Month: December 2014

For Your Reading Pleasure…Allison Maruska

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We have Allison Maruska here today. Her YA novel will release soon so be sure and check out her blog and Facebook page for updates!!!

1. Tell us about yourself. May include links to Facebook, twitter, blogs, websites, Amazon author page)

In addition to being a writer, I’m a wife, mom, teacher, owl enthusiast, and Colorado native.
Author website and blog: allisonmaruska.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allisonmaruskaauthor
Twitter: @allisonmaruska

2. How do you choose names for your characters?

It depends, but most of the time I’ll imagine the character’s features and mannerisms, then I resort to my Name Dice app. I literally roll the dice until I land on a name that “feels” right. If the character is from a time in the past, I research popular baby names from that time period and use one of those.

3. Do you talk about your book/characters as though they are real? Yes, especially when hashing out ideas with someone. Sometimes I forget my characters aren’t real and get sad when reality hits again. They begin to feel like friends I haven’t seen for a long time but I know completely.

4. Do you listen to music when you write or edit? What kind?

Nope, I need it quiet. But a few of my characters have “adopted” songs to match their personalities, so I’ll listen to those before writing about them.

5. How long have you been writing?

I started blogging in March of 2012; consisting mostly of humor, parenting, and teaching posts. Fiction writing came later. I had the characters for my first book in my head around this time, but it took me a year to figure out their story. That was after five attempts.

6. Tell us about when you realized you were ‘meant to be’ a writer.

Oh, wow. I’m not sure. Looking back, it seems like it should have been obvious. When I was in fifth grade, I won a short story contest at school and had to read it in front of everyone. I didn’t tell my mom until the morning before it was supposed to happen because the attention embarrassed me.
I didn’t think I could really be a writer – like someone who could do this for a living – until much much later. Like a month ago. Ha.

7. Do you have a muse?

Not really… sometimes ideas just seem to pop out of nowhere.

8. How do you improve as a writer? (Workshops, conferences, reading)

I’ve done quite a bit of reading and have my favorite “writing” authors – Chuck Wendig and Nathan Bransford are two. But I’d say the biggest source of improvement is my online writing community at Critique Circle. There are writers representing every genre and skill level from all over the world. In the group that critiques my work, I have one writer who focuses on how I’ve developed my characters, while another picks out my unnecessary wordiness. The other seven offer suggestions from their own strengths – plausibility, sentence construction, etc. And I offer suggestions to them in their work. Once the trust is established, only constructive criticism and improvement follow.

9. Writing quirks or superstitions?

No, but I’m open to suggestions.

10. Tell us about your current work-in-progress.

I guess I have two – the one in the critique group now and I’m polishing is an adult mystery/suspense novel about four strangers who learn their ancestors worked together to bury something in a locked safe in a Virginia courthouse a century ago. Their ancestors came from diverse backgrounds, having no obvious reason to work together. The descendants have to find the keys left to their families to unlock the mystery, which ends up being much more serious than they could have imagined.
The book I’m actively writing probably couldn’t be more different – it’s a YA urban fantasy/dystopian about a teenage boy who survives a global pandemic along with a handful of other teens. Instead of the virus killing them, they develop the ability to shape shift into various flying creatures. It’s a story of how they all try to fit into their new world.

11. What book are you reading now?

Mostly my friends’ projects in my critique group. As far as actual published books go, I’ve been reading a lot of self-published work by authors I’ve met in the critique group or on Twitter. Recent titles include Savvy Stories by Dan Alatorre; IA: Initiate by John Winston; and I’m currently reading Necromancer Awakening by Nat Russo.

12. What genre do you write in? What about PoV?

I favor mystery/suspense, but my work seems to always have bits of sci-fi in there too. Third person limited is my fallback POV for novels, but short stories are usually in first person.

13. Tell us about writing preparation. Character Profiles? Outlines?

I plan the major plot points ahead of time but “pants” most of the in between events. I’ve outlined a couple books more thoroughly, but I found myself changing a lot of what I planned as I went along.

14. Do you know how your stories will end?

Not usually at the beginning. I have to get a feel for the characters and how the story’s going before I can figure out a great twist and satisfying ending. I love twists. Readers of my short stories are nodding in agreement right now.

15. Do you books have a message or theme? Or are they purely for entertainment?

I’m not sure I consciously have a theme, but one usually emerges as I’m going along. Since all but one of my books so far are YA, the theme usually is in the spirit of finding your place in the world, learning who you really are, and fighting for what matters. But the reason I write is to entertain.

16. Do you have any favorite snacks or drinks that you eat/drink while writing?

If I’m stuck I eat sweets. If I’m cruising along I usually forget to eat.

