Winter Writing by Min Edwards

Thanks, Cynthia, for having me today. It’s such a pleasure to be here and talk about writing.

As the title suggests, today I’m blogging about writing in winter. I live in Maine on the shore of Cobscook Bay which is an offshoot of the Bay of Fundy. And right now it’s February and of course cold… and dark. This impacts my writing in ways that when I lived in my previous home in Austin, Texas I couldn’t imagine.

So why is my writing different in the winter? First, it’s cold. Second my house is old and very drafty. Third, there’s little daylight, almost like the arctic with the sun going down right after 3 in the afternoon. And fourth, it’s cold. I imagine you see where I’m going with this.

By way of contrast, let me back-track to our lovely summer when the sun rises before 5am and doesn’t set until after 9pm. That’s a long day in which to get things accomplished—19 hours of pure productivity. Well, not every day of course. Some days I just kick back and watch the butterflies and birds flittering around and take my big, old, black dog, Zach, on long walks down to my beach. A wonderful excursion for both us, but still, there are a lot of hours in which to be writing or thinking about writing. And summer these past few years has very gently morphed into a lovely fall. However, I find myself doing more work outside in the fall… no bugs. We have enormous mosquitoes during our summers. Anyway, my writing schedule is a bit curtailed during the fall.

Then comes winter, which usually starts after Thanksgiving and goes through March. However, with climate change… and if you don’t believe this is happening then you should be up here to experience our increasing storms and unusual fluctuating temperatures. The winters for the past three years have been variable, sometimes wildly so. In 2015 we had 15 feet of snow. In 2016 the winter seemed normal with snow falling at appropriate times, but this year January temps varied from the 30s to the 50s and little to no snow at all. February is making up for lost time though with a foot on the ground then a fierce blizzard that dropped another 2 feet with 50 mph winds as well. Another milder blizzard followed a few days later. And a sneak overnight snowstorm piled on another six inches. God knows what the rest of February and March will bring. So I’ve experienced climate change from the trenches I guess you could say. Not so much a warming trend although January felt that way, but increasingly harsh storms and gale force winds.

Changing temperature and the increasing incidence of strong storms including tornadoes is the reason I left Texas. I thought nothing would get me out of there, but after so many summers with growing numbers of days over 100 degrees and a decade of drought when the lake view from my front yard dwindled from lake to caliche cliffs, I packed up and left the first of August almost 6 years ago. The drought has eased since, but the storms there are worsening and it isn’t getting any cooler. That probably means I won’t move back however much I’d like to. Adapting myself to Maine winters is a must.

Over the last 5 years since I’ve been writing, I’ve noticed that my writing schedule as well as writing style change drastically season by season particularly in the winter.

Frankly, I become a hermit. I hardly ever go out of the house except to walk the dog and get the mail. My son does all my grocery shopping and errands. I sit at home in my tights, baggy sweat shirt and thick socks and spend most of my day in front of the computer in the kitchen… where it’s warm… and I write.

The winter view from my office/kitchen window

And in the winter my writing seems to adjust its themes with the available daylight hours. The books I write in the summer include some light-hearted banter and tongue-in-cheek attitude to match the gorgeous light outside my office that is almost like Alaska’s midnight sun. Not quite, but close to 24/7 daylight. In the winter I write about dark emotions, passionate encounters, lots of instances of mayhem because, well, it’s dark outside almost all the time. Then I use the early spring to lighten those when I edit them just so I won’t scare my readers away. Seasons works for me in unexpected ways it seems.

And my winter themes this year are… Russia on the cusp of revolution, cyber-hacking, black-market artifact sales, a re-telling of The Little Match Girl and you all know how that story turns out, and finally sharks, human trafficking and pirates. Fun stuff. But the spring cometh! My editor and I can interject some levity into the final versions, at least my Little Match Girl won’t die in the snow… I hope. And I’m leaving my light-hearted anthology of wedding stories for this summer when I’m in a better mood. But my writing in the winter is necessary particularly when it mediates Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, a very good description of the condition). Without removing myself from my real surroundings into a make-believe world, I’d be a mess. So, I thank you winter and my novels thank you as well. I have a lot more hours trapped indoors to think up stories.

Happy reading!

Min

The following is a snippet from Precious Stone, my current publication, which came out in November (but was begun in the winter of 2015… the Russian mob and lots of mayhem occur). Enjoy.

Precious Stone, Book 4 in the High Tide Suspense series, available now:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fM6a85 to purchase

and

ePub Universal link: https://www.books2read.com/u/bP1Gk7 to buy at ePub retailers such as iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and others.

A gift of thanks to a young girl from the Tsar more than 100 years ago… and now the Russians want it back.

Collee McCullough, the owner of The Bakery in Stone Bay, Maine, has a perfect life until early one morning men in suits come calling. She has something someone dangerous wants. Something that her Russian great-grandmother, Natasha took when she fled Russia in 1913. Too bad Buka never told her family what she had or where she left it.

Jake Elsmore, visiting Stone Bay to sell his mother’s house, walks into The Bakery for a cup of Earl Grey tea, but gets more. There she is. Collee McCullough, stepping out from behind the Chief of Police, a lovely, fiery-haired fairy toting a shotgun while two men lay insensate on the floor of her shop. Looks like that tea will have to wait.

