Writing

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NYT Bestselling Author Shirlee Busbee + Giveaways!

Whoo-hoo! I’ve got Shirlee Busbee, New York Times bestselling author, here with me today talking about writing panster-style and making me break out in a cold sweat! Even though I’ve been writing in a very similar fashion as Shirlee describes here for some time now, just seeing it in black and white makes me anticipate a full-body erruption of hives. Eeeek! On the other hand, it’s reassuring to know the method work for a NYT bestseller!! Maybe I’m on the right path after all.

Shirlee is generously giving away 3 books today! A copy of WHISPER TO ME OF LOVE, PASSION BECOMES HER & DESIRE BECOMES HER, so make sure you leave a comment and sign up through the rafflecopter widget below!

But first, let me introduce Shirlee’s brand new release: DESIRE BECOMES HER

Shirlee’s up Gillian Dashwood is a widow with a scandalous past. Half the town believes her guilty of murdering her first husband, a notorious and depraved gambler. Now, two years later, Gillian goes to stay at her uncle’s estate and there meets Lucien “Lucifer” Joslyn.

Luc arrived in England from France months ago, suffering from the effects of an infected gunshot wound. Once recovered, he won a small fortune at the gaming tables. Knowing her reputation, Luc is suspicious of Gillian and her motives. Gillian is equally suspicious of Luc. She despises gamblers and yet, despite all the reasons why she shouldn’t, she finds herself responding to Luc’s undeniable attractiveness.

But could she dare to risk her heart with such a man?

You can pick up DESIRE BECOMES HER at these locations:

 


 Now…here’s Shirlee…

I’m a seat of the pants writer, or a ‘pantster’ in writer speak. What that actually means is that I haven’t a clue, or much of one, what direction my story will go. Oh, sure, I have an idea (sort of), a location (definitely), an era (of course) and I know the names, character and physical description of my hero and heroine, but many times (most) that’s it, folks.

It’s as I flesh out my two main characters that the first glimmer of a storyline, or plot, if you want to get technical, begins to unfold in my mind. Sometimes, it’s magic the way the story just becomes clearer and clearer to me, other times, it’s a struggle from start to finish. And there are always those days during the course of any book of just sitting staring at the screen, willing something clever and inspired to appear before me. Never happens, the work just progresses agonizing word by agonizing word. Or to use one of my favorite quotes, “Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” Gene Fowler. Boy, did he get it right.

DESIRE BECOMES HER, the second book in the Joslyn Family Series, fell sort of in between clear and clearer and drops of blood forming on my forehead. I loved Luc from the moment I introduced him in RAPTURE BECOMES HER (the first Joslyn Family book). But he was tricky character. He was half-French at a time England was at war with France, illegitimate and a gambler, yet I had to make him fit into the upper reaches of English society. It helped enormously that his half-brother, Barnaby, was Viscount Joslyn — that opened a lot of the right doors. It also helped that Luc’s skill with the cards made him a desirable player at the gambling hells in London where he rubbed shoulders with the aristocracy. Since he wasn’t a bad guy at heart, with a few rough patches, I got him established amongst the ton. Maybe not the very top reaches of the ton but part of it.

The widow, Gillian Dashwood, Luc’s ladylove gave me some bad moments. Believed by the ton of having murdered her husband I had to have enough evidence to make it believable, yet not so much that she was on trial for murder. Placing her in her Uncle Silas’s house right under Luc’s nose was a flash of inspiration and believe me, it came to me in a, er, flash :-). Getting them married was another easy stretch in the book, but dealing with those bloody vowels and tying it all in with her husband’s murder… Yikes. I think, in the end, it worked, but you’ll to read DESIRE BECOMES HER and decide for yourself if I got it right.

 


 

                     

Shirlee is generously giving away 3 books today! A copy of WHISPER TO ME OF LOVE, PASSION BECOMES HER & DESIRE BECOMES HER, so make sure you leave a comment and sign up through the rafflecopter widget below!

Author of historical and modern romance, Shirlee Busbee has enjoyed tremendous international success since her first novel Gypsy Lady was published in 1977.  Shirlee’s books have been translated into numerous languages and she is a household name to romance readers around the world.

Shirlee is married to her best friend, Howard, and the couple celebrate their 48th anniversary in 2011. Shirlee and Howard reside in Northern California on a lovely ranch were the couple is kept busy with their beloved Mini Schnauzers, prize winning Shetland Ponies and of course Shirlee’s writing!

