Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm Partying

That's right. At 9 AM, I'm already at a party. With who?

The Wild Rose Press of course!

The Wild Rose Press is celebrating five years in business for the next five days, April 27th - May 1st on the Wild Rose Press yahoo groups. And their giving away more than $500.00 worth of prizes. Go here to sign in:

You can chat with authors and read some great excerpts. We'll be sharing it all. SO stop by, congratulate the Roses on their five years and get your name in for the prizes.

Join us for a celebration in the garden.

Okay, I'm fanning myself. Now how to Win those prizes..

For chances to win more than $500.00 worth of prizes all you have to do is party with us. Everyone who participates will be entered into the prize drawings. Non-stop fun from Wednesday, April 27 - Sunday, May 1st. Join the fun and help us celebrate 5 years in the garden.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Readers Speak


E-books are hopping hot! That’s not new news. I have a kindle myself and love it. I also have several books out in e-format.

While surfing through some book sites, I wondered what drew readers in this new world to buy a book? It’s not like they’re in a bookstore, walking by the displays, scanning the shelves, and running their fingers over the spines. So, on a reader board, I asked the question. What draws you to a book?

I had a great response. Readers are great. Tell them you’re an author and need to know something and they step up.

A few told me they read reviews while others said they go on recommendations from friends. Then there were those who said they never go on friend recommendations because they’ve found in the past their friends had different tastes. Some buy an author because they’ve heard a buzz about the book—they might not know where the buzz came from, but there had been buzz.

After much discussion, back and forth, the overwhelming majority agreed, the top two reasons they look at a book, even in the cyber world, are the title and the cover. And the reason they buy a book is they were intrigued by the blurb and or enjoyed the sample chapters.

If you’re a writer, you’re a reader. So readers, do you agree with the readers on the board? How do you find books in the cyber world?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Welcome Alana Lorens

April 15, 2011. Tax Day. I hope you filed already, because I've asked a great guest to visit today. I'm welcoming a fellow Wild Rose author, Alana Lorens. I've asked Alana a ton of questions, and she did an awesome job answering them. So, let's get to the interview.

1) Alana, welcome. Can you tell us a little about your story Secrets In The Sand, a blurp?

After a run of bad relationships, Lily Pearl Evans has finally become an independent woman, the owner of the Sassafras Social Club, a quiet little bordello. In the New Mexico desert town of Chaparral, she works for herself, sets her own rules, and is determined no man will hold her back again.

Gene Nicholas worked for more than a decade to achieve his dream to be a doctor. Wanting to share his gifts with those less fortunate, he leaves south Florida to volunteer for Doctors Without Borders in Mexico.

When Gene provokes a showdown with the local Mexican drug cartel, he becomes a man with a price on his head. On the run, he ends up on Lily’s doorstep--a mystery man forced to conceal his past to protect them both. With the cartel’s dangerous web drawing tight around them, can Lily and Gene survive a drug lord’s revenge?

Secrets In The Sand sounds AWESOME! I love a good suspense, as you well know. What inspired you to write the story?

Years ago my husband and I were members of a role playing game on the Internet, and these two characters were characters we developed and played. The characters of Gene and Lily were as potentially mismatched as they are in SECRETS IN THE SAND, but somehow they found their way to each other, and in this story, they did as well.

How cool. That is the first time I've heard of character development through a game. LOVE IT! Can you describe your heroine? Does she look like someone you know physically? Did you give her some of your character, values, and aspirations? What makes her special?

Lily’s a redhead, late thirties, deep blue eyes, with legs still worth a second look. She’s a little vain about signs of getting older, and vulnerable still from her mother abandoning her when she was a child. She likes to dress up—even though she isn’t one of the sex workers at the Club, she still wants to feel beautiful and sexy. When her aunt left her the house that she turns into the Club, Lily realizes she can be independent of any man and take care of herself, build her own security. Like me, she works hard, and tries to build a family out of those close to her.

I love reading about more mature characters. Now tells us about your hero. Does he look like someone you know physically? What are his best traits? What are his flaws? Did you fall in love with him while writing the story?

