Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Spotlight Author with Cherry Adaire

Welcome Cherry to Micole Writes Romance. I’m so excited that you are here with us to announce and celebrate the release of your latest book RIPTIDE. Can you share a little bit about this book with us?

Hi Micole, and thanks for inviting me.

RIPTIDE is the second in my Cutter Cay series. Middle brother Nick is working a salvage off the coast of the Canary Islands, but he makes a detour to Morocco to do a favor for a friend. While he’s in disguise, a woman approaches the group of men he’s with, and asks to be taken to the his ship the Scorpion. Thinking he’ll easily give her the slip, Nick is not a happy camper when pain in his ass Princess Gabriella Visconti show’s up unannounced the next day.

Nick was a lot of fun to write. He’s not called Spock by his family and friends for nothing! Uncommunicative, he keeps his thoughts and feelings close to his chest. Even more so on this salvage because he’s playing a dangerous cat and mouse game by smuggling uncut diamonds onboard.

Gabriella Visconti is the perfect foil for him. She’s determined to get a refund on the money her brother foolishly invested in the Cutter’s salvage business. She’s fun, opinionated and volatile, and refuses to take no for an answer. Uh-oh!

Of course sparks fly. 

One of the things I really loved while writing RIPTIDE was that I got to revisit a place near and dear to my heart; the island of Marrezo.
I invented Marrezo on a long (and smoky!) flight home from Italy many years ago. I fell in love with the country, and wrote (my first published book) The Mercenary – LONG HAND- on the plane.

When I wanted a spicy heroine with a temperament opposite Nick’s I gave him a long lost Italian princess, with very American sensibilities. Put together a hot-blooded woman, and an uncommunicative man well versed in masking his emotions and sparks fly. I hope these two are as much fun for people to read as they were for me to write.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing AFTERGLOW which is the second book in my LODESTONE series. (No, Gideon Stark is not the hero – just sayin’!) It’s a fun, fast and furious chase across Europe with two intriguing characters, and I’m having a blast seeing what they do next. 

What do you think makes your writing unique?

My books are a little tongue-in-cheek, a little over the top. A lot larger than life action adventures. I love writing running-chasing-falling-down-wild monkey-sex-shooting-running-chasing-loving-wild monkey sex-happy endings. Maybe people love reading running-chasing-falling down-wild monkey sex-shooting-running-chasing-loving-wild monkey sex-happy endings?

Every author that I have spoken to has their own writing process. Some spend weeks working on character building charts. Some use post it notes to plot their entire book. Other’s pull pictures from magazines and make a story board of sorts. What is your writing process and how long would you say it takes you when a new idea is sparked from sketching out the details to getting to THE END?

I spend several weeks plotting (3M company LOVES me, I buy at least half the PostIt notes sold in the US! (ok not literally, but I do have every color they make. lol) I spent two to three weeks building my characters, plotting and doing the initial research. Then I’m ready to rock and roll.

Being an author comes with its fare share of joys and disappointment whether you are just starting or you have been in this business for many years. All of us need advice no matter where we are at on this journey. What is the most valuable piece of advice that you have received through out your writing career that you would like to pass along to other authors out there?

Most valuable piece of advice given to me? Give yourself permission to write crap – as long as it’s on the page it can be cleaned up later! (I have this PostIt note stuck on my monitor!)

My advice to other writers? Sit your butt in the chair and write. Have a career plan (yes, even if you haven’t sold yet.) Stay focused on what you want. Don’t look at what other people have or where they are in their career, you’ll be doomed for disappointment. We each have our own journeys. Like fingerprints, no two writing careers are the same. And once published, don’t read your own reviews! If they’re great we believe them. If they suck you not only believe them, you remember that crappy review forever!

Out of all of your books, which one would you say is your favorite? And why?

THE MERCENARY because it was my first, and we always remember our first.  But I think our books are like kids. (Sometimes messy, expensive to raise until we sell them (the book, not the children lol) and time-consuming! Lol) All different and loved in their own way. I can’t think of any job I’d love more than this. Every day is an adventure and a thrill a minute. Even the most mundane tasks associated with being an author are better than just about any job out there.

What type of hero do you find irresistible?

Tall, dark, and rich. (Hey! This is my hero and my heroes are never poor! Lol) He has to have an ethical compass, a sense of humor (even if sometimes it’s well hidden!) and know his way around a woman’s body as well as he knows his way around weapons. 

When you aren’t writing steaming hot romances what do you do in your spare time?

Spare time? I don’t have much. My bar-none favorite place to be online is my Facebook page. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE playing with my readers there! We have a ridiculous amount of fun every day. It’s the carrot on the end of the stick, and my reward when I’ve reached my goaled page count during the day.

I’m also crazy about TV (we didn’t have it in South Africa when I was growing up) I’ll happily watch anything, any time. And most of all I love to read. But I don’t read nearly as much as I did before I was published, and I never read anything remotely similar to what I’m writing when I’m writing (which is all the time)

Where can we find out more about you Cherry Adair?

On my website, Twitter!/CherryAdair and my beloved Facebook I love hearing from readers – wherever you may find me. 

Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog. Looking forward to the release of RIPTIDE!!

Thank you so much for having me, Micole! This was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spotlight Author with Rogenna Brewer

Kid’s are back in school and everything is falling back into place at home now that they are back on a schedule. Crazy thing is I’m not doing that “Happy Mom” dance that I usually do when they go back to school. I don’t know what it is this year, I already miss them. I have Rogenna Brewer to keep my company today! ;-) She will be giving one lucky commenter a copy of MITZI’S MARINE. So make sure to stop in, say hi, and ask questions!

Tell us a little bit about yourself Rogenna and what you write.

Hi, Micole! Thanks for having me.

I write long contemporaries for Harlequin Superromance. I’ve been married for too many years to admit to in writing and have three boys somewhere between the ages of adolescents and adulthood.

I’m a working mom and a writer, who has yet to find a way to balance family and writing. Though I keep hoping one day I’ll get it right.

I always knew I wanted to be a writer, I just didn’t know it would be so hard or that the odds were against me. I’m glad I didn’t know any of that when I first started out.

Oh, and once upon a time I was in the Navy. I’ve traveled the globe, even crossed the international dateline without ever needing a passport or stepping outside of US territory.

I hope to remedy that some day. I’m kind of tired of bragging about that.

What do you think makes your writing unique?

I write military heroes and heroines from the perspective of someone who’s actually been there, done that. A lot of my fan mail comes from readers either in the military or with a family member in the military who thank me for getting it right. And if I don’t or if my experience was different from theirs they let me know that too.

Can you share with us what you are currently working on?

I just finished a marriage of convenience story between a single mom who wants desperately to join the Marines and a Navy SEAL struggling bitterly with being medically discharged after losing an eye in Iraq. Needless to say he’s none too happy being the Manny while the wife goes off to war.

The book is called Marry Me, Marine and comes out in February 2011.

I’m on a bit of a wounded warrior kick. The hero in my May 2010 release Mitzi’s Marine lost a leg in Iraq.

To me the real heroes are the men and women who serve.

What is your process? Are you a plan every aspect before you write kind of gal or the one that flies by the seat of her pants and lets the story and its characters take you for a wild ride until THE END?

Process? You mean there are writers that actually have that all figured out?

I have written each and every book by the trial and error and pulling out hair method.

I love the freedom of writing by the seat of my pants. That’s not always possible once you’re published. In order to write under contract I have to submit an outline (or sysnopsis) and chapters.

Sometimes getting those sample chapters polished take you out of the story. And some of my longest and most complete outlines have been my hardest books to write.

What do you do when you get stuck?

Haha. You really do ask the tough questions. Usually, taking a step back is key for me. Letting go of the problem and taking a walk or a shower can get me back on track. Unfortunately I’m usually on deadline when I get stuck with no time to stop and think.

If I try to jump ahead of the problem or work around it I usually make matters worse.

Give us a glimpse into the day in your “writer’s” life?

