Joan Swan

>Interview & Giveaway with Lori Wilde

>Update 11/16/11 7:07am: I will include all entries received until I get around to choosing a winner this morning **G** Thanks for coming by!!

Today’s guest is New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lori Wilde. She has sold 64 novels and novellas to four major New York Publishing houses.

Her new release The Christmas Cookie Chronicles: Carrie: A Twilight, Texas Story releases tomorrow, November 15th. We’ve got giveaways — and I’m trying out Rafflecopter, so let me know what you think!

Come join a meeting of the First Love Cookie Club!

“On Christmas Eve, if you sleep with kismet cookies under your pillow and dream of your own true love, he will be your destiny.”

Carrie MacGregor doesn’t believe this—not one bit. She might be a “paid up” member of the Cookie Club and the local Sweethearts Knitting Club, but she’s not about to give in to the forced ho-ho-ho of the season. And why?

Mark Leland. When he left town he broke Carrie’s heart. Now, the local-guy-made good is back, hosting the reality show “Fact or Fantasy.”

Fact: Mark broke her heart. Fantasy: her friends think they’ll be getting back together. But could the magic of a Twilight, Texas Christmas make Carrie’s secret dreams come true?

Get your copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Lori, tell us about your upcoming release.
I’m very excited about these three Christmas ebooks that continue to follow the adventures of the club members from my Twilight, Texas series. Book one is about Flynn MacGregor’s sister, Carrie, who’s fully coming into her own as a woman, when the handsome man she impulsively married in Vegas when she was seventeen comes back to town determined to debunk the Sweethearts myth.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?
Getting to revisit characters I’ve known and loved right along with my readers.

What sparked the idea for this book/series?
The huge success of my Twilight, Texas series. I’d left a lot of loose ends dangling and these ebooks were a way for readers to find out what happened to all those secondary characters when they get books of their own.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?
The hero a reality TV host come back to town to debunk the romantic myth that brings tourists flooding into Twilight. If he debunks the myth, it not only threatens the town, but his happily-ever-after with Carrie.

Why did you put these two together?
I wanted to explore the dynamics of a hero who made a huge success paired with the woman he left behind in order to achieve that success.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
The villain in this book is the hero’s boss. She’s in the story to put pressure on him to chose his fast lane lifestyle over his hometown and high school sweetheart.

What was the hardest part of this book to write and why?
The hardest part is juggling my schedule. I teach writing, am going to school for my Masters degree and I write five books a year.

Tell us something unusual about rhe creation of this book.
To research the hero’s career, I had to watch a lot of reality T.V.

What do you love most about this book/series?

Getting to revisit the characters and town. I really love Twilight, which is based on a real town where I once lived.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?

That dreams can come true if you just dare to believe!

Does your novel have a theme? How did that come about?
All my novels have themes. I consider the theme before I ever write the book. The theme guides ever aspect of my writing from character development, to plot, to the choice of clothing the characters wear. I believe theme is one of the most important elements of any good story.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Stephen King

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
My father. Before he retired he was a teacher, journalist and songwriter. He gave me Dwight Swain’s book, Techniques of the Selling Writer when I was thirteen. He’s my real mentor.

How does your family view your writing career?
They’re very proud and supportive. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive family. I’m blessed.

What entity do you feel supports you most in your writing career outside of family members?
RWA.

What is your writing routine?
It’s crazy and follows no set pattern. If I’m on deadline I’ll write 60-80 hours a week or more. So I’m writing from the time I get up, to the time I go to bed. If I’m not on a tight deadline (which is rare), I’ll get up and write for three to four hours in the morning and then take the rest of the day off.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?
FB, Twitter, Blog, email, snail mail, newsletters.

What are you reading now?
I usually read three or four books at once. I’m reading a book on health, a book on psychology, a book on writing and the ARC of Piper Maitland’s Acquainted with the Night. It’s an awesome book!

What is in your TBR pile?
Um, do you have all day? I have a TBR that stretches to the ceiling.

What would you like to tell readers?
Keep reading! Authors wouldn’t exist without you. Thank you, thank you. I am so grateful for readers.

What is your preferred genre to read for pleasure?
Historical fiction.

Do you have a second career? 
I’m a writing teacher and now, an editor for Entangled Books.

What did you do before you became a full-time writer?
I was a registered nurse for 20 years.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Emotion, emotion, emotion, emotion. And a compelling voice.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started writing?
How extremely difficult it is. I would have worked harder much sooner.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
The plot springs from character. Fully develop your characters and you’ll know your plot. I use the Enneagram to create compelling characters.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Persistence, determination, stubbornness.

How would you best describe your books?
Heartfelt.

What would you write if you could do write anything you wanted to write?

Honestly, I can’t answer that. I write what I know will sell. I make a living doing this. I can’t afford to indulge my whims. This is a career for me. I love storytelling, but I want to write what readers want to read.

What do you most like about writing? Least like?
Everything. I live and breathe it. I love how hard it is. What I like least? The fickleness of the publishing business.

Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
They’re all special in their own way.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Hitting the NYT and USA Today list. It only took 20 years.

What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?
Hmm, not sure what this means. Probably my intensity. I’m pretty single-minded about writing. I truly eat, breathe and sleep it.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Watch movies. Knit. Play angry birds. Travel.

What are your current projects?
I’m currently writing a new three book series for Blaze. I’ve also got a new series coming up with Avon next year about cutting horse cowboys.

Where can we find you online?
www.loriwilde.com

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents? If So, What?
I can tie a cherry stem with my tongue.

Are You The Same Person You Were As A Child, Or Much Different?
Much different! I’ve was extremely shy to the point of pathology. I knew I had to overcome that if I wanted to be a writer. Yes, writers need to be extroverted at times. So bit by bit, I learned to put myself out there. Now, I have so much fun, I’d never go back to being shy.

Do You Believe That The Cup Is Half Empty Or Half Full?
Half-full.

Favorite Midnight Snack?
I recently got healthy, so that’s changed. Once upon a time it would have been chocolate chip cookies. Now it’s spaghetti squash with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. I feel so much better now!

Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert?
I’m still an introvert, but I have to get out every two-three months or I go stir-crazy.

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?
Aisle! Don’t hem me in.

Do You Like Short Or Long Hair On A Guy?
Short.

Ever Hit A Jackpot On A Slot Machine?
Nope. I don’t play slots.

How many pillows do you like to sleep with?
Two since I tore my rotator cuff.

Do you believe in snipes?
Nope.

Which do you like more—rainy days or snowy days?
It rarely snows in my neck of the woods, so snow.

What is Your Favorite Beverage?
Iced tea.

Do You Have A Recurring Dream? What Happens In It?
It’s the unprepared dream. I’m back in nursing, the shift is over and I haven’t done a thing.

Are You Usually Late, Early Or Right On Time?
I am usually right on time; but I’m married to guy who runs late. It drives me crazy when he makes me late.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lori Wilde has sold 64 novels and novellas to four major New York Publishing houses. She holds a bachelors degree in nursing from Texas Christian University and a certificate in forensics. She has also served as the RWA National conference workshop chair and PAN retreat chair. In 2007 she was honored by her local college as alumna of the year.

Lori is a past RITA finalist and has four times been nominated for Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. She’s won the Colorado Award of Excellence, the Wisconsin Write Touch Award, The Lories, The More Than Maggie, the Golden Quill, The Laurel Wreath and The BestBooks of 2006 Book Award.

Her books have been translated into 22 languages and excerpted in Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Complete Woman, All You and Quick and Simple magazines. She lives in Texas with her husband Bill.



Interview & Giveaway with Lori Wilde

>Update 11/16/11 7:07am: I will include all entries received until I get around to choosing a winner this morning **G** Thanks for coming by!!

Today’s guest is New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lori Wilde. She has sold 64 novels and novellas to four major New York Publishing houses.

Her new release The Christmas Cookie Chronicles: Carrie: A Twilight, Texas Story releases tomorrow, November 15th. We’ve got giveaways — and I’m trying out Rafflecopter, so let me know what you think!

Come join a meeting of the First Love Cookie Club!

“On Christmas Eve, if you sleep with kismet cookies under your pillow and dream of your own true love, he will be your destiny.”

