Thursday, October 23, 2014

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face ...

Forgive me while I break into song.

I'm excited that the sequel to Harte's Peak will release on January 23, 2015. It feels like it's been a long time coming. Jack and Maggie's story was actually the first book that I ever finished writing so it feels like a first born child.

No, really.

It took me 14 months to write the first version. It was submitted through the slush pile and turned down by Harlequin Love Inspired about three months later. By then I had started writing Vera and Ryan's story. I participated in a fast track submission with Harlequin and got a request for the synopsis, followed by a request for the partial, followed by a request for the full. Sounded pretty good, right? But in the end, it was rejected again. Cue the violins.

But then I subbed to White Rose Publishing and they offered me a contract. By that time I realized why Jack and Maggie's story had been rejected. It had many problems, most of them first book problems, including a lack of emotion due to weak POV. I worked hard to make it better and wouldn't sub to WRP until I felt it was good enough. They accepted the much better version of it earlier this year.

Sometimes the journey is worth the wait. I feel much better about having my name on this finished story. I would never want to put anything out that isn't the best I can do.

Here's an excerpt:

"That’s not a dog. That’s a walking furry garbage can." Ryan frowned.

"If you clean him up, I bet he’ll look like a dog again," Mrs. Jones said with a finger wag.

"That’s mighty optimistic of you, Mrs. Jones." Ryan walked to the other side of the office, holding his nose.

"It’s under control," Jack said.

Surely Calhoun would take pity on the dog. Man of God and all. How could he turn this poor animal down?

"I’ll be going home now." Mrs. Jones rose to leave, and both Jack and Ryan moved in her direction, but she held up a hand. "And I don’t need any help."

It took Mrs. Jones several long minutes to make her way to the door, during which Jack stared alternatively at the mutt and at Ryan, who stood, body wound tight as a new guitar cord. He wanted to open that door, but he also knew better.

"What will you do with that?" Ryan frowned in the direction of the dog after Mrs. Jones left.

"I thought you loved dogs." The mutt stared at him. Jack stared back.

"I love dogs. That thing isn’t a dog."

"Oh c’mon, stop exaggerating."

"We’ll need to have the station fumigated now." Ryan went around the office opening windows.

"Take him home, and tomorrow Calhoun will take pity on him," Jack said.

"I can’t take him home. I live in an apartment. At least you live in a house."

"I can’t have a dog." He stopped short of saying that he didn’t want any attachments even though it was the truth.

"Like you told me. It’s just for one night."

He lived in a house with no lease, a month to month arrangement with a landlord so desperate to fill the vacancy that she didn’t mind a short timer.

Because that’s what Jack was around here, and no amount of pitiable dogs, elderly ladies, troubled teens, or beautiful mothers would change that.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Goodreads Give-away - three print books

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Harte's Peak by Maria Michaels

Harte's Peak

by Maria Michaels

Giveaway ends September 30, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Friday, September 5, 2014

Excerpt from All of Me ...

Here's a little excerpt from All of Me, coming to you this fall. It's a labor of love in more ways than one. My first effort at self publishing, and I've been involved in every part of its creation.

“No, it’s not a good idea. I need wide open spaces when I’m around you,” she added.

“It’s not like you have a lot of choices.”

“Wow. I’ve waited all my life to hear a guy tell me that.”

“C’mon, Ivey. Let me help. Just stay the night and we’ll figure things out in the morning. You don’t have much time to decide, because this offer is going to be rescinded in about ten seconds. And then what will you do?”

“I’ll figure something out!” But she took another pointed look in the direction of the FBI. One thing you could say about those men was that they didn’t look friendly.

“Yeah, and there is the park. Of course, the bench isn’t very comfortable, and Burt won’t let you sleep on it. I tried once.”

“Look, I don’t want to be any trouble.”

“Ten, nine, eight, seven . . . ” He began the countdown.

“Would you stop counting?”

“Five, four, three . . . ”

“Fine! If it will get you to shut up, I’ll stay with you. Temporarily.”

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Welcome Author LoRee Peery!

Pelican Book Group author LoRee Peery has graciously agreed to my interview today. Her new release, Creighton’s Hideawawy, releases August 29th.

