Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Cover Reveal: "Main Attraction" by Ava O'Shay

Title: Main Attraction
Author: Ava O’Shay
Genre: contemporary erotica romance
Release Date: November 25, 2013
Blurb: Jessica Hunter lost her heart and her husband at the same time. He died, and she discovered his infidelities, leaving her a shattered mess.
     Five years later, Jessica still isn’t interested in a relationship. That is, until she meets sexy, lead actor Penn Jackson on the set of a popular tween movie—and her life gets turned upside down. Swept away by Penn’s carefree attitude, she lets him into her heart—and her bed—even though Penn warns her that being with him will change her life.
     Penn’s warning doesn’t mean much to her. But when his publicist begins a campaign to get rid of her, and a trip to the emergency room turns into a tabloid explosion, she doesn’t just lose her anonymity, but also her job. Now, Jessica will have to choose between the man she loves and the life she’s always known.

You can add Main Attraction to your to-read list on Goodreads

About the Author:
Ava O'Shay grew up in the north Seattle area but now resides on a hill in the heart of the city so she can be inspired by the sights and sounds of the Seattle waterfront. She loves the outdoors and gets most of her inspiration during long bike rides and kayaking adventures with family, friends, and her three dogs which she loves like children. She can be found on the balcony of her home, wrapped in warm sweater people watching in the winter and enjoying the concerts at the Seattle Center in the summer, while typing on her pink computer.

You can find and contact Ava O’Shay here: 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Review: "Country Affairs" by Shauney Watson

It was the title which drew me towards this book instead of any of the other – what feels like hundreds – of books I have to review. I’m now glad that it was this book I chose over the others because it was a great read.

Firstly, let’s talk about the characters. I would say that Elsie and Tom are the main characters but, Mags, Bobby and Zen are also quite major characters in this novel. All of these characters are engaging in their own different ways. Elsie is a sixteen year old girl who most teenage girls would be able to relate to. All of the main characters have their own personality and traits which make you want to read more about them.

The novel was set in a village in the countryside. It seemed like almost all of the villagers had a part to play in this novel. Unfortunately I think this story had a few too many characters in it. After a while things begin to get confusing and the author is constantly having to remind us who each of these people are which ruins the flow of the novel. However, saying this, I do like the setting of the novel. The little countryside village, its shops and the stables is a great setting for this novel.

Half the reason I could only give this book four stars was because of the writing and grammar. The writing was ok, but at points it didn’t flow particularly well and the grammar wasn’t up to scratch. However, as I got further into the book the writing began to flow and I ended up reading the second half of the book in two large chunks.

I liked the general plot idea. The countryside village, it’s neighbours with their individual romances and the stables was a good combination for the novel, it worked well. However, I did think the plot was quite childish and a tad unbelievable. How many people would base their ‘life’ decisions around the ideas of a sixteen year old girl? I just don’t think it would happen.

To sum up, I would give this novel four stars. I would recommend this novel to teenage girls (and boys if they like this kind of thing), but I personally don’t think it’s the sort of thing an adult would read.

(4/5 Stars)

