Monday, June 27, 2011

Writer's week

This week was to be an unforgettable week. I had been making plans to go to New York for the RWA Nationals Convention. This is the TOP convention for romance writers. There are workshops to be taken, lectures to be heard by guest speakers such as Brenda Novak or Sherrilyn Kenyon. Authors will be there to sign their books and groups get together in the evenings. A writer also had the chance to pitch to an editor or agent.

BUT- I am unable to go. They started selling tickets in January and I was unable to purchase mine until May. By then it was sold out. So, my two critique partner's and I decided to go to Michigan to Melissa's house and have a writer's week and then go to the Place Your Heart In A Book convention in New Jersey. A week after we made that decision, we got a letter from RWA letting us know that there had been some cancellations and if we still wanted to go, we could. We had three days to make the decision or pass it on to someone else.

That was a hard choice to make. But in the end, we decided to go with our new plan. Spend the week together writing and polishing our work. Get ourselves ready and then in October, we would all three attend the New Jersey conference. There are still lots of opportunities to pitch and take workshops.
So, tomorrow, I head to Michigan. I am so excited to meet with my CP's, Melissa Stark and Lizzie Walker, and spend our time being creative. My goal? I would like to get 20K written between Wednesday and Friday.

I think this is going to be a great 5 days with these ladies. I am very excited and know it will still be an unforgettable time! I will not promise to blog during this week, but I hope to and post pictures of our time together.

To my fellow writers who are in New York, please have a safe trip and an awesome time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

INTERVIEW with Author LEE ANN SONTHEIMER MURPHY

Today I’m interviewing Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy.


“Love Never Fails” released May 29,, 2011 – contemporary romance (Rebel Ink Press)


Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.

“Love Never Fails” is a second chance at love story. It’s about a couple separated for five years and then, when Reid Ramsey, the hero, needs Caroline, he calls her and she comes home, without even knowing why.


Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?

This one is contemporary romance. All of my titles, past, present, and upcoming are romance but I write a variety of romance, everything from contemporary to paranormal to “sweet” and everything in between.



When did you start writing toward publication?

I started seriously pursuing publication in the last year at college after an instructor told me that in his opinion I had the potential to become a writer.



Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?

Yes, I had several complete manuscripts. After about two years of sending out queries, partials, and full manuscripts to both publishers and agents, I found my first acceptance and the rest (I think the current count of contracted works is at ten) followed.



Why have you become a published author?

I love stories and I like to share stories. I write the kind of stories that I like to read.



Do you have any rejection stories to share?

Oh, there would be too many to choose one but I would tell anyone who wants to write to grow a thick skin and stick with it.



What is your writing routine like?


I get up early and take care of details (update my blogs, check e-mails, etc.) I have three kids who range in age from fifteen down to ten so I get them up for school, feed them, and get them started for the day. I spend most of the morning writing, then stop to take care of family details (marketing, cleaning, all that stuff).



What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?

I do all the promo I can. I have a background in media because I’ve worked in both print and broadcast media. I use social networking, take advantage of any low cost advertising opportunities online and in real life. One of my publishers, Rebel Ink, has a part-time publicity person who is amazing.


Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?

I think it’s the knowledge that people are reading my stories and liking them. It is also the validation for being recognized that I wasn’t just an eccentric lady scribbling because now I’m an author.


Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped ?

I am a member of RWA, Missouri Writers Guild, Ozark Writers League. They all help with networking, marketing suggestions, and more.

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?

Hang in there. Don’t give up on it. Grow a thick skin and keep writing.



What’s next for you?

I hope to continue to write and sell novels, gaining readers and recognition.



BOOK BLURB

Old love sometimes fades away...

When a late night phone call from the former love of her life interrupts

both her sleep and her otherwise quiet existence, Caroline Cunningham

finds she can’t refuse Reid Ramsay's request for help. As the call pulls

Caroline back to her small hometown and into the heart of the search for

Reid’s missing brother, Caroline finds the feelings she thought she'd

buried where Reid was concerned are indeed alive and well.



And sometimes it refuses to die...



Reid Ramsay is still in love with Caroline Cunningham. As they work

together searching for Reid's brother, Reid and Caro finding themselves

attempting to rebuild the life they once shared together. But their

future remains uncertain. Before they can find the happiness they seek,

each must work through the emotional baggage of the past and test the

theory they desperately hope rings true.



A little bit about the author
Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a full-time romance author. A native of the old historic city of St. Joseph, Missouri, one time home to both Jesse James and the Pony Express, she now lives and writes in the beautiful Missouri Ozark region. Her romance novels include Wolfe’s Lady (December 2010 Evernight Publishing), Love Tattoo, (March 2011, Evernight), Love Scars (June 2011, Evernight), Love Never Fails (May 2011, Rebel Ink Press), Kinfolk (July 2011, Champagne Books) and The Marriage Cure (Astraea Press). Other works scheduled for upcoming publication include four other novels, short fiction in several anthologies and more.

Her work also appears in nine anthologies to date. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Missouri Writers Guild, EPIC, The Ozark Writers League and Paranormal Authors Guild. She earned a BA degree in both English and History from Missouri Southern State University as well as an AA Degree in Journalism from Crowder College. She worked in broadcast media for a decade and has also worked in the education field.

She is married to Roy W. Murphy and the couple has three children, Emily, Megan, and Patrick Murphy.

If Lee Ann – or Lee as many of her writing friends know her – isn’t writing, she’s reading or spending time outdoors.

In Neosho, Missouri, the small town she now calls home, she serves on the local library board, is active in the annual Relay For Life fight against cancer, has worked with the local Arts Council, and is active in her parish


Excerpt

If he heard her coming, which she thought he must have he gave no indication, sitting with his back to her. His broad shoulders were tight beneath the old chambray work shirt he wore and his black curly hair was longer than she remembered, touching the collar of the shirt. She sat down next to him and put her hand on his arm.

“I’m here.”

At her touch, he turned and she felt the energy surge between them, electric as ever. Reid’s eyes, the deep navy blue she remembered so well, met hers and her anxiety melted.

“Caroline.”

His voice made her name an endearment.

They stared at each other as if they could bridge five years distance in a few moments and then he put his arm around her.

“You got here quick. I thought you might keep me waiting half the night.”

“You knew I'd come.”

“Yeah, I did.” It appeared he hadn't doubted her, even after the years of silence and separation and something deep within her stirred and rejoiced at that. Even now, it seemed he knew her well.

“Why did you have me come here, to the grotto?”

“Don’t you remember?” His voice was very soft.

“I do. This was our secret place, somewhere we came when we were troubled.”

Reid nodded. “We came here the day after my mom died.”

Caroline leaned against his shoulder, savoring the feel of his strength behind her, inhaling the long remembered but never forgotten masculine scent of him. En route, she worried that he was injured or ill but even though he looked tense, he also looked well.

“Are you all right?” She needed to know.

“I’m okay,” Reid said. He put his hand in the center of his chest. “That is, except for this pain I’ve had right here for about five years now. A deep, burning pain that never went away. Today though, it feels just a little bit better.”

She inhaled sharply, panicked at the idea of him having chest pains and then realized his heart trouble was romantic, not medical. Without analyzing it or planning what she'd say, she leaned forward.

“Maybe this will help it heal.”

She touched her lips to his, a very light kiss, her mouth barely touching his.

“It helps if it’s real,” Reid said, taking her face into his hands and kissing her with thoroughness that ignited fire in her veins. “Did you mean what you said on the phone?”

“I came, didn’t I?”

“You did, but do you?”

Her answer was a vow. “I do, Reid. I love you.”

He exhaled. “It’s about time you told me so.”





How can my readers buy your book?

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Never-Fails-ebook/dp/B0053CYRPO



http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-never-fails-lee-ann-sontheimer-murphy/1031334544?ean=2940012876034&itm=4&usri=lee%2bann%2bsontheimer%2bmurphy



http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-loveneverfails-550136-149.html



http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookStore/index.php?main_page=pubs_product_book_info&cPath=103&products_id=5310

http://www.manicreaders.com/index.cfm?disp=bookdetail&bookid=14802



Check out my book trailer at:

http://youtu.be/Nin7z4F2yEI

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Are you going to a conference this year?

