While checking email today I came across a very inspiring and awesome post about writers writing, and why she thinks we (women) write the way we do.
Kristen Lamb says it all in her post about Good Girls vs. Bad Girls. Trust me, it’s not what you think.
Miranda Lambert’s song Mama’s Broken Heart comes to mind for me (but then, I relate all sorts of life’s moments to country songs :lol: ), and the differences in life between ‘back then’ and now and how it all relates to writing.
Check it out. I promise you’ll nod and smile. :D
And just for fun:
Editor Alicia does it again! Learn the difference between two writing styles.
Originally posted on Author Alicia Dean:
Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip:
Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…
Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.
This question was posed to me recently, so I thought I would share…
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UnCover Mondays on The Ranch!!!
It’s that time again, time for gorgeous covers to take the spotlight in the round pen here on the Ranch! Enjoy awesome cover art and the super authors, publishers and artists who made them possible for you to gaze upon this month and each month. It would be great if you leave a comment letting everyone know what you think about them and maybe even check out a few author links to meet those behind the books. Or just say hi. Don’t forget to tell your friends to stop by so they can appreciate some greatness, or get in on the fun, too!
This feature is only to highlight the authors and artists (though if you see one you want to buy I’m sure the authors won’t mind :lol: ). Enjoy this months’ covers to ogle and explore. If there is one provided, you can follow the artist links by clicking on the name, if there’s an artist link provided, to learn more about the amazing creators of these beautiful covers. If I have it, I link the cover to the artist, otherwise, it’s linked to the author. I think they deserve fair mention since they helped create the book!
There’s a heat level rating for covers, one through five scale, for your benefit. You should never see a *5* rating on the Ranch. If there’s anything else you’d like to know about covers being revealed here, please don’t hesitate to let me know. You can leave it either in a comment or by my contact page http://calisarhose.com/say-hey/. :)
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His Girl Next Door, #2
Author: Babette James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Level: 4- hot- sex
Publisher: Chara Press
Cover artist: Jamie Banta
Release date: January 13, 2015
Sometimes love is just around the corner
When Cami Alexander moves next door, it’s time for Jack O’Malley to concede the sweet and sexy fellow teacher is more than a long-time friend—she’s the one he’s been looking for in all the wrong places. He’s ready to put his footloose bachelor days behind him, but between his past, Cami’s doubts, her overprotective family, and well-meaning blind date offers from friends, convincing Cami they’re meant to be together is going to get complicated. Good thing Jack likes a challenge.
Cami’s always had a little crush on the dashing, blue-eyed Jack, but when the heat in a spontaneous kiss surprises them both, she’s afraid to risk their friendship over mere desire. Passion proves irresistible, and one explosive night ups the ante on their dilemmas. Jack vows his love and to stand by her through every trouble, but she’s been burned by promises before, and this time more than her heart’s at stake.
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Book 1.5 Legends of Oblivion series
Author: Andrea R. Cooper
Genre: Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance
Heat Level: 3
Publisher: Andrea R. Cooper
Cover artist: LM Creations
Release date: April 1, 2014 (new cover 3/2015)
After defeating the Warloc, Brock, the Elvin Vampyre, takes Celeste to Tamlon to search the prophecies of the four and the Son of Dragons. However, the Elvin city is not safe, even for his witch.
The Warloc’s protégé is bent on his physical return to the living. Her necromancy brings forth Brock’s first victim and more.
Brock and Celeste must defeat prejudice and power to continue their journey and find Brock’s twin sister, Mirhana.
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#3-MacQuire Women Series
Author: Peggy Jaeger
Genre: Contemporary romance
Heat Level: 4-hot
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Cover artist: Rae Monet
Release date: September 23, 2015
Family Practice Doctor Clarissa Rogers’ first impression of Padric Cleary is biased and based on gossip. The handsome, charming veterinarian is considered a serial dater and commitment-phobic by his family and most of the town. Relationship shy, Clarissa refuses to lose her heart to a man who can’t pledge himself to her forever.
Pat Cleary, despite his reputation, is actually looking for “The One.” When he does give his heart away, he wants it to be for life. With his parent’s marriage as his guidebook, he wants a woman who will be his equal and soul mate in every way.
Can Pat convince everyone – including Clarissa – she’s the only woman for him?
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Author: David J. O’Brien
Heat Level: 2
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Cover artist: Amanda Stephanie
Release date: September 2014
A startling revelation – the long-time friend you never viewed romantically is actually the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.
But what do you do about it?
For Derek, a laid-back graduate camping with college friends on Ireland’s west coast in the summer of 1996, the answer is … absolutely nothing.
Never the proactive one of the group – he’s more than happy to watch his friends surf, canoe and scuba-dive from the shore – Derek adopts a wait and see attitude. Acting on his emotional discovery is further hindered by the fact he’s currently seeing someone else – and she’s coming to join him for the weekend.
As their five days on the beach pass, and there are more revelations, Derek soon realises that to get what he desires, he’ll have to take it. Events conspire to push him to the forefront of the group, and, as unexpected sorrow begins to surround him and his friends, Derek grasps his chance at happiness. After all, isn’t life too short to just wait and see?
10% of the author’s royalties will be donated to WWF,
the World Wildlife Fund.
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Storybook Valley, #1
Author: Stacy Juba
Heat Level: 1- sweet
Publisher: Thunder Horse Press
Cover artist: Mark Juba
Release date: November 6, 2015
What happens when the glass slippers pinch Cinderella’s toes?
When Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom.
First in the Storybook Valley series, a blend of sweet romance, chick lit, and fairy tale fun.
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Author: Ruth A. Casie
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Heat Level: 3
Publisher: Timeless Scribes Publishing
Cover artist: Kerri Knutson
Release date: March 30, 2015
He crossed the centuries to find her…
For months Lord Arik has been trying to find the right combination of runes to create the precise spell to rescue his wife, Rebeka, but the druid knight will soon discover that reaching her four hundred years in the future is only the beginning of his quest. He arrives in the 21st century to find her memory of him erased, his legacy on the brink of destruction, and traces of dark magick at every turn.
A threat has followed…
Bran, the dark druid, is more determined than ever to get his revenge. His evil has spread across the centuries. Arik will lose all. Time is his weapon, and he’s made sure his plan leaves no one dear to Arik, in past or present, safe from the destruction.
But their enemy has overlooked the strongest magick of all…
Professor Rebeka Tyler is dealing with more than just a faulty memory. Ownership of Fayne Manor, her home, has been called into question. Convenient accidents begin happening putting those she cares for in the line of fire. And then there’s the unexpected arrival of a strange man dressed like he belonged in a medieval fair—a man who somehow is always around when needed, and always on her mind. She doesn’t know who to trust. But one thing is certain. Her family line and manor have survived for over eleven centuries. She won’t let them fall, not on her watch… in any century.
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Author: Gwen Kirkwood
Genre: Family saga
Heat Level: 1 to 2
Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd
Cover artist: Robert Hale Ltd
Release date: July 30, 2015
It is 1895. Railways and factories are springing up everywhere. Fourteen year old Emma Grieg doesn’t want to leave the village and her loving family but she must earn a living. Her father thinks she will be healthier working as maid for the Sinclairs at Bonnybrae Farm, although Mistress Sinclair is stern, haughty and demanding. Maggie, the eldest daughter, takes Emma under her wing. She works hard, is quick to learn and loves the animals. Eldest son Jim will take over the tenancy, but William, the youngest Sinclair wants a farm of his own. They both tease Emma for her youthful innocence as she develops into a pretty sixteen year old.
William takes Emma to gather sheep from the hill but they are forced to spend the night together when a thick mist comes down. Months later Emma discovers she is pregnant. Mrs Sinclair dismisses her instantly. Her father sends her to stay with relatives to hide her shame. Her Aunt is mean and spiteful and tells her the baby must go to an orphanage. Emma is desperately unhappy.
When William claims he is the baby’s father his mother is furious. He is banished to Yorkshire. He earns respect for his diligence and cleanliness but he has to share a stable loft for sleeping. When he is offered a derelict farm to rent he writes to Emma asking her to marry him but her baby son has been born early after she falls from a ladder. After her wretched experiences can William persuade her to live so far away when all he can offer is a neglected farm and little money?
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Author: Sue Barnard
Genre: Romantic intrigue
Heat Level: 2-sensual
Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing
Cover artist: Crooked Cat Publishing
Release date: 8 July 2014
Who knows what secrets lie hidden in your family’s past?
Southern England, 1982.
At 25, single, and under threat of redundancy from her job in a local library, Emily feels as though her life is going nowhere – until the day when Carl comes into the library asking for books about tracing family history.
Carl is baffled by a mystery about his late grandfather: why is the name by which Carl had always known him different from the name on his old passport?
Fascinated as much by Carl himself as by the puzzle he wants to solve, Emily tries to help him find the answers. As their relationship develops, their quest for the truth takes them along a complicated paper-trail which leads, eventually, to the battlefields of the Great War.
In the meantime, Emily discovers that her own family also has its fair share of secrets and lies. And old sins can still cast long shadows…
Can Emily finally lay the ghosts of the past to rest and look forward to a brighter future?
A tale of discovery, love and fate.
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Author: Renee Charles
Genre: Romance Urban Fantasy
Heat Level: 4-Hot
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Cover artist: RJ Morris
Release date: September 22, 2015 –Re-release with new cover
Amidst an epidemic ravaging the world, all Megan Fletcher’s hopes for the future lie in getting to Las Vegas where newscasts reported scientists were gathering to search for a cure for the modern plague. After rescuing her from a rooftop surrounded by Zombies, Sam Woods appoints himself her escort. While he knows she is determined to get to Vegas no matter the cost, he doesn’t know her secret. And with his hatred of all things Zombie, she doesn’t dare tell him the truth. The more he kisses her, the harder it is for Megan to hide her growing feelings…and the bite-shaped scar.
But Vegas is not the haven it was promised to be, and when Megan’s immunity to the disease is discovered, she realizes her future and her heart belong to Sam, if he will trust her. An idealistic school teacher and ex-corporate mogul manage to find love despite a looming worldwide catastrophe. Can their love survive while everything around them is dying? Will they learn that when facing the end of the world, Only Love Survives.
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A Flagman’s Folly Book
Author: Barbara White Daille
Heat Level: 3-steamy
Cover artist: N/A
Release date: January 2014
A Fresh Start
After the loss of his family in a tragic accident, Ryan Malloy has been given one last chance to change his life. His boss sends him to Flagman’s Folly, New Mexico, to run his ranch, but unfortunately, Ryan’s troubled attitude lands him in hot water with the locals, especially the ranch’s manager, Lianne Ward.
Deaf since birth, Lianne has never let her disability define who she is. But, she’s yet to meet a man who treats her as an equal. Ryan seems different…that is, when they’re not butting heads over the ranch’s new school for disadvantaged boys.
Forced to work together, Lianne and Ryan discover an unexpected attraction beneath their quarreling. But will Ryan’s painful past drive them apart…permanently?
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I want to thank all the authors who submit and make this a special place to share their work!
To see YOUR cover here visit my UnCover Monday page for detailed instructions.
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AND THE WINNER IS!!! ~ Calisa Rhose and Tuesday RoundUp welcomes ~ Starr Gardinier #mfrwauthor #winner
Congratulations Mae Clair!!!!!! WOOT!!!!!! You’ll be contacted shortly by Starr ti deliver your copy of The Other Side- Melinda’s Story!
We thank everyone who visited and commented! :D
Welcome one and all! Grab a beverage of choice and something sweet and sinful. No-no, not the men. What’s the matter with you? You know the hands-on rules… The guest gets first pick! ;) Take a comfy seat for another, or a first, spin in the Round Pen.
I’m thrilled to welcome my wonderfully talented guest today, Starr Gardinier, who is sharing their book, The Other Side: Melinda’s Story with us!
Please show Starr some real Ranch love!
Before I get to the nosy 5-3-4 part of this interview, tell us a bit about you.
A paralegal by day, she’s an author by night. Apart from being an award winning author for her short story “Cut,” Starr Gardinier has appeared in a blaze and made her mark on the literary world with her Ivanovich series and now her Other Side series.
Having studied and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Creative Writing, she has found her unique style and is known for her works’ distinctive voice, making every character stand out.
She’s the founder and owner of Editing by Starr. She’s also the former executive editor for Suspense Magazine. She has been interviewed in the newspaper and on the radio with relation to her fiction work. She has been a co-host on Suspense Radio.
Starr is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW) and of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles Chapter and nationally. She has won three Best Speaker awards as well as Best Evaluator at the Voice Ambassadors chapter of Toastmasters. She has always been active in events. As co-chair and main coordinator for the West Coast Author Premiere, she arranged weekend-long events to help authors from all over network, learn and share their work with the public. Starr has also been instrumental in compiling authors and planning a local author event at Barnes and Noble in Ventura, California along with the store’s event manager.
Okay, I’ll begin with five questions, then follow with three more, and end with four final ones.
My writing area at the moment is a corner of the couch in my living room. What does your writing space look like? Wow. Most of the time, pretty much the same place. On the chaise part of our sofa with my dog next to me (or on top of my keyboard). I actually do have an office, but rarely use it.
I have an office, too, but it’s not set up yet. Don’t you love-hate remodeling? :lol: For a lot of writers it’s a life-altering event coming up with titles and character names. Others it comes as naturally as breathing. Which is it for you? Titles for me aren’t a problem. Names however, are. In my newest release, the protagonist is Melinda James and her supporting character is Trent Miller. I look at the names now and think, ‘My gosh, I could have done better than that!’
I like those names and I’m sure readers will too. What advice would you offer aspiring and new writers? Never, ever give up. If writing is your passion, then keep doing it. Don’t let anyone tell you to give up.
Popular advice and I agree with you. The constant shift of the industry makes me often scratch my head and ask ‘what next?’ So, what do you think it takes to be a successful author at the moment? At the moment? I’d say it’s the same for any moment. And that is, write what you feel. The industry has a tendency to rock one way or the other as to what genres readers are after. But it all circles back around. Let’s say, romance is in. By the time you start your novel and it gets published, readers have changed their minds and now it’s fantasy. Again, I say, write what you feel.
Great advice. Who would you like to meet in the publishing industry- dead or alive- and why? Tough question. There are many. Edgar Allen Poe because I’d love to know what drove him, what in his life called out to him to be a poet. Another is Stephen King; I’d like to know what honest impact his major accident had on his writing career.
Interesting choice and I actually saw an interview years ago where he answered that question. Sorry, I don’t remember who interviewed him or his answer. ;). Okay, it’s time for 3 in 1! I’ll ask the questions and you answer them in one word. :lol:
Favorite animal? Dog
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter? Fall
Favorite food? Pizza
Well done! :) I’m a dog person too. Okay, Flash four. Ready? What are you working on now? The third in the Other Side series: Ben’s Story. The first, Melinda’s Story is out on September 18, 2015 and the second, Trent’s Story is done and with the copy editor.
Congrats on the second contract! What are you sharing today? The Other Side: Melinda’s Story
Melinda’s family is dead, killed for information that is hidden deep within her mind. Her father tries to warn her from the ‘Other Side’ that she is in danger from the killers who want what only she can give them. Committed to Skyview Haven, she must determine if the ‘Other Side’ truly exists or if it is a trick of her heart and mind. With time running out Melinda must determine who she can trust. Is it the ghosts of her family, a boy who may not be who he appears to be, or the doctor who is determined to cure her? Can she figure out the truth before it is too late?
I walked to my window and just as I’d done so many times in the past, looked down, hoping to spot Beth. And suddenly, she was there. She was waving up at me to come down. I could see her forming the words, Come on. I smiled like I haven’t smiled in a long time. I knew it. I knew she was alive. I put my index finger up to tell her I’d be there in a minute. I quickly stuck my feet into some shoes and grabbed a jacket. I tiptoed all the way downstairs and through the kitchen to the back door. I looked out the window first to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. Nope. She was there! Right there at the foot of our path. I smiled again, quietly opened the door, and slipped out. I hugged her hard and she pulled away.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“What do you mean? I’ve missed you. Where the hell have you been? They said you were dead. I didn’t believe them,” it all came out in a rush, in one long sentence, hardly a breath in between words.
“I’m right here. Remember? We promised to be in each other’s lives for always.”
“I know, but…”
“Ssshhh,” she cautioned. “We have to be quiet. Come on,” she tugged at my arm.
We walked a short way down the path. Before we got to her backyard, she suddenly stopped and I ran smack into the back end of her.
“What the hell?”
“Shit! I can’t…”
She looked at me with a frown on her face then smiled. “Let’s go to our place!”
“Okay, but you do know it’s the middle of the night. We’ll get into trouble if they know we’re out here.”
“Everyone’s sleeping. They won’t know.”
She grabbed my arm and tugged at me when I hesitated.
I smiled and said, “Nothing. Let’s go!”
I was happy and nothing was going to spoil it for me. I knew Beth wasn’t dead. I knew it!
‘Our place’ was a fort that we constructed in the woods. Well, not a real fort. We found some wood and leaned them all around a tree, sort of forming a teepee. Then I brought some old curtains my mom didn’t use anymore and we draped it over top of the wood. The inside was small, but it was ours. We sat huddled under old blankets she brought from her house a while ago. It was dark in our fort, but we had a flashlight if we needed it.
We chatted for a while. I told her all about how everyone thinks she’s dead, that she’d drowned. After I told her they had a funeral for her and everything, she giggled.
“Why are you laughing?”
“Because it’s funny. I’m not dead, I’m right here.”
She laughed again as she pinched my arm.
“Ow! Damn it!”
“If I was dead, I couldn’t do that, could I?”
I laughed with her, but it felt wrong. Something was not right. Then it hit me. If Beth was alive, that meant my dad was dead.
“Beth, you’re alive.”
“Yes, silly, I know that.”
“But then what about my dad?”
“What about him?”
“Beth, I think he’s dead.”
Tears started trickling down my face again.
“What are you talking about? You’re dad’s fine. I saw him earlier today.”
I knew the answer. Deep inside, I knew the answer and I can’t tell you how I knew.
“I saw him on the bridge. At least I think it was him. It was raining pretty hard. But I know it was your car. Hey! Where are you going?”
As she talked, I got up and left the fort. It started raining, but I didn’t care. Beth was here, which meant Dad was dead. The little pleasure I got seeing Beth again didn’t last long. I couldn’t win. I felt like I had to choose between Beth and my dad. It wasn’t fair.
“Melinda, what’s wrong?” she pleaded. “Aren’t you happy we’re together?”
“Yes, but my dad…” I said, standing there in the rain.
“He’s fine. Can we go back under now? I’m getting freakin’ soaked.”
“I have to go.”
I turned abruptly and began running back home. The rain made everything slick and I fell a few times, getting branches stuck in my hair and plastered with mud. In my backyard, I stopped and looked at our house. Every light seemed to be on. I saw Kyle pass by the kitchen window. I stood rooted to the spot. Do I go back to Beth? Somehow knowing if I did, it meant my dad would be dead. Or do I go in the house and accept the fact Beth was gone?
Chilling excerpt, Starr! I love the cover, too. Where can we find your book?
Where will you be next? I have several blogs who are hosting me. Here is the information:
9-14-2015 – Alicia Dean’s blog
9-17-2015 – QueenWriter blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
9-18-2015 – L.A. Kelley’s blog
9-19-2015 – Peggy Jaeger’s blog
9-21-2015 – Marie Tuhart’s blog
9-22-2015 – Abigail Owen’s blog
9-23-2015 – Debra Doggett’s blog
9-24-2015 – Sandra Dailey’s blog
9-25-2015 – Judy Reynold’s blog
9-28-2015 – Isla Grey’s blog
9-29-2015 – Calisa Rhose’s blog That’s today! Thanks for visiting!!!
10-6-2015 – Mary Morgan’s blog
Feel free to go back and check out any you missed. Plus, on October 3, 2015, along with several other authors, I am hosting and participating in a FB Launch Party. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1204016436282600/. I hope to see you all there! Authors are offering FREEBIES!
That’s a great lineup, Starr. I’ll be sure to try to stop by the FB Party!
I hope to see you all there! Today I’ll gift one copy of the digital version of The Other Side: Melinda’s Story to the 1st person who can answer this question [hint: you can find the answer on my website at www.QueenWriter.com] What is the name of the other series I’ve written in the past and what genre is it?
I know!! I went to find out, but I’ll let others guess. It’s just a click away, so go get your answer.
Thank you so much for playing along Starr! Wishing you much luck with your book and writing. I hope you’ll come visit again one day.
It was great being here, Calisa, and I would love to return. Thank you for the fun day on your Ranch!
Visitors- Don’t forget!!! Leave your email address in a comment so we can contact the winner of Starr’s ebook. :)
Kristen Lamb hits the nail on the head with branding! I’m buying a new book this payday. :)
Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:
For the past few months I’ve been focused on writing and not on social media. Hey, even the Social Media Jedi can get burnout ;) . But now we’re going to shift gears because, aside from writing the actual book, social media (branding) is the biggest part of our job. And I can hear the moaning and gnashing of teeth already.
Here’s the thing. We don’t have to do social media. No one will take us to writer jail if we don’t. So I will narrow this down. If you simply love the art of writing and don’t necessarily long to be paid for writing, social media is not that big of a priority. Social media is only important for those of us who like money.
Thus, for those of us who want to make a living as a professional author…
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Today is dedicated to a special man. He’s the father of our three beautiful daughters, and half of what makes us proud grandparents to five beautiful little girls. We’ve been together for thirty-two years and celebrated a lot of holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. I wouldn’t change of him, or our life together. He’s my biggest hero, a man who can do or make anything. He’s my inspiration, totally encouraging in my early writing, he pushed me to submit to publishers and threw a party when I got my first contract. He is my real life romance hero.
Here’s to my life mate, soul mate and love of my life!
To my wonderful, handsome husband I wish you a happy, happy birthday! I love you, Mitchell. :D
Robin Dricoll email me, please so Brenda can send *your copy of HANOVER HOUSE to you girl!!!!! Thank you for commenting. Congrats on getting picked by Random.org!
*Robin has 48 hours to contact me before I choose another winner. Thank you all for visiting, and a special thank you to Brenda!! :D
I’m thrilled beyond belief, truly, to be able to welcome one of my favorite-of-all-times authors to the Ranch today! Have you ever read the “Perfect”suspense trilogy? In case that hint isn’t enough, I’ll shout share who…
Please welcome the lovely and uber-talented bestselling author and all around wonderful woman, MS. BRENDA NOVAK to the Round Pen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oy. Was that as loud as it sounded in my head? I think I spooked Sonny and Apple. :/ Sorry, my horse darlins. Now to get the Chihuahuas to shush so I can think. :lol:
So, a couple of weeks ago I happened across a Twitter notice in my email that Brenda Novak was following me. What? My favorite writer, Brenda Novak? Me? Doubting Thomasina that I am, I checked and, sure enough, it really was her. Did I mention I’m a HUGE fan? :D
I’ve admired her writing—and live vicariously through her as a suspense writer (since I can’t write the genre to save my life, and she does it so splendidly)—for a very long time. After fangirl faded, I turned strictly Ranch owner (well, maybe still a little fangirlish) and invited Brenda to join me in the Round Pen and she graciously agreed. What a wonderful treat, I tell ya, folks! I’m all fangirl again here. She’s sharing her newest release, the one I just grabbed, here today with all of you, too! I’ll let her tell you all about HANOVER HOUSE as part of our visit today. (For convenience’s sake, I hyperlinked her name above directly to this book for you to check out, along with all her other books. You’ll be glad you did, I promise. ;) )
We tried to keep this short, but Brenda agreed to let me interview her, and I came up with some things to ask her about.
So, Brenda, you are a NYT and USA TODAY bestselling author multiple times over, with many, many books in various genres; historical, contemporary and, my favorite, your suspense. First off, congratulations on your exciting achievements. But—
1) When you first realized you were a success—something we all dream of, but are secretly afraid might actually happen—how did you handle it in the beginning and move forward?
I don’t think there’s ever been a point where I’ve decided I’m a success. Like most people, once I hit one goal, another one appears right behind it, so my career is more of a journey than a destination. That’s why I think it’s so imperative to enjoy the process. Success to me isn’t necessarily hitting the big lists (although that’s always nice!). It’s turning out work I’m proud of—and having my readers be excited about each new story.
I think all authors need your perspective. That’s a great way to look at success!
2) Not all books are easy to write. Some stories are what one author refers to as pineapple babies—they hurt coming out. Which of your works or genre gave you the most difficult time, either with the writing or editing, and how did you get through it?
The most difficult book I’ve ever written was probably A BABY OF HER OWN. I was still a relatively new writer and, when I finished the story, I could tell something was wrong with it, but I wasn’t experienced enough to identify what needed to be changed. I turned it in, hoping for the best. I’ll never forget meeting with my editor at the RWA conference (which was coming up). She told me that I had a subplot in the book that was warring with the main story–and overtaking it. Fortunately, she was so kind about the way she shared this news that it didn’t crush my confidence. As I flew home, I was trying to figure out how to solve the problem. Taking out that subplot would mean losing 25% – 30% of the book. I wasn’t eager to do that. In the end, I knew that was the right path, however. I made myself remove that subplot, focused on the main story and finished that book. Then I used the subplot to start a new story that was related to the first. So that mistake actually spawned my first series! If I hadn’t screwed up in that way, and if my editor hadn’t been sharp enough to catch it, I probably never would’ve written the Dundee series. I would’ve continued writing stand-alone novels. As you can imagine, I’m now very happy that I had to go through that exercise! The Dundee books are some of my readers’ favorites.
How awesome for you to get an editor to walk you through that at such an early stage of your career.
3) I keep Dr. Pepper (or coffee) at hand, and chocolate when times get rough, listen to music and I have a little stuffed Captain Jack Sparrow doll that cheers me on in that swooningly sexy voice only Johnny Depp can master…ok, maybe that’s just in my head. What is your go-to ‘thing’ while writing, if anything?
I don’t keep anything on hand (other than some trail mix since I don’t like to interrupt my work to eat), but there are certain things I do to kick-start my muse, or to remind me of how much I love what I do. Usually, if I want to be inspired, I listen to the soundtrack for LES MIS or PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Or I watch LAST OF THE MOHICANS. There’s just something about those works that really get my imagination going. Also, reading a really good book will get me excited to create again.
While writing my current release I was forced (by my heroine) to listen to an Opera CD while working. Apparently Viv liked Opera. Who knew? :)
4) Where do you draw from for the intensely deep, emotional impact your books all seem to be packed with?
I’m not sure where that comes from, to be honest. I think I’ve always been a student of human behavior, so I have a pretty good grasp on human motivation. That definitely helps. And I tend to like big, dramatic books, movies and music. I think those preferences just bleed into my work. (And thank you for the compliment. I want my books to resonate emotionally, so this is really great to hear. :))
They definitely resonate with me, so you’re welcome!
5) Since I began writing I hear that we should celebrate each finished manuscript, each sale, etc. What do you do to celebrate new accomplishments? Following that, what do you do for fun when not working on a book?
I don’t really do anything to celebrate. I think I’ve been in the business too long to worry about those rewards! LOL Finishing seems to be reward enough. I do love the relief, the letdown of the pressure, however. When I finish a book, especially if I’m really proud of it, I feel as if I’m walking on air for the next couple of weeks. That emotional high is a wonderful thing! As far as what I do for fun, I love to travel, read, shop, play volleyball, ride bikes and just hang out with my adult kids.
*Sigh* I still grab cheesecake and wine to pat my own back. LOL
6) I love that you’re not just a writer, but an advocate of a great cause. Can you tell us about the juvenile diabetes auction you created, why you did it and how/where can we get involved in the cure for this awful disease?
My youngest son has Type 1. He was diagnosed at just five years old. I’ll never forget hearing the list of side-effects he will likely suffer in his lifetime. That made me want to fight back, to do everything possible to protect my child. So I started Brenda Novak’s Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research, which I ran for ten years. Then, a year ago, I shut down the auction and changed up my fundraising efforts by procuring a digital boxed set containing stories from some of today’s most popular authors, which I sold to raise money. So far, with everything combined, I’ve managed to raise $2.5 million (thanks to the generosity of all those who have been so good to support me), and I hope to keep adding to that total. Keep an eye on my website for next year’s boxed set! Anyone who’d like to get involved or learn more can visit www.brendanovakforthecure.org.
I can only imagine the heartbreak of learning your little one is ill, and those are both extremely wonderful causes you’ve created. $2.5 million? That is incredible, and amazing to hear of the generosity of others. I hope putting this out will help bring that number up even more for juvenile diabetes research.
Now for a sneak peek at Hanover House and the eerie cover, which I love!
Welcome to Hanover House…
Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has established a research facility in remote Alaska where she studies serial killers. She’s determined to solve the mysteries of the psychopathic mind. But dealing with so many twisted killers means she has to be careful. Terrible things could happen if only one thing goes wrong…
Here’s an excerpt:
To hide the fear that slithered, snake-like, just below her skin, making the hair on her arms stand up, Evelyn paced across one end of the small, concrete cell, pretending to be absorbed in her notes. It’d taken a few days, but she was back at San Quentin, and they were bringing Hugo Evanski to meet with her. Only this time she was prepared for anything he might do—and so were they. The warden had told her Evanski would be escorted by two correctional officers instead of one, and he wouldn’t be allowed to get out of control again.
When he didn’t appear as soon as she’d expected, however, she set her notes aside and leaned on the desk to haul in a deep breath. She’d only been released from the hospital two days ago, still had a bandage covering her stitches and a black eye to show for that earlier incident—embarrassing proof that she’d allowed herself to be hurt by someone she’d known was dangerous. There was no excuse for that, especially because her detractors wouldn’t hesitate to use what Hugo had done to undermine her efforts, if word ever got out. She had to be careful about what showed up in the press, couldn’t allow Hugo Evanski to jeopardize a program that was still in its infancy and needed time and support in order to grow.
A clang signaled she’d soon have company. She snatched up her notepad so that no one would be able to tell that her hands were shaking. Although she told herself the same thing wouldn’t happen twice, no amount of self-talk could overcome the emotional response that welled up whenever the slightest sound, smell or other trigger reminded her of what Jasper Moore had done twenty years ago. And Hugo’s attack definitely reminded her of Jasper. Just about any violence did.
She watched as the heavy metal door slid open and two hulk-like correctional officers walked their charge into the room. They tried to seat him in the steel chair bolted to the floor, probably so that he couldn’t launch himself at her again, and, when he stiffened instead of bending, forced him into it.
“Sit your ass down,” one of the guards growled.
Hugo gave his chains a rebellious jerk but eventually complied, lifting his nose in the air and smiling at her as if he was too preoccupied with and delighted by what he’d done to her face to be bothered by correctional officers who were determined to show him they were in charge. “Looks like you’ve had an accident,” he said to her.
She fingered the tender spot near her temple. “It’s nothing. Someone of your reputation…I would’ve expected you to be able to do a lot more than simply knock me into a table.”
When the two officers on either side of him barked out a laugh, obviously surprised by her response, the smile disappeared from Hugo’s clean-shaven face. “Maybe it won’t go quite so well for you the next time.”
Hanover House- http://brendanovak.com/books/posts/hanover-house/
You are an inspiration to so many with your fundraising and your writing. I’ll definitely check out the link and the boxed set! Thank you so much for hanging out on the. I hope you’ll visit again.
Welcome visitors. Leave a comment to Brenda for the chance to win an ecopy of Brenda’s Hanover House only here on the Ranch!! :D
Although, I will add that she’s a very BIG NAME author and (other than the obvious ones, my pub-house sisters/brothers) my favorite suspense author. I was sucked into her amazing world when I read her “Perfect” trilogy several years back. I was flying to California and blogged about my reading choices, Michelle Willingham’s (then) new release, or The Perfect Liar. I chose TPL as my flight read and discovered it was actually book 2 in the trilogy that changed my reading life for the better. When I got home I got the other two books and they all remain on my Keeper Shelf.
Yes, I know that was more than another couple of hints. I’m horrible at keeping my own secrets! I’m also horrible at buying people gifts early and holding them until the celebrations they’re for. LOL But go ahead, click that link. I challenge you to see who is visiting, and then NOT come by Tuesday to say hi yourself! :lol:
Do you want to know who is visiting the Ranch? I’ll bet you do (if you haven’t figured it out already). She’s got a surprise of her own that you’ll have to come by to find out about. :D
We can’t wait to ‘see’ you at the Ranch for Tuesday Round Up! ;)
Until then, I’d love to hear your guesses in comments.
The Price of Scorn – book iv: Cinderella’s Evil Stepmother (Cinderella Series)
Thank you all for joining me on the Ranch today. I’m happy to present fellow Okie, and a terrific writer, Kae Elle Wheeler’s new release! Ever wonder why Cinderella’s stepmother was so mean and evil? Kae Elle has figured it out and wrote that story! Damn, what that woman must have gone through to become such a despicable person. :lol:
Kathy L Wheeler writing as Kae Elle Wheeler
Genre: Fantasy / FairyTale
Date of Publication: August 27, 2015
Lady Hildegard Roche has nothing but resentment and scorn for the stepchild who culminates all that was stolen from her. Fourteen years after Prince Charming and Cinderella are crowned as Chalmers King and Queen, Cinderella, Pricilla and Esmeralda gather at their mother’s deathbed.
In a story of enlightenment and shock, the sisters learn how tragedy shaped their mother into the woman she became. The question is: Can the sisters forgive her?
“Why are you telling me this now?” Papa roared so loudly the paintings on the wall seemed to tremble. But Hilda knew it was she who was trembling. On stealthy feet, she hugged the wall and crept closer. There was no other way to gain her freedom save leaping from her balcony.
Even Juliet had not jumped to her death in that particular fashion. That line of thought sent a chilled pricks over her skin. We are not lovers destined to death, she reassured herself.
All she need do was make it to the pond. Off Papa’s property. Then out of Alsace to the safety of Grenoble, all within the arms of Pierre. ’Twill be over soon…’twill be over soon…soon. If she kept repeating the words, they would come true. Wouldn’t they?
The duc must have departed. Papa would never dare speak to Maman so plainly with a guest in residence. Relief filled her along with a twinge of guilt. There was no choice in leaving Maman to her fate. She’d made her decision in no uncertain terms, her place was with Papa.
She shuddered. If Papa had any inkling Hilda had given her most precious commodity to Pierre Tasse, he would kill her lover without remorse, and beat her to a bloody pulp. She moved quietly along the carpeted hall.
She slipped by the clock—a monstrosity—though she rather loved the overbearing piece of wood at the moment.
“You,” Papa spat.
Hilda froze, squeezing her eyes shut.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1EY5ygB
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1UetsLU
I’d like to thank Kae Elle for letting me participate in spreading word about this unique fantasy! I’ll post my review once I have read it.