Farewell…For Now…

Today, I’m sad to announce that I’ll be taking a break from publishing interviews on Romance Debuts. Life has become increasingly overwhelming (or perhaps I’m just getting worse at managing), so I’ve decided to scale back. I truly appreciate all the debut and multi-published authors who have so graciously and openly shared their experience and hard-won wisdom, and I appreciate all my readers and followers. I’ll be keeping the site up, so please feel free to re-read and share any interviews I’ve posted.

Thank you, and best of luck accomplishing your writing goals!

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Pandora Pine Reminds Writers to Trust Their Instincts

I’m delighted to introduce today’s author, Pandora Pine. Pandora got her start writing FanFiction and since then has self-published eight books. Her most recent, Time and Time Again, grew out of a piece of crossover fanfiction she wrote between Star Trek and Lord of the Rings. In this interview, Pandora details the process of getting a book ready to self-publish (with the help of her editor mom!), while also inspiring us all to follow our passions and trust our instincts. As you’ll soon learn, sometimes it pays to ignore friends’ well-meaning advice!

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer? When did you decide to write a book?

I have wanted to be a writer since I was in grade school. I remember being the only student in a middle school English class who was happy to get a writing assignment. Originally, I started writing Star Trek Fanfiction which led to me making some wonderful friends in the writing community. One of these amazing women decided to try self-publishing with an original romance novel and urged me to do that same. My first book was published in August of 2015!

What inspired you to write this story?

Time And Time Again was inspired by a piece of crossover fanfiction I wrote between Star Trek and Lord Of The Rings. The story ended in heartbreak and I wanted a do-over to give these characters their Happily Ever After. Not only did I get to live out the dream of writing Fionn and Carter’s story, but have turned this idea into a three book series that will feature Carter’s sisters finding their Happily Ever Afters in fifteenth-century Ireland! Time And Space and Time After Time will be available later in 2016.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

The process starts with character bios and a bare bones sketch of the idea. Once I know where the story is going and how it will end, I go back to sketch and start fleshing it out.
I think the most challenging part of writing any book is finding your characters’ voices. It took a little while to get in the groove with Fionn especially because he doesn’t use contractions when he speaks and he can’t use modern sayings. Once I could “hear” their voices clearly, this book literally poured out of me! I wrote the entire manuscript in a month while working full-time! {Wow!}

How did you fit your writing into the rest of your life?

Finding a work/life/writing balance is honestly the hardest part of what I do. There were/are days when I give my best energy at the office and I want to sack out on the couch when I get home, but I had to find a way to push through the fatigue and get back to work on the book. When a story needs to be told, it’s relentless and I’ve learned to ride the wave. My friends and family know what the process is like and understand when I pull out my notebook and start taking notes in the middle of a conversation or leave right after the dinner dishes are done. The finished product is the book, but there’s a lot of residual guilt left in its wake that I try to make up for once I type The End!

Who gave you feedback as you worked through writing the book?

One of the things I did while writing fanfiction was to reach out to my favorite authors to tell them how much I loved their work. Through this, I made some absolutely amazing friends. I share everything I write with these ladies as they do with me. My main concern with Time And Time Again was getting the aspects of time-travel right and my ladies were a great help.

My mother is a tremendous help with my books. She is a retired English and History teacher who serves as my editor and also served as an historical advisor on this book. She never thought she’d find a second career editing MM romance novels! I couldn’t do what I do without her!

What made you decide to publish independently?

I lay all the credit at my best friend’s feet. She was going the self-publishing route herself and urged me to do the same thing. Her confidence in my words gave me the confidence to share my characters with the world!

In my mind, the best thing about self-publishing is being able to write what people want to read. I knew through my time writing fanfiction that people were interested in reading MM Romance. One particular story I wrote had seven thousand people read it in just ONE month. The other main benefit of self-publishing is that I set my own timeline and release dates.

The biggest challenges of self-publishing are the things that need to be done away from writing the book. I design all of my own book covers and it takes time to find the right image to represent the book. I also do a lot of promotion work to get the word out that a book is being published, is available for pre-order or is being offered as a free promotion.

What was the process of getting the book ready for publication?

Once the laughing and crying over finishing the book is past, I let the words sit for a few days before I go back in and do re-writes. I’m looking for incorrect POV and places in the book that aren’t as strong as they could be. Lastly, I’m looking for typo’s and consistency issues. After that, the book goes out to my beta readers who return their feedback. Once I’ve input their suggestions, the book is off to my editor/ Mom Of The Year. When I get the book back, I input her changes/ suggestions and do a final edit of the book.

As this process is going on, I’m working on designing the book cover and writing the synopsis that will appear on Amazon. Once these steps are complete, I set up the pre-order on Amazon and work on promotion dates. It’s the best feeling to finally click the “PUBLISH” button!

What would you change if you could?

I’m not a big fan of looking backward. I think playing the “what if?” game is destructive and takes time away from the creative process. Things are playing out for me and my writing the way they were meant to play out. I wouldn’t change a thing!