This is going to be an exciting year for me as I begin a new chapter in my author career. Now that I have a finished manuscript, I have begun to query agents. But, there is so much more for me to do so that I can grow as a writer.


I have mentioned on here in previous blogs about workshops. I have taken “The Book Factory” and “Pitch like a Pro” by Author, Kerri Nelson, Microsoft Word class by Catherine Chant and two classes by Nicole North. One on how to write a great sex scene and building that sexual tension and another on writing with description. All were amazing classes and I highly recommend them.

This year, for the first time, I am going to attend a conference. The New Jersey “Put your heart in a book” conference is October 21-22, 2011 and I can’t wait to attend. Though October feels like a long ways away.

So, in preparing for my first conference, I found I had a few questions. Here to help me answer those questions are four wonderful ladies. Authors Eliza Knight, Renee Lynn Scott, Dorothy Muir, and Sidney Ayers.


***I want to thank you all for joining me here today and answering questions about this subject.***

RENEE- Thank you for having us.

ELIZA- Anytime, Sarah! Attending conferences is such a great way to network and to improve your writing as well as advance your career.

DOROTHY- Thank you for inviting me, Sarah. I’m really glad to be here.

SIDNEY- My pleasure. Thank you for inviting me.


***My first question is about the expense of the conferences. A person has to pay for the conference, lodging and travel. What other expenses are there and what can we do to keep the cost down?***



ELIZA-On top of conference/lodging/travel fees, you have to think about cab rides, food, alcohol, tips, souvenirs, extra hotel fees for internet, books—yes believe it or not you will buy books at either a literacy autographing or sometimes Barnes and Noble sets up shop with tons of awesome resources, notebooks, etc… These are the little things you don’t think about. I’m all about setting a budget, and sticking to it. You can try to share meals, or pack things like granola bars, water bottles—or purchase them along with fruit to have in your room to cut down on meal costs. Share cab rides. Start a tab at the bar so you tip on the final bill instead of tipping with each drink—drink moderately, say one or two drinks at cocktail hour, no need to get hammered anyway. For souvenirs, give yourself a budget, say $10 per person, or $20 for yourself. For the literacy autographing I always set a budget, and I spend no more than that amount, and for resource books, I also set a budget. The biggest thing is not caving in, and to leave yourself a little wiggle room, say an extra $50 just in case. I typically give myself $50 a day to spend when at conference. Sometimes I spend $0 on a particular day and sometimes I spend more, so it balances out.


RENEE-Don’t forget meals outside of conference. When I traveled to D.C I spent some time at a local pub with my friends. Drinks can be expensive. Have one and then stick with water. And don’t forget souvenirs. They’re not a necessity but since my family has never been on a vacation I thought I should bring something back.

SIDNEY- Depending on where the conference is located, you may have a tourist and/or entertainment expense. This year, since the RWA National Conference is in New York City, I plan to attend several tourist spots. One thing that I’ve always wanted to do in New York City is attend a Broadway show, so that’s one thing I’ll need to save some money for. Also, you may have some additional food expenses. The conference does provide some meals, but not enough to keep you properly sustained.

DOROTHY- Conferences present the opportunity for networking and making new friends, as well as getting to know editors and agents. That means you might spend more than you anticipated on coffee and drinks, depending on the conference and whether or not you’re a shy person. And if the conference offers any type of bookstore, you could find yourself drawn into spending money on books. Big conferences like Nationals can result in you spending a lot more than expected, but some of the smaller conferences can pack just as much informational punch and take less out of your wallet. If you want to minimize your expenses, take advantage of any paid meals offered by the conference, budget for everything (and stick to it!), and stay out of the bookstore!



***What should a person wear to a conference?***

DOROTHY- You can never go wrong with business casual. Some of the conferences are OK with jeans and casual wear, but some of the larger ones have a more professional atmosphere. Nice slacks and a good blouse can say ‘professional’ and still be comfortable. Much as we love what we do, it’s still a business. But make sure you have good, comfortable shoes! You’ll do a lot of walking.

SIDNEY- Clothes! Just kidding. You should wear professional attire. Nice slacks or skirts look nice. Dress like you’re going to work. Also, if you’re pitching, dress like you’re going to a job interview. I’m pretty sure the other ladies will say the same thing.


ELIZA- Business casual. It depends on the weather. Always pack a cardigan to easily slip on and off. For workshops, meetings, pitch sessions etc, I typically wear a nice pair of slacks (or nice capris/skirt) and a nice shirt. I pack an everyday outfit for sight-seeing. Pack a nice dress for awards ceremonies—depending on what other activities you have, you may have to pack more than one. For RWA this year, I need a dress for the RITA Awards and a dress for the Harlequin Ball. Wear comfortable shoes during the day, you’ll do a lot of walking and standing. Heels or nice flats for dinners. Whatever you do, don’t wear something uncomfortable. You don’t want to be worrying about discomfort while talking to other writers, agents/editors.


RENEE- I’m all about being comfortable, especially when it comes to shoes, but you should dress how you want to be perceived. If you want to be taken seriously as a writer you shouldn’t wear your jammies and slippers. Choose a basic color (black tends to work best) and then accessorize. If earth tones are your color then go for them. If red is your color . . . well you get the picture. Balance comfortable wear with business casual.


***When should we arrive and leave? How do we go about checking in?***


SIDNEY- I like to arrive at a conference a couple days early. It helps me get adjusted to the lay of the land and also gives me a little time to do the tourist thing. I usually leave the day after the conference closes. With the conference ending so close to Independence Day this year, I thought about extending the trip, but it would have put a big dent in my already dwindling pocket.

ELIZA- I always arrive a day or two early to settle in, relax, do some sight-seeing and meet up with friends before the whirlwind begins. I always leave the morning after it ends. By that time I’m exhausted and ready to go home.

DOROTHY- As for checking in, most conferences have a registration desk of some sort. I usually check in with the hotel first, so I can drop off everything I’ve lugged along with me. I try to register as early as possible, to avoid the last-minute rush and any conference stragglers.

RENEE-Gosh, checking in was a little overwhelming. I hadn’t left home in ages and I certainly hadn’t stayed at a hotel in over twenty years and my parents are the ones who had checked-in then. And then you have to find out where to register for the conference. Don’t forget that. You’ll want your packet and all the goodies.



***Will there be away for me to recognize my fellow Celtic Hearts Romance Writers members?


RENEE- It'd be nice if we were all required to wear a clan badge. I was fortunate enough to meet up with Sid! We'd known each other for a few years and she has such a lovely, memorable smile that it was easy to recognize her. As nervous as I was about the whole conference thing it was nice to see a familiar face.

DOROTHY- Well, first off, writers like to gab! That’s part of what we are, Celtic Hearts writers even more so, if you go by the loop traffic. Part of the standard introduction I give is my writing group affiliations. And a lot of conferences offer some kind of bulletin board system where members of different groups can post messages.

SIDNEY- Every attendee usually wears a badge with their name on it. Those badges may also include a listing of different RWA chapters they are a member of.

ELIZA- People where lanyard badges most of the time and pin their chapter/award/publisher pins to it. So you will recognize names, but you may also see the Celtic Hearts Chapter pin too on badges. But the best place to meet up with CHRW members will be at the annual get together at RWA. Not sure about the NJ Conference—although I’d be happy to set up an informal get together for cocktails!



***Are there meals included in the conference rate?***


DOROTHY- That depends on the conference. Every conference has a different budget, but a lot of them offer at least one meal. Something big like Nationals will offer more than one. Something local might only offer a boxed lunch.


ELIZA- This depends on the conference. For the NJ Conference, I believe that most of the meals are included. For RWA, there are a few coffee breaks in the morning, two luncheons, and I’m not sure about the RITA awards, sometimes they do dinner and sometimes they don’t.



***How do I go about getting an appointment with an agent or an editor?***
RENEE- If you don’t already have your appointment then you can hang out in the waiting area. There are often no-shows and you might get the chance to pitch to one of your top five.

