Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Meet my Latest Guest: Lily Bishop!

I want to welcome Lily Bishop. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Hi, I’m originally from Georgia, but I live in South Carolina. I’m married with two children in middle school, so I stay pretty busy. I work full time as a data analyst for a research university, and in my spare time I write romantic suspense.




Tell us about your latest release.

I’m working on the City Lights series right now, and I just released the third book, For the Win. This novella tells the story of Lindsey and Ric, two characters who appeared in the other two books, and it takes place during the same time period as the first book. That has been quite a challenge. Lindsey and Ric’s story will continue in two future novellas that I am hoping to finish this summer.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

I loved Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He started out as a villain, but then he wasn’t so much a villain by the end.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

Oh, that’s a tough one. Right now I’m in love with Ric, the male lead I’m working with in this trio of novellas. He was born in Venezuela and he owns a resort on a private island in the Bahamas. He has an amazing accent, and he is such a romantic.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I write contemporary/romantic suspense. I like stories that have an element of danger, so that’s what I write. My characters end up in tenuous situations, but we don’t always see the danger in the beginning.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m finishing this series with two novellas, both about Lindsey and Ric, and they are both almost ready for editing.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I’ve always written, ever since middle school. I’ve always had stories in my head. I first published in 2013, and believe me, I have a ton of stories to tell.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Well, my villains usually come from true news stories about things that happened. Other than that, I usually come up with the characters first.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

A lot of my books revolve around blackjack, and I can’t play a lick. I rely on my husband to help me with those scenes.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I’m good with data. Lately all of the boards and committees on ask me to take their minutes. I can usually pick out actors from their voice.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

Write. Talking about writing does not count. Social media posts about writing does not count. The best thing a writer can do is write the next book and make it a good one.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

I really admire former president Jimmy Carter, and I would love to meet him.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

Landslide – I see life as constantly changing.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

I would come back as a cat. I love cats. A four-year old Tortie rules our house.




Blurb:

A steamy story of a woman torn between duty and desire, truth and betrayal—No Strings Attached is the first novel in a sexy romantic suspense series City Lights that will leave you begging for more.
When wealthy entrepreneur Fox Thornton accepts a contract as interim director of a Miami consulting firm he never suspects he will be working closely with Laura Todd, the beautiful, ambitious young woman who warmed his bed last weekend in Las Vegas.

Laura attends a Vegas conference and after a spicy weekend fling, she returns to Miami to find that her boss has been replaced by her Vegas lover. She never expected to see Fox again, but now she works for him, and she’s the only one who can provide the records he needs for his investigation.

The numbers don’t add up. The company should be flush with funds but is barely making payroll. Fox vows to bring the thief to justice, but all signs lead to Laura. Can he follow his heart while making sure that justice is served?




Excerpt:
Laura tipped the dealer and cashed out, but as she stood, the skirt of her dress ripped. She could feel her skirt dangling and sat down quickly, desperate to hide her lacy black thong. She hadn't even brought her purse, only her phone and room key in a wristlet.
"Are you okay?" she heard Mr. July ask.
"Wardrobe malfunction. I have to go." She gathered the fabric in her fist, planning to back out of the casino.
"Let me help." In a flash, he stood up and draped his jacket over her shoulders. It went all the way down to her hips and covered the ripped section. "Better?"
His scent surrounded her. Laura looked up and saw nothing but his blue eyes. "Thank you. I guess I need to go upstairs."
"I'll come with you." At her blank look, he gestured to the fine Italian suit coat. "To collect the jacket."
"Of course," she said, wishing she hadn’t made such a fool of herself. They started walking together toward the bank of elevators outside the casino. His arm around her shoulders felt like the most natural thing in the world.
 "Well, this is awkward," she said, when they were alone in the elevator. "Nothing like ripping your dress at the blackjack table to get someone's attention." The ripped dress had stolen her confidence, and where she had been an outgoing flirt earlier, she felt herself slipping back into her natural shyness.
"You didn't have to."
The elevator stopped on her floor, and Laura led the way to her room. "Didn't have to what?"
"Rip your dress. You had my attention already."