Bio

About the Author:

 

Min Edwards is the pen name of Author, Archaeologist, Book Designer, and owner of A Thirsty Mind Publishing and Design, Pam Headrick.

She has lived in many countries in her life—England, the Philippines, Cuba, Texas (yes, Texas thinks of itself as a separate country)—gathering experiences for her writing along the way. She earned Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees from Texas Tech University and The University of Texas at Austin in Anthropology with minors in Art, Geology and Geography, and she spent her early professional career as an Archaeological Illustrator and staff historical archaeologist at the University of Texas – Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory.

In 2012, after participating in a round table discussion on self-publishing at a writers’ conference she was inspired to began writing down the stories that had filled her head for decades and now works from a small office in her 180 year old Greek Revival farmhouse at Pheasant Cove Farm near the village of Lubec, Maine, the most eastern spot in the U.S. In the summer she walks on her private beach every day, listening to the song of the pebbles being washed back and forth in the tide. It’s a musical and inspiring sound. In the winter though, she’d rather the beach be sand and maybe transported to someplace warmer… Tahiti seems to be most often on her mind.

Her first novel, STONE BAY, a Contemporary Romance, was published in March of 2014. It was followed by a new Romantic Suspense series, Hide Tide Suspense, bringing danger to the small village of Stone Bay, Maine. Out now in the series are STONE COLD, STONE HEART, STONE FALL and PRECIOUS STONE. Finally for the conclusion of the series, THE RUSSIAN PHOENIX, a women’s fiction historical and the prequel to PRECIOUS STONE is coming soon. These books can be found on her Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2bHJ1kb

You may also find all of her published books at sites such as iBooks, B&N and Kobo through Books2Read.com

Stone Bay: https://books2read.com/u/bw8gDG

Stone Cold: https://books2read.com/u/49x5y8

Stone Heart: https://books2read.com/u/b6QP9J

Stone Fall: https://books2read.com/u/mgK8V6

Precious Stone: https://www.books2read.com/u/bP1Gk7

Drop in on her alter-ego at the business website at www.athirstymind.com where you can learn all about the book design business, and visit with Min at www.MinEdwards.com where you can learn about her writing life.

You can also find her on:

her blog for all things technical:

www.athirstyblog.com

and on her website blog page for her writing thoughts:

www.MinEdwards.com

Twitter @MEdwardsAuthor

twitter.com/MEdwardsAuthor

Min’s Facebook:

www.facebook.com/AuthorMinEdwards

Personal Pinterest:

www.pinterest.com/athirstymind

Min’s Pinterest Page:

www.pinterest.com/minedwards

A visit with Juli D. Revezzo

What is your favorite part of writing?

This is going to sound trite and silly, but I really enjoy making up stories. I once had a writer friend accuse me (lovingly, of course) of enjoying world building more than anything. She wasn’t too far off! J

What is your least favorite part of writing?

Sometimes getting sucked into research can be hard. I mean in that the rabbit holes it can send you down, and in some cases, with some eras, there’s just not enough to be had. Even on eras when there is a lot written, I have a horrid tendency to find the one thing that no one wrote anything about, (or few wrote anything about) and make that an integral part of the story. Those times are when I want to bang my head against the keyboard. *lol* I read widely so can usually find what I’m after somewhere in some form but omg, at times it feels like I’m the only one that every thought of…whatever, in my head, the problem seems to be. Drives my writing buddies insane. They’re constantly asking me “why don’t you pick something easier?” about whatever it happens to be. *eg* What fun would that be?

What is your next project and when will it be released?

My latest project, just released, is entitled House of Dark Envy. It’s a Victorian Romance about the reunion of a couple (Sarahjane and Felix) who split in bad circumstances years ago. Since then, Felix has made his way up in the scientific community in the race between then-prevalent DC power, and the very new form of AC power. Sarahjane, meanwhile, has been dealing with her own art studies while trying to shake off the reputation someone  (so she thinks) *coughcough* branded her with, of being a flirt.

How has your experience with self-publishing been?

It’s been tough trying to make a name for myself; particularly the marketing drives me insane. But I enjoy the other aspects of it, making each book exactly the way *I* want it, when I want it. I’m not sure I’d give that up, just for a “contract”, to be honest.

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

Oh, you never know… ;) I have put a person or two in my books in the past.

What is most difficult for you to write?  Characters, conflict or emotions?  Why?

It seems to change with each book. Sometimes, the characters themselves are difficult, sometimes, there are hardest to deal with, depending. For instance, I have a book I put out last year called Druid Warrior’s Heart. The heroine’s feelings over her father were very hard to write. I can’t say why, because that would spoil it. For House of Dark Envy? The conflict between the Sarahjane and Felix were quite tough. Naturally, I wanted them to kiss and make up, but … yeah, Sarahjane wasn’t having none of it, at first. (stubborn characters!)

Tell us about your hero.  Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.

Felix is a self-made man, a scientist. He’s traveled the world and met some of the giants (or what we know now as giants) in the field of electrical research. House of Dark Envy takes place at the same time as the so-called “Current Wars” when we as a society were trying to find a better way to run our homes than on gas power. Edison and Tesla’s time. Well, Felix is in there working on his own theories, and is just about on to something. J You’ll have to read to see how he does. However, his weakness? Well, it might actually be part of his strength but he was struck by lightning, several years ago, and still has some residual pain from it. For emotional weakness, I’d say Sarahjane’s his biggest emotional weakness. He’s never quite been able to let her go, for all that, because of that incident I mentioned above, she never wanted to see him again.

