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We have Tamara Moreau in the house this morning! Welcome Tamara, can't wait to get to know you and your books better.
Q: What inspires you to write? What or who are your muses?
A: While I feel fairly certain my day-to-day experiences find their way into my work, I can’t say anything external inspires me. I was an introverted child who spent much of my life in a fantasy world that held on into my adult life with uncommon tenacity. My “make believe” friends inspire me to write, but it is my husband who is the grounding point for my work. He helps me keep logical aspects in mind, and provides inspiration to keep my stories active and exciting. He also corrects details I sometimes miss as I write about events from the past. The greatest example in Secrets & Promises was my use of an electronic car key fob and a cell phone during a sequence that took place thirty years ago. (oops!)
Q: Have your experiences in the Air Force played any part in your books?
A: No. Although I’m proud of the eight years I spent in active duty and the three years following I spent in the reserves, I can’t say there is any aspect of my military career that inspired my work. However, my exposure to the skills needed during wartime have helped in developing the dangers my Haven’s Realm characters face, and colored the mentalities of two of my women (Tyler Jenkins from Dragon Lord, and Mirissa Wellston in Haven’s King).
Q: What do you most enjoy about writing books with paranormal themes?
There are a number of things I like about the paranormal genre, chief among them the lack of rules. You can’t really go too far wrong when writing about things that have been developed culturally through human supposition and folklore. Secrets & Promises attempts to explain the vampire condition through the eyes of a scientist, and I’ve paved the way for the magic side of science. I’ve approached the vampire persona with a touch of common sense. For example, my characters are solid beings who cast light and reflect shadows, and so can be seen in mirrors and photographed. My favorite deviation from the norm exists in the founding of the Community, which involved the cooperation of the deities. And for those who are frequently prone to ask, no, my vampires do not sparkle in sunlight.
Q: Do you have any upcoming books you'd like to tell our readers about? This is a great way to "prime the pump" so to speak, plus our readers love hearing about new books to come!
A: I just released Secrets & Promises to the world. Here is a blurb and short excerpt from my most dynamic work yet…
When her best friend is taken by a vampire, Dr. Charlotte Vinetti shifts her genetic research focus in hopes of finding a cure. Five years later, she’s no closer to her goal, and long-troubled by the one vampire she’d killed who was different from the rest. Her worst nightmares become terrifying reality when she’s captured and realizes her captors are intelligent, sentient beings rather than the mindless creatures who continued to invade her home.
Vincent was nearing the end of his strength. Haven’s trials over the past five years had overtaxed his resources, but he knew with dread his problems were only beginning when the hunter the Community had long sought was the reincarnation of his deepest love. Forced by ancient promises to stand against the Bargain, his only hope lies in ending their gypsy curse and winning her love, for only then can he earn the Council’s forgiveness.
Vincent rose to his feet the moment she emerged, set down his empty mug and met her gaze. He wore his control like armor, shielding his pain from the world. How awful it must’ve been for him, to fall in love and watch his love die time and again like a macabre opera with no end. She’d lost count of the lives she visited–each nightmare blurred into the next until even their names became confused.
The muscles in his jaws jumped. His eyes darkened. “How many what?”
Her first instinct was to deck him. She came too close to acting on it. “You know what I’m asking. How many wives or lovers have you met and lost?”
She must’ve phrased her question the right way, because a series of emotions flickered in his eyes–passion, pain, joy, despair…He took a deep breath and countered her. “Do you know who those women were?”
“Yeah. Sure. Women from your past. I didn’t realize you had such a fascination for redheads with ice-blue eyes. If you wanted to share them with me, why didn’t you just tell me instead of scaring me half to death all night?”
His eyes darkened further. “Those memories were not mine. I influenced your dreams in no way.”
Amber and the other girl emerged from the bedroom bearing laundry, and left without meeting either hers or Vincent’s gaze. She was glad of the distraction and the time to contemplate his answer. “Well if you didn’t cause them, who…?” She gasped. “Ghosts. You’ve somehow resurrected the ghosts of all those women and sicced them on me. Am I possessed?”
“You possess nothing today you did not yesterday. As for spirits, there is only one, and she has always been with you.”
His assurance added to her confusion. “What the hell are you talking about?”
He captured and held her gaze, searching her eyes for understanding. The hard control in his eyes made her stomach burn. “Do you continue to deny the truth pounding in your heart? You haven’t been visiting my past,” he said in a low, even tone. “You’ve been exploring your own.”
She gaped at him for several seconds. “My past? Are you trying to say all those women I spent the day dreaming of…they were me?”
“You have that backward. You were once each of them.”
She shook her head. “No. That’s not possible.”
He reached for her. “Chari–”
“No! Don’t touch me.” She paced the sitting area in panic. “If I was…if they’re all…” Reality sank in a minute later. She stopped and raised her eyes to his. “I’m going to die too, aren’t I?”
His eyes pooled with tears. “Not if I can help it. Come. The MacAarons will entertain you today.”
She stepped toward the door shakily. “Vincent, I’m not well.”
“You’re tired. Our exploration was hard on you. I’ll use less incense in the morning.”
“We’re going to do it again? Already? I can’t take–”
“Can and will, Chari. We haven’t much time.”
She wanted to cry. “Why?”
He turned her to face him, blue fire burning dimly in his eyes. “Because somewhere, sometime, you knew how to stop this. The knowledge was in your eyes as you died in my arms. I sensed your urgent mental cries as you struggled for clarity, but you’ve never been able to tell me what we need to know.”
A tear dripped down her right cheek. She brushed it away. “How many, Vincent?”
“Will it help you to know?”
“At least I’ll have an idea what I’m up against.”
His stance slackened marginally. “You’ve always possessed the most amazing courage.” He caressed her damp hair while ancient sorrow overtook him. “The life I see before me is the forty-ninth incarnation of a love I lost more than a thousand years ago.”
“Forty…oh my God!”
“You’ve never skipped a generation. Somehow, we’ve always found each other.”
