It's time for our Wednesday Coffee Chat. Our guest author today is Kim Kasch, who loves all things romantic...and paranormal! :) She has a new release (and you could win it - see below)!
How do you take your coffee, Kim?
KIM: I love coffee just like my stories – bold…and steamy. ;D
Ally: I'll pour if you'll show folks your bio and tell them something about you they might not know - something unique.
I'm a writer who grew up in a family with 9 kids and only 1 t.v. so I spent my days reading and, later, writing. I love books. . .maybe because I never got to pick t.v. shows we watched. But I’d run home after school to catch the last fifteen minutes of Dark Shadows...
I still love to run...or maybe I should say wogging (a cross between walking and jogging). Here in Portland, I love Halloween themed runs - where people don costumes and run. It's a lot of fun...and I know those two words don't always go together: fun...and...run. But it is.
And, with all those Halloween themed runs, I guess Dark Shadows had more of an influence than some people might think. Even today my favorite author is Stephen King. My all-time favorite book is Salem's Lot.
Favorite romance novels are The Hunger Games...okay, I know, it's a survival book but it's really all about romance. Then there were the series: Twilight, True Blood, and more. I really love paranormal, Horror and sometimes even light books like Dewey the Small Town Library Cat... Mainly, I just love to read. . . and write.
Sorry to be so long-winded but did I say I love to write? ...and talk and...knit, and sew, and bake... I could go on but I'll stop by saying, I hope you’ll stop in on my site and I can tell you I’m really excited to be sharing my young adult novel with you: Demon’s Ink.
And something unique about me: I love water sports…I’ve even gone cliff jumping.
Join me on Twitter or stop by and see what I'm pinning and, if you have a question or simply want to share a comment, please feel free to send me an email. I love connecting with readers.
Ally: Tell us about your novel's main character. Why did you want to write about her?
KIM: Scarlett Fremont is an ordinary girl who suddenly has to face the demons in her life, literally. Unfortunately, she makes a few mistakes along the way that will haunt her for the rest of her life.
Everyone has to face horrible situations and circumstances beyond their control and no one escapes life without making some bad choices. DEMON’S INK plays upon that fact and ups the ante with likeable characters who should never be trusted and demons who just might become heroes in this story.
They say, “Life imitates art” and this is ART THAT’S MORE THAN YOU BARGAINED FOR.
Scarlett simply gets tangled up in the web and can’t escape no matter how hard she tries.
Ally: Do you write with an intended audience in mind? ie levels of violence or romance.
KIM: My stories start with the characters. I could say, “I hear their voices inside my head.” A story might begin with a memory from Dad, a phrase from Aunt Darleen or a quote from Mom. These bits and pieces of other people spark the story but then the characters grow and develop from there.
But I do try to keep a certain level of heat in mind if I’m writing for young adults and not adults.
Ally: Once the first draft is written, what do you do next? How much rewriting or self-editing takes place? Do you use beta readers?
KIM: It takes me a while to produce a first draft because I self-edit as I go along. It’s those voices inside my head again, telling me “that’s not good enough,” or “can’t you do better than that,” and “that line sucked.” And the story doesn’t even have to be about a Succubus or a vampire to hear those comments. ;D
But after I’ve got that draft, I rewrite, edit and read the story out loud so I can hear those voices up close and personal.
I never feel like it’s finished. The characters keep talking to me. I’m still rewriting until the manuscript is published. I have stories I’ve been working on for years.
My husband is my first reader, and then my critique group reads over my pages. I even have one or two friends who will read the manuscript when it’s finished…but, like I said, I’m always changing the pages up until the time it's published.
Ally: Do you use promotional materials? swag, bookmarks, etc. Are they effective? Do you have places you recommend?
KIM: I love to give away magnets with my book covers on them, and mirrors and postcards. I just love to give things away.
I don’t know how many books the swag sells, but I have fun with them and I think other people do too. I love to use Comic Adventures.
And I love to give away free ebooks.
FREE COPY: I’d love to give one away today. (Just post a comment and you’re in the running for a free copy of DEMON’S INK)
Ally: Quick answer questions:
Ally: It's been fun having coffee with you, Kim, but I know readers are eager to hear more about your new release, sooo...
- a. What are your top 3 favorite tv shows: OUTLANDER, GAME OF THRONES, AND DOWNTON ABBEY
- b. If you suddenly couldn't write anymore, what would you do instead? ACT. When I was in high school, I was voted “Best Actress” and even after I got married and had kids I still did dinner theaters around town.
- c. Favorite season of the year: Winter for the holidays – I love a reason to party.
- d. a book you could read over and over: Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
- e. favorite kind of ice cream: Chocolate …any flavor that includes chocolate
Drake and Bartos come to the Pacific Northwest, where they open yet another tattoo shop but Bartos has no trouble dealing with the competition because there’s nothing normal about his art. And he’s stealing more than clients from the local skin artists. He's stealing their souls.
His customers fall in love with his tats but end up paying the ultimate price for their purchase because unlike Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, they can’t walk away from Mr. Slinderman’s art. Art can be beautiful except when it comes crawling out of your flesh to devour the nearest thing...especially if that thing is you.
Thanks for joining us today. Come back soon!
How do you write a series?
I had to stop and think when recently asked this question, but the answer isn't hard. It's common sense in fact.
1. Characters and relationships that are sustainable. If your characters only have one flaw or one snag to their relationship, it will be hard to maintain interest beyond the first book.