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

My advice to aspiring writers is to WRITE! Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do it because you CAN! Two friends of mine told me the original fanfiction story this novel was born from would never work and people would never come together from the two fandoms to read it. I took their “advice” under advisement for about thirty seconds and started writing my story. Not only did the two fandoms come together and read it, they LOVED it! This story was one of the most popular things I’ve written. Eventually, both of these ladies changed their tune and admitted their advice was wrong.

If I had followed the advice of those friends, this novel wouldn’t be here today and my life would have been a dull place to live without Fionn and Carter chatting in my ear!

This advice goes for anyone in any walk of life. Live your passion! Write, draw, act, sing, fix cars! If you love it, do it! You’ll never be sorry for turning your dreams into reality!

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A love that spans centuries… While visiting the gravesite of a centuries dead Irish warrior, Bostonian Carter McCann finds himself thrown backward in time to the moment Fionn Ò Ciardha was slain in battle. Realizing he could change the past, Carter travels back to 15th-century Ireland a second time in an effort to prevent Fionn’s untimely death.

A love he tries to deny…Fionn Ò Ciardha doesn’t know what to make of the strangely dressed but handsome man who appeared suddenly outside the walls of Moone Castle. Figuring him for a spy yet unable to fight his growing desire for Carter, he sticks close to the foundling hoping to uncover the truth of why he’s come to Moone.

A love worth dying for…Unhappy with his dream lover’s mistrust in him, Carter sets out to save Fionn’s life by any means at his disposal. As the coming battle draws closer, will Carter be able to earn Fionn’s trust as well as his heart before history repeats itself?

http://www.amazon.com/Time-Again-Out-Book-ebook/dp/B01914B27U/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1452610725&sr=8-7&keywords=pandora+pine

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Sick of the slogging rat-race of her 9-5 job, Pandora Pine put pen to paper (literally!) to make her ambition of becoming a romance novelist a reality. She cut her teeth in the dog-eat-dog world of fanfiction, still dreaming of the day when she would be a published author. She lives in Massachusetts with her blabbermouth muse and their fictional black kitten, Jack, whom you’ll meet in Pandora’s novel, Just Say Yes!

She is forever grateful to her writer friends who brainstorm with her and help her corral all her plot tribbles. They can also be relied upon to delete her eclectic internet browsing history in the event of her sudden death. Said browsing history is filled with erotic research (Read: porn!) for her next novel.

In her spare time, Pandora fancies herself an amateur nature photographer. She enjoys mucking around in swamps, hiking through the woods and crawling around on her hands and knees in her backyard seeking out the perfect shot. Pandora is a fan of roadside seafood shacks and always thinks Mexican food is a good idea at the time.

Don’t miss Pandora’s seductive new novel, Time And Time Again coming in January 2016 to an e-reader near you. Book Four of the Student Bodies Series, Brick And Mortar, will be available on February 2, 2016. Pre-Order your copy today!

Time And Time Again Synopsis:

Rosalie Redd Shares Her Journey From Accountant to Fantasy Romance Writer

I’m so excited to host self-published fantasy/science fiction writer Rosalie Redd. Rosalie got hooked on paranormal romance years ago and hasn’t stopped reading them since! A year after retiring from her career as an accountant and dedicating her life to writing fiction, she self-published her debut, Untouchable Lover.

Read this interview for helpful cost-saving advice (that we can all appreciate!) and for a fascinating walk-through of Rosalie’s thought processes as she conceived the idea for her novel. I have a feeling Rosalie never stops thinking!

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer? When did you decide to write a book?

Hi Cate, thanks for having me on your blog. Wow, that’s a great question. In 2005, I picked up my first paranormal romance, If Angels Burn, by Lynn Viehl and was immediately hooked. Who knew books existed that brought together paranormal and romance? I certainly didn’t. I grew up on science fiction, horror, and fantasy classics, but hadn’t read much romance. I finished that book and knew I’d found something special. Over the course of the next few years, I read as many paranormal romance books as I could get my hands on. As I immersed myself in the genre, ideas and characters formed in my head. It wasn’t until 2013 that I started plotting out my first story, and the end result became my debut novel Untouchable Lover.

What inspired you to write this story?

The characters in my head wouldn’t leave me alone until I did. Well, ok, that’s part of the answer. The rest is I wanted to write a story that had a happy ending. I wanted to do something, in some small way, to share my belief in the good in others. The best way was to share the story between my hero and heroine. I wanted to show how Noeh and Melissa overcame their own fears and learned to open their hearts to a better, stronger love. For me, it’s all about the happily ever after.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

I love the mystery of ancient societies—when civilizations existed before written history. There are ruins all over Earth that have similarities in structure and construction, yet are thousands of miles apart. Who built these structures? How did these people live? What happened to them? I’ve often wondered what life in these ancient civilizations was like. I thought, what if I wrote a love story about a couple that came from one of these ancient societies?