Carrie MacGregor doesn’t believe this—not one bit. She might be a “paid up” member of the Cookie Club and the local Sweethearts Knitting Club, but she’s not about to give in to the forced ho-ho-ho of the season. And why?

Mark Leland. When he left town he broke Carrie’s heart. Now, the local-guy-made good is back, hosting the reality show “Fact or Fantasy.”

Fact: Mark broke her heart. Fantasy: her friends think they’ll be getting back together. But could the magic of a Twilight, Texas Christmas make Carrie’s secret dreams come true?

Get your copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Lori, tell us about your upcoming release.
I’m very excited about these three Christmas ebooks that continue to follow the adventures of the club members from my Twilight, Texas series. Book one is about Flynn MacGregor’s sister, Carrie, who’s fully coming into her own as a woman, when the handsome man she impulsively married in Vegas when she was seventeen comes back to town determined to debunk the Sweethearts myth.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?
Getting to revisit characters I’ve known and loved right along with my readers.

What sparked the idea for this book/series?
The huge success of my Twilight, Texas series. I’d left a lot of loose ends dangling and these ebooks were a way for readers to find out what happened to all those secondary characters when they get books of their own.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?
The hero a reality TV host come back to town to debunk the romantic myth that brings tourists flooding into Twilight. If he debunks the myth, it not only threatens the town, but his happily-ever-after with Carrie.

Why did you put these two together?
I wanted to explore the dynamics of a hero who made a huge success paired with the woman he left behind in order to achieve that success.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
The villain in this book is the hero’s boss. She’s in the story to put pressure on him to chose his fast lane lifestyle over his hometown and high school sweetheart.

What was the hardest part of this book to write and why?
The hardest part is juggling my schedule. I teach writing, am going to school for my Masters degree and I write five books a year.

Tell us something unusual about rhe creation of this book.
To research the hero’s career, I had to watch a lot of reality T.V.

What do you love most about this book/series?

Getting to revisit the characters and town. I really love Twilight, which is based on a real town where I once lived.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?

That dreams can come true if you just dare to believe!

Does your novel have a theme? How did that come about?
All my novels have themes. I consider the theme before I ever write the book. The theme guides ever aspect of my writing from character development, to plot, to the choice of clothing the characters wear. I believe theme is one of the most important elements of any good story.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Stephen King

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
My father. Before he retired he was a teacher, journalist and songwriter. He gave me Dwight Swain’s book, Techniques of the Selling Writer when I was thirteen. He’s my real mentor.

How does your family view your writing career?
They’re very proud and supportive. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive family. I’m blessed.

What entity do you feel supports you most in your writing career outside of family members?
RWA.

What is your writing routine?
It’s crazy and follows no set pattern. If I’m on deadline I’ll write 60-80 hours a week or more. So I’m writing from the time I get up, to the time I go to bed. If I’m not on a tight deadline (which is rare), I’ll get up and write for three to four hours in the morning and then take the rest of the day off.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?
FB, Twitter, Blog, email, snail mail, newsletters.

What are you reading now?
I usually read three or four books at once. I’m reading a book on health, a book on psychology, a book on writing and the ARC of Piper Maitland’s Acquainted with the Night. It’s an awesome book!

What is in your TBR pile?
Um, do you have all day? I have a TBR that stretches to the ceiling.

What would you like to tell readers?
Keep reading! Authors wouldn’t exist without you. Thank you, thank you. I am so grateful for readers.

What is your preferred genre to read for pleasure?
Historical fiction.

Do you have a second career? 
I’m a writing teacher and now, an editor for Entangled Books.

What did you do before you became a full-time writer?
I was a registered nurse for 20 years.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Emotion, emotion, emotion, emotion. And a compelling voice.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started writing?
How extremely difficult it is. I would have worked harder much sooner.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
The plot springs from character. Fully develop your characters and you’ll know your plot. I use the Enneagram to create compelling characters.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Persistence, determination, stubbornness.

How would you best describe your books?
Heartfelt.

What would you write if you could do write anything you wanted to write?

Honestly, I can’t answer that. I write what I know will sell. I make a living doing this. I can’t afford to indulge my whims. This is a career for me. I love storytelling, but I want to write what readers want to read.

What do you most like about writing? Least like?
Everything. I live and breathe it. I love how hard it is. What I like least? The fickleness of the publishing business.

Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
They’re all special in their own way.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Hitting the NYT and USA Today list. It only took 20 years.

What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?
Hmm, not sure what this means. Probably my intensity. I’m pretty single-minded about writing. I truly eat, breathe and sleep it.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Watch movies. Knit. Play angry birds. Travel.

What are your current projects?
I’m currently writing a new three book series for Blaze. I’ve also got a new series coming up with Avon next year about cutting horse cowboys.

Where can we find you online?
www.loriwilde.com

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents? If So, What?
I can tie a cherry stem with my tongue.

Are You The Same Person You Were As A Child, Or Much Different?
Much different! I’ve was extremely shy to the point of pathology. I knew I had to overcome that if I wanted to be a writer. Yes, writers need to be extroverted at times. So bit by bit, I learned to put myself out there. Now, I have so much fun, I’d never go back to being shy.

Do You Believe That The Cup Is Half Empty Or Half Full?
Half-full.

Favorite Midnight Snack?
I recently got healthy, so that’s changed. Once upon a time it would have been chocolate chip cookies. Now it’s spaghetti squash with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. I feel so much better now!

Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert?
I’m still an introvert, but I have to get out every two-three months or I go stir-crazy.

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?
Aisle! Don’t hem me in.

Do You Like Short Or Long Hair On A Guy?
Short.

Ever Hit A Jackpot On A Slot Machine?
Nope. I don’t play slots.

How many pillows do you like to sleep with?
Two since I tore my rotator cuff.

Do you believe in snipes?
Nope.

Which do you like more—rainy days or snowy days?
It rarely snows in my neck of the woods, so snow.

What is Your Favorite Beverage?
Iced tea.

Do You Have A Recurring Dream? What Happens In It?
It’s the unprepared dream. I’m back in nursing, the shift is over and I haven’t done a thing.

Are You Usually Late, Early Or Right On Time?
I am usually right on time; but I’m married to guy who runs late. It drives me crazy when he makes me late.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lori Wilde has sold 64 novels and novellas to four major New York Publishing houses. She holds a bachelors degree in nursing from Texas Christian University and a certificate in forensics. She has also served as the RWA National conference workshop chair and PAN retreat chair. In 2007 she was honored by her local college as alumna of the year.

Lori is a past RITA finalist and has four times been nominated for Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. She’s won the Colorado Award of Excellence, the Wisconsin Write Touch Award, The Lories, The More Than Maggie, the Golden Quill, The Laurel Wreath and The BestBooks of 2006 Book Award.

Her books have been translated into 22 languages and excerpted in Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Complete Woman, All You and Quick and Simple magazines. She lives in Texas with her husband Bill.



>NYT Bestseller Anita Clenney Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway!

>Today, I welcome NYT and USA Today Bestseller Anita Clenney! Anita’s celebrating the release of her second book in the Highland Warrior series, Embrace The Highland Warrior. And we have a giveaway of a copy of the book and 5 custom handmade bookmarks. Simply comment to enter!

Anita, tell us about your upcoming release.

Here’s a blurb:

 Cody MacBain let the woman of his destiny slip away. A member of an ancient clan of Scottish warriors, he grew up beside Shay Logan as her secret protector, but his heart compelled him to become more. Until Shay’s true identity was revealed, and the fated pair’s chance was gone…

But danger will drive them back into each other’s arms…

Shay fell for the boy next door, suspecting nothing of the ancient secrets he guarded. After a stinging betrayal, she’s determined to banish the memories of her first love forever. But the past can’t let go, and the boy she once loved has returned to her a warrior determined to protect her from the unspeakable evil fate has planned…

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?
I love the emotion between Cody and Shay, the powerful connection they shared, and I love watching them try to reconnect now. They’ve changed so much, but the elements of their past are still there. I also love having all the warriors from Awaken helping them out. In the midst of turmoil and confusion, it gives a feel good element.

What sparked the idea for this book/series?
A dream.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?
A terrible betrayal, and secrets that will make your heart ache.

