Friday, December 31, 2010

Spotlight Author with Marie Force

Happy New Year!!!! Welcome back! Boy, I can’t believe that 2011 has already hit. This year will be no different than years past. Along with millions of other people, I too have set new resolutions for myself. The hardest one of them all… STICK TO IT! One of my many resolutions this year has to do with my blog. I have been doing a lot of planning and thinking about how I can improve my blog. I have some things in mind and hope that all of you will be happy with the improvements.

One thing that won’t change is how hard I work to keep an exciting list of authors visiting my site. Today’s visitor is Marie Force.

Marie Force is the author of FATAL AFFAIR (June 2010) and FATAL JUSTICE (Jan. 2011), Books 1 and 2 in her new Fatal Series from Harlequin’s Carina Press. Book 3, FATAL CONSEQUENCES, is coming in 2011. “This novel is “The O.C.” does D.C., and you just can’t get enough.” (Romantic Times, 4.5 stars for FATAL AFFAIR). In its July 2010 issue, Romantic Times named Marie a “Future Star of Romantic Suspense.” Marie is also the author of three contemporary romances: Everybody Loves a Hero (Feb. 2011), Line of Scrimmage (Sept. 2008) and Love at First Flight (July 2009). Of Line of Scrimmage, Booklist said, “With its humor and endearing characters, Force’s charming novel will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers, reaching far beyond sports fans.” Wild on Books said, “Love at First Flight by Marie Force is most definitely a keeper. It is an astounding book. I loved every single word!” Marie is also the author of TRUE NORTH, available as an ebook via and Smashwords.

Since 1996, Marie has been the communications director for a national organization similar to RWA. She is a member of RWA’s New England, Beau Monde, From the Heart and Published Author Special Interest Chapters.

While her husband was in the Navy, Marie lived in Spain, Maryland and Florida, and she is now settled in her home state of Rhode Island. She is the mother of Emily, 15, Jake, 12, and a feisty dog named Brandy.

Find her at, on her blog at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at Marie loves to hear from readers. Contact her at

Now that you’ve had a chance to get to know her a little better, here she is to chat with us about her upcoming releases.

You have two books coming to stores. FATAL JUSTICE in January and EVERYONE LOVES A HERO in February. Give us a little teaser of both if you don’t mind.

First of all, thanks for having me today! Let’s see, FATAL JUSTICE is first on Jan. 3. So here’s the lowdown on that one:

Supreme Court nominee Julian Sinclair comes to Washington expecting to be confirmed to the high court. Instead, he’s found shot execution-style in a city park. Detective Lt. Sam Holland’s list of suspects is long, but does it include her significant other, Senator Nick Cappuano, one of the last to see Sinclair alive? While tracking down Sinclair's killer, Sam is also confronted with a new clue into her father's unsolved shooting that leads to unexpected danger for her. In the meantime, Sam's partner, Detective Freddie Cruz, returns to the "scene of the crime" when he looks up Elin Svendsen, one of the late Senator John O'Connor's sexy ex-girlfriends. After a lifetime of virtue, will Freddie be led down the road to ruin by a temptress who wants only one thing from him?

FATAL JUSTICE is the second in my Fatal Series. FATAL CONSEQUENCES will be out in July 2011, FATAL DESTINY, a novella featuring the characters’ wedding, will be out in the fall of 2011, and FATAL FLAW is coming in early 2012.

EVERYONE LOVES A HERO is out February 1. Here’s the scoop:

Everyone loves a hero. That's the problem.
Hero pilot Cole Langston is learning to live with—and enjoy—his new found fame and the rabid female attention that comes with it until a lucky punch knocks some sense into him and opens his eyes to true love.

When his copilot suffers a heart attack in flight, Cole lands the jetliner in a blizzard and revives the stricken captain. Catapulted to national hero status, Cole has more women vying for his attention than he knows what to do with. They all have one thing in common: they try without success to bring this happy-go-lucky pilot down to earth. Then comes an airport altercation, a punch to the face, and the lovely Olivia—a shy, timid artist who does what no other woman has ever managed to do: steal Cole's well-protected heart. With women coming on to him everywhere they go, Olivia struggles to believe that Cole is ready for a committed relationship. His biggest problem is getting rid of all his extra ladies before the only one he wants figures out that she's one of many.

There are excerpts of both available on my website at

Most writers tend to know from the start that one day they want to be a “writer.” A lot of them, like you, go to school and start a career geared towards that goal. When was the first time you realized you wanted to write for the characters stories running around inside of your head?

