Thursday, July 25, 2013

Welcome SYTYCW Contestant Author Christy Newton

I met Christy through the online community at the Harlequin Boards (a great place for aspiring authors) and we both participated in So You Think You Can Write 2012.

Welcome, Christy it's good to have you here today. We've heard lots of stories about SYTYCW over the past year. Overall, how would you rate your experience with So You think You Can Write Global 2012?

The first word that comes to mind is stressful! Lol I remember being so nervous putting my work out there for the world to see for the first time.

But even worse... trying to get votes for my story non-stop. I felt like a politician instead of a writer. Overall though, it turned out to be invaluable for me, because not only did I find my critique partner and beta reader through the contest, I found lots of writers I could connect with that are still my friends today.

We were required to upload the first chapter as our entry in SYTYCW. Is that chapter still in its original form or has it gone through more revisions?

That chapter was edited about five times since that contest. And I am happy to say that story in now published! You can find Stolen Hearts here.

How long have you been writing?

Almost two years. Since So You Think You Can Write, I have published three books. Stolen Hearts, Something To Treasure and Begin Again.

And now an excerpt from Stolen Hearts:

She walked around slowly to examine the sparkle. They were beautiful. It looked as if a fairy had sprinkled large, multi-colored fairy dust. Gray, blue, purple, pink, brown, orange, yellow and green diamonds. In the center, her eyes were drawn to a gorgeous, white gold necklace with round cut diamonds and a gold medallion hanging from the center. For a split second, she could see why her parents loved jewels and why Simon had collected these.

Amazing. “Are all these diamonds?”

He winked. “Every last one.”

“I never knew diamonds came in all these colors.”

“They’re rare, but yes, the colors are natural. There’s only one color I never acquired, the rarest of all the diamonds…red.”

“How much are all these worth?” she blurted out. “Never mind. Don’t tell me. It’s better if I don’t know.”

Cammie walked up and down looking at all the vibrant colors, a rainbow of diamonds. All the diamonds were loose, except for the necklace.

He eyed her. “Would you like to try it on?”

She shook her head. “Do you ever feel bad about taking these?”

“No, I’ve only taken them from people who didn’t deserve them. Drug lords, criminals, that sort. I get great satisfaction from taking these precious babies off their hands.”

“That sounds really dangerous. Is that who my parents took the ruby from, someone bad?”

His lip twitched. “That’s not my story to tell.”

“This all seems so unreal.”

“In a jewel thief’s world, it’s very real.” Simon scooped up a handful of the colorful jewels. “Hold out your hand.”

Cammie did as he asked and he sprinkled them into her cupped hand.

She looked down at the diamonds in her palm. “I’ve never seen such natural beauty.”

Simon took a lock of her hair and tucked it behind her ear. “I hadn’t either until I met you, Sweetheart.”

She blushed. “I don’t even come close to these.” She gently rolled the diamonds around in her hand to watch the light bounce off of them.

“Oh, but you do and don’t even realize it.”

She handed the jewels back to him. The little room was getting hot. Time to bail.

Where can we find you on the Web?

Christy Newton

Twitter @CNewtonAuthor

Facebook

Thank you for visiting today, Christy!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Welcome Author Collette Cameron

Welcome Collette, it’s good to have you here today. You are published with Soul Mate Publishing and you had a new release in May. Would you give us a blurb of Highlander’s Hope?

Thank you so much, Maria, for hosting me today.

Regency propriety and Scot’s boldness clash in this historical suspense liberally dosed with humor.

She was the heiress determined to never marry. Yvette Stapleton is wary of fortune hunting men and their false declarations of love. She’d rather become a spinster than imprisoned in the bonds of marriage.

At first, she doesn’t recognize the dangerously handsome man who rescues her from assailants on London’s docks, but her reaction to Lord Sethwick’s kisses soon have her reconsidering her cynical views on matrimony.

He was the nobleman who vowed to make her his own. Not a day has gone by that Ewan McTavish, Lord Sethwick and Laird of Craiglocky, hasn’t dreamed of the beauty he danced with two years ago; he’s determined to win her heart.

On a mission to stop a War Office traitor, he unwittingly draws Yvette into deadly international intrigue. To protect her, he exploits Scottish Canon law to declare her his lawful wife—without benefit of a ceremony.

