Tuesday, April 8, 2014

20 Questions with Author/Editor Patience Bloom!

It’s a rare pleasure to feature the creative work of one of my book editors! Patience Bloom (then Smith) groomed my “Warrior” contemporary series as senior editor for Harlequin’s (then Silhouette’s) Intimate Moments (now Romantic Suspense) line. (I just got dizzy following those edits). After spending several delightful evenings with her memoir Romance Is My Day Job, I enthusiastically recommend this fun and often poignant insider look at the dating life of someone who makes romance their profession. From teenage daydreams of Duran Duran (tho’ I personally planned to marry Simon, not John!) to comparisons to literature’s famous doomed relationships, her path to finding True Love one fictional hero at a time is filled with heartbreak and humor and a glorious happily-ever-after. To prove that editors are really people who love books, just like us, Patience answers my 20 Questions and offers a teasing glimpse at this gem of a romance (she had me at the book trailer!).

Meet author/editor Patience Bloom:

Getting to know you:

1. Night owl or early bird? 

Unfortunately, both. I love staying up until 2 a.m., but because I spend time in an office, I need to be a morning person, too. The sun and chirping birds make me happy, along with coffee. Afternoons are not my brightest Patience time.

2. Other creative outlets? 

I knit, run, go to theater and watch far too many movies/TV shows. I’m a pop culture junkie (and read all the tabloids).

3. Things that make you want to go “EEEEEEK!” 

Vomit. I run in the other direction. I hate it even in books and movies (unless a Judd Apatow movie).Though I’m fine with gushing blood, I’m phobic in general—heights, mild agoraphobia and claustrophobia, crowds, germs, boats, flying, etc…. I keep some of the “eeek” well hidden and pretend it’s not there, but basically, I’m a mess! And yet, if you need me to get rid of a cockroach, spider, or rodents, I’m your girl.

4. Favorite books from childhood. 

All Judy Blume, Wizard of Oz and Chronicles of Narnia books. As a child, I read everything, including biographies of Presidents and literary fiction (Dickens, Tolstoy—though I barely understood these). I’m a giant book geek and will read whatever you put in front of me, except for a physics or economics textbook.

5. Three favorite movies:

The Lives of Others, Heat and Ordinary People—all very depressing but I love them. Happy movies I also adore: Maid in Manhattan, The Mirror Has Two Faces and The Holiday.

6. What’s on your Bucket List? 

I’ve only ever had one thing on my Bucket List and it’s very girly: Meet Duran Duran. I’m not pushy enough to try to accomplish this, which is okay. I have everything I want in life.

7. Your first kiss . . . 

Was a nice surprise at sleep-away camp when I was sixteen. He was drop-dead gorgeous and I thought he only liked me as a friend!

The Written Word:

8. Favorite type of hero (Type A bad boy or Type B good guy) Examples. (Which would you rather live with?) 

Type B, all the way. Nice guys are hot. I would choose Working Girl’s Harrison Ford over Wuthering Heights’s Heathcliff any day!

9. What type of fiction heroine would you be?Jane Eyre or Lara Croft? 

I’m a mix between the two. Moody and serious, but athletic. So while I’m crying over the clouds in the sky, I’m doing wind sprints.

10. Favorite genre to read? (Is it what you write?)

Outside of romance (my day job) and commercial women’s fiction, I love non-fiction, especially memoirs. I enjoy reading about interesting people with impressive accomplishments.

11. What are you reading right now? 

Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things and Pretenders by Lisi Harrison.

12. Paperback or e-book?

Paperback if I really want to keep it forever, give to a friend, or refer back to it. E-book if a quick subway read or my 1:30am read while husband is asleep.

13. Favorite books you can read over and over. 

Anything by Emily Giffin, Susan Mallery, and Nora Roberts.

A Writer’s Life:

14. OCD plotter or free range pantser? 

I’m a free-range pantser and this doesn’t work for me. I have the hardest time with plotting. If I have to create a plot for work, no problem. I can come up with wild stories, which other people will write.Right now, I’m trying to convince myself that I’m creating a plot for work.

15. Which was easier to get, agent or editor? 

For me, both were easy. What helped was that I had a unique story and was already in the biz. Before Romance Is My Day Job, I had a very difficult time getting an editor for my fiction, but I attribute this to having a less-than-saleable project(s).

16. Do you have a set writing schedule? 

No. It’s basically any free minute, usually at night or weekends.

17. Solo muse or critique partner(s)? 

Solo muse. I just send straight to the agent/editor.

18. Biggest hurdle to getting words on the page and how you overcome it. 

It takes a few tricks to get me to sit down writing because I’m a child. I get chocolate and don’t eat it until after I’m done. I write down my goal on a whiteboard. Then I set a timer and say, “Just write for thirty minutes, see what happens.” Usually, I will go over that time. I also set word count deadlines for myself.

19. What’s on your desk? 

A ball of yarn, Purrell, a Happiness Jar, four kinds of lip gloss, stacks of notecards, a calendar, Patrick Smith Botanicals face serum, and nail filing kit.

20. When can we get your next book and what’s it all about?

My current book, Romance Is My Day Job (Dutton), is out now. It’s my memoir, the story of how a romance editor found true love after decades of romance reading and dating failures. The next book is one of four different projects that I’m working on—fiction and nonfiction--and, for now, that’s a secret (I’m superstitious). 

Who knows the ins and outs of romance better than a Harlequin editor? A surprising and exhilarating look into Patience Bloom’s unexpected real-life love story.

