8/25/14 – First Kiss

Welcome to Blog Hop.  If you like to read romance novels of all genres, join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all…about our writing. This week we’re dishing about our first kiss, or the first kiss in our current novel, or maybe just a wishful dream of a first kiss. Mine’s the first kiss in my book Changing TidesHope you enjoy.  

A big thanks to my good friend Kim Handysides for this terrific idea. Once you’ve read my blog, the link below will direct you to the next writer’s blog. Tell your friends about us and please ask questions or make comments. We’d love to hear from you.

 

  OreoCookieScar sat at the bar dunking an Oreo into a half-full glass of milk. The clock over the stove read six-nineteen. Judging from the pile of crumbs gathered on the counter she’d been up awhile.

I took the last cookie from the bag and chose the safer of the other two barstools, the one pushed against the wall and three feet away. “Tell me Agent, why would a boarding school, Atlanta debutant, with a Princeton PhD choose to work for the FBI?”

She showed no physical emotion to my revelation. The only change was the color of her eyes — vivid green melding into a subtle jade. It was a wordless standoff. The understanding that I’d investigated her past and gathered a few secrets of my own floated between us. I enjoyed giving her a taste of what it felt like under the microscope.

“It’s a long story.” She glanced away, lingering a moment at the window to watch the sun rising over the water.

I swiveled my stool to face her. Streaked honey-blonde hair, the colors of marsh grass after a frost, spilled over hunched shoulders. Chiseled forearms rested on the bar. Legs of a runner, long and lean, were draped around the rim of the barstool. “Ah, but is it an interesting story?”

“Not particularly.” Her long fingers wrapped around the empty bag– squeezing, turning, twisting the cellophane.

I propped a foot on the rim of her stool, relaxed my body against the wall. “We could play your version of twenty questions.” When she raised an eyebrow I added, “You remember— it’s that game where you ask the questions and only I have to answer.”

I took the slip of her smile as touché. “If you could change careers at the snap of a finger, what would you choose?”

Scar sipped her milk as if she were seriously contemplating my question. Then took another drink before shrugging. “I’ve always wanted to be a vet.”

“A vet?“ I heard the scoff of disbelief in my tone. ‘’You want to be an animal doctor?”

“I wanted to be a professional tennis player, but that dream died in college. I’m still holding out for the vet gig.” An eye twinkle gave away her straight face. She was playing me. “Your turn. If you sold the family business, what would you do?”

“It’s crossed my mind– selling the business. I think I’d take up fortune telling, reading palms, maybe become a clairvoyant.”

Scar laughed without embarrassment.

I gave her a lazy once-over. “So I hear you read minds.”

“No. I read bodies.”

I considered her matter-of-fact tone and clinched my fist to keep from massaging the knot growing in my gut. “And you’re good at it?”

Her gaze moved from my eyes and meandered down, hesitating briefly on my mouth before landing on my fisted hand. She uncoiled bare legs from the wooden stool and leaned in. “I am.” She said with a voice as smooth as twelve-year old scotch.

“Good to know. Any chance you’re planning to practice on mine, Agent?” I stole a glance. Her tanned brown knee only inches from my fingertips.

The sound of the ice-maker dumping another load broke the silence.

“Oh, I’m a good bit past practicing, Sam. I’m all the way up to expert.”

The hint of a smile in her voice sounded playful and mischievous, or maybe it was conviction with a touch of confidence, I couldn’t be sure.

Her lips grazed mine. Confidence. Definitely confidence.

 

Let’s go check out the talented Dani Jace’s first kiss. 

www.danijace.comDani Jace - white doe

RWW 8/12/14

RWW

Welcome to Blog Hop.  If you like to read romance novels of all genres, join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all…about our writing. Each week we answer the same questions. Once you’ve read my blog, the link below will direct you to the next writer’s blog. Tell your friends about us and please ask questions or make comments. We’d love to hear from you.

If you’ve arrived here via my best bud Kim Handysides, welcome. Kim is not only a beautiful and talented actress, she’s a top notch writer. Her soon to be released Stolen Kisses is a fast- paced contemporary romance sure to please. I’ve been lucky enough to get a sneak peek, and believe me you’re in for a treat.

