New Release: Murder in Plane Sight by Julie Holmes #Mystery #Suspense

I am über excited to be taking part in the book launch blog tour for my friend, Julie Holmes. Her debut release, Murder in Plane Sight, a mystery/suspense novel is now available. I have been looking forward to this release for a long time, and am thrilled to know Julie has more mysteries planned. If you’re not already following her blog, Facets of a Muse, you’re missing out on a lot of fun. This isn’t the first time Julie has appeared on my blog, but it IS the first time she’s been here to share a novel she’s written. I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome!


Thank you, Mae, for hosting me! I’ve had the opportunity to watch fellow writers release their books. I’ve even hosted their announcements on my own blog, hoping that someday it would be my turn to announce my own book release.

That day is here. It’s both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because I have reached a goal I have been aiming for since elementary school. Terrifying because I can no longer stay home and quietly keep writing, not if I want to gather readers.

I’ve been paying attention to my fellow writers and what they do for their book releases. Some offer a bit of insight into their process, which seems to suggest there is some sort of order to the whole thing.

I suppose there is. First come the characters.

No, wait, first comes the story.

Hmm. It’s different for every writer, and for me it can be different for every book. Sometimes I come up with characters who need a story. Sometimes I get a great story idea, and the characters follow.

So which was it with this book, you ask? That’s a little tricky, because the very first draft wasn’t set at the airport at all. In fact, it was a whole different story, with a main character who was an aircraft mechanic, and a story set in rural Minnesota. What is the point of a character who works at the airport when the story isn’t set there?

I realized I had two separate stories: a character who needed a story, and a story that needed a character. So I pulled my aircraft mechanic out of rural Minnesota and gave her a story. And of course, as is usual in my creative process, her first story wasn’t even set on the airport grounds.

Which I realized after I wrote the first draft and started reading through it. And I heard the voice of my writing teacher, clear as day: Why isn’t she at the airport?

Um. Yeah. Duh!

And eventually the story matured into Murder in Plane Sight.What about the other story, you ask? That’s on my list to work on after I finish Book 2. Yes, there will be another Sierra Bauer mystery. 🙂

Book cover for Murder in Plane Sight by Julie Holmes shows plane on snowy taxi way with woman in foreground, back to camera

BLURB:
Sierra Bauer, aircraft mechanic, struggled against personal tragedy to reclaim control of her life and her aviation career, but when she discovers a frozen body in her inspection plane, she must prove her innocence and uncover the key to exposing a deadly aviation conspiracy before she becomes the next casualty.

Find at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and wherever books are sold.

Short Excerpt:
Headlights glared in the rearview mirror. Sierra Bauer slowed, but not enough. Her car slid around the turn onto the service drive that ran past the Range Airlines maintenance hangar on the western side of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. She steered into the skid, regained control. Cursed the timing of the snow.

The idiot stuck to her backside like duct tape, too damn close even for Minneapolis drivers in these two inches of fresh January snow. Sierra considered hitting the brakes.

A deep rumble, and her tailgater passed her.

A pickup truck.

In the glow of her headlights, she identified the color.

Black.

Her breath caught.

An outline of a pale rectangle peeked from the layer of snow on the rear bumper.

Her heart stuttered. Raced.

It can’t be his truck. How would he know where I am?

bio box for author, Julie Holmes

Find Julie at the following haunts:
Web | Blog | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Wizards with Words: Tera Shanley and Love In the Time of the Dead

bigstock-magic-book-9719930It’s time for Wizards with Words! Today I’m happy to welcome back my bubbly Lyrical Press sister, Tera Shanley. I recently did a cover reveal for her Omnific zombie romance,  LOVE IN THE TIME OF THE DEAD. I hope you’ll sit back and join us as I toss a series of questions at this perpetually upbeat author who always brings a smile to my face. 🙂

It’s great to have you here Tera. Let’s start with the basics. Tell us a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

Righty, all about me. My name is Tera Shanley, but I’m more often called by a nickname. In fact, when people use my real name I usually hunch inwardly like I’m about to get in trouble. Little Lady, Thumbalina, and T-ray top off a long list of (g-rated) names given by my guy buddies and usually have to do with my not even 5 foot stature. I met Mr. Tera the first day of college classes and married him two weeks after I graduated and we have two little kiddies, both of whom are his mini-dopplegangers (which I love). I’m owned by two gray-faced pooches and live in Texas. Relatively new to writing novels, I started just two years ago, but I was writing poetry and songs (I play guitar) for a long time before that.

Those nicknames are adorable! And hey, I have a sister-in-law who is a bundle of energy and always the life of the party at 4’11”, LOL.

My favorite part of starting a new novel is coming up with character names. What’s yours and how do you go about it?

Oh goodness, I always have a running list of names! Like a maniac, I’m forever scribbling names down on random scraps of paper and leaving them all over the house. If I see someone’s name I find interesting in the news or in an article, I keep it and hope for an opportunity for it to fit one of my characters someday. Names come easily; titles I’m rubbish at.

