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:

PPreston HS 250


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.


Margaret Locke on the Challenges and Rewards of Being a Multi-Published Author

I’m so delighted to welcome back Margaret Locke, one of the first authors I hosted when I started the blog. She has written a third time-travel romance, and fortunately for us, she has offered to share her insights into the life of a multi-published author.

If you didn’t have a chance to read Margaret’s account of finishing and publishing her first book, read it here:

As you’ve been working on your 3rd book, how (if at all) have things gotten easier?

Easier. Hrm. Well, having all three books linked together helps in terms of world-building, because I’ve got some of the information and characters set, and already feel familiar with them. I’m also a little better about knowing the steps I have to take to get from first draft to final product – but I don’t think those have gotten any easier!

I hope I’m getting a bit savvier on the marketing end of things, as well, but I guess readers will have to tell me that. 😉

How have things become more challenging?

I used to think once an author had the first book out, it obviously got easier. After all, they’d done it once – surely it wasn’t so hard the second, third, tenth, twentieth time around.

I’m so wrong. There are two big challenges I see for authors writing multiples books:

1. Not reusing the same plot ideas. This one is harder than I thought! I’ll be brainstorming a story idea, think, “This would be great!” and then realize I did something similar enough in a different book that I better not do it again. I only see this getting worse!

2. Living up to expectations. I’m delighted and stunned at the wonderful reception A Man of Character and A Matter of Time have received (they’re both nominated for the 2016 HOLT Medallion!). But now I’m terrified to put out the next book – what if people don’t like it? What if I can’t recapture whatever I did right in the first two?

What has surprised you?

I’ve been very surprised to learn how much I enjoy many of the marketing aspects. Notice I don’t claim to be GOOD at them – but I genuinely have fun making promo pics with Photoshop, or participating in FB parties, or doing interviews, or writing snappy lines to hook potential readers.

I’m also a bit surprised, to be perfectly honest, that I’m actually doing this, especially since I see so many other writers not taking the risk to put their work out there (or put words on the page). I don’t have a thick skin at all, and yet, it must be a little thicker than I realize, because I’m not letting fear and anxiety stop me – and they stop me a lot. {On behalf of all of us readers, I’ll express my gratitude that you haven’t let fear and anxiety stop you!}

What advice would you give to aspiring writers now that you’ve published three books?

Write. Write more. Learn craft, yes, and read widely, yes, and attend conferences and build platform and all that. But you won’t get anywhere if you don’t actually write. I’d love to tell you I’m one of those people who sits down in her chair for a certain amount of time or a certain amount of words a day. I’m not. But I’m working to prioritize writing, because that’s what matters in the end.

And take advantage of all the writers out there! Join (or start!) a critique group. Find critique partners. Join a professional organization. Get to know other writers on social media. I have met some amazing people these past few years, and without them, I wouldn’t be where I am. The vast majority of writers I’ve met want to share info and help and learn and support. Don’t miss out on that by hiding away in a writing cave (or at least come out of the cave once in a while.)
A Scandalous Matter

Independent, spirited Amara Mattersley may live under scandal’s shadow, but at least the Regency society judging her is familiar, if not exactly beloved. That’s all about to change when this nineteenth-century duke’s sister finds herself in twenty-first-century Charlottesville, Virginia–and locking horns with one very befuddling, very male, UVa professor.

Computer science professor Matthew Goodson has no time for love–no time for anything, actually, but his quest for tenure and his obsession with the screen. The last thing he expects is to get side-swiped by this adorably odd British miss. Yet something in her calls to him, pulls at him, in a way unknown — and uncomfortable.

Can this odd couple blend the past and the present into a mutual future, or will old wounds and new complications sabotage any chance at a twenty-first century happily ever after?



