Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sweet Saturday Sample - March 30, 2013

At three forty-seven, he heard a car pull up the driveway and rushed to the window to confirm it was Elizabeth. The door to her red Honda Civic opened slowly and she stepped out into the bright afternoon sunshine. He was relieved to see she was in one piece.
As if sensing his stare, she shielded her eyes and looked up, and when she saw him, she gave him a small, nervous smile.
He didn’t suppose he could blame her for that. After his overprotective reaction to her going out, she probably had no idea what she’d find waiting for her when she returned.
Moving away from the window, he chastised himself for his stupidity. How could he be so dumb? She had spent years with a husband who’d abused her, and although he’d never raised his hand to her and never would, she didn’t know that.
He realized he needed to do better for her. No matter what he was feeling, she was not his and may never be. But even if one day she was, he couldn’t allow his emotions to get out of hand; they would frighten her and that was the last thing he wanted.
Why was this so hard with her?
He took a deep breath before collapsing onto his couch. She was home. He could breathe again.
Not two hours later, Chris realized how wrong he’d been. The sound of another vehicle in the driveway roused him from his spot on the couch where he’d been attempting to watch a movie.
His brother’s truck pulled up and parked beside his. He wasn’t expecting Trent to stop by today. Then he stepped out dressed in black slacks and a dark blue, button down dress shirt. The last time Chris had seen his brother this dressed up was at their brother Paul’s wedding.
What the . . .

Friday, March 29, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday - March 29, 2013

This weeks picture is from

The sound of water filtered through the trees. We thought we’d be able to see the waterfall by now, but the forest was too dense. The path the map laid out had us weaving around rocks that jutted out in every direction, and trees as big around as a small vehicle. Neither of us had ever seen anything like it.

When we finally approached the final ridge, we stopped to take in the sight before us. White water surged through the rocks, down to the waiting river below, and there, off to the left was what we’d been searching for.

To check out what other writers did with the same picture prompt, click on their links below.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Update - March 25, 2013

Evening everyone. I hope you all had a good start to your week. Mine started with about three inches of snow, but thankfully the roads weren't too bad. I'm really starting to wonder how far away spring really is.

Last week was a great week for writing. I crossed the 40K mark on my WIP. Yay! I've been having fun torturing my editor, giving her little hints as to the story here and there, but not enough to actually tell her anything. lol. I'm a sadist, I know. ;)

Lots going on this week as per usual. First, Red Zone (Daniels Brothers #2), has been nominated for Best Romantic Suspense over at The Romance Reviews. Click here to vote for your favorites.

If you aren't following me on Facebook, you are missing a lot. Over the last two weeks I've been sharing little things about not only my upcoming novel, Truth (Finding Anna, Book 3), but also my WIP, Finding Anna, Book 4. If you're not keeping up to date, you are missing out. To like me on Facebook, click here.

On Friday I was over at Readers After Dark talking about emotional writing. "It’s common to hear both authors and readers talking about characters in books as if they were real people. Those who don’t read often don’t understand, but fellow book lovers do. Good characters and stories suck you in and don’t let you go." To read more, click here.

Saturday I was interviewed over at Italian Brat's Obsessions. Find out what my favorite cookie is, and if I'm a cat or a dog person.

BLOGGERS requests to be part of the Truth (Finding Anna, Book 3) blog tour are starting to come in. If you want to participate, contact Jenny at

Also, mark your calendars. I've confirmed to be at the following events:
Ohioana Book Festival. I will be there along with 90 other Ohio authors. The event will take place on May 11, 2013 from 10:00am to 4:30pm at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center. For more information, click here.
9TH ANNUAL READER & AUTHOR GET TOGETHER. Even if you are not registered for the event, there is a book signing open to the public on Saturday, June 8th from 2-4pm in the hotel lobby. For more information, please visit the event web site.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sweet Saturday Sample - March 23, 2013

