Archive for August 2014 | Monthly archive page
Patricia Grasso’s sweet, funny, and sensual Regency romance TO CHARM A PRINCE (book 2 in the Douglas Sisters Series) is on sale for just .99 cents! At Lachesis Publishing and at BARNES AND NOBLE.
So you get two wonderful books for under $1.00. How amazing is that?
Life taught her to fend for herself.
The second daughter of an impoverished, alcoholic earl, Samantha Douglas was forced to cope with a physical impairment caused by a childhood accident. Certain that her heart’s desire—a husband and children of her own—is forever out of reach, Samantha keeps bitterness at bay and manages to retain her optimism.
Life taught him to be bitter.
Prince Rudolf Kazanov has fled his homeland to protect his English mother and young daughter. Accustomed to society’s shallow beauties, Samantha’s spirit and courage draw the prince to her side from the moment they meet. Prince Rudolf recognizes Samantha’s rare beauty that emanates from the heart.
Fate throws them together, and passion brings them closer. Will these lovers heal each other’s pain? Or will the prince’s enemies keep them from fulfilling a love neither thought possible?
Science fiction/suspense thriller writer Greg Ballan is our guest blogger today. Greg has a science fiction/suspense series with Lachesis Publishing called the Hybrid series. (HYBRID and HYBRID: Forced Vengeance). The series follows a private investigator with abilities that are decidedly super-human and “other-worldly”.
Speaking of “otherworldly” abilities, Greg has undertaken a challenge of sorts – how to become a YouTube star. Take it away Greg . . .
Just when I thought promoting my books couldn’t get any more complicated I decided to delve into another world; The “Vlogosphere” and the magic of YouTube . Like most people, I’ve watched video clips on YouTube and music videos but I wasn’t truly aware of the power behind this particular brand of social media.
I am fortunate, my son Tom has his own YouTube Channel, he creates, edits and produces his own videos and travels to comic and science fiction conventions discussing his VLOG contents and now will be giving presentations on how to promote using YouTube Channel, based on his own success. Not every writer is blessed to have that kind of expertise under his/her roof. I’ve observed my son making videos in his basement workspace and was often perplexed and a bit put off when we were forbidden to trespass into the basement for fear of disrupting a live, on line discussion or a recording in mid production. I remember the UPS man dropping off several parcels of electronics and I shook my head wondering what on Earth my son could possibly do will all this “junk?”
Over the last few weeks I’ve had my eyes opened to an incredible potential audience that I never believed I could reach. I’ve put aside my paradigms and opened myself up to the next level of promotion and self-marketing and learned a new appreciation for the sheer complexity and dedication required to make a successful YouTube Channel.
Day 1. The first attempt:
I sat with my son in his studio as he adjusted overhead lighting, checked and rechecked audio as well as lined up his video camera. Tom, my son, went into great detail about the importance of lighting, white contrast and the effects of “Yellow” light on digital images. Most of what he said went over my head but I smiled and nodded as he made his corrections and the video image magically improved. Truth be told we were both tired, it was late when we began our discussion but I was assured any verbal missteps could be edited out and he would be able to make, even me, sound intelligent. Tom pressed a few buttons, pointed at me and we began. All my careful mental planning and my questions vanished from my head and I sat there like a lump for about three seconds before mumbling incoherently. Tom jumped in and eased me through the awkwardness and after a few minutes I became more comfortable with being on camera and discussing building a VLOG and the back and forth commenced. Forty minutes later we finished up and I was really tired. It takes a great deal of mental energy to talk and keep a topic lively and interesting for such a long period. I garnered new respect for television talk hosts and for my son as he does this two or three times a week.
Day 2. “Dad, you really mumbled and we meandered off topic quite a bit. We need to reshoot.”
Tom had spent the better part of two days reviewing our digital product. He’d given me a copy of our video to watch on my laptop and I really thought it was good. Tom walked me through the problem areas that he felt needed to be cleaned up and informed me that we had talked too long and no one would spend 30 plus minutes of us bouncing around. We needed to be more concise and focused. After re-watching the video, post commentary, I was forced to agree. Tom said this was not something he’d host on his channel so I was guided by his expertise. I began to panic, Tom had other commitments and I was hip deep in work and my next book. There was only so much time we could allocate to this endeavor.
