All blogs are property of authors and copying is not permitted.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Juggling Life & Writing

Juggling Life & Writing


            I’m a juggler. How about you? Do you sometimes feel you’ve got too many balls in the air and you’re about to lose them all?

Lately, my juggling has gotten out of control and the balls are falling all over my head. I’ve got too much going on and I’m having a hard time focusing. Here are all the balls I’m trying to keep airborne:

 Last fall, my critique group decided we’d each write an original short marriage-of-convenience story and put all five of them into a boxed set. Our stories are done, but due to setbacks, mostly the bad weather keeping us from meeting, the set, called The Marriage Coin, isn’t out yet. Someone is doing our formatting, but the uploading to the various retail sites falls to me as I’m the only one of the group who has published indie books. We’re pushing to release the book by the end of April.

I’m participating in another boxed set, this one with a total of seven authors. The grouping includes eight full-length romance novels. The authors are all bestselling and several are USA Today and NYT authors. Our collection, called Kick-Ass Heroines and Hot Heroes, is on sale at Amazon for a special introductory price of 99 cents. So get it at that price while you can. The link and cover are below. Each of us authors has taken responsibility for different phases of promotion. I love the books and am honored I was asked to participate. But, of course, that’s another ball in the air.

 

Continuing the boxed set trend, I’m also planning an anthology with two author friends. We’re putting together a total of three books, all set in the summer. We’re calling it Sizzling Summer. Although we’ve hired a cover artist and formatter, there was still work involved in getting our stories ready. And I will upload to the retail sites. I’m not complaining because I’ve uploaded so many of my own books that it’s not a problem. I’m excited about this set too. The other two authors are amazing writers. But, more balls in the air. This book should be published before the end of May. Cover below.



Then, there are the two books I’m trying to write through all this. I’ve finished the first draft of Book 3 in the Redemption series. I have to flesh out that story. Also, I’m expanding a very steamy short story into a novella for a publisher that has expressed interest.

On a personal note, I’m planning a trip to Las Vegas for my husband and me to visit our son and see his new house. Along with the usual household chores, I’m writing, getting together stories for the boxed sets, uploading said boxed sets, plus checking airlines, hotels, and rental cars. It’s enough to drive me to drink…more.

So, you see all my balls flying through the air and why I’m going just a little bit crazy. However, I recognize these are good things, and I’m not trying to make light of those with bigger problems. I’m busy, but I’m grateful for all I have. I’d just like to learn to relax.


How do you handle life when you’ve got too much going on? Any and all advice is appreciated. 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Interview of Author Sabrina York

Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author Sabrina York.

Latest Book: Making Over Maris
Buy Link: Amazon

BIO:
Sabrina York is an award winning author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers, her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to BDSM to erotic horror. Visit her webpage at http://www.sabrinayork.com/ to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Don’t forget to enter to http://sabrinayork.com/sabrinas-contest-and-newsletter/

Q: How did you celebrate publishing your first book?
A: My friend Anna Alexander and I had the great fortune of having our virgin releases on the same day. April 4, 2012. I would have stayed home and celebrated with a jar of peanut butter and a spoon, but she has a life… so she dragged me out to a local bar. We ogled a very cute waiter and enjoyed a lovely dinner and, because she does stuff like this, we posted pictures of our food on twitter. I am so very glad I didn’t stay home and make love to my peanut butter spoon, because now I have a wonderful memory of my virgin release, shared with a wonderful friend!

Q: What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
A: When I started writing, my business plan called for expanding my backlist. My goal was to put out a title a month…if I could do it well. I now have 22 titles out, or coming soon and so now my focus needs to shift. Now I need to work on expanding my platform and reaching new readers. I am delighted that the people who read my books love them, based on the reviews. I just need to work on reaching more of them. To that end, I blog, hold contests, offer a free copy of my teaser book to anyone who wants it and ask people to share my work with their friends.

My philosophy of life is that it is all about the relationships. Success is nice, but it’s nothing if you’re in it all alone. I am enjoying the ride in that respect. I have met some of the most amazing woman (and men!) on this journey. And I am thankful for it.

Q: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: I’ve never been good at hiding things. To some extent, there are huge chunks of me in all my characters. I fold in other personality traits, as needed by the story, but I see myself there all the time.

So if my characters curse or fart (or eat bacon), you can be pretty sure that was me.

Q: Do you eat comfort food/listen to music when writing?
A: No. For me writing is a pretty Spartan undertaking because I need to focus. I drink water, and coffee and will stop if I get too hungry too focus…but I do not eat while I am writing because I will look down and find an empty plate. Nothing is more depressing than realizing you ate a pastry and missed all the fun.

Q: How do you choose names for your characters?
A: Usually, they choose their own. I will have a feeling for the story, or know some of the critical points and I will be thinking about it, composting in my head, and all of a sudden she has a name or he has a quirk. It is very organic that way.