Why did you put these two together?
These two just seemed so natural. They belonged together, then all the secrets got in the way and messed up a good thing.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
I love my villains, one of them in particular. In fact, he’s so great I want to make him a hero. It’s either that or go back and do a prequel. His backstory is just wonderful. I don’t know how I come up with them. I can’t explain it. They’re just there. And I have so many of them. I love it.

What was the hardest part of this book to write and why?
Love scenes. I’m never sure how far I want to go.

Tell us something unusual about this book (i.e. in its creation, execution, production).
This second book was the first manuscript I ever wrote. It was originally a romantic suspense. I started writing the first book in this series, what is now Awaken, about six months later. When my agent saw Awaken, she said this is the one. She was right. She always is. I knew this had to be a series, and I realized that the first manuscript was the perfect second book of the series. So the first became second and the second became first.

What do you love most about this book/series?
I love this series. The warriors have become like family members to me. I love hidden treasure and secret things, old keys and graveyards and all those eerie things. They’re all in here. And I absolutely love that connection between a woman and a man that defies the universe to stop it.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are some underlying messages. Evil doesn’t come up and say, “Hello, I’m evil.” But mostly, when readers pick up my books, I want them to laugh, cry, gasp, maybe even scream.

Does your novel have a theme? How did that come about?
I’m rotten at figuring out themes. It’s about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil, and Destined Love. The series started with a dream and a very vivid imagination.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
If I had to choose…Elizabeth Peters who wrote the Amelia Peabody series.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I think the stories I loved influenced me. I read, I felt, and I wanted to do it myself.

How does your family view your writing career?
They’re very supportive and proud of me. My husband is waiting for me to get rich and buy him a ranch.

What entity do you feel supports you most in your writing career outside of family members?
My critique partner, Dana Rodgers is amazing. She’s such a help to me.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?
Mostly email. It’s so great getting emails. That was something I wasn’t quite prepared for. What a thrill.

What is in your TBR pile?
I get a headache just thinking about it.

What would you like to tell readers?
Please buy my book…oh, you were serious. I adore this series, and I hope you do too. There are so many wonderful writers out there, that I cherish every reader who spends their hard earned money and time on me.

What is your preferred genre to read for pleasure?

I have varied tastes ranging from romance to mysteries. I love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and I also love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

Do you have a second career? (Yes, motherhood counts!)
If motherhood counts, I have two! I spend a lot of time with my hubby and kids, but I do write full time.

What did you do before you became a full-time writer?
I was staying home with the kids for a few years, but prior to that I worked in real estate, and I was an administrative assistant. I’ve also booked shows and traveled with Aztec Dancers.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Good storytelling, really nailing down the characters and the emotion.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started writing?
The importance of writing faster.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
No formulas. I get an idea (this series started with a dream) then I mull it over and as the story unfolds in my head I make lots of notes, and then I start writing. I usually have a synopsis before I start actually writing the story.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Only an imagination and some method of getting it down. Typewriter, computer, notepad.

How would you best describe your books?
Mysterious, suspenseful, romantic, adventurous, sprinkled with humor. I love blending genres.

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?
I love this series, and I also love mysteries. I’m working on two mystery series now.

What do you most like about writing? Least like?
I love brainstorming, creating the plot twists for a story. Least like…promotion. I adore meeting readers, but I don’t like feeling as if I’m pushing my books.

Which is your favorite of the books you have written? Awaken is the story of my heart, but I also love Embrace. I don’t know. That’s sort of like asking which child you like better.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
It’s been amazing to see my book on the shelf.

What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?
I find it hard to write if I’m not motivated.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Other than spending time with my family, I’m usually on some kind of obsessive kick. It might be collecting candle holders or mirrors. I can devote an unhealthy amount of time to those things.

What are your current projects?
This series, a paranormal romantic mystery series, and a cozy mystery series.

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents?
I can smell a TJ Maxx from a mile away. I’m like a TJ Maxx bloodhound.

Are You The Same Person You Were As A Child, Or Much Different?
I have a lot of the same characteristics, but now they’re molded in different ways.

Do You Believe That The Cup Is Half Empty Or Half Full?
Depends on the day, usually half full.

Favorite Midnight Snack?
Whatever is the quickest.

Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert?
Introvert who loves people.

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?
Window.

Do You Like Short Or Long Hair On A Guy?
I like both, but I probably lean toward long.

Ever Hit A Jackpot On A Slot Machine?
No. I’ve never been gambling. I spend all my time and money at TJ Maxx.

Are You Afraid Of Heights?
Uncomfortable.

Do you prefer your mattress soft or hard?
Soft.

How many pillows do you like to sleep with?
Lots.

Do you believe in snipes?
Only if they’re named Wesley.

Which do you like more—rainy days or snowy days?
Snowy.

What is Your Favorite Beverage?
Diet Pepsi or Coke.

Are You A Heavy Or Light Sleeper?
Light.

Do You Have Any Phobias Or Fears?
Goofy ones. I don’t fear the real things that I should be afraid of.

Are you a night or a morning person?
NIGHT!!!

At The Beach Would You Rather Play In The Sand, Or Play In The Water?
I’ll dig in the sand for lost jewelry. Did I mention I love jewelry?

Do You Have A Recurring Dream? What Happens In It?
I do have recurring dreams, a few of them. It would take far too long to explain them since I don’t fully understand them.

Are You Usually Late, Early Or Right On Time?
Promptly 5 minutes late.

Where can we find you online?
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Goodreads
Redroom

About the Author

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Anita Clenney writes paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Before giving herself over to the writing bug, she worked in a pickle factory and a preschool, booked shows for Aztec Fire Dancers, and has been a secretary, executive assistant, and a real estate agent. She lives with her husband and two children in suburban Virginia. To find out more information, please visit http://www.anitaclenney.com/, follow her on Twitter @anitaclenney, or like her on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/anitaclenneyAUTHOR.

Some places Embrace can be purchased:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Booksamillion
Apple

We’ll leave you with an excerpt from Embrace:

Cody sighed. Might as well get it over with. He removed the shackles, returned them, and bent over her. “Shay, wake up.”

Her eyes flew open. She planted both hands against his chest and shoved, knocking him on his back, then sprang on top of him. “How dare you handcuff me to a bed?” she yelled, punctuating each word with a shake that rattled his brain. He didn’t fight back. She had to get it out of her system, and he didn’t blame her. He’d be more than pissed if someone shackled him.

She landed a fist into his stomach, and the breath rushed out of him. Okay, enough was enough. He captured her hands and rolled, trapping her under him.

“Get off me, you oaf.”

“I’ll get off when you stop beating the snot out of me.”

She let out a war cry and lunged for his throat, teeth bared. Intrigued, he hesitated a second too long, and she sank her teeth into his neck. A jolt of desire shot straight to his groin. He’d never been one for the rough stuff, but damn! He pulled back before she could do more than leave a bruise. He trapped her legs with his and held her hands above her head, letting his full weight press her into the soft mattress. She still struggled but could move only enough to get him excited.

“I’m sorry, Shay. I had to do it. It was too dangerous to let you go traipsing through the woods. I had to keep you safe.”

“What if he was hiding in one of the other bedrooms and sneaked in here while I was handcuffed to the bed? You left me so I couldn’t even protect myself.”

“Lach heard him out in the woods, but that’s why I locked the door, just in case. If this guy had broken it down to get to you, you would’ve screamed, and I would’ve come running. I was never far from the house.” He’d heard every name she called him.

Her eyes still flashed fire, but her breath was steadier, and she kept glancing at his mouth. He thought that was a good thing. He wondered if she’d calmed enough not to hit him, because he should move. She had to notice the effect all the wiggling around was having on him. He felt her hips push against his, and he groaned. He relaxed his grip and lowered his head, letting his lips touch her chin. He kissed his way to her mouth, and she head butted him in the nose.

While the stars exploded in his head, she shoved him aside and bolted out the door. He jumped up and went after her as she pounded down the stairs. He caught up with her outside. She was swinging her purse like a whip, headed for the car.

“Where are you going?” he demanded.

“Get away from me.”

“You can’t leave.”

“Watch me.” She opened the door. “I’m tired of people hiding things from me. I thought you were going to stop. Now you’re handcuffing me to the bed.”

“I explained it to you.”