As a teen, Margaret Locke pledged to write romances when she grew up. Once an adult, however, she figured she ought to be doing grown-up things, not penning steamy love stories. Yeah, whatever. Turning forty cured her of that silly notion. Margaret is now happily ensconced back in the clutches of her first love, this time as an author as well as a reader. Margaret lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with her fantastic husband, two fab kids, and two fat cats. You can usually find her in front of some sort of screen (electronic or window; she’s come to terms with the fact that she’s not an outdoors person). Please visit her at

Margaret Locke’s Contact Links:









Award-Winning Author Nicole Evelina Will Inspire You

I’m so thrilled to host award-winning author Nicole Evelina today. In this interview, she shares the inspiration behind her romantic comedy, Been Searching For You, and explains her reasons for self-publishing. I hope you’ll be inspired, as I have, by Nicole’s advice for aspiring writers and her candid assessment of the challenges we writers face.

What inspired you to write this story?

I never thought I’d write a romance; I’m primarily a historical fiction/historical fantasy author. I actually swore I’d never write romance because I really disliked romance books for a long time – until I realized what I really hated was certain types of romance. Others are pretty darn good.

But I still had one pet peeve: most heroines, especially in romantic comedies, are under 30. If there’s a wedding involved, it’s “OMG, I’m going to be 30 and not married!” As a 36-year-old single girl, allow me to smack you. So, what did I do? I went and wrote my own love story, one for those of us who are over 30 *gasp*, still single and still romantics at heart. I wrote it because I wanted to write the happily ever after I haven’t yet experienced.

The book came to life because of the Civil Wars songs “To Whom it May Concern” and “Dust to Dust,” both of which my best friend introduced me to. They seem to be bookends to a love story to me, so I swore I’d write a book that began with the words “To Whom it May Concern” and ended with the words “Dust to Dust.” And I did.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

My friend introduced me to those songs in late November. By the first week of December, the plot popped into my head. Then came Annabeth, the main character, who was inspired by a British actress named Nadine Lewington, who I saw on an episode of Inspector Lewis. I started writing the next day. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Every spare moment was taken up by getting this story down on paper. By the beginning of March, it was complete. I’ve never had a book come so quickly or so easily.

The first draft took me about three months. But then over the next two years, I continually refined the book through contest feedback and working with a few editors. Believe me, the story is much better for it.

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

This is going to sound so boring, but writing is pretty much all I do outside of my day job. My job is a writer for a marketing department, so that often wears my brain out during the week, so I only write then if I’m on deadline or it’s during NaNoWriMo. But even then, during the week I’m researching, reading or marketing at night. I write on weekends, holidays and use my vacation days for one-person writing retreats. It’s what I have to do. I’m lucky that I’m single and don’t have children so I can focus all my time and efforts on writing. Sometimes that means letting the house get dirty or the leaving the laundry undone.

What keeps you going through the process?

I have to write; for me it’s like breathing. I have these characters in my head who insist on their stories being told, so I have to write in order satisfy myself and to get them to shut up. On the days it all gets to be too much, chats with my mom or best friend, a bottle of wine and chocolate see me through.

What made you decide to publish independently?

It was a combination of things, and a decision that I took a long time in coming to. One of the main factors was that it was time for me to get my work out there. It had been four and a half years – and six books – since I started querying agents. My work was just stacking up with no place to go, even though I had people telling me through my blog and social media that they wanted to read it. I wanted to be able to learn from it, which I can’t do unless others can read it. That, combined with wanting to have my historical fiction book Madame Presidentess published before the November 2016 Presidential election (which was by then impossible to do traditionally because of the time it takes to produce a book), and a desire to have more control over my career, led me to start my own publishing company. However, I am open to the possibility of traditional publishing in the future. I haven’t ruled anything out.

What’s the biggest challenge of publishing independently?

Marketing and gaining visibility in a crowded marketplace are the biggest challenges for me. Even though my background is in marketing, it’s still a challenge because there are so many books out there and without a big house behind you, it’s hard to get people’s attention. I’ve been doing everything myself up to this point, but for my next book I’ll be working with a publicist, so I’m hoping that will help.