The writing part started for me in the 10th grade when a high school English teacher told me I had talent. That was news to me! The following year, I sacrificed band class (sadness) to take the journalism class that teacher was offering the same period as band. I was never sorry I did that as I went on to major in journalism in college and worked for several years as a reporter. I continue to use skills I gained during my journalism years every day in my current job as the communications director for a national organization. The characters appeared a little later. In 2002, I started having long conversations with a character named Jack. He was the start of it all. (More below about Jack!)

What steps did you take to follow your dreams?

First off, I wrote every day for a lot of years. Seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year. I did that until I had developed a good habit of daily production. In that time, I wrote seven books. The seventh one, Line of Scrimmage, was the first to be published. The first three books I wrote, the one featuring Jack and the two that followed, are still my favorites, and I hope to see them published someday—or I’ll do it myself. I really think readers will love those books. I also queried a lot until I found an agent who sold Line of Scrimmage. I was very determined and very focused on my goal. I think that made a big difference for me. I continue to be just as determined, but I don’t write every day anymore—except when I‘m on deadline.

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

I wish I had known more about what happens after you get The Call and what questions to ask. I know what questions matter now, and that’s really important.

Every author has something different to give to their reader with their work. What do you think makes your writing unique?

I like to write about regular people who find themselves in extraordinary situations. I’m a big believer that much of life happens in the gray area between black and white. I love to delve into that gray area. One of my favorite of my books, The Fall, is about a prominent doctor who falls in love with his best friend’s girlfriend. Such a simple premise but with far-reaching ramifications for everyone involved. I love the notion of a man who thinks he knows himself and what’s important until he meets The One and everything he thought he knew becomes irrelevant. I’ll be posting The Fall to Amazon soon. I hope readers will check it out and enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it. Much of my darling Jack’s story involves gray area, too. That’s where all the fun happens for me as a writer.

In the past I have asked my guests to share a favorite character that they have created and why, but in reading your piece “The House that Jack Built,” you answered that question for me. Can you share with the readers your story about Jack?

Ahhh yes, my beloved Jack Harrington! Here’s the story: The first character to take up occupancy in my mind as a living, breathing human being, was a handsome, successful architect named Jack Harrington. Jack and I ran around together for a long time before I ever put fingers to keyboard to tell his story. I wanted to write about a man who has it all—a wife he still adores after twenty years of marriage, three beautiful daughters he'd do anything for, and a life most people would envy. That life is turned upside down when his wife is hit by a car and plunged into a coma. I wanted to show Jack's struggles to rebuild his life as he becomes the custodial parent for his daughters—two of them teenagers with all the accompanying issues—and I wanted to show his conflict when he finds a new love. These issues make up the core of my first book, "Treading Water," which led to two sequels, "Marking Time," and "My Side of the Street." It's "Treading Water," however, that is the book of my heart.

Since I finished "Treading Water," I've thought of my writing as "The House That Jack Built," tying into his career as an architect and the unexpected building blocks that came from "Treading Water." As I was finishing "My Side of the Street" in July 2006, I decided to drive out to Chatham, Massachusetts, so I could finish it in the town where it was set. Yes, this was a huge indulgence, but it coincided with the halfway point of summer vacation and my kids were driving me nuts. I had earned this night away! The first thing I did when I got to Chatham was drive around to check out the four streets I had chosen from hundreds on a map to place my characters' homes. I figured if there was, say, a cement factory on both sides of the street, the people of Chatham would know I hadn't bothered to come out there and check. I am pleased to report there were houses on all four streets, but on the corner of the fourth street, there was something else—a red house with a sign on the side that said, "The House That Jack Built." No, I am not kidding, and yes, I sat there and cried. If ever there was a "sign" that I was on the path I was meant to be on, there it was. It was without a doubt, one of the most amazing moments of my life, and I will never, ever forget it. You can view the photo of the house and read the second part of the story at

After hearing this story, you can probably see why I want so badly to share these three books with readers. In the next year or so, I hope to get them out there!

What are you reading right now? If nothing at the moment then what do you like to read when you have time?

I recently started a Book Club on my blog ( where we feature a new book every week and invite the authors to come out and interact with readers. Most of them offer up at least one giveaway book. Well, Robyn Carr of Virgin River fame is going to be our guest on Dec. 16. As a thank you for having her, the lovely Ms. Carr sent me PROMISE CANYON, the first in her new Virgin River trilogy, out in January. I can’t wait to dive into this book as the Virgin River series is one of my all-time favorites! I’ve also been reading a lot of romantic suspense lately (for the book club), but that is unusual for me. I tend to not read that which I write. That’s why I read a lot of historical romances. Lisa Kleypas is my favorite. I often say that she could write the phone book, and I’d read it. I love every one of her books.

