Steph Burkhart Steps into the Bloglight!

Hello everyone, 

Hope today finds you all well and revving up to deal with the day-to-day! We’ve got a visit from paranormal romance author Steph Burkhart!

STEPH: First, I’d like to thank Joanna for having me here today. I’ve been in my writing cave all summer, slaving over my projects and I’ve just now found some time to peep out. Feels good to have a little autumn chill on my cheeks. I love blogging and hanging out on the web. You can find me at: http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

JOANNA: What do you love best about writing?

STEPH: Writing stimulates my creativity and imagination. I enjoy researching different settings and topics. Writing is like taking an adventure without ever having to leave your seat.

JOANNA: What got you started writing?

STEPH: I remember growing up as a young girl in the 1970’s and watching a show called The Electric Company. I loved the Spiderman skit. After watching the show, I went to the kitchen table and would draw comic books of the skits. My passion for writing evolved from that.

JOANNA: Where do you get story and character ideas?

STEPH: Believe it or not, NOT from dreams. I’m a very heavy sleeper since I don’t get much, and rarely do I remember my dreams. Most of my characters and stories start with a broad concept. For “Victorian Scoundrel,” my steampunk romance, my broad concept was: heroine travels through time to stop her mischief making cousin from changing the time line. From there I built on that, creating Alice and Edmund Windsor, my royals from the future. Then I did research on Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, the Great Exhibition, Sir John Russell, and dirigibles. Since this was a steampunk I crafted several “fun” gadgets such as transmogrifiers, datamancers, and whuzzies. Alice needed a hero so enter Earl Swinton, Grayson Kentfield, the Prime Minister’s friend. The research was fun and allowed me to tap into my imagination. Then it was time to character build. Using bios, I fleshed out my characters, even casting them like the book was a movie.

This process usually takes 1-2 to weeks for me to flesh out before I can start writing.

JOANNA: Wow. I think I need a glossary to make sense of all the terms. I’m also impressed with your process at crafting the characters. Now, please tell our readers how you juggle, work, and being a mom.

STEPH: This is a balancing act, trust me. I am a 911 dispatcher for LAPD and I work from2 pmto10 pm. When I’m writing, the bulk of my writing is done at work during my down time, putting pen to paper. This way when I get home, all I do is type. After I get the boys off to school, I’ve got the morning to myself. I usually do my promo during that time, visiting Twitter, Facebook, and my Yahoo Groups. After that, I type. Then its off to work to write some more. The evenings are usually dedicated to the kids on my off days.

JOANNA: Talk about current, past, and future projects and upcoming releases.

STEPH: I love the romance genre because romance speaks to hope and love which are very uplifting topics. That said, I enjoy writing paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk. I also have a children’s book out called “The Giving Meadow.” I’m attracted to vintage romance as well, but while I love reading historicals, I find them quite daunting to write.

  In FEB 2011, my paranormal romance, The Count’s Lair, was released. (The novel is Book2 inmy Budapest Moon series.) Set in Budapest, Hungary, Count Anton Varga has a secret – he’s a werewolf. He’s also attracted to the beautiful and talented pianist, Lady Amelia Andrassy. Can Amelia accept him for what he is? There’s plenty of werewolves and witches in the story andBudapestserves as an exotic and believable setting for the story.

Releasing in NOV 2011, is Book 3 of the Budapest Moon Series, “Danubein Candlelight.” It’s set inBudapest, 1922 just after the end of World War I. Morgan Duma is returning home after a stay inEnglandand is reunited with her childhood friend, Adam Varga. When friendship turns to love, the couple’s resolve is tested when Morgan is transformed into a werewolf.

Releasing in DEC 2011 is my contemporary romantic suspense, “The Faberge Secret.” Elise Goodwin runs a heritage museum inBrattleboro,Vermont. When she finds a rare Faberge Egg, its up to Russian businessman Dimitri Romanov to keep her safe from his rival.

