Ghost in the Rain – A World of Gothic: Scotland

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Do you enjoy mystery stories set in remote locations, laced with romance that blooms alongside danger from the world beyond? Then keep on reading because the book I present today (alongside an enticing excerpt) not only includes all of the above elements, but it’s the first in a series of many similar stories that will be published monthly, featuring locations from around the world. And I’m also part of the tour! My Greek story will be published on May 26.

First stop on the tour? The Scottish Highlands.

Marie Treanor promises excitement and hair-on-end reading pleasure with Ghost in the Rain, featuring a reclusive rocker and a researcher who visits his remote residence to study valuable letters that are in his possession. Mysterious vanishings and a dead body leave Dr. Kate Yorke wondering: does Invershiel House host a man that will claim her heart or a ghost that will claim her life?

Ghost in the Rain – A World of Gothic: Scotland

by Marie Treanor
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Purchase links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/242zolj

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/26t6c5R
B&N: http://bit.ly/1qT8WZn
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1TvPiwg
i-Books: http://apple.co/1YTP2sg

Genres: Gothic, mystery, paranormal, romance

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Blurb

A haunted Highland house, battered by storms and murder…

Notorious rocker Dan Stewart isn’t anything like Dr. Kate Yorke imagined. Arriving at his remote home in the Scottish Highlands to research some valuable letters – only to discover he’s forgotten their appointment – Kate soaks up the Gothic atmosphere of Invershiel House. But it’s the owner who truly fascinates her.

Reclusive and abrupt, Dan is haunted by the deaths of his fellow band members, especially his one time lover Islay Lamont, whose shade seems to flit around the grounds in the rain. But the ghost is not the only mystery Kate encounters. Light bulbs disappear around her – and only Dan knows she’s scared of the dark. Then she trips over a dead body which inexplicably vanishes.

It becomes a race against time to find the identity of the body and the killer. And to discover if she and Danny have any kind of future together. Or even at all…

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A World of Gothic is a Gothic Mystery Romance Series of stand-alone novellas by authors from all over the world. For information on other titles, check out A World of GothicFacebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1105411939511452&fref=ts

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Excerpt

I had to acknowledge that my peace was churned up by his unexpected presence here. It wasn’t even an unpleasant feeling; in fact it felt rather…exciting. But it was disturbing.

I took off my glasses and rubbed my eyes. I suspected Dan Stewart carried such disturbance wherever he went. If I thought about it, the whole house felt different now. As if its peace had gone too; as if it had sprung to life, eager, waiting.

Mocking my own silly fantasy, I stood abruptly and paced around the room, trying to recover my lost concentration. I suspected I was just tired and would work much faster and much better after a good night’s sleep.

I paused by the window to watch the storm. Although the thunder had stopped, the wind and rain were still blasting the trees and rattling the window. Close-up, I could feel the draught through my thick sweater. On impulse, I retrieved my phone from my bag and tried to capture the raging storm on its camera. But it looked too tame on the screen, not deep or dark enough, no real movement in those black clouds still scudding and swirling across the sky. I wished I could paint. For a moment, I even wished I could be part of it, to go outside in it again. There was nothing to stop me, except common sense.

I smiled to myself and lowered the phone, just as a movement in the garden below caught my eye. Someone was out in this. Someone not remotely dressed for it either. Through the darkness and the almost opaque mist of rain, I could make out only that it seemed to be a woman wearing only some kind of floating, white, wispy garment, more like the loungewear of wealthy women of past centuries than anything anyone would wear today for any purpose. The odd garment shimmered as the figure glided across the lawn, impossibly graceful.

On impulse, I raised my phone again and snapped.

Perhaps she moved too quickly. Nothing of her showed on the screen except an indistinct blur of light against blackness. Frowning, I looked again out of the window, but the woman had gone. Vanished.

Gone back inside if she’s got any sense whatsoever.

I could tell myself that, and believe it. I just couldn’t quite silence the tiny voice in my head that whispered I might just have seen a ghost…

And then, before I could laugh myself back to sceptical normality, another figure strode into view. Two figures. A man and a large dog. The dog was trotting along at his side, sniffing the grass. Even in darkness, the man was unmistakably Dan Stewart. He seemed to be wearing the same old khaki jacket. I could see the rain running off him in rivulets. It hadn’t seemed to touch the ghostly woman…

He stopped, gazing ahead and slowly turned as if looking for something, or someone. Just for a moment, I was tempted. I even raised my phone hand. But it felt too wrong to take a picture of him without permission in his own home. He was facing the house now and without warning, he tipped back his head and caught me staring down at him.

I felt frozen in that distant gaze. Forcing myself, I gave a feeble wave and dragged my eyes free towards the black, wooded hills and the furiously scudding sky. Still, I was aware of him striding back towards the house. I even heard his voice calling to the dog which loped after him.

Restlessly, I abandoned the window. I needed to go to bed. My eyes, my mind, were all far too tired.

Ellie had been quite blasé about leaving the letters out of their locked cabinet. “Even if anyone knew about them, who’d steal them round here?” she’d said reasonably. I took her at her word and just stuffed my own notebook into my bag before picking it up and heading for the closed door, where I paused, because I could hear footsteps pounding up the stairs.

My heart drumming, I waited for them to pass before I left the room. They strode closer, along the hall, and I held my breath. He’d go past; he must go past…

The door flew open, and Dan Stewart stood there, scowling at me. Raindrops stood out on his wet hair and clothes.

No, he wasn’t pretty. But there was something devastatingly attractive about that rough, bony face and those big, grey eyes that seemed much darker than before.

“Did you take any pictures?” he asked abruptly.

About the Author

Marie Treanor lives in Scotland, in a chaotic house by the sea, together with her eccentric husband, three much too smart children and a small dog who rules them all. Most days, she avoids both housekeeping and evil day jobs by writing stories of paranormal romance and fantasy.

Marie is the award winning author of over forty sexy paranormal romances – Indie, New York and E-published.

You can find out more about Marie and her books on her website: www.MarieTreanor.com.

Subscribe to her New Release Mailing List: http://www.marietreanor.com/marie-treanor-newsletter/

Catch more latest news on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marie-Treanor-Paranormal-Romance/105866982782360.