That sounds just like me! Which do you find easier to write and why – description or dialogue?

Description is so fun, it really is, but dialogue comes more naturally to me. It’s likely because my characters are so loud in my head and my story lines usually come from conversation yet unnamed characters have with each other, usually while I’m in dreamland. I’m realizing a lot of authors have that schizophrenic-insomnia that comes with trying to shush your imaginary friends so you can catch some uninterrupted zzz’s.

LTD_coverSo true. I especially have that problem on Sunday nights, after a several hours of concentrated writing. Please tell us about your new/upcoming release.

Love in the Time of the Dead is a modern day, post zombie apocalyptic romance set three years into the outbreak. Laney is finally getting over the heartache of someone she’s lost and is slowly opening up to the possibility that life goes on and that she can find this sort of unexpectedly beautiful existence in ruined surroundings if she just lets herself. She and her team have been nomadic for years but with the realization she is immune to dead bites, they have to figure out who they can trust with the information and pick a colony to settle down in.

The goal is to extract a vaccine out of her, but she has to survive some harrowing adventures if that’s going to come to fruition. And right in the middle of that chaos are two men fighting for her and she has an impossible decision to make. One between her brother’s friend Mitchell, who’s been fighting Deads with her since the outbreak, or colony leader, Sean Daniels, who is dark and mysterious, moody and hunted. It’s a story of self-discovery that tests the bonds and strength of character in a group of unlikely friends. It releases today!

YAY! I love having you here on your release day, and can’t wait to delve into the story. The romantic triangle and the description of the two guys have me really intrigued. How did you choose your title?

I didn’t! The book was originally called Dead Run River, for the colony Laney and the boys land in but the team at Omnific came to me with a name that better fit the guts of the book. They were really cool with how they approached me about it. I’d never want someone to pick up the book expecting straight horror and gore because it’s not. The most important part of the story is the character growth and the love triangle romance. I loved it. I didn’t balk at all because I’d been concerned with the original title already ,so it was an easy ‘yes’ for me.

How fantastic it worked so well. And having “love” in the title does lend itself more to romance in my humble opinion. 🙂 Which character did you enjoy writing the most and why?

Mitchell, hands down. He’s such a smart-ace and finds such in enjoyment out of being a splinter. He was supposed to die off in chapter three but he wiggled his way into my heart and gave Sean a run for his money. Sean’s so collected and confident and I loved the way Mitchell can shake him up when it comes to Laney. I just couldn’t bring myself to kill him!

Now you have me really intrigued! Share one sentence – – yes, only one! – – of dialogue or description you love.

“I breathe for that stupid word on your lips.”

Yum! I have an idea of what that “stupid word” might be but can’t wait to find out. Name 3-5 books you’d horde for a deserted island.

Eeeeew, I like this question. Okay, 1.) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, B.) Jane Eyre, aaaaaaand, oh geez, this is like choosing a favorite child…okay and 3.) Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs.

LOL! It’s hard choosing among favorites, isn’t it? Name a book that had a profound effect on you and explain why.

When I was eleven years old, my cousin gifted me a signed copy of Beauty by Bill Wallace. I read it (too many times to count) and that was it for me. It was the first time I remember where I was all in for books. Beauty was the first book in my hoard..eh herm…personal library.

I have a vague memory of reading that too. As a kid, I was in love with any story that involved horses.  If someone gave you a working time machine tomorrow, where would you visit and why?

I’d pull a Claire Randall and Outlander myself straight back to 1700 Scotland and find me a redheaded Scotsman named Jamie. Why? Book boyfriend.

Oh, yum! Book boyfriends are great. I’ve got a few of those guys in my cache, LOL. And now for some quick lightning-round answers:

Favorite season: Autumn (I live in Texas. Summer cooks you.)
Favorite animal: Horse
Food you never grow tired of: Key Lime Pie
Mountains or beach: Mountains

Thanks for being my guest today, Tera, it was a delight to have you. BTW, I have wanted a horse ever since I was a little girl. There is a tradition in my family…on every birthday, before the birthday guy or girl is ready to blow out the candles we all yell “wish for a pony” no matter how old we get. Some things you just never outgrow!

author picAUTHOR BIO
Tera Shanley writes in sub-genres that stretch from Paranormal Romance, to Historic Western Romance, to Apocalyptic (zombie) Romance. The common theme? She loves love! A self-proclaimed bookworm, she was raised in small town Texas and could often be found decorating a table at the local library. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband and two young children and when she isn’t busy running around after her family, she’s writing a new story or devouring a good book. Any spare time is dedicated to chocolate licking, rifle slinging, friend hugging, and the great outdoors.

~ooOOoo~

You can find Tera at the following haunts:

Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

BLURB:
Laney Landry has been fighting Deads alongside her brother and friends for three years. But she has a secret. She’s immune to Dead bites and has to find the right people to trust with the information. Her team rallies around her to find a doctor who can extract a vaccine from Laney which could fight the virus that ended the world.

