Tinthia Clemant on Handling Rejection and Becoming a Better Writer

I’m so delighted to host Tinthia Clemant today. Tinthia recently self-published her romance novel, The Summer of Annah: A Midsummer’s Wish, her second if you count the robin/bluebird romance she made her mom when she was seven :).

In this interview, Tinthia graciously shares her journey to publication, from hearing difficult feedback about her first draft to working to improve her writing every day.

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer?

I’ve been enthralled with love stories ever since I first saw Sleeping Beauty at the age of four. My parents took my siblings and me to the local library, and I climbed up onto my father’s lap and entered the world of Princess Aurora, aka Briar Rose, her fairy godmothers and, of course, the handsome Prince Phillip. It was at that defining moment that my subconscious made two very important decisions—I wanted to find true love and I wanted to create marvelous stories about true love’s first kiss.

What inspired you to write this story?

The decision to write The Summer of Annah: A Midsummer’s Wish came on the eve of my 59th birthday. I had all these wonderful stories about love clambering around inside me and Annah was the loudest. She spoke to me as I went about my day-to-day life, asking for a chance to have her story told. I like to say I live vicariously through my characters. Annah has the brave qualities I wish I possessed. And she has Eric.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

When it comes to writing, I’m a pantster. Yes, that’s a real term in the writing world. I get a spark of an idea and I start writing. The words pour out, many of which make little sense but I release them anyway. There are times when the characters take me to a places I hadn’t imagined going. Then at other times, they remain mute and refuse to come out to play.

During the initial draft phase, I kept a notebook with the names of each character. That was it. I foolishly thought my first draft was awesome and actually shared it with an English teacher at the school where I teach. Hey, if other writers could find success with only their first draft, why not me? His comment: “Stay teaching. Your writing is crap.” That was the slap I needed to learn as much as I could about this frightening process called fiction writing and, after long hours of sweat, tears, and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, The Summer of Annah matured and became the amazing story I’m presenting to the world.

How long did it take to complete?

I typed the first word on March 1, 2015. I finished the first draft in October and had it shot down by mid-November. At the end of January, I completed a second draft, which I ultimately sent out for a developmental read. Elizabeth Davies, bless her soul, provided quality direction and guidance. I placed the third draft on Scribophile for daily critiques and in March of 2016, I hired a professional editor.

Was this the first book you had written?

My first book was also self-published and a huge success, receiving accolades from my audience. It was a story about a love that formed between two unlikely souls—a bluebird and a robin. True love overcame all obstacles and they lived happily ever after. I stapled the pages together and presented the book to my mother for Mother’s Day. I was seven and on my way to becoming the literary world’s newest and freshest romance writer. Since then I’ve written several stories but they have only seen the inside of my shredder. As I mentioned, my characters tend to be far braver than I am.

Did you work on simultaneous projects?

If you count living and keeping a roof over my head working on simultaneous projects, then, yes, I did. Annah became my primary focus in the fiction arena. As a college teacher, I need to write for my job and I blog about my life as a single woman living on the Concord River (concordriverlady.com) and needed to maintain that presence. The story was never far from my mind though. Oftentimes I would need to stop what I was doing so I could record a thought or jot down some dialogue for the book. I’ve lived and breathed The Summer of Annah for well over a year.

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

I’m most creative in the early morning hours. In May of 2015, I adopted a blind Australian Shephard puppy who prefers to be awake early in the day. Four o’clock a.m. early! I would write for three to four hours every morning, including Saturdays and Sundays. I became religious in the process. Every morning I sat at the computer, coffee mug alongside, and write as the sun rose over the Concord River. At night, I would end the day by clocking in another two hours.

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

Unfortunately, writing can put a person inside a bubble. For example, I honestly thought the draft I presented to my colleague was good. After all, it appeared to be good to me. Ha. Wake-up call. For the second draft, I enlisted a family member and close friend, and, as I mentioned, Elizabeth Davies. During that time, I also read everything I could get my eyes on about dangling participles and passive voice. Once the third draft was finished, I posted it on Scribophile for daily critiques.

What kept you going through the process?

