THE REVIEWS ARE COMING IN...
Sinbad’s Last Voyage…
When a naïve Navajo hires a human-hating Felidan to find her fugitive-from-justice husband, it’s clash of cultures, personalities plus a massive dose of mutual attraction…
“… if you're looking for a romance that's not another of the cookie-cutter offerings out there, this is a great place to start.” http://www.nightsandweekends.com/articles/08/NW0800278.php
“…Definitely a 5 Djinn keeper.” http://www.nightowlreviews.com/nightowlromance/reviews/Review.aspx?daoid=5427
“…one of the scant few books I will definitely read again...and again... (5 kisses)” http://www.twolipsreviews.com/content/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5418&Itemid=36
“Ms. Sweeney always creates stories that are thrown miles outside the box, and Sinbad’s Wife is no exception.” Margaret Marr
“…is just as gripping and exhilarating as its predecessor.” (4 kisses) http://www.twolipsreviews.com/content/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5435&Itemid=36
“…the dramatic sh'en Singh family dynamics…in this book makes for a truly wonderful read.” (4.5 kisses)
In a way, I guess they've said it all...
I never really intended to write a series when I started Sinbad’s Last Voyage. It just happened. I was just going to tell a love story set in the future, a single-shot, stand-alone novel—of a sexy, strutting half-breed smuggler who hated Terrans and the Earthwoman who made him forget that. There would be strife, of course, because she was married and he was trying his best to keep from falling in love with her. There would be adventure as they tracked her fugitive husband across the galaxy through various dens of iniquity where she is shocked and he’s amused by that shock, but it would be definitely end Happily Ever After.
So much for that idea...
As usual with things having to do with Sinbad sh’en Singh, it didn’t turn out that way. (After all, this is a book written by Toni V. Sweeney so it had to have a Toni V. Sweeney ending…so make that it ends Mostly Happily Ever After.)
Studying it now, after three novels in the series and more to come, I realize what I really wrote is simply one gigantic soap opera set in the far, far future on a planet far, far away…and the introduction to this sudsy space saga might go something like this:
Welcome once again, dear reader, to the Adventures of Sinbad…the stories which ask the question: can a halfbreed human-hating smuggler find happiness with a very human adopted Navajo in spite of threats from the United Terran Federation and many of his nefarious criminal cohorts? Therein lies the question, to misquote ol’ Will Shakespeare, who wrote some mighty epics but whose comedies were more than soap opera-like if one chooses to look at them close enough. So why don’t we give the Adventures a once-over and see if they really do qualify to sell soap to the intergalactic masses?
The story of Sinbad and Andi is a lesson in the course of True Love running every which but smoothly. At the end of Sinbad 1: Sinbad’s Last Voyage, in between searching for Andi’s husband, fighting off old enemies, and becoming a father, Sinbad learns he’s dying of a disease contracted while he was a prisoner in the Toxic Zone, the Federation’s deadliest prison. He agrees to spend his last few months with Andi whom he now admits he loves.
Well, I couldn’t just leave it there. No sir! I had to get Sin and Andi married, and save my hero to fight another day. So, along came Sinbad 2: Sinbad’s Wife, in which, among other things, Sin struggles to convince Andi to make an honest man of him, he discovers he has a 15-year-old son, then promptly collapses into a coma brought on by his terminal disease. Piling it on even thicker (after all this is a space opera), there is only one doctor who can save Sin and he blackmails Andi into becoming his mistress before he’ll perform the surgery. Andi finds this totally ironic since Sinbad tried the same ploy before he would agree to find her first husband. That time she refused; this time, she agrees after much soul-searching, and the surgery goes without a hitch. While Sin is recovering but still in a coma, Andi is subsequently kidnapped by her former husband, a power-mad Serapian general named Tran, who makes her into a sex slave. She’s rescued by Sinbad who kills Tran in a duel-to-the-death, but not before Andi has given birth to Tran’s second son. Sin, a sucker for infants and his wife’s tears, accepts the baby, they go into a clinch…roll credits…
Whew! Are you still with me? Is this getting pretty sudsy and soapy so far? Did you see the kitchen sink peeping out from behind that last paragraph? Could I stop after that? Nosirree. So, let’s continue:
Sinbad 3: Sinbad’s Pride: You can’t keep a good smuggler down! He tried the Straight-and-Narrow but it just didn’t work. Sin’s been pardoned by the Federation, he’s a law-abiding citizen (much to his dismay) and he’s back on his home planet, being re-instated as his grandfather’s heir and about to inherit one-third of the planet Felida. Having now reached the age of thirty-one and considered a mature adult (though Andi sometimes denies that), Sin is bored and looking for some trouble to get into. He finds it in the Peace Treaty Felida signed after being defeated by the United Terran Federation. In it there’s a loophole no one, not even the Federation realizes is there, a clause preventing prosecution of any Pride member for any future crime against the Federation.
Well! When someone who hates the Fed as much as Sin does finds a document like that—even though they’ve given him amnesty in exchange for killing Tran (who was a threat to everyone and not just Andi) and posthumously pardoned his father—you know something big is going down. And it does. With the aid of the other Pride Chiefs, Sin decides to turn Felida into the biggest smuggling planet in the galaxy…and thumb his nose at the Fed at the same time. Of course, there are immediate complications, such as the fact that the Pride Chiefs want an affiliation with the operation through marriage, and send their nubile daughters to Sin as concubines. Sin tries to explain to Andi they mean nothing. It’s all politics. Andi doesn’t see it that way. There’s trouble brewing in the bedroom tonight. And for many nights to come. If the world’s sexiest cat-man doesn’t watch it, he’s going to be sleeping on the sofa until he’s an octagenerian!