What are the benefits of publishing independently?

For me, the biggest benefit is the control. I get to have full input on the cover, the blurb on the back of the book, how and when sales take place and am responsible for quality control. I get to pick my own audio book talent and give them direction based on how I’d like the book to be performed. Those are all things most traditional authors have little to no say in. The downside is that all of this takes time and money, valuable commodities for every author, and you don’t have anyone helping in that department.

What’s the process of getting the book ready for publication?

Once my beta readers have given me their edits and I’ve taken the book as far as I can without help, it goes to my editor, Cassie Cox. While she’s working her magic (if not before) Jenny Quinlan and I are trading emails about the cover. Then I get edits back from Cassie, incorporate them, and she sends that draft off to the proofreader. Once I make those edits, it goes to The Editorial Department for layout, which takes 8-10 weeks. During that time I supply Jenny with the back cover copy and any endorsements so she can finalize the cover. Once everything is done, I upload the files to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and Kobo.

What has surprised you most about the process?

That it takes so long! For some reason I didn’t expect layout to take more than two months. If I would have known that, I would have spaced my releases out more. I also have to say that it was a pleasant surprise that as an indie you can create a product of equal quality to traditionally published books if you take the time and money to do things right.

What would you change if you could?

Other than having a patron that would take on the cost?  I’d love to be doing this full-time, not only because it would mean that I’d be able to produce more books, but because I’d have more time to devote to marketing.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Write what you are passionate about, even if that isn’t where the market is going. If you care about it, chances are very good someone else will, too. You will thank yourself when you’ve read your book for the 12th or 15th time (I’m not kidding; it really can take that many re-reads) in the editing process and you are sick of it. At least if it’s a subject/plot/character you love, you’ll have the will to carry on.

Take whatever path to publication is best for you. If you want an agent and a major publisher, query your heart out. But know that it can be a long process filled with rejection. (Or not. My mentor’s first book sold overnight, two weeks after she got her agent.) If you decide to go indie, educate yourself (there are plenty of books and web sites that will help you) and please, please pay for professional editing and cover art. They will be worth every penny.

And no matter what, don’t ever give up. It is really true that the only sure way to fail is to give up. You started writing because you have a story to tell and you know what? Someone in the world needs to read that story. So when you have a rough day, think about that person. It might not take away all the frustration or sadness, but it will give you a renewed sense of purpose.

Been Searching for You eBook Cover Large

Annabeth is a hopeless romantic who believes in soul mates. In fact, she’s been writing to hers each year on her birthday since she was 16.

Now, at 34, she’s still holding out hope of finding Mr. Right even though he’d be fighting an uphill battle to gain her trust, thanks to a traumatic experience years before that’s left her unable to commit.

When Annabeth meets a handsome literature professor named Alex on her 34th birthday, she thinks her quest may finally be at an end. Things don’t quite go as planned, so Annabeth resolves to do everything she can over the next year to find the unknown recipient of her letters. But blind dates, Meetup events and online singles sites have nothing on what fate has in store for her when a co-worker unexpectedly quits and Annabeth finds herself working in close quarters with both Alex and her long ago ex, Nick. Fighting her attraction to one and loathing for the other, Annabeth is forced to face all of her old insecurities while keeping an eye on a scheming frienemy who may derail her hopes and dreams.

Written in the tradition of Bridget Jones’ Diary, Kim Gruenfelder’s A Total Waste of Makeup, and Melissa Pimental’s Love By The Book, this romantic comedy shows that love on the sweet side can exist for the modern girl, if only she’s willing to trust herself and search hard enough.

Been Searching for You was the winner of the 2015 Romance Writers of America Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.


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Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her latest novel, Been Searching for You (May 10), a romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.

