Wednesday, November 30, 2011

REV UP WEDNESDAY - A weekly booster shot for inspiration... Catching up with RENEE BERNARD

Hello world,


Today's guest is a darling, darling lady with a big, positive personality and over-the-top talent, RENEE BERNARD. I just love this woman... AND her books! When I sent her the interview questions, she came back with an "essay" - written very candidly - about her difficult but exciting venture into the world of writing romance. Big emotions and big dreams characterize her journey, but it is so clear that, along the way, she never lost herself... only became stronger. I am just so inspired when I hear stories like Renee's. I become utterly convinced that there's no excuse to bail out on ourselves, ever. It's the best lesson we can impart to those we love.

Before I go ahead and share this interview with you, let's please take a moment and say a prayer or spare a kind thought for another talented writer who left us this year, to pass on to her next great adventure way too prematurely. L.A. Banks (pseudonym for Leslie Esdaile Banks) - who was near and dear to Renee's heart, and that of so many others. Rest in eternal peace, dear Ms. Banks, your life and beauty will continue to shine through the words you left behind.

And life goes on...

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been “seriously” writing since 2001. I’d written a book “shotgun” and tucked it away in 1998, but I hadn’t really pursued it. One or two rejections and then I went into hibernation until 2001. I wasn’t very happy at my day job and the lure of the craft was making me restless.

What did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

When people asked me what I did, I started saying “I’m a writer.” Even though I had the cubicle with my name on it for fifty plus hours a week…it wasn’t who I was. The more I said it, the more I was ready to make the leap because I was almost instantly more satisfied with my life. I was writing like a fiend every minute I could find (and a few stolen ones, I’ll admit) and the goal was to “get good enough”. I asked my spouse (at the time) if I could quit my job and he said yes. I made plans to attend an RT conference and was very excited about that leap of faith.

I wrote a novel in less than two months and it was the purest joy I’d known up until that point. And then the floor fell out from under me. The spouse confessed that he was leaving me high and dry, didn’t love me and had already packed his car. I was then unemployed and adrift. The man wasn’t known for his timing—or his sensitivity.

But it was “fish or cut bait”, and I’m grateful to him in a strange way. My job had evaporated so there was no retreat. I’d inadvertently broken the first cardinal rule of writing: “Don’t quit your day job.” But it was survival then, and I decided that life was too short to throw away the opportunity to pursue my dreams. If I starved, I would die without a single regret.

And so I limped to that first RT conference, and the world of romance writers opened up to me and I never looked back.

Did you start by writing full time or did you have a day job?

It was ignoble part time jobs and endless yard sales, financial loss after loss, and too many setbacks to count, but the writing was constant. I just kept thinking that if nothing else came of it, I’d line my grave with some of the hottest stories ever written and meet my Maker with a wicked smile on my face.


So, what happened after that? Please tell me this story has a "happy ever after" :)

It wasn’t until 2005 that I landed an agent after RT was in New York, and got “the call”. As for getting that first agent, that’s an entire story to be told over drinks but needless to say, I was in the world’s craziest group pitch session and am happy to have survived the experience. (Alcohol is required to get the details…but if a reader asks…I’ve been known to share this story just to get a few laughs.)

Then, it was a fantasy scenario with three publishers vying for the book (my working title was “A Widow’s Pleasure” but the book became “A Lady’s Pleasure”), and while it wasn’t lottery money (or quit your job money ;-), I didn’t care. Someone wanted to publish a book I’d written and it was a knee-knocking moment.

In all the ups and downs since, (and there are a lot of downs and ups…), I’ll never forget that first wonderful experience of being “wanted”. I hadn’t sent out the manuscript beforehand, so I was blessed to avoid a lot of rejections. (They came later, but I skipped that step without realizing it up front.)

What about crit groups/mentors/support?

I definitely recommend that writers network, and not just online, but face to face whenever you can manage it. There is nothing that will ever replace the power of seeing someone and looking them in the eyes, sharing your passion for your work but also taking that opportunity to listen to what they have to say. The tidbits and advice you pick up are invaluable, but the friendships—life-changing. Writing is so solitary a pursuit. It’s important to connect with like-souls and recharge your creative batteries.

And if it’s all negative harping and whining about the dips in the road from one source or scarred veteran, walk away. Clear business advice is one thing, but don’t get sucked into someone else’s miseries and contractual complaints. Their path may not be yours, so don’t let their bogeyman be your undoing.

Do you read industry or writing related blogs? If so, can you share some useful links that helped you along the way?

With industry and writer blogs, I try to stay on the bright side. “Beyond her Book” with Barbara McVey at Publisher’s Weekly is a thrill and of course, I love the author sites with humor and flair. For the most part, I don’t have a lot of time to surf—so I try not to get bogged down online. It’s a time trap and when you’re swinging for the fences, time becomes your most valuable resource.

What, in your opinion, do agents/publishers look for in a new author in the current market? Is it all to do with talent or with trends?

As for what agents and publishers are looking for in a new author, I think we have to hope the answer they generally give is the honest one. What they want most is a great story—so I’m going to lean toward the talent camp. Trends are trends, and usually by the time you notice it and try to write to it, it’s a losing battle. Write what inspires you and You Inspire the Market. You have more power than you know, and Cathy Maxwell gave me goosebumps when she talked about shutting out the noise and accepting that it’s the writer that decides where these wonderful stories are going. Seriously. Write your heart out, and then let them race to catch up to you.

What do you think of the changes going on in the book industry (e.g., e-books vs. print books, and big publishers getting involved in digital publishing)? Where do you see the industry going? And how do you feel about so many bookstores closing across the US?

As for the changes and stores closing, it’s about the delivery of that story. Carriages to cars, it was all about getting where you needed to go. Paper or cyberspace, the reader still wants a great experience and the market for material will only increase as it gets easier and easier to access the books they want. Publishers have been eerily slow to figure it out, but I think it will all come out all right in the end. For writers, it’s a brave new world. I’d say the fear factor is on the other side of the fence, but the industry will figure it out. I’m excited to work with my publisher, and enjoying the freedom that comes with Kindle and Wordsmash, etc.

I think the small booksellers will enjoy the shift and it’s the packaging that’s going to change. Buckle in, everybody! It’s going to be fun!!

Do you think writers should consider self-publishing?

Self-publishing is definitely a more solid option, but always remember that you’re one in millions and the stigma lingers. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! Just weigh it out carefully and make sure you know the hard work involved in marketing and promotion that lies ahead if you’re going to debut online. There are benefits to working with established publishing houses, and don’t reject them before they’ve rejected you. As long as you’re making good choices that suit the book, I say go for it!

Are your books available in print or in digital format?

I published a science-fiction/fantasy romance in Kindle, “Treason’s Heart” as Robin Geoffreys because it was such an odd change and I didn’t want to dilute my brand name/pseudonym. What fun! But most of my books are available online as well as in print, so it’s been interesting to see the evolution.


What advice do you think aspiring authors should heed today?

