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Monday, January 31, 2011

How Writing for Leisure Led Me Here

I was having a hard time deciding what to share today. I have a few new releases I could promo, but then I thought…why don’t I introduce the characters that led me into publishing. I’ve written them off and on now for a bit over five years. Having them in my head has been a joy at times and pure hell at other times. So how do I cram so many years into a small post? I bring in the light of their world. Who happens to be an adorable young Wiccan-were named Lyric.

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Me: “Hey Lyric how are you doing today?”

Lyric: “I’m good. I got to play with Havi my baby brova today. So what’ca doin? coz you know being a big sister is hard work. He’s not like the dolls in my room.”

Me:” I can only imagine. Well poppet some friends of mine want to know all about your family, and I thought you’d be the best person to answer.”

Lyric looks at me like duh of course and I cross my legs and wait for her incessant chatter to begin.

Lyric: “Hmmm. There’s lotsa people in my family. We got’s Sin but I calls her mama, and Rhys my papa who I call papi. Pampa and g’ma are in heaven but I see them when I want. Shhh. Mama don’t know I call them to me sometimes. Hugs aren’t the same though coz they’re kinda see through. Lyric shrugs.”

Me: “Just how big is your family Lyric?”

Lyric: “Ohhhh it’s vera big. We gots lotsa love. G’ma used to say it’s coz we’s Hispantic and that’s how hispantic families just are. Only thing is not much fun being the only girl. Mama her was the only girl and the guys neva lets her do stuff, even now and she’s big.”

Me: “Oh?”

Lyric: “Umhm. They even was gonna marry hers to someone she didn’t know, but they found out she was with papi and boy was Kavar mad. Hims big with a big temper and he’s the HOF, so we gots to mind him.”

Me: “Well that must have been hard. You’re pretty little, how do you know so much?”

Lyric: Silly coz I’m Lyr and I’m a big girl not little. I’m five now. I gets to go to the school they teaches at. Is a big magic place where my cozins all make people get smart.”

Me: “Really?”

Lyric: Yeps, and cozin Troy he likes to take girls to the broom closet. I saw him once, dunno what she lost that he had to take her in the dark . But Troy’s not the only one who does that.”



Me: “How many cousins are there?” Watching the munchkin count is cute.

Lyric: “Kavar, and Stephan and Santiago and Jaxvair ,and Roarke,and Valerian,and Trenton, and Troy, and Demarq and Uncle Samuel. Cozin Kavi and Stephan and Santigao and Jaxvair are way old. The others are young mama says horny dogs of satan all the time. Donno what that means though.”

Me: “That’s a lot of guys.”

Lyric: “You don’t wanna know what she did to them it was very bad.”

Me: Do tell.

Lyric: She had them all come over and I gots to play tea party and give them cakes and lemonade coz guys don’t do girly tea and she sent me to my room to play but… I listen’d coz she was so vera mad with them. Well, she did a naughty, and they was sick and frowing up and it smelled and then her yelled, and it was loud. I never saw so much nasty puke in forever.

But you know what? They didn’t make her date no one, left her alone and then she brought home papi to meet me. He’s got such a deep voice, him goes to sing places and girls like him like lots, but he’s crazy bout me, mama and Havi.”

Me: "Sounds like your mama has lots of people who cherish her."

Lyric:“Mama says they's overwatch her, they drive her mad. So mad shhh. She ran away and mated a human, cept he wasn’t really a human turns out. But I knew all along. Is my gift.”

Me: “That’s great. I mean bad that she ran away but good she fell in love.”

Lyric: “Boys are gross cept my Havi. He’s only gross when his butt stinks.”

Me: “So Lyric tell me about your mama.”

Lyric: “Ohhh mama is the bestest in the world. She sings and bakes and plays with me and she’s teaching me chaka.. chakarahs well crystals is easier to say. She’s very pretty and I got to play with the family spell book. She’s very brave too. Got kidnapped when I was in her belly. The cozins say she doesn’t listen and they hope I’m easier than her was.” Lyric stops to smooth her dress.”