17. Tell us about your other passions.

First place would be my husband and our two elementary-aged sons. Listening to my boys read is one of my favorite parts of my day.

I’ve been an elementary school teacher for thirteen years; I had my own classroom for the first ten years. I’m currently a part time “certified interventionist” at a school with a high-poverty population. The kids are amazing and funny.

I also serve in our church as a second grade teacher and as a keyboard player on the worship team. It can be a lot of work sometimes but I love it.

18. What’s something interesting about you?

I can drink a gallon of milk in ten seconds.
I really can’t, but whoever knows what that’s from gets a million bonus points.

19. Share a small sample(limit to one paragraph, please) of your writing… can be a WIP or already published.

This is the first paragraph from my soon-to-be-released YA novel.

Levin looked away from his computer screen and back to the torn open envelope on his desk. At first, he’d kept it in a drawer, but he found himself opening the drawer repeatedly to ensure the envelope was still there. He moved it to his desk top for more convenient visual confirmation of its presence.

20. Anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

THANK YOU!! I obviously wouldn’t be able to do this if it weren’t for you.

Thanks Allison! Looking forward to your release day!!
E&M

Book Sale for L.A. Remenicky!!!!!

Hey y’all!

One of my author friends is having a GREAT sale on not one, but TWO of her books from the Fairfield Corners series. On Monday, I’ll post my review of Ragan’s Song, but let me just say if you like a romance with a paranormal twist, then these books are for you. Below you’ll find the blurb and buy links. Take advantage of this deal NOW!!!!!!!!

Saving Cassie New Cover

Saving Cassie Free 12/12/14 – 12/16/14

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FNQTYAS

Everyone has secrets. Sometimes secrets can get you killed.

After ten years in the big city, Cassie Holt is moving back to her hometown to take over the bookstore left to her by her beloved Gram, vowing to live her life alone. To her best friend, Sheriff James Marsten, Cassie seems to be the same girl that left Fairfield Corners to go to college but Cassie has secrets and one of those secrets could get her killed. When one of her secrets becomes a threat to her life, James turns to his new deputy to help him keep Cassie safe.

Deputy Logan Miller has been burned by love and is not looking to get involved with anyone anytime soon. When he is thrown into close quarters with Cassie, the sparks begin to fly and he begins to see through the walls Cassie has built around her heart. As the threat gets closer, can Logan protect Cassie and protect his heart?

1A Ragans Song Ebook Cover

Ragan’s Song $.99 12/12/14 – 12/16/14

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OX5EKFE

It only took one look into his eyes for her to know she was in trouble.

Adam Bricklin has heard the melody in his head for years, the melody that told him if a decision was right or wrong. When he met Ragan Newlin the song told him she was the one. He was devastated when circumstances tore them apart. It has taken three years for Adam to finally move past the heartbreak he suffered when Ragan left town in the middle of the night. No note, no email, no text. She was just gone. Now he has a new girlfriend, a new album in the works, and his daughter is doing well in school. Until the day Ragan returned to Fairfield Corners.

Ragan came home to celebrate her parent’s anniversary hoping they would forgive her for not telling them about her marriage or her son. When she discovered that Adam was still living in Fairfield Corners she hoped her secrets were safe; secrets that drove her away three years ago, secrets that could change their lives forever.

About L.A.:

L.A. Remenicky ~ Love Stories With A Twist
An avid reader all her life, she finally put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) during NaNoWriMo in 2012 and has never looked back.
Paranormal romance, romantic suspense, no romance genre is out of bounds!

10 Random Things About L.A. Remenicky
1. I currently have 3 furkids but none of the human variety.
2. I have been married to my husband for 23 years.
3. I met my husband on a blind date.
4. I have never lived more than 30 miles from the city where I was born.
5. I give people money at my day job (I process payroll).
6. I have been friends with my bestie for more than 30 years.
7. There is not enough alcohol in the world to get me to sing karaoke – but I will sing loudly in the car.
8. I hate the snow and cold.
9. I love almost all genres of music.
10. I am addicted to entering Rafflecopter giveaways.

