Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spotlight with Carol Ericson

Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving’s went well. I have Carol Ericson with me today. She is just delightful. Enjoy! ;-)

Tell us a little bit about your latest release A SILVERHILL CHRISTMAS.

A SILVERHILL CHRISTMAS is the last book of four books in the McClintock Brothers series (CIRCUMSTANTIAL MEMORIES, THE SHERIFF OF SILVERHILL, and THE McCLINTOCK PROPOSAL). The books are not connected and can be read out of order, but it’s kind of nice to see the bonds between the brothers build and grow. Rio McClintock is the hero in A SILVERHILL CHRISTMAS. He’s an illegitimate son and doesn’t know his three half brothers, but he’s like them in more ways than he can imagine (hot, loyal, protective and good with his…gun!). The story begins in Maui (one of my favorite places in the world) and winds up in Silverhill, Colorado where all the McClintock brothers ride to the rescue.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the third book of a new four-book series, Brothers in Arms. The first book, NAVY SEAL SECURITY is scheduled for a March 2011 release and the second book, MOUNTAIN RANGER RECON, follows in April 2011. This is a connected series with members of a former covert ops team, Prospero, looking for their leader, Jack Coburn, who has gone missing on a hostage negotiation job in Afghanistan. The first three books in the series begin and end with scenes involving Jack, and then Jack gets the fourth book. The third and fourth books will be out later in 2011.

What other titles do you have coming up for 2011?

(see above)

Where does your inspiration come from?

My ideas for the intrigues, mysteries, and crimes in my books come from stories in the real world, true crime books, and spy/adventure novels like Robert Ludlum and Brad Thor. I got the idea for my first Intrigue, THE STRANGER AND I, from a story in the newspaper about tunnels running between the U.S./Mexican border. My inspiration comes from all the great romances I’ve read over the years starting with my favorite romance author of all time, Victoria Holt. Getting lost in her books starting when I was 12 or 13, anxiously waiting for one of her new books to make it to the public library, and staying up all night to read it were the reasons I became a romance author. I still re-read her books and have collected most of them in first edition hard copy with the wonderful dust covers.

How long does it take you to write a manuscript?

Hmm, that’s a loaded question! Writing four books a year for Intrigue, I pretty much have to write a complete manuscript in three months. I can do it in less time, however, if I have to (that means if I’ve been fooling around doing other things and then look up and realize I have a deadline to meet).

How long was your road to publication?

My road to publication was a relatively short four years. I had wanted to write romance ever since I was 13 and had written several short pieces and some erotica for a free website. But from the time I got serious about getting published and started writing toward that goal and the time I sold, it was four years. I sold an erotic romance to Red Sage Publishing and my first Intrigue to Harlequin within a month of each other. I consider myself very lucky! In addition to my Intrigues, I have two novellas with Red Sage Secrets, Volumes 21 and 24, and four short stories at eRed Sage, all written as Mia Varano.

What steps did you take to make your dreams come true?

My husband actually took the first steps for me. I was complaining about my job as a technical writer (which I still have, by the way), and my husband suggested that I take out my 100-page gothic romance, start working on it, and get it published. He bought me a manuscript formatting book and a book of agents. I never did sell that gothic romance or the second gothic romance I wrote, but his encouragement pushed me to get serious about publication. I used the RWA contest circuit to get feedback on my writing, since I didn’t have any critique partners, and eventually sold through a contest. Now my husband never even reads my books!

Do you have any advice on writing, getting published, or finding an agent?

I don’t have an agent, so I’ll leave that advice to others! My advice on writing and getting published is to persevere and keep writing. I completed six manuscripts before I sold one, and those other five still have never seen the light of day! But with each one of those manuscripts, I was learning my craft and proving to myself that I could complete a book. None of those manuscripts was a wasted experience. I see so many writers who spend years on the same manuscript, trying to perfect it for this agent or that contest, afraid that if they put that manuscript aside it will have been “a waste of time.” If your manuscript has been rejected without a revision request, move on to the next manuscript. Use what you learned from your previous rejection to improve your next project. When you finish your next manuscript, submit it and get to work on your next manuscript. Once you sell, your editor is not going to give you 10 years to write your next book!

What is your favorite thing about being an author?

Ahh, giving a home to those characters, scenes, and snippets of dialogue that are constantly running through my head. I love seeing the story take shape on the page. I love it when I’ve been playing a scene in my head all day in the car or at work or at my kid’s soccer game, and then I get to sit at the computer and it all pours out.

What is the hardest part about your job?

Not having the luxury of time. I still work full time and I have two active boys that have lots of homework and play lots of sports. I would love to wake up in the morning, get the kids off to school, and sit down and write. Instead, I wake up in the morning, get the kids off to school, and sit down at my computer and work at my other job for eight hours. Then I have to squeeze in my writing at night between kids’ homework and studying and on weekends between kids’ sporting activities.

If you had to pick a favorite character that you have created or one that you wish you had created who would it be and why?

