A trip that changed it all – Lena Mikado (WIP Interview)

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This week’s guest is an author with whom I have a lot in common: love for languages, translation experience, writing in our second language (English) and juggling motherhood, work and homemaking with writing. Ladies and gents, I present to you the beautiful and talented Lena Mikado.

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Hello, everyone! I’m really happy to be here – Maria, cheers to you for inviting me to your beautiful blog. My name is Lena Mikado, and I am the author of My Journey to the Ocean – my debut novel and the first one of the All Colors of the Rainbow trilogy.

Lena, thank you so much for being here. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself?  

I’ve been so many things lately, I don’t even know where to start. First of all, I am mom to two little boys (they’re 5 and 2) and a happy wife. Secondly, I am a translator – foreign languages had been my love long before I became a mom and a wife, so… not sure – maybe I should have given priority to the languages 🙂. I graduated from Voronezh State University, Russia, with the Degree in Translation, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication. Oh – yes, I am Russian. 🙂 I moved to the United States at the young age of 22, but I like to think of myself as a citizen of the world. I absolutely adore traveling – to the point that I cannot imagine my life without it – and belly-dancing 🙂.

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How did My Journey to the Ocean came to be?

One day, my very good friend, who now lives in London, told me that we all should write a book about our first summer in the United States. When I say “we all” I mean “four Russian girls who came on a J-1 program to America in the summer of 2004 and who never got back to be the same people before their plane left the tarmac in Moscow”. Back then, I just had my first kid (which totally rocked my world – and I don’t mean it as necessarily 100% positive experience) and I was working for a corporation that was consuming me with all my sweat, blood and tears as corporations tend to. So at first I laughed a little bit and politely declined. But then I thought… and thought… and thought about it… And I realized that I did have a lot to say. I wanted my sons to know my story. After all, what do we really know about our parents? And I started writing. It took me 5 years – and now my third baby is here 🙂.

There’s another thing we have in common. My little one also rocked my world in a non-positive way until I realized that going down the road she paved made me a better mom. What are you working on right now?

I started working on the second book of the series – A Year in the Sky. The novel will be about traveling all around the world, while trying to deal with jealousy, insecurity and fear of losing that bright future that you already directed for yourself in your head :). I have to share a little secret with you. The full name of my 5-year-old son is Liam Ocean and the name of my youngest – Maximillian Sky ;). 

That’s super sweet. Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

To be honest with you, I am constantly under the impression that I need to do more. I am trying to juggle my translation business with my writing career – and family life – and sometimes I feel like the ground is slipping from under my feet. My main goal in writing is to complete whatever I have started – when? Not sure about that. Perhaps, I will be able to stay more organized and deadline-oriented once the boys grow up a little.

Plotter, pantser or both?

More of a pantser 🙂. I do tie it all together when I write, but I don’t necessarily plan it ahead. I’m just constantly thinking about what I want to say throughout the day, sometimes I write thoughts that come to mind in a little notebook I carry with me. But I’m definitely – 85% of the time – surprised by what is coming out of me when I write 🙂. Like – wow, where did that come from?

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Lack of time. I wish we didn’t have to sleep 🙂.

You’re telling me. Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

Yes, I have. I typically just sit down and write anyway. And the inspiration comes back.

Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

Photo Feb 10, 12 28 28 PM

This is the view from my window. 🙂 My office is at the marina. I don’t have the Ocean view, but I love looking at the boats. There is also a birds’ nest up top in the corner of the window, and we typically communicate with them through the glass 🙂

Very interesting view! Now your view is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest. Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

I use a few websites that help me with synonyms and descriptive words – But generally I’m your Google/Word girl 🙂.

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

With a glass of nice Chardonnay. And a bath. Definitely a bath, because otherwise the kids won’t let me enjoy that glass of nice Chardonnay.

Makes sense 🙂 Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

I hired an editor, Courtney Diles– since I believe that there always must be a second pair of eyes. Working in the translation industry, I know for a fact that we cannot write a piece alone. There is always room for improvement. Plus, Courtney helped me immensely with the formatting. I have also hired a book cover artist, Fiona Jayde – and she did an amazing job. She literally read my mind. As far as everything else goes – all done by myself.

Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

I’m really very new to all this. I like Twitter a lot. I managed to connect to a lot of very interesting people there. Besides, Twitter moves so fast that it offers you plenty of opportunities for marketing. I do some Facebook, Google Plus and Goodreads, but there is still lots for me to learn.

Your blog is http://lenamikado.blogspot.com/. Do you follow a specific branding pattern with your posts or is it a free writing platform?

Totally free! I’m trying to be myself, but that’s about it.  

Is chick-lit the genre you will stick to or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

I think I’m a chick lit author for life. 🙂 I’m pretty sure I will always be writing light and funny books. This life is too full of horrible things, and I like to create a happy reality. I’m not a fan of dark stuff. J

Fun stuff now: Let’s do a rapid fire round.

  • Flavored sorbet or chocolate ice cream? Flavored sorbet!
  • Pizza or sushi? Sushi 🙂
  • Twilight or The Hunger Games? None 🙂
  • Ryan Gosling or Benedict Cumberbatch? Ryan Gosling… because I had to google Benedict Cumberbatch. I’ve seen the Sherlock Holmes show, but I didn’t know the actor’s name :).
  • Trek in the Andes or snorkeling in Tahiti? Both! As long as I don’t sit at home.
  • Ugg boots or red-soled designer stilettos? Stilettos. Definitely.

Ah, there’s the chick-lit girl 🙂 Finally, please share with us links where we can find you and your work.

Amazon Link – myBook.to/MyJourneytotheOcean

Facebook Link – https://www.facebook.com/lenamikado?ref=hl

Twitter Link – https://twitter.com/Lena_Mikado

Goodreads Link – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23698308-my-journey-to-the-ocean

Google Plus – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LenaMikado/posts

Blog – http://lenamikado.blogspot.com/

Thank you, Lena, and best of luck with your future projects!

Thank you very much, Maria, for having me here. 🙂 I wish you the best of luck as well.

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Web of Love – A Valentine’s short

Last February, I entered a short-story contest, requiring a Valentine-themed story of no more than 1,000 words. I wrote Web of Love but when I tried to submit it, I saw the contest was for US citizens only. Bummer. I then published it on Writersky, a platform similar to Wattpad, and for months it was the most-viewed story there. As a way to wish to all of you “Happy Valentine’s Day”, I’m publishing a new, retouched version of Web of Love. Three PoVs, a spider and a sprinkling of magic in a little over 1,000 words. I hope you enjoy it.

Rating: PG-13

Gothic hear

Web of Love

Lorelai strode to the door and yanked it open, ready to pounce on whoever dared mess with her blissed-out state of mind.

No one was there. She looked down. The fine hairs on her nape stood on end.

“No, no, no. Please don’t let that be from Hank.”

Smart, sexy, gorgeous Hank who, last night, after worshipping every inch of her body and turning her into a puddle of goo, had said he loved her.

Not that she hadn’t beaten him there. She’d known she was in love for quite some time, and she was ecstatic he felt the same way, but by now, he should have known that Lorelai Pierce, the best-selling dark fantasy author, and heart-shaped, red velvet boxes did not mesh well.

Please, don’t let him be like my ex! The guy whose sole goal in life was to “girl her up”. They’d broken up two years ago, but still, every Valentine’s Day, he’d send her…

Wait. What’s the day today? Of course. The cheesy gift might not have come from Hank after all. With her heart kicking her ribs like a wild stag, she picked the box up and tugged at its too pink ribbon, bracing herself for a flower scent overload.

Her shriek put even Tabitha, her demon-hunted heroine, to shame.

***

“Didn’t you have a pet spider here?” asked the old lady in a distinct Italian accent.

Mike stabbed the Styrofoam block with his shears. “Yeah, she’s … gone.”

Gone, as in hand delivered to Rory, disguised as a Valentine’s gift. Way to go, Mike! Really mature to freak Rory out by sending her his gargantuan tarantula in a heart-shaped box. Maybe his impulsive act of vengeance had temporarily soothed his boiling anger, but now his heart was clenched as tight as the twenty-piece pink roses bouquet he’d just bound with … black ribbon? He rolled his eyes. With a flick of his wrist, his shears snapped the ribbon, and the roses spilled on the counter. He looked at them feeling helpless.