At some point, we’ve all wished romance could be more like fiction. Patience Bloom certainly did, many times over. As a teen she fell in love with Harlequin novels and imagined her life would turn out just like the heroines’ on the page: That shy guy she had a crush on wouldn’t just take her out—he’d sweep her off her feet with witty banter, quiet charm, and a secret life as a rock star. Not exactly her reality, but Bloom kept reading books that fed her reveries.

Years later she moved to New York and found her dream job, editing romances for Harlequin. Every day, her romantic fantasies came true—on paper. Bloom became an expert when it came to fictional love stories, editing amazing books and learning everything she could about the romance business. But her dating life remained uninspired. She nearly gave up on love.

Then one day a real-life chance at romance made her wonder if what she’d been writing and editing all those years might be true. A Facebook message from a high school friend, Sam, sparked a relationship with more promise than she’d had in years. But Sam lived thousands of miles away—they hadn’t seen each other in more than twenty years. Was it worth the risk?

Finally, Bloom learned: Love and romance can conquer all.

Book Trailer

Before her tenure as a senior editor at Harlequin Books, Patience Bloom had as many career choices as hometowns. She wanted to be a movie star until graduation from Oberlin College. Then came reality—that, perhaps, becoming the next Danielle Steel would be involve less dieting. Her creative muse wouldn’t pay the bills, so she spent a short period as a secretary (she still loves clerical work). In New Mexico, she used her fluency in French and Latin to teach high school and also got a master’s degree in French Literature at UNM. By 1997, she had moved to New York City, where she landed in publishing. In addition to devouring true crime, literary fiction, and romantic comedies, she mainlines celebrity memoirs. At Harlequin, she works on a wide spectrum of romances with a specialization in romantic suspense. Patience came across her own Prince Charming in her forties, which inspired her to write Romance Is My Day Job (Dutton).

What relationships have you had that embodied a fictional hero? Share your Heathcliffs, Roarkes and Byrons.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

IWSG: The Creative Process Cycle

Last month (when I was supposed to be doing my IWSG post . . . hanging head in shame) I participated in a chain letter-type blog hop about The Writing Process where authors shared their own method of getting words on the page. Every post I read offered something uniquely tailored to the particular writer’s own organic style. But in reading them, I couldn’t help but think about a more universal cycle that applies to each project no matter where we are in our writing career - that circle of life (cue Elton John singing!) called The Creative Process. We all go through a struggle to produce against a common enemy. No, it’s not finding time or whether you’re a pantser or a plotter. It’s more insidious than that. It’s our own Inner Author who starts a step-by-step dialogue in our head the minute we type Chapter One on the page. See if you recognize it:

Oh, yeah. You know what I’m talking about.

We all make this familiar journey. If we’re lucky, we only make one complete cycle from #1 to #6 during the course of a book. The euphoric honeymoon phase becoming a furrowed brow. Frustration with the plot disintegrating to a mantra of “I am not worthy. Why did I ever think I was a writer?” Then a shimmer of hope at a well turned phrase that blossoms into excitement all over again as we proclaim “I Rock!”

So now you know what you’re up against. Knowledge is power. You know that the mucky middle phase will pass. Pick up your feet and run through it as quickly as possible. Keep up the momentum. The last thing you want is to get so mired in #3 and #4 that you can’t move beyond them. Don’t listen! Forge on. Keep telling yourself #5 and #6 are right up a head. And the creative wheel will turn. Remember, you can always go back to #3 to tidy up once you have that great ending saved. Isn’t that what editing is for? But you can’t get to the end if you allow yourself to get stuck in the middle.

I’m on the final chapters of my W-I-P REMEMBERED BY MOONLIGHT, a pivotal book in my “By Moonlight” dark paranormal shape-shifter series. Basking in the “I So Rock!” glow of #6, I can hardly recall slogging through that disheartening middle where nothing came together and everything sorta - sucked. Kinda like childbirth. Circle of Life and all that.

Where are you in your current W-I-P journey?

What is the Insecure Writers Support Group?

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! We’ve got your back!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group from the amazing links below and connect with your fellow writers - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Shout out to our awesome hosts for this month: Hart Johnson, Chemist Ken, Candilynn Fite, Terri Rochenski, Clare Dugmore, and Lilica Blake!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Seriously Shifter Giveaway Hop!

Growing up, I LOVED scary movies. My favorites were the Creature Features. Though the monsters were the ‘bad guys,’ I always felt an affinity for their plight – alone, isolated, different and unloved. They just couldn’t get a break. It wasn’t until I saw the movie Ladyhawke with Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeifer, where lovers cursed to become a hawk and a wolf, one at night and one during the day could never be together in their human forms except for that brief moment in-between, that I realized that these tragic tales could also be romances. A keen creative interest in all things Shifter was born.

Whether they be wolf, bear, dragon or Guinea pig, Shifters are instantly relatable because they also take on a human form. From there, the only limit is the writer’s imagination. Your world, your rules. Creating both was a huge part (a really fun part!) of writing my ‘By Moonlight’ shape-shifter series. Visit my world HERE and make sure you take a peek behind the “Step Inside” tab to get a glimpse of the series mythology.

Variety is what keeps Shifter stories fresh and new. Everything from Mystique in the X-Men to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s “Dark Hunters” are there to excite and entertain. Who are your favorite Shifters? Do you prefer a certain ‘type?’