Shhh. “But I wouldn’t listen either coz they’s not always right. Mama says it’s coz they think with their little brain but I donno what that means either. Guess guys have two brains but that’d make’em smarter not dumber.”

Me: “Well maybe when you’re older.”

Lyric: “Everyone says that you know maybe I’ll ask them ghosts that are on our property.”

Me: “Ghosts?”

Lyric: “I feel bad for them for being stuck. I bet they can tell me all kindsa things.”

Me: “Interesting. So how is it living on a big ranch?”

Lyric: “I have a horse Princess and I get to play wif the mouser cats. Papi he put the house on lockdown and grounded mama though.”

Me: “Grounded mama?”

Lyric: “Mama, he says is a curious kitty. Her’s always getting into something. He shoulda never taken her to see him fight in the pit. Is not fun to be grounded. I got grounded once coz I played in the book and became a big girl. Mama’s soldier friends is so nice and bring me stuff and I thought I could be Wade’s wife coz he’s my favorite but I gots caught and papi and mama were mad.”

Me: “Pit fighting? Spells?”

Lyric: “Yeah well when he thought mama was dead and I was dead he kinda went loco mama says. Is a long story but Kavar had a not so nice girlfriend and we ended up in a bad bad place but they was nice to mama and me and well we got home and papi was happy but he had to go fight so he took mama wif him and she thought if he could she could. I heard her talkin to Katy her’s mama’s best friend and cozin Marq’s mate. Her’s an ocelet while we’s tigers.”

Me: “Interesting. Not nice to eavesdrop though.”

Lyric: “Well Havi gets boring after a bit and listenin to them is better than chores. No was not good. He ordered her not to go and she went and used magic and we got sent to the magical nanny sos he could go fetch her.”

Me: “You certainly have a lively family.”

Lyric: “Well whad’ya spect we’s tigers and witches. Mama don’t like that so I say wiccan coz she don’t have a broom or black hat and she’s a healer. I got to go do my chores so I can ride my horse and go check Havi. Bye.”

Me: “Thank you Lyric for chatting.”

Lyric: “You are welcome, mama said was okay ya know. Sides, next time I can talk bout my godfather Maleck and my godbrova Trey.”


Hope you all enjoyed Lyrics visit! Come by and look at the family photo album. Note I don't own any of the pics they just resemble the characters running amuck in my head!

The Family Album

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Interview of Author and SNSD co-owner Tina Donahue

Welcome again to 20 Questions. Today, I have my SNSD partner and fellow author Tina Donahue in my sites. So, let's get going!


1.    Since you usually write straight contemporary novels, what made you decide to scribe a paranormal with The Yearning?



I’m always trying to challenge myself with my writing. I began in romance by writing romantic comedies for Zebra. Since I have an irreverent sense of humor (or so my friends tell me), I found those novels extremely easy to write. One of my editors suggested I try my hand at erotic romance, since my romantic comedies did have some pretty steamy scenes. So, I then moved into that. After reading the reviews of numerous paranormals, I thought the plots sounded so interesting that I’d try something like that for myself.

2.   As you were creating Mike, the hero, did you find it difficult to match his strength to that of Jasmine?  What were the characteristics you wanted to instill in him to make him a challenge for the heroine?

No, I had no difficulty matching his strength to Jasmine’s. Although she’s driven by lust because of the curse, in reality she’s always been shy and uncertain of herself around men. Before she was cursed, she wouldn’t have hoped an Alpha male like Mike would have even noticed her.

Even though Mike’s an Alpha male, he’s also a nice guy with tons of integrity and character. Because of his inherent honor, Jasmine struggled with the thought of imprisoning him. The part of her unaffected by the curse likes – then loves him – as the man he is. Strong, yet kind. Commanding but tender.

From the get-go Mike is a challenge for Jasmine – the best kind. J


3.   In the excerpt depicting their first kiss, Mike knows that Jasmine has chosen him from outside her ordinary world.  What is Jasmine’s “ordinary” world like?  Is it a place she wants to be or a place from which to escape?

