Joy of the Season is nearly released, what’s on the horizon for you? Books? Projects? Whatever? You did not buy that planner to leave it blank, Heather, so do tell.

A SWEET TREAT JUST FOR YOU!

I have a few projects coming up! My next story, Snowed In for a Second Chance, will be available January 8. This story is set in Wildwood Falls, starring a character, Sarah, who readers will meet in Joy of the Season. I have a few more story ideas for 2021 and beyond!

Since this interview, Heather has penned a short, short romantic tale that can be YOURS. Just click the pic with the scrumptious gingerbread!

That’s some momentum, Heather. What writer’s organizations if any have helped you achieve successes in your writing life? Aspiring writers need to know.

I am grateful to have found my fellow writers in Sassy Scribes. We are such a wonderful and supportive group of women who encourage each others’ success. I am so excited for my debut story to be with this group of amazing women!

AN ANIMAL CROSSING WRITER’S ROOM CAN MOVE WITH YOU!

Now, what does your desk look like and what do you “think” it says about you? (Notice I tend toward the weighty issues? But, hey, understanding context is fundamental…. and can help YOU achieve your goals, too.)

My desk is anywhere and everywhere. I write in the living room, dining room, outside on the deck. Anywhere I can find a quiet space. I am also an avid coffee shop writer. A hot cup of coffee and a sweet snack makes for a happy writing session. (Animal Crossing may be just the thing for the organizationally challenged to find peace!)

What’s your view on character flaws for heroes/heroines, Heather?

Being human means no one is perfect. It’s our imperfections that make us interesting. I like exploring character’s flaws and developing characters whose flaws are naturally in conflict with each other. For me, that makes for an engaging story! (AMEN!)

PUMPKIN SPICE RECIPE JUST FOR YOU!

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know, Heather? Only serious insights, please. )

I’m Team Pumpkin Spice in the Fall!!

Awesome. You know what that tells me? Heather is all about the specifics of what make us happy. Those simple pleasures that put a smile on your face and fuel you through your day. Whatever is on the agenda. Viva TEAM PUMPKIN SPICE, and long live self-empowerment.

Thank you for sharing with us, Heather. Yourself, your wisdom, and your precious time. Thank you, too, my faithful followers and those of you recently stopped by. It’s a pleasure…always.

We’ll get there–TOGETHER! Connecting is the way ahead.

So, please, DO follow Heather and myself. (Can’t end a blog without a shameless plug. LoL. But that’s me keeping it real. I wish you all the same in every avenue that lies ahead. Hugs and happiness in every step.)

WRITE ON!

HEATHER SCARLETT — AN AUTHOR TO READ AND WATCH!

 

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HEATHER SCARLETT

NEWSLETTER

 

Categories
Author Interview Author Recommendation

Hana Sheik–A Burgeoning Voice in Sweet, Sultry Romance Not to be missed!

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Do you need some fun? Distance from the day-to-day? Are you starved for a truly romantic romance that takes you places you wish you could go?

Hana Sheik, another SASSY SCRIBE, is a woman who delivers. And with a lush, poetic style to stirs hidden wells. Some you may not realize you had. Translation: SATISFYING.

So read on and rejoice!

Kwanzaa in His Castle, Hana’s debut novella, is one of eight sweet reads included in SNOW IN LOVE: A  Sweet Romance Holiday Collection now on pre-order at Amazon for a mere .99 cents. That’s eight stories, peeps, featuring eight diverse voices, and a swath of holidays to cover whatever might cause you stress over the coming months.

Thank you Readertainment!

Yes, we love our holidays, but sometimes they don’t share until after the melt down. So prep yourself for winter blues or just catch the holiday spirit. Order now. With a snuggly blanket and/or bubble bath when the time is right, you’ll be glad you did.

(Self-care is ESSENTIAL all year round but especially when we’re expected to shine.)

So, Hana, to mix it up, here’s a different question. Do you prefer city or country living? Does this impact the settings of your stories? (I’m in a country mood myself what with life becoming increasingly complex. Ugh.)

I WOULDN’T SAY NO!!

Tough choice. I’m a city girl, born and bred. But I would love to move to a small town, and a part of me even dreams to own a farm or ranch. Silly, but I think it’s the idyllic peace the country offers that can be too much to resist. In reality, the closest I get to country living is when I stop by at my local farmer’s market to do my part supporting smaller, family-owned farms.

I COULD SO DO THIS!!

For my debut novella, Kwanzaa at His Castle, the country setting is important because it gives both my hero, Tyson, and my heroine, Imani, that rare opportunity to be snowbound in a castle. It’s extreme as far as “one-on-one time” goes, but it has to happen! I love my forced proximity stories.

Bring on the close-quarters…the perfect setup when your secret crush owns a castle. Well done, Hana. What motivated you to write this latest novel? And what would you like readers to take away from the experience of your words? (Those things that move us move me, so I have to ask!)

I work retail, and I’ve worked it on and off for a decade. Working retail through the holiday season, I’ve encountered customers who’ve wished me a “Happy Kwanzaa”. My family and I don’t celebrate Kwanzaa, but it’s a pan-African (non-religious) celebration that has its roots in the American civil rights movement.

GOTTA LOVE GRAPHICS!

I won’t go into a social history lesson, but to keep it short, I wanted more diversity out there. Being a black author, and loving my holiday romances, I just HAD to write a Kwanzaa romance! And I’m hoping to get the opportunity to write more Kwanzaa romances in my career, but for now, I’m giving you Imani and Tyson’s love story this Kwanzaa and holiday season.

I’m hoping readers get to learn more about Kwanzaa, and ultimately, get a chance to be whisked away by a millionaire to a country castle this holiday.

Okay, Hana, you’re doing great. History lesson or not, you’ve got me wanting more. Couldn’t help noticing Imani, your heroine, takes her name from the 7th day of Kwanzaa. Cool beans.

But onto the SERIOUS question: What does your desk look like and what do you “think” it says about you? (Can’t help the sarcasm. Mid-Covid has me crazy. Thanks for your patience!!)

YOU’VE GOT KONDO COVERED!

As you can see, my desk space/“office” is pretty bare. I do like it this way—call me the Marie Kondo of writers! I prefer the minimalist approach.

Besides, I’m like a squirrel. Any little thing can drag my attention from a day’s work of writing, so I keep my desk clutter-free of distractions. (Says my opposite twin!)