"So do you want to tell me what's up?"
"I will in a minute," he said, looking over my shoulder. His behavior gave me a negative feeling. "Do you know what you want, Stephan?"
"Yes. I come here all the time."
"Good." He sounded relieved.
And then Kelly was there asking for orders.
As soon as she left, I raised my eyebrow in question, but he ignored me. "You're still running the family business, I see."
"Yes," I said, not sure what he was getting at. I doubted it had anything to do with why he’d called me. "I'm still head of The Coleman Foundation, but since it's a not-for-profit, I'm not sure you could say it's the family business."
He waved it away. "Same thing."
I waited, but he didn't continue so I decided to play along. "You're still consulting?"
Daren released a sharp breath. "Yeah." He leaned toward me. "Are you still looking to collar a sub?"
So that's what this was about? "If I find the right one, yes." I noticed shoulders relax, and he sat back a little. "What does that have to do with anything?" I asked, truly confused.
The subject that I did not currently have a submissive came up in conversation last month at the party. I hadn't played with anyone in the last six months. No one had struck my fancy, and most of them reminded me too much of Tami.
Daren had been with his submissive, Gina, since college. They were well matched in likes and dislikes and were much more open in their relationship than I personally preferred. I did not share my submissives, nor did I play with others when in a relationship. Many did, like Daren and Gina, but I’d never found it to be appealing. What was mine was mine.
Kelly came back with our drinks, so Daren waited for her to leave again before answering. "Because I found a girl for you."
"Daren," I warned, shaking my head. This was another no on my list. I didn't enjoy being set up. Logan, I best friend, and his girl, Lily, had tried to set me up more times than I could count. I wasn't interested.
"Hear me out. She needs your help."
This aroused my curiosity. "What you mean she needs my help?"
"I know how much you like to help people, Stephan. I mean, look at what you do."
I was in complete disbelief. "Helping fund medical care for those can't afford it is a little different than taking on a submissive. Is she already a trained sub? She's looking for Dom?"
"She's a slave."
A slave. I didn't have a problem that, fundamentally. It was complete power exchange. Slaves gave up all control of their lives, their bodies, to their Master or Mistress. Some women, and even some men, choose to be slaves. For most slaves it was a comfort to have someone else make the decisions in their lives for them, to give up complete control to someone else. That didn't sound like the case here if she needed my help.
"Okay," I said, drawing out the word, still not quite sure where Daren was going with this.
"I was a party Saturday night. She was there. Her name is Brianna, and she belongs to Ian Pierce."
I knew of Ian solely by reputation. I’d never met personally. He was well-known in the community, from what I heard, he was in pain and humiliation. And he already had a slave. "What happened to his other one?"
"Oh, she's still there. Alex was at the party as well. Brianna is a new acquisition."
"You don't think she wants to be?"
"No," he said firmly. "I don't."


Friday, March 22, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday - March 22, 2013

This week's picture is from

She gazed up the stairs to the large building before her. It was surrounded by clouds, but just enough to make it seem mysterious. She could still make out details in the hefty columns supporting the entryway.

Cautiously, she stepped forward, closer to the staircase. What was it? Where did it come from?

One-by-one she took the stairs higher, closer to the building. Every step felt heavy, but something was compelling her to continue.

When she reached the top, she stood before two large wooden doors void of any knob. As if someone heard her thoughts, the doors suddenly opened.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Welcome Wednesday - Genevieve Jourdin

This week I'm welcoming author Genevieve Jourdin to the blog.