In the meantime, Sin’s son Adam and Andi’s son Cash are leaving adolescence and becoming men in every sense of the word. Joining Sinbad in his smuggling operation, they begin cutting a wide swath through the females of Felida, and then—as Fate will have it, they meet the two women neither can have and both want…their father’s concubines…
Sinbad’s Pride is a play on words. On Felida, a Pride is made up of various clans loyal to one chief. Sinbad is the heir to the largest Pride. He also has plenty of pride in the usual sense of the word, and whether he’s confronting the lawyers of the Federation, an incensed wife, or an adulterous child, he has to decide when to let that pride go and when to balance revenge with mercy. No matter what happens, however, one thing is certain: Sinbad loves Andi and he’ll do anything to keep that love. It’s also a story about family, and how a man who has lost everything must now try to keep together the family he’s suddenly blessed with in the face of crises which can blast them apart. How Sin works it out makes up the majority of that story. It’s an erotic, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic adventure. I think readers will enjoy them all.
The Sinbad books are available at Double Dragon Publications, http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/search.php and also http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Toni+V+Sweeney&x=12&y=22
THE REVIEWS ARE COMING IN...
Shannon maneuvered her beat-up Jetta into a parking spot behind the five-star restaurant and turned off the ignition. For a moment she just sat there, wondering if she was doing the right thing.
“What’s wrong?” her younger sister asked.
As she glanced down into Katie’s bright eyes, a surge of love flooded Shannon, so strong it warmed her insides and pushed away her fears. The edges of her mouth lifted into a smile. She brushed a hand back over Katie’s braids. “This is an important business meeting. You know that, don’t you?”
“Yeah. You don’t have to keep reminding me.” Katie huffed out the words. “I’m a big girl now. I’ll be okay”
“I know you’re a seven year old grown up. And I’m proud of you. But this is our chance for a better future. We need this job.”
“Stop worrying, sis.” She opened her hand, revealing the jacks and tiny rubber ball. “I’ll stay at the car and play Jack Rocks.” She grinned, trying to reassure.
She’d been her sister’s only family since their parents had died in a house fire before Katie’s third birthday. “Sorry the babysitter couldn’t make it. She was ah-sick.”
“You mean drunk,” Katie corrected.
Guilt rushed Shannon. They lived in a roach infested boardinghouse patronized by prostitutes and drug users. Somehow she had to get Katie away from such an environment. She was a smart and compassion child who deserved the best in life.
Shannon smoothed a clammy palm over the skirt of her new business suit. She’d spent too much money on it, but she needed the polished look of a sophisticated woman. She looked younger than her twenty-two years. “If I get the job, we’ll move to a better neighborhood.” Blinking away tears, she reached over and squeezed her sister’s hand.
“You’ll get it. You’ll the best artist in San Diego.” Katie took a sip of apple juice.
“Thanks for the vote of confidence.” She waved at the older woman walking their way. Lucy was a homeless woman who sometimes slept behind the restaurant. Shannon had given her food and loose change and Lucy looked out for them. Over the past two years they’d become close friend.
After gathering her portfolio off the back seat, Shannon exited the car. “Thanks for sitting with Katie while I’m inside. I should be back in an hour.”
Lucy cupped Shannon’s cheek. “You just get that job, gal. Katie and I’ll be fine. Now go on.”
Shannon hesitated. She stood, nibbling on her bottom lip. Was she doing the right thing?
Did Shannon make the right decision when she left her sister in the hands of a homeless woman?
I believe she did. Fate doesn’t always land us in ideal environments. Sometimes we have to make the best of a bad situation. Regardless of your thoughts about Shannon's dilemma, one thing is true for all of us. We make decisions based on our life experiences. Someone who grows up with a silver spoon in his or her mouth might say, "I'd never do that." Someone struggling to make ends meet in the inner city might say, "I'm doing this to make a better life for my child." And then there's the rest of us that fall in between those two cultures.
So, what do you think?
We have a Trans-Atlantic treat today on the Fuzzies. A visit from across the pond by Class of '85 author, Rachel Brimble. I've arranged to ply her with questions about her writing and I'm anxious to read her responses.
Everyone please join me in giving a great big fuzzy welcome to Rachael.
1) How many books have you published?
I have had four novels and one novella published so far although I do have another novel due for release in January 2011. I write across the sub-genres of romance so I have two romantic suspense, one romantic comedy, and one historical published in novel-length, and my novella is the main reason for me being here today - it is Transatlantic Loving and part of the Class of ’85 series from The Wild Rose Press, yay!
2) How do you write with kids and deadlines?
With difficulty! 2010 was a great year for me with two novels and novella being released but I know 2011 is unlikely to be so productive. As well as having two kids to deal with, I have started working part-time this year when I was lucky enough to be at home full-time last year. My output has hugely decreased and my promotion has kind of gone through the roof! I wonder sometimes if I’ve got the balance right…
3) What are you writing now?
I am a quarter the way through the first draft of my second historical, and I totally love it! I am madly in love with my hero who is a good-hearted ‘artful dodger’ type living in Victorian Bath, England – I promise you, ladies…he’s irresistible.
I’m estimating this novel to fall at about 80,000 words and hope to have it done by Christmas. It would be great to land a home for it in the New Year!