For Your Reading Pleasure…Debbie Alferio

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Our feature today is with Debbie Alferio. Let’s read about her writing process. 🙂

1. Tell us about yourself. May include links to Facebook, twitter, blogs, websites, Amazon author page, etc.

I’m an award-winning inspirational romance author and speaker from northern Ohio. My husband, two sons, and I live just outside Cleveland with our little “zoo” of fur babies which includes seven cats, two dogs, a ball python, and a little white mouse I call Juliette (whom I saved when the snake decided she wasn’t hungry!). My Forever Love series was inspired by a dream; I currently have two novels published, and am hard at work on the third. I’m a member of the International Writers Association, American Authors Association, Ohio Professional Writers, Writer’s Ink, and the Sauna Friends Writers Group. I’ve also been honored to be the Ohio Representative for a literacy campaign called Authors Across America, and have listings in two Who’s Who directories. Having lost several relatives to cancer and knowing many others who have been touched by the disease, I donate a part of my profits to the American Cancer Society. You can find out more about me and my books at http://www.freewebs.com/debsbooks, pick up writing tips at http://www.debbiealferio.blogspot.com, or check out my pages on Facebook and Amazon.

2. How do you choose names for your characters?

In the dream which sparked my writing career, I was talking to a man I addressed as “Mitch.” Strange to me, because I’ve never known anyone by that name in my life! My hero, Mitch Tarrington, was born from that event. The names of the other characters came to me as I was writing. I’ve never had to think about this issue at all. The info, believe it or not, just seems to be there!

3. Do you talk about your book/characters as though they are real?

You mean, they AREN’T? J My characters are as real to me as my actual family and friends. If an author can’t relate to her characters in that way, how can she properly portray them to her readers?

4. Do you listen to music when you write or edit? What kind?

While I love music (primarily country and 80s rock/pop), I’m too easily distracted to play anything while I’m working. When I do, I find myself fiddling with the iPod or radio to find my favorite songs instead of typing!

5. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for a little over ten years.

6. Tell us about when you realized you were ‘meant to be’ a writer.

In September, 2004, I dreamed I was sitting in an office, talking to a young man I didn’t know. I looked at him and said, “Okay, Mitch!” Then I woke up. A story started to form in my head, and something told me I needed to write it down (the “divine intervention”). I went to my computer and the words just flowed from me as if they’d always been there. A little less than six months later, I’d completed the manuscript for my first novel, “A Forever Kind of Love.” I’ve been writing ever since, and loving every minute of it!

7. Do you have a muse?

I do, but it’s been on vacation a lot recently! LOL Seriously, though, I’m not one of those writers who finds it easy to write something worthy of reading every time I sit down at the computer. Sometimes the muse decides to take a day off, and when it does, I try not to worry about it. My motto is “you can’t force creativity.” But, when the muse kicks in, the results are awesome! Fortunately, those days happen more than the off ones.

8. How do you improve as a writer? (Workshops, conferences, reading)

All of the above! I’m also fortunate enough to have a great group of friends who are authors that I can network with on a regular basis. I’m a member of several writing groups, as well. I’ve found that there is always something new to learn and always some way I can improve upon my craft.

9. Writing quirks or superstitions?

My biggest quirk is that I tend to edit as I go along, and that can really cut into my progress. I’m too much of a perfectionist, I guess.

10. Tell us about your current work-in-progress.

Due to what I’ll call a “series of unfortunate events” within my family, my third novel has taken much longer than I had hoped. However, I’m starting to get back on track, and hope to have it released by this time next year, if not sooner. It will “solve” the cliffhanger ending posed by “Waiting for Tomorrow” and will continue the story of my couple, Mitch and Dana Tarrington. My readers have been eager to find out whether or not poor Mitch is still alive. (read the books to find out what I’m talking about!)

11. What book are you reading now?

I just finished the Flynn Brothers Series by Heather Graham. Very good!

12. What genre do you write in? What about PoV?

My genre is inspirational romance—in other words, romantic theme without the explicit scenes or graphic descriptions. The books in my series are appropriate for ages 14-15 and up. As far as POV, I tend to break the rules a little there. In my series, I write in both first and third person. Some may see this as taboo, but I’ve been told by a few editors that this is okay as long as I’m careful about transitioning from one POV to the other. I’ve found out recently that a lot more authors are doing this, and my readers have told me they like the style, soooo….

13. Tell us about writing preparation. Character Profiles? Outlines?

I don’t outline. Can’t outline. Drives me crazy! I’m far too detail-oriented, and if I try to follow an outline and happen to stray from it, I get stressed out! I’m what you call a pantser—I fly by the seat of my pants and let the characters/scenes/muse carry me. I always have some idea of where I want the story to go, but if it ends up taking off in another direction, I’m okay with that. Keeps things interesting for me.

14. Do you know how your stories will end?

Not always. Again, part of that whole “pantser” thing. In fact, I had an entirely different ending lined up for “Waiting for Tomorrow,” but on the advice of my husband, ended up changing it at the last minute. It honestly worked out for the better!