Shirlee is writing constantly and has now dipped into blogging. Visit her blog were she writes about her every day life, and how she creates her much loved stories.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review of Victoria Dahl’s Latest + Interview + GIVEAWAY!!!

>I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Victoria Dahl’s latest release IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU from Kensington Zebra for review.  Then doubly blessed when Victoria agreed to an interview.   And triply (is that a word?) fortunate to have her generously offer a giveaway!  YAY!!  It’s a GREAT Monday!

Comment or ask Victoria a question to ENTER to WIN one of the following:
An ARC of IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU!
A copy of Victoria’s A LITTLE BIT WILD, the first book in the York series.
1 of 5 custom bookmarks.

Victoria Dahl’s IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU, is the second book in her historical romance York series and her August release.  I haven’t read A LITTLE BIT WILD yet (though you can bet I will) and it’s good for those of you in my position to know that IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU completely stands on its own.  Not once did I feel lost or out of sync because I hadn’t read the prior novel!

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is one of those books with instant intrigue. Victoria crafts a suspenseful read with characters I rooted for and story questions that made me turn the pages in search for their answers.

I’m a fan of tortured heroes and crafty, independent heroines, and IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU has both. The hero, Aiden, believes the love of his life, Kate, the heroine, is dead. Has been dead for a decade. When this novel begins, he is haunted by the resemblance of a random stranger to the woman he could never cast from his heart. And when he confronts the stranger, simply to prove to himself she isn’t the woman he thinks she is, he’s shocked to discover Kate is in fact alive.

Kate has many secrets and has told many lies in an effort to keep herself safe. She believes Aiden cast her aside so many years ago and now is determined to remain unknown, unhindered and undiscovered.

Click for larger image.
Bookmarks are even prettier
in person!

The black moment in this book was riveting and heart-rending. The suspense kept the pace fast and the storyline intriguing. The resolution pushed me to read to the very last page in the novel—not something I often do.

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is a tale woven from the strongest of human emotions, the harshness of life’s often random circumstances and the double-edged sword of endless love.

You can GET IT HERE in paperback or GET IT HERE on Kindle.

Now Victoria answers a few questions:

What is your writing routine?

I’m not exactly the most disciplined person you’ll ever meet. And by that, I mean I have to promise myself rewards, much as you would a small child. “If you get X words written before noon, you can go out to lunch with a girlfriend!” When I’m on deadline, I know what word count I need to hit every day. It’s often something around 2500 words. I can’t write 2500 words in one sitting, so I’ll normally do one hour of intense writing, which should get me close to 1000 words, and then I’ll take a few hours to brainstorm and write the next 1500.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?

My number one way of interacting with readers is via Twitter. It’s immediate and easy and quick, and it doesn’t feel like work. (See Question #1.) I’m terrible at Facebook and almost as bad with email, sadly. I procrastinate, and then I feel guilty, and then the whole big mass of emails and Facebook messages and guilt hangs over my head like a boulder. That’s when I like to hide in my Twitter cave and frantically tell dirty jokes.

What are you reading now?

I’m just finishing up Courtney Milan’s novella Unlocked, which is beautiful! I’m also reading a couple of non-fiction books about Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as my next contemporary series is set there. I just read a not-yet-released Ann Aguirre book, Enclave, as well as an untitled manuscript from my amazing critique partner, Jennifer Echols. It’s so very nice to have lots of friends who are amazing writers and send me advance work. *GRIN*

What is in your TBR pile?

Oh, my God. What isn’t in my TBR pile? That thing about how nice it is to have great writer friends? It’s also torturous! Because I want to read all of their books and I can’t keep up! Let me fire up my Kindle and we’ll see what’s on it:

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
Unclaimed by Courtney Milan
Too Hot to Touch by Louisa Edwards
Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane
Broken by Megan Hart
Collision Course by Zoe Archer

Do you have a second career? If not, what did you do before you became a full-time writer?

I’m a mom of two, so I spend a lot of my time making sure the house is spotless and the kids eat nothing but home-cooked organic foods. *snort* That’s a joke. But I do spend a lot of time hanging out with them and buying Lunchables at the grocery store. Before I had kids, I worked in financial services and banking. Exciting!

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

All of my books start with an idea for one scene. Just one scene, maybe even just a few heartbeats in that scene. In IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU, it was the moment when Aidan sees Kate for the first time in ten years. That’s the idea that started the book for me, and then I work back from there. Who are these people? Why is his reaction so visceral and heartbreaking? What happened to bring them to this place? How will he react? That’s where the story always starts. I love that moment of curiosity.

Tell us about your upcoming recent release, IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU.