Advice for aspiring authors? Anything I say will sound like clichés reworked, but the old wisdom really does hold true. You have nothing to fear but fear itself. Write. Just write. And then, let someone read it. Keep yourself open to criticism and absorb what they are really saying—not just the specifics to one manuscript. General notes are a godsend. If you’re too defensive, you can’t improve your game. I’m always eager to hear from another author and “how they do it” to pick up a new approach or just assure myself that I’m not crazy. ;-)

What are you working on now?

Right now, I have quite a few projects on my desk. I’m starting on the last two books in my “Jaded Gentlemen” series with Berkley, drafting a stand-alone historical romance set in Meiji Restoration Japan and Victorian London, an erotic romance with a pirate and a sorority girl (I miss those time travel books, don’t you?) and a new series, sci-fi/fantasy, called “The Imbalance”. Those are just the biggies…

Do you read when you are plotting or writing a story? Do you read only books from the genre you write in?

I never read romances when I’m writing. It’s all non-fiction reference books, or fiction books from that time period, but it’s my greatest fear that I’ll accidentally channel something from my reading pile. I love textbooks and reference books, and I’ve amassed a very odd collection.

What book inspired you to write romance (or whatever genre you write in)?

For inspiration, it was Laura Kinsale. I’ve never met her. I think if I did, I’d pass out. I’ll never match her for skill, but she’s a lovely goal to attempt to reach for her wonderful layering of psychology and depth. “Flowers from the Storm” is iconic.

What hero/heroine/villain/other character was the most fun or challenging to write for you? Do you prefer heroes or villains?

All the characters are fun, but I love heroes and villains and the idea of them switching places sometimes. Heroes are, of course, nearest and dearest to my heart, but villains offer some refreshing moments. They can thrill and wound, and never have to apologize. I lose myself in the characters sometimes and they are very real during that process. I’m attached to the men and protective of the women in my stories. It’s very strange. And no, no favorites. That would be like naming one of your children as your best.

How do you juggle work, writing, chores and family/personal life? Do you have a secret to time management that you want to share with readers?

There are no secrets to time management. Sadly. I keep wishing I could do it more gracefully and have color charts and post-its and demonstrate a magical skill to make me look more accomplished. But with two children (one is five and one is almost two), a darling husband, his mother to care for, and well, life… all I can say is that I don’t squander time. I don’t make plans without an eye on a deadline or without consulting my computer. Whatever works for you, works. Don’t apologize for it. As things crunch, I am brutal about dividing word counts into daily quotas and then it’s a matter of “you can’t go to bed until you’ve hit it!” No rollover minutes allowed.

And when the muse is firing and it’s rolling, you roll as far and as fast as you can! When it’s not, you push that rock up the hill until you hit the word count you need and get out! I treat it like a job. This is it. Make or break. Because the pressure is real and I can’t let the team down. Not my family and maybe, in my fantasies, not that reader who was really looking forward to an escape from a very bad day. I owe her my best.

Do you have a ritual that you follow when it comes to writing?

As for rituals, not really. I sit. I write. If it’s a love scene, I’ve been known to light some sandalwood incense to make sure my brain is in the correct gear…but that’s it.

What message do you want to send readers with your writing? How do you want readers to remember you?

And messages for the readers? I hope it’s coming across. Every book answers a question, like a little dialogue that I’m having with my dearest friend. She touches the pages and behind every love story, I hope she’s getting it. The first book (A Lady’s Pleasure) was about being courageous and stepping out of your comfort zone to find happiness. The next (Madame’s Deception) was about the difference between knowledge and experience. The next (A Rogue’s Game) was about what makes a hero heroic—and how bad can he be before he loses that “hero” mantle?

Then came the Jaded. The message of these books varies a little, but the theme has been about how strong women can be, how resilient and graceful—and how it makes them so amazingly beautiful. If a woman can see herself in these heroines and see how beautiful she is when she’s fighting the good fight, then I’m a happy person. In these grim times, a romance novel should offer an escape and entertainment, but I’d like there to be a lovely bonus in the takeaway for the reader. I want the books to be “keepers” even if the reader isn’t sure why.

As for being remembered…that’s an emotional subject right now. I just lost a dear friend, L.A. Banks, on Aug. 2, 2011 and I still start crying when I think of her. But if I could come close to her legacy of people telling stories about how warm and loving she was, how accessible and caring… It can’t be about the books. It has to be about who I am and who I was able to help and who I could reach to make their day a little better. That’s my goal.

Where do you see yourself, careerwise, in 5 years time?

Five years from now, if I’m really playing the “what if” game—I’d love to make the NYT bestseller list, have a series on HBO based on “The Imbalance”, and be knocking it out of the park with multiple romance genres just to keep things lively. I’ll make a living at this and be able to tell my husband, “Retire and buy that pub!” I’ll travel to Japan for the Black Ship Festival and see if they have a romance readers convention they’ll let me attend. Dream big, right?

What's your website URL?

www.reneebernardauthor.com

How do you connect with readers?

Readers can always find me on Facebook or just email me directly at reneebernard@mac.com!




Latest and Upcoming Releases:

ECSTASY WEARS EMERALDS is just out, released on 9/6/11!! - More info and book trailer here.
PASSION WEARS PEARLS is out in April 2012! More info here.

Excerpt from “Ecstasy Wears Emeralds”
By Renee Bernard, Berkley


If only it were just physical, this odd pull he has with me. But the more I know of him, the more I wish to be near him. The way he respects his household staff and the way he spoke to his patients today—my father always said it was how a gentleman treats the common man that betrays the most about his character.

And why am I so obsessed with Rowan’s character? Why does it matter so much what he thinks of me or of anything beyond medicine?

It matters because I’m falling in love with him.

The shock of the revelation made her fingers go numb and breathless, the heavy tray of vials and delicate glass containers sliding out of her hands and striking the hard floor with a soul-jarring crash. The expensive crystal shattered in an explosion of sound, and she cried out in horror at the clumsy mistake.

Gayle quickly began to kneel to try to salvage something from the shards to ward off her useless tears. He’ll be furious when he sees… and what am I doing? Acting like a mindless ninny because I’ve lost my heart to a man who barely tolerates me.

“Don’t move.” His voice was gentle, but firm from the doorway into the lab.

“I’m sorry for the dreadful mess. I can clean it—“

“Don’t! Move!” It was a firmer command, arresting her movement this time as she registered the unexpected urgency in his words. Gayle straightened, her cheeks burning with embarrassment, unsure if he meant to lecture her where she stood or if the mishap were somehow worse than she’d estimated.

He lit several lamps to ensure that he’d have the light he needed to see and came toward her.
Before she could ask what he intended, he’d bent over to use his handkerchief to brush aside the largest sharp pieces from a small area in front of her. And then he knelt on one knee and gingerly began plucking the glass slivers and tiny shards from the hem of her skirt. In the glow of the lamplight at her feet, she now realized that the last few inches of her skirt had transformed into a glittering display of nearly invisible bits of broken glass.

“I could just shake them out, Dr. West.” She had to swallow, for the lump that had formed in her throat at the sight of him at her feet—so intimately close, so tenderly focused on his compassionate task.

“Just stand still, Gayle.”

And there she was—trapped in an impossible moment of chivalry.