The biggest money-making day of the year, and he felt like storming out of his own shop. But how could he feel any different when Rory–his sweet, loving Lorelai–was cheating on him? How was he supposed to keep his wits together when he had gone to her house to see her laughing in the arms of a tall, muscular man? The man who had visited his flower shop earlier, looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift for “the love of his life”. Rory’s giggles and her “Oh, Hank, stop” cries had carried through her living room window. And all this time, he was standing like an idiot outside, holding the perfect purple hydrangea and lavender rose bouquet, its color blending into his chilled hands.

The bouquet ended up in a trashcan, but he’d made sure she got her Valentine’s gift all right. With her insect phobia, he bet that by now the entire neighborhood had a pretty good idea what it was.

A customer entered, and he looked up, locking eyes with … Rory! Cheeks pink from the cold, a dazzling smile stretching her full lips, that girl was the farthest thing from freaked out; she was a Valentine’s Kodak moment!

“Mikey!” She skirted the counter and threw herself at him. “Oh my God, Mikey!” Pulling back, she placed her hand in front of her face, making him take a step back. “The answer is yes!”

“What?” He held her hand away to take a better look. She was wearing a diamond ring. His diamond ring. The one he’d meticulously removed from his perfect bouquet. The one he’d made sure not to include in the heart-shaped box he’d delivered the spider in.

Rory was ready to burst at her seams with excitement. “When you didn’t show up and never answered my calls, I thought maybe you’d somehow seen me with Henry and came to the wrong conclusion.”

The nerve. “You with Hank,” he said through gritted teeth.

Rory bobbed her head. “Yes. Hank, as in my brother Henry Johnston, Lieutenant Commander of the U.S. Navy. The one you’ve never met? The fleet is back from South Korea and he popped over before he went to see his girl.” She threw a hand over her head. “Ooh, he’s a goner! I’ve never seen him so in love. I think very soon yet another Lorelai will join the family.” Her plump lower lip curled. “I wish you’d come over to meet him, though. Only Hank and you can make me laugh so hard.”

“Oh,” was all Mike said.

Jesus almighty, that guy was her brother? How could he have been so stupid … acted so impulsively? Now he’d ruined… But wait a second, Rory was beaming at him and wearing his ring. He ran his hand over his heart and didn’t feel the ring in his breast pocket. How on earth…?

And now she was crying. “Mikey, I love you.” She took a look at the ring and threw her arms around his neck.

Mike held her soft body against his and inhaled her lemony scent. He had no idea how disaster had been averted, but he wasn’t spoiling anything for them. Ever again.

“I love you too, baby. So, so much! Happy Valentine’s Day!”

 ***

Hank’s mind drew a blank at the image before him. Lorelai looked ecstatic. No problem there. That was the reaction he was going for when he’d planned his surprise. What was totally out of place was that instead of his beautiful flower arrangement, she was holding a crawly, hairy beast! And instead of screaming bloody murder, her face was a picture of bliss.

“How did you know?” She beamed a huge smile at him. “I mean, I don’t remember mentioning it, but I had a pet tarantula in my teens. I had even named her. Tabitha. That’s who I named my series’ heroine after. When I lost her, I cried for days. This one,” she gazed at the spider adoringly, “looks exactly like her.” She placed the insect—whose size alone should qualify it for an animal designation—in a large glass container. Swirling around in a manner too girly for Lorelai, she looked at him with bright, sparkly eyes.

“When I saw the red box with the pink ribbon, it looked like a sappy Valentine’s gift, and I thought no, not him, too.” She went up to him and curled her arms around his neck. “But you do get me. Like no one ever did. I love you, Henry Johnston.”

Hank decided to let the mystery of how his beautiful bouquet turned into a hairy monster go for now, and he held her close. She was the most fascinating woman he’d ever met. Independent, mysterious, unconventional. But also so refreshingly genuine.

“Looks like I still have a lot to learn.” He pulled back and gazed into her dark, moist eyes. “But I promise you this. When I’m done learning, you won’t know where I start and you finish,” he said and took her mouth in a searing kiss.

 ***

“I’d better pay for this and let you two lovebirds enjoy your day.” The old lady placed a small gardenia pot on the counter. Mike reluctantly removed his mouth from Rory’s and turned to her.

“It’s on the house. Best day of my life!”

“Why, thank you, young man. That’s so generous. Here’s the address I want this delivered to.” She slipped a piece of paper across the counter to him.

“Right. You haven’t signed it though. Who shall I say it’s from?”

“Just jot down my first name. Everyone knows me by that.”

Mike raised his brows. “Which is…?”

Her smile was surprisingly youthful.

“Valentina.”

Daniel Dombrowski: Setting up a Sci-Fi anthology and more (WIP Interview)

Dan (1)Daniel J. Dombrowski is an author, editor, and indie publisher. He recently founded 33rd Street Digital Press, an independent publishing company, and he has been working for the last several months on Nonlocal Science Fiction, a quarterly anthology that features short stories and serials from new and established authors from around the world.

Dan, thank you so much for being here. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself? 

Hi, Maria! Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. I never know where to start when people ask me about myself.  I’ve been on a bit of a crooked path for several years. I went to school for anthropology – archaeology, really. I graduated with a Master’s from Penn State in 2009. I think I thought I could be Indiana Jones or something overly romanticized like that. The reality is that archaeology is a lot of digging holes in the hot sun and finding nothing. It’s pretty miserable a lot of the time.

I moved to Pittsburgh shortly after I graduated and married my high school sweetheart. I worked anywhere that would take me for the next four years as my wife finished her doctorate and two years of residency.

We recently moved back to our hometown, Erie, Pa., and I’ve been able to work primarily on my own projects while my wonderful wife keeps things a bit more legitimate on the faculty at a school of pharmacy. I edit on a freelance basis for a self-publisher (about 500 pages per month), and for the last six months or so, I’ve devoted a lot of time and energy towards starting up my publishing company and launching Nonlocal.

WebsiteMasthead condensed

What are you working on right now?

The first issue of Nonlocal is mostly in the bag. I’ve received dozens of submissions since first putting out the call back in October, and I have what I think is a pretty stellar lineup of nine stories from authors spread around the globe + one of my own.

My main focus at the moment is a Kickstarter to help launch the first issue in style. I have some big plans for the publishing company and Nonlocal, but it’s a one-man enterprise aside from the authors. I’ve boot-strapped everything to this point, and I’m ecstatic about the results.  I want to see it come to life in a big way, and a successful Kickstarter will make that possible.

Let’s all pitch in then! Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

I’m thrilled at how quickly the first issue of Nonlocal has come together. I first put out a call for submissions in October, and I got 50+ submissions before the end of the year. It’s a bit nerve-wracking to wait for submissions. Will there be enough? Will any of them be any good? I think I’ve been more than a little lucky.

As far as a word or page count, it depends on the project. When I’m editing for the self-publisher, I try to do a minimum of 50 pages per day, which depending on the project is either a few hours or a sun-up to sun-down proposition.

I try to read and get a response out for submissions to Nonlocal inside a week, though I have been falling short on that a lot lately.

Editing accepted stories is very individualized. Sometimes they only require a light polishing. Other times I’ve taken stories from rookie authors that I really believed in and have given advice for some pretty substantial rewrites. That part is fun for me. I love helping out new writers and transforming a rough piece into a real gem..

As far as writing, copy for the website/blog is usually 2000-3000 words per week. On the odd day when I find time to work on my own fiction projects, I shoot for 3000 words if I can go the whole day on it, though that rarely happens.

Plotter, pantser or both?

I definitely aspire to be a plotter. I have all sorts of fancy calendars and spreadsheets and to-do lists, but I have so many plates spinning at once that I’m frequently forced to be a pantser, unfortunately. Maybe that will change someday soon, but I doubt it.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Second-guessing myself and trying to start editing and revising before I’m finished. I used to write with an outline, but I always found that the end product suffered and sounded very formulaic. I tend to write without a net anymore, but I often change my mind about some particular plot element or character and can’t resist going back and making the change immediately. This invariably leads to rewrites and revises of entire sections and chapters before the full story is even written.

Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

When I first started, I was pretty naïve. I expected quick success, and when my first attempts were rejected by magazines like Asimov’s and Analog, I walked away from writing for a bit. From beginning to end, that first period of writing, submitting, and getting a dozen or so rejections probably lasted about 18 months.

I got back into writing by exploring some other paths. As I’ve already said, I started editing for a self-publisher, which has been a huge blessing. You learn a lot by reading and recognizing mistakes by others. It’s hard to get better if all you ever do is read polished novels by professionals and your own stuff all the time.

I also worked on a couple magazine projects. One was a great regional human interest mag called Rustbelt Almanac. We profiled hip small business owners who were helping to breathe economic life back into cities like Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh which have all had to transform and move away from their manufacturing roots. Rustbelt, even though it never quite caught on, was a really high-quality publication, and it got me back into writing in a big way. I didn’t have stories of my own that I wanted to tell at that point, but I was able to help tell the stories of others. It was a lot of fun.

Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

Here’s my current workspace:

WorkSpace

My desk is actually a shelf from under an old IKEA coffee table with four modular legs attached. I love having a big work surface, and the lack of drawers and shelves and all of that eliminates a lot of distractions.

I have a dual-monitor setup for my desktop, which I find indispensible with all of the different projects I have going. You can probably see a microphone and a small mixing board. I’ve been dabbling with home recording, and I hope to have the first episode of a podcast out soon with general talk about indie publishing and interviews with authors from the magazine.

On the walls, I have a bunch of different things, some useful and some more inspirational. Hanging on the wall to the left is a replica of the Declaration of Independence – a relic from my archaeologist/historian days, though still appropriate décor for an indie author/publisher. Over the desk, I have a picture of a young Isaac Asimov, my personal sci-fi author hero, a list of the 20 traits of a successful Guerrilla marketer, the masthead for Nonloccal, and a little sign that I made with the Latin phrase “Creatio ex nihilo” which means “Create something from nothing.”

I love your detailed description. Now this image is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest.Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

My websites are all built on WordPress, and I do layouts on a publishing platform called Serif PagePlus. I keep track of blogs with Feedly, and I use the free version of Hootsuite for my social media post scheduling. As far as writing/editing references, I stick mainly to hard copies. I pull out The Elements of Style and The Chicago Manual pretty frequently, as everyone should.

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I haven’t thought that far ahead yet. Probably with a nap. Maybe with a shot of bourbon. Perhaps both.

Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

I connected with an awesome cover design company called Bioblossom Creative recently. They designed the cover for the first issue of Nonlocal on spec so that I could do a cover reveal during the Kickstarter.

CoverReveal

Other than that, though, it’s just me and the authors. I’m handling all of the publishing and the bulk of the marketing, including coordinating some collaborative marketing efforts with the authors.
Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

Be genuine and never stop trying new things. If you’re an indie author and you feel like you aren’t making much progress, it can be easy to just start phoning it in with nothing but scheduled “Buy my book!” posts on social media. But the second you stop actively engaging with your audience, no matter how big or small it is, you’ll lose all momentum and probably lose a lot of that audience that you’ve worked so hard to build.

When I have a day when I feel like everything I’m doing is pointless and isn’t getting results, I try something new. I find a new social sharing tool. I seek out a new group on Facebook that shares a common interest. I come up with some new way to connect with people on Twitter or somewhere else.

There’s no big magical secret that I’m aware of (other than maybe having a million-dollar marketing budget). It all comes down to who has the motivation to keep at it and keep trying new things until something works.

Is science fiction the genre you will stick to or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

As far as my personal writings, I don’t have much of a desire to expand out of science fiction. That could always change, but I doubt it.

As for publishing, I’m starting in sci-fi because it’s a home base for me. I know good science fiction when I read it, and I don’t have to second-guess myself when I read submissions. That said, if the Nonlocal model is successful (and I haven’t even talked about the profit-sharing side of things, check the website for info on that), I’d like to expand into other genres. Whether I’ll be able to do that on my own or if I’ll need to find other editors remains to be seen.

Finally, please share with us links where we can find you and your work.

33rd Street Digital Press website: http://thirtythirdstreet.com

Nonlocal Science Fiction website: http://nonlocalscifi.com

Kickstarter: http://kck.st/1KORMlN

Twitter: https://twitter.com/33rdStreetPress

is Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/33rdStreetPress

Dear readers, I’m sure you appreciate Dan’s effort with Nonlocal. Please consider helping his Kickstarter project. Thank you, Dan, and best of luck.

Thanks so much for having me!

Advertise with Amazon: a Step-by-step Tutorial

Advertise on Amazon for Dummies. Everything you want to know in one post.

Nicholas C. Rossis

I was reading Chris McMullen’s excellent (as usual) post on Amazon’s new advertising service, and thought I’d give it a go. My monthly advertising budget is $100, but I hadn’t spent anything in January. So, I had this month’s and the previous one’s budget at my disposal – which allowed me to place two ads. For my first one, I chose the Pearseus bundle. This was done for two reasons: one, it offers great value for money. Second, its higher cost of $3.49 will hopefully allow me to cover the ad’s cost.

The second ad was for Runaway Smile. This allowed me to test two very different ways of targeting my audience, as you will see below.

Oh, and I took lots of screenshots, so as to share with you the process. That way, should any of you decide to advertise with Amazon, you’ll know how to do it. And…

View original post 799 more words

Meet your characters over a glass of wine: Savannah Morgan – WIP Interview

Savannah Morgan, an author of ACR stories, immersed in danger and suspense is today’s guest. If you don’t know what an ACR is, Savannah has a neat explanation for you.

Hello, I’m Savannah Morgan, author of the Sapphire Springs series. The series is labeled as erotic romance, and it is definitely for the 18 and over crowd as nothing is left out, but I dislike that genre label for my books. Don’t get me wrong, I read erotica and erotic romances but they tend to fall short on story adaption and character development and getting the couple to have sex as often and sometimes in as many places as possible seems to be the driving force. A friend of mine told me about a little known genre called Adult Contemporary Romance, or ACR. ACR books are more driven by the characters development and growth and the plot drives the story not the sex, even though there are some very steamy love scenes with no holds barred action and language.

As for Sapphire Springs, it’s a fictional town set in Montana, USA where nothing is as it seems. Lies, secrets and betrayals can be found at every turn, but among those you will find passion, lust, and deep abiding love. The books of Sapphire Springs revolve around the lives and friends of the founding family, the Blackthorns. It is a complicated bloodline but I do my best to unravel those complications and provide a family tree at the beginning of every book to help you keep everyone straight. My goal as a writer is to bring you entertainment. My goal in writing Sapphire Springs is to bring you lifelong friends.

Sapphire Springs Secrets_Master Cover_Long Hair_No  Background

Savannah, thanks for the distinction. In an ever-evolving market, it’s good to be familiar with the terminology. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself?

Thank you for having me, Maria. This is quite an honor.  This is probably my most dreaded question of any interview, simply because I lead a relatively quiet and boring life. Lol

I’m a wife of 26 years, this month, to a wonderfully supportive man. We don’t have children, but we do have our two adopted/rescued dogs; Madison – full blood Black Labrador Retriever, who will be 15 this July and Caleb – 1/2 Black Lab, 1/2 Australian Dingo, who will be ten this year. Madison came to us after having been severely abused and has turned out to be the best protector I could ever have. She has literally saved my life 3 times. Caleb came to us as a Katrina puppy. He was a product of his parents being left behind when their owners evacuated the coast of Mississippi before Hurricane Katrina hit.

The stories of my dogs, is important in that two causes most dear to my heart is rescuing abused and abandoned pets and responsible pet ownership. An animal doesn’t ask a thing from humans other than to be loved and taken care of, in return they give us so much; companionship, humor, unconditional love, non-judgment of our choices good or bad, and in many cases, me especially, our lives.  I would like to see more stringent laws that would protect animals and punish those abusing them more accordingly. I’ll stop there, before I get up on the soapbox.

I do not have a college degree but I have college courses behind me. I have been in the process of getting my degree for the last 20 years, but due to family needs I’ve had to stop at times to find employment. Something I’m sure many of your followers and my readers can understand. My motto is: It’s only too late when you’re dead. So never, ever give up on your dreams, big or small.

As for hobbies, I like to read and write, but I guess those aren’t much of a surprise. I also love music and movies, but mostly I like creating. I design and make dreamcatchers, I crochet, I love being creative in the kitchen, and I’m also an amateur graphic designer. I even do my own cover art, promotional banners and photo teasers. Having, listed all of those indoor activities it might interest people to know that I’m also an amateur photographer and love landscape photography. I even love going out for a few days and camping out with just the husband and the dogs.

As for quirks I imagine I have many but I suppose, if I’m going to be honest, I’m a bit of a control freak when I have something specific in my head. Since it’s sometimes a little difficult for me to explain a design or an idea that’s in my head I tend to take on too much and control the situation until I have it exactly how I want it. Another quirk I have is I don’t like a lot of noise, chatter or banging noises, but when I listen to music, usually head-banging rock and roll, I turn the volume up to dangerous levels. That’s a bit quirky isn’t it? LOL

And you call that a boring life?! Exercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.

Irresistible

Sapphire Springs Book 3

Amara Davis is running for her life, powerless to prove her innocence or her sanity. For nearly two years she has led a quiet life in a small Oregon town. The signs are telling her there is change coming, but which path will take her to freedom?

Duncan McKinnon has just been promoted to US Marshal, but he buried a brother and arrested his own mother for that gold star. Now he is on mandatory administrative leave while he awaits the trials he is the star witness in. Warned to stay away from active cases, Duncan heads home to Oregon wanting nothing more than a cold beer and to sleep in his own bed, but thoughts of the fugitive Amara Davis plague him. There is just something about the woman Duncan can’t shake.

Will Duncan find Amara first and make the arrest, or will he destroy his promising career with the US Marshal Service by protecting a fugitive?

Can Amara trust the signs she’s been seeing at nearly every turn and are those signs really pointing at the handsome US Marshal? Can she make Duncan see the truth, or will he betray her for his badge?

Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

Actually, I don’t really have a writing method down. Since I’m a stay at home wife I tend to write when the characters talk to me. That could be at 6:00 AM, Noon, in the evening or waking me up at 3 in the morning. I write when it’s there, so I don’t really have a word count that I strive to hit every day.

Plotter, pantser or both?

I would have to say I’m both. Since I have a huge cast of Characters in both series I am writing, Sapphire Springs and the upcoming first release of Deadly Flowers, I have to be a plotter. I utilize a massive multiply worksheet spreadsheet in Excel to keep everyone straight. Now let me explain the character development process first. My characters come to me fully formed with a story to tell. There is like this room in my head that has two chairs, a small table and a fireplace, and depending on my mood the character and I visit over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine as they tell me all about them. From that point the beginning and the ending come to me….usually days, sometimes weeks apart. Once I start writing though I become a pantser. I sit down and my keyboard and type out the plotted beginning and then once that is down I write as the story unfolds in my mind. The amazing thing is only minor details change in the ending from the time it comes to me and the time it is actually written, months later.

That’s a really interesting process! What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Starting it. Once I make up my mind and actually sit down and write it, so far, seems to flow seamlessly. But the actual sitting down and doing it is my greatest issue. When I have a story bubbling in my head, dying to get out, it seems as if everything hits me at once and I don’t have time to sit down and get it down. That’s why I carry a digital recorder with me everywhere I go, and make certain those batteries are fully charged. I don’t want to miss a thing while I’m dealing with real life demands.

Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

I think every author deals with this. Truthfully, the answer to the question above is the answer to this one too. Real life demands tend to pull my focus and inspiration from writing. The only way I can motivate myself is to work through the real life issue and get it done with. At that point my mind opens up like a floodgate and the story is, thankfully, still there. I pray it is always that way.

Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

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My husband and I have transformed one of the bedrooms of our home into a joint office. Our computers are nearly side by side. LOL I don’t have anything really captivating in front of me, just a blank wall as you can see in the attached picture. It’s not good to distract me with too many things, say like sunshine, because I’ll be grabbing the camera and the dogs and going out for a walk instead of writing. LOL

I’d do the exact same thing. Now your workspace pic is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board in Pinterest. Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

Yes. I have an extensive home library filled with books on subjects such Celtic Deities, Catholic Saints, weaponry, explosives, Native American culture and beliefs, Myths and legends along with reference material such as a dictionary that has nearly every word in the English Language and its origins and when it became popular. LOL I also utilize experts, such as military members, police, and even my own husband who is a network security engineer. If it or they have knowledge I need I will seek it out as quickly as possible.

Oh my, you’re fully equipped! How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

The funny thing is, is I don’t celebrate writing “The End”. I actually have never typed those words at the end of a book. I think I might be a little superstitious. A small part of my mind tells me if I type those words I may never write another book. LOL Silly I know, but there it is. As for celebrating the completion of a book, I never really thought of that as a celebrating point. I mean, yeah, it’s done, but really it’s just beginning. You have edits, and rewrites and then formatting (which is my least favorite thing to do) cover photos to look through, a cover to create, photo blurbs to make, you know the list is almost endless. LOL I celebrate on release day. I share with my friends and have a nice glass of wine, or a cup of coffee.

Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

I’ve sort of already answered this, but in a nutshell, I do it all except editing. I let someone else edit for me.

Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

I’m still so new to all of this I’m still learning the marketing ropes, along with everything else. But I’ve fallen in with some wonderful bloggers who have been such a blessing at helping me get the word out, like you and you doing this interview on me.

Promoting Authors, Book and Reviews – Patches Brazillion

Naughty Librarians Playground – Jennifer Zamora

Not Another Damn Blog Blog – Krystal Fahl, and sometimes Jordan Marie the founder turned author comes back and helps out, as she did for my release party this past Tuesday.

Booklover – Chastity Leaphart Gregory

Booklove 4LifeBlog – Amber Smith

Paranormal Romance Trance – Tina Bell

Naughty Books and Bits – Samatha Jones

Tempting Sexy Thoughts – Julianne and Leeann

And the list goes on….LOL

Is adult contemporary romance the genre you will stick to or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

I’m so glad you asked this, because my next release is a straight contemporary suspense/thriller romance, titled ‘Dakota’s Autumn. It is actually the first book in the Deadly Flowers series. I will have another book from Sapphire Springs releasing late this summer, and then I will be releasing my very first PNR title around October, and then I hope to have the 4th title in the Sapphire Springs series out by December. As you can see I have a full year of writing ahead of me.

Fun stuff now: Let’s do a rapid fire round.

  • Flavored sorbet or chocolate ice cream? Chocolate Ice Cream, but it has to be dark chocolate. lol
  • Pizza or sushi? Haha, Pizza.
  • Twilight or The Hunger Games? Books? The Hunger Games Movies? Twilight, Oops I think I might have cheated on this one.
  • Ryan Gosling or Benedict Cumberbatch? I’m embarrassed to say I had to look them both up, LOL. Since I don’t know  either of them I can only go on looks, so it would have to be Ryan Gosling, and I think I’ve seen him a couple of movies.
  • Trek in the Andes or snorkeling in Tahiti? Ugh, do I have to choose? Both. One after the other. I’d take next day if I could get it. lol
  • Ugg boots or red-soled designer stilettos? Ugg boots, because I have this thing, hubby calls it a compulsion but I disagree, for boots, but the stilettos would be equally nice.

Finally, please share with us links where we can find you and your work.

I’m moving everything over to Amazon.com, but you can still find Dreams on BandN.com and Smashwords.

Here is where you can find me.

Website: http://www.author-savannahmorgan.com/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00GU0J4WE
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7853656.Savannah_Morgan
Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/praot6y
FB Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/nsxeq9m
Google+: http://tinyurl.com/onagba8
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorSavvyM
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/smorganauthor/
TSU: https://www.tsu.co/SavannahMorganAuthor
Are: http://tinyurl.com/pc22uxj
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdEO886VR1Sf_CdhP9QFTEg
Authorgraph: https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/AuthorSavvyM
Ello: https://ello.co/savannahmorgan

Thank you, Savannah, and best of luck with your future projects!

Thank you for having me. And good luck with all of your projects too.

Bye everybody.