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarieTreanor

And on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/marietreanor/

 

 

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How I wrote 28K words in two days – Guest post by Ivy Sinclair

I got you there, didn’t I? I can picture those of you who know me doing a double-take. It famously took me four years to write my first book, but I’ve been hanging out with a crowd that really really pumps out words, and their attitude towards writing has rubbed off on me.

Ivy Sinclair is the author of shifter suspense and paranormal thriller novels. She published this post of how she churned out 28K words in two days in one of the author groups I follow, and I just had to ask for it. Read through and get inspired. Duplicating her feat sounds next to impossible, but her attitude and determination have inspired me into quadrupling my daily output. Ivy, take it from here:

How I Wrote 28,000 Words in Two Days

by Ivy Sinclair

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This post isn’t intended to be a braggery kind of post, but hopefully offer up some helpful tips for any writer who wants to write faster and get a ton of words down on the page. The way I do this isn’t for the faint of heart and isn’t something I just woke up one morning and said “I’m going to be a crazy ass writing fool today.” I write fast- and this just tells you how fast and how much I can write when I’m properly motivated.

Even if you have no desire to ever try any of this kind of lunacy (much like I enjoy running well enough to do a 5K, but I have no desire to run a marathon), you might find a tip or trick here in any case.

Prior to this particular 2-day writing marathon, my personal best for 2 solid days of writing was in the 20-22K word range. I had done that several times, and I honestly thought this marathon was going to be the same. Turns out, because I needed to get to “THE END” no matter what- I needed to go longer than I anticipated. Luckily, I had set myself up to do it and out popped the necessary 6,000 more words.

Let’s dig in.

deadline

The first piece of the puzzle involved the dreaded “D” word: DEADLINE

Whether self-imposed or put on you by someone else (I’m looking at you, Amazon- stupid 10-day pre-order window deadline), having a deadline creates a sensation of what I’ll call positive anxiety. Your deadline should be publically announced somehow- tell your family or friends, tell your fans. Absolutely, write it down. Put a note in your calendar. Make sure it’s visible there in front of you all the time.

In my case, I’d written half of my novel already but had slacked off a bit. When I was 10 days away from the promised publishing date that I’d given my fans, I knew I was quickly approaching the point of no return. It was disappoint my fans or get the manuscript done. That deadline set the fire under my ass.

prepareThe second piece of the puzzle is SCHEDULE.

You have your deadline. You (hopefully) know enough about yourself and your writing process to know how long you realistically need to accomplish your goal, and you know what you have going on in the rest of your life around that time. Strategically pick days/times that work best for you to focus exclusively and wholeheartedly on your story.

That means you might have to have some tough conversations with the people around you to tell them to leave you the heck alone—of course, I’d soften that by sharing with them the importance of what you’re trying to do and how they can best support you. Get their buy-in and make them your cheerleaders. Promise them updates in-person (if you live with them) or via text or social media. Having a cheering squad is kind of fun— and also serves the purpose of keeping them out of your face.

I picked a weekend where I had no commitments on Sat/Sun, and the kids were with my husband’s ex. Quiet house. I encouraged my husband to rev up his Xbox One and have at it for the weekend. Win-win.

outlineThe third piece of the puzzle is PREPARATION.

Now, this is the point in the post where I expect to lose the pantsers, so I’ve got to say something brilliant. How about, I’ll give you some thoughts on how to make a tiny, little, minimal outlining task fun? (I promise—practically painless.)

I was scarred for life by the horrible outlining requirements for school papers back in junior high/high school. If I never have to look at main bullet + 3 required sub-bullets format again in my life, it’ll be too soon. I vehemently opposed doing any kind of plotting ahead of time with my books, and I did okay with that for a long time.

Then I started interviewing other authors earlier this year, and these were people who were seriously killing it in terms of sales and building a rabid fan base. Almost without exception, every one of them plotted their books out in advance. Some of them went far more in-depth than others, and everybody’s process seemed a bit different. That’s when I realized that I could make plotting what I wanted it to be in a way that worked for ME. Suddenly, my opposition to the idea waned.

Here’s what I do. (This is the FUN part.) I put a big whiteboard up on the wall of my office. I separated it into the 3-act story structure. (That’s a whole other post, but that has completely changed the dynamic of my writing.) Then I bought a stack of brightly colored post-it notes. On each one, I wrote one sentence describing a scene in my story. (In black sharpie, so the sentences aren’t that long.) Then I stuck the post-it up on the board where it fit in the story.

When you have that done for every scene (or chapter), you have a lovely visual diagram of your story. You can move bits around if something doesn’t make sense or add something in if you see a gap. This whole process can take me anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on the story length.

Then I open up my pre-formatted Word document and align chapter headings to my storyboard. I type in my one sentence summary for each chapter/scene. I take a break. Later, I come back and flesh out the chapter summaries a bit more- usually 200-250 words per chapter.

That’s it. That’s the extent of my outline, and I made it as painless as possible.

Now, if I’m doing a preorder, that’s what I use for my drat file upload. I know some folks will probably flip about that, but I’ve used this process over half a dozen times, and it works for me. I’ve never missed a deadline, and I don’t plan on it. I put a warning note at the top that if they’re seeing that message to contact Amazon because they got the wrong file (in case Amazon messes up the draft vs. final file for some reason.)

Now we are really for the crucial piece of the puzzle: SPRINTS.

You’ve scheduled your time and cleared your calendar. You’ve committed publically and to yourself you’re going to do this thing. You have your outline (however bony or robust it is) ready and raring to go.

It’s time to strap your butt to your chair and get the job done. I haven’t found a more effective way to do this than Pomodoro sprints. 25-minute writing sessions following by a 5-min break before starting again. After having used sprints for a couple of years, I know that I average 1250 words in a single sprint. I realize that not everyone is going to hit that, but if you know what you’re going to write (see PREPARATION above), and you keep practicing, you will get faster than you are right now.

When you know your average wordcount per sprint, you can divide that by the number of words you need to get in, and that’ll tell you how many sprints you need to do in the time you have allocated. During my massive wordcount days, I usually plan on 10K words per day. That’s 8 sprints of 1250 each.