He worked efficiently and quietly, cleaning up a small section of the hem of her skirts and petticoats to brush it with his handkerchief wrapped fingers, pulling out the glass that remained, then clearing the floor to allow himself to shift over a few inches and repeat the process.

“You don’t have to do all this.” She was breathless at the sensation of his hands moving against her skirts, never making contact with her ankles or slippers, but still there, his head bent and level with her thighs, his forehead a scant inch from the pleated fabric and the temptation to reach down and touch his hair was making her dizzy.

“I’d rather this than finding my kit to teach you how to pull glass splinters out of your ankles. I imagine they’re too pretty to be scratched up needlessly, Miss Renshaw.”

“I don’t think you’re supposed to imagine what your apprentice’s ankles look like, Dr. West.”

He laughed, but didn’t cease his efforts. “I’ll do my best to refrain from doing so, Miss Renshaw.”

“I’m…this is awkward, Dr. West. You wouldn’t do this if I were a man.”

“You’re absolutely right. I would have gotten the scissors and just offered to let you cut off your pant legs and then I’d have left the matter of your stockings to you.”

“Oh,” she tried to ignore the shocking image of Rowan cutting her out of her clothes. “I see.”
He mercifully changed the subject. “It was a long day.”

She shook her head. “It was a wonderful day.”

He smiled. “Wednesdays in this house are not everyone’s idea of wonderful, but I’m glad you thought so. The hours fly for me on these days, and there is a selfish pleasure to having everyone about to lend a hand. Even if Mrs. Evans does fuss a bit at the state of her floors afterward.”

“So many different patients on a single day—I loved it!”

He moved again, now kneeling almost directly behind her. “Good. I was afraid I’d exhausted you and caused this—”

“I am not prone to accidents.”

“Of course, you’re not.”

“Please don’t mock me. How is it that every time I wish to convey how reliable I am, something happens and one of us is kneeling on the floor over some mess I’ve made?”
“Fate,” he replied gently.

Why wasn’t he yelling? There’s a month’s wages for most physicians on this floor—but the man is speaking to me as calmly as if we were talking about the weather.

“Why are you so…kind to me? You needn’t be. I mean, I don’t expect you to be kind, Dr. West.”
“Perhaps that’s why.”

She closed her eyes, wishing she knew how to fight off the sentimental tears that threatened and ward off the maelstrom of emotions inside of her. I am not falling in love with this man—I won’t! I’ve come too far to surrender my dreams and transform myself into a joke. “I’ll pay for the glass. I’ll replace all of it, Dr. West.”

He shook his head. “There’s no need for that. I’d needed an excuse to visit the glass shop and—”

“I’m not Ada Featherstone! I’m not some addle-headed woman that you need to coddle! You have every right to be angry, Dr. West, and I insist on being allowed to restore what I’ve broken.”
“Gayle,” he spoke softly, the use of her first name capturing her attention. “Trust me when I say this. There may well be an extensive list of things that invoke an angry reaction from me, and God knows, I’m not always very good at keeping myself in check, but broken glass—hasn’t been on the list for a very, very long time.”

Rowan sat back on his heels and shifted again, this time returning to his starting position in front of her to survey his progress. “I’m almost done, Gayle. Just hold still for another few seconds, and allow a small liberty.”

“A s-small liberty?” she asked, but the answer was swift and left her speechless as his hands lightly trailed up her ankles and calves, circling the muscles there to gently caress her up to the back of her knees.

“Just one last check for any glass slivers that may have strayed onto your stockings.”
“Oh!” His touch was efficient and feather soft, but the miasma of fire and delight that spread up her limbs to form a molten pool between her hips was intoxicating. Her knees turned to rubber, and she bit the inside of her cheek to stare at the ceiling as a thousand wicked thoughts nearly overcame her. The splay of his warm fingers were telegraphing electric sweet storms all over her body and she wasn’t sure she could survive another pass of his hands without betraying herself with a moan or a sigh.

“Ah, there’s one.” He sat back on his heels and sucked a small piece of glass from an index finger to discard it with the rest. “Not life threatening, Miss Renshaw, but you don’t deserve a miserable end to a wonderful day.”

She nodded in stunned silence, one hand gripping the work table’s edge to keep her steady on her feet and the other pressed against her chest to keep her heart from pumping out of her ribcage.
“Well, I’ve pushed it under the table far enough for now and Florence can bring up a dustpan in the morning to clear it. As for this, I’ll just throw this handkerchief into the bin.” He stood like a graceful panther rising from the floor. “You should get some rest, Miss Renshaw.”
All she could do was nod, like a mute child, miserably blushing but hypnotized by him.
“Good night, then.”

Rowan left her there, returning to the second floor, and Gayle began to cry.

Some things just are. You don’t have to understand them.


About Renee:

What in the world is a retired Navy chaplain’s daughter doing writing scorching hot historical romances? Renee Bernard is applying a great education from traveling all over the world to story telling and doing her best to keep her father proud. Truthfully, her father is her number one fan, even though he has sworn never to read a single word of her books (a vow he has kept to this day!) Nothing stops him from telling everyone he knows that his daughter is now a USA Today Bestselling author or from handing out bookmarks on the golf course. Love can make even a minister do strange things!

Renee Bernard is a freelance writer and a contributor to Romantic Times BookReviews magazine. A Lady’s Pleasure (Pocket Books, November 2006) was her first novel and won an award from RT for “Best First Historical Romance of 2006”. She also wrote a story for the School of Heiresses anthology (Pocket Books, January 2007), which made the USA Today Bestseller List. Madame’s Deception, was nominated for “Best Sensual Historical of 2007” by RT and A Rogue’s Game, the final installment in the Mistress Trilogy, received 4 ½ stars and a Top Pick from RT and is available now.

Her next books are known as “The Jaded Gentlemen Series”, starting with Revenge Wears Rubies (Berkley, March 2010) and Seduction Wears Sapphires (Berkley, August 2010)!

Renee currently lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California. (Note an interesting proximity to great wineries!)

For more information, please visit her website at www.reneebernardauthor.com.

***


~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY: An Eternity of Roses, Snippet #8

Hello world,

It's time for...


First of all, my apologies for not being around last Sunday. I needed a break from the computer so I spent the day outside with family and friends. Today, it's another beautiful day outside - sunny, although a bit chilly, but I'm staying in because it's been a busy week.

More importantly, I wish to thank everyone who posts comments regarding my excerpts. You have no idea how much I appreciate them!

So, where were we? Ah yes, my latest WIP, An Eternity of Roses. We continue from where Lady Emmaline Deramore is a little late for her rendezvous with her love, the Thor-like Adrian Segrave, Lord Bournemouthe. How could she keep such a man waiting? :) Check out the last snippet I posted here.

“I am sorry. I—” Before she had a chance to finish he pulled her to the ground and settled her against him, sitting with her back to his chest. His thighs held her prisoner while his arms came around her, enfolded her, made her shudder.

Keep me close, always.

“Are you cold?”

She turned her head to look into his face, and swallowed hard.