Friday, 18 October 2013

Interview: Shauney Watson

What have you had published?
I have one book published, ‘Country Affairs’, which is to be the first in the ‘Hunterton Series’.
What genre(s) of book do you write?
‘Country Affairs’ is a chick lit set in the Scottish countryside. Initially, I wrote it as a young adult book, but as the characters developed, I began to think of it as a chick lit for any age, even though the protagonist is only sixteen.
What inspired you to write your first book?
‘Country Affairs’ came about when I was studying for exams one day. I was sitting with all my books and notes in front of me, looking for something – anything – to distract myself from spending the next hour reading about mitochondria, or whatever it was I was studying. That ‘thing’ came in the form of a sticky note. I doodled on it two people and a big rickety house – in such detail, I might add, I was suitably distracted for the next hour or so.
     This was the start of Elsie, Mags and CalverBay House, the basis of my first ever novel. A few months later, once my exams were finished, I found that sticky note (thank goodness I never tidy up!) and it started me thinking. I’ve always loved telling stories so it was quite natural when one started forming in my head from seeing these two characters standing in front of their house. From there, I wrote the first eighty pages of ‘Country Affairs’ – then, simply called ‘CalverBay’.
     I have to explain now, I am a perfectionist. I might procrastinate and leave things messy in my wake, but when I set my mind to something, it has to be done perfectly. For this reason, I became so disheartened when I read over my first eighty pages, I promptly gave up. To me, they were simply awful – nowhere near as good as all those authors I admired. I decided I clearly wasn’t able to write so there was no point in continuing.
     About a month later, I was going through some old files on my computer and I came across the ‘CalverBay’ document. Without opening it, I right-clicked and scrolled down to the delete button. When I tell you I was this close to clicking, I mean I literally had my finger hovered over the button. What stopped me, I have no idea, but for some reason I opened the file instead, and started reading. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d first thought – it wasn’t brilliant, but it did have promise.
     I carried on writing and, although it got tough and I sometimes lost a bit of faith in myself, I kept going. That was Summer 2012 and here we are, Autumn 2013, and I’ve caught the writing bug for good. I doubt I’ll ever stop!
How long did it take you to write “Country Affairs”?
In all, it took me just over a year to get ‘Country Affairs’ to the point where it could be published. Most of that was editing. It was my first novel so I was (and still am) trying to find my writing voice – for this reason, a lot of editing had to be done just to make the book flow consistently.
What is the working title of your next book(s)?
My next book will follow on from ‘Country Affairs’ and will be called ‘Picture Perfect’. It’s going to have a different set of main characters but it’ll still be set in the same village with all the same villagers. In my head, I see one more book after ‘Picture Perfect’ to round off the series, but who knows, maybe there will be a fourth…
When and why did you begin writing?
It might sound a bit clichĂ©, but I have always loved writing. I’d write stories on scrap pieces of paper as a child and staple them together to turn them into books - I just desperately wanted to be an author, even at that age. This, combined with the endless stories I’ve fallen in love with throughout my life, inspired me to pick up a pen and get writing my own – I wanted a piece of the magic that people get from books to come from my pen.
Do you self-publish your books or go through an agency?
I self-published my book. I considered sending queries to agencies but I’m not, and don’t plan to be, a full time writer. Self-publishing seemed like the most flexible way to get my book to readers. I also know just how hard it is to get your book noticed by an agency and I figured, in the time I would spend waiting for replies, I could be selling eBooks instead.
What part of writing books do you find the hardest?
For me, the hardest part about writing books is the ‘mood factor’. Personally, I have to be ‘in the mood’. The best way to describe this is if I was to think about writing when I’m in the mood, I’d have an urge to grab a pen or the laptop and just write. Doesn’t matter what, I just want to write. The words flow, I don’t really have to try and the end result is always good. However, if I force myself to write when I’m not in the mood, it’s like a car crash in slow motion. And the end result is always awful. Sometimes I’ll go days without being in the mood and that’s the hard part because I feel like I should be writing – especially if I’ve set a deadline for myself. Some writers, I’ve found, can write every day for hours at a time. For me, it’s just not that easy unfortunately.
What do you do in your spare time?
Aside from writing, I look after a lot of horses, so in my spare time I ride. I live in the countryside so it’s not difficult to just hop on a horse and go for a gallop somewhere. I guess it’s another thing which inspired my novel!
Who is your favourite author?
It’s difficult to pinpoint my favourite author. I adore Debi Gliori’s children’s books about an Italian family who live in a Scottish castle alongside their dragons, beasts, frozen ancestors and talking spiders. I really do aspire to be able to tell a story like Gliori does. It really doesn’t matter what age you are – these books are so fantastically written, they appeal to anyone. I also love Fiona Walker’s Lodes Valley books – I think she started my love affair with country-set chick lit. Humour, romance, muddy boots and sweaty horses – what could be better?
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t try to be a writer you’re not. It’s all very well reading Pride and Prejudice and deciding you want to write like Jane Austen, but if you don’t naturally write in that style, the end result is going to sound really really bad. Your work will never be outstanding if you’re not true to who you really are. Spend a bit of time finding your own unique voice and I can promise you, your work will sound so much better for it. Trying to copy another writer’s style is only going to cast their shadow over your work, and then it will never stand out.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Review: "Dirty Tricks" by Xandra James

A short story which you can enjoy all in one sitting. An imaginative story. “Dirty Tricks” contains an original plot, characters which you grow to love and some light sex scenes.