And don’t get me wrong, I collect my fair share of office supplies. I gotta have the Post-It notes, the highlighters in five different colours, the fancy pens, the abundant pencils, etc. Also when I say “collect”; I mean hoard. Ha! (I knew it!!!)

But as of now, my plotting happens digitally. So, all my notebooks to sketch ideas and brainstorm are tucked away and waiting for the day that I return to them. Again, just my preference.

I do like to keep photos of my family nearby. They’ve been supportive of my writing aspirations and career from the very start, and I keep their photos close by as a reminder of how truly blessed I am to have such an amazing support system.

You are blessed, Hana. Family is supposed to help on the journey of discovering exactly who we are. And who we’d like to become. I’m so happy your dear ones support your craft–your career. In that we are very much alike and likely why I consider you part of my family, too.

SASSY SCRIBES are the bomb, the BEST, and we’re on a roll. Empowering one another to reach goals and go for it! Whatever “it” may be. Thank you, Hana, and thank you, Readers, for staying tuned.

Feel free to comment or lurk as you wish, but know that I’d dearly love to engage with my audience. If only to better know what you want to hear. Let’s talk! And let’s talk about it.

Write on!

HANA SHEIK – an author to watch!

For those who’d like to know more about Hana Sheik and keep her on their radar, please, follow her at:

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Categories
Author Interview CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS

Isabelle Grace, a family-first woman of substance, inspired teacher, and TALENTED new voice in contemporary romance!

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Okay, you all knew it was coming. More interviews. SASSY SCRIBES–my diverse and DRIVEN collective of women writers supporting personal best and writing the stories YOU WANT TO READ–is on the MOVE!

SNOW IN LOVE–our debut collection of sweet holiday romances brought to you by Readertainment–is on pre-order for a scant .99 cents at Amazon. (Isabelle’s ‘Mistletoe and Holly‘ is included among 8 great and diverse new voices.) Amazing, you say? Impossible? How is it that eight sassy stories that are sweet and full of heart can be selling for a scant .99 cents??

Temptation, baby. Women’s empowerment. Needs MUST! Sassy Scribes want you to know we have your back. And would very much like to get to know you better. Specifically, what YOU want in romance and women’s fiction. Communication is key and so is this unbeatable deal.

But .99 cents won’t last forever. Much like summer has morphed into Autumn, it just happens. Overnight. Look to October 14th for holiday romance to turn tension-riddled frowns upside down. But only if you jump in like the SASSY SCRIBES and order now. (You know you want to!)

Where is your HEART?

Now it’s on to Isabelle Grace, a most gracious lady and one of the most dedicated teachers I’ve encountered. True love? You bet.

Caring is at the core of this woman who takes whatever she attempts to heart, right along with those individuals blessed to become part of her circle. That’s why she takes such care in crafting tales for readers. She knows what feels are like and wants YOU to experience them in full with every flip of the page. But let’s begin at the beginning for those who’d like to know if they should follow the teacher.

What moves you to write and what do you write, Isabelle? (Fiction? Poetry? Screenplays?) Students of life and love want to know.

Can you feel me???

I’m motivated to write by many things – words from a song, a scene from a movie, a catchphrase, something I’ve read or seen. Although I have written a few articles years ago for our local paper, now and since college, I’ve concentrated on contemporary romance.

I hear you, Isabelle. Focus is critical and something I struggle with too often as you know. So tell this reformed panster what you prefer. Are you a panster or a plotter? (What does method bring to your stories?)

I am primarily a pantser.  I do a little character background plotting and have a basic idea in my head when I start, but I don’t outline. I just write and let the characters guide the story. Impatience is the main reason for being a pantser. I like to get in and get started. As to what it brings to my stories – I’ve had some interesting turn of events crop up either in the rough draft or during edits. I hope they enhance the story. (Sounds a lot like life. The guy you never thought you’d fall for leaves you jumping off love’s cliff with a sloppy grin you never suspected was in you!)

What’s your favorite movie/music? You’ve admitted to finding inspiration in varied places, Isabelle, so what is it that moves you?

What’s say we revisit this movie as PRETTY MAN???? Or, PRETTY AWESOME. Or…MAKE MINE A GERE!!!

My favorite movie of all time is The Wizard of Oz. (YESSSSS!) On a more contemporary note, it’s Pretty Woman – the ultimate Cinderella story in my opinion. I saw it in the theaters eleven times, pre-ordered the video, and wore it out! (Now that’s FOCUS!) As for music, I listen to a variety of music – mostly soft rock, country, classic 80’s, top 40. In high school, one of my favorite songs was Barry Manilow’s Weekend in New England. So romantic. (Viva la Barry!!!)

What’s on the horizon, Isabelle? Books? Projects? Whatever? (We’re nosy here. LoL!!)

I have a 4-book collection I want to publish – The Blackwood Brothers Series. Each brother has his own book. A veterinarian, a best-selling author, a widowed farmer, and a construction worker, Drew, Jack, Reese, and Holden Blackwood are each paired with a strong, independent woman who ultimately make their lives complete. As I wrote the series, I fell in love with each brother and wanted to be the heroine lucky enough to become a part of their life. I am hoping readers will feel the same. (You’ve got something there with brothers, Isabelle, seriously. Rugged, able, and needing just the “right” match. What’s not to love??)

What writer’s organizations if any have helped you achieve successes in your writing life? (Not a shameless plug, but a serious question, people. You know me.)

Sassy Scribes for sure. I have been a member of other more official groups, but the Sassy Scribes have offered more support, inspiration, motivation, insight, and knowledge than anything else on the writing front I’ve been affiliated with. (Okay, shamelessly true and I agree 100%. Readers can expect to hear more from SASSY SCRIBES in future as we plan to take personal empowerment and the power of the pen on the proverbial road. Fair warning. It’s gonna be bumpy but never boring!)

Now, just for fun, an absolute must during Covid-19 crazies and frankly anytime. What’s your favorite animal, Isabelle? Do you have one???

Bella is SO ready for her closeup. I hope we’ll see more of this little jewel on Isabelle’s Blog!!!

I like dogs and horses and have had both.  Currently, though, I have Bella, a Pomeranian rescue.

What would you do if you won the lotto?

