Interview

Barbra Novac agreed to leave the summer days of her small town near Sydney, Australia and brave the cold winter of northern Maine to hang out for a couple of days. So here’s what I dared ask her and what she agreed to answer … 

Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing.
Like most writers, I’ve always been a writer. Even as a child I wrote stories in and out of class and excelled in that subject at school. However, I sort of got stuck on journal writing for a long time, while I built my ‘day job’. Then I decided to ‘get real’ about the writing and went along to a local writers group. The first day there, I met my future husband, and our love for each other is intrinsically entwined with our own desires as writers. So, passion got me in, when I was young and a different kind of passion keeps me there and keeps me true to the dreams.

Please tell us about your books.  
Double Crossed is a novel set in the Sydney red light district Kings Cross. My protagonist, Marianne, has lived a frightening life, as the lover of a crime boss in the red light district. She’d never really known any other existence, and decided she wanted a life of her own. Her ex-lover promises to let her go if she will help him with one last task. That is to be found innocent in court proceedings that will get the police off his back for good. Marianne agrees in exchange for her freedom, but finds that she starts to fall for her ex-lover’s lawyer as she is helping. Things get complicated when the pair start up a BDSM relationship. Then Marianne finds out how dangerous her ex really can be, and worse, that he has a mastermind behind him and that person could possibly be her new lover. It’s a juicy one this one, full of BDSM and alternate lifestyles. I had a LOT of fun writing it. *wink* It’s available now from Loose-Id.

Honest Masks is due for release early February. This novel is about an American woman hiding from her past in Sydney Australia. Chloe is an artist, but art has brought a lot of pain to the women of her family, so she buries her talents in her apartment, never letting them see the light of day. Chloe also likes to dress up in costumes and go on line, having cyber sex with many different partners there. In one of these games, she meets a man who wants to call forth her artist and encourage her to flourish.  As Chloe is wondering if she should finally let her artistic soul soar, she meets another man, by accident in the streets of Sydney. Chloe falls for him as well, in a different way to the man on line. But what Chloe doesn’t know is that the two men are lovers, and want Chloe to join them. They’ve devised an elaborate plan to bring her into their love nest. However, what all three don’t realize is that their past is already inexplicably entwined and that Chloe has accidently come home, and has been all along.

Take it as it comes and Full Figured Chic are also due for release early next year, but are only just in edits, so I can’t give away too much there! Check out my website for updates and details on all these novels.

Describe your writing space. Do you move around or always write in the same place?
I work at a little desk that my husband pulled out of a trash can (junk pile on the side of the road) that I don’t have the heart to part with now that we have the cash to buy me a better one. I don’t like to clean while I am writing, and I have written a lot lately, so the floor around my desk is piled with research papers, scrawled notes, books to read and books just read. The BEST thing about my office is that it is joined by a door to my husband’s office, and we can each write alone but together in our little rooms.

I don’t always write here, but I love it you know? I live in a mountain range, and we look out over it, so the view is enormous and vibrant and it makes me forget I need to dust!  (Ummm, don’t look under my desk, the dust monsters–they morphed well beyond the bunny stage a loong time ago–have totally taken over!)

If you had super powers what would they be and what would you call yourself?
Oh what a cool question. Ok, so this may be pretty daggy, but I’d like genius, the ability to learn at light speed and excellence in all martial arts. Think Beatrix from the Kill Bill series with a brain. That kind of self control has always been amazing to me. I’d call myself Simone Parker-Meyer after my favorite writers!

Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantzer? Do you have comfort drinks or snack foods. Any favorite music you play while writing?
I’m a plotter. But I do deviate from my plots at times if my characters come up with better ideas than I did. I like to formulate a project then make it happen. I also just found out that I have high cholesterol (!) so snacking is out now. However, I started the Atkins diet and decaf coffee with thick cream is allowed, so I have just 1 mug a day. I USED to love wine while I wrote (not too much – just enough to lower the inhibitions) and jellies or chocolate. Deep sigh – those days are behind me now. Boo hoo.

Music changes with the books. I prefer to write in silence but I need certain types of music for inspirational pauses. Usually I can find a PJ Harvey song that sums up what’s going on, otherwise great jazz gets me in the mood for sex – and in the mood for writing it.

If we asked your friends to name 3 personality traits about you, what do you think they would say?
Intense, funny and a tad obsessive.

What happened to the first novel you ever wrote?
It was rejected so many times I stopped trying and buried it in the back of my shelves. (Trust me, that’s a good place for it)

I’m looking at picking up some new glasses … these with rhinestones or these with the pretty gold chain?
Definitely the rhinestones! (Yeah, I thought so too … they match my tiarra!)

Do you have a writing routine? Could you share it with us?
Sure! I brainstorm with hubby till a decent enough idea forms, then I plot it out. In the plotting stage I like to be pretty loose with the ideas. So I may write several synopsis till I come up with a ‘feeling’ in my gut that tells me that I’ve hit on the idea.

Then I will flesh out the synopsis into chapters and work on the chapters, making sure they have climaxes, tension rolls along that sort of stuff. Check out characters etc. By the time I sit to write, I have a very clear picture of the novel, and I am free to focus on language, tone, that sort of thing. That’s it in a nutshell.

Shopping at the mall or a quiet walk on the beach?
Quiet walk on the beach. Always!

If you were sick in bed which movie would be your comfort movie and why?
Mmmm… a few… comfort movies for me at the moment are ‘Sex and the City’, ‘The devil wears Prada’, ‘The Jane Austen book club’ and my all time very favorite film (you’ll NEVER guess why) ‘Down with love.’

What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Write, write and keep writing. Read as much as you can, and you must must keep writing. The world simply can’t have enough writers. We need every single one of you and your voice must be heard! Don’t give up and don’t think we don’t need to hear what you have to say!

Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Keep reading – mine and other books. A novel is not finished till it has a reader and each reader changes the novel with their reading. Writing and reading are a partnership. I, the writer make a call to you, and you the reader hear it and come with a call of your own. There is nothing as magical as enhancing the writers words with your own creative beauty, bringing life and passion to the letters in their strange bundles. Writing and reading are acts of freedom – no one makes us do either – and in that way we make an appeal to the freedom in each other.

Thanks Nina for having me and for being such a great friend and role model. (*blushes* Just model is fine. The cabana boys keep me in shape! And you’re welcome. Anyone mention your accent. I loooove it!)

This only touches the tip of the iceburg. To learn more about Barbra please visit her website or her blog and to know A LOT more about Barbra … click HERE!

I want to welcome Chelle Cordero, a multi-published author and freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various publications including The Journal News, Hudson Valley Magazine, Emergency Magazine, Spotlight, Auto Trim News, EMS Products, Sound Management Magazine and more. Chelle has agreed to set the freelance personna aside for today and tell us about her novels.

Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing.
I have always enjoyed telling stories. I was the kid who had very believable imaginary friends and even family members. When I was in high school (HS of Art & Design, NYC) I had to take an elective course and a Creative Writing class led by poet Daisy Aldan fit into my schedule – after that I not only knew that I enjoyed telling tales, I had to.While I was in college (Fordham University at Lincoln Center) I had my very first newspaper article published in both a Bronx weekly paper and in my college newspaper. But it took several years before I wrote full-time. While I was pregnant with my daughter I decided that I wanted to both work and be an at-home mom; freelance writing definitely fit in with my plans.

Please tell us about your books.
I am in love with the idea of being in love, so I write love stories. My genre romances Bartlett’s Rule and (coming in February) Courage of the Heart have strong messages as well as inspiring love stories; Forgotten and Within the Law were fun to write because they have continuing characters (but they are both stand alone novels). Another book, due out sometime in 2009, is a departure from the normal romance genre for me: Final Sin has a love story involved but the main story is an edge of your seat crime thriller. I had someone tell me that while they were reading the manuscript, they put a kitchen knife next to them after the first chapter!

How do your stories come to you? Characters first? Plot first? Or does it all just sort of come together at once?
Imagine sitting in a theatre, only you didn’t necessarily plan to be there, and the curtain opens to action on the stage. That is kind of how it is with me. It’s like I see a scene played out in front of me and I give the characters “a life”. Then I play “what if” and I just record my characters reactions to the curveballs.

If you came with a warning label what would it read?
Caution – this person MAY be a little off-balance. She talks to herself and has a whole slew of characters running around in her brain.

Describe your writing space. Do you move around or always write in the same place?
I do most of my actual writing seated at my desk and computer. On very rare occasion, I’ll sit with my laptop on my recliner in the living room. But I do most of my thinking (and creating my stories) ANYWHERE because I never know when a thought will strike.

Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantzer? Do you have comfort drinks or snack foods. Any favorite music you play while writing?
I lay out the initial conflict and I decide on the final outcome – how the story gets there is up to my characters. For instance, in Bartlett’s Rule the initial conflict was that Paige was a rape survivor and she detested Lon because of his alleged chauvinism and his image as a player; by the end I wanted them together as lovers and friends with a happy ever after potential. I took the time to give each major character a history and based their actions and reactions on what “drives them” (similar to method acting). The story basically wrote itself and I just threw in a few twists and surprises now and then. I wind up picking a “theme song” that makes me think of my characters and the conflict they are going through – then I play it repeatedly while I am working, and I do mean repeatedly. The theme song for Bartlett’s Rule was Garth Brooks’ “To Make You Feel My Love”; Forgotten’s theme song was Kenny Chesney’s “Because of Your Love”, and Within the Law’s song was Faith Hill & Tim McGraw’s “Let’s Make Love”.

If we asked your friends to name 3 personality traits about you, what do you think they would say?
Imaginative – Nurturing – Outspoken

When you’re reading someone else’s books what about a man is a turnoff and why?
If he is disrespectful to others, if he doesn’t care about another person’s feelings, if he will “climb over others” without even remorse. A man can be strong without cruelty.

