Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.
Dreamscape and Hermes Online, both published through Siren-Bookstrand.
Have you ever fallen so deeply in love with the characters in a romance novel that thoughts of them linger long after the last page is turned? Have you ever been so completely immersed in a love scene that you’d swear you’ve just been kissed or more? Meet my strong, confident heroines and be seduced by compelling heroes you’ll wish were there beside you. Come see how their lives intertwine and through their stories discover love profound. From Hermes Online and Dreamscape, to the passionate stories that follow, I hope to sweep you away on a sensual tide of memorable story-telling.
How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newspaper?
First off, thank you for having me Tina. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your interview. :)
I keep what I call my idea book, a small pocket notebook, in my purse for inspirational moments. Any idea gets jotted down when it comes. One might pop into my head at a stop light when my mind is chatting away with itself. Or I could be enjoying the company of friends and the conversation captures my imagination and momentarily takes my mind elsewhere. You can say I sort of eavesdrop, on the world around me and myself!
Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?
My husband and friends will occasionally say, “You know what you should write…?” and their enthusiasm for their idea helps stir my imagination. It sounds odd to say that, but it’s not so much the concept they think will be a good fit, but rather it’s their enthusiasm that does it. When my muse is off inspiring others and the mojo is lagging, I’ll generally read one of my own books or short stories from the beginning. Writing is such a mutable thing. Rereading my own work will immediately send me into mental rewrites. When my mojo is jazzed up again, I’ll move back to my work in progress.
Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?
I fell into a small author’s group the month after my first novel released and they’ve been an amazing resource and safety net for me. I don’t know how I managed this other than it was certainly a case of right place right time. I’d read everything I could get my hands on about the publishing world and discovered that’s not such a good idea because there are so many conflicting pieces of information out there. I was painfully lost. Most of these authors have several books under their belts and I’ve learned so much from their wealth of experience. I hope to meet them in person one day.
What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?
I’ve only had one and I found it useful in that it unexpectedly gave me the topic for my current work in progress. I’m embarrassed to say, after that initial lightbulb went off over my head, I kind of dropped the class. I was too busy writing a book! Twice I’ve tried to take a creative writing class at my local community college and both times the class was canceled. I consider myself an intuitive writer as far as creativity goes, but boy I could use a little polish on my Chicagoese grammar. I no longer live in the city, but having grown up there devils my writing from time to time. People would laugh if they knew I took pains not to say things like “where’s my keys?” instead of “where are my keys?” This thing is, I know these little gaffs are not proper speech but they slip in so easily that I’ll have to read my work aloud to find them. It’s a pain in the butt!As far as workshops go, I’d really love to see a formula broken down. I’m not a formula writer myself, but I’ve read many such novels over the years. I hear of authors cranking out a new book every quarter because they use formulae. I’d like to see how that’s done. I’d love to see a workshop on shoestring promotion too.
What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?
My husband first and foremost. He’s an amazing essayist and can turn a phrase like no one’s business. When personal computers were just becoming common, we discovered the theatrical world of online role play. And what a stage it was! At any given hour of any given day one might converse with a shape-shifting shaman, a knight of the realm, or a barbarian slave girl with jingling bells on her ankles. Often misspelled words hastily typed out in the chat rooms described scenes and appearances equivalent to anything played at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. We had fun with it.
Word lover that I am, I found I had a knack for crafting detailed fantasy worlds. At my husband’s urging I entered a contest he’d found and it happened to be for erotic fiction. I never expected it to go anywhere, but I did like to dazzle my mate so I gave it my best. To my surprise, I won first place. Up till then, I’d only read romance and written children’s stories.
Have you ever used songs for inspiration?
I’ve used Celtic music for my large, four-years-in-the-making, series. And one of my characters loves Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma.
Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?
I generally write in silence. For me, too much external stimulus coming into my creative sphere is a distraction.
Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?
I’m an informational reader but go on these fiction binges once a year. When the binge happens I’ll plow through everything from Harry Potter to Sherlock Holmes and I won’t stop until the need for fiction subsides. I’ve found recently that too many romance novels mess with my own style. I take romance in smaller doses now whereas before I’d read every book Kathleen Woodiwiss, Judith McNaught, or Johanna Lindsey ever wrote in one long stretch.
What is your process from idea to first draft?
I’m a linear pantzer! As an intuitive composer, I literally walk forward into the story and keep on walking until it tells me it’s done. Along the way I find doors and windows open and give me direction. People appear from time to time to give me options. Being without an outline does occasionally have its sticky points. I’ve had to eliminate more than one character who innocently stopped by to borrow a cup of sugar. It’s weird how that works. I really don’t know where those people come from! I compare it to the TV series Happy Days, where Ritchie’s older brother Chuck just stops coming to the dinner table one day and is never mentioned again for the duration of show.
Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?
Like many publishers out there, Siren-Bookstrand has a group page everyone can communicate through. Every week new authors come on and introduce themselves. I’ve tried to be helpful where I can because I remember what it was like to have no idea what to do next. I’ve dedicated my blog to the entire author journey too. Anyone interested can find out what I’ve learned since I stepped onto this path. Like I mentioned above, I belong to a great author’s group. We all help each other and are very supportive in any area. Again, I got lucky.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
Oh just being in print! More than twenty years ago, I wrote and illustrated books for my children. Many years later, I wrote a youth novel. Unfortunately I didn’t publish any of them. That’s going to change in 2012! I have a little wherewithal as a writer now. I know I can do this. With my brand new backbone in place, I plan to self-publish them all. :)
If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?