I break it down like this: 4 sprints in the morning while I’m fresh. 2 sprints in the afternoon because that’s when my energy is low, and my attention span has a tendency to wander. 2 final sprints in the evening before I give myself the reward of having a glass of wine and watching one of my favorite TV shows or movies.

Honestly, when I do it like this I still have time to have proper sitdown meals with my husband, putter a bit on the internet, and go to the gym or run errands. Or sit my lazy butt on the couch and stare off into space. It doesn’t feel that strenuous. The thing is, you can’t let yourself get distracted so much that you don’t come back and do the work. (Very important!!)

I’d recommend changing the scenery up throughout the day too. I usually write those first 4 sprints at my local Starbucks. Then I do the afternoon/evening sprints in different places in my house. I listen to either baroque or early jazz music with headphones during my sprints (also effective for giving my husband a clue that I am busy…) and that is the only time I listen to those genres of music. That’s a productivity brain hack I read years ago to help train my brain to focus on writing. Do whatever you need to do to fight any kind of desire to be distracted.

When I had my 28,000 word weekend, I wrote 10K words on my first day and realized that if I did the same on the 2nd day, I still had too much runaway left on the story to finish it out. My whole goal was to get to the end of the story. So I did more sprints to fill-in during the afternoon and evening. I wrote “THE END” on the manuscript about 11pm that 2nd day, and I had done 15 sprints. (Some were a bit shorter because I got interrupted btw.)

My eyes were blurry. My brain was mush. But it was done.

Don’t miss the final step of the puzzle: CELEBRATE

My favorite way to celebrate completing the first draft of a manuscript is to open a bottle of champagne and have a toast with my husband. Know that if you attempt anything like this, the day after you’re done your body will probably be sore, and your brain pretty fuzzy. What tempers it is the giddy feeling of kicking ass and taking names for a job well done. 🙂

I’d recommend taking the day off work completely and being kind to yourself. Sleep in. Get a massage. Take a long walk. Go shopping. Take a nap. Veg in front of the TV. Whatever strikes your fancy but recognize that it is important to do that if you ever think you’d do it again.

So that’s it. How I wrote 28,000 words in two days and some thoughts on how you could do the same. Happy Writing!

Recommended Resources: 2K to 10K by Rachel Aaron for rapid writing, 5,000 WPH app from Chris Fox for timing sprints and tracking wordcounts

So what do you think about that, folks? Outworldly? Impossible? Doable? Whatever you think, let’s all give Ivy a round of applause because a feat it is. Bravo, Ivy!

About the Author

Ivy Sinclair is the author of the Greyelf Grizzlies bear shifter suspense series as well as the necromancer and demon paranormal thriller serial, Protect Her. She is a firm believer in true love, a happily ever after ending, and the medicinal use of chocolate to cure any ailment of the heart. Ivy’s guilty pleasures include sushi, endless Starbucks lattes, and wine. Connect with Ivy on Twitter @Author_Ivy or on Facebook.

The phenomenal Kim Linwood – Part Two

Last time I invited Kim Linwood over to talk about the spanking success of Rebel, her debut stepbrother romance (no blood-related MCs, big HEA) and her method, I ended up publishing one of the most read and widely shared posts on this blog (here is the interview if you missed it). Her second outing with Bossy in the same sub-genre was equally successful, proving that she’s here to stay. I’m super excited to have Kim back to give us the lowdown on how she repeated her feat of producing a book that topped Kindle categories and shot up the Kindle bestseller list.

Welcome back, Kim! Are you ready for another third degree? Your success is too good not to be shared. Let’s start with your writing process. Bossy was published four months after Rebel but still, having read both books, I felt you have grown as an author. What are the writing areas that you worked on more this time around?

Thank you! I feel like Bossy is a better book, but it’s really difficult to evaluate when you’re so close to the source. By the time you’ve read over the book for the millionth time, you’re convinced it’s terrible, completely unfunny and hopelessly unromantic.

This time I tried to work on character depth and story depth, without losing the humor and plain fun that I try to inject into my stories. Declan and Claire’s relationship builds more naturally in Bossy, I think, and there’s a subplot narrative beyond just “I love/hate you” that helps drive the story and their relationship forwards. Obviously, the readers will determine whether I succeeded or not, but that was at least what I was going for. 🙂

You target a commercial, trendy romance niche: the stepbrother romance. Do you adjust your story to fit a specific mold? Do you follow a specific recipe or do you go by instinct? 

This is a difficult question to answer. By writing to a niche, I suppose the answer is always going to be yes, since I keep the niche in mind while planning the book. On the other hand, it’s a type of book that I really enjoy writing, putting my personal touch to it. I think my books have a definite comedic aspect to them, and I try to make the characters bigger than life with a bunch of over the top antics, all while writing a solid romance with real emotions and a happy ending at the core of it. I think my style works pretty well for the stepbrother/bad boy tropes, so I guess the answer is yes and no. The niche guides my decisions when I plan the book, but they’re usually decisions I might’ve made anyway, so I’m not sure if those count as concessions or not.

You published Rebel in May with great results. What knowledge have you gained since in terms of marketing a book? What did you do differently this time?

To be honest, I’ll be following more or less the same plan. Rebel was #11 in the Amazon Kindle store at its best, and it’s impossible to not be very happy about that. Obviously, I was hoping for a repeat success, but while I was hopeful, it’d be crazy for me to expect it. It could be quite possible that Rebel was a fluke, or just happened to show up at the right place at the right time. It was my first novel, and with a sample size of one, it’s difficult to glean any meaningful data. So for now, I’ll keep going with what I know worked last time, and then in a month or two, I’ll look back at this launch and see if there’s anything I feel needs to change.

Do you see the stepbrother romance trend holding up? Is there another romance niche on the rise?