Sean Daniels leads a colony that provides her team with much needed shelter and supplies. He is obviously interested in Laney. The question is whether he’s only intrigued by her as a source for the possible vaccine, or for something more. Tests for the cure might push her body beyond what it can endure, and just as she faces a ghost from her past, her longtime teammate Derek Mitchell hints at an interest in more than just her Dead slaying abilities.

Two honorable and alluring men – one colossal decision to make. Despite historically bad taste in men, can she rise above the chaos of the apocalypse and choose the one who deserves her heart? The right choice could mean the difference between surviving…and living.

LOVE IN THE TIME OF THE DEAD is available from Amazon, Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble
Add to your Goodreads list here

Wizards with Words: D.B. Sieders and Red Shoes for Lab Blues

bigstock-magic-book-9719930Hey, everyone! It’s Wizards with Words time and I’m delighted to introduce you to another new author. D.B. Sieders has dropped by today to chat about her writing routine and her hot new release, RED SHOES FOR LAB BLUES.

D.B. is a sister author at Lyrical Press and a talented storyteller. I quickly devoured RED SHOES FOR LAB BLUES, her debut release, and am eagerly looking forward to seeing more from her. So get comfy, settle in, and please say hello to D.B.

~ooOOoo~

Let’s start with your writing routine. D.B. Do you have a favorite place and/or time of day to write?

As a working mom, I squeeze in my writing time from 8:00-10:00 P.M. at least three nights a week. Along with weekends and the occasional sprint during my lunch break at work, I manage a decent word count 🙂

Good for you! I often use my lunch break at work for writing too, or catching up with promo. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in a short amount of time when those hours are so precious! Which do you develop first, characters or plot?

For me, the characters come first. I catch a flash of one in action or a snippet of dialogue will run through my mind. That’s how they ‘introduce’ themselves. I’m lucky in that those flashes usually reveal some bit of conflict or character motivation, and then their journey to resolution takes shape as I write the first chapters or scene – so there’s my basic process.

I’m a character-first writer too. I love when they introduce themselves,  then hang around demanding attention. A persistent lot, LOL. Which do you find easier to write and why – description or dialogue?

Definitely dialogue! My characters love to talk, whether to each other or to themselves via internal dialogue. I normally crank out all of the conversation for a scene or chapter and then go back to flesh out the setting. I can normally visualize what my characters are doing as they speak, so the action tags work out pretty well.

Sounds like a good process! Please tell us about your new/debut release.

redshoesforlabbluesRed Shoes for Lab Blues is a contemporary romance novella featuring two dedicated and somewhat competitive biomedical cancer researchers and set against the backdrop of laboratory and pharmaceutical corporate politics, including an act of sabotage that could turn deadly.

I loved the story and your characters, especially Henry :). And the cover is awesome! For those who haven’t read the book, would you care to share how you chose your title?

Ah, now that would be telling… My heroine, Dr. Stacey Jamison, tends to be pretty focused on her work in the laboratory, to the point of sacrificing a social life. As her roommate points out, Stacey really needs to get out more and ‘recalibrate her normal meter.’ Well, during one such outing, complete with several tequila shots, a bar bet, and a pair of sexy red suede pumps, Stacey stumbles (literally) into her secret crush from work, Dr. Henry Chan. With looks, smarts, and more charm and sex appeal than any geek has a right to flaunt, he might just be the cure for her lab blues – if she can trust him.

Share one sentence – – yes, only one! – – of dialogue or description you love.

Her face split into that winning smile he’d come to adore as she replied, “Hmm, in that case, you should know I am capable of appreciating a man with a really big…vocabulary.”

LOL! Do you have any guilty pleasures (i.e., type of food, music, TV show, shoe obsession, silly distraction) you’d like to share?

We spend a lot of time on Animal Planet in my house (kid friendly), and I absolutely love ‘My Cat From Hell’ and ‘Call of the Wildman.’ The latter definitely counts as a guilty pleasure.

I love My Cat from Hell (feline fanatic here) and I admit to the guilty pleasure of Call of the Wildman. Hubs and I had never watched it before, then met someone who was friends with Ernie, the Turtleman, on a recent trip. After that, we had to give it a try. It’s definitely addictive!

Moving from TV to books, name 3-5 books you’d horde for a deserted island.

Oh, only 5?!?! Well, if I absolutely have to choose, I’d pick Stephen King’s The Stand, at least one or two of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books (but it would be like choosing between my children), Jeaniene Frost’s Halfway to the Grave (still my favorite out of the series), Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs, and I’d sneak Jeri Smith-Ready’s Requiem for the Devil in while no one’s looking.

Okay, you can sneak,since I’d have to sneak in more than five too. 🙂 Isn’t it amazing how attached we become to our favorites? Now name a book that had a profound effect on you and explain why.

