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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Author Interview with Stacy Juba


The Long and the Short of It is pleased to welcome Stacy Juba. Stacy has two new YA books that were released this fall: Dark Before Dawn, a paranormal thriller, and Face Off, a young adult novel.

Stacy told me she was painfully shy growing up, and writing was a way she could express herself. She wrote her first short story, "The Curse of the White Witch," in the third grade. By fifth grade, she was writing her own mystery series about a teenager amateur detective named Cathy Summers and her sidekick Katie.

"They always managed to get themselves kidnapped or held up at gunpoint, or solve the crime by wandering by and overhearing the bad guys confessing. I used to think they were brilliant detectives," Stacy remembered, "but now I can see that the police arrested the criminals in spite of Cathy and Katy's interference!"

I asked Stacy how she came up with the titles to her books.

"Usually, the title comes to me first. Naming my first two mystery/romantic suspense novels was easy. I chose the title Twenty-Five Years Ago Today because it's about a newspaper editorial assistant who stumbles across a cold case on the microfilm while researching her 25 years ago today column. Sink or Swim is about a young woman who goes on a reality show set aboard a Tall Ship, and the name of the TV show is Sink or Swim as losers are required to walk the plank. The book starts when the show has ended and she is returning to her normal life as the target of a stalker, so the Sink or Swim also has a double meaning - will she rise above this adversity or will she let the stalker control her life? So far, my books have been pretty easy to name."

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today was Stacy's first adult novel. She once worked as a newspaper obit writer and editorial assistant, and later was promoted to reporter. One of her editorial assistant responsibilities was researching the 25 and 50 years ago today column on the microfilm.

"It was a tough job finding eight facts for each issue (four from 25 years ago and four from 50 years ago.) Sometimes scrolling through the microfilm gave me eyestrain and I'd fudge the dates a bit!" she confessed. "One day, I got an idea: what if an editorial assistant came across a 25-year-old murder and was driven to solve it as a way of redeeming herself from a tragedy in her own past? What if she got involved with the victim's family and fell in love with the nephew?"

Stacy's latest adult book is Sink or Swim, a cross between a cozy mystery and a romantic suspense novel.

After starring on a hit game show set aboard a Tall Ship, personal trainer Cassidy Novak discovers that she has attracted a stalker. Can she trust Zach Gallagher, the gorgeous newspaper photographer assigned to follow her for a local series? As things heat up with the stalker and with Zach, soon Cassidy will need to call SOS for real.
"It was a fun book to write and has been endorsed by former contestants from Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Big Brother, though you don't need to be a reality show fan to enjoy the novel," she said. "Most of the book takes place in Cassidy's hometown after the show has ended, as she tries to resume her normal life after her time in the spotlight."

" How do you develop your plots and characters?" I wondered.

"First, I make a list of my main characters and fill out character charts listing all their traits, quirks, strengths and weaknesses. I also do some free-writing from the perspective of my main characters. Basically, my characters and I have a little chat! Then I jot down some plot ideas. Once I have a handle on the characters and the overall plot, I sit down over a few days and type an in-depth chapter-by-chapter outline which could grow as long as 20-25 pages. I make sure there are points of rising action and conflict, sections with comic relief, and I also track subplots and character development to make sure I don't drop any threads of the story. Then I'll start writing the book."

Stacy has an office with a big desk, a treadmill, and two bookcases.

"I love my desk as it's my own personal space," she said. "I have a folder with my plot outline and printed out manuscript pages from my work-in-progress. I do most of my writing on the computer in my office, though I also write on the go sometimes on my AlphaSmart word processor, which has no Internet or email to distract me. I also write in longhand if I'm waiting somewhere for an appointment. My desk also has two monthly planners - one that tracks my appointments and family schedule, and the other tracks my blog schedule and interviews so I know where I need to check in online on a given day."

For Stacy, the hardest part of writing is in the first few chapters, because it takes a while for her to get into the head of a new lead character.