She also writes historical fiction. Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, was named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews, took the Grand Prize in the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, won a Gold Medal in the fantasy category in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Later this year, she will release Madame Presidentess (July 25), a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America’s first female Presidential candidate, which was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.

Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Her website is


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 ( 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
Book Trailer link

Mary Buckham Tells You Pretty Much Everything You Need to Know About Publishing a Romance

I am absolutely thrilled to host USA Today Bestselling author Mary Buckham! I attended a workshop with her this past fall, and I was so impressed, overwhelmed, and energized by all the useful information she provided on hooks, settings, and building your brand. She is my new favorite writing expert!

In this interview, Mary shares incredibly valuable information on the publishing industry, time management, the business side of writing, and publishing the first book. Mary is such a smart, savvy, and funny writer; she will inspire you to stop making excuses not to write (I think she’s talking directly to me on this one!)

What made you decide to write romance novels?

When I started out I looked at the publishing market as a whole, what types of books were out there, how many books were being purchased from new authors, where were the biggest opportunities to get a foot in the door? Sounds rather cold and calculating, but it was a business decision. To me too many people look at writing as a hobby or as simply for fun and then go into publishing. Right from the beginning I knew that I wanted to be published, so I looked for who bought the most books and put out the most books in a given year. Romance novels being half the traditional publishing market made it a clear, easy-to-follow path that made perfect business sense. Plus I love the juicy complexities of relationships while also knowing I like a story that ends on a positive, we-can-do-this resolution.

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

What wasn’t a challenge when I first started writing for publication! I had five children under the age of eight. I also worked full time. I was like a lot of writers juggling a lot of demands on my time. I also didn’t know any writers or any writing groups. I didn’t know how one went about getting published, so it was a big new scary world and it took a lot of ramp-up time to get to the point where I felt that I was truly writing for publication as opposed to simply writing to learn if I was indeed capable of writing a full-length book.

How have you dealt with that challenge as you were published more?

Well, for one thing, the kids did grow up and what I discovered was, a piece that we all have control of in our career is how we focus on our challenges. I quickly realized that having children [five under the age of eight at the time], as young as they were and with their needs, they were the best time management tools out there. The same with the work environment. When I was at work it was work, but when I wasn’t there I had my choices, so instead of looking at the challenges as insurmountable, or using my children as justification for not writing; when they leave grade school and go to high school I will write. Or, when they leave high school and go to college I will write. I’m saying that, for me, learning to make time instead of focusing on why I couldn’t write, became a priority. The longer we can make excuses to ourselves, the longer the process of focusing on what’s not working and what is keeping us from writing, the easier it is to let a few months turn into a few years, into a lifetime with a project that never really gets finished.

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

I would focus more on my strengths and not listen to the ‘rules’. As an example, when I started writing I could write fast. I could write a lot. 20 pages in a day was not a challenge but I listened to too much feedback that said—No, that’s not right. You should only be writing maybe 10 pages at the most but 5 would be better. It took a long time to get over that pattern of working to others expectations, not my own.

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

I don’t think joining the Circus is an option anymore, and being a pirate was much more glamorous when it was swashbuckling in wooden ships with swords! I love this career because it’s about people. It’s about challenges and overcoming challenges and learning to trust yourself and connecting, and it’s an ongoing career that never really stops. You never stop learning as a writer. You always have the opportunity to expand your horizons. I can’t imagine any other career.

How has the market changed since you first published?

I feel like the market has undergone this huge, amazing process and it’s exciting to be in this business at this time because it’s very much like the industrial revolution. When that showed up on the horizon a lot of people’s response was, I’m going to ignore it till it goes away or I’m not going to deal with that. It’s too big. It’s too scary. It’s too frightening. The reality is that the difference between when I started when my children were small and now is the difference between writing by hand and writing via computer. A world of changes. Access to the reader is so much greater now. The need to be an entrepreneur and a businessperson has increased dramatically, and I love that. I love that sense of opportunity that is available to writers now.