“Don’t touch me,” she said, jerking away when he grabbed her arm.

“You’re not leaving.”

Shay straightened her shoulders. “You can’t stop me.”

He grabbed her, tossed her over his shoulder, kicked the car door shut, and stomped up the steps.

“Put me down!” Shay kicked and twisted, cursing at him. He dumped her on her feet inside the door.

She blew her hair out of her face, and as soon as she could see, she threw a punch at his chin. He deflected it and grabbed her arm. “Stop hitting me.”

“How dare you throw me over your shoulder like some kind of caveman,” she spat, trying to wrench her arm free. It didn’t work, so she used her knee.

“Ah, not there.” Cody trapped her knee. “I made the mistake of letting you leave here nine years ago without listening to me. By God, I won’t do it again. You’ll listen if I have to sit on you,” he growled.

She drew back her other arm, and before she could throw the punch, he had her on the floor and was sitting astride her, pinning her wrists to the floor. She bucked and twisted, but he held her down. “We can do this all night if you want, but you’re going to listen to me this time.”

“Listen to more lies? You’re still hiding things from me. Like the fact that you have Nina’s entire house under surveillance. Like the fact that you’ve got a Bat Cave in your basement. Like the fact that you were in Scotland when the stalking started.”

“You think I’m your stalker?” he yelled. “Me! I’m trying to keep you alive. We’re all trying to keep you alive. That’s what the clan’s been doing your whole damned life, trying to keep you alive! And just like always, you’re making it hard as hell. Your father wasn’t a bloody spy, and that thing in your living room wasn’t a man!”

Anita’s publisher will give away one copy of Embrace the Highland Warrior, US and Canada only, please.  We’re also giving away 5 custom bookmarks!
The question is, besides reading, what’s your favorite thing to do?

NYT Bestseller Anita Clenney Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway!

>Today, I welcome NYT and USA Today Bestseller Anita Clenney! Anita’s celebrating the release of her second book in the Highland Warrior series, Embrace The Highland Warrior. And we have a giveaway of a copy of the book and 5 custom handmade bookmarks. Simply comment to enter!

Anita, tell us about your upcoming release.

Here’s a blurb:

 Cody MacBain let the woman of his destiny slip away. A member of an ancient clan of Scottish warriors, he grew up beside Shay Logan as her secret protector, but his heart compelled him to become more. Until Shay’s true identity was revealed, and the fated pair’s chance was gone…

But danger will drive them back into each other’s arms…

Shay fell for the boy next door, suspecting nothing of the ancient secrets he guarded. After a stinging betrayal, she’s determined to banish the memories of her first love forever. But the past can’t let go, and the boy she once loved has returned to her a warrior determined to protect her from the unspeakable evil fate has planned…

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?
I love the emotion between Cody and Shay, the powerful connection they shared, and I love watching them try to reconnect now. They’ve changed so much, but the elements of their past are still there. I also love having all the warriors from Awaken helping them out. In the midst of turmoil and confusion, it gives a feel good element.

What sparked the idea for this book/series?
A dream.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?
A terrible betrayal, and secrets that will make your heart ache.

Why did you put these two together?
These two just seemed so natural. They belonged together, then all the secrets got in the way and messed up a good thing.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
I love my villains, one of them in particular. In fact, he’s so great I want to make him a hero. It’s either that or go back and do a prequel. His backstory is just wonderful. I don’t know how I come up with them. I can’t explain it. They’re just there. And I have so many of them. I love it.

What was the hardest part of this book to write and why?
Love scenes. I’m never sure how far I want to go.

Tell us something unusual about this book (i.e. in its creation, execution, production).
This second book was the first manuscript I ever wrote. It was originally a romantic suspense. I started writing the first book in this series, what is now Awaken, about six months later. When my agent saw Awaken, she said this is the one. She was right. She always is. I knew this had to be a series, and I realized that the first manuscript was the perfect second book of the series. So the first became second and the second became first.

What do you love most about this book/series?
I love this series. The warriors have become like family members to me. I love hidden treasure and secret things, old keys and graveyards and all those eerie things. They’re all in here. And I absolutely love that connection between a woman and a man that defies the universe to stop it.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are some underlying messages. Evil doesn’t come up and say, “Hello, I’m evil.” But mostly, when readers pick up my books, I want them to laugh, cry, gasp, maybe even scream.

Does your novel have a theme? How did that come about?
I’m rotten at figuring out themes. It’s about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil, and Destined Love. The series started with a dream and a very vivid imagination.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
If I had to choose…Elizabeth Peters who wrote the Amelia Peabody series.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I think the stories I loved influenced me. I read, I felt, and I wanted to do it myself.

How does your family view your writing career?
They’re very supportive and proud of me. My husband is waiting for me to get rich and buy him a ranch.

What entity do you feel supports you most in your writing career outside of family members?
My critique partner, Dana Rodgers is amazing. She’s such a help to me.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?
Mostly email. It’s so great getting emails. That was something I wasn’t quite prepared for. What a thrill.

What is in your TBR pile?
I get a headache just thinking about it.

What would you like to tell readers?
Please buy my book…oh, you were serious. I adore this series, and I hope you do too. There are so many wonderful writers out there, that I cherish every reader who spends their hard earned money and time on me.

What is your preferred genre to read for pleasure?

I have varied tastes ranging from romance to mysteries. I love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and I also love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

Do you have a second career? (Yes, motherhood counts!)
If motherhood counts, I have two! I spend a lot of time with my hubby and kids, but I do write full time.

What did you do before you became a full-time writer?
I was staying home with the kids for a few years, but prior to that I worked in real estate, and I was an administrative assistant. I’ve also booked shows and traveled with Aztec Dancers.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Good storytelling, really nailing down the characters and the emotion.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started writing?
The importance of writing faster.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
No formulas. I get an idea (this series started with a dream) then I mull it over and as the story unfolds in my head I make lots of notes, and then I start writing. I usually have a synopsis before I start actually writing the story.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Only an imagination and some method of getting it down. Typewriter, computer, notepad.

How would you best describe your books?
Mysterious, suspenseful, romantic, adventurous, sprinkled with humor. I love blending genres.

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?
I love this series, and I also love mysteries. I’m working on two mystery series now.

What do you most like about writing? Least like?
I love brainstorming, creating the plot twists for a story. Least like…promotion. I adore meeting readers, but I don’t like feeling as if I’m pushing my books.

Which is your favorite of the books you have written? Awaken is the story of my heart, but I also love Embrace. I don’t know. That’s sort of like asking which child you like better.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
It’s been amazing to see my book on the shelf.

What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?
I find it hard to write if I’m not motivated.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Other than spending time with my family, I’m usually on some kind of obsessive kick. It might be collecting candle holders or mirrors. I can devote an unhealthy amount of time to those things.

What are your current projects?
This series, a paranormal romantic mystery series, and a cozy mystery series.

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents?
I can smell a TJ Maxx from a mile away. I’m like a TJ Maxx bloodhound.

Are You The Same Person You Were As A Child, Or Much Different?
I have a lot of the same characteristics, but now they’re molded in different ways.

Do You Believe That The Cup Is Half Empty Or Half Full?
Depends on the day, usually half full.

Favorite Midnight Snack?
Whatever is the quickest.

Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert?
Introvert who loves people.

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?
Window.

Do You Like Short Or Long Hair On A Guy?
I like both, but I probably lean toward long.

Ever Hit A Jackpot On A Slot Machine?
No. I’ve never been gambling. I spend all my time and money at TJ Maxx.

Are You Afraid Of Heights?
Uncomfortable.

Do you prefer your mattress soft or hard?
Soft.

How many pillows do you like to sleep with?
Lots.

Do you believe in snipes?
Only if they’re named Wesley.

Which do you like more—rainy days or snowy days?
Snowy.

What is Your Favorite Beverage?
Diet Pepsi or Coke.

Are You A Heavy Or Light Sleeper?
Light.

Do You Have Any Phobias Or Fears?
Goofy ones. I don’t fear the real things that I should be afraid of.

Are you a night or a morning person?
NIGHT!!!

At The Beach Would You Rather Play In The Sand, Or Play In The Water?
I’ll dig in the sand for lost jewelry. Did I mention I love jewelry?