"After a few chapters, it gets much easier, but it's a little nerve-wracking moving past that fear of the blank page and the knowledge that you have a few hundred pages to write," she told me. "Editing the finished manuscript is the easiest part."

Stacy balances her writing career around her family's schedule. She mostly writes in the early morning, the evening, or when her husband is home to hold down the fort. She also does a lot of book promotion, i.e., blogging, interviews such as this one, chats, contacting reviewers, social networking, participating on various message board forums, emailing bookstores, or chatting with book clubs.

"I do at least 2-3 marketing tasks per day, most of it online," she said. "I just love crossing tasks off my to-do list!"

On a personal note, Stacy told me she didn't want a dog—for two reasons. One, her cat would be very upset! Two, she's recently found out from allergy skin testing that she's allergic to dogs. In fact, the only animals she's not allergic to are cats and cockroaches. Of course, she loves cats, "and not just because they're the only animal that doesn’t make me sneeze," she assured me. "They are good companions and fun to be around."

"Do you have any strange handwriting habits?" I wondered.

"I apparently write in my own personal shorthand. It looks perfectly normal to me, but in my reporting days, my sources and interview subjects would crane their necks to peer at my notebook and ask, 'Do you write in shorthand? You can really read that?' It wasn't just a few people who made that comment; it was dozens."

Finally, I asked Stacy, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"

"I would recommend taking some writing classes, either locally or online; either joining a critique group or finding a few regular critique partners; and learning how to edit your work because writing is just the first part...you also need to be able to take that rough draft and make it polished and publishable. I'd also recommend reading lots of books on marketing and book promotion, and learning about the different options available to authors nowadays including the whole e-book phenomenon. This is an exciting time to be a writer, but there is a lot to learn."
You can keep up with Stacy on her blog, http://stacyjuba.com/blog .

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Author Interview with Monique O'Connor


The Long and the Short of It is pleased to welcome Monique O'Connor James, whose latest book from Astraea Press, Jamais Vu was released last month. I asked Monique to tell us a little bit about it.

"Jamais Vu was inspired by my mother, who accidentally shot herself, playing with a loaded gun, when I was two. Jamais Vu addresses all the questions you have about yourself, and the questions others pose, when you go through something like that. It is also paranormal, as are most of my works, in that Darby Lambert has a near death experience and suffers from psychic dreams after."

Her debut novel, The Keepers, was not only her first book published, but the first book she ever wrote. It, too, was inspired by her mother.

"Although I have several other manuscripts which are waiting to be edited, The Keepers was the first time I completed a story. The novel's heroine is stricken by grief, when her mother dies of breast cancer. The plot came from the grief I was dealing with over the death of my own mother, who died of breast cancer in 1998. A lot of what Jess feels and says in the story, came from my own feelings, and more than any other book I've written, this story was cathartic."

She's currently working on the sequel to The Keepers, but it's a sequel with a twist.

"It is actually a sequel which has none of the original characters in it, however, you will love these new characters too," Monique explained. "This particular book has taught me a lot, because in general, sequels pick up with the prior characters and have the same 'feel'. But, The Keepers is a very emotionally charged book, and the sequel has those emotions, but it's a bit spookier!"

Her mom played an important part in Monique's writing career, not only in inspiring these first two novels, but actually inspiring her to write in the first place.

"When I was about 9, my mom bought me a journal for my birthday," Monique remembered. "I was a little perplexed, as to what she wanted me to do with it. However, I started writing my thoughts down every day. From that point on, I realized the joy that came from putting pen to paper, and I quickly became addicted."

If Monique had any wish, it would be that she could have one day, again, with her mom to tell her about all that's transpired in her life and to let her read the books.

"But I try not to dwell on what I've lost," she said, "and be grateful for all I've been given."

I asked her to describe her writing space, and she laughed.