What happened to the first novel you ever wrote?
It was a romance novel called “More Than a Friend” and I tried to submit it to a few of the bigger romance imprints. My story was rejected a handful of times because it wasn’t straight genre (one or two rejection letters actually came back citing “too much going on”). I rewrote it several times based on the numerous suggestions I received from helpful editors to eliminate some story, some characters, some conflicts, etc. My story lost focus and, simply put, it didn’t seem to go together anymore. Maybe I didn’t know how to rewrite it for the market back then but now it is hopelessly outdated. If that were to happen to me today, I would investigate other publishers (ie: small press) and I would not limit myself to a straight romance genre house.

I just got this sweater … do you think it compliments my eyes?
I don’t know, I can’t hear what it is saying… (No? And I thought torquoise spots over purple stripes screamed “love me”! Huh, I’ll have to try again.)

If you could be one of your characters who would you choose and why?
Caitlyn Smythe Price from Forgotten (& continued in Within the Law) – she’s a little bit wild and emotional, but she is also a very strong person and ready to face off against anyone for the people she loves.

If you were sick in bed which movie would be your comfort movie and why?
Actually I dislike watching TV or reading in bed, so if I were that sick, I couldn’t quite come up with an answer. Rarely will I watch a movie more than once; I am just no fun that way. I guess my favorite relaxation movies include The Replacements, An American President, and The Pacifier.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Never give up and never get discouraged. Listen to every critique but don’t treat it as gospel. Believe in yourself in order to make others believe in you.

How does your family feel about your writing?
They are very supportive but I doubt that they truly understand how and why my excitement exists over a printed page or a fantasy that’s just running around in my head. They congratulate me on my successes and brag about me to their friends and generally make me feel pretty darn good about myself.

Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I believe I really lucked out meeting the publisher that I did; she is always ready with encouragement and support. She is just so positive that she helps build confidence even when her writers feel a bit unsure. I also have made friends with many other writers, not just with the same publishing company, and I have noticed that, almost without exception, these folks are super friendly, supportive and helpful. These writers have achieved some enormous successes of their own and they are very quick to applaud another’s successes. It’s nice not to have to worry about much of the backbiting that seems to pervade so many other fields.

Chelle … wait, Chelle … oh dear, she’s gone off with one of the cabana boys. I’m sure she’d love for you to stop by her website or friend her on MySpace, Twitter or Facebook. She’d love to have you visit her blog or Yahoo Group. All of her books can be found at Vanilla Heart Publishing.

Chelle is actually very chatty and would love to answer your questions. Feel free to show her some comment love!

 

I am so excited to welcome multi-published author, Kayelle Allen. Whew, the woman came with her own entourage of pool boys and it appears several of her heroes have come to join the party. *wipes drool off chin* This is going to be a couple of very fun days!  

Thanks for visiting Kayelle, could you tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing.
My mother was an artist, and she also wanted to publish short stories and poetry. I think I picked up my love of writing from her. I think I was five when I first saw one of the little cartoons she drew and I was delighted. All through school I was the top student in Grammar and my reports always drew good comments. When I was eighteen, I sat down and started writing. I gave it up for awhile, but eventually came back to my first love. I couldn’t “not” write.

Please tell us about your books.
It’d be easiest if I just list them by publisher, I think. All the Liquid Silver and Loose Id titles are SciFi Romance. The others are mainstream fantasy and contemporary Romance.

Liquid Silver Books
At the Mercy of Her Pleasure
For Women Only
Tales of the Chosen – Wulf
Tales of the Chosen – Alitus
Tales of the Chosen – Jawk

Shadowfire Press
The Last Vhalgenn – 2008 EPPIE Finalist in Fantasy (short story)
Naughty is Nice (Christmas anthology)

Wolfsinger Publications
A Time To… the Best of the Lorelei Signal Vol. 1 (The Last Vhalgenn)
2008 EPPIE Finalist in Fantasy – A Time To… the Best of the Lorelei Signal Vol. 1 Wolfsinger Publications (The Last Vhalgenn)

Loose Id
Coming in Jan 2009 Surrender Love (book one of a trilogy featuring Luc Saint-Cyr)

I love the world of the Kin. How did you come up with all of that?
I’ve always enjoyed both dogs and cats, and I wondered what would happen if humans crossed human and dog or cat DNA and came up with half-human creatures. Would they be feral or more human in nature? How would they look, and what would they be like? Then I thought, what if someone was brilliant enough to do this, and started making centaurs and satyrs, humans with wings, or soldiers who healed so rapidly they never needed medical attention? That fostered the idea of the Sempervians, who are immortal. The next thought that came to me was “what if these creatures were spread across one part of the galaxy and wars separated them from the other parts, and from their creators? They would continue to develop their own cultures, isolated for so many thousands of years that the idea of being created from humans is a mere myth.”

The Kin look human at first glance, but then you notice the pointed cat ears almost atop their heads, and their velvet-appearing furskin — most are golden, but they come in all colors, from solid black to solid white. None are striped or spotted, however. The males grow a pelt (think lion’s mane but on the uppermost part of their chests). They have fangs on the top row of teeth, and their front teeth are less rounded and more pointy. They growl (their word is rrrll) and purr, and unlike Earth’s felines, they can both roar and purr. Sharp claws can be extended from beneath their human-like nails, but their toenails are all claws. Because in the past few hundred years, the birth of females have plummeted, marriages are made with several males to one alpha female. Males have become subjugated and controlled. However, they will fight other males at the flick of an ear to defend their territory and clan holdings. The arrival of Tarthian Empire androids and humans offered unattached and homeless males an opportunity to gain freedom, power, and an income for the first time in their lives, and thousands joined the Armada to serve the Conqueror. Ironically, now there are fewer virile males on the homeworld, but Kin males are able to impregnant humans, and female Kin can easily become pregnant by human males. The resulting offspring are called HalfKin, and they are sterile. At least, so far as we know…

Luc is your favorite character (shhhh, we promise not to tell). Can you tell us about him and where you see him going in the future?
I can’t get enough of this tall, dark, handsome alpha. Luc Saint-Cyr is immortal, and the richest man in the Tarthian Empire. He started out as a bad guy in my first book, but as I wrote him, I saw a side of him that could also be gentle and caring. I purposely switched his character from baddy to good guy throughout the book so readers were thrown off-balance. It was a love/hate relationship. Right up to the end of the book, you don’t know whether to trust him. The punch of the final page reveals a completely unexpected twist. While I was writing the book, my crit group kept asking me about Luc’s book and when I planned to write it. At the time, I didn’t think he really had a story, but as I said, while writing him and developing the character, I began to see that his shadow fell across the entire saga of the Tarthian Empire. My third book featured Luc falling in love with Wulf. It was the start of the Chosen trilogy, and by the end of the series, their love affair was in serious trouble. For those who’ve read Wulf, Tales of the Chosen, and fallen in love with this hot couple, don’t despair. Both Luc and Wulf have their happy ever afters — just (spoiler) — not with each other. That’s what the Tales of the Chosen is all about. The shifting of loyalties and ties, the manipulation of the immortal Luc by other immortals, and his manipulation of them. Luc’s is the kind of story that can’t be told in a few books. I plan many books set in this empire.

In January 2009, the first book in the Surrender trilogy debuts. This is the beginning of Luc and his forever love, his happy ever after. Since he’s immortal, that’s a long, long time to be happy! The books are Surrender Love, Surrender Trust, and Surrender Will. All three feature Luc and his newly-turned immortal Kin lover. (Oh, I have soooo been waiting for Luc to find his true love *rubs hands together*)

If you had super powers what would they be and what would you call yourself?
I’d be Speedy Woman, and my special ability would be to clean the house in the first fifteen minutes of the day, spend four hours writing my next book, a few more hours saving the world from slow connections and traffic jams, and the rest of the day I’d have free to watch 24, The Unit, Torchwood, or something juicy like Dante’s Cove.

Describe your writing space. Do you move around or always write in the same place?
I’m a creature of habit. I always stay in the same place, and I have a small bedroom that’s been converted to a home office. That said, I almost always carry a notebook with me and have been known to pull off the road and scribble down an idea I’ve had. I have a 19″ flat screen LED monitor that’s fantastic, a pc tower that’s on an old table I resurrected and dragged in here, and my desk is a simple white one with a wide pull out tray and shelves on the bottom left. I don’t like being sneaked up on, and when I’m in the thick of writing, I’m oblivious to everything else, so my desk faces the door. Over the top of my desk, against the wall, I have mini shelves with knick knacks and a storage area for software CDs and speakers for my sound system and Nano. Above all that is my mission statement:

“I will give readers a complex plot that immerses them in an erotic tale and provides plenty of unexpected action, in settings so real they’ll swear they’ve been there.”

I also have postcards I’ve created for promos, with art my son Jamin has created for my website. Most importantly, there’s an area where I can put drinks where they won’t tip over and drip on anything electrical. *Ow, zzzzap!*

Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantzer? Do you have comfort drinks or snack foods. Any favorite music you play while writing?
I’m a plotser. I know the overall storyline covering several years, and each book is planned and the blurb and tags written before I start writing (usually). However, I view this as an atlas and the characters are the street-level maps. They take turns I didn’t expect. Sometimes I have to coerce them into U-turns, and sometimes I let them go where they want. Some of my best plot twists have come out that way. As for goodies — I always have water on hand, and either coffee with chocolate creamer, or a caffeine free diet Pepsi or Coke. I like both. When I’m home alone, I eat lunch or dinner in here, but if family is around, we eat in the kitchen. Music? OMG – I spend a fortune on iTunes buying mood music. Each book and character has its own theme songs. About a month into working with my editor on Surrender Love, I came across a song called Surrender Love, by Joshua Perahia, and the lyrics absolutely fit Luc and his younger hero. “Every time I see your face, my pain is gone without a trace, Dying dreams are once again reborn, Surrender, surrender love, surrender, surrender love…” Although I have to admit that Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing is a close second. (Kayelle has a very nice voice … she’s got the cabana and pool boys dancing … oh, that’s not dancing … never mind.)