Let me share an excerpt with you from my latest release, Victorian Scoundrel.

BLURB: When Alice travels back in time to keep her cousin, Edmund, out of trouble, she has no idea the mischief she’s in for!

Check out my BOOK TEASER ON YOU TUBE 🙂

Buy on AMAZON KINDLEALL ROMANCE EBOOKSBARNES & NOBLE (NOOK BOOK)

REVIEWS: 5 Stars, Readers Favorites, Molly E:

I have never read a Steam Punk novel before, but because of (Steph Burkhart’s) fantastic writing, her engaging plot line, and fun loving characters, it will NOT be the last. I highly recommend this with highest of 5 stars, and I can’t wait until the second Windsor Diaries installment releases!

5 Stars, Tami Dee, Author of the Mists of Time Series: Stephanie Burkhart has a fresh, quick, quirky, inventive imagination and she gives the readers of Victorian Scoundrel a delightful mixture of all of the above!

Pen & The Muse, Barbara: A wonderful historical, paranormal steampunk read this was. This new series is going to be a big hit.  She has me hooked.  This is a must read.

  EXCERPT: Grayson escorted her to a door on the right, threw it open, and put his hand on her waist, guiding her inside. A gas lamp burned on a nearby table, throwing stark, deep shadows into the room.

Her determined man shut the door and pinned her against it. He plucked her glasses from her face and threw them onto the table with the gas lamp. Then he pinned her against the door, placing his hands on the door next to her arms. His breathing was erratic. The light from the lamp cast dark shadows over his chiseled features.

“Gray–”

He stepped closer and lowered his hands, placing one on her waist. Heat spiked within her and settled low in her abdomen. His hazel eyes burned with desire. He drew in a deep breath and raised his forefinger, tracing her lips.Alice closed her eyes, but only briefly, savoring the gentle touch of his finger.

“You do wild things to my heart, sweet Alice,” he finally whispered. His finger traced her cheeks, then her jaw.

She grew hot, yearning for more. Her senses spun from his sensual touch. She could hardly breathe. “Me?”

“Yes, you.”

“What do I do to your heart?”

“You make it beat hard — fast.” He ran his finger down the side of her neck and traced the ‘v’ in her throat.

Alice met the raging inferno in his eyes and nipped at her lower lip with her teeth. “Is that all I do?”

He issued a low, deep groan from his throat and leaned forward. Their lips searched for each other, teasing, until finally they meshed into a heat-searing kiss.

Alice completely lost her head. His lips were hard, firm, staking his claim. His hands went to her waist as his long, lean body pressed against her. She placed her hands on his shoulders and glided her fingertips around the nape of his neck. She wanted this man. Etiquette and propriety be damned. Victorian values wafted to the floor. She wanted to feel every inch of him that she could. His lips trailed over her jaw, kissing the side of her neck.

“Oh, Gray…” she moaned, her flesh now highly sensitized to his touch.

She had never been kissed like this.

He lifted his head; his mouth overtook hers once again. Her stomach fluttered. If it wasn’t for him leaning into her, giving her support, her knees would have buckled. Need. Want. Desire. They pulsed through her.

His tongue teased her lips, coaxing her to receive him. She gave in.

Their tongues mingled, exploring, tempting, teasing. Raging flames consumed her body. There was only Grayson and her. Here. Now.

Grayson broke free, gasping for breath, as did Alice. His hands cupped her face. “I have to stop.”

“All… all right.”

His thumbs stroked her jaw. “You fascinate me, Alice.”

A deep smile graced her lips. “Completely?”

“Totally.”

“You kiss like a demon possessed, Grayson.”

Find me on the web at: my WEBSITE; BLOG; TWITTER; FACEBOOK FAN PAGE and GOODREADS!

Awesome excerpt, Steph! Have to clear my head long enough to take this moment and thank you up front for your invitation to your ‘football season’ blogs. I’ll be visiting with Steph and talking pigskin-related stuff on October 9th! Looking forward to it!

