Archive for June 2015 | Monthly archive page
Round 1 with Ashlyn Chase. Ashlyn is the author of our new Lachesis Publishing release – The Cupcake Coven, a sassy, funny and yummy paranormal romance. It’s the first book in Ashlyn’s new Love Spells Gone Wrong Series for Lachesis Publishing.
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer and why?
AC: I should have realized it much sooner than I did. In high school I loved my creative writing class and actually received an A+ from a very tough teacher. But I had my path set and totally missed the hint. After I had been a nurse for a few years, I realized how important being able to express myself creatively really was. I took a course in screenwriting and found that I had stories to tell. Hollywood was hard to break into from New Hampshire. New York was much closer, so I tried converting some of my screenplays to novels. One of those was published. Reviewers complimented me on my sense of humor. When I began writing romantic comedy (on purpose) I found my passion.
Describe your favourite place to write.
AC: I converted my daughter’s old bedroom to my office. When fellow writers go through ‘empty nest syndrome,’ I remind them that kids are supposed to leave home—and if you’re lucky, they leave you an office!
What would I find on your desk at this very moment?
AC: O.M.G! A gazillion things. Of course there are writing reference books, loads of scrap paper, inspirational quotes, a file box for business contacts, glasses and cleaning solution, and perhaps most important, my calendar! But you’d also find nail polish—because I do my manicures there. I like to multitask…brainstorming or checking my email while letting the polish dry.
What is your tea/coffee beverage of choice when you’re writing?
2 cups of coffee in the morning. 1 iced coffee in the afternoon. Water in between.
What do you love to read?
My favorite genre to read is the same as what I love to write. Lighthearted or downright funny paranormal romance.
What is some good advice you can give to an unpublished writer?
Don’t. Give. Up. Write a book. Get an honest critique. Polish it to a glorious shine and submit it to an appropriate publisher. Rinse and repeat until you receive ‘the call’ or an email with an offer to publish. Remain teachable. You can learn a lot from a good editor.
What do you do after you finish a book? Do you celebrate or take a nap?
I fist pump the air, share it on facebook, watch an episode of HGTV, and then begin a new book.
You write light paranormal romance – what attracted you to this genre?
I love the freedom to make up my own rules. And because nothing is impossible, I can get crazy creative!
Your first book with Lachesis Publishing is called The Cupcake Coven. Tell us about it?
The blurb is a good representation of the story, so rather than repeat it I thought I’d include a short excerpt to show how the book got its name.
Hanna strolled around the altar ready to thank the Goddess and open the circle. As she turned the corner, her ample hip bumped the altar and a few lit tapers toppled. Three of them landed on the plate of rum cakes and to Rebecca’s horror they ignited.
A dramatic blaze shot up over a foot high. Before anyone could react, Dru shouted, “Stand back.”
He bounded through the circle with the fire extinguisher. Rebecca remembered seeing it on a wall in the kitchen, but never thought much about it.
Hannah yelled, “Stop,” but it was too late. Dru had already pulled the pin and was spraying the altar with foamy chemicals. The witches in range gasped and jumped backward to avoid his sweep.
When the extinguisher was empty, Dru placed it on the floor. He set his hands on his hips and faced Rebecca.
“Bake cupcakes from now on, darlin’. Cupcakes.”
What are you working on next?
Good question. I have 3 books I’d like to write simultaneously, but I try not to do that. My agent has one proposal in her hot little hands now. If she can sell that to a publisher, that goes first. If not, I will finish that project anyway and then write a proposal for another idea. A third possibility is to write a 4th book in this series.
Bonus question: 4th of July is just around the corner – how would the Wiccan coven in your book celebrate?
No differently than the rest of the country. Cookouts and fireworks would be their only ‘rituals’ unless it happened to fall on a full moon. Then they’d get together to honor the Goddess and utilize the power of the group and full moon for their spells as they always do. Perhaps the theme of the night would be personal freedom.
YOU CAN PURCHASE THE CUPCAKE COVEN RIGHT HERE! CLICK HERE TO BUY IT!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Pretty Wiccan Rebecca Colby borrowed money from her father to start a bakery, and now he’s calling the loan due. When she learns he fell off the gambling wagon and owes big money to some scary people, she has to start making a profit—and fast—before the loan shark takes a bite out of her.