Q: What is a regular day of writing like for you? Do you do research
first, outline, use index cards? Please share your process.
A: Mostly, I write on the fly, and only when inspiration is with me. If it doesn’t come easy, I put it down and wait for more clarification to occur. As I record what my friends tell me, I pause frequently to pull up google and clarify details, such as historical events and dates, and oddities like the history of mattresses and the effects of certain poisons. I rarely use a written outline, and never index cards. (receiving a flashback from high school. *shudders*)
When I began developing my writing in 1992, I found myself focusing on specific scenes my characters obsessed over in my mind. Those early days found me writing whole chapters from inside the story, and when it came time to pull them together, I found them too haphazard and in need of severe rewrite to blend the sequences together. I dove into what became my first published work in 2002 with the intent of marketing a series of short articles. Starting from chapter one page one made the story flow more smoothly, and resulted in a very satisfying and heartfelt tale. I kept with that formula until recently, and book six is starting out much the same as my first attempt.
While waiting for Secrets to work its way through the publishing processes, I gave in and free-wrote the segments from book six that presented themselves. I’m having a hard time now filling in the gaps, and haven’t started my weekend fireside discussions with my husband yet, but with over half of the story covered, I must now struggle to fit the pieces together and fill in the blanks. It’s not my preferred method, by any means, but as I dealt with the frustrations involved with getting book five to market, these odd scenes dominated my mind until I was forced, finally, to write them down.
Character and plot development take place long before the first word is written. I obsess over my ideas, usually as I try to lull myself to sleep at night, until I hear a storyline that works well with the previous works. By the time I sit down to record my musings, I know who my characters are, their motivations and personality, and I know where I want them to go. How they get there is usually entirely up to them, and they very often surprise me.
Q: If you could do one thing differently on your road to publication what would it be and why that one thing?
A: I don’t have much in the way of creative writing education outside of the classes I took in school. (I always got an A in any English-related courses.) I think if I’d had an additional course or two in college, I might have been better prepared for the rigors of the publication process, and may have succeeded in publishing sooner. It’s hard to say, because real life has thrown obstacles in my path that delayed my work for almost ten years. Would I do anything different? I can’t really say, since I didn’t really feel my work polished enough until just before I contacted Secret Cravings Publishing. I worked hard for a long time before I established a working writing style. I can only think, if I’d devoted more time in those lost years, that I’d be much further along by now.
Q: What advice do you have for writers who have yet to be published?
A: Don’t ever give up on your dream. Read all you can in your preferred genre and study the various writing styles of your favorite authors. Write down your ideas and share them with trusted friends, and take their criticism seriously. Write. Write. Write. The more experience you have writing and editing your own work, the faster you will develop. Do you have a marketable story? Don’t take the rejection of your first submission as absolute. Even Stephen King had trouble marketing his first book. If you believe in your work, and if you have positive feedback from your friends to support that belief, your time will come.
Q: Do you have any hobbies? If so please share with our readers.
A: I’ve involved myself in so many creative endeavors over the years. I’ve made porcelain dolls, worked on ceramics, sew, knit, and paint. The art of three-dimensional paper models caught my more recent attention (and so Catherine’s, my recurring character from Twilight Destiny, who shares my love of crafting), and I’m fascinated by paper automata. I also enjoy tumbling stones and working on the restoration of my 1968 Camaro, which has been in my family since it was new. I love music and dabble on my guitar and electronic piano, and I’ve loved to sing since I was very small.
Q: Name your favorite top three free promotions tips.
A: I’ll admit, I suck at promoting. Even though I consider myself to be computer literate, the concept of social media was practically foreign to me until I joined SCP. I’m still learning, so I really can’t say what has worked best for me. I’m a regular now on Facebook, and post occasionally on other sites, and participate in blog hops and events where I can.
Q: Finally, something fun, what is your favorite all to yourself day
like? You know a day where you can do anything you want to.
A: Most of my days are spent in solitude while my husband works to support us. If my muse is active, I spend a lot of time in my imaginary world. My favorite times are those spent with Mike when we can get away and do something, even if it’s just spending a night or two in a hotel. The reality breaks I spend with him give my muse the rest it needs to continue.
With all the interests I have to keep me busy, I can’t say there’s any one thing I find most enjoyable outside of writing. When I’m not actively engaged in my favorite activity, I flit amongst other projects. I don’t lead a structured life anymore, so all my days are practically mine. I do whatever occurs to me at the time, and only have to share my world when the husband comes home and I must care for him. I’m a pampered house cat, strengthened and supported by the better half of my soul. Who could ask for more than that?
Where to find Tamara:
Secret Cravings Publishing
Barnes and Noble
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to visit your site!
Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Tamara, you had some great answers to our questions, we truly enjoyed having you!
Today we're delighted welcome historical and contemporary romance author Téa Cooper. Téa has some lovely new and upcoming releases to share with us as well as a great interview. With that being said, I'll let Téa take it away!
Q: What is your favorite thing about writing historical romance?
A: Escapism! Pure and simple.
Q: What is your favorite thing about writing contemporary romance?
A: Possibly the same answer…romance is my escapism.
Q: Who or what are your muses?
A: My muse is undoubtedly Wollombi Muse..eum. I had written two contemporary romances and I volunteered to man the local museum. It was a very wet and rainy day and I didn’t have many ‘customers’ so I started poking around, so many people with so many stories to tell…and the rest as they say is history!
Q: Who are your favorite authors?
A: Currently my favourite historical author is Alison Stuart. I adore her books set in England during the seventeenth century. I was born in England, at Hampton Court, and once belonged to the “Sealed Knot” a group of tragics who dressed as roundheads and cavaliers and re-enacted battles!
Otherwise I read just about everything – except instruction manuals! Contemporary and historical romances first but I rather enjoy a bit of fantasy! I also love Tim Winton for his Australian – ness and Margaret Atwood is a huge favourite. I could go on forever, happy ever after!