As always I thank all of you who took the time to stop in!

Until next time,

Joanna

Prolific Author Alert: Sarah McNeal is Here!

Good day, friends!

Hope all is well in everyone’s world today. Please extend a warm welcome to paranormal romance author Sarah J. McNeal! 

So glad to have you here, Sarah! Start us off:

What do love best about writing?

I love the creative process.  Hanging out at restaurants and the library listening to other people’s conversations and jotting down notes in my writer’s journal makes me feel like a mystery sloth.  I love when an epiphany presses the happy buzzer in my mind and helps me pull together the story I’m working on.  Shoot, I love everything about writing including the smell of pencils and the sight of stacks of notebook paper.  I love to settle down at my computer and transfer my handwritten text onto the screen.

What do you like least?

I almost hate to say it—promotion of my work.  I hate going around begging readers to check out my blogs and visit my website.  I feel like I’m on a street corner with a tin cup of pencils to sell.

What got you started?

March 18, 1947, I took a breath and, with it, came my imagination and the desire to share it.  I made up songs when I was three years old and told “adventure stories” by the time I was four.  I wrote my first story when I was nine.  The longing to share my stories has always been inside me.

What keeps you writing? 

It is my joy and aspiration to write—and then write even better.  It’s not something I control as much as it’s something that is basic element of myself.

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

After I published my first book, everything changed including my belief in myself.  Until then, I saw my career as nursing.  Nursing was the career my father chose for me.  Because he was a Great Depression survivor, he wanted me to choose a practical career that would not be dependant on the economy—and, believe me, it wasn’t.  I have never been without a job.  So, I have gratitude in that respect.  But the deep yearning to become a published writer had finally been fulfilled with the publication of my first book.  I planned to retire from nursing the first chance I got so that I could devote myself to my first love—writing.  After a few years of saving and planning, I took an early retirement. Even in the face of a declining economy, I have never regretted it, never looked back.

(Oh to retire early…what a joy…)

Where do you get story and character ideas?

Mostly from the world around me.  I keep a writer’s journal with me everywhere I go and jot down tidbits of things I see and hear.  I wrote Bitter Notes based on a real life event.  Someone threw their baby grand piano out in the front yard and let it rot in the elements. Every day I passed it as it fell into pieces of rotted wood and despaired over it.  Why?  Why would anyone do that?  I felt driven to write its story.

I was fooling around one day playing my harmonica with my feet propped up on my Grandfather McNeal’s trunk and it made me think about the things in that trunk and what they were like when they were new.  That’s how I found my inspiration for Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride.  All of my stories started with something that crossed my life’s path.  When all else fails, I play the “What If” game.

For those who write across cultural lines, how do you market or generate a mainstream, typical reader’s interest in your books?

Generating interest from any reader I believe begins with producing the best story I can write.  Good writing speaks to readers more than anything else.  I don’t write cross-culture stories unless you count fantasy cultures—not yet anyway but, if I did, I would give it my all.

Talk about current, past and future projects, upcoming releases, maybe your ‘dream novel’?

Bitter Notes is a novella published by Amira Press.  Logline: An abandoned piano heals a broken heart.

The Violin is a story about a member of my family that died too young.  I brought John back from the brink and gave him a life in this book from my heart.  Although currently in re-edits, it is contracted by Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery for its second edition. Logline: Timeless love brought together by a violin.

Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride is my latest release. (Logline: A haunted house, a trunk and a date with destiny. Below are the blurb and an excerpt.

I am presently working on the sequel based on a secondary character that I fell in love withBanjo (Logline: Deceit stands between a man’s love and his destiny.)

For those who don’t know me, they can get a couple of my free stories; download them at my website or from Amira Press.

*** For more of Sarah’s very intriguing titles click here.***

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 J), time to write and all that goes along with it, especially as a published author (i.e., promo, etc).

