Tag Archive | contemporary

Interview With Edie Hart and “One Bad Day”

Susana: What inspired you to start writing?

Edie: I have always wanted to write and as I’ve gotten older I’ve always regretted not trying. I decided that I wasn’t getting any younger and I sat down and wrote One Bad Day

Susana: How long have you been writing?

Edie: I’ve written my whole life, but have never had anything published.

Susana: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Edie: I’m just starting out so I don’t know if advice from me is valuable. All I can say is that you’ll never know unless you try.  😉

Susana: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Edie: All the time. I get stuck on scenes or trying to get from point A to point B. Sometimes I take a break and it comes to me. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a solution. Most of the time I come up with solutions in the shower or doing something else that’s routine. It seems like it helps if I mull it over for awhile.

Susana: What comes first: the plot or the characters?

Edie: It depends on the story. I had plot come first in One Bad Day, but characters first in some of my upcoming stories.

Susana: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Edie: I do a little of both. I write better if I have a little bit of direction, so I will do a rough outline and then start writing…  sometimes the story goes in a different direction than it was meant to.

Susana: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Edie: The hero is lightly based on my husband.

Susana: Are you working on something at present that you would like to tell us about?

Edie: I have a couple of stories going right now. I’m working on Burg’s story (Book 2 in the One Day series) and another story that just wouldn’t leave me alone.

Susana: What are you reading now?

Edie: I am reading Milly Taiden’s Wolf Fever.

Susana: What author or authors have most influenced your writing?

Edie: I love Milly Taiden and Jill Shalvis. There are tons and tons of really good authors out there right now.

Susana: What is your work schedule like when writing?

Edie: Right now my schedule is hectic because my kids are home for the summer. I basically write wherever and whenever I can.  😉

Susana: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Edie: Back when I was really little I wanted to be a genie. As I got a little older, I wanted to be a librarian. I’ve always loved books and I used to play library for hours.

Susana: What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

Edie:I love cupcakes. I have a love/hate relationship with them. They taste so good, but it only takes a couple and I’m gaining weight.

Susana: Describe the “perfect hero.” What about the “perfect hero” for you?

Edie: For me the perfect hero changes with my mood.  😉  When I’m mellow, he’s romantic and charismatic, when I’m “frisky”, he’s right there with me. One of the things I love about writing is that you can make each hero someone you would love to be with, yet they are all different.

Susana: What are favorite pastimes?

Edie: I love to go to my son’s traveling little league games and my daughter’s dance performances. I love curl up with a good book and a kitty by my side (I have 3) with a bowl of moose tracks frozen yogurt.  (I’m addicted to it.)

Susana: What has been your biggest adventure to date?

Edie: I would have to say having children. It’s not what you think it’s going to be and you never know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.

Susana: What is the one modern convenience you can’t do without?

Edie: I love my Nook.  : )

About One Bad Day

one_bad_dayTessa is having one seriously bad day. After agreeing to dress as a cheesy mascot at a convention for her boss, her clothes get stolen, she gets chased through a sinister parking garage, and her apartment gets broken into and turned upside down.

Gray, an off-duty police officer, can’t resist the sexy legs he sees in costume at a hotel convention. When he catches sight of her running for her life through a dark car lot, he’s determined to find out what her story is and ends up promising to keep Tessa safe…even if that means taking her home with him.

Available

Breathless Press • Amazon • AllRomance • BookStrand

Excerpt

Gray stepped outside of the hotel ballroom hoping the air would be cooler out there. He hated stuffy gatherings. Hell, he hated weddings. How two people could think they’d love each other forever was beyond him. Gray didn’t do love. Which was why he was stag at a co-worker’s wedding. He’d originally planned to invite Monique, but several months back she’d become demanding and talked about moving into his place with hearts and flowers in her eyes. So he’d ended it. Deep down, he’d known that she didn’t really want him. She wanted any warm body that would take care of her. She had slowly been trying to mold him into some GQ tycoon, telling him what to wear, how to act, and even going as far as telling him what he needed to do career-wise.

A loud crash on the other side of the hall caught Gray’s attention. In the open ballroom across the way he saw legs. Glorious legs in strappy high heels. The beautiful legs were tangled on the floor and attached to an ass that was just as gorgeous. After taking a closer look, Gray realized that above the amazing ass was an enormous, white light bulb-shaped head with blue googly eyes. It had blonde hair and wore a glittery purple hat. The tangled-up legs and heels were flailing around in a pile of what looked like empty light bulb boxes. Several gentlemen nearby were quick to help Legs get her feet beneath her. From their smiles and laughter he could tell that they were all quite happy to be of assistance. Gray didn’t blame them.

