Happy Release Day of LILY’S LEAP by Téa Cooper.

I’m all a-dither with excitement. It’s Re-release Day for the wonderful Australian historical romance, LILY’S LEAP, which has already hit #2 in iTunes book store. To celebrate, I have dragged the author, my colleague and good friend, Téa Cooper, away from her celebratory champagne and forced her to put together some coherent sentences to tell us about herself and her beautiful book.Lily's LeapTeaCoopersmall

 

  1. Can you talk about who you were in your previous life? Before being a writer, that is!

I always thought I was Nell Gwyn – orange seller, long time mistress of Charles II. Oh, you mean in real life. Not so exciting. Journalist, English as a Second Language teacher, classroom teacher, University lecturer, PR person, alpaca farmer, protea farmer … in various combinations at various times. (JL: Good heavens, why are you writing about fictional characters? Your life would make a great story!)

  1. Did you become a writer out of curiosity or because you had no choice in the matter?

I’ve always been a writer, then one wet Easter holidays I saw a Mills & Boon competition in the Women’s Weekly. I entered and won second prize – a bottle of perfume! Fiction writing went onto my bucket list. Then many years later I woke up one morning and decided I didn’t want to be a teacher anymore. By sheer coincidence I stumbled upon the HQN New Voices competition and entered. Needless to say I didn’t win but I did write Tree Change, which was published by Breathless Press twelve months later. I was hooked – so I guess I had no choice in the matter!

 

  1. Tell us about the books you have previously published and what you feel about them as a writer who is evolving with each book.

I think I learn a little more every time I write a story. I hope I do. I would hate to think of myself as static. Some books will always be closer to my heart than others because of the time I wrote them or the part of my experience I’ve drawn on. I don’t believe anyone writes pure fiction. As far as my technique as a writer, I hope it is evolving. I’d love to go back and rewrite Tree Change!

Téa, I just gave you the perfect opportunity to tout your other incredible novels and you are so humble, you let it pass. So now it’s up to me to do it J … Téa has published three contemporary novels – “The Protea Boys”, “Passionfruit and Poetry”, and “Tree Change”. She has published three Historical novels, “A Winning Streak”, Matilda’s Freedom” and “Lily’s Leap”. There are about three more on the horizon so stay tuned to her website.

  1. You have written both contemporary and historical novels. Are you pulled more to one or the other?

It didn’t cross my mind to write a historical novel originally. I have no idea why not as I have always read historical novels and I majored in History and English at University. After I wrote Tree Change I started fiddling with historical ideas and discovered I enjoyed it. I also love the research and live in a very ‘historical’ spot, then I started working/volunteering at the local Museum and the rest as they say is history. I’m playing with an idea at the moment that would involve parallel timelines so perhaps it was meant to be – a combination of contemporary and historical.

 

  1. Some of us (Me!) find writing is sometimes akin to pulling teeth. Each sentence has to be dragged kicking and screaming from a recalcitrant brain. Do you write in wonderful creative bursts or is it a hard slog?

I write in bursts – they’re not usually wonderful creative ones though! I tend to write my first draft fairly quickly. The structural edit that follows is where the ‘hard slog’ bit comes in. Fortunately I have some wonderful critique partners who slap me around when my plot is full of gaping holes and I’ve used but nine hundred times! (JL: ‘just’ is a personal favourite of mine)

 

  1. Now to the important part! You have just re-released your wonderful Australian historical rural romance, LILY’S LEAP. (I read and loved it, by the way) Can you tell us if the characters demanded the story, or was it driven by the setting, an idea for the adventure or something else?

LILY’S LEAP is unashamedly the child of Wollombi Museum. I started poking around and discovered there were a lot of bushrangers who haunted The Great North Road, which runs from the Hunter Valley to Sydney. Our local historian listened to my mad idea and told me a few stories. The whole lot percolated for a while and out popped Lily’s Leap!

 

  1. Before I let you off the hook, one last question. I imagine you have been on a few blogs with the re-release of your book. What question about your book would you like to have been asked that you weren’t? And we probably need the answer as well. J

What an excellent question … back later! Have to think about that… sometime later…No one has asked this question…

Lily’s Leap and Matilda’s Freedom are both set in Sydney and Wollombi. Are the two books related?

Oh! You want the answer as well?!

Yes, they are, through the secondary characters. Matilda’s Freedom is set a few years later than Lily’s Leap and I suppose in a perfect world Lily’s Leap should be read before Matilda’s Freedom although both books stand alone. I became very attached to several of the secondary characters—Jem, the Aboriginal tracker and Bonnie, Lily’s companion especially. They appear in both books. I’ve sketched out two more stories involving Hannah and Beth, the two young girls in Matilda’s Freedom. I think it would be fun to bring all of the characters from Matilda’s Freedom and Lily’s Leap back into play when/if I tell their stories.

 Here is the blurb from Lily’s Leap:Lily's Leap

From Escape’s Queen of Australian historical romance comes a story about a privileged member of Australian’s squattocracy, a bushranger, and a very special horse.

 Born into the rough, but privileged society of the Australian colonial landowners, Lilibeth Dungarven finds herself married, widowed, and, much to her distress, back under her father’s thumb, all before her twenty-first birthday. Determined not to forgo her dream of breeding the perfect racehorse, Lilibeth ignores propriety and sets out to restore the family’s flagging fortunes.

 When Captain Tom and his mismatched band of bushrangers stumble across a mob of the best horses they’ve ever seen, and the daughter of the famed Dungarven horse stud, they know their fortunes have changed. Their catch is worth a king’s ransom. All they have to do is hold her for seven days. How hard can it be to control the pampered daughter of a colonial upstart?

Excerpt:

Hunter Valley, Australia 1848

 

Lilibeth Dungarven’s cry of pure pleasure soared skywards as the massive black stallion rose to clear the fallen tree, sending the horrors of the last four years scuttling into the dirt of the ancient land.

Clenching her knees against Nero’s heaving flanks she bent low, ducking the overhanging branches framing the bush track, her cheek pressed to the warmth of his muscular neck. When the erratic pounding in her chest settled she drew Nero to a shuddering halt and pushed the damp curls back from her forehead.

A pair of black cockatoos, disturbed by her madcap gallop, shrieked their annoyance and resettled in the whispering casuarina trees. The crack of their beaks as they threw the mangled nuts to the ground filled the silence. Below her the ribbon of sandstone road weaved its way towards Payne’s Crossing and she shielded her eyes from the sun, searching for her mob of horses.