Thanks for stopping by! I have a bunch of Six Sunday "accomplices" who are also posting their amazing SSS excerpts today. Please show them your support and check out their blogs - all the links are here. It's well worth your time!

And now, off to finish that Butter Chicken and yellow rice I'm making for lunch. The kitchen smells like an Indian restaurant...yum!

Until next time, promise me you'll live well and love deeply. :)

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Friday, November 25, 2011

WRAP UP FRIDAY: Making memories

Hello world,

I promised a few friends that I'd post pictures of places we took our American friends to last Sunday. They only had a morning and half an afternoon because the Celebrity Equinox they came on was leaving for Rhodes at 5pm. Our friends had never been to Malta so we had to squeeze as many highlights as possible in a very short time. Here's where we went...

First, an obligatory stop in Valletta, the capital city (and my hometown):

Auberge de Castille - one of the auberges built by the Knights of St. John and used as the Prime Minister's office today:


The Upper Barrakka Gardens with a magnificent view of the harbor:


Republic Street, Valletta:


St. John's Co-Cathedral in St. John's Square:


Republic Square Valletta:


St. George's Square and the Grandmaster's Palace:


After a walking tour of Valletta we headed to the south side of the island...

Wied iz-Zurrieq with its quaint fishing boats, also known as home to the Blue Grotto:


Hagar Qim prehistoric temples, 5000 years old. We only had time for our friends to see them from the outside:


Marsascala, lively fishing village with lots of restaurants and bars:


The old city of Birgu:


All this cruising made us hungry so we headed on to The Avenue Restaurant in Paceville - where we had lovely pasta, fillet steak, Maltese pizza, cheesecake and Mama's cake (layers of thin cookies and chocolate cream - divine!). Yum!


On the way to the restaurant we passed by the picturesque promenade of Sliema/St. Julians:



After a hearty lunch, a quick drive along the Coast Road to the seaside towns of Qawra and Bugibba:



Then, we whizzed past the Mosta Dome...the third largest dome in Europe:


...and the entrance to the old city of Mdina, the "silent city". Sadly, we didn't have time to stop and walk in.



After which we headed back to Valletta, to my folks' house, for tea. We hope our friends returned to the ship happy and full of great memories! What a fantastic day it was - I'll never forget it.

And now, I'm heading on to my bestie Zee Monodee's blog, to check out how her week has been.

Last question before I leave you - If you had the opportunity to show your out-of-town friends around your town/country/state, where would you take them?

Big hugs and - live well and love deeply!

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

REV UP WEDNESDAY: Q&A with ANITA HIGMAN and IRENE BRAND


Hello world,

This week I'm posting something a little different. Irene Brand and Anita Higman each have a Christmas novella in the new 2-in-1 compilation entitled, Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe. Also, both novellas are interconnected. In this Q&A, they tell us about that process.


1. Was it difficult to connect your two stories?

Anita: Not at all. We had a brainstorming session by phone and by email and figured it out. Irene’s historical novella, An Appalachian Christmas is tied to my contemporary novella, Once Upon a Christmas Eve. They are connected through the passing of a mistletoe ball through the generations. It was a delight to work with Irene. She’s very easy to get along with. In fact, we’ve become long-distance friends.

Irene: It wasn’t difficult. Actually, this may have been the easier part of the writing project. After we’d each read the other’s manuscript, I provided Anita with the information necessary for continuity, and she did the same for me. It was easy to insert the other story line into my novella

2. Do you think you’d consider working on another project together?

Anita: Yes, in fact we’ve been chatting about working on another project together.

Irene: It would appeal to me. Although our writing styles aren’t the same, still the differences seem to improve the book.

3. How did you come up with the idea for your story?

Anita: My novels are more character driven, and so my characters tend to move the story along. The idea for Once Upon a Christmas Eve may have started with my interest in the fairy archetype. I loved the movies Cold Comfort Farm and Chocolat for that very reason. There was something enchanting about those two heroines as they whirled around, fixing people’s lives. I gave my main character, Holly Goodnight, some similar fanciful qualities.

Irene: My husband and I spent a few days in Owsley County, Kentucky, where my novella is located. After we met the local people, visited the site where the action would be, and learned about the local history, the story was easy to develop.

4. Out of your novellas, which characters are your favorites?

Anita: Beyond the heroine I loved Van Keaton, the author. He was flawed in a number of ways, but he had enough endearing qualities to make him loveable too. At least that is what I hope readers will feel.

Irene: The hero and heroine turned out to be great characters, but Granny, the hero’s grandmother was a lovable person – the kind of grandmother all of us would have liked. (I don’t remember either of my grandmothers.)

5. What did you want the reader to take away from your story?

Anita: That no matter how impossible circumstances look, God can work all things for good.

Irene: That even when a romance seems hopeless, true love can overcome any barrier.

6. What does a typical workday look like for you?

Anita: I’m usually up at 5:30 to have breakfast and a devotion time with my husband. Then I go up to my office, reply to emails, and start on my writing. I stop for lunch, run a few errands, and then to go back to work again. I don’t watch TV in the evening, but I do treat myself to a new movie or two on the weekends.

Irene: My husband and I get up at 5:45 each morning. While he shaves, I prepare breakfast. We also have a devotional period before we eat. We’ve used THE SECRET PLACE, our American Baptist devotional material, since we were married. We have a list of different people for whom we pray at each meal time. Weather permitting, we take a 2-mile walk after breakfast. I open my e-mail next, then read the Bible and have private devotions. The last 3 days of the week, I prepare to teach my Sunday School lessons. I write as much as possible, but the time spent on my writing depends upon what else needs to be done. I’m very active in the work of my church – choir, playing piano, women’s work and teaching a Sunday School lesson. Unless I’m on a deadline, I don’t write after 6:00 p.m.

7. Where do all your ideas come from?

Anita: Ideas flood in from everywhere—while I’m running errands, or chatting with a friend, or drifting off to sleep. I can barely keep up with the flow. I have to write them down to use later.

Irene: From reading research books or fiction. I get ideas from talking with others, or news items on television.

8. What are you reading right now?

Anita: I’m reading, A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle.

Irene: I’m reading a Regency romance, one I’ve had on my shelves for a few years. First Season by Anne Baldwin

9. What are your five favorite things about Christmas?
Anita: The birth of Christ, of course. But then I love the music, the scents, the special foods, and family time together.
Irene: Local church activities, music, baking and visiting shut-ins with goodies, Christmas dinner with extended family, holiday movies on TV.


10. Where can readers find you online?

Anita: I would love for folks to drop by my website at www.anitahigman.com.

Irene: www.irenebrand.com

About Anita:

Anita is the bestselling and award-winning author of 28 books (several coauthored) for adults and children. She has been honored in the past as a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston, and her latest coauthored book, Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe, was on the Nielsen’s bestseller list for five weeks as well as #6 on the CBA bestseller list (for fiction in January, 2011). Some of Anita’s publishers are Guideposts/Summerside Press, Barbour Publishing, Bethany House, McGraw-Hill, Roman & Littlefield, Lillenas Drama, and Simon & Schuster/Howard Publishing. She also has contributions in eleven nonfiction compilations.