To help you explore the world of sexy Shifters, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card. After you enter above, make sure you visit the other Hop sites listed below for lots more Shifter goodness and giveaways! And revisit Ladyhawke for sigh-worthy romance!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Twenty Questions for Dana Corbit: Getting to Know Your favorite (or soon to be favorite!) Writer

It’s always a special privilege to hype the work of one of your book buddies, in this case, my critique partner, Dana Corbit. The talented members of my band of merry critiquers come from all areas of the romance spectrum and beyond, often providing my initiation into a particular genre. Dana’s warm and heart-felt romances were my introduction to the inspirational market where I found it easy to embrace the characters in her Love Inspired series books (my favorite - the trouble-making Charity!). Many a plot was born during our brainstorming sessions and I’m especially proud to welcome FINALLY A MOTHER because today is Special Delivery Release Day!

Here’s your chance to meet Dana and get a look at the new arrival!

1. Broadway or museum?

Tough choice. I love them both. I was so excited I nearly wet myself the day I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and saw Paul Gauguin’s painting “Three Tahitian Women” for myself. Yes, I’m a dork. One who happens to love Broadway musicals, too. RENT is my favorite. I’ve seen it four times, in New York and Detroit, and occasionally break out in my own weak version of “525,600 Minutes.” But then I also loved Rex Smith in Sunset Boulevard in Toronto and the always amazing Donny Osmond in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Chicago.

2. Five words you use to describe yourself:


3. Other creative outlets?

I love to bake, and I’m pretty good at it. My chewy sugar cookies are a standard at our house at Christmas, Easter, Halloween and Valentine’s Day. I also make my own pie crust and even have a few ribbons…somewhere…from the Bartholomew County (Indiana) Fair. I have my own Pumpkin Pie recipe (using the pumpkin puree that my husband makes each fall), and my special recipe for Apple Amaretto Pie is really yummy.

4. Things that make you want to go “EEEEEEK!”

I am terrified of heights. I didn’t really know that until a few years ago when I was a chaperone on a mission trip in Beattysville, Kentucky. We took a side trip to Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Slade. After taking a three-quarter mile trek up a 500-foot elevation, we climbed on the sandstone arch that itself was 65 feet high and only 20 feet wide. I was okay until the teens on the trip wanted to take a picture near the edge. I crossed part of that bridge on my hands and knees.

5. What music are you listening to? (While you write?)

I have an outdated MP3 player that I listen to when I write. I only listen to the albums of three different bands/artists when I write, anyway, all ripped from my own CDs. First, there’s Richard Marx’s Greatest Hits. Who can beat songs like “Right Here Waiting” or “Now and Forever” when you’re allowing your characters to fall in love? Snow Patrol’s Eyes Open and The Fray’s How to Save a Life and Live From Soho always put me in the mood to tell stories. Those four albums complete my writing playlist, but I recently bought The Fray’s Helios, and I’ll definitely be adding that.

6. What’s on your Bucket List?

I want to go to Paris, so I can see some of those places I studied about during my eight years of studying French. My daughter went this year and gave me a photo of her in front of the Eiffel Tower - La Tour Eiffel – but next time I want to be in the photo, too.

7. Your first kiss . . .

My first real kiss that didn’t involve spinning bottles was in the eighth grade. It took place in the hall outside Mr. Grossman’s science class, which I guess was fitting. It had already been a big year for me after trading my glasses for contacts, getting rid of my braces and suddenly becoming a little less invisible to the opposite sex, but this was truly momentous. The boy had this slightly bad-boy vibe, which was like girl bait to me, but he was also a nice guy. Oh…the kiss. It was sweet and gentle and not nearly as gross as I’d expected. And that was it. A romance writer was born.

The Written Word:

8. Favorite type of hero (Type A bad boy or Type B good guy) Examples? (Which would you rather live with?)

Is it okay to say that I love both? There’s nothing like a bad-boy hero to get the sparks flowing in a story, but some of my favorite heroes I’ve written – Todd McBride and my current WIP boyfriend, Ben Peterson – are as Beta as they come. My own real hero, Randy, is an Alpha with Beta tendencies, which has made him the near perfect guy to have been married to for 23 years.

9. Favorite genre to read? (Is it what you write?)

I go on reading binges, sometimes any young adult book I can find and the other times the darkest serial-killer books around. Then I hop over to the classics for a bit. I believe that reading in various genres helps me to grow as a writer. I always ask myself why something worked in a book and then try to figure out how the author accomplished it.

10. What would you love to write that you haven’t?

Young adult books. I actually wrote a proposal for one, but it didn’t take off. I really enjoy young love-first love stories. There’s just something magical about them.

11. Fiction hero you would run off with?

Mr. Darcy, of course, if you’re talking about my favorite hero ever. Dark. Brooding. Yum. But then there’s Sam Starrett from Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series. Gotta love Sam.

12. What are you reading right now?

I just finished reading the YA romance, The Promise of Amazing, by Robin Constantine, and I’m near the end of the romantic thriller, Hunted, by Elizabeth Heiter. Up next is the memoir, Romance is My Day Job, by Patience Bloom. It’s sitting on my TBR pile.

A Writer’s Life:

13. Which is easier, the synopsis or the book?

It’s funny. I don’t find either part especially easy. When I write a synopsis to sell with a partial manuscript, I feel as if I’m dragging that story from the depths of my soul. And then when I’m writing the story, I’m always tempted to hurry up and bang it out rather than to slowly craft each page.