Gene is in his mid-thirties, a doctor who worked his way through many years of school, determined to save people after his brother died as a young boy from a sudden illness. His brown hair is cut close, and he’s got wide brown eyes that readily show his emotions. He cares deeply about his patients—this is what gets him in trouble in the town where he’s working through Doctors Without Borders. The local drug lord abuses one of Gene’s young patients and kills her. Gene acts to save the rest of the village without thinking about the personal consequences. Once he lands at Lily’s, he turns that caring and compassion on the young women who work at the Club as well as Lily herself. Throughout the story, though, he’s always just a little unsure he’s able to lift himself to the next level, to do what needs to be done, and this insecurity is definitely a flaw. But in the end he comes through big time. I’ve always been in love with Gene since my husband created him. He’s noble, brave and dedicated, but not too proud to get down on the floor and roll around with a baby or a dog when it’s called for.

Did you have to do special research for your story?

I had to learn about the southern area of New Mexico, and also a little bit about the drug cartels across the border. My one big investment was a visit to Radio Shack to find out how to locate a cell phone in the desert using a GPS. It was easier than I thought!

How many books have you written? And, which is your favorite and why?

I’ve probably written about 18 full-length manuscripts. SECRETS IN THE SAND is one of five I have signed contracts for in the last year. Three are part of an urban fantasy series from Dragonfly Publishing, Inc., THE ELF QUEEN, THE ELF CHILD and THE ELF MAGE; one, SECOND CHANCES, is a women’s fiction with romantic elements that will be out next year, and SECRETS is out this week from The Wild Rose Press.

That being said, my favorite story is a post-apocalyptic young adult book I’m still searching out a home for. It’s got a love story, survival, some violence—all the good stuff. 

Tell us a little about your writing process. What comes first, plot or characters?

Definitely plot. When I get into the “what if?” mode, then I kick around some likely combinations of where the story might go. Next step is to choose some characters to handle the plot. I love the naming process. Sometimes that takes me the longest time, to make sure I’ve got interesting names that really fit the vibe I’m looking for. Fleshing out the characters with positives and flaws both, to keep things interesting comes next. Then we begin at the beginning. I may outline a chapter or two ahead so I can see where I need to go. The only time I’ve outlined a whole book before is when I’ve written for NaNoWriMo, which I’ve won twice. There you don’t have a lot of time to run by the seat of your pants!

Do you feel it’s important for an author to read outside of the genre their write and why?

It’s important for a writer to read. Period. Certainly reading across genres, especially these days, will help you, because the lines between genres are growing thinner and thinner. They have gardening mysteries and sci-fi romance and chick-lit thrillers—you’ve got to keep up with all of it!

I have to agree. Very important to write and read everyday.

Do you have a list of craft books that you think should be included in a writer’s study guide?

I don’t. I have been fortunate enough to take some classes with the wonderful Margie Lawson, including her Master Immersion class last fall in Colorado. She has a real gift for teaching the way to release emotions into your work.

I've bwwn Margieized too. Love her.

Okay. Let me ask something personal. When you’re not writing, what are some of your hobbies?

I garden a lot, running a community garden for the folks in my father’s apartment building. I also love to travel, and since my kids are spread out across the country, we’ve been able to see quite a bit of it, from the redwoods in California to Washington DC to Florida and more.

What is next for you?

I’m busy writing the third volume in the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series, which is scheduled for release in 2012. Hopefully after that I’ll be able to get into a new project—I have some interesting ideas for a paranormal romance I’m dying to get to.

It's wonderful to learn more about you. Thanks for coming by today.Thanks, Autumn, for inviting me to meet your readers, and best wishes for your writing in the future!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mona Takes Us To Russia

Today, I'm so happy to welcome to my blog Mona Risk. I follow Mona often. She always leads me to the most interesting and beautiful places. It's no wonder her stories are wonderful. Please join me in welcoming her and help us celebrate her new release RX In Russian.

During the mid-nineties, I often traveled to Russia and Belarus for business and was quite impressed by the Russian culture and hospitality. As a frequent visitor to these exotic places, I collected pictures and notes and decided to set my new book in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. With my heroine, Dr. Jillian Burton, you will discover a different civilization, visit interesting cities and towns, marvel at the Russian architecture, taste the exotic food, toast with vodka, wear the warm chapka, experience many of the local customs, and fall in love with a gallant Belarusian doctor.

At the time, the dollar had a strong purchasing power against the Belarusian ruble, and was worth BR 6000 in 1994 and BR 200,000 in 1997. A treat for a tourist. Their most expensive items were relatively inexpensive for us Americans. On my first trip to Minsk , I discovered the hard way that there was no heating from May 1st to October 31st. After freezing for two days in my raincoat and trying to warm up with hot shaye (tea), I bought myself a mink chapka and a mohair shawl to ward off the brisk cold that seeped through my bones.