One of Anita’s coauthored books entitled, A Tribute to Early Texas, has won a San Antonio Conservation Society Citation as well as a Westerners International Book Award. She was named a Favorite New Author in the 15th Annual Heartsong Presents Awards, and in the 16th Annual Heartsong Presents Awards her coauthored novel, Castles in the Air, was one of the winners in the Favorite Contemporary Romance category. Also Anita contributed to an animation script that won a Gold Remi Award.

Her novel, Love Finds You in Humble Texas, was chosen by Crossings Book Club and is now available in hardback and large print editions. Anita and the novel, Love Finds You in Humble Texas were featured on The Harvest Show, a Christian program with eight million regular viewers.

Anita has won two awards for her contribution to literacy and has raised thousands of dollars for literacy with her book, I Can Be Anything, while serving on the board of directors of Literacy Advance of Houston.

Anita Higman has written for radio, ezine, and advertising. She also cohosts a show on blogtalkradio called the In Faith Network, which reaches 80,000 listeners. She has a B.A. degree combining speech communication, psychology, and art from SNU, and she is a member of ACFW as well as The Writer’s View.

About Irene:

Irene has been publishing inspirational fiction since 1984. She was one of the four launch authors of the Promise Romance series started by Thomas Nelson in 1984. She also came on board the Steeple Hill team in the sixth month of their publication, with their 18th inspirational romance, in 1998. My Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska (2008) was the third book published by Summerside Press. This novel reached #32 on the Nielsen's latest list. And my novella, “An Appalachian Christmas,” was included in the first anthology published by Summerside Press, Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe, which was released on September 1, 2010. Irene also reached #6 on the January 2011 CBS Best Sellers list of Christian novels.

You can read one of her and Anita's e-books, Christmas: All Things Bright and Beautiful, for free. In it you will find a collection of quotes, family recipes, traditions, and memories about the coming season.

Thank you for inviting us to your blog! Irene and I hope your Christmas is filled with the love of Christ and all things bright and beautiful!

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Monday, November 21, 2011

KICK START MONDAY: Back to earth

Hello world,

This weekend was quite the ride. I had to catch up on work, arrange for a car rental, and host a couple of lovely friends on Saturday. My hubby had a great guitar jam session with our friend Pierre, and I had a chance to catch up with my old friend Pat and her son Paul who just turned nine.

Then, on Sunday, we spent the day showing 2 American friends around Malta. We wanted to give them a memorable day and time was scarce, so we did the best we could. First, we picked them up at the port where they arrived with the Celebrity Equinox. Then, we went for a walk in the capital city of Valletta, which is also my home town. After that, we hopped back in the minivan (7 on board!) and went on a tour of the south - Zurrieq by the Blue Grotto, the Hagar Qim temples (5,000 years old), Marsascala to see the fishing boats, Birgu to have a closer look at the waterfront. By this time, we were getting hungry so we headed toward a restaurant called The Avenue in Paceville where we had a table booked. We drove by the Sliema and St. Julians promenade, and after filling our bellies (everyone except hubby who had to chase the kiddo around and had to make do with a quick McDonald's meal, poor chap--and I, who was too worried about him!) we drove up the coast road to Qawra and Bugibba. The next landmark on our route was the Mosta dome and Mdina. Sadly, we didn't have time to stop in the Silent City, so we took our guests to my mom's house for some tea, and that was it - they had to be on the ship by 4.45pm!

It was such a whirlwind adventure, but we totally enjoyed it, and hope that our friends will be back. We had met these two on the ship when were were coming to Malta two and a half years ago. Back then I was still 6 months pregnant and they'd never met my Cole. Seeing them brought back memories of how much fun we had on that trip :)

After all this, I didn't have much time to write. Actually, I didn't write at all, but I think I deserve a break as I've been working hard in the last few weeks. I even missed the fabulous Six Sentence Sunday, but I will do my best to visit my friends' blogs to check out their interesting entries. Now, my nose is stuck to the grindstone :D.

I hope y'all had a great weekend and that the week ahead is a productive one. Please tune in this Wednesday for another great author interview.

In the meantime, live well and love deeply!

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Friday, November 18, 2011

WRAP UP FRIDAYS: When inspiration hits


Hello world,

I've spent this last week doing research on the Edinburgh Vaults . These eerie underground vaults were once used as storage areas, slum housing, breeding spaces for crime such as robbery and murder, and brothels. They were also used as a meeting place for the infamous Hellfire Club (the first of which was established by the Duke of Wharton in 1719 England) and their depraved satanic rituals; as well as haunts for the nineteenth century serial killers, Burke and Hare.

I haven't found many specifics as to who, exactly, was a Hellfire Club member in 1810 Edinburgh. I'm still trying to fish for that information. However, I have quite a bit of fodder to give me fresh ideas about my Valthrean series - an 8 book series revolving around a brotherhood of immortals, the first of which I titled An Eternity of Roses.

Before I wrap up, I'd like to invite you to hop on over to my partner-in-crime, Zee Monodee's blog page. She always has interesting tidbits to share at the end of the week.

This blog post will be short because I must return to my research and reading. Can you tell I'm excited? However, I couldn't leave you without supplying the usual Friday eye candy for your viewing pleasure. So here's the handsome Hector or...ahem... Eric Bana!








~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

REV UP WEDNESDAYS - A weekly booster shot for inspiration... Catching up with DEBRA GLASS


Hello world,

Today's REV UP WEDNESDAY guest is fabulous author, Debra Glass. Debra has published over 15 books in various genres - including historical and paranormal romance, non-fiction, YA, and folklore. In 1992 she was awarded the National Society of Arts and Letters Alabama Screenwriter Award, after which she won the NSAL Empire State Award for excellence in screenwriting. Debra is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Professional Authors’ Network, and Passionate Ink. She is also a member of RWA’s Heart of Dixie chapter.

Debra is a bundle of energy and although I don't know her very well, I can just feel her positive vibes sneak into me every time I open her emails. I think she's the perfect example for how determination and adversity can get you far. Despite let downs and lack of faith from some people around her, Debra persisted in her career, proving the naysayers wrong. Proving that hard work and persistence can make dreams come true.

[[[CONTEST: DEBRA WILL BE GIVING AWAY A DOWNLOAD OF SLAVE TO FASHION TO A LUCKY WINNER! HERE ARE THE STEPS TO QUALIFY:

(1) PLEASE "FOLLOW" MY BLOG PAGE (VIA NETWORKED BLOGS OR GOOGLE FRIEND CONNECT - see right sidebar), AND

(2) COMMENT ON THIS POST WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.

I'LL DRAW A NAME ON TUESDAY, 22ND NOVEMBER. GOOD LUCK!]]]


Here's Debra's story...

How long have you been writing?

Before I could write words, I drew picture-story books about my family. I’ve been writing for a long time!

When did you decide that you wanted to write for a living (that "aha" moment)?

Writing was always my hobby until I attended a class with Michael Garrett and he suggested I join Romance Writers of America. It was then that I decided to pursue writing professionally.