4) Why do you write?
Because I have to! It’s a compulsion, a passion. I am cranky if I don’t, my family tell me to go away and find my laptop when they’ve had enough of my moods, LOL!
5) How do you get over writer’s block?
I have honestly never had it. I have LOADS of characters and story ideas rambling around in my head as well as two novels partially written and shelved, and a file on my Mac with notes to four more. I have enough work to do for the next five years at least! The problem is actually finding the time to get the stories written.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean I don’t have days when writing 500 words is like pulling 500 teeth out of my mouth!
6) Who is your favorite author to read? Favorite book?
OK, I have three favorites so I’ll list them all:
Nora Roberts for romance – love all her work but favorites are Montana Sky & Northern Lights (bearing in mind I am not even a third way through her backlist!)
Jodi Picoult – Drama – Plain Truth & My Sister’s Keeper
Philippa Gregory – Historical – The entire Tudor series
7) What’s next for you?
As I mentioned earlier, my next novel is due for release in January 2011 from Lyrical Press and it’s called Getting It Right This Time. It’s a contemporary romance about a mother’s protective love and second chances at happiness. It is my first book with this publisher and I have loved working with them so can’t wait to see the finished product!
OK, so that’s me interviewed, I really enjoyed it and would love to leave you with an excerpt from my offering to The Class of ’85 series – Transatlantic Loving, enjoy!
“Hi there, Madonna. What can I get you?”
Lisa turned, tipped her head back. And took a breath. Holy mother of==
His eyes were the color of the fields at the back of her house in high summer==emerald, dotted with hints of lime. Once her heart kicked back into place, she smiled. “A white wine would be great.”
“Coming right up. And your friend?”
Lisa stared at him. “My . . . ?”
Courtney nudged her in the ribs. “Friend. Me. Remember?”
Lisa snapped her head round to find Courtney staring back at her with eyes alive with mischief. “Did something or someone distract you from remembering I am here?” Smiling, she turned back to the hunk of burning love behind the bar. “I’ll have a glass of white wine too, please.”
His smile revealed perfect teeth except for the slight turn of one that Lisa had the sudden urge to lick. She pulled her shoulders back so fast they clicked in indignation. What the hell was she thinking? Since when did she want to lick men’s teeth? Clearing her throat, she focused on what Courtney was saying.
“So, you’re still here. What’s that all about? Scared to leave Summerville High and go out into the big bad world?”
The bar tender's smile stretched to a grin as he topped off their glasses before holding them out. “I teach here now. Physical Education. But before that, I spent five years in the UK. Biddestone to be exact.”
When Courtney turned, drinks in hand, the mischief in her eyes darkened to almost manic proportions as she wiggled her eyebrows and shoved a glass into Lisa’s newly clammy palm. “Well, now. The man lived right around the corner from you.”
Smile frozen in place, she glared at Courtney, certain she likely looked like Madonna high on LSD rather than the sex-bomb she’d being aiming for when she’d left the house. She took a sip of her wine and met his eyes once more. Phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal.
When we resumed, one of our members almost backed into me. I swerved, glad that zippy Z is so agile, because I just got him back from an accident that occurred on evil Friday the Thirteenth. I started to wonder if he was wearing a sign that read “hit me.” Then I was told that one of my headlights wasn’t working. Great. Back to the shop on Monday. The body shop disassembled the car. It is their duty to put all his parts back correctly.
Did I mention that I talk to the imaginary people who live in my head? Driving down the street. Sitting in my office. Walking my dogs. I don't talk to them “in” my head—I talk to them out loud. Much to the amusement of my family. I still remember two little friends who came to play with The Only when she was small. After they peeked into my office, they asked her who I was talking to. “Oh,” she replied quite matter-of-factly. “Those are the people who live in her head.” Imagine my surprise when I ended up sitting alone at the next PTA meeting. I had to explain I was a writer and I often “wrote” dialogue by speaking it out loud. I didn't mention that I changed my voice to match the character. *looks shifty eyed*
I'm lucky in that I have a dedicated “writer's cave” where I can hole up, with my two Newfoundland dogs and the lolcat who rules us all underfoot or on keyboard. Luckily, the back door is nearby, though getting up to let them in and out is the only exercise I get some days. Luckily, The Only is in college now and housetrained. (She can feed herself and do laundry when she runs out of underwear—though I did buy her a month's worth so that would be a problem around deadlines.)
So, you want to know about my writing process? A character will appear, pull up an imaginary chair, and start talking to me. I'll visit off and on, asking a lot of “what if?” questions and eventually, the first character introduces me to others and the story evolves.
Wait a minute!!! What am I, chopped liver?
I knew Iffy would show up sooner or later. Allow me to introduce my Muse. Iffy, meet the ladies of the Pink Fuzzy Slippers and readers. Iffy is in charge of writer's block, procrastination, and interviewing characters once their book is released. As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, *glares at Iffy* the story starts to flow and I can sit at the computer to record it. FAIRY TALES was lots of fun to write, thanks to Toby, who is the assistant to my heroine, Alex. I love Deke, the hero, too. Here's the blurb just to tease y'all:
Going home for her 25th class reunion isn't on Alex London's radar until her assistant pulls out the fairy godmother card. News correspondent, Deke Carpenter would rather cover the nearest war than attend the reunion--yet deep down he hopes to encounter the girl who got away, Dorothy Reagan, now well-known fashion photographer, Alex London.
Alex, on the other hand, has hopes of seeing the boy she carried a torch for all these years--basketball player Marty Keegan.