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is the second in my York family series. I love a tortured hero, and Aidan York has had his share of heartbreak. His own behavior has only added to his torment over the years, and he hates the man he’s become. But when he’s reunited with his first love, Kate Tremont, anything seems possible. Redemption, love, happiness. But nothing is as simple as it seems, and Kate has to convince him that they have no future together. Still, even the most dangerous of secrets can’t stop her from responding to his touch…or his heart.

What are your current projects?

I just turned in the last book of my Donovan Brothers Brewery series! Good Girls Don’t, Bad Boys Do and Real Men Will will be out in September, October and November. And now I’m starting a brand new contemporary series set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I don’t have any titles yet, as I’m only nine pages into the first book, but I’m having fun!

Where can we find you online?

On Twitter! www.Twitter.com/VictoriaDahl
My website: www.VictoriaDahl.com
and my email of shame: Victoria@VictoriaDahl.com

Bookmarks are more gorgeous in person!

Comment or ask Victoria a question to ENTER to WIN one of the following:

An ARC of IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU
A copy of Victoria’s A LITTLE BIT WILD
1 of 5 custom bookmarks

**US/Canada shipping for books**
**International shipping for bookmarks**
*MUST leave contact email**
(otherwise how will we tell you YOU WON?)

Bio:

Victoria Dahl lives with her family in a small town high in the mountains. During the summer she hikes and drinks margaritas (usually not at the same time). During the winter she likes to curl up with a book and a cup of hot cocoa and think about all those poor, freezing skiers working so hard out in the snow. 

Her first published novel, the winner of the coveted Golden Heart for best long historical romance, debuted in 2007. As of the end of 2012, she will have seventeen books and novellas in print in historical, contemporary, and paranormal romance.

Victoria’s first contemporary romance, Talk Me Down, was nominated for both the Romance Writers of America® Rita Award and the National Readers’ Choice Award. Since then, her books have been nominated for two more Rita Awards, and she hit the USA Today Bestseller list with the contemporary anthology Midnight Kiss!

>Review of Victoria Dahl’s Latest + Interview + GIVEAWAY!!!

>I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Victoria Dahl’s latest release IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU from Kensington Zebra for review.  Then doubly blessed when Victoria agreed to an interview.   And triply (is that a word?) fortunate to have her generously offer a giveaway!  YAY!!  It’s a GREAT Monday!

Comment or ask Victoria a question to ENTER to WIN one of the following:
An ARC of IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU!
A copy of Victoria’s A LITTLE BIT WILD, the first book in the York series.
1 of 5 custom bookmarks.

Victoria Dahl’s IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU, is the second book in her historical romance York series and her August release.  I haven’t read A LITTLE BIT WILD yet (though you can bet I will) and it’s good for those of you in my position to know that IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU completely stands on its own.  Not once did I feel lost or out of sync because I hadn’t read the prior novel!

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is one of those books with instant intrigue. Victoria crafts a suspenseful read with characters I rooted for and story questions that made me turn the pages in search for their answers.

I’m a fan of tortured heroes and crafty, independent heroines, and IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU has both. The hero, Aiden, believes the love of his life, Kate, the heroine, is dead. Has been dead for a decade. When this novel begins, he is haunted by the resemblance of a random stranger to the woman he could never cast from his heart. And when he confronts the stranger, simply to prove to himself she isn’t the woman he thinks she is, he’s shocked to discover Kate is in fact alive.

Kate has many secrets and has told many lies in an effort to keep herself safe. She believes Aiden cast her aside so many years ago and now is determined to remain unknown, unhindered and undiscovered.

Click for larger image.
Bookmarks are even prettier
in person!

The black moment in this book was riveting and heart-rending. The suspense kept the pace fast and the storyline intriguing. The resolution pushed me to read to the very last page in the novel—not something I often do.

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is a tale woven from the strongest of human emotions, the harshness of life’s often random circumstances and the double-edged sword of endless love.

You can GET IT HERE in paperback or GET IT HERE on Kindle.

Now Victoria answers a few questions:

What is your writing routine?

I’m not exactly the most disciplined person you’ll ever meet. And by that, I mean I have to promise myself rewards, much as you would a small child. “If you get X words written before noon, you can go out to lunch with a girlfriend!” When I’m on deadline, I know what word count I need to hit every day. It’s often something around 2500 words. I can’t write 2500 words in one sitting, so I’ll normally do one hour of intense writing, which should get me close to 1000 words, and then I’ll take a few hours to brainstorm and write the next 1500.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?