With that idea in mind, I decided to do a bit of research. There are many legends about the great civilization of Atlantis and its destruction, but along the way, I heard about an even older civilization called Lemuria. I found a few books on the subject and dived in. The myths and legends surrounding Lemuria indicated a great civilization thrived in the island chains of the Pacific Ocean, disappearing about ten thousand years ago from rising sea levels and a great flood.

Fascinated with this ancient society, I wanted to create a story that provided an alternate reality for the Lemurians, showcasing their struggle to survive against an age-old enemy, yet finding love along the way. What if the Lemurians were actually a race of shape-shifters from another planet, here to protect Earth and it’s most precious resource—water? If the Lemurians lived in the Pacific Islands, and were forced to scatter throughout the world due to the destruction of their homeland, maybe they are still hidden among us and continue to battle for Earth? From that, The Worlds of Lemuria: Earth Colony was created with Untouchable Lover the first book in the series.

How did you fit your writing into the rest of your life?

In early 2014, I retired from my accounting job. This gave me the opportunity to pursue my dream to write, so I took the bull by the horns and didn’t look back. My family has been incredibly supportive. I couldn’t have done this without their encouragement and support.

What helped you the most as you worked through the process of writing your first book?

Hands down, critique partners and beta readers. Having someone else take a look at your story is critical as they see the plot and characters from a different perspective. The feedback they provided was invaluable to my education and made the book so much better. I cherish my critique partners and beta readers!

What happened between hearing your yes and getting the book to print?

I chose to self-publish. I’m too much of a control freak to put my stories in someone else’s hands, so I decided that self-publishing was the best option for me. This means that I have to do all my own marketing and publishing, but I’m fine with that. As the countdown to publication approached, my ‘to do’ list exploded. Good thing I’m an organized person!

What has surprised you most about this process?

Hmmm….tough question. I guess the biggest surprise would have to be the amount of work involved in getting from the initial idea to a published book. The revisions were endless and the learning curve seemed insurmountable, but to see the completed book sail out into the world was priceless.

What would you change if you could?

Without doubt, I’d have beta readers take a look at the story before sending the story off for copy edits. That was a costly mistake, as I had to send the manuscript through copy edits twice. Guess I learned that lesson the hard way. Other than that, I’ve really enjoyed the whole experience and would do it again in a heartbeat!

 

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His crown or a forbidden female? One tough choice.

A devastating war…
Across the globe, shape-shifting Lemurian warriors battle against a deadly enemy in the dark of night. The prize—Earth’s most precious resource—water, and the fate of humankind. To unite the soldiers, Lemurian gods send the diverse species to the underground Keep to join forces with their brethren and contend against their adversary.

An illicit allure…
While searching for his missing healer, King Noeh didn’t expect to find an unusual, green-eyed female chained to the wall in an abandoned asylum deep in the woods, evidence of her torment in the branding iron at her feet. Captivated, he rescues the petite female and brings her to his underground home. Despite the requirement to select a queen of his species by the next new moon or lose his crown, a forbidden attraction blooms.

A tormented soul…
Haunted by the memory of her dead mate and child, Melissa can’t escape her past or her future. On the run from her controlling master, she didn’t intend to get captured by the enemy, or be rescued by a brooding, handsome king. When she succumbs to her need for a male’s blood and drinks from the honorable king, she can’t ignore the compelling desire he ignites in her soul.

 

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After finishing a rewarding career in finance and accounting, it was time for Rosalie Redd to put away the spreadsheets and take out the word processor. She writes Fantasy/Science Fiction Romance inspired by classics from the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres layered with a good, hot dose of romance.

Her debut novel, Untouchable Lover, won or was a finalist in several contests sponsored by local chapters of Romance Writers of America.
She lives in Oregon, where rain is just another excuse to keep writing. When not at her computer, you can find her at Jazzercise, waterfall collecting in the Pacific Northwest, or relaxing with her husband and their pesky cat, Snookums.

Social Media Links:

Buy Links:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019ZVIC8G?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1123057770?ean=2940152720044
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/untouchable-lover
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1064134542

 

CJ Matthew Reminds Writers to Keep Writing

I’m delighted to host CJ Matthew today! This past fall, CJ self-published three complete novels for her Dophin Shore Shifter series.  I feel like I have to keep reading that sentence over and over because I’m astounded at CJ’s work ethic and tenacity. While waiting for the first book to sell, she kept working on the others, and when she decided to self-publish, she had three books ready to go. Wow!

Read CJ’s inspiring interview. She not only provides helpful insights into the benefits and frustrations of self-publishing; she also gives great advice about keeping your writing going.

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer? When did you decide to write a book?

I’ve been an avid reader all my life, with the emphasis on fiction. My favorite genre was and still is romance. In 2008 I officially started writing a book. At the same time, I began taking classes and attending workshops to learn the craft. I finished writing my first book, a contemporary romance, that summer. But as I learned new and different techniques, I continued to edit and rewrite the manuscript. (I’m still working on it). Later that year, I was challenged to write a “different” paranormal story and I started Blood Tide.