In one whirlwind weekend, surrounded by the ghosts of high school past, Alex and Deke discover each other and the unwritten rule of fairy godmothers everywhere: Fairy Tales Can Come True
You can check out an excerpt http://www.blogger.com/%3Ca%20href="target=_new">HERE(and even order it. :D ) I'm ready to drink coffee and visit. What are y'all reading? Do you have a Book Boyfriend™? Dish the details! Just don't forget I'm wearing my writer's tee shirt. You know the one that says, OH, THIS IS SO GOING INTO MY NEXT NOVEL!
With a rampant imagination aided and abetted by a Muse who runs with scissors, Silver James loves to share the stories created in that vast comic void pretending to be her mind. Over the course of her lifetime, she's been a military officer's wife, mother, state appellate court marshal, airport rescue firefighter and forensic fire photographer, crime analyst, technical crime scene investigator, and writer. Retired from the “real world” now, she lives in Oklahoma and spends her days at the computer with her two Newfoundland dogs, the cat who rules them all, and myriad characters all clamoring for attention. To find out more about Silver, visit her at http://www.silverjames.com/
I always get this compelling urge at the change of seasons to grab a pencil and pad and head outdoors to record the details of the passing season before forgotten and to capture the transformation occurring. No other equinox creates a stronger desire in me than summer to autumn.
Maybe it’s because my creative writing professor, whose class I took in the fall semester, gave my class an assignment doing just that. She instilled in me the importance of using sensory perception in my writing—all five senses.
In the task, after we wrote down all the visual details that popped at us, we were instructed to take notes blindly. Yes, with our eyes closed. It is amazing how our other senses become much more acute when one or two are shut down. Sounds that escape you everyday become apparent. Words to describe the things you touch will go beyond soft, hard, cold or hot. You’ll find the sunshine and the breeze has a taste. Odors are the most powerful in bringing lost memories to the forefront of your mind. You can use them to divulge a bit of character’s back story.
After we wrote all we could using the other four senses, we had to open our eyes and rewrite the visual using different terms. The world really does look different the second time around.
I’ve heard a great novelist uses all five senses on every page. I’ve yet to find any of my favorite authors doing so, but I do see they do at every opportunity. They make the world they’re building and the characters they’re drawing so real by using subtle meticulous details.
So, today, on the first full-day of autumn, join me. Grab your pad and pencil and head outside. Capture the world around you and then review the pages you’re working on and see where you’ve missed the opportunity to flesh out your world and characters. Come back and tell me something new you experienced.
Good morning. I’m thrilled to be here at the Pink Fuzzy Slippers blog, and am wearing my fuzzy slippers all day in honor of my visit. I like a two-way conversation, so after I answer Melba Moon’s questions, I’m going to turn the tables and ask y’all some questions of my own.
1: How do you come up with your ideas?
Most of the time, the ideas come to me as a vivid dream that refuses to fade upon waking. As soon as I write the scene down, it seems to grow and stretch until it becomes a full story. Once in a while, the characters simply take me hostage and refuse to let me go until I finish writing their story. After weeks without sleep, take-out food and someone standing over my shoulder telling me what to say (pretending he’s a muse not a kidnapper) I usually find I’ve written something unexpected but pretty darn good.
2: On average, how long does it take to write your books?
In the past, it’s taken about 18 months to finish a full-length historical, but I’m not working at the day job presently, and I’ve noticed the time has shortened considerably. LOL!
SOMETHING MORE, which is my first contemporary story (ever) is a novella and it took a little over two months to complete.
I should say, though, that Nick and Nora from SOMETHING MORE were two characters who pretty much kidnapped me, and then argued in front of me about who was going to get the opening line in their story. Neither listened to my protests that I write historicals. I wrote to get them to hush and discovered I like writing contemporaries. And I was thrilled when the story was accepted as part of the Class of ‘85 series.
3: How do you cope with rejection?
My rejection recovery regime:
· Long walk
· Full glass of wine (scotch if I'm really taking it hard)
· Chat with friends, who assure me of my brilliance
· Bubble bath
· Go back to work on the current WIP the next morning
4. What themes go through your books?
My theme, which runs through all my works whether contemporary or historical, is free will vs. fate. Does what we are determine what we will become? This plays out in choice and consequences. My characters make all the wrong choices and find themselves on the divide between gain and loss, happiness and heartbreak, with no easy way out.
5. What’s next for you?
I’m working on a second novella that features Andy Morgan, from SOMETHING MORE. Andy is a pretty easy-going guy despite a protective streak that runs deep into his bones. Trouble is, Jane Grey doesn’t believe she needs his protection even though it appears her past is about to catch up with her—with deadly consequences.
I'm also working on an historical story that I've dubbed the Yorkshire Gothic. It's not set in Yorkshire, but it's becoming more Gothic with each word. My hero lives under a curse and has vowed never to sire children, who would carry the curse into the next generation. When he must marry to protect his friend’s sister to keep her lands from falling to the enemy, he realizes he wants a full life. However, when he begins searching for a way to undo the curse, he uncovers a family secret that could strip him of everything—status, land and most of all, Matilda.
Now, some questions for you:
1. What is your rejection recovery regime?
2. If you could bring just one of your characters to life for the day, what is the first thing you’d show him/her?
3. If your character took you to his/her world. What would you miss most?
More deals today!
