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Today we have the very talented author Alicia Sparks in the hot seat! Welcome Alicia!
1. What is your do you like best about being a southern girl? What’s not to like? We have a cute
Southern drawl and a heart of gold. And though I don’t personally, a lot of the Southern girls I know can absolutely kick ass. They hunt and fish with the best of them and are just really genuine. I like that I have such a strong heritage of wonderful women around me.
2. If you could change one thing on your path to being published what would it be, and why that one thing?
During my career, I actually took several years off from writing. I was suffering from depression and had a lot going on personally, so I didn’t write a single thing for four years. It’s hard to believe I ever walked away like that. So, if I could change one thing, it would be that hiatus. I really wish I had kept plugging away at it.
3. What is your favorite thing about writing erotic romance?
I like the fact that erotic romance is a safe place for people to indulge their wildest fantasies. I am happy to oblige.
4. What is your favorite food?
I love Greek food! I first ate it when I was pregnant with my oldest son, and I fell in love with it. I love stuffed grape leaves, hummus, pita bread. All of it.
5. Which character has been your favorite to write about?
I know it’s cliché, but I like them all. If I didn’t, they wouldn’t make it as far as they have. In my earlier writing, I wrote about a larger than life dragon shape shifter, Damon, whom I always said was my first love. I don’t know why, but there’s something about him that made him my favorite. Of course, now that I’ve been working with the Maddux family in my Primitive series, they are really becoming some of my favorite men, too.
6. If you could meet one of your male characters in real life, which one would you choose and why that one?
It’s funny that you ask that question. After Better than Ice Cream came out, I received an email from a man who was stationed overseas. His name was Ryan LeJeune (my character’s name). It was really strange to see his name in my email, and he told me that my book had been passed around and that I described him to a T! It was funny to hear that. He asked if I minded if he told everyone he was my inspiration. I told him not at all. So, in a way, I kind of did meet one of them!
7. If you could meet one of your female lead characters in real life, which one would you choose and why that one?
I love Becca Bramlett from my upcoming hockey book, Penalty Kill. She’s been through a lot of the same things I have (go figure) and I really think she and I have a lot in common. She’s loyal and honest, and I like that, plus her brother, Austin, is a character in himself!
8. What piece of advice did you receive as newbie writer that was the most helpful?
Keep going. I really should have listened to that more closely, but there are a lot of growing pains as a new writer, and it’s easy to get discouraged. The writers I know now who are just now starting are facing the same things I faced when I started several years ago, and the advice holds. Just keep going.
9. What is your favorite free promotions tip?
I love promoting with different blogs and networking with other authors. I’m such a picky reader that when I can network with other writers, it really helps me find quality stories to read. I’ve found some of my favorite authors that way.
10. What is your favorite paid for promotions tip?
I don’t know if this counts, but go to conferences! I have been to several different writer’s conferences through the years, some big and some small, and they have always provided invaluable information. There are great opportunities online for promotion, but there’s nothing like meeting with people in the industry and meeting with fans face to face. Sure, it’s pricey, but it’s definitely worth it!
Welcome to In the Hot Seat, Katherine!
1. What genres do you most like to write in?
I love paranormal and erotic romance! Sometimes, I even combine the two and that’s like a dream come true.
2. If you could change one thing on your path to being published what would it be, and why that one thing?
I waited so long to get into the small publishing houses? I probably have about 120-150 rejection letters from the big houses and agents. And the instant I started learning more about the small houses, I was—why didn’t I do this before?!
3. Name 5 authors that have most influenced you.
Stephen King (has way too much influence- he could qualify as two!), Nawal el Sadaawi, Anne Rice, Frank Herbert, and Anne McCaffery.
4. What is your favorite food?
Pasta. I could eat pasta at every meal in every shape that exists.
5. Which one of your characters has been your favorite to write about?
Franz Dorn. I love him. I can’t wait to tell everyone his story.
6. If you could meet one of your male characters in real life, which one would you choose and why that one?
There are so many… but right now, I would probably have to go with Franz again. He’s the kind of guy that just draws people in because he’s mysterious and yet generous and open. I would love to have a conversation with him over a good scotch.
7. If you could meet one of your female lead characters in real life, which one would you choose and why that one?
Emmy Westerly is the obvious answer! I would love to go shopping with her. I love her quiet strength and cool demeanor- and no BS!
8. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Read. Read read read. Not just in your genre, but about the industry- design, marketing, the craft, the history. Make it your business to know everything there is to know about what you want to do.