When I was planning my Tryst Island Series I had a mini-panic attack because there are 10 books in the series, which meant I had to come up with 20+ names. I spent a week or so thinking up jobs and personality traits and story ideas, jotting them all in a little notebook. Then I decided to “steal” my friend’s names and mishmash them until I liked the way they fit. For example, Holt Lamm comes from my buddies Desiree Holt and Gina Lamm. As a side note, I don’t like using friend’s first names—at least not in my composition phase. Because I write about sex. It’s weird.

A little known fact about my books is that almost every title has changed from the first draft. And with that title change, sometimes the character names have changed as well. In my first draft of Tristan’s Temptation, the oldest Trillo brother was actually named Kyle. Doesn’t have the same ring, does it? It took me months to remember not to mention Kyle in the promo.

Now, of course, I need to write Kyle’s story. ;)

Q: Give one advice tip to an aspiring author.
A: Be willing to accept criticism from other authors…but be careful from whom you request it. Critiques are difficult enough to take when you are certain your partner knows their stiff. It can be devastating if the advice is wrong. You can battle this by developing relationships in the industry before you publish, and get guidance from several people—not just one. Then you can balance the answers with what really works for you.

Q: If you could give a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?
A: Sweet baby! It is possible. I know it seems like a pipe dream right now, something you can never achieve, but you can. And you will. And you will be awesome. Don’t give up. Never give up. Fight for your dreams. Fight.

Q: Have you ever used an incident from your real life into one of your books?
A: I do this all the time, but it is more like a mining expedition than a jewelry robbery. By that I mean I will take a core or a nugget from an experience and built a plot point around it. For example, yes, I did have a boss who ate his hair when he was nervous. He would pluck it out if his head in a staff meeting and just start chewing away. Not kidding.

Q: Out of your entire backlist, which book has the best opening line? What's the line?
A: Oh wow. This was the hardest question yet. Probably not wise to ask an author to pick a favorite book or a favorite line or a favorite word. I went back and looked at all my books, collecting the first lines that excited me the most. The ones I chose were my favorites because they were not scene descriptive, they were immediate, and they made me want to continue reading.
Here are the top five ones I found (and no, I couldn’t choose between them). I will let you decided which first line is best!
Dark Fancy (Book 2 in the Noble Passions series): James Tully, Earl of Darlington, ignored the blaze of panic in his gut as he scratched his name onto the document, sealing his doom.
Folly (Book 1 in the Noble Passions series): It was a tawdry affair, the attendees a far cry from the gentle society in which she had been raised. But her mission was tawdry as well, so it was fitting.
Tristan’s Temptation (Book 2 in the Wired series): Tristan Trillo burned. He leaned forward in his lush leather chair, hiding his hard-on behind the big mahogany desk as his assistant Shannon Weiss entered his office.
Making Over Maris (Book 3 in the Wired series): “You want me to what?” Soda spurted out of Sara Grant’s nose.
Fierce (A Decadent 1 Night Stand): “He never made you come?”

Q: How many stories are swirling around in your head? Do you keep a mental list, a computer file, or a spiral notebook filled with the ideas?
A: Yes. All of the above. Story ideas aren’t a problem for me. Time is. I keep notes on character names, titles, hooks, plot twists, quips and random ideas. I have computer files and notebooks I carry with me (I transcribe the ideas into the files when the notebooks get full).

Sometimes a story idea will come and I will have to stop what I am doing and get the core of it down. Sometimes for pages and pages. If I don’t allow the story to flow through me, I lose the idea. Forever.

If I hit a wall, I go back and read some of these notes and the muse almost always kicks into gear!

Fun Stuff:
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: I love Christmas. Probably because all the best foods of my childhood seem to be wrapped around this holiday, from the candy my mother made to the cookies we kids decorated to hang on the tree. We got to eat them if they broke. A lot of them broke. There was a lot of excitement on Christmas morning, waiting for mom and dad to wake up and then finally bounding into the room and jumping on their bed when they slept in too long. I loved everything from the stockings to the reindeer paw prints on the carpet to opening the presents.

I still love it now, but because it’s the one time of year when the whole family can get together. And I miss them.

Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A: When I was a child, they told my mother I would never learn to read. I am very dyslexic. Fortunately, my mother was stubborn, and studying child development, and taught me how to use this challenge as a tool to tap into my creative brain.

The other thing that might be surprising is that I never intended to be an erotic author. I had written many mainstream romances—contemporary and historical—but they never sold. Adam’s Obsession won a contest and the final judge was Kelli Collins of Ellora’s Cave. She bought it, and two other erotic romances I had, and that was it. I suppose someday I will re-visit the non-erotic romances I have in the bottom drawer. But for the time being, I am having fun!

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: Believe it or not, I wanted to be a writer. Probably because they told me I couldn’t. (I am difficult like that)

Q: Favorite food.
A: If you’ve read my books, you know I have to say bacon. But chocolate isn’t running far behind. Although I would never combine the two.