As per my deserted island reading list, I’d have to go with The Silence of the Lambs. Clarice Starling is one of the toughest heroines I’ve ever encountered in fiction. She has to be – you don’t go toe-to-toe with Hannibal Lecter and Jame Gumb unless you’re a real warrior. She represents the type of heroine I aspire to create in my own work. Harris does such an amazing job showing both her toughness and vulnerability, easy thing for a male writer to do when writing a female character. Hats off to him!

I’ll agree with you there. I’ve read several books by male authors who failed to capture the female mindset. Hmm..I wonder why that is so more glaringly noticeable than a female author who doesn’t capture the male mindset? I’ve seen the movie Silence of the Lambs, but never read the book. It sounds very intense!

Okay, new direction: Pets and writers seem to go together like peas in a pod. If you have pets tell us about them, and whether or not they shadow your writing time and space.

I have two cats, one long-haired Siamese and a short-haired mutt. They’re great mascots, and love to keep me company (and sometimes walk across my keyboard) while I’m typing.

A favorite pastime for cats 🙂

And now, a couple quick questions on your personal preferences:

Favorite season: Autumn
Favorite time of day: Early evening
Favorite color: Burgundy
Food you never grow tired of: Chocolate
Sunset picnic or night on the town: Oh, definitely sunset picnic – I’m a nature girl!

I love early evening and sunset picnics too. Thanks for being my guest today, D.B. I enjoyed having you, and wish you much success with your fab release, RED SHOES FOR LAB BLUES.

Thanks so much for having me, Mae!

~ooOOoo~

You can Find D.B. at the Following Haunts:
Website
Blog
Twitter: @DBSieders
Facebook
Goodreads

Red Shoes for Lab Blues is available from:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Blurb:
Dr. Stacey Jamison thinks she’s close to validating PharmEx’s new anti-cancer drug. Her budding independent career, her boss’s tenure, and a ton of research dollars are at stake. She just has to prove Compound Z kills cancer cells.

So far, it doesn’t.

Then along comes Dr. Henry Chan, the department’s new rising star. Henry is smart, handsome, and confident. He’s also captivated by the enigmatic Dr. Jamison, who seems oblivious to her own charms. But will Henry risk his heart when the research project is at stake?

A rival drug company, an insider with a personal grudge, and militant animal rights protestors force everyone’s plans into disarray. Can their love overcome everything being thrown at them?

HeadshotAuthor Bio, D.B. Seiders:
I was born and raised in East Tennessee and spent a great deal of my childhood hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains and wading barefoot in creeks, chasing salamanders, fish, and frogs.  We camped a lot, and we loved to tell stories while sitting around our campfire.

Those days of frog chasing sparked my interest in biology, which I pursued in college and later in graduate school.  I am a working scientist by day, but I never lost my love of sharing stories.  I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember and am thrilled to be working as a writer.

I live in Nashville, Tennessee with my husband, two children, two cats, and my very active imagination.

Welcome Kourtney Heintz with The Six Train to Wisconsin

Hey, everyone, I am delighted to introduce a new friend, Kourtney Heintz. I bumped into Kourtney when a mutual friend, Kitt Crescendo, featured Kourtney’s debut release, The Six Train to Wisconsin on her blog. As soon as I read the post, I knew I had to read the book. It’s a compelling blend of several genres, best described as speculative fiction.  

A semi-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, The Six Train to Wisconsin draws you in from page one and holds you spellbound through the edge-of-your-seat ending. I had a special affinity for Kourtney’s voice as an author, which resonates strongly in her unique descriptions. If you’re looking for a well-crafted story with engaging characters and an unusual twist of the paranormal, I highly recommend The Six Train to Wisconsin. 

And now, please say hello to Kourtney! 

~ooOOoo~

Mae, I’m so delighted to have met you during my blog tour in June. Thanks for inviting me onto your blog!

I’m delighted to have you here, Kourtney! I loved your novel and, of course, now want to know much more about your writing process. 🙂 Are you a draft writer or someone who invests a lot of time in editing and polishing as you write? Why does your method work best for you? 

I tend to revise as I draft. My first completed draft is usually a mix of six or seventeen drafts. I set a word count requirement for each day. Any editing I do is on top of that. If I’m unsure about what to write that day, I go back to the previous day’s work and revise it. I slip into the flow and easily write forward.

I hit natural pausing points (like 50 pages or 100 pages) and go back and revise for a week or two as well.

The flexibility of being able to alter things as I go and to pause and reevaluate helps me to have a more polished opening. When the drafting is done, my first 50-100 pages are much more polished than my last 50-100 pages. This is great for submitting my opening pages for critique while still polishing up the rest of the manuscript.

I do something similar, polishing as I go, and going back to the previous day’s work to move forward. I don’t think I’ve ever written a “draft” straight through to the end without constant editing and revising. Next technique question: Which do you develop first, characters or plot?

It differs from novel to novel for me. For The Six Train to Wisconsin, I had the characters before the plot. For my YA novel, Reckonings, it was the plot before the characters.