Buy Links:

Blog/Website: Http://LilyBishop.com


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Writing Down the Bones: Interview Questions for your Characters - Love-Ability

I had planned on posting this last night but ended up waiting until this morning. This is the last installment of the hand out. Now we're dealing with the ability your characters have to love. This one I did reword it a bit.

Enjoy!

1.) Do your characters fall in love? Or is it a gradual process? Do they notice when it happens? Do they try to stop it? Why?

2.) Why don't they want to to have love in their lives?

3.) What makes this partner unique to your character? Is there something the partner loves about them that no one else does?

4.) What parts of loving comes easy to your character? What part comes hard?

5.) Are your characters easy to fall in love with? Easy to love? Why?

6.) What dream to they give up when they accept love into their lives? 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Welcome my Latest Guest! Amanda C. Stone!

I want to welcome Amanda C. Stone. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Thank you so much for having me here today Barbara. My name is Amanda, and I’m a writer! I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but I can finally also call myself an author. I published my first book back in January and it’s been a long road to get there. Now I try to keep up with the writing so I can get some of the stories out of my head and share them with everyone else.

Tell us about your latest release.

My latest release is actually my first release. Hooray! *throws confetti* It’s a set of six short stories all about one couple and their crazy adventures. Cole and Perry meet in a bar and we get to see some of the highlights of their relationship together.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

Gladly! I love answering fun things.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

I’ve always loved the original Cat Woman. She wasn’t a true villain, more like she was one step ahead of Batman. But she was intriguing and skirted the line between good and bad. Of course the evolution of her costume was pretty fabulous too.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

That’s a tough one because I get attached to my characters. I’d say so far my favorite is Kedrick, a guy I’m writing right now. He had his whole world destroyed when his husband was killed in combat so he has to pick up the pieces of his life. I think he’s my favorite because he deals with things that I hope to never have to deal with.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I write romance. I love happy endings. I want people to fall in love and stay in love so that’s what I write. All the other sub genres are based on where the characters take me. So far I’ve been writing gay contemporary romance. I’ve got some ideas for paranormal romance with shifters and vampires and fae and all of those fabulous things. I also started world building a high fantasy series. But that’s going to take a long time because I want my world to be rich and full so I’m drawing maps and creating governments along with the rules of the world so that’s going to take some time before I can even get to the writing part.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up a novella about a teacher and a parent meeting on “Parent Night”. There are all kinds of obstacles in their way of course. One is socially awkward, the other is accused of giving away grades. Plus there’s a kid involved so that makes in all the more interesting. I’m hoping to have it out by the end of the summer.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I’ve always had stories in my head. I told stories before I could write them down myself so my mom wrote them down. Once I was old enough to write stories, I wrote them all in my completely awesome Batman notebook. I kept writing though high school when some very hurtful things were said about my writing and I stopped. I kept journaling and writing a handful of thoughts here and there. But no more stories until after I graduated college and started reading for fun again. Then it didn’t stop. I’ve written a bunch of stories, or pieces of stories, since then. I’m still working on the publishing part of it.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

My plot bunnies are actually kind of violent. They tend to hit me when I’m doing something mindless and my brain goes into crazy “What if” mode. One of my ideas came while I was driving to my in-law’s house on the highway and I swerved the car when it hit me. If that’s not where the idea comes from, then the ideas come from pictures. I love picture inspiration because I’m such a visual person. That’s my biggest hurdle is getting the picture in my head onto paper so others can see it as well as I can.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

I used to be a singer. Sang in chorus and some wonderful vocal groups all through high school. However I have terrible stage fright. I can sing quite well, but only in a group where I’m not the center of attention.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I can roll my tongue! Oh! I also speak fluent sarcasm. *laughs*

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

I never really got an advice as an aspiring author. However I have picked up some good tips along the way. Keep writing, get some good beta readers and a better editor.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

Oh wow! That’s a pretty big range of people to choose from. I’d go fictional and want to have a lunch date with The Doctor. We’d talk about some of the crazy things he’s seen. I’d ask what his top five favorite planets and time periods are. He’d likely spend half the lunch narrowing it down that much. It would be lovely. Of course I’d ask for a chance to see inside the TARDIS before we left.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

Only one?! But I can’t just pick one! I’d say something mellow, but upbeat, fun lyrics, but still relaxed and laid back. Does that song have a name, because that’s me.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

Dolphins are pretty fun and still highly intelligent. Plus I love the ocean. Though being a turtle would be fun too. Get a built in place to hide when things get to be too much.

