Virtual Visit from Author Emma Lai!

Hi everyone! Thanks for coming by, especially on author interview day! Make sure to read on for Emma’s surprise revelation 😀

Thank you so much for accepting a place in the bloglight, Emma! Always great to welcome a new face to my blog! Let’s get started: 

What do love best about writing? I’m a complete panster and love watching the characters and plot grow. It’s like watching a movie unfold, and I love movies!

Sometimes, I’m surprised by what the characters do, and for me, if I tried to plot then I would feel compelled to force my characters to act in the predetermined way. Plus, it makes the writing process more emotional for me, allowing me to experience the highs and lows as the characters would when faced with, well whatever they’re faced with.

I can so relate, Emma. When I’m in first draft, I feel as though I’m the reader, waiting as the story unfolds. Makes for writing that’s as much fun as reading! What do you like least? This is a moving target. Edits are always difficult, but if they strengthen the story then they’re well worth the blood, sweat and tears. Promotion is also difficult, partially because I have a hard time putting myself out there, partially because of the time involved. However, I love interacting with other authors (we have a solitary lifestyle by profession) and hearing what readers have to say.

Wait. The answer just came to me. I hate the waiting. I hate waiting while my characters figure out what comes next because once I start a story I have a pressing need to finish it. I hate waiting after I’ve sent the draft to my critique partners because I’m anxious for first reactions. I hate waiting to hear back on queries and submissions, mostly because I’m not patient…though I’m sure you’d never get that from this post. 🙂

What started you as a writer? My husband. He loves to read, yes even romance. I needed something to occupy my free time while I studied for my comprehensives, so I wrote him a story, which he insisted I share with his mother, who has some experience with the publishing world. They both pushed and pushed until I bit the bullet and submitted. Here I am two years, five releases and eight contracts later. Guess their faith wasn’t misplaced.

What keeps you writing? I would literally go insane if I didn’t write. My mind is constantly working, and writing stories gives it something productive to dwell on. Writing is a great stress reducer for me.

How has your writing impacted –or significantly changed—other aspects of your life?

I guess it’s time for the big reveal…

The biggest way writing has impacted my life was to inspire me to start a small e-publishing press, Twenty Or Less Press. I’ve found that while there are plenty of romance publishers who provide awesome feedback, even on rejected works, there just weren’t that many—or at least I didn’t come across them—e-publishers of other genres who provide much more than form rejections.

As a writer, I continually strive to improve my skills, and one of the most helpful things I’ve received, is criticism from others. My publishing house provides constructive feedback on all legitimate submissions. (Legitimate as in following the submission guidelines.) I’ve received dozens of emails from authors expressing their appreciation for my honest feedback even though, for the most part, the feedback included rejections. My goal is to help other writers be the best writers they can.

How exciting and mazel tov! I am so impressed by you taking on the business of publishing in today’s changing publishing paradigm. How did you come up with a name as intriguing and unique as the one you chose?

Sorry; sidetracked! Back to the interview:Where do you get story and character ideas? And for those who write across cultural lines, how do you market or generate mainstream, typical reader’s interest in your books? I think this question applies to those who write across genres while using the same pen name. That said, I have just submitted my first interracial/cross-cultural story. Either way, my answer is the same: market the characters. Plot drives the story, but it is through the eyes of the characters that the journey is made. Strip the characters of whatever makes them genre specific and tell the reader what she has in common with them or why she’ll love them or hate them.

As a reader, sell me on the characters, and I’ll read anything.

Me too! I’m currently reading a book and getting through it exactly b/c the author got me interested in the characters AND the story is compelling enough to keep me turning the pages. (The actual writing falls pretty far short of my tastes.) Talk about current, past and future projects, upcoming releases, maybe your ‘dream novel’? I have a couple of ‘dream novels’. I just submitted my first full-length book for consideration by Loose-Id. It’s not only my pet because it was the first book I wrote when starting my career as a writer, but because the heroine shares part of my personal life journey–walking the line between two cultures while feeling part of neither. Or, maybe that’s what I tried to write and didn’t succeed at. We’ll have to wait and see what the editor says. 🙂

My other ‘dream novel’ is a YA sci-fi/fantasy. I’ve always loved science fiction and once I discovered fantasy in my college years, I fell in love with that as well. I thought combining the two would make an intriguing read. The project has been slow going. The first book is over half complete, but I’ve taken a long hiatus from it while I’ve learned more about the craft of writing. Some things take time to do full justice. (Just hope I remember that if I get a rejection on the cross-cultural romance.)