15. Do your books have a message or theme? Or are they purely for entertainment?

My series actually has various themes. My heroine is learning how to trust; my hero is growing spiritually (in the first two books—he may not live to see Book 3, remember). I also hope to inspire my readers in some way through my work.

16. Do you have any favorite snacks or drinks that you eat/drink while writing?

My addiction is Dubble Bubble bubble gum. It’s my stress reliever. I chew two pieces at a time, and tend to “chain chew”—when the flavor runs out, I reload! Doesn’t do much to keep my TMJ in check, but it does help me concentrate.

17. Tell us about your other passions.

Besides my family and pets, I’m in the process of starting a youth group at my church. At this point, I’m going into the project as blind as can be, but I figure God will show me what to do! I’m excited about the possibility of reaching out to the teens and young adults in the community, and being a positive role model to them. It should be fun!

18. What’s something interesting about you?

I’ve never had any formal training in writing and never aspired to become a writer prior to my dream.

19. Share a small sample (limit to one paragraph, please) of your writing… can be a WIP or already published.

This is the opening paragraph to my second novel, “Waiting for Tomorrow”—I turned the dial on the timer and set it on the counter, found a magazine, and took my place on the couch in impatient waiting. My fingers fumbled to turn the page, and my mind refused to concentrate on the words printed there. Ten minutes. It wasn’t long in reality, but I knew it would be the longest, most nerve-wracking time in my existence thus far. Deciding to give up on my attempt at reading, I tossed the magazine on the coffee table and settled back into the softness of the cushions as I let my thoughts take control. (What is Dana

waiting on? Read the book to find out!)
20. Anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

I’d like to thank all those who have taken the time to purchase and read my books, and for the outpouring of love and support you’ve given me and my family over these past few years. You all mean more to me than I can express in words, and without you, this journey would be lonely and meaningless. I look forward to many more years of getting to know my current readers better, and making new friends with new readers. I promise to do my best to continue to deliver books that you can enjoy for years to come. Love and blessings to all!

Thanks Debbie! We enjoyed having you!!
E&M

Fun Facts…Chapter Three

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Three

The evening sun shining in the car window warmed Bob on his drive home from Lochlann’s in Slidell. The end of February and early March had been unusually brisk and dry for South Louisiana, which had him slightly concerned for his crawfish farms outside Bayou Des Allemands, and even though his partner hadn’t contacted him, Bob made a mental note to call him over the weekend. He’d been trying to reach a more important person for the past hour—his eldest son. Living in Dallas, Dr. Sol O’Malley couldn’t be as involved with the “Operation” as much as either of them would have liked, but his successful plastic surgery practice and a volatile marriage to River’s head OB/GYN Dr. Christine Caissy made living out of state rather appealing. Deciding to try him again, Bob dialed the number and waited.
“Hey Dad, sorry I couldn’t answer. I was on the phone with Sloane,” Sol said, speaking of his seventeen-year-old daughter. “How’d your meeting with Andrew go?”
“He’s cautious, but that won’t be a problem. We’re in. We’re really in.” Bob’s voice was bursting with excitement. “I can’t believe it. After years of planning, this is finally a reality.”
“You and Millie have put in a lot of hard work into making it happen,” he added. “Still a lot left to do, but getting in Rivers—that was our biggest hurdle.”
“As much as I hate to admit it, Nash has really been an asset. Of course, I’d never tell him or Millie that, especially since it was her idea to bring him in,” said Bob.
“Watch those two, though. I’ve never trusted Millie. And anybody in Andrew’s circle—well, you know how I feel about him.”
“I know, Son. Me too. Seems like a lifetime that we’ve been waiting for this. Andy Douglas and that bastard Jamie Caissy, they’ve taken so much… so much from us, but, our time is now. And Sol, you just don’t know Millie the way I do.” He smiled thinking of the woman who had been in his life longer than any other. Their beginning had started out rough, but she eventually found her way back to him. As she always would.
“I’m glad you’re so confident, Dad. But be careful. We all lie and cheat to get what we want. Some of us more so than others.”
Bob laughed. Sol, at thirty-seven was practically his mirror image, in every way.
Following in his father’s footsteps, the boy had joined the Marines after college, but proved to have better control of his temper than his father. “Yeah, you’re right. Speaking of, I’ll call our “friend, the congressman” soon to let him know it’s started. I believe he’s already arranged for the purchase of a house in Mandeville.”
“Good. Glad you’ll have him there, since I can’t be. May’s the earliest I’ll be able to break away from Dallas, and that’s out of necessity for Sloane’s graduation.”
“Hey, I understand. Besides, having you in Texas gives us more contacts there. We’ll talk soon, Sol.” Ending his call, Bob grumbled driving past a red Chevy Silverado parked in front of his house. He knew who owned that truck and was not looking forward to this conversation.