Q: Favorite drink.
A: I. Love. Coffee. Although I have to drink decaf. With no sugar. And no milk. And no fun.

Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: I love to snuggle in the covers, so it has to be chilly winter nights. Snuggling on hot summer days is not pleasant.

Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: Travel. England and Scotland would be at the top of the list, but wouldn’t turn up my nose at a cruise of the Mediterranean.

Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: Teleportation. How awesome would it be to visit people I love…no matter where they were?

Tell us where to find you:
Like my Facebook Fan Page
Follow me on twitter @sabrina_york
Goodreads
Pintrest
Amazon Author Page
Barnes & Noble Author page
Ellora’s Cage Author Page

BLURB: Making Over Maris Wired, Book Three

When ├╝ber-nerd Jack asks Sara to make him more attractive to women, she can’t say no—even though it’s an impossible task. He’s shaggy and doughy and hopelessly inappropriate. He has no style or emotional intelligence but he’s a good person. And a great friend. What Sara never expects? Beneath all that fur and geekiness is a steamy hunk just waiting to emerge.

Jack takes Sara’s regimen very seriously, working out and losing weight until he feels like a new man. He even complies with her command to shave his beard—because Jack didn’t ask Sara to make him over so he would be attractive to other women. He only wants to be attractive to her. They go on a series of fake dates, each hotter and more sinful than the last. It’s not long before Sara discovers Jack’s secret desire to be dominated and what began as an arrangement becomes something amazing—something that could be real.

Inside Scoop:
Our hero appreciates Femdom—with the right woman. Our hero doesn’t appreciate perfect strangers grabbing his junk. Ask nicely first, ladies!
A Romantica® BDSM erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
GET IT NOW: http://www.ellorascave.com/making-over-maris.html

EXCERPT:
“So… Have you thought about it?” Jack could have kicked himself. He hadn’t intended to burst into her office and blurt it out like that. He’d meant to be suave and slick.

He should have known better.

He’d never been suave and slick.

No. He’d hovered in the vicinity of Sara’s office—after sending Kenny on a meaningless errand—and barged through the door and pounced upon her as soon as Kat left.

“Sit, Jack.”

He plopped into the chair and, because he didn’t know what to do with his hands, laced his fingers.

Sara studied him, dissecting him in that way she had, with her head tipped to the side, wrinkling her button nose. She was so cute when she wrinkled her nose. He forced himself not to wriggle. His body didn’t listen. Something about her eyes, her lips, her scent, always stirred him.

He shouldn’t have this kind of reaction to her. In the office. Everywhere. But he couldn’t help it. He just did. Always.

When she looked at him like that, when she spoke to him in that clear, commanding voice, it was even worse.

Or better, depending on one’s perspective.

She cleared her throat. “Okay. I’ve thought about it.”

His pulse jerked. “And…?”

She dropped her attention to her blotter and meticulously rearranged several deformed paper clips. His heart pounded a painful tattoo as he waited for her response. “And…” She met his eyes—God, she was gorgeous. “If I do this, we need to have an understanding.”

Relief, or something like it, trickled through him. An understanding was awfully close to an agreement. A promise. “Okay.”

Sara sucked in a breath. “First of all, we need to agree this is an impossible task.”

“Not impossible,” he grumbled. Surely not impossible.

“Okay. Improbable then. My chances of success are…dismal.”

Dismal? Jack’s belly dropped. He fiddled with the wiry hairs on the back of his neck. He didn’t like the way this was going. It was depressing that she thought so poorly of him. “Am I that hideous?”

Her eyes widened. A flush rose on her cheeks. “Oh my God, Jack. No. I didn’t mean it that way.”

“It sounded that way.”

“Jack…” She rubbed her hands over her face. “Okay. How about this? We have a long way to go. Can we agree on that?”

“Sure.” He knew he was pouting. But he had a damn good excuse. She’d pretty much come out and said making him attractive to women—to her in particular—was a hopeless cause.

“My worry is this. I can teach you all the right things to say and coach you on how to act around women, prescribe a diet and exercise plan and even give you a makeover. But if you don’t listen to me—if you don’t follow the plan—I fail.”

“I’ll listen. I’ll follow the plan.” Hell. He’d follow her anywhere she wanted to lead. If she only knew…

Something fierce stirred in her eyes. “It’s not going to be easy, Jack. I’m gonna work you.” Why he shivered at the tone in her voice, he had no clue. Or maybe he did. “I want you to agree to honor our contract—even if you drop the ball.”

“Of course.” He always kept his promises.

“You swear?”

He put a hand over his heart. “I swear.”

She sat back. The fire in her eyes flickered and sputtered out. “Okay. So next week I’m going back East to spend some time with my mother—”

“How long will you be gone?” Damn. He hated it when she was gone.

Pain flashed across her features; her voice dropped. “She’s…not doing well.”

His heart squeezed and he wanted to say something comforting but couldn’t find any words. Sara’s mother had been in and out of the hospital for a year. They were very close. Each time her mother had a relapse, Sara suffered.