What kept me going through the process? Chocolate, Ben and Jerry, and daily walks. However, when things got too overwhelming I would throw my hands up and cry, ‘This is too damn hard. I can’t do it’ and my sister, and my son’s girlfriend would push me to forward. Having two people who believed in me so completely gave me the strength to finish the book.

What made you decide to publish independently?

I despise rejection. By now, one would think I’d be used to it after being divorced from the same man twice. But alas, it still stinks. Going the traditional route provided visions of rejection letters stacked around empty containers of Chubby Hubby and I was concerned my blood sugar would spike to dangerous levels. Plus, I’m a control freak. Publishing myself affords me the opportunity to call the shots. It’s a great feeling.

What was the biggest challenge of publishing independently?

The biggest challenge of publishing independently is not being organized. It’s important to have a plan and a goal. Just wanting to publish a book isn’t enough. Once I had my goal, such as knowing I wanted to publish both an e-book and paper format that led me to the next step of what vendor to work with. I read, I asked, I attended workshops, I perused the web, I ate chocolate, and I’m still doing it over again. I also joined an indie Yahoo group where I found wonderful people willing to answer my barrage of questions.

What were the benefits of publishing independently?

FREEDOM! Let’s hear it for freedom. I’m free to write what I want. I’m free to choose my cover (with the help of a cover artist). I’m free to choose the names of my characters. My marketing promotions—mine! Freedom is a wonderful thing. I highly recommend it. If you asked me the downside of publishing independently, I would shout MONEY! It costs money to do it right.

What has surprised you most about the process?

What surprised me the most about the process was (and it still amazes me every day) how helpful other authors are. I’ve met wonderful women, and men, who have offered support, advice, kindness, critiques, encouragement, and praise—even chocolate.

What would you change if you could?

Published authors advise reading the manuscript aloud before sending it to an editor. That’s an important step in the process and I wish I hadn’t skipped it. By reading the words out loud, the energy of the story comes alive and it’s easier to find the areas that need tweaking.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Never, never, never take criticism personally. Use comments and critiques to sharpen your skills. And, write every day. Every single day! Even if the words are junk, write them down. You’re only going to improve by working on your skill. Remember what Raymond Chandler said about writing. “Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean it up every noon.”

midsummer's dream

“The true love I desire shall come to me, this I ask, so mote it be.”

When Annah-Belle Henderson cast a spell for love, she never envisioned her wish would be granted in the young nephew of her best friend. With a face that rivals the Norse god Thor, and a body to match, the charismatic Eric Ashworth draws Annah into a dizzying current of emotions. Should she accept the chance for love with a man twenty years younger or should she reject her feelings? As a past darkness threatens to destroy all that she longs for, Annah makes a decision that begins a journey fraught with judgement, betrayal, disloyalty, and perhaps death. If she can hold on, she just might find true love in Eric’s arms. But first, she must survive.




Tinthia Clemant lives on the Concord River with her two dogs, two cats, one son, a flock of wild Mallards, and other assorted river creatures. She is a believer in true love, the magic of love’s first kiss, and the power of chocolate. As the romance genre’s newest author, Tinthia fell in love with love stories when she watched Prince Phillip awaken Sleeping Beauty. That did it for her! Unfortunately, she has yet to find that special kiss. Throwing her arms up in defeat, she decided to write about it and live vicariously through her characters. You can find her lurking in the shadows of Twitter, Facebook and at tinthiaclemant.com.
Book Trailer link https://youtu.be/hMnGnFmYSnQ



Roni Hall On Her Debut, Montana Wild

I’m delighted to host Roni Hall, debut author who recently published Montana Wild, described by a reviewer as “an enthralling, action-packed novel…a real page turner.” In this interview, Roni shares her inspiration and the email that turned around a terrible day. Don’t miss her biography; Roni shares the beginning of a love story that could be a tease for her next novel. I’d love to find out how that charismatic guy in the diner wooed his waitress!

When did you decide to write a book?

My kids were finishing high school and life was slowing down. I had more time and instead of taking up knitting, I took up writing.

What inspired you to write this story?