What happened to the first novel you ever wrote?
The one I wrote at 18? It will never see the light of day, but its seeds are in everything that I’m writing now.

I just got my royalty check and I’m thinking about buying this purse or these boots. Which would you suggest?
Those thigh-high black shiny leather boots with heels and lots of buckles–go with them. You can get a purse anywhere, but boots like that are hard to find. ^_^ (Kayelle knows they match my whip … so the boots it is.)

The editing process is an important aspect of writing. Do you have a routine you follow when going through it?
For personal editing, I read and reread, tinker, twist, and delete, cut words ending in “ly” or “ing” as much as possible. I also look for words like “just”, which is a common word in dialogue, but easy to overuse when writing. I have an entire list of “no no words” that I drag out and search for with my find command.

When my editor sends me an edit, it has track changes turned on, and I either accept or deny the changes made. These edits are my highest priority. When I get an email from her, it goes straight into my edits folder so I can tell I have work to do. *smiles* I open it, download the attachment and go through it right then. We’re almost through with the first run through, and it’s been mostly minor things like house styles that are different from what I’ve used before (for example, ok vs okay). However, the next round will be more detailed. I need to cut about twenty thousand words. Yikes. I’ve already decided to move a sub-plot to the next book, which should take care of about three to four thousand. The last chapter is being completely rewritten to exclude some characters I was introducing for later, and to resolve an issue between two others. I always expect to learn something new and fresh about writing from my editors. I haven’t been disappointed.

You’re now writing full time. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
Working for myself is heavenly. For one thing, my boss is very lenient about work hours and the length of my breaks and lunches. *grins* I spent the last five years working a 40-hour a week job, commuting, and then writing at least 30-hours. Now, I probably write or promo only 50-hours a week, which frees up a lot of personal time. For the first time in a long time, I always have clean, folded laundry that’s in a dresser or closet instead of a basket. >_<  I’ve always treated my writing like a business, and now that discipline is paying off. It’s great.

A hot soak in the tub or a smokin’ BBQ with friends?
First the BBQ, after which I will definitely NEED that soak.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Don’t let anyone steal your dream, including yourself. Cut out any negative self talk. Never use the phrase “I’m only”. You are working toward being the best, and being “only” something is not going to help you achieve that. Stop saying “I’m sorry” unless you’ve hurt someone or missed a deadline. Women especially seem to overuse this phrase. When you send an email, always always always sign your pen name and at least add your website. You don’t know where it might be forwarded or who will see it. Above all, never say anything online that you don’t want even one person to hear. Gossip travels ten times faster than the speed of light and always goes to the wrong person at the wrong time. And don’t ever diss your publisher, editor, cover artist, or another author online, for the same reason as above, plus the fact it will somehow get to any new publisher, editor or cover artist you work with. It could even cost you a contract if you come across as a troublemaker or they think you may speak negatively about them one day.

Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
On November 22, I started a blog tour to celebrate the release of Naughty is Nice – Christmas Anthology with Kayelle Allen and Sultry Summers. “Can a cop and an elf save Christmas for two lonely women?” Follow the tour every day until November 25, and you’ll find a secret page on my website. Everyone who lands there and enters their name will be elible to win a gorgeous latte mug that says Naughty on one side and Nice on the other, and stuffed full of Dove chocolate candy. First place to visit on 11/22 is Coffee Time Romance. (Scroll to the bottom of the main page. NOTE: As of Monday, Nov 24, the link to Kayelle’s page does not appear to be working.) Leave a comment so I can verify you were there, please. You’ll be directed to the next blog stop on the tour for the next day. Please leave a comment at each blog. The winner must comment to qualify for the Naughty is Nice prize.

If you have reached here by following the tour, the next stop in your tour is The Night Raven Muse on November 25. Her blog will give you the secret location on my website where you will find a free download and an opportunity to enter the contest for the Naughty is Nice latte mug filled with Dove Chocolates!

Kayelle will be partying here for a couple of days. But feel free to visit her website, visit her at Coffee Time Forum or friend her on MySpace. She also has a very active Yahoo group and would love to have you join her at Romance Lives Forever. If you’re a writer, you might also enjoy her Marketing Yahoo Group.

Be sure to show her some comment love for a chance at that beautiful mug!

This week I’m happy to welcome multi-published author, Raine Delight. She’s happily sipping some green drink concoction and one of the cabana boys is giving her a foot massage. From the smile on her face. I think she’s ready to answer some in-depth questions ….

Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing.
I am a single mom of two kids ages 7 and 9, have a loving relationship with my  honey of almost three years and live in a small New York town about 40 minutes away from Buffalo. I love to read. Doesn’t matter what it was growing up, I read it. I devour books like no tomorrow and I always wrote something. Soon friends encouraged me to try my hand at writing a novella and Poof! My series Devon Falls came to fruit. I love creating something new and unique. It keeps me going even when my muse decides to take off to the beach to sip mai tais.

Please tell us about your books.
I have 3 books currently available at Aspen Mountain Press in my Devon Falls Series. They are:

Devon Falls: Sticky Magic (Book 1)-found in Babes in Toyland II Anthology

Devon Falls: Red Hot Magic (Book 2)

Devon Falls: Fiery Magic (Book 3)

Stand Alone title:
Fairy Kisses and Magical Dreams Became available November 7th

Could you tell us what made you decide to write the Devon Falls series? 
Devon Falls started out as one book, but then the characters mentioned in Sticky Magic clamored for their own stories and it snowballed into 5 books! I am very pleased with the reactions from reviewers and readers alike at their enjoyment of Devon Falls books. I am currently awaiting word on the release date of the 4th Devon Falls Book, Haunting Magic. The final book is going to be a bigger book than all the others. It is a story that will tie up all the loose ends and you get a sense of what part of it may be in Fiery Magic.

Many of your stories lean toward the paranormal, how did you decide to go in that direction?
I love paranormal. I tried to write straight contemporary and it sucked! *laughs* I always seem to end up with ghosts, goblins or some other paranormal creature popping up in my stories so I just decided to go that way. Two of my Devon Falls books are shifter stories. I am currently working on an Urban Fantasy Romantic Comedy and I also have several other paranormal combination WIP’s in process as well.

If you were a tool what would you be and why?
Duct tape. You can do anything with duct tape…or so my honey says. *Laughs* (That was a little too evil for me … could she have used it on the cabana boys … some of them are missing. Hmmmm …)

Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantzer? Do you have comfort drinks or snack foods. Any favorite music you play while writing?
Oh man, I fly by the seat of my pants when writing. Once I am in the groove, I can get almost 3K down in a manuscript in a few hours. I like music playing as noise since that doesn’t bother me too much. Certain songs call to me though. In some of my books, I was listening to certain musicians and they were incorporated in the story. I have a drink nearby but most of the time I totally forget and end up with cold coffee, tea or watered down juice. (But no one can ignore Nina’s green drinks … here hon, have another.)

If we asked your friends to name 3 personality traits about you, what do you think they would say?
Oh man..maybe loyal, loving and captivating. Yep, I like that last one. *laughs*

What happened to the first novel you ever wrote?
It is sitting in my box telling me to never open it again. LOL It was that bad!

Do you think these pants make my butt look big?
Nope makes you look like you are a size 2! (See, I knew pink plaid spandex was a good choice. Thank you, Raine.)

What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Learn from other authors. They are a wealth of information, tips and other good advice to newbie’s like me. Also some places offer free workshops so always take a look at them and try them out. I learn a lot when I go to them. Also your editor is there to help you no matter what. They offer suggestions to get your words flowing smoothly and make your story shine! I love my editor at AMP since she hits every trouble spot and I am slowly learning to change certain aspects of my writing to smooth out those places.

Who/What do you attribute your success to?
Hard work, perseverance and good luck! Also the support of my honey and children plus online friends has helped me through many things like submissions, contracts and writers block. They are the ones I cry to, yell about and share my good/bad news with!

Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I love to hear from readers. You can email me at rainedelight AT yahoo DOT com and check out my new website as well. I had a professional do me up a new one and it is breathtaking! You can also friend her at MySpace.

Raine would also love for you to join her on her Sinful Seductions Yahoo Loop and you can keep up with her latest releases on her Newsletter Loop. Raine’s got the kids at school and her honey off to work so she’s agreed to sip some margaritas and hang around for the day. Feel free to ask her some questions or just leave a comment to let her know you were here.

 I’m happy to welcome Savanna Kougar to the Writer’s Block this week. Savanna is a multi-published author who’s just a little tied up at the moment. (Hey, she was getting fiesty and it was the only way I could slow her down to answer some questions. Besides … she seems to like the bindings. Just saying …)

Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing.
Hey, I should write a novel about that ~ the ‘how you got into writing’ part. I think my writer’s journey might rival Tolstoy’s War and Peace. But today, we’ll go for the synopsis version. Of course, I was voracious reader growing up, and excelled in reading and writing. When I was thirteen I got a little taste of popularity because I wrote Beatle love stories *talk about a huge age clue here*. Anyway, the other girls would pass them all around in class, giggle and sigh. And when my sis introduced me to THE ROMANCE NOVEL, you know Barbara Cartland fare, well, my fate was sealed.  From that point forward, being in love with love, I devoured all sorts of romance genres, mainly historicals, Jude Deveraux being a favorite, until I read my first paranormal. This was a natural fit, since I’ve studied the paranormal and the mystical for most of my life. Soon though, I couldn’t find the paranormal and otherworld romance stories I wanted to read. And well, you guessed it, I started writing them.