With her sisters, Jasmine owns and operates a dress design business. Her sisters are involved in the artistic aspects (dress design/fabric, etc.), while Jasmine is the business manager. Before Desiree cursed her, Jasmine accepted her world for what it was…she wasn’t a babe, she wasn’t sexy, men didn’t find her particularly alluring. But once she meets Mike, once she falls in love with him, she fears what the end of the curse will mean. Will Mike find her attractive when he sees the real Jasmine – what she considers to be a plain Jane?

4.   You mentioned the element of danger in Jasmine choosing a man from an unaccustomed haunt.  What do you think are three things a woman should always keep in mind when choosing a strange man for a bed companion?

That’s impossible to answer. For myself, I wouldn’t choose a stranger. And if not for the curse, Jasmine wouldn’t have either. That’s what I wanted to convey in The Yearning, her conflict about choosing a man she doesn’t know, coupled with her growing attraction to him.

5.    What is your favorite line from The Yearning?

Whenever Mike says to Jasmine (especially at the end) “Tell me about you.”  He asked it in the beginning and she was afraid to tell him about the curse. At the end, after everything they’d been through, after he convinced her she is the type of woman he can love, he asks her again to tell him everything about herself. Very sweet. Tender.

6.   Will you write more paranormals in the future or is The Yearning going to be the only one?  In either case, why?

Oh yeah, I intend to keep writing paranormals, along with erotic contemporaries.

Why? ‘Cause I have to.  J  Writing is my life force. Without it, I wouldn’t exist. Just love it too much.

7.   The intensity that took place in your previous novel, In His Arms, both between the characters and in the subject matter was astounding.  Do you feel the same intensity comes across the pages of  The Yearning?  Explain what elements made different in this respect or the same.

In His Arms was unique given its subject matter. It’s impossible to compare it to The Yearning – like apples and oranges. However, The Yearning does have mainstream elements in it – particularly the guilt Mike feels over his partner’s death – a death he feels responsible for. And, both Jasmine and Mike feel as though they have never belonged – though in different ways. Jasmine never considered herself all that attractive to men. And Mike, because of his telekinetic gift (or curse, if you will) has always felt like an anomaly.  In The Yearning I explored what it’s like to be different…not to fit in.

8.   Is there a particular message you want to get across to the reader with The Yearning?

I hadn’t really thought about it, but if I did, it would be in reference to Desiree, the character who curses Jasmine. Desiree felt that Jasmine stole the man Desiree loved. (not true, btw) So Desiree takes out her anger on Jasmine. Too often women fight other women for a man. In my opinion, that’s counterproductive. A guy who cheats does so all on his own. No one puts a gun to his head. If the woman is mad at anyone, it should be the cheating guy.

9.   What genre have you not written that you would like to try? Why? 

Since I’ve written historical, contemporary, paranormal, erotic and romantic comedies, I’ve just about covered most of it. So for now, I think I’m good.  However, a romantic suspense may be in the offing someday. J

10. How much time do you allocate to writing each day?

I write for four hours before I begin my EDJ on the weekdays, and during those days I frequently come back to the work…so I would say 7-8 hours total. On the weekends, I just write until I finish the number of pages I’m set to finish (again, 7-8 hours).

11.  What other career would you choose other than writing?  Why?

I wouldn’t. If I couldn’t write, I’d die.

12. Is there an adventure you would like to have before die?  What is it?  What is it about this adventure that you think you would find so fulfilling?

I’d like to travel the world. I enjoy seeing new things and meeting new people.

13. Is there a place that you have never been that you would like to visit?  Where?  What attracts you to this place?

I’d like to go to Southern Spain – AndalucĂ­a. My first historical novel pubbed by Zebra took place there. During the research, I fell in love with the locale.

14. If this were a perfect world and time and money were no object, where would you like to write? 

In a villa in Spain – perhaps Granada, overlooking the sea.

15.  What is your favorite charity?  Why?

Planned Parenthood. I believe every child born should be wanted.

16. If you had the time and energy to spend, what would you like to volunteer to do?

Teach young woman to succeed. To believe in themselves.

17.  Do you prefer sunsets or sunrises?

I like both equally.

18. What is the greatest achievement you would like to make with your writing?

To move my readers to laughter, tears and sighs of delight.