I’m coming off a deadline, which looked like this… Up at 6am. Day job from 7am-4pm. Home by 5pm. Up in my office until midnight or 2am (with a 5 hour energy break at 7pm—which I would not recommend). Bed. And then start all over again.

Weekends were 16 to 20 hours in a chair.

I was tired all the time. I gained about thirty pounds. This is not a schedule I would recommend.

No matter what I did I could not get even a page an hour. So I had to keep to grueling schedule, which I’m pretty sure compounded the problem, because I was losing ground daily while on deadline.

How long was your road to publication?

April 5th 1995 was my butt in the chair date. That’s the day I made up my mind to sit down and write every day in order to get published. I got the call June 1st 1998.

Did you receive rejection letters during your journey to become published? If yes what is your best advice to someone who’s received their first one?

No, I’m perfect . I’ve never received a rejection letter that read something like, this book is too category. And same book, this book is too single title.

When I won a contest and Supers bought the sequel to that book, I was like, duh. Why didn’t I think of that?

I write long contemporary category romance.

And the rejections haven’t stopped just because I’m published, but they’re usually phone calls or emails from my editor.

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

I’m really bad a picking out agents so no advice from me there. It’s true what they say about a bad agent being worse than no agent.

As far as writing advice; make today your butt in the chair day and write a little something every day.

Thank you, Rogenna. I am so happy you were able to make it by Micole Writes Romance.

Make sure to leave a comment for Regenna to be entered in her giveaway of MITZI’S MARINE! ;-) Thank you for stopping by Micole Writes Romance.



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Spotlight Author with Cynthia Eden

Hope everyone has been enjoying their summer. Mine has been filled with craziness, though it’s been a good craziness. ;-) I have Cynthia Eden here with me today. She is sharing her upcoming release with us as well as giving away an ARC of the ANGELS OF DARKNESS. So make sure to stop in and say hi in the comments section at the bottom.

Tell us a little bit about your latest release NEVER CRY WOLF.

NEVER CRY WOLF is sexy paranormal romance about one fierce alpha. J Lucas Simone is the alpha of his pack, but Lucas has a big weakness—ladies in distress. So when Sarah King comes to him for protection, what’s a wolf to do? (Trust me—he does a lot!)

What are you working on now?

Right now I am working on the fourth book in my Fallen series (a series about Fallen Angels of Death). These angels are dark & dangerous & they can kill with a touch—I love them! (And I sure hope readers do, too!)

Where does your inspiration come from?

Everything. I get inspired by songs, movies, walks on the beach. Story ideas can hit me anytime, and when they do hit, I try to write them down as quickly as I can so that I can develop the stories more later.

How long does it take you to write a manuscript?

It takes me about 2 months to do a draft of a 90,000 word novel. After that draft, I put the manuscript away for a week so that I can get some distance from that story. That distance helps me to go back with a more objective eye. I use that objective eye to edit/revise for about 2 weeks—then I send the story to my editor.

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

The best way to learn about the craft of writing is to read stories in your genre. What do you like about those plots? Those characters? How is POV handled? Read to learn…then write the story that appeals to you. Don’t be afraid of rejection (that’s just part of the business). Keep writing, keep submitting, and never give up on your dream.

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?

That’s tough!! Okay…I really enjoyed Niol, my all-powerful demon from MIDNIGHT’S MASTER. Niol was a bad guy—very bad. I guess I just have a thing for bad boys. They make life interesting & more than a little interesting.

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

I wish I’d created Spike! I love both the Buffy shows & books, and I absolutely wish I had created the sarcastic and sexy Spike.

Cynthia, 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?

Thank you, Micole! I really appreciate you inviting me over. Readers are welcome to visit my website ( in order to learn more about my books. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Spotlight Author with Nicola Cornick

I have the pleasure of sharing my blog with the delightful, Nicola Cornick. Welcome Nicola, tell us a little bit about you and your latest release.

Thank you so much for the warm welcome and for inviting me to the blog today!

A little bit about me… Well, I’m British and I live in the English countryside with my husband and my pets. I write Regency historicals for HQN Books and I also work as a historian in a historic house, which is very inspirational.

My latest release is NOTORIOUS, book 4 in my Scandalous Women of the Ton series. Each of the books in the series is about a strong woman doing something that Regency society considers outrageous, whether that is traveling, taking a job or, in the case of Susanna, the heroine of NOTORIOUS, breaking hearts for a living! The hero is James Devlin, who featured in the very first book in the series and is a rake and a real bad-boy. In Susanna, though, he definitely meets his match. They have a “can’t live with each other, can’t live without each other” type of relationship, very hot and fiery with lots of verbal sparring and sparks flying!

What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing the final book in the Scandalous Women series and loving it. It’s a rags to riches story of a servant girl who finds herself the heiress to a grand estate. It’s called FORBIDDEN and it’s out next year. I’m also working on a short story for a Christmas anthology, which is quite a challenge to the imagination during a hot summer!

What is the hardest part about your job?

For me the hardest part of being a writer is working primarily on my own. Before I became a full time author I worked in an office with lots of people and I really miss that social contact. Fortunately I have lots of very good friends online and lots of contact with readers and this motivates me and keeps me going.

What is your favorite thing about being an author?

There are so many things I enjoy about being an author. I’m very lucky that I am able to do a job I love. That’s very special. Plus I love writing happy endings!

What is your secret to success?

I’m not sure I have a secret, but I do work very hard. This seems to be mainly to the surprise of some family and friends, who, if they happen to be around during the day can be heard to say: “You really do work very hard!” in tones of amazement, as though they secretly suspected me of sitting around watching daytime TV! I also believe that if you want to be successful you have to keep reading, learning and polishing your craft and that you need to write the very best book you can.

How long was your road to publication?

It was a long one! I started to write in my teens and began my first Regency romance when I was eighteen and at college. I submitted it to a publisher when I was about twenty- three and didn’t hear anything for over a year. Eventually it was rejected for having too much adventure and too little romance in the plot. I re-wrote it and sent it in again. This time I got a straight rejection. So I tried again… I was in my thirties by the time my first book was accepted for publication. Hence my advice to aspiring authors never to give up!

Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from all sorts of places, from snippets I read in historical research books to historic houses I visit. Sometimes I might see a gown in a costume collection and that can inspire a story idea when I start wondering who might have worn it, or I could overhear a couple of lines of conversation and start speculating on the relationship of the couple talking. Although I write historical romance I get quite a few of my story ideas from modern newspapers and magazines. For example, celebrity has been a theme in a number of my books. I find that there are so many parallels between the past and the present.

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

I would tell any aspiring author to believe in yourself. Believe you can be successful. Sometimes it’s hard to keep going if your writing is rejected and if you have so many other demands on your time. Keep polishing your writing, keep reading, keep learning and above all keep trying.

What type of hero do you find irresistible?

I find integrity, resourcefulness, humor and intelligence essential in any hero. They have to be strong and brave in their own way and have a code of honor no matter how deeply it might be buried. I particularly like heroes who are protectors. And although in real life I am definitely not attracted to bad boys, in fiction I do like seeing a bad boy reform!

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?

Good question! I love the character of Patrick Jane in The Mentalist. He fascinates me. He’s a tortured soul and he is so clever – arrogant at times – and yet he’s compellingly attractive.

I have to agree Nicola. I just love him and the show. ;-)

Thank you Nicola, for taking time to spend with all of us here. Where can we find out more about you and your books?

Thank you so much for inviting me! It’s been a lot of fun.

As I mentioned, I love chatting to readers, writers and history buffs and you can find me on my blog at

I’m also a member of the Word Wenches blog:

I love chatting on Facebook and Twitter too:

Thank you readers. See you next week.



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Spotlight Author with Nina Wright

I am so happy to share my guest Nina Wright with all of you today. To be honest, I happened upon Nina’s work because of Facebook and am pleased that I found her. She has some great insight on the writing world and wonderful advice.