There are definitely fewer stepbrother novels hitting the top ranks these days, so the trend might be dying down, or there might just be a lull right now. That said, I still see authors doing well with them and I know there are more coming from authors I respect. I have a lot of fun with the trope, so I’ll probably keep at them while readers enjoy them. That said, bad boys and sassy heroines don’t really seem to go out of style, even if the specifics change. Whether they’re werewolves, bikers, stepbrothers, MMA fighters, or something else, I think they’ll be around in some form for a long time to come. Who knows, maybe I’ll even write a few with different tropes just to mix it up. 🙂

As for coming genres, I have hopes for science fiction romance. The new Star Wars movie comes out around Christmas, and authors like Ruby Lionsdrake and Mina Carter have had good luck with them. If they’re going to get to top 10 material, I don’t know, though. I think writing sci-fi would be a ton of fun, but contemporary romance does seem to be the vast majority of the bestsellers, but there was certainly periods for werewolves and vampires in the past, so maybe the fantastical will get another chance. There are many authors who are still doing really well in those categories.

I guess my answer is, I don’t know, but if it’s not stepbrothers, I think it’ll be difficult to go wrong with the bad boys in some format. 😉

I know you sent out over 300 ARCs which got you over 100 reviews on the first day of Bossy’s publication. With only one book out and a budding platform, how did you connect with such a large number of potential readers and got them to give up their email address?

Well, for Rebel, I sent out 113 ARCs, I think it was, so the first thing I did was to ask them to sign up if they wanted to do an ARC again. I do a new signup each time to keep the list fresh. I figure that’ll get rid of those who didn’t care for the previous book and probably aren’t a good match as an ARC reader anyway. Also, my mailing list had about 230 people on it at the time, so I offered all of them to sign up as ARC readers.

At the same time, I try to get to know other authors, especially ones who write in similar genres, and we’ll do newsletter exchanges, so several of my friends sent notes to their mailing lists asking for ARC signups. In addition, I used Facebook, but I do think the majority came from the newsletters and previous ARC reviewers.

Endorsement through newsletters. Awesome! I keep seeing indie authors adding a whole other book at the end of a new release (two even). You’ve also added Rebel in its entirety as a bonus novel in Bossy. Why an entire book when it’s already up on Amazon and not just the one chapter?

With the way Kindle Unlimited has changed to paying authors by the page, there’s really very little reason to not give the reader as much content as you can, with as low of a barrier as possible. If it’s as simple as flipping a page to start reading another of your books, the threshold is virtually zero, at least so long as the reader likes your writing to begin with. You still have to generate quality product, writing good stories well, or they’ll never get there. But so long as they do, it’s a win/win situation for author and reader.

That makes so much sense. So, readers, you see that writing well is just one of the talents a successful author possesses (although it’s the number one talent, and that will never change). But if sales matter to you, then you have to keep abreast of trends, pool resources with others, and keep those books coming out! (Maria, are you listening?)

Kim, thank you so much for allowing me to tap into your insights for the second time. Here’s to you coming over a third with another bestseller, equally jaw-dropping stats and more useful tips.

Thank you so much, and believe you me, I hope so too! 😉

Links used in this article:

Bossy: A Stepbrother Romance (with bonus novel Rebel)Amazon US–   Amazon UK

My review of Bossy

Rebel: A Stepbrother Romance)Amazon US– Amazon UK

My review of Rebel

Kim’s first Q&A on MM Jaye writes

Connect with Kim Linwood

Sitehttp://kimlinwood.com
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/kimlinwood
Facebook: http://facebook.com/kim.linwood

Critique Groups are for everyone – Guest Post by Jami Gray

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Today, Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance author Jami Gray gives her insight into the benefits of being part of a critique group. It makes an awesome read, especially since it draws on personal experience.

SHADOW’S EDGE, the first book in Jami Gray’s amazing KYN KRONICLES urban fantasy series is FREE for a limited time! For more details on the book and an enticing excerpt, click here.

Guest post by Jami Gray

Critique Groups Are For Everyone 

Let me just start out by saying, I’m a HUGE advocate of critique groups.  If there was one small gem I could share with any writer it would be: Go forth and become part of a critique group.

I can hear the moans and groans now.  “I’ve already tried, but…” and the list of reasons why to avoid a critique group grows by the minute.

“…it was too big”

“…the people were strange”

“…they didn’t get my writing style”

“…I don’t have time”

“…meet new people? Really?”

and so on.

Don’t leave!  Let me tell you how I finally, after three years of critique group shopping, found my home with the 7 Evil Dwarves.  I even stayed for seven years, an eternity for any critique group.

Writing has been part of who I am for…forever.  While in college I thought being the anti-social, reclusive hermit was a pre-requisite for every aspiring writer. I wouldn’t share what I wrote unless I was submitting to publishers. I know (ducking the head), if I could, I’d go back and smack myself for that alone.

Somehow as I was finishing up my first college tour, I managed to come out of my cave long enough to marry my best friend.  A few years passed, writing took a bit of a backseat as I finished an advanced tour of college, (yes, professional student did get mentioned once or twice). Writing got pushed back even further when my little family of two, went to three and eighteen months later, to four.

As you can see, insanity was bound to set in and when it finally began popping up in various forms, I knew it was time to turn back to my own self-therapy—writing.

My first problem was nerves.  I could write. That part was easy.  I could do it hiding in a closet, under a blanket with a flashlight so the little rug crawlers couldn’t find me.  I could jot a few lines in-between real work and family-raising time. Writing is a solo adventure, right? Wrong.

My very loving, and patient, hubby finally dragged me out of the house, pushed me out of the moving car and said, “Go spend some time with this Mothers’ Writing group.”  He didn’t even wait for my response, as if it could’ve been heard over the squealing tires disappearing in a cloud of dust.

I stumbled to my feet and cautiously made my way into my very first writing group.  They were great—women from various walks of life, writing in a variety of genres.  This first group became the ones who made me realize how valuable a support group (aka critique group) is to a writer.

Feeling bolder, I waved good-bye to that group and began a long journey on my search for “my” critique group.  Considering I write Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, it was a rocky road.

The first group was large, twenty people at a minimum, and every genre under the sun was represented.  It was heartbreaking to hear how someone thought my work was “too dark and depressing”, or another couldn’t understand “why anyone would believe magic existed in the real world”. I almost gave up, but do you know what I found?

The core of the 7 Evil Dwarves.  These were writers of Speculative Fiction, a term I hadn’t heard used before.  Soon, four or five of us decided a smaller group would be more productive.  Plus, wouldn’t it help if everyone knew what Spec Fic was?