Day 3. Script and success:
Tom advised me to write the topics of discussion as a framework for our talk and to loosen up . . .“No one wants to watch somebody ‘All uptight and serious . . .that’s what the BBC is for.” I took a few hours of vacation time, arrived home early and we had our next shoot. I had more energy and Tom made a special point to make me laugh at the outset to lighten the mood. I had my ‘Strawman’ script and we had some lively, quality discussion on the topic of making and hosting a YouTube Channel. I learned a great deal and again marveled at how much knowledge and exposure Tom had in this new age medium. He’s a ‘Celebrity’ being flown to conventions to give talks and host discussion panels while and I am an unknown in this virtual marketplace of ideas.
I received more schooling on the art of video editing, splicing audio and inserting images and text. What we ended up with is in the link below. I am now the proud owner of my own YouTube Channel. Not everyone is blessed to have a tech wizard in this field living under their roof but I would be more than happy to forward any questions our authors may have after seeing our video.
My son said it best, a successful YouTube channel is a business, it is my son’s livelihood and it pays his rent for his home space, his bills and his spending money. This is how he and many other on line entrepreneurs make a living. I’m not going to monetize my videos or scramble for advertisers but the same amount of work and effort applies to keeping any channel popular. Running a successful channel means you are a marketer, audio engineer, filmmaker, producer, editor and script writer all in one on top of being an author. The amount of work required to do this properly is staggering, and I freely admit daunting to a novice. Tom does two or three of these a week including the editing as well as being available for his fifty plus thousand subscribers, many who pay for special content and personal video time on Skype. A YouTube Channel is a great way to reach out and not market just a book but to market you and your publisher. That is what I fully intend to accomplish. I hope everyone will learn something and feel free to ask any questions. Tom is young and very opinionated with, sometimes, a unique way of expressing those opinions. I was happy and proud that he took the time to take me on this journey into his world and I am so pleased to be able to share that journey and knowledge with my dear friends here at Lachesis. The final lesson I learned is that I truly have a face for radio.
To read some of Greg’s musings visit his writing page on facebook, for several short stories and pithy takes on yard work and homelife.
In our continuing Q and A series with our Lachesis Publishing authors we will reveal even more fun and fascinating facts about their backgrounds, their personalities and their writing styles.
Today’s Q and A Round 2 features mystery author J.M. Griffin. J.M. is the author of two cozy mystery series for Lachesis Publishing. The popular (and sexy) Vinnie Esposito series and the fun (and yummy) Deadly Bakery series . . .
Who was your favourite teacher growing up and why?
Mrs. Campbell was the best teacher ever. She was patient, kind, and never judgmental. If she had a favorite student, no one in the class was aware of it, she treated everyone the same and helped us build confidence.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always had stories rambling around in my head. Never knowing what to do with them I used to act them out as though they were a play. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that the thought of writing for real came into focus. From there it was “game on”.
Who in the writing/publishing world do you admire and why?
This is a tough question. Knowing what happens behind the scenes in publishing, I’d have to say I think my editors are most admirable. They work long and hard at helping us authors to create stories that will grab attention and please readers. As far as writers go, I have to say Karen Marie Moning tops my list when it comes to admiration. The process behind her stories is incredible, her worlds are so believable and to say I’ve read the Fever series more than once is proof of that.
Tell us about your daily writing routine – what do you typically do every day?
First off, I look at my ratings and the numbers. From there, it’s promotion time, and then on to writing. If I can’t get to every one of those things right away, I carve out time to address them later in the day. Most of my days are consumed with work, whether writing, promo, or art work, and I find the day is over before I know it. Summers are hard for me because I enjoy being outside. I take my work out on the boat when my husband and I head out on the lake. I get time to write in the serenity of nature while we’re on the water and he gets to fish. It’s a win/win situation.
What is your favourite snack or guilty pleasure food that you (may or may not 😉 indulge in when writing?