Tell us about your heroine.  Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.

Sarahjane, well, she’s still a young lady, still living at home. Which I guess is one of her weaknesses. Because of what someone said about her being a flirt, she just can’t seem to build a real life for herself away from her parents. As soon as she gets a suitor, they hear she’s a flirt and try to take advantage. Poor thing, so she’s kinda been stuck at home, in peril of becoming an old maid. But she’s stubborn too; I’d say that’s her strength. At the very least it gets her traveling the world, and off to York. What happens there, well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Has your muse always known what genre you would write and be published in?

No! She’s easily distracted by shiny stuff. So, I never have wanted to lock myself into one thing. I just write where we seem most interested, manuscript to manuscript. Hence, I have a paranormal series (Antique Magic), a fantasy romance series (Celtic Stewards Chronicles), and a few historical romances kicking around out there.

What do you have planned for the future?

I have a couple more books I’m working on right now, the next installment in my Celtic Stewards Chronicles series, is badgering me to get it out. I hope to, sometime this year. And (this might combine two questions) but I’m also working on the next in my paranormal series, Antique Magic. I’ve got some other manuscripts in various stages of finish, as well, including a few more Victorian romances like House of Dark Envy and my previous one, Watchmaker’s Heart. So  there’s something coming on the horizon for just about all readers.

House of Dark Envy

Synopsis:

Surely, lightning can’t strike twice…

1888: When Sarahjane attends Lady Morville’s costume party, she never expects to learn her old beau Felix Gryffith is under the illustrious woman’s patronage and stands on the cusp of making a world-changing discovery. Felix, whose lies disgraced her in the eyes of the London elite by labeling her a flirt.

Felix’s love for Sarahjane has never wavered, despite the scandal that forced them apart. He’s desperate to tell her the truth, if he can convince her to listen.

Fate lurked in the shadows that night, years ago. Has it returned to grant Sarahjane and Felix their wishes, or terrorize them?

Excerpt:

From the Prologue

Sarahjane slipped into the garden, grabbing onto a wrought iron lattice to steady herself. Her

laughter rang through the air. She swung herself around the lattice, and stopped before him, resting her delicate hand on his chest.

Her touch warmed him.

Sarahjane lowered her eyes. “Do it for me, Felix. I’ll give you a kiss, if you do.”

Felix swallowed back surprise and longing, glanced around the garden. Everyone was still inside. He ran a hand down her arm. “I’d love to kiss you,” he said. “But not after. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You won’t.”

He feared it might be possible. His worry darkened as if storm clouds filled him. “I might.”

Sarahjane laced her arms around his neck. “Now, then. But don’t disappoint me.”

Was she going to kiss him?

She licked her lips.

Young desire warred with his reason.

“Your father will kill us if he finds out.”

“No he won’t. He knows I love you.”

She loved him.

Sarahjane stood on her toes and leaned closer, brushing her lips against his. Lightning tingled from her

lips, into his heart.

Did someone intrude on them? Felix dismissed all but Sarahjane.

He vibrated almost as he had the day the lightning struck him, but this, this was pleasant, in

comparison.

She broke the kiss, batted her lashes. “I do love you, you know. Now. Show me?”

He guided Sarahjane a few strides away from the trellis. Then he returned to it and wrapped his fingers

around the warm, iron bar.

“Felix!” His older brother stepped into view behind her. “Oh,” he said. “Pardon me for interrupting.”

Sarahjane snapped around.

“What do you want, Jackson?” Felix asked.

If you’d like to check it out House of Dark Envy is available at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WWM8T8R

Universal link: http://hyperurl.co/ff17hh

Bio:

Juli D. Revezzo loves fantasy and Celtic mythology and writing stories with all kinds of fantastical elements. She is the author of the historical romances, House of Dark Envy, Watchmaker’s Heart, and Lady of the Tarot, the Antique Magic paranormal series and Celtic Stewards Chronicles fantasy romance series and more. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour.

To learn more about this and future releases, visit her at: http://www.julidrevezzo.com

Or

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Juli-D.-Revezzo/e/B008AHVTLO/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julidrevezzo

Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5782712.Juli_D_Revezzo

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/111476709039805267272/posts

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jewelsraven/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/julidrevezzo

Sign up for her newsletter at: http://bit.ly/SNI5K6

Thank you for having me here today, Cynthia!

Colorado Bride by Cynthia Woolf

My newest book is called Colorado Bride. It is book 4 in the Matchmaker & Co series. Below is an excerpt for your entertainment.

Blurb

Emily Loring survived the last few years as a governess to a rich family’s children. But when the lord of the house can’t keep his hands to himself, she’s left with no option but to risk everything as a mail-order bride. Raised in a New York orphanage, she’s always dreamed of a husband and children of her own, but even that small dream always felt out of reach. The city is all she’s ever known, but the promise of a family, a place to call home, drives her to risk everything and head for the wilds of the Colorado Territory, and the arms of a stranger.