19. What has been the happiest moment of your life?

Impossible to pinpoint…there have been many happy moments.

20. No interview would be complete without asking what is the one thing you feel an aspiring writer should know?  

Never give up. Never.


The Yearning is available tomorrow, February 1, from Samhain: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/the-yearning-p-6248.html

Saturday, January 29, 2011

CONTEST and guest blog with Paige Tyler!!

SHOW A ZOMBIE SOME LOVE!

Thanks so much for letting me guest blog today!

Readers often ask me how I come up with ideas for my books, so I thought I'd give you a little behind-the-scenes peek at how I came up with my new release, a paranormal erotic romance from Ellora's Cave called DEAD SEXY



Before I say anything else though, isn't that cover too hot for words?!  When the art department sent it to me, I probably gazed at it for a good ten minutes in mouth-drooling appreciation before I could email them back telling the artist it not only rocked, but totally fit the book.  The hero is "Dead Sexy," after all! 

Okay, back to the story and how I came up with it.  First, to set the stage, I need to share a little something with you about myself.  Well, about my hubby and me, actually.  We love zombie movies, from the George Romero gems to Shaun of the Dead and everything in between, including "Walking Dead," the new series on AMC.  You just can't go wrong with  a movie full of walking dead people, can you?  Well, if you've ever seen a zombie movie (or even you haven't), then you know the creatures aren't the heroes of the film.  I mean, how can they be, right?  They're all dead and decayed and downright unattractive, not to mention pretty damn scary.  Which was why you can imagine my surprise when my hubby suggested I write an erotic romance about a zombie hero.  I was like, you're kidding, right?  What woman in her right mind would fall in love with a dead guy?  No way could that possibly work, or so I thought.

Turns out, my hubby wasn't kidding.  In fact, he started working up ideas for the story.

"The hero didn't have to be a zombie all the time," he told me. "Think outside the box - take a little literary license!"

Okay, I thought. I suppose I could be open minded.  

My hubby told me that in his out-of-the-box world, the hunky hero got cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess and only turns into a zombie sometimes.  

"I'm listening," I said. 

"And when he does go zombie, he doesn't have to be like the kind in the movies," my hubby added.  "Well, he has to look like one, you know all dead and stuff, but he doesn't have to be a mindless creature or attack humans or eat anything gross."

So, brains are completely out, thanks goodness!

"Think Jensen Ackles or Jared Padelecki, with a really, really, really dark tan - (yes, my hubby knows I've got a thing for the Supernatural hunks!) - well, maybe more gray and black than tan, but you get the idea."

I thought about that for a minute.  "So, the hero's dead, but he's still sexy, is that what you're saying?"

"Exactly," he said, giving me a grin as my eyes lit up with understanding.

By that point, my hubby had pretty much sold me on the idea.  Of course, I knew if I ran with it, I was going to have to sell it to a publisher, and I knew that could be tough since the hero is a zombie. But I ran with it anyway and ended up with a full-length novel.  And it came out pretty damn good, if I do say so myself!  I still had to find a publisher for it, though. 

About this same time, It just so happens that several of my other books were in the process of being picked up by Ellora's Cave and I thought what the heck?  Why not pitch it to my editor there and see what she thinks?  So I did, and she told me to send it to her.  She was interested to see how I handled the whole zombie-thing.  Well, long story, short, she liked it.  A lot!  My zombie romance with it's dead-sexy hero had a home!  I was thrilled and my hubby walked around for a week with a smug, "I-told-you-so" look on his face.

I've been getting the word out there about DEAD SEXY ever since I signed the contract for it and I'm thrilled with the interest from readers who can't wait to get their hands on it!  I can't wait for them to read it, too!  

Now that I've revealed the story behind the story, I thought I'd share the blurb and an excerpt just to whet your appetite for more!


Blurb:

Romance author Simone Kent thinks she might just have found the most perfect guy in all of New York City - in bed and out. But Drake Parrish is about as far from perfect as any man can get. Eight years ago, he was cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess to live part of his life as a zombie. Since then, he has lived like a recluse on New York’s Upper East Side, afraid to go out for fear he’ll suddenly turn into one of the walking dead.
 
