Patricia Preston Gives Away Great Writing Advice, Free Books, and An Amazon Gift Card!

Hello readers! I’m delighted to return and host self-published romance writer Patricia Preston. Patricia seems to have reached a happy place with her writing and publishing, and in this interview, she shares her journey to publication. She also tells you how you can win FREE books and a $20 Amazon gift card!!!! Enter a comment here and/or on Patricia’s website for chances to win!

What made you decide to write romance novels?

I like positive, fun stories with a happy ending and characters who are heroic, even though sometimes they make mistakes. I love stories with a positive message and where the good guys win and love conquers all and for a little while, I like making all that seem possible for a reader.

What would you have done differently if you could start all over again?

When it comes to writing, I would have not written anything “according to category guidelines.” When I started, I knew was trying to write a category romance, and so I jumped on the bandwagon, which was stupid of me. Writing to specific guidelines suppressed me as a storyteller. I regret the loss of that time in my life and that’s one thing I would do differently. As a writer, you should always do what works best for you and your stories. I had a lot of friends who wrote according to publisher guidelines and enjoyed it.

Can you imagine having a different career? What would it be?

I can imagine a lot of fun things. But writing tends to suit me best.

How has the market changed since you first published?

Greatly. I mean, it is totally different with ebooks. I wish it would have been this way years ago. I love all the different opportunities writers have nowadays. Best time ever to be a writer.

What was your biggest challenge when it comes to publishing?

Nowadays, a writer has to make choices. Whether you want to go traditional or indie. Because each has a different route. Right now, I’m working with a traditional publisher, and I enjoy it. But that isn’t to say I’ve given up indie publishing. I have several short stories I want to write, but I signed a three-book contract, and I have to spend my time getting those books written. I also have a part-time job in healthcare as well as writing, so there’s only so much I can do.

How has your experience with self-publishing been?

Wonderful! The first story I published was The Yard Sale. I had no expectations. I just wanted to see what it would be like. It turned out to provide me with one of my best writing moments ever. It was such fun to write and I had been depressed over some losses in my life during the past year. It really helped me emotionally and set me on a new path as far as writing goes. The first day of its release, it made the top ten in comedy and for a while, it was in the number 1 spot on Amazon’s Best Seller list in Comedy. I almost passed out!

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

Regardless of a writer’s publishing status, you should focus on writing the best book you can.

How has your life changed as you have published more books?

I write more. Like every day. Seven days a week. Seriously.

What is your perfect writing place?
I like what I have right now. But, if we’re talking wishful thinking, it would have a wall of windows overlooking forested hills and a vibrating recliner. LOL!

What advice do you have for new writers?

Work at the craft. Never stop learning or trying new things. Write what you love. Be sure to finish the book you start.

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Patricia’s newest book, ONE WEEK IN YOUR ARMS, is mainstream contemporary romance filled with witty, charismatic characters. The fun, fast-paced plot features a secret baby, a billionaire baby daddy hero who needs a pretend girlfriend for a week, and a pretty doctor who is desperate to keep her child a secret. Unfortunately for the intrepid heroine, Marla, she needs money for her community clinic so she has no choice but to spend a week in paradise with the one man who can destroy her life. How can she say no?

ONE WEEK IN YOUR ARMS is the first book in Love Heals All series where romance causes havoc, heartache, and humor for a cast of unsuspecting doctors until they realize love heals all. published under the Lyrical Shine imprint of Kensington Books. Each book can be read as a stand-alone. They do feature the same location and continuing characters. The next book in the series is EVERYTHING HIS HEART DESIRES, coming in Jan 2017.

Excerpt:

She picked up the letter opener. Her heart palpitated in sheer terror as she slid the opener under the flap of the envelope. With the envelope open, she peeped inside to see one folded sheet of stationery.

After six years, what could he possibly have to say?

She pictured him, standing beside a black truck in the drive of Royal Oaks, an old estate belonging to his grandmother. She recalled the date. June twenty-eighth. The day they had said goodbye had been a warm, blustery day in Tennessee. A summer storm was heading toward the rolling hills near Nashville.

The wind made a mess of Carson’s unruly dark hair. His dark blue eyes were hidden by a pair of mirrored lens aviators, and his alpha-male physique tested the seams of his polo shirt.

“If I’m ever back in town, I’ll look you up,” he promised as their casual affair came to an inevitable end. For three weeks, they had been together and finally, the time had come for them to go their separate ways. She hadn’t realized it would be so difficult.

“Sure.” She forced a smile of goodwill. After all, they weren’t parting in anger, or in love for that matter. And it was unlikely that she would ever see him again.

“I had a great time,” she confessed boldly. She’d loved every minute of their brief, steamy affair. Talk about a summer break to remember. She grinned.

He gave her cheek a stroke. “You’ll make a great doctor.”