  1. Does humor help or hinder you in your creative process?

I’m fairly certain that writing without a sense of humor would be a mind-numbing, unexciting, chore. Which means I’d never finish a novel.

Darynda Jones First GraveI’ve never met anyone who didn’t think they had a decent sense of humor, but not all books are funny. I have a few lines, some tidbits that bring on a laugh, but I wouldn’t classify my books as funny.

Funny writers are my inspiration, the reason I wanted to write. I love reading their work.  I’d love to be as funny as say, Janet Evanovich, or MaryKay Andrews or my new favorite funny girl, Darynda Jones, who can make even the Grim Reaper hilarious. 

I moved to the Savannah area eleven years ago and am intrigued with my adopted hometown. Enjoying the beautiful historic surroundings of  the city, as well as the small nuances of the small fishing village where we reside has been a pleasure. But the real surprises are the people and the often outrageous and entertaining outlooks they have on life, and the tireless compulsion they have to share their opinions. My new friends, neighbors, even strangers, are whacky wonderfully sidesplitting funny and offer untold ideas that keep my creative juices flowing. I try to bring a little Southern humor into my work.

  1. What is a favorite go-to book or movie you use to unblock a problem in your writing?                 downloadMy favorite book to work out a problem in my manuscript changes from month to month. Right now, it’s any Harlen Coben novel. I love that guy. Last year, it was re-reading one of my fav’s, Defending Jacob by William Landay. And it isn’t uncommon for me to re-read a J.D. Robb In Death Series, just because Nora is such a great storyteller and Eve Dallas is a cool, no-nonsense kind of heroine, which is a personal favorite.
  1. What’s the most inspiring book you’ve read this week or month that’s generated a new idea?

Wow, that’s a tough one and I flipped back through my iPad to see what I’d recently downloaded. I have to say it’s a toss-up between How To Write A Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson, and Save The Cat by Blake Synder. Save The Cat

Both books are craft books. That’s where I find the most inspiration, and if I had to chose between those two, it’d be Save The Cat hands down.

 

That’s it for me this week. Let’s roll over to the awesome and talented and very busy hardcore romance writer Jami Denise, and see what she has to say.

http://jamidenise.weebly.com/blog

Jami Denise

 

Favorite Fifteen Minute Recipe

 

 

RWW

This week Tuesday’s Blog Hop is all about fun recipes.  Thanks to Sarah Hegger for the great idea.  Hop along with us and collect a slew of quick and easy recipes.

My all time favorite go-to recipe is a quick and simple chicken pasta made with rotisserie chicken– I use only white meat which is my husband’s choice– basil pesto, I use the Classico jar brand because it beats my homemade hands down, one cup of diced sweet onions and one cup of sweet peppers. Red works best, but yellow and orange work as well. Sauté onions, peppers and 2T of garlic from a jar, or 3 bulbs of fresh, while cooking penne pasta al dente. Add a cup of diced tomatoes to the onions and peppers, and if you’re in a big hurry a can of petite-diced tomatoes will also work. Cook vegetables five minutes or until soft, add cooked and drained pasta. Cut a block of cream cheese into eight even pieces and add to the pasta along with a cup of heavy whipping cream. Stir gently until the cream cheese is completely melted.

Pasta

I didn’t say this was diet food people– just quick.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve with a bag salad and crusty French bread. Yum.

Hope on over to Megan Conners to see her great idea for a busy night.

 

http://megganconnors.wordpress.com

RWW 7/14/14

RWW

Welcome to Blog Hop.  If you like to read romance novels of all genres, join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all…about our writing. Each week we answer the same questions. Once you’ve read my blog, the link below will direct you to the next writer’s blog. Tell your friends about us and please ask questions or make comments. We’d love to hear from you.

cupidIf you’ve landed here from Ronnie Allen’s Blog–  Welcome.  Ronnie has a PhD in Parapsychic Sciences –mix in a little romance and who wouldn’t love to while away the hours reading her novel Gemini. 