Pay off my bills and help out my family and friends. I’d also give money to a few charities, and establish a foundation to provide scholarships and grants primarily for education. And, of course, the Sassy Scribes could become their own publishing group. (SEE WHY I LOVE THIS WOMAN??)

Okay. Time to channel Miss Universe, Isabelle. Would you strive for world peace? Why or why not?

I would like for all people to live in harmony. Yes, we’ll have differences in looks, opinions, ethnicities, genders, belief, and everything else under the sun, but we won’t feel threatened by it. We can be accepting and get along peaceably. We can appreciate the diversities and celebrate accomplishments. The world could be where kindness, unity, love, understanding, and grace could prevail.

What’s your view on character flaws for heroes/heroines?

I think they’re wonderful and realistic. Makes the books more interesting and the characters more human! Sure, we’d all like to find the gorgeous male with rock hard abs, a killer smile, and bedroom eyes who is just perfect, but in real life, that’s next to impossible, right? Let’s create heroes and heroines that are like the rest of us in the world!! We’re lovable, too!

What’s your QUESTION??? (We LOVE you, Alex!)

What would YOU like to tell readers about yourself? Think Jeopardy and give me the answer and the question.

I have lived in the same county in WV all my life. From middle school through college, I worked on my uncle’s dairy farm where I learned a lot about things I now realize some folks won’t ever have the opportunity to experience firsthand. For that, I feel very lucky.

Personally, I am blessed with a wonderful family and awesome friends. Though I have no biological children of my own, I have a spectacular nephew who is like a son to me. He is my heart as well as my pride and joy. I have two beautiful nieces, two bonus great-nieces, a goddaughter, and one great niece or nephew on the way. And thanks to my sister by heart, I am also fortunate to be an honorary aunt to her granddaughters.

THEY GROW TOO FAST!

I teach at the same high school from which I graduated. I’ve been there for many years, first as a special education teacher and not as a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher (formerly Home Economics). I teach Parenting, Foods and Nutrition, and Personal Finance. Though education has changed dramatically since I began teaching, especially in the last six months, I am honored to have the opportunity to educate our youth with skills that will be useful to them all their lives.

Plus, I’m blessed to see the potential in our teenage population and hopefully, in some small way, to help cultivate it.

WOW. Just wow. It’s the story behind the romantic lines that makes them resonate. Yes, you’re blessed, Isabelle, but so are we. Thank you for sharing yourself with me, with the SASSY SCRIBES, and now you’re reading public.

I’m anticipating great things.

Isabelle Grace – dedicated to teaching critical life skills. At school, at home, and ON THE PAGE!!

Follow Isabelle Grace at the following:

MUSINGS OF ISABELLE GRACE

TWITTER

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She would LOVE to hear from you. Me, too. So, in another shameless plug you’ve come to expect, PLEASE follow us on whatever platform suits you.

Voices matter and we want to hear yours!

 

WRITE ON!!

 

 

Categories
Author Interview Author Recommendation

Melanie Waterbury, first-time author, full-time woman, wife, mother, and devoted daughter.

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Who hasn’t talked about writing a book someday? I mean, seriously. At every party I’ve ever been to, with the exception of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey soirees, I’ve been entertained by those who “say” they want to write a book or will–someday.

Not to be confused with
writing a book!

Someday never comes as today is where we’re at, no matter what our wishes for the future. (That’s no slam against dreams or those who, for whatever reason, prioritize life and leave off those elusive words. Writing a book is no easy thing. Try it if you don’t believe me.

But I digress. My way and you know it. On to introducing Melanie Waterbury. Woman, wife, mother, and devoted daughter. Here’s a gal undaunted by life’s variety and the need to dig in her heels if she wants to accomplish something. (A successful marriage is no easy thing either :^)

Sweet INSTA-LOVE just when you need it most!

Her first novel–a novelette if we’re getting technical–is on the way. But Healing her Heart for the Holidays, included in SNOW IN LOVE: A sweet holiday romance collection, is NOT to be missed. Not if you’re into INSTA-LOVE and the magic that comes with close proximity and delicious misunderstandings at a stunning bed-and-breakfast. Add a dash of snow and overworked hero, and I’m snorking it down like gooey buttered popcorn.

Seriously, though, the hooks are there. But so are the tenderest moments and a heart-wrenching reality of what it means to overcome hardship that’s ongoing. You don’t want to miss this collection. At .99 cents for Melanie’s debut and seven additional sweet romance stories–mine included–you really can’t afford to. Even if romance isn’t your thing, this collection is nothing short of an instructional that, YES, it CAN BE DONE!

Onward. Being a recent home schooling empty nester, I’ want to know about family. Are they a help or a hindrance, Melanie?? I’ve avoided that question myself by way of the 5th amendment. (Don’t want to incriminate myself). But how about you?

Well I have four kids, so they are definitely a distraction, and possibly part of the reason I haven’t published anything until now. I love them, they are my life, but of course it also makes it hard to get dedicated time that I won’t be interrupted during to write.

You know that even if Dad is right there, they’ll come find you for whatever they need. Which of course means they know you’ll be able to help them and will help them, but still!

I hear EVERYTHING you’re saying, woman to woman. What’s your solution, Melanie? There are countless like us who, despite our beloved burdens, want to reach our goals sooner rather than later.

I’ve started trying to get up earlier than the kids to get things done but with two early risers, and of course they are the 4 and 2 year old, that’s not really a thing. Still, I’ve been managing to get things done around the chaos, especially since I’ve really committed myself to doing this.

Bon Bons–STAT!

Okay, so a combo of true GRIT and legitimate work arounds. Can’t be easy getting up earlier as I’m sure your work load demands far more wakeful hours than not. No bon bon eating chaise fainters in your house–mine neither, although I always fantasized about being Camille.

But now that you’ve broken that barrier–publication!!!–what’s on the horizon for you, Melanie? Books? Projects? Whatever? (Warning. Emptynesting former home-schooling moms tend to be nosy and pushy about encouraging others to reach for the stars!!)

Oh my gosh, I have a million things I want to do! But the one I grabbed at first was a romantic suspense I’ve been playing around with for a while. It’s about an action film start who is targeted by a fanatic cult and the female security specialist hired to protect him. It plays at insecurities about masculinity, and with both characters being an alpha there is some fun ways to go with it.