I believe writers are born. What we do, or how we develop our talent from that point, is self-determined. One early clue in my life ~ From the moment my parents read to me, I was entranced by the words themselves. I love how magical words are, not only the images evoked, but the sound or the music of words. Also, a word’s origin, and what it means currently, intrigues me, since the evolution of words is a reflection of our history. Plus, since my creative streak is a mile wide, I experience a thrill at either making up a new word, or finding one that someone else has made up. For example, gigundis and kick-assitude, two of my faves.

The stories I pen, or type, are a fantasy escape for me, and I hope that’s true for the readers. I remember as a kid thinking I’d like to write stories for other people, because reading for me was such a tremendous passion. It was a way to live the adventure and transport myself into another world, one I often preferred to live in, rather than my 50’s Midwest Suburbia life (really white-bread boring and stifling, overall). 

No, give me far away OtherWorlds, with exotic unique cultures. Yes, give me the passion of adventure, think Indiana Jones and Star Wars, here. And, most of all, give me love in all its many varied splendors. I adore the fierce passions between a woman and a man, and that includes the battle of the sexes.

Another fascination is how women and men relate to each other in a long-term affair of the heart. During my admittedly long life, I used to corner anyone who would talk about their love lives as a couple. Okay, most people do like a good listener, and will just spill the love beans. And I mean, the love part, not the sex part ~ that’s just the fringe benefit, if we ended up having that discussion.

As an author, I want to write forever, not tons o’ tragedy. We already have that going on, as a society. Maybe, that’s why Romance Novels, whatever the subgenre, will always thrive.

Please tell us about your books.
Oh boy, let’s see…so far, all of them are considered erotic romance in the paranormal subgenres. My first release was RED LIONESS TAMED from Liquid Silver Books. The blurbage says it all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What does a lioness shifter do when she’s suddenly trapped in an unknown space cruiser’s cargo hold? Then, despite her ability to savagely defend herself she’s trapped beneath the handsome human Captain.

And next, cat-scratching ridiculously, she finds herself carnal-trapped, and meow yowl! bound by leather straps in his bed?

Answer: She fights tooth and claw. Problem: The loner Captain is nova-hot at seducing her.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

However, my first contract was from Siren Publishing for ALL SHADES OF BLUE PARADISE, my aristocratic fantasy of fiercest passion, set in another world dimension I created. I so love living in that world as a writer. But then, to be totally honest, I love living in all the worlds I’ve created. Book II in my blue paradise world, Pleasures of Blue Lotus Oil, is about two thirds written, and contracted to Siren.

My third release, TANGERINE CARNAL DREAMS from Aspen Mountain Press, is a stallion shifter, kick-assitude heroine sci fi adventure on the tangerine aphrodisiac world of Yemisque.

And my fourth release, WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS from Siren-BookStrand, is Sedona and Volcano’s love story. It’s a near futuristic fantasy, about the much vaunted date of December 21, 2012, the end of the Mayan Calendar. After all, the Earth must be saved for humanity.

Probably my next release will be a novella, BLACK CAT BEAUTY from Liquid Silver Books, a purring seductive story for Halloween and beyond. Ooooh, talk about catty fun to write. A black cat shifter girl with a Mae West attitude, who bites off more man that she can chew when her fangs show…or more man than she can screw…to be a bit crude here.

However, my American Title IV finalist manuscript, MURDER BY HAIR SPRAY IN GARDENIA, NEW ATLANTIS, a 2051 futuristic, contracted to Siren Publishing, could give my black cat beauty a chase. I’ve received the first cover art version, which needs some tweaking, and just received the edits, due back at the end of November. I do have real barking concern, though. One of the villains in the story is a killer chihuahua shifter. Well darn, with the movie, Beverly Hills Chihuahua…hey, everyone’s going to think I ripped off the chihuahuas. No, I wrote the first draft of my story two years ago, complete with several chihuahua shifter characters.

I also have a specially contracted book with Siren I’m currently writing for their newest imprint. I’ve been calling it THE SPECIAL SECRET PROJECT since it’s supposed to be hush-hush until the cover art and blurb are up. Let’s just say it’s set in a dark hero world and  there is lots of ‘erotic stimulation’. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the story, which will be, at least, 60,000 plus words.

News flash: I just received a contract from Siren-BookStrand, for a story to be written, titled, Branded by the Texans, a contemporary western set in alternate timeline.

I know you write shifters, tell us a little bit about why you find them so fascinating.
Gosh, that’s, at least, a ten page explanation. Maybe, I should create a heroine who asks that question, hmmm…anyway, they’re wild…and they have feral dangerous powers and super-strength abilities I admire, and wish I had. For a simple example, cats see in the dark better than we do. Wouldn’t that be a neat heightened sense to have?

Truthfully, I’ve always had an affinity for animals ~ a primal understanding of who they are, how they feel, what they want…and how they love. Also, for the past several years I’ve learned a bit about shamanistic practices, where animals are acknowledged and experienced as spirit guides. For an example of basic shamanism, most everyone can relate to Wolves as protectors. If you, say, see a picture of a wolf, hear a story about a wolf (okay, that does not include fans of werewolf stories)…then, maybe, you see a statue of wolf…that’s three wolf signs…and would mean Wolf Spirit is sending you a message. Wolf Spirit could be saying: Ask me to protect you. Or those you love. Because there is someone or something dangerous to you now.

Also, as authors and readers know, people are often said to have certain animal-like characteristics. Like bull-headed or strong as a bull. So, the writer’s best friend…what if? What if that person actually had the ability to shift into what he resembled, that it was part of his genetic makeup, unexpressed….until…you write that, hopefully, best-selling book.

Okay, I’ll shut up about shifters now. Because I could go on forever. (Oh, but those of us who love those shifters … just don’t mind!)

If you came with a warning label what would it read?
Is it merely imagination, or is it a new and unique form of pure insanity? Which must contained for the good of the entire world. Uh, make that the universe.

Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantzer? Do you have comfort drinks or snack foods. Any favorite music you play while writing?
Mostly pantzer! Although, if the outline of a story arrives in the front of my brain, I’ll write it down as a reference, or simply to remember how I want the story to progress. Some of my plots are quite complex, so this becomes important. But, mostly, I fly by the seat of my pants, and write myself in and out of impossible corners. Now, on my current wip, I’ve had to use a certain type of chapter structure simply to keep the story on track and logical, in terms of POV, and the catastrophe-struck world the novel is set in.

Comfort drink ~ an herbal cocoa brew, which is healthy and decadent. Snack foods? Chocolate chips, bunny-shaped organic cheese crackers…mashed potatoes…or, anything I can get myself to eat, since I don’t take the time to take care of myself like I should, sometimes.

Hmmm…music, I wish. But I listen to so much streaming internet radio, the only music I hear is the bumper tunes. Which are often a perfect synchronicity to what I’m writing. For example, when I was working on Black Cat Beauty, I would hear Year of the Cat, plus all the songs that are featured in the story.

What happened to the first novel you ever wrote?
When I was sixteen? It might be buried somewhere in my plastic containers o’ stuff. Yup, there for posterity…that’s it…the plan I’m sticking to…indeed, a great archeological find for the future…yeah, sure.

Hmmm…maybe, I would find it if I ever reincarnate.

Do you think these pants make my butt look big?
Never! Why, I must say, you have an absolutely exquisite posterior. Hey, I think I did heard rumors about you purchasing a flogger recently….true? And is it related to the pleasures of your posterior? (Now, Savanna … that’s just not fair. A woman doesn’t swipe her credit card and tell! Let’s just say … I’m happy standing right here!)

The editing process is an important aspect of writing. Do you have a routine you follow when  going through it?
I don’t know about a routine, other than I’m intensely focused, to the point of excluding about everything else until I’m done. Or until life intrudes in such a way that I have quit working. 

If you had super powers what would they be and what would you call yourself?
Oh! Do I ever wish I had super powers! I want them ALL. These days I’d like to have the power to become a cyber Robin Hood. Slip into the internet Sherwood forest, then rob from the rich and give back to the poor. You know, all those golden parachute criminals…just do a little transference of their ill-gotten wealth into everyone’s bank account. In a way I don’t ever get caught, though.

In fact, I wrote a short scene on my Kougar Kisses blogspot, about what my Halloween costume would have been this year, if I was still in movie starlet shape. My SuperHeroine name ~ Lady Robin Hood.

Describe your writing space. Do you move around or stay in the same room? Music or no music? 
Artistically cluttered, and a chaos of things I love, that’s my writing room…which is so past due for a day of organizing.

The only time I would move around, these days, is if I can’t use my computer, or if I get an inspiration while in bed, and need to write it down.

If you were sick in bed which movie would be your comfort movie and why?
Actually, movies don’t do it for me when I’m sick. If anything, I would read a magazine like Romantic Times. Usually, if I’m that sick, I’d be taking supplements like mad and sleeping, or trying to sleep.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?
I find that a tricky question because of my own odd and off-beat path to finally becoming an author and e-published. My one piece of advice, listen to and follow your intuition.

Oops, another word of advice. It seems Oprah is into Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader, big time. Although, Kindle’s downfall is that it restricts ebooks to only Amazon’s titles, this is a huge step toward the promising future of e-publishing. Give a look, aspiring authors. New York will not remain the publishing capitol.

Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Only, that it is truly the hope of my heart, that you enjoy the passionate love stories of my heroines and heroes, and savor *living* in their OtherRealms.

Wow, Savanna thank you! What an awesome insight you’ve given us into your writing world. You can also find Savanna at her blog, and on MySpace.