The sex is the hottest either of them has ever experienced and Simone discovers just how naughty she can be with Drake, while he finds himself feeling things for her that he hasn’t felt in a very long time. When the Voodoo priestess learns of their relationship, however, she comes after him again. She is determined to make sure he won’t have a future with Simone, even if that means killing both him and the woman he loves.



Excerpt:

As she led him up the steps to the second floor, Drake found himself wondering if she would ask him in. And wondering what he’d say if she did. When they came to a stop outside the door to her apartment, Simone turned to give him a smile.
 
“I had a great time tonight.”
 
“Me, too.”
 
She caught her bottom lip between her perfect white teeth and chewed on it thoughtfully as if unsure what she wanted to say next. It was probably an unconscious gesture, something she did whenever she was thinking, but to him, it was sexy as hell and all he could think about was kissing her.
 
Surely, one kiss couldn’t hurt. He desperately wanted to. He hadn’t kissed a woman in so long. It would be nice to see if he still remembered how.
 
Before he could stop himself, Drake tilted Simone’s face up to his and pressed his mouth to hers.
 
She tasted just as sweet and delicious as he thought she would. Her lips were soft and pliant under his as she kissed him back, her tongue eagerly seeking his out.
 
Drake groaned and slid his hand into her hair, deepening the kiss. Simone sighed into his mouth, running her hands up the front of his shirt to grasp his shoulders. The feel of her touch was like a tonic to his deprived soul and he let out another groan, deeper this time.
 
He ran his free hand up her side and around to her breast, cupping it through the soft material of her dress. He couldn’t stop himself and apparently, Simone didn’t want him to. She moaned and arched against him. He could feel the heat of her pussy through their clothes as she pressed up against his hard cock. Damn, she felt good.
 
Drake drew her bottom lip into his mouth and gently suckled on it before slowly kissing his way along the delicate curve of her jaw. Simone clutched his shoulders and tilted her head back. He eagerly trailed a path of hot kisses down her neck, then back up, his mouth finding hers again. Simone looped her arms around his neck, pulling him in even closer as their tongues met.
 
Down the hall, a door slammed, reminding him where they were.
 
Drake dragged his mouth away from hers, his breathing ragged as he tried to regain control. He had to get it together because he was about five seconds away from doing something really stupid. Like taking her to bed. “I should go.”
 
Her lips curved into a sexy, flirtatious smile. “Or you could stay.”
 
God, how he wanted to. But as much as he’d love to spend the rest of the night exploring every inch of her body, he couldn’t take the chance he might go zombie on her right in the middle of sex. Talk about coitus interruptus, And it had already been almost four days since he last turned, which meant he was already pushing his luck.
 
“You don’t know how much I want to,” he groaned. “But I can’t.”
 
Simone looked up at him with those big, blue eyes. “Why not?”
 
“Because I…” He hesitated, trying to come up with something that would sound believable. “I have a column due in the morning and I haven’t even started on it yet.” She knew all about deadlines, so she would understand that. Besides, he did have a column to write, it just wasn’t due until next week. “Rain check?”
 
She looked disappointed, but she smiled anyway. “Absolutely. How does coming over for dinner tomorrow night sound?”
 
It would be crazy to agree when he could be so close to having an episode, but he couldn’t say no. Not when she asked in that soft, sultry voice. “Sounds great.”
 
“Good. Be here at seven.”
 
“Seven it is.”
 
She pulled him down for another long, slow kiss on the mouth. “Don’t be late.”
 
His mouth twitched. “I won’t.” He bent his head to kiss her again, then groaned. “If I don’t go now, I’ll be here all night.”
 
Simone laughed. “Would that be such a bad thing?”
 
“Not to me, but my editor at Money Issues might not be too understanding when he doesn’t find my column sitting in his inbox tomorrow.”
 
She sighed. “Deadlines can be a real pain in the butt sometimes. Okay, go home and write your column. I’ll cuddle up with a bowl of ice cream instead.”
 
