Friday, January 11, 2013

Chatting with Author Peggy Bird

Well, friends! It seems like I’ve been on a month-long hiatus! And I feel as if I’m still a bit jet-lagged from the holidays…is that a reasonable complaint? Or am I simply inventing excuses? *smile* At any rate, I’m glad to be back.

We have a special treat today. I’m excited to be hosting Peggy Bird, a Crimson Romance sister, and a very prolific writer. Although Peggy and I are only just beginning a friendship, I’ve watched her interactions with other writers for a while now and can honestly say she is a wonderful, tireless cheerleader and a never-ending source of light and inspiration. I admit I haven’t had a chance to dive into her books yet, but they are definitely on my TBR list! (If you’ve sampled them, please comment!)

Greetings, Peggy! Thanks so much for stopping by. It’s wonderful to host such an experienced writer as yourself! I know my readers – like me – are anxious to find out a few intimate, intrusive things about you, such as… what your workspace looks like…?

Actually, I have two desks and at the moment, one is tidy and one a mess. On the neat one, I have my MacBook and a cup full of pens along with my latest manuscript in two piles—already edited and to-be-edited. So far, so good, right? Take a glance at the other desk that sits at right angles to my smaller one, the one I use when I handwrite. On it I have two iPads, one iPod, a stack of books to be mailed to my Bookmooch buddies, my “to-do” pile (unattended over the holidays, it apparently reproduced and created new baby “to-dos”), and my paper calendar. Oh, and my printer. And the new ink cartridges I just bought. And the box for the new iPad. And the labeler my husband just returned. This week’s task? Clean it all up, of course.

I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who ‘foundered’ a bit over the holly-days. You’ve helped my spirits already! Now, let’s see, one MacBook, two iPads, one iPod, and a labeler. Sounds like you’re a die-hard techie. I love it!

Can you share a favorite quote?

One of my favorite writing-related quotes is from E. L. Doctorow: “Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

Brilliant! (And mighty encouraging, too.) Peggy, it’s a given that you write Romance, but do you dabble in other genres? Do you write other things besides novels?

I have written a mystery that got very good rejections from agents and editors and I have a half-finished YA (Young Adult) historical I co-wrote with a writing buddy. Both are buried someplace in my filing cabinet. I have had memoir pieces published in a dozen or more anthologies, stories in several children’s magazines and three plays produced locally, one in a grade school and two as scripts for puppets in the Kids on the Block Awareness program.

Sounds like you are equally at home in many genres. That’s great! I’m sure that adds a lot of diversity and range to your work. And I love the ‘very good rejections’ comment. Often an acceptance comes right on the heels of an encouraging rejection.

Tell me, how much of your books are based on real life?

My latest book has a number of elements of my real life. Together Again is the story of Margo Keyes, a woman born and raised in Philadelphia who moves to Portland, Oregon and never wants to leave. We share a birthplace, an addiction to sticky buns from the Reading Terminal Market and a love for Portland and the Columbia River Gorge. That’s where it stops, however. I didn’t marry my childhood friend, am not a lawyer and have never, to the best of my knowledge, met a Russian mobster.

That’s probably a blessing! What books would you say have influenced your life most?

For my novel writing, two books I read when I was young from an old box of my mother’s books were probably formative—one was Forever Amber, the other was a British romance, The Sun and the Sea. I changed the way I looked at the world after I read Guns, Germs and Steel and The Feminine Mystique. And I’m a great admirer of/believer in Karen Armstrong’s books, particularly A History of God.

What are your current projects? Can you share a little here?

I can just about see the end of my six-book series, Second Chances. The third book, Together Again, will be released on January 14th. The fourth book is under contract with Crimson Romance. Book #5 is in the process of final editing before submission to Crimson (see question re: what’s on your workspace?) The first draft of the final book, number six, is finished. The book I’m editing is Believing Again which is, of course, a romance, but it is also the story of two people who have lost faith—in themselves, in their vocations or their loved ones. When they meet, their attraction calls into question their cynicism about life and love. It may be my favorite of the series. But then, I always say that about the one I’m working on.

You are definitely a brave soul. A six-book series! Wow. Sounds like a project that keeps you hopping! Thinking back, what do you think was the hardest part of writing your latest book?
I just finished a blog post about how hard the research was for Together Again. The story is set in Philadelphia, where both Margo, the heroine, and I were born, and Portland, where I’ve lived for most of my adult life and where Margo now lives. I know Portland’s quirks and pretensions quite well. But I haven’t lived in Philly for some time. So I did lots of research online. Took me hours. Not because the subjects were arcane or obscure. But because I kept getting sucked into the vortex that is the Internet, bouncing from one shiny object that distracted my attention to another. To justify the time I spent, I’d have to set at least two other books there!

I can so relate! I always think of the Chip and Dale cartoons…wasn’t it Dale who was always distracted by the shiny, sparkly objects? That’s definitely a danger in our line of work! *smile*

I realize you’re a prolific writer. Have you ever hated something you’ve written?

On a daily basis, some weeks, it goes with the territory. Some days, if I wind up with one decent sentence, I’m lucky. On the other hand, sometimes scenes I delete because I think they suck turn out to be not so bad after all six months down the line and, with a little revision, can be used in something else I’m writing. And I’d bet I’m not the only writer who, at a public reading of his/her work, changes a word or two because he/she realizes how much better it would be if THAT word was just different.

I agree. I’ve learned not to permanently delete any passages. It’s best to let everything ‘percolate’!

What was your last Tweet, Peggy?

I have resisted Twitter because I couldn’t handle the idea of Peggy Bird tweeting. However, I finally caved. I’m not as addicted to it as I am to Facebook and Pinterest—yet—but I can feel it coming. My last tweet was to RT (re-tweet) an announcement about Crimson Romance sister Synithia William’s newly released book Worth the Wait.