SIDNEY-You can register for appointments at the RWA website. Also, during the conference you have the ability to sign up on site.



***How do I prepare for an appointment?***

DOROTHY- Practice. Lots of it! Pitch appointments are kind of like mini-interviews. You need to prepare to sell yourself as well as your story. It’s OK to be nervous. Those editors and agents are people too, so they understand if you stumble from nerves. The key is to be able to recover if you stumble, so know your story’s key elements inside and out, including the high concept. Pitch to your friends, especially non-writer friends. If they can understand your story, then so can an editor.

ELIZA- I write my pitch on a note card—I also write questions I want to ask the editor/agent. Then I practice aloud with a few different people. Whatever you do, just relax. They are regular people, they won’t bite.

RENEE- Is there such a thing? The best thing to remember is they are people too. Smile and sell your story. If you don’t do it chances are nobody else will, besides who knows it better than you?

SIDNEY- Practice! Practice! Practice! Be calm… relax. I usually take 3x5 cards with me to keep my pitch on track. Make sure to avoid the bar until AFTER you pitch.



***Will there be any workshops? What should I bring to those if you answered yes?***

SIDNEY- There are a ton of workshops. Bring a pen and paper to take notes.

DOROTHY- Workshops are what most conferences are about, so there will be plenty. I’d bring along a notebook and a pen. I’ve found workshops frequently cover material that’s not on any handouts. I like to jot notes a lot, and a spiral notebook helps me keep things organized.

RENEE- As I’m sure the others have already answered, there are tons of workshops. Some provide handouts but you’ll want to make sure you have pen and paper in hand just incase you need to take notes. Since some workshops offered hands on activities, I carried the first few pages of my manuscript with me.

ELIZA-YES! That is one of the biggest parts of conferences. There are TONS of workshops—and I mean dozens and dozens to choose from. More than you can attend, which is why they offer conference CDs. You should bring something to take notes with, some water, gum, tissues, business cards and a sweater.



***Is there anything else we should know?***

ELIZA- Have fun! Not only is this a great experience for networking and learning, but it is also a chance to be with like-minded individuals. A rare opportunity for many of us.

RENEE- Relax and have fun!
SIDNEY- If you can’t get to some of the workshops, don’t fret. You can purchase a conference CD that will have all the recorded workshops available to you. If you can’t afford the whole conference CD, I believe you can buy individual tracks. That being said, not all the conference workshops are recorded, so I would suggest attending those—especially if it is a topic you are interested in.

DOROTHY- Have fun! Conferences have a way of energizing you. So far, I’ve come away from every conference excited and inspired to write. And you’ll probably have a slew of new friends.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You may find more information about these authors at these locations.

ELIZA KNIGHT- http://www.historyundressed.blogspot.com/ or http://www.elizaknight.com/

SIDNEY AYERS- http://www.sidneyayers.com/ or www.sidneyayers.com/blog

DOROTHY MUIR- http://www.dorothymuir.wordpress.com/

RENEE LYNN SCOTT- http://www.nkothwb.blogspot.com/

Sunday, June 19, 2011

WINNER!

The winner for Donna Grant's autographed copy of UNTAMED HIGHLANDER is.......


CANDY G.!!!!

Congratulations! Please email me your name and address and I will get this info to Donna ASAP.



****NOTE- Winners have one week to get a hold of me or I will choose another winner. Thank you!***

Friday, June 17, 2011

INTERVIEW with Author DONNA GRANT

Today I’m interviewing award-winning, bestselling author Donna Grant. Her book, UNTAMED HIGHLANDER is a historical/paranormal romance and was released on April 26, 2010.




Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.

UNTAMED HIGHLANDER is the fourth book in my historical paranormal Dark Sword series about Highlanders who have a primeval god inside giving them immortality and special powers. Joining the Highlanders a Druids, each with a certain magic that corresponds with each Highlander to help end the evil threatening to take over the world.



UNTAMED HIGHLANDER features Highlander Hayden Campbell who had a distinct hatred for droughs, evil Druids. And it just so happens that the one person who can help defeat the evil is Isla, a Druid forced to become drough. The fireworks between the two are instantaneous.



Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?

It’s historical paranormal set in medieval Scotland. Scotland is my setting of choice, though I have written books set in medieval England as well. I also have a couple of fantasy romance books as well. I’m delving into the contemporary paranormal word, too.



What is your writing routine like?

I write Monday – Friday, at least 20 pages a day. I find that its best if I start fairly early in the morning. During the school year, I get up with the kids, get them breakfast and read emails. Hubby takes them to school, and I do my Facebook and other promo stops, and by 8:30 I’m writing. I stop for a break about 10:00 and do a workout, then I’m back to writing until lunch.

If it’s a good day, I’ve gotten all 20 pages done by lunch. If not, I finish up before the kids get home from school.


It takes me six weeks from the start of the book, through the first draft and revisions, until I turn it into my editor.



Are you a plotter or a panster?

A panster all the way. I cannot plot the book before hand and then write it, because to me, it’s already written. Half the fun is seeing where the characters are going to take me and what surprises they’ll throw my way.



What was the first book you ever wrote and has it been published?

My first book I ever wrote is gathering dust in my computer. It was set in Medieval England, and was a truly awful book. But I learned so much writing it. I wrote four more before I became published. It was that fourth book – HIGHLAND MIST, the beginning of my Druids Glen books – that set me on my path today.



Now that you have achieved you goal of publication, what is the most rewarding thing that has happened?

The thing about publishing is that your goals constantly change. First, it’s getting published, then its getting the next contract and the next and the next and so on. Then, you worry about gathering new readers. Your goals change to hitting lists and climbing out of the “midlist”.



The most rewarding thing is hearing from readers and listening to them talk about how much my characters have touched them. It’s truly a joy to share that with readers.



Are you a member of any writing organizations?

Yes. I’ve been a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) since 2000. Within RWA I belong to several chapters. I’m also a member of NINC (Novelist, Inc.).



That's Jimmy Thomas on the cover.
What sort of promo do you share? Do you have any help?

I have bookmarks always. And back in 2009 I wanted to do something different and began doing trading cards, or what I call Warrior Cards after my heroes. The next thing I know these trading cards are the next big thing and everyone wants them. 



Over the years I’ve done postcards, door hangers, buttons, and pens. We authors are always trying to find something that resonates with readers.



And I have a wonder designer – Croco Designs – who does all the design on my promo.



Do you have any rejection stories to share?

Lol. There are too many to even think about. I got one just the other day on a new proposal in a new genre. If there’s one thing about publishing that is true is that it’ll humble you.

In this business, you can’t ever give up. You just have to keep writing the best books that you can.



Do you have any encouraging words for the struggling writer still waiting to get that first contract?

Don’t give up. Keep writing. And above all else, keep reading. Oh, and learn the business.



What’s next for you?

I’ve got a lot coming out. SHADOW HIGHLANDER, book 5, hits shelves August 30th, and then DARKEST HIGHLANDER, book 6, hits January 31, 2012.



Then, the biggie. The spin off series – Dark Warriors – comes with two back to back releases.

MIDNIGHT’S MASTER – June 2012

MIDNIGHT’S LOVER – July 2012

MIDNIGHT’S SEDUCTION – November 2012

MIDNIGHT’S WARRIOR – December 2012



With more of my Warriors coming after that!



BOOK BLURB-

The Dark Sword series reins in the magic, passion, and fury of Scotland’s legendary warriors—for whom love is always worth fighting for...

DEVIL IN THE FLESH

Druid-born and magic-blessed, Isla is one of the deadliest she-devils ever to serve the forces of darkness. As an immortal Highland warrior, it’s up to Hayden Campbell to destroy her and her kind. But for Hayden, Isla is more than a sworn enemy. She is temptation...

ANGEL IN HIS ARMS

Taking Isla captive, Hayden hopes to avenge his kinsmen who died by Druid magic. But when he looks into Isla’s eyes, he sees the secrets of her past. When he touches her skin, he feels the passion in her soul. And soon Hayden comes to realize that this beautiful, beguiling woman is not his enemy at all—she is his destiny. And, even as the forces of darkness conspire against them, their love will conquer all...





