I'm glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Meet Christine Warner

This week, it's my pleasure to introduce you to Christine Warner. Even though we live in the same state and not that far from each other, I’ve only known her through the Internet. One of these days, we’re going to have to meet in person.

Welcome, Christine.

Tell us a little more about yourself.

Okay, I’ll nudge you if you start to nod off! Lol I live in Michigan along with my husband. Two of our 3 kids live at home and we share our space with a much loved assortment of cats and dogs. I love to cook, read, laugh and people watch. I can’t even begin to name all of the interesting people quirks I’ve seen that have helped me when writing.

Other than that I am slightly addicted to social media, chocolate and coffee and enjoy meeting and talking with other authors and readers and pretty much anyone in general!

How long does it take you to write a book?

I haven’t written very many, but they have ranged in time from 3 months to a year. The one that took me a year was my debut novel Some Like it in Handcuffs and I believe it took so long because every time I learned something new about craft, I went back into the story from the beginning to apply it.  I would like to write faster, but it all depends on my time and how easily the words flow.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

It’s funny really how story ideas can come from just a phrase you might hear or even a commercial buzzing in the background, but most of my ideas come to me while I’m driving. I have no idea why. Generally a title will pop into my head and I’ll weave an entire plot and storyline around a few words. As for information about the stories I write, I would have to say a lot of things are just based on life experiences—either my own or things I’ve heard when talking to others—and of course Google!  Lol 

I know what you mean. Driving alone is very conducive to weaving plots or the solution to a problem I’m having with a plot. What do you think makes a good story?

To me I think great characters make a good story. Flawed characters complete with oddities and quirks. There needs to be some baggage, but not overdone. They have to be real. When I’m reading a character or writing one I have to think of them as living and breathing people. I need to know that if I met this person they’d hold my interest enough that I’d want to have a conversation with them, or better yet become friends.

You are so right. Love flawed characters. They are so much more real than a “perfect” character. What do you enjoy most about writing?

I think I pretty much love every aspect of writing. Some days I have to admit there are things I love more than others, but usually it’s balanced!  Lol  I guess if I had to pick one thing, what I enjoy most is starting a new story. Getting to know the characters, flush out the scenery and descriptions and start the attraction and chemistry between the hero and heroine as soon as they meet.

What do you enjoy most about life?

My family. I love being close to my kids and my own siblings and enjoy our time together. Our time together is full of laughter, fun and teasing. There is nothing better.

That’s great. I’ve lived away from family for a long time so I envy you the physical closeness. If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?

I wanted to write from the moment I won an essay contest and then a young author’s award in elementary school. I thought about it off and on for years, but life got in the way with jobs, marriage, children and everyday life and I kept pushing my dream aside. So, if I could go back, I’d tell my younger self to just go for it!  Don’t put it off…even if you take it slow at least you are learning, growing and improving and ultimately you’ll reach your goal.

Great advice. Seize the day. Is your muse demanding?

No. I don’t really know if I believe in a muse—at least for me. I know some author’s can describe their muse or know if it’s a man or a woman, but truthfully to me a muse is your own wants, desires and goals. So, in answer to your question, I would have to say that some days I’m harder on myself and more demanding, and other days I just want to hang out and read or watch a good movie and forget about writing! lol 

What are some jobs you’ve done that would end up in a book?

In Two-Timing the Boss, the heroine Farah Smith works in an office. I’ve always worked in an office so that was a no-brainer for me. I haven’t held many other jobs than that though besides working fast food when I was in high school along with some retail.  You can stop yawning now!  lol

List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.

I love true crime so definitely Ann Rule. As for romance, which I also love to read, I can’t pick just one favorite…there are too many good ones out there.

Isn’t that the truth! Tell us about your latest book.

Two-Timing the Boss is a sexy, contemporary romance.