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

I think that for many of us when we start writing the goal is to get published and is a good goal and a clear goal, but we take it for granted that it’s an end goal. We don’t think enough about what happens after that book is published. What happens to the time demands and what happens if your publisher drops your publishing line or what happens if the return on investment for the time and effort and energy that we put into a book is not enough to be financially viable. So how has life changed? A huge world has opened up that was never there for me when I worked in an office and that has been wonderful and exciting. The demands have also changed. When I started in the business there were no e-books. There was no internet. Man, it sounds like I started in the caveman days! You really could focus on simply writing the book and sending it out, but that’s long gone and I doubt it will ever come back. Writers are in the entertainment industry. We have become personalities, and we have responsibilities to our readers. Access goes two ways between readers and writers, so the time allocation that is allotted to writing the next book must be juggled against the business needs. I would say that once you’re published and the more books you publish the allocation becomes 20% writing, 80% business.

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

This is a hard one! Writers, published and unpublished, should believe in themselves, but they should also learn what readers expect from the type of book that they are writing. Yes, write the book of your dreams, but then, if you want to publish it, you have to take it out of your fantasy, your needs, and now you have the needs of the reader to be met. So if you love this romance that you wrote with two cats and a goat and it is the book of your dreams that’s great. But if you bring it to the marketplace, and expect to make a living on it, you must understand that you’ll be selling to a much smaller niche market. Be aware of the trade offs of your decisions and don’t bemoan publishing because you’re not an overnight success with a cat/goat ménage-a-trois novel.

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

The same thing that any writer whether they are indie published, traditionally published or whether they are hybrid published. They should understand the marketplace. They should think in terms of the product that they are selling. They should plan for success and do everything possible to surround themselves with others who are also planning for success.

What is the best writing advice you have ever gotten?

Again, another hard question, because it’s not one piece of advice. Writing is a journey. As we progress in our journey, there are different pieces that we need to hear. There are different messages that can help us get over the next hill or around the next corner. I recently read an author who called herself a quote master, someone who actively looked for quotes that helped her do that next thing, helped her keep going when she thought she couldn’t continue. So, the best advice that works for one author at an early point in their career is not the same advice they need to hear when they’ve been writing for a number of years and are not where they want to be. It is different for the author who is juggling multiple projects while their home life is falling apart. The good news is that there is not one piece of advice. The better news is that there is always that quote, that word of wisdom that can help you as a writer keep going.

Do you have a favorite debut author? If so, who?

I don’t have a favorite debut author because I read like many romance readers started, voraciously. I look for debut authors because these authors are the ones who are competing against the published authors who already have a track record, have a relationship with a publisher, have readers in place. The debut authors have to bring more to the game initially. What I look for is the debut author who continues to improve as a writer because, at one time, for the publishing houses, ten published books was about the number that a writer needed under their belt before they started finding their audience, their core readership; before they started gaining traction. Those days are long gone. The expectation now is that the first book has to be a home run and it has to attract everything that you need without the experience to know how to handle it. Without the understanding that it’s now the next book, that now that you’ve gotten a lot of accolades, or you got good feedback, or you didn’t get good feedback, it’s the next book that becomes the biggest challenge, because you have to write that and the one after that and the next one. So I read a lot of debut authors to see how they play the game with their second and their third and their fourth books.

What I find is what a lot of publishers have found, that the first book may have taken 10 years to polish to that point, but for the second one the author is given a year or 6 months, bam! And maybe they don’t get as much feedback as they did before. Maybe friends that were willing to help them before they were published are no longer there for them. So that second or third book can oftentimes start falling off. And that’s a shame, because the writer who wrote that first book could write to that level again if she or he understood the changes coming once that first book has been published. So I think it’s important to us as writers that we know that we must start building our support groups, start honing ourselves and our craft for success, and start looking down the road. The first book is simply the first book. Whether it’s a home run or not, it just gets you in the game. It’s what we do at that point that determines whether being published was a dream that was reached and then we go back to doing something else, or whether we have a career as a writer.