Comfortable in my new Russian clothes I toured the bazaars, malls and boutiques. The first souvenirs I bought in Minsk were the lacquer boxes and the Matryoshka dolls.

Russian lacquer boxes can exist in any kind of space without destroying the environment around them.

Deeply rooted in history, this art form is among the most splendid and distinctive of Russia ’s artistic achievements. The art of Russian lacquer miniatures became famous all over the world in the 1920’s and during communism when highly qualified icon-painters were compelled to seek some other non-religious field in which to apply their talents. All boxes are 100% hand painted and hand made. Russian lacquer boxes make great gifts for any occasion and are wonderful collector’s items.

I use my lacquer boxes as jewelry boxes, or business cards and pens boxes.

The Russian Matryoshka is a set of painted wooden dolls nestled into one another. In provincial Russia before 1917 the names Matryona or Matryosha were the most common female names derived from the Latin root "mater" (meaning "mother") portraying the image of a solid, sturdy family matron. Today, Matryoshka remains a symbol of motherhood and fertility.

Until the late 1890's, the first Matryoshka dolls were manufactured in the Children's education workshop in Moscow . The hand-turned dolls are made of linden. The making of each doll requires intensive labor provided by trained artists uniquely skilled at this particular art form.

The unique dolls are painted by famous and exclusive artists, where as the traditional dolls are painted in very traditional Russian designs. The nesting dolls are great for collectors, art enthusiasts of the art, and for fun. Babushka dolls are great as children's toys, presents for people of all ages, and are excellent collector’s items.

At the time I bought two Matryoshka dolls for my daughter. Now her daughters love to take the babushka dolls apart and put them back together.

PRESCRIPTION IN RUSSIAN available at The Wild Rose Press.

Short Synopsis: Dr. Fyodor Vassilov is a thirty-eight year old widower and devoted family man with four little boys who need a caring mother. Still emotionally crippled by the loss of his wife, Fyodor can’t allow himself to get close to a woman again. Having a fling is okay but love? Forget about it! He has to protect his kids, and his heart, from any further harm.

Jillian Burton is an American pediatrician on an official mission to improve health care conditions in Belarus . A few years ago, she lost her son and her illusions about men, marriage and family, and she won’t risk being hurt again. Feeling guilty about her son’s death, she travels to third-world countries to cure and save children but she never allows herself to get emotionally attached to a child.

Fyodor’s mother presses him to marry a healthy woman who wants a big family and loves children. The last woman who fits the bill is Jillian, a woman who considers herself incapable of mothering a child, a doctor who can’t stop roaming the world.

When Fyodor and Jillian work together in Belarus, their cultures clash and their painful memories haunt them, but their attraction defies all odds. Can love overcome duty and guilt?

If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with passion.

Thank you Autumn for having me on your beautiful blog.

Best Regards,

Mona Risk

Rx IN RUSSIAN available at TWRP

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, 2009 BEST ROMANCE NOVEL at Preditors & Editors Readers Poll

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sharing What Matters

Lately, I’ve felt like a tiny dinky riding the waves of a hurricane. One moment I’m on top with clear view of the shore and then two blinks later I’m facing four walls of obligations. Well the other day something helped.

I was sitting in a doctor’s office making a series of appointments for my dear husband. It was very busy, almost chaotic. The woman who was setting up his schedule (I’m going to refer to her as Tilly because I like the name and it fits her) was busy on the phone coordinating with another medical office when a patient came out from the examination rooms. Several had preceded her and each time Tilly had greeted them, with a smile, took their passport, and asked them to have a seat in the waiting room, and someone would call them in a few minutes. Since Tilly was busy, I turned and did as she’d done before. I greeted the woman, took her form, handed it to Tilly and asked the woman to have a seat and someone would be with her shortly.
In that moment, every clerical worker in the office day changed. They burst out laughing and while the atmosphere in the office had been clinically polite before, it lightened. Tilly offered me a job.

Sometimes offering a helping hand or a smile can make a difference in someone’s day and in your own.

That instant, Tilly’s smile, changed my day. Even now, recalling Tilly’s laughter makes me smile. Each light moment is worth its weight in gold.

So, have you share a smile or laugh lately? Tell me about them.