What did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

My X told me I wouldn’t sell twenty copies of a book. How’s that for inspiration to succeed? That particular book is now in its second printing and I have over thirty books that have been released and I’ve been published by five different publishing houses. Take that, X!

What is your preferred genre both for reading and writing?

I love to read a little bit of everything. As far as writing, I think my style is best suited to erotic romance. I have a decidedly historical voice and love writing historicals more than any other genre.

How long did it take you to make your first sale? What was your first thought when you did?

Gatekeeper was my first sale to Ellora’s Cave. I wrote on and off for about fifteen years before I closed my business and settled down to write full time. It took me about six months after I began to pursue writing as a career to get the call. I was excited and had to read the acceptance email several times before I realized I’d actually been offered a contract. My second thought was, “Oh my God, what now?”

Did you sell the first story or novel you wrote?

Not yet, but I’m working on revising it. It’s an 80 thousand word vampire romance.

Do you read industry or writing related blogs? If so, can you share some useful links?

My favorite blog is Redlines and Deadlines, written by the editors of Ellora’s Cave. http://redlinesanddeadlines.blogspot.com/

What, in your opinion, do agents/publishers look for in a new author in the current market? Is it all to do with talent or with trends?

I think both agents and publishers look for polished talent that is writing something they think they can sell.


What do you think of the changes going on in the book industry (e.g., e-books vs. print books, and big publishers getting involved in digital publishing)? Where do you see the industry going?

Of course the industry is moving toward digital! Remember vinyl albums? Ebooks are to the publishing industry was MP3 players are to the music industry.

Do you think writers should consider self-publishing?

I have some regional ghost stories and a local historical interest book I’ve self published. I’m doing quite well with those but the market is small. I’m not so sure about fiction but with Amazon willing to do distribution, if you already have a large following, go for it!

Are your books available in print or in digital format?

Most all my books are available in digital and some are also available in print. My books can be found on my Amazon author page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0036LFNI4

What are you working on now?

I’m working on my first ménage story. I just finished the first draft and sent it to my critique partner. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story and delving into the characters’ heads to figure how they could make a relationship between one woman and the two men who loved her work.

What is/are your favourite book(s)?

Wuthering Heights, Gone With the Wind, The Other Boleyn Girl

What book inspired you to write romance (or whatever genre you write in)?

Dracula. There was no romance in the book at all and in the movies, the vampire always died in the end. I wanted to write a story where the vampire was the good guy—and survived!

What hero/heroine/character was the most fun or challenging to write for you?

Blackbeard in Watchkeeper. I loved writing his salty pirate dialogue and turning him into a wicked villain.

What's your website URL?

http://DebraGlass.com

Are you on Facebook?

http://Facebook.com/DebraGlassFanPage

How do you connect with readers?

I love to connect through social media and email.

About Debra:

Growing up in the south where the air is thick with stories steeped in legend and truth, Debra came by her love of romance novels honestly. Well…sort of. At an early age, she pilfered from her grandmother’s extensive library and has been a fan of the genre since.

A full time freelance writer, Debra especially enjoys combining history, mystery and a touch of taboo to weave stories with unforgettable, haunted heroes.

She lives in Alabama with her sexy real life hero, a couple of smart-aleck ghosts and a diabolical black cat.

Email: DebraLGlass@gmail.com
Website: http://debraglass.com


Latest and upcoming releases:

My latest release was inspired by one of my favorite shows, What Not to Wear! It’s called Slave to Fashion and is set in early Regency England. Here’s a blurb:

A taste of the forbidden…

Georgiana Talbot intends to remain a spinster in order to ensure her younger sisters debut and find husbands. But when she encounters a devilish Scot who ignites a searing fire within her, Georgiana realizes just how much she has denied herself regarding the pleasures of the flesh. Determined to learn more, she concocts a daring scheme.

A touch of the taboo…

Seducing the haute ton’s premier modiste into buying linen from his mills is foremost on Blane MacLaren’s mind. Until his need to bend the brash beauty to his will drives him to enter into a scandalous agreement—Georgiana will purchase his linens if he will tutor her in an array of dark delights and forbidden pleasures. Yet nothing could have prepared him for the effect his very willing student will have on him—or how far a harmless lesson in lust can go.

Click here to read an excerpt: http://www.jasminejade.com/productspecs/9781419934582.htm

Scarlet Widow

Tough…or tender? If she follows her heart, she won’t have to choose.

Molly has forever lusted for all three Barksdale brothers, but could never choose. Instead, scandal chose for her, and she married the youngest of the three. Then the brothers go to war, and Molly finds herself a grieving widow when her husband is murdered by a merciless band of Union soldiers.

Hardin Barksdale is hell-bent on avenging his brother. Greer Barksdale is honor-bound to protect his home. They both want Molly—and this time, they're willing to share. The temptation is seductive, the passion sizzling. In harsh, post-war Tennessee, their nightly forbidden trysts wield the power to heal them all—if they can escape the twisted desires of a man bent on seeing all three of them dead.

Buylink: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-9759-scarlet-widow.aspx


~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Monday, November 14, 2011

KICK START MONDAYS: The headless chicken...


Hello world,

My apologies for posting so late today but I've been running around like a headless chicken. This morning I woke up at 5am and I was sure I was going to get a heck of a lot of work done. But, by 5.45, I heard the pitty patter of little feet walking to my office. My two year old decided to get an early start, and my plans went up in smoke :).

One thing led to another, and now it's late afternoon here - so I'm grabbing my available 5 minutes to say "hello" to you.

So what's new? My edits/revisions on An Eternity of Roses are well under way and now I have a clear idea where I'm setting a new scene with my nefarious villainess - the Edinburgh Vaults. These dank, dark, stifling spaces had a murky reputation back in the 18th century. They were used as brothels, storage spaces to store smuggled and other items, or meeting areas for criminal activity. Perfect for the bad girl to stir up trouble in :). Today, the vaults are even said to be haunted by ghostly activity...

I'll definitely be updating you as I go along. In the meantime... Next Wednesday, I'll be having the fabulous Debra Glass on my blog - please check back to read her interview.

One more thing - I got the haircut in the picture. A little new for me because it's so short. It will take a while to get used to :)

That's it for now :).

Until next time, live well and love deeply.

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY: An Eternity of Roses, Snippet #7


Hello world,

It's getting cold outside. Yesterday I attended the local book fair in the evening and when I came out of the hall, the wind bit at my face and cut through my jacket and sweater. Strange how it turned from the morning's sunny and hot (so much I wished I had only a t-shirt on) to this... Just like life, eh? Totally unpredictable, lol.

So today I'm staying in. Roast chicken, mashed potatoes and peas for lunch - something about this dish that makes me all warm and happy inside :). In the meantime, I need to keep busy, and the best way? Posting my Six Sentence Sunday snippet, of course!

First of all, please check out the other posts by my fellow Six-Sundayers. It's fun, and you may come across a book or books you'd really like to read.

Second, about my excerpt...

Last week we left my heroine Emmaline who'd just ridden to a secluded spot to meet the hero, Adrian. Perfect place for an afternoon tryst...