He watched Legs find her balance in those high heels, and with a little wiggle and tug of her skirt she went on her way.

About the Author

Edie Hart was born in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, where she now resides with her husband, two children, dog, and three cats. After spending her childhood making up stories in her head, she finally decided to put them on paper. What came of it was her first novella, One Bad Day. Edie is a die-hard romantic and believes that everyone deserves to be loved unconditionally—both in print and real life.

Edie also admits that “Edie Hart” is a pen name and an alter ego to an otherwise boring wife and mother. Edie is 20 pounds lighter, loves to skydive, travels to foreign places, and is a total sex kitten as compared to the uninteresting other half who is none of those things.

In reality the counterpart of Edie is a lackluster 40-something-year-old, whose main goal is to keep The Big One (The Boy) from torturing The Little One (The Girl). This week he hit her in the head with a 12-pack of Juicy Juice. Last week he left ravioli handprints on the back of her white T-shirt. The week before that he told her she was adopted and she believed him.

To learn more about her, and find out what The Big One and The Little One are up to, visit her via her here:

Website • Facebook • Twitter

Interview With Gisclerc Morisset, Author of “A Love Thang”

Today my guest is Gisclerc Morisset. Welcome to Susana’s Morning Room, Gisclerc!

GisclercMorissetWhat inspired you to start writing?

For as long as I could remember I’ve had an interest in creative writing. From an early age I was repeatedly recognized to be the public speaker for special events and have excelled in writing speeches. As I reflected about my career paths and pondered what I wanted to do with my life, I found myself coming back to writing and doing something with the various story ideas I always have. I finally decided one day to stop thinking about it and give it a shot. Whether or not I become successful enough to make a full time career from my writing, I plan to continue writing the story ideas I have.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for a little over five years. I took a break from my novel when I experienced some blocks with the story and became discouraged with the project.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Working on your content, the actual story should be your top priority. But be sure to take some time out during the week to research on the technique of writing. There are many books available about avoiding the pitfalls that amateur writers tend to encounter. Join a couple of online groups for writers and learn from those who’ve been there before you. Look into the various marketing, promotional, and advertising actions you should be prepared to do when you’re book is finally published. Look into a “Virtual Book Tour”.

Patience is key to the publishing process. When your manuscript is done and you’ve sent it to the editor, sent it to get formatted, are awaiting the cover art to get designed, you have no control over these processes. Many times the snail pace of the process and the challenges you encounter will discourage you. But it’s all part of the process. Learn from it and do what you can to make it a smoother process the next time around.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I suffer from writer’s block all the time. For me writer’s block is my mind telling me that I haven’t fully thought through a particular scene, dialogue, and/or section of my story. In some cases the best thing for me to do is to walk away from my laptop for a couple of days or even a week and let my subconscious work out the solution. In other instances I try and analyze what it is that I’m having a problem writing about. If I can discover the aspect of the story that is challenging me and analyze it properly, sometimes I am able to work it. Let’s say that I’m having trouble with the dialogue in a climactic scene between two characters and I don’t know the best way to write the end of the scene. Should I have one character walk out of the room, should someone slam a door etc. Well that goes towards understanding the personalities of the characters. By analyzing their personalities and knowing what behavior is consistent to each person, I can then finish the scene. Sometimes I envision a scene and instinctively feel that it is off. Dramatically, it would be a great scene, but when I analyze the dialogue and actions of the character(s) in the scene I recognize that it’s not consistent with what has been portrayed about the character.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?

For me, plot usually comes first. I usually brainstorm a story idea and then work on the personalities and characters that would be needed to bring the plot to life.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

It’s an emotional story at times. In writing the book, I wanted to touch upon real life situations but confront them from non-traditional viewpoints. I didn’t just want to write a romance novel because it is a genre that is very popular with the public at large, especially women. In fact I wrote this novel to challenge cheating men to think about why they cheat. Many of the male readers who have read my novel have given me very good feedback from it. I wrote this novel with the intent of provoking some real self reflection of the personal and romantic relationships that my readers have.

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading The Greatest American Speeches. While I mostly read non-fiction, I do read some fiction from time to time. I also like to read biographies of inspirational people. Sometimes I’m just looking for something entertaining to read, to give me that warm feeling when I read about someone overcoming adversity in their life. Other times I’m looking for inspiration for some character traits and dialogue to use in a story in a future novel.

What author or authors have most influenced your writing?

There are many authors who have influenced me over the years, but two who I would say who are the most influential are Issac Asimov and Frank Herbert. Both authors come from the science fiction genre, but their stories transcend their genre. They have written stories that depict some of the most critical issues humanity deals with. While their stories deal with humanity in the far off future, they deal with themes and plots that involve love and romance, suspense, politics and drama that I have not found matched by authors in any genre. Their ability to make their characters and plots so realistic has become a benchmark for me when developing my stories. If I can come half as close as either of them in capturing the human condition, I will be happy with my writing.