Ice cream is truly my downfall, followed by chocolate. I can eat chocolate while I write, so I have to admit that ice cream is my guilty pleasure. LOL
Writing voice, to me, is how the book reads, the way characters speak and how the story is told. I find it difficult at times to switch voices where my characters are concerned, but my readers seem to like my books and the way I get a story across, so I must be doing something right. :>)
What do you want to accomplish in the next five years in your writing career?
I plan to write a screenplay. From there, it’s more novel writing as it’s fun, it’s an escape of sorts and fills the need to get those characters out of my head and into a book. I’ve never enjoyed a job so much as when my characters come to life.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
When the town of Pompeii was buried in ashes in 79 AD, not everyone was taken by surprise. At least one person knew what was coming, Valerie Brooks, an involuntary time traveler from Victorian England, but her foreknowledge doesn’t help her. Declared a witch by the townspeople of Pompeii and sold into slavery, she has to find a way to make her master, Christos, believe her so they can escape the town before Vesuvius erupts.
But given the mistrust between them fired by the jealousy of her master’s scheming lover, Valerie finds her influence dwindling as the deadly time approaches. Racing against the impending destruction of Pompeii, she must not only decipher the mystery of her time-shift, but the mystery of love as well.
The last thing Valerie could remember was the violent earthquake. She remembered it shaking the grotto where she had gone for safety. She remembered the ceiling caving in around her. She even vaguely remembered she had been hit on the head, but there was no bump or pain.
But that’s all she could remember. How did it come to be, then, that when she woke up, the ceiling was still intact? It didn’t make any sense at all to her. And when she climbed down from the structure, the street around it was neat and tidy, not overgrown with vegetation as it had been when she’d started out this morning. The tombs were well tended, with fresh flowers placed in offering to the gods.
As she left the tomb, she became even more confused. And more than a little frightened. There were a few people standing nearby, dressed in flowing robes and togas of cream-colored linen and cotton. They immediately stopped talking when she had emerged and looked at her strangely, making that odd forked symbol with their fingers Signore Fiorelli had shown Reggie and her last night. The group began walking, cutting a wide path around her. When Valerie tried to speak to them, they hurried away. One of them ran ahead of her, shouting in – no, she couldn’t believe what she was hearing – was it Latin? She followed them with her eyes as the people hurried toward the city.
She started to take a step, then froze. She stared straight ahead, eyes wide. The city! There it stood, Pompeii, in all its untouched glory. Every column and building was in perfect condition, the paint and stucco finishes well maintained. Even the iron gate was free of rust and looked to have a fresh coat of black paint over the metal. A fountain situated at the fork of the road in front of her flowed with fresh water and several children stood around it, laughing and splashing.
What had happened to the tumbled down ruins she’d been visiting only hours before? Where had they gone? How did they come to be replaced by this living and breathing town? For heaven’s sake, was this another dream or had she died when the grotto collapsed and this was to be her eternal punishment? She placed a hand to her head as she felt the ground begin to spin. She took a deep breath and steadied herself. Well, she couldn’t stand here all day. She had to find Papa. He’d know what to do. She reached into the grotto, retrieved her cane, and began to walk.
Valerie re-entered Pompeii through the massive stone columns that flanked the gates as a crowd of people began to gather around her.
“Venefica! Witch!” someone shouted. “Look at the strange dark robes she wears.”
“We saw her climb out of the tomb. She was trying to raise the dead!” Somewhere in the mob, a small child began to cry.
“No!” Valerie screamed as a man grabbed her. “I don’t understand. I’m not a witch! Stop it, please,” she pleaded with him. He kicked her legs out from under her. She fell hard to the ground, gasping for air.
“Did not the senate of Rome counsel that we should turn from the menace of witches and sorcerers? Did they not say we should protect the State from their evil influences and magical spells?” He jabbed at Valerie with his toe before turning to face the crowd. “I say we put her in jail.”
Valerie planted her cane firmly on the ground and pulled herself up. What had she done to deserve such treatment? Well, he could talk all he wanted about the senate, but there was absolutely no way she would go to jail. She looked around, hoping to find a way through the crowd. She had to get away and hide for a while, until she could figure out what had really happened to her.