As a nurse, I encountered numerous memorable patients, but there were a few that forever settled into my heart. Montana Wild is fiction, but Jacob, the patient in the story was real. In the span of a human lifetime, I knew him a very short time, but his spirit had a lasting effect on me. Jacob died decades ago, but he stays with me and inspired me to write.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

I am a ‘panster’. I write by the seat of pants. I can’t plot a story out.

How long did it take to finish your book?

It took a few years because at first it was just a hobby. When life got busy, writing stopped. Once, I put it down for over a year!

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

After my day job is finished at 5, writing is my go to. It relaxes me.

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

My husband and daughter. My husband read it numerous times during editing. LOL

What kept you going through the process?

An inner calling to finish something I created.

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

I remember the day well. We had a historical rain storm that flooded the streets and I was exhausted from a 3-hour white knuckled drive home from work. I was exhausted but once I opened the acceptance email the stress of the day vanished.

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

Editing, editing and more editing!

What has surprised you most about this process?

It never goes as quickly as the author would like.

What would you change if you could?

It’s a learning process and I think your first book is like your first baby . . . you learn so much. It would be nice if it was a speedy ride with no bumps, but we know that is not life.

Spiraling downward after losing two loved ones within one week, Jamie’s world was closing in…until she grabs an unexpected lifeline and escapes. Knowing only New York City, Montana is another world and she is unprepared by how the land, the people and even the animals touch her. After risking her life to save a child, Jamie shares an undeniable bond and the beginning ripples of deep emotions with her co-rescuer, Kevin. However, her past follows her to Montana and threatens all that she loves there. Jamie has no choice but to hurt Kevin in order to save his life and returns to New York with her ex, Derrick. Broken, Kevin refuses to believe she doesn’t love him and searches for Jamie, only to find her in Derrick’s lair. Once again Jamie tries to protect Kevin but this time gets caught in the cross fire.


The summer after high school graduation, Roni worked two jobs to pay for nursing school. During the midnight shift as a waitress, a charismatic young man at the counter flirted with her for hours as he consumed seven cups of coffee. Their first date was eventful enough to be a book itself! Thirty-seven years and two kids later, the love story continues. Just like her novels, life can’t be too simple and you must make it an adventurous ride!

Her favorite place to write is in her hammock at their small Michigan cottage where she literally dodges the feeding hummingbirds while being serenaded by the lake’s loons. Besides writing, she loves Slow Rollin’ in Detroit and the combination of good food, better wine, and dear friends.


Debra Elise on Writing and Publishing Her Sports-Themed Romance

I’m excited to host debut author Debra Elise today! Debra is a debut author who is about to release her first book, Saving Maverick, about a bad-boy pitcher and the media consultant who tries to rescue his image. Read on to find out how she got her book finished and then published by Bloomsbury USA.

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer?

This is a hard question because I’ve always loved to write. When I was in my twenties I bought a ‘how to book’ on writing romance but after reading it, I thought ‘this is really hard’ LOL. I put it away and went back to devouring my favorites…Johanna Lindsey, Nora and in recent years, Rebecca Zanetti and Kresley Cole.

When did you decide to write a book?

A little over three years ago fate stepped in and introduced me to one of my favorite authors, Rebecca Zanetti. With her encouragement I stepped into the this wonderful, crazy business.

What inspired you to write this story?

I grew up watching my brother play and my dad coach baseball. When sports romances became popular I was hooked and decided I needed to write a bad boy pitcher. I also knew I needed to write a strong heroine who could hold her own with an alpha athlete, and Kelsey Sullivan, public relations specialist was born.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

I’m a visual person so I began with pictures for each of my main characters to focus on when writing the first draft. It was also important to me that I have a few scenes where the game was actually being played or practiced. I spent time watching games and thinking about what type of action scenes I wanted to include.

About halfway through writing the book the characters weren’t following the plot line I’d spent hours working on and in the end I wound up writing an entirely different book than what I started with. I’ve altered my writing process for subsequent books and do a bit of plotting and a lot of pantsing 😉

Was this the first book you had written?