What has been your biggest fear that you have had to overcome as a writer?

That’s an excellent question, Micole. I think the biggest fear I ever had occurred after reading the first draft of my first novel: I realized that the book I thought I was writing was not in fact the book that I was now rereading. To put it bluntly, my first draft was awful! So I had to figure out how to close the gap between the quality of what I wanted to produce and the quality of what I had produced. That involved not only writing many revisions but also overcoming much self-doubt.

What makes your writing unique?

I’d like to think that a writer’s well-honed voice is what makes her unique. Mine is infused with breezy humor as well as snappy dialogue and plots that keep the reader in her seat until the end.

Tell us a little bit about your books.

I currently have five books in the humorous Whiskey Mattimoe mystery series that begins with Whiskey on the Rocks. This is the perfect read for anyone who enjoys Evanovich or dog mysteries. My amateur sleuth is a recently widowed 30-something Realtor who inherits her late husband’s diva-dog, an Afghan hound inclined to steal shiny things.

I also have two paranormal novels, Homefree and Sensitive. And I’m a playwright with about 20 produced plays to my credit. I’m thrilled that Ampichellis Ebooks has just made all five Whiskey Mattimoe books available on Kindle. The paranormal novels are coming soon. . . .

What are you working on now?

I’ve got two freestanding paranormal novels under way, one with a humorous and sexy slant, the other much darker. And I’m thinking about writing a sixth Whiskey Mattimoe title.

What is your writing process? Plotter or Panster?

Every book is a different journey for me as a writer. Generally, I begin writing as soon as I know who the key characters are and what the central problem is. I may or may not know how the book ends, but I usually know at least a couple major plot points or complications. Then I start writing. I keep track of possibilities and questions as I draft, pausing periodically to “micro-plot” to the next crisis.

How long does it take you to write a manuscript?

When I could write full-time, which unfortunately I can’t do at present, I completed two books a year. Now, juggling a demanding day job (as most working writers do) and other major responsibilities, I strive to set aside whatever writing time I can grab. Last year I managed to complete a full-length play and see it on its feet in Chicagoland. This year my goal is to complete the rough draft of one novel. If I can accomplish more than that, I’ll be thrilled.

What is your favorite thing about being an author?

When I was in my 20s, I worked in the theatre and thought that being a professional actor was the best job in the world. Now I know that being a full-time author is the best job. Yes, it’s hard, lonely work, but if you’re a born storyteller, there’s nothing you’d rather do. Writing a novel is more about magic than logic: once you start building the world of your story, your unconscious joins the process and you become a medium, channeling sources you can’t explain, as well as a craftsman. I honestly enjoy all the tasks and skills that a writer is called on to use at some point in a book’s creation.

How long was your road to publication?

The third novel I wrote, revised and shopped around was the first novel I succeeded in finding a publisher for. I think I spent about five years directly working on becoming an author, but I had already been a professional playwright and business writer for more than a decade.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

If you know you are a writer, then you must write. If you can walk away from it, you’re not really a writer. Keep writing, keep believing and keep sharing your work!

Thank you Nina, for stopping in and spending time with us here on my blog. Where can we find out more information about you and your books?

This was fun, Micole. Thanks for the chance to talk about what I most love doing. My website is Readers can also find me on facebook and Twitter. I teach writing workshops and coach individual writers, too.

Thank you friends for coming. I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did. See you next week with Nicole Cornick’s interview.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Spotlight Author with Leanne Banks

Good morning friends. Today is my birthday and I am celebrating it with author Leanne Banks. Here she is to tell us a little bit about her latest release.

Tell us a little bit about your latest release THE DOCTOR TAKES A PRINCESS.

This book features an underestimated princess. Bridget is often thought of as the lighthearted charming sister, perhaps even a bit self-centered. In the story, she has one last assignment before she gets to take a long overdue break. Her assignment is to work with a doctor at a medical center to bring new doctors to her island country of Chantaine.

Dr. Ryder McCall has no intention of letting his prize doctors take off for some island country. It would be bad for their careers. Plus, he has his hands full since he has taken over the care of his twin six-month old nephews.

What I love about this book is the way that both characters grow and change. Princess Bridget isn’t really a baby person. She’s more of a call-the-nanny person, which she does. But the nanny isn’t always available, so Bridget has to deal with the twins on her own.

Dr. Ryder McCall’s career has always been first with him. Taking care of his nephews and meeting Bridget turns his world upside down. He’s forced to take a different point of view and along the way, he learns what is truly important to him.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing a follow-up to THE DOCTOR TAKES A PRINCESS. This book features Bridget’s sister Phillipa, aka Pippa, and hey, I named this character LONG before we had Kate and Pippa!:)

Every author that I have spoken to has their own writing process. Some spend weeks working on character building charts. Some use post it notes to plot their entire book. Other’s pull pictures from magazines and make a story board of sorts. What is your writing process and how long would you say it takes you when a new idea is sparked from sketching out the details to getting to THE END?

I’ll try anything!lol I’ve used post it notes. I’ve tried creating a collage. I enjoy character building. I hate plotting. I almost feel that a root canal would be easier than plotting. It’s mostly my fault, though, because I believe the plot needs to come as a result of the character’s growth. I think writing an autobiography from the main characters’ pov helps. I find the critical questions are: What does my hero/heroine most fear? What is my hero/heroine’s secret wish? My writing process involves a lot of brooding, cursing at the cursor, and making lists. Lists of ways to express conflict. Ways to get the hero and heroine together. I especially love using the brainstorming technique of the list of 20. What you do is list (WITHOUT EDITING) 20 ideas to solve your problem, or 20 scenes, whatever assignment you’ve given yourself. How long does it take me? Too long. I don’t schedule myself to write more than 3 books per year because I have found, unfortunately, that I’m not writing faster with each book.

Where does your inspiration come from?
My curiosity about a character and a story. Where will it go? I get to know the characters and I want to see how they evolve. I’m not a complete pantser or plotter. I often get to the end of book and say, “Oh, so that’s what it was all about.” That means I spend a lot of time driving in the dark!

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 loved the characters from EXPECTANT FATHER. The hero is a genius with anger management issues. He was so tortured because he was a research scientist trying to cure Alzheimers.

What type of hero do you find irresistible?

I prefer a man with intelligence and a sense of humor. I have no use for a man or hero, who doesn’t have those qualities.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?
The growth, the struggle and the happily-ever-after. I like it that our heroes and heroines must earn their happiness.

Tell us about the classes that you offer.
I’ve given several presentations, but the one I enjoy most is on Brainstorming. I present 17 brainstorming techniques, then the class divides into small groups to solve problems. Everyone leaves that class feeling empowered.

Where can we find out more about you Leanne? You’ll get my most current updates on facebook.

Thank you for sharing your time with us here at Micole Writes Romance.

Hope to see you all next week.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Storyboarding with Vanessa Kelly

Summer has started and the kids are out of school. I thought I would share Vanessa Kelly’s Storyboarding technique with all of you. Just a little something to help get your motor running if summer time has you distracted from your writing.

Vanessa Kelly on Storyboarding…

Before I begin plotting, I usually spend several weeks doing research for the book and brainstorming with my critique partner. When the story ideas start to come together in my head, I then start on my plot board. It's divided into two rows horizontally across the middle. Then I break it down into scene or chapters. It can be either one - just something that is a finite scene or piece of action in the book. For each scene I have four stickies, which I layer one on top of the other, moving scenes horizontally across the board. For each scene I have:
1. a yellow sticky, which states where the scene is located and what the main action of the scene is.
2. a pink sticky, which sets out in one or two sentences the heroine's goal for the scene, or her emotional arc or issue for that scene.
3. a blue sticky, with the hero's goal for the scene, or his emotional arc or issue.
4. a purple sticky, which is my goal for the scene, i.e. First Meet, First Sex Scene, Turning Point, Advance Sub-plot, etc... Obviously, if the heroine or hero isn't in the scene, I don't include that sticky.