One my favorite characters I created is Justin Vidal, the hero in THE STRANGER AND I. His name is Justin because he’s all about justice and doing the right thing as a covert op for a shadow agency within the CIA. He’s closed down and suspicious. He just wants to do his job without getting involved. His childhood with a violent, alcoholic father and an enabling mother has hardened him and caused him to erect a barrier around his heart—until he meets the sweet, do-gooder, trusting heroine Lila Monroe. I love how she wheedles her way into his life and heart.

Now pick a character that you wished you had created from one of your favorite stories.

Oh, that’s a hard one. Of course, I love Lizzie Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, but one of my favorite characters is Lily Bart from Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth. (Hmm, they both have the initials L.B., never noticed that before!) Lily is such a complex and finely drawn character. She can save herself by just reaching out for what’s offered, but that action compromises her morals. I find myself urging her in the book, “just do the wrong thing, just do the wrong thing.” Alas, the book is not a romance and doesn’t have a happy ending for Lily or Selden. Sigh. Can I also add that I love Georgette Heyer’s heroines and wish I had created every one of them?

Carol, I am so glad that you joined us today at Micole Writes Romance. Thank you for all of the information as well as inspiration. I wish you many sales. Where can we find out more about you and your books?

Thanks for inviting me, Micole. Please visit me at You can also find me blogging occasionally at the eHarlequin Intrigue Authors blog.

See you next week friends.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Spotlight Author with Pamela Clare

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!! Before I share my interview with my spotlight author, Pamela Clare, I want to share a couple of things that I am thankful for. #1. My family. #2. My wonderful friends. (You know who you are) #3. And last but not least… all of my amazing readers. Thank you all for taking the time to stop by and check out what I and my guests have to say. Speaking of guests, I have Pamela Clare here with me today.

Hello Pamela, I am so glad that you were able to be a part of my blog. There are so many things that we aspiring authors as well as fans like to know about the published authors we all know and love.  Can you tell us about yourself and what you write?

Thank you, Micole, for having me here today. I really appreciate it. I am the single mother of two adult sons, one who’s 24 and the other who turned 21 on Nov. 20. I’ve worked all of my adult life as a journalist — first as a reporter, then an editor. I’m currently the editor-in-chief of a weekly paper in Boulder, Colorado, where I grew up.

I’ve wanted to write novels since I was 10 years old. It felt to me like books had a magic about them. Someone I didn’t know could write words and those words could make the world around me disappear. I knew from the moment I experienced the magic of reading that I wanted to be a novelist.

Right now, I write historical romance. My current series is the MacKinnon’s Rangers series. Set in upstate Colonial New York during the French & Indian War, it tells the stories of three brothers from the Highlands of Scotland who grew up on the American frontier after their family was sent into exile by the English. They grew up side-by-side with Indian nations and are every bit as “Indian” as they are Scots. It’s the same time period in which the very romantic epic film The Last of the Mohicans was set. I’ve done a lot of historical research for the specific events in the stories, including visiting the sites of the battles and forts, and try very hard to make them historically accurate.

I also write contemporary romantic suspense. The I-Team (short for Investigative Team) series tells the stories of a team of reporters who take on the bad guys of the world and face a world of danger as a result. Along the way, they also happen to meet alpha heroes and eventually fall in love.

What is your favorite thing about being an author?

I love losing myself in the storytelling process. When readers open a book, some part of them is hoping to get lost in the alternative reality of the story. That’s true of writers, too, I think. It’s certainly true of me when I write.

The story unfolds in my head through the eyes of my characters, and then it’s as if I’m experiencing the reality of the book along with them. It is both a learning experience and a source of emotional release. And it’s different depending on whether I’m writing a historical or a contemporary.

Writing historicals is like time travel. Because of writing, I’ve been able to “live” in on the Colonial American frontier. I witnessed the Battle of Fort Ticonderoga and the siege of Fort Pitt. I’ve trekked through the primeval forests of North America several times. I’ve seen wildlife that is now extinct. I’ve been flogged, branded, almost hanged. And I’ve lived to tell about it.

The I-Team series is different in that the stories are based on things I have done. My agent calls them “biblio-therapy,” and I think there’s some truth to the idea that I get emotional release through writing about these things, some of which were not good experiences.

Tell us a little about your latest release.

My most recent release was Naked Edge, which came out in March. It’s the fourth book in the series and tells the story of Kat James, a Navajo journalist who finds herself caught between the white and Indian worlds. Here’s the back cover blurb:

What do you do when desire drives you to the very brink?

The day Navajo journalist Katherine James met Gabriel Rossiter, the earth literally moved beneath her feet. Nearly killed in a rockslide while hiking, she found her life in the tall park ranger's hands. Although she can't forget him she thinks she'll never see him again. She is crushed when she recognizes her rescuer among the law enforcement officers raiding a sweat lodge ceremony one night, throwing her and her friends off Mesa Butte, land they consider sacred.

Gabe long ago swore he would never again lose himself to a woman not even one with long dark hair and big eyes that seem to see right through him.

