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.


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:

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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:


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: Drawing will be on Sept 30th. Winner notified via email.


Christmas Spirit Giveaway!

You’ve just read about how Julie Cameron wrote and published Christmas Spirit. (If you missed it, here’s the link: Now you have a chance to read Christmas Spirit for yourself! It’s the season of giving, and Julie is giving away a free e-copy of her debut!!! You know the drill: comment on this or the previous Julie Cameron post, like/comment on the Romance Debuts Facebook page, and/or tweet/retweet romancedebs for up to 3 chances to win. Winners will be announced Thursday, 12/17.

Marilyn Baxter Gives Away Two Copies of Her New Release…and Some Fabulous Writing Advice!

I’m so pleased to host Marilyn Baxter today. Marilyn has so many helpful insights to share, from where to get inspiration to balancing everything, to fine-tuning the writing process. After hearing her thoughts on the writing life, especially the need to forget about the rules, I feel motivated to work on my draft…I hope you do too!

And it gets even better! Marilyn is giving away TWO digital copies of her newest release, PICTURE THIS!!! For a chance to win, leave a comment here; like or comment on the Facebook page, Romance Debuts; or tweet @romancedebs. The winners will be announced Sunday.

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer?

After discovering romance novels in 2001 and reading at least 4-5 a week, I decided to try my hand at writing one in 2004.  I’d been published in non-fiction in a professional journal back in the 70’s, but I wanted to try my hand at this happily-ever-after stuff.  I got the first three chapters written and dithered around with them until NaNoWriMo of 2008 when I declared in front of my RWA chapter that I was going to participate and finish the book.  I got my 50,000 words done but the book wasn’t quite finished.  I got it completed a few months later just in time to submit it to an online pitch contest where I was a finalist, got a request for the full manuscript and was rejected.  I sold that book, DIRECT DEPOSIT, to Boroughs Publishing Group in 2013, and it was released earlier this year.

Where do you look for inspiration?

Everywhere!  DIRECT DEPOSIT came about when I saw a news article about online sperm banks.  PICTURE THIS features a secondary character from DIRECT DEPOSIT.  She’s a family law attorney, and I work for a family law firm.  Rest assured, I never EVER breach client confidentiality, but some situations I run across in old case files spark ideas.  Usually I’ll have a character in mind and then decide what is the worst situation I can put them in and who is the worst love interest for them.  And I go from there.

Describe your writing process. 

S-L-O-W.  I get an idea and I mull it over.  I figure out who the characters are, what their backgrounds are, what their parents named them, where they live and what they do for a living.  Many times it’s their profession that sparks the whole idea.  For example a future project will feature a massage therapist who is also a Reiki practitioner because (1) I love to get massages and (2) I’m a second degree Reiki practitioner myself.  Then I work out each character’s goal, motivation and conflict, and I come up with the Black Moment that drives them apart.  From there I work back to the start and on to the resolution.  Yeah, weird.  I’m somewhat of a plotter.  I use a Word table and create a section for each chapter and briefly describe what happens in each chapter.  Then I pants my way from there.  Once I get to The End, I go back to the beginning and revise until it’s where I think it should be, and I send it to my editor.    Because I have a part-time day job, I usually write at night.  My mornings are spent with housework, bill-paying, doctor’s appointments, obligations to other things.  After work I come home, get into my writer’s uniform (AKA pajamas) and either write at my desk on the desktop PC or in my recliner on my laptop.

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

I have to make an effort not to let the rest of my life overrun the writing part.  I’m involved in my church, a Red Hat group and I have both writing friends I get together with as well as non-writing friends.  And there’s the day job.  I’ve learned to recognize just how much my plate will hold and say no to things that won’t fit.

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

I’m not rich or famous (yet <wink>), but I do feel a sense of accomplishment because not everyone has written a book, much less had one published.    The changes are not so much external as internal.  I’m proud of myself, and I have more self-confidence.  And I’ve gained a whole new set of friends through my publisher, Boroughs Publishing Group.  At the RWA conference in New York City this past summer, I got to know a lot of the other writers and had fun sightseeing and going out to eat with them.

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

Simple as it might sound, write.  You cannot get published unless there is something to publish.

Where is the best place to go for writing advice?

I have found Romance Writers of America to be an invaluable source of solid writing advice.  The annual conference, the online workshops, my local chapter and the members who were already published before I was have all contributed bits of advice here and there.  And all that advice has added up to where I am now.  I highly recommend joining RWA and also a local chapter if you have one.  The local chapter gets you with other writers on a regular basis, and these are the people who “get” you and understand the voices in your head.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever gotten? 

“Finish the book!”  As I said before, without a book, there’s nothing to publish.  Another sage piece of advice was “Forget the rules.”  I’d heard so many rules about what you should or shouldn’t do that I became almost paralyzed.  A good writing friend who was already multi-published told me to just write my story and then let whoever bought it tell me if it needed to be changed.  That piece of advice was freeing.  The words began to flow again.  And the piece of advice I’d like to offer anyone who reads this is, “Don’t try to compare yourself to anyone else.”  Every writer has his/her own process, voice and ultimate path to publication.  Comparison is only a road to disappointment.

Who’s your favorite debut author? 

I’m currently reading a NA romantic suspense called HOT SHADE by Tamara Lush.  It’s set in Florida and is about a young, eager newspaper reporter and a hot, sexy Italian guy with secrets.  I’m thoroughly enjoying it and only wish I had time to just read to the end.  But there’s MY work in progress and the day job and the… well, you get the idea.

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

I would love to be a tour guide and take other folks who like to travel all around the US and the world and show them all the magnificent sights there are out there.

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When it comes to relationships, Tess Callahan is gun-shy. An ambitious Atlanta divorce attorney, she’s seen the aftermath of relationships gone bad, which is why she has no time in her life for any man except for Nick Russo. Handsome and exciting, he’s the perfect choice to give her all she desires—including the fact he’s never around long enough for things to get complicated. Until suddenly they do.

Nick Russo has the world. His job as a photographer takes him everywhere, and he wouldn’t give that life up for anyone, not even the beautiful and brilliant Tess Callahan. Or so he thinks. An unexpected pregnancy is about to bring everything into focus, a brighter and more colorful world than he ever thought to imagine. The possibilities are endless, and they’re something he can capture not just on film but in reality.


In 2001, Marilyn discovered romance novels quite by accident, which led to a renewed interest in writing.  Before having a novella and two full-length novels released, she sold over forty stories published in the confessions and romance magazines.

Marilyn Baxter headshotIn addition to reading and writing, Marilyn loves to knit and crochet simple things, cook for one in the crockpot and garden in a few pots on her patio.  Her motto is “Have passport, will travel,” and in 2013 added Ireland and Wales to the list of 32 states and 21 foreign countries she has visited.

A native of North Carolina, she came to Huntsville, Alabama by way of Frankfurt, Germany.  She has lived there longer than anywhere else and calls it home.  After raising two great sons, she loves to dote on her two granddaughters.  And somewhere amidst all the above, she fits in a day job as an administrative assistant for a boutique law firm.


My website is  From there you can sign up for my newsletter.  You can also friend me on Facebook at and join my street team, Baxter’s Belles, at

Find me on Twitter @marilyn_baxter.