Needing to finish her thesis in order to keep her job working with youth in a residential treatment center, Shana Arnold sequesters herself on Creighton Rice’s Nebraska ranch. She expects the secluded hideaway to provide a peaceful environment. What she doesn't expect is to become the victim of identity theft and a crazed home invader.

Creighton Rice has been content to live alone with his God--until he meets Shana. He's drawn to her, but must fight the attraction. Getting close makes him face a lifetime's accumulation of scars. Plus, Shana doesn’t share his faith. But when Shana's life is threatened, Creighton must protect her--even if it means letting her in.

Will Shana discover that even when a woman loses everything, she can regain courage and strength through faith in God, and can Creighton allow God to heal scars and open the door to a lifetime with Shana?

Welcome to Romancing the Writer, LoRee. I’d love to hear a little bit about your journey to publication.

It’s been a long road. Ups and downs and curves and road blocks. Redirected routes and blessings.

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

The first embarrassing endeavors were twenty years ago. I had so much to learn and should have never sent a thing. Looking back, of course, it was all part of my learning curve.

How many years have you been writing?

Around thirty. I started with journals and a few classes and it took some time to find my niche is romance.

Which, so far, is your favorite character from one of your own books?

During the creative process my favorite has to be the heroine whose story I’m working on. I see the world through “her” eyes. There is something special about each one as she faces and overcomes the obstacles before her. One name did pop into my head when I read the question and that’s Geneva Carson from Rain on My Parade. I often giggled over her discoveries.

Do you have any advice for authors as yet unpublished?

Write. Write. And write some more. Read everything that catches your interest. Learn your craft. Study your favorite authors’ works. And don’t forget to pray.

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

Never give up if you believe in what you’re doing.

As long as you love it, keep at it.

What does your typical writing day look like?

It depends on what stage of the writing and what day it is. I’m fortunate to have one unbroken day a week with no appointments or obligations. My dream day would be (and it worked this way for six months after I retired): I wake up with coffee and a devotion or Bible study lesson. I walk. I write from 10 am to 2 pm (my peak productive hours of the day)

If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

I honestly couldn’t come up with an answer for this. God’s timing is what I cling to. We each grow at specific rates designed for us as individuals. I believe the struggles and the rewards come when He wants them to, and they are all part of what we face and what we learn from.

What are you working on now?

Oh, I’m excited to say I’ve just submitted a time travel story that is so different from anything I’ve ever written. I mentioned a learning curve, this story is the first I ever wrote without editing until I typed The End. I’m looking forward to complete the brainstorming and plan to write another rough, unedited draft during the month of September. No details because I am reluctant to talk much about any WIP.

Thank you for being here today, LoRee. Here's where you can find Loree:

The Website

Facebook

Pelican Book Group

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Almost Done!

All of Me is in its final stages, and although I can't wait to release Jeff and Ivey's story, I must admit that I'm terrified. Just a little bit. This will be my first self published release, and although I have full confidence in the team I've hired to help me through it, it's still a bit daunting.

Self-publishing means I have full control. I'm in charge of covers, final edits, titles, galleys, formatting, cover reveals, blog tours, Facebook parties, and anything else I've forgotten.

But the best thing about self-publishing is dipping my toes in the Indie world, where I have many author friends who claim the water is fine.

Mostly, I hope that no one will see this little journey of mine as a slap in the face of traditional publishing. I still love that world, and will continue to be a part of it. This isn't an "us" versus "them" scenario. It's about choices. And funny, because this is a theme in All of Me and this is probably not a coincidence ...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cover Reveal - ALL OF ME

Anyone like that song All of Me? "All of me loves all of you ..." Yeah, I love it.

This is Ivey and Jeff's story.

I've been working on different versions of All of Me for years. Feels like many more than two years, but it actually has been "only" two years. Waaaay too long for most books.

COMING OCTOBER 2014

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Reverie by Christina Yother

Orphaned at a young age Hetty is convinced that her circumstances make her unworthy of having a family of her own. When a job opportunity as a housekeeper presents itself Hetty accepts believing that working for Isaac Wheeler and his family is a welcome, if not temporary, surrogate for her own family dreams. As she’s faced with learning to trust she discovers that wanting a family and building a family are two very different things. Will she learn to see herself as worthy of God’s gifts? Or will she return to the solitary existence that defined so much of her life?