Ben Logan fell in love once, to a city girl who left him at the altar to run off with another man. A mail-order bride appears to be the answer to his need for a wife to warm his bed, as long as she loves the country life as he does. He doesn’t need much, but he won’t risk his heart again. When Emily arrives, her curves tempt him nearly as much as her smile. But his ex-fiancée is back, and determined to have Ben for herself, even if it means murder…

EXCERPT

While Ben unloaded the grain from the wagon, Emily walked over to one of the stalls. Inside were a beautiful golden horse and a pure white baby one.

“They’re so beautiful. The mama with her yellow coat and white hair on her neck is striking. Will the baby stay white or change color?”

“The mare is a palomino and, yes, more than likely, the colt will gain the same coloring as he gets older. But he could possibly stay white, which is what I’m hoping for.”

She turned to face him where he stood at the end of the wagon.

“Will you teach me how to ride? I don’t know anything about horses, but I believe that I should learn in case I need to go somewhere.”

He shrugged. “Sure I’ll teach you. I’m surprised you don’t know anything about ranching. I was pretty specific about it as one of my requirements.”

“You said you wanted someone with farming or ranching experience, I know how to milk cows and gather eggs which qualifies, and I’m willing to learn whatever else I need to. I’m a fast learner.”

The mare came up to the stall gate where Emily stood. She turned and reached over to pet the horse. Her nose and mouth felt like velvet.

“Oh, she’s so soft. I never imagined…”

Ben came up behind her.

“Her name is Champagne, because of her coloring. She doesn’t belong to anyone yet. Would you like her?”

“Oh, yes. Can she really be my horse?”

He must at least like me or he wouldn’t gift me with my own horse, and such a beautiful one to boot.

“Yes.”

She turned and Ben was standing right there. Emily reached up, snaked her hand behind his neck and brought his head down to hers. Remembering the kiss he’d given her at their wedding, she mimicked that kiss. She meshed her lips with his and opened just enough to put her tongue out and touch his lips. She felt him smile and open for her exploration.

He let her take what she needed, let her control the kiss and she was pleased. When she finally pulled back she was breathless and her body hummed with awareness of him.

He held her with his arms wrapped loosely around her waist.

“Well, that was some kiss, wife.”

“Just following your lead…husband.”

She liked the sound of that. Husband. She’d begun to believe that she’d never marry and certainly never to anyone like Ben. His arms were strong with muscle, she felt them through his shirt. His stomach was flat and hard. She felt that, too. And she could tell his manhood was primed for her as well and knew she blushed.

“Now, look at what you’ve done to me. I can’t go to the house like this. You better stop kissing me.”

She smiled and shook her head. “Nope. You can ask a lot of things of me, but that isn’t one of them. I’ll always kiss you. Even when we fight, I’ll kiss you because no fight is worth my marriage. And kissing reminds us that we are married.”

“All right, I agree. Besides, I like kissing you.”

She raised an eyebrow and cocked her head. “You should. I only know what you taught me.”

He tightened his hold on her. “And that pleases me.”

“Why? You’ve kissed other girls and that doesn’t bother me. Why should it bother you if I’d kissed another man?”

“Because I want to know that I’m the only man in your life, at least until we have sons.”

The thought of having babies and how babies are begot made her blush. At this rate she’d be colored pink all the time.

LINKS

Amazon Worldwide~ http://getbook.at/ColoradoBride

B&N~ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/colorado-bride-cynthia-Woolf/1125636394?ean=9781938887871

Kobo~ https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?Query=colorado+bride+by+cynthia+woulf

iBooks~ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/colorado-bride/id1202592775?mt=11

BIO

Cynthia Woolf is the award winning and best-selling author of twenty-five historical western romance books and two short stories with more books on the way.

Cynthia loves writing and reading romance. Her first western romance Tame A Wild Heart, was inspired by the story her mother told her of meeting Cynthia’s father on a ranch in Creede, Colorado. Although Tame A Wild Heart takes place in Creede that is the only similarity between the stories. Her father was a cowboy not a bounty hunter and her mother was a nursemaid (called a nanny now) not the ranch owner.

Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and her great critique partners for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.

 

WEBSITE – cynthiawoolf.com/
NEWSLETTER – bit.ly/1qBWhFQ

 

TITLES AVAILABLE

A FAMILY FOR CHRISTMAS – A Montana Sky Series Novella – Kindle Worlds

KISSED BY A STRANGER – A Montana Sky Series Novella – Kindle Worlds
THORPE’S MAIL-ORDER BRIDE – Montana Sky Series – Kindle Worlds

THE HUNTER BRIDE – Hope’s Crossing, Book 1
THE REPLACEMENT BRIDE – Hope’s Crossing, Book 2
THE STOLEN BRIDE – Hope’s Crossing, Book 3
THE UNEXPECTED BRIDE – Hope’s Crossing, Book 4
GENEVIEVE, Bride of Nevada, – American Mail-Order Brides Series
GIDEON – The Surprise Brides
MAIL ORDER OUTLAW – The Brides of Tombstone, Book 1
MAIL ORDER DOCTOR – The Brides of Tombstone, Book 2
MAIL ORDER BARON – The Brides of Tombstone, Book 3
NELLIE – The Brides of San Francisco 1
ANNIE – The Brides of San Francisco 2
CORA – The Brides of San Francisco 3
SOPHIA – The Brides of San Francisco 4
AMELIA – The Brides of San Francisco 5
JAKE – Book 1, Destiny in Deadwood series
LIAM – Book 2, Destiny in Deadwood series
ZACH – Book 3, Destiny in Deadwood series
CAPITAL BRIDE – Book 1, Matchmaker & Co. series
HEIRESS BRIDE – Book 2, Matchmaker & Co. series
FIERY BRIDE – Book 3, Matchmaker & Co. series