I try not to over think it, pushing myself to work quickly so I can get some kind of flow. And I don't stress. The beauty of working with stickies is that you can rewrite or change them, even shuffle them, any time. I'm always rewriting stickies as I go along, getting different ideas or refining the characters' goals. And by forcing myself to reduce things to one or two sentences, I can really home in on goals and motivations. It's a great brainstorming exercise, and can be a lot of fun if you just let it rip.

It only takes me a day or so to do it. It's a focused brainstorming exercise more than anything else, and your plot will change - often quite a bit - once you start writing. But it's a good safety net, and I can also write a synopsis based on the plot board before I even start the book.

Here is a picture to give you a visual.

This was very exciting for me to see. Hope it helps all of you as well. Thank you for stopping in.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spotlight Author with Caris Roane

Good morning friends, I have another great author here with me today, Caris Roane.

Micole, thank you so much for having me on your blog today. And I especially want to welcome my Goodreads and Facebook fans who have responded to my event invitations. So, please, those of you who are familiar with my Guardians of Ascension series, feel free to make comments and ask questions! I’d love to talk about all of the upcoming books...without, of course, giving away too many spoilers!

Tell us about you and your books.

Well, I’ve been out of my mind for paranormal romance for a long time now. And though I’d written Regency romance as Valerie King, after reading the first few novels of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series, I knew I had to write my own series based on hunky warrior vampires.

What are you working on now?

Right now, my vampire series, Guardians of Ascension, takes up all of my time. The first two books have been released: ASCENSION and BURNING SKIES. The third book, WINGS OF FIRE, releases in September and the fourth, BORN OF ASHES, in January of next year…which means, I’m working on the fifth book, OBSIDIAN FLAME! It’s been an absolute blast to write and for those who are following the series, the fourth book belongs to Warrior Jean-Pierre and the fifth, to our beloved Thorne, the leader of the Warriors of the Blood.

How long did it take for you to get the call?

After submitting for the first time (though that submission was my second completed manuscript of many moons ago), I got the call within the first year from Kensington who then published all my Regency romance work for years afterward. It was a great relationship and a wonderful ride!

Maybe that seems fast or fortuitous, but the reality was that I had been writing for a good long while before that sale. I’d say the whole process of selling the first book took me about 9 years and two babies to complete. A good part of that time was spent experimenting as well as trying to determine if this was the right path for me

When you are writing, what is your process? Plotter or Panster?

I confess I’m a weird combination of both. I’ll do some plotting then the pantser part of me has to have a field day and take over, then I rework my plot, then let it go so that my brain can play, then back to plotting. What’s even weirder…about a third of the way through the process of understanding what my book is about I absolutely have to know how the story ends, from the climax all the way through to the resolution chapters. And yet even with all that said, I also work hard to structure my stories around the hero’s journey.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

My favorite thing about writing romance is the romance. It’s watching two people find each other, not just in the first pages, but really find each other all the way through the story, discover each other, know each other, truly fall in love…then of course have a Happily-Ever-After!

What do you do when you are not writing?

That tends to change. Right now I’m stuck on watching Divine Design, Design Inc., and Sarah’s Summer House. And I know there are many of you out there who know exactly what I’m talking about. For those who don’t, these are interior design shows and I’m addicted! Go figure!

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

I think the best advice I can give is to really feel passionate about your subject. You’ll enjoy what you write and all that enjoyment will automatically translate through your words and straight to the reader’s heart.

Where can we learn more about you and your books?

I can be found at my website,, I’m on Facebook as well under Caris Roane, and you can contact me personally at

Thank you for being a guest here on Micole Writes Romance.

Thank you, Micole. It’s been great being with you today!
Blessings, Caris

Make sure to comment and tell Caris what you think of her books or ask her a question. She is giving away two signed copies, one of ASCENCION and one of BURNING. See everyone next week when I will be talking about storyboarding.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spotlight Author with Alexa Bourne

Alexa Bourne is my guest today. She is a pre-published author who loves to help teach other writers the things she has learned along her journey to becoming published. I had the opportunity to take her class KILLER OPENINGS a couple of months ago and really enjoyed it. She is a great teacher and has a lot of knowledge and support to give to all of you writers out there! So here she is to share a little bit about herself, her writing, and her life with us.

Tell us a little about the classes you teach and why you decided to share your knowledge with other writers.

Actually, a couple of writer friends suggested I look into teaching online classes. I’m a teacher in my day job and those friends thought I might be interested in and good at teaching online classes. (Turns out I DO love it!)

Shortly after those conversations, I saw a request for class proposals and decided to explore what I might be able to teach. As I put the first proposal together, I started getting excited and started looking into other class ideas.

At the moment, I have 3 classes that I teach: Killer Openings (about the importance of the 1st line, 1st paragraph & 1st page), Contests: The Basics, and Finished That Manuscript…Now What? (about what the next steps should be once a writer finishes a manuscript). I taught Killer Openings for the first time in April and had a blast. I’ll be teaching Contests: The Basics next month through Hearts Through History. Here’s the blurb:
With so many writing contests out there and so many details to consider, it’s easy for a writer to be overwhelmed! Contests: The Basics will take students through the contest process, step-by-step---from choosing a contest, to preparing the entry, from dealing with the emotional aspects of “contesting” to deciphering the results. Students will leave class with a better understanding of the process and with a list of resources for making the most out of their contest experiences.

When you are writing, what is your process? Plotter or Panster?

Pantser, all the way. I get a scene idea and I run with it. I write a really, really, REALLY rough manuscript draft in one month. (After completing NaNoWriMo, I found I really enjoy that process.) This is where I learn about my characters and the plot ideas. I write the rough draft on paper, too. (I know, I’m one of the few!) After the rough draft, I go back and organize my plot and my characters’ GMCs. Then comes the next draft, which happens a bit more on computer. I usually go through 4-6 drafts. The last draft is actually me reading the entire book out loud. I find I can pick up missed words, misspellings, and awkward phrasing that way. Then once the manuscript is submitted, I spend 24 hours celebrating- watching a movie, shopping, having a margarita!- and then I get busy with the next story.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

I’m a sucker for a happy ending! I love watching two people who want nothing to do with each other learn to trust each other and fall in love. I love writing flawed characters that grab the readers from the first page. I figure there’s enough violence in the real world so I make sure justice is done and the hero and heroine are stronger together by the end of my manuscripts.
What is the hardest part about your job?

I write mostly romantic suspense, so the hardest part for me is achieving a balance between the romance and the suspense. Also, making sure all the suspense elements are logical, flow and are wrapped up by the end of the book.
What type of hero do you find irresistible?

Hot ones! LOL! Flawed, rough around the edges heroes. I like the ones whose words may be rough, but their actions are sweet and tender. For example, my current hero snaps at my heroine, but then she sees him gently playing with a puppy.

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

Don’t give up! You’ll never succeed if you quit!
For newer authors, finish your first manuscript before moving on. It’s so important to write THE END. For everyone, know when to say when. We could all keep revising the same chapter, partial, manuscript over and over, but there comes a point where you’ve got to let it go and start something new.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to be published! LOL! I’m working on building my own tutoring/editing/critiquing business, so I hope that is up and running well enough that I can stop teaching full-time. Other than that I really have no idea.

Where can we learn more about you, your writing, and your classes?

I have a website- There you can find out more about me, my manuscripts, and the classes I’ll be teaching. I also have a blog that I post to pretty regularly- And I’m on Facebook!

Thank you so much, Micole, for having me!

It was my pleasure Alexa. Good luck with your classes as well as your journey to publishing.

See you back here next week.



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spotlight Author with Kaily Hart

Kaily Hart is my guest today and boy is she an author on the move. Let’s see what she has to share with us today. Welcome Kaily, can you tell us a little bit about your latest release?