Dr. Andrew Nash Douglas III stood tall and proud against his truck, clad in green surgery scrubs. Today, he was wearing wire-rimmed glasses. With his dark hair and hazel eyes, Nash resembled a young Andrew. Following in the Douglas tradition, he was in his first year of residency at Rivers. Driven and dashing like his father, he had his pick of women and never wanted for anything else either. Bob always thought Nash needed to be brought down a notch or two… or ten.
“Where’s Millie?” Nash asked as he met Bob by the garage. “I thought she was coming.”
“Do you see her with me, Nash?” he answered in his most caustic voice. Unlocking the door, the two men entered the house.
“I don’t know if she is inside. Don’t get an attitude with me. I just came over to see how it went with my dad.”
“Good. We’re in at Rivers. Now, all we have to do is get Millie hired back and we’re good to go. You’re sure St. Tammany’s anesthesiologist has privileges at Rivers too, huh?”
“Yeah, according to what I saw on the hospital mainframe, he did a surgery with my dad a few months back. But in my opinion we need another anesthesiologist in New Orleans,” Nash stated. “And your guy can stay at St. Tam.”
“Oh… really?” Bob shot back. “Pray tell why do you, Mr. First Year Intern, think we need a second anesthesiologist?”
“Why are you jumping down my throat, Bob? Jesus. I’m working with you, not against you.”
Nash sat on the couch, crossing his legs. “I’m just trying to think of ways to fly under the radar. That’s all. Dr. what’s-his-name will need to do some non-Operation related anesthesia cases with us so people like Gregory don’t start questioning the types of surgeries he assists with.”
Pouring them a glass of Gentleman’s Jack, he replied, “Don’t worry about Gregory. Your idea was excellent and he’s got more than enough on his plate to keep him occupied.”
“Thanks,” Nash said, taking the drink. “What did my dad say about Millie?”
“He didn’t. I didn’t ask.”
“Shit… Bob. We gotta have her in. Dad can do surgeries and it’s good to have Christine to harvest eggs and shit, but we need Millie’s privileges restored at Rivers.”
“Don’t you think I know that, Nash?” He sneered, tired of this arrogant and smartass child telling him how to run his business. Nash’s skills were invaluable—especially his ability to hack into almost any computer—but at the moment Bob could do without him. “The Hope Benefit is a week from tonight, and my goal is for Millie and me to walk arm-in-arm on a red carpet they’ve laid down especially for us.”
He laughed. “That’s a lofty goal. Won’t be a problem to convince Dad that she should come back. But Greg?”
“I told you not to worry about him,” Bob yelled, irritated that Nash was acting as if he were the leader of their group. He knew a way to shut him up. “Plan B is always available… if this doesn’t work out.”
“I hate Plan B,” Nash muttered under his breath.
“You agreed to it, and I swear if you breathe a word to anyone…” Bob glanced out the window when he heard Millie’s silver Lexus turning in. “Especially to Millie… I will kill you, Nash.”
“Shit…” He held up his hands as if in surrender. “I won’t, man.” Nash hated Bob—eclipsed only by the hatred he had for his own family. His blood. The ones who had shunned him and sent him away. The ones who preached tough love but offered none. If he had any success in this world, it wasn’t because of his parents, but because of the woman who entered Bob’s home now. She was his father’s ex-wife—Dr. Millicent Douglas. Their friendship began thirteen years ago when a young Nash hitchhiked his way to Slidell, and she had become the one person he trusted with his life.
Bob attempted to kiss Millie’s lips, but she turned her head so he got her cheek. “Hey sweetheart.”
“Bobby…” she said, writhing away from his embrace and extending her arms to a standing Nash. “Hey baby, I brought you some chili and cornbread for work tonight. It’s out in the car so don’t forget it on your way out.”
“Thanks Mills. You didn’t have to,” Nash said, kissing her forehead, “but I’m glad you did.”
“Well, I know you won’t eat until tomorrow if I don’t.” She patted his chest. “You tell that girlfriend of yours, I said she should start taking better care of you.”
