July 31, 2008

The Winners Are - Last Drawing for Christmas in July

I've finally had a chance to do the drawings. And this is the day to be named Cheri! The winner of the July 31st drawing, for an angel bag of Christmas goodies is Cheri2628.

And the winner of the Second Chance Drawing is CheriJ.

Cheri and Cheri, just send me an e-mail at annaklanier@aol.com and we'll arrange getting you your prizes.

Thanks everyone for dropping by this month and sharing in my Christmas in July Extravaganza. Don't forget that you have a two chances to win prizes this month through my website....my guest book comment contest (which I have to fix up, so give me a day or two to upload a new question) and the Dog Days of Summer contest I'm doing with 11 other authors. All information on these two contests can be found on my website on my 'contest' page. (Also found there is information on winning a Sony eReader). www.aklanier.com


~Anna Kathryn

The Prize Giving Continues

No, I'm not doing a Christmas in August. But I will be doing a "Dog Days of Summer" Contest with 11 other authors.

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

Anna Kathryn will give away two prizes:

1) Stay Cool in the Summer gift package. It'll include a water bottle, chapstick, Bath and Body Works Cool Melon lotion and more.

2) A collection of Hot Romance Novels


(This contest begins August 1st.)


Is the August heat and price of gas keeping you indoors? Never fear. The DOG DAYS OF SUMMER contest has romantic and inspiring prizes to help you beat the heat. Just find the picture of a dog (excluding any book covers) on the following websites to be in the running for prizes from 12 romance authors. To enter, visit each author's website, find the picture of a dog, and note that website page on a list that you will send to happyendings2007@aol.com.
By August 31st, Midnight CST

Participating Authors

Skhye Moncrief
Sky Purington
Bess McBride
Anna K. Lanier
Dayana Knight
Kyann Waters
Connie Rachal
Anh Leod
Aithne Jarretta
Donna Micheals
Tarah Scott
Alisha Paige

Come join the fun! Just go to my website at http://www.aklanier.com/ and click on the 'contest' page for more details.

~Anna Kathryn

A Love Story

A Love Story

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived:

Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others including Love.

One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left.

Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help. Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, "Richness, can you take me with you?"

Richness answered, "No, I can't. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you."

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel, "Vanity, please help me!"

"I can't help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat," Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, "Sadness, let me go with you."

"Oh....Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!"

Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her!

Suddenly, there was a voice, "Come Love, I will take you." It was an elder. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder his name. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went his own way.

Love, realizing how much he owed the elder and asked Knowledge, another elder, "Who was the person who helped me?"

"It was Time," Knowledge answered.

"Time?" asked Love. "But why did Time help me?"

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, "Because, only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is."


~Anna Kathryn (who didn't write this, but is just passing it along)

July 30, 2008

July 30th Winner

Congrats to Redz, she is the winner of today's drawing. Please e-mail me and will arrange for you to receive one of Phyllis's books.

Tomorrow will be the last day for my Christmas in July Extravaganza. I've had a blast with all my guest bloggers and have enjoyed learning about their writing style as much as everyone else. A lot of them were new to me, too.

Thanks everyone for joining in on the fun and don't forget to come back tomorrow and comment. It'll increase your chance to win the second chance drawing. Plus I'll be giving away the regular daily prize....an angel bag full of Christmas goodies.

~Anna Kathryn

July 29, 2008

Meet Phyllis Campbell

Today's guest blogger is multi-published author Phyllis Campbell. Thanks for being my final blogger for the month, Phyllis.

When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?
I started writing when my youngest daughter was in kindergarten, so that would have been 1993. For the first four, maybe five years I wrote for fun. I let a few of my neighbors and co-workers read my stories, and they liked them. This encouraged me to start learning more about the art of writing so that maybe one day I would get published. That’s when I joined critique groups and began my learning process. In 2003 I received my first publishing contract, which was a thrill. By this time I had 22 stories started. Most were finished, but needed major revisions. And now in 2008, I have added 25 more.

What influenced you to write?
Believe it or not, it was watching a bad movie. The movie was pretty good at first. A love story, of course. Had a suspenseful plot along with the love story…but it had a terrible ending!! No Happily Ever After. Made me so mad that I wasted my time getting involved with this story then to have the hero and heroine not end up together. UGH! So that night I went to bed and had a dream. I usually dream like I’m watching a movie, so when I woke up, I realized it had the makings of a romance. I grabbed a notebook, and pencil, curled up on the couch and started to write. That’s all it took and I was hooked!! Of course it helped that up to this point I was an avid reader of romance anyway.

What inspired you to write romance?
I was always the shy girl in school. No, don’t laugh, I was. I didn’t get the boyfriends I wanted. Even now I don’t think I really got my Happily Ever After. But back when I was fresh out of school, I was in love with love. I began by writing skits for my church and community. They were comedies, of course, but they always had a love story in it. After I was married was when I started reading romance novels. I loved that feel good moment at the end when I reached the Happily Ever After…the Ahhhh moment is what I call it. I guess I’m still in love with love.

What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?
I love historicals!! I can’t get enough of them. I think the reason I love this genre is because the very first romance book I read was A Rose In Winter by Kathleen E Woodiwiss. I was caught up in the mystery and especially the forbidden romance. After that I read all of her books, then moved on to Judith McNaught. I love to read about the Rogue… Gads, those men are sexy!

Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.
Well…I do have quite a few published, not only historicals, but contemporaries. Here is my list:
The Man Hunt (Contemporary coming soon to The Wild Rose Press)
Danger In Her Arms (Romantic Suspense with The Wild Rose Press)
Her Knight Of Seduction (Victorian with The Wild Rose Press)
Always, My Love (Victorian with Champagne Books)
Vows Of Deception (Victorian with Champagne Books)
Holding Out For A Hero (Western Historical with Champagne Books)
Queen Of Hearts (Western Historical with Vintage Publishing)
Ten Ways To Melt A Man’s Heart (Romantic Comedy with Champagne Books)
Crazy Cupid (Time-Travel / Contemporary in Valentine’s Day Anthology with Champagne Books)
It Must Have Been The Mistletoe (Contemporary in Christmas Anthology with Champagne Books)
Snow Angel (contemporary short story coming soon with Love Stories Magazine)


What are you working on now?
I just barely finished a Regency titled, The Sweetest Temptation. In a time when everything hinges on the rules of polite society, a man and woman find themselves fighting secret desires. Newly-orphaned Judith Faraday is thrown off kilter by her uninvited attraction to her guardian's son. Spending time with the handsome rogue surpasses the boundary of impropriety, but perhaps no harm will come from the bargain she makes with him to discover what has become of her secret fiancĂ©. Trey Worthington foolishly agrees to help his mother prepare Miss Faraday for her coming out ball, while knowing all along she has her heart set on another. But he can’t explain the sudden possessiveness he feels when men come to court her. Haunted by mistakes from the past, Trey will do anything not to fall in love with Judith, yet passion turns into more. Can a tortured man find happiness? Or will his past come back to end it all?

Another story I’m working on is my first historical paranormal titled Night Secrets. Morgan Thornton has not been human for two years when a witch cursed him. Labeled East Wing Ghost by his family to hide the truth, he seeks to find a way to lift the curse and free himself, and at the same time he’s torn between warning the curious Miss Forester of the dangers lurking in the manor she’s visiting and keeping her in his arms.

How do you write? Are you a panster or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?
I’m totally a panster. I really don’t want to know how the story is going to end. I want to be surprised along with my readers. Heehee But lately, I’ve been doing more plotting than I’ve ever done before, and this is quite exciting, too. Go figure. My characters are usually what influences me the most, but because of their goals, motivations, and the conflict, the story becomes exciting.

What was the most usual way you came up with a story idea? I mean, I’ve gotten a plot idea from a song I heard, from brainstorming with a classmate. What unusual thing caused you to think, ‘hey, I could make that into a story?’
The very first story I ever plotted is my romantic comedy – Ten Ways To Melt A Man’s Heart. It was the end of November or beginning of December. I was in the middle of planning / organizing a Christmas dinner for my church, so I didn’t have time to think of a story. One day while I was at work, I read an article on the Internet. Can’t remember if it was on Yahoo or MSN. The article’s title was about making a man ‘swoon’. At first I rolled my eyes and didn’t even read it, but off and on during the day I kept seeing that header, so finally I read it. All of a sudden a story popped into my head. It was a funny story and I couldn’t wait to write it – but not now. So the next day at work during the slow part of the day I started naming my characters. By that evening, my characters wanted to be written, but I didn’t have time. The more I thought about my story, the more it came together until I HAD to plot it. Before my Christmas dinner, I write one chapter, and that seemed to calm my characters until after the dinner a week later. But once that was over, I was writing my story. It was so fun. In some scenes I laughed so hard I cried.

Tell us some of the things interviewers are saying about your story or stories.
I’ve been very thrilled with my reviews. Back when my romantic comedy was reviewed, the reviewer labeled me “QUEEN OF SEXUAL TENSION”. I laughed over this one, but was proud to wear the crown. After that, other reviewers picked up on it and continued to give me the title with all my books. Gotta love that. Another thing they say is how I keep them turning the pages. They enjoy how I can pull the reader in and keep them spellbound until the last page. Some reviewers call my stories ‘masterpieces’. They have also enjoyed the suspense I add to my stories even if it’s just a little. Oh, and I can’t forget the humor. They love my humor, too.

What advice would you give aspiring writers today?
Do not give up! Learn as much as you can that will help you be a better writer. Don’t let rejection letters keep you down, but brush yourself off and try again. Never say quit!

How do you like your fans to contact you?
Many ways!!!
www.phyllismariecampbell.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PhyllisCampbell/
www.phylliscampbell.bebo.com
www.myspace.com/phyllismariecampbell
http://authorsandbooks.blogspot.com/
http://magicmavens.blogspot.com
http://synopticstorm.blogspot.com

July 29th Winner

Congrats to Crystalgb, she won today's drawing - A copy of my short story "The Priceless Gift" and "Step-by-Step Crazy for Chocolate" recipe book, with recipes for cakes, biscuits (cookies), desserts, petits fours. The pictures look delicious!