Jack had never had a mother so he couldn’t relate but he imagined having one and losing her would be even harder than never having one at all.

“In the meantime, I’ll put together a plan for you.”

“A…plan?” His mind spun. How on earth was this going to work if she wasn’t even here?

“Yes. And you have to follow it.”

“I will.”

She put her hands flat on the desk and skewered him with a glower. “Religiously, Jack.”

“Okay.” He tried to not wriggle in his seat. He loved it when she got all…adamant. “So you’ll do it?”

“Yes,” she sighed. “I’ll do it.”

Relief cascaded through him. Relief and hope. It was a tiny sprig of hope, but hope was hope. “So when do we begin?”

She gazed at him. Some strange emotion he couldn’t interpret flashed over her features. “Now.”

Oh. God. Excitement and satisfaction and panic surged through him. “Now?”

“Yes. I need to do an assessment. You know. To figure out exactly where we are.”

He swallowed. “An assessment?”

“Of your game.”

“Okay.” He liked games. He scooted to the edge of his seat.

“Let’s pretend I’m a woman—”

“You are a woman.”

She wrinkled her nose. “Be serious, Jack.”

“I am being serious.” He was.

“Let’s pretend I’m a woman you see at a bar. And you’re interested.”

Oh. He was.

“What’s the first thing you do?”

Okay. He could wrap his brain around this. He shifted to the side and pulled out his wallet. Found his trusty cheat sheet and unfolded it and spread it flat on the desk.

“What the hell is that?” She gaped at the rumpled, well-worn paper.

“It’s my flowchart.” Duh.

Sara blinked. “You have a flowchart for picking up women.” Not a question.

“Naturally.” Didn’t everyone?

“Let me see that.” Before he could stop her she snatched the paper away. Scanned it. “Oh God.”

He knew what she was seeing. He’d studied this flowchart a hundred times. Still, when she read it aloud, he winced.

“Picking Up Chicks.” She grimaced. “Seriously, Jack? That’s what you named it?”

“Yes.” What else would he name it?

“‘Step One. Assess the situation’. Okay. That works. ‘Does she seem cranky?’ Cranky? Seriously, Jack? Cranky?”

He shrugged. “It’s a critical variable.” It was. It was exceedingly difficult to pick up a cranky woman. “Statistically speaking—”

But Sara ignored him. “‘If Yes: Charm her from her bad mood. If No: Proceed with caution.’” Sara sighed and glanced up at him. “Proceed with caution? We’re not wild animals, Jack.”

“You kind of are.” This he muttered. She didn’t hear. Or maybe she did. Maybe she was ignoring him again. She did that.

With a derisive snort, she crumpled up his precious template for seduction and tossed it in the trash.

With a strangled “eep” he dove in after it, dug it out, refolded it and tucked it back into his wallet. It had never worked but it was all he had. He needed it.

She glared at him. And then for some reason she softened. “Women are not an empirical science, Jack.” She gestured to his wallet. “We’re not all alike. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to winning someone’s heart.”

Yeah. He got that. “But you need to have a standard operating procedure—”

“No, ya don’t.” She blew out a breath. He loved the way it made her bangs flutter up. “Don’t you see? This kind of thing comes off as cheesy. Planned. Practiced.”

“And that’s…bad?” How could planning and practice be bad?

“Women don’t want to feel like they’re an insect being dissected or analyzed. They don’t want to be one option in a sea of possibilities. They want to be special. They want a guy who responds to them on an instinctual level. A guy who is so interested, he can’t help but be charming. Not a guy who has to be reminded to be seductive—by an SOP.”

He shook his head. This was all so…alien. “I don’t get it.”

She buried her face in her hands. “No. You don’t. That’s the point. Oh Jack, I’m going to need a couple days to think about this.”

His pulse stuttered. “But you already promised…”

“No. I’ll do it. I did promise to do it. I just need to think about how to do it.”

He relaxed. Okay. Okay. Okay. It would be okay. “Thank you, Sara.”

“Yeah.” Her cell phone buzzed and she picked it up to check the screen. Her lips tightened and she set it back down. “No prob.”

Damn. Why did she seem so dispirited? He’d seen the tears on her cheeks when he interrupted her meeting with Kat. He’d hated her tears. Hated even more that he didn’t have any right to wipe them away.

“Sara.” He waited until she met his gaze. “Thank you.”

This meant everything to him. More than she could ever know.

“Sure, Jack. Give me a couple days to think about this.”

“Sure.”

She stared at him for a minute and then said in a very small voice, “You can go now.”

Right. He could go. But he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to go. He wanted to fold her in his arms and hold her and make whatever was making her sad disappear.

He didn’t have that right either.

And he never would.

But for the next few months, he’d have her attention.

And that would be worth a thousand trips to Paris.