Here’s the blurb: 

Farah Smith is on a mission: secure the funds for her twin sister’s surgery. She’ll do whatever it takes to succeed. Even if that means putting her values aside to work for a man she finds morally bankrupt. But when the real Farah meets her new boss, she wonders if she’ll be able to resist his sexy advances long enough to help her sister.
From the blonde wig, to the stilettos strapped around her ankles, Farah’s a clone of Keller Donovan’s harem of past assistants. She can’t believe she’s let herself be talked into the disguise, let alone working for the man planning to demolish the hospital her sister so desperately needs, but the salary he offers is the only way she’ll be able to afford her sister’s surgery. The moment Farah meets Keller she realizes her most daunting task isn’t typing, spreadsheets or organizing travel arrangements, but fighting the growing attraction toward a man whose ruthlessness is legendary in the boardroom as well as the bedroom.
Determined not to end up in a disastrous marriage like his divorced parents, Keller believes all relationships should have a shelf life of sixth months or less. But when he meets Farah, all bets are off. He not only wants her to continue as his personal assistant, but his own private bed warmer. Unfortunately, his offer of an affair doesn’t sit well with her fairytale dreams or the strangled hold gripping his heart.

EXCERPT from Two-Timing the Boss:

These damn shoes would be the death of her.  She could read the headlines now:  Penniless P.A. Falls to her Death while on Job Interview.
Almost to her destination, with no more mishaps, her confidence surfaced.  Okay, maybe mastering this heel thing wouldn’t be such a big deal.  Her steps became light, almost bouncy.  Although she sensed Keller Donovan behind her, she didn’t let it deter her feeling of success.  She stepped onto the large black and red area rug, less than ten feet from her target.  The leather chairs.
“Oh!”  Farah’s spiky heel caught on the edge of the expensive rug.  Her legs shook and she shot her arms out from her sides, circling them like a bird about to take flight.  She fought to regain balance inside the ridiculous stilts strapped to her feet.  A brawl to the death.  Over when she looked down to see the rug coming up to kiss her face.  She threw out her hands, sucked in a breath and closed her eyes, scrunching her face as she prepared for impact.
But nothing happened.  There were stars all right, and a blazing jolt of electricity shot from her toes, up her legs, through her body and exited with the small gasp which escaped her lips.  Somehow Keller Donovan had grabbed her around the waist before she met the floor. 
Heat burned her cheeks.  He may have saved her body from bruises, but her ego, and whatever confidence she’d walked in with had shattered.
“Let’s not have an accident before your health benefits kick in.”  His breath tickled her ear from behind.  Chills hugged her backbone.
His touch released an unsettling flutter in her abdomen.  She sucked in her stomach from the pressure of his strong arms wrapped around her middle, afraid to breathe. 

What a great excerpt. I can really get a feel for her character. Now where can we find your book?

Two-Timing the Boss is available in print and digital format at:
The Wild Rose Press http://tinyurl.com/bmou2xx

And where can readers find you?

My blog/website:  http://christine-warner.com/
Twitter under ChristinesWords: https://twitter.com/#!/ChristinesWords
My Facebook page…stop by and give it a LIKE to stay informed of what I have in the works: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Warner/143430882396013

I love to hear from readers and other authors :)

Christine, it’s been great having you here. Thanks for coming.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What to do with the rest of my life

Many of us have our bucket lists. Thanks to the movie of the same name, we now know what to call our things-we-want-to-do-before-we-kick-the-bucket. Our dreams, our aspirations, our somedays. Every time I hear the word “someday” I think about a line in the movie Knight and Day (a fun adventure comedy) where the hero says someday is code for never. When I heard that for the first time, it really hit me. How many times do we say “someday I’ll do this” or “someday I’ll visit there”? Do we really mean never?

What’s stopping us from going after the things we want to do? Time? Money? Fear? Money might be a big deterrent. Understandable. Isn’t that’s what savings are for? A little money set aside each day/week/month adds up over the years. Time could be another thing holding us back. A round-the-world cruise when you only have two weeks’ vacation is a tad difficult. Retirement seems to be the time to realize our dreams, our somedays. We certainly have the time. Money is another story. But, if after taking into account our everyday expenses and if there is enough money for one or more items on our bucket list, what’s stopping us? Is it fear?

Fear is paralyzing. It stops us in our tracks, holds us back. We can come up with 9 million (my favorite number) excuses why we can’t do something. Take travel. I’m sure you’ve heard the excuses. I don’t know the language. I won’t like the food. I might get sick. Or maybe an item on the bucket list is something we want to accomplish—graduate from college (or get an advanced degree), play the piano, paint a picture, write a book. The excuses are rampant. It will take too long to finish. I don’t know how. I won’t be good. I’d have to take lessons/classes. I don’t have time to practice. I’m too old to learn new tricks.

Nineteen years ago, my dream was to publish a book. I took classes, attended workshops, learned a lot, made mistakes, got rejections, kept writing. Eleven years ago, my first novel was published. That was so great I had a new dream—publish another. More rejections, more classes/workshops, more mistakes. Dejection. Quit. That’s right. I said the heck with this. Why keep banging my head against that wall. But inside the light of that dream didn’t quite flicker out. I did start writing again—for fun and because a writer has to write.

A year ago, I started thinking—if I’m ever going to fulfill my dream I’d better get going. If going the traditional route to publishing didn’t work, then what about a non-traditional way? At that time, I’d only heard a little of the buzz about independent (self) publishing, but encouragement from some friends made me check it out. That opened up a whole new world. I could accomplish my dream. I reissued my out-of-print first book, Switched, as an e-book. I finished the sequel, Switched, Too and published it, again as an e-book. Learning how to independently publish took time, patience and work. Like anything else, the more you do something the better you get at it. I have two more books in the works--another sci-fi romance (to be released in November) and the concluding book in the Switched series (to be released early next year). Next month, I plan to release Switched, Too in print. The learning curve for that DIY project was much steeper. But, who says old dogs can’t learn?

Actively going after a dream was brought sharply to mind recently. One of my uncles passed away after a long bout with cancer. He was my dad’s youngest brother and only ten years older than me. Last night, I learned that a fine lady I used to work with as a Girl Scout volunteer passed away. She was ten years younger than me. Now, if my uncle’s passing wasn’t a wake-up call that time is passing, this latest news was.

I guess the upshot about ticking things off the bucket list is asking ourselves a simple question: if not now, when? We never know how much time we have, so when are we going to do them? What’s holding us back?

On Thursday, my guest is Michigan author Christine Warner. I hope you’ll come back to meet her.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Meet Author Alicia Dean.

I’d like you all to meet my friend Alicia Dean. We met after I found out about a truly helpful group she started called “Authors Helping Authors”—what a great opportunity to work with such talented and generous people and she is extremely generous with her time. Alicia and I discovered a mutual passion, Major League Baseball. Even though we don’t root for the same teams, I like her anyway. :)
Please welcome Alicia Dean.

Alicia, please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m divorced with three grown children. I live in Edmond, Oklahoma where I’m a legal assistant for a family law firm, in addition to being a writer. I’m a huge Elvis Presley fan, and I love MLB and the NFL. If you look closely, you’ll see a reference to one or all three in pretty much everything I write. If I could, I would divide all my time between writing, watching my favorite television shows-such as Dexter, Vampire Diaries, Justified, and True Blood-and reading my favorite authors...Stephen King, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Lisa Gardner to name a few.

What’s your latest project?