Thank you for having me here today! I loved stopping by.




 The Adventures Of Cole And Perry

Blurb:
It all started when Cole met Perry in a bar. Over three years they had some exciting adventures, and misadventures. The six stories included in this book are all about their journey from bar to wedding.

The Anniversary
Another cancellation of plans by his boyfriend forces Cole out to the neighbourhood bar. Not long after arriving he meets Perry. Even as exciting as Perry is, he's unsure how the night will end.

The Fight
Cole and Perry are struggling to make time for each other and constantly at each other’s throats. A fight to the death will decide who is right or wrong in their arguments. But Cole really doesn't want to shoot Perry.

The Threesome
Deciding they want to spice up things in the bedroom, Perry wants to have a one-time threesome. Cole's nervous and doesn't want to ask any of their friends to join them. Perry finds the perfect solution.

The House
After two and a half years together, Cole and Perry want to buy a house. Once they find the perfect house, they get to spend their first morning together in their new space. Perry will have to help Cole decide which room is his favorite.

The Baby
Both Cole and Perry are exhausted. Taking care of a three month old is hard when she's up all night and is always hungry. If only they could find where they put the bottle warmer.

The Wedding
Cole is ready to make his commitment to Perry life-long. After careful planning, they created the perfect event. What could possibly go wrong? If only Cole didn't ask the same question.

Excerpt:
“Cole. I have a surprise for you. I want you to close your eyes and keep them closed until I tell you to open them.”

Cole looked up from his magazine at the doorway Perry’s voice drifted in from. He put the magazine on his nightstand and closed his eyes.

“They’re closed,” he called out. He wasn’t sure where Perry was in their apartment, but he sounded close.

Rustling and a strange squeaking noise reached his ears. Cole furrowed his brows trying to figure out what Perry was up to and what he was hearing.

“Okay. Go ahead and open your eyes.”

Cole popped his eyes open. He closed them and then re-opened them again. Nope, he still was seeing what was in front of him.

“Perry. Why is there--?”

Perry cut him off before Cole could finish his thought.

“So, we had talked about fantasies and things like that. I told you this was mine. So I’d like to introduce you to Freddy. Freddy, I’d like to introduce you to my boyfriend, Cole.”

Cole smiled at how nervous Perry was. His boyfriend was adorable trying to be brave with his ideas.

“Nice to meet you, um, Freddy. Perry, where did you meet Freddy?”

Perry had a small smile on his face that showed Cole he appreciated he was alright with what was happening.

“Online. I found Freddy on some website. Can’t remember the name now.”

Cole was stunned. His boyfriend didn’t go to those types of websites for any reason. Just meant Perry wanted to have the threesome and was willing to do it without asking one of their friends. Cole was so happy Perry had found a way to have his fantasy.

Buy Links:
About Amanda C. Stone:

Armed with her Batman notebook, fourth grade Amanda C. Stone was ready to start writing stories about unicorns, family members, and her imaginary friends Pink Amanda and Blue Amanda. Today, Amanda is armed with a new notebook, along with a laptop, and a never-ending supply of caffeine. Her stories are about all kinds of things, but the most important aspect is people falling in love.

Where to find Amanda:

Newsletter Signup: http://eepurl.com/ZF60L
Email: amandastonebooks at gmail dot com

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Writing Down the Bones: Interview Questions for Your Characters - Perceptions

Another Tuesday and another segment of the interview questions. These are based off of perceptions. There is one more to go after this one. Hope you enjoy.