But from the moment he first sees Kat, the attraction he feels is undeniable. Appalled by what he has been ordered to do, he's determined to get to the bottom of recent events at Mesa Butte and to keep Kat safe.
But asking questions can be dangerous almost as dangerous as risking one's heart. And soon Kat and Gabe's passion for the truth and each other makes them targets for those who would do anything, even kill, to keep Native Americans off their sacred land.

The story meant a lot to me because it offered me a chance to share my love of the Navajo people. I spent a lot of time on the dinetah — Navajoland, the Navajo reservation — reporting about certain issues facing traditional Navajo families. I learned so much during that time and made some very close friends.

Also, the story features Gabe Rossiter, who is drawn from the climbing/extreme sports aspect of Boulder, where everyone hikes, bikes, climbs, skis, etc. I come from a climbing family. My father and brother still climb 14,000-foot peaks, as well as ice and rock. We all ski.

However, the story opens with an event that almost killed me — a fall off a cliff. I was climbing with my father and fell 40 feet. I broke my tibia, ruptured my thigh, had a head injury and broken ribs and had to be airlifted to a trauma center. Great fun! Not!

I shared that experience through Kat. Writing that scene was the first time it really dawned on me how tough I had to be that day to survive.

The author’s note on my website ( details that experience, as well as my relationship with the Navajo.

So Naked Edge was very special to me, and I think some readers had a hard time identifying with a heroine who was truly Navajo and not white with a Navajo coating. But I wouldn’t write Kat any other way. At the same time, there are lots of readers who loved the book.

Right now I’m finishing Breaking Point, which tells Natalie Benoit’s story and which will be out in May. Here’s the back blurb:

While investigating border violence in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Denver journalist Natalie Benoit is caught in a bloody ambush and taken captive. Alone in the hands of ruthless killers, she will need every ounce of courage she possesses to survive.

Betrayed by another operative, Deputy U.S. Marshal Zach McBride has endured a week of torture and interrogation at the hands of a bloodthirsty Mexican drug cartel. Ready to give his life if he must, he remains unbroken—until he hears the cries of an American woman.

Although Natalie is only a voice in the darkness of their shared prison, her plight brings renewed strength to Zach's battered body. With her help, he overpowers their captors, and they flee through the desert toward the border, the attraction between them flaring hotter than the Sonoran sun.

But past loss and tragedy leave both of them reluctant to follow their hearts, even when the passion between them reaches its breaking point. Faced with feelings neither expected, they fight to stay ahead of the danger that hunts them as forces more powerful than they can imagine conspire to destroy them both…

It’s my most action-packed story. At the same time, I try very hard to balance the romantic elements, so that the suspense doesn’t overwhelm the development of the relationship. There are excerpts on my blog and website. I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to get that last chapter penned and off to New York.

What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a panster?

I am an unrepentant pantser. I can’t write a word until my characters get it together and know what they feel and what they’re doing. And since they don’t know till they get there, I can’t really plot. Stuff always happens that I didn’t expect. I often don’t even know who the bad guys are in the romantic suspense novels.

For a book to feel real, it has to come from the characters. We’ve probably all heard the phrase “character-driven novel.” That’s what I write. I write in sequence, chapter by chapter, with no jumping ahead.

I’m required by contract to submit synopses to my editor, but she and I both know the synopsis is nothing but an educated guess at what will happen in the story. I rarely refer to it while I’m writing the story itself.

Because I still work full-time — for me, that’s four days a week — I spend Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays locked in my house writing my brains out from the moment I get up until I just can’t keep my eyes open any longer. Sometimes that’s an 18-hour day.

There are weekends when the words flow, and there are weekends where I’m so frustrated with the lack of flow that I want to scream. But I just keep at it, weekend after weekend, until the book is finished and is as close to what I envision in my mind as it can be.

I have a dry erase board where I jot down things I want to remember. Sometimes bits of dialogue or plot come to me, and I don’t want to forget them. I also have sticky notes that are the size of a enormous flat-screen TV that I post on my flat screen, actually, where I’ve written notes for whatever chapter I’m writing. I also keep notes of changes I want to make in earlier chapters, and on days when I don’t have time to write, I go backward and make those changes.

By the time I finish, the book is done. I do one very slow, long draft and then edit it. There aren’t multiple drafts, though I do sometimes redo an entire scene. To this day — knock on wood — I have never been asked to do revisions

Where does your inspiration come from?

For the historicals, my inspiration comes from history itself. My degree is in archaeology, and I’ve always been fascinated with the details of daily human life. Most history classes teach the big events and tell us about the famous people. But the lives of lords and ladies interest me less than those of ordinary people.

I want to feel the past surround me. I want to know what it was like to live in a world without cell phones and electricity and modern medicine. There is no detail too small for me.

The conversations at our dinner table are often about history. My sons have read scholarly level historical texts since they were little. My older son, Alec, loves the ancient world and studied Latin like his mother, and my younger son, Benjamin, knows as much about World War I as most professors who specialize in World War I. I used to drive him to campus when he was only 10 years old so that he could discuss WWI with professors because they were the only ones who could talk about it on his level. He collects WWI weapons, as well.