Genevieve Jourdin is a writer of romancy chick lit, mother of a surly teen, and chief bottle washer of her husband’s audio company. In her free time, she can be found perusing the offerings at thrift stores and estate sales of central Texas in search of vintage cookbooks.
Visit Genevieve's Blog
1.  Have you always wanted to be a writer? How did you get started writing romance?
Yes, I have always wanted to be a writer. I was the nerd in school that was the first to turn in stories and research papers, and I was also the first person to raise my hand to read my work aloud.
I used to devour the old Harlequin’s with the red edges that I would “liberate” from the bottom of my grandmother’s closet. Even as a young teen, I would very often rewrite parts of the story that I didn’t like. I guess it was a bit of fanfiction before I knew there was such a thing. My first stab at a story of my own was about fourteen years ago when my husband bought me a fabulous hardbound journal with lined paper. It was screaming for a romance story, so I wrote one. It was terrible, and I’ll never publish it, but once I got that one out of my head, they started coming nonstop.
2.  Tell us about your writing process. Do you outline, or are you more of a seat of your pants type of a writer?
I am completely a pantser. The few times I’ve tried to outline a story I lost the zeal to finish it. I like being surprised as I go along.
3.  Are there any romance novel cliché that make your cringe when you read them?
The billionaire businessman blackmailing the poor woman into marriage (or mistress-dom) scenario is cringeworthy to me. Those were the stories that I rewrote as a kid.
4.  What is the hardest scene you’ve had to write, and what made it so difficult?
It’s actually part of a story that will probably never see the light of day, and I haven’t been able to finish it yet. It has to do with the death of a loved one and the decision to commit suicide. I’ll write a few lines then I’ll go back to something easier. I write much more lighthearted stories, usually, and now I understand why.
5.  Which of your heroines would you say is most like you, and why?
I put the most of my own characteristics into Justine in Just Add Heat. The obvious traits that I share with her are 1.) being a chef, and 2.) the tendency to really over think things. She’s kind of a spazz, as well, so I think that keeps her from being a Mary Sue.
6.  What are you working on now?
I’ve been writing a story with a sexy, near virginal six foot tall leprechaun. He’s been begging me to get him a woman, and I’m almost there.
Take one part slightly insecure woman and add one part confidently sexy man.  Mix well. Pour out the memories of the past two years and what do you have? A recipe for disaster. 

Justine is a boyfriend-less chef; at least, that's the last thing she remembers. After a fall wiped the memories of the last two years of her life, she's struggling to absorb her new circumstances. Apparently, she's the racy star of her own web-based cooking show and has become involved with a sexy younger man. Why would amnesia strike when her whole life has had such a major upgrade? 

Carter is living the life he's always dreamed of, a life with Justine, and he refuses to let a bump on the head derail his plans for a Happily Ever After. He'll do whatever it takes to remind her that they are the perfect couple, but how do you make the woman you love remember that she loves you? 

Luckily for the both of them, her recollections are tied up with her hormones, and they have all the ingredients they need for a happy life.

No recipe required: Just Add Heat 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Monday Update...on Tuesday?

Happy Tuesday everyone. I know I'm a day late with the update, but with good reason. Yesterday was my birthday, so I took the day off and treated myself to a little pampering at a local spa. It was great, and very much needed. I spent four and a half hours there getting a facial, massage, manicure, and pedicure. Heaven!

 On to what you really want to know about...writing.

Last week was very productive. The reader edit for Truth (Finding Anna, Book 3) came back to me. This is the final polish edit, and luckily my editor and I did a great job so there weren't many things that needed fixed. Truth is now off to the formatter. I should be getting the final sign off soon. This means if you're a blogger interested in getting an ARC of Truth or want to be part of the Truth blog tour, you might want to get your name into TWCS marketing soon. The blog tour for Red Zone filled up quickly, and I have a feeling the one for Truth will go even faster.

Speaking of Truth... Next Monday, March 25th, I will be revealing the first sneak peak of Truth over on The SUBCLUB blog. Make sure you stop by and check it out next week.

The following Monday, April 1st, is another date to mark on your calendars. I'll be revealing the new Truth cover right here on my blog.

In other writing news, I pumped out two new chapters in Finding Anna, Book 4 this last week. Things are moving right along now that Truth has pretty much been least the writing and editing portion of it. I'm hoping this week will at least be as productive.