Q: Tell our readers a little bit about where you live in Australia, for those of us who like to be armchair travelers. LOL
A: I live in the time-warp village of Wollombi in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. The Hunter was one of the earliest wine growing regions in Australia and Wollombi was the main town. Today it is more of a village and very little has changed since the nineteenth century. Lily’s Leap and Matilda’s freedom are both set in Wollombi.
Really I have the best of both worlds. Wollombi is only two hours from the big smoke–Sydney, one of the most beautiful cities in the world and in an hour I can be on dangling my toes in the Pacific Ocean. It’s a tough life!
Q: Explain what a rural romance is for those of us Americans who haven't heard that term before which seems to be quintessentially Australian.
A: A rural romance is a contemporary romance usually set in the outback or a country town. The Protea Boys and Passionfruit & Poetry I call rural romances. It’s a very popular genre – usually city meets country. Great heroes (cowboys for the Americans) and spirited heroines ready to take them on.
Q: If you could do one thing differently on your road to publication, what would it be and why the one thing?
A: That’s hard – probably be less impatient and plan better. I’ve got five books coming out in May, June and July! I should have planned my submissions more carefully!
Q: Any advice for aspiring authors?
A: Never give up! As heart breaking as a rejection is there is always a reason. The trick is to learn from those rejections.
Q: Share your top three favorite free promotions tips with our readers.
A: The local newspapers – make a press pack and send it to your local papers the response is amazing and everyone loves to know a “celebrity”!
Facebook groups are great and most importantly support other writers and they will support you. If you enjoyed their book review it, tweet it, tell the world!
Q: Share your top three favorite paid for promotions tips with our readers.
A: Use the professionals. You can’t be good at everything, and you can’t do everything. Work out your short-comings and your budget and pay for the things you can’t do.
Blog Tours to open up a new audience. There is no point in “preaching” (promoting to the converted)!
And silly as it sounds in the world of ebooks – Book marks! Everyone loves bookmarks. My theory is it is something tangible and gives your readers your shiny, glossy cover to hold in their hand.
This was great! Thanks so much for stopping by, Téa!
1. What do you like most about writing m/m romance?
To be perfectly honest, gay men fascinate me. I mean, I get the whole falling in love with a man bit. I find them scrumptious myself! But imagining two of these gorgeous creatures locked in passionate embrace simply does pleasant things to my insides.
My stories are all about true love and the happy ending. I absolutely adore bringing out the gentleness in a strong man, the moments of tenderness, heartache and joys. I think becoming so intimate with my characters has helped me understand the many facets of love much better than I used to.
2. What drew you to writing m/m as opposed to another genre?
About three years ago I read a book by Poppy Z. Brite called LOST SOULS. It’s a book involving vampires, but what intrigue and fascinated me was the character Ghost. My goodness! I fell in love. Ghost’s a beautiful, gentle, shy young man hopelessly in love with his best friend who doesn’t see him in the light of a lover. The story’s quite dramatic, but the gentle way Poppy deals with Ghost’s affections really got to me. I wanted to write that. I wanted to tell romance stories that brought out the intense, sometimes dangerous love affairs of my gay characters in a compassionate way.
3. I see your day job is as a floral designer, how does doing this job
help you to write your stories or does it?
Oh, it certainly does. Example: There are two brothers who come in to the store on occasion. Drop dead beautiful young men. Long blond curls to their shoulders, amber eyes, flawless peaches and cream complexion, and the sweetest smiles! Always soft spoken and polite. Definitely will end up heroes in a future book.
Hold the phone! Something just happened. (I'm jotting this down at work). A man, nice looking, just walked up to my coworker and asked if she'd like to take part in an Orgy. She blinks, "Ummm….no." When he leaves we look at each other and burst out laughing! This kind of thing doesn't happen in real life, does it? Unbelievable, but it's darn well going into my current WIP.
But what inspires me the most are the men who come in to buy flowers for their special someone. They always use a soft voice, gentle smile, and have a certain look in their eyes. I can tell the flowers really mean something to them. They're in love and want to show it. I always hold this in my mind when I write my love scenes.
4. Name three authors who inspire you the most and tell our readers why.
Ray Bradbury: His stories just seem to open wide my imagination.
Dean Koontz: Reminds me a story can be terrifying and inspiring at the same time.
Tolkien: Writes the most perfect tragic heroes.
5. If you could meet only one of your characters in real life, who would
you choose and why that character?
Gosh, it's a tossup between Shelton and Alex. On the one hand, Shelton is adorable! I'd love to be his friend. Meet him for coffee or a drink; maybe go dancing with him and Nevil.
On the other hand, Alex has my heart. We've been through hell and back together, and now that I'm writing the sequel to his story, I want to hold him close and assure him of a happy ending. His story is a little darker than my romances, a psychological thriller, and I'd love to be able to stand by his side when others might distrust or fear him.
6. What most appeals to you about being a published author, and why?
I've been a storyteller since I can remember and began submitting stories to publishers while still in high school. I've always believed I could write a good story, and being published and receiving positive feedback from readers makes me feel validated for all the time I've put into writing and the belief in myself I've kept hold of all these years.
7. Your book Alex seems like more of a psychological thriller rather than
an erotic romance, what inspired you to write this story?
The answer is a story in itself! I've always believed that Frodo Baggins is the perfect tragic hero. He gives everything to save the shire, but in the end can't live there himself. I wanted to write a hero like him.
So I wrote my own fantasy novel with a character very much like Frodo, in that he gives all his heart into saving his friends from harm, and though there's a happy ending for him, it's not exactly what he expected.
So then I asked myself, what is it about these two men that attracts me? And what would happen if they were placed in the modern world? There's a vulnerability to them but also hidden strengths that I was able to dig into and bring out more fully in ALEX. In my fantasy story, Nathan's abilities seem like magic to the people around him. In ALEX, his empathy is perceived as psychic powers. Both men are misunderstood and distrusted, but with ALEX, at least there are people willing to believe in him.
8. Please share your favorite recipe with our readers.
These are the best cookies EVER!