“Nobody will ever compare to you, Mills.”
Bob sipped his drink and made a sour face. When Nash was around Millie, Bob might as well be dead. He was her pride and joy. Her prodigy. And she was his unattainable angel. The one woman who would never return his feelings. Bob suspected that Nash had been in love with her since he was a teenager, but Millie’s connection to Nash’s father kept his jealousy at bay. She’d never cross that line—even if she wanted to. Bob was sure of that.
“Do you have time to stay and visit?”
“Wish I did, but I gotta be back in an hour,” Nash replied, opening the outside door. “Thanks for the drink, Bob. And Mills, thank you for my lunch.”
“Anytime, Nash. Be careful,” Millie said, returning to the couch.
When Nash drove away, Bob relocated next to Millie and inconspicuously began to rub her arm, surprised she didn’t slap his hand away.
“How was your day?”
“Long. Had back-to-back open heart surgeries today. Pass me Nash’s drink.”
Bob reached for the glass and watched her down it. She was in the mood to get drunk tonight and nothing pleased him more. Millie was always amazing in bed, but alcohol enhanced her ability to be free. No inhibitions. Quickly, he handed her his drink.
“You want me drunk, Bobby?” she asked, reclining against the couch, white-blonde curls framing her face.
“I want you to stay with me tonight, yes. And if getting you drunk will do that, then I’m not protesting,” he admitted, kissing her neck, up to her cheek, then her lips. “You taste so good.”
“You’re tasting the Gentleman’s Jack.” She licked her lips and closed her eyes. “Was Nash here to find out how it went with Andy?”
Exhaling loudly, Bob huffed, “Yeah…”
“What?” She opened her eyes, certain he was pissed that she’d mentioned Andrew or Nash. She didn’t care.
“Can’t we go one evening and not talk about the Douglas men? I can’t get away from them,” he said, turning to face her.
“Excuse me? I asked one question, Bob.”
“Did I get any chili and cornbread? Did you cook for me? No. But after a hard day at work… you… you cooked for Nash. I bet if he hadn’t been here, you’d driven all the way to Rivers to take him lunch.”
“And you’d be right. He’s just as precious to me as my own children. Maybe even more so because he has no one.”
“He’s got a whole damn family,” Bob screamed.
She stood and carried both glasses to the kitchen. “I don’t have to answer to you about my relationship with Nash.”
“He’s in love with you, Millie.”
Slamming her hands on the counter, she returned an acrimonious smile. “I’m not having this fight again. You are a paranoid, insecure, poor excuse for a man. And you need to know your place.” This was an easy game with Bob—she always had the upper hand, and always got what she wanted. Millie knew he was serious about Nash and his feelings. She thought there might even be some truth to his accusations, but their relationship was none of Bob’s concern—ever, and apparently he needed to be reminded of that. “I came here for one reason, and one reason only, and if you can’t get your ass up and give me what I want, I can find someone else who will. So, what will it be, Bobby? Can you give me what I need?”
“Yes… Millie,” he whispered in a meek voice.
“Yes, what O’Malley?” She hissed.
“Yes ma’am.”
“Now, show me what you’re wearing underneath your pants,” she demanded, sauntering towards Bob. He was fumbling with the button on his jeans.
“Hurry the hell up. I don’t have all day.”
Pulling down his boxers, he revealed an indiscreet bulge in a pair of lacy light blue panties.
“You look absolutely ridiculous, and you can’t even follow directions.” Covering her eyes, she laughed and attempted to get back into character. “Twenty lashes.” Millie pointed to the bedroom. “And no climax again tonight.”
“What? That’s what you told me to wear today,” he complained. “I did what you wanted. The blue ones.”
“No, Bobby.” She grinned, following close behind. “I said wear the dark blue. Those are light blue. Our actions yield consequences, and unfortunately…” Millie opened the closet, retrieving a leather whip from the top shelf. “These are yours. Now, lay your ass down and take it like a man.”