A glint of reflected sunlight drew her eye to a mounted figure in the middle of the road. Despite the hat pulled low shadowing his face, the stockwhip crack of his words registered deep in her belly.

‘Bail up! Guns down and off the horses.’

‘What do you think you…?’ Constricted by the tension in her throat her words petered out. No one would dare steal such a valuable mob of horses. They were branded. Everyone in the colony knew the Dungarven brand. To lose them was unthinkable. Years of breeding — the first pure Dungarven bloodlines. Months proving herself capable of managing the sale and the trip to Sydney. And now a hold up! It would not happen. Not if Lilibeth Dungarven had any say in the matter.

Thanks for the invite, Joanna. It’s been a lovely visit!

Wonderful to have you here, Téa. Please visit again! To visit Téa’s website and to buy her books see below:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tea-Cooper/e/B00AG3WHRU

Amazon.aus: http://www.amazon.com.au/Lilys-Leap-Téa-Cooper-ebook/dp/B00KQ64YJ6/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1401777829&sr=1-6|

Harlequin Escape http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/author/téa-cooper

Kobo http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/lily-s-leap-1

 iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/lilys-leap/id885272253?mt=11

 

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Brenda Novak’s Annual Online Action for Diabetes

Brenda Novak Auction for Diabetes

 
  The Auction for the BEST basket of E-BOOKS EVER is now Live!!
 

                     Online Auction to benefit Diabetes Research: BrendaNovakForTheCure.org
That’s right, here’s your chance to bid on a whole heap of books donated by more than a few wonderful Aussie Writers.
 Thanks to the hard work by the lovely  Christina Phillips   a large bunch of us Australian writers donated some of their favourite books to this worthwhile cause.

auctionofyear
 

This is the 9th Annual On-Line Auction for Diabetes Research New York Best Seller Author – Brenda Novak has held.
Follow the links to find out more details and how to sign up if you’d like to put in a bid.

And if you want to know more about the auction go here: Brenda Novak – Auction for Diabetes

To take a look at the Basket of E-Books on behalf of the Historical Hearts Group click the link  HERE

This magnificent collection of Romance Titles takes in Historical, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Outback, Erotic & Spicy & Contemporary Reads. Something for everyone  OR Everything for some-one lucky Bidder!!

I’d like to acknowledge the support of ALL the Authors who made the donation basket, from the Historical Hearts RWA group of Writers, such a marvellous item to bid for.

Tamara Gill     Erin Grace ,    Maggi Andersen    Carol Hoggart    Euphrasia Holmes    Alison Stuart 
Joanna Lloyd   Suzi Love    S E Gilchrist  Catherine Evans   Kylie Scott   Marianne Theresa  Beverley Oakley
Annie Seaton    Keziah Hill    Mel Teshco    Rhian Cahill    Nicole Hurley-Moore    Rhyll Biest    Shona Husk   Tracey O’Hara

There is also A virtual Gift Basket of Critiques for Writers from HERE
This basket Includes:
**From developmental & copy editor Annie Seaton:

1 10-page edit
**From author Erin Grace
One 3-Chapter Critique
**From author Euphraisa Holmes
1 10-page edit.
 
Thanks Ladies :))

And check these out from the Hot Downunder Authors as well.  Yes there I am on the top right 🙂

 

 
Online Auction to benefit Diabetes Research: BrendaNovakForTheCure.org 

The Hidden EVIL of Flashbacks

This post has me ripping apart my current wip. Flashbacks – my nemeses!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 10.56.37 AM

So you want to be a writer. Okay. I’ll be blunt because that’s my superpower. Check your conscience at the door keyboard. Writers are not civilized humans. In fact, we are the opposite. We are the reptilian brain to the power of a million. We probe and prod and poke the weak places. Great storytellers are nothing short of sadists. We take a perfectly empathetic/likable person, toss their life in a Vita-Mix and blend, churning that mixture from Level 1-1000.

That is called conflict.

Stories are about people with problems to be solved. Everything else is a travel brochure.

One of the reasons I LOVE teaching craft is I get to see the work/stories of other writers. Recently, I held my First Five Pages class and could hear the collective groans when I said, “NO FLASHBACKS. EVER.” But I am a benevolent dictator and instructed those submitting pages, that if…

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Angela Bell Julien – Blooms and the Bard

Today I welcome the wonderful writer and poet, Angela Bell Julien, who has just released her beautiful book of poetry – BLOOMS AND THE BARD: PAINTED SONNETS. Reading this book is like losing yourself in an explosion of the senses.

 

Angela Julien BellBlossoms and BardsBio:

Angela Bell Julien is an avid writer and poet who has dedicated her life to teaching others about the power of words. Angela received her master’s degree in English at Northern Arizona University and spent 35 years teaching English and serving as a principal in Arizona high schools. She currently works as an educational consultant for schools in the western United States. Decades of guiding thousands of teenagers as they move from adolescence to adulthood has given her a special insight into the personality traits that blossom within people and drive them forward. Angela’s greatest inspirations come from her family. She is married and has two daughters, two sons-in-law, and six grandchildren.

Because I love finding out about what leads people to write and the significant influences in their lives, here are some questions to help me delve:

You have spent years teaching others about the power of words.  Can you give us an outline of your background and what led you to first become a writer/poet?

 Although I grew up mostly in Phoenix, my father built roads, bridges and pipelines around the world. My mother insisted that she, my sister, and I stay rooted in Phoenix during the school year, and join my Dad wherever the end of the road was for the summer.  Those summer experiences focused my lens on life.  While we were in places where few people visited, I had the time to read, daydream, write and ride horses.  In those early years, I learned the power of words.  Unfortunately, my first grade teacher tried desperately to squelch my creative use of words; however, my devoted mother found a second grade teacher who embraced my love of reading and words and set me on my life’s path at 7 years old.  At 10, I wrote a play about George Washington that was subsequently performed in my classroom.  I was frightfully shy, but words, read and written, allowed me to be brave – even brazen!  People noticed me when I wrote. Writing made a monotone life in school a melody of the lives I watched around me.  I spent more class time than I should admit writing poems about what was happening.  And then I found Drama and Advanced English classes!  I had discovered my world.  I overcame my shyness, began to love public speaking and reading my writing aloud.  In college, I completed a double major in English and Speech/Theater.  I chose to become an English teacher to share the power of language with all students, not only those who landed in advanced classes.  –And that—that made all the difference! My husband once told me that he loved dating me because he didn’t have to worry about keeping a conversation going.  I took care of that!  He has been my constant listener and support for the past 42 years.  I am a mother of two amazing daughters; both of whom spend their lives advocating for those who cannot speak for themselves – a passion they learned from their father.  My whole life, I have been surrounded by people who inspire me.