Check out the Dave Ramsey website. If you purchase any item (I recommend the wallet) you’ll receive his book “More Than Enough” at no charge. Just add the code MORE at check-out, and the book will automatically be added to your order.
Remember the JC Penney $10.00 off $10.00 coupon from yesterday? JC Penney is offering free shipping on shoes, so peruse their website to find a super bargain with free shipping to your house.
I love Michael Korrs clothing. 6PM.com is offering up to 70% off Michael Kors---a fabulous deal for a fabulous designer.
Want to update your workout music? Podworkoutmusic.com has a free download from Subway and “The Biggest Loser”. Just sign up with your email.
Want more free music?
Click or copy and paste:
for a free download of the Social Network, scheduled to be released September 28th.
“I can’t afford to save any more money.”—favorite quote
It’s Monday, and there are some great deals today.
First, for all you gardeners, on of the top perennials is 70% off, “Bearded Iris”, now $14.99—5 per package.
Make the deal even better with $2.00 shipping. Use coupon code: SHIP2FB
Free night at the Theater.
These shows will be available at no charge beginning October 1st, but some shows might be available now.
Check out your area, and be sure to come back on October 1st.
The JC Penney online code for $10.00 off of $10.00 posted yesterday (GO4TEN) can be made even better if you shop for shoes, because all shoes ship for free.
For the man in your life, Kohls.com is offering Men’s “Chap’s” shirts for $4.50, which is a 90% savings. Save an additional 15% off with code: NEW5789
This deal is going fast, and only sizes XL and XXL are available.
“I can’t afford to save any more money.”—favorite quote
Lots of great deals today, borrowed from several money-saving forums.
Tanga.com is offering Weight Watchers magazine subscription for $14.99. If you use coupon code WATCH, it will take $12.00 off the price, making the total $2.99.
Great deal on a 1 year subscription!
JC Penney.com has a coupon code good for $10.00 off of $10.00
You’ll still have to pay shipping. I’ve found that having JC Penney ship directly to my home is only a little more in shipping cost than shipping to the store.
TGI Fridays is offering a coupon for 50% off appetizers, valid through September 26th:
Still searching for the perfect Halloween costume?
Look no further than buycostumes.com
Use coupon code CLEAR25 for an additional 25% off of clearance and blowout costumes.
“I can’t afford to save any more money.”—favorite quote
What do you most like about writing? Least like? What made you want to be an author?
I have always been a story-teller. As a child, I got into a lot of trouble for “making things up.” Now, I get rewarded for making things up. I love being able create heroes and heroines that people can relate to--even crazy cat ladies, as I did with Catastrophe, my first publication with The Wild Rose Press (WRP). I think most writers hate, hate, hate revisions. Yep. That’s me, too. But, the professional in me knows that if it makes a stronger story, then that’s what needs to be done. The hardest thing for me to decide is when are the revisions done? Fortunately, I have had some great editors with the WRP and they help me to bring the story to closure.
When did you decide to write romance and how long have you been at it? Also, have you written other genres?
I've been writing fiction since I was in middle school and have the rejection slips to prove it. In high school, I even submitted a script to “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” on yellow-lined paper in pencil. Not surprisingly, that was rejected that, too.
After I graduated with a BA in Psychology and no job, I realized my dreams of working in the attic writing great prose would have to take a back seat to the simple pleasures of eating, drinking, and having a roof over my head. Fast forward a few decades, and I had a career path that would make all but the kindest say, "What were you thinking?" After working in health care delivery for years, I became a researcher, then an academic. I had it all-- a terrific, supportive husband, an amazing son, and a wonderful job. But that itch to write (some call it obsession), kept beckoning me to "come on back" to writing fiction. In the summer of 2004, I spent one whole month away from Baltimore in Florida doing nothing but writing fiction. The resulting effort was the first of many drafts of my first novel, which is now hidden away in a deep, dark drawer.
As an academic, I published numerous non-fiction article and two textbooks. However, I found the road to publication in fiction to be much harder. After I published some short stories in horror and mystery, my friend, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, recommended I join the Maryland Romance Writers (MRW). I joined in 2005 and found friendship, support and the opportunity to develop as an author with MRW and the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Since romance has over a dozen sub-genres, I was able to turn my fascination with horror and mystery into paranormal romance and romantic suspense. I was home.
How do you get over writer’s block?
Most of the time, I have writer’s logorrhea--too many ideas and not enough time. On occasion, I’ve had to stop working on a story to hit deadlines for other projects. That can be a good respite, as when I go back to review the story, I find issues with it and begin the revisions right away. On the rare occasion when I am stuck with where I should go next with a character or a plot, I will write the key questions down before I go to bed and let my dreaming self work on it. That’s been a very helpful technique.
How do you come up with your ideas?
When Kathy Cottrell, the Senior Editor of the Last Rose of Summer line asked me if I’d be interested in creating a story for the Class of ’85, I already had a Latina I really liked from another story. I thought it would be fun if that character could have a cousin who spent her senior year at Summerville High School. And, I have always loved the name Lola Getz. Likewise, I have always been fascinated by heroes who go from the “97 pound weakling” to a muscle man. And, I believe every graduating class has at least one of those guys. Webster (formerly the “Dweebster”) Bond is just such a guy in Bonded for Life, my short story coming on 9/22/10 with the Class of ’85 series.
How did you find a publisher?