Crystal, just send me an e-mail with your address at annaklanier@aol.com and I'll get the book sent out to you soon.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you finally got the nail polish off your feet and legs.....

~Anna Kathryn

I can't believe they did that!

LOL...Thanks for the funnies. Another story that comes to mind is about my now 21 year old daughter, mother to the 8-month old, (not the one who flung the nail polish--she's my other daughter's daughter).

When Holly was about 4-5, I was in the kitchen and the phone rang. She answered it, and then it rang again a few moments later. She said, 'Mom, it's for you," which I thought was odd, because it was still ringing. I answered it and this lady says, "This is 911. Is there an emergency at your house?"

I looked at Holly and said something I shouldn't have said, "Holly, I'm going to beat your butt."
I explained to 911 that no, there wasn't an emergency, that my youngest had just called it because I'm sure she was curious about it. "Emergency 911" TV show was very popular then and my oldest loved it. We watched it every week. I think she just wanted to know what would happen when she called.

She hung up, they called back, several times. At least she had enough sense to finally let me answer the phone. Otherwise the Charleston, WV police would have been knocking on our door. That would have scared the beejeevies out of her!

It was nice that the operator called back though, and kept trying. At least I knew if there had been an emergency, they would have followed up on a hang-up call.

~Anna Kathryn

July 28, 2008

July 29th guest blogger

I haven't heard from my guest blogger yet. I hope I do, but if not, I'll find something to blog about. How about the 15 month granddaughter opening a bottle of bright red nail polish and flinging it around -- all over her brother's hair and clothes, on her clothes and all over my couch! This took place in about a 60 second time period when she wasn't being watched.

The couch is about 15 years old and has had its corner scratched to bits by the cats. I've been thinking of getting a slipcover for it, but haven't yet. Well, guess I will now! Actually, we need a new couch, however, mayhap it's a good thing we hadn't gotten one before today.

Any funny "I can't believe they just did that" stories?

~Anna Kathryn

July 28th Winner - Texas T-shirt

Congratulations to Cindy K. Green, she won today's drawing. Cindy, just send me an e-mail at annaklanier@aol.com and we'll arrange for you to get the shirt.

~Anna Kathryn

Enter to Win a "Smart Women Read Romance" t-shirt

There's still time to get into the drawing for a "Smart Women Read Romance" t-shirt. Just visit my website at http://www.aklanier.com/, scroll to the bottom of the home page to my guestbook link. This month's question is: Watch the SALVATION BRIDE video (found on the Trailers page) and tell me what Sheriff David Slade hopes for. Leave a comment on my guest book and you'll be in the drawing. You have until midnight July 31st.



~Anna Kathyrn

July 27th Winner

Ooops, I forgot to draw a winner for yesterday. Ginger will be giving away a book, I'm sure and we'll get it out as soon as she returns from out of town.

Today's winner is Debby! Congratulations.

Just send me an e-mail at annaklanier@aol.com and I'll keep the information until Ginger gets back.

~Anna Kathryn

July 27, 2008

Interview with Anna Kathryn

Okay, I finally did my own interview questions...so here's all about me, well, a little about me:

Christmas In July Interview Questions

1) So, tell us a little about yourself? What is your typical day like?

That depends on the time of the year. When I was going to school, that took up a lot of time. I took the Spring semester off, but will be going back this fall for four classes on two days of the week. I’m usually up by 8, though I’d love to sleep later. I answer e-mails, care for my 8-month old granddaughter while mom works, write some, run errands and watch TV. I stay up until 12 or 1, though I’d love to be in bed earlier, I just can’t seem to make it!

2) When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?

I started writing in High School, then wrote several Harlequin type stories in my early 20’s. After having two daughters, I put my writing away for 15 years. About 5 years ago, I got serious again and wrote two 110,000+ word novels in 6 months. Then I went to a creative writing class at the local Junior College and discovered I didn’t know how to write! After that I wrote another full-length novel. I also got into writing short stories, and that’s what I’m published in. As of now, I have five published and two contracted—due out this fall. My longest published work will be SALVATION BRIDE, coming this fall from The Wild Rose Press. It’s 29,000 words or so.

3) What influenced you to write?

I’ve always wanted to write. Before I actually started writing, I had imaginary friends, who went on great adventures with me, I think my mom thought I was crazy, cause I talked to them and they talked back. But I think reading Harlequins and historical romances in my teens and early 20’s is what got me into this genre.

4) What inspired you to write romance?

Reading them.

5) What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?

Historical. It’s what I read the most. I’d say 95% of the books I own are historicals. I love it, because I love history…which, btw, is my major in college.

Oh, my short stories are contemporary…probably single title if they were full length.

6) What difficulties does writing this genre present?

For historical it’s learning the facts and keeping it real. It’s too easy to try to change things to fit what we want, instead of sticking with the facts…like how long it took to travel from one place to another. You can’t make it 3 days when it should have taken 3 weeks!

7) How much time do you devote to writing each day?

Not enough. I’ve barely written for the last 6 months. Things have just been too hectic around my house. I have managed to revise one story, A COWBOY’S WAY, to fit it into The Wild Rose Press’s Yellow Rose line (contemporary cowboy…had to add the cowboy part) and to edit my historical, SALVATION BRIDE. I keep hoping things will change, they haven’t. LOL. So I need to start carving out my time again.

8) Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.

My first published work with The Wild Rose Press is THE PRICELESS GIFT. It was released in November of 2007. It’s a short story, only 17 pages long, but I think very strong and emotional. Here’s the blurb:

The last thing Christina Scott expects Santa to bring her is a sexy—and very familiar—cowboy. Gavin Holloway’s just as shocked to discover she’s the woman he’s sent to pick up from the airport for a Christmas visit with her brother. They'd spent one hot week together months ago—a week where they both left their identities and individual problems behind. Neither ever expected a reunion.

Little do they know, Santa's elf has more than coal up his sleeve. Ho ho ho and a badgering we'll go before reindeer two-step on their rooftop and deliver THE PRICELESS GIFT that will leave their snowy days sizzling.

And what someone said about it:

Ms. Lanier hooked me from the first sentence. Gavin is larger than life, sexy and hot. Christina is a perfect match for his don’t-mess-with-me character. I felt their emotions and passion and wished the story was a full-length novel. Ms. Lanier wove real life into her hero and heroine. I recommend The Priceless Gift to anyone who is a hopeless romantic and believes in a Happily Ever After.

Reviewed by Jannine Corti Petska, REBEL HEART, THE LILY AND THE FALCON


9) What are you working on now?

Well….I’m between projects and trying to settle on one. I have a couple of irons on the stove: a wagon train story, a Regency story and I’d like to do one or two other contemporary short Christmas stories (Christina’s brother’s and maybe a character from A COWBOY’S WAY.) So, trying to decide which to do.

10) How do you write? Are you a panster or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?

A punster for sure! I think my characters influence the plot, not the other way around. I’ll have a thread of an idea and get down my characters’ names and I’m off. Sometimes, I don’t even know what eye color they have before I start.

11) What was the most usual way you came up with a story idea? I mean, I’ve gotten a plot idea from a song I heard, from brainstorming with a classmate. What unusual thing caused you to think, ‘hey, I could make that into a story?’

I got an idea from a classmate. I asked her to help me brainstorm for a story that would include a recipe. My recipe of Cream of Mushroom Soup and she suggested a soup kitchen. I took off with the idea that the heroine ran the community center/soup kitchen and the hero just inherited the building, deciding that he’d sale it without knowing what it was all about. That set up a good conflict.

12) If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who would it be? And Why?

Alexander Hamilton – I understand he was very intelligent and a real woman’s man. I’d like to discuss things with him about the shaping of the U.S. and what he did to make it happen. I’d like to talk to Louisa May Alcott, too. She was one of the first romance writers I read. I think she gets overlooked a lot.

13) Tell us some of the things interviewers are saying about your story or stories.

I’ll admit, this is a friend of mine, and she posted this on our local RWA chapter’s loop, but she didn’t have to do that, if she didn’t like the story, so here’s her review:

Okay, I just finished reading The Priceless Gift. What a thrill! ChristinaScott is a charming young lady full of spunk. Gavin Paul is a hunk. (Okay, Ididn't mean to rhyme.) Anna Lanier really knows howto light a fire IN FRONT of a fireplace. A cold winter in Montana forcesthese two people to warm each other up just as a cold past pushes them away.A wonderful read that makes you want Gavin to rescue you from a badger!Judy Garza-Smith

And I got 5 hearts at Romance Studio:
This is a short book but a quick read which packs a BIG punch! It’s heart-warming reading with enough conflict to make it interesting. Great job; you will certainly enjoy reading this book.
Reviewer: Brenda Talley
http://theromancestudio.com/reviews/reviews/pricelessgiftlanier.htm


14) What is your all time favorite book?

I love “The Wolf and The Dove,” by Kathleen Woodiwiss “Slightly Married” by Mary Balogh and “To Marry an Heiress” by Lorraine Heath. I could read them over and over and over…oh, wait, I have read them over and over and over.

15) How do you do research for your books? What’s the most interesting bit of research you’ve come across?

Mostly the internet. I can’t think right now, it’s too late, about the most interesting piece of research…sorry.

16) What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

Finish that first novel. You’d be surprised how many ‘writers’ don’t ever do that. It doesn’t matter how bad it is…just finish it! Those first two novels I wrote will never see a printing press, but hey, I did it! Also, attend workshops, online or in person. You’ll learn a wealth of information. And hook up with other writers. Only they understand the voices in your head!

17) How do you like your fans to contact you?

Via e-mail – annaklanier@aol.com, at myspace – www.myspace.com/aklanier, at my website – www.aklanier.com or on my blog!


Oh, today's prize will be a "Texas" T-shirt and a copy of THE PRICELESS GIFT.
~Anna Kathryn

July 26, 2008

Unclaimed prizes - second chance drawing.