What inspired you to write Blood Tide?

Blood Tide was inspired in part by the challenge to come up with a different paranormal shifter. Add my love for the Pacific Ocean and dolphins, and that’s the direction my research took. Recalling that a big part of the California Chumash’s origin legend was Hutash building a rainbow bridge to bring her people from a channel island to the mainland, I studied the story again. When some of the Chumash people fell into the channel, rather than allow them to die, Hutash turned them into dolphins. Basing my shape shifting dolphins in Santa Barbara, I gave them the capability to reverse the process and transform into human form.

How did you fit your writing into the rest of your life?

It wasn’t easy. Working full time and carving out additional time to write is a real challenge. Eventually, I negotiated with my employers to work 4 days a week and I wrote on three day weekends. But that schedule doesn’t leave much family time. It was a real joy to retire from work and be able to write full time.

Are you involved in a writer’s group? Who gave you feedback as you worked through writing the book?

Early in 2008, I joined Romance Writers of America, as well as my state chapter, Georgia Romance Writers. Both groups offer all sorts of workshops, seminars, and classes. For several years I attended as many as I could. At one memorable class I met my future critique partner.

At GRW’s annual conference, Moonlight & Magnolias 2008, I stumbled through my first agent and editor pitch. I also entered lots of critique raffles for terrific (often professional) feedback. Nationwide RWA chapter contests gave me critiques and when my pages “finaled”, the chance to get my work in front of NY literary agents and/or editors.

Currently, I attend RWA National conferences, join classes on line, and belong to several terrific forums like Kiss of Death, Sisters in Crime, and Marie Force’s self-publish information exchange.

For my WIP, I depend first on my critique partner, then my four beta readers, and finally my freelance editor who gives my manuscript a comprehensive developmental edit, followed by a copy edit, and when all those issues have been addressed by me, a last check.

What made you decide to publish independently?

My dream has always been to walk into a book store, Target, the grocery store, or Walmart, and discover my book on the shelves. So my path was to traditional publishing via a literary agent.

Meanwhile, my critique partner made her decision to self-publish a couple of years ago and since she made it look fairly painless, that option firmed up in the back of my mind.

Two years ago, I signed with a literary agent who wanted to submit Blood Tide to NY publishing. She tried her best but my book didn’t sell. So we parted ways and I started querying agents again.

Then last spring, 2015, I kept reading about the growing number of independent book stores agreeing to stock self-published books and offering authors book-signings. The time seemed right. Fall of 2015, with lots of help from my critique partner and my editor, I published all three completed Dolphin Shore Shifter books, a month apart.

What was the biggest challenge of publishing independently?

Honestly, I hate formatting. I want the e-book, as well as the trade paperback, to be neat and beautiful but I can’t make the software do what I have in mind. Next goal is to earn enough in royalty payments to pay for a formatter!

Also, I enjoy social media, I love promoting and marketing, but I love writing more. Even though I set my own writing schedule, I can so easily fall behind with all the social media temptations and marketing obligations.

What were the benefits of publishing independently?

I’m the primary decision maker. Once I decided my Dolphin Shore Shifters deserved a chance to be published and read, I chose my editor (she’s fabulous!).

I chose my cover designer and most of the elements and “feel” of the covers and my long-term branding.

I chose to publish direct with Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, Createspace, and IngramSparks.

I set the prices. I picked my part-time publicist.

Ongoing, I choose when to have a sale and for how little. I choose when to advertise and for how much.

What would you change if you could?

Not much in terms of my writing.

The years I spent querying agents, being rejected, querying editors, getting more rejections, then back to querying agents, I also spent developing new story ideas, learning so much about my craft, and writing books.

Maybe I could have self-published Blood Tide earlier, but I wasn’t fully committed to modifying my dream. Plus, I wrote two more Dolphin shifter books and a romantic suspense during that time.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

My best advice to aspiring writers is to keep writing!

Query agents while you continue to write.

Learn from the rejections while you continue to write.

Celebrate the requests for partials or fulls, then go right back to your WIP.

Before you self-publish, invest in a professional editor. While she/he is editing, start the next book.

You’re serious about being an author? You can’t go wrong with writing!

 

 

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The Santa Barbara Channel holds a closely guarded secret…

She had more than just her mission…

Sy’s rotation on land as a dolphin shifter couldn’t have come at a better time. With her best friend missing and no answers forthcoming, it was time to take matters into her own hands. And with the resources at the Save Blue Water organization, finding her friend would be a whole lot easier. Except …something sinister is going on inside SBW, something deadly, and Sy finds herself at the center of danger.

The last thing he needed was bullets and bombs…

Noah Nelson spent every minute trying to forget the war while fighting his PTSD, but jumping in front of a bullet was second nature. It had nothing to do with the fact the target was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Or that she was naked. But suddenly he’s caught up in her world, protecting her from unforeseen threats, and falling in love … but Sy’s got a secret that may rip them apart. Forever.