I used to have a very difficult time dragging myself away from my writing to go to work in the ER and then I finally decided to take an early retirement after I sold my first novel.  No regrets.  I do however, make time for my family.  As much as I love writing, my friends and family do come first and I make time for them whenever I need to.  It’s easy to get so caught up in writing that it takes over my life so I do have to force myself to come out of my writer’s cave from time to time and become a social being.  My sister never gets this about me.  Traveling and enjoying theater and other people are her main enjoyments so it’s hard for her to understand that writers are accustomed to being alone.

Please share the three ways you find most effective to promote your work!

1.  The number one thing a writer needs for promotion is to produce the best story they are capable of writing.  Quality writing counts more than any other thing.

2.  I do not like to go into readers’ groups and post blurbs and excerpts then take off.  I like to interact with the readers and authors on the loops.  I have a banner that tells about my books and directs them to my website.  I don’t need to hammer it down their throats every single day.  I think authors who do that, risk losing the interest of readers.  They just grow numb to the constant barrage of “look at my books.”  I’m sure that some may disagree with that point of view but that has been my experience. I think interacting with readers and other authors and always remembering to be polite, answer questions and say thank you when someone compliments me.

3.  Blogging I find is a very effective way to present myself and my work to others.  When people read about the things that concern or interest me, I think they can often relate to me better.  It’s a way of getting readers to know me and where my heart lies.  I am a person first and then I’m a writer.

    (Love this cover! Gorgeous!) 

Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride

Blurb: Lola Barton discovers a warp in time in an old trunk when she falls into 1910. She finds herself married to Joseph Wilding, a stranger shadowed by secrets. Mistaken for Callie McGraw, a thief and a woman of ill repute, Lola finds her life is threatened by a scoundrel. Joe stands between her and certain death. With danger threatening all around and secrets keeping them apart, can Joe and Lola find their destiny together? Or will time and circumstance forever divide them?

Excerpt:  Harmonica music floated down from the attic—the last place in this tumble down wreck of a house Lola Barton wanted to go.  Had someone or something taken up residence there?  Lola made her way up the darkened attic stairs measuring each step as the ancient boards creaked in protest under her feet.  Her flashlight beamed a narrow circle of light illuminating the cobweb-covered door at the top of the landing.  Her heart raced and pulsed in her ears.  Hands trembled with the surge of adrenaline as she pressed forward.  She ignored her inner voice that warned, “Don’t go!”

Her cynical mind told her the rumors that Misty Oaks Plantation had ghosts weren’t true.  The tales of murder and betrayal had to be the overactive imagination of the local townspeople.  A homeless vagrant had to be the most logical explanation for the disturbance.

Once she gained the landing, she blew the cobwebs from the door and leaned her ear against it to listen for any movement on the other side.  Wisps of harmonica music lifted in the air.  Perhaps someone left a harmonica lying around and the wind blew hard enough through the cracks in the walls to make it sound as though someone played the instrument.  Just the wind.  No ghost.

With her courage bolstered by her logical conclusion, she grabbed the doorknob and turned it.

BUY LINKS:

Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride

By Sarah McNeal

ISBN: 978-1461087731 1461087732

Available at:

Western Trail Blazer Novels

Amazon.com

Lulu Book Store:

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

Available in print, too!

Thanks so much, Sarah, for sharing your author’s journey with us! I’m always in awe of authors who can take ideas and see them to so many complete stories. Best wishes and may you continue to experience the joy of creating!

Have a wonderful day, folks!

Joanna

 

Travelin’ Thru Time with Author Laura (Lara) Hogg

The wall of windows through which I love viewing my street. A great place to sit and write too! 🙂

Seasons’ greetings, friends! Hope everyone boggled by the major snow dump is dug out and back on the road. (Took until last night to get that second car out.) The holiday season may be winding down, but trying to keep a house in order when everyone is home and kids keep bringing friends over somehow makes one’s organizing efforts feel haphazard and futile. And somehow, there are still reports to write, vacation or not. (Guess that’s one way to keep me writing–not exactly my exercise of choice.) Feels like my brain is clogged but at least the current story idea in my head seems to be fleshing itself out. Snippets of scenes keep showing up, so I’m jottin’ ’em down as they come and filing away until I can tie together something coherent.