So we talk about all of these things, from the ancient Minoans all the way up to World War II. It is a great passion in this house. We watch more documentaries than movies, that’s for sure.

All of this turns into inspiration when I hear about something and the wheels of my imagination begin to spin.

The MacKinnon’s Rangers series grew out of research I did for Ride the Fire, my third historical. Set in 1763, it touched on events during the French and Indian War. I kept reading about Robert Rogers and his Rangers, and that led me to research them. Then I knew I had to write about the American Colonial Rangers and the role they played in our history. It utterly fascinates me.

I’ve been to Fort Edward (Fort Elizabeth in the stories) and stood on Rogers Island (Ranger Island). I’ve been to Fort Ticonderoga and spent hours asking the poor curator 10,000 annoying questions. Benjamin, who knows a great deal about this time period as well, went with me, as did my mother. When we went back to the car, my mom said, “You do realize, don’t you, that I had no idea what you were talking about the entire time we were there.”

Here’s an example of what I live for:

When we were at Fort Ti (as they call it), I stood in the arched doorway of the fort and looked out over Lake Champlain. And as I stood there, I realized that this was the exact same view that George Washington and Benjamin Franklin and Benedict Arnold and the Marquis du Montcalm and thousands of real French, British and, later, American soldiers saw when they visited and lodged in the fort. Just as importantly, it was the same view my characters Morgan and Amalie had. That connection with the past and with my characters gave me goose bumps.

That is a great moment in life for me. I felt like had touched the lives of those who’d walked there before me. Priceless.

I have thought of writing straight historical fiction, but I’m not doing that yet.

The I-Team series is all drawn from things that I’ve touched on in real life. I once stayed in jail as a bogus felony arrest to see what life was like for incarcerated women. That experience went into Unlawful Contact. And so on… One reader called the way I write my I-Team books “Method writing,” because I really do know what I’m writing about, sometimes too well.

Music plays a huge role in keeping me inspired. I create playlists for books, playlists for characters, playlists for scenes, playlists for moments in the story… It’s all a form of emotional manipulation. I get myself in the frame of mind of my characters and then, hopefully, I’m open to what they’re going through.

Do you ever read your own books after they are published?

Rarely. It’s too intimidating. What if I find something I want to change. Here are the ones I have read: Ride the Fire (deeply personal for me), Surrender, Untamed, Hard Evidence, Unlawful Contact, Naked Edge. The one I’ve read most is probably Unlawful Contact, which drew together years and years of experiences covering prison issues.

This past legislative session, three laws that come into being at the end of Unlawful Contact to protect prisoners became reality in Colorado. One of them — a bill that prohibits the shackling of pregnant women in labor — I wrote myself and took to the state Capitol. I testified during the hearings, met with lawmakers and was so thrilled when it passed.

That’s how close I am to the subject matter of these books.

Give us your best advice about getting published and staying that way.

There are no shortcuts. Whether you’re writing very commercial novels or striking out on your own into something no one else is doing, there are no shortcuts. Here are six things I believe are important:

1. Write the very best book you can. You won’t be able to please every reader every time, but you should be able to maintain a level of quality that enables readers to trust you. It’s better to turn a great book in a bit late, than to turn a disappointing book in on time.

2. Do your research or world building. Readers aren’t stupid. They’ll spot it if you make mistakes or fake it.

3. Truly devote yourself to your career. This may mean making serious sacrifices, like eliminating television shows or video games from your life. I don’t watch TV at all. I don’t even have cable. My TV is for DVDs only. I rarely go out or get together with friends. My life is built around writing. If you don’t want to put 100 percent of yourself into writing, then don’t plan on being a multi-published author.

4. Don’t be tempted to jump on the bandwagon. Write what you know. Write what you love. For example, I don’t write vampires. Doing so has never interested me, though there’s a lot of money to be made in writing vampires. If you don’t like historical romance, don’t waste your time trying to write it. I’ve seen writers waste their momentum hopping from one breaking trend to the next without building readership in any single area. They write a chick-lit book because that’s big, but before they can build a solid readership there, they’re off writing vampires. Then it’s urban fantasy. Let yourself build readership in a sub-genre you love and can write well.

5. Find your voice. What’s unique about you and the way you relate to the world? I’m a history geek and a journalist who has face death threats as a result of my work. Those things fuel my writing.

6. Plan on feeling discouraged. There are no guarantees in this business. Some writers find success immediately. Others struggle for years. One author whose books are very well written might not make it to the bestseller lists as another whose books are less polished than they are commercial.

As I tell people, writing a novel is an act of will. If you want to succeed you must not give up. That, perhaps, is the most important tip I can give.

Pamela, that is some of the best advice I have heard! Thank you!!!;-)

What do you like to read when you have the time?