My number one way of interacting with readers is via Twitter. It’s immediate and easy and quick, and it doesn’t feel like work. (See Question #1.) I’m terrible at Facebook and almost as bad with email, sadly. I procrastinate, and then I feel guilty, and then the whole big mass of emails and Facebook messages and guilt hangs over my head like a boulder. That’s when I like to hide in my Twitter cave and frantically tell dirty jokes.

What are you reading now?

I’m just finishing up Courtney Milan’s novella Unlocked, which is beautiful! I’m also reading a couple of non-fiction books about Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as my next contemporary series is set there. I just read a not-yet-released Ann Aguirre book, Enclave, as well as an untitled manuscript from my amazing critique partner, Jennifer Echols. It’s so very nice to have lots of friends who are amazing writers and send me advance work. *GRIN*

What is in your TBR pile?

Oh, my God. What isn’t in my TBR pile? That thing about how nice it is to have great writer friends? It’s also torturous! Because I want to read all of their books and I can’t keep up! Let me fire up my Kindle and we’ll see what’s on it:

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
Unclaimed by Courtney Milan
Too Hot to Touch by Louisa Edwards
Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane
Broken by Megan Hart
Collision Course by Zoe Archer

Do you have a second career? If not, what did you do before you became a full-time writer?

I’m a mom of two, so I spend a lot of my time making sure the house is spotless and the kids eat nothing but home-cooked organic foods. *snort* That’s a joke. But I do spend a lot of time hanging out with them and buying Lunchables at the grocery store. Before I had kids, I worked in financial services and banking. Exciting!

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

All of my books start with an idea for one scene. Just one scene, maybe even just a few heartbeats in that scene. In IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU, it was the moment when Aidan sees Kate for the first time in ten years. That’s the idea that started the book for me, and then I work back from there. Who are these people? Why is his reaction so visceral and heartbreaking? What happened to bring them to this place? How will he react? That’s where the story always starts. I love that moment of curiosity.

Tell us about your upcoming recent release, IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU.

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is the second in my York family series. I love a tortured hero, and Aidan York has had his share of heartbreak. His own behavior has only added to his torment over the years, and he hates the man he’s become. But when he’s reunited with his first love, Kate Tremont, anything seems possible. Redemption, love, happiness. But nothing is as simple as it seems, and Kate has to convince him that they have no future together. Still, even the most dangerous of secrets can’t stop her from responding to his touch…or his heart.

What are your current projects?

I just turned in the last book of my Donovan Brothers Brewery series! Good Girls Don’t, Bad Boys Do and Real Men Will will be out in September, October and November. And now I’m starting a brand new contemporary series set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I don’t have any titles yet, as I’m only nine pages into the first book, but I’m having fun!

Where can we find you online?

On Twitter! www.Twitter.com/VictoriaDahl
My website: www.VictoriaDahl.com
and my email of shame: Victoria@VictoriaDahl.com

Bookmarks are more gorgeous in person!

Comment or ask Victoria a question to ENTER to WIN one of the following:

An ARC of IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU
A copy of Victoria’s A LITTLE BIT WILD
1 of 5 custom bookmarks

**US/Canada shipping for books**
**International shipping for bookmarks**
*MUST leave contact email**
(otherwise how will we tell you YOU WON?)

Bio:

Victoria Dahl lives with her family in a small town high in the mountains. During the summer she hikes and drinks margaritas (usually not at the same time). During the winter she likes to curl up with a book and a cup of hot cocoa and think about all those poor, freezing skiers working so hard out in the snow. 

Her first published novel, the winner of the coveted Golden Heart for best long historical romance, debuted in 2007. As of the end of 2012, she will have seventeen books and novellas in print in historical, contemporary, and paranormal romance.

Victoria’s first contemporary romance, Talk Me Down, was nominated for both the Romance Writers of America® Rita Award and the National Readers’ Choice Award. Since then, her books have been nominated for two more Rita Awards, and she hit the USA Today Bestseller list with the contemporary anthology Midnight Kiss!

Being an Indie Author with Theresa Ragan

>

My guest today, author Theresa Ragan, writes medieval time travels, romantic comedy, romantic suspense, and her first romantic thriller, ABDUCTED, was recently released under the name T.R. Ragan.

Theresa has garnered six Golden Heart nominations with Romance Writers of Americafor her work.

She lives with her husband, Joe, and the youngest of her four children in Sacramento, California.

Being an Indie Author
You can make this easy or you can make it difficult.