 Did the young people you have mentored all these years influence your writing?

 — Yes, more than I can find words to express.  One year I had the amazing experience of teaching a class of 15 students who were moved to the high school because they had “aged-out” of middle school but failed to pass 8th grade.  They had not finished their middle school requirements for a myriad of reasons—none of which had anything to do with their intelligence.  They all had one thing in common—they lacked power in their world—so they tried to take control in all kinds of inappropriate ways.  They hated reading; so we read Poe.  They hated writing; so we wrote about the psychology of colors and what “colors” their personalities were.  They painted silhouettes of themselves on my classroom walls and used the colors they wrote about.  Influence my writing?  They live in my writing.  They aren’t the only ones.  One first day of school, a young man came into a different class I taught—honors Sophomore English. He explained that the previous year’s teacher would not give him the recommendation he needed to join my class because he did not do well enough in her class.  I listened to his words, listened to him tell me about how hard he would work, and to the persuasive prose he had practiced before knocking on my door.  I knew I had the opportunity to do what my 2nd grade teacher had done.  He entered; he earned straight A’s.  After attending a prestigious college on a scholarship and majoring in English, he went on to work for a United States Congressman—writing for him!  Additionally, my daughters often brought their friends who were in difficult situations to our house to spend time.  All of those kids, my daughters foremost, have inspired me.

 

  • Do you have a special place or time where/when you write?
  •  

    My life bulges at the seams, so writing happens in the spaces I can steal.  Sometimes I write during meetings (I probably shouldn’t admit that).  I travel to schools in Arizona, California and Hawaii every month.  Although I try to write on the plane, I find planes stifle my thought processes—I think it is the recycled air! I wrote some of my sonnets sitting on a bench overlooking Lake Powell in Page, Arizona during two precious days off.  Others I wrote in my hotel room in Honolulu, inspired by the flowers that surrounded me, and still others while sidelined during a hiking trip in Maine due to a sprained ankle.  Rather than a place, I write when I find those creative moments between the stitches of life —wherever that happens to be.

     

    Now let’s get to your beautiful new book of poetry-BLOOMS AND THE BARD: PAINTED SONNETS.  Please tell us all about it and maybe share an excerpt to whet our appetites.  I’d love to know where the inspiration for the theme and colors came from too.

    Angela B Julien pic with book

     People ask me all the time how I came up with the idea for Blooms and The Bard:  Painted Sonnets.  As I say in my Foreword, I have prepared to write Blooms and the Bard all my life. My parents took me for rides through miles of flower fields south of Phoenix.  I could never get enough of looking at them.  When I became a high school principal, my husband sent a fresh bouquet of flowers to my office every Monday.  They spoke to me.  They calmed me.  I have also read almost everything Shakespeare ever wrote – some pieces more than twenty times.  I love the way he used language to make multiple meanings.  He wrote making use of rhyme and rhythm to give the readers a melodic symphony of words.  I strive for that.

     More, I wanted to write a book that sends a message of respect for the diversity of the human condition. It seems to me that people often spend too much time thinking about what bothers them about others. I wanted to write a book that would help people see the positive in the people they know.  I hoped that if they thought of them as the flowers it takes to make a beautiful bouquet, they would appreciate that the more different we are, the more beautiful we are together. I have often been teased about being a “Pollyanna” –trying to help people see the good in others.  I am proud of that.  Several of my readers have told me that they have used the book to reconnect with loved ones.  That is success for me!

     Hmm, an excerpt—I have a few favorite sets of lines.  Yellow is a poem about the optimists in our lives—those people who don’t have easy lives, but find joy everywhere—one young lady in the class I wrote about earlier. I visited her home one day and realized I did not know anything about seeing light in darkness.  The last two lines are:

     “Ah, Yellow blooms with faithful spirit light

    To feel the mud of life—and find delight!”

    Golds, like my Mom, are strong personalities who influence others just by being themselves:

     “A spicy scent bespeaks an inner air

    Of poise and confidence.  A champagne taste,

    A classic core of strength with fancy flair.

    A complicated mix of wild and chaste.”

     And Red, Reds challenge others, maybe even frightens, but attracts us:

     Beware of Red; but do not turn away

    Lean close, breathe in, and all fears will allay

     So what’s next in your writing journey?

     I am working on another book of poetry and on a novel about my father’s life.  I think the book of poetry will happen first.  I have written some of the poems and begun the paintings.  I am not sure of the title, perhaps your readers can help.  Recently, I wrote a poem for an old friend and titled it “Moments With Diane”—we lived much of our lives together having conversations and eating Twinkies and Ding Dongs.  I am writing other poems about “moments” we all have in life—moments we need to cherish.  I am thinking about calling it Moments In the Sun, but some of my friends want me to title it, Days of Ding Dongs and Twinkies.  What do you think? (JL: don’t know about others but I think I’d be more drawn to the title, Moments in the Sun but I understand the connection your friends might have to the second suggestion. Maybe commenters can give us their opinions.)

     The novel about my father will be historical fiction, based on the life of a man I loved with all my heart, a man bigger than life, but a man I have found I knew very little about.  He was a gregarious, outgoing, secretive, mysterious, loving man.  Sounds like a great plot in the making doesn’t it?

    Five Warning Signs Your Story Needs Revision

    Don’t start in mid-action? Don’t have body parts rolling everywhere? Damn!

    Kristen Lamb's Blog

    Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 11.38.45 AM Original image via Jenny Downing Flikr Creative Commons

    We can have the best story ideas in the world, but to be blunt? There’s a lot to be said for delivery. While these problems might seem picky, there are some fundamental errors that can weaken the writing. If our writing loses power, this can become distressing or distracting to readers.

    Many readers (not being editors or professional writers) might not be able to articulate specifically why they lost interest in a story, but often the answer is simple. It can be an accumulation of the small things. The little foxes spoil the vine.