You had me hooked at fanatic cult. Masculine insecurities pings my radar, too, as again, helping others reach for the stars is what real women do. At least in my circle. No wonder we’ve gravitated toward the same tribe. So do tell, Melanie. More deets, please! How does this new suspense compare with Healing Her Heart for the Holidays?

I’m a John Wick WATCHER for sure. Bring on the BA hero and heroine who can take down and I’m there!

It’s definitely steamier than the novella for this collection as both hero and heroine are naturally more physical characters. And the fight scenes! My Dad raised me on action flicks so I love writing a fight scene. There’s going to be a lot of them, so if you like action and steam and high stakes danger, you’ll probably find this a good read.

It’s tentatively titled Chased Down, and I’m hoping to have it out shortly after the New Year.

Wow. A worthy goal and I LOVE your timeline. New Year, new career!

Okay, total fluff question next, Melanie. I always like to ask. Probably because I can never seem to answer myself. But what would you do if you won the lotto? A BIG LOTTO?

Looks GREAT to me!

 Oh I would buy a house. That’s our dream right now, to buy a house that’s big enough for our family. So it would be a big house but not a monstrosity. And we’d take a vacation to Hawaii because my Mom always wanted to go and my parents were trying to get a trip together as part of her bucket list, but she got too sick too fast and they couldn’t make it happen for her. So, my siblings and I have all committed to going in honor of her. Sorry, that’s a little sad, but it’s true.

Demure dynamo!

That’s not sad but a tribute to your mother’s successes. She obviously stirred love and loyalty in the hearts of her children. A very beautiful thing. Like the image I have of your mother–right now–being SO proud of your accomplishments. All of them. I know I am.

If you’d like to learn more about Melanie Waterbury, please, follow her on:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/melanie.waterbury

Twitter @MLWaterbury

Thank you, Melanie, and thank you readers for checking out the latest at Ann Malley Books. As always, feel free to follow me here for updates, inspirations, cationary tales, book news, and assorted rambling. You know I’m good for it.

If I can help one person avoid the pitfalls I’ve wasted too much time exploring, I’m GREAT. You reading my work is pure gravy, although I’ll admit I’m an addict. Some habits are impossible to break.

With shared prayers and well wishes for all of my readers. I’m SO grateful for each and every one of you who, I hope, is striving for his or her dream right this second!

Write on!

Categories
Author Interview Author Recommendation

Short and Sweet with Christian Romance author, Teresa Ives Lilly… because Summer needs a Kick-start!

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Dear Readers,

Looks good until the wind begins to blow!

I hope you are reading. Reading and relaxing in this run-up to Summer. Calm is what I need, that and some sense of peace. (Always the case as you all know ;^) If you’re in-search-of, or would like to try writing yourself, meet my latest guest.

Take it from here, Teresa.

My name is Teresa Ives Lilly.  I’m so pleased to be part of this newsletter.

We’re pleased to have you. No kidding. With lock downs and strife all around, its even more critical to make connections and get to know what makes others tick. I prefer the truth beneath the stereotypes that too often are anything but. So, tell us, what moves you to write and what do you write?

 My original motivation was basically the sad moments in childhood. 

So writing was a refuge? I get it. I can also relate. Yes, I do write happy things, but the deeper emotions that need expression are what calls the loudest. Tell us more, Teresa. Pull of the metaphorical mask–and the one that may be keeping you oxygen deprived. (Lord knows, I border on panic attacks when forced to wear one.)

I wrote many poems, but when I got older and discovered Janette Oke…. I was ignited to become a Christian writer. 

Inspirational Fiction Pioneer

Life is like that. An unexpected transformation that often takes us where we think we’ll NEVER go. Good for you, Teresa, moving toward what speaks to your soul. What’s on the agenda today? What’s your process?

For books I write now, I just have to see a picture I like, think of a title, or meet someone with a great name. That gets me started.

What lights your sky?

Creatives are like that! And inspiration takes so many forms; a random thought, an archaic word, a wink from an unexpected ally. What moved you to write Carousel of Love? (One of four sweet historical tales featured inside Carousel Dreams available on Amazon!) More importantly, what would you like readers to take away from the experience of your words?

I was trying to think of a subject that I’d never read in a Christian Romance and happened onto the concept of Carousels.  Then as researching I discovered one in a town close to where I met my husband.  From there, it was all just the fun research about the times and the area.  I want readers to feel content with my stories, and hopeful they want to read more.

Contentment is in short supply even when things don’t come across as crazy on the news. Thanks for actively addressing this issue and spreading the love. What’s on the horizon for you? Books? Projects? Whatever? Readers and writers want to know.

I’m currently under contract with Barbour Books for a mystery set called Tea Shoppe Mysteries. I’m also working on a Keepers of the Light book called The Loggers Hope, and a Christmas series called Evergreen Cottage. 

Wow. Sounds like you’re full up on getting the message out. Look for the light, be inspired, hold out for hope. Thank you for sharing your words and wisdom. And, please, thank your award winning co-authors, Cynthia Hickey, Susanne Dietze, and Patty Smith Hall for pulling together to pen this much needed dip into history. Times change but human nature, not so much. It’s critical to remember or else history repeats itself.

Teresa Ives Lilly: a believer who shares… and obviously cares

TERESA IVES LILLY’s ninth grade teacher inspired her writing by allowing her to take a twelve-grade creative writing course during the summer. After that, it has been her passion and dream to write, however until her Salvation in 1986 when she discovered the genre of Christian Romance, Teresa did not even try writing. Since then, she has gone on to write over twenty-five novellas and novels including two published by Barbour Books. Teresa lives in San Antonio, Texas where she and her husband are close to their three grown children and one grandson. Teresa believes God let her be born “at such a time as this” to be able to write and share her stories of faith.

Follow Teresa at www.teresalilly.wordpress.com   

Join her newsletter and get a free book!

Click here for a sneak peek at the Carousel Dreams collection. But buy the book if you’re eager to read…

Carousel of Love by Teresa Ives Lilly
1910 – Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania

For Tamara Brand, spending the summer at Expedition Park impersonating her wealthy debutante employee seemed like a dream come true until she meets Blake Conner; just a Carnie who runs the carousel. He seems to be the type of man she would like to get to know better if she weren’t pretending to be someone she isn’t. But, is Blake who he appears to be?

Who knows???