The Underworld screws even a good plan and this one didn’t start out good.

Half-witch/half-shaman Alex Noziak must lead two fellow Invisible Recruit agents deep into the Underworld to track a powerful demon who rules his realm with a bloody fist and has kidnapped a teenage Seer. The team faced this demon leader once before and the result was devastating. Now? The odds are far worse this time. Alex and her team must stop the demon before he forces the Seer to open a portal, which will unleash the Seekers to wreak vengeance on humans and take possession of the mortal world. Everyone faces sacrifice, but this time Alex stands to lose.




USA Today Best selling author Mary Buckham learned to get into and out of trouble at a very early age. Time has added to her opportunities—detained by Israeli intelligence; strip-searched by a Greek border patrol while traveling with a priest, sneaking into Laos. When not personally avoiding nuisances caused by her insatiable curiosity she creates lots of disorder in her Urban Fantasy Invisible Recruits series. Her characters at least have paranormal and preternatural abilities!

Mary's photo 300dpi

Her Urban Fantasy series is centered around five women drafted to combat preternatural beings agitating for world domination and combines a fantasy/paranormal element with high stakes and the pace of action-adventure stories. Mary loves creating thrills, spills and spells as she follows the ups and downs of fascinating characters starting with Alex Noziak, the heroine of INVISIBLE MAGIC, INVISIBLE POWER, INVISIBLE FATE and INVISIBLE JOURNEY and Kelly McAllister, the heroine of INVISIBLE FEARS, INVISIBLE SECRETS and INVISIBLE EMBRACE. A prolific writer, Mary also co-authors the young adult sci-fi/fantasy Red Moon series with NYT bestseller Dianna Love.

When taking a break from the paranormal Mary crafts Writing Craft non-fiction including, A Writer’s Guide to Active Setting (Writer’s Digest Books), Writing Active Hooks and Break Into Fiction® co-authored with Dianna Love. If Mary’s not hiding out, find more about her and her writing projects by visiting:


She can also be found on Facebook at:
Twitter at
Goodreads at
For information on Mary’s street team, Mary Buckham’s Book Ninjas, go to

mary buckham Writers

Kris Tualla Shares 5 Steps to Publication

I’m delighted to host award-winning author Kris Tualla! Kris has declared that “Norway is the new Scotland,” and she has set both her Hansen and Discreet Gentleman series in historic Norway. Since she began writing, Kris has self-published fifteen historical romances and two writing and publishing books. In this interview, she shares her journey to publication.

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer?

 ​It was a total whim in the summer of 2006. I had fallen in love with Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series, and in her “Outlandish Companion” she says that the best way to learn to write a book is to write a book. So I did.​

 What was your biggest challenge when you were publishing your debut novel?

I intentionally didn’t write Scottish historicals ​​because that market is flooded – so I made my heroes Norsemen.​ That stopped 95% of the editors and agents from even considering my manuscripts.

How did you deal with that challenge?

​By self-publishing instead. Fifteen books (five trilogies) as of this month.​ Plus two books about writing and publishing. {Wow!!!}

What have been the benefits and frustrations of self-publishing?

Benefits? Total control over content, genre blending, cover images, distribution, and pricing. Frustrations? Being buried under a tidal wave of badly done​ self-published books that give that path a very, very bad name.

What has surprised you most about the process?

The inability of traditional publishers to accept non-Scottish/non-Regency historical characters and locations.​

What would you change if you could?

I’d have one of my books bubble to the top and drag the rest with it. I average 4.75 stars overall for the Hansen series, but nobody can find me.​

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

Not one single thing.​

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

  1. Complete your novel.
  2. Lock your ego in a closet with a blanket and chocolate. Do NOT let it out. {I LOVE this advice!}
  3. Get multiple HONEST people to read your manuscript and give you feedback.
  4. Believe what they say.
  5. Write two more books while you pitch the first.​

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

Have at least FIVE picky people read your final manuscript before you publish it – both professional editors and readers.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve gotten?