COLORADO BRIDE – Book 4, Matchmaker & Co. series
TAME A WILD HEART – Book 1, Tame series
TAME A WILD WIND – Book 2, Tame series
TAME A WILD BRIDE – Book 3, Tame series
TAME A HONEYMOON HEART – novella, Tame series

THE TAME SERIES BOXSET

A TOUCH OF PASSION BOXSET

ONCE UPON A KISS BOXSET

Interview with Elaine Calloway

Tell us about your current series.

Actually, due to insanity running in my family, I have been writing 2 series at once! My Urban Fantasy/Paranormal books, The Elemental Clan Series, is coming to an end this month with the final book, Penance. The series premise is a good versus evil tale, with Elemental beings (those who can wield water, fire, earth and wind) seeking to protect humanity. Meanwhile, the Fallen Angels (very handsome villains) seek to reap human souls to carry out their evil bidding.
My Romantic Suspense/Paranormal series, The Southern Ghosts Series, will have 10 books total and I’m working on Book Four now. Certain individuals can see and talk to ghosts. Sometimes this is a gift, sometimes it’s a curse, but it always makes life difficult for the main character. These ghosts want the hero/heroine to solve their murder in order for the ghosts to pass on to the next realm. What follows is spooky suspense capped off with a bit of romance and Southern humor.

What is your favorite & least favorite part of writing?

Favorite part is when I’m in “the zone” and the characters are talking so fast in my head, I can barely keep up with typing their stories. It’s fascinating when I can surprise myself by what happens in the story. My least favorite part is, when writing the first draft and because I am a pantster, I will occasionally get stuck. On those days, writing is like pulling teeth! I don’t like that aspect, but I know it’s something that I need to push onward to get past.

How much time do you spend promoting your books?  What works best for you?

I always aim for the 80/20 method = 80% writing, 20% promoting. However, like many authors, I often crisscross those numbers. Promotion is a balancing act, for certain. I try to use software tools that allow me to schedule Instagram, Twitter, etc. posts so I’m not doing everything manually. Ideally, I spend my mornings and lunch hours writing, and then evenings doing social media and promoting. My brain becomes mush after about 7 p.m.

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?

This is one of the best times to be a writer, because you no longer have to deal with the gatekeepers of the big publishing houses. That doesn’t mean you can submit low-quality work, just that your work has a better chance of surviving. The readers are now the judge and jury. Readers tend to like books that an agent or editor at a pub house may not respond to, but no matter what, always submit and publish your best work that has been edited.

I’ve created a new blog especially for self-published writers. In addition to talking about writing characters such as villains (I have a few Q&A’s on the blog with actors who have appeared in NCIS, CSI NY, and Leverage), the blog features info that will help authors self-publish their books.

Visit my new site here: http://www.howtoselfpublishyournovel.com/savvy-self-publishing/

 What do you have planned for the future?

I plan to continue my Southern Ghosts Series until I finish all 10 books. There are 3 full-length novels out now, plus a novella. Readers want more so I plan to do a book set in every Southeast state. After that, I have a few ideas but I plan to focus on the Southern Ghosts for a while.

Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?

Yes. Never give up. Stories have been part of humankind and history for millions of years. If you have a story you want to write, do it. Make sure to learn the craft of writing, spend time polishing your book, and learn everything you can about the process and then take the plunge! Whether you go the traditional or indie publishing route, if you have a story, tell it!

What did you want to be when you were a child?  Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

Yes! I loved stories of all forms when I was a kid. I used to eavesdrop on my parents, write down random words they said, and then try to make a story out of all the random words. (Yep, I was a weird kid…) While I allowed family and others’ opinions to sway me from studying writing in college (“be practical, study something else…”) I did wind up becoming a technical writer in my day job. By day I write user manuals, by night and weekend I write fiction. My path was inevitable.

Do you have any rejection stories to share?

Yes! This story actually leads into why I began indie-publishing my books. I’m a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) along with other local writing groups. Over the years, I’ve attended conferences and given my elevator pitches to agents, editors, etc. One particular agent I sought out requested I send 3 chapters. I did, she immediately wrote back and asked for the full manuscript.

One week later, she called and left me a message on a Friday, saying she had read the book and wanted to talk to me. Naturally, I was gleeful and figured she would want to represent me and my books.

Alas, Monday morning arrived and when she did call me back, she rejected me – over the phone!

Who ever heard of an agent calling someone on the phone to reject them? I was devastated, but I was glad she said she loved my writing but she was a 1-woman shop and she couldn’t figure out how to market my books. She was, honestly, very kind despite my hopes being stomped on.

So I took the plunge after that, published my books on my own, and have never looked back!