Isaac Wheeler, successful furniture maker and dishonorable bachelor, finds Hetty’s presence in his home to be disturbing and a haunting reminder of his past sins. As he struggles with his growing and unwanted feelings, he can’t help but torment himself with mistakes from his past. Can he navigate the family tensions, infidelity, and sudden choices destined to keep them apart? Or can Isaac endure each struggle and seek forgiveness before discovering what truly makes a family?

Available NOW on Amazon!

About Christina:

Christina Yother is a historical and contemporary romance writer. She has been involved with writing, blogging, and social media for several years and earned a PhD in 2012 by writing one of the first dissertations to explore how women build community through writing online. She lives in small-town Georgia with her husband and three children.You can find her writing at christinayother.com or at projectunderblog.com where she runs a submission-based collaborative writing blog that celebrates the smaller voices in the blogging community.

Christina loves to connect with readers!

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

CONTEST * CONTEST * CONTEST * CONTEST !

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Return of the Rebel ~ ~ Jennifer Faye

Jennifer is here to talk about her brand new release - the fourth one!

Hi. I’m so happy to be here. :-)

It’s hard to believe that a year ago my debut was just hitting store shelves and now my fourth release is out. It’s terribly exciting to see a lifelong dream come true. It just goes to prove that no one should give up on their dreams. They do come true.

Now a little about THE RETURN OF THE REBEL…

Jax Monroe is a reformed bad boy with a good heart. Cleo is a good girl with a guilty conscience.

Reunited beneath the bright lights of Las Vegas, can this childhood crush turn into something more? Or will secrets and danger destroy their chance at real love?

TOP PICK! RT Book Reviews 4.5 Stars ~

"Faye's romance tugs at the heartstrings and the surprising element of suspense is the perfect addition to make this one fly off the shelves.

Here's a quick excerpt of Return of the Rebel ~

“You’ve got to trust me.”

Cleo arched a disbelieving brow. “Says who?”

Little Cleo had certainly gained some spunk. Well, good for her. It was also a relief to know she wasn’t still carrying that crazy torch for him. The last thing he needed at this critical juncture of his life was more complications.

Her finger poked his chest. “You’re up to something and I want to know what it is.”

Her tone brooked no room for debate. He wouldn’t be wiggling out of this confrontation with some flimsy story.

“You can start by explaining your need for an alias.”

“Just leave it be.”

She shook her head. “I can’t look the other way. We aren’t kids anymore. This is where I work and I can’t let you jeopardize my job.”

Cleo’s voice rose with every word. “But if you turn around and leave now, we can forget we ever saw each other.”

He doubted he’d ever be able to wipe her sexy image from his memory. Her polished persona stole his breath away. She may have been a cute kid, but she’d grown up to be a real knockout. And as for leaving here now, he wasn’t about to do it. He had as much right to be here as any- one else.

Cleo leveled her shoulders and tapped her foot. He hated to tell her but if she was angling for an intimidating pose, she’d missed her mark. She was more alluring than scary.

Get your copy today! Thanks for being here today, Jennifer!

Amazon | Amazon - UK | Barnes & Noble | Harlequin | Kobo | iTunes

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Come See Me at Hearts & Scribbles

Today I'm visiting the wonderful Jennifer Faye, Harlequin author, at Hearts & Scribbles.

I have a character interview: Ryan and Vera from Harte's Peak. It should be fun.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Welcome to Harte's Peak ...

So Harte's Peak, the first in the Redemption Peak series with The White Rose/Pelican Book Group is live now on all major retailers:

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

PBG

Harte's Peak is a small town in the Sierra California "gold country". It's actually based on the real town of Twain Harte, a cozy little town of about 2,000 people at a 3,000 mile elevation.

It is a short 15 miles to Dodge Ridge Ski Resort in Pinecrest, California (elevation 5,000).

