Time for a cover reveal. Yes, I’ve chatted about SNOW IN LOVE, the sweet collection of holiday stories brought to you by #Readertainment available for pre-order on Amazon. (The woman to the left is how I envision myself. Darker hair, a far better red lip, but the caffeine is spot on! Glasses, too.)
But, now, here’s the tease for my story. Drum roll and wham:
ALL HE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS…
A Greek god meets his match in his soon-to-be-ex unless a holiday hiccup that strands them both on a deserted Fijian Island provides them the chance to do more than talk!
What’s a love-starved mortal, hot for her husband but not the family demands better suited to Mt. Olympus, supposed to do?
So now, my question to you, is are you TEMPTED? Teased? Encouraged to click? Crafting ads is such a different beastie than writing stories. Try it and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
That said, please, if you’re a reader, I want to hear from you. What did I miss? What did I hit? And how HARD? (Inquiring minds do nothing but ask endless questions. Sorry. Kinda.) The idea here is to please YOU. So consider that open season on letting it all out. Claws, too.
Writers, props all around, please throw a fellow a bone. Preferably with a lot of juicy meat on it because I tend to be low on iron. What a wonderful flaw considering red meat is my favorite. But hey, we can’t be perfect. Took me long enough to give up that crazy train. (Props to Ozzie Osbourne!)
Thanks for being here every last one of you. You’re needed and APPRECIATED, whether you leave a comment or not. Silent types are often the very best of friends. ((HUGS)) I look forward to hearing from you!
A second chance for her sleepy small town or Sarah Jane Minton, Montana’s mouthiest spinster?
Sarah Jane has a life, a hidden one she can’t help comparing to the romance novels that helped her overcome childhood disappointments. And the adult variety that left her married to a failing pie shop/tavern.
But with a big, bad secret she dare not share in gossip central—small towns are the worst—romance novels are the lesser of two evils. Aren’t they?
Brazilian billionaire, Vidal Herrera, is determined to test that theory when the obligation to clean up the mess he’s created spills over into Sarah Jane’s beloved safe space. Wild Horse, Montana. But can he ignore the tasty, plus-sized pastry who once shut him down? The same savory dish Providence seems determined he should box up and take home even against her will.
I am, too, but with all the lovelies that come with writing, advertising, living, etc, it’s a challenge. Whatever your challenges may be, dear reader, I hope you revisit Wild Horse and let me know what you like or don’t like.
I’m writing for YOU!
For myself, too, okay. You get the idea. With a recently empty nest, I’m seeking adoptees. Funny, not funny. Another development that will effect this writer’s bottom line. So if you’re into some serious tending, feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you’d like to read. That’s kind of how I began this venture. Telling stories out of necessity! (Caracas Cowboy has an inside joke I hope you’ll appreciate. And, no, Caracas is not in Brazil!)
If you missed Rodeo King, Book 1 of Wild Horse Montana, here she blows. An engaging summer read if plot is your candy and hard won happily-ever-afters bring on that satisfying smile. Whatever you do, I pray you’re smiling your way through Covid crazies and getting on with what brings joy!
All right, people. I’ve been dead–may as well have been. That’s what isolation means to an author under deadline, one with personal issues that I need not rehash. Really. Revisiting lovelies can be a first-class ticket to derailment.
LOVE the cover. Seriously. How did I rate this? Wish I could give my cover model a huge in-person hug, but we’re all under lock down. Whatever that means and however long it lasts–goodness knows.
But Nina Benoit, the Belle Chasse sharpshooter with pride to spare, is sure to distract you. She sure does a job on Daire Warren, the billionaire playboy with a secret life he dare not share. Even if he wanted to.
Check it out. Let me know your thoughts, even if you don’t pick up this new book. Although, I wish you would! Caracas Cowboy – Wild Horse Montana Book 2 and Mercy Nation – Diamond Dogs Book 3 are not far out. Cover reveals are on the way.
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.
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.
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!)
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?)
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?
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.
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?
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.)
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 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:
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.
It’s been a long time coming. I’ve worked ALL summer on CRAVING GRACE: Diamond Dogs Book 2 and I’m SO happy I did. I LOVE this latest installment of my action/romance series that promises a world of intrigue, romance, and tough choices faced by women of conscience.
This new release is an answer to prayer. The best KICKBACK to ongoing depression and the endless battle against anxiety that’s tagged me my entire life.
But, hey . . .
Revenge is SWEET. It’s even harder to resist when a woman is armed and licensed to kill.