Anything else you’d like to add?
Sign up for my newsletter (book information, contests and special offers) http://sabrinayork.com/sabrinas-contest-and-newsletter/
Download my free Teaser Book for 75 pages of book blurbs, excerpts and reviews. http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/
Books Coming Soon by Sabrina York:
Dark Duke (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)
Brigand (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Big News from Renee Vincent:

So much is happening in my little world...

First off, my EMERALD ISLE TRILOGY Boxed Set is STILL an Amazon #1 bestseller for Viking Romance since its release a month ago and I want to thank each and every one of you for making this possible. I love my loyal fans and their support, and I hope you know how much it means for me to land on a bestseller list. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Secondly, I've totally remodeled my romance blog, DEEP IN THE HEART ROMANCE! I know, I know....I do this all the time. Heck, I even do it at home. My husband says it's a good thing he's not blind -- as many times as I move things around, he'd be hospitalized with head injuries from tripping over re-arranged furniture all the time. But I digress...

With a fresh, new look and more advertising options, I'm getting back into promoting my fellow authors and I hope you'll stop by for a visit. Let me know what you think of it!

And lastly, I apologize for being incognito but I've been in the editing/formatting cave for several weeks with the release of book 2 and 3 of the Jamett & Joseph Series fast approaching. The whole series just got brand new covers (*squee* I made them myself!) and I'm so excited for you to read them! Here are the blurbs:

THE START OF SOMETHING GOOD
Jamett & Joseph Series, book 1

Available now:
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Smashwords | Kobo

Who knew Mr. Right lived right next door?

Jamie Sutherland, coffee shop owner and serial ruined-relationship survivor, moves into a beautiful loft apartment for a change of scenery. What she doesn’t plan on getting is an eye-full of her handsome next-door neighbor—in nothing but a towel—arguing with his significant other in the hallway.

Joseph Scarbrough's world crashes down on him one cruel morning when his childhood sweetheart rips his heart out of his chest and walks away. His humiliation isn't complete until he turns around to pick up the pieces and sees a beautiful brunette who just witnessed his Dear John moment. 

Caught in an awkward situation, the two backpedal into their separate worlds. But fate seems determined to make their worlds collide on a regular basis. Is it destiny just being clumsy when it comes to the two unlikely neighbors or is it the start of something good?



THE ROAD TO SOMETHING BETTER
Jamett & Joseph Series, book 2

Release date: April 28, 2014

The road less traveled never had so many bumps.

Jamie Sutherland never expects to connect with her sexy-as-sin neighbor, Joseph Scarbrough, especially after all the failed relationships she’s suffered. Not only does she find out he’s not quite “the player” she believed him to be, but that his heart bears scars much deeper than her own. Ready to take a chance on this unlikely match, she eagerly awaits their upcoming date and hopes that Joseph is the very companion she’s been waiting for all her life.


Time and time again, the comical sporadic encounters resume in their loft apartment complex and Joseph eventually reveals that he is the building superintendent in a very unforgettable, Lucky-in-the-Diet-Coke-commercial fashion.

While he's proficient in fixing Jamie’s clogged sink, he's not all that great at leaving his past behind. When Caroline, his yuppy ex-girlfriend, makes another surprise visit, Jamie's road to something better gets a little rocky.

Will Joseph choose the familiar woman with whom he had a history, or the loyal friend who's given him a future?


THE GIFT OF SOMETHING GRAND
Jamett & Joseph Series, book 3

Release date: May 5, 2014

When those three little words aren't enough.

Jamie Sutherland finds herself falling in love with her irresistible next-door neighbor, Joseph Scarbrough. No surprise there. But when she wakes up in his bed, she's stunned that even in her sleep, she can't resist him.

As their relationship heats up, Joseph gives Jamie a key to his apartment and he finally gives Caroline, his relentless ex-girlfriend, the boot. Jamie's excited to think he just might bethe one.

But how do you tell the man of your dreams you love him when he insists that he can't fall in love?


Author Bio:
RENEE VINCENT is a bestselling Contemporary & Historical Romance Author. From the daunting, charismatic Vikings, to the charming, brazen Alpha male heroes of modern day, you’ll be whisked away to a world filled with fast-paced adventure, unforgettable romance, and undying love.

She also writes lighthearted, fancy-free Chick Lit Romance as GRACIE LEE ROSE. For those who love to read fun, wholesome, and endearing romantic stories (with a smidgen of spunk.)

Author Links:
http://www.reneevincent.com/
http://www.pasttheprint.blogspot.com/
http://www.twitter.com/ReneeVincent
http://www.facebook.com/reneevincentauthor
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3005290.Renee_Vincent

Newsletter Sign-up:
http://www.reneevincent.com/p/contact.html


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Interview of Author Declan Sands

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Declan Sands.

Latest Book: Discordant Lights
Buy Link: http://www.declansands.com/discordantlights.html

BIO:
Declan Sands writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Declan is the award-winning author of 40+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

Q: How did you celebrate publishing your first book?
A: First, I re-read the email because I didn’t believe it. LOL Then I did my desk chair happy dance, which I reserve for only the best reviews and happy news like new contracts.