Yes, becoming an indie author is a LOT of work, especially if you decide to do everything yourself. But it’s all fun if you take one thing at a time and deal with it. Right now, many indie authors are scrambling around, trying to find that magic “thing” that is going to make their book sell. I have days where I feel like OMG I need to get my book on this site and that site. I need to write more blogs and do more interviews. I need to giveaway free books and I should probably fix my blurbs and change my covers.

Maybe I should do ALL of those things. And maybe those “fixes” won’t do me a bit of good. I won’t know until I do it. But I only have so many hours in a day. Stressing and spreading myself too thin is not going to help matters. In fact, it will probably hurt me more than it will help me.

“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.”

Random, I know. But I love that quote. I think of it often. Because I think we can find happiness in absolutely everything we do. Even laundry (well, maybe that’s pushing it). Since becoming an indie author, I am busier than I’ve ever been in my life. But I am also happier. I have readers who have read my books. Just typing that last sentence gave me goose bumps. After 19 years of writing, I was beginning to think that might never happen. But it has and the thought that people are enjoying my stories makes me smile.

Like many of you, I have a “to do” list that is growing faster than Jack’s beanstalk. I am choosing not to stress over my growing To-Do list. I am going to take one thing at a time and do the best I can. That’s all I can do. That’s all any of us can do.

I am going to make writing my priority because that’s what I love to do and it makes me happy and I really have an obsession with being happy. Life is way too short to be anything else. If I spend more time focusing on story and characters, delving deep into their wants and desires, the book sales will follow.

I know it. I feel it. I believe it.

My advice is to enjoy the ride. Enjoy it now. Today. Slow down. Breathe. Smile. Have fun.

You can find Theresa:

Email
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Smashwords

>Being an Indie Author with Theresa Ragan

>

My guest today, author Theresa Ragan, writes medieval time travels, romantic comedy, romantic suspense, and her first romantic thriller, ABDUCTED, was recently released under the name T.R. Ragan.

Theresa has garnered six Golden Heart nominations with Romance Writers of Americafor her work.

She lives with her husband, Joe, and the youngest of her four children in Sacramento, California.

Being an Indie Author
You can make this easy or you can make it difficult.

Yes, becoming an indie author is a LOT of work, especially if you decide to do everything yourself. But it’s all fun if you take one thing at a time and deal with it. Right now, many indie authors are scrambling around, trying to find that magic “thing” that is going to make their book sell. I have days where I feel like OMG I need to get my book on this site and that site. I need to write more blogs and do more interviews. I need to giveaway free books and I should probably fix my blurbs and change my covers.

Maybe I should do ALL of those things. And maybe those “fixes” won’t do me a bit of good. I won’t know until I do it. But I only have so many hours in a day. Stressing and spreading myself too thin is not going to help matters. In fact, it will probably hurt me more than it will help me.

“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.”

Random, I know. But I love that quote. I think of it often. Because I think we can find happiness in absolutely everything we do. Even laundry (well, maybe that’s pushing it). Since becoming an indie author, I am busier than I’ve ever been in my life. But I am also happier. I have readers who have read my books. Just typing that last sentence gave me goose bumps. After 19 years of writing, I was beginning to think that might never happen. But it has and the thought that people are enjoying my stories makes me smile.

Like many of you, I have a “to do” list that is growing faster than Jack’s beanstalk. I am choosing not to stress over my growing To-Do list. I am going to take one thing at a time and do the best I can. That’s all I can do. That’s all any of us can do.

I am going to make writing my priority because that’s what I love to do and it makes me happy and I really have an obsession with being happy. Life is way too short to be anything else. If I spend more time focusing on story and characters, delving deep into their wants and desires, the book sales will follow.

I know it. I feel it. I believe it.

My advice is to enjoy the ride. Enjoy it now. Today. Slow down. Breathe. Smile. Have fun.

You can find Theresa:

Email
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Smashwords

Twitter Style Interview with Mystery Writer Camille Minichino

>

My guest today is mystery author Camille Minichino, aka Ada Madison and Margaret Grace. This Twitter-style interview is fast and furious and FUN, regardless of the genre you write or read! I found myself laughing out loud while I was formatting the post and reading her answers.
Leave a comment or question for Camille and you’ll be entered to win her latest release THE SQUARE ROOT OF MURDER, from Berkeley Crime

Camille Minichino is the author of three mystery series, beginning with her Periodic Table Mysteries. Her akas are Margaret Grace (The Miniature Mysteries) and Ada Madison (The Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries). THE SQUARE ROOT OF MURDER released July 5, 2011 and is available at your local bookstore or at amazon.

Read the first chapter of SQUARE ROOT OF MURDER here.