2. An overall, on-going story framework—a recurring problem, a tenacious enemy, a career that lends itself to multiple conflicts.
3. Individual arcs for each book that have a satisfying ending. In my opinion, cliffhangers should be reserved for the overall story arc. The reader needs resolution of a major conflict at the end of each book.
4. A finale that ties up all the loose ends and leaves the reader feeling they didn't waste their time. Easier said than done. You can't please everyone, but if you've satisfied the majority of your readers—and remained true to your characters—you've done your job.
It's the little things that can trip you up: keeping descriptions of people and places consistent, maintaining an accurate time line. The devil is truly in the details. If Jane has blue eyes in book one and hazel in book four, I guarantee your email account will zing with readers eager to point out the discrepancy. :) They know your books as well—or better—than you do.
Despite the drawbacks, it never occurred to me not to write the Guardian Witch books as a series. I knew from day one I loved the characters and Ari had a complex story to tell.
I strongly favor series in my own reading. What about you? What keeps you coming back to the same author and/or characters book after book?
The coffee pot's on, and it's time for a book chat!
Welcome, everyone! Our author guest today writes romantic suspense, always an intriguing combination.
So nice to meet you, Kim McMahill. How do you take your coffee?
KIM: I prefer coffee made from fresh ground beans from Costa Rica, and maybe I'm a wimp, but I’ve got to have a healthy shot of French Vanilla creamer.
Ally: Not a problem. No one's defeated my magic pot yet. :) While I'm whipping that up, please show readers your bio and tell them something unique about yourself.
Bio: Kim McMahill grew up in Wyoming, which is where she developed her sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. Since leaving Wyoming she has enjoyed many opportunities to see the world, and has lived amid some of America’s most stunning landscapes. Kim started out writing non-fiction, but her passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival against the odds, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew her into a world of romantic suspense. Along with writing adventure novels Kim has also published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel anthology and cookbook.
Hmm, something unique? I’m a complete jigsaw puzzle geek. I know, not very adventurous, but it’s something I’ve enjoyed my entire life and the activity helps me relax. Author Links: Website: http://KimMcMahill.com
Twitter at https://twitter.com/kimmcmahll.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kim-McMahill/e/B007IK0EJW/
Ally: How do you begin a new novel? Storyline first? Characters? What comes next?
KIM: Most of the time the storyline comes first, but occasionally, like with Big Horn Storm, I imagine a character who must have a story. When I heard the name Deuce, I knew I had to write a story with this character playing a major role, and what else could a man named Deuce be except a rancher or a cowboy?
Ally: Do you write full time or part time? What is your writing schedule? Do you write year round?
KIM: Unfortunately, I can only write part time. I do write year round, but I’m not good at keeping to a set schedule. I definitely do my best work when the inspiration hits me, and I can’t really force the issue. If I’m not in the writing zone, I’ll use the time for social media and marketing.
Ally: Where do you get your plot ideas? TV news, movies, actual people you know?
KIM: I get my ideas from a host of different places. A lot of inspiration comes from my travels. I used to spend a lot of time in Mexico, which is where Marked In Mexico and Deadly Ruins came from. Big Horn Storm has a number of ties to my upbringing around horses, Deadly Exodus was inspired by a remnant of a dream I remembered one morning, and Shrouded In Secrets was spawned from watching a show on The Travel Channel about the legends surrounding a group of crystal skulls. My latest novel, A Dose of Danger, may be a manifestation of my mild conspiracy theory paranoia and suspicions of market manipulation on nearly every front, especially when it comes to the diet product industry.
Ally: What's your next project? Is it in the same genre? Tell us a little about it.
KIM: I’m nearly finished with a second novel in the series which begins with A Dose of Danger. The deadly market manipulation continues as the corrupt coalition wields its lethal influence in the manufacturing of those healthy frozen meals that fill the freezer section of every grocery store. As soon as I do a bit more polishing I’ll submit it to my publisher and keep my fingers crossed.
Ally: Before we wind this up, let's try a few get-to-know-you short answer questions:
- a. Do you read in the same genre(s) you write? Mostly, but I enjoy a lot of different genres.
- b. favorite food from the grill: hamburgers.
- c. When and where did you last wear a hat? I’m not a fan of hats since it ruins my hair. I believe the last time I wore one was when we rounded the horn of South America. The wind was brutal and the air frigid, but I didn’t want to leave the deck of the ship and risk missing a moment of that epic experience, so I donned a hat.
- d. manicure or pedicure? pedicure
- e. Your vote for sexiest man on earth: Hugh Jackman (in real life or as the Drover in Australia, not Wolverine).
Ally: Lol. I admit I didn't find him sexy as Wolverine either. It's been great having you visit, Kim. Before you leave, please show us a little more about A Dose of Danger.
Blurb: When researcher Grace Talbot and her team discover a possible solution for weight loss they become targets of a group dedicated to controlling the multi-billion dollar a year diet-product industry. Her unsanctioned testing methods bring tragedy to the family ranch, and the attention of the local sheriff’s deputy. With her colleagues either dead, missing, or on the run, she soon realizes she must trust the deputy with her life, but can she trust him with her heart? Amazon Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Dose-Danger-Kim-McMahill-ebook/dp/B00V50EEBA/
Thanks for joining us today. Come back soon!
Are you ready for another author chat? This week's guest is Ruth Kaufman, a writer of historical romance.