Fans of Diane Lang, this just in: Visit her website for information regarding the upcoming webinar (1/12/2011), Create the Life You Want in 2011. Cost is $5, payable through PayPal. Or, feel free to e-mail Diane at lifeline36@aol.com for more information!

Before I continue I want give special thanks to those of you make sure you communicate to me your support of my efforts here. (That’s you, Indie, and Vicky G, too, among others. Can’t tell you how grateful I am, especially since I can’t be as consistent with this site as I’d like. Your comments on Facebook, those moments in passing–they mean the world, as do all of you.)

Always happy to introduce to you the people who life brings me through my writing endeavors. Here’s proof that what one puts out there does reach others and will do so in its own way. Lara/Laura was searching the net and came across my blog. Lucky for me, she liked what she saw, sent me a very kind compliment via e-mail and our on-line friendship has grown from there. I’ll let her give the other details. Today, she shares her progression from pre-published to published author. As many have shared before her, there is definitely a reason to hang in there. Thank you so much, Lara, for accepting a place in the bloglight! (Due to an error on Lara’s birth certificate, legally making her a Laura, she goes by either name. To avoid any confusion, I’m going with the former.) I also need to note this is another article that I somehow managed to file and lose track of–in great part because of how life manages to get in the way.  (Sorry, Lara, and thanks so much for your patience.)

Thank you, Joanna.

What do love best about writing? I adore the research and learning new things. Exploring and discovery are so much fun, and as a musician, I find the parallels between writing and music to be exciting. The process of creation is so similar between the two arts, constantly improving and facing one’s inner strength to carry on in the face of harder times. Inspiration and personal growth come about as a result.

What do you like least? Short, curt rejections that take many months to arrive. (Amen!)

What keeps you writing? I’ve met so many lovely people in this industry, so many excellent writers who have real class and heart, but when I first started, my work was so thrashed by an experienced writer that I almost gave up writing forever. Serious prayer and meditation brought me back to it. I had taken plenty of criticism in my work and used the advice to strengthen my writing, but that one writer made me feel so bad, my writing career almost never got off the ground. My faith called me to search for answers, and I followed my heart.

Where do you get story and character ideas? Often from dreams and meditation, the same way I got ideas for songs. Occasionally, a picture will give me an idea. For example, I once saw a picture of a tattoo that said, “Courage” and I wrote a short story; from there, I wrote a novel, Romeo vs. Juliet. Sometimes a snippet from a song or a poem will give me an idea.

Talk about current, past and future projects, upcoming releases, maybe your ‘dream novel’?

I write historical and paranormal mostly. Here are a couple of blurbs:

DESCENT INTO DARKNESS: historical romance set in 1811-1812 London and Russia; Full-length historical romance, available with Moongypsy Press, electronic, and soon to be available in print

Duncan Amberley has come back from war, fighting Napoleon’s men on a ship. Clarissa Hale is a lovely shopkeeper with a great sense of humor. A heroic heart rests inside this insecure, intelligent beauty, and she will be called to prove it. Clarissa and her love are pitted against each other for the sake of their families and some terrible accusations. She will be in constant peril as she gathers evidence to convict Duncan’s dangerous brother of a harrowing crime. Duncan’s heart breaks when he discovers something about Clarissa’s sister. Can their love survive the results of their investigations? They devise a dangerous plan to get to the truth, which brings them into the heart of Napoleon’s camp in 1812 Russia as spies. Risking everything, they must get to the truth.