I love historical romance, straight historical fiction, and history books. I can sit and read historical accounts of almost anything—fiction, nonfiction, whatever. I also read romantic suspense from time to time.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

I have a website (, as well as a blog ( There’s also a Yahoo group. And I’m on Goodreads, as well, where there’s a Pamela Clare Fan Club. I’m very open to chatting with readers, so I welcome e-mails. Sometimes it takes me a while to respond, but I read every single one.

Thanks Pamela. I’m so glad that you’ve been able to join us.

Thank you, Micole! I had fun.

And once again, I want to say thank you to my readers. I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, wonderful Thanksgiving, full of loved ones, and lot’s of turkey, stuffing, and pie!!!!

See you next week!



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spotlight Author with Allison Chase

Wow has this been a busy month! Besides working hard on research for my next book, I have been busy trying to get things settled for our new house. It never seems that I have enough time to do the things I want or need to do. One thing for sure… I am very excited about today’s guest. I have Allison Chase here with me today, and she has so much to share. So let’s talk.

Hi Allison. I am so happy to have you here where you can tell us all about your upcoming release.

Hi Micole, thanks for having me again! It’s been a while, since July, and I hope everyone had great summer and beautiful autumn – my favorite season when I lived up north. Thanks for asking about my upcoming release, which will hit the shelves on December 7! OUTRAGEOUSLY YOURS is the second book in my Victorian series, Her Majesty’s Secret Servants, about the four Sutherland sisters who were once the childhood friends of Queen Victoria, and now serve Her Majesty in delicate matters that require discretion. In this story, second sister Ivy is asked – ok, commanded – to recover a very important item that’s been stolen from Buckingham Palace. The queen wants it back pronto before anyone, and especially her secret beau, Albert, finds out that it’s missing. But in order to track this item down, Ivy has to cut her hair, don trousers, and head off to the all-male world of Cambridge University. She’ll not only have fool everyone she comes in contact with, but she'll come head to head with a brooding nobleman-turned-scientist the students fondly refer to as "The Mad Marquess of Harrow." Why do they call him that? Well, partly because of his tendency to blow things up and shoot sparks through the skylight in his lab. The other reason has to do with his deceased wife…and the fact that no one seems to know where she's buried. Some believe the Mad Marquess might be trying to use electricity to resurrect her….

Here’s a little teaser of OUTRAGEOUSLY YOURS.

A rare stone gifted to Queen Victoria by her secret suitor, Albert of Saxe-Coburg, has been stolen, and possibly delivered into the hands of the Marquess of Harrow a man whispered to be slightly mad. Her Majesty asks Scholarly Ivy Sutherland to assume the role of science student “Ned Ivers, win the marquess's trust, and recover the stone before news of the theft ruins the royal courtship…

Since the death of his young wife, Simon de Burgh, Marquess of Harrow has dedicated himself to science. Finding an assistant whose intellect and passion match his own proves an unexpected boon, until he discovers that Ned is actually a woman. Simon is incensed then intrigued. Unable to resist his growing desire for Ivy, which she undeniably returns, Simon knows he must end her charade before it leads to scandal Instead, Ivy convinces Simon to work together to recover the stone...and unwittingly plunges them both into a more dangerous game. Now they're risking their lives...and their hearts... in a race to stop a sinister murderer before he kills again.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Geek here! I admit it. Especially when it comes to English history – or anything English. I only need to poke around a history book and I start getting ideas. As I initially began researching the Victorian era, I came across references to the developing technologies of the times… The driving theme in OUTRAGEOUSLY YOURS is the emergence of Victorian science and physics, and the beginnings of electricity. Sound stuffy? Guess again! The era ushered in the beginning of modern technology as we know it, and the inventions were…well…often pretty outrageous (pun intended). I’ll admit I took liberties and even stuck a toe or two into the realm of science fiction. The result is a wild ride that was lots of fun to write. Rest assured my heroine isn’t sitting awestruck in a corner while the hero sends electricity sizzling through the wires. Oh, no, no! Not only do they engage in some mutual sizzling together, but Ivy is every bit as brainy as Simon, and she gets right into the thick of things, playing with currents and magnetism and all those fabulous Victorian gismos and gears.
What are you working on now?

Since the summer I’ve been writing book three, RECKLESSLY YOURS. This one involves horses and the Royal Ascot, an ancient family curse, and the mysterious threat against the Sutherlands that's been dogging them through each book. Readers will have met the hero, Colin Ashworth, in OUTRAGEOUSLY YOURS, and now they’ll have a chance to see him in action as he tries to hold his contentious family together and return a mystical colt to its rightful home before the curse takes it toll. Colin's father gave the colt to the queen as a gift, but Colin has stolen it back, and it's Holly Sutherland's job to find the animal and return it to Victoria. The only problem is, this horse thief is also a thief of hearts, and Holly is faced with the choice of betraying her love or betraying her queen. It's quite a dilemma!

Give us a glimpse into a writer’s life.