EXCERPT-

Hayden leaned against a boulder and raked his hand through his damp hair. The snowfall had begun to grow more dense, the flakes thicker and heavier, but it didn't hamper his superior eyesight. They stuck to his eyelashes and covered everything in a blinding white blanket.



Hours went by with Hayden locating nothing but more dead. The fact they were most likely Druids only made the findings more difficult to bear. Druids might have magic, but they were susceptible to the elements as any human was, and thanks to Deirdre's affinity for killing them, the Druids were becoming more and more scarce.



A shout from Fallon let Hayden know it was time to return to MacLeod Castle. As Hayden began to turn away something caught his eye.



He paused and narrowed his gaze when a gust of wind lifted a lock of long, black hair in the snow. Though Hayden knew the woman was most likely dead, he hurried to her anyway, hopeful he would leave the mountain with at least one alive. He spotted the pool of bright red blood in the snow that gave him hope she was still alive.



"Fallon," he barked while scraping away the flurries and ice from around the small, much too slim body.



The woman was lying on her stomach, an arm bent with her hand near her face and matted ebony hair obscuring her features. Her fingers were slim as they dug into the snow as if she had tried to crawl away.



Hayden could only imagine the pain she had been put through, the heartache Deirdre had given her. He held his breath as he put a finger beneath her nose and felt a soft stirring of air.



At least they would leave the cursed mountain with one life. He reached for her and paused again. He didn't want to hurt her, but it had been so long since he had been gentle, he wasn't sure he knew how. All he knew was battle and death.



Maybe he should allow Fallon care for her. But as soon as the thought went through his mind, Hayden rejected it. He found her, he would see to her. He didn't know why, he just knew that it was important to him.



Hayden blew out a breath and slowly, firmly placed his hands on the woman's body before he tenderly turned her over. Her arm fell to the side, lifeless and still. Disquiet settled in his gut like a stone.



He shifted so that he leaned over her, shielding her from the onslaught of snow. Once he had her in his arms, Hayden brushed the hair from her face to see her incredibly long black lashes spiked with frozen snow.



He felt something shift inside him when he saw her face was pale as death, but even beneath the scratches, dried blood, and ice he could see her beauty, her timeless allure.



She had high cheekbones and a small, pert nose. Her brows were as black as the midnight sky and arched over her eyes. Her lips were full, sensual, and her neck long and lean.



But it was her cream colored skin, so flawless and perfect, that made him reach out and stroke her cheek with the back of his finger.



A shock of something primitive and urgent went through his body like a bolt of lightning. He couldn't take his eyes from her, couldn't stop touching her. Her body struggled for breath, struggled for life, proving she was a fighter. Even with the elements taking the breath from her one heartbeat at a time, she didn't give up.



Something inside him broke at that moment. He hadn't been able to save his family or the many Druids on Cairn Toul, but he would save this woman, whoever she was.



A feeling of protectiveness wound through him. It had been so long since he'd felt protective of anyone or anything that he almost hadn't recognized the emotion. Now that he did, however, it grew stronger the longer he held her in his arms.



He would make sure she survived. He would ensure she was protected at all times. It wouldn't make up for the lives of his family or the Druids, but he had to do it.



Hayden found himself wishing she'd open her eyes so he could see them. He wanted to give his oath to her right then, for her to know that he would fight with her. Instead, she lay unconscious in his arms.



His vow would have to wait, but nothing could stop him from pledging himself to her.



"Does she live?" Fallon asked.



Hayden glanced up startled to find Fallon near when he hadn't heard him approach. That wasn't like Hayden, but then again, he had never held such a lovely woman in his arms before, especially one that needed him as she did.



"Just. She's bleeding badly, though I cannot tell where she is wounded."



"Judging by the blood on your hand, I would say somewhere on her back."



Hayden looked at the hand holding her and grimaced. He doubted they had much time to save her. For the first time in...ages...the need to defend, to shield someone consumed him, drove him. "She’s shivering."



"Then let's get her out of here," Fallon said.



Hayden lifted her small frame in his arms. She was light, but through her clothes he could feel the sumptuous curves that proclaimed her a woman. He gave a nod to Fallon and waited. Fallon laid his hand on Hayden's arm, and in a blink they were standing in the great hall of MacLeod Castle.



"God’s teeth!" someone yelled at their sudden appearance in the castle.



"Sonya!" Fallon bellowed.



The hall swarmed with Warriors, but Hayden only had eyes for the woman. He wanted, nay needed, her to survive, and was surprised to find himself praying – something he hadn't done since before his family's murder. He decided then and there he would protect her with his life.



He felt the warm stickiness of her blood as it traveled from his hand down his arm to his elbow to drop on the stone floor. Her breathing was ragged, her body so still he would think her dead if he didn’t see her chest rising and falling, slowly but surely.



"Sonya, hurry!" Hayden shouted. The thought of holding another dead body in his arms made Hayden's heart quicken with dread.



Death surrounded him, always had, most likely always would. But now, he wanted life for this small woman, whoever she was.



There was a whooshing sound as Broc landed in the great hall, Sonya in his arms. Broc folded his large, sleek indigo wings against him as he set Sonya on her feet and pushed his god down and returned to normal.



Sonya said not a word as she rushed to Hayden. The single, thick braid holding her fiery hair hung down her back with small tendrils curling about her face.



"Put her on the table," Sonya instructed him.



Hayden didn't want to relinquish his hold on the woman, but he knew he had no choice if he wanted her to survive. He glanced at her, at her parted lips and ethereal face. "She’s cold."



"And I'll get her warm as soon as I heal her," Sonya told him, her amber eyes meeting his gaze. "Let me heal her, Hayden."



Quinn took a step toward the table. "Broc-"



"I know," Broc answered.



Hayden looked between the two Warriors to find their gazes locked on the female in his arms. There was something in their tone, something he should recognize, but he couldn't focus on anything but the woman.



A little bit about the author.

Donna Grant is the award winning author of more than twenty novels spanning multiple genres of romance – Scottish Medieval, historical, dark fantasy, time travel, erotic, and paranormal.

Donna was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica and Mexico. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna's Cajun side of the family taught her the "spicy" side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin' and bareback riding.

Her childhood dream was to become a professional ballet dancer and study under the amazing Mikhail Baryshnikov. Though she never got to meet Baryshnikov, she did make it to New York City and performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Later, Donna’s love of the romance genre and the constant stories running through her head prompted her to sit down and write her first book. Once that book was completed, there was no turning back.

Donna sold her first book in November 2005 while displaced from Hurricane Rita, a storm that destroyed portions of the Texas Gulf Coast. Since then, Donna has sold novels and novellas to both electronic and print publishers. Her books include several complete series such as The Druids Glen, The Shields, The Royal Chronicles, the Sisters of Magic, and the Dark Sword series.

Despite the deadlines and her voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two young children, three cats, and one long haired Chihuahua. She's blessed with a proud, supportive husband who's learned to cook far more than frozen chicken nuggets.



How can readers buy your book?

The Dark Sword series and upcoming Dark Warriors series can be found anywhere print books are sold.

My backlist, out of print ebooks that I’m once more putting up for sale can be found at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords.



Readers may go to the publisher’s home page at http://us.macmillan.com/author/donnagrant-1


Check out my trailer at………. http://www.donnagrant.com/bookvideos


Where can my readers find you?

Readers can find me at my website http://www.donnagrant.com/.  or they can check out my blog at http://www.donnagrant.com/blog

I am also on Twitter under donna_grant and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDonnaGrant.

****CONTEST ALERT- Leave a comment below for your chance to win an autographed copy of Untamed Highlander!!****
 
**I want to thank Donna for the chance to interview her. I have been a big fan for a while now and this was such a treat. Good luck to her in her future endeavors.**

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Totally HOT Thursdays

I am bringing to you a special treat from 'Down Under." ***WARNING- PHOTOS MAY CAUSE SHORTNESS OF BREATH AND HEART PALPITATIONS. ***

This models name is IVAN SCANNELL.