14. Live to write or write to live? Day job?

For two decades, I’d been a stay-at-home mom, and it worked really well with writing because I could work around the girls’ schedules. As much as I love telling stories, writing really is a job for me, where earnings are important. This year, when we sent our second daughter off to college, I added a second job to the list, working as a substitute teacher’s assistant. It gives me less time to write, but I’m finding that I’m more productive when I do write.

15. Do you have a set writing schedule?

Now that would be a nice thing to have, wouldn’t it? But no, I don’t. What I do have is a determination to write whenever I can scrounge up a little time. I guess that will have to do.

16. First publishing rejection (and getting back on that horse)?

My first rejection came in 1997 on my first manuscript called “Come Kiss Me, Liar.” I’d received a few of those agent rejections with the form letters that said something to the effect of “this sorry piece of crap isn’t for us, you loser.” But then I received a real rejection letter from former Silhouette editor Karen Taylor Richman. She took time to point out some obvious mistakes I’d made, such as allowing my hero to get back with his ex-. Then she stated the deathblow for my manuscript: she hated my heroine. The small-town, newspaper-reporter heroine whom I’d based on myself. Ouch! Can we say I cried a little over that one? So much that from that point on, my husband would ask me every time I received a rejection, “Are you going to be suicidal again?” But I sucked it up after that and kept writing and submitting. I received “the call” on Jan. 16, 2001.

17. First person you call when you get a sale?

I usually call my husband first, but he’s one of those engineers, who gets so caught up in his work that the forgets to answer the phone, so he usually isn’t the one who hears first. That would be my mom. Then my critique group girls and my other girlfriends.

18. Solo muse or critique partner(s)?

I don’t know where I would be without my critique group, the POTLs. These six amazing women have gotten me through many crises, professional and personal, and I hope I have helped them in the same way. Some of us together since 2001, our group has grown to a nice round seven – Nancy Gideon (recognize that name?), Laurie Kuna (Laurie Carroll), Victoria Craven, Patricia Lazarus, Loralee Lillibridge (Lora Lee) and Dr. Constance Smith. We all write in different romance genres, and each brings her unique skills and perspectives to the group.

19. Biggest hurdle to getting words on the page and how you overcome it?

I’m a procratinator of the worst sort. Sometimes I talk a much better game about writing than actually planting my butt in the chair and banging out the story. To overcome it, I offer a reward system. If I finish a certain number of pages, I can play on Facebook or do a little easy reading.

20. When can we get your next book and what’s it all about?

Today (March 18) is the release date for my newest title, FINALLY A MOTHER, a category romance from Harlequin Love Inspired. The story is about a young woman who must face her regrets and the chaos that ensues when the baby she gave up for adoption nearly fifteen years ago shows up as an angry teen – in handcuffs - at the home for pregnant teens where she works. And, of course, there’s the hunky, but judgmental State Police trooper, who takes the boy into custody and finds himself in a situation as messy as his own recent divorce from his cheating wife. FINALLY A MOTHER is accepting responsibility, discovering second chances and learning that hope is contagious.

Amazon | Harlequin | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million 

Her work at a home for teenage mothers serving as a reminder of her own regrets, social worker Shannon Lyndon dreams of a reunion with the son she felt forced to place for adoption. But nothing could prepare her for the angry teen on her doorstep, nor the handsome but judgmental police officer with the runaway in custody. Still reeling from his ex-wife’s betrayal, 

Trooper Mark Shoffner should steer clear of this messy situation, but he can’t turn his back on Blake, a boy failed by a system intended to protect him, and the pretty young mother, who deserted her own son. After Mark volunteers to serve as Blake’s temporary guardian, and he and Shannon cautiously work together until custody matters can be settled.

What begins as a collaboration to benefit a troubled teen becomes an opportunity for two wounded adults to learn that love does offer second chances and that there just might be a perfect family for Blake after all.

…Corbit deals with the reality of teen pregnancy and reminds readers that hope is contagious,” 4 ½ Star Rating – Romantic Times Book Reviews

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Dana Corbit enjoyed making up tall tales before she learned to spell her name, so it came as no surprise when the Indiana native chose to work in a field where she could tell stories every day. She left her career as an award-winning newspaper reporter and features editor to raise her family, but the stories came home with her as she discovered the joy of writing fiction. An award-winning author of sixteen novels, Dana makes her home in southeast Michigan with her husband, three nearly grown daughters and two portly kitties.

Happy Birthday to FINALLY A MOTHER and Happy Reading!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop – Tag, I’m it!

I’m not much for playing games unless they involve cards on my computer. But that said, a girl DOES like to have fun. And some game play is informative fun for a good cause, in this case, a chance to promote one’s craft and one’s friends. The Writing Process Blog Hop is passed from writer to writer like a chain letter (oh, don’t get me started on those!) only no bad luck will befall you if you don’t respond within the allotted time. It’s all good. Maris Soule “tagged” me in her blog last week, passing me the baton for today’s post on four questions regarding how we writer’s write. In turn, my job is to pass this task on to three more authors who will post next week, and so on, and so on.

Here’s a bit about Maris Soule, who wrote the first series contemporary romance I ever read. The fact that I came back for more and even started writing my own says it all.

maris20111Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Maris majored in art in college, but her love of books led her to writing, and her love of happy endings led her to romances. She authored 25 contemporary series romances, including the give-away book for the (then) new Harlequin Temptation line before switching to suspense (with a touch of romance).