What you may have missed...
Interview on Cinthia Ritchie's blog.
Author Spotlight on Paranormal Tendencies.
Red Zone has been nominated for Best Romantic Suspense over at The Romance Reviews. Click here to vote.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sweet Saturday Sample - March 16, 2013

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | TWCS

Forcing himself to relax his hands, he pushed himself back into his chair, and placed his fingers on the keyboard. Given her a little smile, "Let's see what I can do." Focusing on the computer, he made a few clicks on the keyboard and entered the IT systems.

He didn't hear her come up behind him, but she felt her. She leaned over to see the screen. Clearing his throat, he pointed and explained. "This is the backdoor system, you could say." He typed in a few more bits of information and scrolled down to find her security information. "Here we go," he said. Without thinking, he turned.

Her cheek was only inches from him, and when he turned to face her, his warm breath tickled her skin. Cali didn't know what to do. She knew what she wanted to do. She wanted to turn towards those lips that made starring appearance in her dreams for the last two nights. Her body seemed to respond without her permission, and her face turned.

Their eyes met and held for a brief second before Matthew’s computer beeped, breaking the spell. They both jumped back quickly.

Giving his head a small shake, Matthew made himself focus again, and quickly pressed a button. He didn't waste any time. As soon as the paper was off the printer, he handed it to her. "Do whatever you need to do memorize that tonight and destroy it. Password protection means nothing if someone is able to get their hands on it."

"Yes," Cali said a bit awkwardly, rushing toward the door. "Thank you." With her hand on the knob, she glanced back. "Good night, Mr. Anderson."

As soon as the door shut behind her, Matthew let his head fall into his hands. He'd almost kissed her. What was wrong with him? He was a professional. A professional did not fool around with his boss. Period.

His computer beeped again, and he silently blessed and cursed it. Taking a much needed breath, he went back to what he'd been doing before Cali Stanton walked through his door.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday - March 15, 2013

This weeks picture is from

The sun was setting as I made my way down to the beach for my evening run. It was hard to explain, but there was something peaceful about running along the water as the sun disappeared beneath the horizon.

It wasn’t until I’d turned back toward home that I saw her. She was with a group farther inland. They must have had music going since several of the women, including her, were up dancing. I stopped to stare…I couldn’t help myself. She was gorgeous in her white bikini.

As if sensing my scrutiny, she looked up, and met my gaze.
For the links to all this week's flashers, go to

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Welcome Wednesday - Siobhan Kinkade

This week I'm welcoming Siobhan Kinkade to my blog.

Thank you, Sherri, for being kind enough to host my madness today! It’s lovely to be here. I suppose I should introduce myself now, huh?

Hi, my name is Siobhan Kinkade. And I’m a romance writer.

[Insert Romance Writers Anonymous “Hi, Siobhan” here for effect.]

I write books, and I have this bad habit of writing a lot of them. The characters take on personalities of their own, and the stories take off on their own. I’m just a helpless bystander in this process.

Yeah, silly. I keep telling myself that, but the characters just won’t stop. Because of this, I recently released two books on opposite ends of the romance spectrum. In fact, the books released within just a few days of each other. One is contemporary romance, the other is paranormal romance.

Facebook Author Page:  
Amazon Author Page:

1.       Have you always wanted to be a writer? How did you get started writing romance?
Writing is in my blood. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I first learned how to hold a pencil. As for writing romance…funny story, actually. It started as a dare. When I first started seriously looking at indie publishing, one of my friends dared me to step outside my comfort zone of sci-fi/fantasy and write a romance novel. I did, and it was pretty bad. So I put it on the shelf and wrote another story, which was picked up on first submission. That story was Marked. The first novel, though, I dusted off, polished up, and submitted. Turns out it was better than I thought, and Loki’s Game hit the market early last month.