CJ matthew

CJ Matthew grew up in an Air Force family traveling and living all over the US and around the world. It proved to be the perfect experience for gathering ideas and material for future books. And for meeting real life heroes and heroines in uniforms and flight-suits. She spent her high school and university years living in California, which inspired her love of marine life, and the Pacific Ocean.

Her debut novel, Blood Tide, is the first book in her paranormal romantic suspense series titled Dolphin Shore Shifters. The series features a pod of dolphins living in the Santa Barbara, channel off the coast of California, capable of shifting to human form. While posing as real humans, the dolphins work through their oceanic conservation corporation, Save Blue Water, to protect their oceans at any cost.
CJ’s next series, The Paladin Group, launched with Deadly Reboot. The books are romantic suspense, set in a small southern town, and they star wounded air force veterans, men and women warriors turned civilian lawyers and investigators determined to continue their rescue work.
A member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), and Kiss of Death, CJ lives and writes near a lake in the woods northeast of Atlanta. When she isn’t writing or reading romances, CJ spends time with her two grown children, their spouses, a brilliant grandson and a feisty cat named Max.

Schedule permitting, CJ loves to travel, to discover new favorite places as well as meeting new friends in both the US and around the world.
Max flatly refuses to travel.

Website: cjmatthew.com

Email: cj@cjmatthew.com

Facebook: facebook.com/CJMatthewauthor

Twitter: @cjmatthew

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Veronica Bale on Going Hybrid

I’m thrilled to host hybrid author Veronica Bale today! Veronica writes Highland Historical Romance, and her books include the self-published Highland Loyalties TrilogyThe Black Douglases series published by Buroughs Publishing Group, as well as two self-published single titles. In this interview, she provides great insight into her experiences self-publishing and working with a small press, and she describes the symbiotic nature of that arrangement.

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer? When did you decide to write a book?

Officially, I’ve been a romance writer since August of 2012. This was the date my first self-published title, Bride of Dunloch, was released. The reason why I decided to write it is an interesting story. About ten years ago, I decided to fulfill my lifelong ambition to write a book, and made a start on my first (and subsequently abandoned) manuscript.

While shopping around for agents and/or publishers, I decided to try my hand at freelancing short romance stories and novellas on a work-for-hire basis, just to pay the bills and maybe get a foot in the door. There seemed to be a lot of people wanting short stories at that time, but I had no idea where these short stories were being published or why they were wanted.

After some digging, I learned about this thing called self-publishing. After some further digging, I learned that my stories, which had all been published under various nom-de-plumes by the individuals who bought them … were doing startlingly well! Of course, once I learned that, I simply had to write my own romance novel under my own name to see how it would do.

Turns out that my novel did far better than I ever imagined it would.

How has self-publishing compared with publishing with a small press?

I don’t consider self-publishing and signing with a publisher mutually exclusive. For me, it’s not one or the other. Self-publishing is what led me to my publisher, Boroughs Publishing Group. And the contacts I’ve made and exposure I’ve received through Boroughs is helping to elevate my profile, which still includes a number of self-published titles. It’s a symbiotic relationship, I find, and I’m thankful to be a part of both worlds.

Being picked up by Boroughs has been a huge step in my career as an author, but I don’t see it as the end of my self-publishing endeavours. For the foreseeable future, at least, I have every intention of continuing as a hybrid author. My current work-in-progress, The Ghosts of Tullybrae House, will be released independently this winter, at the same time that A Noble Treason, the sequel to my debut novel with Boroughs, A Noble Deception, is undergoing the editing process.

What has surprised you most about the publishing process?

Since joining the Boroughs Publishing family, I’ve been surprised and amazed by the level of support I receive from Boroughs staff and my fellow Boroughs authors. The level of excitement my editor, the lovely Jenni Hendricks, shows at my work is humbling. Michelle Klayman, the president of Boroughs herself, has been right there to answer all of my inane and trivial questions with patience and dedication. The team, the authors … I can’t say enough about them. They’re all fabulous. It really is like a family.

What is the single most important thing an unpublished writer should do to get published?

The single most important thing? Self-publish. I mean that wholeheartedly. Self-publishing taught me so much about the industry and the craft. It prepared me for the next level to which being signed by a publisher brought me in my career. By self-publishing, you learn about marketing, building a platform, interacting with a following, and it gives you the opportunity to make a name for yourself as an author. It’s a trial-by-fire, true enough. But remember: steel wasn’t forged by indulgent friends and family members, and hiding your “iron-in-progress” from the eyes of others. {So true!}

What is the single most important thing a self-published writer should do?

As a self-published author, it is imperative that you recognize that your self-publishing career is just that: a career. Treat it as a career, not a hobby. This is what you do. You are an author. Be professional. Improve your craft. Grow in your career path. You are an entrepreneur.
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Forced to wed a landless knight in order to protect her home, Moira MacInnes intends an annulment of her marriage to the arrogant Lachlan Ramsay as soon as possible. Falling in love wasn’t part of the plan.