3 cups rolled oats, uncooked
¾ cup butter 1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar ½ tsp. baking soda
½ cup granulated sugar raisins
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream together butter, sugars and egg. Add remaining ingredients. Spoon onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
9. If you could choose one thing to do differently on your road to
publication what would it be and why that one thing?
The main thing I would have done is have a stronger online presence. I didn’t start a Blog or Facebook Page, Twitter, etc. until after my first story came out. I feel a little like I've been playing catch-up ever since. I wish I'd known a lot of what I do now two years ago, but things are slowly falling into place, so I'm happy.
10. What are your top three favorite free promotions tips?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Dianne-Hartsock/e/B005106SYQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1361897239&sr=8-1
Today we welcome Virginnia de Parté to be in the hot seat! Welcome Virginnia, and let's get started.
Q. How did you get started in writing?
I’ve always written very long letters and emails and had a short story published when my children were small. However, I felt I had to experience more of life’s challenges before I wrote seriously. Three years ago I decided I was ‘experienced enough”, and knuckled down to learn the craft.
Q. What inspired you to write Love’s Bright Star?
This is the first in my series about the Corban family, g-alters, living in the future. I’ve always enjoyed Science Fiction and realised a futuristic world would be easier to create than writing contemporary romance and have the content ‘age’ within a few years, because of technological advances.
The second book, Love’s Red Heart was released in January and the third, A Talent for Loving, a prequel, was released last week. I’m deep in the fourth. I keep dreaming up interesting characters who demand to be given a book of their own. I never set out to write a series but the ideas now flow at a greater pace than at the beginning of Love’s Bright Star.
Q. What do you like best about writing romance?
It allows me to put in deep point of view and lots of emotion. It also allows me to add poetry to my prose. I have a family of men, so I can empathise with their point of view when I need to.
Q. What do you like best about writing poetry and where can readers find your poetry?
Writing poetry allows me to play with words to get the maximum effect. I can twist and turn the words, using them in unusual ways. I love the rhythm and flow. There are no rules in modern poetry, which appeals to me greatly. My poetry site is hppt://derynpittar.tumblr.com. All poetry on my site has been published either in hard copy or on line.
Q. What gave you the idea to write books about people who’d had their genetics altered?
There is world-wide debate about the genetic modification of plants and animals. I thought “Why not humans? This must be the next step.” Already scientists are selecting for sex and eliminating hereditary diseases. I needed a reason for the experiments with humans and the security of a nation seemed an excellent excuse for a government to approve of their creation. Most governments have secrets. My characters are g-alters (genetically altered people) and could be your neighbours.
Q. Who are your top five favourite authors and why are they your favorites?
Kate Atkinson, Clare Morrall, Asimov, William Boyd and Julian May. All these writers pulled me into their stories and keep me there. Kate Atkinson and Clare Morrall write literary novels with a romantic thread, but you are never sure of the ending. Asimov and May write Science Fiction, which I devoured for many years, teaching me to use my imagination. William Boyd has a great grasp of words and every novel he writes is completely different.
Q. If you could meet only one of your top five favourite authors who would it be and why.
Asimov – the father of science fiction. Many of his futuristic ideas are now being invented. He opened my mind to the possibilities of the future and I’m sure he would have had lots of great advice for me.
Q. If you could meet one of your characters in person in real life who would you choose, and why that particular character?
I’d love to meet Stella. Although she is newborn in Love’s Bright Star, she is six in Love’s Red Heart and I’m now writing her romance. I have fallen in love with this character. She is caring, loyal to her family, and so talented. She is close to her grandfather, who shares her abilities. Plus, she has a head of tight blond curls, green/blue eyes with a glint of lavender and is as graceful as a cat. What’s not to love about this girl? I won’t reveal her talents. That would spoil the surprise for the readers.
Q. What are your favorite top three free promotions tips?
Have a blog and up date it regularly. Make it interesting. Reply to comments.
Facebook – don’t put up that you have baked cookies today. Keep your comments relevant to your writing and interesting.
Be polite and professional at all times. Good manners cost nothing. Be genuine and enthusiastic about your writing.
Q. If you could give aspiring authors only one piece of advice what would it be.
Get critique partners and accept their comments as genuine efforts to help you. Each partner will have a different skill and pick up different discrepancies. Critique their work in return and you will find it easier to read your own work with a critical eye. I would never have achieved publication without my critique partners. I rely on them with every chapter I write. Many romance organisations have critique lists. Be brave, put yourself out there, make approaches to writers who may write in the same genre, or are prepared to exchange work at a pace that suits you.
Life often intervenes and critique partners can fade away. Some people only write one novel and while you are pounding away at your second novel they have stopped. Don’t take it personally if they lose interest. Find someone else to take their place. Do it today!
I can be contacted on email@example.com and am happy to talk to any budding author and offer my encouragement and support. Please put ‘Regina’s heartfeltpromos’ in the subject line, and I promise to reply.
Today we have Raven Raye in the hot seat! Welcome Raven!
1. When and where did you get bit by the writing bug?
I was about 8 and loved epic poetry. Beowulf is one of my favorites. So I started writing my own poetry. LOL They were not epic.
2. Share with our readers one thing about yourself that they won't find on
As an American living in a small English town, I experienced bigotry firsthand and so have a unique distaste for unfairness and ridicule.
3. Which authors most inspire you and why?
Wow, there are so many. Edgar Allen Poe for his use of dark imagery, Kerrelyn Sparks for her use of humor, and Christine Feehan for her success with a long running, intricately woven series.
4. If you could choose one of your characters to meet in real life, who it
would be and why that character?
That would have to be Nicolai. During my own personal crisis, I made him up to be perfectly compatible with me.
5. What is your writing process? Do you outline your books ahead of time,
or are you a "pantser" ie fly by the seat of your pants writer?
I’m a plotter. The characters live in my head for a long time as I get to know their history and quirks. I have several plot pages where I outline scenes. When inspiration hits, I pick a scene and rough it out.
6. What is your favorite part of the writing process, planning, research or the actual writing of your story?
I get lost in research. I love to research for its own sake, but I also like when I’m so immersed in the story that it seems to take over and practically writes itself.