BIO:

Amazon bestselling author Elaine Calloway grew up in New Orleans with a love of Gothic architecture, cemeteries, and all things paranormal. She is currently writing The Southern Ghosts Series, a set of romantic suspense/ghost story tales set across the Southern USA. When she’s not writing or reading, she is helping other writers learn how to self-publish and market their books online. To connect with Elaine Calloway the author, go to www.elainecalloway.com. For those interested in self-publishing, check out her newest blog site www.howtoselfpublishyournovel.com/blog. She currently resides in metro Atlanta with her husband and very spoiled dog.

Buy links:

Amazon Author: http://amzn.to/2lgtI2Y

Barnes/Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Elaine%20Calloway%22

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Elaine%20Calloway&fcsearchfield=Author

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ElaineCalloway

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Writing about the Old West is fun! by E. Ayers

Waving a big hello to everyone! Cynthia has invited me to visit, and I’m always thrilled to be here. As many of you know, I love to write history in a story form. And what’s a story without a wonderful hero and a heroine worthy of him? Being I’m a totally hopeless romantic, how could I not write a story with love tangled into it? Writing about the frontier days of the American West is a time in history that appeals to men and women. But since we’ve never figured out how to travel backwards in time, a book will transport us there. My job is to make certain your experience is as real as possible.

My research turns up information that was never taught in schools. Often I wind up spending hours on information that I will never use, and I’m fascinated by all of it. When I started down this path of historical westerns, I had to research everything. I like knowing that what I’ve written is historically correct.

I’ve always admired and enjoyed reading another author, a European history professor Roberta Gellis. She wrote historical novels of old Europe and England. One of the things I liked about her books was the history that she put in the stories. Not just the clothing, but how the people actually lived, paid their taxes, and how those taxes were recorded on sticks. My feeling was why didn’t they teach us this stuff in school? I learned more reading her books than I ever did in a classroom. She showed me that history doesn’t have to be boring.

When I started working on my first historical story, I wanted to bring the same sort of accuracy to my work. Unfortunately, I didn’t have Ms. Gellis’ learned background. I began to research, checking, and double-checking resources. Often I chased my tail, and that can be frustrating. There’s plenty of misinformation, and it’s perpetuated in other places.

I thought the railroad went from point A to point C. No such luck! That section of track between points B and C should have been built by then, but it wasn’t completed for another twenty years. That’s a serious amount of time when writing a story. Yet that completed track between points B and C appears on more than a dozen maps! It was a railroad company historian, who gave me the correct information. I had to toss about 10 pages from a novel I was writing, rewrite those pages, and fix several other pages.

I’ve also had to make some strange decisions, especially when it comes to word choices. There were three very distinct divisions in spoken English. The educated people spoke a very formal form of English. Many recent immigrants tended to speak a broken form of English that also bled over to their children. And then there were those who spoke a regional dialect that almost sounds like gibberish to those unfamiliar with it. As a result, if I wrote exactly as each person spoke, it would make reading very difficult, so I tend to not be as stringent with keeping everything historically correct when it comes to speech. I do use dialects occasionally because it adds flavor, immediately identifies a character, and helps with the setting. I believe that the reader needs to be comfortable reading, therefore I keep such things to a minimum.

Nothing is worse than being yanked from a story over words that you don’t understand or an odd sentence structure. Our language is a mix of several languages and has settled into some speech patterns that we never think about until we study a foreign one. That’s when we discover that our yellow bus is bus yellow in another language because they place the adjectives behind the noun instead of in front of it. If I wrote the way a certain character spoke, it would become a difficult read. But wait, I do that occasionally. Then I read it a million times to be certain that the character’s spoken words are easily understood. A little can go a long way, but constantly deciphering sentences can be distracting. A Rancher’s Woman is sprinkled with such speech patterns, as is A Rancher’s Dream, but most people comprehend the German word Ja and Spanish word Si for our word yes.

The other odd situation arises when attempting to write spoken words by our native tribe members. I haven’t looked closely at all the tribes, but the ones that I am using in my stories often struggled with our English language. It’s a fine line because I don’t want to portray them as being less intelligent. They weren’t. They lived, worked, played, hunted, married, and raised their children within their community. If they stepped outside that community, they were faced with people who spoke a different language.

Some did learn our language and very quickly! But to expect all of them to know and be fluent in our language is as ludicrous as saying everyone who lives in the states that border our Latino neighbors must know Spanish. Depending on the amount of contact with those people, they might or might not. There are also those who might understand what someone is saying, but can’t respond beyond a few words.

And remember when I said there are patterns in our language? We automatically use the past, future, and present tense, but what if there is no past, future, or present tense? It’s implied, depending on the situation. Such is the case with our many tribal languages. Anyone who has studied our American Sign Language instantly discovers that it, too, lacks those tenses.

The more contact between people, the more each learns. So an American Indian might have virtually no knowledge of English until his or her contact is continuous. In my fictional town of Creed’s Crossing, Wyoming, there are several instances where families are fluent in Crow or Lakota and the English language. But learning a new language can be a struggle for adults, yet amazingly children learn so quickly.

In the beginning of A Rancher’s Woman, the hero Many Feathers, barely speaks our language. But it doesn’t take him long to learn because he’s completely surrounded with English speaking people, and he wants to learn. By the end of that story, he’s fluent in English and can read and write it.