My first book is a paranormal currently collecting dust bunnies under a desk in my office. I still love the characters, but the plot fell apart mid-way. One day I’ll go back to it.

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

Crazy…two boys and a husband who although very supportive, were not used to sharing mom with her laptop.  I also had to adjust what time of day I wrote. I really wanted to spring out of bed in the mornings and pour out all the ideas that were marinating as I slept, but the other members of our household really wanted breakfast. (I’ve since taught the oldest to get his own breakfast and I’m still working on hubby) Sometimes I’d wake up an hour earlier than normal, but often I would write after the kids went to school and hubby was at work and often after everyone went to bed.

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

One of my writer peeps, Cathryn Cade, from my local RWA chapter was a huge help with Saving Maverick. I honestly don’t believe this book would be what it is without her.

What kept you going through the process?

I just kept at it. Every day. I found out that releasing a book with a traditional publishing house is a longer process than those of my friends who were self-pubbing, and the wait can be frustrating. But writing the next book and the next is what kept me going after this book was edited and complete.

How many submissions did you send out?

I think close to ten total between publishers and editors. I also pitched the book twice in person during Nationals in 2014.  I actually received my contract offer from an online pitch in 2014. But, it took almost four months after that before I heard anything and when I did it was very surreal. It took days to sink in that I was going to be a published author!


Maverick Jansen and Kelsey Sullivan fall into a complicated game of PR strategy by day and searing passion by night where they both find a new meaning to fast and hard.


Days before the biggest game of playboy pitcher Maverick Jansen’s career, his brother is killed in a horrific car accident. Determined not to let his teammates down, Mav pushes through his grief only to lose control of his signature pitch—and the series.


Still dealing with the backlash of his once adoring fans, Maverick learns his team’s owner plans to move the ball club to small town America. During a night of hard drinking Mav rails against the move to “Hicksville” while a fan records the entire tirade. His career takes another hit when the video goes viral right before spring training.

Kelsey Sullivan, Media Consultant, is hired by the team’s owner and her childhood friend, Thomas Scott, to help restore Maverick’s image and find a way to get his mojo back. As the daughter of a former minor league ball player who walked away from her and her unstable mother, Kelsey breaks her main client rule—no male athletes—to help her friend and gain a coveted position with the ball club.


Persuaded to pretend they’re a couple against her better judgment, Kelsey and Maverick begin dating as a last ditch effort to secure his place on the team, fix his public image and prove to an unstable groupie who’s begun posting doctored photos on the internet that he’s taken.

In order to convince Kelsey what they have is more than just soul-shattering sex, Maverick digs deep, overcoming his commitment phobia and unexpected news to prove to Kelsey love can save them both. Can Kelsey bury her long-held belief that a bad boy baseball player isn’t the happily-ever-after type so they both can make the Show.


View More: http://kellyannphotography.pass.us/deb

Debra Elise lives with her husband and their two sons in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She loves to read, nap, write, and watches entirely too much reality T.V. She also enjoys hanging out with other author-type individuals and teasing her three ‘boys’ into displaying their killer smiles. Most days find her carpooling, avoiding laundry and daydreaming about her characters and how to make them come alive for her readers.

You can find her on the following sites:





INSTAGRAM: DebraEliseAuthor

Máirín Fisher-Fleming on Telling Her Characters’ Story

I’m delighted to host Máirín Fisher-Fleming today. Máirín is a former dancer who recently published Dancing on the Dark Side, a story of a dance student whose TA happens to be a vampire. One of her readers wrote about the book, “There’s a lot to love about this story. I especially appreciated how even though there are references to their physical attraction (and, yes, there’s sex eventually), this doesn’t overpower the sweet and beautifully rendered emotions at play here. Also, all the emphasis on natural environments and nature magic was like a breath of fresh air.”

Read on to learn about Máirín’s journey to publication.

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

I never set out to a romance writer per se.  I just wanted to tell a story. The romance just kind of developed as the story progressed.

What inspired you to write this story?