ROMEO VS. JULIET: THE QUESTRIST (time-travel/spec-fic) ebook, short novel. http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/romeovsjulietii.htm

Ambrose, an Elizabethan man, his wife Josephine, and their young daughter are called to an important mission in the far future, but something goes terribly wrong. Ambrose must solve a mystery or his family will be lost to him forever. He faces a deadly enemy. The trail leads him back into the past several centuries where Josephine has interfered; changing the direction of an important battle, and therefore Elizabethan England disappears off the map of history. He walks around his home world, unable to reverse things. Could this cause Romeo to leave Juliet forever?

I have a Victorian-set novel coming out early next year called Margot and am working on more in the Romeo vs. Juliet time travel series. Living in Colorado, I also like to write Westerns and have also written post-apocalyptic stories. As for paranormal, I love time travels. I don’t write about vampires or werewolves, but rather supernatural topics such as the astral plane, karma, and angels.

From our e-mail exchanges, Lara, I’ve learned you’ve worn—and wear—many, many hats, including that of home-schooling mom. (That one impresses me tremendously. As much as I love the idea, I don’t know that I’m organized enough to put together lessons much less be patient with two boys who’d much rather do anything besides schoolwork, lol.)  Please tell our readers how you juggle work, your music, time to write and all that goes along with it, especially as a published author (i.e., promo, etc).

I work in a private reading school during the day as a clinician and edit for a publisher at night online. My husband does all the cooking and much of the cleaning, including cleaning the litter boxes. (What a great guy.  Makes a huge difference when our men take on the brooms, mops and sponges, right? Mine puts away the laundry, a job I absolutely abhor.) My daughter is in college. I’m ashamed to say that my instruments have collected some dust, but I intend to remedy that. I didn’t have the guts to submit my work until I was in my thirties.

During my busiest time of life, I was also in a rock band and had practice on the weekends. I just budgeted my time. For example, I taught a French class to an elementary school class first thing in the morning then took a bus to college. My husband dropped off our daughter with me. I taught our girl how to read at a young age. She would sit quietly behind me in my classes with her little pink backpack and read the lesson plan I had written out for her. She wrote down her questions while working in her workbooks, and we’d discuss them after I got out of class. From there, the two of us got on a bus and went to the daycare where I worked, often having to eat our lunch at the bus stop. She’d play with her friends at the daycare while I worked, and she could come to my room anytime to say hello. Then we’d take the bus home. I’d give her lessons, or we’d go to the park or something. Her daddy taught her about computers, and we gave her tests and kept records.

After she went to sleep, I stayed up late writing her a new lesson plan etc., practicing piano, and doing my own homework, sometimes bringing my books into the bathtub. I was so busy. I had a lot of wet college texts, warped pages. Constantly sleep deprived…and poor, often facing eviction from our apartment—daycares don’t pay much, but I wanted my girl to have friends while I home-schooled her, and my husband was also in college.

My daughter was a little older when I was in the rock band. She got to see me play when my band did a gig at a small coffee house. Now she’s an artist, musician, and writer and does well in college.

One thing to keep in mind, I had to eat right and exercise to keep up the energy to do all that. Chasing after buses kept us both in shape. We did a heck of a lot of walking back then, sleeping on buses and on campus between classes. Keeping our bodies as healthy as we can makes such a difference when one’s work keeps one sitting much of the time. Finding a way to add movement to one’s day becomes another challenge when one is that busy. In addition to regular exercise and walks, I’m blessed enough to work with school-aged children in the area of gross motor development. That ups my fitness that much more. I make sure to be an active participant during large ball play, scooter play, etc. All the strengthening I work on with my students comes back to me—and it’s fun!

Joanna, I really appreciate being your guest. Thank you so much. Grateful to have you, Lara, and for the different ways you’ve been of help to me since we ‘met.’ Most of all, I appreciate your loyal support of my blog! Here are different ways those of you who’d like to learn more about Lara and her various creative endeavors:

Facebook Twitter Amazon MySpace Travel the Ages (blog)

I enjoy having authors at my blog and welcome enquiries in that regard. Warm regards to you and your readers.