Savanna will be hanging around for a couple of days. She’d love to hear from you. Ask her any questions or just show her some comment love!

I’m so excited that I wrangled my critique partner, Jennifer Linforth to come to the Writer’s Block and share her newest release with us. Madrigal: A continuation of Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera is available at Highland Press.

 

Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing.
When I run I tend to look like a drunk muppet. I can’t stand lollipops with gooey centers, the color pink, or bugs that crunch when you step on them. I think frogs are cool, there is not a critter I won’t pick up and I absolutely cannot pronounce pistachio. Beyond that, when I write I must have Strawberry Quik on hand.Go figure. It’s pink. (Oh-kaaay … TMI, but I’m good. How about your writing, Jen. You want to tell us a little bit about your writing?)

As a child, I first picked up a pen and began to write in the last few months before father’s death. I found losing myself in my imagination cathartic due to the nature of his illness. I wrote actively from that point on-full length books, countless poems and short stories (mostly fantasy based). It was many years before I knuckled down and re-visited my dream of being a published author. I lost myself in historical fiction when I contemplated getting a secondary degree in historical archeology. That planted the first seed in my mind that my love of the past could be used once again to weave stories.

Please tell us about your newest release, Madrigal.
Madrigal: A Novel of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera is a continuance of a timeless classic. Here is the story blurb:

Years ago he faked his death and vowed the Phantom would never again haunt the Opera Garnier. But strange packages left by Anna, an unwanted Samaritan turned unlikely friend, causes Erik to desire the unattainable-love.

When Anna’s haunted past puts Christine Daaé in danger, Erik is falsely accused of the vicious crime. The Phantom is reborn as Erik, forced to the brink of insanity, revisits his passion for Christine-the woman he once swore to possess. Fighting the injustice against Erik, Anna struggles to prove his innocence. Standing in the way is her past that cannot be transcended, and years of prejudice labeling Erik more monster than man.

Battling the nobleman determined to lock him away; Erik must save Christine, control his demons, and tame a heart unexpectedly beating for two opposite women: Christine, who he longs to love, and Anna the woman who saw beyond his bitter soul to the man beneath the mask.

In the midst of a brutal manhunt, can he be loved for himself or is he condemned to be