Appropriately enough, a song and a dance. As a former dancer,  I often ‘see’ songs in terms of movement.  The song that eventually evolved into ‘Dancing on the Dark Side is Iris’ by the Goo Goo Dolls, especially the line ‘I’d give up forever to touch you…’

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

I am not a plotter.  I’m a plotting pantser. I knew where the story would go but not how it was going to get there. There were times when the characters took hold of the plot and ran away with it, surprising me and my beta readers.

Was this the first book you had written?

Yes. I have always written, but never did anything serious. Then I started dabbling in fanfic, until I decided that it was time that I stopped playing with other people’s creations and let my own have their say.

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

It wasn’t easy. I work full time in addition to having a farm.  So writing was done on lunch hours, weekends and in the evenings.  And whenever inspiration struck.  There was a lot of scribbling in notebooks that had to be transcribed onto the computer.  My laptop became a constant companion.  And so did Moleskine notebooks.

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

I have an amazing Beta reader (who is also my best friend). S. K. Ryder has been an amazing help and inspiration, offering insights into the characters and their situations that I didn’t catch at first.

What kept you going through the process?

The characters. They wanted their story told.

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

Originally I had considered writing a young adult story but I thought that market was saturated and often not with the greatest stuff.  I felt that an older set of characters would be more believable and would be easier to relate to, so I aged them up to the New Adult’ genre.

How many submissions did you send out?  

A lot.  But things really came together for me at The Surrey International Writer’s conference when I had some excellent pitch sessions with publishers, agents and editors.

What would you change?

I might have held out for a publisher in a larger house.  It is tough working with a small Indie publisher.  I am such a newb at this whole process and I really have no idea how to ‘get the word out there.  Not having a ‘print book’ is also tough because it’s rather hard to have a ‘signing’ or other such event when you are strictly published. I am really hoping this changes in the next year.

dark dancer 200x300

Spirited college senior Bliss is preparing to make her mark in the world of contemporary dance. She’s thrilled to be training at the prestigious Windhaven College of the Arts in Salem, Massachusetts. But things get weird the moment she sets foot on the campus.
Her new roommate, Rowan, is a mind-reading, storm-calling descendent of the Sidhe, the Fae of Ireland, with a secret agenda.

Ciarán, the charming TA for her performance class, is the most brilliant dancer she’s ever seen. Too bad he hides from the sun and has a taste for human blood. Bliss should have run screaming in terror, but Rowan’s magic has woken memories of a past life she cannot deny.

The more she learns of Ciarán’s tragic past and the family of Sidhe he protects, the more she realizes she is a part of their world and her new ‘normal’ is anything but. Enter the Order, ancient enemy of everything supernatural. To protect Bliss and the Sidhe, Ciarán draws her into the very heart of his magical world. Soon, instead of dancing together, they are fighting a bitter battle to prevent disaster from tearing them apart again. This time forever.




Máirín lives and works on an orchard in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia and is slave to several feline overlords. She has a background in theatre and dance and is happiest when she is by the ocean. Dark Dancer is her first full length novel.


Samantha Stone Shares Her Journey to Publication

I’m excited to host, Samantha Stone, a graduate student in speech-language pathology who has recently published the first two books in her Crescent City Creatures series. Her main motivation for getting her debut published? Dirty Johnny. I’m going to leave it at that…read on if you’re curious (and how could you not be?!).

I can completely relate to Samantha’s experience, particularly her admission that she is the “I-don’t-have-time-to-brush-my-hair busy” and her preference for “a mix of organization and complete literary chaos.” How does Samantha’s experience resonate with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

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

 I wanted to be a romance writer since I was sixteen, and read Kiss of the Highlander. By then I already knew I wanted to be a novelist, but reading romance finally opened the door to love stories and the idea of Happily Ever After. I was smitten!

What inspired you to write this story?

Honestly, it happened at the worst time. I was studying for finals…the last finals I would take before graduating college. The story popped into my head, I wrote a chapter and an outline, and then told myself, enough until after the finals were over and I was free to write a bit.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

 In the beginning I wrote and created an outline… which I quickly discarded. Then, about ¾ of the way through the book I wrote a new outline, which I actually stuck to. I like a mix of organization and complete literary chaos.

Was this the first book you had written?