Ivan is from Sydney, Australia and is 25 years old. In 2006, he was the winner of Mr. Supermodel Australia. But that isn't his only talent! Ivan is a track sprinter and is training very hard to represent Australia in the 2012 Olympics.

AND- it doesn't stop there! Ivan has a Bachelor's Degree in Commerce Accounting & Corporate Law, Diploma in Financial Planning and he is a Certified Personal Trainer. He is a Certified Personal Trainer and Consultant.

He is also launching www.ivanscannell.com which is an interactive website with a comprehensive list of programs and tools this he has developed of the years as a personal trainer, model, and athlete.

You may find him Facebook, Twitter, and his personal website, www.IvanScannellFitness.com


www.nyc-fashion.com
Simply beautiful. Eyes that could search your soul.

www.listal.com
They talk about the beauty of a body in motion, but I say beauty lies in a body at rest. Don't you agree?
www.hottiesoftheday.com
A man in a suit is very sexy indeed.
www.listal.com
There isn't a comment I could make that wouldn't get me in trouble. LOL!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

INTERVIEW with Author KATHY PRATT

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR Kathy Pratt


Today I’m interviewing Kathy Pratt. Her book, MISS DAIRY QUEEN is a women's fiction romance and was released on 5/6/2011.



Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.

MISS DAIRY QUEEN tells the story of Misty Dawn James, a 21 year old woman who leaves her home on a farm in Iowa to move to California to go to school, much to the dismay of her overly protective mother. Her childhood has been sheltered and the culture shock begins the minute she arrives in Fullerton, California. Before long she's gotten a job in a restaurant, made friends with some of her co-workers, and met a handsome young Hispanic man who she eventually falls in love with. Iowa seems like another place and time to her, until she gets a call that her beloved father has had a heart attack and she must return to see him and help her mother.



Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?

I describe MISS DAIRY QUEEN as a women's fiction romance because it focuses on more than just the romance between Esteban and Misty. My first novel is mainstream fiction about a nurse turned mercy killer. The second novel I wrote and published is a time-travel romance set in France. MISS DAIRY QUEEN is the third novel I've written. It was published under another name both in print format and ebook format, and the rights reverted back to me at the end of my contract with them. The fourth novel is another mainstream novel with a controversial topic about a priest who molests a young woman he's befriended. For my fifth novel, I tried my hand at a historical young adult novel. I've recently finished it and am in the process of trying to sell it. Right now I'm working on a sequel to MISS DAIRY QUEEN tentatively titled CALIFORNIA GALS.



When did you start writing toward publication?

I was inspired to write an article for a nursing magazine in 1991. When that article was published, the bug bit me and I've been writing toward publication since then.



Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?


Actually, I was quite fortunate with the sale of my first manuscript. I'd just completed it, attended a writer's conference in Palm Springs, and as I was leaving I met a young woman in the lobby and struck up a conversation. She was working for a new ebook publishing company called Digital Pulp Publishing. I pitched my book, she asked for the full manuscript, they accepted it and published it as one of their first books. I really needed to have a book in print, so I retained the print rights and self-published the book with iUniverse. The ebook company closed a few years later and the ebook rights reverted back to me.



You have another occupation, can you tell us about it and how you incorporated it into your writing?


I'm a Registered Nurse and have worked many years in that field. I've had many opportunities to observe people in all kinds of situations. It's always amazed me, but people will tell me anything when we're alone. I suppose I'm viewed in much the same way a clergy person or psychologist is, and people feel open to telling me all. I've even had patient's say, "I've never told anyone that before". I'm honored that they trust me and I keep their secrets. It has certainly helped me in character development.



Why have you become a published author?

Persistence, determination, flexibility, and remaining open to new ideas and opportunities.



Do you have any rejection stories to share?

I submitted my priest sexual abuse manuscript to an agent here in California. Her agency website said she preferred email submissions, so that's what I sent. When I didn't hear back after a couple of months I sent a short, polite follow-up email just to make sure my submission had been received. I got a reply back the next day saying, "Yes I received it and I'm not interested. In the words of Samuel Goldwyn, 'If you want to send a message, call Western Union' ". She certainly got her point across, though I'm left to wonder why she was so offended by the topic.



What is your writing routine like?


I'm not a morning person, so I rise fairly early, have a little breakfast and coffee, then I take the dog for a long walk. When I return I do my household chores until I'm finally alert enough to sit down at the computer. I'll write for several hours in the afternoon and stop to make dinner. If my husband goes to a meeting in the evening, then I'll write while he's gone.



What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?


The book publishing industry has changed so much since I started and it is more difficult to get the attention of a publisher. I went through a period of frustration at not getting my books published as easily and as quickly as I did in the beginning years, and now I've regrouped and am doing self-publishing using the Amazon Kindle application. So, I'm doing all my own promo for now and am using the internet. I have a blog, a website, I use facebook, emails, and twitter.



Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?

Having someone tell me, "I read your book and I just loved it. I couldn't put it down. In fact, I stayed up several hours last night to finish it."



Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped


I'm a member of Romance Writers of America, and the Orange County Chapter of RWA. I also belong to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I've attended many seminars at both organizations and am so grateful for all I've learned. They definitely are a help. I've also taken fiction writing classes at local universities and recommend doing that if the opportunity presents itself. Probably the most help has been my critique group. We've been meeting weekly for over ten years. We're writers of various levels, and their input has been invaluable.



Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?

Don't get discouraged. Do as much as you can to hone your craft and keep writing. Writers write because we have to. We also want someone to read our work and love it. Keep submitting and keep searching for places to send your manuscript.



What’s next for you?

I'm in the middle of CALIFORNIA GALS, and when it's finished and polished I'll publish it on Amazon Kindle. After that, I may do another historical romance. I love researching and thinking about other places and times.



BOOK BLURB

Misty Dawn James' moves to California to live with her Aunt Marigold in order to go to school and escape her domineering mother. The culture shock confounds and delights Misty as she gets a job, makes friends with Jackie-a young gay man, and with Scarlet-a tattoed and multi-pierced young woman. Next she meets Esteban, a handsome young Hispanic man who is going to law school, and they quickly fall for each other.



When Misty's father dies in Iowa, and she returns to help her mother, she's forced to make a tough decision. Can her relationship with Esteban survive the challenge?





A little bit about the author

Kathy Pratt has been writing since junior high school when she got an A+ on her first essay. She loves to make up stories in her mind even when she's not able to put them down on paper. She lives in Southern California with her husband and a golden retriever named Willie. Her two adult sons live nearby. She works as a RN two days a week and writes the rest of the time. She does take breaks to travel, take painting lessons, and volunteer at the local boys and girls club.



Excerpt

Chapter 1

Alone on the platform, Misty Dawn James watched the Amtrak train she’d just disembarked pull away from California’s Fullerton Station and disappear into the night. This was supposed to be the beginning of her new life, and she’d never felt so alone.

The train station parking lot was crowded with cars circling for spaces, and Misty found it difficult to maneuver while carrying her bags.

“You look a bit lost. Would you like some help?”

Misty jumped, startled. She hadn’t heard anyone approach. “I...I’m looking for a pay phone.”

“Where are you going?”

Misty was unable to answer for a moment. The strikingly handsome, tall young man standing in front of her caught her off guard. He had black hair, dark brown eyes, and a sparkling white smile.

She pointed in the direction of The Old Spaghetti Factory. “The ticket clerk in the train station said there was a phone in the restaurant.”

“You don’t want to carry those bags over there. Use my cell phone.”

He handed her his phone, and waited patiently.

“Are you sure? I’ll pay you.”

The young man laughed. “You don’t need to pay me. I have no social life since I’m always either at school or work, so I have lots of minutes I never use.”

Misty took a piece of paper from her pocket and dialed the number written on it. She listened to it ring several times and was about to give up when it was finally answered.

“Aunt Marigold? I’m here. Can you come get me?” Misty asked.

“Where the hell are you? Your parents are going crazy with worry.”

“In California. I’m at the train station in Fullerton.”

“The train? Why didn’t you fly?”

Misty turned away so the young man wouldn’t hear her and whispered into the phone. “I wanted to see the countryside, that’s why. I’ve never been out of Iowa.”