"I call my writing space the dungeon. My husband and I have our laptops and work area set up in our garage. There are no windows and other than a very dim overhead light, and the lamp above my computer, it's dark. I spend the majority of my time writing in this area, and am in the process of getting my darling husband to spruce it up a bit. When I need a change of scenery, I carry my laptop outside, on my deck, and write while the kids swim and the birds chirp. I do carry a notebook, though, and I will write anywhere and everywhere."

She stays busy, because she has a full-time job selling insurance.

"When I get home in the evenings I am mother and wife. If the kids are off doing their own thing, I will sit down and write; if they aren't I wait, until about nine p.m., and then start to write. Sometimes, I'm up, until two or three in the morning. There is never a dull moment. I try not to give up special times with my family, but there have been moments when I've had to stay home, instead of joining in the fun. I do believe you have to experience life to be an apt writer, so I make those decisions carefully."

When she is writing, she always has to have a cold Coke on hand, preferably over ice, and she's addicted to the long strands of Laffy Taffy. She also has to have music playing.

"I always say music can change the world, and it can surely change my plot!" she declared.

On a personal note, she loves taking pictures of herself, but normally only from her left side. She had Bell's Palsy when she was nine and the right side of her face was paralyzed to varying degrees for a couple of years, so ever since then, she makes sure to snap from the left side.

"What's the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?" I wondered.

"Well depends, I'm from Louisiana so we eat crazy things," she admitted. "I've had fried and blackened alligator; I've tried nutria; we eat anything fried, but for me the weirdest thing was escargot. I thought it tasted like steak, with a different consistency. It was good though...I also think oysters are strange, but char-broiled, they are delicious, and of course, we Louisianans eat boiled crawfish."

As you can tell from her name, there's a lot of Irish in her background, but she also has French and Cherokee Indian.

"I think the ones I most identify with are Irish and my Cajun French heritage, as my dad spoke French before he spoke English and I'm very proud of those parts of my blood line," she said.

" Have you ever cried during a movie?" I wondered.

"I cry in every movie! My kids like to stare at me during movies, so they can let their dad know the precise moment, when the waterfall starts! I'm in touch with my emotions, what can I say?"

"Have you ever made a crank phone call?"

"I shouldn't admit this, but if my kids are making crank calls I have no problem joining, and I've also been known to play ding dong ditch. If that's the worst thing they do, I feel blessed."

Finally, I asked Monique, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"

"Well, there are a couple of things I think are very important, for any new author to know. The first is, never give up. You will be rejected; you will have friends and family members laugh at you; the road is not always easy. However, if you refuse to take no for an answer and keep plugging away, you will eventually fulfill the dream. Write down what you want to achieve and then don't let anyone stop you from getting there. The second is develop a network of authors who are more and less experienced than you. The authors who have more experience, will give you the tough love you need to learn what you are good at, and what you could work on. The authors who are newer than you, you can offer to help critique and through critiquing you will learn a wealth of information about your own writing."
You can keep up with Monique on her blog, http://moniquejames.wordpress.com/.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Destiny Sealed by a Kiss by Lynne King


The small Catholic Church was almost full. Maggie O’Donnell was much loved within the English village she had made her home thirty years ago.

“Such a lovely sermon.” A small sniff followed.

Placing her hand over her mother's, she gave it a small squeeze.

“Have any of her family from Ireland come over?” Lisa whispered, her gaze having tried in vain to search for the mop of unruly black hair. Of course he was hardly going to resemble anything like the eighteen-year old with the threadbare jeans and leather jacket. In the same way she wasn’t seventeen anymore.

“If you’re meaning Shaun…” She gave a small shrug of her shoulders and dabbed her nose with her handkerchief. “He should be here. Of course Maggie never mentioned him to me. I suppose she thought your father was still mad at him.”

Lisa caught her mother’s knowing glance and lowered her eyes.