One of the things I’ve learned is that a truly blessed writer has a great support system. Who makes up Peggy Bird’s support system? What do you do when the support isn’t there?

I have the most amazing group of women friends anyone has ever been blessed with. Some of the women I’ve known for decades, others for only a few years. Some I’ve lived next door to, some I’ve worked with, others I’ve met through my art interests. In addition, my husband and I have three adult daughters between us who are as close to me as friends. I have no idea what I’d do without this fabulous group of females. I’m lucky enough never to have had that experience. They can interpret my emails and Facebook posts to know when I need cheering up or a celebration—and they provide it. They show up for readings, launch parties, birthdays, holidays or just because. We hash over books, problems, music, politics, theater, children, and health on a regular basis, in person, on the phone or electronically.

That is awesome. Sounds like you know just exactly how lucky you are!

Now, Peggy, I have some fun and unusual questions for you.
Please fill in the blanks:

If my closest friends could describe me they’d say I was smart and well read.

Don’t be surprised to find me bragging about my perfect grandchildren.

If I had a super power, it would be: the ability to make peace between people and nations.

It’s the simple things that mean the most! A “small” thing that I adore is: chocolate.

Most days I smell like clean clothes.

When I grow up, I’m going to be surprised.

You will never, EVER find me willingly in a grocery store. Except to buy more chocolate.

I want to send a Shout Out to someone special. My life is more extraordinary because of all the women friends who always have my back.

And finally, for your fans – let’s leave our readers with ways to get in touch…

Find Peggy Here:

Link to order Together Again: Amazon

Thanks so much for spending time with us Peggy, and for patiently answering our questions. You’ve been a great sport! Good luck with your series! --

Friday, December 21, 2012

An Interview with Author Amanda L.V. Shalaby!

Hi Amanda! Thanks for joining us today. I have lots of questions for you - let's get to them...

What does your work space look like?

Oh, it’s a terrible mess. I’m obsessed with post-its, and all the note blocks I can buy at Home Goods. It must be the influence of my historical England stories, because I love my office space to be deliciously cluttered!

Tell us 3 interesting things about you.

My Shih Tzu dog, Bella, has a larger wardrobe than I have.

I buy Clinique makeup during every Bonus Time, whether I need makeup or not (always not).

I should own stock in Smash Burger.

What is one favorite quote?

“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” – John le Carré

What inspired you to write your first book?

A dream, of course! But that little number (written when I was fourteen years old) is right where it ought to be – in a special drawer, not to see the light of day until the time comes when I can do some serious polishing! My Crimson Romance novel, Rhianna, published this year, was inspired by my very dear grandmother, Catherine M. Fisher, and would not exist but for her request. It is to her and for her.

Do you write in more than one genre?

Right now, I am enjoying writing historical romance. My current project, which is nearing completion, continues in that genre. But I have a special place in my heart for fiction with coming-of-age and loss of innocence themes. As I anticipate a much-needed break from historical romance, I plan to polish some of my unfinished works in that area.

What book are you reading now? What rating would you give it?

I’ve been re-reading the classics, even reading some for the first time. Right now, I’m enjoying Little Women, and I give it four stars!

What are your current projects? Can you share a little of that here?

Sure! Here is a short synopsis of my current project:

Audra Kingsley, a wealthy heiress, may not have seen much of the world, but she knows exactly how she wants her future to play out – and a coming out ball held at her country estate, Kingsley Manor, would suit her just fine. Her father’s wish that she be presented at St. James in London seems silly and an awful lot of trouble, since she is to marry her neighbor and childhood sweetheart, Lord Crispin Brighton.

Obligingly, she travels to King Street with her patroness, the eccentric Lady Sutherland, with the intention of returning home to her beloved as soon as the affair is completed. Unknown to Audra, Lady Sutherland is in no rush to leave London, and intends to spend the Season in town with friends and relatives – and show Audra she has more options in the suitor department than Crispin, a second son.

Thus imprisoned, and receiving no correspondence from home, Audra finds herself surrounded by few friends, and is forced to attend parties, balls and operas – all while becoming the object of a secret admirer’s obsession.

Suspense, deception and the power of true love are laced through this adventurous tale. Will Audra escape? And to what lengths will she go to return home?

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your book to life?

When I began forming the story of Rhianna, I literally knew nothing of 19th century England. I had not watched a single period movie, or read a single Jane Austen novel. I had to do years of extensive research just so I would feel comfortable writing about the period.

Do you ever experience writer's block? What do you do to overcome?

I think every writer gets writer’s block from time to time. I find the best thing for me is to walk away from the work for a while, or discuss it with a trusted companion. My mom happens to be both my “ideal reader”, to quote Stephen King, and my first critique partner. A hot cup of coffee helps, too!

Here are some "Fun Questions":

Fill in the Blanks:

I love pizza with extra cheese & sauce!

I'm always ready for a movie night with my hubby.

When I'm alone, I write, read, cook or dress up my dogs.

You'd never be able to tell, but I write novels!

If I had a halo it would be pretty straight.

If I could travel anywhere I'd be in London right now!

I can never try out for American Idol because singing is not my gift!

For your fans;

Find Me Here:

To order the book: Crimson Romance ebooks | Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Thanks for visiting! Good luck and great sales!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Author Molly Kate Gray Visits!

Hi Molly Kate! It’s wonderful to have you visit with us today. I have lots of questions for you. Let’s get to them…
What is one favorite quote?
It is not our abilities that show what we truly is our choices. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

What inspired you to write your first book?
My first “book” will never be published. My daughter had been really sad that the Harry Potter series ended. As a fun challenge for myself (and a treat for her), I wrote “my” version of what the next year would entail for the Harry Potter characters. It was simply for fun, but it showed me that I could write a novel-length story. I also learned just how much I enjoyed writing. After completing that story, I began working on original fiction.