What is your work schedule like when writing?

I have a chaotic and busy schedule. So my basic plan is to write a little bit every day. By writing consistently as often as I can, I try to keep my excitement, urgency, and motivation at the highest level for the project I’m working on. Some days I am able to write for a few hours at a time. Some days I have to get creative and write on the go while I’m commuting. I’ve even written scenes on my smartphone in an email app and forwarded it to myself. I don’t really have page goals for myself. I find “scene goals” more effective. I can usually write a scene or critical part of a chapter in one sitting. That way if something comes up that forces me to walk away I don’t feel distressed because I can pick up where I left off knowing already where the scene is going.

What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

My favorite food is baked macaroni and cheese. Being Haitian, my mother makes it a little differently than most people may be used to experiencing it. I learned to make it by adding ground beef (or ground turkey for the health conscious) and instead of cheddar cheese it uses a special cheese sauce that has parmesan cheese and melted butter with sautéed onions and garlic as the main ingredients. My mother used to make this dish only during the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter Sunday) and on my birthday if I asked for it J So you can see how it easily became my favorite. Every time it is on the table there’s something special associated with it.

I wouldn’t say I have a least favorite dish. I’m open-minded when it comes to eating new foods. If I don’t like something, I just won’t order it if I come across it. But I did have a bad experience the first time I ate sushi, so if I had to say something was my least favorite, I guess it would be sushi.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

My favorite quote is from Bruce Lee: “Using no way as way. Having no limitation as the only limitation”.  Many people don’t know that he was big on philosophy and loved coming up with his own quotes and sayings. This one sums up what his life philosophy was, which was not to limit yourself by rules, traditions, and practices no matter how popular, what in Asian traditions is called “way”. And the second part of the quote of having no limitation basically means to keep your mind open to all possibilities. He loved to learn multiple ways of doing the same thing to try and discover the most efficient way to accomplish a goal. If you close your mind to a possibility, you’re basically making it potentially more difficult for yourself to achieve whatever you want to accomplish.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

I’m currently a self-published author. Next year I would love to get the attention of a major publishing house. While there are disadvantages to being tied down to a single publisher, It would give me the ability to promote and market my books on a much larger scale than I currently can.

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

There was a night a few years ago that I couldn’t sleep because ideas kept popping into my head of plots and characters that I write as novels or movies. I read somewhere that if you have various thoughts running through your head when you’re trying to sleep that the best thing to do is to jot them down and you would clear your mind and be able to fall asleep. But the more I wrote, the more I thought of the idea and the more I tried to expand on it. As I started to compile a growing list of ideas and outlines, I realized that I would regret never attempting to complete one of these ideas. I would always wonder whether my ideas would interest and entertain anyone other than me.

Who gave you the writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

There’s a writer of an adventure series whose blog I follow, David Farland. He writes tips for writers and one day he posted about making the effort to bring your scenes to life. He wrote about engaging all five of your reader’s senses when describing a particular setting. While many writers describe visually what a room many look like or describe what a person in the room may be hearing, many authors don’t give details on what the room may smell like or feel like. Was it cold or hot in the room, was there air freshener or maybe detergent from a freshly mopped floor. It made me conscious of my writing and want to add these extra details to help transport my readers into the settings of my stories.

What are favorite pastimes?

I’m an avid reader. Depending on the size of the book, I usually read one to two books a month. I’m also a big movie buff. I love action, sci-fi, romantic comedy and thrillers. I also enjoy working out, trying different workout routines and even creating my own routines. I’m a big family man and have a growing extended family. I enjoy spending time with my family just hanging around or out enjoying the world.

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

My biggest adventure would have to be getting married. It may sound corny to some people, but anyone who knows me knows that I’m a hopeless romantic at heart. I’ve also had a long trying adventure in finding my wife. So I appreciate having found someone who shares the same values in life I do and can build a future together with. For me family is the most important thing in a person’s life and having the opportunity to have a family of my own is the most special, biggest adventure I can have.

Describe the ideal romantic evening.

I like to keep things simple. The most important element of a romantic evening to me is the personal attention that you and your partner are able to give each other. If you’re engaged in an activity that can be very interesting, but you can’t communicate with your partner during the event than I don’t think it overly romantic.