My most recent book is PLAY ME. The official blurb reads:

Lily Hamilton had her quiet, predictable life all mapped out, including a hot-shot attorney for a fiancé. That is until she catches him screwing around and takes off in his prized Mercedes, for once not giving a damn where she’s headed. How clichéd is that?

Gabriel Jackson is raw and disillusioned. Driving a tow truck is a far cry from the dangerous career he turned his back on, but when he finds the classy blonde in a dangerous part of LA, he’s immediately back in the role of protector.

Lily is hot and sweet and so out of his league it’s not funny, yet Gabe can’t deny the sizzling heat between them. He thinks he wants hard, fast and rough—until he gets his hands on her. He knows he should stay the hell away, but Lily makes him feel, really feel, for the first time in two years. Is she just slumming or can she see beyond the harsh, broken façade to the man beneath? A man who dreams of making her his?

I loved writing PLAY ME. Gabe is rough and tough, but he’s been impacted by what’s happened in his past. He doesn’t realize it but he needs Lily in a way he would never have imagined. Sigh…

What are you working on now?

Gosh, what am I NOT working on LOL? Generally, I work on a ‘primary’ book and will often get ideas along the way that I’ll quickly capture and then move on back to the main book. One story is usually stronger and talks to me more. It tends to be the dominant story. Unfortunately, this time I had two stories that seemed to want to be told. At once and really bad!! So, I’m working on 2 books that I’ll finish up within the next couple of weeks. They are both contemporary romances. Hot and steamy ones, of course! I’m also outlining a paranormal book and working on a longer, full length contemporary story. Busy, busy, busy!

What is your writing process? Plotter or Panster?

Well, I’m a bit hard to classify I think. For longer stories, I do a lot of character preparation. I usually create what I call a ‘character map’. It’s a very detailed spreadsheet on the hero and heroine. By the end of that I know them so well, I can throw them into any situation and know how they’ll act. I also have a rough outline when I start and know the main scenes. Sort of LOL. But what happens between those? I figure the detail out when I write. I like some surprises along the way J.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

I think it’s the feel good nature of it. It might be tortuous to get there, but there’s a happy ending – good triumphs over evil and love conquers all! Nothing wrong with that, right?

What is the hardest part about your job?

Trying to figure out a way to write all the stories in my head faster! My ideas file is bulging.

What type of hero do you find irresistible?

OMG, I just love an alpha hero, the rougher around the edges the better. By alpha I mean strong with a core of honor, protective to the point of sacrifice and a guy who will only let his special woman see how vulnerable he can be to her. Sigh…

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

I wish I had writing secrets to share! The best advice I can give is to write. Write and finish a book. Write another one. Only 3% of people that start out to write a book actually finish it. If you’ve done that you’ve already reached a huge milestone! The next big hurdle is getting it out there. Fear of rejection probably keeps some of those books under wraps. You can’t get published unless you put yourself and your work out there. Every authors that’s published got rejected, probably in some form or another. You have to believe and persevere!

When you aren’t writing steaming hot romances what do you do in your spare time?

Thinking about writing steaming hot romances? LOL. Seriously, I am. I plot a LOT. Probably when I shouldn’t be - like when I’m driving. I love to turn my books over in my mind and I’ve been known to jot ideas down on just about anything because the good ones always come when it’s least convenient. Recently I didn’t have a piece of paper with me so I ended up writing down a line of dialogue on a used snow cone cup that was in the car from a birthday party the day before, sticky raspberry residue and all! When I’m not thinking about writing, I’m usually rounding up my 4 kids. Or tying to J.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Still writing! My goal is to make writing a career and to be successful doing it. I don’t necessary have tangible goals in mind but simply I’d like to continue to write books that people read and enjoy and I’d love to become an ‘auto buy author’ for readers!!

Where can we learn more about you and your books Kaily?

PICTURE THIS, PAY UP and PLAY ME (yeah, I may have a “P” fetish) are all available from Ellora’s Cave and all other ebook outlets! I’m also often on FaceBook and Twitter and I keep my blog current with what I’m up to. I would love people to stop by or reach out to me!

Web –
Blog -
Facebook –
Twitter -

Thank you for being my guest today, Kaily. Good luck on all of your writing ventures and sales!!!

See everyone next week when I will have Alexa Bourne as my guest.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spotlight Author with Diane Story

Back after the long weekend. There are times when I think I go to my pay check job so I can rest. ;-) Busy! Busy! Busy! But that’s how things are in this day and age. Today’s guest is a fellow member of our local writing chapter as well as our Vice President. I am happy to have her here with us today. Welcome, Diane. Tell us a little about yourself and what you write.

I grew up in a small mountain community situated in the foothills just outside of Clovis with three of my sisters. But I actually have eight sisters and one brother. My love of romance novels started in the early seventies when I got hooked on Harlequin. Often times I found myself lost in the author’s version of life and love. It was then that I knew I would one day write romance. Thirty-three years, one husband and four grandbabies later I finally sat down to my lap top and started writing. My fist manuscript still sits in a drawer and one day I might submit it. My next three manuscripts were submitted to Whiskey Creek Press, and subsequently published. I also have a fourth scheduled with them as well. My current projects are well under way and I can hardly wait to share them with my readers. After attending college in the 80's I began a long career working with medical insurance, and now after what seems like a lifetime, I am able to work on my goals as a romance and horror/fantasy novelist.

Share your books with us.

Romance on the Overland Trail (Oregon Trail) would seem to most observers as non-existent. In fact, it was a part of everyday life for the emigrants, our ancestors. Along with the perils of travel in a small farm wagon for four to six month Polly Sawyer is a spoiled rich girl from the lush farmlands of Missouri in 1862. Daughter to an influential and charismatic man who owns the area’s largest steamship business, Polly is forced to run away from home after she is betrothed to a man that she does not love. Disguised as a gentleman so she can travel without being married, Polly secures travel with a wagon train bound for the Oregon territory. Joshua Adams is trail captain and second cousin to Polly’s fiancé, a pious man built with a strong will of determination and sweat. Imagine Joshua’s amusement when he learned that one of the men on his train is a woman. Nearly two weeks into the trail, Joshua is convinced the only way to ensure Polly’s safety and her return to his cousin, is to marry her. In an ironic twist of fate, Polly finds herself married to a man she does not love. The very thing she ran away from home to avoid, she now faces. Follow Polly and Joshua through their adventures across the frontier as their marriage of convenience blossoms into romance on the Overland Trail.

Salem, Massachusetts in 2002 would seem to most romance seekers to be a fun adventure. With witches and hauntings everywhere, what woman wouldn’t want to cuddle up for a little romance and intrigue? In “Bewitching My Love”, our hero and heroine find that things aren’t always as they appear, and time can posses not only our lives, but our hearts as well. Fern Abbott is a local antiques dealer. With her mind set on an old broken down wardrobe from the seventeenth century, she prepares to risk all to own it. But who would have guessed that the dashing Rowen Nichols would steal it away from her? Overbidding her for the wardrobe, Rowen takes possession of it. Unbeknownst to Fern, Rowen has plans, plans that include her death, and his assured survival. Travel with Fern and Rowen as they leave our time behind to travel back to Salem, Massachusetts 1692, the witching time, where love was fresh and witchcraft was new and spellbinding.

Chantel Aubuchon is Mayor of Elkhorn. Taking on the job handed down to her from her father, she manages her position with pride as she attempts to keep her town afloat. But when gold is discovered on the Powder River she soon finds her small town threatened by the approaching mines. Destruction of the land surrounding her town is slowly turning Elkhorn into a ghost town. Searching for a way to insure her town’s survival she resorts to desperate measures. Harper Barnes is the source of Elkhorn’s problem. Owning nearly all the mines along the river, he is the only one that can stop the destruction before it reaches her town. In her desperation, Chantel finds herself hidden underneath a bandana and behind a pistol. Little does she know that by robbing the man responsible for her town’s demise she will set off a series of events that will not only prove to her that first impressions should never be trusted, but that love can oftentimes be found where we least expect it.