Hot Cowboy Dru Tanner is looking for his missing sister who left Texas to explore their New England Wiccan roots. She’s the only family he has left, and he’s desperate to find her. Dru has to hide the fact that he’s not a Wiccan long enough to infiltrate a coven in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It’s the only lead he has.
Dru needs a job and a place to stay while he searches for his sister. Rebecca needs cheap help so she can work some baking magic. Dru makes Rebecca an offer she can’t refuse—if only lust doesn’t drive them crazy first.
READ AN EXCERPT:
The bell above the door tinkled, signaling a customer. Jumping to her feet, Rebecca mumbled into the phone, “I’ll have to call you back, Dad.” She hung up and took a deep breath to compose herself.
Plastering a smile on her face, she turned toward the counter and caught her first glimpse of the most incredible man she’d ever seen. He was tall, at least six feet. His jeans hugged lean hips in such a way as to leave little to the imagination, yet he moved in them casually, looking totally comfortable.
When he reached the counter a gorgeous smile softened his rugged features. Blue eyes and sandy brown hair peaked out from under the well-worn cowboy hat. Am I looking at a real live cowboy here in New England?
He tipped the brim of his hat. “Mornin’ ma’am. Or I should say good afternoon. I guess it’s past noontime, after all.”
If he was rambling a little bit, she was grateful for it. She didn’t think she could speak right away.
“I was wonderin’ . . . that help-wanted sign in the window . . . ?”
Shoot. Should she tell the guy she might not be in business very long? Her Wiccan values had her believing that honesty was the best policy, but she could at least let him finish his sentence.
“Yes?” she prompted.
“Well, this is gonna sound pretty stupid if I’m wrong . . .”
His hesitation only lasted a moment. Then he gazed into her eyes with his piercing blue ones. “Are you by any chance a witch? Because if so, maybe we can help each other. I’m willin’ to trade my services for your help findin’ my sister.”
That sure wasn’t what she expected him to say. She almost tipped her head toward the ceiling to thank the Goddess.
“I—uh . . .Yes. I’m Wiccan. Do you want a locator spell?”
“Sure. If that’ll help me find her.” He reached into his shirt pocket and produced a picture of a young woman. She resembled him, but she looked much younger. Long blonde hair tumbled down from a similar cowboy hat, and she wore a checkered shirt, but the major similarities were her blue eyes and easy smile.
Rebecca hadn’t done a locator spell in a long time. And she’d never done one to find a human being, but the trade was a perfect idea. Witches aren’t supposed to make money by performing spells for other people, but a trade to save some money doesn’t count. Does it? She’d ask Hanna, later. For now, she was intrigued by the idea and the cowboy was waiting for an answer.
“Can you bake?”
He laughed. “I can learn.”
“No need. There are plenty of other ways you can help. I’ll have you fill out an application, and later I’ll check your references. By the way, our coven is meeting tonight. Would you be interested in attending?”
His brows shot up. After a brief hesitation he asked, “Do you think that’ll help me find my sister?”
“It might. You could also check out Myranda’s Occult Shop. She’s got loads of expertise and you can find any ingredients you need for a spell there.”
“A spell . . . Uh, sure, I’ll talk to Myranda.”
“Good! I hope to see you tonight,” she said. “I’ll get you that application now, and if your references are good you can start tomorrow.”
“Great. Can I get that application with a side of cherry pie?”
“Sure thing.” She smiled, already feeling a bit lighter.
LIKE WHAT YOU’VE READ SO FAR?
YOU CAN PURCHASE THE CUPCAKE COVEN RIGHT HERE! CLICK HERE TO BUY IT!
This week we’ve been spotlighting romance author Alison Bruce, who can be classified as a “coffee addict”. There. I said it. LOL. So our question of the week is all about that. What is your favourite coffee (or tea) beverage? Leave a comment here or on our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook and you could win a free c-book of A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce
A Bodyguard to Remember (my light romantic suspense) opens with a dead body in the Pru Hartley’s (the heroine) living room, but it started in a café. Most of my stories do. Without further ado – here are my top five reasons why writers love to work in coffee shops.