Although she grew up in California, a red-head with blue eyes talked her into moving to Michigan (for just two years). Way too many years later, she’s still living in Michigan with the same man, not too many miles away from their two grown children and young granddaughters. (But she does sneak down to Florida for the winter.) Maris is a two-time RITA finalist and a two-time winner of the Write Touch Readers’ Award. Many of her books are still available as paperbacks, hard covers, e-books, and audio.

For more information about Maris and her books, check out her website at: www.MarisSoule.com. Maris also invites you to join her on Facebook and Twitter!
Now it’s my turn to play the WRITING PROCESS:

1. What am I working on?

As always, about a dozen different things on three different levels: past, present and future! I’m a Gemini and there’s that ADD thing. I’ve gotten rights back to dozens of past titles and four of them will be reissued this year by the fabulous BelleBooks! These contemporary romances were originally written under my pseudonym Dana Ransom and I’m currently giving them a 2014 update. Look for LOVE’S OWN REWARD (May, 2014), TOTALLY YOURS (July, 2014) LIFETIME INVESTMENT (September, 2014) and new title, FROM THIS DAY FORWARD (November, 2014)!

At the moment, I have a YA paranormal series proposal out and about making the rounds and am working on Book 9 in my “By Moonlight” dark paranormal shape-shifter series. REMEMBERED BY MOONLIGHT returns to the original hero and heroine, Max Savoie and Charlotte Caissie. Fans will be happy to learn I’m past the 70,000 word mark!

Future plans include finding good homes for my lengthy backlist of Dana Ransom historicals and the first three books of my “Midnight” vampire romance series, and exploring new ventures with sassy contemporaries and edge of your seat suspense.

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

In my “By Moonlight” paranormal series, the requisite hunky Alpha shifter and butt-kicking NOPD detective heroine broke a big romance rule by appearing as the main couple in the first four books of the series, then continued to be strong supporting characters in the next four with their story arc steadily advancing to my current WIP which picks them up again. Though repeating H/Hs is common practice in Urban Fantasy, it just wasn’t done in paranormals. And then there’s suspense. All my books whether contemporary, historical or paranormal contain an element of intrigue. I love a twisting, compelling plotline that keeps readers guessing.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write because I can’t NOT write. I LOVE to plot stories and have done so since my oldest sister and I used to try to guess the endings first in whatever we were reading or writing. I’ve always contended that a good writer can write anything – it’s all just a matter of focus. And I have written, over the past twenty-five years, just about everything from regencies to horror screenplays. I love to research and I never want to write the same book twice so I’m always looking for ways to expand my reach and keep things fresh. Those who know me know that repetition in words or plotlines is my biggest pet peeve. That’s why I enjoy throwing seemingly dissimilar things together like paranormal elements into crime dramas or suspense into historical settings. There’s a story behind every character just waiting to be born.

4. How does my writing process work?

Flexibility keeps me going. From having two kids to working full time, I’ve always had to be prepared to change my method of writing in order to stay productive. I started out writing scenes on the backs of receipts while running a cash register which evolved to scrawling chapters out by hand in a spiral notebooks (my first 6 books!) while the boys played outside. I fought writing on computer for years, though now I can’t remember why. I’ve always called myself a rigid plotter ruled by the lengthy outline, but when I started writing my “By Moonlight” books, they ran away with me in a full pantser frenzy of words. The only certainty in writing is change. My only hard and fast rule is getting it done. Page one to page end. Write it all then revise it. And don’t make excuses or apologies.

Well, enough about me. Here are the authors following me next Monday on March 10:

Rue Allyn

Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures. Learn more about Rue at http://RueAllyn.com

Elizabeth Alsobrooks

Now that her children have flown from the nest, Elizabeth lives with her two new babies (AKA Maltese) at the foot of the beautiful Catalina Mountain Range in Oro Valley, AZ. 

She loves to hike the mountain trails, ride her bike, sit on her patio sipping coffee and reading or brainstorming plots and enjoying the grandeur of her breathtaking mountain views.

Elizabeth calls herself a pantser on steroids. The first book of her Illuminati series flowed like a psychic muse channeled it from her fingertips to the keyboard. She wrote 120,000 words in 45 days. "After the first couple of chapters, the characters took over. They knew what they wanted and what they were willing to do to get it."

Her love of mythology and ancient literature and history were the backbone for her series, and the Sigma Force series by James Rollins inspired the fast-paced adventures (He recently told her at a literacy fundraiser that he found that flattering, as no one had ever told him he was inspiring before!).

A friend compared Elizabeth's series to what it would be like if Ford and Jolie stepped through the Stargate, tried to kill each other, and ended up falling into a love as seemingly hopeless as Romeo and Juliet. Elizabeth claims she pictured a blond "The Rock" as the hero when she was writing, but that Jolie, with lavender eyes, would fit her heroine just fine.

I know, I know, there were supposed to be three not two, but I’m an English major, I don’t do math! Or make excuses or apologies.

Back to Chapter Nineteen . . .

Thursday, February 27, 2014

How Very Pinteresting!

Pinterest? What the heck is that? What could possibly be interesting about looking at someone else’s scrapbook posts? I couldn’t figure it out, chalking it up to another plot by Social Media to suck my time away.