When viewed from afar, writers are REALLY boring! We sit and pore through books. We stare at computer monitors. We stare into space. We tap the keyboard. Oh, but if you could only get inside our heads, you’d be amazed! Adventure, danger, passion, not to mention countless lives and personalities, all swirling through our brains. A lot of authors juggle writing with “day jobs.” I’m no exception, although I am lucky enough to be able to work from my home office. I edit for a small publisher, which means lots and lots of computer time. I try to offset that everyday with a little workout and some tension-relieving yoga. I’m still pretty new at it, but I’ve become a huge advocate. Oommm!

Is there anything special to your writing process? Pictures? Music? Any tricks of the trade?

Oddly, no. I don’t use pictures, storyboards, or any fancy plotting devices. I do keep notebooks for my research facts, and another for jotting down ideas, sketching out scenes, or working out those pesky little plot snares. If I’m really feeling stuck, I’ll whip out my AlphaSmart. But otherwise I’m pretty basic. As I mentioned above, I try to exercise every day because I find it loosens up the brain as well as the muscles. On days when the neighborhood is noisy, I’ll stick on my headphones, but otherwise I like silence. An empty house is always a plus.

Have you ever felt so connected with one of your characters you’ve had a difficult time moving past their story? Explain…

The first book I ever wrote was a Medieval set on the Welsh marches. Falcons in Flight was the title. I had such a passion for that time period and setting (still do, really), and without having learned a thing yet about plotting, pacing, etc., I just wrote and wrote for almost two years – it was a big book until I trimmed it down. I felt like I was leaving old friends when I finally moved on to my next manuscript. I still think about Lord Robert and Lady Juliana, and maybe someday I’ll revisit their story, do some heavy reworking…and who knows?

What is your favorite thing about being an author?

The writing aside, what I love meeting other authors and experiencing that bond we all share. No matter how much you try to explain writing to someone who doesn’t write, you'll never quite make them understand all the heart and energy that goes into a book. There’s really nothing like swapping war stories with others who "get it." I also love meeting readers who tell me they’ve enjoyed my books. What can be more rewarding than knowing you’ve touched someone’s life even in a small way?

Do you have any advice on writing, getting published, or finding an agent?

First, I would urge any aspiring writer to join a chapter of the RWA, attend workshops, and learn as much as you can, both about the craft of writing and the industry in general. Start meeting people and making contacts early on. Use Facebook, Twitter and all that. Have a website – a simple inexpensive one will do – and/or a blog. Basically, establish a presence. I’d also recommend entering contests, first for feedback, and later with the goal of being judged in the final round by an editor. That’s how I sold my first book, by the way, so it does work. Don't linger too long over any one manuscript. Finish a story, edit it well, start submitting, and while you wait for replies, begin a new manuscript. Always keep plowing ahead. I didn’t sell until my fifth manuscript, but later I sold numbers 4 and 3, in that order. Join or establish a critique group. I’ve been meeting with mine for about fifteen years now and I could not have made it this far without them – I can’t stress that enough. They are an incredibly talented group of writers, but even more importantly, they’re good friends. We support each other, help each other grow as writers and cheer each other on through good times. If need be, we literally drag each other through the hard times and make sure no one ever just gives up.

What does your family think of your job?

I’m so lucky in this respect! Everyone, from my husband and daughters, to my parents, to aunts, uncles and cousins, are really, really supportive. They’re all proud of “the author in the family,” and when my books come out everyone scrambles for their copy. My parents buy a stack and send them to their friends. My cousin recently told me that the last time he visited our aunt, she showed him her collection of my books with a naughty little gleam in her eye. It makes me sad to hear of romance writers who are reduced to writing in secret because of disapproving family members or a disapproving community. Romance celebrates life, and as writers we should always feel able to celebrate our accomplishments. In fact, thank you, Micole, for helping us do that!

Now tell us a little bit about Allison Chase. Who are you? What do you do when you’re not writing hunky heroes and romantic love stories? Hobbies?

Writing hunky heroes and passionate stories actually takes up most of my time! But a lot of the activities I enjoy actually tie in with my writing. I love to travel (not that we’re getting a chance to do much of that lately). I love to see new places, especially ones with a long and rich history. Even if those places aren’t directly related to a work in progress, I always find that getting away from my home environment helps stir my creativity. I love to read, of course, mostly historical romance and historical fiction, but not exclusively. I also enjoy romantic suspense, mystery, thriller, and paranormal, and nonfiction – history and biography.
I mentioned exercise. My husband and I also own archery bows – now that’s my idea of a sport! Unfortunately, our neighbor of the past 17 years just moved, and we’re thinking the new people might be somewhat taken aback to see the occasional arrow flying through the hedge. So maybe no archery for a while. Lately I’ve taken to watching cooking shows, which is strange for me because I’m usually the “throw some chicken in the oven and steam some vegetables” type. I love winter comfort food like stews (even though I live in Florida, lol), and anything that can be cooked in one pot or casserole dish. Hey, does anyone out there have any yummy, easy recipes to share?

Thank you, Allison. Where can our readers find out more about you and where they can get your books?

Thank you, Micole!