The service was over; everyone was standing and beginning to make their way outside, where they congregated into small groups. Lisa had her memories but unlike the others, they were linked to another loss and a regret that never faded.

Was it disappointment or relief that he wasn’t here? Lisa wasn’t sure. She was about to suggest they return to her car when she felt the pressure of a hand on her shoulder. Turning, she was staring back into a face that despite six years hadn’t altered. At twenty-four, he still looked wild and sexy--too good, in fact, came to mind-- with his tousled raven hair and a face that spoke of warmth and laughter even here at such a solemn occasion.

“Hello, Lisa. You’ve grown up some.”

His blue gaze knocked her back and she was that lovestruck teenager again – lightheaded and tongue-tied. She felt stupid now for coming and putting herself through this. There had been several boyfriends since and yet none of them had had this affect on her.

“We’re all a little older, Shaun,” She met his gaze and added, “and a little wiser.”

She was waiting for the rebuff, the shutters to come down but still the warm intensity of his gaze remained on her.

“It’s good to see you. I just wish it could have been on a happier occasion. I’m staying in my aunt’s home so perhaps we could get together.”

What and make me feel worse than I already do? Lisa felt like saying. She was after all, the reason for him fleeing England and the life he had with his aunt.

“I’m pretty busy with work. I’m sorry for your loss, Shaun. Your aunt was a wonderful lady.”

“Yes, she was. Though she could upset a few people with her openness and, dare I admit, her stubborn nature.”

His Irish accent sent a tingling down her spine and that smile. She could almost taste his lips upon hers and those words she spoke of loving him and hearing him tell her he felt the same way. Remembering the comforting arms wrapped around her that night and his promise that he would take the blame. Why hadn’t she argued with him, told him, "no"?

The following day he ignored her – a week later he left for Ireland.

It started raining heavily, Lisa’s excuse to flee this time. “Mum, let’s get you to the car quick. Bye, Shaun.” Taking hold of her mother’s arm, she was nearly carrying her across the car-park such was her hurry.

Her mother leant back heavily into the passenger seat and let out a sigh. “You’re still in love with him.”

“Was I that obvious?” A sad smile formed on Lisa’s lips.

“Your father never told you this and I think at the time he thought he had your best interests at heart but…” she paused.

Lisa turned to her mother. “What didn’t he tell me?”

“He made Shaun promise to break off all contact with you. He said the police wanted to know if he had given permission for Shaun to drive his car and he was going to tell them, no.”

“I took father’s car and crashed it the night you were away. Shaun arrived after I called him and before the police showed up. I only had a provisional license and no insurance.” Lisa shook her head in disbelief. “I told Father Shaun lied to protect me.”

“Your father thought you were lying for him.”

“No wonder he fled to Ireland; his aunt would have crucified him.” Putting the key into the ignition, she started up the engine.

“He did write to you once, a couple of years ago when you were away at college. Your father posted it back unopened. I’m sorry, Lisa.”

Pulling the car out of the car-park, Lisa gave her mother a quick reassuring smile. “It’s all in the past.”


***
Lisa sat at her desk chewing the end of her pencil, her thoughts far removed from selling houses. When the door opened and footsteps approached her desk, she glanced up; the customary smile already displayed. The smile fell away as her mouth parted.

“I’ve come to put my aunt’s house on the market and for an excuse to see you again. Can you come now and give an evaluation?”

She glanced over at her colleague who was listening. They weren’t busy so she had no excuse. “Shall we go in my car?”

“Good idea, unless we use shank’s pony.”

She gave one of her polite smiles and led the way out to the back of the office and into the small private car park.

“Wow!” He gave an exaggerated rise of his eyebrows on seeing the red sports convertible.

Lisa held back the response that nothing in her life was fully paid for; it was there to create an impression, like her flat in a sought after area where they were all too busy leading their independent lives. The car, the clothes she wore, none of it was her really; she had fallen into it with a need to belong.