Then I was getting my nails done (my only self-indulgence – snort!) and talk turned to food (it was after work and my stomach was growling!). My nail tech/hair wizard whips out her tablet, cues up her Pinterest page and starts scrolling through recipes. How cool is that?! And then we go to her board on nail art. OOO! LOVE IT! Okay, I’ve got to get into this. I’m raging ADD/OCD so I crave organization and sorting of any kind. By the time my acrylics are dry, I am on a mission to make Pinterest my slave. But how does it work?

My daughter-in-law co-worker Mary Gideon makes awesome repurposed jewelry and uses Pinterest to tuck away ideas and inspiration. In a matter of minutes she has me fixed up with an account. Now, what to do with it? What types of boards should I have and for what purpose (Oooh, list making. I am so fan girling!) Where do I find things to Pin and how do I go about it? The site has simple instructions and suggestions. Creating the boards (where you ‘Pin’ a collection of like-minded things under one heading) is a snap. Filling them is ridiculously easy. You can pull things saved on your own computer (pictures, etc.) by browsing or from the web (You Tube videos, articles, blog posts, etc.) using a specific URL. Put that PIN on a specific board, caption it – PIN. Done! The perfect place to store all those funnies that populate Facebook and clever videos you want to watch over and over. Mistakes are quickly edited. You can use the Search bar to see what others have pinned . . . and steal them for your own boards. Arrrrgh, Matey! Pins Ahoy! You can follow boards you like and their new Pins will pop up on your site like magic. And they will Follow yours. It’s Twitter in pictures!

Follow Nancy Gideon's board Nailed It on Pinterest.

Nails. I am a nail whore! I name my first board “Nailed It” and go in search of nail art. Pin Pin Pin Pin! What fun! Jewelry. I’m also a jewelry slut. “Bling-a-Ding-Ding.” Pin Pin Pin Pin! Squee! And it’s my lunch hour and I’m hungry. Start looking up those holiday recipes. Pin Pin Pin Pin! I am in obsessive compulsive heaven! Funny animal memes! Look, Squirrel! Oh, I am an addict at a Breaking Bad marathon! Before I know it, my lunch hour is long over and I’m jonesing for that next Pin.

Maybe this isn’t such a good idea after all . . . Pinterest has made me its b*tch.

Trying to rein in my enthusiasm, I decide to see how other less out of control people use their Pinterest account. So I visit book buddy Eileen Dreyer. Okay, lots of recipes and bling but the clever girl also slips in book promotion. Boards on her research, on her characters, on the clothing they wear. Ahha! A sales pitch subliminally tucked in amongst the cuddly kittens and LOLs. I get it now. Pinterest is a visual Facebook profile of likes, activities and professional accomplishments!

Smug with this new knowledge, I begin to list boards with a purpose. About me. Communal likes and interests. Sharing who I am and what I do. AWESOME! And in no time, I have 19 Boards populated with Pins. Post-It Note Nirvana! Boards on where I’ve been, what I’ve read, what I’m religiously watching. Heroes, holidays, diets, theater and videos of music that Rocks! For readers and authors, posts on the writing life, the who’s who of my blog guests, book settings and trailers and what I imagine my characters look like. And, of course, my books. And Guinea pigs. You can attach your Pinterest boards to Facebook, to your blog, to your website. Pin suggestions will even appear in your e-mail.

Have I hooked you on Pinterest yet? Stop over to my page and browse. Better yet, invite me over to yours so we can share cat memes and hunky guys. And learn a lot about one another in a creative new way. And maybe even find a book to read.

If you’re a dedicated Pinner, what do you have on your page? If you’re heading over to visit mine, what would you like to see there?

Oh, look! Hugh Jackman without a shirt! Recipes to devour during the Oscars! Pin Pin Pin Pin!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

IWSG: My Favorite “F” Words

One of my mottos is The Only Constant is Change. Flexibility (and I don’t mean the ability to touch your toes, which I’m proud to say I CAN still do!), Focus and Fearlessness are the most productive F-words you can have in your vocabulary. Go with the flow. Know what you want and what you have to do to get it. Don’t be afraid to reach, struggle . . . or Fail (that other less popular F-word) if it ultimately moves you Forward, Forward being the main goal, even when it means taking a step back to get a new running start.

Let’s recap . . .

“F-words, learn to use them!”

1. Flexibility. Don’t get stuck in a repetitive rut especially when it holds you back. Instead of whining over market changes, learn how to adapt. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d write in 1st person. Guess what both of my next projects are written in? Don’t let a lack of knowledge hold you back from trying something new, be it in your own writing or when it comes to keeping up with technology. Make “Yes, I can!” you’re new buzz word.

2. Focus. Set goals. Think of them as those turn-by-turn helpers that come with Mapquest directions to get you where you need to go so you don’t get lost or detoured. Recalculate when necessary (If you like, you can do it in a snotty English accent!)

3. Fearlessness. From sending out that first manuscript to approaching an agent/editor to reinventing a career, fear is what stands in your way – not lack of name recognition, not your competition, not your bad sales figures. What have you got to lose? Success, if fear keeps you from trying. Go boldly! Ask for a push if you need one!

4. Failure. What fuels most of our fear? Failure. We’re terrified of having that big “Epic Fail” stamped upon our forehead. It’s paralyzing. We need to change our pattern of thinking. Failure doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t succeed. It means that particular route wasn’t the right one. Recalulating . . . Sometimes the highway isn’t the best way or the only way.