9. What is your favorite free promotions tip?
I’m still a pretty fresh author, so I’m kind of just learning the ropes, but if a reader tells you that they loved your book- ask them for a review. Doesn’t need to be a book report, just a few lines and rating. Does good for the book and wonders for your ego.
Again, I’m still fresh, but I’m finding that learning how to use the paid promo on Facebook is a very tricky but important skill. Take your time, learn from others. You don’t have to drop a lot on it once you start learning to use it.
Thanks so much Katherine! We've enjoyed learning more about you!
Welcome Lyn! I'm so looking forward to reading your interview.
What is your favorite thing about living in California?
The sunshine! I’ve been here all my life and can’t see myself living anywhere else. There are so many beautiful places to explore here and I can’t complain about the weather.
If you could change one thing on your path to being published what would it be, and why that one thing?
I would change my timing. I wanted to get into the publishing world sooner, but held back. I guess you could say I was unsure of myself at first. If I had known I’d be having this much fun…I would have pushed myself further years ago!
What is your favorite fictional fantasy world and by which author?
That would be the world created by Terry Goodkind in his ‘Sword of Truth’ series. I love the books and the characters he has created in these books. The imagery is vibrant and imaginative, and fascinating to follow.
What is your favorite food?
Sushi or Del Taco. Just depends on my mood.
Which character has been your favorite to write about?
I’d have to say there are two, but they always work together as one – Celeste and Estelle, my evil vampyre twins. I adore their evil personalities and the trouble they cause. I’ve had great fun writing their scenes, and love what they’ve brought to the story.
If you could meet one of your male characters in real life, which one would you choose and why that one?
Well, that would be Eamon, of course! Who wouldn’t want to meet a hottie half mortal/half fallen angel hero with a romantic side? Plus, he’s got a twin brother too!
If you could meet one of your female lead characters in real life, which one would you choose and why that one?
Zillah. She’s legendary and evil. I’d love to sit with her to get her side of the story – as long as she promises not to turn me into one of her minions
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Keep writing, and don’t ever give up. Continue writing for yourself, for your enjoyment, not for anyone else. Get out there and share your work whenever you can, and submit! Don’t take rejection as a reason to quit doing what you love.
What is your favorite free promotions tip?
Get on blogs and radio shows, and do giveaways to the fans that attend. You can never go wrong with free books for the fans.
What is your favorite paid for promotions tip?
Placing your book on sale can help tremendously. Also, if you have a series, offering the first in the series for free with the purchase of the second, or even third, is a great way to get your readers hooked.
What is your favorite thing about living in Transylvania?
There are lots of things I love about Transylvania, from its beautiful landscapes to its fascinating history. It is home to some of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns, most notably Braşov, Sibiu and Sighişoara—the latter adorned with a hilltop citadel, secret passageways and a 14th century clock tower. Transylvania has some amazing fortified churches and stunning castles, the most renowned being the Bran Castle associated with Dracula. As a lover of nature, I’ve always been fascinated by the Carpathian Mountains—a place of exquisite beauty and mystery, with ancient legends of mountain spirits along with 4,000 caves, or the Scărişoara Glacier which shelters the second largest underground glacier on the continent.
What is your favorite native food from Transylvania?
My favorite native food is sarmale, which are stuffed cabbage rolls. Traditionally, they are made with pickled cabbage, ground pork meat filling, and various herbs and spices.
To be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything I’ve done has brought me to where I am now, surrounded by extremely professional people who love what they’re doing and have their authors’ best interests at heart. I only regret not having tried sooner when I had more time to write than I do now. But I believe that everything happens for a reason and I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished so far. This has been my first year as a published author and one of the best, most exciting years of my life, and I’m extremely thankful to the people who have given me this chance.
What worlds did you like to write about when writing fan fiction? Do you have fan fiction posted anywhere that readers could visit online?
Last summer I stumbled upon Fifty Shades of Grey. I had no idea what the story was about. I only knew it was a Twilight fan fiction initially. So, as a Twilight fan with a few of my own Twilight fan fiction stories under my belt, I was intrigued and curious about it. I just had to read it. Once I finished it, I decided to try my luck with a Fifty Shades fan fiction and posted it on the same site where E L James had initially posted Fifty. It was the way people responded to it and E L James’ success going from fan fiction to the real deal that gave me the courage to try and do the same thing. So when I say that everything happens for a reason, I mean this too. I just needed that final push.
Now, the fan fiction is getting published this year and I am extremely excited about it, but this also means that I had to take the story down from that site, so it can no longer be found online. Christian and Ana are now Tyler and Ellie, the main characters of my second book in the Soul’s Desire Series, couple that has also appeared briefly in book one—The Guardian of My Soul.