Our group underwent a great many changes.  Anything important always does.  It took us almost five years to create a solid, steady group.  We had some great members stop and share their creations with us, and then move on.  And yes, we’ve had a few entertaining guests, which I’m under threat of death by zombies if I reveal, so I’ll leave it to your imagination. You’ll probably come up with more exciting scenarios anyway.

There were times I was scared to death to set my stuff before my group.  The whispers of my very loving and supportive critique group twisted through my mind when I wrote. It helped if I was a few (or more) chapters ahead of where they were critiquing, but when they were right behind me—I found myself overanalyzing every word I typed. I became hyperaware of small edit type things instead of getting the basic story out on paper.

See the Evil 7 were damn good. They caught everything. From how many times I used “ing” to how much I truly suck at math anything (do you know what a polyhedron is? I don’t.). They made great therapists. I mean, how many of your friends would take the time to discuss the nature of relationships between dragons and warlocks, or how manipulative a ghost can be with three young friends? Uh-huh, I thought so.

Then came the point in ever writer’s life, I outgrew my group. It wasn’t an easy decision. Seven years I spent with these fantastic writers, mining every bit of advice, hoarding their critiques for more. But things changed, and so did my writing, to the extent that I felt our critiques weren’t quite the chisel they’d once been. So I bid the Evil 7 adieu with many hugs, and back out I went. This time, I found writing partners, two to three individuals I could trust to give me honest feedback, because in the end, that is what writers want and need.

I’m still a firm believer in critique groups. While I struggled to build my worlds into cohesive realities, breath life into my characters, and untangle the twists and turns of my plots, I knew there was this great group who had my back. The Evil 7 might have driven me to screaming when they pointed out how much my new character channeled my previous one, or questioned the depth of trust between characters who’d been to hell and back, but you know what? Even though the holes they pointed out scared me, I was ever so grateful, because when it was all done and I clicked save for the last time, I had a story that was stronger than what I started with. That’s why I loved my critique group, even when they scared me.

Pick up SHADOW’S EDGE for FREE for a limited time and dive into the shadows of the Kyn…

Shadow’s Edge (The Kyn Kronicles, Book 1)

Author: Jami Gray

Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Purchase Links:

AMAZON / BARNES AND NOBLE / BLACK OPAL BOOKS / ARe / SMASHWORDS / iBOOKS / KOBO / SCRIBD

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SHADOW’S EDGE: BOOK 1 OF THE KYN KRONICLES

Everyone fears what hunts in the shadows—especially the monsters…

When the supernatural lurks in the shadows of the mundane, hunting monsters requires unique skills, like those of Raine McCord. A series of deaths threatens to reveal the Kyn community and forces her to partner with the sexy Gavin Durand.

As the trail leads to the foundation haunting Raine’s childhood, she and Gavin must unravel lies and betrayals to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.

Jami Gray SmallAbout the Author

Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. She can be soothed with coffee and chocolate. Surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and two female labs moonlighting as the Fur Minxes, she escapes by playing with the voices in her head.

Come stalk Jami at any of these fine locations:

Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Goodreads  /  Google+  /  Amazon

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.

Sandra Danby – On adoption dynamics and work process (WIP interview)

Sandra Danby Author - photo Simon CooperWhen Sandra Danby contacted me for an interview, my first move was to check out her site and book covers. I ended up spending about an hour that I did not have there, drawn by the power of simplicity and her strong theme. Therefore, it’s with great pleasure, I feature Sandra and her work today.

Sandra Danby’s debut novel ‘Ignoring Gravity’ is just published and she is now writing the sequel ‘Connectedness’. Both novels examine how a person’s sense of identity is affected by adoption.

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

If I could, I would write all day every day. And when not writing, I would be reading. It’s always been that way. I grew up on a small dairy farm at the bleak edge of East Yorkshire where England meets the North Sea. So I am a proud Yorkshire woman, tea drinker and tennis fan. When I am not writing, which I can do while drinking tea, I can be found reading a book or watching tennis on television.

Ignoring Gravity by Sandra DanbyExercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.  

‘Connectedness’ – the second book in the series about ‘Rose Haldane: Identity Detective’ – features controversial artist Justine Tree. She is a Marmite artist: some love her emotional honesty, others say she is attention-seeking. Disapproving critics say her work could be done by primary school children with empty cereal boxes, fingertips and potato prints. Fans say her work has an emotional freedom that 21st century society could learn from, that she has unbuttoned the British stiff upper lip. But are the emotions Justine puts into her collages real? Truth or Lies: only Justine knows how and why she manipulates the truth.  So when she confronts her past and asks journalist Rose Haldane to find her lost baby, two strong personalities clash. Rose tries to untangle truth from lies in order to find Justine’s daughter who was given up for adoption when Justine was an art student. Justine, who has never told anyone she had a baby, is desperate to find her daughter but ashamed of the truth, desperate to have her daughter’s love but terrified she will find hate.

Connectedness will be published in late 2015.

This will make an interesting read! Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

At the moment my writing has halted temporarily as I concentrate on promoting ‘Ignoring Gravity’, but I plan to return to ‘Connectedness’ in January 2015. I am a disciplined writer, which comes I think from 35+ years as a journalist. Writing is my job. I don’t have a specific daily word count and I don’t have a target word count for the book. My first draft of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ was 140,000! Through re-drafting and polishing, that finally came down to 99,000. I hadn’t targeted 99,000, I just polished the manuscript until it felt right.

Plotter, pantser or both?

Plotter, always a plotter. That’s the journalist in me again. But I have learned to plot loosely and let the story develop.

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

Easy, social media. Essential today for writers to promote their work. But it sucks the minutes out of a day.

Hear, hear. And if one is not as disciplined as you (that’s me!) then the writing time goes out the window. Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

Nope, never not wanted to write, never had writer’s block. I think my journalism training knocked that out of me years ago. When writing is your daily job, and you have a deadline and an empty page to fill, excuses don’t count.

