Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Author Interview Updates: Where Are They Now?

I'll be interviewing Elle Druskin the last Tuesday in June, and thought it was a good time to catch up with the five authors I interviewed in 2013. They all have some wonderful news to share. ;-)

Amara Royce

(Check out Amara's interview HERE.)

"It's hard to believe that it's been a year since my debut historical novel NEVER TOO LATE was released by eKensington, and I'm so fortunate to have such wonderfully supportive Forumites like Zan Marie cheering me on! This has been quite a busy and eye-opening year! I'm pleased to announce that my second historical romance, ALWAYS A STRANGER, was released recently by eKensington. Like NEVER TOO LATE, my second book is set at the time of London's Great Exhibition of 1851 and features a relatively unusual heroine for historical romances. I've been very happy working with Kensington Publishing, and I was thrilled last year when my editor offered me a contract for an additional two books! I hope to release them in 2015 and 2016 respectively, which means I have a steady schedule of writing ahead of me! It's a daunting but exciting time!"

When two worlds collide, anything is possible. . .

An international affair, London's Great Exhibition has taken the city by storm. As its newest Royal Commissioner, Lord Skyler Ridgemont must ensure the performers are properly contracted. Among them is the delicate and graceful Hanako Sumaki. Draped in vivid silk robes, Hanako's exotic Japanese fan dance captivates Skyler--and he longs to learn more about her. . .

But Hanako's enigmatic employer keeps his exquisite charge very close. The consummate artist, she shows the handsome nobleman many faces, but never her true heart, which holds a desperate secret. When Skyler learns the real reason Hanako has been brought to London, he will risk his entire world to win her trust--and save her from losing both body and soul. It's a feat that will require the type of courage only love can give. . .

Amy Sue Nathan

(Check out Amy's interview HERE.)

"I can't believe it's been a year since THE GLASS WIVES hit bookshelves. Since then I've visited bookstores, libraries, book clubs, and I even spoke about The Glass Wives in a bakery (best idea EVER)! I saw my face in newspapers and magazines and heard my voice on the radio. It has been a really wonderful year of "debut."

In addition to book events, I wrote my second novel, Finding Izzy Lane, and have just started editing it to get it ready for publication in 2015. I'm really excited about sharing Izzy's story with readers!

FINDING IZZY LANE is about  a divorced mom, Izzy Lane, who moonlights as a dating expert for a popular website, even though she hasn’t dated in years.

In real life, Izzy has moved back to her childhood home with her five-year-old son, is still hung-up on her unemployed ex-husband, and spends weekends hanging out with an eighty-five-year-old neighbor who harbors secrets of her own.

When Izzy discovers some lies can last a lifetime, she must decide if telling the truth and being herself, is worth risking the friendships, love, and job she’s come to count on.

Charlotte Rains Dixon

(Check out Charlotte's interview HERE.) 

"I'm working on a novel I'm in love with, hoping to be finished with the first draft by the end of June.  It's women's fiction, of course, about a young woman who gets plucked out of her everyday life by a chance meeting with a mega-movie star and entrepreneur who bears a bit of a likeness to Richard Branson, with a dash of Tom Cruise thrown in. Oh, and there are sweets involved--as in the luscious French confection, the macaron. 

I've also entered the world of indie publishing with the recent posting of my short story, Blue Sky, available on Amazon for just 99 cents!"

 Nell Malone's life is changing, big time. Still grieving over the death of her husband two years earlier, she grapples with the empty nest syndrome as her daughter leaves for college. But a visit to Santa Fe yields new insights into herself--and the tantalizing prospect of a relationship with an intriguing artist. A short story about loss and love.

Kerry Lynne

(Check out Kerry's interview HERE.)

"My writing life... Hmm... writing, writing and..... writing. <g> But then, isn't that what it's all about?

I'm still fascinated by the process of "peeling the onion," discovering the undiscovered layers which exist in every character. I'm more convinced than ever that characters are everything. Luckily, I'm still gobsmacked by mine every few weeks (Nathan, especially, although Thomas has dropped a few bombs on me) and that is always a real shot in the arm."