Thanks to the awesome Jo Richardson for today’s stimulating questions. Jo Richardson

 

1. How often do you write?

I usually write five to six days a week. Early on I committed to this endeavor, and follow the same work ethics in writing as I did in our family business. Some say publishing has more to do with luck than skill. The right subject– the right time, and perhaps that’s true.

Stephen-King-working-at-desk

In his book, Stephen King On Writing, Mr. King says he could write a grocery list and it’d be a best seller. That may be true today, but he had over 300 rejections before he sold his first novel, Carrie. 

That’s 300 rejections before he tasted success in his chosen field. The last time I counted he had 49 best sellers–  he’s a stubborn man who’s earned his stellar career. In that same book  he says his daily word count goal is 2000, and recommends all serious writers aspire to the same work ethic.

Other successful authors often discuss the number of hours a day they write. Janet Evanovich begins her day at five o’clock each morning, and says she puts in an eight-hour writing day before tending to her business calls with agents, publishers, email, and the like. That would make for a long day. Interesting that lucky and successful people seem to work the hardest.

2. Do you think it’s important to your craft to write as much as you can, and as often as you can?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me I need to write at least six days a week. When life gets in the way and I take too many days away from writing, my rhythm is off.confused-woman

When I’m writing my head is in my story. Even after I finish at my desk and move on to cooking, gardening, and showering, I’m plotting the next day’s scene. I stare off into space and talk to myself a lot.

 

 

 

3. What is your opinion on the saying “if you don’t write every day, you’re not a writer”?

stock-vector-a-multitasking-woman-secretary-who-is-typing-answering-the-phone-and-watering-a-cactus-30259135If you have the mental strength to say to the world you are a writer, in my opinion you are a writer.

Many successful writers worked full-time jobs while writing their first novel– John Grisham comes to mind. I remember reading an article that quoted him saying that while writing A Time to Kill, his goal was to write one page a day. As a practicing attorney I bet he missed a few days hitting his quota. Who among us would say Mr. Grisham wasn’t a writer during that period of time? Not I.

Dani Jace - white doe

 

Follow me to the enchanting world of Dani Jace, author of White Doe, for another take on these same questions.

http://danijace.com/

 

 

Blog Hop Givaway LogoBe sure to check out the Romance Weekly Giveaway https://www.facebook.com/events/773431862675366/

RWW 7/6/14

RWW

 

If you like to read romance novels of all genres, join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all…about our writing. Each week we answer the same questions. Once you’ve read my blog, the link below will direct you to the next writer’s blog. Tell your friends about us and please ask questions or make comments. We’d love to hear from you.

tackledThanks to the wonderful Susan Scott Shelley, wonderfully talented author of Tackled by the Girl Next Door for a smooth handoff.

 

 

 

the truthAnd thanks to the lovely and talented Jeanne McDonald author of The Truth in Lies, for this week’s questions.

 

 

 

 

  1. How did you go about choosing the names for your characters?

When I first began writing I was overwhelmed with note cards, outlining, keeping the timeline for each scene accurate, that names for my characters were the last thing on my mind. Sadly, I chose them randomly from a baby name list off the Internet.

There were many problems with that decision, least of which were the amount of names available. I kept changing my mind, forgetting which incredible name I’d used for my nosy neighbor back in chapter one. Or was that chapter three? I’d frantically search my work and try to remember which chapter or scene she’d been in and lose my train of thought. Not a good start.Choosing Names

I quickly made two changes. I begin using strong and not easily forgotten names for my female characters, like Scar who is a kick butt FBI agent. Who could forget a name like Scar?

Secondary characters were assigned other easily remembered names such as a close friend or family member’s. Once the characters come to life and I find her/his voice, I change the name to fit the personality. I still peruse books and lists of names on the Internet, but I keep the names filed away in my memory, and like magic the permanent names of characters will eventually pop up while I’m writing their dialogue. I love it when that happens!

2. Where did the inspiration for your current book come from?

I have two WIP’s at the moment so I’ll choose the newest for this question. The inspiration for the book is a cool setting and two experiences I had many years ago.

 

My first career, the one that allows me to write full-time, also gave me the opportunity to travel. One of my favorite spots was a restored monastery that sits at the base of a live volcano, and only a few short blocks from the charming town of Antigua.