For the latest on releases, excerpts, reviews, and links to purchase my books, visit me at From there you can link to my blog (, as well as my Facebook, Twitter and Myspace pages. Readers can also contact me personally from my website. I’d love to hear from you! I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll be cooking a turkey this year, with my raisin-walnut stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce. Does anything smell more heavenly than the house on Thanksgiving morning?


Oh my gosh, my mouth is watering! Thank you everyone for stopping in.



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Spotlight Author with Kathryn Caskie Parker

Today I have another amazing guest here at my blog. Kathryn Caskie Parker is here to gives us all of the details on her up-coming release plus give us tips and tricks of the writing world. She even has some goodies to give away!!!

Welcome Kathryn, So glad that you joined us here today. We would love to hear about your up coming release, THE DUKE’S NIGHT OF SIN.

My November 30th release is the third in my Seven Deadly Sins series, The Duke’s Night of Sin. The Seven Deadly Series~ The series is about the seven sexy Sinclair brothers and sisters, known throughout Scotland as the Seven Deadly Sins. They live for scandal and delight in disgrace until their father finally decrees that they must reform or be cast out to the pavers with a penny to their name. Propriety has never come easily for the seven, but now they have no choice, and so they head off to London, where no one knows of their past deeds, to seek the respectability their father demands. The Duke’s Night of Sin is about Lady Siusan Sinclair, whose sin to overcome is sloth/laziness. One the anniversary of her fiancé’s death, her brothers and sister convince her to attend a grand ball in honor of the new Duke of Exeter. But once she is there, her loneliness and sadness overwhelm her and she takes refuge from the festivities in a dark library. Before long a gentleman enters and, in the darkness, mistakes her for someone else. She thinks to correct him, but everything is happening so quickly and when he kisses her, she melts and allows herself to imagine her fiancé. Soon he’s filling her loneliness, and she convinces herself that it’s only one night of sin. No one will know. But when she slips up and speaks, revealing her Scot’s dialect, the gentleman realizes his mistake. She flees the room and disappears in the crowd just as the Duke of Exeter is announced. She knows if her father learns of her indiscretion she will be disinherited with the Duke of Exeter and so she escapes for Bath, where she accepts a position of instructress of deportment at an exclusive school for girls. Sebastian Beaufort, the new Duke of Exeter, believes he has taken advantage of an innocent Society miss. He knows he must find her, marry her if that is what it will take to right his wrong. But how do you find someone you’ve never actually seen? But that’s when the fun begins. The Duke’s Night of Sin is my favorite of the Seven Deadly Sins series...and by far the sexiest. RT Book Reviews called The Duke’s Night of Sin “a capture your heart romance.”

When you are not writing, what do you like to read?

I read everything. This week I am reading Kristan Higgin’s All I Ever Wanted, Sarah Macleans’s Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord and (for something completely different) The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie!

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

Because I write by the seat of pants (yes, I am a true blue pantser), I never know what each day will bring—except, eventually, a happily ever after.

What makes your voice different from others?

I’ve been told by a couple of different editors and agents that what makes my voice distinctive is that I write historicals with a humorous contemporary voice that appeals to both readers of historical and contemporary romance.

If you had to pick a favorite character that you have created or one that you wish you had created who would it be and why?

My favorite characters (I can’t pick one because they are twins) that I have created are the elderly Featherton sisters. I hated to see them go with the conclusion of the Featherton Sisters Quartet (Rules of Engagement, Lady in Waiting, Love is In the Heir and A Lady’s Guide to Rakes), so I gave them a cameo in The Most Wicked of Sins from the Seven Deadly Sins series. Reader told me they loved seeing dotty twins again.

A character I wish I had created...Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Sigh.

Give us a glimpse into your writer’s life.

Well, my husband recently started working from home, so I gave up my office (his phone voice is booming) and retreated to the dining room on the other side of the house to write. There are no distractions there, like in my office, just silverware, china, etc. When the kids are home there isn’t a distraction free zone in the house, so, if I am on deadline, I head off to Rust Library where I can usually duck into one of their quiet glass study rooms. I know so many authors who write at Starbucks. I can’t. Within minutes, I find myself eavesdropping on anyone chatting nearby and then coming up with fictional, very adventurous lives for them. As far as crafting a book, I don’t really plot. I’ve tried, but I’ve found that if I know the whole story I don’t want to write it. I really wish I was a plotter. Recently, I have taken a baby step toward traditional plotting. Before starting a book (I normally just plunge right into the writing) I do my best to identify the Inciting Incident, the Turning Points, the Black Moment, the Climax and the Resolution. Then, I let the story percolate in my mind. By time I start to write, I know the characters and their motivations, as I do when I writing by the seat of my pants, but I don’t write myself into a corner anymore—which speeds up the writing process. Have I sufficiently confused everyone? LOL.
What steps did you take to make your dreams come true?

I’ve always written in my various jobs, but when I decided I wanted to write a novel I started researching the business of publishing. I read every book I could on business and the craft. I joined RWA and my local chapter. I got involved. I met as many agents and editors as I could. I joined a critique group, and at the urging of one of my CPs, finished my novel in time to enter the Golden Heart. I was lucky enough to win.