1. You’re alone while not being alone:
The problem with being a writer is that it’s a mostly solitary occupation (if you don’t count the characters haunting you). I work part-time as a crossing guard, which brings me into contact with lots of people, a handful of dogs and a murder of crows. (There’s a paranormal suspense in there somewhere, I just know it.) Other than that, all my work revolves around my computer.
I don’t mind working on my own, but sometimes I want to do it with people around. That’s when I take myself to a coffee shop. Pru does that too. When you read the scene in her local Starbucks, the people she interacts with are based on people I’ve met or observed in one of my habitual hangouts.
2. Inspiration for book characters:
There’s the real estate agent who used to be a client until she took over her own newsletter production. She always remembers me because I brought her my parents when they were looking to move to Guelph to be near the grandchildren. She breezes through, picking up her coffee of choice on her way to the office and always asks about my kids.
I have a silent war going with one fellow. It’s a polite battle for getting the table by the one electrical outlet. (Newer places make sure there are plenty to go around.) Neither of us knows what the other is working on, but he always looks so serious and I know he wonders why I suddenly laugh out loud from time to time.
Hanging out in a coffee house is also good for research. Donuts may be the stereotypical food of cops, but it’s really the coffee they’re after. I’ve met police officers in Tim Horton’s of course, but if you want to hit someone up for information, nothing beats the camaraderie of waiting in line for your espresso-based fix. (Brewed coffee is just too quick to serve.)
4. You have your own assistants to get you coffee – the baristas:
Not that long ago, my Americano would be ready before I
got to the counter. That’s how well the staff knew me. It’s trickier now because my old baristas are now managers at other locations. The upside, besides talking to police officers if they’re there, is I can switch up my drinks without feeling bad.
5. The coffee of course:
Different coffee beverages work for different tasks. For instance, if I’m on a deadline, it’s got to be black coffee… either an Americano or a Redeye. If I need to bribe my inner muse, a caramel macchiato (no whip but don’t hold the sauce) does the job. I can set up, sit back and watch people while looking like I’m really working. But I am working. I might never know what that guy at the next table does for a living, but my speculations may wind up in a story someday.
In:blog post, Book Covers, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, Q and A Tuesday, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, romantic suspense, So you want to be a bestselling author?, Social Media, work routine, writing craft, writing inspiration
What was your favourite book as a child and why?
Don’t make me chose one book. I can’t do it. I loved listening to my dad read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and I still have the edition he used. I also have a colour-illustrated edition, an annotated edition, and a book of art by the various Alice illustrators. The first art I bought with my own money was a poster of a Rackham illustration. The second piece was a Rackham illustration from Wind in the Willows, another favourite of mine that my father read me as a child.
I loved and still love the Eloise books by Kay Thompson. My first copy of Eloise and Christmas, complete with shredded binding and crayon annotations, is still on my shelf along with the special edition of Eloise that is sold at the Plaza Hotel, NYC. In 1993, I dragged my friends into Plaza to see the place Eloise lived. Her portrait is just outside the Palm Court, where Eloise and Nanny take tea.
I could go on and on . . . but I’ll save something for a future interviews, perhaps involving my introduction to mysteries through Freddy the Pig.
Who was your favourite teacher growing up and why?
You really ask tough questions. I should say Miss Steven in Grade 2 because she saved me the academic harm done by my Grade 1 teacher. I can’t say I really appreciated her at the time, however.
I will always have a soft spot for the exchange teacher from New Zealand I had in Grade 5. He introduced me to Paddington Bear, Roald Dahl and Finn Family Moomintroll. Unfortunately, I was having chronic ear problems at the time and I kept being taken out of school all the time RIGHT WHEN THE BOOKS WERE ENDING. Worse, none of these books were readily available in Canada at the time. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I finally was able to buy and read the books myself.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Why?
At first I didn’t really think in terms of being a writer. I loved telling stories, so I was a storyteller. I still think of myself that way. I started writing down my stories when I was twelve. I haven’t stopped since.
Who in the writing/publishing world do you admire and why?
I admire different people for different reasons. For instance, I respect Janet Evanovich’s professionalism as an author. I’ve read her How I Write and listened to her interviews on her audio books. When I was sticking my courage to the sticking place, to butcher Shakespeare, I found her practical advice helped me put my work out in the market place.