2.       Tell us about your writing process. Do you outline, or are you more of a seat of your pants type of a writer?
I’m all over the place. With a full-time job and a family, writing is one of those things I have to squish into free spots in my schedule. I do outline to a certain extent, but rarely follow it. The characters always have other ideas and very rarely let me do what I originally plan.

3.       Are there any romance novel cliché that make you cringe when you read them?
I absolutely cannot stand to read any sort of book where the female characters are wilting flowers who pine for men and need to be rescued.  I’m a very strong-willed, opinionated woman so the concept of needing someone for protection or happiness drives me batty. I want my girls to kick butt and take names. I want my ladies to sweep the men off their feet. And I require that they be able to take care of themselves. I want the relationships to be partnerships, not borne of necessity.

4.       What is the hardest scene you’ve had to write, and what made it so difficult?
I always have a hard time writing sex scenes. To me, that’s a very personal moment and if I were my heroine, I wouldn’t want someone watching me do my business with my man. It also has to mean something in the story, otherwise I can’t do it. I’ve read so many books where the authors insert sex just to have another hot scene, but to me those are obvious and they throw me out of the story. I wholeheartedly believe that the characters can and should have their intimate moments, but I don’t think the audience needs to see it unless it’s actually going to move the plot along. It’s because of that I tend to question myself as to the necessity of the scene as I’m writing it.

5.       Which of your heroines would you say is most like you, and why?
Probably Lana Roberts from Blood Doll. She’s a tough, no-nonsense woman, and she isn’t afraid of anything. Her choice of men is very close to what I’d pick were I on the prowl. Plus she exhibits great love – after all, she dives head-first into a life of vampirism to save her sister. If it were one of my brothers in that situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to do the same.

6.       What are you working on now?
Way too many things to count! I’m dipping my toes into the world of contemporary cowboy romance, there’s a steampunk romance novel in the works, and I have an urban fantasy series that has been building for the last year. Focusing seems to be a big issue for me. On top of the books in progress, I’m using this month to do some research on what the romance market actually wants and needs. I’m polling audiences around the internet for more information…and using it as a shameless attempt to make people buy my books.

Audience Participation!

 I’m polling audiences around the internet for information in the form of three questions and a dare. There is free stuff involved, so keep reading.

1. What do you prefer: contemporary or paranormal?

2. Would you rather read novel length or shorter stories?

3. Do you prefer stand-alone books or would you rather read a series?

I’d love for each of you to answer these three questions today. I’ll be back later to check up on you guys! After all, this sort of thing helps me determine where to go next.

Now, the dare!

I want you to choose one of these two titles, buy it, and read it. Then I want you to come visit me on Facebook  and tell me what you thought of it. I want honest feedback on plot, cover, price, length, characters… whatever you’re willing to share. Be candid. I have thick skin.

Anyone who participates (as long as I have a name of some sort) gets mentioned in my findings and be entered into a drawing at the end of the month. There will be two winners – one on the contemporary side and one on the paranormal side.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Update - March 11, 2013

Good Monday morning everyone. I hope you all had a great weekend. It was beyond beautiful here in Ohio yesterday, and my husband and I took the oppertunity to get out of the house and go for a walk in one of our local parks. We needed the fresh air and sunshine desparately here after the snow and overcast skys we've had lately.

This week was very busy for me on the personal side of life, so very little writing got accomplished. I did, however, go back through the eleven chapters of Finding Anna, Book 4 that I'd already written and do some adjusting. That added almost 1,000 words to my overall total. Luckily this week is looking a lot less busy, so I'm planning to get some good writting time in.

There was some big news this week. My publisher lowered the price on all my ebooks with the exception of my newest novel, Red Zone. Check out the new prices!

Hidden Threat - $5.99
Slave (Finding Anna, Book 1) - $6.99
Behind Closed Doors (Daniels Brothers #1) - $6.99
Need (Finding Anna, Book 2) - $7.99

The Lori Foster Reader and Author Get Together opened their registration this week. Knowing how fast the event sold out last year, I made sure to be at home in front of my computer Monday afternoon. It was a good thing too since all the author spots filled up in less than twenty-four hours, and as of this morning Lori posted that there were only twenty reader openings left. Hopefully I will see some of you there in June!

I joined a new networking site called Libboo this week. If you're not a memeber, you might want to check it out. By talking about, and sharing your thoughts on books, buzzing, you earn points that can get you free stuff. As I said, its new, but the premise sounds very cool. And if you do join, make sure you follow me. :)

Me around the internet...
Guest Blog Post on Siobhan Kinkade
Author Feature on The Book Enthusiast

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sweet Saturday Sample - March 9, 2013

Hansen helped her carry her bags upstairs. Thankfully, they hadn't dropped them off at the hotel earlier. The last room on the left was clearly the master suite and his, so she chose the one directly across from it. The walls were a soft baby blue that matched the bedspread. It wasn't as frilly as the hotel room, but it still had that air of money about it, including an en suite bathroom that had a large shower and a soaker tub. As much as she hated to admit it, she liked it.
Since she’d only brought a week’s worth of clothing with her, it didn't take her long to unpack. They were on their way downstairs within twenty minutes. As they reached the bottom of the staircase, they heard voices. Each glanced at the other before reaching for their guns and edging down the last remaining steps.
Rounding the corner, they saw a man talking with Daniels. He appeared to be about her height, wearing a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up fashionably and neatly pressed pants. He didn't look threatening, so they both holstered their guns and stepped into the room.
Before they made it more than a few feet, the new arrival noticed their entrance and was quickly racing toward them. Correction. He was racing toward her.
“Oh! This must be her,” he gushed. “I see what you mean. I can definitely help.” Before she knew what was going on, he was reaching for her suit jacket, trying to remove it.
She reacted instinctively before thinking it through. Within seconds, the man was bent over the kitchen island with his arm pulled tight and high along his back. 
“What in the world are you doing?” Daniels demanded.
“What was he doing?”
“Jeez, lady. Relax. This is Charlie, my stylist.”
Glancing down at what she then realized were his designer clothes, Rebecca conceded she might have overreacted a bit. She wasn't used to people grabbing at her and trying to remove her clothes like that. She stepped back, releasing him. “Sorry,” she said. “Just please don’t try to remove my clothing without asking first.”
“Got it. No problem,” he said, glancing between her and Daniels.
Hansen recovered faster than the rest of them. “What’s he doing here?” he asked, nodding at Charlie.
“My girlfriend is going to need some new clothing if she’s going to be out in public with me. Outfits like that,” he pointed at the suit she was wearing, “won’t do.”
“And what exactly is wrong with my clothing?”
“Honey,” he said, walking up, getting way too close for her comfort. “The places I go? You’ll stick out like a sore thumb in an outfit like that.” Then he leaned in and whispered in her ear. “Or do you want everyone to know you’re my bodyguard?”

Friday, March 8, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday - March 8, 2013

This weeks picture comes from free photo.

“What’a we got?”
He looked over his shoulder at his partner. “Not much, just clothes, shoes. Pretty standard stuff.”
“I didn't find much in the bathroom either besides the usual. I think we need to expand our search.”
Glancing around the room again, he had to agree. There wasn't much here---nothing useful, at least. They’d have to figure something else out since this had turned out to be a dead end.
“What now?”
“We go back to the beginning---talk to the girlfriend. Maybe she knows more than she’s saying.”
They did one final check, and then left, undetected.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Welcome Wednesday - Cinthia Ritchie

Today I'm welcoming author Cinthia Ritchie to the blog.

Cinthia Ritchie is a former journalist and Pushcart Prize nominee who lives and runs mountains in Alaska.