And to you and yours, Lara. Best wishes in all that you do. Keep persevering and we’ll look for you again!

On that note, I wish a great day to all. As always, thank you for your continued support by stopping by my tiny spec of cyberspace!

Joanna

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

Karen Michelle Nutt (finally!) Gets the Bloglight!

Hello everyone!

Rafa Nadal won Wimbledon—and we all know how happy that makes Joanna! (Okay, ecstatic is the more precise word. There I am wishing I were there to see it!) I even got the best pancakes ever (courtesy of my older son) while enjoying Breakfast at Wimbledon. (Scroll down to the next post and see for yourself!)

Other than that, it has been TOO LONG since Joanna’s felt like she has even a semblance of a clear head—the last week of June and July to date have been insanely busy with extended school year program (a.k.a. “summer school)  and all my boys being home all the time. I’m tired, frustrated and WAY behind with my writing and related ventures. I’m hanging in there, though, and hoping to feel more connected to all of you very soon! Thanks for your patience and support!

Today I own the pleasure of introducing the very kind, very patient and much tolerant Karen Michelle Nutt. (I promised her a blogspot last month then lost track of my life as I knew it, lol!)

Karen Michelle Nutt and Jack

From what I’ve learned, Karen is quite intrigued with the concept of time travel and the possibility of reaching into the past and changing it. (I can think of a few things I’d like altered easy.) Her heart also holds a special, dark place for vampires and shapeshifters. When she isn’t writing, this dynamo reviews paranormals. When she can, she travels the world, too. Check out her website for some of the stops she’s made. Maybe she can coordinate your next tour, maybe even set it in a different time and place!

Okay, Karen, here we go. Tell me about your writing roots: what got you started and what gave you the confidence to persevere?   What can I say? I love books!! I started writing plays and short stories when I was ten. I still have those notebooks, lol, however, it wasn’t until I was married and had three children that I decided I wanted to seriously write and submit my work to a publisher. I’d finish one novel and send it out to a publisher. Then I’d start my next book. If I received a rejection letter, I sent it to the next publisher on my list. Perseverance finally paid off.  In 2006, I had my first time travel novel published.

How has your writing impacted other aspects of your life?  I’m a better writer now thanks to the wonderful editors I’ve worked with through the years. Learning POV was difficult for me. I wanted to head hop all the time. I’ve learned to control my characters. They hardly ever speak out of turn now.

Talk about current, past and future projects, upcoming releases, maybe your ‘dream novel’?  My current releases are:

Creighton Manor: a time travel romance.

Blurb: The last thing that Gillian Metcalf remembers before she passes out is being aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, where she witnessed a dog disappearing as if it were a phantom. Now she’s aboard the riverboat, Ida Belle, traveling down the muddy Mississippi. It is 1870, where men carry guns and throw knives. It is a time where reputations mean everything. Before she can determine how she’s miraculously stepped from one world into another, she is being forced to marry Zachary Creighton. Trouble follows the man and it looks like she’s along for the ride.

Moon Shifter: Irish werewolf romance

Blurb: It is forbidden for a moon shifter of The Mac Tíre clan to change a human and save them from death. Grayson Quinn, the alpha of the pack ignores the ancient rule when Sydney Carlisle, his fiancée is ravaged by one of his own kind. Sydney believes she is a monster, a werewolf. She flees before Grayson can help her adjust, but Grayson must find her. Sydney’s body is still changing and the were-lust will drive her crazy if not sated. He has until the full moon to help her tame the wolf inside and convince her she’s his soul mate. If he fails, he loses her forever. Sydney still craves Grayson’s touch, but can her heart forgive him for making her one of the Mac Tíre?