Xandra James has a nice writing style. The writing flows well most of the time and there are only a few errors here and there but nothing large enough to make the story unreadable. The snippets of humour she puts in throughout the story create an enjoyable read.

I’d recommend this story to anyone who likes a quick romance with a happy ending.

(3.5/5 Stars)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Blog Tour: Sweet 'n Steamy Blog Tour

Book Title: Jilted
Author: Kara Leigh Miller
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 9.15.2013
Length: 49K
Heat Rating: Hot

Book Blurb:
Amy and Brett have been friends since they were kids; and their friendship has withstood the test of time. But can it withstand Brett's fiancée, Vanessa?

Brett Hudson has often wondered what it would be like to be more than Amy's friend, but when he's chosen as the newest professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars, he meets Vanessa, one of the shows costume designers and it's a whirlwind romance that ends in a wedding proposal. As the big day draws closer, Brett begins to think that marrying Vanessa might be a bad idea. She wants him to give up Amy. Completely. Will he give up his best friend for the woman he's supposed to marry?

Amy King is heartbroken to learn that Brett is marrying another woman. But, when Brett is jilted at the altar, he begs Amy to go on his honeymoon with him. A week on a tropical island with her best friend, the man she's fantasized about for years is a dream come true for Amy. But when Brett suggests crossing the line from friends to lovers, Amy is reluctant. Will she risk years of friendship for one night of passion?

Buy Links: AmazonBarnes& Noble 

"It's because you go for the wrong type of guy," Brett said matter-of-factly, pouring a third shot down his throat. "Those muscle bound jocks are all bark and no bite. They look good on the outside, but they're a mess on the inside."
            Amy threw a piece of ice at him and laughed. "And the goody two shoes, school teacher types you date are much better?"
            "Nope." He grinned. "Which is why we're both still single."
            She sighed. "Yeah, so much for my dream of having kids."
            "You're young. I'm sure you'll find someone." He drank his last shot and chased it with his beer.
            "I'm thirty, Brett. By the time I find a man, date him, and get married, I'll be an old hag with no viable eggs."
            The thought of Amy finding a man to marry and have kids with didn't sit well with him. He couldn't stomach the thought of losing her. "I'll tell you what." He leaned across the table and pointed at her. "Three years from now, if neither of us are married, I'll marry you and give you as many babies as you want." Brett's words were slurred. Yup. He was definitely drunk. He wouldn't have made that proposition otherwise.
            "Yeah right." Amy rolled her eyes. "You and me? That would be like fucking my brother. Thanks, but no thanks."
            He flinched at her words. "You think of me as your brother?" That bothered him a lot more than it should, especially considering he'd never once thought of her as a sister.
            She shrugged. "We're best friends. How else would I think of you?" Amy glanced away, and then set her gaze on him again. "Why? How do you think of me?"
            Oh shit! He hadn't expected the conversation to backfire on him like that. What was he supposed to tell her? That he thought of her as a best friend that he wanted to fuck? No, he definitely couldn't tell her that. "As a friend, I guess. I don't know. It's not like I sit around and think about how I should think of you. You're Amy."
            "And you're drunk."
            "Maybe a little." He grinned. "So, do we have a deal or what?"

Author Bio:
Kara is a multi-published romance author who dabbles in young adult, new adult, paranormal, and contemporary romances. However, her genre of choice will always be erotic romance. She's a member of the CNY Writers Haven and the Romance Writers of America. Writing is her passion and she loves to share her knowledge and enthusiasm with her fellow authors and her fans.
Today, Kara resides in Upstate New York with her husband, five kids, three cats, and two dogs. When she's not reading or writing, she's spending time with her family and friends.
Nothing excites Kara more than hearing from her fans. So, send her a note. She'll go total fan girl over it!