The man turned to face her again. With a sneer, he took a step closer. Valerie held her cane out in front of her and swung it in a wide arc. It came down hard on the man’s shoulder and he stumbled backward.
“Obsecro. Please. Let me go.”
The man turned on her, his eyes narrowed, and ripped the cane from her grasp. He slammed it down over his thigh, breaking it in half. “Now let’s see you do your magic without this.” He threw the pieces down hard on the ground.
“What are you doing?” Valerie screamed. She fell to her knees and retrieved the fragments. Accusations flew around her. Struggling to her feet, she put her hands over her ears and began to shake all over. The same images that had disturbed her dreams just last night were materializing before her.
Another man came at her, brandishing shackles before him. Balancing on her good leg, Valerie kicked at him with her other foot. With little effort, he knocked her to the stone paved street. She cried out as a sharp rock ripped through her blouse and gouged her skin. A woman held her head down while the chains were clamped into place around her ankles. “Why are you doing this?” she cried.
The men yanked Valerie to her feet and gave her a little shove. Without a cane, she stumbled, catching her balance just before she fell. Someone laughed and threw a rotten pomegranate at her back, striking her squarely between the shoulders. Valerie spun around, teetering, and the crowd backed away a little. She scanned the dark eyes that bore into her. Everyone was caught up in the moment. There was no aid to be found here.
She looked past them. There was the statue of Dionysus she’d seen only yesterday, but the building next to it was completely intact. My God, how did I come to be in ancient Pompeii? Her head swam as the crowd closed in around her again.
The people circled Valerie as if she were a wild animal. They started moving and she stumbled again. She clutched her stomach. She couldn’t catch her breath. Two men grabbed her by the arms just before she hit the ground, forcing her to move along or be trampled. Frantically, she looked about. Was there no one who could help? Mama? Papa? Signore Fiorelli?
That was when she saw him. The man in the window. Why had he seemed so disturbingly familiar to her in this strange and distant place? It was as if she should know him – should know his name, where he lived, how he looked when he slept.
Perhaps it was only because his features were like the patrician busts she’d seen at the museum in London. Straight nose, full lips, heavy lidded eyes. She’d studied and sketched them all several times over until she felt as if she knew each and every person.
He looked down at her now and she saw something in those deep ebony eyes. Was it compassion or simply pity? Would he be the one to help stop this madness she knew would soon consume her? She couldn’t tell for certain but only prayed it was so as the crowd pushed her again and he disappeared from her sight.
Why yes! You will fall in love with Elaine Cantrell’s contemporary new adult romance Her Kind of Man.
It’s only .99 cents here at Lachesis Publishing!
That’s a pretty cheap date. 🙂
Growing up is hard to do, especially when you’re a popular small town golden girl and former high school cheerleader. But Kara Cochrane’s life is about to be turned inside out!
What it’s about:
Is it possible she’s finally found her kind of man?
Ross Williams has been in love with Kara Cochrane since they were kids, so when Kara’s fiancé Brandon Miles cheats on her and calls off their wedding—Ross steps in to rescue the damsel in distress.
A heartbroken Kara just wants to get on with her life and hunky Ross provides her with a definite distraction—that is until she starts falling for him. Big time.
But a devastating family secret threatens to destroy everything that Kara holds dear—including her relationship with Ross.
In:authors, blog post, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, Lachesis Publishing Inc., paranormal, Time Travel, writing craft, writing inspiration, YA paranormal, YA Time Travel
Today’s author guest blog is by Lachesis Publishing author Richard Blackburn. Richard has written a three-book YA time travel/adventure series for Lachesis Publishing, called Guardians of the Gate, featuring a university student who travels back to Medieval England only to discover she has some amazing powers she never knew she had. Book 1 is Dawn of the Sentinel. Book 2, Return of the Sentinel, will be out soon.
What induced me to be a writer?
I mentioned in my last submission to this blog, that my father was a great story teller. I remember one time I was sitting by the fire with my older brother and sister, listening to a scary story about a Bugane, the big, nasty creature that lives in the caves to the south of the Isle of Man. Nobody has seen one of these beasts and lived to tell the tale, but in winter storms you can hear it moaning as the wind whistles through the caves in the south of the Island.