    Most of us make one or more of these errors, especially when we’re new. Hey, that’s called “being NEW.” No one is born with the natural ability to write brilliant, perfect novels coded into their DNA. It takes time and practice, so give yourself permission to make…

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    Spotlight on Callie Hutton

    Callie Hutton author pic

    It’s my pleasure to welcome Callie Hutton to my blog today. Callie spent years writing articles, interviews for magazines and company newsletters then decided to write books. She is a prolific writer of wonderful historical romances, some seasoned with a drop of time travel, and produces her books at a dizzying rate.

    Okay, Callie, here’s where I put you on the spot:

    Whether or not you loved or hated it, is there a book that has grabbed you by the throat and changed the way you write?

    Not really. I read craft books all the time as well as books in the romance genre. I think I learn a little bit more with each book I read. If I had to pick one book that made an impression on me more than another it would be Deb Dixon’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict. (JL: A writer’s bible, that one!)

    As I mentioned above, you are a very prolific writer. Can you give us slower writers a few hints as to how you manage this enviable feat? I’d love to know your process.

    Writing is my job, just like any other job I’ve ever had. I’m at my computer ready to work by 9 AM each day. I take a lunch break, and continue until about 4 PM each day. I also put in another hour or two in the evening. Now all of that time isn’t just ‘writing’ but working at ‘writing’. That means interacting with fans on FB, doing promotion work, answering emails, editing, plotting, outlining, research—all the tasks that go with being a writer. I work Monday through Friday on that schedule, and put in about 3 hours a day Saturday and Sunday. (JL: Wow, Callie, that is dedication. But you’re right, to get the book done, it has to be your job.)

    Have you ever written a book you didn’t like? Why didn’t you like it? (Don’t have to name it)

    No. I loved all my books. There are a couple that I might have done a little bit differently, but certainly not enough to wish I hadn’t written it.

    JK Rowling spoke about the moment Harry Potter took form in her mind. But she had no pen and had to sit in a train for four hours so she sat and stared and let the ideas tumble around in her thoughts. How do you capture the first ideas for a story?

    They come from everywhere. I heard a song on the radio recently that started a plot forming in my mind. One time in church there was a family in front of us who had a young daughter that the mother addressed as “Olivia.” I was immediately captured by that name, and while the service continued, I wrote the outline for The Elusive Wife on the back of a blank check. (JL: Great story!)

    Do you write your first draft with your head or your heart?

    Both. My heart gets the emotional juices going, but my head is always aware of form, structure, character arc, plot, etc. And I don’t usually have a ‘first draft.’ I edit as I go along, so when the book is finished, I go through it a couple of more times, but don’t make any major changes. (JL: There seem to be so many theories on that one. But it sounds like you have found what works for you and there is no doubt it does work!)

    Now let’s get to your exciting new release: The Dukes Quandary. I understand this is the 2nd book in your series called The Marriage Mart Mayhem. And you are presently writing Books 3 & 4, also to be released in 2014. Please tell us about the inspiration for this series and where Books 3 & 4 might take us.

    I mentioned the inspiration for The Elusive Wife, #1 in the series. After that book was edited and ready to go, my editor at Entangled asked me to write a story using Coventry’s (the hero in The Elusive Wife) best friend, Drake. As I was writing The Duke’s Quandary (Drake’s story), we talked about making a series out of it. The Lady’s Disgrace #3 (Abigail’s story) will be released in October, and The Baron’s Homecoming, #4 (Marion’s story) in December. In 2015, the last three books for the remaining sisters will release. Two of those books will take us into Scotland.

     

    The Duke’s Quandary 

    DukesQuandry Callie HuttonBlurb:

    London 1814…

     Drake, Duke of Manchester is searching the Marriage Mart for a perfect bride. He wants a woman who is poised, sophisticated, and worthy of the title Duchess. But most of all, he wants a woman who does not want the useless emotion of love.

     Socially awkward Miss Penelope Clayton isn’t meant for marriage. A serious botanist, she has no desire to wed, so being forced by her guardian to participate in the Season to find a husband is torture. She’ll never fit in with the ton, especially if they discover she’s been pretending to be a man within the scientific community.

     As Drake’s family makes over Penelope, turning her from naive bluestocking to enchanting debutante, he is put upon to introduce her to society and eligible bachelors. Despite dance lessons and new gowns, Penelope is the opposite of poised and sophisticated as she stumbles from one mishap to the next. Why then, does he find it so hard to resist her?

    Thank you so much for sharing your writing life with us, Callie.I love historical romance and your series sounds fabulous. The Duke’s Quandary is already on my TBR list.Now go back and keep churning out your great books!

    Find out more about Callie Hutton:

    Twitter:  @calliehutton

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Callie-Hutton/206166449404454;

    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5349775.Callie_Hutton

    Website: www.calliehutton.com

    Buy links: Amazon: http://amzn.to/1cEfS2r

    Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1bzDebf

    Kobo: http://bit.ly/1pdjAFz

    Spotlight on Deborah O’Neill Cordes & Giveaways

    I am thrilled to welcome the wonderful and talented Deborah O’Neill Cordes to my blog today. I have devoured every one of Deborah’s books including the time travel books she writes with Cary Morgan Frates, pen-name Morgan O’Neill. But nothing has excited me as much as her new Sci-Fi novel, DRAGON DAWN. And I am not even a sci-fi aficionado! Read on to discover more about Deborah, her specials deal for Dragon Dawn and her two book giveaway. A feast today for discerning readers.
    DeborahOneillCordes-2 author picresized
    Deborah O’Neill Cordes is a screenwriter and novelist of historical and speculative fiction. She is the author of the sci-fi time travel novel, Dragon Dawn, Book One of the Dinosaurian Time Travel Series. She is also the co-author of the Morgan O’Neill time travel novels, which she writes with Cary Morgan Frates. Three of Deborah’s works have been optioned by Hollywood, while many others are award winners, garnering finalist placements in the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Conference Literary Contest, semi-finalist wins in the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, and the Metro Goldwyn Mayer Finalist award in the Seattle International Film Festival’s Perfect Pitch Forum. She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two West Highland White Terriers, who, alas, are precocious terriers and therefore never white.

    Now I just have a few questions to ask you so we can delve further!

    1. Whether or not you loved or hated it, is there a book that has grabbed you by the throat and changed the way you write?