Take the plunge with blackballed intel analyst Gracie Snow when an FBI OP gone awry offers her the chance to avenge her family, restore her name, and save the nation. But all good things come at a price. The pairing that puts her side-by-side with Army Commando, Jay Sykes, her big brother’s former best friend—the man who derailed her career—is one heavy penance. His undercover kisses are too—but what about hers?
CRAVING GRACE: Diamond Dogs Book 2
From Las Vegas to D.C. to the stormy Scottish Coast, bullets, bombs and assassination attempts DO NOT STOP. But Gracie’s temptation to let her heart start feeling is the biggest threat of all.
A SUPREMELY SUSPENSEFUL END OF SUMMER ROMANTIC SPY ROMP.
If you’re up for a fun end-of-summer blowout, feel FREE to check out Craving GRACE: Diamond Dogs Book 2. The need for some higher power, something to cling to when all around us (and inside us) seems to melt into a vacuum is something everyone can relate to. A sunny disposition often masks a tormented secret self. Sometimes it doesn’t. But there’s another reason to check out Gracie’s struggle. To help someone, you need to understand the road they walk.
Thank you EVERYONE for supporting me through life’s trials — an ongoing adventure for everyone with a pulse.
Tired of “fake news” or real news for that matter? Want to read something that makes you smile, remember happy times, and look forward to creating new memories?
Seek no more. Multi-published Teresa Ives Lilly’s latest publishing venture – All the Lovely Things Magazine — is here to take you way. Put a smile on your face. And fill your heart with wholesome nuggets of beauty that are too often hidden thanks to the clutter of everyday living.
Chock full of lovely things — “antiques, unique places, lovely people, great pets, poetry, fiction and much more” — All the Lovely Things Magazine WILL take you somewhere you’d like to stay.
My own grandmother Wilhelmina — a feisty turn-of-the-century gal — is featured in a nostalgic vignette that was a joy to write. I loved looking back and am thankful to Teresa for giving me the liberty to do so with this fabulous new project. (Clue: Grandma “Mini” is the serious looking sister on the right of the banner picture.)
Subscribe for free at ===> LOVELY THINGS. The first edition will be sent to you in July. Perfectly timed to get you over that midway summer mark and help you make the most of every day.
Hey guys. I hope everyone is enjoying the shift in seasons and that nasty weather is on the decline. (We had a corker lightning storm Saturday night. Full on cracking, white light flashing in the wee hours. Lovely. But I’m weird that way.)
Meanwhile, I’m back with another author interview. Why do I do them? Because learning keeps us fresh. And the best way to learn is to glean wisdom from those who have gone before. Those who are doing what we want to do — keep writing. (Reading, too!)
So who is Lana Higginbotham? And why WRITING?
Firstly, I am Lana “Lynne” Higginbotham (Did you all catch that middle name? It’s important, but we’ll get there.) As a Speech-Language Pathologist and a writer/author, I wear two hats. My love of reading led me to writing early. During a terrible bout of scarlet fever at the age ten, my mother encouraged me to use her typewriter to decrease my boredom. It stirred stories, and I wrote, putting poems and stories in a drawer all the way through school. My high school Creative Writing teacher fanned the flames. I also participated in theater and started college in the theater department as a Communications major.
However, an unexpected college course touched my heart and led to a change in my major from Communications to Speech Pathology. I married, became a mother, graduated with three degrees: Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Education with a Speech Pathology Major and a Special Education Minor, and a Master of Education in Speech-Language Pathology.
I live with my husband in East Texas. We are empty nesters and proud grandparents. (I’ll bet your granddaughter is pretty proud, too!)
You write romance, but what’s your message, Lana?
I have always loved
romance, but I believe the best ones must also involve God and family. My
characters all face challenging circumstances. None of my heroes and heroines
find each other on their own. I want my readers to look for God’s hand during
the everyday moments, as well as during the trials, recognizing how He walks us
all eternally home.
How does family/work/personal life play a role in your writing?
I treasure my family heritage. It is a legacy of faith and love. My readers can see how important family is to me. I gleaned inspiration for my post Civil War novels from the heritage of my great-grandfather who served as a 3rd lieutenant in the 4th Arkansas Infantry, CSA, but my fictional characters served in the 3rd Arkansas.
My advocacy for soldiers
draws from this lineage and also from growing up during the Vietnam war. I wore
an MIA bracelet until it fractured into two pieces. The soldier never returned
home and is still listed as missing.
Due to my years as a
Speech-Language Pathologist, I also support those who have developmental and
physical disabilities. One of my characters has suffered a spinal cord injury.