Do You Have A Recurring Dream? What Happens In It?
I do have recurring dreams, a few of them. It would take far too long to explain them since I don’t fully understand them.

Are You Usually Late, Early Or Right On Time?
Promptly 5 minutes late.

Where can we find you online?
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Goodreads
Redroom

About the Author

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Anita Clenney writes paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Before giving herself over to the writing bug, she worked in a pickle factory and a preschool, booked shows for Aztec Fire Dancers, and has been a secretary, executive assistant, and a real estate agent. She lives with her husband and two children in suburban Virginia. To find out more information, please visit http://www.anitaclenney.com/, follow her on Twitter @anitaclenney, or like her on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/anitaclenneyAUTHOR.

Some places Embrace can be purchased:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Booksamillion
Apple

We’ll leave you with an excerpt from Embrace:

Cody sighed. Might as well get it over with. He removed the shackles, returned them, and bent over her. “Shay, wake up.”

Her eyes flew open. She planted both hands against his chest and shoved, knocking him on his back, then sprang on top of him. “How dare you handcuff me to a bed?” she yelled, punctuating each word with a shake that rattled his brain. He didn’t fight back. She had to get it out of her system, and he didn’t blame her. He’d be more than pissed if someone shackled him.

She landed a fist into his stomach, and the breath rushed out of him. Okay, enough was enough. He captured her hands and rolled, trapping her under him.

“Get off me, you oaf.”

“I’ll get off when you stop beating the snot out of me.”

She let out a war cry and lunged for his throat, teeth bared. Intrigued, he hesitated a second too long, and she sank her teeth into his neck. A jolt of desire shot straight to his groin. He’d never been one for the rough stuff, but damn! He pulled back before she could do more than leave a bruise. He trapped her legs with his and held her hands above her head, letting his full weight press her into the soft mattress. She still struggled but could move only enough to get him excited.

“I’m sorry, Shay. I had to do it. It was too dangerous to let you go traipsing through the woods. I had to keep you safe.”

“What if he was hiding in one of the other bedrooms and sneaked in here while I was handcuffed to the bed? You left me so I couldn’t even protect myself.”

“Lach heard him out in the woods, but that’s why I locked the door, just in case. If this guy had broken it down to get to you, you would’ve screamed, and I would’ve come running. I was never far from the house.” He’d heard every name she called him.

Her eyes still flashed fire, but her breath was steadier, and she kept glancing at his mouth. He thought that was a good thing. He wondered if she’d calmed enough not to hit him, because he should move. She had to notice the effect all the wiggling around was having on him. He felt her hips push against his, and he groaned. He relaxed his grip and lowered his head, letting his lips touch her chin. He kissed his way to her mouth, and she head butted him in the nose.

While the stars exploded in his head, she shoved him aside and bolted out the door. He jumped up and went after her as she pounded down the stairs. He caught up with her outside. She was swinging her purse like a whip, headed for the car.

“Where are you going?” he demanded.

“Get away from me.”

“You can’t leave.”

“Watch me.” She opened the door. “I’m tired of people hiding things from me. I thought you were going to stop. Now you’re handcuffing me to the bed.”

“I explained it to you.”

“Don’t touch me,” she said, jerking away when he grabbed her arm.

“You’re not leaving.”

Shay straightened her shoulders. “You can’t stop me.”

He grabbed her, tossed her over his shoulder, kicked the car door shut, and stomped up the steps.

“Put me down!” Shay kicked and twisted, cursing at him. He dumped her on her feet inside the door.

She blew her hair out of her face, and as soon as she could see, she threw a punch at his chin. He deflected it and grabbed her arm. “Stop hitting me.”

“How dare you throw me over your shoulder like some kind of caveman,” she spat, trying to wrench her arm free. It didn’t work, so she used her knee.

“Ah, not there.” Cody trapped her knee. “I made the mistake of letting you leave here nine years ago without listening to me. By God, I won’t do it again. You’ll listen if I have to sit on you,” he growled.

She drew back her other arm, and before she could throw the punch, he had her on the floor and was sitting astride her, pinning her wrists to the floor. She bucked and twisted, but he held her down. “We can do this all night if you want, but you’re going to listen to me this time.”

“Listen to more lies? You’re still hiding things from me. Like the fact that you have Nina’s entire house under surveillance. Like the fact that you’ve got a Bat Cave in your basement. Like the fact that you were in Scotland when the stalking started.”

“You think I’m your stalker?” he yelled. “Me! I’m trying to keep you alive. We’re all trying to keep you alive. That’s what the clan’s been doing your whole damned life, trying to keep you alive! And just like always, you’re making it hard as hell. Your father wasn’t a bloody spy, and that thing in your living room wasn’t a man!”

Anita’s publisher will give away one copy of Embrace the Highland Warrior, US and Canada only, please.  We’re also giving away 5 custom bookmarks!
The question is, besides reading, what’s your favorite thing to do?

>Debut Author Theresa Romain Interview & Giveaway!

>Theresa Romain and I met recently, in the last several months, when I discovered we are both agented by the fabulous Paige Wheeler and both edited by the amazing Alicia Condon!

I’m thrilled to have met up with Theresa – she is as sweet as they come! And today we’re celebrating her debut Regency historical romance, SEASON FOR TEMPTATION with an interview and a giveaway of 2 copies of her debut plus 5 custom bookmarks!

Two Sisters. . .

Julia Herington is overjoyed when her stepsister, Louisa, becomes engaged–to a viscount, no less. Louisa’s only hesitation is living a life under the ton’s critical gaze. But with his wry wit and unconventional ideas, Julia feels James is perfect for Louisa. She can only hope to find a man like him for herself. Exactly like him, in fact. . .

One Choice. . .

As the new Viscount Matheson, James wished to marry quickly and secure his title. Kind, intelligent Louisa seemed a suitable bride. . .until he met her stepsister. Julia is impetuous–and irresistible. Pledged to one sister, yet captivated by another, what is he to do? As Christmas and the whirl of the London season approach, James may be caught in a most scandalous conundrum, one that only true love, a bit of spiritous punch–and a twist of fate–will solve. . .

Now an interview with Theresa:

Theresa, tell us about your new release.

SEASON FOR TEMPTATION is a light-hearted smart-mouthed Regency-set historical romance. With a delicious cream filling!

Our hero, James, deals with a family scandal by making an engagement of convenience, then falls in love with his fiancée’s stepsister/closest friend, Julia. Meanwhile, his fiancée has a change of heart. Also meanwhile, there is strong pressure from both families to marry soon, and well. Before James and Julia sort out their difficulties, many strange foods are eaten, several unusual costumes are worn, and a few uncomfortable truths come to light.

What was the hardest part of this book to write and why?

The love triangle was by far the most difficult aspect, because it was very important to me that all three people involved act with good intentions. James and his fiancée, Louisa, are engaged out of duty to their families, just as James and Julia deny their growing feelings out of a similar sense of duty. To me, there’s nothing sexy about infidelity, and I didn’t want any of my characters to cross that line.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

I wish! I usually get a germ of an idea—in the case of SEASON FOR TEMPTATION, it was something along the lines of “what if one sister fell in love with another sister’s fiancé?” And then: “what if the sisters loved each other deeply, so there were no villains in the love triangle?” I thought it would be interesting to see what happened. I guess that’s as close to a formula as I get: “what if?” and “then what?”

The next step is writing the first three chapters and a synopsis. That takes me much longer than any other stage of the book, because I’m figuring out the characters and the specifics of the plot. The details of the plot often change as I write the rest of the book—I might shift the order of events, collapse some, add others—but the synopsis is sort of like having the framework of a building. Maybe you’ll change the color of the bricks (or whatever), but once the steel struts are up, you know pretty much what it’ll look like when done.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Time, discipline, and a computer (or a legal pad). Of those, I’d say discipline is the most important. If you have discipline, you’ll find the time. Heck, maybe you’ll even find the computer. (Note: I do not recommend theft.)

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I like to:

  1. Read
  2. Watch silent movies
  3. Play trivia games with Mr. R

But usually, when I’m not writing (or working at my other job—I’m a freelance health editor), I am:

  1. Cleaning up after Little Miss R
  2. Doing laundry
  3. Cooking

We don’t have to talk about how *well* I do those things, do we? I’m hardly a domestic goddess. I’m hardly even a domestic mortal.