1.) When your character first walks into a room, what do they notice? The people, the feel, the decorating, things that need to be fixed, the tension, themselves?

2.) What is your characters dominant way of perceiving the world? Through one of the senses - for example, are your characters very visual? Do they see the world as a set of problems to be solved? Something to be conquered? Uncharted territory?

3.) How do your characters learn best? Through observation? Participation? Trial and error? Cogitation? Writing?

4.) How do you decide if your characters can trust someone? Experience with others? With this person? First impression? Testing the person? Or are they just generally disposed to trust or not to trust?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Welcome My Latest Guest: Marie Laval!

I want to welcome Marie Laval. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Of course, Barbara. Thank you very much for welcoming me on your blog today. I was born and brought up in France and have been living in Lancashire, England, for a number of years now. I write historical and contemporary romance, and my day job is teacher of modern foreign languages.

Tell us about your latest release.

A SPELL IN PROVENCE is a contemporary romantic suspense published by Áccent Press. It takes place in the Lubéron region. The heroine, Amy Carter has lost her job and decides to start a new life in France. She spends her redundancy package turning an overgrown Provencal farmhouse, Bellefontaine, into a successful hotel. Though she has big plans for her new home, none of them involves falling in love – least of all with Fabien Coste, the owner of a nearby château. Strange things happen which hint at an ancient and dark mystery and which endanger not only Amy's new guesthouse venture, but her life too. 

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

It will have to be the sheriff of Nottingham played by Alan Rickman in the 1991 film Robin Hood film, Prince of Thieves! I love, love, love Alan Rickman!

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

I love all my characters, but I do have a soft spot for Amy Carter, the heroine from A SPELL IN PROVENCE. She follows her dream to start a new life in Provence and is strong enough to believe that being a dreamer is a strength, not a weakness.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I love reading and enjoy many different genres, from romance to crime fiction, from autobiographies to poetry. I've always had a predilection for romance, so I basically write what I would like to read.

4.) What are you working on now?

I am working on another contemporary romantic suspense set in Scotland, and will soon start the edits on my third historical romance - Dancing for Devil, also set in Scotland, which will be published by Áccent in the Summer.

5.) What got you to start writing?

As long as I can remember, I was always scribbling and making up stories, mostly romantic tales. I used to love reading Delly, which was the nom de plume for a brother and sister team of writers of historical romance who were very popular in France between 1910 and 1950. I don't know if their novels were ever translated into English. It was my mother who introduced me to their novels. Although they were a bit old-fashioned I devoured them all when I was growing up. It's no wonder I ended up writing romance.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Anything can spark an idea, even a road map! I have often found great names for settings or characters by looking at road map. One of my favorite areas in England is Devon and Dorset. They have fantastic names of villages and hamlets.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

That's a tricky question because I'm not sure what image people have of me through my work.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I think I am really quite boring, Barbara. I used to play the piano quite well but unfortunately my piano is now permanently closed and has become a bookshelf. I was also trained as a typist and could take shorthand in French, English and German, not that many people use it these days. I also studied Russian, but I think I would be quite unable to say more than three words now!

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

Write what you love to read. It is the best way of putting your heart into your work, and for readers to feel that you genuinely enjoy your characters and your plot.

10.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

A black bird.




You can find A SPELL IN PROVENCE on Amazon

and

You can also buy it in print at


Marie Laval Bio
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie studied History and Law at university there before moving to Lancashire in England where she worked in a variety of jobs, from PA in a busy university department to teacher of French in schools and colleges. Writing, however, was always her passion, and she spends what little free time she has dreaming and making up stories. Her historical romances ANGEL HEART and THE LION'S EMBRACE are published by MuseItUp Publishing. A SPELL IN PROVENCE is her first contemporary romance. It is published by Áccent Press.