Which do you find easier to write and why – description or dialogue?       

Dialogue.

At first I struggled with it, but then I worked at it until I found my sweet spot. I am not a fan of setting/description. It bores me. So it’s something I sprinkle into my story in revisions, but it’s not something I love to write. Although, I am learning how useful a few lines of setting can be.

A surprising answer given the many unique descriptions I fawned over in The Six Train to Wisconsin. 🙂 Your dialogue rocked, but your descriptive voice really made an impact on me. For those who are unfamiliar with the novel, please share some details about the book.

TSixTraintoWisconsin1600he Six Train to Wisconsin is about a married couple, Kai and Oliver. When Kai’s telepathy spirals out of control, her husband Oliver brings her to the quiet Wisconsin hometown he abandoned a decade ago, where he must confront the secrets of his past to save their future.

Kirkus Reviews wrote, “Heintz’s debut weaves psychological insight into a suspenseful, sci-fi–tinged thriller and produces a welcome variation on the classic marriage drama.”

Awesome review, Kourtney!  The accolades are well deserved. Tell us about your characters. Which did you enjoy writing the most and why?

Hands down it was Caleb. He’s intriguing and fun. He’s everything I would want in an older brother.

I ADORED Caleb! From the moment he appeared, I was smitten. Talk about a magnetic character. I’m going to cross my fingers that you’ll give him his own book someday (readers, Caleb is Kai’s uber-dynamic brother with some special gifts of his own). 

And now I’m going to ask Kourtney to share the first three lines of the book and pique your curiosity!   

Like any man, I loved my wife; but these 3 a.m. suicidal thoughts were killing me. Her thoughts seeped into my dreams and tugged me toward consciousness. Without opening my eyes to look at her side of the bed, I knew she was in the kitchen stirring her tea because the image filled my mind.

Yep, sucked me in immediately. So tell us a book that had a profound effect on you and explain why. 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It made me laugh and cry and want to live as much as I can in every moment.

I’m unfamiliar with that title but will have to do some sleuthing. I love finding new reads through recommendations.  

If someone gave you a working time machine tomorrow, where would you visit and why?

I’d go back to college and spend time with everyone who has left my life since then. I’d tell each one how much they mattered and how much I loved them. I’d also warn me about a few life-altering things and hope I can change them.

How perfect! I often wish I could go back and share with long-ago friends. 

Moving from people to animals, let’s talk about pets. Pets and writers seem to go together like peas in a pod. If you have pets, tell us about them and whether or not they shadow your writing time and space.

I have a warrior lapdog named Emerson. He’s been with me since I first embarked on this writing journey in 2006. He loves to nap in my lap while I’m typing. He’s the best cuddler when I’m mopping after a rejection. He also has a sixth sense for when I’m doing interviews and jumps into my lap to keep me calm. He even snuck into an early draft of my YA novel.

Aww, we all need a cuddler like Emerson! What a wonderful buddy to have.  And now a few quick random questions for the fun of it:

Favorite color: Sea Green

Favorite TV show: The Vampire Diaries

Food you never grow tired of: Sacher Torte

Sunset picnic or night on the town: Sunset Picnic

Mountains or beach: Beach

I had to Google Sacher Torte. YUM! I can see why you never tire of it. By the way, I’m a beach and sunset picnic girl myself. 🙂 

Kourtney, it was wonderful having you here today.  I wish you continued success with THE SIX TRAIN TO WISCONSIN, and eagerly look forward to your next release!

IMG_0891Author Bio:
Kourtney Heintz writes emotionally evocative speculative fiction that captures the deepest truths of being human. For her characters, love is a journey never a destination.

She resides in Connecticut with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, her supportive parents and three quirky golden retrievers. Years of working on Wall Street provided the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run amuck at night, imagining a world where out-of-control telepathy and buried secrets collide.

Her debut novel, The Six Train to Wisconsin, was a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semifinalist.

You can find Kourtney at the following haunts:
Website: http://kourtneyheintz.com 

Blog: http://kourtneyheintz.wordpress.com 
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/kourtneyheintzwriter 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KourHei 
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomkourtney_heintz

Book Blurb for THE SIX TRAIN TO WISCONSIN:
Sometimes saving the person you love can cost you everything.

There is one person that ties Oliver Richter to this world: his wife Kai. For Kai, Oliver is the keeper of her secrets.

When her telepathy spirals out of control and inundates her mind with the thoughts and emotions of everyone within a half-mile radius, the life they built together in Manhattan is threatened.

To save her, Oliver brings her to the hometown he abandoned—Butternut, Wisconsin—where the secrets of his past remain buried. But the past has a way of refusing to stay dead. Can Kai save Oliver before his secrets claim their future?

An emotionally powerful debut, The Six Train to Wisconsin pushes the bounds of love as it explores devotion, forgiveness and acceptance.