Read Camille’s fun interview HERE:

What is one stereotype about mystery writers is absolutely wrong?
That we’re secretly out for revenge on someone.

What one stereotype is dead on?
That we were not cool in high school but are making up for it.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
Arithmetic.

Why mystery?
Revenge. (See above.)

Are there other genres slivered into your mysteries? Romance? Thriller?
A little romance and a thrill or two.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
A likeable protagonist, whether cop or serial killer; then a good story and clean writing.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I plunge in.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
That someone other than my BFFs would read my books.

How long does it take you to write a book?
The first one took 60 years; the next ones took about 3 months each.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Sleep is overrated.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I use a spread sheet to keep track of my story and word count.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Information from an embalmer cousin; ideas wherever two or more are gathered.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Louis Buzbee, instructor at UC Berkeley Extension.

What are the hardest scenes to write?
Violence, even a slap in the face.

What are the easiest scenes to write?
Funny repartee.

What are your writing strengths?
Dialogue.

What are your writing weaknesses?
Making the plot complex enough to be interesting and challenging to the reader.

Plotter or panster?
I’m a wing-it-er.

What new author has grasped your interest?
I’m stuck with the old: Ann Parker, Thomas H. Cook, Martin Cruz Smith …

What are you reading now?
“Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Was there an author or sleuth that inspired you to write mysteries?
Patricia Highsmith, especially her Ripley books.

What’s your mystery subgenre–thriller, police procedural, psychological, private investigator, cozy?
I write cozy, but I read dark. Love the Dexter books, by Jeff Lindsay.

Do you enjoy reading all kinds of crime fiction, or mostly the subgenre you write?
Everything but the subgenre I write. But no horror or paranormal.

What do you think is a reasonable number of suspects is for a mystery?
No fewer than three, no more than five.

Does your sleuth have a sidekick?
I have 3 sleuths, 3 sidekicks: one cop, one pre-teen granddaughter, one hunky boyfriend.

What attributes do you look for in a sidekick when writing the character?
Complementary to the sleuth, opposite in personality.

When you are first brainstorming the plot, do you start out with the victim, suspects, crime, or sleuth?
Since the sleuth is a given in a series, I start with the victim, then the killer and motive.

Where is the mystery set? Does the setting play a role in the book?
I’ve done both real and fictional settings. Fictional are easier—no one-way-street problems.

How do you feel about interview questions?
I love them!

Where can we find you online?
Facebook
Twitter
Web
Email
Blog

Camille received her Ph.D. in physics from Fordham University, New York City. She is currently on the faculty of Golden Gate University, San Francisco and on the staff of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Camille is on the boards of the California Writers Club and NorCal Sisters in Crime. She’s a member of NorCal Mystery Writers of America and SF Romance Writers of America.

Leave a comment or question for Camille and you’ll be entered to win her latest release THE SQUARE ROOT OF MURDER, from Berkeley Crime   *US/Canada shipping*

*MUST* leave a contact email.

>Twitter Style Interview with Mystery Writer Camille Minichino

>

My guest today is mystery author Camille Minichino, aka Ada Madison and Margaret Grace. This Twitter-style interview is fast and furious and FUN, regardless of the genre you write or read! I found myself laughing out loud while I was formatting the post and reading her answers.
Leave a comment or question for Camille and you’ll be entered to win her latest release THE SQUARE ROOT OF MURDER, from Berkeley Crime

Camille Minichino is the author of three mystery series, beginning with her Periodic Table Mysteries. Her akas are Margaret Grace (The Miniature Mysteries) and Ada Madison (The Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries). THE SQUARE ROOT OF MURDER released July 5, 2011 and is available at your local bookstore or at amazon.

Read the first chapter of SQUARE ROOT OF MURDER here.

Read Camille’s fun interview HERE:

What is one stereotype about mystery writers is absolutely wrong?
That we’re secretly out for revenge on someone.

What one stereotype is dead on?
That we were not cool in high school but are making up for it.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
Arithmetic.

Why mystery?
Revenge. (See above.)

Are there other genres slivered into your mysteries? Romance? Thriller?
A little romance and a thrill or two.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
A likeable protagonist, whether cop or serial killer; then a good story and clean writing.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I plunge in.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
That someone other than my BFFs would read my books.

How long does it take you to write a book?
The first one took 60 years; the next ones took about 3 months each.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Sleep is overrated.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I use a spread sheet to keep track of my story and word count.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Information from an embalmer cousin; ideas wherever two or more are gathered.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Louis Buzbee, instructor at UC Berkeley Extension.

What are the hardest scenes to write?
Violence, even a slap in the face.

What are the easiest scenes to write?
Funny repartee.

What are your writing strengths?
Dialogue.

What are your writing weaknesses?
Making the plot complex enough to be interesting and challenging to the reader.

Plotter or panster?
I’m a wing-it-er.

What new author has grasped your interest?
I’m stuck with the old: Ann Parker, Thomas H. Cook, Martin Cruz Smith …

What are you reading now?
“Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Was there an author or sleuth that inspired you to write mysteries?
Patricia Highsmith, especially her Ripley books.

What’s your mystery subgenre–thriller, police procedural, psychological, private investigator, cozy?
I write cozy, but I read dark. Love the Dexter books, by Jeff Lindsay.

Do you enjoy reading all kinds of crime fiction, or mostly the subgenre you write?
Everything but the subgenre I write. But no horror or paranormal.

What do you think is a reasonable number of suspects is for a mystery?
No fewer than three, no more than five.

Does your sleuth have a sidekick?
I have 3 sleuths, 3 sidekicks: one cop, one pre-teen granddaughter, one hunky boyfriend.

What attributes do you look for in a sidekick when writing the character?
Complementary to the sleuth, opposite in personality.

When you are first brainstorming the plot, do you start out with the victim, suspects, crime, or sleuth?
Since the sleuth is a given in a series, I start with the victim, then the killer and motive.

Where is the mystery set? Does the setting play a role in the book?
I’ve done both real and fictional settings. Fictional are easier—no one-way-street problems.

How do you feel about interview questions?
I love them!

Where can we find you online?
Facebook
Twitter
Web
Email
Blog

Camille received her Ph.D. in physics from Fordham University, New York City. She is currently on the faculty of Golden Gate University, San Francisco and on the staff of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Camille is on the boards of the California Writers Club and NorCal Sisters in Crime. She’s a member of NorCal Mystery Writers of America and SF Romance Writers of America.

Leave a comment or question for Camille and you’ll be entered to win her latest release THE SQUARE ROOT OF MURDER, from Berkeley Crime   *US/Canada shipping*

*MUST* leave a contact email.

>How Writing Relieves Stress

>by Jennifer Bell

Stress is an unfortunate fact of life that everyone will suffer from at some point. However, many individuals are much more susceptible to stress and also suffer from it more frequently. There are many alternatives and treatments that are quite effective at reducing stress, but one of the most overlooked, and easiest, is through the simple act of writing.

Writing can be a therapeutic process with several very distinct advantages, including calming nervous energy and focusing attention that tends to run wild during stressful situations. These two aspects alone are often enough to gain the perspective needed to at least deal with the problems causing the stress, if not come up with an effective solution for them. Writing does not mean an elaborate novella of life’s challenges. The style or grammatical correctness of the writing is not pertinent, only that the emotions, stressful situations and responses are documented honestly and thoroughly.

Stress Release Through Writing
The act of writing enables people to deal with many different problems and in alternative ways. Writing forces the mind to focus on the information at hand and also engages both sides of the brain. This is very important, as the inability to focus is often the catalyst that enables a stressful situation to spiral out of control. Focusing all of the brain’s energy, both the left and right hemispheres, through analytical and creative activities at the same time, is one of the secrets to stress-relief through writing. The process of forming words, translating situations into text and visualizing events all work to calm and focus the nervous energy that stress fosters.

Journals and Diaries
Writing is extremely beneficial for dealing with stress, but when the writings are kept in an ongoing journal or diary, they are even more effective. Journals and diaries are almost like having a private therapist on call, with advantages like being a source of release and the fact that journals can be revisited time and again for help with future situations. Two keys to keeping an effective journal are honesty and recording all aspects, such as how problems were solved, not just what caused a stressful situation.

Journals can also help with one of the biggest problems that plague individuals suffering from stress, identifying the problem. Many individuals deal with excessive stress daily, without actually knowing what the problem is. This often manifests as outbursts, unintentional behaviors and even withdrawal or depression. Documenting when and where these behaviors happen, as well as who or what was involved, is often the key to discovering the real, underlying problems. The benefits of writing can be far-reaching and dramatic for just about anyone that employs them. Even if it only consists of jotting down some keywords and phrases, the effects and benefits of writing, when one is stressed or frustrated, can be profound.

This guest article was contributed by Jennifer Bell from Health Training GuideCheck out her site to learn more about occupational health and safety specialist training and other exciting health careers.