He chuckled. “Sounds better than taking a cold shower, which is what I’m going to be doing when I get home.” He closed his mouth over hers once more. “See you tomorrow night, beautiful.”
 
Resisting the urge to pull her into his arms again, Drake turned and walked down the hallway toward the stairwell. At the top of the steps, he glanced over his shoulder to see Simone standing where he’d left her, a sexy curve to her lips.
 
It took every ounce of strength he possessed not to go back and pin her against the door for one more long, lingering kiss. God, what he wouldn’t give to spend the night with her. Man, it was going to take more than a cold shower to get her out of his head.




Hope you enjoyed the excerpt and that you can't wait to read more! You can get DEAD SEXY from Ellora's Cave at http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-8917-50-dead-sexy.aspx

You can also check out the trailer here!


If you decide to pick up DEAD SEXY, let me know how you like it!

CONTEST ALERT – One lucky commenter (winner chosen at random) will win a copy of Good Cop, Bad Girl – so bring on the comments!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Interview of author Rita Hestand

Today, Sarah's interviewing multi-published author Rita Hestand. Please welcome Rita!

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.
Website:  http://ritahestand.com
Short bio:  Rita Hestand hails from Texas and has finally given into her lifelong dream of writing historical romance, although she's done many contemporaries too. She feels that love is something that should be spread around the world and what better thing to write about than falling in love. Rita has two daughters, eight grandkids and a great grandbaby. She devotes her time mainly to writing, but also to sharing time with her grandkids and her few hobbies, like bowling, roller skating, kid parties and watching people and nature come together.



Books:  Contemporaries:  Nick's Baby, Pretend Mom, Heart of the Wild, Runaway Bride, Wandering Heart, Suspicions of the Heart, Strictly Business, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, Courting Abby, Hannah's Man, Along Came Love, coming soon, Sweeter Than Wine.
Historical books:  Beyond the Dream Catcher, Jodi's Journey, coming soon, Love Rules, Always Remember, and Better Off Without Her.
Children's books: Willy series, seven books in all, Willy and the Spider, Tick or Teet, Maebelle's Hat, Poor Mo, Willy's Valentine, Other's Day, Out Foxing Socks, and a non series, Jojo the One Eyed Puppy.
Short Stories:   The Far Side of Lonesome, Halloween Witness,  Fast Forward Love, Tina's Revenge, Lie on a Yardstick, Ben's Sacrifice, The Red Jacket, and Fair Trade
Some poetry: Where Our Heroes Ashes Lay, Ode to a Mockingbird, I Remember Grandma

How do you usually come up with a story idea?  Dreams?  Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations?  Newpaper?
The short story "The Red Jacket" came through a dream after my daughter suffered cancer.
Chief Cook and Bottle Washer came strictly through prayer. Nick's Baby came from an old movie idea, that I thought I could improve upon.
Sometimes a person I never met will catch my eye and inspire me to change them into my character.

What is your process from idea to first draft?
Woe…me?  Okay, it starts out like a movie, I seem to know the characters right away. They play around in my head for a while, until I get something solid to plot with, scene with, and then I begin to put it on paper.  But not till I can act it out in my head and it makes sense to me. Sometimes I let the characters argue out whether they will or will not have sex, and the ending is sometimes traumatic for me. One I don't want it to end, two, it then becomes difficult unless I have all the ends tied up in my head. And then when it is beautiful I end it and try to totally satisfy the readers mind just how good things are. I want the reader totally satisfied with how it ends.

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?
God, nature, and people.  In that order.

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?
My father inspired me with his own brand of storytelling. But, I don't have one now, unless you count God. When I'm stuck, I ask him for help. Just my way of doing things. So sue me…LOL
What importance do you place on writing workshops?  What workshops would you recommend to us?
RWA chapters put out great workshops, conventions have good ones. Sometimes you can catch one on line that is well worth your time, sponsored by a club or a chapter. But if money is limited pick one ethat you need to work on and go with a experienced writer that you admire.