Fun Facts
– The picture isn’t of Slidell (where Chapter 3 is set), but it is of an old sugar mill on the Northshore.

– Chapter 3 is one of my favorites in Book 1 because you get a feel of the dynamic between the characters mentioned. Though I adore the relationship between Millie and Nash, Bob and Millie’s interaction is some of the most fun (and controversial) to write. I must admit, I held my breath when I sent the manuscript to the editor the first time. I felt sure she would be offended and think I was disgusting. Luckily, she ‘caught the vision’ early on in the book, and viewed their storyline as plot enhancing – which was my goal.

– Sol’s name (pronounced ‘Saul’ not ‘Soul’) came from a local doctor named Sol that I worked with at an outpatient surgery center. Ironically, the real Sol and the literary Sol are similar in height and build. I didn’t plan that.

– From the first moment of their interaction (even in the very first draft of The Waiting that will never see the light of day), Millie and Nash had an undeniable chemistry. I had no intentions for their story to be so central, but despite all the reasons they are wrong for each other, there are a million more that make them right. Out of all the friendships I’ve written in this series, the one between them is the most balanced. They compliment each other perfectly.

That’s it for fun facts.Today I start the outline for Book 3 of The Waiting Series…The Wanting. Honestly, I feel that this book has the potential to be even CRAZIER than The Watching. We shall see. Have a great day!!!

For Your Reading Pleasure…Liana Brooks

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Our feature today is Liana Brooks. Let’s see how she approaches the writing process…

1. Tell us about yourself. May include links to Facebook, twitter, blogs, websites, Amazon author page)

Let’s see… I’m an extrovert, I love mint-chocolate chip ice cream, I want to live on a tropical coast, and I travel a lot. The extrovert part explains my social media addiction. I’m on Twitter and FaceBook all the time! And the traveling is why my blog is getting neglected this month. It’s hard to find computer time when you’re catching flights and camping in hotels.

FaceBook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Liana-Brooks/278779308851471
Blog – http://www.lianabrooks.com
Even Villains Go To The Movies – http://www.lianabrooks.com/2000/10/even-villains-go-to-movies-official-page.html
Jane Doe: The Day Before – http://www.lianabrooks.com/2001/01/jane-doe-official-page.html

2. How do you choose names for your characters?

It really depends on the book. Sometimes I have a name before I develop a story, sometimes I go on Twitter and ask for suggestions because I know the character but not the name. Sometimes the names are written in stone from Day 1, but there are books where I’ve changed the main character’s name twelve times in two drafts. In most cases I try to choose names that have some meaning.

3. Do you talk about your book/characters as though they are real?

Yes! Doesn’t everyone?

4. Do you listen to music when you write or edit? What kind?

It depends on the book. In EVEN VILLAINS GO TO THE MOVIES I have a salsa scene and when I was writing and editing it I had a couple of salsa songs playing on repeat. I wrote most of JANE DOE: THE DAY BEFORE (out in April) without music because, to me, it’s a tense book and the main character appreciates silence. I have another WIP that I made a soundtrack of Celtic music for because the book needs music.

5. How long have you been writing?

Professionally? My first published-for-money short story came out in 2009, so five years. I’ve been writing for fun longer than that, but 2009 is really when I switched from being a hobby writer to pursuing publication in a serious way.

6. Tell us about when you realized you were ‘meant to be’ a writer.

Don’t hate me for saying this, but I’ve never felt that way. I know some authors feel they were called to write, but I’ve never had a flash of inspiration that compelled me to write. I think I’d be good at anything I put my mind to, and writing was an easy thing to focus on when I was a young mother fresh out of college. I was in a situation that made working outside the home difficult and writing was something selfish that benefited only me. Being a full-time stay-at-home parent can be draining emotionally and psychologically and, at least for me, I found writing was a good way to refill my emotional reserve so I could turn around and be the person I needed to be for family and friends. It was a form of therapy that I’ve turned into a career.

7. Do you have a muse?

No, but I have skeletons in the closet.
Honestly, I can’t have a muse and meet deadlines. If I only wrote on the days I felt creative and energized I’d still be writing my first novel.

8. How do you improve as a writer? (Workshops, conferences, reading)

Reading and listening. I would love to attend workshops and cons but I’ve never managed to fit one into my schedule. Luckily for me (and you!) many people will live-tweet events and there are millions of talented people who blog about every aspect of the industry. If there’s something I can’t find with a quick Google search than I turn to my writing group or industry friends.

9. Writing quirks or superstitions?

I always expect my book to fail. I send queries out expecting rejections. I publish planning to receive one-star reviews. I don’t daydream about the best seller list. If those successes come, I’m ecstatic, but I’m expecting the worse so it isn’t a horrible shock when those punches come.

10. Tell us about your current work-in-progress.

Ah… just one? I have a Lazy Susan method of writing so I have multiple projects in different stages at once. Right now I’m writing the first draft of JANE 2, the fourth Heroes and Villains novella is on draft three, and I have some short stories bouncing around on the pot boiler. And I have an urban fantasy novel about the search for the second King Arthur that’s with my beta readers for editing. That one’s really fun. Fairies and guns are a good combination.

11. What book are you reading now?

IN THE MIDST OF ALARMS by Dianne Graves a book about the women involved in the War of 1812. My husband is a big history buff and when we travel we like to stop at historic sites. While we were in Charleston, South Carolina, a number of years ago we went to Fort Sumter and I was struck by the poignancy of the stories we didn’t hear. Three women were at Fort Sumter during the Civil War, isolated from society, marooned on this island with the soldiers and their husbands, and their voice in history is largely silent. I wanted so much to read the journals of these women and understand how they felt during those battles. Since then I’ve made a point to buy any book written by or about women in times of war. We don’t learn these things in history class and we’re missing so much because these women who framed history left a written record. They wrote in journals. They kept diaries of their life in the wilderness and under siege. And I find it fascinating.