Buy Links
Paperback available from:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble 

Ebook available from:
Amazon 

Barnes and Noble 
Smashwords 
Kobo 
iTunes

Wizards with Words: Lorraine Paton and Devin’s Second Chance

bigstock-magic-book-9719930Hello and welcome to another Wizard with Words post.Today I’m pleased to have  Lorraine Paton as my guest.

Lorraine and I go back to the days of Six Sentence Sunday when we were both sharing snippets of our work. I’m excited to announce she has now released her debut novel, DEVIN’S SECOND CHANCE, a contemporary romance and book 1 of the Morning Lake novels. I’m really looking forward to this one and hope you’ll welcome Lorraine as she tells us a bit about herself and her particular style of writing.

I’m so happy to have you here, Lorraine. To start, how about sharing what first prompted you to begin writing?

Lorraine:  First, thank you for having me on your blog, Mae!  I’m thrilled to be here! Now, to answer your question: When didn’t I write? I remember when I was about thirteen doing research at the local library so I could write an historical.  The story didn’t actually go anywhere, but I had a plan! Somewhere around 2000, I ended up having a bit of time on my hands.  It was during that time that I had an idea that wouldn’t let go.  It was a vivid scene.  From there, I had to figure out who the characters were and what lead them to that point.  I winged it and ended up writing my first full length historical romance. I freely admit it was horrible, but it was so much fun!  After that I was hooked and eager to write the next and the next…

Those days of first falling in love with writing were wonderful, weren’t they? I guess it goes without saying that as authors we never fall OUT of love with it. 🙂 Speaking of which, tell us about your new release, DEVIN’S SECOND CHANCE.

Lorraine: Devin, the widowed, former bull-riding hero that he is, came to me first.  In this book, he is forced to deal with his painful past when he falls in love with Claire Best, who must face the possibility of her own uncertain future after discovering she may have cancer. There are a number of important secondary characters who help Devin and Claire along this path, whether they realize it or not. One is Devin’s matchmaking mom, Helen, who launches her big plan to throw the two together at the rodeo. Jay, the teenager of Claire’s summer renters, is also critical to their journey.  Devin takes Jay under his wing to teach him a few things about responsibilities and hard work, and ends up learning a few lessons from “the kid.”

It sounds wonderful. I especially enjoy a novel where the secondary characters are pivotal to bringing about an HEA for the H/h. Do you have a favorite scene in the book? Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about it?

Lorraine: Oh, this is easy!  I loved writing the rodeo scene!  I drew on memories I had going to rodeos as a little girl, and tried to imagine what it would be like for someone who’d never been to a rodeo before.

That would be me, LOL! *raising hand* I’ve seen them on TV, but I’ve never been to one in real life, so I’ll be looking forward to that scene.

Okay, technique time. Do you decide on setting or characters first?

Lorraine:  I usually have either one of the characters or a particular scene to start.  That said, now that I am writing a series I know the setting first and I have heaps of characters eager for me to write about them!  So, maybe things are changing.

Do you have a favorite time of day to write when you’re more productive or creative than other times?

Lorraine:  I like getting up in the morning and writing.  It is usually quieter and I have fewer distractions.  Unfortunately, I can only do that on the weekends.  So, my second best time is whenever I have the house to myself.

What attracts you most to your genre?

Lorraine:  I am a complete sucker for a happy ending.  There is something immensely satisfying about knowing everything is going to work out for the characters.  It is what I read, so I’m naturally drawn to writing them. As a writer, I also find romances to be challenging–afterall, everyone knows how the book is going to end–so I have to push myself to find new, fresh ways for the romance to enfold.

Very good point! And I am a sucker for an HEA too. What is the current title you’re reading on your Kindle/Nook or in print?

Lorraine: I’m reading Marie Force’s Maid for Love.

If you could have a coffee date with an author of your choice to discuss technique, who would you choose and why?

Lorraine:  Oh, tough question! My first impulse was to say J.K. Rowling or J.R. Ward, but now that I think about it a bit, I’m going to choose Elizabeth Hoyt.  I love everything she’s written. To me, her imagery creates a rich texture, her characters are complex, and her plots have a goodly amount of twists.  I also think the romance between her two main characters is always wonderfully rendered.  She writes historicals, but the way she does it feels fresh and new.  I’m not sure what I’d talk to her about specifically, though, since I’d be in awe, and probably tongue-tied and awkward.

I’m definitely going to have to look her up. I enjoy historicals but I especially love romance reads with complex characters and multi-layered plots with twists! I know that DEVIN’S SECOND CHANCE is the first of a planned series. Can you tell us what we can look forward to with the remaining books in the series?

Lorraine: The Morning Lake series is a collection of stories set in the same small town, Morning Lake.  This fictional town is situated in Alberta, Canada.  In addition to the setting, each book also shares the same older woman, Helen Trent, who likes to think of herself as a bit of matchmaker.  I have another novel, Annie’s Christmas Plan, and a novella, Chloe’s Matchmaking Terrier, scheduled for release in 2013.  I’m also already planning more in the series for 2014–I have outlines for an additional three books!