Do you belong to a writer’s association such as RWA?  If so, in what ways do you feel this membership has helped you in your career?
I did belong to RWA and it does a lot for a newbie writer, let me tell you. There is so much to learn in this business, and you have to learn it if you want to succeed. Join it if you are green behind the ears and need some help. The members can be fantastic. EPIC is good although you don't get as much one on one because it is mostly on line. 

When you reach a point of frustration with your WIP, what do you do to get back in harmony with your writing?
Sometimes you are too close to the situation and need to step back, so take a break. Spend the day with your kids, or friends. Forget about work, and just relax. Get your mind off of it for a while.  Enjoy nature, go see a movie, anything but worry about that book.

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations?  How did this person help you?
My dad, the one that adopted me and told all those fantastic stories. People came for miles to hear his stories, and when he died, they came to his funeral to retell them.

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?
Oh yeah, the fifties and sixties were full of wonderful songs for inspiration. "Tell Laura I love Her", "Only the Lonely", "He stopped Loving Her Today". I often listen to soundtracks of movies to inspire me, like Last of the Mohicans, Shenandoah, and many more.

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 never have to have silence, in fact I've written with babies on my knees when I was writing. I like noise, but I am nearly deaf so that could be why.  I love listening to music most of the time but sometimes it is a tense moment and I need to concentrate, then I like silence, that isn't hard to find being nearly deaf though.

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've always  liked the westerns, and romance, and biographies.  Never wrote a bio, but love to read about people.  The west is complete heaven for me, as is romance. There is so much romance in a western, the scenery, the man, the situation.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer?  Has another writer ever come to your aide?  How?
Cathy Spangler came to my aid as a writer from RWA. She was so helpful and so encouraging. I love her. I have often tried to help others with writing problems or with lack of confidence. Being a writer is a lonely job and helping another is reward in itself.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
Gosh, as far as my writing goes, a short story I wrote, The Far Side of Lonesome, Better Off Without Her was so intense and such an accomplishment to finish, grueling story. But being a grandmother in my personal life is a good one. It is my biggest accomplishment.

If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money?  Would give any of it to charity?  If so, which one?
Naturally I'd take care of my family first, and myself, as I am older and looking at my times to come,  pay the IRS and then give to places like St. Jude's Children Hospital. I would also like to help fund places that send out heaters for elders in winter, and air-conditioners in the summer, and Meals on Wheels. And above all else, I'd give to my church.

What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?
Stick with it, that's what makes you a real writer, finish it.  Don't let anyone tell you that you can't write. No matter who they are. You can learn to write.  It might take a while, but if that is your real life's dream then don't give it up. Go for it. And keep going until you get there.

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?
I'm not an animal person per se, but I think they belong in nature, running, playing, being a part of nature itself. I like dogs(although some scare me), turtles, frogs, fish. These are my favorite. I had gold fish once that I swear would come up to greet me when I came close to the tank. Loved them. And no…I don't feel I am like many animals. Where I live so many people are killing the squirrels I hate that, and coons and possums, it is so sad. If I was an animal I would be a meek one.  Probably like the skunk, don't want to hurt anyone, but leave me alone….

If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?
The three things I wanted to be when I was a kid, an actress, a singer, or a lawyer.

If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?
Now that is a hard one.  I'd like to go to Australia and see the country up close, the animals, the scenery, be in the bush so to speak, with a guide that knew how to keep me out of trouble. I'd like to sing for a big audience. I'd like to help someone innocent stay out of jail.

What are three things on your bucket list you want to do before you die?
Hmmm…well. I'd like to meet Jimmy Thomas in person and thank him for his help. I'd like to see America again, saw it when I was a kid, and didn't appreciate it as I should have. Help someone out that really needed it, really help them change their lives, and I could see that I actually helped them.

What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes?
Loyalty, faithfulness, a sense of honor. John Wayne built a career teaching us what a man ought to stand for, I try to mimic that with my heroes.

What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?
I like a sweet woman who will stand up for herself in a pinch. A woman with her own set of principles. Honesty, and loyalty are important in both characters.

If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?
Replace the politicians  with blue collar workers with a head on their shoulders.
Eliminate the press and beauty contests.  That's three, sorry…..