Casa Santa DomingoOn my first visit to this peaceful place, I struck up a conversation with a young American couple in the process of adopting a child from a local orphanage. While waiting for the necessary paperwork to be completed, the orphanage encouraged the couple to spend time with the child during the day– taking long walks, playing in the park, having an ice cream together, and acquainting the child with his new parents before the abrupt departure to his new home. I thought it was a wonderful idea to ease into the relationship, for the parent, but more importantly for the child. It was heartwarming to witness the new family’s joy and excitement and for some reason every year or so, this memory would replay in my dreams.

During that same visit, a friend took my husband and me on a trip to Lake Atitlan. We toured the villages taking the customary photo with a local woman wearing the beautiful colors of her tribe. While posing for the photo I placed my hand around her waist and she suddenly became rigid and verbally upset. My friend quietly asked that I remove my hand, and later explained that I had unwittingly touched the sleeping child under the mother’s robe. Evidently there had been several child abductions from tribal women working in the villages. Years later I ran across an article stating the Guatemalan government had ceased all foreign adoptions and the reason sited was to investigate a baby-stealing ring that catered to rich foreigners.

Thanks to my dreams, my experiences on that particular visit had remained crisp and clear in my memory. And because I believe the words of Albert Einstein are true, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous”, my book The Tears of Antigua was born.

3. What methods do you use to ensure you have no plot holes (journal, storyboard, outline, editor, etc.)?

 Oh, those damned plot holes, (BTW: That’s my editor speaking).

I’m an outline girl and use the three-act process to plot. I also rely on beta readers and because I had many plot issues in my first draft, I also seek the advice of my son, a film editor. I now involve him at the outline stage and his input has become invaluable.

A strong writing software program is a plotters’ BFF. There are a lot of great programs out there, but the one that has saved me mucho hours of searching for the idea I had last week, a research note I’m sure was on my desk this morning, or countless other tidbits that seemed to keep me up at night, is Scrivener.

I’m absolutely sold on this software, primarily because Gwen Hernandez, the Scrivener guru, is readily available to answer questions that will keep a girl from hair-pulling frustration. Who wants to spend time learning a new software program? We’re writers and we want to write! Organized or not.Frustrated Woman

 

I broke down and took one of Gwen’s online classes and now outlining, plotting, and tracking notes that plug holes, as well as all my research for my current WIP, is at my fingertips and just one click away. It’s a heck of a lot more efficient than scribbling on a sticky note or a scrap of paper on my desk, (bad habits from my past).

Scivener for DummiesGwen’s not only the author of Scrivener for Dummies, she’s also a talented romantic suspense writer. Well of course she is! I am forever indebted to this smart and talented woman. Thanks to Gwen I sleep a lot better. J

 

 

Follow me as we continue the blog hop to visit the fascinating and always titillating, Mishka Jenkins, the author of The Queen’s Jester.  Mishka Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

6/30/14

RWW

InDreamsThanks to the wonderful Katherine Givens for a smooth handoff

If you like to read romance novels of all genres, join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all…about our writing. Each week we answer the same questions. Once you’ve read my blog, the link below will direct you to the next writer’s blog. Tell your friends and please ask questions or make comments. We’d love to hear from you.

And thanks to the lovely and talented Tessa Gray, author of The Dreamcatchers series, for this week’s questions.Stars

 

 

 

1. Do any characters you’ve written into your books remind you of yourself? Explain which ones and why.

My female characters are a blend of many women, not one in particular. I would love to have the quick dry wit of some of my heroines, or better yet look like them– now that would be fabulous. But seriously, when someone writes fiction they pull from who and what they know, where they’ve been, what they’ve seen or heard in their lifetime. My family is flush with strong, capable women, a plethora of virtual Wonder Women. And I gravitate towards funny and charming friends, all of whom help to shape my characters.Wonder Woman

Scar, the heroine in my current WIP is a cross between my daughter, and my daughter-in-law. Scar is complex, interesting, and sets boundaries for those around her. And, much like my daughter and daughter-in-law, she has a mind of her own and rarely does what I want. My fervent wish for the heroine in my next book is to have my granddaughter’s dry wit. So far, that dream’s been as elusive as Wonder Woman’s physique. I don’t find my characters to be much different than my grown children. They have their own agendas and take very little guidance from me.