Thank you, dear readers, for being out there and providing us creatives a venue to share, soul search, and empower ourselves and others via the written word. Plumbing the depths of hearts and minds can be a scary thing, but please, do. And share. Comments, suggestions, and varying points of view are so welcome.

Write on!

Categories
Author Interview Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS Writing TIPS

Sit-down with Rene Penn; dear friend, soul sister, and a hilariously good writer!

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Okay. Rene and I don’t write exactly the same genre. She’s sassy comic romance where I’m trying to be strictly sweet. Trying. She’s flirty with the lines–steamy in places–where I’m firmly drawing some. For a change. Bedroom doors weren’t always shut in my earlier writing ventures, but life brings many changes. Although I could be fooling myself entirely. Done that before. But good buddies, who should always be supported, are there for the reality check.

BEST word score EVER!

And Rene SO gets me. I hope I get her, too. I sure dig her snappy chick-lit vibe and the easy comedy that makes reading her a joy. A believing, practicing Christian, Rene lends a touch of worldly realism to her tales. But in the pursuit of happily-ever-after, her heroes and heroines always try to do the right thing. Tricky business in this maze called life. So while we’re not boxed-set-sisters, Rene and I are absolutely connected where it counts. In spirit. A spirit I’ve come to rely on and feel compelled to share if only to offer my readers encouragement, self-empowerment, and an example of how we all benefit from supporting one other even if our voices aren’t exactly the same.

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What moves you to write, Rene, and what ‘all’ do you write? (Interviews are the perfect time to dig for deets! LoL!)

I write fiction, specifically romance, mainly because I love reading it. I get my kicks from writing romantic comedy. I love the humor, the snarky comebacks, and the hilarious situations and interactions. Life can be very serious and full of challenges. Writing and reading rom-com is like a great escape. (No wonder we click!)

One avenue informs the other–so keep those doors open!

I also dabble in screenwriting, because I enjoy writing dialogue. I co-wrote an indie web-series in 2006 and wrote another web-series in 2009. Working in another genre can be a refreshing change that re-energizes the fiction-writing process. (Absolutely true. I hope we can hear more when you come back. You ARE coming back ;^)

Are you  a panster or a plotter, Rene? And why? (What does method bring to your stories?)

The HERO’S JOURNEY. A plotter’s paradise, not a dirty word!

I’m a plotter who likes to veer off into pantser-ville. (YES! YES! YES! I’m not alone!) I don’t want to be so rigid with my outline that I ignore my characters’ instincts. With each story I plot, the characters usually lead me in a new direction as I’m writing Act 3. I follow their lead, and the new direction is a nice surprise for me.

I use the Romancing the Beats to make sure that I hit the right notes and expectations for my romance readers. And I rely on The Emotion Thesaurus to enrich my language. (Those two sources are very helpful in my creative process, too. Hmmm. Looks like we’re sharing some DNA here despite divergent spice levels.)

What’s your favorite movie/music? Do you find inspiration in film/music for your writing?

Funny, flirty, and touching on serious issues with such ease it puts a smile on your heart. Only $1.99 to buy!

Movies are very important for me since I write romantic comedies. I want my readers to feel like they’re watching my stories unfold like a movie. So for every story, I choose a movie for inspiration.

Because whimsical holiday romps are delicious all year round! FREE on #KU

For my book Fake It Til She Makes It, it was The Devil Wears Prada X and My Best Friend’s Wedding. For Santa Bring Me a Ryan, I was inspired by Meet the Parents.

What’s at the bottom of your craft bag? (This is often more telling than a junk drawer!)

I like to make my own jewelry, especially earrings and necklaces. And I have a small 8” x 11” multimedia notebook where I use watercolor painting, crayons, and color pencils. I’m not a good artist at all, (doubt that) but I love creating something that takes 30 – 45 minutes. A quick sense of achievement and gratification is important while working on writing projects that take months or years to complete. (I use vintage pattern crochet bookmarks for this pop of Serotonin. Accomplishment–its where its at!)

Do you find family to be a support, a distraction, or an integral element of your writer’s life?

I’m lucky that husband and parents are extremely supportive. Without my husband, I wouldn’t be able to pursue this writing journey full-time. Some people I know, I thought they wouldn’t read my work—or that they’d look down on the fact that I write romance. But they’ve been a big part of my support system, leaving reviews, spreading the word, and encouraging me to keep writing. (You’re truly blessed, Rene. Thumbs up on that score all the way!)

Do you prefer city or country living? Does this impact the settings of your stories?

And yet–the BURBS can hold their own dangers. LoL. But I hear you about how times change.

I used to prefer city living, big-time. But that’s changed over the last seven or eight years. Now, I prefer the ‘burbs! But my stories are usually set in an urban environment, because that’s how I spent my 20s and early 30s. My holiday novel, Santa Bring Me a Ryan, is mostly set in Montana, because I wanted to capture that kind of cold, scenic setting. I have a personal connection with Missoula, and immediately knew this story needed to be set there.

What’s on the horizon for you? Books? Projects? Whatever?

My next book is called The Celebrity Look-Alike. It’s about a small-town girl who gets the role of her life to become a movie star girlfriend’s look-alike. My goal is to publish it in February/March. (Insider’s tip: This is a fabulous project. An absolute must read when it hits the cyber-shelves.)

Am I sensing a potential plot featuring a “Virtual” Assistant, Rene?

Do you indie-publish or traditionally publish?
I indie-publish, and it has been challenging and gratifying. I like being able to make all of the decisions and having carte blanche on the creative process. But it’s hard when you’re a one-woman show. There are a lot of balls to keep in the air, and I feel like I can’t always juggle them. A virtual assistant is an option that I may consider in the future.


What challenges have you faced?
Ads are a hard nut to crack: How many to run? How often? And for how long? And staying on top of social media is tough, too. It’s hard to balance hey-this-thing-I-saw-was-cool posts with me-me-me posts and buy-my-book posts. I’m still working on the right formula. On my to do list: looking into a social marketing tool like Buffer or HootSuite so I can schedule posts. (Later is also good. I’m trying to get to that–but later seems to be all I can manage. LoL!!)