How Writing Relieves Stress

>by Jennifer Bell

Stress is an unfortunate fact of life that everyone will suffer from at some point. However, many individuals are much more susceptible to stress and also suffer from it more frequently. There are many alternatives and treatments that are quite effective at reducing stress, but one of the most overlooked, and easiest, is through the simple act of writing.

Writing can be a therapeutic process with several very distinct advantages, including calming nervous energy and focusing attention that tends to run wild during stressful situations. These two aspects alone are often enough to gain the perspective needed to at least deal with the problems causing the stress, if not come up with an effective solution for them. Writing does not mean an elaborate novella of life’s challenges. The style or grammatical correctness of the writing is not pertinent, only that the emotions, stressful situations and responses are documented honestly and thoroughly.

Stress Release Through Writing
The act of writing enables people to deal with many different problems and in alternative ways. Writing forces the mind to focus on the information at hand and also engages both sides of the brain. This is very important, as the inability to focus is often the catalyst that enables a stressful situation to spiral out of control. Focusing all of the brain’s energy, both the left and right hemispheres, through analytical and creative activities at the same time, is one of the secrets to stress-relief through writing. The process of forming words, translating situations into text and visualizing events all work to calm and focus the nervous energy that stress fosters.

Journals and Diaries
Writing is extremely beneficial for dealing with stress, but when the writings are kept in an ongoing journal or diary, they are even more effective. Journals and diaries are almost like having a private therapist on call, with advantages like being a source of release and the fact that journals can be revisited time and again for help with future situations. Two keys to keeping an effective journal are honesty and recording all aspects, such as how problems were solved, not just what caused a stressful situation.

Journals can also help with one of the biggest problems that plague individuals suffering from stress, identifying the problem. Many individuals deal with excessive stress daily, without actually knowing what the problem is. This often manifests as outbursts, unintentional behaviors and even withdrawal or depression. Documenting when and where these behaviors happen, as well as who or what was involved, is often the key to discovering the real, underlying problems. The benefits of writing can be far-reaching and dramatic for just about anyone that employs them. Even if it only consists of jotting down some keywords and phrases, the effects and benefits of writing, when one is stressed or frustrated, can be profound.

This guest article was contributed by Jennifer Bell from Health Training GuideCheck out her site to learn more about occupational health and safety specialist training and other exciting health careers.

>The Power of a Conversation About Your WIP

>By Molly Borter

The writing process is filled with hits and misses, twists and turns, and proud moments and disappointments. For the most part, the process came easy to me during my college years. I listened intently during lectures and made writing into a solitary experience, one in which I would sit in my silent room and let my own characters and creations float onto the page. I somehow managed to successfully integrate my professor’s tips into my pieces, would get mostly positive workshop feedback, and then continue the process all over again.

It wasn’t until my final year at school that I realized my biggest flaw as a writer was my lack of conversation. During this time, I worked as a writing tutor helping students of all backgrounds talk about their writing, whether it was a brainstorming session on a personal essay or a discussion about dialogue flow in their romance novel. During our discussions, we would work together, both recognizing the areas that were going well and the components of their stories that were lacking. The conversations we had during their process made them that much more confident, their writing that much more focused, and the constant back-and-forth of ideas provided an alternate perspective in my own pieces.

Conversations are often taken for granted; most of us only talk about our writing once it is a finished product and not a work in progress. As adult writers, we have editors and family members to mention where we think our latest book’s plot may lead. These passing mentions in an email or at the dinner table are great, but when’s the last time you really sat down with someone in the middle or beginning of this process to tell them your fears in your character’s believability? When you needed help to overcome a huge writer’s block? When you finally created the perfect love scene between your hero and heroine? These concerns and accomplishments should be shared before, and not after, the book is printed.

Opening up that dialogue—no matter how experienced you are—is a healthy and significant part of the writing process. Whether it be with a colleague, with a spouse, a novelist friend, or a complete stranger, it is so vitally important to hear feedback, because we walk a fine, stressful line between finding a place in our minds where our stories come alive and actually letting the words on the page take readers to that same alternate world. Writing is our own, but it also thrives from being a collaborative experience, which in turn makes your job as a writer that much more entertaining, complex, and compelling.

My challenge to you is one that I continue to struggle with: Leave your messy computer desk, come out of that writing nook in the corner of your room, and talk about your writing. Although it may be difficult to expose yourself so early in the process, your clear mind, fresh perspective, and faithful readers will thank you for it.

Bio:
Molly Borter graduated with a degree in English Writing at DePauw University and works as a writer in Indianapolis, IN. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, blogging about beauty products and fashionable sunglasses, and spending time with her family and friends.

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