Snippet
He looked down. The light of the rising sun played on his face and made his green eyes seem deep and warm. Time slowed down. The noise from the crowd became muffled and distant, and all she could hear was the crystalline spring water trickling in the old fountain. The spring that ran through the forest between Manoir Coste and Bellefontaine and bound hearts and lives together, or so the spell said … Her heartbeat slowed, or maybe it stopped altogether. It was as if Fabien and she were alone. Desire, fear and another feeling she didn’t recognize overwhelmed her and made her dizzy.





Excerpt
Shivering in the cold breeze despite her shawl, Amy joined the guests lining up to be greeted by Fabien, who in true lord of the manor style, stood tall and imposing at the top of the steps, with torches burning on either side of him.

He might wear a black dining suit and a crisp white shirt instead of a suit of armour, but there was something untamed, fundamentally uncivilized and proprietary about the way he surveyed the crowd – as if he truly owned everything and everyone, like Frédéric had said, and Amy was seized by an irresistible, irrational and overwhelming urge to flee. She didn’t want to speak to Fabien Coste, didn’t want to put up with his arrogant ways. He could keep his fancy chateau, his contacts and glamorous guests, she didn’t need him. She would walk home. It wasn’t that far.

She was about to step aside when he looked down and their gaze met. Shadows danced on his face. The torches hissed in the breeze, their flames shooting high in the air and reflecting in his green eyes, giving them a deep, dangerous glow. For the space of a heartbeat, the noise of conversations around her became distant and fuzzy, and all she could see was him.

He walked down, took her hand and lifted it to his lips. Even though his mouth barely touched her skin, a flash of heat reverberated through her body.

‘Mademoiselle Carter – Amy, you’re here at last.’

It was the first time he’d spoken her first name. He made it sound French, sensual and incredibly romantic. Aimée. Beloved.

‘Shall I escort you inside and introduce you to a few people?’

Panic made her heart flutter and turned her brain to mush.

‘Well, it’s just that …’

He arched a dark eyebrow, looked down, and smiled as if he knew exactly what she was feeling.

‘You’re here now. You might as well make the most of it.’




Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Writing Down the Bones: Interview Questions - In Relation to Others

Here's another segment of the flyer I've been working on. How your character deals with others. Again I don't know who the author is. but felt this was a good one to share so enjoy.

1.) How is your character(s) different with their family(s) than with their friends? How?

2.) How are they different with their lover(s) than anyone else? Do they like being this way?

3.) What scares them about their lover?

4.) What does their lover do for them that no one else does?

5.) Did they have a happy childhood? Has that affected their adulthood?

6.) When they ask for advice, do they normally take it? Why or why not?

7.) What is their initial perception if a stranger? Potential friend? Potential enemy? Someone to be charmed? To be deceived?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Meet My latest Guest:Helen Henderson!

I want to welcome Helen Henderson. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.




Tell us about your latest release.

Thank you for having me. My latest release is, Hatchlings Curse, the second volume in the Dragshi Chronicles. Hatchlings Curse continues the tale of Lord Branin and his twinned dragon soul Llewlyn. The awakening of his dragon soul twin brought Dragshi Lord Branin the freedom of flight and near-eternal life, but not happiness. Branin means to break the hatchling’s curse and end the childlessness of his kind. A mating flight offers hope. However, when he flies, it is in a competition with his best friend—and not for the woman he searched the world to find. Winning the mating might save his kind, but lose him all that he treasures. Throwing the competition is not an option.
Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

Pulling from the past (and dating myself,) my favorite villain is Captain Hans Dietrich from the television program Rat Patrol. And as to why? Dietrich was tall, handsome, a skilled fighter and tactician, and even more important--an honorable man.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

While I would say Glyn of the upcoming Hatchling’s Mate, my heart says my favorite character remains Ellspeth, captain of Sea Falcon. The tale of Ellspeth and the archmage, Lord Dal, is told in Windmaster, the first book I ever had placed under contract so there is a sentimental aspect. However to be honest, the why is more complex, like the character herself. Despite being a female, Ellspeth was an experienced fighter. She also had an artistic side in that she was a skilled musician. A skilled leader she was respected by the men who served under her. The pain of losing one sent Ellspeth on the vengeance trail.