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

Sandra Danby - where I writeThis is my desk in the attic of our house. I have no view as the loft windows are higher than my desk so all I can see is sky. I am the first in the house to know it is raining. My desk faces the wall and I have a huge whiteboard to which are stuck photos of my characters, inspirational notes and photos of locations. All my books are here, the bookcases are bulging and books are beginning to form piles on the floor. There is a sofabed as my study doubles as a bedroom for visitors, but I rarely sit on it. I did entertain ideas of sitting there, reading… but that has never happened. What else? A floor-standing fan as the room gets stifling hot in the summer, and a small electric radiator to keep me warm in winter. And my CD collection, I couldn’t do without my music. As I write this, Mozart is playing gently in the background. I always write to classical music – Mozart, Verdi, Karl Jenkins, Elgar, Holst – as I find lyrics too distracting.

Lots of wonderful light there! The concept whiteboard is a great idea! Now your workspace pic 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 have read a lot of adoption/family history, books, mostly requested from my local library or in the Reading Room at the British Library. For ‘Connectedness’ I researched art, again lots of reading but also visits to art galleries in London. My favourites are Tate Modern, Tate Britain, The Royal Academy, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. I also watch specialist television programmes. Two key TV series for me are ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ and ‘Long Lost Family’ have been enormously helpful. And the BBC has excellent arts coverage.

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

No celebration planned, the end of the first draft is the beginning of the next stage of the writing process for me. I find it useful to take a break from the work in progress though, so at the end of the first draft I will write shorter fiction, perhaps some flash fiction, and get out more. Go to art galleries and the theatre! It’s also a great time to research the next book. I am always thinking ahead.

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

I am a writer, that is what I do best. I outsourced copy editing, manuscript formatting, front cover design, book trailer production, website design and e-mail marketing.

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

Network like mad: blog, tweet, Facebook and share. Don’t bore people with constant requests to buy your book, social media is swamped by repetitive messages like that. And don’t just retweet other people’s original thoughts. Find an original way to communicate, tweet your own ideas and support other writers. There is a great network of mutually-supportive writers out there to tap into.

True words! Your blog can be found here. Do you follow a specific branding pattern with your posts or is it a free writing platform?

My writing blog has transferred in the last few weeks to a website promoting my books, but the content and purpose of my blog remains the same. I’ve been blogging on WordPress since February 2013, my new website is WordPress too. I blog about my thoughts on writing and the world of books. What other writers are saying and doing, I review books [new releases and classics] and publish some of my own short fiction. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is an occasional series offering solutions to get the creative juices started.

Is contemporary women’s fiction the genre you will stick to or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

Who knows what the future will bring. At the moment I am concentrating on the ‘Rose Haldane: Identity Detective’ series, with storylines planned for books three, four and five. Beyond that, I have ideas for two standalone novels set in Yorkshire.

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

  • Flavored sorbet or chocolate ice cream? Strawberry ice cream
  • Pizza or sushi? Sushi
  • Twilight or The Hunger Games? The Hunger Games
  • Ryan Gosling or Benedict Cumberbatch? BC of course.
  • Trek in the Andes or snorkeling in Tahiti? Trek in the Andes. I have flown over them, on the way to Santiago, Chile, and they look amazing.
  • Ugg boots or red-soled designer stilettos? Scruffy blue Converse

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

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ignoring-Gravity-Haldane-Identity-Detective-ebook/dp/B00O3D2PFI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415632368&sr=8-1&keywords=sandra+danby

Website: http://www.sandradanby.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sandradanby

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sandradanbyauthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandradan1/

Watch the book trailer for ‘Ignoring Gravity’: http://youtu.be/jpzWKR4gx8I

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

 _____________

Fate Accompli is now out on Amazon in two heat versions. The links below will take you directly to your Amazon store.

Fait Accompli - Spicy version

Fate Accompli Spicy: getBook.at/FateSpicy

Fate Accompli Clean: getBook.at/FateClean

If you’d like to read the first chapters of Fate Accompli, they’re available on Wattpad. (Almost 2,000 views in one week!)

Quanie Miller: WIP Interview

This week’s author guest is a beautiful southern girl, Quanie Miller. Hi Quanie!

Hi Everyone! My name is Quanie Miller and I’m the author of It Ain’t Easy Being Jazzyand
the southern paranormal novel, The New Mrs. Collins,now available on Amazon. You can find me blogging at quanietalkswriting.com. Thanks for stopping by!

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’m a married mother of one and love to spend my time making traditional Louisiana dishes like jambalaya and pralines. I probably watch more television than I should and think obsessively about my writing.

collins_promoBy the way this is a fantastic cover! Excellent branding! Exercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.

When Leena Williams suspects that there’s something other worldly about her son’s new stepmother, she goes digging for answers and discovers a little too late that some secrets are better left buried.

That certainly is gooseflesh-inducing! What are you working on right now?

Well, right now I’m really focused on promoting The New Mrs. Collins.
And when I’m not doing that, I’m tinkering with an outline for a novel that feels like it’s going to be paranormal. Without giving too much away, it looks like it’s going to be about this girl who, after a traumatic experience, learns something shocking about herself.

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

Generally, yes. Some days are better than others. I don’t aim for a specific word count because what matters to me is, “How good is this particular scene when I leave the computer?” Sometimes a hard scene can take up pretty much my entire writing session. And I do try to stick to a writing schedule: the first two hours when I get up in the mornings.

Even after the arrival of the little one? I admire you! Plotter, pantser or both?

Plotter! I outline extensively before I write. I have to know where I’m going before I start writing. But even with an outline, there are plenty of surprises along the way. Characters really know how to surprise you!

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

Fear that what I’m writing isn’t good enough so why even finish it when the work is going to be terrible? I battle with this the entire time I’m writing. I don’t think it ever goes away.

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

I think that happens when something I’m working on feels like a chore (when it’s a work in progress, that’s how I know that something about the story isn’t working or that it’s a story that I probably need to abandon). I get over this by giving myself some tough love: your writing career is your responsibility. Now get your behind in gear and write!

Quanie Miller - WorkstationCould we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

My writing desk is in front of two windows that overlook our front yard (but sometimes, I’m guilty of just opening the blinds and daydreaming as opposed to writing!)

I can totally understand why you choose the blackout! Now your workspace pic 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 don’t. I’ve considered using Scrivener but haven’t gotten around to trying it.

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

With a nice big glass of wine!