Q: What’s your writing schedule like?
A: Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
I set a daily writing goal for myself of around a thousand words. Most days I'll write more than that, some days less. I generally write 6 days a week--7 when I'm on deadline. That's pretty much it in a nutshell. There's no magic to my process, it's just sitting down and doing the work. A lot of days that's easier said than done! LOL

Q: What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
A: I spend a lot more time with my publisher hat on now. I’m indie-publishing a lot of original work, as well as books I've gotten back from publishers. Since I went out on my own I've learned so much about promoting and marketing my work and I've really enjoyed the artistic freedom being my own publisher has given me. I don't have anything at all against the traditional publishers. They brought me into the writing world and taught me a lot. And I'll continue to release books with these wonderful houses. But they're necessarily constricted by the need to deal with hundreds of authors and thousands of books. They aren't always the most flexible about new ideas. As the owner of Electric Prose Publications, I can be as creative as I want in where I place my books, how I market and package them, and how they're priced. I love the challenge and certainly can't argue with the results!

Q: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: Oh lots. All of my characters are a little bit snarky. #:0) They share my values, my weaknesses, my strengths. And physically, they’re what I’d love to be.

Q: If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
A: It has a very different, edgy/snarky tone. It’s probably a good thing I can’t change it because I think the things that make me cringe just a little bit about the book are really its strengths in the marketplace. The book isn’t for everyone. People tend to either love it or hate it. But it is what it’s supposed to be and I’ve built a whole, popular series on its foundation.

Q: Do you eat comfort food/listen to music when writing?
A: I listen to Pandora and try to match the music to the type of book I’m writing. Amazingly, because I’m a total chow hound, I don’t really eat a lot when I write. I eat breakfast and lunch at my desk but don’t really snack.

Q: How do you choose names for your characters?
A: I have a well-used baby name book. I love using the book because it gives origins of the names as well as the meanings. So, for example, if I have a hero who’s a warrior I pick a warrior-based name. My readers might never realize how I’ve matched the name to the man, but I know, and it’s part of what brings the character to life for me.

Q: Covers. Ever get one you wish you could change?
A: Oh god, yes! But not as much now that I’m pubbing a lot of my books myself. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I began to pub my own books. One of my publishers in particular has the world’s worst covers and I know it hurts my sales. Covers are just too important to settle for bad if you can help it.

Q: Give one advice tip to an aspiring author.
A: Don’t write in a certain genre just because you think it will sell. Be true to your passion and readers will respond favorably. Readers know if you don’t love what you’re writing and book acceptance will suffer for it.

Q: Out of your entire backlist, which book has the best opening line? What's the line?
A: That’s a toss-up. Here’s the first line of Oh! Hoaley Night! my 2013 Christmas novella for the Hoale Construction mystery series:
“That’s crazy talk, Ads. Visiting your family is not like being castrated with a rusty can opener.”

Then there’s the first line from Blood-Hound 4: SIZZLED:
“We need a zero-gravity chamber in your house.”
:0) I think they’re both interesting. LOL

Fun Stuff:
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: Halloween. I love the idea of supernatural magic. I’ve written a lot of Halloween-based books.

Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A: I rescue dogs and have 13 of them.

I’m an A-type personality, driven, perfectionist, competitive to a fault.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A:I have no idea. When I hit my teens I knew I wanted to write. But the only things I remember from being a kid are the bad things. I remember cracking my head open, sewing through my thumb with the sewing machine, my sister slicing my chin trying to shave me. Being chased by a bull across a field. LOL Good times!

Q: Favorite food.
A: Fried potatoes in any form.

Q: Favorite happy memory.
A: Having my babies. They looked like little, pink aliens. So cute.

Q: Favorite drink.
A: I drink a LOT of water. But when I veer from the water I drink Coke Zero or wine.

Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Chilly winter nights. I’m not big on excessive heat.

Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: Making the USA and New York Times bestseller lists.

Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: Space shifting. I could visit family across the state with just a thought. It would be awesome. I’d never be late again!

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
http://www.declansands.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Declan-Sands/356221437734698?skip_nax_wizard=true
https://twitter.com/#!/Declan_Sands
http://declansandsmm.wordpress.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Declan-Sands/e/B0083G8XCA

BLURB:
When Chaos rules, only the fiercest love survives.

Bright City is growing increasingly discordant. Something dark and treacherous is stalking Rabb and Brant, creating havoc in both of their worlds. The Vampire Council is putting pressure on Brant to become an elder, using Rabb as bait to force him to comply. All the while, Rabb battles deadly fractures in pack alliances and fights his own personal vampire skirmish.

Will the packs fight an internal war to replace Rabb? Will the vampires force Brant to choose sides? War is on the horizon, and it might not only ravage the supes in Bright City, but also devastate the human population living ignorant and helpless among them.

EXCERPT: WARNING: Adult Language
Undeath wears a fine suit, and smells like expensive cologne.

Staring across the bar at the two cold-eyed men, Rabb almost smiled at the thought as his wolf scratched for release beneath his skin.

The bigger one, who imagined he knew Rabb well, tilted his head and spread his thin lips in an ugly smile. “No response, Rabb?” Magnus Olaf was nearly eight feet tall, with light brown hair that curled slightly against the back of his thick neck. It was longer than usual at the moment, and he’d tied it in a tidy tail. With a broad, slightly crooked nose, and a mouth that seemed too small for his wide face, he often looked petulant. As usual, Magnus was clean shaven except for a neat goatee.

The Norseman had lived during the Viking age and still had a Viking’s attitude. The elder vamp was beyond intimidating. In fact, since walking into the Bright City Lights bar a moment earlier, Magnus had managed to unsettle employees and patrons alike, earning him a nearly constant rotation of stares and glares as he stood sizing Rabb up in his own place.

Rabb shrugged. “I’ve already told you I won’t try to influence Brant’s decision, nothing’s changed.”

The vamp with Magnus was actually a fairly normal six foot tall but appeared small next to the Viking. His wide mouth and full lips were overly sensual and he had a nasty habit of giving Rabb hot eyes while running his tongue over his lower lip as if tasting him from afar. The guy made Rabb’s skin crawl.

“You won’t like the consequences if you don’t cooperate, mate.” The man’s English accent was refined and snooty, like he’d gone to Oxford before Oxford was Oxford and was convinced he was better than everybody else. Brie versus Velveeta better. The snotty accent didn’t go well with the lecherous demeanor.

Stepping closer, Rabb let his wolf bleed just a tiny bit into his gaze. The European vamp sucked in a breath and color flooded his cheeks. Bile rose in Rabb’s gut when he realized the flush wasn’t from fear. A warning growl throbbed in his throat. “I’ll say it one more time. This is my place. My territory. You don’t come into my place and threaten me or mine. If you suck factories want a war with us you can have it. Anytime. Anyplace. But for now, get the fuck out of my place.”

Tension throbbed on the air as the two vampires spilled angry energy into the room. Rabb’s magic didn’t need to climb any higher, he was already a growl away from going full wolf. His fingertips ached with the claws brimming just beneath the surface of his skin and he hungered to release his fangs.

Magnus’s eyes turned silver, a sure sign he was about to vamp out. But his companion reached over and grasped Magnus’s massive forearm, silently reminding him they had witnesses.

With an obvious effort, Magnus reigned back his vamp, his eyes darkening back to gray. A moment later the energy in the air thinned and Magnus smiled, inclining his head toward Rabb. “We’ll be in touch, canine. Very soon.”

“I can’t fucking wait.” Rabb watched the two vamps glide out of the bar and then turned to look at his new security guy, Mychael Broc. Standing a mere two feet away, the big man opened his brown eyes wide and shook his head, obviously relieved their guests had gone.

Rabb couldn’t find relief to draw on at the moment. The vamps were never really gone. They slithered away briefly every once and a while. But like an alcoholic living above a bar, they always came slinking back.


Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks so much for letting me crash your blog! It was tons of fun.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Adding Flavor To Stories

Think back to the last book you read or TV show watched.

Now, name a character.

What was memorable about that character or story line?

Is there a particular book or show you keep reading/watching over and over?  Why?

I just finished reading Mary Martinez's Beckett trilogy, and I instantly connected with the main character of the third book, Quiet, because within two pages you find out she's terrified of babies.  Has no desire to hold one, nor has any desire to have any of her own.  Plus, she's a little on the klutzy side.  Why did I connect so strongly with her?

I too was terrified of having kids, and if you spend any time around me, you'll discover I trip over things, or drop whatever I try to pick up.

But I digress.





When I think of quirky characters, the cast from M*A*S*H comes to mind. Radar always knew what the Colonel was going to say. Hawkeye and his mystery martinis and schemes. Frank's electric socks and his pursuit of Hot Lips. Klinger and his itch for a Section 8 discharge. Charles Winchester the Third. 

Any story has its main characters, but often it is the secondary ones which enrich the story or backdrop. Lumier and Cogsworth from Beauty and The Beast (or even Chip). Scuttle from Little Mermaid. Fargo in Eureka.



One of my favorite shows was Gilmore Girls. Sean Gunn (above) played the town oddball, Kirk. At first I found him extremely annoying, but then would tune in just to see what hairball scheme he'd concocted.

And the show Are You Being Served? OMG! We'd tune in just to see what color hair Mrs. Slocum had!

I don't know if I've given my characters any particular quirks; I may have to add some. But the bottom line is this: Make your characters memorable, not just cookie cutter Barbie and Ken. Readers will appreciate it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Interview of Author J.L. Sheppard

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author J.L. Sheppard.

Latest Book: Burdened by Desire
Buy Link

BIO:
J.L. Sheppard was born and raised in Miami, Florida where she still lives with her husband.

As a child, her greatest aspiration was to become a writer. She read often, kept a journal and wrote countless poems. She attended Florida International University and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors in Communications. During her senior year, she interned at NBC Miami, WTVJ. Following the internship, she was hired and worked in the News Department for three years.

It wasn’t until 2011 that she set her heart and mind into writing her first completed novel, Demon King’s Desire, which was published in January of 2013.

Besides reading and writing, she enjoys traveling and spending quality time with family and friends.

Q: How did you celebrate publishing your first book?
A: To celebrate publishing my first book, my husband took me to dinner.

Q: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
A: I write whenever I can and as much as I can. I always strive to write as much as possible, but it just doesn’t happen sometimes.

Q: Of all your characters, who’s your favorite, and why?
A: Cain is my favorite character. I created him as a secondary character for my series, Elemental Sisters. He’s a demon, definitely an alpha male with a big heart. By the time I finished the third book in the series, I jumped into creating a spin-off where he’d be the lead.

Q: Do you eat comfort food/listen to music when writing?
A: I never eat comfort foods while writing. As for music, it depends on the day. Sometimes, I write better with music, so I listen. Other times, it distracts me, so I have to turn it off. I listen to all types of music, but generally when I’m writing I listen to melodic songs. Some of my favorites include: Radiohead, Oceansize, Bruno Mars, The Fray and Pink.

Q: How do you choose names for your characters?
A: I pick names I like.

Q: Give one advice tip to an aspiring author.
A: Keep writing. Never stop.


Q: If you could give a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?
A: “You can’t make people love you.”

Q: What genre would you like to try writing that you haven’t yet tried?
A: I love writing paranormal romances, but I wouldn’t mind taking a stab at writing a contemporary romance.

Q: Have you ever used an incident from your real life into one of your books?
A: I’ve never used incidents, but I have used dialogue from my personal life.

Q: How many stories are swirling around in your head? Do you keep a mental list, a computer file, or a spiral notebook filled with the ideas?
A: I generally only write one book at a time. That said, I do get ideas for other books, which I’ve learned to write down immediately otherwise I risk forgetting. I keep a list of everything: ideas for books, plots, characters, dialogue, etc. I jolt them down and save them on my computer.

Answer all these, please. Fun Stuff:
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: Christmas because it’s Christmas! LOL. I love big family gatherings, and Christmas is that special time a year where the whole family gets together.

Q:  What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A:  I'm 4 foot 11. Both my parents are Cuban.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A teacher.

Q: Favorite food.
A: Spaghetti.

Q: Favorite happy memory.
A: Graduating from college.

Q: Favorite drink.
A: Diet Coke.

Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Since I live in Miami, and it’s warm year around, I’d have to say, chilly winter nights.

Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: Have kids.

Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: I’d love to be able to teleport. I love traveling and have done quite a bit of it, but I’m not a fan of flying especially long distances. Teleporting would make traveling so much easier, not to mention stress free.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
http://www.jlsheppard.com/
http://www.facebook.com/JLSheppardAuthor
https://twitter.com/JL_Sheppard
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6894176.J_L_Sheppard
http://pinterest.com/jlsheppard5/
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CXDFEIK

BLURB: Burdened by Desire, J.L. Sheppard
Jocelyn, an Elemental, is stuck between the mortal and immortal worlds, yet not quite a part of either. Her power over the elements of the Earth won’t evolve until she meets her mate. Before then she’s an easy prey and a coveted possession for the Malums Inmortalis who wish to conquer the world.

Alpha werewolf, Landon, has been living with the knowledge his fated female, the one woman created for him, is just beyond his reach. For months he’s forsaken her, refusing to accept his mate because she can never grant him a much-needed heir for his nearly extinct pack.

Despite his decision Landon finds himself drawn to Jocelyn and when an attempt is made on her life, he realizes his destiny lies with her. Can they overcome the long-held prejudices of his kind and defeat their enemies in time to find what the future holds?

EXCERPT:
His heart-wrenching confession took Jocelyn by surprise. As his eyes continued to bore into hers, her heart skipped several beats. Was he being truthful? She wanted to believe he was. Maybe it was the way he stared at her, consuming her like nothing else mattered, like she was the center of his universe. She wanted to believe he was sorry and that she excited him. It would comfort her knowing he was as drawn to her as she was to him. But were the words he spoke true?

He pulled her a touch closer, his body rubbing close to her own, she felt every muscle on his chest and his heat, the warmth from his body soothing her. Her eyes settled on his lips and she imagined what would happened if he kissed her again? What would she do? She was supposed to be angry with him but the reason was beyond her grasp.

“Baby?”

The endearment caught her off guard, and her eyes drifted to his again. She fought to catch her breath as his gaze enveloped her. If she waited any longer, his scent would once again devour her. Was he waiting for, a response? What was she supposed to say? Did he ask a question? She couldn’t remember. All she wanted now was a kiss. Just one mind blowing, gut wrenching, searing kiss.

Share buttons