They entered the Victorian farm cottage in silence. Everything was how she remembered including the imposing oak sideboard. In the middle was a framed photograph of a man in a British army uniform standing next to a smiling woman dressed in a plain white dress. Another framed photograph stood next to it of a girl holding a baby. Lisa knew it was of Shaun in his mother’s arms, Maggie’s younger sister. She couldn’t help it; tears were beginning to fall unless she got some fresh air.

“Let’s go outside,” she blurted out.

“Sure.” He led the way through to the kitchen. Taking the key from his pocket he unlocked the door and motioned for Lisa to go first.

The first stages of spring were in evidence, crocuses formed colourful groups and daffodil shoots were beginning to break the surface. She heard him come up behind her.

“I felt the same way when I entered the cottage.”

There was such sadness in his voice that it caused Lisa to turn around. Her hand unconsciously touched his arm as he continued speaking.

“She was a lovely lady who taught me not to be angry with life. She had suffered more than most, but still wasn't bitter. You know she once told me that just one kiss and she knew where her destiny lay. She was a brave woman - I on the other hand was the coward.”

Withdrawing her hand, she carried on walking down the pathway, stopping short - she looked over at the thick solid trunk of an oak tree. Her eyes travelled up to rest on worn planks of wood nailed together to take on the guise of a tree house. The two of them would often sit up there for hours.

“I never realised my talent was so good when it came to building. Perhaps I should have turned my talents to that as well as horses.”

“Horses!” Lisa tilted her head.

“Yes, I help run a stud farm in Ireland. My father started it but sort of gave up when my mother left and I was sent to live with Aunt Maggie. Going back home helped us both and last year one of our earlier foals came second in the Irish National, good for business.”

“I’m glad everything worked out for you.” Her bottom lip quivered making her turn away, only his hand came forward and gently turned her face back to him.

“My aunt sacrificed everything for love; her family disowned her and she ended up living in a country that wasn’t her home, but she never regretted falling in love. I now understand why. Some feelings never die." His hand tilted her chin, the blue intensity of his gaze reaching out to her.

“What about you, Shaun. Do you have any regrets?”

“Just one, but I hope you’ll remedy it.” His mouth came down upon hers and in that moment of their lips touching, they knew where their destiny lay.

About the Author: Lynne King - Based in the UK. My short stories cover different genres and have been published in popular UK magazines and on-line. As for my novels, I love writing romantic suspense. Run To You, published by Eternal Press is my latest. Find more about my writing by visiting: www.lynnekingauthor.co.uk

Author Interview with Barbara Edwards


The Long and the Short of It is pleased to welcome Barbara Edwards, whose second book in the Rhodes End Series, Ancient Blood, is out. I asked Barbara to tell us a little bit about the fictional town of Rhodes End.

Rhodes End is located on a confluence of ley lines that draws magic and paranormal activity. Dog-legging the corners of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, it fails to appear on many maps due to various boundary and settlement disputes. This isn’t far from Hartford. Major highways to both Boston and New York City cut through the hills less than a mile away," Barbara said. "On the surface, nothing distinguishes Rhodes End from a thousand other small towns. More than half the population works at regular jobs, have normal families and lives. Farmers, shopkeepers, teachers and other townspeople are unaware of the ‘different’ ones. The dark undercurrents never touch them.

"An ordinary tourist tooling up the scenic road may tell friends of the charming village, but only the harmless or the expected find it easily. The basic rules of space and time seem the same, but magic can occur along with paranormal activity. In fact, those with paranormal senses find them stronger, more reliable."

Barbara was telling me about her dog, Dixie, and told me she would love to keep Dixie forever.

"Dixie is the greatest animal in the world," she explained. "She is affectionate when I really need a hug. She barks at weird guys and chases squirrels. When necessary she is so scary looking people step out of our path. She is so good with children it makes you laugh. Dixie thinks kids should be herded like sheep and will spend the entire day at a family gathering being frustrated because they escape from her protective circle."