Reading the author introductions to Louis L’Amour’s books inspired me to put myself out there in a different way. That man had a rich and varied life, but he didn’t rely on his own experiences along. He talked to old men who had lived in the west when it was wild. He read old letters, journals and newspapers to make sure that what he wrote about was authentic. Thanks to him, I reached out to women veterans from World War II in order to have primary accounts for my undergraduate thesis. Now, I take every opportunity to talk to police officers, soldiers, and other men and women in uniform.
Tell us about your daily writing routine – what do you typically do every day?
I’m not a routine sort of person. I usually find it easier to get out of bed and start working on days when I don’t have to. My day jobs are . . . let’s just say scheduling my day can get a bit problematic. Leave us say that I write when I can (often in the wee hours).
What is your favourite snack or guilty pleasure food that you (may or may not 😉 indulge in when writing?
Coffee is a must. Otherwise I’m a creature of whim. Sometimes I crave salty foods. Then Jalapeno Popper chips are my downfall. Sometimes I NEED chocolate. I really do. Only Cadbury or Lindt chocolate will do. (Sorry Godiva lovers. I find it too sweet.) More often than not, I turn to cheese, crackers and olives.
What does “writing voice” mean to you? Describe your own writing voice.
To me writing voice is similar to a musical voice or artist’s brush. When painting is being authenticated, you can test the paints and canvas and degree of aging scientifically, but someone who really knows their business can also spot a fake because the brush stroke isn’t right. A really good forger may be able to imitate the artist’s technique, but they’ll know the difference even if the examining expert doesn’t. The same thing goes for music. I’m terrible at remembering names, but I can identify a Mozart or Beethoven piece. I’m pretty good at Chopin, Carol King and Beatles.
My writing voice has been influenced by the authors I emulate. They are the masters I learned from, just as artists followed in the footsteps of Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, (better known as Donatello). In my case, the team would be Georgette Heyer, Donald Jack, Janet Evanovich and Terry Pratchett (none of which have been used as the names of hero turtles). But my voice is my own.
What do you want to accomplish in the next five years in your writing career?
Is this a test? Honestly, this is a hard question for me to answer. The best I can say is every year I want to get better and better and have more and more fans. I’m all about the adoration. 😉
What are three important things that a writer needs to do to promote himself/herself?
You have to have a well-established social media platform. It doesn’t have to be all-inclusive. Better to do a few really well than try to do all of them and spread yourself too thin.
You have to leave your ego at the door. Your balloon is going to get popped from time to time. Then someone will come along and you’ll be lifted up again. But you have to do some lifting too. It’s not all about you . . . or me. Someone else might need a lift, and you’ll be glad you provided it.
Don’t get discouraged. I did that once and kept my writing to myself for a couple of decades. Admittedly, those decades were also filled with university, jobs, travel and relationships. Not a total loss.
Ice cream or popsicles?
Ice cream! Hmm . . . I wonder if we have any left for dessert?
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Prudence Hartley has the usual single mom problems: getting her kids to school on time; juggling a gazillion errands while trying to get a full day’s work done; oh, and don’t forget about dinner.
But Pru’s problems become a tad more complicated and a lot more dangerous when she finds a dead man in her house. Or a dead spy to be exact. Suddenly, a federal agent named David Merrick shows up and whisks her and her kids into protective custody. Pru has so many questions spinning through her brain she doesn’t know where to begin. How is she going to keep her kids safe? What was the dead spy looking for in her house? Why are the spies after her? Oh, and there’s one more question . . . just a pesky, minor thing. Why does Merrick have to be so damn sexy and protective?
Maybe he was just doing his job, but Sergeant Merrick was my hero. He coordinated the paramedics, police, ambulance attendants, and an intrepid reporter who came running when three ambulances, an EMT truck from the fire department and half a dozen police cruisers congregated at the hotel. More importantly, at least to me, he calmed Hope and Boone, assuring them that their mother was fine, even if she was sitting with her head between her knees, holding a bloody towel. He got them clear of the chaos and made sure they got safely to their father’s with a police escort.
“I’ll have a uniformed officer stay with them overnight.” he assured.
Once they were away, Merrick signalled the next set of ambulance attendants to help me onto a stretcher.
“We meet again.”
I focussed on the speaker. It took me a moment, but I connected the dots. He checked on us the night before.
“Bob,” he said, in case I forgot.
I nodded. “I remember.”
“It looks like you were wrong,” he said as he helped me onto the stretcher. “Bullet wounds are catching.”
Flashing his badge, Merrick managed to get to us shortly after we arrived at the hospital. He made sure Zeke and I were kept together and stayed with us, even after repeatedly being told by the attending nurses to leave. Then, when we were alone, Merrick asked the big question. “What happened?”
I knew what he was really asking.
“Why didn’t I hide in the bathroom with Hope and Boone? You think I didn’t lock the door properly, but I put the security bar on and everything. I called you as soon as I could. What took you so long?”
I took a dive off the edge of rationality into the deep end of guilt and second-guessing. I burst into tears. I hate it when that happens.
“Give her a break, Sarge,” said Zeke, raising himself up on his good elbow. “She saved my life.”
Merrick, who had taken my outburst calmly, raised an eyebrow.
“Well,” Zeke temporised, “she intended to save my life. She couldn’t know that I had moved out of the line of fire.” He tried to sit up. “I know, I never should have been in his line of fire in the first place . . . probably should stick to the backroom stuff . . .”
In the midst of my sobbing and Zeke’s self-flagellation, Merrick told us to calm down.
Big mistake. That might have worked on Zeke. Don’t know. Wasn’t paying attention. For me, it was like waving a red cape in front of a bull. All my fear and guilt transformed into anger directed at him. I grabbed him by the shirt-front and pulled myself up with the strength that comes with hysteria.
“I’m not a cop. I’m a mother,” I shouted, hopping bare footed onto the cold floor. “I didn’t hide with my children because I figured that whoever it was, they were looking for me. If they found me, they wouldn’t go looking for my kids too. I didn’t know if you’d get there in time to stop Hope and Boone from becoming hostages and I wasn’t going to risk it. I wasn’t going to risk Zeke dying either and I would have done the same for you.”
I spoke in a rush, losing volume and air as I went, losing momentum as I realized the attention I was drawing. Not one of my shining moments.
I started to collapse. I tried to steady myself using my handhold on Merrick’s shirt. He grabbed my shoulders to brace me. He didn’t lose his cool for an instant.
“Call a nurse,” he told Zeke. “She’s bleeding.”
I gave a choke of laughter. There were at least two nurses, an orderly, and three men in uniform ranged behind Merrick.
My vision got blurry. I blinked to clear it, refocused, and noticed that Merrick was wearing red and green plaid pyjamas. I let go of his top and smoothed out the soft material.
“Flannel,” I said, and passed out.
ABOUT ALISON BRUCE:
Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. In addition to writing, she is the Publication Manager of Crime Writers of Canada and part-time tech guru to the technology-impaired.
Alison writes mysteries, romantic suspense and historical romance. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, the ability to adapt (sooner or later) to new situations and to learn from adversity–traits she hopes to pass on to her children, Kate and Sam.
In:authors, Bestselling Authors, blog post, contemporary romance, Fun Friday, historical romance, Lachesis Blog, mystery, paranormal romance, Promoting Your Book, promoting your books, Q and A Bestselling Authors, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, Social Media, writing craft
This is the third Q and A in our series at the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog – featuring interviews with bestselling authors. Today we feature the dynamic New York Times Bestselling author Jennifer Ashley. Jennifer writes historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance as Jennifer Ashley; mysteries as Ashley Gardner; and paranormal romance and urban fantasy as Allyson James.
Jennifer Ashley’s latest release is MATE BOND, book 7 in her SHIFTERS UNBOUND series.
Jennifer Ashley’s latest release is RIDING HARD: GRANT (book 2 in the RIDING HARD series)
Welcome Jennifer Ashley!
JD: What was your first book that hit a bestseller list? What was the list, where did the book rank when it first hit, and how high did your book get?
JA: The first book I hit a bestseller list with on my own (I had been in I think two anthologies that hit before, but not because of me!) was Immortals: The Calling in 2007. That hit the USA Today list at I think around 127. The book that first hit New York Times was Pride Mates (Shifters Unbound, Book 1). That hit both USA Today and NYT; NYT was I think number 26 or something. The first time I hit the big bestseller lists was with Wild Wolf and Feral Heat last year—which each hit in the top 10 NYT Ebook, top 10 Ebook plus print, and Wild Wolf hit top 10 NYT in paperback. Both of these also hit in the top 50 of USA Today. These were all milestones for me.
What were you doing when you found out you hit the bestseller list? And how did you celebrate or mark the occasion?
JA: For my very first time, Immortals: The Calling in 2007, I had gone to bed the night before knowing the USA Today list would be posted the next morning. I couldn’t sleep all night! I kept dreaming that I’d hit the list, then waking up, knowing it was only a dream. It wouldn’t hit. I knew it in my heart.
My husband woke me in the morning with, “I saw that The Calling made USA Today. Saw that in the middle of the night.”
Me: “Why didn’t you wake me up????
Him: “I didn’t want to disturb you.”
We had a nice dinner out. 🙂 When I made NYT for the first time, I got so many bouquets of flowers sent to me my neighbors started to worry!
JD: What does being a “successful author” mean to you?
JA: My idea of “success” has changed over the years. At first it meant getting more than one publishing contract. Then it was making bestseller lists and/or being offered a certain level of advance from a publisher. Now it’s more about connecting with readers. I want to write books that readers love and want to read over and over again, regardless of whether it sells a squillion copies or 125. More sales just means I can pay my rent. 🙂 Bestseller lists are calculated by statistics, weighing numbers, and secret arithmetic formulas, so who knows what’s truly “bestselling?” But a book that connects with readers lasts forever. I have books that have sold an enormous number of copies over time but never made a bestseller list—in fact these books have sold more copies thus far than those that did make the lists. So it’s all relative.
JD: Some authors are great at it, while others can’t find the right formula, but in order to be a success in today’s market, you have to do promotion. So, what are the top three things that you do consistently when it comes to promotion?
JA: For promotion, my top three things are my email newsletter, posting on FB (whether I pay for boosting the posts or not), and being available to answer questions about the books, on email, FB, Twitter, or wherever.
JD: What is one thing you absolutely LOVE about being an author and one thing that makes you BONKERS?
JA: The very best thing about being an author—I write full-time—is making my own schedule. I can work all weekend and take Tuesday off. I can work from 5 am to midnight if I want. Or 10 am to noon and then knock off for the day. I work to the projects I need to finish, not to a clock. I LOVE that. I completely suck at working to set hours! That said, it can also make me crazy. Scheduling is tricky—you can overfill your schedule (which I tend to do) then have to work your butt off to not fall behind. I both self-publish and traditionally publish, so I have to coordinate those schedules and not let down the publisher who offered me a contract and advance. But I think the number one thing that makes me crazy is interruptions! People think that because I’m at home, it means I’m available. Friends, family, agent, and publisher all demand my attention – – and to write, you have to shut all that out. It’s hard, and they’re not always understanding.
JD: Who are some of your favourite authors and why?
JA: Elmore Leonard: He created the most wonderful villains, who are human beings, but very flawed. Often these villains are trying to do the right thing, but just can’t. You think they’re going to make it, turn out to be good, and then . . . no. He was a master.
Donna Leon: She has painted Venice, Italy, in her Brunetti mystery series so well I feel like I’ve lived there (I’ve never been).
Eloisa James: She is excellent at writing romance with not-so-stock romance characters.
Terry Pratchett: His Discworld series is full of great characters and humor, but it’s very thoughtful at the same time.
Mary Jo Putney: I read her historical romances back in the 90s, and she proved that an author could write a well-plotted, character rich story without resorting to “formula.” (She’s still writing and still does that). She very much inspired me to try to write historical romance.
JD: What are you currently working on?Murder Most Historical, as Ashley Gardner, also out in June); White Tiger—Shifters Unbound book 8, which will be out next spring—must turn it in to my trad publisher soon (they want books way in advance); Bad Wolf, another Shifters Unbound short book, out in July. Dreamwalker (Stormwalker, book 5, contemporary (‘urban”) fantasy by Allyson James) Thames River Murders (book 10 in the Capt. Lacey Regency Mysteries I write as Ashley Gardner), and Carter, book 3 of the new Western series, Riding Hard. That should take me up to August.
JD: In your daily work routine what do you do first and why?write/plot/creative social media/promotion email/admin
JA: First is a) write/plot/creative. I write first thing in the morning. I am very productive between the hours of about 7:30 and 10. No idea why, but I’m not going to question it. I do all my social media promotion and my email business right after that (like I’m doing right now :-)) then I take a break for lunch. The afternoon / evening is filled depending on what and how much I have to do. Yesterday I did a lot of what I call “publishing business”–I was in contact with audio book narrators, paid people, ordered audio book covers from my designer, finished page proofs of another project. Today I will spend all afternoon and evening writing a novella, to try to finish it up.
JA: A big mess! I don’t write at a desk—it’s for business. I write at a coffee house (in a booth), on my laptop in a bungee cord chair (really it’s made of bungee cords; very comfortable!) or on my laptop on my couch. Writing at a desk gives me too many neck, shoulder, and back problems, so I abandoned it long ago . . .
JD: Finish this sentence: I’m a writer because . . .
JA: I love to tell stories. Stories well up in my head and must come out! (Sorry, that was two sentences)
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Ashley has lived and traveled all over the world, and now lives in the Southwest. She writes historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance as Jennifer Ashley; mysteries as Ashley Gardner; and paranormal romance and urban fantasy as Allyson James.
Jennifer’s/Allyson’s/Ashley’s more than 83 novels and novellas have won RWA’s RITA award, the Golden Quill, RT Reviewer’s Choice awards, and the Prism award, among others. Jennifer’s novels have been also been translated into French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Norwegian, Hungarian, Italian, Thai, and other languages.
Jennifer enjoys writing and reading above all else, but her hobbies include cooking, hiking, playing flute and guitar, painting, and building miniature rooms and dollhouses.
This week we’ve been spotlighting YA paranormal authorKim Baccellia. So our question of the week is a fun one! What is one of your favourite books from childhood? Leave a comment here or on our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook and you could win a free c-book of Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia.
I admit it. I’m a huge fan of horror novels, especially ones with a supernatural twist that force me to keep the night light on. To me, a sign of a great novel is when the pages of the novel haunt my dreams.
Crossed Out has subtle horror with Stephanie battling evil while helping murdered girls toward the light. I’ve always wanted to write something edgier and frightening. Maybe in the future?
Here’s a list of my top five horror novels. There’s something for everyone—a haunted house, demons, zombies, and a post-apocalypse tale. Warning: Proceed with caution and make sure you have a night light or two handy!
Everyone remembers that Amity house in Long Island where a family was killed and others claimed that paranormal influences were the cause. That was in 1975.
In this novel, another family has moved into the haunted Amity house some ten years later. Once again, horror strikes. Just like the movie, this book delivers with horror and edge of the seat terror.
A creepy tale of a girl who accidently unleased something sinister by reading from a book she found. This puts a whole sinister twist on the Greek mythology of a Pandora box.
**The sequel is equal parts creepy and haunting!
It’s been six months since Reggie saved her younger brother Henry from the Vours, those demonic beings that inhabit human bodies and feed on your worst nightmares. Then an unexpected person shows up and sends Reggie’s nightmares into reality. Nothing is what it seems.
I couldn’t put this book down! Edge of the seat suspense with twists and turns throughout. The nightmares are intense and very graphic. Reggie’s battle against the Vours is haunting yet you’ll find you can’t stop reading!
I really loved the whole twist on the ghost hunter theme. Only here, it’s a ghost slayer. Someone who goes out and slays ghosts. Yes, this person destroys the whole essence of a ghost. The unique twist, atmospheric scenery, and a forbidden love is the stuff of great novels.
What I love about this story is it’s not the usual zombie tale. No, this one doesn’t follow any rules. For one thing Bick isn’t afraid to have her characters go to hell and back. And believe me this new world is hell. There are some very intense scenes that would give Stephen King a run for his money. But the beauty of this story is how the little details strengthened the storyline. And the whole premise of an electromagnet wave tampering with someone’s brain in a horrific way is very plausible which makes this story even more terrifying and wonderful.
And finally, anything by Stephen King. Some of my favorites include: the living haunted hotel in THE SHINING; the bloody Prom scene in CARRIE; and the creepy killer clown in IT. But my all-time favorite….
This post-apocalypse novel is the stuff of nightmares. Don’t watch the mini-series, which didn’t capture the horror and terror of King at his best. Ohmigod, on that rat prison scene. Even now I have nightmares over that scene!
What are some of your favorite horror novels?
If you couldn’t be a writer, what other kind of artistic medium would you like to attempt and why?
A painter. My grandmother was a very talented artist and people bought her paintings. She loved to paint angels and cherubs. As a child, she’d write me and doodle these on the cards and letters. This painting is my favorite! Loved Grandma Allred. People tell me that we look and sound alike. She even shared a love of the same soft drink—Dr. Pepper.
Tell us about one book that you’ve read that had an impact on you?
BURNED by Ellen Hopkins. At first I put off reading this contemporary YA about a Mormon girl who was abused, as I worried it might in fact be anti-Mormon but once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. The tears started flowing along with the overwhelming desire I had to write this author and thank her for being courageous to write this story. It hit a cord with me as I had was abused, but was told that I should ‘just get over it’ and only write uplifting work. I did meet Ellen at a book signing. This book to this day is one of my favorites. Raw, courageous, and gripping.
What do you love about writing? And what do you hate about it?
I love when I’m able to express the feelings/emotions I have within and see them on the page. That has to be the most liberating emotion! I also love when I get emails from my readers, telling me how much they love my stories.
I have to say, I hate when I come up against a block in my writing or when the writing process feels like it’s being stifled.
If you could meet any character from a book – who would it be and why?
Claire from OUTLANDER with Jaime a quick second. I’d love to know her thoughts and feelings especially what drove her to leave Jaime to go back home even when they were soul mates. **I know if she stayed she would have died, but still! I’d love to ask Jaime if he ever contemplated coming to the twentieth century. Plus, I’d just love to be up close to him. I totally fell for him as a reader. I just wonder if I would recognize him in a crowd. Or would I be disappointed. **Uh, highly doubt anyone, including me, would be disappointed in this highlander!
Happy endings or cliff-hangers? Why?
I’m not “anti-happy-endings” but let’s just say I never liked Disney movies as a child as I felt they deceived you. My own childhood was dysfunctional and I learned right off the bat, no prince on a white horse (or car) would come in to ‘save’ me. I had to do that myself. I love cliff-hangers unless of course if the series is cancelled and then those drive me NUTS!
What is the best/coolest/funniest/sweetest thing a reader/fan ever said/wrote to you or did for you?
Hands down it had to be this teen during a Skype school visit, who got up to and went all shy-like with twisting her skirt and then out of the blue said, “I love your book so much! When will the next one come out?” She was totally adorable and it’s always so fun to hear from your readers!
THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass. Think The Bachelor meets a dystopian world. Loved this series something fierce. It has romance, suspense, tension, and did I mention, romance? I can’t help but feel it would be a fab movie. In a world of very dark dystopias? This one was a pleasant surprise!
How do you try to boost sales of your books?
I’m all over social media sites like Twitter, Face Book, and Tumblr. I’m a staff reviewer at YA Books Central. I also supported the #weneeddiversebooks when it first came out as I’m a believer of getting more diversity out there. **Fact, originally I was going to have a Latina in CROSSED OUT with a more Latino flare with the supernatural. Huh, I might still write that. I attend my local OCRWA and pass out business cards with my book info on them. **One of the
books, GODDESSES CAN WAIT, is a mock cover and not the finished one. I think the biggest thing is to not be afraid to speak out about your books and seize opportunities that come your way! I’m scheduled to speak in November at my local OCRWA chapter and there’s some other possibilities in the future.
When you’re stressed out on a deadline – what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Chocolate. Dark chocolate. The world looks a lot better whenever I take a bite or two or three of this food of the Gods.
What do you love to sing in the shower?
Depends. Right now it’s BELIEVE by Mumford and Sons as it reflects what my character in a current project is feeling with her doubts of her religious upbringing and the reality of what’s really happening outside of her community.
Kim Baccellia is the author of the YA paranormal Crossed Out.
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