"Crystal Dreams" (Publication date T.B.A)
A calendar built by the Mayans sets a prophecy in motion. For humans to move forward, the third and fourth dimensions must merge on December 21, 2012
Jillian is a fourth-dimensional woman who lives in a world where life and love coexist in metaphysical harmony. When her father, begs her to marry a man she does not love, she reluctantly agrees.
Ellery is a third-dimensional man who has the gift of metaphysical healing. However, Ellery’s spirit is torn. His physical being still lives in the third dimension, but his evil counterpart is in the fourth.
As their worlds begin to crumble, Ellery and Jillian realize that fate has brought them together. However, two men with the same spirit cannot co-exist. Putting aside their own beliefs, they must decide if they will allow their worlds to end. Or will love guide them to a harmonious resolution.

What are you working on now?

I have completed book one of my new Urban/Fantasy (romance) series “The Gargoyles Female” and am looking for representation. Book one is called “The Gargoyles Female – Katharine” here’s the blurb.

Central park in the fall is supposed to be a lovely time of the year. But for Katharine and Behlem it is the season that hands them hell on earth. A battle between the Gargoyle’s and the Narcoblix might be the seed of their love. But deceit, blood and anger soon get in their way. Had it not been for the filthy cravings of a mugger, and Katharine’s fear of Squonk’s, they might not have ever met.
The Gargoyle’s, their younglings and their un-hatched eggs have been without human protection for far too long. Will the love between a human and a Gargoyle give them what they need to survive?
Most humans couldn’t see Katharine’s true beauty. Nor could they have guessed that her father was a SkinWalker and that she was the great-great granddaughter of Princess Katharine of Avalon. But for the humans to know about her past, Katharine had to understand her past. And up until meeting Behlem, she didn’t.
Behlem is a Gargoyle and he is Katharine’s prince charming. He is handsome and flamboyant. One day he and his brother will vie for their father’s crown. Only one problem, Behlem wasn’t born a full blooded Gargoyle. His mother is human.
The Gargoyles must protect their younglings from the ravenous appetites of the Narcoblix. To do so they must once again learn to trust the humans.
What will it take for Behlem to realize that Katharine is his female!
The second book of the series is called “The Gargoyles Female – Trina” and I am about 5 chapters in to it.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Family first, then my imagination and dreams. I have always had an over active imagination. Sharing it in my books is what I love to do.
What type of hero do you find irresistible?

Hero’s come in all shapes and sizes. Some are handsome some are not. I love a hero that makes the heroin feel good about who she is. He must be accepting and loving. Supportive and strong. Big shoulders for her to cry on, and a nice thick chest for her to wipe her tears on.

What has been your biggest fear that you have had to overcome as a writer?

I’ve never been afraid of rejection. It’s just one of those things that come with writing. So I would have to say my biggest fear would be meeting deadlines. I hate it when I’m under that pressure. Otherwise, I don’t have any other fears.

How long does it take you to write a manuscript?

When I’m really into it, about 3-4 months. I have gone as long as 3 years. But that was only because I had to take time off for a family death. Mostly, about 3-5 months.

What is your writing process? Plotter or Panster?

Definite Panster. I never plot or plan. I always fly by the seat of my pants. It’s what works best for me.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

57 years old! Haha…. Really! I never look that far forward. I believe in living for the day.

Give us a glimpse into your writer’s life.

Hmm, well let me see. I normally get up around 6:00AM and start work at 7:00AM. I live where I work, so its nice and convienient. When my morning is set, I pull out my lap-top and write in-between customers. Since both myself and my husband work at the same place, he often times takes care of shop so I can write. My writing life is never scheduled. It happens when it happens. And that’s fine for me because I know that I am lucky to have the time that I do.

Diane, Thank you for sharing stopping in today. Where can we find out more about you and your books?

Feel free to visit me at my web-site. or my publisher at My books are available at amazon and many on-line book stores.

Thank you Micole! It was my pleasure to be invited.

Until next week my friends.



Monday, May 30, 2011


Thank you to all of the men and woman who serve our country. And to the ones who have lost their lives while we stay safe here at home. God Bless.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spotlight Author with Joan Swan

Joan Swan is my guest today. Joan and I go way back… well sort of. ;-) I first met Joan about four years ago. She was actively working to form an RWA Chapter within reasonable distance to herself as well as other writers who were passionate about getting their writing published as well as those who had already made it. Though we have only met once, we have chatted over the years. She has been a pleasure to work with and her hard work and determination has finally paid off!! Her books will finally grace the shelves of the bookstores in 2012. So here she is to share a few things about herself with us.

What is your writing process? Plotter or Panster?

I was a diehard plotter in the beginning—right down to working out scene cards for every step of the story. Then, my critique partner, the diehard panster, wooed me into what she so fondly calls writing into the mist, which basically means you don’t know where the hell you’re going. That’s how I wrote FEVER.

The over-plotting method created burnout from all the work involved and frustration when the story changed directions, as they inevitably do, and all my diligently plotted scene cards from that point forward in the story became moot. The Mist method created a lot of corners and dead-ends during the writing process and revision hell once the first draft was finished.

Now, I employ a little of both, which is how I wrote the second book, BLAZE. I generally have a big picture in mind and write toward the different plot points floating in my. That way, if the story veers, the plot points can shift with the new direction. I’ve also discovered that no matter what system you prefer, some scenes need more plotting than others. For those I’ll do the nitty-gritty bullet points of this happens, then this happens, etc.

In the end, each writer is so unique and the writing process so personal, a writer must find their own system. I’ve tried everything out there—plotting boards, the W, scene and sequel, you name it. I even tried some of my favorite authors’ techniques, like Dean Koontz who writes straight through a book, revising as he goes, each page/paragraph/sentence 20-40 times until it’s just right before moving on. Wow, that really didn’t work for me. But it sure works for him!

How long did it take you to write the first book?

The first book I wrote? Or the first book I sold? Those are very different creatures. J

It’s hard to remember how long it took me to write FEVER now. Plus, FEVER wasn’t a straight forward project where I got the idea, worked out the details and plunged in.

I had actually written FEVER in completion as a straight romantic suspense, which I think took me somewhere between 7-8 months with revisions. After querying about 10 or 12 agents and getting the standard rejections from all, my critique partner had an epiphany. She said that if I added a paranormal element, the story would sell. At that time, RS had really slowed in popularity and paranormal was in the white hot stage. I resisted at first, but after talking it over, I found a paranormal element that I felt comfortable writing and one which fit the story perfectly, one that opened up a whole new window of complexity within the novel. That turned out to be the selling ingredient.

Only, I had to take the risk and invest the time to rewrite the entire novel before I discovered it was the selling ingredient.

So…all in all, I’d have to say FEVER was a long project. Probably 12-15 months with all the revisions and rewriting.

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

· Learn your craft. There is no substitute for good craft: structure, storytelling, voice.
· Never stop learning. You can never know too much.
· Read:
o Within or genre or outside – I prefer to read outside my genre.
o Accomplished, talented authors – learn from the masters.
o Good works – if a book isn’t holding your attention or is holding it for all the wrong reasons (as in, I can’t believe how bad this is), stop and pick up something else. Time is precious, don’t waste it reading lousy writing.

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

I had been writing about 8 years when I got the call from my agent that she wanted to represent me and the call that I’d sold about 8 months after that. I guess 8 is a good number for me.

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 Dexter! A serial killer who kills serial killers—simply brilliant!

What type of hero do you find irresistible?

Tortured alpha guys with a compassionate streak. I like heroes who are real men with an extra dose of all the things that make women love men—sexiness, wit, intelligence, strength, drive and protective instincts.

What does your family think about you becoming a published author?