7. What is your favorite part of promoting your books?
Talking about the world I’ve developed and the magick the people learn to use.
8. What is your least favorite part of promoting your books?
LOL Talking to strangers about the world I’ve developed and asking them to read about it. I’m very shy and I have a difficult time opening up to strangers.
9. What are your top three free promotions tips that you like to use when promoting your books?
Social media is great for promotions. Word of mouth from friends. Blogging on your own website.
10. Do you have a favorite paid for promotions tip? If so, please share with us.
Jury’s still out on this one. Pens to give away, because who doesn’t like pens. Whether or not they generate any sales, I have no idea. Although I haven’t tried it yet, the Press Kit seems like an excellent way to spread the news.
Today author Tara Fox Hall submits to another round of questions from our devious little minds here at In the Hot Set! Welcome again, Tara, thanks so much for visiting with us yet again. We so enjoy it when you're here!
1. Whatever made you decide to mix two such incongruous genres, romance and horror?
Actually, these are not that incongruous. What is the public’s fascination with vampires, if not a romanticizing of the creature once known as a villain of the horror genre? But who wants to actually have a romance with Christopher Lee’s Dracula? Not me! You’d be lucky to last a week and spent eternity as an abused slave if you weren’t killed outright. But I also don’t want some limp-fanged child-boy masquerading as a highschooler and living with his parents, either. Why not have a real creature of the night: an adult vampire who is both dangerous AND capable of love? A man who takes you in his arms and bares his fangs with a wicked gleam in his eyes, and your base desire is to let him bite you, even when all your senses are screaming at you to run? It is in that creature that horror and romance truly come together to make a being not only intriguingly hazardous, but also captivatingly seductive.
2. What do you like best about writing horror, and romance? If there's anything you don't like, share this with our readers too!
Most of the books I’ve read in my life are thrillers. When I read horror novels, I often wished that there was more romance in them (i.e., usually if there is a couple, one of them ends up dying, killing one another or best case scenario, going separate ways, and once in a while I’d like a hard won HEA with acceptable losses). I rarely read romance novels previous to 2010, but when I did, I wished more would happen in them so they would be more exciting, as they tend to move slowly, and not include very much action or suspense, apart from a very few romantic suspense titles. My paranormal Promise Me novels are and will be a mixture of romance and thriller, with a few threads of horror showing up here and there in the plot (In the Lash books, there will be more horror/suspense threads and much less romance threads). I write stories I enjoy, period. I hope that others will enjoy them, too. J The only things I don’t like about the genres is that many horror fans want straight horror (read gruesome killings, scares and not much else) and many romance fans want straight romance (guy, gal, relationship, hardship, resolution, HEA). Those readers likely aren’t going to like my work with its quirks. But that’s the breaks.
3. It seems that you really, really like vampires, share with our readers why this is?
Truthfully, I’m about vampire-d out now. LOL. But as to why I first got into vampires? I’ve loved vampires since I saw Frank Langella in the first “hot vampire” version of Dracula years ago. That love intensified in my later teens with The Lost Boys, and reading Interview with the Vampire, along with anything vampire I could get my hands on. The attraction of the “bad boy” was one aspect, and also being young and living forever. Every woman wants to be seduced, whether she admits to that or not. What is different is the MANNER in which the seduction takes place. I always personally liked the fantasy of a handsome yet dangerous lover calling to me from the darkness.
4. Do you have any other favorite supernatural creatures? If so, which ones? Are there any upcoming books featuring these other creatures?
Weresnakes are number one on the list J See my Lash series for a full description J Lash, book one came out in April 2012, and Shadow Man, book two, released in late October 2012.
5. Which of your supernatural characters has been your favorite to write?
I’m exquisitely happy whenever I’m in the Promise Me universe, whether I’m writing as Sar, Danial, Devlin, or other characters. I love writing Lash, but he’s a bit more work to make believable.
When I wrote the Promise Me books, I wasn’t trying to please anyone but myself. I put everything I had into them for years, all my waking effort and spare time. I tried to make an epic story that showed what it was to be human and other (vampire/werecougar/etc.), and what it took to build a lasting relationship between the two. How similar these beings could be in their hopes and dreams, and how ruthless they could act when driven to their limits. Of what terrible tragedies could do to love and friendship, whether they were supernatural doings or the kinds of normal horrors we humans face in our own lives, and the tenacity and strength from within that it takes to transcend that hardship and heal rifts. And above all, how one choice we make on a single night of our life can change the rest of that life forever.
6. What do you think makes a good vampire story?
First of all, a great vampire (see question one for parameters). Secondly, some purpose other than healing his broken heart from his lost love centuries ago, or draining the sweet 16-something virginette who is not only danger prone, but also recklessly naïve. Give the vampire reasons to want to live forever, give him a great conflict to resolve, give him the will to see it through, and give him some great secondary characters—male or female—to help him on his way.
7. Name two of your top favorite horror authors and tell us why they're your favorites.
I will leave off Stephen King this time and name Andrew Neiderman. (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/145370.Andrew_Neiderman
Remember that movie the Devil’s Advocate? Well, he wrote the book that was based on. He also wrote a good many others that freaked me right out, like PIN. He helped VC Andrews (of Flowers in the Attic series fame) write her Casteel series that began with Heaven and included Web of Dreams and Gates of Paradise, a VC Andrews series I enjoyed more than the Flowers in the Attic series.
There is also Michael McDowell, who I’d love just for his Blackwater series, which I have read now 3 times and intend to read as soon as I get through my physical TBR pile as a reward for doing so. I loved Cold Moon over Babylon and Gilded Needles. These were books I shared with my grandmother, who also had a love for horror novels, and she greatly loved this author also. This is what true horror means to me.