    It was the wonderful Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. I was intrigued by the scenes where her modern-day heroine, Kivrin, goes back to the Middle Ages and is astounded when she does not understand the medieval tongue she’s been studying in preparation for time travel. I vowed then and there to have my time travelling characters confront such conflicts as the inability to understand an ancient or strange language, which necessitates having to learn it in order to survive. It allows me to choose more exotic settings for my works, such as a parallel universe where dinosaurian beings have evolved to create a civilization, or an exotic historical era, like thirteenth century China, ancient Rome, and medieval Italy. I enjoy pushing the limits so I’m not stuck in the typical Scotland/England time travel novel mode, because of the aforementioned language issues.

    2. You have written in a number of different genres and co-authored some wonderful historical time travel series. Can you tell us about your background and the motivation to write as you have?

    The possibility of time travel has always fascinated me. When I was growing up, I devoured novels like H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine, along with other non-time travel sci-fi classics like Dune and the Foundation series. I’ve also loved time travel movies, including The Time Machine (1960), directed by George Pal and based on Wells’s novel, Nicholas Meyer’s Time After Time, every Star Trek time travel film or episode ever made, and the Back to the Future series, directed by Robert Zemeckis. Speculation about the feasibility of time travel opened my mind to some great “what if” scenarios, thus I followed that path on my road to publication. I also adore a great “happily ever after,” and so I always write stories with a romantic bent, as I am a firm believer that love truly does make the world go ’round. As for my background, I’ve had a diverse education, with a bachelor’s degree in zoology (with minors in history and chemistry/physics) and a master’s degree in history, both from Northern Arizona University. My penchant for those subjects has served me well as an author; I would have been hard pressed to complete Dragon Dawn without keen interests in both zoology and history, as the plot relies on knowledge about them and many related fields, like paleontology and genetics. (JL: The research and information in this book is amazing and fascinating!)

    3. Have you ever written a book you didn’t like? Why didn’t you like it? (Don’t have to name it ).

    No. I don’t think I’m much different from other authors in that I tend to think of my novels and screenplays as my “babies.” 

    4. You are very prolific with social media posts (compared to me, anyway ) how do you structure your day for family, writing and promoting. I have a feeling you never sleep!

    Ha! It’s more like I never have time to write nowadays! I’m about to go deep into writing mode, Joanna. You probably won’t hear from me for several years. **wink**

    5. I have held back from asking you about your newest release DRAGON DAWN, but can’t contain myself anymore. This is your debut into Indie publishing and a vastly different venture from your other books. Can you talk about how it took shape in your mind and how you achieved the incredible amount of research necessary to produce this amazing story?

    Thank you, Joanna. Your praise means a lot to me, because I greatly admire your writing. To answer your question… I’ve been pondering the plot for Dragon Dawn for over thirty years, ever since the father and son scientific team, Luis and Walter Alvarez, discovered the K/T Event, when a massive comet or asteroid wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs and eighty percent of other life forms on Earth (the latest scientific evidence pinpoints this date at 66 million years ago, give or take 11,000 years). I’ve always wondered what would have happened had the K/T not occurred. The mammals (including our ancestral species) would have continued to eke out an existence in the shadows of the dominant dinosaurs. And what if a dinosaurian species had evolved to sentience and created a civilization to rival our own? (JL: People, you have to read this book!)

    6. I hear you are not only working on the sequel to Dragon Dawn but other time travel series as well. Tell us about your next works.

    I’ve started the sequel to Dragon Dawn, titled Dawn of Time, which will continue the story of my dinosaurian heroine, Dawann-dracon, and her human counterpart, Dawn. I have the beginning and ending finished (I tend to work scattershot by writing out of sequence), and I can assure my readers that it is an emotionally satisfying conclusion for both the dinosaurian universe and the human one as depicted in Dragon Dawn (with some wonderful romantic elements thrown in to boot!) As for the Morgan O’Neill time travel novels (which I write with Cary Morgan Frates), we have been contracted for a three book deal with Entangled Publishing for our new Elizabethan time travel series. And my award-winning time travel screenplay, Conjurer, continues to make the rounds in Hollywood. Fingers crossed that Keanu Reeves will find out about it, because he would be perfect as Conjurer’s hero.  (JL: Just remember your friends when you have Keanu to dinner, Deb.)

    As hinted at earlier, Deborah has a Kindle Countdown Deal for US buyers from February 14-20 for Dragon Dawn @ 99c, before going back to full price. Deborah has also generously offered an e-book copy of DRAGON DAWN to one commenter together with LOVE, ETERNALLY: Book One of the Roman Time Travel Series by Morgan O’Neill.
    DragonDawn_CVRDragon Dawn book blurb:
    Time snakes between alternate universes. Ever watchful, an alien intelligence survives on Mars, waiting to be found by spacefarers from Earth. The alien’s ultimate goal is to send human astronauts back in time, where they will alter the past and thwart the extinction of the dinosaurs. A race of intelligent dinosaurs, resembling the alien’s extinct species, subsequently evolves to rule the world. But a human female astronaut, through a strange twist of fate, survives the change in the space-time continuum. After finding herself in a dinosaurian body, she must race against time – and the formidable alien – to restore the universe to its rightful course.

    Thank you so much, Joanna, for hosting me on your blog. I appreciate your kind words and support!
    Links:
    Amazon Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Dawn-Dinosaurian-Travel-Series-ebook/dp/B00HUI4WZE
    http://www.deborahcordes.com
    http://www.morganoneill.com

    Author Spotlight on K.M. Jackson & $50 Amazon Giveaway

    I want to extend a very warm welcome to my friend and colleague, K.M. Jackson, a native New Yorker, former fashion designer and current writer of contemporary women’s fiction and romance. She is presently promoting her wonderful new release, BOUNCE – I’ll let Kwana tell you more about that! Oh and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter $50 giveaway – link at the end of the post.

    Thanks so much for having me on your blog Joanna. It’s a real honor to be here.Kwana_wall-3-300x300

     Whether or not you loved or hated it, is there a book that has grabbed you by the throat and changed the way you write?

    There are honestly too many books to name. I’ve been a huge romance fan and a book lover for longer than I can remember. But I will say that reading Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary with her irreverent voice and every woman style made be think for the first time that writing was something that I may be able to do.

     You have had an interesting background as a fashion designer – has this influenced the books you write and the genres you choose?

     I think my creative background has influenced me quite a bit. Especially with my titles for Crimson Romance which are all set around characters with creative art backgrounds. In Through The Lens we have a photographer looking for love, in Seduction’s Canvas there is a painter and in my upcoming February 10th release: Threads of Desire I have Gabby, a fashion designer trying to find her happily ever after.