12. What genre do you write in? What about PoV?

Most my books are sci-fi romance or sci-fi with a touch of romance. Explosions, fast ships, and happily ever after make me happy. And I usually write in third person point of view. Science fiction tends to have a larger cast of characters than some of the other genres like contemporary or historical romance and having a third person POV means I can tell the story from multiple angles.

13. Tell us about writing preparation. Character Profiles? Outlines?

When I get a new idea I’ll write the first few thousand words before I sit down to work out details and outlines. Most ideas don’t pan out. I have a folder with all the books I’ve started and on average I start 75 new story ideas each year. Of those 75 three might become finished stories. The first few chapters let me get a feel for the world. If the story gains traction I sit down and plot out my villains, my plot twists, and what my character’s want. Some stories get very elaborate outlines with inspiration boards and timelines, some of them get very little. It just depends on what I need to make the story complete.

14. Do you know how your stories will end?

I always think I do! I won’t write the book if I don’t have an ending in mind, but often enough the ending I planned isn’t the one you see in the finished manuscript. Stories change as you write them and the plot needs to grow with them.

15. Do you books have a message or theme? Or are they purely for entertainment?

Even books written purely for entertainment have a message. How could they not? Books reflect the values and prejudices of the reader, they make us think, and any book you read will tell you something about yourself.
That being said, I’ve noticed a tendency to write about choice and consequence a lot. There’s an underlying theme of “Your choices define you.” But I hope I don’t beat readers over the head with that.

16. Do you have any favorite snacks or drinks that you eat/drink while writing?

Chocolate, of course! And water. And I really like toasted acorn squash seeds. They’re so much yummier than pumpkin seeds!

17. Tell us about your other passions.

Cooking and parenting are where most my time is spent. I love to cook elaborate, gourmet meals. Good food can be hard to find if you don’t live near a big city so I’ve taught myself to make some delicious dishes. If I had free time (and unlimited funds) I’d do more SCUBA diving. And if a spaceship ever lands in my front yard I am stealing it so I can explore the stars. You’re welcome to come along.

18. What’s something interesting about you?

English is not my first language. Both my parents speak Spanish and we lived in a part of San Diego where most people didn’t use English at home so I the first few years of my life I knew more Spanish and ASL than I did English. That changed when we moved to Chicago and now I can barely say hello in either language.

19. Share a small sample (limit to one paragraph, please) of your writing… can be a WIP or already published.

This is from the urban fantasy my critique partners are reading right now. The working title is LADY OF THE LAKE:

The cloying scent of damp moth and rotting leaves perfumed the air, but there was a tainted smell beneath that. A hint of poisoned blood that made my skin prickle. “I read a book once,” I told Colina as the forest canopy grew thicker.
“Oh, aye? That’s bonnie. Everyone should read at least once in their life.”
I’d have punched her in the shoulder but she’d traded her forest rags for heavy leather and chainmail. Even in my own plate armor I wasn’t sure I could bruise her. “I was saying I read a book once with a dark forest like this.”
“How’d it end?” Colina asked as something skittered in the underbrush.
“Everyone died.”

20. Anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

I love you! Writing a book might be a solitary act but the fun part is always sharing the story with someone else. I’m so grateful for the people who are willing to invest time and money on an unknown author. Thank you so much for giving me a chance to share the stories I love. You are the best!

Thanks, Liana. We are so glad you featured with us today. Best of luck to you!!
E&M

Housekeeping

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– To all the author friends, book bloggers, tweeters, and anyone else who helped…THANK YOU for making The Waiting’s very first free promotion so successful. We didn’t break into the Amazon overall Top Free 100 but we were #137 for several hours. However, the book DID make the Top Free 100 in 2 list: #3 in Sagas and #9 Romantic Suspense. How amazing!!! It would have been impossible to do without your help, and for that…we are so grateful.

– In the excitement over the last 5 promotion days (I WAS GLUED TO MY CELL PHONE), and the Thanksgiving holiday, edits have fallen behind…way behind. But last night I finally finished an add-in scene and then began anew this morning.

– If I hadn’t already announced it, the tag line for The Watching: Book 2 is:
Secrets, lies, and family ties on the banks of the Pontchartrain…
The ‘secrets, lies, and family ties’ is actually spoken by everybody’s favorite villain, Bob O’Malley. And y’all, if you thought Book 1 blew your mind…The Watching is nuts.

Well, I’m off to edit. 🙂
Thanks again to everyone…and welcome to our new readers.

💖Elizabeth