Are you usually late, early, or right on time?

Me, on my own? I’m usually within five to zero minutes early. If I’m with Mr. R, we’ll probably be about 10 minutes late. Sorry.

What’s in your TBR pile?

Let’s stick with the mini-TBR pile on my nightstand, because the full TBR is, um, really big. I read several books at once, so here’s what I’ve got going now:

I just started reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, recommended to me by my brother. And I’m glad he did, because it’s a really fascinating analysis of factors contributing to success. (If that sounds boring to you, then I didn’t describe it well enough.)

I’m also reading Rose Lerner’s A Lily among Thorns—gah, she’s a fantastic, fantastic writer. I just love the way she uses language. Also in the “read me tonight!” stack are Kieran Kramer’s If You Give a Girl a Viscount (so clever and funny) and Victoria Dahl’s Real Men Will (I haven’t started this one yet, but I’ve heard it’s most excellently naughty).

In February 2012, a certain novel called Fever by a certain author named Joan Swan will be placed on the nightstand, and the cover will be ogled repeatedly whenever I’m not reading it.

Do you believe in snipes?

Ok, I love that you asked this question, and the answer is yes. My father loves ornithology, and I grew up reading his Roger Tory Peterson field guides (I’m not kidding, I really did). So I know that snipes are real. Though if you don’t live anywhere near water, which is where the real snipes hang out, then a snipe hunt is still a Big Giant Trick that you can have lots of fun with.


What are your current projects?

I’m working on a sequel to SEASON FOR TEMPTATION! It will be released by Kensington Zebra in October 2012 as SEASON FOR SURRENDER. It’ll have a holiday setting and, I have no doubt, a gorgeous cover.

Leave a comment or ask Theresa a question to enter the giveaway for
2 copies of her debut and 5 custom bookmarks!
International.
**MUST** leave a contact email to win!
Theresa Romain holds degrees in psychology, English literature, and history, an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She has worked, interned, and translated for libraries and universities, all of which fed her love of books and her fascination with the past. She lives with her family in the Midwest and lives online at http://theresaromain.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Order SEASON FOR TEMPATION:
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieboundPowell’s
Order the ebook: Kindlenook

Debut Author Theresa Romain Interview & Giveaway!

>Theresa Romain and I met recently, in the last several months, when I discovered we are both agented by the fabulous Paige Wheeler and both edited by the amazing Alicia Condon!

I’m thrilled to have met up with Theresa – she is as sweet as they come! And today we’re celebrating her debut Regency historical romance, SEASON FOR TEMPTATION with an interview and a giveaway of 2 copies of her debut plus 5 custom bookmarks!

Two Sisters. . .

Julia Herington is overjoyed when her stepsister, Louisa, becomes engaged–to a viscount, no less. Louisa’s only hesitation is living a life under the ton’s critical gaze. But with his wry wit and unconventional ideas, Julia feels James is perfect for Louisa. She can only hope to find a man like him for herself. Exactly like him, in fact. . .

One Choice. . .

As the new Viscount Matheson, James wished to marry quickly and secure his title. Kind, intelligent Louisa seemed a suitable bride. . .until he met her stepsister. Julia is impetuous–and irresistible. Pledged to one sister, yet captivated by another, what is he to do? As Christmas and the whirl of the London season approach, James may be caught in a most scandalous conundrum, one that only true love, a bit of spiritous punch–and a twist of fate–will solve. . .

Now an interview with Theresa:

Theresa, tell us about your new release.

SEASON FOR TEMPTATION is a light-hearted smart-mouthed Regency-set historical romance. With a delicious cream filling!

Our hero, James, deals with a family scandal by making an engagement of convenience, then falls in love with his fiancée’s stepsister/closest friend, Julia. Meanwhile, his fiancée has a change of heart. Also meanwhile, there is strong pressure from both families to marry soon, and well. Before James and Julia sort out their difficulties, many strange foods are eaten, several unusual costumes are worn, and a few uncomfortable truths come to light.

What was the hardest part of this book to write and why?

The love triangle was by far the most difficult aspect, because it was very important to me that all three people involved act with good intentions. James and his fiancée, Louisa, are engaged out of duty to their families, just as James and Julia deny their growing feelings out of a similar sense of duty. To me, there’s nothing sexy about infidelity, and I didn’t want any of my characters to cross that line.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

I wish! I usually get a germ of an idea—in the case of SEASON FOR TEMPTATION, it was something along the lines of “what if one sister fell in love with another sister’s fiancé?” And then: “what if the sisters loved each other deeply, so there were no villains in the love triangle?” I thought it would be interesting to see what happened. I guess that’s as close to a formula as I get: “what if?” and “then what?”

The next step is writing the first three chapters and a synopsis. That takes me much longer than any other stage of the book, because I’m figuring out the characters and the specifics of the plot. The details of the plot often change as I write the rest of the book—I might shift the order of events, collapse some, add others—but the synopsis is sort of like having the framework of a building. Maybe you’ll change the color of the bricks (or whatever), but once the steel struts are up, you know pretty much what it’ll look like when done.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Time, discipline, and a computer (or a legal pad). Of those, I’d say discipline is the most important. If you have discipline, you’ll find the time. Heck, maybe you’ll even find the computer. (Note: I do not recommend theft.)

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I like to:

  1. Read
  2. Watch silent movies
  3. Play trivia games with Mr. R

But usually, when I’m not writing (or working at my other job—I’m a freelance health editor), I am:

  1. Cleaning up after Little Miss R
  2. Doing laundry
  3. Cooking

We don’t have to talk about how *well* I do those things, do we? I’m hardly a domestic goddess. I’m hardly even a domestic mortal.

Are you usually late, early, or right on time?

Me, on my own? I’m usually within five to zero minutes early. If I’m with Mr. R, we’ll probably be about 10 minutes late. Sorry.

What’s in your TBR pile?

Let’s stick with the mini-TBR pile on my nightstand, because the full TBR is, um, really big. I read several books at once, so here’s what I’ve got going now:

I just started reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, recommended to me by my brother. And I’m glad he did, because it’s a really fascinating analysis of factors contributing to success. (If that sounds boring to you, then I didn’t describe it well enough.)

I’m also reading Rose Lerner’s A Lily among Thorns—gah, she’s a fantastic, fantastic writer. I just love the way she uses language. Also in the “read me tonight!” stack are Kieran Kramer’s If You Give a Girl a Viscount (so clever and funny) and Victoria Dahl’s Real Men Will (I haven’t started this one yet, but I’ve heard it’s most excellently naughty).

In February 2012, a certain novel called Fever by a certain author named Joan Swan will be placed on the nightstand, and the cover will be ogled repeatedly whenever I’m not reading it.

Do you believe in snipes?

Ok, I love that you asked this question, and the answer is yes. My father loves ornithology, and I grew up reading his Roger Tory Peterson field guides (I’m not kidding, I really did). So I know that snipes are real. Though if you don’t live anywhere near water, which is where the real snipes hang out, then a snipe hunt is still a Big Giant Trick that you can have lots of fun with.


What are your current projects?

I’m working on a sequel to SEASON FOR TEMPTATION! It will be released by Kensington Zebra in October 2012 as SEASON FOR SURRENDER. It’ll have a holiday setting and, I have no doubt, a gorgeous cover.

Leave a comment or ask Theresa a question to enter the giveaway for
2 copies of her debut and 5 custom bookmarks!
International.
**MUST** leave a contact email to win!
Theresa Romain holds degrees in psychology, English literature, and history, an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She has worked, interned, and translated for libraries and universities, all of which fed her love of books and her fascination with the past. She lives with her family in the Midwest and lives online at http://theresaromain.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Order SEASON FOR TEMPATION:
AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieboundPowell’s
Order the ebook: Kindlenook

Where Do Characters Come From? + Giveaway!

>I’m thrilled to have a very special virtual author friend here today!  Many of you already know Elisabeth Spann Craig as the fab author who scours thousands of websites and blogs and tweets the plethora of amazing writing-related links she finds to quality articles. If you don’t already follow Elizabeth on Twitter, you are missing out on a major cache of information! (@elizabethcraig).