The Phantom of the Opera? Murderer, Maestro, Magician, Mastermind.
~~~~~~~~~~~

The story for Madrigal came from my constant questioning of the death of Leroux’s character, Philippe, Comte de Chagny. It never did sit well with me. Leroux made him an important secondary character, but never revealed much about his role in the plot; mysteriously, he was involved in the affairs in the Opera Garnier, but how? Why? Time, proof, details, evidence were Leroux’s livelihood (he was a jurist for many years). I kept digging in-between the lines of his prose in order to uncover more about this character. Madrigal developed out of lack of evidence on Leroux’s behalf in an angle of his plot and once I built upon it there was no turning back. Though not seen in book one, Philippe de Chagny’s life and death play a large role in the series.

Coupled with my questions regarding Chagny, was a bit of inspiration from opera itself. The early madrigalists often strung four madrigals together to weave a complete story via song. This became the foundation for modern day opera. Voices in a madrigal were manipulated in such way to reflect crying, laugher, sighing etc. I saw this as the inner workings of Erik’s mind. To me, Erik was constantly consumed by music. Such beauty lay coiled underneath the noise of his madness. His mind was never at rest, with music always reflecting some emotion. The emotion behind Madrigal’s madrigal was based off of Shakespeare’s Sonnet twenty-nine. (When in disgrace and fortune in men’s eye, I alone beweep my outcast state…) A story that is a lament that relays a man’s deepest urges for popularity like any man, though his desires and wants are hidden and repressed beneath envy and suffering.

What made you decide to continue a classic piece of literature?
I was revisiting the classics I disliked, actually. As a child I fell in love with the masters of gothic literature. Stoker’s Dracula was the first book I could not put down and I devoured everything I could find from the likes of Edgar Allen Poe. The Victorian era was always a fascinating time period to me, but I could never wrap my brain around the literature taught in school. Dickens, Brontë, Austen-while I adore them now, did not hold the dark romanticism I craved. Gaston Leroux was a master of mystery. He had a way of misleading the reader that simply fascinated me. No author made me wonder as much as Leroux did. My love for The Phantom of the Opera stemmed from a deep respect for a book that had many more questions than answers.

 In revisiting those classics, I stumbled across a book, which continued Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I loved every minute of it. In my opinion it flawlessly wove the original story with Austen’s tale. From there I found other writers who did the same: Brooks, Rhys… Discovering this I was horrified at first-a bit shocked that authors would have the nerve to continue or expand upon a work in the public domain. It prompted me to pick up Leroux’s novel. In doing so I became curious about French nobility. A voracious researcher all my life, I began to read about France in the Victorian era, which led to me studying the history of opera. This fostered a desire to understand Leroux more and more. Why an opera house? What motivated him? How did he view France during the time of this novel since much of Leroux seemed to focus on political satire and class differences. Why-as a jurist-did he leave so many unanswered questions?

Philippe de Chagny was the character that sparked the idea for Madrigal and once I had the opening line in my head there was no resisting the urge to write it. Though he is not see in Madrigal, his life and death play a major role in the series.

Will there be any other books with this theme?
Madrigal is the first in a three book series. Book two of The Madrigals has been submitted to my publisher. It reveals the secrets of Erik (The Phantom) and his mysterious relationship with Philippe de Chagny. The manhunt for Erik continues throughout. Book three is currently being polished. It takes the story into new generations. There is a possibility for a fourth in The Madrigals if my readers desire it to be told.

I know Erik wears a black leather mask in your book … what happened to the white one?
The popular image of the Phantom in a white half-mask is an idea created by Andrew Lloyd Webber, not Gaston Leroux. Many know Lloyd Webber for his stage musical and his 2004 movie based on The Phantom of the Opera. He changed Leroux’s imagery of the Phantom significantly. Initially the white half-mask came out of a need of Michael Crawford’s, the actor singing the role of the Phantom in the musical. He found he could not sing in a full face mask and thus this iconic image of the white half-mask was born. It was taken one step further in the 2004 movie by making it a petite mask that only covered a quarter of the Phantom’s face.

Leroux’s original vision for Erik was that of a sensual monster-not the sexual, romantic leading man Lloyd Webber made him out to be.

If you came with a warning label what would it read?
Feisty when wet

Describe your writing space. Do you move around or always write in the same place?
I adore my office, yet find I only hunker down in there when I am starting or revising a novel. It is a small nook at the end of a hall that is completely and utterly my space. The walls are a deep burgundy with numerous candle sconces. Large windows overlook my balcony (where I sometimes sit and type while sipping a latte) and floor to ceiling bookshelves loaded with research material cover an opposite wall. I surround myself with sentimental items given to me during the course of my career. Looking at them helps to ground me and remind me of all the people in my life who believe in me and my talent as a writer.

When I edit, I move around. I work from a laptop where I use to have a desktop unit. I encourage writers to get the laptop! I find moving from room to room if I need to, helps when I seem to be in a writing slump. Plus-nothing attracts more attention than a writer and a laptop in a café, hotel lobby, book store, or car dealership.

If we asked your friends to name 3 personality traits about you, what do you think they would say?
Snarky.
I enjoy amusing people out of the blue with those “snide remarks” that are often out of character for me. My writing friends have learned to duck and cover the quill when I turn the snark on.

Determined. I am an introvert. That completely contradicts the above snark, but it is the truth. I lock myself away in my imagination and often am a quiet type. When my determination comes forward it does so fiercely. I have had many friends say they admire the drive they see in me in terms of writing. It is a wonderful thing to hear.

Compassionate. This one I have heard all my life. Even as a child I was the one everyone turned to when they needed a shoulder to lean on, a ear to bend or a brain to pick. I take after my mother in this respect. Often I have a hard time pampering myself as a result of wanting to be so compassionate. I am far better at giving to others.

What happened to the first novel you ever wrote?
Return of a Dark Legend? It is still in the black binder sitting on the shelf in my office. I wrote that when I was twelve and I have no plans of ever changing it or attempting to get it published. That book is exclusively mine and I see it as a reminder to stick to your goals and dreams. I should have had the backbone as a child to pursue my career as a writer instead of listening to those around me who encouraged me to pursue a degree in fine art. I keep it within my line of sight so I know never to lose sight of what I want again.

You have a fulltime job and a child. How do you fit writing into your busy schedule?
You adjust. My writing schedule has changed as my child grows and I know it will continue to do so. I thought I would feel guilty for placing my child in daycare on my days off from my regular job, until I came to realize that writing is a fulltime job as well. I have two days a week that are mine. Usually on Mondays I market, blog, plot, write, edit and mentor. Tuesdays are affectionately knows as “typing Tuesdays” and it is that day when I close out the world and knuckle down for a solid 8 hours of writing. I spend time at night, usually from 8 until 11 multi-tasking with interviews, edits, articles and emails in addition to my days off.

I have learned that dust-bunnies do not bite. They may grow but if you glare at them the right way they will slink their furry asses into a corner until a scene is done. Then-you can kill them…

If you were sick in bed which movie would be your comfort movie and why?
The BBC mini-series of Pride and Prejudice. Originally, I adored the 2005 remake until my mother suggested my historical mind might enjoy being wrapped around Colin Firth. How right she was… The detail and brilliant storytelling each actor placed into that story simply makes my mind explode. I like being transported back in time. That movie is one that does it for me every time.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Open your mouth and tell the world that you want to write. I kept silent for far too many years. The CEO of a major NYC press chatted with me a year before I landed my contract for Madrigal. He told me the number one thing I can do for my career is to start acting like a published author before I ever signed on the dotted line. Market yourself even if you are unpublished! Get your name out there. Network! Every small thing you do makes a ripple and ripples eventually turn into waves.

Much of writing is learning. Constantly polish your craft and always seek the advice of others. It does not hurt and it is your choice to take that advice and use it or not. At least you had the courage to ask. You never know when a door is going to open. When that door opens, be ready to walk through it with confidence.

The New England Conference for the Romance Writers of America last year opened with a quote that still is very powerful to me. I encourage every new writer to take it to heart:

“‘Come to the edge,’ he said. ‘We are afraid,’ they replied. ‘Come to the edge,’ he said. They came. He pushed them… and they flew.”

Your original critique partner is an amazing woman and a multi-published author in erotica, how fortunate do you feel that you found her?
You are kidding me, right?

The partnership I have with Nina Pierce is an odd one. I write historical fiction, she writes erotica. Writers are told it is best to have critique partners that are similar in genre. Nina and I are down right opposites when it comes to that. I am usually shoving her butt into broughams with brooding nobles and she is often frisking me with half-naked cops with hard-ons. Sometimes you have to overlook the genre and focus on the partnership. Does your CP understand your voice? Do they know how you develop your themes and characters? Can they yank you out of writer’s block and cheer you on when you meet success? Do they make a killer margarita? The relationship is most important and I am extremely fortunate to have Nina as my partner.

Although when we do attend conferences together we have a mutual understanding. I will not force her to wear a corset and carry a fan around me if she does not make me tie the bartender to her bedpost… (Hey, that was only that once and you promised never to tell. But it is a nice memory … he was totally worth the struggle … Get your mind out the gutter people … he made killer margaritas!)

Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Dickering with well beloved character can be a ticking time bomb. Readers get fiercely defensive of those characters they have grown to love. Writers who continue classic literature are just as passionate. If a writer does not believe in the passion behind a story, that will come across in the writing. Leroux was a lawyer and a journalist. Nothing he did was accidental. The Phantom of the Opera has transcended time for a reason. I hope it will continue to leave many more questions than answers.

When Jen’s not hanging around here, you can find her at her website and her blog. She’d love you to friend her on MySpace or at FaceBook.

Jen knows her way around, so she’s already walked away and seems to be organizing the cabana boys. If I’m not mistaken, that’s the opening bars of the Macarena … and that’s the blender.  *rubs hands together*. This promises to be one heck of a party. So come on in and ask Jen some questions. She’d love to hear from you!

This week I’d like to welcome my featured author, Stormy Glenn. Stormy is author of erotic, paranormal, werewolf, futuristic, contemporary, gay, and Ménage a Trois romances. Whew, that’s a mouthful.

You have a new book out. Please tell us about it.
Secret Desires was released last week, Monday, October 20, 2008 through Siren Publishing’s Menage Amour line.

BLURB:
How do you answer a handsome cowboy when he asks if you want to take a ride on his horse, especially when he guarantees that it will be a wild ride? For Leyland the answer is simple… hell yes! But what if his cowboy already has a lover?

Oh, m/m … what made you choose to go in that direction?
Truthfully, it just kind of happened. I’ve written some regular M/F and M/F/M romances but the M/M stuff just kind of happened. Once it did, I went with it. I don’t think you have to be female or male to understand love. Deep down inside, everyone wants to be loved, find love, find that special someone meant for only them. That doesn’t change just because your gender does. I don’t believe I write M/M or M/F stories specifically. I write love stories.

I know you have many books coming soon. Could you tell us a little bit about them?
I have seven books coming out as of this interview. You never know what tomorrow might bring. Besides, I’m working on about seven other books right now with three others submitted to publishers right now.

  • 1. Forbidden Desires is the sequel to Secret Desires. (Siren Publishing: Due early 2009) Erotic Paranormal, Werewolves, M/M/M, Male Ménage a Trois Romance
  • 2. The Katzman’s Mate (Siren Publishing: Due early 2009) Erotic Futuristic, M/M Romance
  • 3. A Promise Kept (Torquere Press: due March 2009) Erotic, Contemporary, Suspense, M/M Romance.
  • 4. My Lupine Lover (Siren Publishing: Due 2009) Erotic, Werewolves, M/M Romance.
  • 5. Sweet Treats (Siren Publishing: Due 2009) Erotic, Contemporary, M/M Romance
  • 6. Full Moon Mating (Siren Publishing: Due 2009) Erotic Paranormal, Werewolves, M/M Romance. (I am half way through with the sequel to this one right now).

All your characters sound dreamy. How do you come up with them?
Usually it starts with a name, then I build my characters around that. Some names just sound so sexy to me, like Caden…what kind of man do you see in your head when you think of this name?