A night of dinner of dancing is perfect for me. Enjoying some nice food, a tasteful glass of wine while engaging in some wonderful conversation is a great way to start off an evening and build some intimacy. I love going dancing. It gives you the chance to experience music in a physical way while connecting with your partner physically and emotionally.  You can go to a nice nightclub or lounge. You can even move some furniture around and play some of your favorite music at home and dance with all the privacy you need. I prefer the latter because you can go right into the perfect finish for the evening without having to wait since you’re already home 😉

ALoveThangBookCoverAbout “A Love Thang”

George is an ordinary guy whose world has collapsed beneath him. He’s ruined his relationship with his girlfriend, and to his credit, wants to come clean. Sadly for him, karma never plays along with our best made plans. Carol, George’s girlfriend discovers his deceitful act of betrayal before he can confess and she is out for revenge. Will George learn from his indiscretion? And most importantly, will he be able to save his relationship with the woman he loves?

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

About the Author

Gisclerc Morisset is a first generation Haitian-American who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He has always been a hopeless romantic and enjoys sharing stories of love and romance. He lives in Brooklyn, New York where he lives with his wife.

www.facebook.com/ALoveThang

http://www.scribd.com/gisclerc

Excerpt

http://www.scribd.com/doc/131763918/A-Love-Thang

Guest Interview: Author Linda Carroll-Bradd + Giveaway

Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Susana.

What inspired you to start writing? After years of reading romances, I thought I knew what was involved in writing one. Ha! Following several months of rough drafts, I gifted myself with a one-day class that covered the basics. The best tip from that class was the reference to Romance Writers of America. My involvement with RWA meetings, workshops and conferences taught me how to hone my skills.

How long have you been writing? This year marks twenty years, but I wasn’t published until I’d been writing (albeit part-time) for almost ten years. (see answer to advice)

What advice would you give writers just starting out? Know that at least fifty percent of writing is revision. By this I mean reorganizing (words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters) and layering. Not many writers can get the character definition, depth of emotion, plot twists, etc. included in the first draft. 

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? During a period of unemployment from my day job, I suffered with writer’s block. I could revise old stories but couldn’t come up with anything new. A relocation to a new state changed all that. I focused on collecting calls for submission from various publishers and wrote for six weeks solid. Those themed calls gave me a starting point for the plot, a word count and, most important, a deadline. Within a couple months, I had seven contracts in hand and the block was gone.

What comes first, the plot or the characters? Characters. I have to get acquainted with one of the protagonists before I know what type of situation will challenge him or her and who is the best archetype of character to create as an opposite. Then I can plunk them down into action and a setting and see how they react.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? A die-hard plotter who on occasion can be surprised when the characters appear to resist where I’m steering them. The few times I have tried to just sit at the computer and write, I get stalled after 3-4 chapters.

 Leave a comment here with your email address for a chance to win a copy of Dipping in a Toe.

DippingInAToeSMDipping in a Toe

Jessa Landers has a secret crush on her teens’ swim coach. A widow for three years, she’s managing her life and enjoys her freedom—except for long, lonely evenings when she craves an attentive man.

Coach Rick Grant loves being a high school teacher and swim coach. Surrounded by families has him yearning for his own romantic connection—and his eye is on Jessa.

Will Jessa protect the balance of her family life, or take a second chance on love?

Excerpt

As if pulled by an invisible thread, my gaze went to the tall, fit man with the ever-present clipboard in one hand and a stopwatch in the other. Normally an adult wearing tropical-print board shorts and a faded surfboard tee-shirt looked like he clung with desperation onto his youth. Instead Rick Grant wore the attire like a medal of honor—like he’d earned the right to promote a Hawaiian surfing competition from a decade earlier.

Maybe he had. The image of his tan, lean body balancing on top of a surfboard flittered through my mind. I pictured him, thinner but still muscular, body sparkling with water droplets, wavy hair streaked with blonde highlights, outlined against a cerulean blue sky. A heartfelt sigh escaped.

Christy stopped to turn in her ascent up the metal bleachers, and cocked her head. “You okay, Jessa?”

Caught. I whirled toward the bleachers and set a foot on the lowest step. “I’m fine. Where do you want to sit?” Heat burned my cheeks and I ducked my head, pretending the need to focus on placing my wedge sandals on each step. I didn’t want the other mothers to learn about my pathetic infatuation with the swim coach.

An infatuation I kept telling myself was wrong. Didn’t I have enough to do between my paralegal job, keeping up the house, managing the kids’ activities, and arranging visits with their grandparents? How could I possibly add dating to this hectic lifestyle?