I'm partial to Twain Harte - the town is rich in history, actually named after Mark Twain and Brett Harte. My family started our annual February snow trip to Twain Harte in 1999, and it became a yearly event. Anyone from the Bay Area is familiar with the fact that our public schools often gave the week of President's Day off as what official became known as "February break". It couldn't be "winter" break (a better name, in my opinion) because that became December break. It obviously couldn't be "spring" break, thus it wound up with its boring and unoriginal title. However, in our family as well as in many other Bay Area families February break became known as "snow week".

Although it doesn't snow in the Bay Area, a three and a half hour drive into the mountains and voila! Snow for all snow-deprived Californians.

Thus began my love affair with Twain Harte, and a mere 13 years later it became the setting for my first novel. At this time, there will be two books in the Redemption Peak series. The second is under contract and we should have a cover reveal soon.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Blog Hop!

My Golden Gate ACFW chapter mate Sydney Avey asked me to participate this time. Sydney has a great blog here.

She has a series on Writing California in which she interviews various authors who write with a California setting. Her latest book is The Sheep Walker's Daughter:

"Three generations, four women, a history of family secrets will be reveal when Dee finds a postcard that says "Lost sheep may be recovered. Lost time cannot."

And now for my writing process interview:

1. What are you working on right now?

At the moment I have turned in my content edits for the prequel book in the Harte’s Peak series (title TBD, but probably Beginnings in Harte’s Peak),and while I wait for the copy edits (we’re way ahead of schedule because thankfully this book didn’t need as many revisions) I’m working on something entirely new. This one is a contemporary romance set in wine country, and is the second in a series as well. A retired baseball pitcher buys a vineyard and tries to hire a woman from his past to run it. The problem is this woman had every intention of buying the vineyard herself, until the ball player plunked down cash for it. Now she has to decide if she wants to work for the man, or wait until he fails. Decisions, decisions.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

As authors we are always cultivating our own "voice". It's a mixture of syntax, emotional depth and delivery. I think and hope that I now have my own voice which is a mixture of humor and emotion. But this is something I'll forever be perfecting.

3. Why do you write what you do?

(Below, Jack naps while I work. It's a rough life, he wants you to know.)

I love stories about real people – people who love are gloriously flawed but know how to love. Though I find mysteries and thrillers engaging I know I could never write them. I like to write from a happy place, even as I put my characters through the emotional ringer. Humor is important to me and I love to make myself laugh as I write. (As long as it isn’t the love scene.)

4. How does your writing process work?

I’m excited to announce I have a new process! I’m officially a plotser now because I begin with knowing what my inciting event will be, and the first turning point. I have a good feel for the hero and heroine, and their pasts (especially if they have some sort of shared past). The subplots I allow to reveal themselves to me as I write the first draft. I’ve got a firm grasp of the setting and the character Arc that each of them will have.

My new process is going to involve writing the first draft of Act I and then reviewing it to make sure all of the points are covered and I’m not missing anything. I hope this will reduce on revisions once I’m done. It’s also going to give me a good outline to follow. Anyway, I’m going to try it and see how it works.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Letting Go

A few days before Easter, our household received momentous news. Our youngest received his acceptance letter to Moody Bible Institute.

I'm happy for him. Really. Even if Chicago is a loooooong way from northern California. Even if he's my baby. There is such a comfort in knowing that though he will be far from home and family he is never far from God. As it so happens, we both believe and serve the same God who will continue to connect us, no matter the distance.

At the same time, I'm mindful to resist an urge to be too proud. This is my son's life, purpose and ministry and it's a matter between him and the Lord. I'm merely incredibly blessed to be along for the ride with a front row seat.

Before I get something in my eye, here's a photo of our beagle Riley. Like me, she has mixed feelings. She was asked by big sister to give a "high five" in celebration. See the first photo - she's not so sure about all this.

The second photo is her attempt at being a good sport, and my attempt at catching it in action. Sorta missed it, but there you go.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Excerpt from Harte's Peak...do you love the Gym?

June 20th is release day, and will be here before I know it. There's lots to do in preparation for a book release, and as the weather warms across the continent, I'm going to laugh about the fact that Harte's Peak is set during the snowfall at winter time. Maybe it will cool some readers off.