What historic figure do you admire most?  Why?
William Wallace, he fought the odds. Davy Crockett, he was such a character, Abe Lincoln, he O'Henry, he knew how to tell a story, whether it was funny or sad, it was always great, examples Gift of the Magi, Ransom of Red Chief

What is your next writing project?  What is it about (got a blurb)?  What is your inspiration?
I have a female series I'm delving into, it's a contemporary cowboy kind of story, four sisters come home when their father dies and all must live by the stipulation of the will if they want to be supported by his millions throughout the rest of their life. His condition….live at home on the ranch for a year. Of which none want to do save one.  All different girls, with different ideas about where they are going.
For this it was the fact that my Travers brothers series did so well and seemed to be what readers wanted. So I thought, why not start a female version of the same thing. 

If you could choose a flower that represents you, what flower would it be?  What about this flower do you feel exemplifies you?
I'm more of a daisy, plain but sweet. I don't stand out in a crowd, I'm not perfect, but I am one of a kind, cause God made me that way.

If could have a super power for a day, what would it be?  Why?
I'd like to be able to persuade people to some of my ideas. Like peace, if I could impress it's importance and make people understand that getting along could be accomplished I'd feel ten feet tall. If I could persuade people to love God, I would. If I could persuade people to buy my books, I would. If I could persuade people to love instead of hate, I would.  Power of persuasion would be awesome. If you could persuade people to help…for no other reason but helping, I would.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Contemporary Virgin

Contrary to what the title above says, I am not going to talk about a modern-day romance heroine who has saved herself for Mr. Right. I'm talking about myself. And no! I'm not trying to say, that throughout my near-forty years of life, I've upheld a level of chasteness through abstaining from sexual intercourse. Come on, who are we kidding? Let's face it...I'm a romance author and I have two children.

What I'm referring to is the fact that I've just finished writing my very first contemporary romance novel and I am no longer a contemporary virgin. I've made the leap from being only an historical romance author to the oh-the-possibilities-are-endless contemporary genre! And I must say, it was an eye-opening experience.

For one, the research was not quite as extensive as what is required for a well-written historical. And that was a very nice change of pace. Plus, I was able to just cruise right along in the dialogue department. No worrying about whether certain words existed, or whether that common phrase circa'ed one hundred years after my hero lived. I felt like someone had opened the cage door. Unshackled the ball and chain from my ankles. Set me free. Let me run wild with no restrictions or rules.

Now, don'g get me wrong...historicals are my favorite and they will always have a special place in my heart for both reading them and writing them. But, to experience, first hand, the differences in writing a contemporary novel versus an historical, was truly exciting and immensely rewarding. Especially when I wrote the last line of the story and met my deadline.

So, I thought I'd share a little about my upcoming April release. It was only supposed to be an ebook (novella), but it turns out I wrote enough words for it to also be available in print. And that really makes me happy, because from the moment I saw my cover, I wanted this groundbreaking contemporary novel (groundbreaking for me, anyway) to be available in print so I could hold and cradle the product of my lost contemporary virginity.

Silent Partner
By Renee Vincent

Blurb:

Grayson Anders has it all. He’s the co-owner of a happening nightclub in downtown Boston, he’s wealthy, and women practically throw themselves at his feet the moment he steps on the dance floor. But profiting from these obvious benefits is not his desire. His passion is dancing and he wants nothing more than to find the perfect dance partner.

Chloe LaRoche is a talented artist, but a failing entrepreneur. Her once thriving studio is now on the brink of foreclosure and unless she paints the next Van Gogh Starry Night, she’ll have to cut her losses and say goodbye to her quaint little gallery. Fearing her career is at an end, she drags herself to the local hot spot, determined to drown her worries in the bottom of a shot glass. At least that was the plan…until she lays eyes on a wickedly sexy, swarthy dancer in the club—Grayson Anders.

Unable to resist, Chloe finds herself in Grayson’s arms, indulging in a passionate, out-of-control, one night stand. And when they awaken the next morning, they are both consumed with inspiration.

Grayson finds his perfect dance partner and Chloe finally finds her muse. But, will her secret destroy both their dreams?