I always wanted some special ability and in Ellspeth’s case, besides the musical talent, she is an untrained mage whose powers remained to be awakened. Having reached the point in life where decisions have had to be made and the results lived with, the decision that Ellspeth has to make resonates with my soul. She is determined to make her own destiny, but fate decrees otherwise and she has to decide between the sea, magic... or love.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I’m proud (and terrified) to say that I write in several genres. The tales of a female gunslinger named Hell Lost have haunted me for years and maybe someday I’ll ride the high mountain trails with her and tell her story in a historical western. Romance crept into the adventures and action that fills my stories when a few years back I joined the critique group that included the multi-published, award-winning author Carol McPhee whose numerous titles include Spirited Liaison, Shadowed Pursuit, and Alaskan Magic. After being involved with several of her projects, the romance that lingered through some of my fantasy and science fiction stories blossomed to demand its own emphasis.

Among all the genres, fantasy is my heart home. I've always loved to escape into other worlds. Fantasy allows me to create environments where magic lives and heroes rule. Being able to hang out with dragons or horses with a touch of magic in their souls are other reasons why I write fantasies.

4.) What are you working on now?

At the moment, I’m still enjoying flying with dragons in the romance fantasy series, the Dragshi Chronicles. Hatchling’s Mate is nearing publication later in 2015. The fourth and fifth volumes, Dragon Redemption and First Change: Legends of the Dragshi are being finalized. Then it will be time to again set sail with Ellspeth and Dal in Windmaster and return their stories to print.

5.) What got you to start writing?

Reading got me started as a writer. I inherited a love of reading from my grandmother and mother. I honored the one by taking her name as my pseudonym when I write in the western genre. The other's reward is more prosaic—bragging rights.

After the works of authors such as E. E. Doc Smith and Barbara Hambly sent my imagination to places beyond the stars and on journeys to worlds of fantasy, I couldn’t stay earthbound and started writing my own tales. However, they were just for me. In my earlier stories, I solved cases with Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin (the men from U.N.C.L.E), travelled outer space, drove a jeep in the sands of Africa with the Rat Patrol, and flew Corsairs with the black sheep of VMF-214. At the time I wanted to be a pilot. Not surprising since I learned to read by keeping a flight engineer's manuals up to date.

No computers or word processors aided (or interfered) with the creative process. A number two pencil and lined paper captured my imaginary adventures dreamed of while sitting in the shade of a huge weeping willow tree. That is until school-taught grammar and the forced structure required in writing classes clipped the muse’s wings. It took years for her to regain flight.

Writing managed to permeate my adult careers. Computer code and ‘how-to’ manuals gave way as the technical writer shifted focus to a more public audience. Non-fiction was added to my portfolio when a feature story on New Jersey stoneware was picked up by an antiques publication. That story led to a hundreds more and a career as a feature-story writer and correspondent.

When the bubble burst, I returned to fiction, only this time more skilled. One contract led to another, and eventually to independent publication.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

A verse of music, a few notes of a tune, or a photo from some exotic place can trigger an idea. Sometimes it is a dream that awakens me in the middle of the night.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

That I also have a background in non-fiction, especially military history. And that I have worked archeological sites including using those new-fangled tools, metal detectors. My non-fiction credits include two local histories, Around Matawan and Aberdeen, and Of Town and Field: Matawan and Aberdeen. The other surprise, I’m not from either town.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I am artist enough to be able to create a minimal cover or help a niece with her homework, but am proud to have been called a storyteller.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

Something an instructor in a class I took quite a few years back stuck with me. She went beyond the usual supportive cliché of, “keep submitting” to make it her own. Her variant? “Keep submitting. There is a home somewhere out there for your work.”

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

Han Solo would be a nice dinner companion. And as far as topics, I’m sure he’d be happy to talk about the Millennium Falcon. And with a little luck he’ll dish on some of planets he’s visited and if I’m really lucky, divulge some secrets about his famed accuracy with weapons and take me for a spin on the Falcon.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

Ireland’s Call by Celtic Thunder. The tune moves the heart while the lyrics speak to the honor that calls to my soul.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?