Give us a glimpse into a writer’s life.

My writer’s life is so weird! LOL! I work all day from my home in RI for a company in Virginia. I started with them 15 years ago when my husband was stationed with the Navy in the DC area. When we moved to Florida 12 years ago they asked me to stay on as a full-time telecommuter. I’ve been doing that ever since—from the time my kids were babies until now when the oldest is in high school and the youngest in middle school. So that’s my day job. Around 5:30, I quit work to make dinner, manage homework, drive kids here there and everywhere, make the next day’s lunches, fold laundry and wrangle the crazy puppy. I’ve gotten really good at getting all the chores done very quickly! Speed folding? I’m your girl.

When ALL of that is done, I write. Usually from about 7:30 to about 10 or 11—or until my eyes give out. On any given day, it all depends on whether or not it’s happening. If the word aren’t coming, I quit trying and work on my website or blog or fool around with my friends on Facebook.I also make sure to save a little time at the end of every day to read (yes, I am hard on my eyes!) I’m lucky that my kids are a little older now and like to have downtime of their own, so they are very good about accommodating my writing time at night and on weekends. The only time my schedule deviates is when I’m on deadline—then I force myself to write whether it’s happening or not—and when I travel for work. No writing gets done then. I’ve learned that I need to be at home to be productive. Quiet hotels don’t work as well for me as my own crazy living room. Funny story about this oddity of mine: when I was recently on deadline for FATAL CONSEQUENCES, I was traveling for work and had time at night after my commitments, but it was just too damned quiet in the hotel room. So I turned on the show Parenthood and the chaos on the show was very similar to my house. I wrote 3,000 words that night. See? I told you I’m weird!

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

Perseverance is key. You can’t ever give up. This business is so fraught with hard knocks that you just have to hang in there and keep trying and keep perfecting your craft. Another thing that I think is really important is being open to criticism. SO MANY aspiring authors have asked me to tell them what is wrong with their book, but so few really want to hear it. If nothing seems to be working, if you’re getting rejection after rejection, ask a published author to tell you why and then LISTEN to what they say. Few people find themselves published due to luck alone. It’s a lot more complicated than that, and being open to the truth can make the difference between stop and go for a new writer.

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

You can find me on my website at, my blog at http://http//, on Facebook at and on Twitter at You can find my books on Amazon at my Fatal Books are available via under the Romantic Suspense tab.

Marie, thank you so much for the interview. It has been a pleasure having you at Micole Writes Romance.

It was great to be here! Thanks for having me!

I hope all of you take a minute to stop by Marie's website and blog. Wishing you much success Marie. Also Marie will be giving one lucky commenter a copy of her her book Fatal Justice! So get to commenting friends.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Spotlight Author with Heidi Betts

I hope everyone has been enjoying the holiday rush! ;-) I myself have been doing just that. Although I have yet to wrap one gift, I have most of my shopping done and have a call into Santa for the rest. I have one last interview for the year. Today I have invited Heidi Betts to share her books and her story with us. So grab some hot cocoa and take a break from the baking, wrapping, or shopping you might be doing and sit with us for a minute.

Heidi Betts, National Bestselling Author, what does it feel like when you hear that?

Not as nice as it might sound to hear “USA Today Bestselling Author” or “New York Times Bestselling Author.” LOL Seriously, though, it’s a little strange being in that in-between place where my books have done really well in some areas & I’ve been involved with some great anthologies that have hit all the lists, but I can’t claim any specific status for myself. But it’s nice to know that readers enjoy my books enough to make them as successful as they’ve been, and also that my editors feel I’m selling well enough to stick that on my covers.

You write about Vampires as well as contemporary romance. Is it hard to shift gears from one genre to the other or does it help keep the creativity flowing?

You know, it is hard to shift gears, now that you mention it. LOL I love everything I’m writing, & being able to write across the board definitely keeps things fresh. But having to jump from one type of story straight into another isn’t easy. It often takes me a while to clear my head of vampires so I can work on a Silhouette Desire, or vice versa. And there will be times when I think of something really funny or sexy I could write…but have to tone it down because it’s for category. Or, once again, vice versa; you’d be surprised how many times I’ll be doing something in one of my Desires that I think might translate well to a straight contemporary.