8. Name two of your top favorite romance authors and tell us why they're your favorites.
Jenny Twist, for her lovely romances, the latest of which is the wonderful All in the Mind. I’m getting that in paperback shortly, so I can share it with friends who don’t have kindles. I love her dialogue, her voice, and most everything she writes. Also, let me add as second the wonderful Lynette Sofras. I loved her romance The Apple Tree. The ending for that book was one of the most perfect I’ve ever read. I am looking forward to her upcoming new works. These ladies are both good friends, but I wouldn’t recommend their work if I didn’t think it was stellar. When I reach for a romance, their names are the top of my list.
9. What do you least like about being an author? What part of it do you like the most?
I would like more time to write. LOL. But I’m also joyously happy that people are reading my work and some are loving it. That’s what I wanted most for my books and myself.
10. Share one thing with our readers that they won't find on your website, or in your bio.
I’m highly allergic to both cats and dogs.
Don't Miss the rest of Tara's blog tour going on this November, and please don't forget to comment! Authors LOVE comments! For a list of Tara's stops visit our main website.
I'd like to welcome author Toni Noel to In the Hot Seat Today! We're delighted to have her, and hope you enjoy her interview as much as we did.
It looks like you started out writing non-fiction, what made you decide to write fiction.
In high school I was a reporter for two local newspapers, and had planned to study journalism in college. I fell in love the first week on campus and we were married at the end of my freshman year. I didn't stick around there long enough to minor in journalism, but throughout my child-raising years I still planned to write, I just didn't know what. After my youngest daughter graduated high school I earned a business degree and went to work full time as an accountant. That's when my oldest daughter loaned me one of her romance novels to read and I was hooked.
I finally had a goal. I'd write romance novels when I retired. But when the time came and I was free to write I still had no idea how to get started. I enrolled in a creative writing course at a nearby community college, and the inspiration for my first novel came to me while taking the class. Desert Breeze will release that first novel I completed so long ago, To Feel Again, on November 11th. Needless to say the manuscript has undergone numerous revisions and had almost found a permanent home under my bed before I decided to polish the manuscript and submit it again.
Do you outline your novels before beginning to write, or are you more of a "write by the seat of your pants" writer?
Instead of making an outline, I depend on the Fifty Scenes method of plotting to assure my novels reach a satisfying conclusion, but this method of plotting is similar to making an outline. I start with the inspiration for a novel, usually the setting, but sometimes it's the hero or heroine, someone I've seen I think would make an ideal mate. The premise and story line soon follow, and I begin jotting down ideas for the scenes necessary to get me from the first meet through to a satisfying conclusion.
When I have ideas for at least fifty scenes, which will translate to between fifty-thousand and seventy-five thousand words, I paste each scene idea on a 3×5 inch card and write from those numbered cards, rearranging the cards and adding new ones when needed. This method works well for me.
In Law Breakers and Love Makers, my first published novel, a romantic suspense, my muse took over shortly after I began writing and characters and pets I didn't have on my cards began showing up on the pages. Rather than argue with the alarm guy, a dog, a cat and a talking parrot, I gave them free reign, and the book practically wrote itself. The roller-coaster ride my characters take the reader on makes for some scary fun.
Share with our readers something about you that they won't find in your bio on your website.
My husband and I just celebrated our sixtieth wedding anniversary, so I'm a firm believer in love at first sight and romance, and in answer to your unasked question, our bedroom makes the perfect setting for research.
What do you think of the e-Book publishing revolution? Do you prefer e-Books or books with actual pages rather than digital pages?
A well-edited book is a good book, whether digital or in print. I can lose myself in either one.
You mentioned you like to take online classes. Share with our readers three of your favorite online classes and why they were your favorite.
Laurie Schnebly Campbell's Plotting Through Motivation offered about once a year at WritersU is excellent, as is Margie Lawson's class on Empowering Character's Emotions. Campbell's class teaches you how to choose motivations for your characters that will sustain those characters through the entire novel, and it's always good to take another look at characters' emotions.
Catherine Chant teaches a Microsoft Word for Writers class that I highly recommend writers take. I signed up for that class tearing my hair that I had to convert my manuscripts to Word, and learned many time-saving tricks from Catherine.
Then there's the timely workshops offered by the Marketing For Romance Writers group, and knowledgeable RWA member Margaret Taylor's classes on Forensics and Law Enforcement are always fun and enlightening.
I'm a firm believer in continuing your education, but a writer must be careful when choosing a class. Enrolling in one you are not ready for can be disastrous for an inexperienced writer and may lead to writer's block. About a year ago a writer friend took a class on revision and now when she sits down at her computer, she's bombarded by so many don't-do's class members were warned to avoid, she's unable to write.
Okay, we have to ask, sixty years is a long time to be married to the same person, what's your secret? LOL.
We married at a time when couples married for keeps, so we've never once considered walking away from our commitment. Falling in love at first sight was a blessing. We never questioned whether we were marrying too soon, the way our parents did. It's also equally important to like your mate. Mine is my best friend. Early on my husband insisted we make up before bed time if we'd quarreled, and both of us felt it important to make time for us, no matter what, for if you ever let the fire go out in a relationship, it might not re-ignite.
We all know how important the cover and blurb are for a book, but as an author and a reader, what makes you buy a book, the cover or the blurb, or both? If you chose just one of these, why that one?
That's the one advantage print books have over e-Books. The blurb helps me decide which print book to buy. With e-Books, I depend on word of mouth, and social media hype, not nearly as effective as turning a book over in my hand. If the eBook is priced low, I will buy it anyway, figuring I'm not out much if I've made a bad choice. Covers sometimes tweak my curiosity, but well-written back-of-the-book blurb seals the deal for me. And yes, I do visit the author's website or Amazon Author Page to read more about an eBook I’m considering downloading.
If you could live the life of one of your characters which character would you choose and why that character?
I always wanted to teach, so I'd like to be Treasure Montgomery, named Teacher of the Year in Restored Dreams, the story of a house-poor teacher and the rodeo rider turned benevolent contractor she hired to fix her leaky master bathroom. She's too proud to accept charity, and too broke to pay for the needed supplies, but Buck trades his skilled labor for a new sink for her kitchen remodel and refurbishes cabinets accepted in partial payment for another job he did. Treasure wants her leaky roof repaired, not replaced, but Buck insists on doing the job right, and busts her budget. When Treasure discovers this, she kicks him out of her bed and out of her house, but it's nearly impossible to kick the man she's fallen in love with out of her heart. Only his love for her allows them to make up and prepare to open a proposed home and school for abused and troubled boys on her property.