 When I was 15, I started to write an urban fantasy, which I finished when I was 17. It was called The Lore Reader, and, of course, the hero in it was a werewolf.

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

I’m a speech-language pathology graduate student now, and ridiculously busy. Like, I-don’t-have-time-to-brush-my-hair busy. So writing is my escape. I go to my favorite coffee shop twice a week, and I hunker down and write there. I also write two more days a week. Tuesday through Thursday I don’t pressure myself to write, what with my classes and clients.

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

My mother! Before I sent Punished out to any publishers, I e-mailed it to her and asked for her help. I needed it. Thanks, Mom!

What kept you going through the process?

Dirty Johnny. Let’s just say, he’ll be acknowledged in every book I ever write.

Hmmm…I can’t leave that one alone. Who’s Dirty Johnny?

When I first started writing and said I wanted it to be a big part of my life, my father took out a napkin, scrawled a sentence about a man named Dirty Johnny, looked up, and said, “Here. This is my novel, and it’s made just as much money as yours. It’s just as successful as what you’ve written.”
I was so mad! After all the hours I spent slaving over my laptop, here my dad is, saying his sentence on a napkin is just as good as my work. So now that I’ve found a publisher and am getting paid for my stories, I have to always acknowledge Dirty Johnny. Maybe it wasn’t the most tactful way for my dad to motivate me, but it worked! It’s also a bit of good-hearted cheek…
Did you have a market in mind when you started writing the book?

I did! There is such a strong market for paranormal romance out there—I love to read it, and I know so many loyal readers to the genre, all of whom I feel would like Punished.

How many submissions did you send out?

About a dozen.

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

First, I received my cover art and marketing forms from my publisher. Then I was paired with a wonderful content editor, followed by a fantastic line editor. Can you tell I love my editors?

What has surprised you most about this process?

That it was happening to me! I’d always dreamed about it, and it felt surreal to finally be happening to me.

Another surprise was how much detail went into the cover. My artist went above and beyond to take what I said into account…I was so, so lucky with my cover art!


Raphael Saar is an exiled werewolf, a convict on the direct path to a death sentence—for a crime he didn’t commit. He doesn’t care, so long as he can end the human trafficking ring kidnapping women across New Orleans.

Recovering from a horrific tragedy, one particularly bad day for Mary Newman has stretched into months. A nanny for a wealthy family in New Orleans, she can’t understand why she’s being constantly humiliated by her boss until the night she learns that he’s not human—and neither is she.

Only Raphael can save her from the monster feeding from her misery, but will Mary be able to stop his execution?

Punished teams up werewolves, banshees, a wompus cat and a haint in order to rid New Orleans of a group of immortals determined to hurt the city’s women and kill Raphael’s pack.

samantha stone

Samantha Stone is a twenty-something graduate student studying speech-language pathology in Alabama. She’s proficient in French and Signing Exact English, and considers New Orleans the home of her heart. Most days you can find her doing speech- related research, chasing her creatures around New Orleans (in her head), or curled up with a good book. She drinks hot chocolate year-round. 

Tamara Lush is a Journalist by Day, Novelist by Night

I’m excited to host Tamara Lush! An Associated Press reporter by day, Tamara spends each evening writing at least at least 1,000 words of fiction. Described as “sexy stories for smart women,” her stories are full of passion. In this interview, Tamara shares her writing process, the inspiration for her book Hot Shade, and how writing fiction has made her a better journalist.
If you have a chance, stop by her blog, where she profiles authors each week: http://www.tamaralush.com/#!blog/c112v

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

I first through about writing a romance novel in my twenties but had no idea where to begin. It took me twenty years to work up the courage to begin writing fiction. I started writing in 2012. I wrote one chapter and stuck it in a drawer. Then, in the summer of 2014, I took the chapter out of the drawer, decided it was a snooze-fest and rewrote it. I kept writing, a thousand words a night, and wrote what became Hot Shade.

What inspired you to write this story?