I enjoyed writing about Kristen Mancuso, the female lead character in “The Guardian of My Soul”, and watch her grow and transform throughout the book until she discovers the real things that matter in life.
I’d choose Alec Warner from “The Guardian of My Soul”. Alec is sexy, charming, strong and determined to get what he wants, but he also has a troubled past and demons he has to face in order to be able to move on and live the life he desires.
I’d choose Kristen Mancuso. I’ve enjoyed writing her story and she’s been through quite a lot until she got the freedom and happiness she so much craved.
I could tell them to follow my example. Fan fiction is a good place to start. It’s a great place to interact with readers and find out their opinions about your work, what they would change, what they would add, see if you can surprise them, intrigue them, keep them interested and eager for more. If you can do all that, then there’s no stopping you.
Guest blogging—by developing supportive relationships with other authors and bloggers, you gain exposure and it’s a good way for other people to find your work.
Giveaways are one of the cheapest forms of advertising. If people enjoy the free book, they’re likely to be curious about your other work too.
1. For those of us who have never had the opportunity to visit the British Isles, please tell our readers a bit about your lovely island Anglesey.
Anglesey is a small island on the North West coast of the British Isles, just off the Irish Sea. The island can be driven from one side to the other in around thirty minutes. It connects to the UK by two bridges. The beaches are glorious (when we have the weather) which is rare. It’s very windy and rainy but that gives us green luscious land and a wildlife community like no other. It truly is a beautiful place.
2. What is your favorite part of living on Anglesey?
The peace and quiet. The views and the community life.
3. I noticed from your blog that you know a lot about what types of ingredients are good for the best skin care. What types of ingredients do you recommend for the best skin care?
I used to run a skin care shop. I love experimenting with different skin care ingredients and I couldn’t possibly say which the best are because it depends on the individual. What I can say is stay away from chemical ingredients. Go paraben free, and use natural oils. Rule of thumb is if you can’t pronounce the ingredient then it’s probably bad for you. Experiment; instead of using chemical sun screen on your face mix carrot oil on with your moisturiser carrot oil is a natural sun blocker.
4. If you could meet one of your characters in real life who would it be and why that particular character?
Corey Fitzgerald from book number three in The Fitzgerald Series He is such an adorable man, bossy, cheeky, funny. He’s a giant but so gentle and passionate.
5. What is the best thing for you about being a published romance author?
I get live inside my words. It’s like having another life that becomes part of me. Now I’m able to say yes I’m a published author when I go through customs on my trips to America. I finally get to live the dream.
6. If you could change one thing that happened on your road to publication what would it be and why that one thing?
I wouldn’t have given up writing when I was younger. I let thirty years pass before I went back to it and now I can’t stop.
7. What has been your favorite story to write so far?
I have loved all of my stories that I have written so far but I guess book Number four of The Fitzgerald Brothers has to have been the hardest to write. There were some issues in that which needed sensitive handling so it has taxed me the most but I am so happy with the way it turned out.
8. Do you have any works in progress you can share with our readers? You know just to whet our whistles!
Well the whole of The Fitzgerald Brothers series will be out by the end of the year. It was such great fun to write. These boys are so delicious that I wish they were real so that I could have them all to myself.
9. What are your top three favorite free promotions tips?
Okay for me promotion of any kind is hard. Social networking has to be one of the easiest ways to get your book out there. Word of mouth is always good. Blogging is an excellent way for people to see what kind of writer you are and actually they like to know about you so it’s a great way to communicate with your readers.
10. Share your favorite top three paid for promotions tips.
Blog tours are good…or just get someone like Heartfelt Promotions to take hold of the reins. They have been an enormous help to me.
Thank you for being with us on In the Hot Seat, Dilys, and thanks so much for the vote of confidence!
Today at Heartfelt Promos, I’d like to welcome Elle from the Promise Me Series!
I: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
E: Hi. <smiles nervously> I’m a werecougar, and I’m…um, my apparent age is about eight years old.
I: Why do you say “apparent age” Elle?
E: <shifts in her chair> Because I’m really only a couple years old. I spend a lot of time in my other form, as a cougar. They age faster. So I’m also aging faster. <smiles> But that’s a good thing. I want to be a grown up.
I: You mean that because cougars mature at a much faster rate and you’re part cougar, that you’re also going to reach human adulthood faster?
E: <rolls her eyes> Isn’t that just what I said?
I: Does this happen with all werecreatures?