So what spurred that first book? And do tell about what’s out there for us to buy!
When my daughter entered middle school, I found my pen stirring again. I had continued to write poetry and learned to oil paint throughout my life. And after unearthing the last story I had started in high school, I headed to the library to start the historical research needed for the late 1866 period of my novel. But the winding road of writing prevailed. (Isn’t that always the way? That nagging have-to that isn’t satisfied until the words come out.)
And now. . .
These are my published historical fiction novels under my pen name, Lana Lynne:
Other writing credits include: A creative nonfiction novel, written with a coauthor: Life Between the Letters: The Chuck and Mary Felder Story (First Publication 2014) by Lana Lynne Higginbotham and Mary K. Felder. Unfortunately, this title is now unavailable due to the closing of my previous publisher. (Amazon, however, seems to have found copies. Pricey, but that’s a matter of perspective.)
Mary is now in her nineties. She is pleased with the people the story reached. The signings and public appearances/talks we made together following the book’s release satisfied her. The book received all five star reviews while available.
The characters come to me first. It’s like their names are whispered in my ears. The story premise soon follows and then the research process starts. I love going down that rabbit hole and the many tunnels of libraries, historical societies, newspaper archives, vintage bookstores, and internet searches. The last—internet research—is my least favorite. I’d rather visit the places and research the history of the cities, states, and surrounding areas in person. You don’t know the air, the smells, or people until you do. I’ve written from an outline and also without one, letting the story unfold on its own. Both have merits, but each story is different.
My current WIP is set in the late 1930s and 1940s. It is a fictional story based on some of a family member’s real childhood escapades.(The family member wishes to remain anonymous.) I love Mark Twain’s adventure stories. I hope to honor this story-style. Due to burning the candle at both ends, I’ve taken a short break to care for family and myself. So, finishing it has slowed a bit. My critique group members were enjoying it, but understood when I took a break.
My husband and I
continue to work. I am a SLP at an outpatient pediatric clinic. He teaches high
school speech/theater/radio and also acts in the professional Texas Shakespeare
Festival during the summers. We love time with our granddaughter and our second
grandchild is due in June.
What would you recommend to new writers/established writers?
Don’t try to write like everyone else. You do need the input from critique groups, writing groups, conferences, and editors to hone your craft, but keep your individual voice. No one else can write your story the way you do.
Where can reader’s best connect with you? Social media, etc.
I am on FB-personal page and an author’s page, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon Author page, and Pinterest. (Translated: Lana is EVERYWHERE ;^)
So there you have it. Another sit-down to tuck away and review whenever the writing journey gets you down. Thank YOU, Lana. And thank you readers. Don’t forget Lana’s sweet spirit-fused romances that will fuel your creative muse when she needs a rest. (What’s summer without a great books?)
Are you ready for summer? A break from winter wet and cold? Do you want an extension of that too-short spring break? I do. Five days in Arizona visiting my Melanie was NOT enough. (The sun took a vacation and left us both with blustery winds that kept us indoors.) But whatever your plans for future getaways– staycations can be the most relaxing–make sure you take The Wrong Suitcase. Not your neighbor’s personal items, but a run-for-your-life romantic suspense by the amazing multi-talented, Sherri Stewart.
Who is this former lawyer turned author? Read on to find out, then hie thee hither to Amazon for a better-than-sunscreen must have. The Wrong Suitcase awaits, along with a growing list of blood pumping faith-based romantic suspense and historical romance to fuel any getaway. Or maybe tempt you through those morning meetings for a sneak read at lunch!
Give us a short bio, Sherri. Who is Sherri Stewart? And why WRITING?
Who am I? Hmm. Always changing like a chameleon. I’m a dabbler. God has allowed me to do things for short periods of time. That’s why my pension is so small. I’ve taught French, Biology, and Chaucer. I’ve been a flight attendant, an immigration attorney, a principal, and now a writer. All of my life experiences have informed my writing.
You write romance, but what’s your message?
I write romantic suspense and historical romance, not just romance because it’s the impact of issues of an historical nature or the unseen dangers that either drives the couple together or apart. (Touché and well said!)
How does family play a role in your work?
My husband worked for various National Hockey League teams as an equipment manager, which meant he was on the road all the time between September and May (or June if we did well in the playoffs), so we were not the typical family. Many sports wives become resentful because life falls on their shoulders, but Bobby always encouraged me to follow my dreams, and he still does.
Give us a quick rundown of your body of work.