Do you write in more than one genre?
Yes, although I’m currently only published in romantic suspense. I have a young adult romance (with a dash of paranormal) in the works. I’ve also just begun a contemporary romance that I hope to develop into a series.

How much of the book is realistic or based on real life?
Small Town Secrets is somewhat autobiographical. I hadn’t realized how much of myself I’d put into the story until my husband read it and commented on it. I knew that I found writing it to be oddly therapeutic, and I suppose that’s because I’ve seldom discussed that part of my background with others.

Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?
I recently finished reading Deep Autumn Heat by Elisabeth Barrett. I really loved her writing style and the small town she built as the story developed. I haven’t had a chance to read the next book in the series yet, but I really thought the first story was excellent.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Originally, Small Town Secrets contained an epilogue that wrapped up the story that didn’t make it in the final, published version. I wish I’d worked harder to keep that last chapter in the book, since I really miss the sense of completion the epilogue gave.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about his/her work?
I’m incredibly fond of Kimberly Derting’s work. I read a lot in the young adult genre, and I’m always impressed with the element of suspense she’s able to bring to her books. Also, watching Jay and Violet’s friendship evolve and change throughout the series has really been a beautiful story to read.

What was the hardest part of writing your latest book?
I started writing Fade to Black last spring. When I first began working on it, I had no idea what my summer held in store. I lost 3 family members in 6 weeks – one being my sister in law and the other was my father. Being emotionally drained really brought my writing to an unexpected halt, and then it was really difficult to get started again. Simply completing the story proved to be a huge challenge, and it was a relief when I could say that I’d finally worked through it and finished the story.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’d love to say that writing is easy, and while I truly enjoy bringing characters and stories to life – writing is still hard work. You’ll have times when writing flows like melted butter on hot toast, and then you’ll also hit patches where your books are developing at glacial speeds. People who are successful are those who just keep going, even when they’ve hit a difficult point in their work.

Do you write an outline before every book? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’ve been told I write in a kind of unique pattern. While I don’t plot my stories out completely, I do write my final chapter first. That way, I know my final destination. After the conclusion, I write the climax of the story. Then, I build my “novel journal” where I keep character sketches, pictures of actors who look similar to my characters, and photographs of buildings or other settings in the town I’m trying to build in my novel.

If you had to go to a deserted island with only five books, which ones would you take?
Little Women, The Little Princess, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Body Finder, and whatever story I’m reading at the time (I hate to stop a book in the middle).

Now for the Fun Stuff! Please Fill in the Blanks:

I love pizza with Italian sausage and banana peppers.

I'm always ready for pictures of Ian Somerhalder.

When I'm alone, I’m almost always plotting my next scene (or chapter) in my head.

You'd never be able to tell, but I really hate drawing attention to myself in public.

If I had a halo it would be safely tucked away somewhere, since I’d never dare to wear it (see my answer to the statement above).

If I could do anything I'd find a cure for food allergies. (It’s really sad when my kids are limited in where they can go and what they can do because they might accidentally be exposed to something they can’t eat.)

I can never visit Australia because I’m incredibly claustrophobic. (I could never stand to be on a flight that would last that long.)

Where can Fans Find you?

Twitter: @MollyKGray

To order the book: Playing with Fire
Thanks so much for being here, Molly! We're wishing you success and many sales.


Monday, November 19, 2012

An Interview with Romance Author Becky Lower!

Today, we have romance author Becky Lower visiting with us. Thanks for stopping by, Becky! I have lots of questions for you – let’s get to them. First of all, please tell our readers three interesting things about you that they might not know.
I am single and have never been married…I liked to play too much to settle down.
I know how to handle a chain saw.

I am an amateur interior decorator.

Wow~ Those are certainly interesting facts! I almost need to ask about all three, but I’ll try to stay focused. *smile* So tell me what inspired you to write your first book?
It was the fulfillment of a life-long ambition. I had just finished orchestrating a designer show-house as a fundraiser for a local arts council. I worked with fourteen different designers who each took a room and put his/her spin on it. I was fascinated by the process, so I decided to write a book about a woman who takes on an old Victorian home and renovates it to be her showroom and living quarters. After a few attempts to interest an editor, I shoved it under the bed and moved on.

Do you feel you have a specific writing style or genre? 

With my historical novels, I like to take ordinary people and plunk them into events that were happening in their day--some big, like the wagon train migration, some small, like the introduction of the silk top hat and the subsequent collapse of the beaver pelt industry. Then, after I surround my characters with these events, I consider how they would react by asking myself how I would respond if placed in the same situation.
If I ran into a young black woman with a baby in an alley, and knew she was being tailed by slave mongers who wanted to return her to her plantation, would I be able to turn my back on her and walk away? Then, I transfer my response to that of my character.
I like to take a break from the heavy research involved in writing historicals by having a line of contemporary books. The baby-boomers of this world are about to rebel against every heroine being in her twenties, so my books are about the over-40 woman who is ready to move into a new phase of her life. The first one, Blame It On The Brontes, will be released in the spring by Soul Mate Publishing.
How do you come up with your titles?
The first book in the historical series, The Reluctant Debutante, was a collaborative effort between me and my best friend. When Crimson said they needed a better title for it, she and I just kept bouncing ideas off one another and came up with the title. The very next day, another person, from my critique group, suggested the very same title, so I figured it was a perfect choice. The Abolitionist's Secret was my own creation -- not the first title I had for the book, but I think it fits both Crimson's style and the book. For the contemporary, I had the title banging around in my head for a couple years, and tried several times to write a story connected to it, but could never get it to gel until I created the fractious and contentious Bronson sisters.

Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas come from all over the place. The Cotillion series was prompted by my love for Regencies, but I didn't want to have to learn about English royalty. Too time-consuming. I was watching ice skating on television one night, and the commentator was filling in the backstory on one of the lovely young ladies. He said she was planning her debutante ball, which would take place at the end of her skating season. That got me to thinking about the Debutante balls as part of American culture, and the series was on its way.
For my contemporary book, my sister drug me to a class on jewelry-making using sea glass, or ‘beach glass’, as it's referred to in Ohio. The instructor told us a poignant story about her love of collecting the glass and how it bound her family together, and I was inspired -- not to make jewelry but to write about how sea glass could bind a family together.

Do you mind telling us what book you’re reading now? What rating would you give it?
I'm struggling to get through Gone Girl right now. As my sister says, I should read these best-sellers to see what they're doing right, but I am to the point where I'm just skimming through it and can't wait for it to end. The writing is fine, but I don't care enough about either character to want to know if they live or die. I felt the same way about Fifty Shades of Grey. Hated the book, and only got one-third of the way through the first one before I gave up on it. So, to answer my sister's question of what these authors are doing right, I'd have to say they are hiring great publicists.
What are your current projects? Can you share a little of that here?
My next book to be published will be the third book in the Cotillion Ball series. It's about Basil Fitzpatrick, one of the brothers in this large family, and I truly enjoyed writing it, since it was written from his perspective. That's the first book I've written from a man's point of view, and I enjoyed sitting down every day and working on it. It's due for release in May, 2013. I just began working on Book 4, which is all about Jasmine, the other twin. It's a bit unusual for me, too, since she's the one who needs to change, not the man. I can't wait to see how it unfolds.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Take classes on craft, enter contests, and join a critique group. Don't be afraid to let others take a look at what you're working on. Oh, and develop a thick skin.
Do you write an outline before every book ? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I  started off being a full-blown pantser, but I kept painting my characters into corners from which there was no escape. I kept hearing about Blake Snyder's book on plotting called Save The Cat. It has a simple, 15-beat outline, where you fill in the major events in your story. It's a very loose outline, but it allowed me to work the kinks out before I began to put words on the screen. I used it for the first time in my story about Basil. I outlined it and then put the outline away. Didn't look at it once as I wrote. But because I had the major points already in my head, I was able to write quickly, and get it done. I went back after I was finished and compared the outline to the actual story, and it was really close. So, I'll probably be a loose plotter from now on. I kind of like that moniker.

Okay, Becky, if you were marooned on a deserted island and could have only one of your heroes with you, which one would you choose and why?
Sigh. It would have to be Joseph, the hero from my first book in the Cotillion series. When I was a teenager, I dreamed about finding a strong, tall, muscle-bound Indian in my backyard and falling in love. Obviously, since I'm still single, it hasn't happened yet. And now that I've created my ideal man in Joseph, something tells me it's not ever going to happen.
Okay, now for some fun stuff. Please fill in the blanks:
I love pizza with pepperoni and bacon--not the Canadian kind but real, cholesterol-laden bacon.

I'm always ready for a night at the movies.

When I'm alone, I cuddle with my dog by the fire.

You'd never be able to tell, but I would love to be able to tap dance.
If I had a halo it would be bent.

If I could go back in time I'd be an outlaw.
I can never grow up because that would be boring.

Finally, where can fans find you?
To order the book: Keep checking The Abolitionist's Secret should be available for pre-orders by November 26.

Thanks so much for being with us, Becky! Good luck to you and many sales!
Okay, now it's YOUR turn to ask Becky anything you want! Use the comment section and have fun! *smile*

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Tag, You're It!" with me - Robyn Corum!  (On Robyns Rules)

Hey all! I’m participating in a fun round of interviews with sister authors this week! We’re all part of a dynamic campaign called, “Tag, You’re It!” I’m posting my interview questions and answers here today and at the bottom, you’ll be able to (come back and) find the links to the other girls’ interviews!

Questions for Robyn Corum for Tag – You’re It!
What is the title of your book?
Melinda Heads West
Where did the idea for the book come from?
The idea actually came from a flash fiction contest on a writing website. I created the first chapter and really liked the character of Melinda. I decided to ‘play’ with it, and more chapters followed. Soon, I was in the middle of a novel!
What genre does your book fall under?
It’s a Historical Romance/Western
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I am so bad at this. Matt Damon as Boone, maybe, and Jennifer Lopez as Melinda. The only problem is that I don’t see Melinda as classically ‘pretty’, and her hair is always a mess!
If anyone can come up with better characters, let me know! I’d be interested to hear your ideas. *smile* (Leave them in the comments section!)

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A young girl traveling across three states for a family deed finds misadventure, danger and love.

Will your book be self-published or agented?
It’s published by Crimson Romance, a division of Adams Media! It was released October 8th, 2012. The paperback should follow in about a month.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About seventy days.
What other books within your genre would you compare your WIP (writing-in-progress)to?
I can’t think of a single book similar to the one I’m currently writing, except that it has a very loose mail-order bride plot!
Who or what inspired this book?
I have often heard about the tenements in New York City at the turn of the century. I wanted to try to capture the harsh realities of that life on paper and in a character people could relate to. “Ama” was born.
What else about your book might pique the readers’ interest?
It’s a hard story to tell. I threw myself couple of hard curves, which I can’t really share or it would give away too much. But suffice it to say that like today, the mail order ads in the 1800s didn’t tell the whole story either! *smile*
Here are some ways to catch up with Robyn after the interview:
To purchase Melinda Heads West: Melinda-Heads-West
Authors Den: authorsden
Twitter: @robyncorum


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

An Interview With Galen Rose!  (On Robyns Rules)

Hi Galen! I’m so happy to have you visiting with us today! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few quick questions. Let’s get right to it:

Can you tell us what your work space looks like?
Hi, Robyn! Right now, my workspace is a mess. I’m not sure what happened because last week it was clear. Can I blame my cats?