I found the Wild Rose Press in 2007 on an Internet search. They were not interested in my first novel--but the editor gave me extensive feedback on the first five pages. I was so impressed by their willingness to work with new authors that I just kept going back. To date, I have contracted three short stories and three novellas with them: Catastrophe, Pigmalion, The Lake Placid Cure, Bonded for Life, Kiss of the Silver Wolf and An Inn Decent Proposal (also the Class of ’85 Series).
On average, how long does it take to write your books?
My short story, Bonded for Life, took about three months while working a 60 plus hour a week day job. Kiss of the Silver Wolf is a novella that started as a short story in 2004--then I put it away, then took it out and reworked it, then put it away, then rewrote and revised it again and again and again. Thanks to Amanda Barnett and her patience and faith in that story, Kiss of the Silver Wolf is in production as we speak.
Who’s your favorite author to read? Favorite book?
I’m an omnivore when it comes to books. I grew up reading Nancy Drew and everything by Heinlein and Bradbury--then I fell in love with King and Koontz. And, then Katherine Neville blew me out of the water with The Eight. I’ve read that book about eight times. Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth is one book I’d take with me on a desert island. I read John Irving’s The Hotel New Hampshire on a Chicago city bus, and laughed out loud so hard, the entire bus was staring at me. Oh and how could I forget Caleb Carr and the Alienist or Angel of Darkness? And Janet Evanovich and all her Stephanie Plum books. And Nora Roberts and JD Robb and Heather Graham and Linda Howard and Lisa Ruff and Kathy Love and Christie Kelly and Nalini Singh and Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krantz…and I should stop now.
How do you cope with rejection?
I would like to pretend that I am an adult and ever the professional when I receive a rejection. That would be a lie. I read the letter. I put it in a drawer. I allow myself to feel bad for a little while. I don’t allow myself to wallow in self-pity. That is a waste of time. After a week, I will go back and read the letter again. I will find one nugget of praise, like, “You are a strong writer” and hang onto that. Then I will look at what the agent or editor thought was weak and take that into consideration for revisions and for future stories.
What themes go through your books?
Most of my stories revolve around journeys of discovery of one’s true self and how family and love fits into one’s identity. In Bonded for Life, Lola Getz is a famous artist, blissfully oblivious to the drug cartel wars all around her--until they blow up literally in her backyard. She escapes to the safest little town in the world--Summerville. Instead of being cocooned, she finds herself confronted by some things about her family and has to decide what that means to her and her future.
What would you like to tell readers?
I hope I keep my promise to you as an author and that my stories move you to laughter, anxiety, suspense, tears and the sigh of a satisfying ending. Thank you for reading my stories.
And many thanks for allowing me to be here today on the Fuzzy Pink Slippers blog!
Fireworks for the Mind--Surprising and Sizzling!
Thank you so much to the Pink Fuzzy Slipper ladies for having the Class of ’85 here this month—it’s like another reunion party!
Have you ever been in the right place at the wrong time?
Dumped at the senior spring dance, AJ, who’d always been more into softball and shop class than cheerleading and pep squad, escaped the crowd to mope in the Corvette on loan to the class for the semester. When Greg Roberts unexpectedly joined her, his attempts to cheer her worked—too well. She might have even confessed her love that night if Greg’s longtime girlfriend hadn’t come looking for him.
Twenty-five hard years later, forced to come to the reunion by her best friend, AJ escapes back to her favorite class, only to find the exact Corvette—a little worn and faded—sitting right where she’d left it. Fond memories turn into reality when Greg shows up at her driver’s side window again—and déjà vu takes on a whole new meaning.
Whenever I think back to high school, three things instantly come to mind—hair, music and Niagra Falls.
No, I didn’t go to school in Niagara Falls, but a high school in a small city on the Canadian shore of Lake Ontario. There was, however, one memorable school trip to Niagara Falls where I met the second boy to tag my heart. Wow, even thinking of him now still makes my heart flutter—tall, chiselled jaw, black hair and crystal blue eyes…and slow dancing with him, whew! Everything to make a teenage girl swoon. Let’s just say Grade Eleven was a good year LOL.
While on this trip and a visit to the falls, a group of my friends and I were watching the boys play touch football in the middle of a grassy area when a sleek, white corvette drove by behind them. I always found it funny that the car caught my mind off the shirtless group of athletically defined boys, but it did. I even snapped a picture of it and, believe it or not. still have it in my school photo album. And to this day, my head still turns whenever a Stingray Corvette sails by…
Between the Corvette and those niggley little ‘what if’ thoughts about that boy, AJ and Greg’s story took off like a shot. Not too many hearts get a second chance and it’s amazing how one little moment in time can sew itself securely into the past, present and future.
I love my life and especially my husband to pieces and wouldn’t change a thing, but I do admit, every once in a while, I Google my Niagara Falls guy’s name just to see if I can find him and what he might be doing today. Did he become famous like he wanted? Did he marry and have children? No, I haven’t found him yet…but you never know….
With all these reunion stories bringing high school memories back to the forefront, was there someone that you had your eye on back then, but the timing was just…off?
I’d love to hear….and you can find out what happens with AJ and Greg in Corvette Confessions available now at The Wild Rose Press.
Purchase link: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/corvette-confessions-p-4210.html?zenid=a4210e9eb48bc2ea4a37127583a440bf
Website: http://www.stacydawn.com/ Blog: http://www.stacydawn.blogspot.com/
I’d been noodling with a short romance I was calling Persuasion-lite: girl talked out of dating nerdy boy in high school gets a second chance at romance, but it was set at a ten-year reunion and I was getting nowhere fast. When I added fifteen years to the reunion number, A-Ha’s Take On Me popped in to my head and the entire story clicked. Weaving the song titles into the action became a challenge and I pored over Billboard lists from the early 80s looking for the song that would complement the moment in the story it is introduced and also be recognizable to a wider audience. I had such a blast writing, singing Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and even that cheesy wedding perennial Celebration at the top of my lungs (and totally off-key) as I typed. I hope you’ll check out The Serious Moonlight and sing along too!