Heart of a Warrior: Goddess romance (fantasy)

Blurb: Scáthach is the warrior goddess from the Isle of Skye. When a young boy pleads for the goddess to help his Uncle Trey, his prayers do not go unheard. However, she is surprised to find Trey Brennan, not on a battlefield but in a hospital room, hooked to monitors, his body rejecting a bone marrow transplant. She would accept the challenge and educate Trey in the art of warfare. A war was a war no matter where the battle was held. Be it on the fields of heather with an army or an illness attacking the body. Both held the enemy that needed to be defeated. Trey Brennan knew he was dying, but he awakes in another realm where the goddess Scáthach wants to teach him to be a warrior. He is sure he’s dreaming, but what did he have to lose? He would train and he would fight. Perhaps his destiny on the Isle of Skye would also change his path in his world.

Upcoming: I’m working on a fallen angel series called the Warriors for the Light. It will consist of five short stories all released as e-books then later all stories will be compiled into one print anthology. I’m very excited about this project.

Warriors for the Light: Eli’s Story is the first and is now going thought edits.

Blurb: At a very young age the Rules of Conduct for the Fallen Angels were drummed into Eli Grigori’s head. Rule number one: Do not befriend a human. Rule number two: Do not interfere in their lives. Rule number three: Do not have relations with a human. Rule number four: Under no circumstances will you ever reveal your true self. He managed to break all of the above.

Ol’ Hallow’s Eve is the day the veil between worlds are thin. It’s the only day out of the year the preternatural beings are allowed to walk among the humans as their true selves. With Eli’s wings bound and his glamour stripped, the Elders send him back in time before Ryden O’Sullivan knew the truth about him. If she is truly his soul mate, then her heart should recognize him.

There are those among the Watchers who are afraid Eli might succeed in his quest for love. If he does, everything will change within the brethren. Hashasheen demons that are assassins for hire are sent to take out Eli and Ryden. Eli is a warrior and will fight to keep Ryden safe, but time may be their biggest enemy. The Elders gave him until the end of Ol’ Hallow’s Eve. Ryden must fall in love with him by then or his life will be forfeited.

You gave so much to tantalize us—thank you! Next, 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 J), time to write and all that goes along with it, especially as a published author (i.e., promo, etc). I do have a day job. I’m a financial secretary at a dental office and have been in the field for twenty-seven years. Monday is my day off and I dedicate the day for my writing. There may be a few days during the week I can manage an hour or two, but not always. It is my dream to one day write full time. (Amen! What a lovely thought for those of us so inclined…)

How do I fit in promo time? I prepare ahead for promos, having all my book covers, blurbs, excerpts, etc in a file and ready to go for when I need it.  Then all I have to do is copy and paste. It saves a lot of time.

I know it does as I’ve employed some of these tips myself. Please share the three ways you find most effective to promote your work: Join yahoo groups that feature your genre. Don’t just post your information and disappear. Try to check back to see if anyone commented or asked a question about your work. If at all possible, set up a website that is free of advertisements. You want your site to look professional. Join Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. These are places you can network with other authors. You can also post your news like upcoming events, blog dates, book releases, etc. You want to reach as many people as possible. Unfortunately, your book doesn’t magically find their way to a reader’s hand. You have to let them know you wrote one, lol!  At my website (http://www.kmnbooks.com) under LINKS, I’ve listed resources for authors. All the direct links are there for easy access.

I want to thank you so much for letting me be your guest author today and letting me share my books with everyone. I’d also like to offer another opportunity to share my books: leave a comment and be entered in a drawing for an e-copy (pdf) of one of my stories! (Drawing will be held on Wednesday evening, July 21, 7 PM EST, USA).

You are most welcome, Karen, and very gracious! Thanks so much for visiting with us and letting us get to know you.

Learn more about Karen at her website and blog.

As always, I thank all of you who took time out of your daily grind to stop by!  Look for at least one awesome zucchini and chicken taco recipe I recently tossed together to be posted at my website soon. And on July 23rd look for an interview with Pamela Thidbodeux. Her newest release, In His Sight, an inspirational romance, is due to release—you guessed it: July 23rd! Join us on her launch day! We’ll make it special!

Until next time,

Joanna