Sure! *smile* What do you think are the best and worst parts of being a writer for you?
The best part is seeing people reading your work. Having them tell you how much they enjoyed it and ask when the next book is coming out.

The worst part for me, is the promo. I don’t enjoy it and find it tends to get in the way of writing.

Yes, I’m learning that the marketing side of things isn’t nearly as much fun as the writing! Do you have a specific writing style?
I like writing in first person. I know it is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially in romance, but I feel I can get inside the head of the main characters that way.

That’s so unusual! Makes me want to read your book even more! Please tell us how you came up with the title for A Place to Rest My Heart.
For most of the time while writing A Place to Rest My Heart, the title was ‘Laney’s Law’. But at the end that title made it sound more like a western theme. I had to think about what my main character wanted most in life, and that was a place for her to truly allow herself to love and trust someone.

Where do you get your ideas?
I watch people all the time. Then I throw in what-if scenarios and go from there. The idea for A Place to Rest My Heart just popped into my head on a long drive and then would not leave my head, so I had to write it down. At the time I had no idea a novel was being born.

Do you read much? If so, what book are you reading now and what rating would you give it?
Lately, I have been reading a lot of Carla Neggers books and Catherine Coulter. They are both five-star writers and I really enjoy their characters.

Are there any new authors that have garnered your interest?
Nikkie Locke, I really enjoyed Unbound and can’t wait for more.

What are you working on now? Can you share a little of it here?
I am working on two projects right now. One is a left-at-the-altar adventure in Maui and the other is set in Washington about a woman who has not left her house in years and the man who helps her take that first step to love.

They both sound like something worth exploring! Do you ever experience writer's block? What do you do to overcome?
Writer’s block is my arch-enemy, and it is a sneaky one too. To overcome it, I make myself step away from the project and do something that requires some manual labor. And if that doesn’t work, I head to the beach and take a long walk.

One last question, Galen: What advice do you have to help other authors improve their writing?
Take advantage of all that RWA has to offer with writing classes, read your genre and don’t hesitate to work with a critique partner.

I know readers will want to find you and your book, A Place to Rest My Heart. Can you leave us information on that?



To order A Place to Rest My Heart:

Thanks again for spending time with us, Galen. Good luck with your new projects and with your marketing!

To our readers, what project are YOU currently working on? Can you share a little of it here? Or if you’ve read Galen’s book, tell us what you thought of it, please. Thanks!



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Author Visit: ASHLYN MATHEWS on Robyns Rules

I'm excited to share something new with you today. I'm interviewing Ashlyn Mathews! She's a sister author at Crimson Romance and she's agreed to take a minute and answer some questions for us today! She has two books, one of which, Shadow Watcher, is available now. The other, If Only, will be available in December. And, of course, she's busy at work on another! (Or two!)

Hi Ashlyn! It's great to have you with us today!

Hi Robyn, thank you for having me on your blog. I feel special to be your first guest J.
Please make yourself comfortable. Then, if you will, tell us three interesting things about you.
I’m actually a very boring person, so here goes. I love to watch Japanese Anime. In a past life, I was an ER/trauma nurse. I absolutely love roses, and my favorite is the Blue Girl.
What is one of your favorite quotes?

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise,” by Victor Hugo from Les Miserables. This is one of my favorite quotes because when I rewrote and revised Shadow Watcher, the quote spoke to me. No matter how much our characters misbehave or give us the silent treatment, the dark moments do end and a new day begins. BTW, this works in my non-writing life too, lol.
It's funny how our characters can come to life in our minds, isn't it - and take on certain irritating characteristics!

What do you think is the best and worst part of being a writer?
The best part is all the stories in my head that I would love to put on paper. The worst part? Not having the time to write. I have four active young boys and a very involved husband plus a full-time job. Our weekends are filled with soccer games while week days are practices and school work.
Sounds like you are are busy lady!

Do you have a favorite resource site you can share?
I wouldn’t say a site, but my two RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter groups, the Greater Seattle RWA and Rose City RWA’s yahoo loops, are my favorite resources. They’ve been a wealth of information. That’s how I found my current publisher, Crimson Romance!

Do you have a specific writing style or genre?
Currently I write paranormal and contemporary romance. I love to world-build and stretch my imagination with paranormals while contemporary gives me an outlet for the angst I went through during my high school years – the insecurities, wondering if I’d find the right guy, searching for who or what I wanted to be, and learning how to live and interact in the real world. That’s why the heroines in my contemporaries will be in their early twenties.

Do you write other things besides novels?
Aside from posts on my blog, no.

How did you come up with your title?
Shadow Watcher is the name of the supernatural fighters in my paranormal romance. Since this is the first book in a series, I felt the title was appropriate to introduce the series. Each book will have a different couple searching for their happily-ever-after while the world-building from the previous book remains the same.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My message for Shadow Watcher is that greater good should prevail, even over love, when one is born to protect the weak from the strong ,while a compromise between parties can lead to a happily-ever-after. In the end, my heroine chooses to stick with her duty to protect humans from demons for the greater good of mankind while my hero chooses to compromise. By compromising, he gets his woman (my stubborn, noble heroine), and they live happily-ever-after.

That sounds awesome!
What are your current projects? Can you share a little of those here?
My current project is the second book in my Shadow Watcher series. It’s entitled 'Echo UnMarked' and is still in the early stages. I’ll also be starting on another contemporary novella as part of my Willowbrook (a small fictional town in Oregon) series.

Here's a strange question. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’d make my contemporary novella, If Only, longer and with more hot sex scenes. If Only releases December 3rd. An excerpt is available on my blog along with a piece from 'Echo UnMarked'.