Because my books are still intangible, I think the whole publishing thing is mystical to them. My husband has been endlessly supportive of whatever I’ve wanted to achieve, as I’ve always supported his interests and career directions. Our daughters think it’s pretty cool that their mom is a published author. For my part, I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to show them they can achieve their dreams if they have passion and perseverance.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself writing full time – no day job. I see myself writing in several different romance subgenres: paranormal, contemporary and suspense, and for at least two different houses. And I see myself thinking about adding mainstream subgenres of suspense and/or thriller to my writing repertoire.

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

Craft Column:

Thank you Joan, and all of my readers. Next week I will have Diane Story visiting the blog. Until then….



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spotlight Author with Vaness Kelly

Hello Vanessa, it is so nice to have you back. I am so excited to announce the arrival of your newest release, MY FAVORITE COUNTESS, which was released on May 3, 2011. We would love to hear a little bit about this book.

MY FAVORITE COUNTESS is the third book in my Regency-set historical series, and I had a great time writing it. The heroine is a bit of a departure for me—Bathsheba was the villainess of my previous book, SEX AND THE SINGLE EARL. I always liked her, even though she is a bad girl, and I thought it would be interesting to reform her. It was! But I wanted to pair her with someone a bit different from your average duke or earl, so I came up with Dr. John Blackmore.

John is a physician who practices midwifery—an obstetrician by our definition. Even though he has a flourishing practice among the aristocracy, his real passion is caring for the impoverished women and children of the slums. He and Bathsheba want very different things out of life, so they both have quite a journey to reach their HEA. But I had a wonderful time creating a strong yet compassionate hero who would challenge Bathsheba’s values and way of life.

I also really enjoyed bringing back the hero and heroine of my first book, MASTERING THE MARQUESS, to appear in this novel. Stephen and Meredith are now two years into their marriage and they play rather prominent roles in MY FAVORITE COUNTESS, facing almost as many challenges in this book as John and Bathsheba do.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the fourth and final book in this series. It’s untitled right now, but the hero is introduced in MY FAVORITE COUNTESS. He’s Major Lucas Stanton, a career soldier who is forced to give up his commission when he inherits an earldom. The really fun thing about this book is that it’s a Christmas story. The entire Stanton family will appear in it because when I think of Christmas, I think of families!

Do you have other releases expected out this year?

I have a Regency-set short story called His Wicked Revenge, which will be e-published this month. In February, I had a novella appear in an anthology with Jo Beverley, Sally MacKenzie, and Kaitlin O’Riley. The antho is called AN INVITATION TO SIN and it’s still in stores. I think all four stories are great, and it was a thrill to be in a collection with Jo Beverley.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

I love making up exciting stories which are passionate and sexy, and always have a happy ending. I really enjoy being able to give my readers books that can transport them to a fun place, and perhaps even give them a break from a tough or annoying day. Nothing is better than getting an email from someone who tells you that you made a difference in her life.

What type of hero do you find irresistible?

I love the classic alpha male, and by classic I mean strong and heroic in the traditional sense. My heroes are very masterful, but I also want them to be loving and protective toward their women and basically worship the ground my heroines walk on. I like big, sexy guys, too, who are uber-competent and confident and who know what they want.

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 have to say, I really love Bathsheba. She was nothing more than a throwaway line in my first book, but she just kept growing in my head. Not that she’s easy to love—she’s not. Frankly, she was pretty awful in SEX AND THE SINGLE EARL, and she had to go quite a ways to redeem herself. But I just knew she had an interesting story to tell and a good reason for being who she was. Discovering that backstory was a really cool process, and I had a great time developing a flawed heroine who is also smart, courageous and, at the end of the day, has a very big heart. I think she is by far my most interesting character. As a runner-up, I would pick Meredith Burnley from my first book, MASTERING THE MARQUESS.
Where can we find out more about your writing?

Three places:

My website: http//
My blog:

You can also find links to Twitter, facebook, and Goodreads on my website.

Finally, you can find me at my other website, VK Sykes. That’s the pen name for the contemporary romances that I write with my husband for Carina Press:

Thanks for stopping in and sharing your book. Can’t wait to get my hands on it. ;-) Next week I will have Joan Swan as my guest.

See you then.



Monday, May 16, 2011

Spotlight Author with Mimi Barbour

Boy how quickly time is flying by. We are already halfway through the month which makes us almost halfway through the year. Before we know it, it will be Christmas again. All I can say is WOW! The past few weeks I have been working on a new project. A non-writing project, I know shame on me. I have been working very hard to start my own photography business, in hopes that some day soon, I can quit my day job and do photography and writing full time. They are my two loves. Unfortunately my writing has been taking a back burner to the photography while I do photo shoots of my daughter, trying to get advertising material. I am so happy that I booked up my calendar and was able to get my next guest Mimi Barbour to come and chat with us. So Mimi, tell us a little bit about you and your latest release.

My Name is Mimi Barbour and my newest release “Together Again” is the 4th in my series called The Vicarage Bench.

You might wonder where I came up with the name for the series and I can’t take the credit for it at all. You see, way back when I wrote the 1st story called “She’s Me”, my editor said that if I wrote two more novellas along the same story idea, they could put the three shorts together, produce an anthology, and call it something like The Vicarage Bench. New writer here, remember? When an editor offers a gem like this, I really didn’t care what they called it, now would I? Truth be told, there is a vicarage bench that’s sort of paramount in each of the tales so…it worked.

Together Again - Traveling ten years forward in time, Dani Howard's spirit becomes magically united with reporter, Troy Brennan. He's everything a girl could want in a man, and during their time together, she falls deeply in love. Though she must return to her own pregnant body, she gains his promise to come to her birthday party in seven days time where they will meet in person and continue their romance.
Troy can't believe he's fallen for a sixteen-year-old spirit invader. He's so infatuated that when renowned author, beautiful Ellie Ward, comes on to him, as attractive as he finds her, he's honor bound to stay true to his young love—or is he?


He dropped to his hands and knees beside the
white-haired lady where she lay next to a heap of
cloth. Lowering his glasses, he got really close. Blood
streamed from a cut on her forehead. Ashen, blueveined
skin scared him into checking for a pulse.
“Troy, she’s alive. My God, the poor dear is
dreadfully pale. We’ll have to take care. Can you
carry her?”
Breathing was becoming more difficult for Troy.
He tried to take shallow breaths so he wouldn’t
cough or draw smoke into his already afflicted lungs.
“I don’t think so. It’s difficult breathing, and if I try
to stand and pick her up, I’m scared we’ll be
overcome. Dani, I don’t know what the hell I was
thinking, bringing you in here, taking such a crazy
chance with your life.”
“Give over. I wanted to come. How could we
ignore the old bloke’s grief? We have to save her. For
him. But I don’t think we can drag her. She’s
bleeding a lot and her leg’s angled strangely. What
can we do?”
With sudden realization, Troy saw that the soft
heap pooled on the floor by Mary was a quilt. He
scooted over, grabbed it, and flipped it across the
prone body, then awkwardly rolled the woman into a
cocoon and onto her back in seconds. Now fully
enclosed in a pink-flowered shroud, she became
easier to move. By grabbing one end and twisting it,
he could haul it over his shoulder. Then he crawled,
slithered, and wiggled, with the blanket skid
bringing up the rear.
Flames burst from a room on his right,
encouraging him to move even faster. The tail end of
the quilt flapped open, sliding through red embers.
Like a tease, a flame caught, only to fizzle out again.
The open door loomed about ten feet ahead.
Choking, gagging, hot tears pouring from his eyes,
he found in Dani the encouragement and strength
that kept him going.
“Troy, love, almost there. You’re wonderful. My
God! You’re fantastic. Don’t stop now. Here’s the
door. You’ve done it! I love you, you ruddy great
darling, do you hear me?”
“I hear you. You’re screaming so loud it’s a
wonder I’m not deaf. Couldn’t have done it without
you, and I’m rather fond of you too, brat.”
Gnarled waiting hands helped Troy pull his
precious cargo through the last foot of the hallway
and over the sill. The sobbing entreaties that had
coaxed the exhausted young man through the final
effort of the rescue stopped as he collapsed—his
strength gone, used up, depleted.
Troy lay face down on the cool grass,
concentrating on controlling his breathing by pure
will power. Coughing hurt, so he took small breaths
and swallowed repeatedly, trying to bring moisture
into his dry throat.
Cradled in loving arms, Mary soon came around.
She looked up into the rheumy eyes of her man, and
she smiled. “There ya are, you old tosser.” The
words, whispered in a voice raw and grating,
produced a relieved smile.
Hearing her speak, Troy scuttled over to where
the old couple were cuddled together. As he
approached, two sets of streaming, red-rimmed eyes
peered his way. The old man reached out to Troy’s
cheek and patted as one would a child.
“God love ya, sir!”