If you could do one thing different on your road to publication, what would it be, and why that one thing?
I wouldn't put off the writing. There are way too many things to learn. I should have been taking those on-line classes while I was earning my degree, and maybe even attending RWA meetings between pregnancies.
Don't wait like I did until my children were grown and I retired to start writing. A concert pianist puts in at least ten thousand hours of practice before stepping onto a concert stage. Be prepared to spend thousands of hours writing before you make the first sale. Don't wait to begin writing. Write something every day if it's only a grocery list.
Name your top 3 favorite free promotion tips for authors.
Choose the social media you prefer, and consistently make your presence known there, whether it's re-Tweeting a Tweet, regularly posting to Facebook, or staying LinkedIn. Don't always promote yourself. Be generous with you time and your praise. Be helpful, friendly, and supportive, and let your personality shine through. For eBook authors building readership is a long, slow process. Readers have to find your books before they can buy them, so make your presence known. Share your skills and knowledge. Give beginning writers a hand up by providing well-intentioned advice.
Thanks you for having me today. And if you'd like to know more about me or my books, here are my links:
You can download my books here:
Or from your favorite eBook store.
Bad weather cuts short Wilda Stone's hot-air balloon race, throwing her back into widowed lawman Hal Grantham's time, the 1870's. A sand storm forces them to seek shelter in a cave, compromises Wilda's reputation, and forces Hal into a marriage of convenience. Wilda falls in love with the terse lawman, abandons all thought of returning to the twenty-first century. Her stoic husband conceals his true feelings for her. When diphtheria– the same disease responsible for taking his first wife and son — threatens this Cerro Gordo mining town, deep concern for Wilda's welfare drives Hal to send his wife back to her own time in her balloon. His actions convince her Hal shuns her love and she departs, whispering a promise to return, without revealing her pregnancy. Once her conveyance rises beyond his reach, Hal realizes his mistake and launches a futile search for the woman he now readily admits he loves.
Toni Noel's love of books started in childhood, when her mother first read The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew to her. She helped start church libraries in two rural Tennessee towns and appeared before the City Planning Commission and the San Diego City Council to urge a site be purchased. As the neighborhood spokesman for the new library the City Councilman for her district invited her to turn the second shovel of dirt at the groundbreaking for the new library. Toni's fondest dream, to see one of her safe-haven-for-the-heart novels available for checkout there may soon be fulfilled. Desert Breeze Publishing will release in print form in November the author's first published novel Law Breakers and Love Makers.
Toni Noel's Novels… Safe havens for the heart.
Today we have the lovely and vivacious Leslie Ferdinand on In The Hot Seat! Welcome Leslie, thank you so much for joining us today! I for one cannot wait to hear more.
1. What made you decide to venture into writing erotic romance? Your other romances seem more mainstream.
I have always read several different genres of romance, erotic romance being my second favorite, behind historicals. We have a couple of mainstream proposals. However, our agent asked us to get a proposal together so she could send to Harlequin Blaze. The moment Zach walked into my head, I knew he wasn't going to be mainstream. No matter how we tried to finagle his character to become a little more mainstream, he just wouldn't allow it. We followed his lead and the end result is Wicked Allure.
2. What is the most difficult thing about writing erotic romance for you?
Three things: making sure there's a real conflict and plot, discovering how sensual the characters are and writing the erotic scenes. When we create new characters, we explore their personalities, sometimes we discover they are a little more reserved. To me, if our characters don't fit into an erotic role, then the whole thing seems forced. Then, there's the actual erotic scenes. Erotic romance gives us much more freedom to describe the male and female body but I don't want to put to many love scenes in a book. I want them to be as real as possible as well and sometimes I have to sit back and think, uh, well, is this possible or would the character have to be a contortionist to do this.
3. What is the easiest thing about writing erotic romance?
The love scenes, LOL! There's so much freedom in describing the love scenes in erotic romance.
4. How did you get the idea for Wicked Allure? What made you choose a sex club for the main location of your story?
Zach introduced himself in a most dramatic fashion. I'd gotten my girls settled, (no easy feat, believe me), and my mom and I had been mulling over ideas most of the day to get a proposal together as we'd promised. I was trying to get some rest after a long day of writing articles for my magazine. Then, an image of a man formed in my head. He was sitting in the dark, way less than sober and grieving for a woman he still loved. I didn't know if she had died or what. We both (Zach and I) realized there was a woman there in the room with him. Because of the state he was in, he didn't know if she was real or only a figment of his hazy imagination. I couldn't rest. I had to write that first scene and that's when Madigan introduced herself. I didn't have names for them at the time. It was just her and him or she and he. After talking to Madi and finding out why she left and why she'd returned, I realized that Zach wasn't the only reason she'd run–although he was the main reason. The sex club came in because I had a couple of boyfriends (at separate times) who invited me to go with them to sex clubs. I never went but we had extensive conversations about what went on. I admit to taking literary license on how Madi went about announcing the club. Anyway, we got to thinking what better way for Zach to prove to Madi and himself that he had outgrown his womanizing ways then to be exposed to it all the time and not acting on what was so easily available to him.
5. What do you think are your strengths as a writer? How do these strengths help you to write compelling fiction?
My strengths? Hmm. I would say how deeply involved we get with the characters and their lives and the knowledge that not everything can be easily resolved. I write and read romance because I know the h/h will get their HEA, but will other aspects of the lives have the same outcome? I think knowing our characters and giving them depth helps us to write compelling fiction.