When it was time to go to bed, I was the youngest, so I had to go first. In those days, there were none of the modern light switches that let you switch it on downstairs and off upstairs. It was either on or off, and our family couldn’t afford to leave lights on. So I was the shivering little figure climbing the stairs on my own in the dark. And that’s when I heard the Bugane. It was on the landing above where my room was, shuffling along and muttering as it went.
I was a scaredy-cat kid and I knew I was done for, but then I came over all cold. I clenched my fists and thought, uncharacteristically, ‘If I’m gone, I’ll do my best to take you with me.’ So I crept up the rest of the stairs and when the shuffling footsteps were just around the corner to me, I jumped out. ‘Yaaaa’ I shouted but immediately realized it was my grandmother. She was on her way to the bathroom, carrying a full bed pan. Well, I got into trouble for the wee on the wall and the wee on the ceiling, but she didn’t get into trouble for sounding like a Bugane and frightening me.
That’s when I decided that if ever wrote stories, it wouldn’t always be the grown-ups who’d win! And it gave me an early insight into the power of story telling.
A few words about my writing:
I’d been making up stories for my own children for years and later for my granddaughter. I didn’t consciously decide to become a writer. It was when I was making up yet another yarn that it came to me. I realized that this was the story I’d like to make into a book.
The last fiction I had written was in school, forty years ago. I’d worked for the government for a long time and I wondered if this had crushed any writing skills I might have had before. So I took a short course in creative writing and was encouraged by my success. I’d been told never to have family members as beta readers but my daughters are very objective and my wife has never been reluctant to criticize me, so I asked them to read the first couple of chapters. I felt very vulnerable. This was from my heart and I felt if they hooted with laughter, I’d never lay finger on keyboard creatively again. But they were happy to be brutally honest and after I’d explained the meaning of ‘constructive’ criticism, we did well as a team.
So, now I had a number of decisions to make. I’d invented the original story for children, but I lifted the age group slightly. The subject matter, then, had to be acceptable to teenagers. I personally don’t like swearing, so I was happy to keep that out of the book. I also know nothing at all about romance, so that was out as well. By this time I realized that these decisions had made the book more acceptable for school libraries. In Australia we have reading competitions in most states, and any book included in the reading list had a distinct advantage for sales. So I included this as part of my decision base for when I was mulling over the direction of the plot.
Another decision concerned historical accuracy. My books are set in the first half of the fourteenth century, and things were a lot different then. I could either gloss over facts and concentrate on general description of the action, or put a lot of research into letting my readers see how things actually were. I’d even seen TV programs supposedly about these times, including phrases like, ‘I suppose it’s just not your cup of tea’ and the way Hollywood portrayed Henry VIII was hugely inaccurate. And I’d been around so many castles, I knew that forks were not used in England at that time, that potatoes, tomatoes and green beans hadn’t arrived from South America or pumpkin and turkeys from North America. I found out that the word ‘thug’ couldn’t be used because the Thuggi religion was only discovered in India in the late 1700s and that the Irish sheriff, Mr. Lynch, didn’t hang his own son without a trial until much later than the period I was interested in, thus making the word ‘lynched’ unusable. And, yes, it did take a lot longer to write the story, but I enjoyed the research.
So those are a few of the factors I found I had to decide on my way to writing my first book.
And the rewards in writing:
Before my first book was published, I was worried. What if people didn’t like it? I’d written a blurb that said how good the story was, but was that false pretenses? If people paid good money for my book and didn’t like it, I’d be devastated. I should have had more faith in my publisher, of course. It wouldn’t have gotten this far if it had been that bad. But I’m a worrier and didn’t think of that.
Once my first book had been published, I started using my weekends to do book-signings. I had a vast poster made of the cover picture and on my table I set out my chainmail vest and helmet (my wife won’t trust me with a sword!) and copies of the book. I had a short blurb rehearsed for general enquiries (‘what’s the book about’) and a longer version for people who displayed more specific interest. I didn’t sit down but stood and smiled and said ‘hello’ to thousands of people. And it worked. And because I’d written the book the way I did, with no swearing, romance or sexual content, I’d had it (and eventually all three books) included in the New South Wales Premier’s Reading Challenge for high schools. This was a huge advantage in Australia.