Social Media Links:

My Review: 
Kara Leigh Miller never fails to impress. Another fantastic and engrossing read.

I loved the characters from page one. Amy and Brett are the ideal couple. It seems like everyone but Amy and Brett can see that. Kara Leigh Miller has you experiencing a range of emotions as Amy and Brett experience the ups and downs of true love. I couldn’t put this book down.

Another original story complete with more than its fair share of hot sex. If you haven’t read ‘Jilted’, what are you waiting for?

(5/5 Stars)

Book Title: Halo's Wish
Author: Sharon Kleve
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Christmas Romance
Release Date: 9.15.2013
Length: 11K
Heat Rating: Sweet

Book Blurb:
Halo Ann Carlyle wishes for a home, family, and a boat-load of pets. What she gets is a bruised hip, a lump on the head, a broken ankle, and her new yellow Honda Civic is demolished.
 Rich McFarland, a sexy veterinarian, keeps showing up in the most unexpected places, promising everything she's ever wanted.
 Halo believes she only has time to pursue her career as a pet detective and must ignore her growing attraction to achieve her dreams.
 Will Halo trust her heart, and find a way to get both for Christmas?
Buy Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble 

She'd just placed another call through to Pemsky's office, which went straight to his voicemail, when the office door opened. Halo smiled and looked up into dreamy, gold-flecked green eyes, short sandy brown hair, a slight cleft chin, and full lips set in a hard line. Even with the stern look he had on his face, her hormones jumped into overdrive.
Mr. Dreamy cleared his throat—she must've been staring. In her most professional voice she said, "Good morning. How may I help you?"
He removed a piece of paper from his shirt pocket and unfolded the sheet.
"I was parked in front of the Beacon Hill Ale House and my driver's side mirror was sideswiped by one of Pemsky's Security's SUV's Friday night."
Halo loved the Beacon Hill Ale House. Every Saturday night the Ale House allowed local bands to jam together. That's where she'd met her last loser boyfriend. She'd had a lot of loser boyfriends. She's currently on a hiatus from dating, but she wouldn't mind jumping back into the dating game for this dream-boat.
He handed her the piece of paper.
"I wasn't able to get a look at the driver, but I got the license plate number of the vehicle that hit my car and drove away."
He emphasized the last part.
"I'm very sorry about your car. I'm sure Mr. Pemsky will be happy to cover the damage." Halo checked the company log and Pemsky's name popped up as the driver—she gulped.

Author Bio:
Sharon Kleve was born and raised in Washington and currently lives on the Olympic Peninsula with her husband.
Sharon is a writer of paranormal and contemporary romance. She loves romance. She loves reading romance, living romance, and especially loves writing about romance. She gets no greater feeling than watching her characters come alive in each other's arms. Most of all, she loves giving her characters the happily ever after they deserve—with a few bumps and bruises along the way.
One of her favorite things to do is picking up a new book and sinking into the story, immersing herself in the emotions between the characters. She hopes to inspire her readers the same way her favorite authors have inspired her.
When not writing, she can usually be found either curled up in her recliner with her cat and a good book, or in the kitchen baking sourdough bread or bagels.

Social Media Links:

My Review:
A short, fast paced story with an unsurprising plot that gets your heartbeat racing.

In fewer than fifty pages Sharon Kleve creates two main characters and a plot line which keeps you turning the page until the very end. I think most women (and men) can relate to Halo’s way of thinking. 

A believable story with a happy ending. A great holiday read.

(4/5 Stars)

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- Entrants must be 18 or older (or age of majority in your country) to enter and to win.
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-Respond by date to collect prize is 14 days from notification date.