5. Forward. Forward motion builds speed and momentum. Write every day and those paragraphs become a novel. Tiptoe into social media with Facebook or a blog and soon you’ll be dropping in embedded code. Speak to fellow writers. Join groups and loops. Ask questions. Take classes. Each bit of ongoing exposure is a step toward finding that agent, solving that plot problem, cleaning up that manuscript, discovering who is buying what you’re writing. Be that big snowball that gathers mass as it rolls (not hard to do here in Michigan at the moment!)

And remember . . . Sam Jackson has his eye on you!

How do you define these invaluable F-words and apply them to your own writing? Which gives you the most trouble?

What is the Insecure Writers Support Group?

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! See #5 above!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

IWSG rocks! That’s why I’m “Sharing the Love” in my 2-1-14 blog post below as part of the Share the Love Giveaway Hop. Help spread the warm fuzzies and earn more chances to win my $10 Amazon gift card. Another warm fuzzy – BETRAYED BY SHADOWS and PRINCE OF SHADOWS (links are below too), part of my dark paranormal Shape-shifter series with Pocket Star are STILL only $1.99 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for Kindle and Nook. Hurry! Don’t know how long that price will remain.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Share the Love Giveaway Hop

Holidays are for giving and for this Valentine’s Day I’m joining with over 70 other sites to “Share the Love” (in a non-caloric way!). The purpose of the Hop is to show a little love to some of my favorite Bloggers/Authors with a Surprise Bomb of LIKES (Think virtual Valentines!). You can help with this Big Group Hug - and earn extra chances to win my personal Valentine of a $10 Amazon gift card – by visiting my Hearted friends below and Liking or Following their pages. Then follow the Hop links for more chances to win and more chances to spread that Warm Fuzzy to those who’ve made our lives a happier place to be. 

Decisions, decisions! It was SO difficult to pick from the many, many, many who’ve meant so much to me. I finally had to Enie Meanie Minie Moe to randomly narrow it down to just five (so if you’re not on it, don’t assume I don’t LOVE you, because I DO!)

Share the Love by surprising these fabulous friends of mine:

 My Girl Friday – Why I love her? She does all my techie stuff to make me look creative and stylish (What’s not to love about that!) and comes up with great ideas to get me ‘out there.’ She’s also part of Buy the Book Tours where authors can pick from wonderful promo packages and bloggers can sign up to host author events.

 Jennifer Lowery – Why I love her? Aside from being a wonderful author (Hard Core kept me up waaay past my bedtime!), she’s also generous in providing promo to other writers with her blog ops “Meet the Characters” and “Romance Recipes” which are loads of fun. Like her pages.

 ReMaryd Originals – Why I love her? Besides being my daughter-in-law, she makes me look GOOD! I’m a blingaholic and a lot of my “Oh Shiny”s were born on her work table where she repurposes old or broken pieces of jewelry into amazing new creations (one of my favorites was made from a drawer pull!). Covet her projects and Follow her fun blog.

 Elizabeth Alsobrooks  Why I love her? She’s been my critique partner, intrepid travel buddy, and supporter since it seems like forever! Her debut novel Illuminati: The Book of Life is Urban Fantasy Reinvented pulling in tons of my favorite things: mythology, adventure, romance, and intrigue into a great non-stop read. She also features authors on her guest blog, Book Bling. Follow her Blog or on Twitter.

 Insecure Writers Support Group  Why I love them? I stumbled upon this group almost by accident and now they’re my monthly go to for encouragement and inspiration with their writers’ Hop. (Look for my post as part of the February 5 Hop) They’ve also just launched a brand new website with loads of information on it. So if you’re a writer in any stage of the game, this is the place to go!! Follow them and join in the Hop!

Also earn a little “extra love” from me by joining my Goodreads Nancy Gideon by Moonlight Group where three hard-working readers/booklovers/fans have set up a fabulous spot for like-minded readers to share their passion for book boyfriends, authors and fun. They’ve got a special Valentine’s giveaway event going on, too, so be sure to check it out!!

For an additional sweet treat, BETRAYED BY SHADOWS and PRINCE OF SHADOWS, part of my dark paranormal “By Moonlight” shape-shifter series are still available at the low price of $1.99 as part of the Kindle Big Deal event ending February 2. Prices are good for downloads at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Quick! Get those Valentine “Likes” out and Share the Love!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Winter Wonder Man Blog Hop . . .

What warms you up faster on a cold wintery night than a deliciously hot romance hero? Believe me, when temperatures here in my home state of Michigan dip down to a -40 wind chill (Baby, that’s COLD outside!) there’s nothing I’d rather do than stay inside with a warm cat and a sizzling book boyfriend.

Just in time to save you from frostbite, join me and 57 author friends in the Winter Wonder Man Blog Hop!

What is it about a hero that makes your pulse race and your toes curl? What is it about him that heats you up like a roaring fire? My go-to Rx for those plunging temperatures has always been Shapeshifter Max Savoie, the mysterious and dangerously desirable hero of my “By Moonlight” dark paranormal romances. Readers couldn’t get enough of his irresistibly unexpected combination of deadly power and heart-breaking vulnerability. So much so, that he and his tough-as-nails NOPD detective girlfriend romped and roared through the first four of this eight book series. And reader’s still wanted MORE MAX - especially those insatiable ladies in my Nancy Gideon By Moonlight Goodreads group (Bless them!) They’ve been restless and demanding ever since I announced I was working on Remembered by Moonlight, the newest book in the series devoted once again to Max and Charlotte.