THE ONLY THING MORE DANGEROUS THAN A LIE IS LOVE.

Scotland 1455 – The Douglas clan is at war with their king. To protect his lands from confiscation, Lord John Douglas, the dying Earl of Kildrummond, must find an heir that doesn’t carry his name.

A landless knight, Lachlan Ramsay expects no more of life than battles, blood, and the occasional warm bosom. But when Lord John makes him his heir, Lachlan has a chance at something he never dreamt of—a home. There’s just one condition: He must marry the earl’s bastard daughter, the fiery, eccentric Moira MacInnes.

Lachlan has no desire for a headstrong, sharp-tongued wife. Moira has no need for an arrogant, too-handsome husband. To save Kildrummond they will marry and seek an annulment immediately upon the earl’s death. But deception is never simple, and passion once inflamed is impossible to ignore. Soon they will no longer be deceiving the earl but themselves.

 

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Veronica has been a writer from a very young age.She’s always found the stories in her head a constant source of entertainment, and over the years has endeavoured to put them down on paper (with varying degrees of success.) She has always known that she would be an author at some point, and is still finding it difficult to believe that point has actually come.

Veronica is a “hockey mom” to a wonderful seven-year-old boy, and has a fantastic husband who is incredibly supportive of all her writing efforts. Besides writing she likes to knit (when she can find the time), run (when she can find the energy) and spend time with her family. She loves to read, and is crazy for anything with a gripping love story.

Nancy Sartor Shares Her Journey From Reader to Writer

I’m thrilled to host romantic suspense author Nancy Sartor! In this interview, she shares her journey from romance reader to writer, made possible with the help of a loving husband and an encouraging editor. Just wait until you find out how her story idea came to her!

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer? When did you decide to write a book?

My love for romances began with the legendary Kathleen Woodiwiss’s THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER. I devoured everything she wrote and then began to search out other writers whose stories lifted me above the everyday life of an unhappy wife with two small children. Frankly, it never once occurred to me in those days that I could write a publishable novel. After a divorce, I put my energies into raising my children. When they were nearly grown, I met the love of my life and married him. He, a nationally-recognized composer of classical music, spent a lot of time writing music. He admired the things I had written and encouraged me to take my writing seriously. That’s when I decided I might be able to write a novel.

What inspired you to write this story?

Spooky as this sounds, it is the absolute truth. I woke around 3 a.m. one morning. On my way to the bathroom, a voice whispered in my ear, “My name is Neva and I fix the faces of the dead.” I closed the door so as not to disturb my sleeping husband and whispered, “Cool. What *else* do you do?” That was the beginning of BONES ALONG THE HILL. Of course, what I had at that point was a character and her vocation—an unusual vocation, to be sure, but that left approximately 82,000 words to be developed, not to mention several characters and, oh yeah, a plot.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

I’m not sure I thought of it in terms formal enough to be called a “process.” I wrote huge volumes of text, left it to simmer, then rewrote it, handed it off to critique partners, blushed and rewrote, sent it to agents, blushed and rewrote. Meanwhile I was devouring everything I could find on how to write, taking classes with RWA and Donald Maass and sitting in rapt attention at the feet of published authors.

How long did it take to complete?

Five years, more or less.

Was this the first book you had written?

No. I had five other novels on the shelf when this one came to me. Several of them had garnered nice words from agents/editors. The first book I ever wrote snagged an agent, but it never sold.

Do you work on simultaneous projects?

No. I can’t keep more than one set of characters in my mind at any one time.

What was the rest of your life like while writing the book? 

I was a manager for a large government office, had a house and two acres of land to help keep up.

How did you fit your writing into the rest of your life?

As mentioned above, my husband puts quite a bit of time into his composing, so finding time to write was a fairly simple matter except when my day job interfered—and it often did.

Were you involved in a writer’s group?

Yes. Two. The Quill and Dagger group here in Nashville was comprised of a published writer and several extremely talented not quite published yet writers. At this point, three more of our writers including myself have been published. I also worked with two talented writers online, both of whom have now been published.

Who gave you feedback as you worked through writing the book?

The aforementioned writer’s group. I also attended conferences during the writing process and gained insight from agents and editors.

What kept you going through the process?

Honestly, my husband’s unwavering belief I was an excellent writer who could publish if I would only take the time and trouble to send the manuscript out to editors and agents.

Did you have a market in mind when you started writing the book?

Not really. BONES is an extremely tense romantic suspense. So tense my editor couldn’t read it after dark. I wasn’t sure it would work as a romance.

How many submissions did you send out?

Five billion, three hundred million, four hundred thousand and twelve. Actually, I have no idea. A *lot*.    {Lol :)}

What did you do when you got the go-ahead?