     Have you ever written a book you didn’t like? Why didn’t you like it? (Don’t have to name it J)

     This is a funny one. I can say that by far I’m my own worst critic, so though I love them all, part of me still cringes at them too. I’m like the actor that can’t watch herself on screen.

     

    JK Rowling spoke about the moment Harry Potter took form in her mind. But she had no pen and had to sit in a train for four hours so she sat and stared and let the ideas tumble around in her thoughts. How do you capture the first ideas for a story?

     Oh gosh. It’s awful. I always get ideas at the absolute worst times. In the shower, right after I go to bed and especially when I’m driving. Never when I’m in front of the keyboard and ready to work. I’m the queen of turning the computer back on at 1AM or rushing into my driveway and opening up my notebook before the muse flutters back to her little happy place.

     Do you write your first draft with your head or your heart?

     Is there a difference? I feel like my brain never shuts down and the ideas keep in coming and I love them all so I can’t really separate my head and my heart.

     How do you choose your book dedications?  

     This is an easy one. So far they have all been dedicated to my wonderful husband. He’s sticking by me and I’m enjoying sticking with him.

    You have just made your debut into Indie publishing with your new release, BOUNCE. Why have you chosen to self-publish and can you tell us about the book including a short excerpt if you want to share?

     I’m so excited about bringing BOUNCE out and sharing it with the world. It’s a story that’s near and dear to my heart and one that honestly was a close, but not quite, fit with traditional houses. It’s part women’s fiction and part romance. Fits under both African-American romance as well as multi-cultural. It’s a book that has lots of moving parts and doesn’t quite fit into one box but is I think a real snapshot of the world as it is today. Plus it’s quite sexy so there’s that fun bit.

     

    Here is a bit about BOUNCE:Kwana bookcover -Bounce1400 B

     

    Growing up as a young girl, Sabrina Jacobs could only dream her life would be this good. She has a successful career, a famous sexy husband, two children, a house in an affluent Westchester suburb and a shoe collection worthy of a magazine spread. Too bad it’s all a façade.

    It has been almost a year since her husband admitted he had an affair with a younger and bouncier co-worker. Follow Sabrina as she tries to rein in her out-of-control life by kicking her husband out on his rear, chucking her career and even firing her too-cute-for-the-job nanny. But how will she survive as a stay-at-home mom in the land of designer clothes, designer kids’ parties and designer babies? Hmm… maybe the hunky young French teacher, who has been flirting shamelessly with Sabrina, is just what she needs to take her mind off her problems. Well, not if her husband has something to say about it. Will Sabrina be able to forgive and still be true to herself?

      And an Excerpt from Bounce

    Sean reaches over and pulls my body in close to his, cradling my backside into his groin. He’s sleeping soundly, but his erection is strong and wide-awake.

    Even at rest my husband is horny.

    Me? Not so much. I look around at the shadows the moon makes on the wall and wonder what’s going on in his dreams right now to make him so excited. Am I in there? The thought puts a heavy weight on my chest. As Sean’s hand trails from my waist to my breast, my body involuntarily tenses up. I know I should relax and just enjoy it but it feels almost impossible right now.

    Snapshots of our life together run through my mind: The golden couple. A charmed life, rags to riches and all that. Two kids, three-car garage. All the things that say my life should be perfect.

    As if.

    I also have a $50 Amazon Gift Card giveaway that I’d love for your readers to enter. Just click on and good luck! Here is the link: a Rafflecopter giveaway“>

    To find out more about K.M. Jackson and to purchase BOUNCE:
    Amazon: http://amzn.to/1cOu9FS
    Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/K0FcVJ
    Kobo: http://bit.ly/1i2SIUi
    K.M. can be found on her site at http://www.kwana.com
    On Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/KmJacksonAuthor
    On twitter at: https://twitter.com/kwanawrites

    Author Spotlight on Maggi Andersen & Giveaway of Taming A Gentleman Spy

    Maggi Andersen -AuthorPicI want to give a warm welcome to my friend and colleague, Maggi Andersen, multi-published author of Historical Romantic Intrigue, Contemporary Romantic Suspense and Young Adult fiction. Maggi has rashly agreed to answer my odd questions so here goes:

    Whether or not you loved or hated it, is there a book that has grabbed you by the throat and changed the way you write?

    Most of Mary Stewart’s, Georgette Heyer’s and Victoria Holt’s initially. They created worlds I love to revisit. More recently, C.S. Harris’s Regency mysteries featuring Sebastian St. Cyr. What Angels Fear was the first in the series. Harris’s accurate historical detail gripped me, and her excellently drawn characters; how she brought the darker side of the Regency world to life making it almost a character in itself. Years ago, Georgette Heyer captivated me for the same reason, although her stories were of a much lighter tone. (JL: Georgette Heyer grabbed me when I was in boarding school and helped me through long, lonely weekends)

    You write in a number of different genres. Was this an evolutionary process or did you just decide you like variety? And is there any one in particular you feel is closer to your heart?

    I like variety in my reading and in what I choose to write. I was working at finding my writer’s voice in the early years. The basic themes of most of my stories are romances, adventures and often mysteries, although I set them in different periods and genres. I feared I’d get bored or stale and start repeating myself writing too much in one genre, but this Regency spy series has proved me wrong. I’ve enjoyed writing each book very much.

    The book that touches my heart more than any other is the teen novella I wrote early in my career: Dog Head Code. At that time, I planned to become a children’s writer, but then I published my first work, a Regency story, and took a different path. Dog Head Code is still available in e-book. I plan to write more children’s stories; I just wrote a short story for my grandson and thoroughly enjoyed it. (JL: I remember when you first had Dog Head Code published, Maggi, and how much I loved the name)

    Have you ever written a book you didn’t like? Why didn’t you like it?

    I can’t say I dislike any book or short story I’ve written, once it’s finished, although I have favourites. I have hated the odd sagging middle until I found my way through it. And I might scream in frustration and rip out a few chapters along the way! And there’s always that temptation to rewrite the book even after it’s published!  (JL: Yes, there’s nothing like happily reading your newly pubbed book and thinking of a much better way to say something – too late!)

    JK Rowling spoke about the moment Harry Potter took form in her mind. But she had no pen and had to sit in a train for four hours so she sat and stared and let the ideas tumble around in her thoughts. How do you capture the first ideas for a story?