Wow, you are definitely busy! It sounds like a fun series. I’ve enjoyed learning about Canada through the posts you do on your blog and I look forward to meeting all these characters. Do you have any other projects you have in the works?  

Lorraine: Yes!  I have a historical paranormal romance, Awakening a Witch, which is undergoing edits and will soon be ready for beta readers, and a contemporary paranormal romance, which I’m working on with my critique group. I don’t have a title for the contemporary one yet, but I’m almost finished the first draft!  The paranormals are quite different from the Morning Lake series, so they are a fun change.

Paranormals work for me, historical or contemporary. I can’t believe all the projects you have in the hopper! Okay, now some quick stuff for the fun of it!

Favorite number: 4
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite food: Mac and Cheese
Dressy or casual: Casual
Dawn or dusk: Dusk
Cake or pie: Cake

Book you would like to see made into a movie: Something by Elizabeth Hoyt.  To me, her books are so vivid they play like a movie in my head when I’m reading them.  I think To Beguile a Beast would be great, or maybe one of her Maiden Lane books.

Book you wish had never been made into a movie: Probably one of the last Harry Potters. Oddly enough, I love the movies, but I felt there was so much to the story they couldn’t possibly capture in a single movie.

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother: Greece (I was “this close” to doing a master’s degree in classics, so I’m drawn to those ancient sites!)

That was fun! Lorraine, thank you again for visiting my blog and taking the time to do an interview with me. I wish you much success with DEVIN’S SECOND CHANCE and can’t wait to read it! DevinsSecondChance_1600x2400 copy

Blurb for DEVIN’S SECOND CHANCE: Cowboy Devin Trent’s life has been stuck for years, unchanged since his unfaithful wife died, and he is determined to keep it that way — an ever-present reminder of why he doesn’t deserve a second chance at love. Claire Best, by contrast, is in turmoil – she is renting her house to summer folk, she is planning a big fundraiser, and her doctor has discovered something that needs to be investigated.

Pulled together by the fundraiser, Claire’s teenage renter, and Devin’s matchmaking mom, their immediate attraction quickly escalates to more, but Claire fears her own health worries will only resurrect Devin’s pain and grief over his wife’s final days and she is willing to sacrifice her own happiness to protect him.

Can they overcome their pasts and listen to their hearts before their happily-ever-after slips away?

EXCERPT:
Luckily, the sun was high in the sky now, minimizing the chance of glare in the photos. The bull- and bronco-riding arena was only ten feet in front of her, much closer than she had imagined, so she changed the lens on her camera and waited.

Thanks to the rodeo booklet and a few words from Helen, she figured she had a good handle on the rodeo events themselves. Bareback riding, bull riding, saddle bronco, steer wrestling, roping—who knew there were so ways men could try to get themselves killed by farm animals?

Promptly at one o’clock, the event started with an anthem and a prayer. Then a man with a deep voice, who sounded like he’d been born to call rodeo events, announced the start of the bareback riding.

Claire leaned forward and turned on her camera. A cowboy was poised atop a horse in a chute beside the arena, then the gate was thrown wide, and man and beast careened into the open. The animal looked some pissed, charging around the pen, jumping and bucking. The cowboy had one arm flung back and the other holding a little leather handle as he was tossed up and down. As far as Claire could tell, he was doing his best to get whiplash. His hat flew off. Then, half a heart beat later, he somersaulted over the front of the horse.

Oh God, he was hurt. He had to be hurt after all that.

She rushed to her feet. Where were the medics? What could she do to help? She only knew rudimentary first aid. Then she realized everyone else was clapping and cheering.

Claire put her hand over her heart, willing it to slow. She watched a couple of other men settle the horse and get it out of the area so the next competitor could do his thing. The cowboy was already standing. Grinning, he waved to the audience, and in return, the crowd and the announcer hollered their support.

They were insane. All of them.

Claire sat beside Helen. She held her camera, but she hadn’t taken a single photo.

~ooOOoo~

DEVIN’S SECOND CHANCE is available at:
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AUTHOR BIO
When Lorraine Paton finished her master’s degree, she was tempted to sign on to do a doctorate, but then she realized she wanted to write fiction more. So, by day, she works in a hectic office, and by night, she lets loose her passion for writing romance novels. She lives with two cats who hate one another and a wonderfully patient man with a sexy Scottish accent in Alberta, Canada, which is where her contemporary stories take place. A diehard romance reader and writer, her goal is to bring happily-ever-afters to as many people—or characters—as she can. Devin’s Second Chance is her debut novel, and she’s excitedly planning the release of more stories in 2013 and beyond!

Connect with Lorraine on her blog (http://www.lorrainepaton.com/), on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/LorrainePaton.Author), on Twitter (https://twitter.com/patonlorraine) or subscribe to her newsletter.