What makes your writing unique?

One of the reasons I feel my work is unique is because I can’t remember anyone else with the same concept of spirit-traveling I’ve used…where two souls exist and interact inside one body.

But, I guess we all think our writing is unique, and certainly I fit in with everyone else in thinking I’m different, and you know what? I am! We all draw from various experiences and emotions that make us individuals, and since no one else has the exact same background as I do, that sets me apart.

Also, I’ve always enjoyed being entertained when I read, and to me books can be the best forms of diversion. Since I’m a rather upbeat creature who loves to laugh, I tend to search for a bit of humor in what I read—especially if it’s dry and done well. (Darned if that doesn’t sound like the turkey I cooked for Easter!)

Where does your inspiration come from?

Since the first book I sold “She’s Me” was in response to a contest with guidelines that I had to follow, I endeavored to meet their conditions but still make the story and characters mine. Seems I succeeded as Wild Rose Press sent me an e-mail saying that due to my not staying within their set rules, they couldn’t accept the story into the contest, but they would like to publish it as a stand-alone book. The contest wanted a heroine to go through a garden gate and back in time to one of four eras. I had my heroine go through the garden gate, sit on a vicarage bench and prick her finger on a magic rose bush. Her body fell into a coma, and her spirit went back in time to invade the body of another woman sitting on the same bench, but forty-three years earlier. (It’s quite humorous what our heroine, a top model from 2006, can get into with a shy, chubby librarian from 1963). By the conclusion, they both end up with their heroes—happy and in love.

This scenario became the essence for the rest of the series.

Before I wrote the first story, I remembered a program called Quantum Leap where the hero Sam Beckett would leap into another’s body during each episode. Only difference is, he would completely take over and the other soul would disappear. In my stories the two have to commingle and work things out. Makes for some great dialogue and lots of fun plots and conflicts.
And that’s where my motivation kicks in—my goal is making each tale unique. I have no idea where this inspiration comes from. It’s there all the time. In fact I have to turn it off, or I’d be plotting scenes all day long and late into the night.

I guess I’m lucky! I know I’m lucky…

How long was your road to becoming a published author?

In a way, I consider myself very fortunate. I do remember buying a book some fifteen years ago about “How to Write Romance and get Paid for It” but at that time the idea never stuck. Move ahead a few wasted years of frivolous pursuits, and I was living in Africa, bored with playing games with the other ladies, and so I enrolled in a correspondence Creative Writing course. Then when I returned home to Canada, I took four years of writing children’s literature, where only one story I wrote ever got published. (See a free read on my website called ‘Run for Joy’).

In the meantime, I was learning the craft, and when I finally decided to write a romance book, I knew it was a best seller. When I think of how puffed up I was after writing the words “The End”, I’d like to change my name…arghh! Of course no one else agreed with me, and the poor manuscript is still buried in the bowels of my closet. Have to admit that every error an author could make is between those pages. With each contest I sent it to, and each rejection I got, I followed through on the welcome advice and took workshops, one after another. I found out what they meant by POV, active versus passive verbs, sequel and sequence, summarizing, and on and on. The more I learnt, the more I leant how much I needed to learn…. sigh! Then along came the contest with Wild Rose Press and the old saying – that’s all she wrote comes to mind, except in my case, that wasn’t all I wrote. I kept adding more and more stories and they kept contracting them.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

The happy endings!

Have you ever read a book where by the end, you felt as if you had wasted your precious time? Or thrown the book on the floor and pouted? Or gave it to the one person you never really liked and raved about how good it was? (My bad!)

Maybe the author dredged up wonderful plots, heavy conflicts, pathos and lengthy descriptive passages, but by the end your dogs’ rear-end was in jeopardy, and so was your hubby’s pleasant evening with his happy-go-lucky wife. I begrudge anything that makes me feel this way. So I’m pretty choosy about what I read. Many suspense, mysteries, paranormal, women’s fiction are now falling into the romance genre, and I love it, because I do like variety. Knowing the author is winding her way to a happy ending makes me comfortable in spending my hard-earned money.

What type of hero do you find irresistible?

I love the bad-boy, smart-ass, humorous kind of guy. Of course he has to be mouth-watering gorgeous, incredibly intelligent, and have a hidden sensitivity that saves him from being a bit of a jerk.

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 hero I created that I totally fell for would be Marcus, the fellow in my new Christmas book called “Together for Christmas” I’m just editing that story now, and I’ve gotta say, my hero’s a real doll. Of course, if you’d have asked me this question when I was editing “Together Again” I would have told you that Troy Brennan, my hero in that story was my favorite. I guess I fall a bit in love with each new male character I create.

A man I didn’t create but have a bit of a glow for is Castle. Something about his mannerisms, the way he interacts with his mom and daughter, and mostly the sparks between him and Becket make me look forward to each episode. And, I guess he’s got me hooked with the humor.

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

Writing a book is only the first step into the world of a published author. It’s the big one, the most fun one, granted, but not the only one. Once that book has been produced and released, the hard work starts. All of us write because it’s a part of who we are, but for many of us, our talent stops there.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, we also have to take on a lot of other mantles. Ones such as publicist and promoter. And forgive me if I sound a bit depressing, but the reality is that those jobs aren’t much fun - just a lot of hard work. If you can’t afford to hire someone else to do it for you, the extra burden falls to you. Chances are even if you can farm it out; you’ll never get enough return with the first few books to cover the expense. But then if no one knows about your book, who other than a few best friends will buy it. So here you sit, clutching this wonderful creation, facing untold hours of slogging through innumerable sites, and looking for all the help you can get in understanding technical jargon you’ve never even heard before.

The bright side is, if I can do it…anyone can. It’s taken a few years, but I now know how to set myself up on different writer sites. My website is running smoothly (that resource I did pay to have done for me) and I’m gathering lots of new friend on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Book Rix, Romance All, Romance Reviews, Savvy Author, Coffee Time Romance, and on and on and…. groan!!

For example today as I was checking out some e-mails on one of the many loops I’m on, I found a link to a new site called Writer’s Marketing Group that offers support to members with Blogs who need guests. And here’s me desperate to get the word out to as many people as I can about my new release ‘Together Again’. What a perfect match. I quickly joined, as it’s free (thank you Lord!)

Look, if you’re enthusiastic about producing a book, then I truly wish you good luck in your endeavors. And as soon as you’re finished the first, my best advice would be to get busy and start writing your second. From what I’ve leaned, the way to make a living in this industry, whether being e-pubbed or by the old standard, is by having a big backlist. Eventually that will be your best form of promo…and will be a huge point in your favor should you ever get looked at by a mainstream publisher. So get plotting! Also, please remember the e-publishers are constantly requesting short stories. And as much talent goes into producing a well-written novella as goes into a full-length, and it’s the perfect way to hone your craft.

Thank you for being a guest on my blog Mimi. Where can we find out more about you and your books?

I’ve so enjoyed visiting with you Micole. It’s been my pleasure.

Please know that I love visiting with readers so come and say ‘Hi’ on my website at and join my newsletter for a chance to win a free copy of my latest release.

Or follow me on twitter!/Mimibarb

Or on Facebook…



Hugs to you too Mimi. Make sure to stop back tomorrow when I will have Vanessa Kelley as my guest.