E: <frowns> I’m not sure. See, I was born in my animal form. Most werecreatures aren’t, they’re born human, because their mom’s are pregnant in that form. Mine was, but she died. And so I didn’t know how to get back to human…<swallows, then takes a deep breath> But the night my Dad came to see Mom, I changed for the first time.
I: What prompted the change?
E: <flushes red> I was scared for my mom, Sar. I thought she needed me, because I heard her scream. But she was just excited because Dad was drinking her blood.
I: Wait, I’m confused. Isn’t your father a werecougar named Theo?
E: <angry> No! My dad is Danial. He’s a vampire. He drinks blood.
I: Your biological father is Theo, though, even if you call Danial your dad.
E: <icy cold tone> Danial is my Dad. He’s my father. Theo is just Theo.
I: You seem to be estranged from him. Is that because he went missing for a year and a half?
E: <looks down> Mom said he didn’t want to go away, that he got abducted. But I think there’s something more going on. Why didn’t he ever call us? There’s such a thing as texting and cell phones and satellite phones.
I: I understand that Theo was hurt pretty badly, Elle. So badly that he sustained scarring, which almost never happens to a wereanimal.
E: <nods> He was, that night I first scented him. He came back one night to Danial’s house. In some places his fur was gone. There were just raised white patches. <voice builds in volume> He didn’t say a word to me! He went with Terian and the next thing I knew he was gone again.
I: And you didn’t tell anyone what you saw, that Theo was alive, did you?
E: <lip trembles> No.
I: Why not?
E: Because I knew he was going to ruin everything! <she lunges up, her blue eyes now yellowing to cougar> And he did! Why couldn’t he have stayed away! I hate him!
I: Please calm down, Elle.
E: <enraged> My dad’s wonderful and mom loves him. We’re happy. We don’t need Theo! I wish he would never come back! I wish he were dead!
<Door opens, and Danial strides into the room, dressed in a business suit and immaculately groomed.>
D: (to interviewer) What is going on here? I told you no interviews! <looks at Elle> And you, young miss, are due for your history lesson. Get going. NOW.
<Elle scampers out of the room without a backward look. Danial turns his attention to the interviewer>
D: <draws closer>How dare you try to gain information from my child? I made it clear you were not to talk to her.
I: She wanted to tell her side—
D: When she is old enough, she can. But she’s not ready. And you are not welcome here, dredging up old pain she is better forgetting. <heads to the door>
I: But Theo is—
D: <turns slightly, red eyes gleaming> Theo is dead. Elle is my daughter now, just as Sar is now her mother. Do not interfere with us again. <gestures> Take him to the forest and teach him respect. Gag him, too. I’ve heard enough of his blathering.
<two burly men come in, grab the struggling interviewer and gag him, then lead him struggling from the room>
Blurb for Taken in the Night: When Theo disappears, Sar is left bereft, the uncertain guardian of Theo's newly born werecougar daughter, Elle. As months pass, clues emerge about Theo's disappearance, yet the twisting trail ends repeatedly without answer. In her grief, Sar turns to Danial and hesitantly begins to build a life with him and Elle.
DOWNLOAD THE FIRST CHAPTER OF TAKEN IN THE NIGHT FREE HERE: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/tarafoxhall/takeninthenight.html
Promise Me Series FaceBook party Saturday 6-30-13, 2pm -6pm EST! https://www.facebook.com/events/160178497488477/
Excerpt: “Can you forgive me for what happened that night?” he whispered. “Can we start again, you and I?”
“I forgave you,” I said softly, my anger lessening. “You tried everything to stop Devlin, but he was too powerful for you to fight. There wasn’t anything more you could’ve done.”
Danial took my hand. “You know I love you, Sar. You know I want you with me. Will you come and be with me now? Let me help take care of Elle and you?”
“Do you really want to try again, after all that’s happened?” I asked. “I’m no closer to handling your immortality than I was six months ago.”
“You need me like you didn’t before,” Danial answered. “Being a parent alone is not the same as being on your own. I was a father once, a good one. Elle doesn’t just need food and shelter, she needs love and guidance.”
“Yes,” I said softly. “I want to try again. But I’m afraid how this will affect her if it doesn’t work out between us.”
“It will work out,” Danial said firmly. “I’m not asking you to oath to me, or to give me any promise. I’m asking you to let me help you raise Theo’s child, to come and live with me until she’s grown.” He kissed me gently. “If you want to, view it as duty. I feel responsible for her. You do not have to share my bed.”