My suspense short story, Thicker than Water just came out with The Wild Rose Press. It’s part of a collaboration with my fellow OKRWA chapter members. A group of us wrote (or are writing), short stories with the common thread of an ancient cursed doll and--other than the originating story which took place in the early 1700’s--the stories are all set in or have ties to Oklahoma. The stories span all genres, so there isn’t always a paranormal theme. The doll can just be considered ‘bad luck’ or just a prop in the story where the legend is mentioned; All those who betray you will suffer. Only true love can break the curse…So far, we’ve had 8 stories accepted, if I’m not mistaken. Most of these were by previously unpublished authors. It’s been an amazing, fun experience for everyone involved.

I also recently released Lady in the Mist, a gothic mystery novella under the pen name, Winter Frost. Author, Mel Odom, and I plan to write a series of gothic mystery novellas under the same pen name, and the first one out is my story.

I’m currently working on a sequel to Soul Seducer.

I thoroughly enjoying three of your books. Death Notice and Soul Seducer are a mystery and a paranormal, respectively. Lady in the Mist reminds me of Victoria Holt’s gothic mysteries (one of my favorite genres). I love the cover for Thicker Than Water. That's definitely on my To Read list. What draws you to write in different genres?

Partly the challenge, and partly because it allows me to write the kind of stories I love to read. My favorite genres are Suspense, Paranormal and Gothic, so it just makes sense to write them.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer as far back as I can remember, probably when I first discovered stories like Pippi Longstockings and Amelia Bedelia. I wrote my first romance when I was around 10 or 11.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Very haphazard. :) I’m involved in so many different projects and with my full-time job, in addition to being an editor, I just have to grab time when I can. My favorite time to write is in the mornings, but I don’t always get up early enough to write before time to leave for my day job. I do most of my writing on the weekends.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

They just pop into my head. Sometimes I’ll read a news story that will trigger an idea, but usually, I have an idea of what kind of story I want to write, and I mentally consider several scenarios until something pulls at me.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing (besides watching Major League Baseball)?

I love to read, I used to play golf, but haven’t in a long time. I’d like to get back to that. I enjoy watching television in general, not just MLB. :) I enjoy hanging out with my kids, my writer friends and other friends, and my family.

Where can readers can find you?

On Twitter: @Alicia_Dean_
They can email me at: AliciaMDean@aol.com

Now for a treat. Here are blurbs about Alicia's latest releases.

Lady in the Mist:

Upon her arrival in Shoal Harbor, Maine, Lily Jackson hears eerie moans that the locals claim are the ghostly cries of the unfortunate Breckenridge women. Running from loss and setback in Cincinnati, Lily needs the job as semi-psychiatric caregiver for Andrew Breckenridge, but the storm she has to weather from the oldest Breckenridge brother is severe. Clinton Breckenridge is a brooding man used to getting his own way, and he’s not convinced Lily is the right person to help his troubled younger brother.

Even as Lily starts picking up the pieces of Andrew’s tortured psyche and finding out his dark secrets, another mystery looms before her. Andrew’s lover has gone missing in recent months and no one knows what has happened to her, or if her voice has joined those of the other Breckenridge women. Before she knows it, Lily finds herself in danger—thrust directly into the eye of the raging storm.

Lady in the Mist is available for:

And now for Thicker than Water:

Sometimes, secrets refuse to stay buried--

A ten-year-old accidental killing and an ancient cursed doll are only part of Julia Bennett’s problems. When she returns to her hometown of Covington, Oklahoma for an old friend’s funeral, she’s thrust into the middle of a murder case--and discovers she never stopped loving her high school sweetheart.

Jake Devlin is now the sheriff of Covington and faced with solving a murder. He isn’t surprised to find Julia in the middle of things. She still seems like the troublemaker whose reckless mistake caused a man’s death years ago--and who broke his heart when she left him without so much as a goodbye.

Jake makes it clear he’s over her, and Julia can’t wait to leave Covington behind. But when another friend dies, she knows she must stay. Can they put the past behind them and stop a killer before he claims another victim?

Thicker Than Water is available at:

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/Ny9ptx

Alicia, thanks for coming. It’s been great getting to know you better.