Now for some soul searching. How should a writer define his or her success, Rene?
I think the measure for success varies for each writer. For some, success may be the act of publishing a book on Amazon–of simply getting a book written and “out there”–and the amount of sales may not be a concern. For others, finding an agent and getting traditionally published is the measure for success. And for indie authors, success may be getting on a bestsellers list like Amazon or generating a certain amount of sales or revenue per month. For each writer, establishing a definition for success is key, especially one that is measurable. It provides a goal, which turns into a game plan, and keeps you moving forward. We just can’t be discouraged if we miss our mark. Being flexible and gentle on ourselves is important–we can’t forget that writing is supposed to be fun! (And if you wonder why I’m keen on passing on the wisdom and wit of Rene Penn, there you have it. THE answer!)

Now for grins and giggles. What’s your favorite animal?

I’m sorry. It’s the dander!

I love dogs, but I’m allergic to most. As a child, I was scared of them. Now, I try to pet all of the dogs in the neighborhood! (I try petting the squirrels. LoL. But getting to know the furry ones is fun, no? I hope your allergies go away.)

What would you do if you won the lotto?

I’d be selfish at first. (Three cheers for honesty!) I’d want to buy a house—my husband and I are house-hunting now since our big move to southern California recently. (Prayers for Rene here. House-hunting–especially after a cross country move is daunting. We need some prayer warriors to engage God’s grace and plead mercy for this darling couple.) I’d also want to help family members with mortgages. Then, it would be nice to start creative writing scholarships at colleges and make large donations to writing centers, YMCAs, rescue animal centers, and cancer treatment centers. (YES! YES! YES!!)

*********************************************************************

Well, we’re at the end of this interview, people, but the yesses absolutely have it. Thank you Renee. You’re the bomb. A shot of joy and humor fans of rom-com and down-to-earth realists can’t afford to miss. (I’m missing you already since you moved to California. Sniff, sniff.) If you’d like to learn more about my soul sister, here goes:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rene-Penn/e/B07V3P7J61/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Blog: https://renepenn.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rene_penn

Feel free to follow us both. Write us. Comment. Tell us WHAT YOU’D LIKE TO READ. We’d be tickled if you did whether you’re a reader, writer, or both. Interested parties of any persuasion are always welcome as information and a communicated exchange of ideas is where its at.

Write ON!

Categories
Author Interview Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS

Sit down with multi-publshed Anne Greene–Boxed-Set Sister #4. The suspense is killing me!

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Anne Greene – confirmed panster!

So here we are, finally, getting cozy with the last of my Romancing the Billionaire Boxed-Set Sisters, Anne Greene. (That’s for the year 2019. I’m onboard for Winged Publications MISSletoe Mistakes, another boxed set, due out Christmas 2020. Stay tuned.) For now, it’s spotlight Anne.

***********************************

What moves you to write, Anne, and what do you write (fiction only? poetry? plays?)

I write Suspense and Mystery and Historical and Historical Romance. Since I was small, as long as I can remember, I’ve written plays and stories. I believe I was born to write. I write for the Lord. (Can’t beat that motivation, and there’s something about feeling that niggle from childhood.)

Pansters, pansters EVERYWHERE with nary a friend to plot. Sniff, sniff!

Are you a panster or a plotter? (Why am I stuck on this question?)

I am a complete panster!

Okay, Sis, it’s official. I’m the solo plotter of Romancing the Billionaire. Still the BEST LITTLE BOXED SET at .99 cents thru December! But tell us more. Inquiring plotters could use a head’s up.) I might start with an intriguing setting, an interesting character, and very occasionally a plot drops into my mind. (I knew it!) I might or might not have a climax in mind and never an ending. But that’s it.

I’m FEELING this!

Once my characters are born, I turn them loose and sit back and watch what they do. It’s like enjoying a movie. This keeps the story spontaneous and fresh. I’ve tried to plot and found that avenue boring. So, I write the way I’ve always written.

If you have a craft bag–what’s in it? And/or if you don’t do crafts, what leisure activity or hobby is sitting there waiting for you? (Or is Anne on top of it all?)

I love doing crafts, but only with a group. I sing in our magnificent two-hundred-person church choir and I paint with oils.

Do you find family to be a support, a distraction, or an integral element of your writer’s life?

Family. A mixed blessing, but a blessing none-the-less. Although I’m partial to kiddos liking your books!

Interesting question. My children love my books as do some of their children. But family is a large part of my life and they come before any book deadlines and as such they are somewhat a distraction. But a loved distraction.

My husband is a huge support. He does the final proof on all my books before I send them to my editor. (Good man. Smart, too!) He designs my website, takes my publicity pictures, and the sweet man frames the cover of each book my publishers have published. My office is lined with pictures of my book covers. (Okay, our next interview will definitely revolve around cloning. LoL!)

What to do when a small town turns BIG?

Do you prefer city or country living? And does this impact the settings of your stories?

I like a town of 150,000. Where I live in McKinney, Texas has grown from 35,000 when we moved here to 200,000 in fifteen years. My lovely town is now too crowded.

Those were the days!

Yes, I’ve written about McKinney in two of my books, Mystery at Dead Broke Ranch – when McKinney was 35,000 and Red is for Rookie, the lst book in my Holly Garden Detective series now that McKinney has grown and become a suburb of Dallas. 

What motivated you to write this latest novel? And what would you like readers to take away from the experience of your words?

Romancing The Billionaire, the title intrigued me when my publishers proposed this anthology. My book is Hatteras Island Mystery. Wedding photographer, Misty Gordon, photographs a man at a late December wedding. He disappears before she can discover his name. Next morning as she walks the beach, she discovers his body floating in the ocean. As Misty summons EMT, the man wakes but has no memory. After he disappears from the hospital, Misty discovers him aboard a million-dollar yacht. As she talks with him, two assassins try to kill them both.

Is this a murder for hire, a revenge killing, or a political assassination? Is the man with no memory a drug dealer, an FBI agent, or a billionaire?

Can Misty solve the mystery before they both end in the morgue? (I’m betting Misty can, but its how that’s hooked me. I love suspense!)

What’s on the horizon for you? Books? Projects? Whatever?

I’m working on a book now titled Trail of Tears. This novel follows the nephew of John Ross, chief of the Cherokees, and what happened to a 1/16 Native American as he traveled the Trail of Tears after having lost his plantation, slaves, and parents to the US Government. Trail of Tears is packed with action, adventure, surprises, and history. The reader will feel as if he had traveled the Trail herself.

What’s your favorite animal—do you have one??? I’m a real animal nut so I have to ask.