Are we soul-sisters? I feel the same way w/a very slow-going project, but in the meantime, I’ve learned tons about web presence and social media. Please tell our readers how you juggle work (other than writing, assuming you work ‘outside the home’), time to write and all that goes along with it, especially as a published author (i.e., promo, etc).

My life is one of deadlines. Everything is prioritized based on that. I’m blessed to have a husband with a flexible schedule so when due dates loom, he steps in to take care of the little one.

If you please, talk about ‘my life is one of the deadlines’ in the comments’ section. In the meantime, kindly share the three ways you find most effective to promote your work: Promoting is about keeping your name out there even when there’s not a release in the near future. So, I tweet and do blog posts—though keeping with my desire to help other writers, most of my blog is devoted to showcasing the work of others. As time allows, I leave comments at other blogs as well. However, just as big as promoting is making sure I keep readers supplied with new stories.

Now in honor of the two-year anniversary of my first published story, I’m sharing covers and blurbs from the entire Mates of the Guardian series, which includes the upcoming Book 3: His Capture, Her Rescue. (Stories are available at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com)

Leave a comment for a chance to win your choice of any of my published stories and an ARC of Book 3–when it becomes available. I’m also offering a $25 gift certificate to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or The Wild Rose Presswinner’s choicefor rebranding suggestions left on my blog at http://emmalaiwrites.blogspot.com/2011/08/its-all-in-branding.html.

BTW, Emma, these covers are stunning. Love the colors. And the model on His Capture Her Rescue reminds me of Twilight fame’s onscreen hero, Robert Pattinson. (That’s a good thing! :)) 

   His Ship, Her Fantasy:  Ellie Woods is in love…with a ship. When an argument with the ship results in a bump on the head, she finds herself in the strong arms of Alastair. But, who is he, and where did he come from?

Alastair has loved Ellie from afar for years, but duty has kept him from revealing himself to her. When a grave threat reveals his true identity, he hopes that Ellie will choose reality over fantasy. (Read an excerpt.)

   His Hope, Her Salvation: Promised in marriage to an abusive oaf, Judith resolves to find out if there can be passion without love. Snatches of conversation overheard at the local inn lead her to a mysterious American merchant who might be able to satisfy her carnal curiosity and capture her heart.

Donovan, a Guardian Hunter, is on the trail of a rogue Elysian in Georgian England. As the son of the First Hunter, he long ago gave up hope of finding his heart’s mate. When Judith appears in his study, his inner beast and his heart demand he answer her plea for help.

Will their passion answer their hearts’ pleas, or will it wither under the threat of reality? (Read an excerpt.)

  His Capture, Her Rescue (Coming soon from The Wild Rose Press)Masquerading as an American, Eallair, a Guardian Steward from another world, is searching Victorian England for the kidnapped mate of a fellow Guardian. When he meets Miss Harriet Cartwright, he knows her for the spirited, intelligent mate he has longed to find.

Since the death of their parents, Harriet has used her intelligence and sharp tongue to guard her sister from fortune hunters, but now that Prudence is close to choosing a husband, Harriet can consider her own future—one hopefully filled with adventure. When she meets Eallair, an American rancher who likes to travel and isn’t put off by her outspokenness, she is intrigued.

But before Harriet and Eallair can explore their attraction, she and her sister are kidnapped. While Eallair scours the countryside for them, Harriet discovers Eallair’s off-world origins. Now she must decide: just how much adventure does she want in her future?

So which of Emma’s titles has YOU most intrigued? (#2 has my attention.) Any of you who’ve already read her work, please leave the rest of us a recommendation! As always, thanks to all of you who stopped in! Stay tuned for two or three reviews next week (maybe even tomorrow! :)) 

Until next time, 

Joanna

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PL Parker Parks in the Bloglight!

Good day friends! Always great to connect with all of you here! By now so many of you know how happy the US Open Tennis Championships final match made me–and I’ve added Mr. Djokovic to my list of absolute favorite players. If this comes as a surprise, scroll down to the previous post and check out the champs! Now I have to wait a whole year…good thing the Australian is coming up next! What is life without tennis? Oh to be able to write full-time, break from that by going to the tennis court for exercise…

Okay, enough wishful thinking. 🙂 Let’s get to my current guest, online friend and regular visitor to my humble blog!  Meet P.L. Parker, newly published author of unique paranormal fantasy romance novels with a twist. Her modern day heroines find themselves transported back in time to live in ancient lands where they encounter peril, romance, treachery, and ultimately, love. She enjoys creating fantasy romance stories in both the light and dark paranormal. Today she answers questions regarding her author’s journey.  

   

Welcome, P.L. Thanks for all your support–more appreciated than I can communicate! What do you love best about writing? I love the ability to create a character from the ground up.  I love being able to imagine whatever reality I want and build on that.  I love the research behind the story—all that it takes to make the story credible and I love telling the story.