The pub date for NOR GOLD (if everything holds together) is late June, 2014."

“Not all treasure does silver, nor gold make.”
Nor Gold picks up where the first book left off, with Cate Mackenzie, a woman who has lost hearth and heart to the Jacobite Uprising, still searching for what she desires above all else: a place to belong. Nathanael Blackthorne’s, captain of the pirate ship the Ciara Morganse, past catches up with him. As he is embroiled in a quest of revenge, he goes from playing guardian angel to an avenging one. Thomas, captain of the pirate ship Griselle, must choose between a best friend and a best hope for happiness. 

Lori Benton

(Check out Lori's interview HERE.)

“April was an eventful month. The 15th saw the release of my sophomore novel, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, set in the 1780s against the backdrop of an overlooked bit of North Carolina history—the secession of the State of Franklin, in what is now eastern Tennessee. On the day that book released I received news that my debut novel, Burning Sky, was a double finalist in the 2014 Christy Awards (Historical and First Novel categories). Burning Sky has also made the shortlist in the Debut Fiction category for the 2014 Inspy Award, the Blogger’s Award for Excellence in Faith-Driven Literature. Early in the month I signed a new contract with my publisher, WaterBrook Press, for a 2-book series set along the Mohawk River in New York, 1757—1777. April 20 was the due date for the first of those (working titled The Wood’s Edge), and now I’m hard at work on the sequel, which should keep me busy, along with editing the first novel, for the rest of 2014.”

In an act of brave defiance, Tamsen Littlejohn escapes the life her harsh stepfather has forced upon her. Forsaking security and an arranged marriage, she enlists frontiersman Jesse Bird to guide her to the Watauga settlement in western North Carolina. But shedding her old life doesn’t come without cost. As the two cross a vast mountain wilderness, Tamsen faces hardships that test the limits of her faith and endurance.

Convinced that Tamsen has been kidnapped, wealthy suitor Ambrose Kincaid follows after her, in company with her equally determined stepfather. With trouble in pursuit, Tamsen and Jesse find themselves thrust into the conflict of a divided community of Overmountain settlers. The State of Franklin has been declared, but many remain loyal to North Carolina. With one life left behind and chaos on the horizon, Tamsen struggles to adapt to a life for which she was never prepared. But could this challenging frontier life be what her soul has longed for, what God has been leading her toward? As pursuit draws ever nearer, will her faith see her through the greatest danger of all—loving a man who has risked everything for her?

Thanks to Amara, Amy, Charlotte, Kerry, and Lori for taking time from their packed writing days to give us an update. I promise you can't go wrong with anything by these five ladies!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Return of the Mini Book Reviews!

And here we go. It's the third Tuesday of the month and I wanted to start with a bang. Here are five books that I've read recently. Enjoy!

THE ART OF FALLING Kathryn Craft--Literary Women's Fiction


Wow! If I could give Craft's THE ART OF FALLING ten stars, it might be enough. This is a spectacular story of one woman's struggle with her body and is told through her connection to dance. I have no experience with dance, but I understood every nuance of the story told through movement. Lovely read! Deeply felt. Read this one! 

CHASING THE SUN Natalia Sylvester--Literary Women's Fiction


This is a fascinating story set during the 1980s Shining Path Guerrilla movement. The story is a deeply felt one about a taken woman and her husband. Their marriage and family life are the focus.

LIGHT MY FIRE Elle Druskin--Humorous Contemporary Romance 


The fourth installment in Elle Druskin's Liberty Heights series lives up to the zany humor and romance of the first three. This time there's fire involved. Be sure and check out Druskin's books for a fun, light read. 

THE GARDEN OF HAPPY ENDINGS Barbara O'Neal--Literary Women's Fiction


Wonderful! Insightful! Real to life! I can't add enough superlatives for this lovely read. Barbara O'Neal is true the seeker in all of us with her delightful characters--Elsa, Joaquin, Tamsin, and Deacon. This is a story that will stick with you and make you think. This is a deft exploration of belief that takes all our differences into account.