Meanwhile, there's a fitness craze going on where I work. It started a few weeks ago and coincided with the calendar indicating spring had sprung - co-workers are pairing up and going for walks at lunch time. Carb elimination is rampant - bread is the bad guy, and salad is our new best friend. Of course, the men have already lost weight. Don't get me started.

I thought about a scene in Harte's Peak that involves our hero, Ryan Colton, getting our heroine, Vera Carrington, ready for the slopes. Vera is a girl after my own heart - she'd be the one to say that if she's found dead on a jogging trail people should know she was killed elsewhere and the body moved there.

From Harte's Peak, releasing June 20th in all digital formats from The White Rose/Pelican Book Group:

From treadmill to stair stepper. Running nowhere to climbing nowhere. What joy.

The person who’d invented these machines had a wicked sense of humor. By the end of their session, the sweat dripped profusely from every pore she owned and surely some she didn't.

Ryan threw a towel at her, and she slid down the length of the wall in a heap. He was treating her like one of the guys. Why, then, did she hate it?

"Good work. Tomorrow we'll step it up a little. I didn't want to be too hard on you the first day."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

#Pitchmadness #TeamLibrary

I don't generally write with hashtags, no. But I'm thrilled that my contemporary romantic comedy, Love at First Flight, made it into the agent round at Brenda Drake's Pitch Madness.

Check out my entry if you have the time. Results will post on March 25th on Brenda's blog.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Visit with Author Liz Flaherty

The Girls of Tonsil Lake is free on Amazon from March 4-8! Stop by and pick it up. I hope it gives you a few hours of pleasure.

Four women whose differences only deepen the friendship forged in a needy childhood…

They were four little girls living in ramshackle trailers beside a lake in rural Indiana. They shared everything from dreams to measles to boyfriends to more dreams. As they grew up, everything in their lives changed—except their friendship. Through weddings and divorces, births and deaths, one terrible secret has kept them close despite all the anger, betrayal, and pain.

Now, forty years later, facing illness, divorce, career challenges, and even addiction, the women come together once again for a bittersweet month on an island in Maine. Staring down their fifties, they must consider the choices life is offering them now and face the pain of what happened long ago.

Secrets are revealed and truths uncovered, but will their time together cement their lifelong friendship—or drive them apart forever?

Excerpt:

I wanted Andie to come to New York, but she didn’t feel up to it. I felt a little shudder go through me when she said that. Andie’s always been so strong, and she’s cancer-free, so I found it startling and frightening when she admitted to feeling less than wonderful. But, as Let There Be Hope shows, cancer changes one in sometimes indefinable ways. Maybe this is one of those changes.

Mark and I visited some islands off the Maine coast once, in our early days. I was so enthralled that he bought me a house on one of them, a little strip of green called, appropriately enough, Hope Island. It reminds me of Bennett’s Island, the fictitious utopia of Elisabeth Ogilvie’s books, except that Hope has all the mod cons.

I love to go there. It’s a place I can be myself with little regard to what anyone else thinks. I sit in my bathrobe on the wraparound porch of the Victorian horror that is my house and drink coffee with Lucas Bishop, our neighbor. I read Jean’s books without worrying that someone will see the covers.

I’ve never taken anyone else—it was Mark’s and my private getaway—but I wouldn’t mind if it was Andie who was there. Or Jean and even Suzanne. Andie and I could work on her book. Jean could cook and keep house since she’s so crazy about doing that, and maybe even spin out one of her romances placed on an island. And Suzanne could...do our hair or something.

We would all be together as we are that single night every year when we drive to the lake and pretend we’re facing down our ghosts. I am a little afraid that the day will come that we’ll have to face them down for real.

I wonder if they’d come.

*****

The Girls of Tonsil Lake is Liz Flaherty’s eighth book, and it is no less thrilling than the first one was. Retired from the post office, she spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and doing whatever else feels good at the moment (like drinking wine on Nan’s boat).

She and Duane live in the old farmhouse in Indiana they moved to in 1977. They’ve talked about moving, but really…30-some years’ worth of stuff? It’s not happening!