“Why didn’t you tell your parents where you were going? And why didn’t you give me some warning?” Marigold didn’t wait for an answer. “Never mind. I’ll be right there and you can tell me the whole story when we get you home.”

Misty handed the cell phone back to the handsome man. “Thanks a lot. My aunt is coming to pick me up.”

“You’re welcome. Wait over there under the light so you’ll be safe. I would wait with you but I have to go start my shift.”

Misty felt a shiver of apprehension flood over her. “Should I be worried about being out here alone?”

“Your eyes are as big as saucers. You look scared out of your wits.”

Misty swallowed hard before speaking. “I’ve never been in a big city. I kind of grew up sheltered. Is it dangerous here?”

“Not really. Fullerton is safe, but you kind of stand out.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Actually, you look innocent and kinda vulnerable with all your suitcases and bags piled around.” He touched her shoulder and gave it a little squeeze. “Look, if your aunt doesn’t show or anything, come and get me. Just ask for Esteban. I’m sorry I have to go.”

Misty watched him jog across the parking lot towards The Old Spaghetti Factory. When she couldn’t see him any longer, she lugged her bags back to the sidewalk under the light to wait for her aunt.

A group of leather clad, spiky haired teens loped across the parking lot towards a patio restaurant where rock music was playing. Misty squatted down and sat on her heels, trying to make herself less visible, fearing they might notice her.

The wait wasn’t long. She hadn’t seen her aunt in years, but she recognized the auburn hair in the red convertible as soon as it turned the corner.

Marigold screeched to a stop, left the car running, and ran towards Misty. She wrapped her in a huge bear hug and almost lifted her off her feet.

“My horoscope said this was not a special day, but here you are! Oh, I am soooo glad to see you! What on earth are you doing here, anyway? How’d you get away from my crazy sister?” Marigold asked while loading Misty’s belongings into the trunk of the car while Misty got in the passenger seat.

Marigold slammed the trunk, got into the driver’s seat, put the car into gear and roared out of the parking lot. “Let’s go home. You must be hungry and exhausted.”





How can my readers buy your book?

Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at http://amazon.com/.



You can find more information about Kathy Pratt and her book, MISS DAIRY QUEEN by

visiting her website, http://kathypratt.org/.  or

her blog at http://kathypratt.blogspot.com/.



Thank you Kathy for allowing me to interview you and I hope you have great success with your books!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

INTERVIEW with Author, NANCY BARONE WYTHE

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR Nancy Barone Wythe



Today I’m interviewing Nancy Barone Wythe. Her book, SICILIAN LOVERS, is a Romantic Suspense and was released in March 2011.



Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.

Hello and thank you for inviting me. SICILIAN LOVERS is a collection of four stories about the dangers of falling in love with a Sicilian.



Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?

The genre is Romantic suspense, rather spicy, and deals with wanting someone the characters don’t trust but are inexorably drawn to. I also write Women’s Fiction.



When did you start writing toward publication?

My first story, Nostos- The Homecoming, was a paranormal romance, published in 2010.



Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?


I had drawers crammed with my stories, but only recently found the courage to submit. Nostos was accepted on the second submission, luckily.



Why have you become a published author?

Because that’s what all English teachers living in the Sicilian countryside do, isn’t it?



Do you have any rejection stories to share?


Oh yes, haven’t we all? Heartbreaking! But then you get back in the saddle and charge on. There’s no other way to do it, I don’t think.



What is your writing routine like?

I write on my laptop in the afternoons, and in my head in the mornings while I’m teaching the Present Continuous to Italian students.



What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?

I don’t do much promo, but I do have a connection to an amazing Fiction Festival here in Italy. It’s run by Elizabeth Jennings, a wonderful, talented and resourceful American author. She’s quite successful. Look her up.



Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?

To actually get your hands on the print copy- it’s like holding the Holy Grail, or something next to it.



Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?

Yes, again, the four-day Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy, is a great source of information, marketing and hobnobbing with people just like yourself. I discovered it by accident one afternoon while I was breaking my neck for an idea, and there it was. It had already started that same day, but I booked a flight and was out by the next afternoon- minus my luggage which I got back on the day of departure! It was the best writing-related experience so far.



Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?


Absolutely. Believe in yourself, but also keep your mind open for the subtle hints. Is this what you really, can’t-think-of-anything-else want? Have you got potential, or is it just you letting off steam (which can be a start)? If it’s in your genes, then enhance your talent by reading everything you can get your hands on to broaden your mind, but stick, as they say, to what you know. Be prepared in any case to put in long hours of research to support your credibility, and write, write and re-write to hone your skills. And listen to the pros. The real ones. It all pays dividends in the end.



What’s next for you?

At the moment I’m working on a Women’s fiction in two books.



BOOK BLURB

‘SICILIAN LOVERS’, four tales of a dynasty’s passion, hotter than the Sicilian sun, and with a thirst for revenge that not even the entire Mediterranean Sea can quench…

THE OBSESSION AND THE FURY:

On the tiny Sicilian island of Panarea, the wild and beautiful village sinner Rea Lupo meets Alex Ford, an American who will stop at nothing to have her- not the obsession of other men, nor fate, nor the fury of nature itself.



THE SICILIAN STRANGER:

When Shannon Banks’ fiancé rushes to Sicily to collect his inheritance, he disappears without a trace. She has no choice but to leave the safety of their home in the United States and jump on a plane to follow his tracks into the unknown.

There she meets Damiano Malandrino, a dangerous Sicilian embittered by prison and sparked by the desire to kill Shannon’s fiancé.



SICILIAN BLOOD:

Heather Burns will never forgive the handsome Sicilian prince Massimo Ventura di Villanova for what he did to her. Massimo will never be able to ignore the secrets they kept from each other all those years since their first encounter.



THE SICILIAN DEVIL IN THE SAND:

When Kelly Adams lays eyes on Sicilian Luca Amore, their lives plunge into the deepest chaos. His rock-solid reputation crumbles when his rich, older fiancée is murdered on the eve of their wedding. Only Kelly knows he is innocent…because she was in his arms.



From the fragrance of the jasmine and juniper bushes to the cobalt-blue sky, everything in Sicily, especially love and lust, are much more vivid, so much more intense. Follow the destinies of Alex, Shannon, Heather and Kelly, who risk their lives by daring to love a Sicilian…



A little bit about the author

Nancy Barone Wythe is a published Author of romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Her first story was a paranormal romance called Nostos- The Homecoming, published by Solstice Publishing in February 2010.

In April and May 2010 her SICILIAN LOVERS series was also published, followed by Designs on You.

Soon to be released are The Obsession and the Fury, the prequel to her series.

At the moment she is working on a woman’s fiction and her second paranormal.

She has a University degree from the University of Pisa, Tuscany. A former Torontonian, Nancy has also lived in Tuscany and England. She now lives in the Sicilian countryside near the sea with her husband and their dogs.

Visit her website at http://www.nancybaronewythe.com/.  or drop her a line at nancybaronewythe@yahoo.com.



How can my readers buy your book?

Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at http://www.solsticepublishing.com/.



You can find more information about Nancy Barone Wythe and her book, SICILIAN LOVERS by visiting her website, http://www.nancybaronewythe.com/.

I want to thank Nancy for her time and allowing me to interview her. I want to wish her luck in her writing future.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Interview with Author, CHUY RAMIREZ

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR CHUY RAMIREZ


Title: Strawberry Fields, A Book of Short Stories

Today I’m interviewing Chuy Ramirez. His book, Strawberry Fields, a book of short stories Fiction (history/mystery) and was released on February 2010.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.


A successful, middle-aged attorney, Mexican American, whose practice is tax work (drudgery) gets a nostalgic urge to revisit an area of Michigan that he visited as an adolescent migrant farm worker. The setting is approximately the year 2000. His initial recollections are of an innocent and jovial time. He recalls the strawberry fields fondly, not for their back-breaking labor conditions. As he begins his physical journey, his memory becomes more focused. His search for the unresolved source and resolution of a conflict with his father begins to take center stage in his nostalgic remembrance. Then, a violent scene of a young blonde woman keeps recurring in his nighttime and day time dreams. At some point, the protagonist realizes that a murder must have taken place and that he was at least a witness or perhaps a participant. He wonders whether the memory of that event is at least one of the things drawing him back to Michigan.