Interview: Xandra James

ImageWhat have you had published? 
Dirty Tricks is actually my fifth title to be published, but this is my first dip into indie waters. My others books were all paranormal romances, the other sub-genre I love. Reluctant Revenge was my first and is probably still one of my favourites for that very reason! 
What genre(s) of book do you write? 
I write a bit of everything, really. As I said in my previous answer, contemporary and paranormal are the published titles, but I've written urban fantasy, light mystery and new adult. The log-line on my website says "Adventure…with a dash of romance" and I think that kinda sums me up. As long as I'm having fun, I'm happy, lol.
What inspired you to write your first book? 
School holidays for the very first book. My friend and I loved writing… stuff. And it just turned into a story. A very long story. That was my infamous, New Kids On The Block-YA-Romance-Mashup that, yeah. Is best left at that! The first time I finished an adult romance I was in my early twenties. I wrote a contemporary category romance that took me about 3 years. It's awful and has no plot whatsoever. This is made worse by the fact it's 50,000 words. Fast forward for the last time to around 2010 and I entered the Mills & Boon New Voices contest with a quirky little first chapter. It went absolutely nowhere, but inspired me to change it up, finish it and it turned in to Reluctant Revenge. The rest, as they say, is history.
How long did it take you to write “Dirty Tricks”? 
About 3 days to write it. And about 6 weeks to edit it! LOL. I like to write fast and get the first draft out there so I can fiddle around and make amendments etc. I find the editing much more satisfying than the writing part because I can see it coming together. 
What is the working title of your next book(s)? 
I have a few projects on the go at the moment. The next NANOWRIMO project that I'm shortly going to be outlining is a paranormal romance set in London, currently unnamed. I have a contemporary romance novel called Seducing the Enemy (working title!) which I'll be editing soon. And I have a short paranormal romance mystery series, currently un-named. So yeah. I'm a busy little bee who needs an IV of caffeine ;)
When and why did you begin writing? 
I've always been a reader, and it was a natural progression to write. I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing, now. I think my parents always kinda figured I'd be something like this too, as I stumbled through life, lol. They finally think I'm settled now that I'm writing. And my husband gets a quiet life now, too ;)
Do you self publish your books or go through an agency? 
My first 4 books were all through small publishing companies, and Dirty Tricks is self published.
What part of writing books do you find the hardest? 
The first draft. Making myself sit there, vomiting words when I think they sound like hell…well, it's hell. I hate it. My inner editor is telling me to stop constantly. I learned though, that if I do, I won't start again. So I need to keep going as quickly as I can. Sometimes this results in a lot of great words, other times I'll delete whole scenes when I'm editing. It's just the way it goes.
What do you do in your spare time? 
I love movies, and I love exploring London with my hubby. We have fun getting lost on the underground!
Who is your favourite author? 
I really have too many. I enjoy authors that not only make me turn the pages, but who make me smile, too. People like Janet Evanovich and Kerrelyn Sparks spring to mind, but there are lots.
What’s your favourite genre to read? 
I really enjoy paranormal romance but I'm picky. I adore contemporary too, and office romances are definitely my go-to books!
Do you have any advice for other writers? 
Read some recommended craft books (but don't go too mad and get obsessed!), read lots in all areas, write as much as you can-even when you don't want to, and never give up if it's what you really want. You need to have passion if you want to succeed in this business. And have a tough skin!
Is there anything else you’d like to add? 
I appreciate you interviewing me today, Katie. I've enjoyed myself!

About the Author
Multi-published author, Xandra James, has always wanted to write romance books. Even when she was sneaking peaks at the hot bits, too young to fully appreciate them, she dreamt of writing her own. 
Now, older and wiser, she's got the opportunity to project her slightly dark and wacky, British sense of humour onto others, whilst still writing the hot bits - bonus! 
When not writing, Xandra is thinking of excuses as to why she shouldn't be doing the housework, looking after a husband and cats that refuse to pick up after themselves and climbing the mountain in her house that's affectionately called her tbr pile. 
She currently holds the crown for Queen Procrastinator – something she's very proud of – so you can usually find her online, somewhere, when she really should be writing. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Blog Tour: "Love and Other Games"

Title: Love and Other Games (Collection)
Melinda Dozier, Ana Blaze, Aria Kane, Kara Leigh Miller
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Format: eBook

Love and Other Games Book Blurbs:

LOVE AND OTHER GAMES is a collection of four sexy new adult stories centered around athletes competing in the Winter Games by Ana Blaze, Melinda Dozier, Aria Kane, and  Kara Leigh Miller.