Yesterday, Elizabeth released the third book in her Memphis Barbeque mystery series for Penguin/Berkley w/a Riley Adams.  If you haven’t read one of Elizabeth’s books, I recommend you pick one up.  She is a fabulous writer with fun storylines, twisting plots and quirky, real characters.

She’s talking about where those characters come from today and we’re giving away 3 copies of Elizabeth’s new release HICKORY SMOKED HOMICIDE and 5 custom handmade bookmarks!  Just leave a comment to enter.


HICKORY SMOKED HOMICIDE

BBQ-joint owner Lulu Taylor knows pretty much everyone in Memphis who lives ribs. But one person she’d rather not know is Tristan Pembroke, a snooty pageant couch with a mean streak. When she finds Tristan’s dead body stuffed in a closet at a party, the police are suspicious- especially since Lulu’s developed a taste for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Caught in a situation stickier than molasses, Lulu must clear her name, or risk getting fried… 

Where Characters Come From by Elizabeth Span Craig

Writers are frequently asked, “Where do your ideas come from?”

I think most writers have a stock answer to this question. We’ll claim brainstorming or muses, or just random inspiration out of the blue.

Those are all true. But sometimes, ideas come after us. And frequently, they’re in the form of characters. We can actually build a whole book around a great character. For me, and I’m sure it’s the same for many writers, characters are sometimes inspired in unusual ways:

Strangers:

There are tons of characters around us every day. Sometimes I’ll actively go looking for interesting people. Fairgrounds and amusement parks and malls are great for this purpose. It’s amazing how many different types of people you’ll see. Stiff and grim, young and bubbly, odd and self-conscious.


Sometimes these people will even come up and talk to me. Even if I’m not looking for characters, I’ll frequently have strangers come over to tell me the most remarkable things at the grocery store, drugstore, or post office. I think writers are magnets for these folks somehow—and they don’t even realize that’s what we are. The cool thing is that writers can take bits of one person (maybe their appearance) and bits of another person (their unusual gestures or diction or humor) and create a character that’s an amalgam of the two.

Acquaintances who don’t realize they’re characters:

Sometimes characters appear at the least expected times. There was another mother at my son’s soccer game once. She was scheduling me on the team snack calendar. I was smiling and nodding, but I didn’t hear a word she said because I was thinking how perfect she’d be as a character in the book I was writing. Even better that I didn’t know anything about her and that she was a stranger—in this case, it was her appearance that was so great. She was perfect for a particular bit part. But I missed my date to bring snacks and had to leave the game to grab some when my week came up. 🙂

Characters who create themselves:

Then, sometimes, you have characters who are too big for their britches. They hop into your head with confidence and they’re not like anyone you’ve ever met. Although they’re supposed to have a bit part in your book, they aren’t content with the role. Next thing you know, they’re taking over your book! They’re scene stealers—they have the best punch lines and shine in the spotlight. These are characters who don’t know their place…you really have to watch them. It’s how my supporting character Cherry ended up with a sidekick role in the Memphis Barbeque series.

Friends who give us insight into our characters:

Sometimes, the opposite problem happens—you have characters who really don’t know their role in your book. They listlessly bumble through their lines and you’re wondering what on earth they’re doing in your story at all. You’re just about to fire them for poor performance when there’s a breakthrough. I wasn’t really getting a handle on one of my beauty pageant characters for my new book, Hickory Smoked Homicide. Beauty pageants can be a big deal in the South, but they were something that I wasn’t personally involved with and was always happening on the periphery of where I was—maybe there was a Miss Anderson waving from a car in a Christmas parade I was watching, etc., but that was about the extent of my involvement. I was aiming for a spoofy, fun look at the pageant world, but I kept hitting a wall.

I was a third of the way through the book and about to scrap the whole concept and start over when I picked up my daughter from a playdate. The mom there asked me politely how my book was going. I’d been struggling with it the whole time my daughter was playing at her house, so I admitted, “You know, I’ve got a big problem with the book.” I told her my concept and the trouble I was having with this character. She said, “Come on inside and have a cup of coffee with me. I’ll give you the dirt on the pageant world.” And she did! There was plenty of motivation for murder there, she assured me. And she gave me a fascinating perspective from someone who’d been involved in small-town pageants.

What we’re all looking for, both readers and writers, is a good character—someone to love, someone to root for, someone to hate. And inspiration comes in unusual ways, sometimes.

Who are some of your favorite characters? Did they come to life for you? Comment to enter to win 1 of 3 copies of Elizabeth’s new release HICKORY SMOKED HOMICIDE or 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks!
Books (US Shipping)
Bookmarks (International shipping)
**MUST** provide contact email to WIN!

Elizabeth’s latest book Hickory Smoked Homicide released November 1. Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries (2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink. She blogs daily at Mystery Writing is Murder, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010 and 2011.

Writer’s Knowledge Base–the Search Engine for Writers
Twitter: @elizabethscraig

>Where Do Characters Come From? + Giveaway!

>I’m thrilled to have a very special virtual author friend here today!  Many of you already know Elisabeth Spann Craig as the fab author who scours thousands of websites and blogs and tweets the plethora of amazing writing-related links she finds to quality articles. If you don’t already follow Elizabeth on Twitter, you are missing out on a major cache of information! (@elizabethcraig).

Yesterday, Elizabeth released the third book in her Memphis Barbeque mystery series for Penguin/Berkley w/a Riley Adams.  If you haven’t read one of Elizabeth’s books, I recommend you pick one up.  She is a fabulous writer with fun storylines, twisting plots and quirky, real characters.

She’s talking about where those characters come from today and we’re giving away 3 copies of Elizabeth’s new release HICKORY SMOKED HOMICIDE and 5 custom handmade bookmarks!  Just leave a comment to enter.


HICKORY SMOKED HOMICIDE

BBQ-joint owner Lulu Taylor knows pretty much everyone in Memphis who lives ribs. But one person she’d rather not know is Tristan Pembroke, a snooty pageant couch with a mean streak. When she finds Tristan’s dead body stuffed in a closet at a party, the police are suspicious- especially since Lulu’s developed a taste for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Caught in a situation stickier than molasses, Lulu must clear her name, or risk getting fried… 

Where Characters Come From by Elizabeth Span Craig

Writers are frequently asked, “Where do your ideas come from?”

I think most writers have a stock answer to this question. We’ll claim brainstorming or muses, or just random inspiration out of the blue.

Those are all true. But sometimes, ideas come after us. And frequently, they’re in the form of characters. We can actually build a whole book around a great character. For me, and I’m sure it’s the same for many writers, characters are sometimes inspired in unusual ways:

Strangers:

There are tons of characters around us every day. Sometimes I’ll actively go looking for interesting people. Fairgrounds and amusement parks and malls are great for this purpose. It’s amazing how many different types of people you’ll see. Stiff and grim, young and bubbly, odd and self-conscious.


Sometimes these people will even come up and talk to me. Even if I’m not looking for characters, I’ll frequently have strangers come over to tell me the most remarkable things at the grocery store, drugstore, or post office. I think writers are magnets for these folks somehow—and they don’t even realize that’s what we are. The cool thing is that writers can take bits of one person (maybe their appearance) and bits of another person (their unusual gestures or diction or humor) and create a character that’s an amalgam of the two.

Acquaintances who don’t realize they’re characters:

Sometimes characters appear at the least expected times. There was another mother at my son’s soccer game once. She was scheduling me on the team snack calendar. I was smiling and nodding, but I didn’t hear a word she said because I was thinking how perfect she’d be as a character in the book I was writing. Even better that I didn’t know anything about her and that she was a stranger—in this case, it was her appearance that was so great. She was perfect for a particular bit part. But I missed my date to bring snacks and had to leave the game to grab some when my week came up. 🙂

Characters who create themselves:

Then, sometimes, you have characters who are too big for their britches. They hop into your head with confidence and they’re not like anyone you’ve ever met. Although they’re supposed to have a bit part in your book, they aren’t content with the role. Next thing you know, they’re taking over your book! They’re scene stealers—they have the best punch lines and shine in the spotlight. These are characters who don’t know their place…you really have to watch them. It’s how my supporting character Cherry ended up with a sidekick role in the Memphis Barbeque series.