Yvette is furious upon discovering the irregular marriage is legally binding, though she never said, “I do.”

Cameron's charismatic characters and fast-paced plot blend flawlessly for a hard-won happily ever after.

~Award winning Regency author Regina Jeffers

Maria: Check out this cover, guys! I heart it! Collette informed me it's currently in a cover contest on AuthorsdB and now in first place for romance. I'm not surprised. Collette, I’d love to hear a little bit about your journey to publication.

Collette: I started writing seriously in February 2011. I finished the first draft of Highlander’s Hope in six months while teaching full-time. It was 156,000 word monstrosity! I submitted it to three publishers and received polite no thank yous.

I rewrote the novel, drastically cutting it to 85,000 words, and then pitched the new draft at a conference. I had four request for partials and one for a full from editors and agents. Again, I was told no thanks, but this time, the agent that requested the full, gave me some very good advice.

So, back I went to my computer and rewrote the book . . . again. In July of 2012, I submitted a query to Soul Mate Publishing. Four days later, I had a request for a full. Four days after submitting the full, I had a contract offer.

I’ve contracted with them for The Viscount’s Vow (September 2013), the second book in the trilogy. I’m currently about half done with The Earl’s Enticement the final book.

Maria: How long have you been submitting your work to editors and/or agents?

Collette: My first submission was in November 2011.

Maria: How many years have you been writing?

Collette: Two and a half years. This past school year was my last to teach full-time. I’m only going to be substituting very part-time from this point forward so I can spend more time writing.

Maria: Do you have any advice for authors as yet unpublished?

Collette: I think it is very important to learn about the industry and read about the craft of writing. Get involved in writer’s groups (I belong to several) and attend workshops and conferences.

I had to learn so much so fast, it was overwhelming. I don’t know what I would have done without the support of other writers and authors.

Oh, and if you don’t have any, get some critique partners and beta readers. I didn’t have any critique partners for Highlander’s Hope. I’m convinced that if I had, I would have been saved a great deal of rewriting.

For my last two books, I’ve had three fabulous ladies, all of whom also write historical, and just recently, I joined a Regency critique group. I’m rather in awe to be a part of that elite bunch of writers.

Maria: What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Collette: Don’t take critiques, reviews, or comments personally. Assess them to determine if they have any merit and if they can make your story/writing better. If so, take the advice. If not, disregard it.

Not everyone has the same taste or appreciates the same writing voice, descriptions . . . even romance genre.

I’ve had some people that don’t particularly care for my abundant descriptions, and yes, I have a tendency to be wordy and over use adjectives and adverbs. (Two critique partners nail me on that!) But, that being said, many of my readers love my descriptions, and my editor for The Viscount’s Vow wants more.

I write what I like to read, and I understand that means there are other people who won’t like it. That’s okay, because truthfully, I disliked (and in a few cases, hated) every single book I had to read for my American Literature class in my undergraduate program. And yes, I do mean hate.

Maria: What are you working on now?

Collette: I’m writing The Earl’s Enticement, the third book in the trilogy. After that, I have several more novels (10-12) all based on secondary characters from Highlander’s Hope.

Maria: Will you be attending the RWA Nationals?

Collette: Not this year. I just went on a Caribbean cruise in March, and I’m going to Hawaii in August. Next year though, watch out!

I’ve “met” so many fabulous romance authors through RWA, The Beau Monde, Faith Hope and Love, Inc., even Facebook and Twitter, I can’t wait to meet them in person.

Maria: Where can we find you on the web?

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Welcome Author Casey Dawes - Excerpt and a Giveaway

Please help me welcome my special guest today, author Casey Dawes.

This excerpt from California Homecoming appears after Hunter Evans has met Sarah Ladina, the woman who purchased his childhood home.

After he left his former home, Hunter drove aimlessly south on Highway One.

Future inn. Ugh.

The thought of the future innkeeper made him smile. Her wiry toughness was covered by a soft petite frame, luminescent eyes, and gleaming chestnut hair. Boy, would he like to wrap his hands in that hair and find out what kissing her would be like.