“Like I’m going to live with you and be able to resist,” I said with a chuckle.
“You said it, not I,” Danial said huskily. “Though of course, I’d welcome your affections.”
“What if Theo somehow returns?” I asked. “Could you let me go, if he did?”
“You would still want to leave?” Danial said unbelievingly.
“Depends on his reasons for not coming back,” I replied. “I can’t say, not for sure.”
“Do you expect me to be that cold?” Danial said, closing his eyes and grimacing as if in pain. “To say such things to me as if I had no heart?”
“I don’t mean to hurt you,” I said apologetically. “I meant to be honest.” I reached out to him, and touched his face. “I can’t truly let him go, not knowing what happened, if he’s dead or not. Do you understand?”
Danial sighed. “I understand you want him, not me.”
“Don’t give me that,” I said angrily. “Do you understand I’m upset, that my life just fell apart? This is the second time I’ve lost a loved one in two years.” I moved to get up. “This is probably the wrong time for another try, Danial. It’s not going to work.”
Danial moved fast, gathering me in his arms. “Don’t say that. I’m sorry I got angry. But it’s hard to have just made love with you and listen to you talk as if I don’t matter to you at all.”
“You do matter,” I said softly into his neck. “I’m just a wreck. Why would you even want me like this?”
Danial hugged me. “When I saw the ring he was planning to give you, I knew that any chance I’d had with you was over.” He kissed me. “I’ll take whatever you can give me, Sar, for as long as you’ll give me. Please let me help you. If you don’t want me, that’s fine. Do it for Elle.”
“I’ll come,” I said softly. “But not just for Elle. I’ll come because I want to be with you.”
Tara's Blog: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5286654.Tara_Fox_Hall/blog
Tara's Facebook Page:
http://www.amazon.com/Taken-Night-Promise-Me-ebook/dp/B00B97RBGO AMAZON US
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Taken-Night-Promise-Me-ebook/dp/B00B97RBGO AMAZON UK
http://www.lulu.com/shop/tara-fox-hall/taken-in-the-night/paperback/product-20660329.html;jsessionid=DB44BA4156D8D250C3BA986B45BE5C02 Print copies-Lulu
http://www.melange-books.com/authors/tarafoxhall/takeninthenight.html Melange Books (HTML and PDF)
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-takeninthenight-1076465-139.html All Romance E-Books
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/taken-in-the-night-book-3-promise-me-series-tara-fox-hall/1114375016 Barnes and Noble
Kim Carmichael is in the hot seat today! Kim writes everything from paranormal erotic romance to contemporary romance, all of which are great stories. So, we decided to see if we could get some answers to your most pressing questions. Check it out!
1. What or who inspired you to become a romance author?
I was very inspired by a character and one day a story popped into my head and I just started writing for myself at first, then it grew.
2. Do you have a day job? If so what is it? Has your day job ever inspired any stories or story ideas?
Yes, I have a day job. I am a pharmaceutical rep. My day job or facets of my day job pop up in my writing all the time, from the profession, to the people I work with to my territory (Los Angeles!)
3. What do you like to do for fun when you're not writing?
Shop and crochet
4. Hmmmmm….gadgets do tell? What's what your favorite gadget?
My Macbook Air because it has all my stuff and is so light! I do love the auxiliary charger I have for my Iphone so I never run out of juice. Staying connected is really important to me.
5. What is the Indelibly Marked Series about? I see it's on your Works in Progress page, love the logo for it!
This series means a lot to me. It revolves around a the group of people at a Hollywood Tattoo shop. The first book, Permanent, is finished and I may have some exciting news on that soon.
6. What has been your favorite book to write so far, and why is it your favorite?
I love all my books, but I have to say right now it's Trifecta because not only do I adore the story but the story represented getting my freedom back.
7. If you meet and spend one day with one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why that character?
Without a doubt I would choose Shane from the Indelibly Marked Series. He is everything my dreams are made of, he is funny, secure and alternative. He's my rebellious hero and he has a black Mohawk – what more could you want?
8. What do you think sets your characters apart from other characters in other books? What makes them unique in your opinion?
I write very contemporary and casual characters. I try to always have some sort of modern culture twist with my characters.
9. Share with our readers your favorite free promotions tip?
Post on all the facebook pages without being obnoxious!
10. If you could do one thing different on your road to publication what would it be and and why that one thing?
I would have never let this one person influence me and I would have stopped dealing with that person long before I did. Thank god they are gone now. Now I have some great villain material!
Thanks so much for being on the hot seat today, Kim, and we wish you the best with your new book Trifecta!
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