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

Oh, wow! I am definitely going to outsource the book cover (if I did my own book cover it would look like something a kindergartener did, or probably worse!), the proofreading, and definitely the formatting. The only thing I’m confident about is my ability to tell a story!

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

I’m no marketing expert but I think it helps if you actually tell people you wrote a novel. For some reason, I was so shy about telling people that I was a novelist! Not sure why that is. And blogging is a great way to meet other authors and potential readers (but building those relationships takes time. It’s not an overnight thing).

Your blog is quanietalkswriting.com. Do you follow a specific branding pattern with your posts or is it a free writing platform?

Not at first. I kind of just started blogging because I read that all writers should have a blog, but lately I’ve been trying to tackle issues that all authors deal with, but in a humorous way. I try to talk about issues that are conversation worthy so that they encourage people to either comment or share the content.

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

I also write comedy. Initially, I thought I needed to choose between paranormal and humorous fiction since they’re polar opposites but I imposed those boundaries on myself. I don’t think people care about genre as long as the story is entertaining.

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

  • Flavored sorbet or chocolate ice cream? Dude! Chocolate!
  • Pizza or sushi? Pizza, of course, (although, I do get a craving for a California roll or tempura every now and then!)
  • Twilight or The Hunger Games? The Hunger Games!
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor or Idris Elba? Idris. Hands down! Oh, yes!
  • Trek in the Andes or snorkeling in Tahiti? Oh, Lord. Ummm…I’ll say snorkeling since this seems to imply warm weather.
  • Ugg boots or red-soled designer stilettos? I’ll say stilettos, but hopefully they’ll have a low heel! Yeah, gimme a pair of those! 🙂

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

Book Purchase Links

Amazon (US) http://www.amazon.com/New-Mrs-Collins-Quanie-Miller-ebook/dp/B00OAC362I

Amazon (UK) http://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Mrs-Collins-Quanie-Miller-ebook/dp/B00OAC362I

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/483357

Social Media Links

Twitter: @quaniemiller
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QuanieMillerAuthor
Blog: http://www.quanietalkswriting.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/QuanieMiller
Website: quaniemiller.com
Email: quanie@quanietalkswriting.com

Quanie, thank you so much, and good luck with The New Mrs. Collins!

Nina Lemay: WIP Interview

An extra perk of hosting authors for virtual book tour companies is connecting with awesome writers. After reading  and reviewing Shameless, a not for the faint of heart, edgy but very well written NA romance, set in Montreal, I sought the writer out, knowing that she would give me a great WIP interview. I was right. Nina, in her twenties, is the youngest writer featured here so far. Nina, you’re on:

Hi! I’m Nina Lemay, aka that girl who wrote that feminist stripper book, aka Shameless (available now on Amazon). The rest of the time, I write YA and adult speculative fiction. I’m an indie author with hybrid aspirations.

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

I’m (almost) fully trilingual, having moved to Montreal at a young age. One of these days I’ll write an epic Montreal-set novel en français, but until then, I’m working on my BFA in Creative Writing in English. Like a number of writers (as it turns out), I’m somewhat socially awkward and am way more comfortable in front of a keyboard than in front of people—which is why I’m hoping to work as a full-time writer or freelance editor once my degree is finished. Yay pajamas!

What I loved about Shameless was its location. I’ve been to Montreal, and it’s a beautiful city. My husband has also spent twelve years there. Can you talk your city up a bit?

plateau balconiesMontreal, I find, is outrageously underrepresented in books. Regardless of genre. And I have no idea why, it’s a really cool place with a rich history to rival New Orleans. The Catholic and French roots of Montreal (and Quebec as a whole) mean that it looks quite different from a number of North American cities. It has a more European feel—which doesn’t always work in our favor, for example, those pretty outdoor winding staircases probably look wonderful in the south of France, but here they’re basically an ice-slicked deathtrap eight months of the year.

But what really sets Montreal apart is the mindset. It is a little bit hedonistic, with rich food and entertainment and yes, there really is a strip club on every block on Ste-Catherine. The drinking age is 18 but really just a suggestion, and the nightclubs are open till three AM. There was a project this year to allow them to stay open till 6, but it was shot down due to public safety concerns.

Despite of the woo-hoo-party mindset, Montreal is a really safe place to live. I can walk pretty much anywhere at any hour, with headphones on, and have no fears for my safety.

 All these elements are well portrayed in Shameless–one of the book’s features I enjoyed. Exercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.

Our heroine is supposed to be in college, having the time of her life with her popular, beautiful friends and boyfriend. Instead, she’s stuck repeating her senior year. Other teens whisper behind her back, her parents took the door off her room, and instead of parties she attends AA meetings.

Then, at one meeting she runs into the new guy at school. He’s the only one to treat her like a human being after what happened last winter. He’s the only one who seems to understand her. But what is he really doing at her school, and what does he really want from her? And how is he connected with the anonymous threats she’s been finding in her locker ever since he appeared?

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

I try to aim for 2000-3000 words. But during the school year those words are often essays, so I try not to be too hard on myself if I fall behind.

Plotter, pantser or both?

Plotter! Enthusiastic plotter. That word makes me giggle because in French the word plotte means something else J But yeah, I like to outline thoroughly, chapter-by-chapter. I keep “idea books” where I jot down my brainstorms and outlines. Some people find it a little obsessive.  But for me that’s the only way to finish a book in a month, so…

A Book in a month?! I’m so going to ignore that that’s your time frame, What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

The doubt. Who the hell wants to read this? Nobody cares about your stupid stories, change majors and get a job. It’s kind of tough pushing past it, but sometimes you just gotta stick your fingers in your ears, shut your eyes and go la la la… that makes it kind of hard to type though.

That’s the attitude! Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

This has to do with the last answer… doubt is the worst. Inspiration might be there, but when you’re paralyzed by doubt, it doesn’t help much.  And to say I’ve faced some adversity in my writing journey (I really hate that phrase, writing journey. There’s never an end. You never “arrive”. You’re only as good as your current WIP) is to say nothing at all. I’ve faced rejection on Books of my Heart, from both agents and editors. I’ve faced crappy reviews. I’ve had phases where it feels like I’m beating my head against a concrete wall, hoping the wall will crack before I do (these odds are not in my favor). I’ve almost given up writing altogether. But you know what, writing makes me happy. I may not write trendy things on trendy topics, but I believe in my books. I believe I’m talented, I believe I’m a good writer. And I believe my stories will find their way.