She’d love to hear from you at lizkflaherty@gmail.com or please come and see her at: Liz Flaherty.com

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Monday, February 24, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour Stop

I was asked to take part of the “My Writing Process” Blog Tour by my friend Janie Crouch. I met Janie on the Harlequin Board, when we both entered So You Think You Can Write 2012 in the inspirational romance category. That’s right, I knew Janie when she was a saintly writer.

Her debut novel with Intrigue, Primal Instinct, will release in April 2014.

How cool is that? Find out more info about Janie at:

So here’s the scoop on My Writing Process, based on the four questions.

What Are You Working On at the Moment? While I wait to get the release date for Harte’s Peak, I am working on book two of a contemporary romance three book series set in the Napa Valley wine country. Book one, All of Me, is complete and I hope to have a cover reveal soon.

How Does Your Work Differ From Others in the Genre?

My inspirational romances tend to be what is at times classified as “edgy Christian fiction”, which might sound like an oxymoron, but let me explain. My heroes and heroines have struggled with their faith, have sinned and fallen short. One of them is almost always still struggling with their faith through the book. They sometimes don’t behave in the most saintly of ways, but they are always trying, always slipping and always receiving grace.

I also love humor, and when my editor lets me, I will liberally apply heavy doses. I believe you can find humor even in the most desperate of situations, and I do believe God wants us to fill our hearts with joy whenever possible.

Why Do You Write What You Do?

Because I couldn’t write a mystery or a thriller to save my life, even though I’m a die-hard Dateline fan.

How Does Your Writing Process Work?

I suffer from “shiny object” syndrome, so when I do have huge chunks of writing time on the weekends, you will no doubt find me getting up every few minutes to find out what that strange noise is, what is that enticing smell coming from the kitchen, and why is my dog still barking? Setting a timer helps.

Critique partners also help. We nag each other and keep each other accountable. If necessary, we use whips.

When I’m writing a first draft, I can really get in the zone. I will stop watching TV or spending time with the family, not always such a good thing. Revisions are a bit harder for me and require me to forcibly sit down at the keyboard and work it out. Revisions don't come easily and can’t be forced even if sitting in the chair can be.

Hopping onto the "My Writing Process" Blog Tour next week (3/3):

Amy Lamont writes contemporary and New Adult romance with quirky heroines, hunky heroes, and guaranteed happily ever afters. She lives in New England with her husband, twin daughters, and two rescue mutts. Find her at: Amy Lamont

Belle Calhoune grew up in a family of five children in a small town in Massachusetts. A lover of romance novels since she was in middle school, she now enjoys writing happily ever afters for the Harlequin Love Inspired line. Find Belle at: Belle Calhoune and Author Belle Calhoune Facebook page.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's All About the Song

An agent recently blogged about the comparisons between American Idol and an author's journey. She was dead-on about all of them, including those singers (and authors) who don't realize how great they are, to those singers (and authors) who don't realize there is still some work to do.

But it got me thinking about another comparison.

I'm not one of those people who always dreamed of being a writer. I would write - all the time. Journals, diaries, short stories. Therapy, basically. I just never imagined that could be a career. Besides, my real dream was to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stop laughing.

Though my singing "career" self-imploded, I'd like to think I've learned some hard won lessons I can now apply to writing.

So, back to American Idol. Ever notice how the judges go on and on about song choice? There's a reason for that.

There are hundreds thousands of great singers who never "make it". I personally know one of them. She sounds like Janis Joplin, but better. I've thought about it for years, and sometimes it does come down to the song.

Now once you have an established fan base, the rules shift a bit. But until then, people are buying a song. If you're lucky, you happen to be the one singing it. Not that you can sing it badly or off-key and still be a success(but let's face it, that has happened).

Let's translate this to the publishing world. You need a story - a great story - either you take a trope or theme and turn it on its head, or your "voice" is so fresh and engaging the story sounds brand new.

The other side of it is knowing your voice and style - you'll often see the judges questions a contestant's sound choice. This almost always comes down to a younger singer who is still unsure of who they are. They tend to be all over the place with style and delivery. Consistency is key.

The same could be applied to writers who may not know their own strengths yet - maybe they long to write a tear-jerker that will pull at the heartstrings and cause readers to curl up in a fetal position. Instead, their real strength lies in telling a humorous story, but they don't know it yet. They need time to grow and figure it out.