My little brown and white Shih Tzu sits at my feet every day as I write. I often insert her picture into my newsletter. I use many pictures in my newsletter so my readers can know me better. If you’d like to join my newsletter, (and catch a glimpse of your furry friend) visit me at www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com and sign up.

Where do you find your heroes?

My dear husband doesn’t like me to call him a hero, but he is one. He served in the Army forty years and retired as a Colonel, Special Forces. I’m sure each of my novel heroes has some of my husband’s fine qualities.

What’s your view on character flaws for heroes/heroines?

I like character flaws. (Me, too!) None of us is perfect and revealing a character flaw, shows the character is human.

What’s your least favorite character type?

I don’t have a least favorite. I love to write villains and heroes. I sometime find my secondary character tries to take over the story, then I use him as hero of his own story. (Wrangling secondary characters can be tricky!)

Get’s MY attention. How about yours?

What would you like to tell readers about yourself? Channel Jeopardy and give me the answer and the question. LoL!

I’d love my readers to stay in touch with me via my newsletter. The letter arrives once a month and is contains pictures of new books, recipes, family photos, some of my oil paintings, and pictures of my workspace as well as my travels. I have giveaways and contests. And you will definitely get to know me better by reading my newsletter!

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Well, cool beans! That was fun. Thanks for stopping by, Sis. I appreciate the reveal of the woman behind the suspenseful, historical, romantic tales. And the opportunity to share your works and wit with my readers.


Anne’s books are available at www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com.
To contact Anne, visit her at www.facebook.com/AnneWGreeneAuthor.

I’ll be Vegas bound on Monday. A main stop–THE MOB MUSEUM.

I’ll be chillin’ at the Speakeasy. Bet on it!

“The Mob Museum offers a bold and authentic view of organized crime from vintage Las Vegas to the back alleys of American cities and—increasingly—across the borders and networks of the entire world. Explore the real stories and actual events of Mob history through interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind Mob and law enforcement artifacts found inside our restored 1933 former courthouse and post office building located just minutes from Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.”

The perfect place to explore my resident Grinch’s Sicilian roots. And my own bootlegging backstory from Depression Days gone wild.

Read on, people. Enjoy this run up to Christmas. Family. Friends. And…

Write on!

#authorinterview #amreading #romancewriting #Christianfiction #suspensebooks #MOBMUSEUM #recommendedread #inspirational #family #writing #writingcraft #writingbooks

Categories
Author Interview Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS

Sydney Winthrop, boxed-set sister #3, discusses the slings and arrows of “supportive” family! Special guest star: Last Light Falling’s Jay Plemons!

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All right, guys, the countdown to Christmas is ticking. LOUDLY. It seems that way with deadlines, real or self-imposed, going blizzard in the confines of an otherwise calm headspace.

Imagine this scrolling in your mind when you’re supposed to be sleeping. Pretty menacing, no?

But I’m the nervous type who often imagines things being far worse than they are–could be why I write Romantic Suspense in between sweeter, contemporary romantic offerings like Her Toronto Tycoon! (Mercy Nation: Diamond Dogs Book 3 and a host of other sweet, but deadly romances are on the horizon.)

I’m absolutely not alone, though. My boxed-set sister, the multi-published, prolific Sydney Winthrop is right beside me in the metaphorical trenches. So let’s get to it.

(Warning: This is going to be a quickie. My black sheep family reunion in Vegas–a real nail biter–is under a week away. (That’s a shout out for prayers in case you were wondering. I’d prefer a Merry Christmas instead of headlining the news.) **********************************

1.) So, Sydney, are you a panster or a plotter? And why? (What does method bring to your stories?)

Am I the ONLY plotter?

I am totally a panster. I have a friend who completely outlines her story before she writes a word. One day I asked her, “How did you know who the murderer was?” She looked at me in astonishment and quipped, “How can you NOT?” (Team panster scores – AGAIN!)

My characters speak to me as I go. In Fibers of Freedom, I thought Brutus Keller was the bad guy and figured I’d either kill him off or he’d go to jail! He turned into a good guy, fortunately for Duo of Death and Romance, as he’s one of the billionaires! (I‘m glad this Brutus didn’t get in close for the kill!)

2.) Do you find family to be a support, a distraction, or an integral element of your writer’s life?

Writers may not be Julius Caesar, but naysayers are often those who envy our position and throw their lot in with those who would kill us. If not in truth, then absolutely in spirit! Watch out!

Two days ago, I would have said they were a support. Today, I have to say, they are not all in support. My husband is, unequivocally. So is my mother! (That’s experience talking.)

One of my daughters has voiced the opinion I’d make more money in a real job and should do so. (OUCH!) Well, true. I would make more money. It’s up to us as writers, however, to make writing a real job.

3.) Tell us a little about the method you bring when you sit down ‘not to work.’ My sweet spot for invention is between 2 and 5 in the afternoon. Mornings I edit. Around those times, if writing is a real job to me, I need to update my book bibles. File. Blog. Market. Research. Learn what other authors in my genre are blogging. That is all work related to my job. (And clearly visible to those like your husband, good man, and your dear mother who likely know better what constitutes a real job!)

Does it pay real money? And how long do I continue before I decide I need a real job? That answer is different for each one of us.

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Sydney’s kept pretty busy not working! Check it out on Amazon!

No, kidding, Sydney. Self-determination gives rise to GREAT authors, fantastic fiction, and worthwhile experiences. Gray has its place, but not globbed over everything. So, good on ya, Sis, for the amazing display of patience, wisdom, and restraint–qualities that are required in any startup when dealing with those “frenemies” who would get close to better position the knife. (Et Tu, Brute?)

But it’s that time of year. My gift to my readers, my sister Stacey, and to those naysayers who may foolishly believe that real jobs are all about paychecks, are the wise words of Jay Plemons, a very talented author who is seasoned in following where the spirit leads. This charitable soul lifted me up from my own puddle of WHAT when I was splattered by friendly fire only last month. (Out of the mouths of babes.)

Jay’s words: I support you all the way. Never give up a talent that makes you happy. You’re awesome! (Isn’t THAT awesome? Talk about finding your tribe.)