It is hard to decide. The strong side of me says a horse, especially one of the magical breeds that inhabit the worlds of the Dragshi Chronicles or the Windmaster tales. Typical Gemini, there is a different side that the independent (or should I say leisurely catered to) life of a feline appeals to.


Excerpt:

A dark spot emerged from the near solid wall of heavy fog and hovered in place. Urgency unrelated to their mission added strength to Branin’s wings and he pulled ahead of the others. He knew, even before he closed the distance enough for his dragon long vision to confirm it. Anastasia awaited him. However, instead of warm greetings, he sensed a strange hesitance in his mate. Even in Jessian’s dragon form, the redness of Anastasia’s eyes showed unshed tears.

On a tight link excluding the others, Branin reached out. <What is the problem, Stacia?> Her continued silence tore at him. <Tell me, Stacia. Please. Let me help.>

<The valley beyond the barrier is the land of the ancient ones. Even though the buildings would provide shelter, Griogal and Uaine refuse to enter and camp outside the valley. But,> she sobbed, <this place called me. I could not help it. I entered without permission.> She resisted Branin’s attempt to twine necks and the comfort it would have provided. <What will happen to me? To us?>

Click here for more excerpts and a free read of the first chapter of Hatchlings Curse.

Buy Links:   Amazon  Kobo iTunes  Barnes and Noble 

Connect with Helen on the web at:
WebsiteBlog  /  Facebook  /  Amazon   /  Google+  /  Goodreads  


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Writing Down the Bones: Interview Questions for Your Characters - The Quest

Here's the next section of the handout. This segment is smaller than the others.Sorry about that. As I said before I don't have an author for this flyer. Date wise I believe it is from the 80's or 90's.

Hope you enjoy.

1.) What does your character want to accomplish, find or become by the end of the book? Why?

2.) What in the outside world (external obstacle) is preventing your characters from reaching this goal?

3.) What in your character's self (internal obstacle) is preventing them from reaching this goal?

4.) What will have to happen for your character to overcome these obstacles?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Meet My Latest Guest: Ann Raina!

I want to welcome Ann Raina! First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Tell us about your latest release.

Kisses and Chains tells the story of Shian Crayn, who is fleeing from his pursuer, Culma Verde, to the planet Radavé. He doesn’t know that all foreigners are considered workers and he consequently ends up owned by a wealthy trader. To his luck, the daughter of the house finds the young man very attractive and soon they escape together. But that’s only the beginning of their adventure.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

The villains have the better parts in a movie. They can be reckless, mean, full of irony and condescence. They have the wider range of emotions and options throughout the story. The best villains have their positive moments and thus become more believable. See Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) in Bond’s Goldeneye. He gives the villain a very human touch, a man to hate but also to be sorry for. Or take Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries. He’s smooth, eloquent, an excellent lover and still he’s a bad boy. A man with charisma and unpredictable. That’s what makes a good villain.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

I loved to write Project: Recruitment. The main character, Sidarra, is confronted by a new people with different backgrounds and different cultures. First, he’s set aback, but soon realizes he can be a valuable part of their society and still remain the man he was. Not to forget that he keeps his humor intact.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I write erotic romance, set in science fiction surroundings, and add some funny moments to every story. I love to develop strange living conditions, foreign cultures and completely different behavior rules. Science fiction offers a wide range of possibilities if you stick to the rules you set. In Kisses and Chains all families are traders and deal with workers as well as gems, water or food. There are no police forces, no judges, or military personnel. Consequently, they all employ guards and have to take care of their possessions but still there’s a strict code of accepted behavior, and every neighbor is eager to fulfill those rules up to a point where’s it’s only funny.

I also wrote two contemporary romances, Spice for Your Life and No Fool. I just follow my mood and the ideas coming to my mind.

4.) What are you working on now?