I’d buy a piece of land for my husband to retire on and build an energy efficient home to grow old with him in. But with the rest, I’d create an endowment. Each year I’d send grants to people doing good things for the environment, for animals, and for people. Right now I support the NDRC -- The Natural Resources Defense Council. They’ve done great things to protect wildlife and wild places by taking offenders to court. I also support Heifer International and Oxfam. I give when I can and I’d love to be able to give more. For anyone interested, the Animal Rescue Site is a click site that donates money to shelters and there’s nothing for you to do but click on the site once each day. Free Rice is a similar site that donates bowls of rice to the world’s hungry.
What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?
They should keep in mind that not all of their books will be a good fit with every reader out there. I’d say not to take it too hard when the inevitable poor or snarky review pops up. Books are no less works of art than masterpieces in oil or stone. So new writers, please remember that reviews are simply opinions. Revel in the good ones because they feel great. If you’re lucky the bad ones will come with constructive criticism and that’s not really a negative thing. Once problems are out in the open and you know what they look like, they can be avoided in your future writing.Above all, don’t let nasty reviews get you down. If they have nothing of value to impart and are simply mean-spirited, consider them to be the power plays they’re intended to be and don’t waste valuable time thinking about them. You have writing to do! I read this comment once: Books outlast their deriders. That’s an interesting thought, eh?
If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?
Wow, this is honestly something I have never contemplated before. I love all animals and my house is full of creatures that have blessed me by sharing their lives with mine. I’d say my twelve-year-old Labrador retriever is my mascot. I have chronic health issues and she looks after me. She’s joyful and loving, protective, loyal, friendly, funny and playful and has an amazing capacity to understand what you’re talking about. You’d have to see it to believe it. She has the largest vocabulary I’ve ever known a dog to have. It breaks my heart to see her graying muzzle and know one day not all that far in the future, she’ll leave. I’d know I’ve done right by the world if I managed to have half the qualities she has.If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing
Science -- I’d be a research biologist to find cures for our ill planet. Music -- I’d be drummer with Mickey Hart or a folk singer. Philanthropist – I’d go all over the world and give my massive, self-sustaining, Scrooge McDuck zillions to worthy causes. ;)
If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?
I’d be a world traveler. I love architecture, especially ancient works on ground considered sacred by every group inhabiting the area through time. Early religions fascinate me.
What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?
I adore men and my appreciation comes through in the romantic way I craft them. They’re intelligent, capable, and confident. They’re also witty, brave, sensual, and have a presence. My hero knows how fortunate he is when my heroine returns his affection.
I like to create characters to identify with so my heroine is my hero’s soul mate, his equal in every way that matters. My heroines have all the same attributes and they have a great sense of humor too. Yes, she’s the loveliest woman he’s ever seen, but she so much more and he recognizes and appreciates it. As a result, he’s drawn to her like the proverbial moth to flame.
If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?
I was the helpless bystander watching two beloved sisters die to catastrophic diseases. I would see terrible diseases cured. If I could, I’d heal the earth’s ecosystem.
If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?
Oh, definitely time travel. I’d go back in time and change things that have done nothing but set humanity back. I’d correct things that never should have occurred like the burning of the Library at Alexandria. I’d correct the series of events that took woman from her rightful place beside man and made her his property. I suspect if that were possible there wouldn’t have been wars. Greed would have no footing. And suffering in all of its forms for man and animal would end.
Unable to deny his own translucence, Dr. Jason Bowen determines his lack of physical substance could only mean one thing—he’s a ghost. Murdered more than a century before, Jason haunts his house and ponders the treachery that took his life. When Lanie O’Keefe arrives with plans to renovate her newly purchased Victorian mansion, Jason discovers, ghost or not, he’s still very much a man.
Despite its derelict condition and haunted reputation, Lanie couldn’t be happier with her new home, but then she has no idea a spirit follows her every move throughout the day and shares her captivating warmth at night. Jason soon discovers he can travel through Lanie’s dreams and finds himself reliving the days before his murder with Lanie by his side. It took one hundred and twenty years for love to find them, but there’s that insurmountable little matter of Jason being dead.
Hermes Online Blurb:
Imagine if you will a story begun in the halls of Mount Olympus long before this modern tale was conceived. It was a time when the god Hermes flew on his winged sandals and carried messages from the gods to the mortals below. And between that time and this, couriers became postmen and handwritten letters became bytes. It is said the gods still speak to those who listen…
Left bruised and brokenhearted after a cruel breakup, Vivienne Bennet finds herself mired in a world of self-doubt. To her surprise, she receives an email that challenges her to rediscover the sensual woman she once was. Together Vivienne and the enigmatic man known only as S embark upon the world of anonymous Internet communication where suggestive emails lead to erotic chat, where cybersex leads to Skype, and C2C sends both into the arms of a love they’d believed lost forever.