It was after the second book was published that I had people coming back for more. I was interviewed on TV and featured in newspapers quite a few times. I visited high schools and gave talks on writing, and this was incredibly rewarding. I was getting back far more than I’d put into it, not money wise (no way!) but in finding that I’d given people such enjoyment.
In:authors, blog post, blog tours, blogging, From the Editor's Desk, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, Lachesis Publishing Inc., Promoting Your Book, promoting your books, romance fiction, romance novels, romantic suspense, So You want to be a bestselling ?, So you want to be a bestselling author?, Social Media, women's fiction
Authors are no strangers to doing lengthy research when it comes to writing their books, but research is something authors should also do when it comes to selling their books!
Today is all about blogging! I’ve been a blogger since 2006. I started my first blog missmakeamovie back then to promote and share my experiences while working on my romance novel documentary, Who’s Afraid of Happy Endings. It changed over the years to become the thepopculturedivas and morphed into a group blog that has seen many bloggers come and go! A few of our Lachesis Publishing authors currently write for the thepopculturedivas – including Alison E. Bruce (soon to be releasing a romantic suspense with us) and Christine Mazurk who is the author of the women’s fiction Passion’s Race and the novella Identity in the women’s fiction/romance Sisters of Spirit. I think group blogs are a great idea. If you don’t already blog then I suggest you either start your own group blog with authors who write in the same genre as you or find a group blog to join. The great thing about a group blog is that it is easier to maintain since you don’t have to post every day, and it increases your visibility through the other bloggers in the group.
I am a big advocate of blogging. I think it’s a great way to get your message out there without being limited by characters or anything else. And you can promote your blog posts on your different social media sites. If you don’t have a blog, I suggest that you set one up either through your own web site or on wordpress. The great thing about wordpress is that the more often you blog, the more often they will add you to the daily stream and the more readers and followers you will get. It takes time to build a following on a blog and there are many ways to do it – including telling all of your facebook friends or twitter friends but you can find new followers on the actual blog sites. I’ve done that with my blog therevolvingbook.com. The other thing is make sure you buy the domain name for your blog. It’s not expensive and it just looks better and more professional. And if you don’t buy it, someone else will! You don’t want that to happen, especially if you have a great blog name. BTW I always promote our daily blog posts on all of my social media sites and my blogs: thepopculturedivas andtherevolvingbook.com.
Blog Tours: The other aspect of blogging is the blog tour. I am a big fan of this as well because it gets you out in front of lots of potential readers. It takes a while to convince someone to buy your book, you have to be out there on a regular basis for people to get to know you and what you have to offer. In fact, I’ll be doing one for Lachesis Publishing very soon! I’ll keep you posted about that. Here’s a great article I found online that lists some of the better blog tour outfits out there. The article is: 7 Top E-book Blog Tour Sites. The article appears on The Book Designer blog. The Book Designer is a great web site that offers lots of tips about blogging and publishing.
Hyperlinks: What are hyperlinks and why are they important? Hyperlinks make your blog interactive and come alive. They also help you promote content within your blog and on other sites. If you post an article on your own blog and you want to let readers know about your facebook page and your twitter page then include a hyperlink. You copy the url link of your facebook page and then link the words follow me on facebook on your blog (you don’t have to use those exact words. 😉 I also like to make my hyperlinks bold! You always want to make it as easy as possible for people to follow you and buy your books. When you mention your book title in a blog post (or anyone’s book title) Always hyperlink the title to amazon and Lachesis Publishing or the web site of the author you are writing about, or their publisher’s site or any other site where the books you mention are sold. So important!