Do you have any advice about finding an agent or getting published?

First, make sure your book is the best it can be. So many would-be authors type The End and immediately send the books to every editor and agent they can think of. Big mistake. You may only get one bite at the apple so do your homework. Pay attention to which houses publish the sort of book you have written. Take a look at the dedication pages of books similar to yours. Many authors thank their editor and agent there. These are the people who might like your book. Search the web for interviews these people may have given. In short, be sure that when you send you manuscript to agent at a literary agency, or an editor at a publishing house, you are sending it to the right one. It won’t do you any good to send your erotic vampire romance to the editor who loves funny Regency’s. Don’t count on the editor to walk your manuscript down the hall to someone who loves darker stories—make sure you target the right person. In short, do your homework then target the right agent or editor for your book. It will really improve you chances of realizing your dream of seeing your book in print.

Kathryn, thank you for being a guest on my blog, it has been a pleasure. We would love to know where we can find you and your books on the web.

Thank you so much for inviting me! I’ve given Micole a few e-ARCs of The Duke’s Night of Sin to give away. If you don’t win one of those, please stop by website reads an excerpt and enter my contest!

Kathryn has hooked us up with lots of goodies, so make sure to leave a comment so we can give them away!!!! Thank you all again for stopping by. See you next week.



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spotlight Author with Jennifer Lewis

November already? My eyes see the calendar but my brain just doesn't compute. This year has flown by. Today I have Desire author, Jennifer Lewis with me. Let's show her some love.

Hi Micole, and thanks for inviting me to your blog!

So glad that you could visit with us today, Jennifer. So tell us about your last release, THE BACHELOR'S BOUGHT BRIDE.

My most recent release was The Bachelor’s Bought Bride, which came out in May for Silhouette Desire. It tells the story of a wealthy heiress who’s used to being a bit of a wallflower, so she’s surprised when a gorgeous and successful man pursues her and proposes. She’s appalled when she discovered that her father paid him to seduce her into marriage. By this time they’ve both seriously fallen for each other, but can they have a real relationship after she discovers his deception? This story was part of a Silhouette Desire series, where six authors are given linked plots and characters, and each of us writes one book in the series. We then have the challenge of turning a paragraph of plot description into a full book, and I really enjoy the process. The Bachelor’s Bought Bride was set in San Francisco so I had fun with the romantic setting as well as the unusual storyline.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished writing the third book in a three-book Royal Rebels series that’s coming out next year. Each book is set in a different country and I had loads of fun inventing my sexy royal heroes and their kingdoms.

I noticed from your web page that you have had the advantage of living in some cool places. Do you think that this has helped your writing/imagination/muse?

Living in different countries gives you insight into each culture. You see how different things are important to, even how standards of beauty and what makes an intriguing mate are different. Then when you travel you can look for these interesting things that make a culture unique. It definitely inspires my muse! I also get inspired by settings. In fact sometimes the setting is what draws me to a book. In my Royal Rebels series I visited a tropical island, romantic central Europe, and the Pyrenees mountains, all in my imagination. A summer trip to Barcelona, with its unique Catalan culture and gorgeous medieval castles, was very inspirational for the last book.

What is your writing process? Plotter or Panster?

I’m a plotter all the way. I come up with the idea, write a synopsis and interview the characters before I start. I sell my books based on the synopsis most of the time, so this is essential!

Do you have any advice or writing secrets for aspiring authors?

I think the most important thing is to have a writing habit. Even if you only write one page a day you’ll have a book finished in a year. If you write three pages a day, like I usually do, you could end up with three or more books!
If you’re writing just for fun, then write whatever you want (and this is probably the best way to write your first book, just enjoy the process). If you’re writing to sell, then recognize that it’s a market and you need to fit into it somewhere and it may take several books and/or years of studying your craft and writing for you to find your niche, so be patient! I wrote 10 books before I finally sold one, and now I’ve sold thirteen, all written since that first sale.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Who knows? I had no idea five years ago that I’d be back in England after living in the US for so many years, so it just proves you never know what life will bring. I’m just glad that writing is easy to do anywhere, and that I still enjoy it after writing more than twenty books!

What’s one thing that you know now that you wished you knew when you started your journey as a writer?

The internet is such a goldmine of information and inspiration. I think I would have sold a lot sooner if it had been around when I penned my first books nearly twenty years ago. It was actually a friend telling me about the eHarlequin site and all the tips it had, that convinced me to give writing another try after a long break.

Give us a glimpse into your writer’s life.

I wrote my first sale books by getting up super early in the morning and writing before my toddlers woke up. Now the kids are in school I usually drop them off and write during the day. I also love running, horses, yoga and spending time with friends. Writing a little bit every day leaves me plenty of time to enjoy the rest of my life and get out there looking for new ideas and inspiration!

Thank you, Jennifer for joining me at my blog. For more information about Jennifer and her books you can find her at