Tell us about your latest releases as well as any upcoming releases you may have for your fans.

At the moment, I’ve actually got two wonderful new Christmas releases on the shelves. One is THE BITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS from Kensington Brava, which came out in October, but is still available--& totally appropriate for the holidays! This one is a hot & sexy collection of three connected novellas about vampires celebrating Christmas in their own unique ways. You can find the back cover blurb & an excerpt at my website: The other Christmas-themed book I have out right now is INHERITING HIS SECRET CHRISTMAS BABY for Silhouette Desire. This is actually the last book of a 6-book continuity series titled “Dynasties: The Jarrods”—but I assure you that it very much stands alone. You don’t need to read any of the other books before reading XMAS BABY…though XMAS BABY may make you want to go back & read more about some of the other characters.  XMAS BABY also marks my return to Silhouette Desire after a three-year hiatus. (It was only because other deadlines kept me busy, I assure you, because I love the line & am delighted to be writing for them again!) You can fine the back cover blurb & an excerpt for this one on my website, as well:

What is your writing process? Plotter or Panzter?

I’m a little of both, actually. There are times when I spend a lot of time plotting, & I find that when I take the time to plot out a story & write up a detailed synopsis ahead of time, it helps me stay on track better while I’m writing. But there are also times when I wing it a bit more. I might have a general idea for a story & decide to jump in & see where it takes me. I do okay with this, but it can slow me down later & cause more bumps in the road as I’m going along.

How long does it take you to write a manuscript?

It always depends on the story. To steal a line from Anne Stuart, some books practically write themselves while others have to be dragged kicking & screaming into submission. On average, I can write a Desire in about 3-4 months & a single title in 6-7. But it all depends how well the story flows, how much life decides to intrude, how many other things get thrown in my path.

Oftentimes writers describe writing a love scene like being an intruder in something so very personal. Do you feel this way and how do you get through the dreaded love scene?

I don’t feel this way at all. I’ve never even heard that before! To me, storytelling is storytelling; it’s not about me, it’s about the characters. I’ve written lots of stuff that I would never say or do, but that my characters would. I also don’t dread love scenes. Granted, they tend to move more slowly for me than other scenes in the book, but that’s because of my own personal hang-ups about how I describe things, making sure I get everything done in the right order (& don’t have my hero closing the deal before he’s even gotten his pants unzipped), & how many times I repeat certain critical words like “kiss,” “lips,” “legs,” etc. Otherwise, love scenes are just one more aspect of the story, the same as the opening or the black moment or anything else.

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?

I wish I’d created Harry Potter. Or the Twilight characters. LOL From my own books, though, I honestly do not think I could pick a favorite. They’re all special to me in different ways & for different reasons. My current favorites always tend to be from the story I’m working on at the moment, too. Or sometimes from the story I’m about to start!

Give us a glimpse into your writer’s life.

There are never enough hours in the day, & every time I think I’m on top of things & may actually manage to get ahead of the game for a change, something happens to throw me completely off. I’ll be zipping along, knowing I’m going to meet my deadline, then—boom!—revisions for the last book arrive. Or copy edits or line edits or galleys. If I could work on just one book at a time, from the writing process straight through production, I don’t think I’d be nearly as crazed or neurotic as I am.

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

Ha! Those are sort of three different topics & way too general to answer all at once. I think my main piece of advice for anyone interested in pursuing romance writing seriously would be to join RWA & learn the ropes that way. Join National & then a local Chapter; attend meetings & maybe a few local or national conferences. You can really learn a lot if just sit in & listen, absorbing information like a sponge, & all the rest will come when you’re ready. And don’t be so eager to do the agent or publisher/submission thing that you forget to learn the craft first; I see a lot of people jumping ahead when that’s really the most important part.

What are you reading right now? If nothing at the moment, what do you read when you have time?

I always have more than one book going, so because I love her, because it’s Christmas, & because I’m currently working on my own Brava & like to stay in that hot & sexy mindset, I’m reading Lori Foster’s Yule Be Mine, a collection of previously published Christmas novellas. Also because it’s Christmas & because I love her, I’m reading The Christmas Clue, a Harlequin Intrigue by Delores Fossen. And the novella “I Will” by Lisa Kleypas. I’ve never read this one before, but I love her, too, & another of her Christmas novellas, “Surrender,” is one of my all-time favorites (I re-read it almost every year for the holidays), so I know this one won’t be far behind.