Others give me the impression of someone feisty or cute. Once I have a name chosen, then I start building the character. What do I want him to look like? Is he tall, short, in between? I love strong alpha males. I’ve always had this belief that they need love more than others. They always have to be strong and powerful, taking care of others. They need that extra bit of love, someone that is dedicated to taking care of them, loving them. So, usually, there is at least one “alpha dominant male type on each story. They just work so well with the smaller hero/heroine that doesn’t take crap from them and isn’t impressed by their “power”.

If you had super powers what would they be and what would you call yourself?
Um… time control maybe. 24 hours in a day just aren’t enough. Then maybe I’d slow down time so my kids wouldn’t grow up so fast. My oldest is going to be twenty in November… 20! When did that happen? I could have sworn he was like… five or something.

It appears you write in all sorts of genres. How did that come about?
Truthfully? I had no idea I would be writing in so many genres until my publisher told me. I was just writing a story. I don’t start a book to fit into a certain genre. I write the book, then figure out where it fits. I truly never know what my book is going to be about until it happens. Sometimes, not even from paragraph to paragraph. I just have a basic idea and start with that. So, I write pretty much anything and everything. You should see the mess that is in my head. I also don’t think, as writers, we should be tied down to one genre. I think it makes a better story to just write it, then figure out where it fits.

Is there one genre you enjoy more than others or find easier to write?
I do like werewolf stories. Considering four of my books are werewolf stories, this may be a tad bit obvious. I think what I like most about them is that “fate” has decreed a mate for them. They don’t have to go on blind date after blind date, just find that special someone meant for them. At least, most werewolf books seem to be that way.

Describe your writing space. Do you move around or always write in the same place? Do you have favorite drinks, snack foods, or music while you’re writing?
My writing space…hehehe. I have two, actually.

In my office, I have my desktop PC, a phone, and TV. I also share an office with my husband. My desk is usually covered with stacks of papers. There’s a “Studs and Spurs” calendar hanging on the wall, and a picture of Matthew McConaughey taped to my wall. Yum!

My other writing space is much more simple, a laptop, my bed, and my “apple blanket” (it’s red with apples on it). I spend my mornings down in my office and move upstairs to my bed in the afternoons and evenings. I like to write while my husband watches TV, so we can at least be in the same room together. Once I move upstairs, I almost always have an iced vanilla mocha with whip cream. It just seems to help get those creative juices flowing. On Saturdays, I spend all day in my room, in my pj’s, writing, and watching B-rated movies. The sci-fi channel plays monster flicks all day long, and I’m addicted to B-rated monster/disaster movies. That’s my “leave me alone, I’m writing” day.

What happened to the first novel you ever wrote?
Um… it’s still on my computer somewhere. Its called “Hidden Valley Ranch”. Not a great title but maybe one of these days I’ll go back and work on it. I wrote it about eight years ago. It’s not bad, but my writing has definitely improved since then.

Do you think these pants make my butt look big?
Oh honey, pink stripe spandex? There should be legal restrictions on who can wear spandex… French bicycle riders maybe, certainly not me. Although, I wouldn’t mind seeing Matthew McConaughey in spandex, and maybe Vin Diesel.

You’re life is full … did I see some mention of six teenagers? How do you squeeze in time for writing? 
Luckily, they are teenagers at this point and spending tons of time with Mom is taboo. My oldest is off in college. My husband and I have drive down to his school and have lunch with him every other weekend. The others have boyfriends/girlfriends, social lives, and extra curricular activities. Between all of that, they are pretty busy. I spend most of the day writing while they are at school.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?
The first thing I would tell them is to never give up. You’re going to receive a zillion rejection letters… expect it. But try to look at it as a learning experience. At least your name is getting out there.

The second thing I would tell you is not to be afraid to ask questions. Most of the authors I have met have been very friendly and helpful. They want to see us all succeed and they know more than you do. And remember that no matter how many books we have published or how long we’ve been in the business, there is always room for improvement.

The last thing I would tell you is to be passionate about what you do… love it, live it, breath it.

Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I’m an author of erotic, paranormal, werewolf, futuristic, contemporary, suspense, gay, and ménage a trois romances. I believe the only thing sexier than a man in cowboy boots is two or three men in cowboy boots. I also believe in love at first sight, soul mates, true love, and happy endings.

When I’m not being a mother to my six teenagers or cleaning up after my two 70 pound lap puppies, you can usually find me cuddled in bed with a book in my hand and a puppy in my lap. Or on my laptop, creating the next sexy characters for my stories. I always welcome comments from readers. You can email her anytime at  stormyglenn@hotmail.com

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While I’m changing out of my striped spandex pants (that match my pink heals and the feather boa quite nicely,  thank you very much) let me tell you where else you can find Stormy. She’s always available on her website or her blog or at Manic Readers. And she’d love to have you friend her at MySpace.

She’s brought over several cowboys and I don’t think I’m letting her leave anytime soon. I’ve got the blender going and she’s looking pretty happy with the margarita in her hand. So don’t be shy, she’d love to answer your questions!

 

No, not the presidential candidate … Jeanne Barrack. She’s taken time from her busy schedule to stop over and visit. Jeanne has all sorts of published books with more coming out all the time. I’ve got her bound all set up in the comfy chair and I’m plying her with lattes (it’s not quite noon here) and with that silly grin she’s flashing … it looks like she’s ready to answer the tough questions.  

Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing.
I’ve been married to my HS sweetheart for more than 30 odd years – and they have been odd. No kids, but always furry companions, first dogs now, kittens.

 I’m a New Yorker born in Brooklyn, the largest borough of the city. I’ve always loved writing but it took the sudden death of my mom to thrust me over the edge. She had always loved the written word, but hadn’t published anything. Just two months after this, I was downsized from my job. With a lot of time on my hands, I let my imagination have free rein. A love of romance and sci fi/fantasy combined into a full-blown story that came to me in a dream — really! That was back in 2004 and I haven’t stopped writing since.

Please tell us about your books.  
Right now I have five full length novels and a short story in a Holiday collection with other authors.

My Loose Id titles include:
No One Else On Earth my first (takes a deep breath here) contemporary, sci fi paranormal shape shifting sex sucking alien vampire with four Big Beautiful Women set in a male strip joint story. <whew!> The title was inspired by the Country Western song of the same name and the strip joint’s name “Real, Bad Boys” was taken from a line in “Real, Good Man”, a song sung by Tim McGraw. The playlist is all country. One of the songs, “Bad Things” can be heard on the new vampire series “True Blood”. The four women represent different facets of my personality and interests. The alien vampire’s name is an inside joke for a very small group of readers. (hint: it’s a real word in a foreign language)

The Crystal Flacon, #5 in the Collector series. This is a stand alone in a multi author series. It was inspired by Lucrezia Borgia. I discovered while doing copious research ( I love research, BTW) that her life has been much maligned. The Crystal Flacon refers to a mythical perfume bottle filled with a magical love perfume. Antonio d’Este, the hero in the story, was inspired by Antonio Banderas who has served as the inspiration for my Spanish hero (one of the guys in No One Else on Earth) and also the gay Frenchman, Aaron deMonde in “The Sweet Flag”

Speaking of The Sweet Flag, this is my first m/m story. It’s a — ready? — paranormal contemporary historical Interracial/Multi-Cultural (IR/MC) story. Over the course of my writing I have included more secondary gay characters. This story was waiting in the wings for me. It combines several strong interests I have: the Civil War, the paranormal, my main character, Brandon Keats, is a gay paranormal investigator seeking gay paranormal phenomena and he and all the other main characters except for one, are Jewish. My upcoming m/m work for ManLoveRomance Press will also center around Jewish characters. More about that in a bit.

My Liquid Silver titles are centered around my long term love of all things Irish, so I’ll talk about those titles in answering your next question

That’s a great segue into my next question. I know you have a love of Irish folklore and I wondered how you fell into that? 
A long, long time ago in a little place called Brooklyn, a wee little Jewish lass fell in love with Irish folk music. Being an obsessive creature, she decided that if she were going to sing the songs — which she did and does — she’d have to know more about the history of the country. Lo and behold, didn’t she discover a bond between the Irish/Ireland and the Jews/Israel? (Clears throat) Both Ireland and Israel were partitioned by the British. Both the Irish and the Jews have suffered religious persecution. Both only regained their independent status in the 20th century. Both have a language full of “ch’s” and also a few words that sound a lot alike. Both have beautiful songs, wonderful writers and sexy men — huh? where did that come from? (Check out Lior Ashkenazi – HOT! and of course, my beloved Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson and, well, the list is endless)

So, when it came time to write about one of my loves – Ireland – I found a home with Liquid Silver’s Terran Realm and The Shimmering Flame was born. It’s centered in the ancient stories of Brigid and the other Celtic gods and goddesses. A Perfect Symmetry, the sequel, will be coming out this winter. It’s sexier than molten silver! With three menages and two really evil villains.

A Song of the Sidhe was directly inspired by Irish music. It’s taken from a Gaelic song performed by Mary O’Hara – the first one, not ths new upstart. It found a new home with more stories and characters over with Liquid Silver this summer.

I wondered if you could tell us more about your m/m book. I wondered why you chose to go in that direction and a little bit more about the story? 
The Sweet Flag …
 I love this story. And it sparked some of my strongest responses from readers and reviewers. For the longest time as I’ve written more and more erotic romance, I found that some of my favorite or strongest secondary characters were gay. I’m also a huge fan of Antonio Banderas. Some of his best films in both Spanish and English have gay themes. Watching Antonio make love to another man as in his Spanish films – check  out “La Ley del Deseo” – The Law of Desire – and who could forget him as Tom Hanks lover in “Philadelphia”? Plus, I wrote fan fic with Antonio and of course, there was some slash with those.

The story of The Sweet Flag takes place during both the present and the past. The main character, Brandon Keats, is gay and a “ghost hunter”. He finds out about a legend called the Vigilant Soldier, a Civil War ghost who visits the same grave every 20 years. As he researches the story behind the ghosts, he feels that the two soldiers may have been lovers. When he decides to visit the grave on Memorial Day night when the ghost is said to appear, he is rescued from a massive lightning and thunderstorm by a mysterious Frenchman, Ron Tayvail. Ron tells him that he’s the grave’s caretaker, knows the families of the men involved and will tell Brandon *everything* about the men if he’ll share his bed for a week. Brandon agrees and finds out more than he bargained for.

The story behind the legend focuses on the relationship between Matthew Hardesty, the Christian son of a wealthy Southerner, and Aaron deMonde, the bastard son of a minor French nobleman and his mulatto lover of mixed Jewish and black blood. It’s not only Matthew and Aaron’s sexual relationship that must be hidden during this period in history, but the very fact of Aaron’s mixed blood adds to their situation. Because Aaron can pass for white, they remain together when Matthew enlists in the Army. Throughout this story, I referred to the social aspect of miscegnation and also another twist on a traditional paranormal genre.

Because of my love and knowledge of my Jewish cultural heritage and religion, I decided to combine both interests. I am very excited about writing these new stories for ManLoveRomance Press. The stories are set during the late 19th century and the world of the traveling Yiddish theater in Eastern Europe. These tales are straight <g> historicals. I hope to write more stories with a paranormal mix.

If you had super powers what would they be and what would you call yourself? 
The Equalizer’s my name and sharing the wealth is my game. I would have the power to give folks in need exactly what they lack, be it money, shelter, health or knowledge. Zap! You need it? You got it! I know it’s not a flashy power, but I think in today’s world, we could use someone who could at least even the playing field.

Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantzer? Do you have comfort drinks or snack foods? Any favorite music you play while writing?
Plotter now. I at least write out a broad outline of my stories, especially since I’m working on sequels and new territories. I use the synopsis/outline as a guide and though I don’t always stick to it exactly, it does help to remind me ofcertain points or scenes I need to make.

I don’t eat and write at the same time – I’m not that agile! I don’t have music playiong while I write – too distracting. I do have the TV in the background, kinda like *white* noise.

When you’re reading someone else’s books what about a man is a turnoff and why?
Too alpha to listen to what the heroine tells him. I like a take charge guy, but I find that if a character doesn’t pay attention to his supposed love, I lose patience with him.