Can you think of other comparisons? I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Welcome SYTYCW Finalist and Debut Author Elle Marlow

Welcome, Elle. After submitting your first chapter to SYTYCW, did you have any second thoughts or was it completely ready and polished?

I absolutely had second thoughts. I decided to take writing seriously in July just months before the contest. I didn’t have anything prepared so I hustled and wrote Josey’s Mountain in three weeks. I never even had a chance to read through it before I submitted it. Can you imagine my surprise when it made the top fifty? I did cartwheels in the streets.

Have you entered a writing contest like this before, or any other writing contest?

Before SYTYCW my only other contest was the Camp Wanna be pitch that Harlequin hosted I think that was the end of July. I received a partial request.

How long have you been writing?

I started out years ago just for fun. Then about fifteen years ago I submitted a story via snail mail to a publisher that has now gone out of business. It took a year to find out the results. Unfortunately it didn’t go anywhere.

What are your thoughts about the promotional aspect of the contest? Do you love social media and all its aspects?

I do enjoy social media. Moreover, I enjoy the friendships I made during that contest with other authors. I love cheering everyone on and watching other writers also grow in their craft.

What are you working on now?

Now I have five titles in different stages of publication with Front Porch Romance. Josey’s Mountain may not have made the top ten, but because of that effort, and it’s success, I have made lots of contacts and now, a new publishing home.

Do you have any advice for someone considering entering So You Think You Can Write 2014?

I think it’s most important to study the different lines of Harlequin, study what they are looking for. Craft your characters carefully along with a plot that fits. You get one chapter to “sell” the entire book so make it spectacular.

Where can we find you on the Web?

Where can’t you find me? LOL.

www.ellemarlow.blogspot.com

ElleMarlowWrite@twitter

ElleMarlow.5@FB

And now an excerpt from The Gambler's Passion, Elle's debut coming to you from Front Porch Romance:

Beautiful Arizona Summers is determined to fulfill her mother's dying wish and realize her dreams-even if it means dancing at Bare Backed Belles, cheating at high stakes poker or running from a spray of bullets with a man she's given her innocence to. She'd do it all and over again to find love and keep her promise.

Jace Forrester gets a thrill out of living a double life. Preacher's son by day, card hustler by night. Always after the big win, he can't resist Arizona's ultimate challenge. He may lose more than he bargain for-his heart.

Coming in February, Pour Me:

Wanted: One Cowgirl Mommy

That was the ad right next to the bartending one. Carly wasn't sure she was prepared for either, but she was heading back to Arizona regardless. Running from her past and hopefully to a brighter future, Carly couldn't predict that all three would collide and force her to face her demons. And sexy cowboy, Cade McCormick would be to blame for all of it.

Cade had to be careful about the women involved in little Danni's life. A cowgirl was on the bottom of his list! But time has a way of changing hearts, minds and roping the past together. Is his new bartender really the woman he thought he lost years ago? Did little Danni really place an ad to find her?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cassie Girl and the Author who Loves Her ....Pamela Thibodeaux

Cassie Girl.....

I’ll never forget the day I saw her running loose at the football field near my house. Two and a half years prior, my husband and I had to put Princess, our pet of 14 years down due to large tumors blocking off her intestines. The veterinarian said she was too old and feeble to make it through the surgery.

I’ve often wondered if he was correct and if we’d at least tried, if she would have survived it. Alas we’ll never know, but the grief was so profound we talked ourselves out of getting another dog for quite sometime.

On the rare occasions we honestly thought about another pet, I would reiterate my desire for a German Shepherd.... “Not a bulky cop dog, but a slick, slender female,” I’d say, not knowing how else to describe the beauty I saw in my mind’s eye.

Then one day I headed out for my normal morning walk and a voice I know so well said, “go to the track.” Not one to argue, I headed the two blocks east of my home to the high school.

And there she was....

I walked my standard mile and then took her home with me and called my husband to let him know she was at the house. That afternoon I returned after work to find he’d located the owners. We loaded her up in the truck and proceeded to take her back.