I did a report about a rich young man, who angered his parents by wasting money all the time, which triggered a short story about how to deal with such a man if all other measures fail. I’m two thirds through the story and, yes, the young man learns his lesson. Not easily, but in a way he had never thought about.

5.) What got you to start writing?

The wish to write stories has accompanied me since I attended school. Then Star Wars was released. Two hours of impressive, new ideas were suddenly offered, but it wasn’t enough for me. My mind spun around the characters and what more they could live through. It was the beginning of fanfiction though no one knew that term back in those days.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Ideas hit me. They follow me. They come to my mind and want to be regarded and weighed and judged. And then there’s my muse, who also plays around with those ideas and scenes. And if she says, the idea could work out for a whole story we outline the plot and the characters. It’s always the funniest part – brainstorming. We’ve spent whole afternoons with plotting, accompanied by a lot of coffee and cookies. Oh, some good ideas come while I’m in the kitchen, baking bread or cake. Or cookies. And, no, I haven’t ruined a recipe because my thoughts wandered through strange landscapes…

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

None of the characters I describe in my books reflect on my real life.
8.) Do you have any special talents?

Besides writing, I love to ride. I bought a horse two years ago spend many hours in the woods with it. At home, I have a tendency to work in the kitchen, baking. My collection of recipes would fill a library.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

My teacher at high school taught me that the characters’ idioms reflect their social status. A bank director speaks another dialect than a worker at the harbor. The characters an author creates are only believable if they fit their role in every detail.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

I would have loved to meet with Sir Peter Ustinov, no matter the subject. I’m sure I could have learned so much from him. He was such a talented man, who left us too early. I admire him very much.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

Always look on the Bright Side of Life. People tend to make their lives much more complicated than it usually is. If you can sit back and relax, take a step back and try another angle to weigh the problem at hand, you might be able to find a solution without cramps in your brain.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

I’d like to be one of my cats – days filled with games, food, and, yes, sleep. I sometimes miss hours of sleep and envy my cats, which can stay on my bed while I have to leave it. Darn.





Blurb:

On the run, Shian takes a spaceship to Radavé, not knowing that his life will be turned upside down. Culma Verde, a headhunter, is on his heels and known to never give up. Can his new love Keila help Shian out?


Excerpt:

Shian wanted to embrace her, but the chains did not allow it. He cursed without words. The restrictions reminded him every minute that he was nothing but a piece of Delion’s valuable collection.

Keila sighed. “So I sit here on the estate of my father, wait for the right man, and until that happens, I have not much to do.” She put away the glass and caressed Shian’s face. She smiled through sadness. “I should not bring this upon you. I’ve been bored and frustrated for a long time. You’ve brought some light back to my life. So you’d better forget what I said.”

“I guess I understand you better than you think. You sit in a cage, too, and don’t know how to escape. It’s just that you don’t wear the chains in the open.”

Keila kissed him tenderly, playing her tongue in his mouth. When he went along, she slipped from the couch to get closer and the kiss got wilder.

“I want you,” she whispered. “I wanted you from the first day. I haven’t felt so alive for a long time.”

“But I’m not allowed to—”

“I know, but I want you. Please, Shian, please.”

Shian had never been asked more nicely, but still her father’s threat rang in his ears. He should not try and get closer to any woman, especially not the most valuable firstborn daughter. Get your hands off her! That’s madness!

When he didn’t respond, Keila drew back.

“It’s not that I don’t want you,” he confessed quietly, looking down at the chains holding him. “But I’m not out for castration if your father finds us.”

“You are right.” She licked her lips and a mischievous smile played around the corners of her mouth. She was blushing and looked very lovely. “I have to make better preparations.”

“You will—”

She put a finger on his lips. “I will find a way.”


Author Bio:

Ann Raina lives and works in Germany. Besides writing, riding is one of her favorite hobbies. She loves to be outdoors and enjoy the woods in her region. She’s also a gardener and a baker if time allows. With eXtasy Books, she has published eight novels so far, and a new erotic romance is a work in progress.

Carpe diem!

Buy Links:


It’ll also be available via Amazon etc. later. The URL does not yet exist.