She’s a recipient of two Rasmuson Individual Artist Awards, a Connie Boocheever Fellowship, residencies at Hedgebrook, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and Hidden River Arts, the Brenda Ueland Prose Award, Memoir Prose Award, Sport Literate Essay Award, Northwest PEN Women Creative Nonfiction Award, Drexel Magazine Creative Nonfiction Award and Once Written Grand Prize Award.

Her work can be found in New York Times Magazine, Sport Literate, Water-Stone Review, Memoir, Under the Sun, Literary Mama, Slow Trains Literary Journal, Sugar Mule, Breadcrumbs and Scabs, Third Wednesday, Writer’s Digest, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Cactus Heart Press and over 30 other literary magazines and small presses.

Her debut novel, Dolls Behaving Badly, released Feb. 5 from Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group.

1.       Have you always wanted to be a writer? How did you get started writing romance?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, always, from the day I first learned to read at age four.  I don’t typically write romance yet “Dolls Behaving Badly” naturally navigated that way. I fought against it, too. I had initially envisioned a serious literary work, but my book had other ideas and finally I gave up and followed.

The funny thing is that as soon as I “listened” to what my book was trying to say, the story flowed. It was like water, in places. I still wonder where the story came from. Was it something inside of me? A memory passed down through the genes of my ancestors? Or is it possible as writers we are able to pick up on other’s memories and desires? I still don’t know.
2.       Tell us about your writing process. Do you outline, or are you more of a seat of your pants type of a writer?
I never, ever outline. I always write by the seat of my pants. I love the unknowingness of sitting down to write each night without any idea of what my characters might do. It’s tremendously exciting, and also a bit scary, because who knows where my story may lead, what it might teach me, what it might force me to confront?

3.      Are there any romance novel cliché that make you cringe when you read them?
I cringe when I read any cliché, though of course they’re unavoidable at times. What I hate the most, and it isn’t exactly a cliché, but I hate coming across the phrase: “Her/his eyes twinkled.” It always reminds me of Santa Claus, and I don’t want to think of Santa when I’m reading a romance novel. I also hate the word “throbbing” when used in sex/love scenes. It’s so overused that it’s practically meaningless.

What makes me cringe the most aren’t clichés but awkward scenes that fall flat, and when you read them you can imagine the writer struggling unsuccessfully to get it right. I almost blush, at such times; I’m so embarrassed for the writer.

I also cringe over too many spelling and grammatical errors. Having a few is unavoidable but too many points to sloppiness and a lack of care over one’s writing.
4.       What is the hardest scene you’ve had to write, and what made it so difficult?
There’s a scene toward the end of “Dolls Behaving Badly” when the ghost of my protagonist’s great-aunt returns and tells her the story of what happened to her during Nazi occupied Germany in WWII. She was working for the Jewish resistance and was shot as she ran through the snow. I cried while writing that, cried so hard I scared myself. For weeks I dreamed that scene, too, and the dream was so real it was as if it had really happened. I still can see the threads of the soldier’s jacket as he aimed his gun. It was that close, that real.

Oddly enough, my book is a mixture of humor and romance yet there are also deep and emotional scenes from the past, and I suppose one of the themes is how the past is never really over, how it influences those that come after us, even without their awareness.

5.      Which of your heroines would you say is most like you, and why?
It would have to be the protagonist, Carla Richards. She shares my initials, though I didn’t realize this until I finished the first draft. I was that unaware. So obviously she’s meant to be me, or at least facets of me, thought the more I wrote, the more she became uniquely herself. The similarities are striking, though: She is also a single mother living in Anchorage, has a gifted son and a Polish grandmother and is stubbornly, and against all odds, pursuing her creative dream.