Friends who give us insight into our characters:

Sometimes, the opposite problem happens—you have characters who really don’t know their role in your book. They listlessly bumble through their lines and you’re wondering what on earth they’re doing in your story at all. You’re just about to fire them for poor performance when there’s a breakthrough. I wasn’t really getting a handle on one of my beauty pageant characters for my new book, Hickory Smoked Homicide. Beauty pageants can be a big deal in the South, but they were something that I wasn’t personally involved with and was always happening on the periphery of where I was—maybe there was a Miss Anderson waving from a car in a Christmas parade I was watching, etc., but that was about the extent of my involvement. I was aiming for a spoofy, fun look at the pageant world, but I kept hitting a wall.

I was a third of the way through the book and about to scrap the whole concept and start over when I picked up my daughter from a playdate. The mom there asked me politely how my book was going. I’d been struggling with it the whole time my daughter was playing at her house, so I admitted, “You know, I’ve got a big problem with the book.” I told her my concept and the trouble I was having with this character. She said, “Come on inside and have a cup of coffee with me. I’ll give you the dirt on the pageant world.” And she did! There was plenty of motivation for murder there, she assured me. And she gave me a fascinating perspective from someone who’d been involved in small-town pageants.

What we’re all looking for, both readers and writers, is a good character—someone to love, someone to root for, someone to hate. And inspiration comes in unusual ways, sometimes.

Who are some of your favorite characters? Did they come to life for you? Comment to enter to win 1 of 3 copies of Elizabeth’s new release HICKORY SMOKED HOMICIDE or 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks!
Books (US Shipping)
Bookmarks (International shipping)
**MUST** provide contact email to WIN!

Elizabeth’s latest book Hickory Smoked Homicide released November 1. Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries (2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink. She blogs daily at Mystery Writing is Murder, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010 and 2011.

Writer’s Knowledge Base–the Search Engine for Writers
Twitter: @elizabethscraig

Marie Force and the Book of Her Heart + Giveaway!!

>A warm welcome to Marie Force, an author I both admire and appreciate.  Her enthusiasm is infectious, her love for her work tangible.  I’m thrilled to have her here today. 

She is giving away a copy of her new release TREADING WATER and 5 custom handmade bookmarks today! Simply leave a comment to enter.

The Dream Comes True—My Way

Thanks so much for having me today, Joan! This has been one of the most exciting weeks I’ve had yet as an author, which is saying something as there have been a lot of exciting weeks this year. A year ago, I took the plunge as an “indie” author by self-publishing some of my unsold books. Since then, I’ve sold nearly 150,000 ebooks, a number that astounds and delights me.

On Tuesday, the book of my heart, TREADING WATER, went on sale as an ebook. I wrote TREADING WATER more than six years ago, and its two sequels, MARKING TIME (coming in November) and STARTING OVER (coming in December), were finished five years ago. These three are still my favorites of all my books, the three I am most proud of, and the three I’ve most wanted to put in the hands of readers. Because they aren’t “conventional” romances where boy and girl meet in chapter 1 and their love story unfolds from there, they didn’t fit neatly anywhere in the crowded fiction marketplace.

After success of my first six self-published books, I decided to go for it and publish the TREADING WATER trilogy on my own. This week, I had the supreme pleasure of seeing TREADING WATER officially on sale. Finally!

Here’s a brief summary of the book:

Love is the last thing on Jack Harrington’s mind when he sets out to meet Andi Walsh’s flight. Recently back to work after spending more than a year tending to his comatose wife, Jack is focused on getting through each day and caring for his three daughters. However, the moment he sets eyes on Andrea Walsh, the interior designer who has come to decorate the hotel his company is building in Newport, Rhode Island, Jack begins to wonder if Andi might be his second chance. After a disastrous marriage, Andi, single mom to a hearing-impaired son, isn’t exactly looking for love, either, but that’s what she finds with Jack. The two embark on a long-distance relationship fraught with challenges as they balance the needs of their children and dueling careers while Jack continues to care for his wife, Clare. Just when Jack thinks his life is once again settled, he is confronted with a new challenge that tests him in ways he never could’ve imagined, leaving him to wonder if “happily ever after” is in the cards for him.

Readers have responded with tremendous enthusiasm for Jack’s story. One of them called it “riveting, wrenching and unforgettable.” I liked that! What I’ve also loved is readers telling me the book makes them question what they would do if they found themselves in Jack’s situation. It was a lot of fun to write a story about a man who thinks he knows himself very well and has a good sense of what he’d do in any given situation. Then he finds himself in an untenable situation in which black and white beliefs become tinged with shades of gray.

Yesterday, Amazon sent an email to my past customers letting them know that TREADING WATER was now on sale. By the end of the day, the book was ranked at No. 19 for all of Kindle and No. 2 on the contemporary romance Kindle list. The book of my heart is now a Kindle bestseller! Yesterday was a VERY good day!

I’d love to hear from readers today about a dream you had that you never gave up on. Did your dream come true? I’ll give away a copy of TREADING WATER to one commenter AND 5 handmade bookmarks as well (your choice of those pictured above)…6 winners in all.
Enter! (International!)

 

>Marie Force and the Book of Her Heart + Giveaway!!

>A warm welcome to Marie Force, an author I both admire and appreciate.  Her enthusiasm is infectious, her love for her work tangible.  I’m thrilled to have her here today. 

She is giving away a copy of her new release TREADING WATER and 5 custom handmade bookmarks today! Simply leave a comment to enter.

The Dream Comes True—My Way

Thanks so much for having me today, Joan! This has been one of the most exciting weeks I’ve had yet as an author, which is saying something as there have been a lot of exciting weeks this year. A year ago, I took the plunge as an “indie” author by self-publishing some of my unsold books. Since then, I’ve sold nearly 150,000 ebooks, a number that astounds and delights me.

On Tuesday, the book of my heart, TREADING WATER, went on sale as an ebook. I wrote TREADING WATER more than six years ago, and its two sequels, MARKING TIME (coming in November) and STARTING OVER (coming in December), were finished five years ago. These three are still my favorites of all my books, the three I am most proud of, and the three I’ve most wanted to put in the hands of readers. Because they aren’t “conventional” romances where boy and girl meet in chapter 1 and their love story unfolds from there, they didn’t fit neatly anywhere in the crowded fiction marketplace.

After success of my first six self-published books, I decided to go for it and publish the TREADING WATER trilogy on my own. This week, I had the supreme pleasure of seeing TREADING WATER officially on sale. Finally!

Here’s a brief summary of the book:

Love is the last thing on Jack Harrington’s mind when he sets out to meet Andi Walsh’s flight. Recently back to work after spending more than a year tending to his comatose wife, Jack is focused on getting through each day and caring for his three daughters. However, the moment he sets eyes on Andrea Walsh, the interior designer who has come to decorate the hotel his company is building in Newport, Rhode Island, Jack begins to wonder if Andi might be his second chance. After a disastrous marriage, Andi, single mom to a hearing-impaired son, isn’t exactly looking for love, either, but that’s what she finds with Jack. The two embark on a long-distance relationship fraught with challenges as they balance the needs of their children and dueling careers while Jack continues to care for his wife, Clare. Just when Jack thinks his life is once again settled, he is confronted with a new challenge that tests him in ways he never could’ve imagined, leaving him to wonder if “happily ever after” is in the cards for him.

Readers have responded with tremendous enthusiasm for Jack’s story. One of them called it “riveting, wrenching and unforgettable.” I liked that! What I’ve also loved is readers telling me the book makes them question what they would do if they found themselves in Jack’s situation. It was a lot of fun to write a story about a man who thinks he knows himself very well and has a good sense of what he’d do in any given situation. Then he finds himself in an untenable situation in which black and white beliefs become tinged with shades of gray.

Yesterday, Amazon sent an email to my past customers letting them know that TREADING WATER was now on sale. By the end of the day, the book was ranked at No. 19 for all of Kindle and No. 2 on the contemporary romance Kindle list. The book of my heart is now a Kindle bestseller! Yesterday was a VERY good day!

I’d love to hear from readers today about a dream you had that you never gave up on. Did your dream come true? I’ll give away a copy of TREADING WATER to one commenter AND 5 handmade bookmarks as well (your choice of those pictured above)…6 winners in all.
Enter! (International!)