2. Was there a teacher or mentor in your life who helped nurture your writing?

CoupleMy most avid nurturer is my husband. He encourages, cajoles and soothes me through this process with love and patience that can only come from a soul mate. At six o’clock each evening we meet in the garden and review our day. We call it our happy hour and celebrate each small victory; a successful day of writing 2,000 words, a stellar critique, and just as important, he talks me through those reviews that sting. My guy’s amazing.

My friends, especially those who write and edit, as well as one very special instructor, are my ongoing mentors. I find writers to be a nurturing lot. We celebrate the accomplishments of our cohorts, cheer them on, pat them on the back every chance we get, because we understand how this gig works.

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
― Kurt VonnegutKurt

 

3. Every author has that moment when they doubt their ability to write. When that happens to you, how do you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and continue? What do you do to inspire YOURSELF?

Yes. There are days of self-doubt.

I think Earnest Hemingway said it best– “The first draft of anything is shit.”

Girl COmpThere are days when I think everything I write fits into that category. Then there are good days when writing is easy and the time in front of my computer melts away. On those days all the terrible ones are forgotten, and once again I define myself as a writer.

To inspire myself on my bad days, I write. I write when I don’t want to write. I write when I’m bored with writing. I write when I don’t have a clue how to proceed with my story. I take the sage advice of Stephen King and I write every single day. And if that doesn’t work, I set my alarm for three o’clock (yes, in the morning) and I stumble to my desk and I write. Because some famous writer once said, (I’d have to look it up to see who this brilliant person was), I’m paraphrasing– Whatever you wake up and write in the middle of the night will not have to be tossed away. And while I may not keep 100% of what I write at three in the morning, I do tend to keep something. And like magic my muse likes me again.

Follow me and swing back around to the awesome Victoria Barbour, author of Against Her Rules and so many, many more great romance novels. Check out her website and learn more about her Heart’s Ease series of novels set in Newfoundland.Vic barbour

RWW 7/14/14

RWW

If you like to read romance novels of all genres, join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all…about our writing. Once you’ve read my blog, the link below will direct you to the next writer’s blog. Tell your friends about us and please ask questions or make comments. We’d love to hear from you.

 

 

  1. How often do you write?

I usually write five to six days a week. Early on I committed to this endeavor, and follow the same work ethics in writing as I did in our family business. Some say publishing has more to do with luck than skill. The right subject at the right time, and perhaps that’s true.Stephen-King-working-at-desk

In the book, Stephen King On Writing, Mr. King says he could write a grocery list and it’d be a best seller. That’s may be true today, but Mr. King hasn’t always been that fortunate. But, the last time I counted he does have 49 best sellers. In that same book, he says his daily word count is 2000, and recommends that serious writers aspire to that same work ethic. Practice makes perfect? Maybe not perfect, but my writing really does improve with practice.

Other successful authors discuss the number of hours they write. Janet Evanovich begins her day at five o’clock each morning, and puts in an eight-hour day. Interesting that lucky and successful people seem to work the hardest.

 

  1. Do you think it’s important to your craft to write as much as you can, and as often as you can?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me I need to write at least six days a week. When life gets in the way and I take too many days off from writing, my rhythm is off.

confused-womanWhen I’m writing my head is in my story. Even after I finish at my desk and move on to cooking, gardening, showering, I’m plotting the next day’s scene in my head. I stare off into space and talk to myself a lot.

 

 

  1. What is your opinion on the saying “if you don’t write every day, you’re not a writer”?

 

stock-vector-a-multitasking-woman-secretary-who-is-typing-answering-the-phone-and-watering-a-cactus-30259135If you have the strength to say to the world you are a writer, in my opinion you are a writer. Many successful writers worked full-time jobs while writing their first novel– John Grisham comes to mind. I read an article that quoted him saying while writing A Time to Kill, he was only able to write one page a day. As a practicing attorney I bet he probably missed a few days hitting his quota.

Who among us would say Mr. Grisham wasn’t a writer during that period of time? Not me!