6. If you could do one thing differently on your road to publication what would it be and why that one thing?
I would have tried harder to get a story finished for the Arabesque line. When we sold our first book to Jove Books, our then agent said an editor at Arabesque was also interested in reading the full manuscript for the proposal we sent in. But the full manuscript wasn't written and neither was the book we'd just sold. Of course, we had contractual obligations, so we focused on what would become* Patterns of Love. * We'll never know what might've happened if we'd worked on the other book as well.
7. Do you have any advice for aspiring or newbie authors?
Keep writing and don't give up. Write because you love to write. Most importantly, *write. *Set up a schedule and stick to it no matter what. Cloak yourself with discipline and tenacity.
8. Share your favorite free promotions tip with our readers.
Blogging and social media like Twitter and Facebook are great ways to promote. Also, submitting your book to whoever you can to have it reviewed and pray that you receive good reviews. LOL
9. Share your favorite paid for promotions tip with our readers.
Book blogging tours have proved excellent for me. I also think having a promo expert, such as Heartfelt Promos, to post excerpts and schedule chats and interviews help a lot.
10. Okay, this is a fun one, if you had to choose a favorite treat, would you choose a salty or a sweet one?
Personally, I love chocolate and it's my favorite guilty sweet treat! I love French fries and Lay's Potato chips. But I love Baklava and white chocolate covered in strawberries just as much.
1. What do you find most appealing about writing for young adults?
Young adults get so excited about finding good books and they are not
nearly as critical as we adults are. Once they become you fan, most of the
time they are in it for life.
2. Please tell our readers something about yourself that they won't find
on your website.
I am shoes and handbag obsessed. I can never have too many:-)
3. Who has been your favorite heroine to write so far if you had to pick
That would be Cisely, the heroine in my book The Legacy. I usually put a
little of myself into my heroines, but I gave more of my attributes to
Cisely than any other female character. When you read about her past- being
sexually abused for years by her father, the alcohol and drug abuse,
becoming clean and sober, then trying to get past doubting her self-worth)
that is me.
4. What do you like most about writing stories with fantasy themes?
I love being able to create new worlds and customs for my characters, and
being able to share a positive message through these stories. Teens these
days read more fantasy than anything else, which makes it easier to share
5. I notice you do pod casts, when will your next one be available? Could
you share with us some future topics?
When things finally slow down I will get going on those again. My next one
will feature other authors' thoughts on not giving up on your dreams and
6. If you could do one thing different on your road to publication what
would it by and why that one thing?
I probably would have started self-publishing sooner. I had two books
published traditionally, but other than the marketing work I did myself,
nothing else was done by the publisher. I've learned a lot through the
years and I'm grateful for those lessons, but I think I would have gotten
ahead of the game.
7. What and or who inspires you to write your stories?
Women inspire me. All of my stories are about women doubting their worth,
and I through my books, I share messages of hope with women ant try to help
them recognize their worth. We women tend to place too little value on
ourselves. We need to stop looking at ourselves through the world's eyes
and see ourselves through those closest to us. Unconditional love always
8. What in your opinion is the most difficult thing about being an author?
What solutions do you have to combat this so you can still get the job
I think it is accepting that every author has a different writing style and
everyone is not going to like your work. We all have different tastes, and
just because someone doesn't care for your books doesn't mean you aren't a
good writer. You definitely have to grow a thick skin to persevere in the
9. Please share your top three favorite free promotions tips.
Join Wattpad.com to get your work out there. Take 15 minutes a day to do
some kind of marketing. Become a salesperson and believe in your work:-)
10. Please share your favorite paid for promotions tip.
Never leave home without business cards or bookmarks, and trying to give
away as many as you can each day. Every person you give them to is a
1. What is your favorite thing about writing stories with paranormal themes?
Writing paranormal lets me stretch my imagination and create characters with otherworldly abilities and conflicts that are out of the norm. I love imagining a world where preternatural characters interact with mortals and together they must battle powerful antagonists.
2. Who is your favorite paranormal creature?
It's a tie between a vampire and a demon.
3. If you could do one thing differently on your road to publication what
would it be, and why that one thing?
I would have submitted to an e-publisher sooner which would have released my book
sooner to the public.
4. If you could choose one of your characters to meet in real life, who
would it be and why that character?
Okay that's a tough one. It's a toss up between Chase, the hero in Book One who is a
homicide detective. Aside from being physically attractive Chase's self-assurance,
commanding personality and determination make him someone I want fighting at my
side. While Ash who is the male lead in Book Two has otherworldly abilities along
with a powerful and dangerous aura that makes him intriguing.
5. Who are your favorite authors? If you had to choose only one to meet in
real life, who would it be and why that author?
Some of my favorite authors are Lisa Gardner, Nalini Singh, Heather Graham (her
vampire series is the reason I started to write paranormal), Gena Showalter, Larissa
Ione, Kresley Cole and Lisa Jackson. If I could meet one of those authors I would
have to choose Nalini Singh so I can ask her how she manages to pull the reader into
her scenes. She is wonderfully descriptive without creating lengthy passages.
6. What was your favorite thing about living in Pennsylvania?
At the time I lived there I didn't appreciate the changing seasons or the frequent
rain but living in the desert I miss Pennsylvania's weather a lot. I love a good
7. What is your favorite thing about living in Arizona?
I love having my family around me.
8. What are your top three favorite free book promotions tips?
I think hosting a contest is a great way for an author to promote their books.
Personally, I would create a contest requiring minimal effort from participants.
Either answering a question that doesn't require visiting other sites or just
leaving a comment. In my humble opinion blogging and providing interviews on popular
sites (like this one!) are two great ways to reach readers.
9. What is your favorite paid for book promotions tip?
Plastering my book cover and blurb everywhere I can afford.
10. If you could choose one thing about interacting with readers that you
like the most what would it be, and why that one thing?
Talking about the characters and what motivates them. Once again this is just my
opinion but I feel the essence of the characters and portraying their thoughts and
emotions is what grabs a readers and makes them want to finish a story. I want my
readers involved in my story and invested in the characters as they battle
antagonists, struggle with internal and external conflicts and do everything they
can to find happiness.
The Burning Seal, Paranormal Romantic Suspense, https://museituppublishing.com