Yearning to get close to him, she removed her hat and walked to him. His cheeks were flushed from the open air. A half-day old stubble cast the faintest of shadows on the sharp angles of his chin and jaw, giving him a roguish air. With a lopsided smile he offered her his hand. She reached out to him, letting her gaze roam from the depths of his eyes to his exposed throat where he had untied his cravat. A light smattering of golden hairs peeked from the top of the shirt, stirring heat inside her.

“You are late,” he taunted in a silky tenor voice.

Hope you enjoyed this, and wish you a Happy Sunday!

Until next time, live well and love deeply.

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Friday, November 11, 2011

WRAP UP FRIDAY: The doctor is in...

Hello world,

Today is one of those days that didn't start right. I need to call the Friday "admin" because I'd rather skip the whole thing and jump straight to Saturday, lol. The only thing that is turning out right so far is the lasagne dish that's baking in the oven :). So please, forgive me if this blog is not very long ... my mind is in a bit of a tizzy right now.

However, I can't really complain that much because this week I got some feedback from my crit partner and presently jumping on the first round of edits for An Eternity of Roses. Edits are a necessary evil and often tedious, but they're also what gives a story more depth and dimension, so I'm not going to gripe about this. My goal is to get it right, so whatever it takes, I'll do it.

Apart from working on these edits I don't have much planned for this weekend, except perhaps attending the Malta Book Fair on Saturday. I never like to miss this event, and perhaps this year I'll take the munchkin with me.

Later today I'll hop over to my bestie Zee Monodee's blog and check out what she's up to. I hope you'll do the same.

To gear myself up for the weekend, I'm posting my eye candy for the week - I hope it will make you feel all better as it did me. I find this man very intriguing. Don't you? Rufus Sewell - better than chicken soup and Nutella doughnuts! Well, all right, perhaps the chicken soup but not the Nutella :)








~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

REV UP WEDNESDAYS - A weekly booster shot for inspiration... Catching up with MADDIE JAMES and MIA JAE and MADELEINE JAMES :-)


Hello world,

I'm happy to introduce today's REV UP WEDNESDAY guest, multi-published, multi-genre author, Maddie James. Maddie reminds me of a blog I once wrote where I discussed the value of pseudonyms. Maddie in fact has 3 of them and has only recently "come out of the closet" to admit that all are the product of her fertile imagination. So now we know that Maddie has these fun "alter egos" - or "multiple personalities" as she likes to call them - that she loves to play with...

As Maddie James, she writes romance fiction that runs the gamut - romantic suspense, time-travel, contemporary, paranormal, you name it. Her heroes can be pirates, cowboys, businessmen, werewolves, or simply the classic, sexy alpha hero.

As Mia Jae, Maddie channels her "naughtier" side to write steamy erotic romance and erotica.

Finally, as Madeleine James, she indulges her fancy of penning women-centered, mainstream fiction.

In all cases, she never compromises on her Happily Ever Afters.

Here's more about Maddie...

How long have you been writing?

Writing for a long, long time... I've been published as a romance novelist since 1997.

When did you decide that you wanted to write for a living (that "aha" moment)?

That has always been the goal, and still remains the goal. I have had, and still do have, other jobs in my life that are important to me, but writing will always be first.

What did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

I don't think I ever just said, "I want to be a writer" to them. For the longest time now, it's just been who I am and they know it.

What is your preferred genre both for reading and writing?

I write in a lot of different subgenres of romance-- paranormal, contemporary, time-travel, suspense-- and when I read, I generally pick the same genres. I also read and write erotic fiction, too.

Did you start by writing full time or did you have a day job?

I think it is the rare person who can start off writing full time. A lot of things have to come together to make this happen. As I said before, I have always worked. I have take a year off here and there to spend concentrated time on my writing, but usually I've done consulting or other work to supplement while I was doing that. I still have a fulltime job today.

Did you take any writing courses or did you just sit and write a book?

I first wrote a book. It was terrible. Then I found RWA and joined chapters, took workshops, a few night classes, etc... mostly taught myself by working with others, reading, and learning as I continued to write.

Did/do you have a crit group or mentor to guide you?

Yes to all, I think, over the years. I've been at this since about 1986, so through the years there have been influential people. Author Janet Eaves was my crit partner for years and years. Later on, we hooked up with Jan Scarbrough and Magdalena Scott. The four of us still have a small crit group, although I think it's safe to say we really do not critique each other's work any more. We might brainstorm, bounce questions off each other, or commiserate the industry, but not a lot of critique. These ladies have been both my support and mentors, of sorts, throughout my career. There have been a few other authors over the years who have offered sound advice to me over the years and I respect them greatly-- Elizabeth Bevarly, Theresa Medeiros, and Patricia Rice. (thank you!)

Do you use a/several pseudonym(s) and if so, why did you choose to have one/them?

I do. You can see them all at www.maddiejames.net. I used to keep them all private and recently just came out with them all. I had varying reasons for having the pen names and many of those really don't exist any more. Today, they exist to define the different writing that I do -- romance, erotica, and mainstream fiction.


How long did it take you to make your first sale? What was your first thought when you did?

It took 10 years of solid writing and working at it to sell, and I was dumbfounded. I thought it might never happen. But I was elated and felt validated at the same time.

Did you sell the first story or novel you wrote?

Yes. But, it was not the first one I sold. I sold it about 10 years after I wrote it and after I had published 7 other novels. (and after a huge round of revisions)

How many drafts did you write of your first novel before you felt you got it right? What about now - do you still write several drafts of a story?

I honestly don't know how many drafts with the first one. It was so long ago! Today, generally, I write one draft. It will need edits and revisions, but it's one draft and we move forward.

Do you read industry or writing related blogs? If so, can you share some useful links?

I really do not read many blogs any more. My time is very limited. Sorry!

Did you get an agent first or did you submit directly to publishers?

I have never had an agent. There was a time I thought I wanted an agent--and I pursued agents in the late 90's when I first started publishing. Today, it doesn't cross my mind anymore. I'm fine handling my career on my own right now.

Did you ever get rejected? If so, how did you handle it?

Plenty of rejections from editors. You take the advice, and get back to work. You can't let it get you down.

What advice do you think aspiring authors should heed today?

Keep writing, keep learning. If you want it to be your job, make it your job. Be the best you can be.

What are you working on now?

I'm finishing up book 4 of The Legend of Blackbeard's Chalice time travel series -- Wanderlust.

Do you have a ritual that you follow when it comes to writing?

Nope, no ritual. Just write.

Where do you see yourself, careerwise, in 5 years time?

Close to retirement from the day job and writing/publishing full time. This is the plan.

Name something you like to do when you’re not writing – a hobby, maybe…

Um. there is no hobby. not at the moment. I work a full time job, run a small business, and also write. What is free time!? :)

What's your website URL?

www.maddiejames.net

Are you on Facebook?

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maddie-James-Romance-Novelist/109171598571?sk=wall and https://www.facebook.com/maddiejames1

How do you connect with readers?

Most though social media -- facebook, twitter, goodreads, myspace, blogs and the like.