She learned to write cursive in the third grade, and her teacher, Mrs. Fisher, insisted they learn the proper way to hold the pen.

"The second knuckle was the chimney and had to be at the top of the house," she told me. "Hold the pen firmly between thumb and forefinger. Get rapped on the hand with a ruler if the chimney leaned sideways. Round those o’s, don’t slant the stalks on the t’s, d’s, b’s or drag a g or p. She was tough, but you can read my writing across the room. I can still use an ink pen, too. "

"When you looked in the mirror this morning," I asked, "what was the first thing you thought?"

"Besides how the pillow left grooves in my cheek? I thought I needed to color my hair. This is a big decision. I love to change the color. I’ve tried several shades of red, from strawberry blonde to fire engine red. (That was a Christmas event) The browns from ash to mahogany make me feel dull. I never did black although I did end up with a purple shade of eggplant that I loved but my DH hated. I even let it all grow out to see what I actually was underneath. To my surprise, it was striped with white and grey in this blonde base. The kind of combo that women pay lots of money to achieve. I hate it. So today I’m going color shopping."

Barbara found her favorite saying several years ago, printed it out and taped it to the wall near her computer: MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES, An Ancient Chinese Curse.

"Have you ever eaten a crayon?" I wondered.

"I don’t remember eating a crayon, but I did talk my cousin into trying several colors when we were seven or eight. I told him the different colors had different flavors, like orange or red vegetables. Hah. He tried the green and complained it had no taste. I told him grass was tasteless and he believed me. What a goof. He went to orange, then purple before he caught on to me. I was laughing too hard. He threw the rest of the box at me."

Barbara also made a crank phone call which, unfortunately, cost her her best friend.

"We were twelve years old and messing around," she remembered. "She was at my house and she said lets play a joke on her mom. So dumb me, I called and said I was from the hospital and her daughter had a broken leg. Her mom went ballistic. She never even asked who I was. When her daughter got on the phone, she was grounded. And told never to talk to me again. I went there the next day and apologized but the friendship was over. My former friend blamed me and I learned a valuable lesson."

When she orders pizza, Barbara always wants to order the Kardiac Killer. I asked her what it was like.

"It has so much stuff on it that the pieces fall out of your hand. Sausage, hamburger, pepperoni, ham for meat. Five kinds of cheeses are melted over the top. Olives, peppers, onions, anchovies, sometimes broccoli, plus a sprinkle of olive oil crowd the regular sauce to the edges. Yum. I need to get to the phone."

She thinks scientists should invent a longer day—something like thirty hours—so she has time to do all the things she wants.

"There isn’t enough time to write my next book, blog regularly, see my family, talk to my friends, and have sex with my husband within twenty-four hours," she explained. "Another hour would be devoted to foreplay. The next would be for my family. Wow, I could get to all the games and school events. I could use one hour for promo daily. And maybe slip in a nap to rejuvenate the creative process."

Barbara thinks of herself as an earth mother from the sixties. She loves gauzy skirts and tie-dyed tops, and she thinks sandals are the most comfortable footwear in the world.

"I want to comfort and care for everyone. Don’t cry or I melt into a puddle of sympathy. I want to grow my own vegetables and can them for the winter. See me knit a sweater? And hand-make gifts for Christmas," she said, adding, "I’m not sure if that’s what the world sees."

Thunderstorms are her favorite events, and when the thunderclouds start to build, Barbara will go out on the porch to watch. She has a wrap-around porch facing out over a valley. The storms move up the valley, and the thunder echoes off the surrounding hills.