Even if by some wild chance the man in question were to show interest…

Excerpt © Linda Carroll-Bradd

All Rights Reserved, The Wild Rose Press

authorSMAuthor Bio

After years spent in the administrative support field, Linda decided to exercise another part of her brain and write a novel. She loved reading romance and figured that’s what she’d write. Easier said than done. After years of workshops and RWA chapter meetings, she finally saw her manuscripts place in contests. Twelve years after her first writing class, she sold a confession story. From that point on, she couldn’t be stopped and is always pleased when her sweet contemporary and historical stories find homes.

With interests as widespread as baking, crocheting, watching dog agility matches, and reading thrillers by Swedish authors, Linda is the mother to 4 adult children and grandmother to 2 granddaughters. She currently lives in the southern California mountains with her husband of almost 34 years and their two spoiled dogs.

Where to find Linda:

www.lindacarroll-bradd.com

http://blog.lindacarroll-bradd.com

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Linda-Carroll-Bradd-author/440814942635289

Twitter: @lcarrollbradd

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806413.Linda_Carroll_Bradd

Guest Interview: Author Jenna Rutland

Today my guest is Jenna Rutland, a fellow member of the Maumee Valley chapter of Romance Writers of America. Jenna writes contemporary romances and her first novel, Just For the Summer, was released on March 11, 2013 by Entangled Publishing.

jennaHow long have you been writing? I’ve been a romance reader since I was a teenager and have always been a daydreamer, but the interest in writing started about 15 years ago. After every story I read, I found myself coming up with different scenarios for the characters or different endings to the stories. It made me wonder if I had the ability to write.

What author(s) have most influenced your writing? Most of the well-known authors—Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Janet Evanovich—have all made me a better writer. I have studied one author in particular – Rachel Gibson. Her characters are genuine, her storytelling is flawless, and her sense of humor all add up to the perfect read for me. I have all her books and some of my favorites are pretty worn!

Do you have a favorite quote or saying? My family will tell you that I say “happy medium” more than they’d like to hear. But that phrase can be used for everything in our life. With so much to juggle between working, writing, spending time with family, etc., I think the only way we can stay sane is to avoid trying to give everything our all, which only opens you up for failure.

Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first? I wish I had a glamorous story to share. But in truth, I was sick that day and had been for several days. When the phone rang, I was actually lying in bed dosing. I checked out caller ID and saw the name of the editor who’d requested my full. I ran into my office and grabbed up the phone to learn it was “the call.” Afterwards, I sat in a daze for a minute before dancing around my office, my upset stomach forgotten. Crying with excitement, I called my husband first. Because of my wavering voice, he thought I was calling to say I was feeling worse. Instead, I got to say the words I’d dreamed to say for a long time, “I sold my book!”

What are your favorite pastimes? I love to cook. I like to read through cookbooks just for the fun of it. Enjoying a good meal with family and friends always makes me happy. Gardening gives me a great deal of pleasure but, of course, in Southeast Michigan we have only the summer months for that. I’ve recently started an herb garden that I’m thrilled about. But nothing beats sitting on the floor playing with my sweet granddaughter!

Just For The Summer.jpg - high resolution copy 2About Just For the Summer

His temptation. Her secret. Their summer.

Dani Sullivan has come to Lake Bliss to write her latest cookbook…and to see if the baby she gave up for adoption eight years ago is happy. When she’s done with her reconnaissance, she plans to return to Detroit without any doubts about past decisions. But when she sees her little boy—indeed happy despite living with his single dad—she finds she can’t keep her promise to stay away…from her son or from his flirtatious father, who has no idea of her true identity.

Recently divorced sheriff Matt Reagan is ready for a new relationship, but he doesn’t want short-term—his son needs permanence, and so does Matt’s heart. Unfortunately, it’s the smart-mouthed and sinfully sexy Ms. Sullivan who catches his eye. But when Matt learns Dani’s secrets, will hne still want her to stay? Or will her chance for love last just for the summer?

Excerpt from Just For the Summer is available on the Entangled web site.

About the Author

Jenna Rutland lives in a small Michigan community with her husband, son and senior cat. Her daughter and son-in-law have recently given Jenna the awesome title of grandmother!

While her days are spent working as a medical transcriptionist, her nights are filled writing contemporary romance—stories of love, laughter and happily ever after. Guess which occupation is more fun?

She is a member of RWA and is active in her local chapter. After several years on the MVRWA board, she now chairs the group’s annual fall brainstorming weekend as well as acts as food coordinator for several other events.

Jenna takes pleasure in spending time with her family. She also enjoys reading, gardening and loves the challenge of a new recipe.

Jenna welcomes the chance to connect with writers and readers. For more information, head to her website, and hang out with Jenna on Facebook and Twitter.

Website:     http://www.jennarutland.com

Facebook:    http://www.facebook.com/JennaRutlandAuthor

Twitter:       http://twitter.com/jennarutland

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/jennarutland

Guest Interview: Author Carol Preflatish

My guest today is Carol Preflatish, who has a new contemporary romance out by the name of A Kitchen Affair. Welcome, Carol, and thanks for the Chocolate Rum Cheesecake Recipe too! Sounds luscious…and sinful. Just what I like!

Thanks, Susana, for hosting me here today. I love connecting with readers and I think interviews are a great way for them to get to know me.

What inspired you to start writing?

Ever since I was a kid in elementary school, I have loved to write. I took every composition class I could in high school. I did the same in college, but that wasn’t very many since the school’s English program emphasized literature.

CPreflatish_smsmHow long have you been writing?

My New Year’s Resolution for the Millennium was to write a complete novel. Hoping to get it published would have been frosting on the cake. It took me until 2009 to sign my first publishing contract.

What comes first, the plot or the characters? 

The last few ideas I’ve come up with for books have started with one character and then I build upon that. But, that’s not to say that I haven’t started with a plot idea because I have.

Are you working on something at present you would like to tell us about?

I’m trying to finish a novella about a cowboy. I have recently found that I love writing about cowboys, so there may be more of those stories to come.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing? 

My favorite author is the last Robert B. Parker. I love how he can spin a mystery that brings you into the story to figure out who did it.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

During my first year of high school, I wanted to be a laboratory technician, but chemistry thought me that I wouldn’t be able to do that. I graduated college with a physical education degree, but have never taught. I ended up going into social services instead.

What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

I love food so much, it’s hard to decide on just one thing. I suppose it would be chicken. I think I could eat it every day and have loads of recipes to prepare it different ways. My least favorite is easy, coconut. I can’t stand it on anything and I don’t really know why.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? 

Normally, I’m a plotter and have my book roughly plotted out when I start on a new project. However, with the novella I am working on right now, I’m a pantser. I sit down and just start typing. So far, it’s worked out well.

What would we find under your bed? 

Oh my gosh, I would hate for anyone to look under my bed. I think right now you would find some of my daughter’s toys from twenty years ago, books that I read at night before falling asleep, and several pairs of shoes.

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?

I usually write romantic suspense, but I have plans to work on a police procedural mystery series. I have the first three books started with ideas for at least three more.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

I’m hoping to get four books released this year. I think I can get three of them out, but the fourth may be pushing it. I’d love for one of those books to be that first police procedural.

Thanks again for having me here today. For anyone wanting to keep up with my writing, you can find my web page at http://CarolPre.webs.com or on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolPreflatish.

hA Kitchen Affair

When culinary student Jenny Marshall struggles to pay her tuition, she decides to become a Personal Chef to make ends meet. When the most eligible bachelor in town, Derek James, has a crisis, he hires Jenny to cook for his party and there’s chemistry from the start. Then, a manager at his company sets her sights on Derek and does everything she can to sabotage the relationship. What lengths will she go to in order to keep Derek and Jenny apart?

Here’s a recipe of one of the desserts that Jenny prepares in the book for Derek’s dinner party.

Chocolate Rum Cheesecake

For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 c. crushed chocolate wafers
  • 1/4 c. cocoa
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1/4 c. melted butter

For the filling:

  • 2 – 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 – 12 oz. packages semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 t. almond extract
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. rum
  • 2/3 c. sour cream

Preheat the oven to 300°f. Grease a spring form pan.

To make the crust, combine chocolate wafer crumbs, sugar, cocoa, and melted butter. Press into bottom of spring form pan and chill.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth adding sugar gradually. Add in eggs one at a time and mix at low speed. Add cooled chocolate, vanilla, almond extract, rum, and sour cream. Beat at low speed until completed blended. Pour into the spring form pan and bake for 1 hour. After the hour, turn off the oven, but leave the cake in for one hour longer. Cool at room temperature and then chill for at least 24 hours before serving.

Guest Interview: Authors Patricia Kiyono and Stephanie Michels

Susana: Today I’m pleased to introduce Patricia Kiyono and Stephanie Michaels, who are the co-authors of  The Calico Heart. Welcome to Susana’s Morning Room!

Patricia: Thanks for inviting us, Susana. We love to chat with readers!

Susana: When you write, what comes first, the plot or the characters?

Stephanie: It can be either for me. Sometimes I hear a quotation and it triggers a whole series of ideas that give me an idea for a story. Other times, I’ll see a picture in a magazine or on a billboard and I get a flash of an idea for a story about the person.

Patricia: For me, the plot comes more quickly than the characters. My story ideas tend to start with a conflict, and then I select characters who would be most affected by that conflict.

Susana: Are you working on something at present you would like to tell us about?

Patricia: I’m working on a sequel to my historical series, and we’re both hard at work on the next few stories in the Stitching Post series, as well as promoting!

Susana: What are you reading now?

Stephanie: I’m pretty much addicted to reading, so I always have several books going at once. I don’t know how it started, but I’ve been doing it for years. Currently, I’m reading the latest Gemma Halliday High Heels mystery Danger in High Heels on my Kindle, Kay Springsteen’s The Toymaker on my iPad, and I have an old Nelson DeMille paperback, The Lion’s Game on my bed table.

Patricia: On my ipad I have the kindle, nook and ibook apps with several books loaded on each app. Right now I’m reading The Ebay Plot by Charles Salter, The Ice Captain’s Daughter by SG Rogers, and Vidal’s Honor by Sherry Gloag. And on the end table next to me are several hardcover books I have for research.

Susana: What is your work schedule like when writing?

Stephanie: I am a real night owl, especially now that I don’t have to get up for a job in the morning. It’s nothing for me to start writing at 7 or 8 PM and write through the night.  I do not recommend this! It makes for a crazy lifestyle.  For example, I often am just signing off the computer to go to bed (I seldom sleep more than 5 hours) when Patty is getting out of bed to start her day.

Patricia: Each day of the week is different for me. My natural inclination is to be a night owl, but right now I’m working three days a week at a bakery and have to punch in at 4 am. I like to have at least two cups of coffee and a good breakfast before I start my day, so I get up at 2 am, open my laptop and check email and social media, and then write (while eating the breakfast my wonderful hubby fixes me) before going to work. I use a website called 750 Words as a way to keep myself motivated to write, and most days I’m able to get my minimum word count before I start my workday. Then after I get home from work at noon I work on editing what I wrote that morning, or take care of promotion, unless I have other family commitments. On days I don’t work at the bakery I teach at a local university, so my writing happens after I’m done grading papers and answering student emails, and I’m still up pretty early.

Susana: What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

Stephanie: My favorite food – Prime rib, medium rare, served with creamy horseradish sauce not au jus. I love that combination of flavors.  My least favorite food is probably stewed tomatoes, because I don’t like the texture.  Of course there are some foods (like brains and tongue) that I simply refuse to try!

Patricia: Chocolate! I love any kind – dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate, in almost any form. There’s not much I don’t like, but I remember on one trip to Japan my aunt served raw eel, and that didn’t go down my throat too well.

Susana: Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book. Where would you most likely want to go?

Stephanie: Well, if our publisher, Stephanie Taylor, is listening, I’d love to visit The Texas Quilt Museum to get more ideas of vintage quilt patterns for our Stitching Post Quilt Shop Romance series.  But, seriously, I’ve always wanted to write a historical set in Czechoslovakia, where my ancestors lived. And I wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to go to Australia, Hawaii or somewhere warm since I have 6” of snow on my deck right now.

Patricia: My historical series is set in Japan, and although I’ve been there a few times to visit relatives, I haven’t been to the island of Hokkaido, where my stories are set. I’d love to go there. And I agree with Stephanie Michels, a trip to anywhere warm would be wonderful!

Susana: I would agree with that thought…anywhere warm is good, particularly this winter! Thanks again for coming today, ladies. I can’t wait to hear more about The Stitching Post Romances!

*****

TheCalicoHeartsmThe Calico Heart is the first of The Stitching Post Romances, a series of stories about a group of women who belong to a quilt club in Grandville, Michigan. Here’s the book blurb:

On the surface, Sylvia Miller has a perfect life. She’s married to her college sweetheart, has three great kids, a rewarding career, and wonderful friends. But beneath the appearances, Sylvia is restless. She loves her husband, but wants to see more of the world than their peaceful Michigan town. For years, she’s dreamed of the interesting places she wants to visit. Now, their youngest child is grown, and Sylvia is ready for adventure.

Left a penniless orphan, David Miller promised himself his family would never know the same humiliation. For twenty-six years, he and Sylvia have lived frugally, saving for the future. Now, Dave is on the brink of a promotion that will ensure their financial security, but Sylvia wants him to retire and travel with her.

*****

patriciasmAbout Patricia: During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level.

She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her children and grandchildren. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures.

About Stephanie: Stephanie Michels considers herself a “Jill of All Trades” having worked as a computer trainer, advertising copywriter, cosmetologist, personnel agent, radio DJ, magazine columnist, and a financial planner among other things. She recently left the corporate world to focus full time on her writing.

stephaniesmShe was raised in Michigan but has also lived in Ohio, South Carolina, Missouri, and Germany. When her children were young, she returned to the Mitten State to raise them near family.

*****

The Calico Heart is available at Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook outlets.

Patricia Kiyono can be found at her blog, on facebook, and twitter (@PatriciaKiyono)

Stephanie Michels can be found at her blog, on Facebook, and her website

Guest Interview: Author Kristina Knight

texas_needs

My guest today is Kristina Knight, a fellow member of the Maumee Valley chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Kristi had three books published last year by Crimson Romance and was up for Best New Author of the Year in the Sizzling PR blog poll. She has truly been an inspiration to the rest of us in the group!

Welcome to Susana’s Morning Room, Kristi. It’s an honor to have you with us today. What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always had a love affair with books. First it was reading them, but before long I was daydreaming along with the books I read. When I read Grimm’s Fairy Tales I wanted to change them to be happy stories, and when I read The Three Musketeers I wondered what might have happened if the Musketeers had been girls like me…eventually, the stories in my head were all my own and I wrote them down.

What advice would you give writers just starting out?

Keep learning. Take workshops, practice, practice, practice…and own what you write. Don’t make excuses for writing romance or fantasy or whatever you write. Own it.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I don’t believe in writer’s block, actually. That doesn’t mean I wake up every day cheering about my story. Some days I hate what I’m writing, but I think a lot of writers get stuck or go in a wrong direction and blame writer’s block rather than trying to work through the problem. Instead of completely stopping my progress, I look at the chapter or maybe 2 chapters before the spot that is giving me problems and try to figure out where I’ve gone wrong. 

What comes first, the plot or the characters?

Characters and usually a beginning scene…and from there, the rest falls into place.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

What a Texas Girl Needs is the second in my Texas Girl series. Vanessa wasn’t always Vanessa, though…she started out her fictional life with a different name. It wasn’t until she admitted her name was Vanessa that the story got rolling.

Are you working on something at present you would like to tell us about?

I just turned in the third Texas book, What a Texas Girl Dreams, to my editor…Monica is the third and youngest of the Texas sisters and she’s more opinionated, stubborn and mushy than the other two combined! Oh, and I’m starting a new project this week that has a suspense edge to it – having a lot of fun with that!

What are you reading now?

I’m reading the Silver Creek series by Delores Fossen; I read the first book and loved it then realized there were five more. I’m devouring them right now and I’m already sad that there is a set number of books…

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

I like so many authors for so many different things. Nora Roberts does things with character is just floor me, Karin Tabke has a way with suspense that just…wow. I love Suzanne Enoch’s strong heroines and if I could write a love scene like Kate Walker…Oh, sigh.

What is your work schedule like when writing?

It’s as random as it is when I’m not writing. I have a four-year-old daughter, a radio show and I’m also a non-fiction writer. So everything gets squeezed in where it fits for that day. My M-W-F mornings are fairly routing – I take the kiddo to school and then write until 11:30 when she’s released. But other days I may write in the morning or late at night…it just depends on what is going on.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I’m blessed that I get to write every day.

What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

How about food type? Anything Mexican—quesadillas, fajitas…Love, love, love authentic Mexican food. Um…my least favorite is probably liver and onions. I had to eat it as a kid and I’ve never made it as an adult…

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a pant-lotter. I’ve found that an outline can help me keep the story elements in place. But I’m not rigid about the outline. Elements may get moved around or changed completely. Most of my outlines barely resemble the finished book, but it works for me.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book. Where would you most likely want to go?

Since it’s barely 20 degrees today and there are about six inches of snow on the ground, I’m going to the Caribbean. I don’t care where, but take me to a beach!

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

I love the Joan Wilder quote from Romancing the Stone—’you’re the best time I’ve ever had’. I love the sentiment of that.

Kristi1sm

About Kristina:

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police—no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. When the opportunity to focus a bit of energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it. And she’s never looked back. Now she writes magazine articles by day and romance novels with spice by night. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and three-year-old daughter. Happily ever after.

Website: http://www.kristinaknightauthor.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kristinaknightromanceauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/authorkristina

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/kristinaknight

What a Texas Girl Needs

Vanessa Witte is ready to finally claim her life. The middle of three daughters born into the Witte family – a powerful Texas name—she’s been content to float through life. Being dumped by her shady ex? A blessing in disguise. Having a one-night-stand with Matias Barnes? Not one of her more stellar moments. But she’s back in Lockhardt with a secret and a reason to start fresh: a baby.

Matias Barnes knows all about society women—it’s part of the reason he left his wealthy family behind and took a job on a ranch. He doesn’t like the endless string of parties, the inane conversation, or the gold-digging tricks those women have perfected. But that doesn’t stop him from wanting Vanessa Witte. Mat knows she’s so not right for him, but with her back in Lockhardt, can he resist her charms long enough to really let her go?

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