About Maddie:

Romance novelist Maddie James bounces between contemporary, historical, and paranormal worlds, as she pens stories within, and frequently crossing, a variety of romantic genres. With 30+ titles in print, under three pen names, she feels fortunate to spend her days working with some of the quirkiest characters around—those in her head, and in her life. She lives with her muses, who most days manifest themselves as four-legged furry creatures. She often laments that her cats have become her children, and she has become her mother. Such is life. And life, such fodder for books. Que sera, sera.

Learn more about her books at www.maddiejames.net

Upcoming Releases:

I have an upcoming series. It is called the Dead Guys Still Want It series... you can find out more about it here... http://www.maddiejames.net/p/paranormal.html

I also have books 4 and 5 of the Legend of Blackbeard's Chalice time travel series coming up in the next few months. More about that here: http://www.maddiejames.net/p/time-travel.html

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Monday, November 07, 2011

KICK START MONDAY: The End



Hello world,

How good it feels to write "The End" on a manuscript! That's what I did last week after 320 pages, and it was awesome. The manuscript is now in the capable hands of my indispensable crit partner who will surely give me some very cool suggestions for improvement, but I'm definitely seeing the end of the tunnel on this one.

So much so that I'm now turning a fresh page and plotting a new short story. I need to write a short story after being done with a 90k manuscript. It will give me a break from heavy plotting while still keeping me in the game. The story has not come to me fully yet, but I keep getting images that snap like slow revelations in my brain. I think that if I don't force things, the answer will knock on my door soon. In the next couple of days, I hope! Besides, I also got some nifty ideas for a story I had started and shelved some time ago.

Finishing a novel is always a bittersweet experience for me. First, there is the feeling of accomplishment. Then come the doubts - does the plot hold water? Is the GMC (goal-motivation-conflict) of the characters tight enough? Did I tie up all the loose ends? Are there any glaring plot and personality holes? Could I have come up with more twists? But at the end, after rereading the whole thing, I always feel that special bond with the story that carried me through while I was writing it. And I'm happy.

So, it can be a little weird to let go of those characters and get to know some new ones. It's like abandoning an old lifestyle or starting a new life. However, it's always an exciting experience, one I enjoy thoroughly. It helps me remember why I write. Because there is so much truth in Truman Capote's words, "To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music the words make." The stories come and go, they have a beginning and an end, but the magic that poured them on paper is infinite. Such a rush!

Wish me luck this week, then, while I iron out this new tale. One think I know, though, is that I'm going to have fun!

And don't forget to check this Wednesday's interview with author, Maddie James.

Until next time, live well and love deeply!


~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY: An Eternity of Roses, Snippet #6


Hello world,

Welcome to my sixth Six Sentence Sunday snippet from my WIP, An Eternity of Roses. A lucky excerpt, you think? :-D

In the first few weeks I introduced you to the legend of the Valthreans. Then, I gave a small insight into my French villainess, Lady Madeleine de Brandeville.

Today, it's a time for love. After the headiness of the Bournemouthe Annual Christmas Ball, Emmaline and Adrian are taking some private time together before their wedding. Things have been so hectic and surreal that they'd barely had the opportunity to see each other lately. Emmaline rides to their rendezvous point and observes her man from a short distance away.

For a while [Emmaline] stood there, drinking in the sight of [Adrian]. His thick black overcoat stretched over broad shoulders and a powerful back, its folds slipping to the grass to reveal muscular, buckskin-clad thighs and polished Hessians. A light breeze stroked the tips of his hair, making the gold tones flicker, the same breeze that nipped at her face while she studied his profile. He looked so serene. This was a place where responsibilities, fears and reservations did not exist--it was exactly where she had first set eyes on him, where she had finally found home.

“Come sit with me,” he called to her without looking back.

To catch some amazing snippets from the SSS posse please click here.

Until next time, live well and love deeply!

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Friday, November 04, 2011

WRAP UP FRIDAY: The music in words


Hello world,

What a week! Still huddled inside the house with a flu virus. I finished one course of antibiotics but had to get on another one when my asthma aggravated, and my throat inflammation persisted. Today, I feel I'm on the mend, although I still have a cough. One startling thing the doctor told me was to get rid of all soft toys (stuffed animals). The reason is because of the little critters that breed in the fur and leave little presents (faeces) that won't go away with the wash! Yuck!!!!! He did tell me that if I wrapped them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer for a while, the problem would be solved. Of course, I'm not going to throw away my son's toys. However, I will do the freezer thing because now, every time I look at a stuffed animal I am utterly grossed out!

Notwithstanding, I was determined to make this "time off" work for me. When I couldn't sleep, I got up and wrote, sometimes all night long. I drank lots of green tea. It helped. Chugging through, I edited a 360 page book, trimmed it down to 320 pages, and wrote about 4k in new scenes. An Eternity of Roses is definitely a labour of love but when I started it I didn't do much plotting - a big mistake as this series thrives on the plot. There's the main plot that threads throughout - the life, government, society, hierarchy, battles and activities of the Valthrean immortals, and then there's the story of my hero and heroine in each book, as well as any number of sub plots.

In the next month I want to try my hand at a short story. Meanwhile, I'm going to be busy planning out the next 7 books in the series. I already have a profile for the Valthreans which I can expand on, as well as basic data on the characters of the series. However, there's still a lot more work left for me to do before I can start working on the next Valthrean novel.

Something else happened to me this week. I found the perfect song for my hero and heroine in An Eternity of Roses. Some may know that this book is about two star-crossed lovers who are separated by an evil witch's curse. The heroine has to pull through many setbacks to finally get her man.

That's why when I heard Make Me Feel Your Love (by Adele, and written by Bob Dylan), I felt shivers going down my spine!

In her soulful contralto voice, Adele sings,

When the evening shadows
And the stars appear
And there is no - one there
To dry your tears
I could hold you
For a million years
To make you feel my love

And yes, there is nothing Emmaline wants more than to hold her lost Adrian for a million years.

Then she continues...

I know you
Haven't made
Your mind up yet
But I would never
Do you wrong
I've known it
From the moment
That we met
No doubt in my mind
Where you belong

When Emmaline (who becomes Emma) sees Adrian (who has changed his name to Adam) for the first time after two centuries, he doesn't recognize her because his past is a dark blur to him. It is a heartwrenching, bittersweet moment when she is facing him, seeing his beloved face and wanting to run to him and embrace him, but knowing she cannot.

And finally Adele sings that there's...

Nothing that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends
Of the Earth for you
To make you feel my love, To make you feel my love

This is how my heroine feels. There is no stone she'd leave unturned to find her love. She has nothing left to lose.

Isn't this the perfect song for my story, then?

Here's the video of Adele live on the Dave Letterman Show, singing this beautiful song:



Do you dedicate a song to every book you write? I find it helps me keep my GMC grounded, and to dig deep into my characters.

After having so much motivation this week, my manuscript is now in the hands of my lovely crit partner, Zee Monodee, who also blogs regularly about her works in progress. Please check out her page.

And last but not least, here's some eye candy for the weekend. The darkly sensual Italian actor Gabriel Garko...(Auntie Yvonne, you'll like these :-D)






~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.