VOYAGER Diana Gabaldon--Historical Fiction with a touch of romance, SF, mystery, and fantasy for good measure.

Trust me--you want to read all of Diana Gabaldon's books. This is the third in her OUTLANDER series. It encompasses the ending and aftermath of the Rising of 1745 in the Scottish Highlands, Claire Fraser's need to find her husband, Jamie, and so much more. This is a must read in a series of must reads. Start at the first with OUTLANDER. You won't be disappointed by Gabaldon's lyrical prose, gripping stories, and deeply drawn characters. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New! Improved! Take a Look at the Shade!

The Shade has had a make over and I hope you'll enjoy it. All of the pages are have had a major renovation. Here's the guided tour.
  • About--This page was serious, earnest, and (I'll admit it) a bit dull. Now it's got a bit of humor and a few photos. Though you might wish you didn't know some of those things about me. ;-)
  • Blog--I'll go into more detail below.
  • Books--Check them out. They're all there! ;-)
  • Works in Progress--I've mapped out the Cherry Hill Trilogy. This is my main focus right now. When I get these three done, I'll let you in on what's coming next. 
  • Contact Me!--I ditched the photo page and spread the photos throughout. (I promise the pups approved the use of their likenesses.) In the place of the photo page, you'll find the Contact Me! page that puts all the ways to connect with me in one place. 
So, take time to walk through the Shade and let me know what you think. ;-)


And now, the most important part of the redo is the blog. I'll keep posting on Tuesdays, but  there will be a focused emphasis for each day of the month.
  • First Tuesday--will be a snip of Friendly Fire, a poem, or other things I've written. I grave any feedback on these you want to share.
  • Second Tuesday--will focus on the Nuts and Bolts of craft and will include nifty links, processes, and methods of creativity.
  • Third Tuesday--will be the return of the Mini Book Reviews that so many of you enjoyed in the past. I hope I can share some good books for you to check out. 
  • Fourth Tuesday--Author Interviews will start back with Elle Druskin on the fourth Tuesday of June. I promise her humorous contemporary romances are delightful. Many are set in the best little town of New Jersey--Liberty Heights
  • Fifth Tuesday--When there's a fifth Tuesday (July!) I'll share whatever strikes my fancy. You'll just have to wait to see if it's the pups' latest escapades or new pictures of the garden. How do some of Laura Grace's recipes sound? Yum. ;-)

The rest of May will be a surprise! I've got a few things you might be interested in. So, settle back in the Shade and enjoy your stay!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Getting It In Gear--Write Club and Thirty-Day Challenge

All of the writers I know want to get better at their craft and to get feedback. I certainly do. If not for the wonderful feedback at the Books and Writers Forum and my truly special Facebook writing buddies group, I'd still be stuck with a simple two-dimensional story.

Thank goodness, there are craft books galore to help out with the first desire. I love them! When I can get one for free, I'm over the moon. If you're interested, try this free book: The Thirty-Day Challenge.

Here's the Amazon description:

The 30-Day Writing Challenge encourages beginner and advanced writers alike to stretch their writing muscles and create or enhance a daily writing habit. Each day, a new writing exercise/prompt is presented in an inventive collection that focuses on technique, inspiration, and craft by taking a comprehensive look across multiple forms and genres of writing.

Free is my favorite price. ;-)

Once you've honed your craft, it's time for feedback. After all, we want readers, don't we? I've done a few blog contests before, but this one really intrigues me. DL Hammons is sponsoring WRiTE Club.The contest is based on the movie "Fight Club" and will feature head-to-head contests between writers. The winner will be picked by a panel of publishing industry professionals.

Are you up to the challenge?

I haven't posted an update since I decided to plow back in and mine the layers of Samantha, my foster child. Between the B&W Forum April X, the Don Maass Workshop at WFWA,  and my SOC buddies, I'm finding that I didn't really know Samantha beyond the first image I had of her. She's so much more than I had imagined. My WIP is thankful for the layers and I'm having fun leaning what she's been hiding.