I have a handful of unclaimed prizes. So, what I'm going to do, is anyone who comments from July 27-July 31st will be put in a drawing for a 'second chance' drawing for some great, unclaimed prizes, along with some extra stuff I'll just toss in for free. I have to go see what I have unclaimed, but offhand, I know that the winner of "Ethan's Flight" hasn't contact me. So, be sure to comment and comment often, so you increase your chance of winning the box of goodies!

~Anna Kathryn (who will add to the list as she discovers what's been unclaimed.)

Meet Ginger Simpson

Ginger had a family emergency and may not be able to respond to your comments in a timely fashion. But we have a really great prize to give away, so be sure and comment, anyway. Because she can't promote as she wanted to, I'll most likely have Ginger back as a guest blogger in August, so stayed tuned for that event!

~Anna Kathryn

1. So, tell us a little about yourself? What is your typical day like?
My life to be so much more interesting when I worked at the University of California, Davis, but now I’m retired. I laugh when I say that because my days are actually more challenging now. My husband and I moved to Tennessee for a reason. I’m the primary caretaker for my five-year-old developmentally delayed grandson, Spencer, and he’s the center of my world… literally. My typical day is filled with watching Thomas the Train, Wonder Pets, and Sponge Bob, but trying to sneak in a few minutes here and there to write, blog, and respond to emails. Lately, I’ve become a Spiderman aficionado, and very adept at lifting Spencer’s mask and giving him a kiss, on cue, of course. He has the entire three movies memorized. I think I’ve the developmentally delayed one, actually.

2. When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?
I started writing in 2002, finished my first story and queried Wings Press. I was accepted on my first try, which I might add was a shock. Prairie Peace was first released in May 2003. It’s since been revamped and offered now through Eternal Press. In the interim, I completed two novellas and got half way through my second manuscript, Sisters in Time. I had no barriers to writing back then aside from a full-time job. *lol*

3. How did you break into publishing?
I don’t think I ‘broke’ into publishing. I lucked in. The number of authors completing for small press just five years was minimal compared to today. My assigned editor told me, “You write a beautiful STORY. Now we need to make it into a NOVEL.” I don’t think publishers have the time or are willing to expend the effort like they were back then. Today, new authors are competing with polished and experienced ones. I’d hate to be starting out right now. Or, maybe not. I know a whole lot more today than I did back in 2003.

4. What influenced you to write?
I’ve always loved to write. English was the one subject in which I excelled, and driven by the passion of reading, it only seemed logical to delve into trying my own hand at penning a novel. I’m not sure I ever planned it, but once I sat down and let my characters drag me along, it seemed like telling myself a story, and one I couldn’t wait to finish (but for good reasons.)

5. What inspired you to write romance?
What I write isn’t so much romance. A better description is stories with romantic elements. I like there to be more to what I read and write than Dick sees Jane, chases Jane, wins Jane, marries Jane and lives happily ever after. I think that’s why I write primarily western historical tales. I love the era and it provides fodder to sprinkle in amongst the conflict and love scenes. I want my stories to warm the heart, but also give the reader something to think about besides sex.

6. What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?
Oops, I think I just answered that question above. I have dappled in several. Even wrote my debut/swan song Erotica, but I also gravitate back to historical westerns. I truly believe I was a Lakota Sioux woman in a previous life because I have such a fascination with that tribe. That life must have been right between the one where I was a doctor and the one where I was a mechanic. *lol*

7. What difficulties does writing this genre present?
Not so much difficulty as time demands. There is much more research necessary when you write historical fiction. Although your story isn’t true, your facts had better be. I find myself double-checking what I think may be right, to make sure I’m not inserting language or gadgets before their time. It took me the longest time to stop trying to make my eighteenth-century characters say, “Okay.”

8. What motivated you to write your current book?
Which one? I have the pleasure of having three releases coming out together. Sarah’s Journey was released May 7th, Sparta Rose is due out in late June, and Embezzled Love in July. Most of my stories are prompted by characters who spring into my head and drag me along on a ride. Embezzled Love, however, was spawned by my sister’s life-changing experience. Although fictional, the basis for the plot was her internet experience and how it affected us all.

9. How much time do you devote to writing each day?
That varies from day-to-day. Sometimes I can’t find a minute, and when I do, I can’t find the motivation. It’s a good day when both time and the urge strike together.

10. Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.
After my debut novel, Prairie Peace, I completed a time-travel romance with an historical twist, Sisters in Time. Then I tried my hand a romantic suspense, with Beside Myself. Some who read Prairie Peace commented on wanting a sequel, so I wrote a continuation, White Heart, Lakota Spirit. In between were five novellas and two short stories. Two of those novellas have been revamped and renamed and will be part of a four-story compilation released by Eternal Press. Stages of Love will consist of Chastity’s Charm, Forever Faith, Hope Springs Eternal and Amazing Grace.

11. What are you working on now?
Shock of shocks, I found myself employed as a Correctional Officer in my golden years. We’d moved to Tennessee and jobs were hard to come by. I never expected when the agency sent me to interview for the position that I’d be hired. Believe it not, I miss it, and the experience was the inspiration behind my current work-in-progress, First Degree Innocence. I can write with authority and feel confident about my story.


12. How do you write? Are you a panster or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?
Wow, I think I already answered this one too. They say that’s the sign of an insightful interviewee. I’m definitely a pantser. I do not plot at all, but because of a lagging memory, I have taken to writing down character descriptions. There’s nothing worse than having a blue-eyed hero show up with brown eyes three chapters later. In the old west, they didn’t have the benefit of colored contacts. J My stories usually start when a character pops into my mind and begs me to come along on a story-telling spree. So far, they haven’t disappointed me, so I’ll stick with what I’m doing.

13. What was the most usual way you came up with a story idea? I mean, I’ve gotten a plot idea from a song I heard, from brainstorming with a classmate. What unusual thing caused you to think, ‘hey, I could make that into a story?’
I almost said I hadn’t had the experience, but I suppose my current WIP was inspired by working with inmates and seeing what they went through on a daily basis. I wanted to create a story about someone who really was innocent and convicted. I know for a fact after having served on a jury, our jails are surely filled with people who didn’t do the crime.

14. If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who would it be? And Why?
Sitting Bull. I’d really like to know the man behind the legend. The first words out of my mouth would be an apology how the Indian nations were treated by the government.

15. Tell us some of the things interviewers are saying about your story or stories.
I’m proud to say that everything I’ve read has been favorable. I remember being crushed by one of the few ‘3-rated’ reviews I received, until I looked at the scale and realized it meant ‘good’. Most of my reviews have been 4-5 with encouraging remarks about my work. You can’t ask for more than that.

16. What is your all time favorite book?
There are so many I’ve loved. I’m sure the Laura Ingalls Wilder series holds the most prominent place in my heart and memory. She has to be the person who inspired me to love the old west.

17. How do you do research for your books? What’s the most interesting bit of research you’ve come across?
I’ve purchased several books on Indian history, plus I utilize the internet and two great historical research groups I’ve found on yahoo. I think my most interesting research was conducted to discover the history of firearms. As a woman, the differences in weapons has never been anything to which I was privy. For Sparta Rose, I had to determine the correct type of sidearm a woman would purchase during her era. Trust me that the information about the gun she bought was well-read. J

18. What advice would you give aspiring writers today?
A saying I read recently advised people to ‘dance like no one is watching.’ I’d do the same with writing. Write when you get the chance, hone it to perfection and sell it to a person who believes in your talent. Remember when you write, you’re writing from the heart of your character and telling the story from their perspective. SHOW the emotions, smells, and scenery, don’t just TELL about them. Reel those readers in and make them live the story while they read.

19. How do you like your fans to contact you?
Any way they choose. Nothing makes my day like reading a positive comment or glowing accolade from someone who has read my work. I recently received a wonderful email from someone who subscribes to my blog, telling me how much it brightens her day and how she never misses it. It made the time and effort I spend so much more important.

http://www.gingersimpson.com
http://mizging.blogspot.com
http://myspace.com/mizging

Ginger

July 26th Winner

Today's winner of a Bath and Body Works package is Phyllis. Just e-mail me at annaklanier@aol.com to claim your prize.

Thanks for all the great comments about my grandkids. They are all precious to me. I'm very close to Ethan, cause he lived with us from birth to 6 months, and has been to visit each year. And to the youngest, Lacey, cause she lives here near us. So, I'm going to try hard not to leave Emma out of the loop. She's the one who was born away from me and hasn't stayed for visits without mom and dad, until now. It should be fun.

~Anna Kathryn

July 26

Well, you got me again. I keep thinking I'm going to answer the interview questions myself, but then I never do. I really do thank my guest bloggers for doing so. And I may yet do it, before the end of the month--which is coming up fast!


But today, the 26th, I shall be gone for most of the day, cause I'm driving to Lake Charles, LA and picking up my grandchildren who live in Louisiana. They'll be staying a week with me. So, I'll have 3 children aged 3 1/2 years, 15 months and 8 months in my house for 9 days! Yikes.
Yeah, we're gonna have fun!
~Anna Kathryn

July 25th Winner

Today's winner is Estella. She's won a "Smucker's Best-Loved Recipes" book, "jam-packed with 35 incredible recipes" (pun intended, I'm sure). It has recipes for snacks, main courses, side dishes and desserts. They all look yummy!

Estella, just send me an e-mail to annaklanier@aol.com and we'll arrange for you to get the book.

~Anna Kathryn

July 25, 2008

Some Friday Funnies

In addition to receiving "On This Day" http://www.reference.com/thisday/ to my mailbox each day, I also get "A Joke A Day" JokeFiles3-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Sometimes, I'm too busy to even read the jokes, but this came through to me on Wednesday and I had a chance to read it. I thought you'd enjoy it as well:

HUMOR FOR LEXOPHILES

-- I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

-- Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

-- Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

-- To write with a broken pencil is pointless!

-- The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

-- When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.

-- The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.

-- The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

-- The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

-- A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

-- A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

-- A will is a dead giveaway.

-- A backward poet writes inverse.

-- A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

-- With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

-- A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France, resulted in linoleum blownapart.

-- A calendar's days are numbered.

-- A boiled egg is hard to beat.

-- If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.

-- When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.

-- Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis

You could win a Sony e-Reader if you've purchase some of our books....

If you're planning to buy or have already bought some of The Wild Rose Press stories my guest bloggers have told you about this month, don't forget that some of those purchases make you eligible to enter The Wild Rose Press Sony e-Reader contest.

www.thewildrosepress.com

All this summer (June 11 – August 31), every time you purchase a title by any of these The Wild Rose Press' sponsoring authors (see list below), you will be eligible to enter our drawing to win a SONY eReader. The drawing will be held on Tuesday evening, September 2, 2008 at our weekly chat (9:00 p.m. eastern). (You do not need to be present in the chat room to win).When you purchase any title from these authors simply email your order number to:

SONYREADER@thewildrosepress.com.

This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it. FREE READS DO NOT COUNT AS PURCHASES. Make sure you have a current email address and/or include your contact information so we can find you if you win.You may enter as many times this summer as you wish. If you purchase more than one title in the same order, feel free to send two emails and include the order twice. We will verify that you did indeed purchase more than one title.The following are the sponsoring authors for this wonderful contest. Please look for their author information on our web site and enjoy some fabulous reads this summer from these participating authors. If you click on the author's name it will take you directly to their books on our site.

Donna L. Bolk
Allie Boniface
Linda Carroll-Bradd
Laurel Bradley
Rachel Brimble
Charlotte Chalmers
Elaine Cantrell
Pam Champagne
Christine Columbus
Sandra Cormier
Cheryl Cornell
Amy Corwin
Sharon Cullen
Donna Dalton
K.M. Daughters
Debbie Doggett
CarolAnn Erhardt
Valerie Everhart
Samantha Gentry
Cindy Green
Kathleen Grieve
Larry Hammersley
Stacy Dawn
Sharon Horton
Tara Nina
Anna Kathryn Lanier
Marly Mathews
Nicole McCaffrey
Donna Michaels
Stacey Joy Netzel
AnneMarie Novark
Cindy Spencer Pape
PL Parker
Katie Reus
Jane Richardson
Donna Marie Rogers
Pam Roller
Emma Sanders
Kathleen Scott
Carol A. Spradling
Debra St. John
Lily Stone (blogging on July 29)
Browyn Storm
Leanne Tyler
Brenda Weaver
Nita Wick
Teri Wilson

Good luck!

*No purchase necessary to win the SONY eReader. If you do not purchase a title, you may enter the contest by mailing a post card to The Wild Rose Press, Sony eReader Contest, P.O. Box 708, Adams Basin, NY 14410. Please include your name, email and contact information. In addition, you must write down three titles from any of the participating authors. Postcard entrants will be added to the names of email entrants and a winning entry will be drawn on September 2, 2008.

Good Morning

Hi, ya'll. You have me as a blogger today. This past week I recieved my blurb and my cover for my Christmas story A COWBOY'S DREAM:
Author Leah Smith has fantasized about her neighbor, Houston’s pro baseball player Marcus Slade, for years, but thinks it’s unlikely she’d catch the cowboy’s interest since her IQ is bigger than her bra size. Having already been hurt by a man who wanted size over substance, she’s not in a hurry to play in that ball field again.

When an unexpected opportunity gets Marcus inside his favorite author’s apartment, he’s not about to let a second chance at love pass him by. Their attraction is quick and electric and has him instantly thinking about something more long-term. But when a woman from his past intrudes, his hopes of a cozy Christmas with Leah are buried beneath her cold shoulder.
This story is set to be released in November.

July 24th Winner

Congratulations to Lyn....she's won a copy of Renee's book "Courting Trouble." Lyn, just e-mail me at annaklanie@aol.com and we'll arrange for you to get the book.

Thanks!

~Anna Kathryn

July 23, 2008

Courting Trouble by Renee Knowles



Courting Trouble
Renee Knowles
Buy Now From The Wild Rose Press
Regency Historical Romance
Spicy

Blurb: Lord Anthony Darby is determined to marry a wife with an exemplary reputation. Then he sees his childhood companion, gorgeous, scandalous, Lily Kennyon again. And all he wants is her in his bed. He decides to avoid her. Until her father makes him an irresistible offer: he'll sponsor Anthony's entry into an exclusive club, if Anthony will accompany his outcast daughter to society events. Can Anthony resist Lily's sensual lure? Or will his hunger make him lose control?

Lily has always rued her impulsive nature. Never more than when her defiance led to an accident, which paralyzed her sister. Afterward, she decided if her sister would never marry, neither would she. Yet she wants to experience lovemaking. So, when Anthony courts her, she devises a plan to seduce him. But she fears she's falling in love. Then she discovers Anthony's attentions were all part of a pact with her father…

Excerpt:

A line of hot desire raced from Anthony’s fingertips, up the length of his arms and down his spine. There was something vibrant and enticing about her. Her movements were spontaneous, not forced. She was so different from the lifeless ladies he’d been forced to dance with lately.

And, devil take it! She was Lily Kennyon. Little Lily Kennyon, whom he’d carried to the manor when she was three and had scraped her knee at one of his mother’s garden parties. Who used to chase frogs and put them under her sister’s pillow at night and pay the devil for it in the morning.

Apparently she still courted trouble. What had he been thinking to engage her in a dance? According to Hartwell, she’d quite a scandalous past.

But the pain in Lily’s eyes when the countess had insulted her had crippled him. He hadn’t seen her in eight years, yet he still felt the need to come to her rescue.

Although, as his hand held hers and his temperature rose, he thought perhaps he was the one who needed rescuing.

“You don’t have to do this,” she said. “We’re not children anymore. I can take care of myself.”

“It would appear that I do.” He twirled her. “Seems your fondness for causing havoc hasn’t diminished with time.”

She stiffened in his arms. “Then why concern yourself? I would have found a way to diffuse the situation.”

“I had no desire to see my sister’s assemblage become a spectacle.” Anthony tightened his hold on her waist.

Her gaze narrowed. “You do yourself a great disservice in dancing with me, my lord.”

“Indeed?”

“You will tarnish your own reputation. Although perhaps a charity dance won’t be held against you.”

He couldn’t resist the urge to smile at her wit, but that only seemed to inflame her further.

Her eyes sparked. “What the devil are you smiling at?”

“A charity dance? Maybe I merely wanted to discover why you would challenge Lady Fairchild-Darben? From what I’ve heard you’ve been playing fast with your reputation. Why invite further scandal?” He whirled her with the steps of the dance, his breath coming fast.

Anthony was patently trying to ignore the brush of her skirts against his limbs, and the warmth of her skin radiating through the layers of her dress.

“If anyone should know the consequences of scandal,” she said, “it would be me. I’ve lived it.”

“As have I, Lily.” For years he’d lived with rumors of his mother’s unfaithfulness.

Anthony searched her eyes. “Perhaps you’d like to tell me the reason you’ve fallen out of favor with the ton? We could compare notes, Little Fleur.”

“Still calling me by that juvenile name?”

“I have a weakness for them. As I do for the truth. Why did the countess make such a cruel remark to you?”

She bit her lip and glanced away. “It’s a long story.”

“Seems I’m a captive audience.”

“It appears—” she took in the crowd “—that I have more of an audience than you.”

As he spun Lily, he noticed several people were indeed staring, among them a sneering Lord Chamberlain, and Lily’s father, Colonel Kennyon.

Damn and blast. Had he spoiled his chances with the colonel?

His alarm must have played out on his face, because Lily huffed and tried to pull away. “You’re as stubborn as ever, Anthony Victor. You fed me sermons when I was a child, but I’ve no intention of being lectured any more this night.”

Anthony held on, a tight smile pasted on his lips.

“Countess or not, she had no right to be so cruel to me.”

“Perhaps, Lily. But she could ruin you with a word.”

The music stopped. A sad, sardonic smile played at the corners of Lily’s mouth, belying the sheen that had come into her eyes. “Then I have nothing to worry about, Anthony. For I am already ruined.”

© Renee Knowles 2008


Renee Knowles
Sensual, Sassy and Slightly Sinful
Going Topless--"A must read."--Euro-Reviews Out Now! Siren
Guilty Pleasures--August 4th 08 Siren
Courting Trouble--Regency Historical--Just released! The Wild Rose Press
www.reneeknowles.com

Welcome Renee Knowles

Welcome Renee Knowles, who's book just came out yesterday!

Christmas In July Interview Questions

So, tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a huge romance reader, devouring just about any book I can get my hands on. I’m married with a newly adopted son and we live in the Mountain West. I love to do yoga and to spend time with family.

Along with novel writing, I am a freelance writer and editor and give writing classes to groups all over the country.

What is your typical day like?

Well, until we adopted our little one a couple of weeks ago, it was about writing and yoga and reading and coffee shops! LOL. Now, it’s about chasing after him and playing a little with publishing business in between!

When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published?

I started writing about 4 years ago, and my first book was contracted last August by Siren Publishing.

How many stories did you finish before you were published?

I had written two full manuscripts and the second one is the manuscript that sold.

How did you break into publishing?

Well, actually, I was an editor for the publisher of my debut book, Going Topless. And when I pitched the book to the publisher, she was very interested. And from there I received an offer very quickly. She is a wonderful and thoughtful publisher.

What influenced you to write?

I guess it is my love of books. Books have been a part of my life since I was a child. I used to hide under the covers with a flashlight as a kid so I could read after my parents thought I was asleep. I’ve just always enjoyed stories and creating characters in my head.

What inspired you to write romance?

True love, a handsome man, obstacles to overcome and a happy ending…what is not to love?! I’ve always been a big romance fan. It’s a genre I feel is the perfect escape J

What motivated you to write your current book?

My current release, Courting Trouble, is a Regency historical romance. I adore the Regency period and am a Jane Austen addict. This is a sexy, true romance, and it’s a story about two friends who become lovers. I really enjoy “friendship” romances because there is a lot at play there.

The idea came to me as I was thinking about Emma (Jane Austen’s book). In that novel, Emma and Mr. Knightley are close friends but all their interaction hints at more. I love the sexual tension when the hero and heroine are thrown into each other’s path so often. And I wanted Courting Trouble to have the same feel but with a modern sensuality.

What are you working on now?

I am working on the second book in a new erotic contemporary series called Pleasures, Inc. that I have coming out with Siren Publishing. The series revolves around a male escort service where the hottest men fulfill your steamiest fantasies, and they are there for your pleasure only…

The first book, Guilty Pleasures, will be released on August 4th. It’s a hot story and I’m really excited about the series.

How do you write? Are you a panster or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?

I am mostly a pantser. I do have a loose outline and an idea of the main turning points, but I let a lot of the story happen organically.

As for characters or plot, I am most definitely character-driven. My characters drive my story and my plot. I need to know them very well and think that creating my characters is one of my favorite parts of plotting.

If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who would it be? And Why?

A few weeks ago, I would have said Jane Austen. And I still think that would be an amazing conversation. She had a brilliant mind, and it would be incredible to meet her.

But now, I think I would also have liked to spend one hour speaking with Tim Russert before his untimely death. He was a sharp man and a gentle one. He had a lot of depth, and I am a huge fan of the political drama that goes on in our democratic system.

Tell us some of the things interviewers are saying about your story or stories.

Thanks for letting me brag a bit. Here are a few tidbits from interviewers:

“Renee Knowles is a brilliant author…” --Two Lips Reviews

“Renee Knowles is hot, hot hot!!!”—Sensual Reads

“Renee Knowles is definitely in touch with her feminine side…”—Euro-Reviews

What is your all time favorite book?

Pride and Prejudice hands down. Give me Darcy any day!

What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

Keep persevering. And remember that you are marketing yourself in everything you do.

How do you like your fans to contact you?

I love to hear from readers! They can contact me at renee@reneeknowles.com

~Renee


~Anna Kathryn

July 23 Winner

Congratulations to Cherie J! She won an electronic copy of Anne Marie's book "Her Reluctant Rancher."

Cherie, just e-mail m at annaklanier@aol.com and we'll arrange for you to get your copy.

~Anna Kathryn

HER RELUCTANT RANCHER: The First Kiss

“Hank had his chance. Ten years of chances,” Trevor said. “You don’t know what it was like. You don’t want to know.”

Beth stepped closer and laid her hand on his arm. “I do want to know. If you feel like you can tell me.”

Trevor looked at her hand. She offered comfort, but her touch burned. He looked into her eyes. That was a mistake. Worry, concern, compassion showed in the green depths. No one had ever looked at him like that before.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” He moved to the stove and added more broth to the simmering rice. He stood there stirring the mixture, battling emotions he’d fought for over twenty years.

“Tell me one thing.” That soft voice was doing a number on him. Physically, as well as emotionally.

“What’s that?” he said over his shoulder.

“Hank didn’t beat you, did he?”

“No. Nothing more than a spanking now and again. But there are many ways to hurt a child other than physically. Ways that can influence a person for life.” Now why the hell had he told Beth that?

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“It’s not your fault.”

“I know that. I’m just sorry Hank treated you badly. No child should have to suffer like that.”

Trev shrugged. “It was a long time ago. I don’t like to think about it.”

Beth was close beside him again. He could smell her. Strawberries and her own sweet fragrance, which was slowly driving him crazy. He inhaled deeply.

“Can I have a taste?” When she leaned toward the pan, her shoulder brushed his arm. The top of the peasant blouse fell open to reveal lace-covered breasts.

Trev swallowed hard. Beth Evans was dangerous. Her questions and concern unmanned him. Tempted him to feel things he’d blocked from his mind. Her beautiful body just plain tempted him.

She looked up and smiled. “Can I taste it?”

“Sure.” Trev scooped a bit of rice on the wooden spoon and blew. He offered the bite to her, holding his hand beneath the spoon to prevent a spill. “Careful, it’s hot.”

Beth took the bite. She closed her eyes and sighed. “Oh my God. It’s fabulous. Tastes even better than it smells.”

Trev swallowed again. He couldn’t drag his eyes from her lips. He’d bet a million dollars she tasted better than she smelled, too.

She opened her eyes and caught him staring at her. Her cheeks turned pink, but she didn’t move away. They stood only inches from each other. Trevor held the spoon suspended above the pan. He leaned nearer. He had to kiss her.

Awareness flared in Beth’s green eyes and her breath hitched, but she didn’t pull back. He closed the distance between them, brushed his mouth over her lips and nearly groaned out loud when she opened for him. He moved closer, pressed harder and explored her sweetness with his tongue. Damn, she did taste better than she smelled. A whole lot better.

Trev dropped the spoon and cupped Beth’s cheeks, rubbing his thumbs along her jaw line. He angled his head for better access, nibbled her bottom lip, then dove back in to her moist warmth.

A sexy little moan erupted in the back of Beth’s throat, and a jolt of yearning sliced through him. When she laid a hand on his chest and clutched his shirt, fire burned in his veins. He wanted to run his hands all over Beth’s body. He wanted her naked. He wanted—

“Mommy! Trevor! What are you doing?”

Title: HER RELUCTANT RANCHER
By: Anne Marie Novark
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary Western
Heat Rating: Spicy

Blurb:

Construction tycoon Trevor Callahan returns to Stone Creek, Texas, to settle his grandfather’s estate. He wants to sell the Rocking C Ranch so he can put his unhappy past behind him and move on. Living with his stern grandfather taught Trev an important lesson: Caring makes a man weak.

Single-mom Beth Evans once confused lust for love and will never let it happen again. She drives the Stone Creek bookmobile and is trying to raise funds to build a new library. In his will, Hank Callahan bequeathed a million dollars for the project, but attached one stipulation: Do not let his grandson sell the ranch.


Excerpt #1:

“So, you moved in?” He made it sound like she was going to use squatter’s rights to take control of the Rocking C Ranch.

“Only temporarily,” she said. “To help Bonita. Now that you’re here, of course I’ll leave.” No way could she stay in the house with Trevor in residence. She felt dizzy just thinking about it. Her hormones had awakened from a long dormant sleep and Beth didn’t trust the little suckers. Not one bit. They’d gotten her into trouble once and she didn’t want that to happen again. When it came to men, Beth knew she was a walking disaster.

She picked up her sandwich and bit into it. What with talking so much, she’d neglected her food. And she was hungry. She and Mags had worked all morning sorting books.

Trevor poured more iced tea in his glass. Beth felt his eyes on her as she ate. Her stomach flip-flopped again. Oh no, she couldn’t stay.

“You don’t have to leave,” he said, breaking the awkward silence.

Beth jerked her head up and stared at him. “Excuse me? Yes, I do. I’m leaving.”

“No, you’re not. There’s no reason for you to go. I’ll be in and out a lot while I’m in Stone Creek. You obviously have a big job to do with the books. We won’t get in each other’s way. And I’ll make it worth your while.”

Beth frowned. Surely the man didn’t mean that like it sounded. “Make it worth my while?”

He shrugged. “Pay for your services.”

“My services?” She knew she sounded like a parrot, but she couldn’t help it. The man had her flustered.

“Cooking, cleaning, looking after the place. Like you’re doing now. Only you’d get compensated.”

“I don’t want your money.”

“What do you want?” he asked softly.

July 22, 2008

Meet Anne Marie Novark

Welcome new author, Anne Marie Novark. Her first book was just released a few months ago!

Christmas In July Interview Questions

So, tell us a little about yourself? What is your typical day like?

I’m a retired stay-at-home mom, so I guess that makes me a kept woman. A typical day for me begins with waking up between seven and seven-thirty, when I jump out of bed and head for the kitchen, pour myself a glass of juice and sit down to read the paper. I eat a light breakfast then grab a quick shower. I try to sit down at my computer at nine, where I work for several hours. I check email after I get my pages written. After that, I usually eat lunch and run errands and also perform the minimal amount of housecleaning I can get by with.


When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?

I started writing when I was in my early twenties. That was before personal computers. I wrote in longhand on notebook paper and in spiral notebooks, but never finished a manuscript. When my children were born, my writing went by the wayside. I didn’t waste those “writing” years; I read voraciously—romances mostly, but there was a period during my early thirties where I read classic literature exclusively. When the kids were bigger, I took up writing again. I completed eight manuscripts and collected many rejections before finally publishing.

How did you break into publishing?

For years, I was targeting Harlequin/Silhouette. I caught the eye of an editor, but kept getting rejections. I entered a few contests, but the expense was prohibitive. I was really in a bad place psychologically in my writing, nearly to the point of giving it up. But writing is my passion, my identity. I am a writer, therefore I write. I couldn’t give up.

I kept reading romances and craft books on writing, and attending my RWA chapter meetings. I noticed how a few of my chapter mates were being published in digital format. They were having a blast, so I decided to give it a try. Being published by The Wild Rose Press has boosted my confidence and now, I’m having a blast!


What influenced you to write?

My mother, BK Reeves. She’s been published for many years. She’s taught me so much. She’s my biggest fan and my sternest critic. Here’s a little story about when I decided that I could write: Mother had published a couple of Regency romances with Avon. One Friday out of the blue, they called her and asked if she had anything to submit right now, because they were in a lurch and needed a book ASAP. Well, BK told them she had a typed manuscript (written before personal computers) locked in her safety deposit box. They said great! Could she send it to them by return mail on Monday? Not a problem, she said. She called me in a kind of a panic, saying she had to enter the manuscript into the computer. I offered to help her. While I was entering the story, I realized a book was written one word, one sentence at a time. Okay, this is so obvious, but it was a light bulb moment for me. What can I say? I’m Polish.

What inspired you to write romance?

I’ve been reading romances since the sixth grade. I love reading about men and women overcoming obstacles, falling in love and living happily-ever-after. Real life can be ugly and messy. In romance novels, love conquers all and there is always hope for a bright future with the love of your life.

What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?

My first book was a Regency romance. After I finished that story, my sister introduced me to category romance (Linda Howard, no less), and I’ve been hooked ever since. Most of my stories are set in West Texas where I spent summers as a child on my grandparents’ farm and ranch. That land is now in a family trust, and we all enjoy going up there as often as we can. I write Western Contemporary Romance with yummy cowboys and ranchers.

What difficulties do writing this genre present?

For me, it’s big city vs. small town. I’m a city girl, but my heart belongs to the little town up in West Texas near our farm. I love the rugged ranch land and the vast acres in cultivation. I like to share my love of the land and my love of Texas with readers. Wait a minute! That’s not really a difficulty at all.

What motivated you to write your current book?

I wrote HER RELUCTANT RANCHER four or five years ago. I think the idea came to me when I read a feature article in a magazine. It was about a rural doctor who made rounds of house calls. How this morphed into a girl driving a bookmobile, only my muse knows for sure.

How much time do you devote to writing each day?

Two to four hours on good days. But not all days are good days. I try to be disciplined and get on my computer by nine in the morning, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.

Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.

As I said before, I’ve completed eight manuscripts. I have a series set on a ranch up in the Panhandle (where else?) about four brothers and a sister. I have three of those stories written; two more to go.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the fourth book in the series mentioned above. It’s about the youngest brother who is a crop-duster. He’s crashed and burned and is having a difficult time recuperating both physically and mentally. My heroine is a flying whiz and comes along, knocking the hero for an aerial loop.

How do you write? Are you a panster or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?

I’m an in-betweenster. My characters usually come first. I do a bit of pre-writing: finding pictures of my hero and heroine, choosing their names, figuring out the internal conflicts, etc. I keep all of this information in a project notebook. For the last three or four books that I’ve written, I’ve made collages. This is an awesome activity and really stimulates the subconscious brain.

What was the most unusual way you came up with a story idea? I mean, I’ve gotten a plot idea from a song I heard, from brainstorming with a classmate. What unusual thing caused you to think, ‘hey, I could make that into a story?’

One day, when my husband and I were driving back from his dad’s, we were on the freeway. A man on a motorcycle passed us. He had a small girl riding behind him. That got my brain to playing what-ifs all the way home. Who was this guy? Where was the mom? I knew there was story there, and sure enough, I wrote it. Right now, it’s sitting on an editor’s desk (or in her inbox), and I’m waiting to hear back on it.

If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who would it be? And Why?

I would love to meet Georgette Heyer. She was the Queen of Regency Romance. Even though I write Western Contemporary, Regencies hold a special place in my heart. The way she handled characterization and setting and plot was awesome. Her books are dense and rich; not a lot of white space. I’ve read her Regencies countless times. They are my “comfort” reads. Most of my copies of her books are over fifty years old and are literally falling apart.


Tell us some of the things interviewers are saying about your story or stories.

HER RELUCTANT RANCHER is my first published book, and this is my first interview. Most of my reviews have been good. It’s exciting to know people are actually reading and enjoying my book.

“This is the first book I have read by Ms. Novark but it will not be my last. Her characters are strong and passionate and she takes the reader along for an emotional ride through her story!”

“HER RELUCTANT RANCHER adds a new spin on reluctant romances that form after a death in the family… It is very refreshing that marriage between Beth and Trevor was not a requirement of the will… Trevor and Beth find passion in this delightful story of regrets, love, and family.”

Read the full reviews on my website: www.annemarienovark.com.

What is your all time favorite book?

Gosh, I have so many favorite books. Like I mentioned before, my comfort reads are the Regencies written by Georgette Heyer. It’s very difficult to say which one is my absolute favorite. I guess if I have to choose, I’d say A CIVIL CONTRACT. It makes me cry every time I read it.

How do you do research for your books? What’s the most interesting bit of research you’ve come across?

I check out books from the library—inter-library loans are fabulous. And of course, I couldn’t live without Google. The most interesting bit of research? When I found out you could own hundreds of acres of land without owning the mineral rights. That tidbit became a crucial turning point in one of my books.

What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

Don’t give up. Keep writing and honing your craft. Read books on writing, take online classes, and most importantly: submit, submit, submit. If you don’t keep writing and submitting new manuscripts, you will never get published.

How do you like your fans to contact you?

Visit my website at http://www.annemarienovark.com/. Email me at am@annemarienovark.com.

July 22 Winner

The winner of Meagan's great prizes:

1.) $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
2.) Download of your choice from my backlist

Is Michelle! Just e-mail me or Meagan and we'll get you your prizes.

annaklanier@aol.com or meaganhatfield@charter.net

Thanks for visiting my blog today!

~Anna Kathryn

Excerpt ~ The Marquis & the Mistress


CHAPTER ONE


May 1608
Bay of Biscay
Off the coast of Southern France


“Can you see her?”


Francois Gudren peered through the telescope shaft to study the ship, bobbing in the distance. It only took a few twists and turns of the lens before a red flag, with white and green stripes, snapped into focus. At the sight, a lazy half smile curled the corner of his lips.


“Yes, I see her,” he replied.


“Well.” His first mate, Jean pressed his spectacles to the bridge of his nose and squinted over the railing. “Is she the Basque one you been searchin’ for?”


The ship’s bow plunged downward from a swell, casting a bracing spray of salt water upon them. Francois swept strands of dark, sodden hair aside and bent to clap the stout man on the shoulder.


“Bring us about,” Francois ordered, stuffing the telescope beneath the red sash about his waist. “Phillipe!”


“Aye?” A voice called down from above.


Francois tilted his chin to the lad in the rigging. “Be sure our colors fly high. I will not abide the prize court disallowing seizure on account of one of our blunders again.”


“Then it is her,” Jean exclaimed, padding behind him.


Francois let loose a sigh, and wheeled around. The gusting winds set his overlarge white shirt to flap agape, sending a refreshing breeze against his heated chest. Propping his hands on his hips, he stared hard upon Jean, certain the sight of him, all togged up in tight black breeches and sash about his middle, projected the look his role as a bloodthirsty pirate captain required.


“Jean, I told you to bring The Vengeance about. The Emak Hila has finally returned to Spain. If we lay in wait for her, she shan’t be able wind her way about us and reach shore. She is ours.”


“Aye, Capt,” he replied, his aged face beaming, as he scurried to take the wheel.


Francois pivoted, spouting off orders to the rest of his crew, who immediately bustled about, manning their different positions. Most ran to the lower decks to ready her sixteen guns, while the rest hastened to the twelve mounted on her upper deck.


As their quarry grew nearer, Francois again stepped up to the rail with his scope. Shoving his sleeves to his elbows, he propped a booted foot upon the lower railing, and set his eye to the rim. A glance showed the “giver of death,” as The Emak Hila was named, bestrewn with nigh 80 visible crewmembers. All frantically attempting to get the vessel to tack into the wind, and flee the trap he’d set.


“She’s using evasive maneuvering.” He slammed his hand down, collapsing the device. “Let’s go and get her, men. Unfurl the sails!”


Shadows skirted and swayed in the rigging above. The square and triangle shaped canvasses whipped and cracked, as the sea air billowed them wide. The familiar rush of excitement blasted through his veins at the feel of the Vengeance splicing through the waves with the ease of a razor on skin. At the imminent chase before him, an amused smile twisted his mouth.


Francois rested his forearms on the rail and leaned forward. The sun’s bright rays sparked against the gold band dangling from a timeworn leather cord around his neck. At the sight of it, his smile fled and all the air left his lungs.


Cosette.


Her name whispered on the wind like a lover’s caress. Francois gritted his teeth as a fresh whip of agony and regret lashed his soul. Pinching his eyes, he leaned his forehead on the wood rail and fought for control. It was useless. His guilt forced him to suffer, forced him to relive the worst day of his life.


Sweat beaded on his brow and his chest tightened as the scenes of that fateful night replayed in his mind. When it was finally over, he opened his eyes. They fixed on the wedding band on his left hand and he wanted to close them again. Wanted to be back in La Rochelle, drinking his life away in that hovel of a tavern his father’s death had forced him from.


It should be Cosette’s ring he wore on his hand. Instead, he wore a ring of duty, keeping hers hidden beneath his shirt, yet close to his heart. Love. Duty. He scoffed. Such was life, he’d discovered. For it seemed he would forever crave one thing yet be given another. Experience a moment of joy only to be drug through the fiery pits of hell for eternity as a price.



[End]


Want to read more? Buy it now!
5 Hearts! "I was unable to put this one down." - The Romance Studio
***

Interview with Meagan Hatfield!

So, Meagan, tell us a little about yourself? What is your typical day like?

Hello everyone!

My name is Meagan Hatfield and I write Paranormal, Fantasy, Historical, Contemporary and Erotic romances for both e-book and print publishers.

Typical day? Well, I work a job Monday through Friday, 5am to about noon. Yes, I said 5am. {{yawn}} When the kids are in school full day, I get a good chunk of writing time in before they get home. Now, with summer in full swing, I write in chaos and between T-ball games, sleep-over’s and playing referee to their battling matches over the video game station.



When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?

I have always written…I even penned a young adult romance, complete with cheesy title (“My Kind of Guy”) in High School. But I never thought you could make a living at writing. So, I went off into a more lucrative and fruitful career path…dancing. Ah, to grow up in the 80’s – where every video and concert had a corps of frolicking jazz dancers and Paula Abdul made everyone think you too could be a star. *grins* Seriously though, I went to college as a dance major. But I met my husband, got married and had babies instead. It took six years in San Diego, a trip to the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas , two kids, a few random jobs and a move to Wisconsin before the constant ideas and characters running through her head drove me to finally sit down and start writing their story. That book was my fantasy romance, “A Magical Encounter” and it came out earlier this year!


What inspired you to write romance?

My grandmother.

I was an only child, essentially raised by my grandparents. Both were avid readers, especially my nanny. Our hallway was lined with bookcases staked two rows deep with Harlequins. She read four romance novels a day...she kept one by the bed, one in the bathroom, one on the dining table and one by her recliner and finished all of them by night’s end. Romances were some of the first books I was exposed to and I always loved them. It was with her encouragement, I even attempted to write a book of my own.

What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?

At our chapter meeting introductions, everyone always says for me to tell people what genres I DON’T write in. LOL!

Characters always come to me first, so what I write depends on their voice. I don’t see myself ever writing an inspy or a western, but never say never.

Currently, I am working on my dark paranormal series about dragon-shifters and vampires I just sold to a major NYC publisher yesterday!! I don’t have release info yet, but you can bet I’ll be keeping my Newsletter subscribers updated. ((hint, hint))

What difficulties does writing this genre present?

I absolutely LOVE Dark Paranormal. I think I’ve really found my niche! I’d been told I write violent or dark before by reviewers and it always gave me pause. Now, I have free rein to go for it and it is so much fun!!

What motivated you to write your current book?

Actually, I won a critique at our local RWA Conference and busted out the first chapter without thinking too much about the book. It took about six months to hear back. But when I did, the editor really got a fire under my butt and I wrote the synopsis and a few more chapters and sent those in. When she came back requesting the full, I whipped it out in six weeks and sent that in. So I guess, the prospect of selling was motivating enough for me. Although, I did listen to Breaking Benjamin cd’s the entire time I wrote. That music really helped me get into the tone of the story.

How much time do you devote to writing each day?

As much as I can. :-) Okay, more specific…it’s usually, it’s about 5 hours. But, if I am working a deadline or extremely motivated, my butt has been known to be in the chair for up to 10 hours and counting.

Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.

Currently, I have a hot-historical romance novel, “The Marquis & the Mistress” out from the Dark Castle Lords. A fantasy romance, “A Magical Encounter” from New Concepts Publishing, and a contemporary erotic short story duo, “Torrid Teasers #43 – The Whole Enchilada & Lust Desserts” out from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Links and info on all my books and stories are at my website!


What are you working on now?

I am working on Book Two of the new series I just sold yesterday (YEA again!) I’m also plotting up a short for that line, and today I’ll start on the edits for Book One.

How do you write? Are you a panster or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?

Both. I am a firm believer that if you have two great characters, plop them in an interesting setting and let them loose, stuff will happen and you will eventually have a book. However, that can either take a year or generate a 120,000 word epic. So, I plot.

And definitely characters influence me more. After all, it is their story. I just try to listen to what they tell me and not mess it up along the way.


What was the most usual way you came up with a story idea? I mean, I’ve gotten a plot idea from a song I heard, from brainstorming with a classmate. What unusual thing caused you to think, ‘hey, I could make that into a story?’

It would have to be for a work in progress currently languishing in my documents. I got the idea from watching a cartoon with my daughter before she got on the bus (obviously back before I worked at 5am) I can’t remember specifically what it was, but some minute aspect or story thread called out to me. I thought, “man, if this was an adult show, I would have this happen instead…and then this…and then this…” and so the story began.

If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who would it be? And Why?

Yikes! There are so many. But probably Queen Elizabeth I…I’d love to hear her secrets. I mean, a woman ruling successfully over men for that long - wow. When you think about, it sounds like fiction, especially for back then.

Not to mention, I think she’d have a wicked sense of humor.

Tell us some of the things interviewers are saying about your story or stories.

Oh, I’ve really been very fortunate so far with reviewers.

I was just Joyfully Reviewed last week and the reviewer called “A Magical Encounter fantasy-meets-romance at it’s finest.”

The Romance Studio gave my historical romance,“The Marquis & the Mistress” 5 hearts and said, “Meagan Hatfield has written an exciting tale of lost love, secrets, and devious plots. Cosette and Francois were such well-written characters. The love-hate relationship between these two wonderful people, along with the fiery passion that burns up the pages, is all consuming. I was unable to put this one down. Although at times I found the situations the characters had to withstand a little distressing, I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an exciting, sexually charged romance because this has to be one of the best I have read. Hats off to this great author. I look forward to reading more of her stories in the future.”

You can read more reviews of all my books and stories at my website.

What is your all time favorite book?

Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. Rarely does a book touch me as deeply as this novel did, and on so many levels. It stuck with me for years not just days. And honestly, part of me still yearns to take my family to some remote locale, leave everything behind and live off the land. But I know deep down I’m too techie dependant to actually do it.

How do you do research for your books? What’s the most interesting bit of research you’ve come across?

I always research. Let’s face it, any excuse to get my nose in a musty, old book, and I’m there. :-) Now, how much I research depends on the story. For THE MARQUIS & THE MISTRESS, I did endless amounts. The story takes place during King Henry IV of France’s last years ruling the country, and includes as many factual characters as fictional. So, I read up on, not only the period and the locale, but the people. I’ll tell you, some of the books I read on King Henry IV were so old, the binding glue turned to dust on my desk. But, I love history and books (probably why I write) so I found all of that research not only interesting but inspiring. It amazes me to hear that the French court setting does not appeal to a good number of people. I think it’s just as rich, lush and intrigue laden as the English court. Not to mention all those hot, French men. Ooo-la-la, what’s not to love?

The most interesting thing that’s happened so far came from reading the Marquis de Sade’s letters and works as research for my erotic novella, ONE NIGHT WITH DE SADE. I had always been fascinated by him, but I had no idea what a normal, intelligent, politically conscious minded and loving individual he was. He was very much ahead of his time when it came to reform and society - a rebel with a cause, if you will, who used his works to shake people up, to wake them up. So, it was interesting to leave that experience not only understanding a bit more about the man many considered a monster, but admiring him on certain levels. He was French too, of course, so that helped. LOL! (Are you noticing a trend here?)



What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

Develop thick skin, keep your chin up, write everyday, treat others how you want to be treated, keep learning, always be professional, if you don’t have a critique partner – get one, and surround yourself with those who support your dream. Ignore the ones who don’t – they will all be clamoring to for autographs when you’re published, and success is the sweetest revenge.


How do you like your fans to contact you?

Feel free to stop by my website ( http://www.meaganhatfield.com ) to learn more about me or my books. Or cruise by and friend me at Myspace ( http://www.myspace.com/meaganhatfield ) or leave a comment at my blog ( http://www.meaganhatfield.blogspot.com )
I’d like to mention that I also have a Yahoo Newsletter Group – (
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/A-Little-Bit-of-Magic/ ) called - A Little Bit of Magic. Every three months, I post a newsletter with info about me, my books, hottie of the month and the contest winner of that issue. Once you're signed up for my group, you'll receive automatic entry into all of my contests.

****Contest****
Leave a comment on ANY of my posts for your chance to win:
1.) $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
2.) Download of your choice from my backlist

July 21st Winner

Congratulations to Eva, she won the July 21st drawing, an e-book package. It includes my short story "The Priceless Gift," "A Brush with Love," and "Voices " both by Jo Barrett and "Ancient Musings" by Skhye Moncrief.

Just e-mail me at annaklanier@aol.com, so I can send you the e-books.

Anna Kathryn

July 21, 2008

Welcome Author Meagan Hatfield

Welcome Meagan Hatfield as my guest blogger today. She'll be putting up her interview questions soon and getting the show on the road....

Hey, I just finished filling out a form for an RWA chapter we're both in for subsequent sales and Meagan had a boatload of them! So I'm looking forward to hearing all about her writing and her published, or soon to be published works!

~Anna Kathryn

July 20th Winner - Notice to Other winners

The winner for July 20th is, Andrea! Sandy's book isn't out yet, though it'll come as an e-book in August. Andrea, you can receive a copy then or you can wait until January and receive a print copy, whichever you want.

Just e-mail me at annaklanier@aol.com and let me know what you'd prefer.

Now, anyone who hasn't received their prize packages yet via U. S. Mail, well, that's because I've not mailed anything for a couple of weeks. I have them all in piles to package up, I just haven't gotten to it, but I hope to remedy that this week. Sorry it's taken me so long.

~Anna Kathryn

Good Morning

Well, I don't have a guest blogger today, so I guess it's up to me to talk. Of course, I don't have anything planned....lol. I was looking at the post from "On This Day" and saw that it's the anniversary of the Battle of the Pyramids by Napoleon Bonaparte on July 21, 1798. Yeah, I never heard of it either. But Napoleon "put into use one of his significant contributions to tactics, the massive divisional square," which is actually a rectangle. This formation helped him repeal and defeat the ruler Mamluk's armies. The battle took place 9 miles from the Pyramids outside Cairo. Napoleon's victory signaled the beginning of the end for the 700 year rule of the Malmuk's rule in Egypt.

Find out more at:

http://www.reference.com/search?r=11&q=Battle%20of%20the%20Pyramids

But reading about Bonaparte reminded me that for years, I never understood European history. I moved from one state to another during my freshmen year of high school. The school I had attended in Ft. Worth, Tx was on trimesters and we waited until the end of the first trimester to move. The school I moved to in Las Cruces, NM was on semesters. When I arrived to register, it was suggested that I wait until after the Christmas holidays to do so, since I'd be join classes just in time for finals. So, I had a 6 week break.

Unfortunately, because of this, I missed a lot of instruction on European history, namely Napoleon Bonaparte's. I was confused to learn there was more than one Bonaparte and also it took me a while to understand that the European countries weren't united as they are now (in that Germany, France, Italy used to be little city-states and not one big country as the are now). It really wasn't until I took my college history classes in the past two years that I came to understand what I'd been missing all these years.

I find history fascinating and can't understand those people who say they don't.

There are several time periods I'd like to visit if I could - Regency England, medieval Europe, the Wild West.

What time period(s) would you like to visit?

~Anna Kathryn

July 19, 2008

Author Sandy Wickersham-McWhorter

Welcome Sandy Wickersham-McWhorter as my guest blogger today.



1. So, tell us a little about yourself? What is your typical day like?

My day depends on the season! In the winter, I substitute teach most days, then come home, have supper, write or do household stuff, then go to bed for the next day. I also take my MIL to her hairdresser appointments and shopping every Thursday, run my oldest son around on days he doesn’t feel well after kidney dialysis (he needs an O- or O+ kidney ASAP), teach English 101 in local male prisons and grade their papers, watch certain shows with my hubby after he gets off work, and a ton of other things I won’t bore you with!
In the summer, I do everything I do in winter (except substitute teach) but add yard work, artwork, and catching up on projects I don’t have time for in the winter. One of this summer’s projects is perfecting my website, but what a load of work that is when I’m my own webmaster, yikes!

2. When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?

I actually started writing in 3rd grade when I turned my dreams into short stories. The adult writing bug bit me in October, 1990, when I wrote an article about a family trip to an animal auction and it was published by a local weekly paper. The novel bug bit me that same year and I worked on several sci-fi stories. I finished 3 novels before being published in novel-length fiction.

3. How did you break into publishing?

In non-fiction with that article I already mentioned, titled, Look Mom, Bumper Pigs! (courtesy of my youngest son), about a family trip to the Kidron Auction in Kidron, Ohio, in October, 1990. After that, I wrote for that newspaper and 2 others for a year each, sold an essay to Country magazine, was published in my college’s literary magazine, and was a feature-story writer for Choice, a Christian magazine, for a year. I was published in novel-length in July, 2007, with Cottonwood Place through the Wild Rose Press.

4. What influenced you to write?

Four things: studying theoretical physics to keep my brain from turning to mush (because it was), the success I was having with non-fiction writing, my oldest son, and Murder She Wrote. As we sat in a car one day in 1990, my son just commented out of nowhere, “Look, Mom, the Phoenix by the last Horizon.” We were in my newest car, next to one I’d recently wrecked. I said, “If we make it ‘The Phoenix on the Last Horizon’ it would be a good book title!” My hubby had said the Horizon was the last newer car I’d ever get. That night after work, I wrote a 30-page handwritten draft of that book, based on the Bible and theoretical physics. Murder She Wrote, and Angela Lansbury, affected my decision to write in so many ways that I can’t even begin to list them!

5. What inspired you to write romance?

After I read several sci-fi\futuristic romances, I was so enthralled that I could get both loves, romance and sci-fi, in one book that I got hooked and wanted to try my hand at one!
What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre? Romance in many sub-genres: Inspirational, women’s fiction with romantic elements, sci-fi\futuristic, romantic suspense, and contemporary. I chose these genres as ideas came to mind for novels, mostly from life’s events around me every day. But, sci-fi\futuristic is my first love because I’ve been a sci-fi nut as long as I can remember, at least as far back as 1956 (I was 4) with all the sci-fi TV shows we had back then! I live and breathe sci-fi!

6. What difficulties do writing this genre present?

This will make some people angry with me, but romance (other than Inspirational) is hard for me to write because of the current trend toward explicit sex scenes. I like sweetly sensual sex scenes. It seems that today, romances have to be erotic to sell, and I don’t think I write explicit sex scenes very well! I skip them when I read a romance that’s too explicit. The foreplay, kissing, teasing, exploring each other, necking, playing in his long hair and beard, kissing, the growing relationship between the H\H, and did I say kissing?, is more titillating and satisfying as a reader than explicit descriptions. I know erotic has big sales now, but it just doesn’t “turn me on” like a good tease does! This situation in my new book is a good example. Skye teasingly delays making love with Joe (they just got married):
“And, it has a king-size bed for…uh…that fun we’ve put off.”
“Adult fun?” he asked, pressing his body against hers.
She squirmed excruciatingly slowly away from him, making sure to rub against as much of him as possible. “Yes, but it’s not the only place.” She hooked a ‘follow me’ finger at him.
In the main cabin, she said it served as living and dining rooms, and a fully-stocked kitchen. “We could sail for a century if we wanted.” She raised an eyebrow and said suggestively. “Do you want to learn how to sail, now?”
Exasperated, he said, “I’ll sail you to the moon if you take me to the bedroom now.”

7. What motivated you to write your current book?

I wrote The Winds of Fall because I can’t forget all the dreams of flying without an airplane from my high school years. One day in 1994, I decided out of nowhere to turn them into a book and finished the rough draft in 3 months, while watching my youngest son play soccer. I wanted to put on paper the feelings I have when I fly in those dreams, so I combined 2 of them: the main dream was a repeating one of lizard aliens chasing me as I fly through the cool night air to land on white church steeples, fly through trees, or out to a blue ocean. The other dream was of a tall blonde alien prince taking me away to my home planet from my high school cafeteria, and I’m wearing the crown and dress I describe in the novel. I also used the horrible feeling of aloneness and frustration I get on a fall night because I can’t fly away with the cool night wind. Yes, that part of what happens to Skye has happened to me most of my life, but I’m not an alien like she is! Ten years ago, I figured out why I get the feeling, but I won’t bore you with the details.

8. How much time do you devote to writing each day?

Depends on the season. In winter, anywhere from 1 to 8 hours. Subbing gives me no less than 1 and1\2 hours a school day to write longhand or edit chapters on paper, sometimes much more! Most evenings, I do about 3 hours, and I either type into the computer what I wrote longhand that day, or make the corrections to a chapter I edited. In the summer, I only seem to average about 6-8 hours a week because of using the days to catch up on other projects.

9. What are you working on now?

A book about the ice road truckers based on the History channel program, and I plan to finish Orion Comes in Winter, another sensual sci-fi romance, soon.

10. How do you write? Are you a panster or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?

I’m a pantser if I understand the word’s definition. I write out a longhand rough draft of the basic story, anywhere from 50 to 100 pages, which takes about 3 months on average. As I type that into the computer, I flesh it out with conversation, more plot, and do some basic research. Once that’s in the computer, that’s my working draft. I never thought about which influences me the most before, but most of my books so far have started with a basic plot and setting, then the characters come as I write that rough draft I mentioned a minute ago. I also learned to do my synopsis early, because I did one after the book was finished (for my new release) when I first started it back in the 90s, and had 80 pages! Yikes! Every bit of information about the plot seemed important, when it really wasn’t.

11. What was the most usual way you came up with a story idea? I mean, I’ve gotten a plot idea from a song I heard, from brainstorming with a classmate. What unusual thing caused you to think, ‘Hey, I could make that into a story?’

The co-most unusual was what I mentioned briefly about my son and me sitting in my new car next to the old car. The other co-most unusual was when I was eating at a Chinese restaurant and opened the fortune cookie--it was empty. That led to the story “No Fortune in My Fortune Cookie,” a romantic suspense which is built around the H\H’s adventures during Ghost Month in Chinese countries.

12. If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who would it be, and why?

I want to say one of my relatives so I’d know more about my own history, or my hero, Albert Einstein, but I think I’d have to say Jesus. I know that sounds clichĂ©d, but I could ask Him why things went the way they did in my family and get some comfort and closure, not just find out dry facts that a relative could twist to their own perspective.

13. Tell us some of the things interviewers are saying about your story or stories.

This is my first interview, so thank you! Cottonwood Place has been reviewed and got “4 Angels out of 5” from Fallen Angel Reviews, and 4 and 1\2 hearts of 5 from The Romance Studio plus their reviewer gave it “a recommended read” status! Thank you Romance Studio!

14. What is your all time favorite book?
My all-time favorite is Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein, 1957, which I’ve read 70 times. That’s no misquote, 70 times. Citizen is the best of his juvenile novels: a morality-play, a rags-to-riches, coming-of-age story, and an indictment of slavery and of an uncaring adult world and galaxy. But it’s more than that to me, it’s my story as a kid. I was the abandoned hungry Thorby, and the grandmother who raised me was the wise and loving Baslim, who raised Thorby, and everything came out alright in the end.

15. How do you do research for your books? What’s the most interesting bit of research you’ve come across?

I start my research with a set of 1970s encyclopedias for the most basic information and the tons of other books in my office’s library shelves. Then, with that basic info, I go to the web. Yes, I know web information isn’t reliable much of the time, but with the basics from the encyclopedia and my own knowledge (I know lots of trivia!), I can glean out pretty much what doesn’t ring true on a subject. Much on the web is someone’s opinion and politics, but it’s invaluable for information on places for settings, factual histories of an area, current businesses in an area and their phone numbers, so I can give a real flavor to my novel’s settings. The phone is the next best research tool I know of, which is how I got my most unusual tidbit of information! For my ice road truckers book, I called two ice cream shops in the giant Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada, to find out their most popular flavors, glibly expecting some exotically weird flavor. What flavor did the workers say in both stores? Plain old chocolate-chip cookie-dough ice cream, no different from here in America. What a letdown! Which shows Canadians aren’t much different from us when it comes to food! And, they shop just like us, in giant malls! They even have computers and cell phones in Yellowknife, Canada.

16. What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

Don’t send your first 5 drafts of anything to anyone! Make sure every manuscript is fully proofread and perfect for grammar, continuity, characterization, GMC, accurate research, grammar, and microscoped by several more readers after that! Both books I’ve published with The Wild Rose Press were not ready to sell! I sent Cottonwood Place to them after the second draft, expecting a rejection with helpful hints on how to improve it, which is what I’d always received from editors so far. The TWRP editor was a Southwesterner and loved the setting and characters! Meanwhile, I found out about passive sentences and that Cottonwood Place and The Winds of Fall were riddled with them. I had to rewrite Cottonwood Place in the editorial stage to the tune of 80 single-spaced pages listing long notes of massive changes, and about 20 pages in the next round. Editors and agents say to send your best, fully proofread material for a reason and I’m living proof of why! The month of heartache, lost sleep, and disrupted life is unimaginable to anyone who hasn’t gone through what I did.

17. How do you like your fans to contact you?

Go to my website (only 2 months old) and email me from the “Contact Me” page. www.sandywick.com

~Sandy