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

Although you can always do an Amazon search, the best place to find me & learn more about my books is probably my website, I try to keep it updated with all of the newest book information. Or my blog,, where things are even more up-to-date…not to mention fun! I also have an awesome giveaway in the sidebar & on the Newsletter page right now, as well as holding frequent giveaways on the blog, so it pays to drop in & see what’s going on. 

Heidi, thank you for stopping by and lending us a few minutes from your very busy schedule. She took a break from a deadline she was in the midst of to do this interview for me. Thank you and good luck on your deadline. Have a wonderful holiday.

And to all of my readers. Happy Holidays to you. I will be taking a couple of weeks off for the holidays myself. But make sure to return for another great year of interviews in January. I kick the year off with author, Marie Force. I am working on some new ideas for the blog as well as some exciting contests. So make sure to pop in when you can. Until then my friends, take care and Happy Holidays.



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Spotlight Author with Joanne Rock

It's my first blog for the last month of the year. Wow! So hard to believe. It's almost Christmas. Is there any better way to prepare yourself for the holiday than to sit in front of the fireplace, favorite blanky on the lap, a warm cup of hot cocoa in one hand and a steamy romance in the other? Well I have just the thing for you! Joanne Rock's latest title UNDER WRAPS. Here she is to tell us all about it!

Tell us a little bit about your latest release UNDER WRAPS.

Under Wraps (Blaze 12/10) is the third book in the “Lose Yourself” miniseries that I penned with Debbi Rawlins and Jo Leigh. Each book takes a heroine on a road trip adventure. Mine ends up at a steamy, adults-only hotel where she’s working undercover with a sexy PI.

If you had to pick one character in your books, who would be your favorite? And why. Or if you don’t want to pick a favorite… which one do you connect with the most? And why?

I don’t think I could write my books if I didn’t identify with each and every heroine in some way. There’s a piece of me in all of them! I think the heroines I most enjoyed writing were the heroines in Single in South Beach – an early series for Blaze and Temptation – because I purposely created a group of friends for heroines that reminded me of my own friends. Therefore, writing the South Beach series was like sitting down with my girlfriends – so fun!

Do you pick your characters? Or do they pick you?

A little of both! Often, I’ll start with one character who has chosen me – the hero, perhaps- and then I’ll choose his heroine by thinking about what kind of woman could present him with the most trouble.

Often time’s writers describe writing a love scene like being an intruder in something so very personal. Do you feel this way and how do you get through the dreaded love scene?

Maybe because I’ve written for Blaze for so long, I feel like I’m very much a part of the love scene. In fact, I look forward to those moments for the characters since I spend so much time writing the conflict and the tension and the longing that the love scenes feel like rewards for us all! Love scenes give them a chance to act on all that tension and enjoy a few stolen moments before the conflicts return – even stronger than before.

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

Always double space your manuscript submissions. Seriously, I was so excited about submitting my work that I failed to do some homework on the logistics and protocol of submitting to editors and I made some really rookie mistakes! I wish I’d been in RWA chapter or writers group that could have helped me avoid some of the pitfalls on those early submissions.

What is the most important advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Exercise those writing muscles by writing often. The more you practice your craft, the stronger your skills will be. Also, we all get rejected so don’t let a few rejections stand in the way of your success. Write work that you’re proud of and keep submitting.

How long did it take before you got “THE CALL”?

About five years. The first two were less focused, but the last three were very intensive. I wrote five – no, six – full manuscripts before selling one. Some writers keep revising a couple of manuscripts when they get rejected, honing their projects until they’re just right, but I kept writing new ones.

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

I’m the mother of three school-age sons and I spend a lot of time at games and practices as they are all three-sport athletes. When we have downtime between seasons, we like to travel and although I usually wrangle a Caribbean or Florida trip each year, we also spend a fair amount of vacations at professional sporting events. We’ll make road trips to see to see our favorite teams each year. It’s a good thing I like sports, and it’s always a pleasure to have a new idea for a sports hero in one of my books. When I’m not rooting on a team, I’m a bit of a homebody and enjoy time spent on home improvement projects so we can host lots of family and friends in our own backyard.

Thank you, Joanne for stopping by Micole Writes Romance. It has been a pleasure.

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

Visit me anytime at or at my Facebook page Thank you for having me, Micole!

Happy Holidays friends, make sure to give yourself a rest through out this crazy season. Take a few minutes to come and check out the blog! See you next time!