“You think so?”

“Yeah.” He grinned. “You certainly know all there is to know about male anatomy.”

“Yours, at least.” She laughed. Then she hopped up on her toes and gave him a quick kiss. “Goodbye, Carson Blackwell.”

She stepped away from him. Now was the time to face what was ahead. A grueling three-year residency. There would be no more time for long summer nights, tangled sheets, and sighs against swollen lips. She walked toward her small, sturdy hatchback. Before she opened the driver’s door, she looked up and met his gaze.

“Goodbye,” he called.

At that moment, she’d had an odd sensation in her chest that her life was never going to be the same.

Buy Links:
Amazon http://amzn.to/1SCo3li
Nook http://bit.ly/1VmaHru
Kobo http://bit.ly/1Vma8Oe
iBooks http://apple.co/1W6y6l6

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Patricia Preston writes mainstream romances where love matters most. You are her reader if you like fun, passionate, feel good reads. Must haves in her writing cave include sweet tea and music. Besides writing, she loves music, history, taking road trips, and anything containing chocolate. Her dream-come-true would be a townhouse in the French Quarter. She never misses Supernatural or the Walking Dead. She is repped by the Seymour Agency and currently working on a contemporary romance series, Love Heals All, for Lyrical Shine imprint of Kensington Books.

Available titles include Amazon best sellers, “The Yard Sale” and “Laid to Rest,” as well as historical romances: To Save a Lady and Almost an Outlaw. Coming in September is the first book in the Love Heals All series from Kensington Boos, One Week in Your Arms. Also available for pre-order is the second book in the series, Everything His Heart Desires.

Author Links:
Webpage
Amazon
BookBub
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

 

Patricia is celebrating the coming of fall and the release of her first book in her new contemporary romance series by giving away a batch of her Kindle ebooks and a $20 Amazon gift card. You can enter by leaving a comment and email address on this blog and add extra entries by going to her Giveaway post on her blog: http://patricia-preston.blogspot.com/2016/08/celebrating-new-release-monthbatch-of.html Drawing will be on Sept 30th. Winner notified via email.

Becky Lower on Finding the Right Publisher and Fixing the Blank Page

I’m delighted to host multi-published author Becky Lower, who publishes both contemporary romances, like Blame It On the Brontes (a title that definitely intrigues me), and American historical romances. She recently released Forgotten Debutante, Book 9 of the Cotillion Ball series. In this interview, Becky shares the challenges she has faced with finding the right publisher and the one piece of advice that keeps her writing.

What made you decide to write romance novels?

I’ve always been a storyteller, and I’ve always (well, at least after I got out of college and could read what I wanted), read romances. I don’t usually read books more than once, since there are so many good ones to get through. But I make an exception when it comes to Jude Deveraux’s A Knight In Shining Armor. {I’ll have to add that to me TBR list!}

What was your biggest challenge when you were trying to publish your debut novel?

Finding a publisher who was willing to take a chance on a newly-minted author. My books don’t fit into a neat little box. My historicals are set in America but they’re not necessarily westerns. My contemporaries feature older heroes and heroines, and there’s not a billionaire in sight. So I needed to find a publisher who wasn’t locked in to the norm, who was searching for something different.

Did that work out? Were you able to find the right publisher?

I have been blessed to have Crimson Romance believe enough in my concept of having nine interconnected historical novels in my series. It’s been nice knowing I could get to the end of the series while at the same publisher. My contemporaries have gone down a different path. I’ve tried a couple different small-press publishers for them, with mixed results. I do want to spread my wings a bit now that my contract with Crimson is over, so I’m searching for someone new right now.

What would you have done differently if you could start all over again?

I would have started taking my writing seriously the minute I graduated college, instead of spending a lifetime in a series of occupations and hobbies that never quite fit.

How has the market changed since you first published?

Self-publishing has moved from being a path to publication that everyone pooh-poohed to one that more and more authors are embracing. I have yet to take the plunge, simply because of the learning curve involved, but I may do it this year.

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

Join a critique group and don’t be afraid to let a total stranger read your work. Your friends and family are going to support you, but you need impartial feedback if you’re going to get ahead.

What about once a writer becomes published?

Make sure you’ve got your social media in place. At a minimum, you need a website and a Facebook page. If you’re comfortable with more, add in blogs, twitter, pinterest, google+, etc. But start out with the basics and add on as you figure out what interests you most.

Where is the best place to go for writing advice?

Your local RWA chapter. The people in my chapter are so willing to share their expertise with everyone and they’re the most supportive group ever.

What is the best writing advice you have ever gotten?

I live by one of Nora Roberts’ quotes–I can fix everything but a blank page. So I put words on the page even when I’m not feeling it, since I edit my work at least five times before I think it’s ready to be read by someone other than me. I can fix it, but not if I haven’t written anything.