Whew! My first novel, Come out of Hiding , and third, A Well-founded Fear of Death Awere borne out of cases I’d worked on as an immigration attorney that didn’t go well. I was able to fix them in fiction. I always thought legal suspense would be my genre, but then when I tried my hand at romantic suspense and historical, I enjoyed writing them. I think I’ve written four novels and eight or nine novellas.
Take us through your writing your process.
I LOVE RESEARCH!!!! My latest book, The Wrong Suitcase, took me to Israel, which was my trip of a lifetime. My present book is about Corrie ten Boom, which hopefully will take me to the Netherlands if I can find the money. I’m a pantser, which means that I have a skeleton idea of the story, but then the book takes the lead and I follow along. My characters are based on people I know or people I’ve enjoyed. I loved Gilmore Girls, so Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire is based on Lorelei and Luke.
What has your writing journey taught you about yourself?
I’ve learned to take criticism and not compare myself with others. When you write, you have to subject your books to critiquing, and that means not everyone will adore your baby. Some books make it, but many good and worthy books don’t, so we have to be thankful for what God gives us.
What would you like other women to know/learn?
That God is in control of our journey, even when things seem out of control. Our experiences allow us to write with more depth, more layers, than if we didn’t have to struggle. I am not a fan of books that have pretty girls and handsome men that find each other. I find them shallow. I like gritty characters with trust issues, with forgiveness issues, with guilt issues. (Real people. Me, too!)
What’s next on your horizon?
I’m working on my Corrie ten Boom book. It’s about a young Jewish soprano with the Harlaam opera, who must go into hiding from the Nazis. Corrie ten Boom finds her and takes her and her boyfriend, Daniel, in. I’d like to visit Corrie’s house in the Netherlands. I’m also starting to run again (I had a knee replacement in November). I also have a copy editing business that keeps me busy. (Ouch and ouch. A knee replacement is likely in my future, too, but not the copy editing business. How do you do it all??)
What would you recommend to new writers/established writers?
No one can write in a vacuum. Join a local or online critiquing group. Word Weavers International changed my life. But there are many others. ACFW is a good source. You learn things you never thought you needed to learn. I speak from experience. (You sure do!)
Where can reader’s best connect with you? Social media, etc.
So, now you know. Sherri is a author to watch — and READ. If you’re tooling around Amazon, be sure to check out her novellas, too. And the other fantastic Forget Me Not Romances authors brought to you by Winged Publications. Suspenseful, historic, and sweet romantic getaways are just a click away ====> https://amzn.to/2OdHRgX
Yes, I still write romance. I’ll be making an
announcement soon about contracts and other lovelies. But this tidbit from Healthy
Food House—an oldie but a goodie—is too choice to pass. (Not like men ;^)
Seriously, though. When you want something, it’s typically a good idea to ask those who’ve already got—how to. Raise your hand if you’ve ever sworn off chocolate, cheese, carbs, or couch lounging to get fit? (I’ll never forget a Red Lobster date night featuring me salivating after a saltine cracker when I could have all the lobster and butter I wanted. Torture! And what’s with my obsession with things that begin with the letter “C”? ;^)
Needs must, however. So, “Holiday Retirement conducted a massive
across-America survey, inspecting seniors over 100 what the reason for their
longevity was,” back in ’15. The typical responses of “family” and “living life
to the fullest” are all well and good. But if you are the extreme type—and what
is Atkins?—read on.
She’s gone now, but before passing Jessie Gallan, age
109 left this sage piece of advice. “My secret
to a long life has been staying away from men. They’re just more trouble than
As in all
brothers—the UPS driver?
One has to
wonder at the source of Gallan’s wisdom. Personal experience? Once bitten forever
shy? The lovely lady didn’t say, but remained positive sticking to reminiscences
of her bucolic Scottish roots and the presence of good friends. (Friend-zoning
may be the answer for those who can’t go cold turkey on the man ban.)
“She went to school for a short bit but
then continued with finding a job in a farm kitchen. Following her first job,
Gallan worked as a housemaid in the city as well. She worked in a wealthy
family, after which she moved onto working in the service industry.”
Gallan seemed very happy with her
choices whatever her motives for pronouncing a moratorium on males.
One thing is certain. Jessie Gallan was a character. A strong, opinionated woman to contemplate. To write about? A type that, if she were younger, may well have met a battery of dashing suitors intent on breaching her sky-high wall. Rakes, romantics, or Mr. Right? Imagine those bold statements coming from a younger woman. You get the idea…