Tags: I cannot tell you how much I love tags! Make sure you always tag your blog posts. Tags are key words that define your blog posts. They are also key words that people out there google when they are searching. For example, the key words for this post will include, blogging, blog tours, book promotion, promoting your book, Christine Mazurk and Alison E. Bruce. Why? Because when someone out there googles Christine Mazurk there will be a lot more links for her because I have hyperlinked and tagged her right here! Try googling your own name and see. I’ve been doing this since we started the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog. Always hyperlink and tag!! You want lots and lots of pages with your name to appear on google so it’s easier for people to find you. And because it gives your name more online real estate and therefore more visibility.
More on blogging in future posts. But for now, get blogging! 🙂
Today’s Q and A is with Lachesis Publishing author Teri Barnett. Teri has written several romances for Lachesis Publishing including the historical paranormal Pagan Fire, the paranormal romance Shadow Dreams and the time travel historical Through the Mists of Time. Her romances are infused with magical and supernatural elements. What was your favourite book as a child and why?
This is actually the hardest question of the entire interview! I devoured books as a child but don’t have a favourite. I’m one of those people who have favorite authors – Edgar Allen Poe, Ray Bradbury, Taylor Caldwell, Mary Stewart. An eclectic mix, to be sure, but a grouping rooted in Sci-Fi and Fantasy and where my reading tastes still lean today.
Who was your favourite teacher growing up and why?
I absolutely loved my 9th grade English teacher, Mrs. Rossi. She took an awkward and scared girl and showed her a way out from a not so good family situation. She showed me the power of words, how to put them together, and encouraged me to write everything I could. Mrs. Rossi saved me that year and helped me find the strength to go forward in life. She also helped me realize my dream of writing could be a reality.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Why?
I knew from the time I was pretty young that I wanted to do creative work. Making my own worlds, whether with paints or words, is how I decided I would live my life when I was only 8 years old. I received a lot of encouragement from my family and teachers and that was really all it took. I found a talent and it helped form the person I am today. Though I took a sideways step into interior design/architecture as an adult, I’ve never stopped writing.
Who in the writing/publishing world do you admire and why?
I love authors who write fun and fast paced dialogue and can pull you immediately into a scene. If they can capture me while writing paranormal and keep me from losing my belief in what I’m reading, even better. The authors whose styles are really speaking to me at the moment are Janet Evanovich, Barbara Bretton, and Jennifer Crusie.
Tell us about your daily writing routine – what do you typically do every day?
I’ll be honest, I’m not one of those daily writers. I need gestation time, so I typically write frantically for a couple of days, then take 3 or 4 days off, allowing scenarios to run through my brain. When I sit back down, I’m once again a crazy person at the keyboard, working hard to keep up with the flow of words coming through. I don’t know that I’d recommend this particular style, but it seems to work for me.
What is your favourite snack or guilty pleasure food that you (may or many not 😉 indulge in when writing?
My favorites really depend on the scene I’m working on. I love hot tea and sugar-free sugar cookies (an oxymoron, I know) when I’m working on cozy scenes. If there’s tension between the protagonists, diet Coke and salty nuts. Sex and romantic scenes? Red wine and chocolate, of course.
What does the term “writing voice” mean to you? Describe your own writing voice.
I think of the writing voice as a signature of who you are as an author. Do you write snarky? Sweet? Scary? Can someone pick your book out of a pile and, not seeing who the author is, identify you? To me, that’s the ‘writing voice’ and I think it’s getting harder to hang onto in these days of self-published work and fan fiction where people emulate their favorite authors. My personal writing voice has changed over the years. I’ve observed myself going from serious historicals to paranormal historicals and now to contemporary humorous paranormals (always paranormal, it’s my passion). I’ve grown to where what I enjoy most is writing about magical events which include intelligent, fun dialogue and super spicy romance. I’d say that’s where my voice is today and I can feel the edges smoothing as I mature as a writer.
What do you want to accomplish in the next five years in your writing career?
Well, the easy answer is to move onto the best seller list. But that would mean continuing to write and produce quality work. And that’s where I see myself in the next five years – writing and producing good books people want to read.
Today’s Sneak Peek is from The Focaccia Fatality (mystery) by J.M. Griffin, Book 3 in J.M.’s yummy and funny Deadly Bakery series. J.M. is also the author of the popular (and sexy) Vinnie Esposito series.