I wanted to write a story set in Florida, that reflected the unusual and odd things that happen here. I was also inspired by the true-life story of an Italian journalist named Roberto Saviano. He wrote an expose on organized crime in Italy and is now under police protection. After I read his work, I wondered what his life was like under those stressful circumstances. He was in his twenties when he wrote his book and my imagination wandered. What was it like to be on the run from the mafia? Did he have a girlfriend? What would happen if he fell in love with a young American journalist? That was my spark.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

I am a reporter with The Associated Press by day, so I write for a living. When I’m finished writing journalism I come home, make dinner, spend time with my husband and our dogs, and then around 8 p.m., I sit and write 1,000 words. Every night. More on weekends. Usually they aren’t great words, but I try to get a very rough draft down first, and then go back for several rounds of polishing.

How did you make time to write?

I gave up television, frivolous internet searches and near-obsessive exercise and discovered I had lots and lots of time.

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

I began writing in July of 2014 and in August, I was fortunate to enroll in a Media Bistro class on romance writing. Author Susan Squires was the teacher and because there weren’t many people in the class, she ended up critiquing many pages of my manuscript each week. I was so lucky! Then, I entered the first chapter in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest. Through that, I connected with another contestant on Twitter. Her name is Kat Faitour and she’s now my critique partner — and while neither of us placed in the contest, we’re both published. I also get feedback from another critique partner, Tina Ellery, who I met on an RWA forum.

How many submissions did you send out?

I submitted to both agents and editors and received many requests for full manuscripts. I was rejected by a dozen agents and 10 publishers. In the end, I had two solid R and Rs and four offers from publishers. I ended up going with Boroughs because I wanted to work with Chris Keeslar, the editor.

Did you work with an agent? How did you find him/her? In what ways did the agent help with the process?

My agent, Amanda Leuck of Spencerhill Associates, was a guest speaker at my local RWA meeting. She is an invaluable partner in the publishing process and helps with everything from navigating contracts to giving me feedback about manuscripts.

What has surprised you most about this process?

As a journalist, I am used to things happening very, very fast. I am surprised at how long the publishing industry takes. The entire process has taught me PATIENCE, which is not typically my strong suit. I consider this a good life lesson.

I’m also surprised at how much fiction writing has helped me in journalism. I’m now observing more details and working those into my news articles. I’m thinking about how to amp up conflict in my articles, as well.



Romance is the last thing on reporter Skylar Shaw’s mind, and all she wants is to work hard and move on from her small-town newspaper job in Florida. A recent college graduate, Skylar’s all alone in the world. Her family is dead, she’s miles from where she grew up and she’s struggling in her career. And she’s sworn off men since breaking up with her abusive ex-boyfriend.

But when she meets a rich and mysterious Italian while covering a story, her carefully constructed plans for the future are blown to bits. Luca Rossi is gorgeous, funny and brilliant, and she’s determined to uncover his secrets.

After a lonely year on the run from the Mafia, Luca will do anything to possess this vulnerable American beauty. Luca’s got a dark past, though, and he’s reluctant to share it with anyone — much less a gorgeous woman who asks lots of questions.

Soon erotic nights will bleed into dangerous days, and nowhere will be safe from the heat.

Into the Heat_2


Leo Villeneuve is a wounded Afghanistan war veteran who is trying like hell to avoid his pain—and his past.

He returns to Florida in hopes of healing. On a sun-kissed beach he runs into Jessica Clarke, the one woman he’s never forgotten. Their attraction for each other burns as hot as the summer sun, but Leo’s got secrets he can’t reveal. Because, if he does, he’ll risk the one thing he can least afford to lose: Jessica’s love.

A book about first love and second chances. And unforgettable passion.







Tamara Lush is an award-winning journalist with The Associated Press.

She first started writing in grade school, penning elaborate stories inspired by Raiders of the Lost Ark. After completing her undergraduate degree at Emerson College in Boston, she began her reporting career at a small, weekly newspaper in Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in The Village Voice, People Magazine, The St. Petersburg Times, The Boston Globe and USA Today.

When Tamara isn’t writing or reading, she’s doing yoga, cooking for her Italian husband or chasing her dogs on a beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast. She loves connecting with people on social media.

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!



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.


Rosalie Redd  09 for web


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.

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