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Don’t miss the touching conclusion to the Cotillion Ball Saga!

In 1863, America is war-weary. Fifteen-year-old Saffron Fitzpatrick, whose teenage years have been spent mourning the dead rather than dancing at her debutante ball, just wants to visit her beloved horse after being housebound due to the draft riots. A chance meeting with soldier Ezekiel Boone changes everything.

Three years ago, Ezekiel ran away with his older brothers to join the war effort, welcoming the chance for adventure. But when all four of his brothers die at Chancellorsville, he retreats home, despondent and depending on the kindness of strangers, like Saffron, who help him on the journey. They share a wild ride and a breathless kiss, parting with fond memories.

Fate reunites the couple three years later, and their former attraction rekindles as they discover unexpected common ground and begin to build a relationship. But though the war is over, a future together may still elude them … especially if Saffron’s older, protective brother and the U.S. Army have anything to say about it.

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Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels, which she’s pleased to say have become Amazon best-sellers. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it present day middle America or on a covered wagon headed west in the 1850s. Contemporary and historical romances are her specialties. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and a member of the Contemporary and Historic RWA chapters. Her degree is in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and she lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary.

 

 

Romantic Suspense Author Mari Manning is an HEA Kind of Gal

I’m delighted to introduce Mari Manning, author of romantic suspense and contemporary romances who has recently published her newest release with Entangled Publishing. In this interview, Mari shares her experience with humor and a helpful nudge of encouragement. You’ll appreciate her smart insights into the romance writing world; her explanation of why she writes romance novels is so on target and well articulated, I wish I’d written it myself!

What made you decide to write romance novels?

I write about things that interest me, and the relationships of men and women interest me. The courtship leading to HEA is always a delicate dance of attraction, diplomacy, a little bribery, a little deception, a lot of hope. The expectations of men and women tend to be different, which is fun to explore. I love creating flawed characters redeemed by love. I guess I am just an HEA kind of gal.

What was your biggest challenge when you were trying to publish your debut novel?

Just learning all the rules! I started out as a pantser. I wrote what pleased me, completely ignorant of such things as character arc, backstory dumps, head hopping, deep POV, inciting incidents, etc. It took a while to understand these concepts well enough to incorporate them into my writing.

What would you have done differently if you could start all over again?

I would have joined a writers group sooner. I’ve learned so much, and it’s so nice to have people to turn to when I need advice or have questions. We are all at different places in our writing careers so I have a chance to help people behind on the writing path, and also get help from those ahead of me.

Can you imagine having a different career? What would it be?

I’ve had lots of careers, and right now I am a Director of Marketing. But writing is something I’ve always wanted to do. I also wanted to be a movie star, but even my mother, who’s my biggest fan, had doubts about my ability to do that.

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

Do not give up. I think writing success is fifty-percent talent and fifty-percent persistence. I’ve met many amazing writers (far better than me) who have stopped writing because they got discouraged. Don’t do it! If you love writing keep going. Get advice, take classes, find seasoned writers to critique your work. Keep submitting to editors and agents. Woody Allen once said something like, “Ninety percent of success is just showing up.”

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

If you have just published your first book, think of it as your ticket to the show. Use it to get on blogs, set up author pages on major websites, volunteer to do signings, start a newsletter, etc. Then write more books. For most authors, being prolific is going to be important.

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The only thing standing between her and disaster is a man she can’t trust …

As far as Dinah Pittman is concerned, men can’t be trusted. Especially cops. Her own father was a cop and a convicted felon who stole a small fortune before dying in prison. The best part? No one knows where the money is…and someone is willing to kill off everyone who knows anything about it.

And Dinah is next.

Rafe Morales left the Dallas police force to settle down to a simpler life in the small Texas town of El Royo. Instead, he finds himself protecting an infuriating, tough-as-nails, oh-so-sexy victim—and driving himself crazy with a thoroughly unprofessional desire.

But as the body count rises, Rafe and Dinah must find a way to trust each other…before they both end up dead.

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About Mari Manning

Let’s start with the fun stuff. I love small towns, mysteries, quiet men, laughter, old-fashioned spaghetti dinners. I love boots and shopping and jokes and Hershey’s dark chocolate and white wine. I love lots of things. But my first love is reading.

I love to read. Just about anything, but it has to be well-written. I go through periods where I am into historical novels or romance or mystery or history or biography. I never know when my desires will suddenly change.

Now for the writer-ish, official stuff: Mari Manning is the author of several contemporary romances and three romantic suspense novels set in the Texas Hill Country. Stranger at My Door is the first in her A Murder in Teas series. The second, Stranger in My House will be published by Entangled later this year. The third book in the series is Stranger in My Bed. Currently Mari is working on a series of cozy mysteries. She and her husband live in Chicago.

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