"Lightning dances over the trees," she said, "crashing behind us on the highest point in the area. It's scary, exciting and just plain fun."
You can keep up with Barbara on her blog, http://barbaraedwardscomments.wordpress.com/.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Spotlight: Karen Cote

TRUE HEROES OF THE WORLD

Considering I am a Romantic Suspense writer, it is safe to say I write about many heroes. Strong, courageous, fearless...you know; the stuff fairytales are made of. The heroes I want to discuss today, however, are not fiction at all. On the contrary, they are all too real, as is the nightmare they live each day. The children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

These little soldiers live in a world different from most. They don’t wake to help Mom shop or sail off to daycare with tiny peers. They wake to fear, pain, and chemotherapy. Such troopers and that’s why the children who undergo what they do and still deliver such love and laughter are what a true hero is made of. The true heroes of the world. Strong, courageous and fearless. My heroes.

Their names deserve to be mentioned in prayer and encouragement. I’ve listed a few below.   
      
            Hayden – 6 years  (Medulloblastoma)
            Zowie – 7 years  (Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
            JaLise – 4 years (Medulloblastoma)
            Brayden – 2 years (Retinoblastoma)
            Emma - 7 years (Glioblastoma)
            Katelyn – 7 years (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia)
            Brady – 3 years (Neuroblastoma)
            Seth – 6 years (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia)

You can learn more about these adorable little people and maybe even become a partner by visiting St Jude.
           
St. Jude is a place of miracles where families don’t have to choose between the care of one child’s illness and food on their tables for others at home.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday Spotlight: Karen Cote

Misbehaven Muse

Seriously, I perceived raising teenage girls as challenging. I mean, how did I go from being a hero when they were children to having my once-loved-advice usurped by thirteen-year-olds in training bras and braces?

Then there’s my dog. An intellect. An attitude. A black pug. Cute and adorable with tons of social skills but not an obedient bone in her body. At times, I wish she couldn’t understand ‘human speak’ so at least part of the time I could get her to do what I want.

Now my life has been taken over by an even bigger challenge..my Muse. He’s male, he’s rowdy, and he’s unruly.

For instance, some days twiddling my thumbs seem more productive than writing. It’s as if writer’s block has taken my ideas hostage and put them in a line-up without anyone to identify who’s-who or what’s-what.
But ooooh, when my Muse comes out to play, my-oh-my am I mesmerized. Some of the things he comes up with ramps up my excitement so much I can’t sleep…which brings me to another beef I have with him. On the brink of sleep is when he usually decides to make his appearance. I mean, really? Can’t he select a decent hour to create? But no. His terms. His time.

So, here’s advice I received and feel passionate passing along to others. Always, always schedule a time to write. Eventually your Muse will learn to come out at that time. Unlike mine who now needs obedience classes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wednesday Spotlight: Karen Cote


Lily Delaney from Erotic Deception bursts into the interview room and shoves Karen Cote’ aside.

“I heard you’d invited Karen Cote’ to a launch party. This is my day! She gets to go out-and-about all the time while I’ve been stuck inside a publishing house.

I waited months and months for a manicure. Do you know the challenges of trying to style hair that’s unruly and needs a trim? I hadn’t been shopping in like…forever and I wasn’t about to show-up in something that was so last year. Now I’ve done all that…I want to plaaay!

So what are these questions. I’m sure you’ll find my answers much more interesting than hers. Let’s see…”

Leather or lace?

*snicker* “Hellooo. That‘s like choosing between red or pink lipstick right? Love, love love lace, but some occasions just scream leather, don’t you think?”

Black or red?

“Oh! You just described my favorite Jimmy Choos.”

Satin sheets or Egyptian cotton?

“Hmmm…now that’s a toughie. Satin can certainly bring a sigh to my lips but 1200 thread count Egyptian? That’s worthy of a groan.”

Ocean or mountains?

*chuckle* “You know those times when Karen gets writers block? Yeah, I’m sure you do. Well, sometimes my friend, Mr. Muse won’t come out until Karen walks to the beach and yes, Karen’s Muse is a male. It’s great for me as I can flirt outrageously with him to get my way with that pesky sheriff. So definitely ocean.”

City life or country life?