And the message? We’re each tasked with a variety of jobs. One of which is the primary care and feeding of our true selves. Jay’s writing is raw and real. But if you’re keen to explore the edgy depths of a dystopian world to find exactly what faith can do, read him. Meanwhile, Sydney and I will tool the avenues of inspirational romantic suspense–and sweet contemporary–taking readers on our journey of self-discovery, wherever that may lead. A job, yes, but also a joy. Much like my writing and reading family!

I’d like to thank Sydney, Jay, and each and every one of you. Thank you for being yourselves, frenemies included. To discover more about the works of Sydney Winthrop, stop by her author page:

http://bit.ly/SYDNEYWINTHROP

Read more about Jay Plemons at:

https://www.lastlightfalling.com/

Write on!

Categories
Author Interview Author Recommendation

#CyberMonday: Get down with a GREAT DEAL and my Boxed-Set-Sister Diane Tatum!

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Okay, so you’ve been waiting to hear from the rest of the team behind Romancing the Billionaire: 5 RICH ROMANCES. Far be it from me to keep you waiting. LoL!

I’m thrilled actually, over the moon with this new set and having had the opportunity to work with such obviously talented, dedicated, and productive authors. I’ve never been part of a boxed set before, but I sure like it. (If you’d like to find out what the buzz is about click==>

http://bit.ly/ROMANCINGTHEBILLIONAIRE

Now on to meeting Miss Diane!

Pansters, pansters… everywhere!

PLOTTER or PANSTER. Which is it, Diane? I am a total pantser! I write as the Spirit moves me and then save the chapter, paragraph, idea in a file that will at some point join the novel in an appropriate space. I often write the ending before I write the middle of a story. I am moved by story, whether it’s a novel, a movie, or a TV show. As an English professor, I am always intrigued by literary twists and turns, character development, and place. I enjoy writing stories about or set in a specific place. (I’m encouraged by your admission that you “let” the spirit move you, Diane. No more guilt for nurturing those seedlings hiding on my hard drive and inside my file cabinets of which I have three.)

Think CS Lewis indeed.

What was the inspiration for your Romancing the Billionaire whirlwind romance? For Oxford Fairy Tale, the obvious place is Oxford University. My husband and I love to travel as often as we can, particularly to the UK and Europe. Yes, we’ve been to Oxford. One of my former students is currently in Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. (WOW!) Think CS Lewis, Lewis Carroll, JRR Tolkien, Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, and others. Such a rich literary history.

Point of view makes a HUGE difference!

Another interesting thing about Oxford Fairy Tale is the point of view (POV). This novel is my first written entirely in first person POV. It felt strange at first. I started this novel in 2011. When I heard about this boxed set, I knew it was time to finish the book. I asked my editor if my story qualified since my hero is heir to a lordship. She said, “As long as he’s a billionaire.” I said, “Poof! He’s a billionaire.” After all, it is fiction, right? (How liberating. And you’re right, Diana!)

Ravelry.com? I’m SO there. Thanks for encouraging me to join up. I’ve been flirting for quite a while.

As a pantser, you can imagine my desk! (I sure can despite a desperate desire to be on team Plotter. An upstream battle.) Right now, it’s covered in receipts, articles I’ve written for Pub Koinonia on Medium.com, and skeins of yarn that I need to turn into balls for knitting projects (because my swift and yarn baller are attached to my desk). I guess I buy yarn the same way I write. My oldest son remarked on my stash in his old closet, “Mom, more yarn? You can’t even close the closet doors now!” My response to that is “It’s my retirement fund.” Right now, I’m knitting Christmas projects as well as a brioche shawl and a long vest for me. You can find me, my projects, and my stash on Ravelry.com where my username is tatumlight. (Goodness, your son sounds like mine. And so does your desk. Yarn and ALL. Love, love, love it, Diane! And I want a yarn baller!)

So what else are you up to writer wise? Just have to ask. You inspire me! I am working on three novels currently. Yes, three! Gemini Conspiracy is a mystery/suspense sequel to my Kudzu Sculptures. (KS turned into a murder mystery to my surprise! The glory of being a pantser!). Another is the third book in my American history series, Colonial Dream, called A Time to Choose. It’s actually complete, but I’m in the process of editing it. I’m also writing a Christmas novel for a boxed set, MISStletoe Romances, for Christmas 2020. (I’m in that set as well. This boxed set business is shaping up nicely–for writers and readers. Seriously, what’s not to love about sweet deals and increasing your circle of things to enjoy?)

UNITED we STAND!

Where else do you gather fuel for your writing life? I am a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Word Weavers. One great benefit of both is critique group. I am a member of ACFW’s Scribes, and I lead an online critique group for Word Weavers. Having this ability to share in critique groups no doubt improves my writing but also provides a support group.

In addition to writing, I also teach dual enrollment Freshman Composition for our community college at our local high school four early mornings a week, 7AM – 8 AM. Then I get the rest of the day to write. (That has to feel great. That is passing on the gift of the written word–there’s nothing like it.)

Smoky mountain GORGEOUS!!!

Tell us something, if you’d like, about your private life. Outside having an observant son who likely gets a chuckle out of your every yarn purchase. (I know mine does despite the chiding ;^) My husband is an aerospace engineer and Bible study leader. My oldest son is a hospital chaplain, is married, has a son, and lives in Texas. My youngest son is a musician & educator, is also married, has three sons, and lives in the DC area. Four delightful grandsons! My husband and I live in Tennessee and recently added a 3-year-old retired racing greyhound named Iggy to our home. He and our 18-year-old Jack Russell tolerate one another.

Well, thank you, Diane. It’s been a pure JOY. No kidding. I’ll be checking out Ravelry. For those who’d like to learn more about Diane, reach out and engage, she’s provided a bounty of opportunities. What else would you expect from a woman who does it all–at the same time?

Diane E. Tatum

Website: www.dianeetatumwriter.com

blogs: http://tatumlight-tatumsthoughts4today.blogspot.com/http://tatumlight.wordpress.com/   

email: tatumlight@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/tatumlight

Twitter: @DianeTatum

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tatumlight/


Gold EarringsMission MesquiteColonial Dream: Book 1 A Time to Fight,                            Book 2 A Time to LoveKudzu Sculptures

Oxford Fairy Tale

Tatum’s Themes for Today: Topics and Resources for Youth Bible Study

… and watch for: Colonial Dream: Book 3 A Time to Choose, Book 4 A Time to Create (proposed), and Gemini Conspiracy

Write on!