A hot soak in the tub or a smokin’ BBQ with friends?
A hot soak. I love silky water soothing my tired bones. (She seems to be enjoying the satin feel of the cabana boy’s backrub too. Stay with me Jeanne, just a couple more questions.)

What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Finish the book! Don’t get so attached that you keep going over and over and over it and never release it into the wild. Don’t give up, but listen to people who know and sieve through their advice.

Who/What do you attribute your success to?
My husband’s faith in me and my mom’s talent that I hopefully inherited.

Anything else you’d like to share with your readers? 
I hope you’ll check out my new website and the link to the month-long contest I’m having. Info on my newsletter blog and The Celtic Realm of Fancy, and my Sweet Flag blog for all things m/m.

Jeanne, I … oh, never mind … seems she’s just convinced the cabana boys to untie her and she’s off. Who knows what kind of research she’ll be doing. If I know her, she’s singing them some of those Irish diddies she’s been known to perform.

I know she’d love to hear from you. Don’t hesitate to show her some comment love. I’m sure I’ll be able wrangle her in a little while and get her to answer some questions if there’s anything else you’d like to know … 

 

Please tell us about your books.  
I have 3 series at 3 publishers. Liquid Silver has the Bonded fantasies, where everyone has magic, and a race of shapeshifting warriors needs human women. I’ve just finished work on the fifth Bonded book, Honor Within. The hero, Burke, is really damaged. Why women love fucked up men is a mystery, isn’t it?

Loose Id has Team Epsilon 983, a polyamory scifi. It just released on Sept 23, and is the hottest thing I’ve ever written. I thought I would combust when I worked on the final 5 person ménage. (5 people? That’s a lot of umm … body parts to keep track of! 😉 )

Samhain has (of Nov 1) the Singer series, in which three friends plot a rebellion in a post-apocalyptic future.

I love your Bonded series, what made you decide to go in that direction?
I finished Wild Within, and the world and characters just sparked more ideas. Plus, I’m lazy and if I can reuse a world I’ve already created, then why not? Now I’m so addicted, it’s sad. I want to disappear into that world, be adopted by a beast, and live happily as an earthmage. I was always a fanciful child, but it’s a little less attractive feature in an adult.

Your characters in the “Bonded” series are part of a clan. How did you come up with them?
I love shapeshifter stories. Back before I thought of myself as a writer, when it was something that I did in secret, I spent a day or so with my journal just brainstorming, trying to figure out a new take on them. Why have just wolves? Why make them a secret? But then wouldn’t they be more powerful than humans, and wouldn’t their status reflect that? Why would they be interested in human women? I was influenced by my pagan faith, wanting a world where elemental magic was vital. Because I read runes, I know a lot about the culture of ancient Scandinavia, so the warriors in the Clans were influenced by Vikings. The best way to discover the Clans was to introduce them through the eyes of an outsider, and so the kickass KarRa was born. After she started to talking to me, the story just rolled out with all of this mishmash supporting her.

If you came with a warning label what would it read?
Warning: this woman looks normal but inside she is scattered, silly, and sexy.

I just got my royalty check. I’m thinking about buying this new flogger … any opinions?
Good luck? (Oh, Mima with this bad boy, it’s not luck I’m hoping for, hon!)

I know you write “shifter” stories, what attracted you to that genre?
We all wear masks. Shifters just have a bigger one. And if your core is animalistic, there’s a perception that you might live in a purer, more essential way.

Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantzer? Do you have comfort drinks or snack foods. Any favorite music you play while writing?
Pantster!  Once I started into the Bonded series, and realized I was gonna go with a book for each Clan, I thought, “Crap. Now I gotta make sure they’re all really different. I’m going to have to, like, be purposeful.” So I mapped out the rest of the series, in a loose sort of way. And I promptly froze. I didn’t write for 3 months. My brain started a gazillion other plot bunnies (the Server series was born).  The amount of avoidance and phobia I had about writing once I knew the story’s direction was staggering. I rewrote the beginning of that next book, Honor Within, 5 times. I think discovering the unknown is part of my author-ish-ness. Obviously, I have to grow as an author and get over this.  Cross your fingers that book 6 graduates to, say, only 4 rewrites. I write in silence. I eat candy while I write: spree, smarties, bottlecaps.

If we asked your friends to name 3 personality traits about you, what do you think they would say?
Loyal, cheerful, childlike. They actually tell me this often.

What thing about a hero is a turn off for you when reading a book? Anything about heroines that drive you insane?
I really dislike the librarian/model/homemaker heroine who insists on going with her Navy Seal on a drug mission because it’s her right to face the bastard who murdered her sister. Puh-lease. And I don’t think much of the hero who lets her go. Gawd, I hope I didn’t just inadvertently describe some book. I made that up, but I’ve read lots like it. Everything else in the book could sparkle, but once an author sets up that situation, I’m disgusted.

The editing process is an important aspect of writing. Do you have a routine you follow when going through it?
I’m too new, and have worked with too many editors, for a routine. I learn something from every editor I work with.

You have a fulltime job. How do you fit writing into your busy schedule?
Shuh. I can’t write in small blocks. I need chunks of time, so it’s a problem. The house doesn’t get clean very often. Sometimes I stay up all night, until my fingers are bloody stumps. Depends on how much I want to escape into the story.

A hot soak in the tub or a smokin’ BBQ with friends?
I have 2 non-digital friends. One’s a non-dairy vegan and one’s an Italian who takes food seriously. So the BBQ really wouldn’t work. Can I have hot tub with friends? (The Cabana boys are starting the bubbles as we speak …)

How does your family feel about you writing smoking hot erotica?
My mom and dad are very happy for me, because they know I’ve written and read romance all my life. But they don’t want to read it, and they don’t tell their friends. I’m ok with that, cause Mima is a pen name (although it’s my real nick in life). I’m not out to coworkers, so if I can hide, they can, too. My friends are really supportive.

Wow, that one flew by. Thanks so much for sharing some of your time to hang out at Around the Writer’s Block. When Mima’s not here you can find her at her website where she’s got some excerpts and reviews. And she’d love to have you friend her on MySpace.

But she’s already settled in to the hottub with an umbrella drink. I’m sure I can pull her from the bubbles if you’d like to ask her some questions or just show her some comment love!

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I want to welcome fellow Maine author and suspense/paranormal writer, Teagan Oliver. I gotta tell you, it took more than several cups of coffee to get her here so early in the morning. But the cabana boys are massaging her neck and feet and she has this really dreamy expression. I’m thinking I can ply some info out of her.

Please tell us about your books.
I have two very different stories. The first, Obsidian, is a romantic suspense, set on the Maine coast in a town very much like the one I grew up in. As a Special Investigator for the U.S. Coast Guard, Jamie Rivard handles volatile cases daily, but when his friend is killed in an explosion, he goes to Maine to find the answers no one wants to give. Shelby Teague lost her husband to the harsh life on the ocean. So, when her brother suddenly disappears, Shelby must put aside her own fears and put her trust in a stranger to help her get him back.

My second book, The Three Truths of Katie Talmadge is a sweet paranormal romance. It’s my attempt at my childhood favorite, Cinderella. Katie Talmadge is perfectly happy with her little flower shop in Salem, Massachusetts. But with one week until Halloween, fate with a little help from an eccentric charmer named Rita, help Katie discover that sometimes being happy with your life just isn’t enough.

Simon Thorton has had enough of his Aunt Rita’s matchmaking, magical, meddling. He’s more than happy living with his memories. But when he agrees to assist his aunt and Katie, he finds that fate can sometimes give you more than one great love in a lifetime… if only he has the courage to find it.

Wow, both of them sound wonderful and they’re so different. Did you find writing one more enjoyable than the other? 
I love writing both. I can’t actually see myself writing anything else, but those. They present different challenges for me, like finding the right piece of a puzzle. With Romantic Suspense I must successfully weave the romance with the suspense. With the paranormal, I push myself to write stories that entice the reader, and sometimes, suspend the believable. I’ve moved on from the sweet paranormal now, though. I just finished a psychic stalker story and I’m currently working on a dark paranormal romance complete with an Immortal and a few fey creatures that lurk the graveyards of New Orleans. 

How do you find the inspiration for your stories and more specifically, your characters?
Obsidian came out of one single incident. My dh, who rarely can say no when anyone asks a favor, had offered to let a friend put his very expensive boat in our yard for sale. It was supposed to be there three weeks. It was there for three months. Worse, it was outside my bedroom window and someone stole a motor off the boat. My anger found an outlet when I blew it up within the first few pages of Obsidian. (Remind me not to get on your bad side, Teagan. *vbg*)

As for Three Truths, the meager beginnings of it came about when I dragged my husband to Salem for the day. That was the inspiration for the setting. The inspiration for the relationship between Rita and her nephew, Simon, are very much based on my relationship with my nephew. I think he needs to look beyond his boundaries… he thinks I’m a manipulating, matchmaking…. Well, you can fill in the rest.

If you had super powers, what would they be and what would you call yourself? 
Tough one! Whatever it would be would not require me to wear spandex. I wasn’t attractive in the 80’s when I wore it and there have been quite a few years since then that weren’t that kind to me. It’s better for all if I don’t travel that road again. I guess I’d settle for having the ability to read minds and know exactly when editors and readers are looking for… (I love spandex. Of course, only when the cabana boys are wrapped in it!)

Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantzer? Do you have comfort drinks or snack foods. Any favorite music you play while writing?
I’m half and half when it comes to plotting. Usually, I’ll write free range until I can’t figure out which way to go and then I’ll sit down and do the plotting. This helps get me through the rough spots (mainly, the entire middle). As for treats? Coffee, coffee, and more coffee… I live on coffee. I have to buy it in quantity. I haven’t reached Rachel Ray’s ten cups a day, but that’s only because I haven’t got time for it. And as for music? I rarely listen to music when I write, but I am more likely to put on a podcast and listen to it through the headphones. I figure if something sinks in then I’ve learned something for the day. If not, then the headphones have the added benefit of blocking out the noise from the kids.

I need new curtains for my bedroom, which of these would you pick?
You’re supposed to have curtains? Dang, I’ve been in my house for almost sixteen years and I’ve only got them on about half the windows. Then again, the neighbors would probably appreciate it if I’d finished the process.

What, if anything, is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Probably the hardest part for me is waiting. Writing is a profession where you pour your heart out and then put it out for someone to critique. And the critiquing often doesn’t happen overnight. I waited twelve years to sell my first book. And I’m not known as a patient person.

If we asked your friends to name 3 personality traits about you, what do you think they would say?
Stubborn, Passionate… and did I mention Stubborn? These Irish genes aren’t dominant in me for nothing!

If you could be one of your characters who would you choose and why?
There’s a little bit of me in all of the characters. Even the bad ones. I mentioned the manipulative aunt in Three Truths, but even Shelby had my passion for growing up near the ocean. I don’t think that I could write characters that weren’t somehow a reflection of a part of me.

You have a fulltime job. How do you fit writing into your busy schedule?
I get asked this question a lot. Frankly, I haven’t got a clue how I’ve managed to write the books. There is no secret, no set schedule. Usually, my day includes chaos, destruction and a healthy dose of carting kids back and forth. I cherish whatever time I can get to myself and I’ve been known to write six or seven pages long hand during my half hour lunch break at work. I’m not sure what I’d do if I actually had an empty schedule. I think I’d probably implode!

A deserted island, Las Vegas, or a trip to the moon (if it were free)?
Las Vegas, but only if Grissom was there. But then, that would mean I was probably dead. So, maybe the deserted island would be best. I’m extremely resourceful when it comes to making do with very little.

Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
The biggest news is that Obsidian is set to be released as a large print on October 17 from Thorndike Press. Also, I’m going to be speaking at the New Jersey RWA, Put Your Heart in a Book Conference, October 24, 25 and 26 in Iselin, NJ. That conference is always a grand time. If you are there, stop by and say hello.

Thanks, Teagan … yes, you can get another cup of coffee. Yes, the cabana boys will be around for awhile. Wait, not the pool house … don’t close the curta… okay, so Teagan’s taking a break. Let me tell you that when she’s not hanging out here, you can visit her website and at her blog. Teagan also blogs about all things paranormal as her alter ego GhostGirl.

It looks like she’ll be here for awhile, so feel free to ask a question or just show her some comment love.

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