Rose who is also a Crow, had no command of English, nor any need to be trained. Then Malene, the heroine, came to visit. The only thing the women had in common was the fact that they were women and understood cooking, cleaning, and babies. I’m certain it didn’t take them long to learn each other’s language once Malene remained on the reservation. The bonds of friendship would encourage the need to converse.

That situation is still true today. My husband’s family spent a little over two years in Naples, Italy, when the US Navy stationed my father-in-law there. My husband, as a teen, came home fluent in Italian. His father never spoke a word of it because he was constantly with other Americans on base, and they lived in a military community. My mother-in-law did slightly better because she had grown up in a French Canadian family and spoke French, therefore she often understood the Italians, but again her contact was limited mostly to shopping in the area, and what she did learn pertained to food names, ingredients, and cooking. But my husband embraced the opportunity to be in a foreign country and learn another language. Outgoing, fun loving, and quick to make friends, he mixed with the local young people. Since he spoke French, he had no problem learning another romance language. By the time he returned home, he was fluent.

Our native people were not stupid even though they often were portrayed as such in old TV shows or movies. They didn’t wander around grunting words like ugg. And anyone who has ever been around a man with a wrench on a rusted lug nut has heard plenty of uggs, grunts, and quite often more colorful words. So it’s easy to see how these people were portrayed when they did hard manual labor. But what we fail to realize is that many of them not only spoke their language, but the languages of neighboring tribes, French because of the number of French trappers that dealt with the tribes for years before the English began to settle there, and then some English because they were placed on reservations and had to cope with English speaking agents who knew no other language and many times had no desire to learn.

Portraying our tribal, or any group of people, accurately and keeping the reader flowing through the story becomes a balancing act for the author and sometimes an editor. Many authors avoid the problem completely by pretending these people did not exist, or by showing them as completely fluent in English. Add one more piece into the puzzle – keeping things politically correct according to today’s standards. Huh? Not in what I write! I refuse to whitewash the truth.

Sometimes I get to giggling over reviews where my readers say my language is so clean, meaning no foul words, but it’s not unusual for my characters to curse. The difference is today we think nothing of the word darn, but in the late 1800’s, darn was not a polite word and tarnation was even worse! Although it was not on a par with the worst of the curse words today, it was still shocking. (One of the worst and most blasphemous was Dad!) And that brings up the question about some of today’s vulgar language. Did those words exist back then? Yes, but they were not in general use. There are several words today that are considered quite vulgar. But in the late 1800’s, they weren’t. If they were used, it was in normal conversation, and had to do with cattle breeding. It’s an interesting study. But foul words have almost always existed throughout time. And the curse words a man might utter back then when things went awry don’t raise an eyebrow today. That makes reading some novels rather funny when they use today’s curse words.

I will do my best to show things as they were and not as we’d like to think they were. I refuse to ignore the truth. I walk a thin line while writing. The desire to keep everything accurate, while allowing for comfortable reading, makes writing dialog a little challenging.

Today’s foul words were never used then as intensifiers. But I wonder what words will be tomorrow’s foul ones? What’s your favorite word when things go wrong?

A Visit with Sylvia Hubbard

How did you get started writing? According to my mother, I used to lie to her when I was young (about six years old)  and she would punishment me by making me write my lie down. I found that my lies look better on paper than verbally

What genre(s) do you write in and why? I love romance suspense. I love the HEA and then I love pushing people to their limits; not necessarily always in that order.

Tell us about your current book. Currently, I am promoting Tanner’s Devil. A street doctor, former prostitute trying to go legit, but falling in love the her john all the while trying to escape her last pimp who believes if he can’t have her no one will.

What move best describes your life?  Why? I’m bad on paper so I can be good in life.

What inspired your latest book? Putting together a street doctor and an English duke in the 21st century was a challenge. I love challenges.

What is your favorite part of writing? Plotting. Figuring out the problems I’ve caused for my characters and getting them out of the mess the only way they know how.

What is your least favorite part of writing? Not being able to type fast enough or not having enough time to write. If Only I had two more arms.

What is your next project and when will it be released? This year, I hope to come out with Beautiful. It’s about a woman who would do anything for a man to feel beautiful.

What is your typical day like? I get up and do as much of my social media as possible before going to work at a full-time job. I’m a single mom of three kids living in Detroit so that’s an all day responsibility. During the noon time, I write as much as possible. And then I’m a mom again. I blog during the afternoon and then write late at night before going to sleep and starting everything all over again.

How much time do you spend promoting your books?  What works best for you? At least two hours a day goes into some type of marketing for my books. Online or offline.

How has your experience with self-publishing been? I love it! I’m a control freak so independent publishing works well for me. I’ve been at this since 2000.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories? Everywhere actually. I’ve always been a what if kind of person and I want to press the boundaries of the human soul in my characters.

BIO

Detroit Author & Founder of Motown Writers Network, Sylvia Hubbard has published over 40 books on suspense romance.

As a happily divorced mother of three, Sylvia has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work such as the Spirit of Detroit from Detroit City Council and State of Michigan Governor’s Certificate of Tribute Emerging Minority Business Leader Award. She’s spoken all over the United States and Canada about independent publishing, social media, 21st Guide to Marketing for writers and authors, How Readers can make money promoting their favorite authors and even how to be a single mom.