    I can relate to how the process developed for JK Rowling. I do my best brainstorming while driving long distances. Stuck in a car frees up my mind and allows me to focus in a way that sitting in front of a computer can fail to do.

    Do you write your first draft with your head or your heart?

    A bit of both. I write a scene with an idea of where I want it to go, but often my heart takes over and some surprising things occur between the hero and heroine. I edit each scene as I go and end up with a fairly clean draft. Gone are the days when I have to sort an unruly mess out.

    How do you choose your book dedications?

    I dedicate my books to my favorite people, or someone who might have influenced the writing of the book. And some are dedicated to those loved ones I’ve lost.

    TAMING A GENTLEMAN SPY is Maggi’s newest release and she is offering a giveaway to one lucky commenterMaggi Andersen -Taming cover

    Tell me about your next book – a short excerpt if you want to share.
    WHAT A RAKE WANTS is the third book in the Mayfair Spy Series. Nothing here is written in stone. It all may be changed:
    Excerpt:

    Althea Brookwood sat with her Aunt Catherine while the musicians enjoyed a break. Mrs. Maxwell’s ball, always a favorite, was in full swing.
    “It has been over a year since Brookwood died.”
    “Yes, Aunt.”
    Aunt Catherine’s conversation had changed little from the last time she saw her. Her aunt compressed her lips. “You should consider marrying again.”
    Althea’s answer remained the same also. “I have no wish to.”
    Aunt Catherine eyed her through her lorgnette. “I know Brookwood was a devil. I heard the rumors. I thought it was good riddance when he died in that duel.”
    Althea shivered. Aunt Catherine didn’t know the half of it. Brookwood’s obvious dissatisfaction with her had been a torment from the very beginning. Now she was free, and determined to stay that way. No man would ever hold sway over her again, bending her to his will. She smiled at her aunt. “I know you care about me, Aunt, and I’m very grateful.”
    “Did Brookwood leave you well provided for?”
    “My income allows me to live comfortably.” If she was careful. She had learned thrift living with a parsimonious husband.
    The elderly lady touched the brilliants at her throat. “You know the bulk of my estates were entailed, but you will inherit the rest. I’d like to know to whom I’m leaving my money, before I die. Not another bounder like Brookwood.”
    Althea leaned across and kissed her aunt’s soft cheek. “Have no fear. I shan’t make that mistake. I had no say in my marriage to Brookwood. Father arranged it.” The possibility of being at the mercy of another like him made her stomach flip over.
    “Lord Ingleby has recently been widowed. He’s shown a considerable interest in you and he’s plump in the pocket.” Undaunted, her aunt continued, “Won’t be after my money.”
    Another man with more than a touch of violence about him. It was in his eyes and the tight way he held himself. Althea recognized the signs and suppressed a shiver. “I don’t find him attractive.”
    “Attractive? That’s of little importance. We are talking about a husband, not a lover.”
    Her aunt’s husband had died some years ago. A generous, quiet man, a good deal older than Catherine. She studied her aunt, whom she was said to favor. Catherine was still arresting in a Gros de Naples gown of deep violet, the color of her eyes, which had not dimmed. Might she have taken a lover at some point? Althea dismissed the idea immediately. There had never been a whiff of scandal attached to her.
    “You can’t say that Irishman, Montsimon, isn’t attractive,” Aunt Catherine said with a nod of her head.
    Althea turned to see his lordship’s sleek head above the crowd. He was part of the Regent’s fast set. “Yes, he is, and a rake.”
    “Some woman will tame him. Rakes make the best husbands once they settle down.”
    “If they settle down.” She didn’t tell her aunt that Montsimon had attempted to woo her into his bed. Since she had been widowed, many men pursued her. Widows were seen as fair game. Men assumed she was dying of frustration! She supposed she was an oddity. Younger widows often remarried after a year of mourning. Others found suitable arrangements outside marriage. She curled her fingers tightly into her palm. After her marriage ended as brutally as it began, she had wished for neither.
    Her aunt’s bright violet eyes fastened on hers. “See the way Montsimon looks at you. If you play your cards right, you’ll be the one to tame him, my dear. Well worth the effort, I’ll wager.”
    “How do you suggest I do that?” she asked, surprised and curious despite herself.
    “You take him into your bed. Eventually. But first, you play him like a salmon on a hook. You never promise what you won’t deliver, mind. That would not be sporting.” Her aunt fluttered her fan as if the thought made her too warm. “At first let him get to know you. Let him begin to want more from you than merely someone to warm his bed. When he can’t live without you, then….”
    Althea gasped. Perhaps she’d misjudged her relative. “Aunt…”
    Her aunt laughed. “You’re surprised?”
    “I knew you to be wise and somewhat shrewd, but I never suspected you capable of such….” She fell silent.
    Snapping her fan shut, her aunt nodded with a wink. “I’m as crafty as a fox, my dear. And you are my niece, just as intelligent and smart yourself.” She gazed over Althea’s shoulder. “The prey advances. No doubt to ask you to dance. I would advise you not to shun him.”
    Althea turned to see Lord Montsimon making his way purposely towards her. She could not refuse his request to dance, for it was bad ton when she’d been seen to be dancing earlier. Could she keep a man such as him at bay? He had all the charm of the Irish in his soft burr and the looks to go with it, a kind of loose-limbed grace and elegance. And he had intriguing smoky grey eyes, which often held a spark of humor. She found humor attractive in a man and had decided it wise to avoid him. He bowed over her hand. “Might I have the pleasure of this dance, Lady Brookwood?”
    His eyes held a gleam, which defied her to refuse. She lifted the corners of her mouth in a polite but distant smile. “Yes, my lord.”
    If he were surprised she had accepted him so readily, he had the grace not to show it. The last time she had pleaded a headache.
    Leading her onto the floor, he clasped an arm around her waist as the musicians began to play. Althea marveled that in spite of his long list of lovers, no serious scandal had attached itself to him. Women did talk, but only praise and regret had reached her ears. Silver tongued, he bewitched them, and she needed to develop some kind of armor against him, for they met often during the Season. Montsimon no doubt looked upon her as a challenge; for few women would refuse him and she quite deliberately had done so. To keep a grip on her emotions, she gazed around at the other dancers, and imagined she danced with the king who held no attraction for her. But it was difficult; Montsimon’s wide shoulder felt hard beneath her gloved hand. He was slim, but she’d guess his body would be sinewy and strong. Her eyes drifted downwards.
    She looked up to find him watching her with a smile lurking on his lips. As if he could read her thoughts. The invitation in his gray eyes almost robbed her of breath.
    “You are silent this evening, Lady Althea,” he said, as he swept her expertly around the floor. “I am used to at least a spirited exchange from you. My dancing displeases you?”
    “Not at all, my lord. I’m enjoying the music. You dance extremely well.” As he did most things, no doubt.
    He smiled. “An accomplished partner makes a man look good.”
    “You are too gracious.”
    His hand in her gloved one tightened, settling her closer. “Too gracious? Would you prefer me not to be? I am of a versatile nature. I can be whatever you wish.”
    She glanced up through her lashes. “I am gratified, my lord, that you desire to please me.”
    “You have only to tell me what it is you wish of me,” he said in a honeyed tone, his eyes twinkling.
    The music ended and couples began to leave the floor. “I wish only for you to return me to my aunt, my lord.” Unaccountably hot, she tucked her hand into his arm. How smug he looked. She would love to take men like him down a peg or two. Could she ever embark on such a scheme as her aunt suggested? It seemed remarkably dishonest. She liked few men, and as for rakes, they deserved all they got.
    He led her from the floor. “Ah, Lady Althea, you disappoint me. Here I was thinking there was more to you than being content with the dull life you appear to lead. I sensed a desire for adventure, romance. I’m sure I glimpsed it in your eyes.”
    “I am most concerned for your sight, my lord. Perhaps a physician?” she said crisply, stung by his assumption that her life was dull.
    He chuckled as they reached her aunt. Without further ado, he bowed to them both and left her.
    “Well?” Aunt Catherine leaned forward.
    “Well, what?”
    “Did you make an assignation?”
    Althea took up her fan and waved it in front of her hot face knowing it lacked any semblance of grace. “Of course I did not. It would have been most improper.”
    “Silly girl.”
    “I declare you wish to live vicariously through me, aunt.”
    Her aunt snorted. “A widow must make her way in the world. He talks now to Maria Broadstairs. See how she laughs with him and has placed a hand on his arm.”
    “The Duchess is happily married. She likes to flirt.”
    “At least she knows how.” Aunt Catherine shook her head despairingly. “I believe you need lessons, Althea.”

    As usual your writing has me hooked from the start, Maggi – look forward to its release! To find out more about Maggi find her at:
    Website: http://www.maggiandersenauthor.com
    Blog: http://www.maggiandersen.blogspot.com
    Facebook:
    Twitter:
    Pinterest:

    The Writing Process Blog Tour

    Today’s post is part of a “let’s see how other writers  produce their books” blog tour courtesy of my fellow historian writing colleague, Alison Stuart, whose wonderful books continue to enthral me with their great historical value as well as their fascinating stories. I have just bought her Secrets in Time and can’t wait to read! And keep watching for her newest release, Claiming the Rebel’s Heart, due out January 22, 2014.Alison Stuart

    Welcome, and now I have some questions to answer:

    1)       What am I working on?

    My first two published novels were historical romances – Beyond Innocence and Shadow Beneath the Sea.But I have nudged aside historical romance for now and I am working on a contemporary with romantic elements about a woman, who has been disfigured and is desperate to have her old life and looks back but at the same time knows she must re-invent herself. This has challenged me considerably because I have no fascinating historical events to cushion and enhance my story. I am also very excited as it allows me to delve deeply into the human psyche and our ingrained beliefs, often based on other’s opinions of us. This woman finds herself involved with people she would formerly have crossed a street to avoid and there are many funny and heart-warming moments.

    I am also half-way through a family story spanning over 70 years from 1946 to the present.  A story of a mother and daughter and their journey back to each other (metaphorically).

    2)      How does my work differ from others of its genre?

    I’m not sure about the differences compared to others of the same genre. I choose a time or event in history which fascinates or intrigues me, research and then write. What might be different is that I have no particular time which I favour more than others. I have set my novels in the 18th, 19th  and 20th centuries, so far. What is probably characteristic of all my stories, though is the interesting and humorous, often foolish characters I play with. The event may be serious but the characters never are. As William Shakespeare said, “When we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.”
    .

    3)      Why do I write what I do?

    There are a number of books which remain engraved  in my memory – they were of no particular genre and by no one particular author. Novels by Sharon Penman, Hilary Mantel, Ken Follett, Rosamund Lupton, Vikram Seth and Jo Jo Moyes. These are the books which inspire me. I am an avid reader of historical novels and love to research historical facts so when I first decided I wanted to write, I didn’t consider any other genre. Writing became an educational journey as well as a creative one. However, I must have a restless spirit because I experienced an urge to wander off to other-genre-land and will probably continue to do so. I am aware this is not as marketable as someone who writes in one particular genre and gathers an audience who look for their books but perhaps I am a selfish writer and write for my own satisfaction. Please don’t tell anyone though!

    4)      How does my writing process work? 

    I had been a “proud pantster” for a number of years – coming up with an idea or a time/event in history, develop the main characters and then, hey-ho and away! Until I signed up for a writing course designed to have a dirty draft completed in two months. To accomplish this ridiculously impossible feat, one had to have the required number of scenes plotted (over 60 in my case), each with their own GMC, three main plot points and pinch points, black moment and resolution. All before writing the first word! I was still laughing when my instructor fired the starter gun. The first thing she wanted from me was my premise…no problems…except when I wrote it out, she told me it wouldn’t work if I kept to what I had written. This called for an hour long Skype call with her. To cut a long story short I have now turned into a hybrid, half plotter/half pantster and have to admit it is much easier and faster to write with scene outlines at least drafted. I have written more in a month and a half than I would previously have written in six months.

     Tune in next week (22rd December) for two wonderful writers of both contemporary and historical romances. One true blue Aussie girl and one of my American author friends.

    Téa Cooper has published three contemporary and three historical romances set in and around the historic village of Wollombi in the Hunter Valley where she lives. When she is not writing, Téa can be found haunting the local museum or chatting to the locals, who provide her with a never-ending source of inspiration. Find out more about Téa at:  http://www.teacooperauthor.com/blog.html

    Robyn Neeley is an East Coaster who loves to explore new places; watches way more reality TV than she cares to admit; can’t live without Dunkin Donuts coffee and has never met a cookie she didn’t like. If you have a must read romance suggestion or a fabulous cookie recipe, she wants to know. Visit her at robynneeley.com.