The odd thing is that parts of my book ended up coming true: I did meet a man and I did resist romance and I did end up making it in the creative world, and I did and still do bake my grandmother’s Polish recipes. I suppose in that sense real life and art blended so snuggly that it’s difficult to say which one influenced the other.
6.       What are you working on now?
I’m working on my second novel, also under contract with Grand Central Publishing. It’s very different from “Dolls.” It’s more serious, more literary. It has to do with death and how we deal with life after someone close to us dies, and how we keep going. There are ghosts in this book, too. I can’t seem to write a book without including ghosts. I suppose in that sense I live a haunted life.

Carla Richards is a lot of things. She's a waitress at Anchorage's premier dining establishment, Mexico in an Igloo; an artist who secretly makes erotic dolls for extra income; a divorcée who can't quite detach from her ex-husband; and a single mom trying to support her gifted eight-year-old son, her pregnant sister, and her babysitter-turned-resident-teenager.

She's one overdue bill away from completely losing control-when inspiration strikes in the form of a TV personality. Now she's scribbling away in a diary, flirting with an anthropologist, and making appointments with a credit counselor.

Still, getting her life and dreams back on track is difficult. Is perfection really within reach? Or will she wind up with something even better?

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday Update - March 4, 2013

I'm a little late with this today, but I usually write this Sunday night and I decided to relax a little instead. Last week was another crazy week for me, but is a good way. First, and foremost, we wrapped up the Red Zone Blog Tour. Yay! Hard to believe I now have five published novels under my belt.

If you missed any of last week's stops, you can click on the links below.
Sarah Aisling
More Than A Reading Journal
3 Chicks After Dark
From The TBR Pile
Under The Covers Book Blog
Sherry Gomes

This week I was also guest blogging over on Twigasm. Find out how I get my story ideas here.

On the writing front, I hit 30K in my WIP, Finding Anna, Book 4. I need to go back and do some small tweaking before moving forward, but I'm not expecting that to take more than a day. After that, its full steam ahead again. I'd really like to make some significant progress this month. Although the manuscript isn't due to my publisher until June, I'd like to have it done before then just for my own peace of mind.

The biggest news of the week, however, was the official announcement of Truth, Finding Anna, Book 3's release date. In case you missed it on my Facebook and Twitter, Truth will be released on July 25, 2013! I'm very excited about this one as I know many of you are. :)

Have a great week everyone.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sweet Saturday Sample - March 2, 2013

At least she was still talking. That was good.
After her restless night, I’d been concerned that she’d completely retreat into her shell. Although she hadn’t woken up screaming as she had those first few nights, she’d rarely stopped moving. Her arms, legs, and head had thrashed about causing the sheets and blankets to bunch and tangle in her limbs. Moans, both loud and soft, were constant visitors until the sun had started to rise in the sky.
I retrieved my laptop from the chair in her room and headed upstairs. She was still in the kitchen when I passed by, eatingor rather picking atwhat was left of her food. The urge to go to her was strong, but I knew that I couldn’t. I wanted her to have time to gather her thoughts before we talked later, and that was something she needed to do without me hovering.
It was hard to concentrate on work, but somehow, I managed to get through the e-mails that needed my attention. The clock read three thirty by the time I was finished, and Brianna had yet to come upstairs. I’d heard her moving around downstairs, but not enough for me to decipher what she could be doing.
Figuring I needed a little moral support, I called Logan’s number. Thankfully, he picked up on the third ring. After the pleasantries were out of the way, he got down to business and asked me how the talk with Brianna went.
“She’s got more strength than she gives herself credit for,” he said once I’d brought him up to date on both our conversations last night and the one this morning.
“Yes, she does. I wish she would trust me more. There are still so many things that she keeps to herself.”
“Have you told her that?”
“What? Well, of course . . .” The more I thought about it, the more I realized that although I had told Brianna she could talk to me, told her that she could trust me, I had always tried to keep my feelings and wants under control. Maybe Logan was right and I needed to tell her specifically what I wanted from her. She hadn’t reacted badly when I’d told her I wanted her to stay last night. It might not be so bad.
              “Thank you, Logan.”
               “What are friends for?”