Eucalyptus trees whipping by the side of the road made him glance at the speedometer. Immediately, he eased off the gas. He wasn’t in the desert anymore; he actually had to obey the laws instead of enforcing them with the military might of the U.S. Marines.

He had no right to be attracted to another woman. He still hadn’t completed his penance for getting Lauren killed. No matter what the shrink said, Hunter knew his inattention was to blame for her death.

He pushed away all thoughts of women—past and present.

The day gleamed in a way his soul never would again. He should focus on the natural beauty of the bay. Ignoring the camouflaged paintball store at the curve of the road by the Bennet Slough, he concentrated on the egrets and herons stalking the wetlands.

His stomach grumbled. Moss Landing, the small town up ahead, was a good place to stop for something to eat and figure out his next moves. He needed a job and a place to live.

As he turned off the highway by The Whole Enchilada, he caught a glimpse of otters in the cove and pulled over to watch. The flop of their webbed feet as they rolled and dove in the water whispered boyhood memories of carefree afternoons on the Santa Cruz shores.

Before his father had uprooted them all and moved them to the chi-chi town of Sausalito. Before Hunter had gone to war.

Before Lauren had died.

Hunter scowled, got back into the Jeep and drove to the fish house. On a late Saturday, even in January, the place was awash with humanity, each person jostling for a place in line.

Panic crept his skin. He scanned the room for exits and examined faces for threats. His breath became shallower and he remembered why he was here. He focused on the mounted fish on the walls, the dinner choices before him, and edged as close to the glass cases as possible.

Why did he ever think he could resume a normal life?

He got a tray of fish and chips and found a table near an exit. He forced himself to eat deliberately, fighting the urge to bolt his food and rush back to the safety of the Jeep.

Good thing he no longer kept a gun in the glove box. Times like these made him unsure the struggle to live was worth it.

Practice, the shrink had told him. One day at a time—the mantra of all twelve-step groups.

Hunter wasn’t sure it was ever going to work.

If it didn’t, what would be become of him? Memories surfaced of his mentally ill grandfather reliving the Vietnam War on the streets of San Francisco.

Hunter shoved a fish stick in his mouth, chewed, and swallowed without tasting anything.

He forced his mind back to the present and the image of the innkeeper reappeared in his mind, making him smile. If the thought of her made him feel this good, what would a date feel like—or a kiss?

A bit of life stirred in his heart.

He shook his head. If she was smart she’d want nothing to do with a screwed-up, out-of-work, one-legged vet.

He stuck a French fry in his mouth, the greasy, salty potato soothing his mood. Taking a piece of paper from his pocket, he flattened it and clicked on a pen to write down his job qualifications.

The blank page mocked him.

He couldn’t put down a word. Everything he’d done in the war was classified. The past four years were a blank slate as far as prospective employers were concerned.

As far back as I can remember I was scribbling in notebooks. The best gift I could have was a package of three-holed lined paper and sharpened pencils. At first I’d riff off of my favorite TV shows--I was creating fan fiction before I even knew it existed!

I started writing my own material by the time I was around ten. I entered and came in third on a short story contest sponsored by the Boston Globe. Even my mom was impressed! I don’t really remember my dad’s reaction. He wasn’t overly enthused about the whole writing thing.

After college I tried to write, but there was too much drama going on in my own life to concentrate. Then kids came along, more drama along with a healthy dose of drama, and I could barely stay afloat. I did what needed doing, and loved my children desperately, but there was no time for frivolous writing. I did, however, keep my hand in by writing technical articles and even a book on software!

Around 1998 things started freeing up enough so I could go back to crafting a story and working with a writing group. I love writing groups!

My first attempt was a fantasy, but I found I really didn’t have the patience for world-building. Once I began with romance, however, I discovered my bliss.

With the help of a wonderful new writing group in Missoula, Montana, my first novel, California Sunset, was published on August 6, 2012, the day before my birthday.

Did I mention I love writing groups?

Giveaway: To celebrate writing groups, I’m offering a $5 Amazon gift certificate to one of the people who comment on this post. In your comment please put:

* A comment about a group of friends who’ve inspired you to do more

* Your email in the form name AT provider DOT com

Contest is open until July 15th.

To read more of Sarah’s story, buy a copy of California Homecoming is now available on Amazon.

and iTunes

Learn more about the California Romance series on my website

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