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 fiancĂ©, 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.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spotlight Author with Candace Havens

Happy belated Mother’s Day to everyone. For all of my readers who are mothers I hope your day was special. Today I have Candace Havens visiting the blog.

Candace tell us about your latest/upcoming release.

She Who Dares, Wins came out in late March. It’s about a private investigator and bodyguard, who protects a professor when his life is threatened. Truth and Dare is my late April release about a forensic anthropologist who is involved in solving a crime and falls in love with a handsome rancher. Both books are fun, have a mystery element to them and they are sexy.

Besides writing, you are also very busy teaching workshops on writing. What sort of workshops do you have to offer?

I offer a variety of craft and career workshops on the Write_Workshop yahoogroup. You can get to that through my website. I teach classes and I bring in other authors, agents and editors for classes. We teach everything from the basics of writing to how to promote yourself as a writer. I also teach paid classes that are really intense workshops where I work one-on-one with the writers.

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?

For the most part I’m a pantser. I just sit down and write. But my new editor likes to have some kind of a synopsis so I have something to work from if I get stuck. I’ve occasionally used the arch Jim Butcher talks about in his writing process where you hit the major story points and small scenes in between. But every book I write I do it differently. It depends on my mood and the type of book it is. Sometimes I write the end first. Sometimes I do a hodge podge of scenes and throw them together. Sometimes I write chronologically.

What is the hardest part about your job?

Time. I’m an author but I’m a TV and Film critic with weekly deadlines. And I’m going to graduate school to get an MH in Humanities. But it’s good because I can tell my students, if I can find the time, you can.

What is your best advice for aspiring authors?

Just sit down and write. Study your craft and take as many GOOD classes as you can. Spend your money wisely and invest in yourself.

You write several different genres, do you have a favorite genre out of the ones that you write? Maybe one that comes a little easier to you than others? Or do you love them all the same?

If I didn’t love everything I do, I wouldn’t do it. A year ago I had no idea it would be easier for me to write in my hero’s head, which has really surprised me. I’d pretty much done first person up until the first Blaze book, Take Me If You Dare. Now I love writing third person too. I love that we evolve and change as writers. I think that’s a good thing.

If you could pick one character that you wished you created from a movie, book or TV show who would it be and why?

Hands down it would be Selene from Underworld. When Kate Beckinsale came on the screen crouching down in that leather, I was sold. Love those movies, even when they are bad and she’s one of my favorites. Oh, and Mary Poppins but that’s a long story for another day.

Give us a glimpse into your writers life.

I’m not sure what you mean by this. But pretty much my dogs wake me up at 7:30 and I usually go until about 1 a.m. I sometimes have to write 18 hours day to keep up with everything I do. That’s why it’s important I love it. (Smile)

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

Readers thank you for stopping in and Candace, thank you for being a guest on my blog.

See you next week.



Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Lidsey Hutchison, congratulations!!!! You are the winner of Anna Campbells MIDNIGHTS WILD PASSION!!!

Thanks for stopping in on my blog!



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spotlight Author with Anna Campbell

Welcome back Anna. It is always a pleasure having you here. I can’t wait to hear about your latest release, MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION. So please let’s not waste any time. Give us all the assorted details.

Hi Micole! Delighted to be back. I had a ball last time. Thanks so much for inviting me to blog about MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION. I’m really excited about this book. It’s the only book of mine that seemed to come as a gift from above – usually I really struggle with first drafts but this one just wanted to be told. Mind you, I adore my two principal characters, Antonia Smith and Nicholas Challoner, the Marquess of Ranelaw. They’re both strong people, some might even saypigheaded, and it was great to watch the sparks fly between them. When Ranelaw sets out to wreak revenge on his sister’s seducer, he doesn’t count on encountering opposition from the intriguing Antonia Smith who knows all about rakes and their tricks. Actually that makes the book sound much lighter than it is – there’s a lot of emotional upheaval before these two get their happy ending. It’s the closest I’ve come to writing a classic Regency romance – there are balls and house parties and a duel and an elopement – but there’s still plenty of drama as well. You can read the official blurb and an excerpt on my website here:

Are your books considered a series? If yes how many more are expected to grace the shelves?

Each book is a stand-alone although there’s a very loose link between CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, TEMPT THE DEVIL and MY RECKLESS SURRENDER. More in terms of, “Oh, I get that reference,” than a continuing story.

What do Anna Campbell fans have to look forward to in 2011?

Lots of Facebook posts? Seriously, I’m addicted to Facebook. By the way, if you want to find me there, I’d love to see you on my Fan Page: I do a lot of giveaways there and basically shoot the breeze. Oh, you mean books, Micole? Why didn’t you say so? MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION is just out now. I’ve also got a Regency ghost romance story coming out in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE in September. You can read an excerpt here:

What type of hero do you find irresistible?

I like courage, intelligence and a sense of humor. I want him to become a man of honor in the course of the story even if he isn’t one at the start. I like flawed characters if they learn the error of their ways by the end! A certain amount of self-deprecation is always attractive – Ranelaw definitely mocks his pretensions. One of the things I find irresistible in a hero is that he’s passionately fixated on the heroine. That always works for me – especially if he wishes he wasn’t! It never hurts if he’s gorgeous physically but what really grabs me in a hero is his character not his looks.

Do you ever think of expanding your stories and writing another genre? If yes, what genre would it be?

You know, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE historicals. I really have no ambitions to write anything else. I love the way a good historical sweeps you away into a dramatic, larger-than-life, glamorous world. And hey, the clothes are great in Regencies too!

Where does your inspiration come from?

Inspiration is everywhere! Things happening around me, books (I read a lot of nonfiction which I find is wonderful for sparking story ideas), films, the odd quirks of the imagination.

Do you have any advice for writers about submitting your work?

Don’t rush. Do the hard yards to make sure that piece is as good as you can make it before you send it to an agent or editor so the chances of them saying yes are as high as possible. That means putting the work aside for long enough to get some distance from it before you start editing, that means taking a long hard look at it when you DO edit it. You might like to get some feedback before you submit if you’re lucky enough to have a trusted reader or a crit group. Writing contests are great too – you’ll get feedback from total strangers. It can be a nasty shock but it can also be extremely useful.

Please tell us where we can find out more about you and all of your amazing books.

So glad you asked, Micole. I’m pretty easy to track down. The best place to find out about me and the books is definitely the website – As you’ve gathered, I’m a Facebook maven - HarperCollins have a page with fun things like what I’m reading and what’s the last good film I saw - I’m also on Good Reads - I blog with some great writers over on the Romance Bandits. I do a book review on the 24th of each month on the Romance Dish -

Thank you again for being a guest on my blog.

Thanks, Micole! I’d like to give away a signed copy of MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION to someone who leaves a comment today. So just a question to get the conversation going - I listed the many places you can find me on the web. How do your readers like to follow an author? Website? Blogs? Facebook? Other? Or would you rather authors remain mysterious creative beings at a far distance?

Okay readers, you’ve read the interview and now the questions she would like answered. Make sure to comment! Maybe you will be the lucky winner of today’s giveaway! Good luck everyone and thank you for stopping in.