We may be soul sisters who traveled from another dimension to this one! What do you like least? Oh most definitely the promo.  I just want to write, but promo goes hand in hand.  Next is the editing. I wish I was talented enough to write the perfect story the first time through, but I don’t think anyone has that ability.

What got you started? I used to tell my husband all these stories and he kept telling me I needed to write them down.  So one day, he went out and bought a computer, brought it home, hooked it up and told me to get started.  He is also my best fan.  Until I turned 50, I don’t think I had the true focus I needed to stay with a manuscript.  I actually wrote my first novel, Fiona, and truly started writing when I was 54.  I am now 58.

Okay, so now I have writer’s envy. Can’t manage more than one story at a time myself and have a ton of trouble transitioning from one manuscript to the next. What keeps you writing? All the stories inside my head just waiting to be put down on paper.  At the same time I am writing the current story, the next story is already forming in my brain cells, just waiting for its chance to break free.  I pretty much have a mental outline ready for the next book by the time I finish the last one.

How has your writing impacted –or significantly changed—other aspects of your life? My house has suffered.  I used to be a much better housekeeper, but something had to fall by the wayside, so I voted for the housekeeping.  It was a hard choice . . . .

Where do you get story and character ideas? Who or what inspires you? Amazingly enough, the Discovery Channel.  I love ancient history and the quirky little things they dig up.  I often wonder how modern man would survive back then, if they could.  Fiona was based on the Urumchi Mummies of Ancient China; Riley’s Journey is set in the last great Ice Age; Heart of the Sorcerer and Aimee’s Locket are not that far back in time, but still time travel – modern man set against the tribulations of the past.

                     

Talk about current, past and future projects, upcoming releases, maybe your ‘dream novel’? Actually, Fiona was my “dream novel.”  None of my succeeding stories have affected me like Fiona did.  I felt her pain, her fear, her desire to return home. I have also stepped out of my comfort zone (time travel) and am writing a SciFi story – but I have to admit, there is some time travel in there.  LOL.  It’s a fun story and I’m having a great time writing it. 

I understand congratulations are in order? Recently, I had two manuscripts in the submission stage,  Absolution,  a vampire story with a twist, and Into the Savage Dawn, a sequel to Riley’s Journey. Both are now under contract for publication: the former with Eternal Press and the latter with Willow Moon Publishing (my very first editor’s brand new endeavor). I’m very excited! 

As I would be!  Please tell our readers how you juggle work (other than writing, assuming you work ‘outside the home,’ as a patient aptly asked me many years ago), time to write and all that goes along with it, especially as a published author (i.e., promo, etc). I write during my breaks and lunchtime at work, save the current work and on Friday afternoons, I send the latest home to be input into the main manuscript.  This actually works great for me because I live in a house full of men and they can’t seem to understand that when I’m writing, I can’t be answering a million questions, fixing dinner, ironing their T-shirts, finding lost socks, etc.  Men will be men. I’ve got a houseful of testosterone myself (minus the two female cats). Bless you, girl: you iron T-shirts?? You’re a lot more understanding than I am, lol.

Please share the three ways you find most effective to promote your work. I wish I knew what was the most effective.  The Book-A-Day Giveaways at The Romance Studio is a good choice.  I’ve given away a number of copies through them and I always seem to have a long list of entrants for whichever of my books I have donated. I also buy small notebooks from various places, print out stickers with the covers of my books and paste on them, and hand them out or use as mailers. (I’m liking the notebook idea! :)) I do try to blog as much as I can given time constraints. Currently, at my blog, I’m doing a sequence which I’ve entitled In Search of My Soulmate, and each post will be “Bachelor No. 1, 2, etc.”  I have already really input No. 1 but I called it Who Was that Basque Man.  I have so many stupid things that happened with dates, blind dates, etc., I decided telling about them would be a good romance blog.  The ending one will be my meeting with my soulmate, who just happens to be my husband. (BTW, I popped over and peeked at these; I am now hooked! Hysterical! If you get a chance, readers, check out this series. EVERYONE can relate!)

For blurbs, excerpts, etc:  www.plparker.com; or my blogspot.

Thanks again, P.L. for stopping by and sharing your stories with us! Good luck with all your current and future endeavors–as always, I am impressed by those of you who can juggle so many stories at once!

Next week, look for Diane Lang’s tips on transitioning kids between classrooms and other settings. Also, start thinking about the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you. For this one, those we know and love don’t count.

Until then, enjoy the weekend–here on the northcentral east coast, it’s a gorgeous, fresh last-of-the-summer day. Hope yours is as nice!

Joanna