Here’s the blurb & how to find The Serious Moonlight:
Check out The Serious Moonlight at http://www.thewildrosepress.com/the-serious-moonlight-p-4189.html
Janet Halpin writes both short story and novel-length romantic fiction. Fun Fact: Way back in the 80s, Janet partied with members of the band A-Ha at a truly epic Halloween party (and there are pictures to prove it).
Today the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers have a special treat. An interview with Jannine Gallant, recently while talking with Jannine over on the Reunion loop I plied her with questions. So, grab a glass of bubbly and settle back and enjoy talking with Jannine.
Victim of Desire was my first published novel. It was released on April 30, 2010 with the Crimson line of The Wild Rose Press. Here’s the blurb:
Ex-soap star, Rachel Carpenter, is a single mom coping with the daily problems of raising three daughters and operating her bookstore in the Napa Valley wine country. Kane Lafferty is a burned out police detective struggling with his own demons. The attraction between the two is immediate, though they both have reasons to avoid a relationship. At a wilderness camp in the High Sierra, their passion grows. But someone is watching. A man obsessed with Rachel since her soap star days is determined to have her at any cost. Danger mounts as the stalker’s reign of terror escalates. Kane risks his life to protect Rachel and her daughters, but can he uncover the predator’s identity in time? Or will Rachel have to sacrifice herself and her relationship with Kane to save her family?
How many books did you write before selling one?
It’s been a long road to publication. I wrote 4 books (off and on) over a period of twenty years before getting Victim of Desire published.
How many books have you published?
My second book, Lonely Road to You, a novella for the Class of ’85 series, was released on August 25, 2010 with the Last Rose of Summer line of The Wild Rose Press. Here’s the blurb:
Kate Abbott isn’t looking for excitement and is perfectly content with her stable, secure life in Seattle, even if her son thinks she’s in an uninspired rut. Ex-rock star Tyler North has no intention of shaking up his life on the Montana ranch where he fled years before to escape the ravages of fame and fortune. Neither plan to attend their 25 year high school reunion, but they both find themselves on the way back to Summerville, New York. Fate throws them together on a lonely road, leading them into a journey of discovery.
From the majesty of Yellowstone to the shores of Lake Ontario, Kate and Tyler fight unexpected attraction and old insecurities. Their road trip is full of surprises and odd twists. From buffalo and bears to a deep crevasse and a crazy old man, they work together to overcome the obstacles in their path. But will these two opposites be able to put aside fear of change and rejection to take a chance on the promise of love?
What themes go through your books?
The theme in my most recent books is that it’s never too late to find love. My heroines are women who had past relationships that didn’t work out, but they persevered and found happiness. I live in Lake Tahoe and am a big fan of the great outdoors. I try to incorporate the beauty of nature into all my stories
How would you best describe your books?
The most frequent comment I get from readers is, “Wow, it was such a fast read. I couldn’t put it down.” My books are action packed and fast paced.How do you write with kids and deadlines? Great question! I have two middle school aged daughters, and I am constantly driving them to and from their various activities. I try to write every morning for 2 or 3 hours before the craziness begins.
Which other jobs have you had?
In the past, I’ve worked in both the ski industry and in restaurants. Most recently I worked for the 2010 Census. I met a few unique (unique is a much nicer word than flat out crazy!) individuals I would love to weave into future stories.What do you love most about writing and what do you not like? I love coming up with new plots and characters, letting my imagination run wild. The beginning stages of a book are always so fun. I hate that bogged down feeling I get somewhere in the middle of the story when I’m absolutely certain I’m never going to finish it!
What are you writing now?
I finished a second story for the Class of ’85 series a few weeks ago, and I am pleased to announce it was accepted for publication. We’re currently in the editing stage. After All These Years should be out sometime around the end of the year.
What would you write if you could do write anything you wanted to?
I wouldn’t change a thing. Romance is what I like to read. People have enough problems to deal with in their everyday lives. It’s great to pick up a book and know it will have a happy ending!
Why do you write?
I write because I love it. One day it would be nice to actually make a living doing it!
How do you write? I write sitting at my computer with as little noise and distractions as I can manage. Sometimes it’s a challenge!
Do you write what you know?
I’m a small town girl, and my stories generally take place in small towns or rural settings. There’s nothing like personal experience to keep a story authentic.
What’s next for you?
Right now I’m working on a romantic suspense novel I put on hold when I got so fired up about the stories for the reunion series. It takes place in a small town in the Redwood forest near where I grew up and is filled with mystery and murder.
What would you like to tell readers?
Don’t give up on your dream, whether it’s writing or something else. It took me years to get published, but it finally happened. Perseverance is the key to success!
I would like to thank the wonderful ladies of the Pink Fuzzy Slippers for having me. It’s been a blast! You can find buy links and information about my books on my website at http://www.janninegallant.com/.