I’d queried two publishers. One of them asked for the first fifty, then requested the rest of the manuscript, giving me hope that they would publish it. They ultimately rejected it. Two weeks later, I saw an email from the other publisher. Thinking it was also a rejection, I opened it without much hope. “Nancy, we love this novel. We would like to publish it,” wrote my editor. I’d been positive the day I received an acceptance, I would do the over eighteen-year-old person’s version of a cartwheel. In fact, I sat in my chair, staring at the email for a couple of hours. My husband was outside working in the yard. When he came in, I said, “I’ve got an offer for publication.” No cartwheels, no cheers. I was absolutely gobsmacked.

Who’s the first person you called?

Well, this is the age of social media. When I had signed the contract, I posted the good news on Facebook and thus informed everyone including my family.

What happened between hearing your yes and getting the book to print?

That was a most satisfying process. My editor is a lovely woman who believes in her writers. She said when we first began the edits that there wouldn’t be many. The novel was really pretty clean (for which I credit all those great critique partners). We spent about a month swapping edits back and forth. She asked for suggestions on the cover and I offered a few. They did not use any of my suggestions, but the cover they did design is elegant and lovely.

What has surprised you most about this process?

What a complete joy it was to work with my editor. I’d heard horror stories from other writers and was prepared to see my novel ripped apart and reassembled, had more than one conversation with myself about the difference between cooperation and capitulation. But I never once felt pushed or disrespected as I worked with this editor. Far from it.

What would you change if you could?

I would send the book out to editors/ agents sooner and keep sending until somebody offered publication.  {Great advice!}

Bones Along the Hill_coverSmall

Neva is a funeral facial reconstructionist whose legendary skill at making the dead look alive has earned her the title of best in the nation. But her talent cannot bring back Gray Ledbetter her first love, who inexplicably took his own life ten years ago. Neva’s new love interest, hunky architect Davis Pratt has his own tragic mystery. He searches for his younger brother, Stephen, who disappeared long ago. Chances are Stephen’s dead, but Davis won’t give up. When their separate searches lead them to the Oakley cemetery and a murder tied to a human trafficking ring, impossible crimes threaten both family and friends, crimes that cannot be ignored. Not even the Nashville PD can keep Neva safe. Can Neva and Davis work together to avoid a looming fate that is absolutely worse than death?

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Nancy Sartor is a Nashville born writer, a charter member and current president of Word Spinners Ink, a member of RWA, MWA and SiNC. She is an enthusiastic graduate of Donald Maass’s Breakout Novel Intensive Workshop, Don Maass’s workshop on micro tension and the Writer’s Police Academy.

She lives in Rural Hill, Tennessee, just east of Nashville with her husband, classical composer, David Sartor, and two Maine Coon cats, Ginger (yes, that Ginger) and Autumn Fire, a kitten who does funny kitten things.

http://www.amazon.com/Bones-Along-Hill-Nancy-Sartor/dp/1941260810/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1415847796&sr=8-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bones-along-the-hill-nancy-sartor/1120724583?ean=9781941260814

http://www.nancysartor.com

For Fantasy Author Jen Crane, Life’s Too Real For Nonfiction

I’m thrilled to host self-published author Jen Crane today! Jen came out with a bang with her first two books from the Descended of Dragons series, and the third book is on its way. The second book, Origin Exposed, was selected as an “Our Picks” selection for the week in Fantasy/Sci-Fi on iTunes. If you want to get started on this riveting series, start now; Rare Form is currently on sale for only 0.99!

Read on to hear about how Jen fits writing into her busy life and why she chose to self-publish.

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer? When did you decide to write a book?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, and even chose careers in which writing was my primary focus. But those tasks required I take complicated subject matter and reformat it for public consumption—federal laws, complicated grants, things of that nature. My past writing lent itself to brevity. So I’ve had to re-learn creative writing.

I began writing a novel over two years ago. I kept having ideas for books in the shower, on long drives—whenever I had time alone to think. These stories wanted out of my head and onto paper. I couldn’t put the thoughts from my mind any longer, and finally decided it was “now or never.” Luckily my husband was super supportive. It’s been a long road, but I’m so glad these books have arrived at their destination. I love them. I hope others do, too.

Where do you find inspiration?

I have a dozen book ideas driving around in my head. This Descended of Dragons series is the one I let off the exit ramp. I love fantasy, whether it’s epic, paranormal, or urban. I wanted to write something I’d like to read, and this story, with its strong heroine, magical world, witty banter, and mythical creatures just came to me in a frenzy.

Describe your writing process.

I write all day on Tuesday and Thursdays. If I’m on a tight deadline, I write in the evenings or weekends, too, when I can. I don’t sit at a desk. I sit on my sofa with a pillow under my laptop, in silence (though occasional wordless music for an intense scene). The back of my house faces a forest, so I watch the squirrels, birds, and deer play while writing about a magical world full of animal shifters.

How long does it take you to finish a book?