When he arrives in Michigan, his nostalgia is converted to a painful reality of what life in the strawberry fields was really like. The daily life of the strawberry picker is illustrated in much original detail through numerous vignettes and stories that can also be read and enjoyed independently of the novel. The stories include light-hearted, comical, and tongue-in-cheek reflections by the author, who was himself a migrant farm worker during the middle 1960s.

In the longest three chapters at the end of the novel, the protagonist resolves each of the conflicts: (1) father-son, (2) the lingering memory of a murder, and (3) his own relationship to the people of the strawberry fields.



Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?

Strawberry Fields is a novel told in stories & vignettes. I am attorney so most of what I write is legal essays and articles. I published a legal article on immigration reform in 1983. I am currently finishing two longer stories and working on a second novel.



When did you start writing toward publication?


With fiction, about 10 years ago. As a college student I wrote for the newspaper. And in law school, more than 30 years ago, I wrote and published a legal article on immigration.



Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?

No. Unlike writers who have sold their manuscripts, my book is closer in concept to the self-published writer. We looked around for small publishers and saw the printing quality, very limited units on first edition, and virtually no distribution. We decided to create a publishing company and use my manuscript as the guinea pig.



Why have you become a published author?


At this point, I have the unfair advantage of owning the publisher. Whether a larger, successful publisher will be interested in my work remains to be seen.



What is your writing routine like?

Prefer small quiet areas such as my law office on weekends, or picking a room at home or during traveling longer distance away from home. My writing is very slow. Many, many drafts and rewrites. My best work comes off of a computer once I have a third or fourth draft. I return to the beginning often and redraft.



What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?


-A lot of internet messages, e-mail, blogs, twitter, networking sites, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Facebook, newspaper releases, libraries, museums, writer’s groups, book festivals, other Hispanic organizations, book stores, reading clubs.


Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?

A good review by a sincere, published author is for me the most rewarding. They know the difficulty of writing and know when you are at your best.



Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped


No. But I need to join up. I can use the independent review of my work.



Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?


Read, read, read. Save your manuscripts regardless of how crappy you feel. There are usually gems you will find later in your work. Often times, a short story published here and there will give you some credibility.

What’s next for you?

Keep reading and reading. Continue to learn to write.

REVIEWS
■-Strawberry Fields is a reflective reminiscence of Chicano life, providing a glimpse into Mexican-American—and Mexican—migrants interacting at home, in the fields, and along the roads that link them-- Dr. John Hart, Boston University of Theology

■-The author’s language in these final scenes and throughout the most critical scenes is poignantly vivid and sometimes heart-rending. Ramirez is deft with his descriptiveness-- Dr. Thelma T. Reyna, author of The Heaven Weeps For Us

A little bit about the author

Chuy Ramirez is an attorney who practices law in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas and is a partner in the firm Ramirez & Guerrero, LLP. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and is no stranger to the strawberry fields, to which he traveled over the years with his family and thousands of families from South Texas. Ramirez attended Pan American University at Edinburg, Texas and is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. At the law school, he served as Articles Editor for the International Law Journal and published a note entitled, “Altering the Policy of Neglect of Undocumented Immigration from South of the Border, Vol. 18 in 1983. Strawberry Fields is his first fictional work. Ramirez lives in Texas with his wife of 39 years Aida, who is a retired public school teacher. He has two children and five grandchildren. For more information on Chuy, please visit his site: http://www.strawberryfieldsramirez.blogspot.com/.



Excerpt

Looking back up at the mirror, the reflection returned a nervous smile at her. She undid her blouse slowly, revealing the left side of her chest. The German nurse had translated for Doctor James. “Manda, the doctor says that they have to remove the breast.”



“All of it?”



“Yes. They’re hoping it hasn’t spread to other parts of the body.”



“Chinita! (Darn!)” Manda buttoned her lips tightly. That had been the extent of her complaint.



“How much does it cost?”



“Well, it’s expensive. You’re going to have to go to the city hospital. Dr. James will only assist. They will have to get a surgeon.”



“Do you think it will be more than $250? That’s all the savings I have.”



“Oh, Manda.” the German nurse hugged her, and they both wept.



Inside the Farmers’ bathroom, tears came. Manda swallowed. “Please, Lord, tell me it’s all been a bad dream.”



But it wasn’t a dream—only the ugly surgical scar remained on her flat chest. After placing the false sponge breast in the bra, she snipped the bra on. And then Manda wept openly and loudly, and then she screamed until her eyes puffed. Outside the bathroom, Pepito had not stirred. Inside, he could hear Manda’s cries and offered his own low wailing in support. Drained of her strength, she sat on the commode and got her breath back. It would be months before Benancio would even notice that Manda had lost a breast.



How can my readers buy your book?

Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at http://www.firsttexaspublishers.com/.

http://www.amazon.com/.

http://barnesandnoble.com/,



Check out my book trailer at: http://www.strawberryfieldsramirez.blogspot.com/.



You can find more information about Chuy Ramirez and my book, Strawberry Fields, A Book of Short Stories by:

visiting my FB, http://www.facebook.com/texaspublishing.

visiting my blog, http://www.strawberryfieldsramirez.blogspot.com/.  or

e-mail author at firsttexaspublishers@gmail.com.


**I want to thank Chuy for stopping by and letting me interview him. Good luck to him in his future endeavors!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Totally HOT Thursdays!

Sorry ladies. I know I am late getting this out there. My house is a little chaotic here and I made bacon and eggs for breakfast for everyone. Believe it or not, the last thing on my mine was delicious men.

I know, I know.... hard to believe. I try to blame it on insanity, or the fact that it is so hot here in the mid-west, that a person's mind isn't able to think straight. BUT, lucky for you, I have a great CP who keeps me on track.

Lizzie sent me this delectable man and I hope you will enjoy looking at his photos as much as I did. MY hats off to you Lizzie.... WELL DONE!

Here he is! EVANDRO SOLDATI!

Born in Ubà, Minas Gerais, Brazil. His ethnicity is Italian. He started modeling in 2002 when his mother signed him up for a FORD Contest in Brazil. In 2008, Forbes named him the 7th most successful model in the world. Such an impressive climb in such a short time!

STATS:
Height- 6 foot
Hair- dark brown
Eyes- blue
DOB- April 17, 1985

You can see Evandro in Lady Gaga's music video, Alejandro.

Evandro has modeled for Louis Vuitton, Armani, and Dolce and Gabbana. When Evandro isn't modelling, you can catch him playing soccer or Brazilian martial arts, capoeira.

http://www.the-conway.com/
Isn't he yummy?!!
http://www.ohlalaparis.com/
A man and a horse...*sigh* And look at his expression in the other photo. GRACIOUS!
http://www.sociallitelife.com/
I would be willing to finish the undressing if he needs help!
http://www.ohlalaparis.com/
Wet and HOT!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

GOOD READS!

I try to bring to you books that I have read and really enjoy. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that my favorite thing to read is paranormal romance with sexy Scottish Highlanders. I love time travel, but it doesn't have to be paranormal, just a good romance is fine with me.

Well, the author I am going to talk about today gives you a little bit of everything and a whole LOT of sexy Highlanders.

Let me introduce to you, MONICA MCCARTY!

There are three series she has written and I have read them all. The first is The MacLeods of Skye Trilogy. You have Highlander Untamed, Highlander Unmasked, and Highlander Unchained.

Then you have The Campbell Trilogy.   In this trilogy you have, Highland Warrior, Highland Outlaw, and Highland Scoundrel.

Last but not least, there is The Highland Guard Series. So far she has written The Chief, The Hawk, and The Ranger and she is currently working on The Viper.

If you would like to learn more about these book, please go to www.monicamccarty.com and look in the "special features" section. There is everything you need to know right there. Even a family genealogy line and excerpts that didn't make it into the books, picture books, etc.

I encourage you to look through the pages on her blog. I promise you, that you won't be disappointed when you read one of her books. I'm sure you will be hooked. Monica is one of my favorite authors.