Worth More Than Gold by Ana Blaze
Amy Pierce, the klutzy sister and manager of America’s Skating Sweetheart, is used to being invisible. But when a friend drags her to a party near the Olympic Village, Amy catches the eye of a sexy Norwegian ski jumper. It’s a magical night, but an awkward next morning has her running. Everyone knows Erik Andresen’s best shot at an individual medal was back in 2010, before an injury pulled him from the competition. He’s there for his team, but a hot night and a remarkable final training session have him wondering if a gorgeous good-luck charm could give him another chance at the podium. With a little bit of luck, these two might have a shot at something worth more than gold.

Trouble With Gold by Melinda Dozier
US snowboarder and notorious prankster, Ty (Trouble) Madsen is only getting a taste of his own medicine when his Olympic teammates shackle him to a fence wearing nothing but his boxers.  Reception and protocol volunteer, Nadia Hoffman, gets up close and personal with the sexy snowboarder to rescue him, but she's not the kind of girl who lets her hormones get in her way.  A professional performance could help her land her dream job at Olympics Committee Headquarters, but her new assignment supervising the rambunctious US Snowboarding Team is making that difficult.  Can she see behind the snowman in the community center bathroom and into the warm heart of the man everyone calls Trouble?

The Girl Behind the Gold by Aria Kane
Greek aerial skier Lia Milonas’s parents are about to lose the family farm. Saving it means medaling and landing a huge sponsor. While her no-nonsense attitude has her well on her way to a medal, it hasn’t won her a place in fans' hearts. “Come back with a story that will make readers cry, or don’t come back.” This is what Brandon James’ boss told him before he left New York to cover the Winter Games for Moment Magazine. With a wink and a smile, he can charm his way into any invite-only party, but that career-making story is nowhere to be found – until he meets Lia. The two strike a deal that should get them both what they want - but neither would have guessed they’d also find what they need. 

Ice Gold by Kara Leigh Miller
Colton Campbell thrives on the fast paced, adrenaline rushed lifestyle of being an Olympic hockey player. Despite Brenna Jessup's abhorrence for the games and the athletes, she's hand-picked as the official photographer for the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team. When a faux pas by Brenna almost costs Colton his career, she owes him. Too bad for her, Colton doesn't want apologies -- he wants retribution! And he knows just how to get it -- and her -- in the process.

Social Media
Melinda Dozer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelindaDozier
Aria Kane on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aria_Kane
Kara Leigh Miller on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraLeighMille1

Swoon Romance (publisher) site: http://www.myswoonromance.com/

My Review:
Four short stories full of lust, love and laughter. Each story was enjoyable to read and hard to put down. All of the characters were easy to relate to and people that you want to read about. In each story I was routing for the characters to get together.
     Although the stories all had bits in common they were different in their own separate ways. To start with I was worried that the stories would be too similar to one another but they weren’t. A nice selection of short stories. I would highly recommend it.
(4.5/5 Stars)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Blog Tour: Rekindled Dreams

Title: Rekindled Dreams
Author: Linda Carroll-Bradd
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 7 October 2013
When museum curator Vena Fenton returns to her small Montana hometown, she’s forced to live under the same roof as Finnian Quaid, the star of more than one teenage fantasy. Finnian is now an environmental lobbyist, making a bid for senate, and is as dreamy as ever.

Finnian needs a more settled image if he wants to get ahead in the polls. In order to do that, he needs a wife. With Vena living under his roof, his problem seems solved. As the romantic sparks fly, there's more at risk than Finnian's political aspirations. Can they keep their eye on the prize, or will their growing love derail them both?

You can add Rekindled to your to-read list on Goodreads:

You can find more about Rekindled Dreams on the Entranced site, you can also find the buy links here as soon as Rekindled Dreams is available:

About the Author:
As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda now writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.