The best way to learn to write a book is to write a book.​ *wink*

Viking Covers (1)

Sveyn Hansen was a Viking in 1070—until Norway’s king declared the country Christian, sparking deep-rooted conflict. Sveyn, caught in a violent clash and run through by a sword, lay bleeding on the ground while at his head the priest gave him last rites. But at his feet, the devil was pulling Sveyn toward a different end. A blinding flash and deafening boom shook Sveyn to his bones. Once he could see and hear again, he wasn’t certain what had happened. Only that he was not dead. And he was no longer alive.

Hollis McKenna’s boss, insisting that she take a break after several grueling months at the Arizona History and Cultural Museum, banishes her to a relaxing weekend event. When Hollis arrives, she spies a cover model standing off to the side. Surprised that no one is conversing with the gorgeous six-foot-plus man wearing the Viking costume, she winds through the crowd to speak with him herself. He insists that Hollis hold her “lighted rectangle” to her ear while she converses with him. Frustrated at his repeated insistence, she holds out her phone and demands to know why.

“Because you are the only one who can see me.”​



Kris Tualla, a dynamic award-winning and internationally published author of historical romance and suspense, has created a dynasty with The Hansen Series. An active member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, and Sisters in Crime, she was also a guest instructor at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. She often asked to speak about her journey – and her Norsemen.​





Andrea Cooper Sings Beta-Readers’ Praises

I’m excited to host self-published author Andrea Cooper today! In this interview, Andrea shares invaluable, concrete advice that will help you become a better writer.

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 when I wrote my first romance fifteen years ago. The reason I started writing was I had all the characters and stories going through my mind and I enjoyed reading. At first, I wrote the stories for me, then I thought maybe others would enjoy them too.

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

Going through the editing process. I had never had a professional editor go through my writing. It was extremely insightful and humbling.

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

With self-publishing, I have total control. However, it also means I’m responsible for the cover, editing, all marketing, etc. Typically with a small press they handle a lot of that – except the marketing.

What has surprised you most about this process?

That many authors have tons of beta readers and several editors. I read an acknowledgement on a best-selling author’s novella where she thanked 23 beta readers!

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

Lots of things. First, I would have found as many beta readers as possible. Before I was published and even after I had three novels published, I only had a few friends and family read my stories. I see now how they would have been so much better had I gotten more readers beforehand.

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

Besides beta readers and critique partners, it’s finding your audience and building your author platform now. Show people your struggles and growth. Create a Facebook, Twitter, and everything else accounts. Don’t wait until the book is published.

What is the best writing advice you have ever gotten?

Read your story aloud. Of course if you’re really lucky, enlist friends/family and assign them parts and print out just the dialogue and who’s talking (kind of like a screen play). That in itself will take your dialogue from good to great.

Do you have a favorite debut author? If so, who?

I have several: T.F. Walsh, Sharon Kay, and Tmonique Stephens


Claimed Book 1 – Paranormal Romance – Forthcoming April 2016


Incubus Damon hunts for a crystal to stop him from becoming a full-demon. But time is running out.

Renee wants to earn her own archeological dig, despite arrogant Damon’s demands. Yet, she gets more than she bargained for when she finds a unique crystal in the ruins of Turkey.

andrea cooper

Andrea R. Cooper writes fantasy, paranormal, historical and romantic suspense.

Her favorite childhood memories revolved around creating vibrant characters for her friends, and then acting out their adventures. Inside her fantasy worlds of darkened forests, dragon-filled glades, and iced islands, nothing was banned. From the ethereal Elvin to the most maligned Vampires, all were welcome in her fictional realities, a stark contrast to her home, where the magical and mythical was forbidden.