The minute I knocked on the door and asked if their dog was missing, the owner exploded. “That’s the fourth time she’s broken her leash, if I knew someone would give her a good home I’d get rid of her!”

Didn’t take long for me to load the beauty, whose name we found was Cassie, back into the truck along with a 50lb bag of feed the woman sent along with us. Cassie (dubbed Cassie Girl by my granddaughter) has been a part of my family ever since.

She has helped me endure the grief of losing my husband, has been honored for her role in his life in the anthology The Dog Next Door (Revell 2011), and has made it into my book, In His Sight as Princess. :-)

Grade school teacher Carson Alexander has a gift—a gift that has driven a wedge between him and his family. Worse, it’s put him at odds with God. Feeling alone and misunderstood, Carson views God’s gift of prophecy as the worst kind of curse…that is until he meets Lorelei Conner, landscape artist extraordinaire, and perhaps the one person who may need Carson and his gift more than anyone ever has.

Lorelei Connor is a mother on the run. Her abusive ex-husband has followed her all over the country trying to steal their daughter. Distrusting of men and needing to keep on the move, she’s surprised by her desire to remain close to Carson Alexander. Through her fear and hesitation, she must learn to rely on God to guide her—not an easy task when He’s prompting her to trust a man.

Can their relationship withstand the tragedy lurking on the horizon?

In His Sight can be purchased through Pelican Book Group, on Kindle & Nook!

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

Face Book: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux

Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Process of a Pantser

An author friend who plots recently asked me about my revision process. She's trying to fine-tine a process that works for her, and wondered what I do.

It got me to thinking about a process that's taken a few years of trial and error, and certainly one that could use improvement. At least from where I sit. I'm what most would call a "pantser", that is I don't plan and plot. I don't make out charts and graphs and do personality quizzes on my characters (though this is something I'm going to do - the personality quiz, that is).

Charts and graphs make me crazy - I believe they are primarily a left brain function, and I admire writers who have full access to both sides of their brain. Apparently I do not, or maybe I wouldn't want to throw up when I see a graph.

But I do believe in the three act structure, and this is where I begin. I always have an idea of the hero and heroine types I will write about, and the inciting incident. By my third book, I had come up with the turning points and black moment (called the climax in other genres)before I began to write. However, of course these changed. Naturally. Hence, the pantser label.

Something about the process of writing jiggles my brain. If I were to try to figure this out beforehand I'd sit and stare at a blank piece of paper. Believe me, I've tried. Nothing comes to me.

The current process, therefore, is that I prepare four folders - Act I, Act II-1, Act II-2, and Act III. This helps me to know where the turning points must be, and helps the revision process since I'm not dealing with one very large document.

Since I aim for an 80K word count, I know each act should be in the 20K range or thereabout. That's my goal.

Usually, that goal is met in revisions. Is the first draft 20K in each Act? Puhleese, don't make me laugh. No.

Someday, I'd love to be in on the process of a plotter - how they work it out, plot point by point. I'd love to be a fly on the wall and see their notes. Not that I'm going to copy them (horrors) but I might be able to use said process in my own work.

Anyway, hope springs eternal.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Drink Your Cake

This is a great rum cake to start (or end) the year. I've been making this one for the past few years and everyone loves it. This is possibly the moistest cake I've ever had.

Puerto Rican Rum Cake

Cake:

1 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

1 18 1/2 ounce yellow cake mix

1 1 3/4 ounce instant vanilla pudding mix

4 eggs

1/2 cup cold milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup dark rum

Glaze:

1 stick butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup sugar

1/2 dark run

For the cake, preheat over to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour (important, as I've had this cake stick in a Teflon coated pan and its not pretty) 12 cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts on the bottom of pan. Combine all other cake ingredients. Beat for 2 minutes on high with electric mixer. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool in pan. Invert on serving plate. Prick top with fork and drizzle glaze over the top of cake. Watch as it pours over the sides and makes a pool in the center. If you like, use a brush or spoon to put the dripping back on the cake.

Glaze: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum. PLEASE BE CAREFUL as the run will cause steam and you don't want to burn yourself. You want to drink your cake, not wear it.

Happy New Year!

(This post was first published on 1/3/13.)