Rare Form is the first book I wrote, and it took over two years. I learned to write novels as I…wrote a novel. The second book, Origin Exposed, was finished in six months. For me, once my brain became trained to think a certain way, to put words onto paper, and I developed a schedule it was a much quicker process. Of course, I’d set a tight deadline so that I could release both Books 1 and 2 in the Descended of Dragons series so that readers wouldn’t have to wait—they could go right into the second book. I’m currently writing Book 3, which I’ve tentatively titled Salted Wound, and I hope to release it in Spring 2016.

How do you fit your writing into the rest of your life?

I have three children of my own, and my nephew currently lives with us, too. Life is tough, and filled with little people. But my Tuesdays and Thursdays (unless there’s no school) are dedicated to writing. I try to do social media and author business-related things at night, after the kids go to bed. I fit laundry, housework, dinner, and attention for my husband in there somewhere!

Who gives you writing feedback?

I have made very close friends through my local RWA affiliate, Diamond State Romance Authors. They have been generous and kind to newbies like me. I have two critique partners, though I definitely take more than I receive. I’m working on that. And a couple of friends serve as beta readers.

What made you decide to publish independently?

I initially thought I would publish traditionally, but that was before I knew anything about the business. For a control freak like me, publishing independently has been a dream. It’s tough and tedious, sure, but I’m so glad I did it. I have loved getting to know the many aspects of the business, and feel empowered by the countless details I’ve learned along this process.

When considering publishing I read something that said if you can just get over the need for validation that being pursued by traditional publishers provides—if you know your stuff is good and can just go for it—then indy publishing will be so satisfying. I could get over the need for that validation, I knew people would love my books, and indy publishing has been incredibly satisfying.

What is the biggest challenge of publishing independently?

There are so MANY aspects of publishing independently. From social media requirements to print and ebook formatting, in addition to bookkeeping and advertising, being an indy pubbed author is essentially running a small business. When someone asks what should they do before becoming an author, I usually say ‘Take a business class,’ and I’m not kidding. Writing the book is the easy part.

What are the benefits of publishing independently?

Some benefits of indy publishing are complete control of cover art, editors, release dates, and pricing. Do you have to know the business to make these decisions? Well, sure, but that’s good for ya.

What has surprised you most about the process?

The most surprising thing about this process is how tough it is. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I have a whole new respect for both struggling and successful authors out there—they’ve worked their butt off.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

My advice for aspiring writers is to read everything you can get your hands on. Learn the genre(s) you love, learn the business, learn about marketing.

The most important piece of advice, though, may be that aspiring writers should just go for it! Go ahead; take that first step. The first chapter of my books always suck. Absolute crap. But, writing is also about revision (OMG is it!), and what’s important is that a writer…writes.

To aspiring writers I say put words on a screen and begin your story. If you have to take out the first chapter (or three) later, so be it. That rough beginning is a means to an end, and it’s necessary–at least for me. But if a writer never starts….they’ll certainly never finish.

And when an aspiring writer isn’t writing, they should be joining a local writers group, reading up about the publishing industry, and about self-promotion. Takes a WHOLE lotta that.

 

Jen Crane eBook cover lower res

Discovering a secret past means losing herself completely.

A Secret Past

Fiery redhead Stella Stonewall can’t decide between a margarita and a manhattan.

The rest of her life? Please. Stella has never really fit in, and her pretty world comes crashing down when she learns it was never her world at all.

Rowan Gresham is domineering, brooding, and as sexy as chocolate-dipped sin. When he transports Stella to the magical realm of her parents she recognizes her rightful place immediately. Gresham’s motivations are less clear.

A Scorching Chemistry

The enigmatic Gresham aids in Stella’s metamorphosis and their chemistry ignites, though a long-time girlfriend and a significant age difference stand in the way.

A Battle for the Rest of Her Life

Stella’s life fast-tracks to extraordinary when she enrolls at Radix Citadel for Supernatural Learning, an enchanted college whose students turn furry on the regular. As Stella learns to navigate the magical new world of Thayer she must also find her animal form, a task as elusive as her ancestry. Stella soon faces an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn to manipulate an animal form she never knew she possessed.

 

 

Purchase Rare Form:

Kindle: http://bit.ly/RFAmazonBuylink

B&N Nook: http://bit.ly/RFBNBuylink

iTunes: http://bit.ly/RFiBooksBuylink

Kobo: http://bit.ly/RFKoboBuylink

 

BW Best Headshot

 

 

Though she grew up on a working cattle ranch, Jen Crane has been in love with fantasy and sci-fi since seeing a bootleg tape of Quantum Leap in the 90’s.

Jen has a master’s degree and solid work histories in government and non-profit administration. But just in the nick of time she pronounced life too real for nonfiction. She now creates alternate realms filled with adventure, magic, and love.

Jen is happily living out her dream in The South with her husband and three children, striking that delicate balance between inspiration and frustration.

Website: http://www.JenCraneBooks.com

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/JenCraneBooks

Twitter: @JenCraneBooks

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