You can find Linda here: WebsiteBlogFacebookTwitterGoodreads

What have you had published?
To date, I’ve had 14 short stories and novellas published, plus five stories in confession magazines.
What genre(s) of book do you write?
I write sweet-to-sensual contemporary and historical romance, with a couple light paranormals tossed in the mix.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Frankly, I’d been reading a lot of short romances and after a few that had some bad writing and unsympathetic characters, I thought to myself—I can do this. At that time, I’d spent about 15 years in secretarial work and was proficient with business English. I had quite the surprise when I learned how different fiction writing was. That sent me to a creative writing class and the instructor said “write what you know” so I wrote about a heroine who operated a child-care home (because that was my profession). Such a bad idea! I learned I was much better off making stuff up but sadly, that first manuscript I finished has structural flaws and will probably never see the inside of a Kindle or Nook.
How long did it take you to write “Rekindled Dreams”?
This novel is not a true guide of how long I take to write a novel. I started this story when my youngest daughter was five years old and then paid her (age 24) to perform a polish edit on the story before I sent it out—so about 19 years. In between starting it and its release, I accomplished all the afore-mentioned publishing credits. But, on this story, I just got a bit sidetracked and kept tweaking it.
What is the working title of your next book(s)?
I’m working on a sequel to my December 2012 western historical, The Ring That Binds. This is the story of the older brother and is titled Entwined Hearts. I’m always brainstorming or plotting a couple stories at a time because when I get stuck on one story I hop over to another. Sometimes this works great for completion and sometimes not.
When and why did you begin writing?
I hit one of those landmark birthdays when I decided I wanted to use a different side of my brain. I was deep into volunteer work for my childcare profession and service work at our church but that wasn’t satisfying my creative itch. Knowing I had no talent for painting or drawing, I turned to writing. I must have filled two spiral notebooks with character biographies, setting descriptions, apartment layouts (complete with wallpaper samples and paint swatches), etc. before I wrote the opening narrative paragraph for my first story.
Do you self publish your books or go through an agency?
I have been lucky to have several publishers for my releases—Prism Book Group, The Wild Rose Press, Still Moments Publishing (company now closed), and I will have a November release through Decadent Publishing.
     This summer I released my first indie-published title, Capturing the Marshal’s Heart, a western historical.
What part of writing books do you find the hardest?
Developing enough conflict to sustain the word count. I want everyone to get along but that makes for boring books. All through my writing journey I’ve worked with other writers in critique or plot groups. This type of association (be it online or in person) is one I recommend to all writers. Because of the assistance I’ve received on boosting the conflict to create for the characters or sounding out a plot premise, or getting feedback on a rough draft, I continue to grow as a writer.
What do you do in your spare time?
Having 6 titles release since Thanksgiving 2012 has fined my promotional skills and left me with little spare time. But I recently rediscovered my love of crocheting and drug out all my scraps of yarn remaining for project long ago finished. As all yarn workers know, you get almost done with a project and the ideas start flowing about the pattern and color scheme for the next one. I’ve been working on baby afghans in the evenings when I’m away from the computer. Once I get a good supply, I plan to open an account on Etsy.
Who is your favourite author?
Favorite all-time author is Jane Austen, favorite contemporary author is a toss-up between Jill Shalvis and Kristen Higgins.
What’s your favourite genre to read?
A year ago, my favorite genre was thrillers written by Scandinavian authors and this year, it’s small-town romance.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
To write about characters and a plot that excite you—your enthusiasm will show in the story. Don’t write romantic suspense because you heard those titles sell well unless you are a rabid fan (meaning read a lot of romantic suspense stories) and know the expectations for that genre.
     Make sure that the work you put out there for a critique group or beta readers or through indie-publishing is the best you can make it. Each time a reader discovers (buys) your work, you are making your first impression and you want it to be a positive, happy one.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
My ultimate thanks go to the Romance Writers of America—an organization for aspiring and published authors that provides a monthly magazine, workshops, local chapters, and national conferences from which I learned most of my writing skills.