Author Spotlight: Cd Brennan and Watershed

I’m pleased to showcase the book of an exciting new author I’ve just discovered. Cd Brennan is a sister author at Lyrical Press whose debut release, WATERSHED, is a pure delight. If you like contemporary romance with a strong hero and a plucky heroine, you’ll love this book pairing an Aussie rancher with an Irish lass who loves adventure. I recently had the pleasure of reading this novel and gave it a five star review on Amazon and Goodreads. The descriptions, especially of the Australian Outback, will steal your breath, and the romance is sweet and touching.

How does Cd Brennan know so much about Austriala and Ireland? Take a look at her bio:

Author Pic2Author Bio
Having traveled and lived all over the world, Cd Brennan now talks with a strange accent, a mix of distant terminology, a blend of culturally cute but confusing euphemisms that leaves everyone looking at her with a blank stare. Luckily, her Australian husband (who she met in Ireland) and her two Aussie/Yankee sons have no problem understanding her – well, except for the word “NO”.

Now settled back “home” in Michigan, she enjoys reliving her glory days by writing about them. She considers the last fifteen years abroad the perfect research for her Love Where You Roam series; matchmaking women and men from different cultures, even different hemispheres, helping them find their true one across oceans of difference.

As destiny plays a hand in all the stories, Cd Brennan truly believes that what is for you, won’t pass you by. She hopes to inspire others to get out there: “Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” [Mark Twain]  And of course, fall in love.

Get in touch with her at http://www.cdbrennan.com

Love Where You Roam – Contemporary Romance Series

Debut Release – Book 1: Watershed –  March 4, 2013

watershedBlurb
She left home to find herself…and found love along the way.

Maggie isn’t looking for love on her backpacking trip through Australia. She’s got enough man troubles back in Ireland. Australia is her escape, a place of adventure where she can create memories to last a lifetime.

But some memories won’t be left behind.

Gray is ready to quit hiring backpackers to help with the work on his remote Queensland cattle station when Maggie turns up. She’s just passing through, but the connection they forge during the long nights herding cattle won’t be so easily cast aside.

CONTENT WARNING: A strong-willed Irish heroine, a stubborn Australian hero, and oceans of difference to bridge for love.

A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance

Excerpt :
She couldn’t figure him, and this was the first chance they’d had to be alone since that night. She put on her best teasing smile. “How did a seasoned bushman like you let a bull get the best of ya?”

As soon as it came out of her mouth, she knew it was the wrong thing to say.

His brow furrowed, anger lighting his eyes. “It happens to the best of us.” He ripped another piece of bark from the tree and turned to go.

“Did you have a good time last night?” Maggie hurried on. “I mean, other than the incident with the bull.”

He shrugged. “It was all right. Did you?”

“It was brilliant. I had a fantastic time.”

“Yeah, it looked like you were having a good time with ol’ mate there.”

Maggie raised an eyebrow. “Jason?”

“Yeah, that skeg.”

He had noticed.

“What does that mean? Skeg?”

Gray shook his head. “It’s nothin’, forget it.”

Maggie’s temper flared. “I might not be an Aussie, oi-oi-oi,” she mimicked, “to know that it’s rude.”

Gray shrugged. “Anyway, looked like you guys were getting pretty close. Are you going to stay with him next?”

Now her temper kicked in. She pumped harder on the swing. If he would only step a few feet closer, she’d be able to get him with her legs. That’s what he needed, a kick in the bum.

“Maybe I will.” She raised her chin in defiance. “With Lizzy here, you don’t need my help anymore.”

Gray narrowed his eyes at her. “Who told you that you were any help?”

Her mouth fell open. How rude! He was treating her like he had when she first arrived.

Suddenly, a loud crack sounded, and then snap! The next thing Maggie knew, she was lying on the ground on her back, the rope in her hands.

Gray squatted down over her. “Are you okay?” He appeared genuinely concerned.

She let go of the ropes and let her head fall onto the grass. “I’m grand, just need to catch my breath a moment.” There she was lying on her back again, looking up at him, wondering what the hell had happened. This was twice now. Was it divine intervention? Maggie wasn’t superstitious like most of the Irish, but she was smart enough to know not to push her luck if things looked grim.

He hovered over her, and she could feel the energy building between them like it always did when they were close. He smelled of earthy oats. His eyes were darker in the shade, not the usual golden reflection from the sun. She gazed into them, feeling herself being pulled deeper into everything that was Gray. “Thank you for bringing my journal and phone to me at the hospital.”

His features softened. “No worries.”

She dropped her eyes away to play at the blades of grass, pinching individual stems and running them through her fingers. “You came like you promised.”

He grabbed her hand with both of his, forcing Maggie to return her gaze to him. He gently rubbed the outside of her hand with his thumb. “We ride out early tomorrow. Be saddled up by first light.”

He dropped her hand suddenly and stood to go.

Maggie yanked a bunch of grass from the ground and threw it at his retreating figure, letting her head thump onto the ground. God, was she in love with him.

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