Good morning, Ruth! What may I get you to drink?
RUTH: I’m currently drinking Dunkin’ Donuts ground coffee, ½ regular, ½ decaffeinated. I microwave 2% milk first so the coffee stays hot longer, then add a little Splenda.
Ally: Not a problem. I'll have that ready by the time you show readers your bio. And tell them something unusual or unique about yourself.
Ally: Tell us about the time period of your novel and how you chose it. How difficult is it to write about another era?
RUTH: I chose late medieval England, the Wars of the Roses, because I find it a fascinating period when so much happened. Also, there aren’t that many romance novels about Henry VI and Edward IV, and I wanted to change that. I enjoyed immersing myself in that time, and have collected over 200 books over the years and read a lot about my specific settings.
Ally: We all want our readers to connect with our main characters. What traits in yours do that? Do "connections" always have to be good characteristics, or do you believe readers also relate to the struggles?
RUTH: I think it’s both. Everyone has flaws, and so I think can sympathize/empathize when our main characters do. My characters have determination and want to be independent, but of course they can’t control everything or everyone and so have setbacks to overcome along the way. I’d like to think readers appreciate the resilience my characters show in pursuing their goals.
Ally: How long does it take you to write a book from first page to submission? Do you rewrite or revise or obtain critiques prior to submission?
RUTH: It depends on the book. The fastest was 6 months. I edit as I go, and since I’m self-publishing I hire an editor or two, depending on the project.
Ally: Do you write in other genres? What's next on your agenda?
RUTH: I do write in other genres, and I’m trying to decide what to release after my third medieval, working title THE BETTER BRIDE, which should be out this summer. Medieval paranormal? Time travel to Elizabethan England? Humorous contemporary?
Ally: Let's try a few quick answer questions:
- a. favorite dessert: Brownie sundae with ice cream and bittersweet hot fudge.
- b. what was for supper last night? Roasted Brussels sprouts with a light balsamic vinegar and mustard glaze. I didn’t have a big dinner because that afternoon a friend and I had rather large peanut butter and chocolate milkshakes.
- c. favorite spring flower: Lily of the Valley.
- d. a place you'd love to visit: Italy, especially Siena and Cinque Terre.
- e. last store you visited: Best Buy, to pick up a new laptop.
Ally: It's been a pleasure to chat with you, Ruth. I hope you'll visit again. And now, it time to learn more about your book...
FOLLOW YOUR HEART:
She's a glass-painter making her way in a man's world.
England 1460: Joanna Peyntor has two uses for a man: to pose for a stained glass window design or to commission her skills. But when her brother conspires to ruin her reputation, she concedes to a third: a husband to help save her glass-painting workshop.
Sir Adrian Bedford
is on a quest to redeem his family name and estate. When unforeseen passion makes their marriage of convenience inconvenient, will his dangerous secrets keep them from following their hearts?
Thanks for stopping. Come back soon!
Good morning, booklovers!
Grab your coffee or other beverage of choice and join me in welcoming contemporary romance writer, Iris Blobel.
Iris, may I offer you something to drink?
IRIS: Oh, I love my Twinings Early Grey with a little bit of milk – if possible a little bikkie as well.
Ally: Tea and biscuits coming right up. While I fix the refreshments, please show readers your bio.
Ally: Tell us something about your writing background. Is this your first book? What made you choose this career (or second career)?
IRIS: No, this isn’t my first book. I’ve been very busy the last 24 months with a few book releases. In regards to ‘choosing’ the career … I can’t say I chose the career, more it ‘came’ to me J It started out of boredom. Since I started listening to the voices in my head, it’s been non-stop, one story after the other. It's fun, and I love it. And very humbling when readers tell me how much they love the stories.
Ally: Are you a pantser or plotter? How much do you know when you start writing the first page? Do you know the ending? If you've plotted it out, do you stick to your outline?
IRIS: This question had me stuck a bit, and I looked back at my books to remember what got me started.
Usually, it’s when I’m on holidays that I come up with an idea. I start describing the area, and I go from there. But I also belong to a wonderful group “Tuesday Tales” where authors write to a prompt every week. It has not only influenced many of my books, but also started a few – with a simple prompt. I used to write from the end to the start, but nowadays my characters usually hijack the story … and I just obey. :)
Ally: What's the best advice you received when you were a beginning author? What other advice could you pass on to others?
IRIS: It was tough at the start, because I had no idea about writing. I’ve learned along the way, but there were a few nasty words. The best, though, was NEVER GIVE UP. Never ever – and that’s my motto in everything.
Ally: Is there a sequel planned for this book?
IRIS: FRESH BEGINNINGS is the third book in the Beginnings series. I love this series which started out with two sister inheriting a house from a stranger. I’ve only recently submitted a fourth book in the series – keep your fingers crossed ;-)
Ally: I love quick answer questions. Let's try a few...
a. How many books do you read a month? I try to read at least one or two.
b. Where did you go on your last vacation? Tumby Bay, South Australia
c. favorite vegetable: Is avocado a fruit or vegetable?
d. Have you ever named characters after friends or relatives? Actually yes. I used my friend’s name for the main character.
e. Do you have pets? What are they? We have a dog called “Spot” and two budgies “Cookie” and “Nibbles”
Ally: It's been great to have a guest from DownUnder. I hope you'll visit again. In the meantime, let's show readers your book...
Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on holiday.
Then the arrival of family friend Mia Levesque and her boyfriend, Josh, turns Jared’s holidays upside-down when he’s forced to play arbitrator between the two teenagers.
The small town of Hobart in Tasmania has witnessed many beginnings in recent years. At yet one more beginning, the wedding of a friend, Jared Fraser decides it’s time for some fresh beginnings to come his way… and he sets out for a holiday to the US to travel along Route 66 in a motorhome.
~♣~ Amazon.com ~♣~ Amazon.com.au ~♣~ ~♣~ Barnes & Noble ~♣~Smashwords ~♣~ Kobo Books ~♣~
Thanks for stopping! Come back soon...
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...
(For the complete text of the Declaration of Indepence and the names of those who signed, follow this link: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html)
Happy Birthday, USA!
Good morning, booklovers!
This week's guest on the Coffee Chat is contemporary romance writer, Marianne Rice.
Welcome, Marianne. May I pour you a cup of coffee?
MARIANNE: Ick. I absolutely love the smell of coffee but have never acquired the taste for it. I’m a tea drinker. I love my Yogi Green Tea: Blueberry Slim Life. Yummy and helps my body get rid of the vodka and chocolate I had the night before.
Ally: Then tea it is. While the magic pot is fixing your tea, please show readers your bio and tell them that extra something about you that's unusual.
Marianne Rice writes contemporary romances set in small New England towns. Her heroes are big and strong, yet value family and humor, while her heroines are smart, sexy, sometimes a little bit sassy, and are often battling a strong internal conflict. Together, they deal with real life issues and always, always, find everlasting love. When she’s not writing, Marianne spends her time buying shoes, eating chocolate, chauffeuring her herd of children to their varying sporting events, and when there’s time, relaxing with fancy drinks and romance books.
Something unique: Most people see my shoe porn (that I truly wear and can actually walk—even run—in) and think I’m a girly-princess. Well, I love to be treated like one, but I also love to get dirty. I’ve run in over ten muddy obstacle races—the dirtier the better. I’ve signed up for my third Tough Mudder this fall (the most badass twelve mile obstacle course there is…designed by British Special Ops), and have run a slew other mudslinging obstacle races. It’s the best and most fun way to get a workout in. Author contact links:
Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/mariannerice
Good reads: https://www.goodreads.com/MarianneRice
Ally: Are there required elements for a contemporary romance?
MARIANNE: I don’t think there is a list of official requirements other than Happily Ever After, but for me contemporary means real life, real places, real issues. Granted the towns/cities/buildings can be made up, but they should sound and look like real places. I love to write (and read) about conflicts that most of us face in life in some way, shape, or form.
Ally: What are your heroine's best and worst qualities? How do they influence her love life?
MARIANNE: In False Impressions, Samantha Chase, despite being a young widow and single mom, is perky, optimistic, and is emotionally and physically strong. Falling for Cole Tucker isn’t hard, but when she learns he’s been dishonest with her, she has a hard time forgiving him. She lets past ghosts and fears get in the way of what she really wants.
Ally: What is your idea of the ideal book boyfriend? Is he the ultimate alpha? Or a laid-back guy with a good sense of humor? Or something else?
MARIANNE: Tough question. I want a guy who has it all, but that’s unrealistic and I like to write reality. Each hero in the McKay-Tucker series has different qualities. I am attracted to the alpha male (my husband was a middle linebacker in college…yum), but that doesn’t mean he should be obnoxious or domineering. In False Start, Connor is a bit more forceful, while Mason in False Hope is quiet—the observer. Cole is the funny guy. I really enjoyed writing Cole’s story in False Impressions and plan on incorporating more humor into my future books. Tough guy appearance but funny with a soft heart. Yeah, that’s my kind of guy.
Ally: Tell us about the next book. Will it be a follow-up to this one?
MARIANNE: With the recent release of False Impressions, the McKay-Tucker series is complete, but I’m super excited to announce Secret Cravings Publishing has picked up another series I’ve written starring the Wilde Sisters. They’re unique and supportive of each other after being neglected by their parents. Sweet on You comes out in September, with the rest of the series coming out in January and May of 2016.
5. Here's a few quick answer, get-to-know-you questions:
Ally: Thanks so much for visiting today. Good luck with your writing! But before you go, let's take a look at your book...
- a. favorite after five drink: Anything with flavored vodka (Pinnacle is THE best brand)
- b. a day on the beach or a hike through the mountains: Eeek, pressure. Am I with friends or family? Family—hike through the mountains. Solo or with girlfriends--beach
- c. Can you keep a secret or do you have to tell someone? I can totally be trusted, but if the secret won’t hurt anyone by telling my BFF, I gotta share.
- d. favorite type of jewelry: Dangly earrings. But funky bracelets are a close second. Oh, and fun rings.
- e. What author would you like to take to lunch? Jill Shalvis. I want to be her. :)
(McKay-Tucker Men Book 3)
Recovering alcoholic and former party animal, Cole Tucker would be an idiot to start something with his newly hired right-hand woman, Samantha Chase. It figures he can’t seem to keep his mitts off the sexy, five-foot-nothing single mom who can toss a sack of shingles over her shoulder and rewire a house better than the crew from Extreme Home Makeover. Her incredible strength and self-confidence draw him in; something Cole has pretended to have for years. All he has to show for himself is his uncanny use of pick-up lines, a hand-me-down farm and some small-town rental properties. When he learns Samantha’s husband and daughter were killed by a drunk driver, the shame of his past experience with a DUI and near-death accident is the last thing he wants to mention to her.
Samantha has no problem accepting her new boss, flaws and all. His simple life is charming and exactly what she hoped to find for herself and her son in Newhall, New Hampshire. Cole wins her over by befriending her fatherless son and making her laugh again, something she hasn’t done in four years. When she learns about his shady past with the bottle, her heart tells her to forgive, but the painful memories of her past are too deep to overlook.
Amazon UK http://goo.gl/hcl0cK
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/false-impressions-marianne-rice/1122058236?ean=9781622102013
Thanks for joining us for coffee/tea! Come back soon...
Pull up a chair, pour your favorite drink, and join this week's author chat. Our guest today is Barbara White Daille.
What may I get you to drink, Barbara?
BWD: Tea drinker here. Black, no sugar, not too strong.
Ally: While I fix our drinks, please tell readers something about yourself.
Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom.
Barbara loves writing, reading about cowboy heroes (among many others), and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too! Barbara’s new series, The Hitching Post Hotel, features a matchmaking grandpa determined to see his three granddaughters wed. The series began in April 2015 with The Cowboy’s Little Surprise and continues with A Rancher of Her Own in July and The Lawman’s Christmas Proposal in December.
And you asked for something unusual: I usually read my favorite authors’ books in chronological order, but once in a while to mix it up, I read them alphabetically. I guess that qualifies as unusual, if not downright odd. :) But I’ll bet some of you do that, too. If not, you should try it!
Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-White-Daille/e/B002J6B0QQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1422840898&sr=8-1
Ally: Why don't we start with the type of books you write. Who is your biggest audience?
BWD: My books are short contemporary romances, home and family stories with a touch of humor. They’re set in small towns and usually feature cowboys and ranchers. And there is always a cast of fun secondary characters—family and friends, matchmakers and meddlers—who interfere in the heroes and heroines’ lives because, of course, they know what’s best for them. The heat level ranges from sweet to slightly heated, although I sometimes see spicy ratings if the book has a love scene.
In my opinion, my largest audience is anyone who likes what they’ve read above! : ) Overall, my readership is female and probably enjoys books from authors such as Debbie Macomber and Kristan Higgins.
Ally: How do you best reach your readers? Online? Book conferences? Etc?
BWD: Blogging, Facebook, and Twitter, for the most part. I love to chat with readers, and the Internet is such a great tool for being able to meet and stay in touch. Readers can also contact me through the Contact form and Newsletter link at my website.
Ally: Do you have other books or write in other genres, under other names? What is your present work in progress?
BWD: Currently, I’m working on a three-book series that’s going in to my editor any day now, so everyone, please cross your fingers and think good thoughts.
I also have a couple of mysteries and some romantic suspense manuscripts, which for now live in file cabinets or my computer hard drive. And I have lots of ideas for other books in the works, all living in those same locations.
Ally: Let's do a few quick answer questions:
Ally: We're almost out of time for today. Thanks for coming! It's been fun talking with you, but let's not keep readers waiting any longer to see your book...
- a. favorite color of nail polish - fingers or toes? French manicure with white tips. On both.
- b. name a guilty pleasure: Long soak, hot bath, good book.
- c. strangest thing in your handbag/purse: The best I can come up with is a small plastic tube filled with a stash of peanut M&M’s for emergency purposes.
- d. favorite outdoor activity: Walking from the parking lot into the library or the bookstore.
- e. last time you took a selfie: You know, I hate to confess this, but I’ve never taken one.
Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon!
Good Wednesday, Booklovers!
I hope you're in the mood for a little romantic suspense. Author Ellie Eden is visiting this week with her novel, Letting Evil In. (There's a nice bod on the cover!)
Welcome, Ellie! What can I get you to drink?
ELLIE: Coffee with cream. Tanned and sweet but not too sweet - like I like my guys :)
Ellie Eden thinks the next best thing to hot romance is reading or writing about it. And she finds it even better to be somewhat scared or totally petrified at the same time. That's why she loves Romantic Suspense/Thrillers. She favors strong, protective alpha heroes, but finds murderous but good-looking bad guys fun too, at least on paper. And she loves to escape into an exotic, preferably crime-ridden, location.
In another life, Ellie Eden writes as Ellie Crowe, the best-selling author of two cultural travel books about the Hawaiian Islands and a number of award-winning biographies about mostly alpha heroes such as Surfer of the Century, the Life of Duke Kahanamoku.
Contact the Author:
Ally: Let's start by telling readers what kind of books you write.
ELLIE: I've written a number of travel books, children's books and biographies, written as Ellie Crowe. LETTING EVIL IN, written with the pen name Ellie Eden, is my first romantic suspense novel. I love to read Romantic Suspense/Thrillers and it was really fun to write on the dark side. I found myself falling for the hero, Tony, so good-looking, hot, caring, strong, and enough of an edge to make you wonder if he is really too good to be true. One of my bad guys was cute too - Azul, the drug dealer with the blue, blue wolf's eyes. Of course the real villains were a scary evil lot. I also enjoyed writing from the perspective of Nara, the bad girl. Its liberating to be on the dark side! The heroine, Kristi, had a lot to contend with!
Ally: Setting can add so much richness to a story. What's the setting for Letting Evil In? Is it important to the story?
ELLIE: I love reading books set in exotic locations. LETTING EVIL IN is set in Rio de Janeiro. I traveled to South America and thought Rio a fascinating location for a book. Its a beautiful but dangerous city and the people are lively and attractive. The rainforests are deep and dark - a great place to lose a heroine. There is even a spooky mausoleum that I simply had to bring into the plot. And there is a voodoo religion with a powerful but fickle goddess still worshiped today. What more could one want! The setting itself is a big part of the story.
Ally: You described this book to me as a "little racy." What can readers expect? Is this hot and steamy sex or just a touch of spice? But don't give too much away. :)
ELLIE: When I read love scenes I like to feel I am there, part of the intense feelings, the sizzling sensations. I don't like books that read like a how-to-do-it-manual or Sex 101. I think the reader grasps the general idea - the emotions and sensations and longings are something I try to convey. A lot of readers said the book was hot - I'm glad!
Ally: Describe your journey to publication. Did you have an agent? Did you know someone? Random query?
ELLIE: I sent the novel to a few agents and was rejected despite the fact that most said they enjoyed reading it. That was depressing, so I decided to go directly to a publisher. I then looked for a publisher who published similar books and was open to accepting books directly from writers. I sent the novel to two publishers and both accepted the book. I liked the sound of the editor at Etopia Press, so I chose Etopia Press. I really like the other authors I've met through Etopia. Its been a great experience to get to know these writers online. I also love the cover Etopia designed.
Ally: What's your next writing project?
ELLIE: I want to write a dystopian novel. I'm working on the plot at the moment. I nearly crashed the car the other day while thinking about it while driving, so writing can be a dangerous occupation!
Ally: Are you ready for a few quick answer questions?
- a. a favorite musician: My son, Adam Crowe, - that's one of his songs on my YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBj0-Y90NNA. A few summers ago my husband Will and I became groupies and followed Adam's band FreeSound on tour around California, Montana, Washington and Idaho. We really enjoyed the colorful scene at the Monterey Bay Blues Festival and the Seattle Hemp Fest. One of the best parts was at a nightclub. On the dance floor, I noticed a pretty girl fumbling around under her sweater. Then she took off her bra, ran up to the stage and looped the bra around Adam's microphone cord. Wow - I couldn't believe it! My son! Will and I cracked up, silently! Adam, playing lead guitar, was oblivious. He had his eyes closed as he played so didn't even notice. Later the bra took a place of honor in the tour van.
- b. a favorite author: Joy Fielding. I love that type of romantic suspense/thriller where the characters are all people you can relate to who are unaware they are in perilous situations until its too late. I love lots of turns and twists in a plot. That's what I try to write.
- c. Are you a spike heels or sneakers girl? I'm 5'4" and would love to be taller so I usually wear heels. I'd love to have them really high but I'd probably fall over, so they are more like medium. I wear sneakers for hiking.
- d. a favorite summer sport: Hiking. I also love to snorkel.
Ally: Thanks so much for visiting today. I hope you'll come back and chat again. Now, let's take a look at your book...
Blurb: LETTING EVIL IN
When Michael goes on a photographic assignment to Brazil and fails to return, Kristi and her son fly to Rio de Janeiro, desperate to find him. Instead she finds that during the cold New Jersey winter, her husband has spent his time in steamy chat rooms with Nara, a young woman desperate for attention and involved in the Rio drug world.
As she searches for Michael in exotic but crime-ridden Rio, Kristy finds herself way out of her league. She turns to Italian-Brazilian Federal Agent Tony Lamazzo for help. As the harsh truth of her marriage brings a dose of reality to her life, she finds the temptation of getting closer to the strong, capable—and totally hot—Tony difficult to resist. She’s in Brazil on the Day of Dead, a day when Brazilians go wild. Why shouldn’t she go wild with Tony, for just one night, before returning home to start the new life alone she’ll have to learn to make for herself?
But when her son vanishes too, Kristi doesn’t know where to turn. Michael’s affair with drug-dealing Nara has exposed them all to the murderous wrath of a ruthless drug lord, and while she longs to trust Tony, she can’t trust his powerful and politically corrupt family. But in the dangerous slums and rainforests of Brazil, the danger mounts for both Kristi and her son, and a cold-blooded enemy has an agenda of his own. If she trusts Tony, she might save her son. Or it might just get them all killed…
Thanks for stopping by the blog. See you next week!
Don't forget to buy her book! :)
It's Wednesday! Time for our weekly book chat!
Today's guest has visited with us before, and it's a pleasure to welcome back PJ Sharon. Just to give her fans a heads up, read all the way to the bottom of this post if you'd like to win a couple of free books! :)
Welcome, PJ. Can you believe this heat? I confess I'm drinking my coffee iced today. I assume you're still a tea drinker! Do you have a summer drink preference?
PJ: I do love a good glass of iced tea, but if I want something with a little more zip, I’m partial to Sangria! I love to make my own. I start with a nice blended red wine (Apothic Red works perfectly), add ginger ale (2/3 wine, 1/3 ginger ale), and pour over frozen berries. I like to garnish it with an orange slice. It’s refreshing and reminds me of Barcelona.
Ally: Ooo, I want that too! But maybe later in the day. While I'm pouring drinks, please tell readers about yourself.
Bio: Award winning author of young adult books, including PIECES of LOVE, HEAVEN is for HEROES, ON THIN ICE, and Holt Medallion winner SAVAGE CINDERELLA, PJ Sharon loves writing for teens and teens at heart. Her latest work, HEALING WATERS, along with books one and two, WANING MOON and WESTERN DESERT, completes The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael, a YA dystopian trilogy.In her “real life” job as a Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer, and Yoga instructor, PJ Sharon has been called “a powerhouse of positivity and productivity.” Her mantra is “find balance in all things, and live every day to the fullest.” A black belt in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate, avid kayaker, and singer of Italian art songs, PJ has two grown sons and lives with her brilliant engineer of a husband in the Berkshire Hills of Western MA., where she writes YA…because every teen deserves a hopefully ever after.
Contact links: Website: http://www.pjsharon.comTwitter: @pjsharon http://www.twitter.com/pjsharon Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pjsharonbooksAmazon’s Author Central page: https://www.amazon.com/author/pjsharonSign-up for PJ’s Newsletter: http://circlepad.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=0fd89e9ae21de08e7c6a097b9&id=8b525d66a1
Ally: Let's start way back at the beginning. When did you write the first story you shared with someone?
PJ: I had shared poetry with friends and classmates as a teenager, but it wasn’t until I’d completed my first novel at forty-two that I had any desire to have anyone read and critique my work. It was terrifying, but I trusted the person to be honest and helpful. As a retired high school English teacher, she was brutal with her red pen, but an incredible tutor. She became my writing coach, and later, I hired her as my first editor when I decided to self-publish.
Ally: Since we're talking about your trilogy today, tell me how that evolved. When and how did this story become a trilogy? Can each book be read alone?
PJ: The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael came to me fully formed as a trilogy. Even the title sprang to mind quickly. I saw Lily clearly from the start and knew that three books would be needed to tell the complete story. Once I answered the question of “what is Lily’s core conflict,” I knew the beginning and ending of each book…Lily’s conflict being that she is a healer in a world where killing to survive is often a necessity. She struggles with this concept through all three books, her arc taking her ever closer to coming to terms with the issue. I needed to show her evolving in her environment without losing her core beliefs and what makes her heroic. Each book can stand alone, but the reader learns important information along the way that is integral to understanding Lily’s journey, her need to protect her brother, and her relationship with Will Callahan, the young drifter she meets in book one who steals her heart but causes her no end of grief throughout the trilogy—he being a firm believer in the end justifies the means.
As for how the story idea evolved, living in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, I’m situated out in the woods, about a half hour from anywhere, LOL. My husband and I have little entertainment out here other than to watch Netflix or hang out with our neighbors on Saturday nights and play cards.
We adore our neighbors—who are retired, listen to public radio all day, have a killer organic veggie garden in the summer, and see more wildlife in their back yard than you’d see at a local zoo on any given day! Conversation over cards and wine often turns to current events and the “what if” kind of questions that lead people to prepare for the worst. My husband—being an engineer—often has very technical and creative solutions to problems, spurring my creative brain to see it all play out in story form. Since I set the story in the not too distant future, it’s easy to imagine how the world might evolve in the next fifty years if certain conditions come to pass. The twists and turns that happen along the way are pure imagination, lots of research, and two years of blood, sweat and tears.
Being a writer of Contemporary YA, writing a dystopian trilogy might seem like I jumped the rails, but teens in any era are still teens. They struggle with figuring out who they are and where they fit into the world, they struggle with relationships and falling in love, and they deal with parents, sickness, trauma, and emotional angst at every turn. The bottom line is that once Lily was in my head, I knew I needed to tell her story.
Ally: Although a lot of us read mostly e-books today, there's still something special about print copies. What did you do with the first print copy of your first book? Are all of your books in print?
PJ: I love print books! And OMG, the first time I held a copy of HEAVEN is for HEROES, my first published contemporary YA back in 2011, I cried, I danced, I sang. Hysteria ensued. LOL. It was a surreal moment and continues to thrill me every time I open a box of books. I do have the first printed copy of each book in a book case right next to my desk. It helps me to see how far I’ve come when I get down on myself for “slacking”. All of my books are in print and I enjoy doing book signings on occasion or having them to offer to family and friends—as well as libraries, reviewers, and bloggers. I’m amazed at how many readers still want the print copies, and how much they appreciate having a signed book. It may seem counter intuitive, but YA readers, in particular, seem to prefer the print version.
Ally: Do you purchase swag for your books? If so, what kinds, where, and what do you do with it?
PJ: I design them myself, but get most of my promo materials through Vista Print or Next Day Flyers. Both are fast, reasonably priced, and create quality products. I have bookmarks, post cards, and business cards on hand at conferences, book signings or just to hand out at restaurants (I find lots of waitresses are college age, and many are avid readers of YA). I send swag to contest winners, offer up gift baskets of books and swag as raffle prizes, or even leave them at movie theaters, book stores, libraries, or malls. I basically plant them anywhere that teens and readers of YA might congregate. You never know who will pick one up!
Ally: Do you make public appearances? Do you feel these bring you new readers or are they a thing of the past?
: Public appearances and book signings are a labor of love for me. I enjoy meeting readers and chatting with people about books and the writing process. Many avid readers are wannabe writers. They are fascinated by how we do what we do, and want to connect with someone face to face who has accomplished the great feat of creating a whole world from nothing. A short conversation or piece of advice I can give to inspire someone goes miles toward making it worth it for me. If I find new readers along the way, all the better.
By the same token, writing is a business, and at the end of the day, everything comes down to return on investment. I’m very selective now about where I do appearances. I do two to three large local fairs each year where I know I’ll have thousands of people walking by. It’s a big time commitment, but I usually sell a decent number of books and meet tons of interesting people. Bookmarks and post cards end up in the hands of hundreds of potential readers so I think it’s worth it. I also use the time to work on my latest project in between “rushes.”
I do fewer library talks these days because they don’t bring in enough people anymore. It’s sad, but it’s the same for book stores. Unless you are with a group of other writers and backed by a big name who have advertised the crap out of the event, setting up and attending book signings at my local indie book store is a huge time suck and not worth the effort for me.
Ally: Here we go with five quick answer questions:
Ally: It's been a pleasure, PJ. I hope you'll visit with us again soon. Before you show us the trilogy you brought, I think you had something you want to tell the readers...take it away.
- a. favorite tv show: Ha! Being a TV junkie, that’s a hard one. I love cop shows, action/adventure, and romance, so anything along the lines of NCIS, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Blue Bloods or Hawaii Five-O make my top 10 list. And then there is Outlander—which for me is like a hot fudge Sunday with nuts and a cherry on top. If you’re asking me to decide between Alex O’Loughlin and Sam Heughen…alas, I cannot pick just one. I’ll take both please!
- b. a food you absolutely hate: Cilantro. Need I say more?
- c. favorite kind of pie or cake: I love pie! Any kind will do, but if you can add coconut and dark chocolate to pie or cake, I’m there.
- d. How do you backup your writing? Everything goes to One Drive these days so at the very least, it’s all on the Cloud. I also have an external storage that I back up onto weekly just to make sure I don’t lose anything major.
- e. next vacation destination: We’ll do some camping over the summer, but are most looking forward to a romantic getaway to the Bahamas in November.
: Thanks so much for having me. It’s always great hanging out and chatting with you! I’m happy to answer reader questions and since WANING MOON is free, I’d love to gift copies of WESTERN DESERT and HEALING WATERS to one of your readers so they can enjoy the whole trilogy—on me!
*Leave a comment and let me know you’re interested and I’ll randomly choose one winner. *
The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael Trilogy:
WANING MOON (Book 1)
In the year 2057, in a post-apocalyptic world where a polar shift threatens the survivors of a widespread pandemic with extinction, sixteen-year-old genetically enhanced Lily Carmichael has more immediate problems. Her uncle is dying of cancer and her healing abilities are ineffective against the blood ties that bind them. In order to find a cure, Lily must leave the protection of her quiet town and journey to the trading city of Albany, all while avoiding the Industry, an agency that would like nothing better than to study and exploit her abilities.
Seventeen-year-old Will Callahan has been searching for his father since severe storms blasted through the Midwest, killing his mother and sister. When he learns that his father may be in the city, he catches a ride with Lily, a girl who has come to his rescue more than once. As the two embark on a dangerous journey, the tension between them grows. But the secrets Will’s keeping could put Lily in far more danger than traveling to the city with him, and if he was any kind of man, he would have told her to run the minute she found him.
WESTERN DESERT (Book 2)Genetically enhanced sixteen-year-old Lily Carmichael, and seventeen-year-old Will Callahan embark on a journey across a sun-ravaged and decimated US in the year 2057, bound for the Western Desert on a dangerous rescue mission. The survivors they meet along the way put Lily’s healing abilities to the test and challenge Will’s resolve to find his missing father—no matter the cost. But even with the burden of life and death on their shoulders, and the Industry hot on their trail, the greatest challenge they face is trusting their hearts to each other.
HEALING WATERS (Book 3)
Lily Carmichael and her friends are in the midst of a daring escape from Las Vegas. In this final installment, Lily faces her ultimate challenge. After a failed rescue attempt, and no home to return to, Lily and Will reunite to join with her uncle and his Network of rebels, taking on Vice President Malevich and his army of agents, drones, and Guardians. With Malevich systematically enslaving the city-dwellers who depend on the New Government for their survival—he’s made it clear he will eliminate anyone who stands in his way.
Leading the rebellion while staying one step ahead of the Industry takes Lily, Will, and their friends on a harrowing journey from the desert southwest to the new Capitol in Chicago, where they’ll face a fight to the death. But Lily’s greatest gift—her driving instinct to heal and protect—may also be her greatest enemy. As Lily’s abilities grow, can she do what it takes to save humanity, while taking down the madman bent on destroying it?
Trilogy Buy Links:
Amazon Buy Link for trilogy B & N Buy Link for trilogy and prequel
Apple iTunes Link for trilogy and prequelKobo Link for Books 1, 3 and prequelSmashwords Link for trilogy and prequel
Short story prequel to the trilogy: SOUL REDEMPTION Lily’s thirteen-year-old brother Zephron deals with the emotional turmoil of living with the genetically-induced ability to take life with just a touch. In this first person account of Zeph’s struggles with being an adolescent with such a destructive and powerful “gift,” Zeph must face his lack of control and discover whether he has a place in his world, or if he’s better off leaving his family behind in order to protect them.
If you had this terrible “gift” what would you do?
Read it on Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/story/2398301-soul-redemptionDownload it for free from Smashwords, B&N
, Apple, Kobo (links above)
Don't forget you can download book 1 for free. Leave a comment here and you may win the other two. Need a comment topic? Tell her which cover is your favorite!