Warning! J.M.’s books will make you laugh out loud and want to eat!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Melina Cameron is single, and looking. For a date. Not another dead body.
Her former flame, the sexy Scotsman, Aidan Sinclair, went MIA after he proposed a few months ago, so Melina isn’t wasting any more bread and tears on that one! When hunky police detective Porter Anderson asks her out, she says yes. She could do worse than dating a cop. She and Porter already have a lot in common given her penchant for finding dead bodies.
When high-ranking politician Vincent Gallagher hires Melina to cater his swanky party, and specifically requests her famous focaccia, Melina looks forward to the event, and the potential new customers it could bring. Not to mention, flirting with the cute waiters. But two things happen on that fateful night that could change the course of Melina’s future. First, Aidan walks into the party with a tall, sultry blonde. Second, that same tall, sultry blonde winds up dead, and Melina is the one who discovers the body!
This can’t be good for business let alone Melina’s love life.
Now, Melina has to figure out how to stay away from Aidan, and figure out who killed the blonde, or she might be the one to take the fall.
The rear entrance of Vincent Gallagher’s stately residence lay at the far end of his driveway. Before the crowd arrived, I figured I’d unload the goods, and then park my Fiat down the street. I hustled bags and trays into the kitchen. As with many houses in the area, this kitchen had been upgraded to accommodate today’s cook. I hesitated to think Mrs. Gallagher even made toast, but one could never tell for sure.
With the car parked a block away, I hurried back to the house and set about filling trays and bundling rolls into baskets. Mrs. Gallagher showed me where to place the breads and asked if I’d hang about to refill as needed. I’d been aware that I was supposed to do so, and agreed without mentioning Vincent’s request.
Guest after guest, couple after couple, arrived. I stood near the kitchen end of the hallway to watch beautifully dressed people enter the house and idly drop their coats into the hands of a doorman who’d been hired to deal with that particular job. Lawyers, congressmen, senators, and the like arrived first, followed by those I thought were friends and relatives. When most of the guests had come in and began to wander through the enormous rooms, I moved farther back into the hallway where lighting was dim and I wasn’t quite so visible. After all, I wasn’t a guest and was happy about it. Put it down to shyness or signs of inferiority. Either way, I didn’t like to hobnob with the rich and famous.
I’d started to turn toward the kitchen when two more guests arrived. I inhaled sharply, my breath caught in my throat. A beautiful woman, draped in a white ermine fur cape and dressed in a sparkling, long black gown, entered the foyer. She laughed and coyly turned to the man behind her. He walked with a slight limp and used a cane as he progressed into the space behind her. Aidan Sinclair stood dressed in a suit that I bet cost more than my shop earned in a week. His handsome face and gorgeous smile wasn’t lost on me or the woman he was with. My heart sank, right down into my shoes. So much for I’ll be back in the morning to ask you to marry me again, the shithead.
Abruptly, I stomped into the kitchen, liberated a glass of wine off the tray a waiter carried, and gulped it in one clean swallow. If he’d hesitated another second, I’d have taken another. I glanced around, saw everyone staring, and laughed out loud before I said, “Good cheer to you all, let’s get this party underway.”
You can buy it at Lachesis Publishing.
5-Stars! This collection of stories is scorching hot but that’s what I’d expected. What I hadn’t expected were the touches of heart mixed in with the heat! Without exception, the characters were well-rounded and I cared about them. Their desires and their insecurities. I was bummed when I finished each story but as soon as I turned the page I was immediately engaged in a new one!
The author uses deep point-of-view to extreme advantage, making the reader’s pulse race and their heart sigh. Each story is unique as are the characters. From secret crushes to stranger interludes, she engages the reader in her vignettes. I highly recommend this collection and would read this author again!
JoMarie DeGioia writes sexy Regency romances for Lachesis Publishing Connect with JoMarie DeGioia online on her web site and on facebook, twitter and goodreads.
Alexis D. Craig writes hot romantic suspense & erotica for Lachesis Publishing. Connect with Alexis D. Craig on her web site/blog and on facebook, twitter and goodreads.
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