NOW- a treat for you! If you go to her web site and look through "The Highland Guard Series," I want you to come back here and leave a comment about something you found on her web site having to due with those books. Those of you who do will be put in a drawing to win an autographed book of "THE RANGER."

Don't delay. This contest only lasts for today. A winner will be drawn first thing tomorrow morning and given to Monica. (Her busy schedule only allows me to have the contest for this period of time, sorry)

Good luck!

Monday, June 6, 2011

INTERVIEW with Author, Camryn Rhys

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR *Camryn Rhys*


Today I’m interviewing Camryn Rhys. Her book, The Barn Dance is an erotic foodie romance and was released on June 3rd from Breathless Press.



Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.


Well, it’s a foodie romance, so food plays a huge part in the book. I even include Leo’s recipe that he walks Mindy through in order to help save her job. So the foodie element is a big one. But the erotic element is the main thrust (pun intended). Like all erotic romance, the characters start having sex before they’re in love, and it’s their sexual connection that draws them into a lasting (or the promise of a lasting) romance.


Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?

Erotic romance, unlike regular romance, does not hold the expectation that love (or even the promise of love) will occur before sex. Most erotic romance is about people just climbing into bed when they feel the urge, and then discovering something that could make them happy for a long time. I generally only write in this genre. It’s been my personal experience that this kind of journey is real-to-life. So I will likely always write in this genre.



When did you start writing toward publication?


About a year and a half ago. I’d been writing literary short fiction for several years and gotten it published. But I’d never tried to write a romance novel until the fall of 2009. It was magic, as soon as I tried it. I fell in love with love and I’ve never looked back.



Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?

I didn’t send anything out before I sold. I sold my first submission.



Why have you become a published author?


Because I love to write stories about people finding love. I think there’s very little in this world more beautiful than that moment when you know you love someone. I’ve grown up reading these books and now I want to write them. I want to help other people believe in love, no matter what their journey to its doorstep.



Do you have any rejection stories to share?

I am a complete and utter chicken. I don’t like to send stuff in unless I’m pretty sure it’s going to get accepted. So people freak out that I sold my first submission. But I had several completed projects that I never submitted (and some that I still haven’t). I’ve gotten full requests from several contests and editorial pitch sessions, but I’ve never sent anything in until Breathless. And if they had rejected me, I may never have submitted anywhere ever again! : ) I’m only half joking. But I’m learning to handle rejection. I’m entering contests and not finaling, which is helping me learn how to get rejected. And I’ve got great critique partners who don’t pull punches. So I think I’ll be submitting again in no time. I just need to get better at getting rejected.



What is your writing routine like?

I use #1k1hr on Twitter constantly. It’s a group of people who get together to write 1000 words (1k) in 60 minutes (1hr). But it’s not a race. Technically, you’re supposed to write until you hit both. So if you get 1K before the hour’s over, you keep going until you hit 60 minutes. And vice versa. It’s an attempt to get us into the habit of writing for an extended period of time, but also not agonizing so much, we don’t get any word count. I love it. On my days off, I try to do at least five of them, and I usually write about 7-9K on my days off. On work days, I try to do one #1k1hr, and I get quite a bit done. It’s been a lifesaver. @Patrick_Alan, the #1k1hr creator, is a genius.



What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?

The only promo help I have is a ton of authors in my networks with way more experience than I have. Plus, I belong to a group blog (which Sarah also writes for, yeah NKotWB!), which had a ready-made platform when we all joined, and has doubled since then. Those are the big areas. Plus, both my boyfriend and my friends are giving out my promo items. : ) It’s great to have that kind of support.



Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?


The most rewarding thing has to be getting a chance to hear what other people think about my book. When my editor writes back and practically glows in her emails, I think… this is worth it. Having people get what I’m doing, enjoy my stories, and genuinely approve of what I’ve done is a huge bonus. I got tastes of that before I was published, but it’s absolutely intoxicating. Even the not-so-glowing reviews are worth it so far. : )



Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?

I’m a member of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, which is one of the most supportive places I’ve ever seen before. Also, I belong to ESPAN (the Electronic and Small Press Author’s Network), which is an absolutely incredible way to get connected with electronic authors and publishers. That’s how I first heard about my editor.



Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?

You find the right person, and it’s all cake from there. It feels like a lot of work for nothing at first, and there are plenty of times when I wanted to quit. But it’s all worth it in the end.



What’s next for you?


I’m working on several different projects—some that my editor wants to see and some that I’m going to pitch other places. But I like Breathless Press a lot, and part of my career will be there as long as they want me. I’m excited to see what we can do together. My editor is amazing, and very encouraging of my ideas. I’m hoping to get another foodie erotic romance or two out this year if I can. Probably all novellas. But I am working on a foodie romance erotic novel as well, that I’m calling Gentlemen Prefer Bombshells about a woman who finds her own power through being a chef and then is challenged by an old lover who used to control her. It’s a lot of fun. We’ll see how it goes…



BOOK BLURB

Mindy Edwards can't bake to save her life, but with no where else to go, she returns to the one place she'd avoided for six years. Her boss's son, Leo—still strictly off-limits—doesn't help her starved libido, and what's a girl to do when she could barely keep her job as the cook?



Leo Fortiss has never quite gotten over his first love nor did he expect her to return and pretend they didn't have a heartbreaking past, but that didn't mean he couldn't save her from all the other cowboys--who definitely weren't after her burnt buns and horrid cooking. He proposes a trade: he'll teach her to bake bread if she'll come to the big Barn Dance with him.

Mindy accepts, but when things heat up in the kitchen, she finds history repeating itself. Will she run or risk her heart a second time?



A little bit about the author


Camryn Rhys grew up on the border of Canada and the US, and still hasn’t decided which country to call home. She splits her time between the Alberta and Montana Rocky Mountains, with friends and family in both beautiful locations. After running her own restaurant for several years and acquiring advanced degrees in writing, foodie romance seemed the only logical option. When she’s not watching the Food Network, she’s reading a romance novel, or if absolutely necessary, working as a consultant. Someone has to put really excellent food on the table.



Excerpt

Just sex.

That was the only way she could think about it. They were like animals, in their lust, and they needed to slake it. Otherwise, if they got into feelings and hearts and futures, it was just too complicated. And Mindy didn't do complicated anymore.

He glanced at the front of his pants and colored. She'd never seen Leo blush before, but it was really beautiful—a deep, dark mahogany color that spiraled through his face in patches.

"It's okay, Leo. I want you, too. You just can't see it."

His eyes traveled down her body and rested on her chest. "I can see it."

Self-consciously, she grabbed her breasts and felt the pebbles underneath her bra and shirt. Leo hissed and closed his eyes.

"Do not do that, Min. Please, God, don't do that."

She looked down at her hands, cupping her small-ish breasts, pressing them up into her ribcage. It wasn't a sexual movement, but obviously, Leo wasn't being discriminating at this moment. So she released them.

His gaze didn't move from her breasts, and they tightened under his watchful eyes. The charge in the air left her without breath. All she could do was picture Leo stretching across the counter, and her jockeying his hips like a bronco rider at the rodeo.

If he was having similar fantasies, he didn't let on. "Can we just make these rolls so they can rise? Then I'll get out of your hair, and we can both walk this off?"

"Do you have to be here while I do it?"

He laughed. "No, you're right, I don't. I'll just…let me do one, and then you can do the rest by yourself."

Leo walked around the edge of the kitchen, careful to keep his distance from her. He pulled one of the flat cookie sheets from under the counter and took a paper towel from the roller next to the sink.

"You want to make sure to grease these pans. Dad probably would prefer butter, but I think lard works the best."

Mindy resisted the urge to ask if his mother taught him that. Last time, he'd shut down so quickly after she mentioned May. And she was secretly hoping that his lust wouldn't abate, and he'd just throw her up against the counter and pound into her.

She could use a good pounding.





How can my readers buy your book?

Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at http://www.breathlesspress.org/Book/327.



You can find more information about Camryn Rhys and her book, The Barn Dance, by visiting her blog at http://camrynrhys.blogspot.com/.