“City life is fabulous but dipping my toes in a cool lake can send a tingle up my spine. Hmm, moonlight caressing my skin, water lapping against the shore, leaning against those big broad shoulders…Huh? I’m sorry. What was the question?”

Hunky heroes or average Joe?

“Yes.”

Party life or quiet dinner for two?

“Is this another lipstick color question?”

Dogs or cats?

“Pugs…the chubby ones. Sometimes they act like cats.” *snort* “Of course, sometimes they act like pigs. Then there’s the bullfrog look. Yep. They’re just like people.”

I love pizza with   (fill in the blank).

“No one…coz when that doorbell rings and that pizza guy delivers that pie, I want nobody encroaching on my pepperoni.”

I'm always ready for   (fill in the blank).

“Criminal Minds. I swear, if the Chippendales stopped by while I was watching Aaron Hotchner, I’d send them off with their bow ties and cuff links tucked between their nether regions.”

When I'm alone, I   (fill in the blank).

“Really? We’re gonna do this here?”

You'd never be able to tell, but   (fill in the blank).

“Oh no. Nice try but I star in a Romantic Suspense novel and I’m not gonna... like…just hand you the answers.”

If I could   (fill in the blank)   I'd   (fill in the blank).

“Get those handcuffs away from the sheriff, I’d hook him up in my room and teach him some investigative skills.”

I can never   (fill in the blank)   because   (fill in the blank).

“Be anything I’m not because I am what I am.”

Books Coming Soon

Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road…An Anthology (November 2011)

Contacts

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday Spotlight: Karen Cote


These are a Few of My Favorite Things

I love Christmas-time, don’t you? The generosity and love. The kindness in the air. How each year hubby sneaks downstairs on Christmas morning to remove that bag of coal he knows I’m gonna get? Such a darling for trying to hide it, don’t you think?

It doesn’t mean I don’t love Christmas. In fact, you won’t find me complaining to see Christmas displays up before Halloween. Can’t you just hear the melody of that magical time? Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…

*sigh* And what about those classics beginning around Thanksgiving? Doris Day and Gordon MacRae in By the Light of the Silvery Moon? George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life? Miracle on 34th Street. With popcorn popping and hot cider simmering there is no time more marvelous. And let’s not forget The Bishops Wife. Although I fear all too often that one particular stocking hanging over our own mantle has been neglected far too much.

What I love most, however, is the season of giving. Not just in material gifts but how writers break out their quill and ink and put the magic of ideas on paper. Short holiday stories abound and you know, this is a particularly great time for new writers to break into their own. Write that book. Get published. Many publishers are always looking for new talent and what better time of the year to start than the one hope is named for?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Spotlight: Karen Cote


A Talking What?

“No!”

“Come on Jet. You’re a character in my book, not the author. I call the shots.”

“What is it about women and talking? First Lily, when all I want is sleep and now you. I mean, I appreciate a good conversation and all but you’re not getting me in front of no camera.”

“It’s not a camera, Jet. It’s a website. Your avatar is already built now just say a few words to your fans.”

“Exactly. My fans. Not yours. I should get to decide if I want to talk to them or not.”

“Jet, you have to talk to them. It’s called promoting.”

“That’s crap. I don’t need to promote anything. I’m a sheriff and I have a gun. Don’t make me shoot you.”

“Mark recorded his message. Maybe I should make him the hero. In fact, he might just be what Lily needs.” *chuckle* “Is that a glare I see, Jet?”

“My deputy can’t handle Lily so it’d be best if you keep things just as they are.”

“Only if you record your message.”

“Why create this talking website anyway? Just so you could torture your characters?”

“Well, everyone else was happy to tell people about themselves. Besides, I also do reader reviews and author interviews. Believe me, fans are thrilled to hear author’s speak in actual voices about their book. I also do charity events on it.”

“Charity? Fine! But no flowery speeches Where do I go for this weird website?”