So here to get those temperatures rising is a new Sneak Peek at my work-in-progress Remembered by Moonlight:


The room was dark but Max had no trouble spotting the figure moving anxiously beneath silky sheets. She was asleep, her dream twisting about her like those tangled covers. There was no apparent danger, yet he didn’t withdraw. Her plaintive cries held him in a tight fist, shaking him into intuitive action. To guard. To comfort.He slid across the acre of empty space to find her knotted and trembling on the far edge of the mattress. Trying not to wake her, he bent close enough to see the frantic movement beneath her shuttered eyelids, to hear the hurried snatches of breath that fluttered softly against his skin.

“Shhhhh. It’s all right, sha. I’m here. I won’t let anything harm you.”

The sound of his voice brought her up against him like a gravitational pull. Her arms snagged about his middle, her damp face burrowed into the hollow of his throat. There, she clung with a desperate entreaty until his own embrace circled her and pressed her closer still. The transfer was immediate, her absorbing his calm, him tense with her panic.

Despite the urge to pull back from this unexpected intimacy, Max found himself sinking into a deep sense of . . . belonging. The scent of her, the thick mat of her dark hair beneath his chin, the surprising strength of her curvy body beneath the sweat dampened tee shirt and gym shorts, the unquestioning way she sought him out, all of it so familiar, so . . . right.

He let himself relax into the moment, cautiously testing the complexities the feel of her inspired. Contentment. A fierce, spirit-shaking protectiveness. And more. Sensations wound about his heart, settled low to burn and ache in his loins as he brushed his knuckles along the hard line of her jaw.

My warrior woman.

Max smiled at that encapsulation of who and what she was as he let his eyes close and let himself simply enjoy the sense of connecting to someplace, to someone. And as he drifted off into a deep and untroubled sleep, one truth solidified.

He’d been wrong before.

Here in his arms was the key to everything.

Is it hot in here, or is it just me?

Because it’s just too cruel to hint at unavailable hotness, to warm up your e-readers, Amazon is featuring both Betrayed by Shadows and Prince of Shadows in their Kindle Big Deal event. These “By Moonlight” books are just $1.99 (that’s right, $1.99!!!!) from January 17 through February 2! What can be steamier than a good man buried in bad deeds with a bad girl denying a good heart or a swaggering, dangerous, tattooed rock-n-roll prince trying to woo a gentle virgin in order to win a throne . . . and her heart? Here’s a graphic to explain it better . . .




To help you find that warm cozy to cuddle up with, I’m offering a $10 Amazon gift card to a lucky reader chosen at random. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t let the fire die down! Follow the linky links to more tantalizing Winter Wonder Men and, in addition to the giveaway at each blog, one commenter from the tour will win the Hop’s BIG grand prize of a $50 Barnes & Noble or Amazon gift card (winner’s choice).

See you at Amazon from 1-17 to 2-2 for your $1.99 One Clicks of Betrayed by Shadows and Prince of Shadows!

Stay warm and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IWSG: I Resolve to Evolve

As the clock strikes midnight and ticks toward a New Year (or now more realistically 10:00 p.m.) I start making resolutions for the upcoming 12 months. Years go by. The categories on that list remain the same. Health, finances, personal, spiritual, family, and professional. I’m embarrassed to say, many of the expectations are carried over, unmet. Still haven’t lost those stubborn pounds (actually, they’ve been lost and found again!). No condo or flush 401K. Haven’t retired to live off my writing income yet. The time I wanted to spend with my family, friends and beliefs has trickled away. Okay, I knew going in those were looooooong term plans (In my lifetime, please!). What has changed over time aren’t the end results I’m shooting for. They’re the specific and ever changing steps I need to take to get there, especially in the professional category.

Success for 2014, please, Alex.

In my November IWSG “Are We There Yet?” post I hashed over the meaning of success and the way we, as writers define it. Since my first professional goals were made back in the 1980s with the publication of my first book, many of those then dream destinations have been reached. Multi-published, multi-genres, awards, hard cover, book club selection, glossy full page ad, five figure advances. Some of them are still carrots dangling out of reach. Who would have thought back in the early ‘90s, my biggest fear of learning how to use a computer and post on that scary new venue called Prodigy would grow into my 2010 benchmark of conquering Social Media with a website, FB, Twitter, Goodreads and a blog. Or that in 2014, that mountain to climb would be self-publishing? My goals have grown up from vague dreams to targeted destinations and the person in charge of the direction . . . is me.

Call them what you like: resolutions, dreams, To Dos, goals, but if you’re making a plan for your career, don’t let yourself off the hook with generalities. Define what it is that you’re looking to accomplish before the end of 2014. Be specific! Run a 5K (NOT my goal, but it may be yours). Self-publish your backlist. Send proposals to publishers X, Y and Z. Break them up into manageable segments: Daily (write 8 pages, post on FB and Twitter), Weekly (write blog post, add FB friends), Monthly (sort tax receipts, query x-number of agents), By year end (set up accounting system, clean up your contact database), per book (schedule guest blogs, request reviews, write or update long and short bios, find excerpts). Taking smaller steps keeps you on top of what you intend to attain over the course of the year AND gives you that feeling of achievement to fuel the continued momentum toward your dream of success. Don’t look behind you. That’s not where you’re going. Don’t get stuck on what could have beens and what should have happened and didn’ts. 

Go boldly where this writer (and you as a writer) has never gone before. And make it so.

Check out the other participants in the Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop!