Welcome to Tuesday Round Up one and all! Grab a beverage of choice, 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.
Please show Jessi some real Ranch love!
Thank you for having me today, Calisa! It’s always fun stopping by the Ranch.
Before I get to the nosy 5-3-4 part of this interview, tell us a bit about you.
I’ll go ahead and take first pick of the men. Since the theme of today’s post will be blue-collar construction workers, are there any men in the coral sporting hard hats? Come on, boys, raise your hands…
LOL, in my dreams, right?
Actually, since I’m married to a construction man…there are always a couple hanging around for flavor choice. 😉
I’m a Seattle gal, transplanted from the northeast by way of Florida. How my husband and I arrived up here in the northwest is a long story, but it has mostly to do with higher education and a mutual love of Kurt Kobain.
Would you believe I’d never heard of Kurt until he died? Sad, I know.
So about your writing?
I’ve been writing about 6 years. After publishing with a small press, I’m now venturing into the world of self publishing and loving every minute.
I can’t wait to share my new release, Reckless, with you all today. It’s my second indie title and kicks off a series about blue-collar heroes who are rough around the edges but tender where it counts.
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 in my living room, now upgraded from the couch to my new-to-me green recliner. What does your writing space look like?
I’m a couch girl too. You can almost always find me on the middle cushion or our red corduroy IKEA Ektorp with my laptop either on my lap with a nifty fan-desk or on the couch beside me. I’m usually in jammies or leggings with a hoodie. And I always, ALWAYS have strawberry Chap Stick in my pocket.
I keep my laptop on an air desk, too, and I usually have a tube of vanilla lip balm somewhere within reach. 🙂 We couch girls have to stick together.
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?
My critique partners call me the title whisperer, LOL. I love thinking of title names, series names, and character names.
I do too, but some are questionable. Lol What advice would you offer aspiring and new writers?
I’ve seen some authors get so caught up in revising an agent-rejected book over and over again, trying to make it something an agent will fall in love with. This means they’re not writing new stuff, not learning, not improving.
The best way to improve as an author is to write. Write a lot. Brainstorm, draft, polish, repeat.
Get lots of stories under your belt. Then, when you get that coveted acceptance, you’ve got a backlist you can polish up and publish while you’re writing new stuff.
Good advice, Jessi. 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?
Persistence. You’ve got to love writing. You’ve got to eat, drink, breathe writing, and not just writing, but all the peripheral stuff that goes into transforming a completed story into a published work.
You’ve got to have a marketable author brand as well. My brand is time-travel romance and blue-collar contemporaries. Both are sub genres that are doing well right now. In that, I’m lucky. I happened across a readership eager for what comes naturally for me to write. Fairy tales are also popular right now, as are sports romances. Vampires have fallen out of favor a bit.
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Ecclesiastes 3, which begins “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (I like that one, too. Cat Stevens wrote a song around this verse that I love.) If what you write isn’t popular right now, don’t worry, it will be. Because you’re going to make it popular. Develop your niche, cultivate a starter audience, and carve out a corner of the market for yourself. Who knows? Maybe your dream sharing spynx or transgender motorcycle club member will be the next sparkly vampire.
Who would you like to meet in the publishing industry- dead or alive- and why?
My favorite author at the moment is Evangeline Anderson. I love her ability to develop a series and keep the conflict wire-tight through an entire book. She has an amazing sci-fi series called Brides of the Kindred that I am totally hooked on. I would love to just hang out with her, throw back some cocktails, and talk writing and sexy alien men.
It’s time for 3 in 1! I’ll ask the questions and you answer them in one word. 😆
Favorite animal? Horse
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter? Fall
Favorite food? Pizza
Well done! 🙂
Okay, final four. Ready? What are you working on now?
2014 will be a year packed with self-publishing activities. I have five releases planned for the year, including two re-released backlist titles (Reckless is one of these). There will be lots of logistics and marketing in my future, which to a geek like me sounds like a TON of FUN!
On the writing front, I’m setting a modest goal of completing a novella in my Highland Wishes series (Constance and Wilhelm’s story’ they’re a couple that makes an appearance in Wishing for a Highlander) and writing another full-length Highland Wishes novel.
What are you sharing today?
Reckless gets a new cover and a re-release! Here’s the blurb:
Sometimes it takes a miracle to find forgiveness.
Divorced construction worker Derek has anger management issues. Acting rashly on the freeway, he causes an accident. His truck escapes unscathed, but he can’t say the same for his conscience. Visions of the wreck haunt his dreams, but they’re always followed by the sweet caresses and soothing words of a beautiful woman who calls to everything male in him.
Cami assumes she is dead. With no memory of her past, all she knows is endless fog and the occasional visit to a darkened bedroom where she comforts a man battling nightmares. When she wakes in a hospital bed and regains her memory, she assumes the ruggedly-handsome Derek was no more than a figment of her concussed mind.
As Cami recovers, she learns that Derek is not only real but also the driver charged with causing her accident. She should be furious with him, but their inexplicable nights together showed her a tender side beneath his rough exterior. Will she let one reckless mistake drive them apart, or will forgiveness have the right of way?
Where can we find you and your books?
Get Reckless Amazon and more listed on Jessi’s website.
Where can followers find you next?
Ooh, I get followers? How cool! I promise there will be no Kool-Aid. But I will bring cupcakes…
Follow me on Twitter and FB, and you’ll get all my appearance news. And sign up for my newsletter for notice of my new releases.
I love cupcakes and heroes with a bad-boy streak. I would like to give a free ecopy of Reckless to a commenter who tells me their favorite snack or dessert and romance hero. Double points (counts as 2 entries) if you can name a snack or dessert that can also describe a romance hero.
Thank you so much for playing along Jessi! Wishing you much luck with your book and writing. I hope you’ll come visit again one day.
Thank you so much for hosting me today, Calisa! I had a blast answering your questions, and I can’t wait to read comments and give away an ebook!
Coming to Reason
How did the writer’s journey begin for you?
I’ve been writing stories all my life, but about ten years ago I was a successful strategist/analyst who decided to become a business consultant. I did really well except for one problem: work consumed my life, and all I wanted to do was write stories. It turned out I’d rather be a poor author, than a well-off problem solver. So I ended my consulting business and began to write full time. Those were great years. I’d hike with my dog in the morning, then write until early afternoon, then hike with Jess again, then return to writing. I would normally finish a rough draft within a month. Then I would put up chapters on Rom-critters and Critters.org and improve them further.
I never tried to publish anything until about 3 years ago when a new critter read the blurb to one of my books and declared it unpublishable. Now I was determined to publish it. The 3rd publisher I sent it to offered me a contract. Thus Saving Casey became my first book published. And just this week a reader left me a comment: “totally blown away by Saving Casey. Five stars.”
And it’s those unexpected comments from readers that keep me going, because publishing is the hardest job I’ve ever had. No contest. Being a Published Author is non-stop work. Absolutely nothing like Castle.
Tell us three things about you-the writer-readers wouldn’t typically know.
1. I dream about characters in odd situations during my sleep. If I can still remember them in the morning, then I drop everything and get the gist of the story down. If I can’t remember it, then I don’t worry about it. It clearly wasn’t that interesting.
2. I keep the temp in my house down to 50 in the winter. (Starving author). Turns out my fingers don’t type well when cold. They leave out a great deal of words and letters.
3. Because of all those missing or mangled words, I use a software program to read my work-in-progress back to me so I can catch all those missing words. My brain is all too apt to fill in the missing words, no doubt thinking it is being helpful.
It all began when…
Trent turned nice and Carrie fell in love with him in book 1: Worst Week Ever. While I thought the book hilarious, I admitted the romance a complete disaster. But then in book two, Carrie tried her hardest to make Trent a better man. I and a great many readers fell in love with him. But deep inside, I knew he was too selfish to ever be good enough for Carrie. It’s no doubt why I’d been throwing guys her way all through book one and two. So in book 3: Coming to Reason, the relationship explodes for good. Finally, she notices a guy who has been there since book one. A guy perfect for her, except for one thing which they need to work out.
Where did you get the premise for this book?
I dreamed it. But as I’ve been sharing facts about myself during the blog tours for book 1-3, I realized there’s quite a bit of my life experiences in the story.
What stands out about this story that made writing it different for you?
Coming to Reason is told in Carrie’s perspective. Thus, we’ve no clue as to why he did all the horrible things that happen in this book. He tries to explain to her what’s happened when they are in the car, but he botches the job. It’s not until we read Trent’s perspective in book four: Climbing out of Hell that we understand why he did all these outrageous acts. In fact, I’ve put the rough draft of Chapter 1 of book four at the end of Coming to Reason, so you can get a better idea what he’d been going through for the last three months.
Were there any difficult challenges or special subject matter you came across while writing this book?
When I cry, my tears burn my eyes, which makes them water more, which makes them burn more. This is why I prefer HUMOR. Sadly I cry a lot in this book, which was a painful challenge.
What about this book would make us want to read it more than others of similar taste?
I keep asking my fellow authors who I write like, and they keep insisting I’m unique. I haven’t read any author I thought was close to me. So the best I can advise is to read a bit of me and see if you like it. Reviewers who like me say I’m an easy read, fast paced, and have unique and lovely voice. The minority reviewers who don’t like me said …I don’t remember what they said, but it hurt my feelings.
What do you want readers to take away from this book?
Oh, I know the answer to this!
Breakups are hard and painful, but sometimes they are the only way for people to reach their full potential.
It’s true for Trent and Carrie, and it was true for me in real life.
Tell us about the next book in your corral.
Well, that would be a book that arrived, then disappeared and has returned again.
(Due to publishing houses merging & my decision to take my book back instead of going with them I need to resurrect a ghost.)
By Liza O’Connor
Contemporary Romance with a touch of paranormal
Two sexy English brothers. One irresistible ghost. Who would you choose as your lover?
Completely broke and with a criminal record to boot, Senna Smith is one day from eviction from her apartment when Brendon, her promiscuous roommate from London, suggests she go to England, marry him, and manage his fortune. With few other options, she agrees to an open marriage. But she’ll never, ever, have sex with him, knowing if she falls in love with him, he’ll break her heart.
As trustee of Brendon’s family fortune, there is no way Brendon’s older brother, Garrison Durran, is going to let him marry a self-professed American gold-digger. As Senna tries to embrace castle life and English society for Brendon’s sake, Gar discovers Senna is the perfect woman for him–beautiful and intelligent, kind and caring. Now, if she wasn’t already engaged to his brother…
The ancestral ghost of Durran Castle has to intervene if the Durran brothers have any chance of an heir. He can’t leave them to fix matters on their own. They are useless buggers when it comes to love. As counselor to Gar, matchmaker for Brendon, and lover to Senna, a ghost’s work is never done.
CONTENT WARNING: Allergy warning: Ghost cat in book.
Ghost Lover will be
“So my brother steals all your money and to compensate you, he suggests you come to England, marry him, and he’ll give you his trust fund.” Only his brother could contrive such an absurd plan.
“Yes.” By her brief answer, he gathered she thought it a perfectly reasonable solution.
His brother might be an idiot, but this gold digger would soon discover Gar a force to reckon with. “Did he steal a half million from your bank account?”
Brendon laughed. “Do you have any idea how long that would take? Cash machines only allow you two visits a day at two hundred dollars a pop.”
“How much did he take?” Gar restated his question.
“Four hundred,” Senna replied.
Gar stared up at the ceiling praying for patience, then glared at Ditz. “So why didn’t you pay her back the four hundred?”
Ditz stubbornly refused to answer, and instead glanced at the girl.
She sighed and faced Gar. “Precisely what I asked. He said he didn’t have the four hundred, but if I married him, he would come into a half million. Since the landlord planned to evict me, I really had no choice but to accept the offer.”
Where can readers find you and your books?
Amazon is an excellent place to find me and my books.
Is there anything else you want to share or add?
Two important things.
First, there is a rafflecopter for Coming to Reason you are eligible to join. It ends tomorrow, so throw your hat in now. Tour prize is a $50 Gift Card.
And secondly, If you love a bargain, you should know Ghost Lover will be 50% off Mar 21-23.
Can’t wait? Not a problem. It’s at its most fair and reasonable price of $3.99 at Amazon now.
Thanks for having me by. I had fun.
Thank you for once again gracing the Ranch with your lovely humor and books, Liza!
I decided to write today and see how it goes. I fell on December 11th and broke another rib, or two? so any time on the pc is painful
still. Sitting up, walking, breathing…you get the picture. But while I can’t be on the laptop daily as often, I’ve been thinking about why it’s driving me nuts not to be working on the novella I’ll be publishing early in 2014.
I set a deadline for myself to have it completed and the cover made by the end of December, just four days from now. It’s not gonna happen, unfortunately, since I haven’t been able to work on edits since the tenth. My whole month is wasted because of the pain. I hate that! I’d planned to publish the book by mid-January and that’s not gonna happen now either.
Have no fear! I’ll get it done very soon and am revamping my schedule to get the book finished and published by the end of January. That’s right. I’ll just have to add a month to my original plan. 😀 I’m okay with that since this will be my first self-published work and I’m a little (okay, a LOT) terrified of the thought. 😆
So why do it if it’s so daunting? Because I want to. Because I’m confident enough in my writing to know readers will love it. Because it’s the new frontier of publishing and I don’t want to be left behind. And…because I can! I have a wonderful artist working on a cover for me that I know will bring out the essence of the story I’ve fallen in love with and I can’t wait to see the final product. I’m anxious to get back to work on the book edits, expansion really. It was written as a short story for an anthology it didn’t get finished in time to get put into, so I’m making it longer and self-publishing it because I want to share it with the world. As with my writing, it is a sweet, sensual story of love between a man and woman. I’m thinking it might also turn out to be a preclude to a new series later in 2014. Maybe. Possibly. I’ll keep you posted on that thought. 🙂 It depends on how my other series pans out this next year.
In the meantime, I’m sharing an excerpt for Risk Factors and why this time of year is so special to me, aside from Christmas. (Psst- it has to do with tomorrow and aging. 🙂 ) I’d love company at the wonderful Michelle Ziegler’s blog if you have time to stop by today! http://michellezieglerauthor.com/2013/12/27/fun-fact-friday-calisa-rhose-and-the-small-world
Tune in next week when I’ll post my new two year writing plan- and why only two years.
Until then I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!