In danger of repeating myself, that’s the attitude!! You bet you’re a good writer otherwise I wouldn’t seek you out. It’s as simple as that. Now, could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

photo (1) (1)I used to live in horrible, tiny studios on the Plateau where my bed was three feet from my fridge. Now I finally gave up on the Plateau and I have an actual office, for the first time in my life! It has no windows, but it’s a start.

Very … bookish! Now your workspace pic 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?

Scrivener is nice, but it got to be too much clicking around for me and I went back to Word.  And have I mentioned that I loooove notebooks? I’m a texture freak. I love the feel of pen on paper. The ideas just flow. I rely on my journals and idea books. Without them I’d be lost.

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

Go for a poutine! Just kidding. Or am I?

I had to look up the fries/gravy/cheese curds dish up. Calory-infested yumminess! Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

I will never be able to format anything by myself, ever. Nor design a cover. I’m computer-illiterate, unfortunately, so all the webby stuff will be outsourced. However, I do (almost) have a degree in English, and I have good betas. So my manuscripts only need the lightest touch of professional editing, mostly just proofreads.

Great job you did on Shameless, if it was not professionally edited. Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

Itching For Books do GREAT blog tours and promo services. And with the next release I intend to give Netgalley a shot. Everyone says it’s pricey but worth it. We’ll see!

I’ve been thinking about Netgalley myself. Your blog is ninalemay.com. Do you follow a specific branding pattern with your posts or is it a free writing platform?

I’m terrible at blogging! I just needed a semi-official-looking site (everyone says you have to have those or you’re not a real author, or something).

Interesting. No blogging effort there. I’ll come back to you later to ask you if not having a blog as a pillar of your author platform affects your sales outreach. Is contemporary romance the genre you will stick to or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

Oh my. It actually took me a really long time to get my a** in gear and write a contemporary romance. I’m a genre writer at heart. Give me paranormal elements and weird powers and supernatural creepiness! My current YA projects are all of the speculative variety, or thrillers. There WILL be a New Adult SFF novel in the not-too-distant future. *mysterious face*

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

  • Flavored sorbet or chocolate ice cream? Sorbet. I’m a rebel.
  • Pizza or sushi? Sushi.
  • Twilight or The Hunger Games? THG! Ugh, Katniss over Bella any day.
  • Ryan Gosling or Benedict Cumberbatch? Cumberbatch, of course. (See? I’m not a normal NA writer…)
  • Trek in the Andes or snorkeling in Tahiti? Museums in Paris. But the trek in the Andes is a close second.
  • Ugg boots or red-soled designer stilettos? Doc Martens. Or Converse.

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

My website (where I try to keep things up to date on a semi-regular basis): http://ninalemay.com/

My Twitter: https://twitter.com/NinaLemay

My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nina-Lemay/335772423239892?ref=hl

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8298989.Nina_Lemay

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

For more great WIP interview by an array of interesting authors click here.

Janice Ross – WIP interview

In today’s WIP edition, I’m pleased to welcome author Janice Ross. Janice was born in Guyana, South America and migrated to the USA in 1980. Although her citizenship certificate now reads the United States of America, she considers herself a citizen of the world. She enjoys writing about social issues and personal experiences. Janice’s debut release was entitled Damaged Girls. She uses the three books in that series to detail the effects of different forms of abuse, discussing issues that are known to be taboo. Her next release, Jumping Ship, is a dedication to her country of birth and an introductory novella to the Island Hopping Series. She has also penned Loving Nate, a novella with an alternate ending, that I reviewed here.

Janice is also a devout supporter and promoter of other authors through social media. She hosts a weekly show, Cultural Cocktails, on the largest social radio network, Blog Talk Radio.

Thanks for having me, Maria! You are truly supportive and amazing!

What are you working on right now?

Oh my goodness, Maria! I am always working on several different projects, at any given time. I’m still attempting to plot out and finalize the next books in the Island Hopping series. And although Loving Nate is a stand-alone novella, I’ve been in talks with Nate (smirking) about telling his side of the story. Those are just two of my current WIPs. And as if I’m not having enough fun, I’ve recently begun writing paranormal stories through an alter ego.

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

I am actually pleased with my overall pace. I used to be concerned when I felt that I wasn’t progressing along too well, but I’ve learned to manage my stress much better. Perhaps, this is why I have multiple storylines at any given time. I typically aim for at least 3,000 words/piece/day. There are days when I’m able to achieve this and days when I’m not able to. I try to remain focused on what I produce instead of how many words I produce.

Plotter, pantser or both?

I used to be big on plotting out everything. This method never works out entirely because there’s a certain level of spontaneity that’s needed, so I try to keep a healthy mixture.

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

I am my worst enemy in getting through the first draft.

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

I’m always motivated to write, though I don’t always have the time to do so.

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

photo (7)

 

I love the fruity energy booster! Now this picture 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 try to go to the source – people from different backgrounds, regions and experiences.

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

I celebrate “The End” of a draft by taking a day or two off from writing. I might also go to happy hour with my friends, as a method of relaxing.

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

Although I enjoy many aspects of editing, I believe in having my work edited by someone else. I also have certain parts of Marketing outsourced.

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

I came across this site when I first published, and have since used it as a reference point:

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com

Is women’s fiction the genre you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

I most enjoy writing women’s fiction, with a twist. I’ve recently taken on an alter ego and ventured into paranormal. I hope to continue to grow and expand.

Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?

You can connect with Janice on

Website: www.culturalcocktails.com

Talk show: www.blogtalkradio.com/culturalcocktails

http://myculturalcocktails.wordpress.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/JGRWriter

FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/Cultural.Cocktails

&

https://www.facebook.com/jgrwriter?ref=hl

Google+https://plus.google.com/104579627944902429382/posts/p/pub?partnerid=gplp0

LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/pub/janice-ross/58/691/894/

Thank you, Janice, and best of luck with The Island Hopping series!