Welcome Margo Hoornstra Author of Glad Tidings for Last Rose Of Summer's Summerville High Reunion of '85 SeriesPosted by Scarlet Pumpernickel | 10:10 PM | 22 comments »
Glad Tidings—a contemporary romance scheduled for release later this fall—is my second full length novel for e-publisher The Wild Rose Press. The story is part of the Class of ’85 series presented by the Last Rose of Summer line of Wild Rose. But, those of you reading this blog already know that. As you also already know, all the stories revolve around an invitation to the twenty-fifth reunion of a high school class from the fictional town of Summerville in upstate New York.
A holiday romance which takes place between Halloween and Christmas Eve, Glad Tidings features Bethany and Jake—two classmates who have been best friends since third grade who temporarily lose touch—for twenty some years—then rediscover each other and the love they’ve always shared.
The holidays are never worse than when they have to be spent alone.
Once solely devoted to his career, the passage of their twenty-fifth high school reunion makes hard driving hospital CEO Jake Holbrook seriously consider what he’s missed out on in life. Especially when a special woman from his past tumbles back into it, landing directly in his bed where he’s now determined to keep her.
Family Practice physician Bethany Thomas knew it was a bad idea to sleep with her husband’s best friend. Particularly since Jake’s the one man she’d always loved. Recently widowed, and blamed by some for her own misfortune, lately she’s not big on making rational decisions. Like the one to let the old friend turned lover become her future boss.
Soon though, Jake’s precious job is on the line when Bethany unknowingly betrays him, and happily ever after may have no place in their futures.
Further argument gave way to a shrug of accord as they reached the entrance to her apartment building. Stopping, she faced him and brought her eyes up to meet his. At the confusion he spied in their depths, his heart seized.
“And part==most==of my reason for being here is to help see those visions through, Jake. That much I can promise you. The rest I can’t right now.”
“I’ll just have to wait until you can.”
“You’re my best friend.” She let out a sigh he decided to interpret as relief then slid one hand beneath the lapel of his suit coat where she took hold. Standing on tip toe to lean into him, she brushed soft lips across his. By the time he closed his eyes to enjoy the unexpected contact, her lips, then her body, were gone. “Brian kept me under his thumb for more than twenty years. Over the past weeks, I’ve rediscovered freedom is a marvelous thing I intend to enjoy.”
“Good luck with that.”
He gave her no chance to react as he stepped into her space and wrapped one arm around her back then used his other hand to support the nape of her neck. Lowering his head, he laid claim on her parted lips. When she stiffened, he contemplated letting her go, but couldn’t. She tasted too sweet, her body on his was too inviting. Emboldened when her arms fastened around his neck, he nudged her love warmed lips apart with his tongue. Welcome to Mynderse, Doctor Thomas. I’m glad you’re here.
Like me, the characters in my stories tend to have been around the block a few times, experienced life, overcome adversities.
For me, work as a magazine editor, newspaper contributor, television producer and script writer helped pay the bills while my husband and I raised four children along with an assortment of dogs, cats and fish. Having overcome my own share of life’s adversities, I’m still here and doing fine.
That’s the beauty of the happily ever after guarantee of romance fiction. They’ve done it, I can do it, we’re all going to be okay.
Come visit me at www.margohoornstra.com.
Today we welcome Celia Yeary, with her new release Texas Promise. Celia is doing some reminiscing about growing up and visiting her grandparents. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope you will too! Celia would love some comments too!
Texas Promise-eBook-Desert Breeze Publishing
Making the Turn-print & eBook-Wings ePress
Writer by night, dog groomer by day, she is the owner/operator of Fur Kids Pet Grooming Salon.
Donna, tell us about your journey to becoming an award winning author.
A good portion of my youth was spent in a small town located in upstate New York. I was the second oldest of nine children. Looking back, I realize John-boy Walton and his clan were rich compared to my family. Heck, those Walton’s had a mountain. We didn’t even have running water. What we did have were fields to run in, trees to climb, little green apples (loaded with worms) to munch on a hot summer’s day; and a small creek that ran behind our house. When winter arrived I would slip on my older sister’s ice skates and pretend to be an Olympic skater.
So, it’s no surprise that my love for small towns comes out in my writing. The hero in my first novel, Saving Cinderella is a small town doctor; the heroine in my second novel Package Deal, lives in a small town and runs a day care center. My third story, Getting It Right, is set in Summerville, not a small town by standard definition, but small enough for my keyboard and me to feel right at home.
Getting It Right is a story about four teens, who didn’t make the football team, or get to wear the homecoming crown. Tye tasted his first beer before he turned thirteen, Denny experimented with drugs, Sissy used sex to find love, and Kelly the preacher’s daughter, couldn’t live up to her daddy’s expectations. They were traveling down a road that led to self-destruction. A tragedy in the summer of ’85 alters the course of their lives.
An invitation to the Class of ’85 reunion brings Tye back to Summerville, where he discovers the past held a few secrets of its own.
Excerpt from Getting It Right:
“Kelly I want you to stay away from that boy.”
She finished rinsing her cereal bowl and put it in the dish rack. “Daddy that boy has a name, it’s Tyler Jackson. And we’re just friends” For now, she added silently.
She turned, leaned against the sink and looked at her father. “I don’t understand why you won’t give him a chance.”
He lowered the paper he’d been reading. “For the same reason I wouldn’t belly up to a snake and kiss it.”
“Tyler isn’t a snake.”
“No, he’s a troubled boy who drinks and smokes. And he’s made fast company with Denny Riker and Sharon Monroe.”
“Is that all you’ve got on him?” She folded her arms and shrugged. “Why, I heard he dances with the devil on Saturday night, too. The two of them are just thick as thieves.”