Last question. There will be a lot of writers reading this. Do you have any advice for them?
My advice is to never doubt yourself or let others’ doubts in you get you down. Surround yourself with people who have your best interests at heart, and if you work hard enough and seek the answers rather than waiting for the answers to come to you, then you will realize your dreams of becoming an author.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Ashlyn! If people want more information, where should they look?
Feel free to stalk me at the following sites. J

Twitter: @ashlynmathews

I’m also on Pinterest and Goodreads. On Pinterest, check out my Happily Ever After models. The men and women pinned are my inspiration for my characters. I also have two boards titled Fairy Tales and Fast Rides. The title says it all .
Thank you Robyn!

Have a great day, Ashlyn! Happy writing -- and much success with all of your books!


~ Ashlyn is currently hosting a contest for
FREE BOOKS on her blog! ~
** Check it out! **

Posted: 08 Jan 2013 04:00 AM PST
Annie Faye is one of my favorite flash fiction pieces. In fewer than 600 words Robyn Corum offers up a heroine who encourages us to travel the adventures in life. For today’s dose of inspiration take a moment to read Annie Faye—then come on back for a short interview with the author.

Robyn Corum lives in North Alabama with her husband of twenty years, three children, one son-in-law, one dog and, lately, one scorpion, to her dismay. She has been writing for as long as she can remember with varied success. But she writes every day, trying to squeeze a little magic from her keyboard. Some days it works better than others. She writes in all genres, penning poems, short stories and novels and has most recently published an historical fiction/western entitled, Melinda Heads West, through Crimson Romance. She recently published an anthology of Japanese short-form poetry with seventeen other women-poets, entitled, Pieces of Her Mind. You can learn more about her by visiting her blog, Robyn's Rules, or catch up with her on Pinterest.

WOW: Congratulations on placing in the WOW Summer 2012 Flash Fiction Contest! I love your bio; it’s inspiring to meet a writer who is ready to tackle anything! There’s a big difference between historical romance and Japanese poetry—what are some of the challenges of being so diverse?

Robyn: Thanks so much! But I don’t see it as a challenge, really. It’s proved to be a blessing in my case. Whenever writer’s block rears its ugly head, I have options. I can switch from prose writing to poetry, or from adult- to children’s interest. It definitely keeps things interesting!

WOW: What inspired the story Annie Faye?

Robyn: I’m a very creative person, and another hobby of mine is making costume jewelry. The story of Annie Faye was inspired by an actual ring I created from an antique brooch. As I worked on putting it together, I created a story in my head for the person who might have owned it ~ in a different time and place.

WOW: I love the last scene with the ring! What have you learned while exploring the facets of your ruby?

Robyn: I’ve learned it’s the journey that counts. Nothing is ever as great as you expect–or as bad as you fear. I’ve stopped looking for the “BIG” moments in my life, and I’m trying to enjoy the small, daily, seemingly insignificant ones. They are what life is made of.

WOW: That’s a lesson I hope we all can embrace this year!
Many writers feel that contests are just for newbies. How do published authors benefit from competitions such as the WOW Flash Fiction contest?

Robyn: Writers are constantly told to ‘build their platform’. I think it’s a great opportunity to get your name out there through a powerful vehicle like “WOW”, and it’s always fun to have your work recognized.

WOW: Since you are such a versatile writer I just have to ask…what would be your “dream project”?

Robyn: That’s hard. Every project I work on seems like my favorite!

WOW: What are you working on now?

Robyn: I’m writing a novel about a young woman named Ama who grows up in the very humbling and gritty tenements of New York in the late 1800s. She becomes a mail order bride to a man out west through a strange set of circumstances. It’s a great story, and I hope I can tell it well.

WOW: Sounds great! We look forward to reading your current favorite project (smile).

While you are waiting for Robyn’s next novel why not enjoy her first novel, Melinda Heads West. You can also visit her blog to enjoy interviews, writing prompts or just feed the fish.

Robyn Chausse has been blogging and managing book tours for WOW since May 2010. Her New Year’s resolutions are to finally finish her writer’s site, and to publish one of those books she keeps toying with! In the meantime you can visit her at her blog, A Ponderance of Things.


Quill’s Edge Author’s Spotlight: Robyn Corum

Robyn Corum
Thank you for joining us for this first edition of Quill’s Edge Author’s Spotlight. I’m here today with Robyn Corum, author of Melinda Heads West a new release from Crimson Romance. Robyn took time out of her busy schedule to sit down with me to discuss books, life and how a calculator can be and unlikely yet very valuable friend to writers.
Stephanie : Thank you for joining us today Robyn. So, what do you think makes good writing?
Robyn : That’s an interesting question. I think good writing is accomplished by any writer who makes me forget myself. Who allows me ‘fall into’ the story and lose myself entirely. That’s done with well-rounded characters and a fully developed sense of place and time. It’s great dialogue, good descriptions, active sentence structure and believable behavior.
Stephanie : How do you choose the names for your characters?
Robyn: I love choosing names for my characters. And it’s such an interesting process! Sometimes, the characters themselves suggest their names, or another character will offer it – natural as everyday speech as I’m writing. Other times I have to go looking, and I always try to find names suitable to the time period I’m writing in. I have the websites that I use listed on my blog under the “Resources” section.
Stephanie: How many words do you usually write a day?
Robyn : When I’m working on a manuscript, I try to write at least 1,000 words a day, minimum.
Stephanie: What is your favorite genre?
Robyn: My favorite genre to read and write, is Historical Romance. I love to learn as I read! *smile* It’s amazing what you can learn from a novel!
Stephanie: Who was your favorite childhood author?
Robyn: A. A. Milne, hands down. If you’ve never read the original Winnie-the-Pooh books, you’re missing a treat. They are filled with such humor and surprise.
Stephanie: What is your favorite thing you’ve written?
Robyn: I also write poetry and flash fiction. I wrote a poem about my husband called, “The White Knight,” that has been one of my favorite pieces for years. It won third place in a 2011 poetry contest.
Stephanie: What’s on your desk near your left hand?
Robyn: A calculator. And you might be surprised how often I use it!
Stephanie: What is the one thing about writing/publication you wish someone had told you about sooner?
Robyn: The dreaded synopsis. I had a bite on my first novel and my editor asked for a synopsis. I thought, “What’s a stinking synopsis?” I found out the hard way… and with only a very few days to create one! So heads up! When you write a book, you also have to craft a (stinking!) synopsis. (You can also find info on that under the “Resources” tab at my blog.)
Stephanie: How do you deal with rejection letters?
Robyn: First of all, I never send anything out until I have made a list of all the places it might be accepted. I expect rejections. They are part of this business. When an item is returned, I simply send it to the next name on the list. This postpones any negativity I might feel by giving me something constructive to do.
Stephanie: Thank you so much for taking the time our of your busy schedule to talk with me. Do you have any, Parting Shots? Can you give us at least one bit of advice that has served you well as a writer over the years.
Robyn: Know your strengths. You will always have people criticizing you and your work. You should pay attention and try every day to improve your craft. But you should know what your true strengths are, so that you won’t be blown off course. Believe in yourself and have faith.
Looking for a new voice in romantic fiction? Check out Robyn Corum’s book Miranda Heads West. 


Interview on
Romance Reviews Today

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Q&A with Robyn Corum!

Hi Patti! Thanks for having me today. I’m excited to share some time with your readers!


1. Tell us about your newest release.

It’s called Melinda Heads West and the story follows the adventures – and misadventures -- of a young lady named Melinda McCorkle as she travels from her home in Mississippi across three states.

Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:
What happens when a feisty young woman travels west in 1880 to pick up a family deed? If it's small-town Melinda McCorkle, you can count on luck to take a hike. Mindy is traveling with six strange men in a hard-riding stagecoach. When the coach breaks down, they're forced to walk the thirty-five miles remaining to her destination. That would be enough to try anyone's patience, but then the company is set upon by thieves and murderers in the form of the evil Byler brothers, and the stakes are raised.
Fortunately, Mindy makes the close acquaintance of two “gentlemen,” Luke Wilhite and Gary Boone, who try to help her through these dangers.

Luke is tall and fair, while Boone is taller and dark. Mindy feels an immediate attraction to Boone, but he's married! Or is he? Who will finally win Mindy's affection?

2. Can you tell us a little about your favorite scene in the story?

I have several! One occurs in the beginning of the book when the group is walking toward their destination and Boone tries to take Melinda’s traveling bag from her. I love the interaction between the two of them! From the very beginning there is great chemistry between these two characters.

3. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?

That I could write a full-length novel! I write a lot of poetry and flash fiction, but I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a novel. I have several plot ideas playing around in my mind that would love to see the light of day. In the winter of 2011, I was challenged to write a book in under ninety days and I thought ‘what do I have to lose’? Melinda Heads West is the result.

4. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?

I love, love, love Maggie Osborne. She always inspires me! Other favs are Jodi Thomas and Lavyrle Spencer. When I was really young, my aunt, Lisa, wrote a lot of stories that kept me enthralled. My earliest memories of wanting to write and duplicate that effect came from those stories.

5. What does your family think about your career as a published author?

Oh, they’re all proud as punch! My husband has been really supportive the whole way. He was the first person to read Melinda when I finished it, and he urged me to go for it. My kids finally recognize that when I’m at the computer ‘working’, I’m actually doing something worthwhile! *smile*

6. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?

I love anything crafty and I adore photography. Of course, I love to read!

7. How can readers connect with you online?

Lots of ways! And I love to hear from readers! Here are a few avenues:

Twitter: @robyncorum

Thanks again for having me today!


Want to win a digital copy of Robyn's book?

One of Robyn's favorite scenes is at the beginning of the book when Boone tries to take Melinda's traveling bag from her. That part of the book is actually available as the "Look Inside" portion at Amazon at:
Readers, email Robyn at and tell her what happened to Melinda's bag. She'll then enter them into a drawing for a lovely silver-finish (Romance!) heart bracelet. They just need to send their answer to:


Author Spotlight-Robyn Corum-Melinda Heads West

by Ashlynmathews (blog) on November 14, 2012
   Today, I’m excited to have a fellow Crimson Romance author, Robyn Corum, as my guest. Welcome and thank you for being on my blog!
I’m excited to be here, Ashlyn. Thanks for asking me!
I’m not one to beat around the bush, so to speak, so let’s jump in to this fun interview :) . You write historical/western romance. Tell us why this subgenre of romance appeals to you as a writer and reader?
Oh, I love the image of a rough-and-tumble cowboy! A strong man who isn’t afraid to walk into a gunfight, but can be soft enough to romance the woman of his dreams. And I love the time period I write about – the late 1800’s. It was a slower time, and when people relied more on one another.
Yes, I can understand the appeal. Cowboys are all of the above and more. Definitely swoon worthy. Believe me, I have my share of pics of cowboys on my Pinterest board. The six-pack abs, Levis hung low, the Stetson hats . . . yep, definitely would love me a cowboy (Ashlyn clears throat and attempts to get back on track). Do you have plans to write in a different sub-genre?
I also write poetry, flash fiction and young adult fiction.
That’s great! As writers, we’re creative people. It’s good to have different outlets for the words and voices in our heads. Hopefully, we’ll get to read excerpts when you’re ready to share :) . In two sentences, sum up your book, Melinda Heads West.
A young woman named Melinda must travel across three states to pick up a family deed. In doing so, she encounters mayhem and danger, and eventually finds true love.
Wonderful summary! I want to root for her already. And the thought of reading about not one, but two sexy cowboys, had me adding Melinda Heads West to my to-be-read shelf. Tell us more about the strengths and weaknesses of your three main characters?
Melinda McCorkle is a feisty young woman who is learning to trust herself in the world. She’s not attractive in the classic sense, but she is strong and proud.
Lucas Wilhite is an ex-officer who is willing to do what he must to get what he wants. He’s a good man deep down, but he makes bad decisions.
Gary Boone is sure of himself when it comes to his work, but not when it comes to his heart. He’s brave and attractive. 
I love them already. Strong, proud, stubborn, confident individuals, yet flawed in relatable ways. Was your journey to publication a cake walk or a hard climb to the top?
It was a relative cake-walk! I wrote the book in about seventy days and the second publisher that looked at the manuscript accepted it. It was published six months later.
OMG girlfriend! And I thought my three months was fast. Congrats! For those who don’t know this . . . digital publishing moves fast. What are the joys and pitfalls of being an author?
I love being a writer. I love the swish and bang of different words on a page. The joys come when you write an especially powerful section of a manuscript – when the words come exactly as you want them to. When you can actually get the scene from your head to come to life and dance on the blank white page. The pitfall is trying to forever describe that experience to someone else! :)
Run us through a normal writing day for you.
I get up about five thirty in the morning and sit down at my computer. The first thing I do is check my emails and correspondence. When I get ready to start writing, I read the last chapter and try to ‘fall back into’ the scene. Then I jump in. I’ll work until lunch time at least. When I get stuck, I stop and play solitaire on my iPhone for a few minutes. :) Then I start again. I try to write at least 1,000 words a day when I’m working on a manuscript.
LOL, solitaire as a mental break is awesome! Are you working on anything new? If so, can you share or give us a sneak peek?
Yes. Right now, I’m working on a project I’m really excited about. It follows a young woman who starts out in the gritty tenements of New York City’s Lower East Side in the late 1800’s, but becomes a mail-order bride to a man out west. It has great potential if I can tell it correctly.
I love the mail-order bride trope. Happy writing to you, and I’m sure you’ll pull it off. Thank you, Robyn for stopping by.
To stalk Robyn Corum, please visit or follow her at the links below. To buy her book, click on the cover image above.
Robyn’s Blog:
Twitter: @robyncorum

Sunday, December 2, 2012

On Author Becky Lower's Blog:

Meet Author Robyn Corum!

I'm pleased to have as a guest today, my fellow Crimson historical author, Robyn Corum. She writes westerns, mostly, but judging from her book blurbs, getting to the west is part of the challenge for her feisty heroines. Let's find out more about Robyn, as well as the ladies in her books.

What is your current project about?

“Ama” is the story of a young girl raised in a gritty tenement in Lower East Side New York in the late 1800’s. It’s a horrible life, and Ama leaves it behind to become a mail-order bride to a man in the west.

What’s next for your readers?

I've just published a book of short poetry with seventeen other women-poets. It's called Pieces of Her Mind. And I’m excited to say a friend and I are working on illustrating a large group of my children’s poems in order to publish them.

What’s your favorite part about writing? Least favorite?

I love words and finding unique new ways to put them together! My least favorite thing…would have to be when you get into a writing rhythm and the words are coming – and something interrupts you!

Have you ever written a character based on someone you know?

It’s funny, but there’s a lot of my husband in the character of Boone in Melinda Heads West. My hubby has the most wonderfully interesting sayings and as I created Boone’s character I tried to use several of them.

Where did you grow up, and did anything from your childhood influence your decision to become a writer?

I grew up on a farm, in the middle of a large family, way out in the country. Many of the members of my family were storytellers. The habit came naturally.

Where do you rank in the family hierarchy? First child? Only child? Baby? Somewhere in between?

I am the first child of two. (But I was pretty much raised by my grandmother, who had eleven kids!)

If you have an entire day to devote to your writing career, how do you divvy up the hours?

I start early in the morning – about 5:30. First, I answer mail and other correspondence. Then I start work on my running manuscript. I work on it as long as I can, until I get at least 1,000-2,000 words done. Then I work on marketing for a while.

What haven’t you done as a writer that you’d like to attempt?

I want to publish a collection of flash fiction, mine and other authors'.

What advice can you give writers who are getting started?

Work at improving your craft daily. Spend time with other writers who know what they’re doing and listen to what they say. Be willing to take advice. Let other people read what you’ve written and offer criticism. Most importantly, learn to separate yourself from your writing, so that you can take in advice and make corrections without getting your back up.

Who would you like to cast as yourself in the movie about your life?
Oh, how about Sandra Bullock? My hubs would love that! *smile*

Buy Links (For Melinda) :

Amazon-Purchase Page

Kobo - Purchase Page

Nook – Purchase Page

Book Blurb:

"What happens when a feisty young woman travels west in 1880 to pick up a family deed? If it's small-town Melinda McCorkle, you can count on luck to take a hike. Mindy is travelling with six strange men in a hard-riding stagecoach. When the coach breaks down, they're forced to walk the thirty-five miles remaining to her destination. That would be enough to try anyone's patience, but then the company is set upon by thieves and murderers in the form of the evil Byler brothers, and the stakes are raised.

Fortunately, Mindy makes the close acquaintance of two “gentlemen,” Luke Wilhite and Gary Boone, who try to help her through these dangers.

Luke is tall and fair, while Boone is taller and dark. Mindy feels an immediate attraction to Boone, but he's married! Or is he? Who will finally win Mindy's affection?"

You can contact Robyn here:

Robyn’s Blog:







No comments:

Post a Comment