Recognized as an avid blogger by HoneyTech Blogs, Ms. Hubbard runs over five blogs including How To Love A Black and has had five #1 Best Sellers on Amazon. Her current work is Tanner’s Devil and she has six books coming up in 2016, including four live stories on her website. http://sylviahubbard.com

 

Related websites:

www.SylviaHubbard.com

www.MotownWriters.com

www.HowToEBook.org

 

Social Media:

www.facebook.com/sylviahubbard

www.twitter.com/sylviahubbard1

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www.goodreads.com/sylviahubbard

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Book Link

www.sylviahubbard.com/tannersdevil

www.sylviahubbard.com/beautiful

Heiress Bride by Cynthia Woolf

Here is an excerpt from my book HEIRESS BRIDE. It’s another fantastic book from the ONCE UPON A KISS boxset. Check out the blurb and a short excerpt below, then buy the box set from one of the links at the bottom of the excerpt. You can’t go wrong ten books, ten fantastic authors for one low price of  $0.99

HEIRESS BRIDE BLURB

Heiress Ella Davenport survived a carriage accident that killed her father.  Her life saved in exchange for savage scars marring her beautiful face.  Her friends, socialites, showed their true colors, casting Ella aside like damaged goods and leaving her a social pariah. Even her wealth can’t buy her the kind of marriage she wants. Desperate to find a husband who can accept her despite her scars and, without knowing about her money, she seeks to become a mail order bride.  Matchmaker & Co. is her one chance to start over and leave the pain and betrayal far behind her.

Nathan Ravenclaw was run out of town by the father of the girl he was courting once he discovered Nathan’s Arapaho heritage. It didn’t matter that Nathan was a successful rancher, businessman, and a positive member of society.  The white community suddenly saw only a half-breed. Even his money couldn’t buy him a wife. That was ten years ago.   He moved and rebuilt everything that cold rancher once took from him.  He has it all…except a wife.  Matchmaker & Company promises to send him a woman willing to start a new life with him.  But Nathan’s battered heart lacks the ability to trust. He longs for children, not romance.  His new bride, scarred and cast aside like himself, promises to be perfect for him.  Until he meets his mail order bride.  Fierce desire and an even more dangerous hope roar back to life within him.   Two things he swore never to indulge in again.

And love?  For these two battered souls, that’s the biggest risk of all

EXCERPT

She arrived in Denver on April 6, 1871.  A date she would forever remember as the start of her life.  It was almost like another birthday.

The weather was cold.  The wind rushed off the plains and collided with the mountains to the west, keeping the chill in the air.  The buildings weren’t as tall as in New York, but the wind still whistled between them and over the platform where she stood.  She was glad of her good wool coat and lined boots.  They kept her warm while she waited for Mr. Ravenclaw to find her.  There wasn’t anyone else wearing a veil so she didn’t think he’d have much problem identifying her.

She wasn’t really sure what she expected, but it wasn’t the tall, devastatingly handsome man that approached her.  He had a square jaw shaved clean and a tiny dimple in his chin.  Black eyebrows slashed over his eyes, the color of which was hidden by the shadow from his hat, pulled low on his head.  For once she was glad of her veil.  He wouldn’t be able to see her mouth hanging open, gawking at him.

“Miss Davenport?”

“Yes.  Are you Mr. Ravenclaw?”

“I am.”

Ella was surprised to find her hand trembled as she held it out to him.  “Ella Davenport.”

He removed his glove and enveloped her hand in his big one.  His fingers brushed the skin of her wrist just above her glove.  The tingle that traveled clear to her toes was unexpected and her gaze snapped up to his.  She looked up into the most beautiful blue eyes.  They seemed to question the chemistry between them as much as she did.

He held her hand for what seemed like a lifetime and they simply starred at each other.

“Miss Davenport….”

“Ella.  Please.”

“Ella.  I would like for you to lift your veil.”

“Are you sure you wish to do this in public.  It can be…shocking.”

“I’m sure.”  He squeezed her hand and then let go.

“Very well.”  She lifted the heavy lace, prepared for him to be taken aback by the ugliness of it.  She wasn’t prepared for him to lift his hand and gently trace the thin, putrid purple scar all the way from her left eye over her cheek and down her neck to the top of her collar.

There was no disdain on his face.  His blue eyes took in everything and accepted it, but even so he said the last thing she expected.

“You are a very beautiful woman.”

She stood there with her mouth open until he raised her chin with his knuckle.

“Why are you surprised?  Surely you have heard the compliment before.”

She shook her head to clear it and find her tongue.  “Not since the accident, except from my brother.  But he’s biased.  He loves me.”

“He but states the obvious.  Your scars do not detract from your beauty.”

“I must thank you because good manners dictate it.  However, I believe we should see about getting you some glasses.”

He laughed.  A rich, deep baritone.  “I’m glad you have a sense of humor.”

“Who was joking?”

Here are the buy links for ONCE UPON A KISS. Remember just 99 cents.

Amazon – http://a.co/8vk6CxX

Apple iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1195459460

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss-laurel-odonnell/1125454182;jsessionid=268F4B199A6DFCB4EA51C96FD6C581F5.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=2940154233863

KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss