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.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Writing Down the Bones: Why I haven't posted @barbbradley

I am sorry, really, but it's been a little crazy here. My biggest excuse isn't my best. No the dog didn't eat it and I didn't spill coffee on it. Great googly moogly I'd probably have to shoot myself if I spilled coffee on my laptop since that's what I use to write these things on. Nope, my reason is because I've been cleaning...

I know, 'but you're a writer' you're supposed to ignore the cleaning until the writing is done. Normally that is my mantra, but since my mother-in-law passed in February it's been paying her bills and dealing with the probate office. Getting all the paperwork together so I can have her and my father-in-law's ashes buried at sea by the Navy. I'm not going to talk about the IRS or social security...grrr. It gets my panties in a wad just thinking about it.

Now my in-laws wanted me and my hubby to inherit their house when they passed. I think they knew we'd have a lot to deal with when they got older. So when my Father-in-law passed we moved in with June, but I had to put a lot of our stuff into storage.

The last few weeks I've been going through boxes and bins, trying to figure out where it's all going to go now. It's a lot of work but I can't seem to stop at this point. Most of it is out and all over the house, depending on which room of the house it's going to go in.

We're also taking over the master bedroom, which right now is a big storage room. So each day, when I can, I'm moving things. There are some items I'm moving a lot because I have no idea what I want to do with them. Those are probably the things I'll get rid of, but just not ready yet.

I will get back to the hand outs, promise. I just need a little more time.

Barb:)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Welcome my Latest Guest Penny Estelle! @Pennystales #interview

I want to welcome Penny Estelle.  First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Good morning, Barbara, and thanks so much for allowing me to barge onto your blog!  My name is Penny Estelle and I write in many genres.  I started out writing for the middle grade kiddos.  I have 8 books out that include fantasies, time travel adventures, and a puppy love contemporary.

I then decided to give writing for the older crowd a shot.  Under P. A. Estelle, I have a family drama, 6 historical western romances, 4 contemporary romances, and a paranormal romance.

My latest attempt were picture books for the beginning reader.  Fox Tots picked up both of my picture books, and I’m waiting on a third to be illustrated.

Tell us about your latest release.

Years ago, and I’m talking forty years, I wrote the great American novel (at least I thought it was!)  It took me five years to finish on my electric Brothers typewriter.  I sent out several queries and was politely told, thanks, but no thanks.  I put it in my closet and it sat there for forty years.  Once I got a few things published, I decided to take it out and have a look.  IT WAS HORRIBLE WRITING!  I took it out and rewrote the whole thing.  Revenge, the Cowboy Way was picked up by Rooster & Pig Publishing.  It’s been out for several years. 

Now to your question – My latest release is Gabe, The Thornton Trilogy.  Gabe is the number one son of the couple in Revenge, the Cowboy Way.  Two more stories will be coming out later this year – Colt, The Thornton Trilogy, Book 2, and Rebecca, The Thornton Trilogy, Book 3.

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?

Supernatural – Crowley (the devil)

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

UGH…..That is a hard question!  If I have to pick one I would probably go with Joanna Thornton in Revenge, the Cowboy Way.  She’s put in some horrible situations and she does what has to be done.  She’s spunky and loving and takes the bull by the horn and runs with it!

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

As I said earlier, I write in many genres.  I am mainly writing now in the historical western romance genre.  It’s a popular genre with many people and it’s a great escape for me!

4.) What are you working on now?

Jesse’s Heartbreak, Book 3 of the Jesse Series.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I worked as a school secretary for 21 years.  It was a K-8 school and I heard every excuse from the kids when they were sent to the principal.  I thought it would be great to write about these kids.  All my kid stories have plenty of action and sarcasm. 

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

I get asked that a lot.  It was easy coming up with MG stories as I have seven grandkids.  I watched my grandson play with a flying dragon.  It was a perfect ending for Hike Up Devil’s Mountain – all I needed was a beginning and a middle!  LOL  

I have 5 stories in The Wickware Sagas.  Kids go back in time and meet legends of the past.  One day I asked my 5th grade granddaughter and her friends if they knew who William Tell was – and they didn’t.  WHAT???  Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare was conceived.  He goes back and meets William Tell.

As far as my adult stories….I have nuttin’ to share.  They just come to me.

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

Most of my stories need to have a lot of research done.  I do that research because I want it historically correct.  Between you, me and your readers – history and I were never friends.  I wanted no part of it in any grade!  Now I love it!

8.) Do you have any special talents?

Absolutely none!!!  I used to be on a variety TV show with my sister where we danced and did gymnastics.  That was 100 years ago!

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

Don’t write to make money.  Write because it’s something you enjoy.  So true! So true!

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

John Wayne – He’s always been my man and he could give me tons of info on my western genre!

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

“Friends In Low Places” by Garth Brooks

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

An eagle






Blurb:

Gabe Thornton inherits the Double Bar Ranch from good friend and neighbor Bill (Pappy) Thomas, but there are conditions.   Last Will and Testament states five hundred acres have been set aside for his only niece, or interested heirs.  The property must be lived on for a year or said acreage will revert back to Gabe.

Molly Blackburn shows up in Bastrop, Texas, to claim the land her great uncle has left her.  Though she knows nothing about cattle ranching, she has no other choice when her father passes away.

Gabe is sure she won’t last a month and he tells her so, but greenhorn or not, she swears she will be there till the bitter end, no matter what! 

Will she give up her land or will she find more than just a cattle ranch in Bastrop?


Excerpt:

“I happen to also own a hand gun but..well I didn’t think to purchase bullets for it.”
“Perfect!” Gabe said, shaking his head.  “There’s also wood to be cut and hay and water to be hauled, plus a million other things.”  He laid the gun against the wall, opening the door.  “You won’t last the week and if you had half a brain you’d know it!”
“Get out of my house,” she hollered.  He walked out into the cold morning, but she was right on his heels, taking his coat off.  “Wait!”  He turned and she threw his coat in his face.  “Thank you for the use of your coat, but I’ll thank you to stay off my property!”
Gabe advanced a step her way, but a discreet cough stopped him.  There were his mother and sister, sitting on their horses.  He swung up on his horse, staring at his new neighbor.  “See if you can’t talk some sense into her!” he ground out before riding away.

For more information about me and my stories check out the following links:

I have a newsletter that goes out for new releases or sales.  If you would like to be notified, please sign up @ http://eepurl.com/388Xr

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Please Welcome My Latest Guest Nicole Evelina! #interview

I want to welcome Nicole Evelina - First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Hi everyone! I’m an award-winning historical fiction/historical fantasy and romantic comedy writer from St. Louis. Camelot’s Queen, which I’m here to talk about, is my second book. I have two more coming out this year, a romantic comedy set in Chicago called Been Searching for You and a historical fiction called Madame Presidentess, which is about Victoria Woodhull, the first woman who ran for President in the United States in 1872.

Tell us about your latest release.

Camelot’s Queen is the second book of my Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view. This one focuses on the story we think we all know – Guinevere’s time as queen. (Her early life before King Arthur is told in Daughter of Destiny, the first book in the series.) All the familiar elements are there – the battles, the infamous affair, the Holy Grail – but they are told in a way that’s different from the medieval legends we’re familiar with. Guinevere is a battle queen who rules side-by-side with Arthur, rather than being in his shadow; her affair with Lancelot doesn’t happen simply out of lust – it’s actually Arthur’s fault; and the Grail is different than you’ve ever seen it. Plus, Morgan is a disrupting influence in a way I don’t think any other author has ever shown her. And I delve into the dark side of Arthurian legend surrounding Guinevere’s kidnapping which is something many authors have shied away from. No matter the situation, this is a Guinevere with agency, perfectly willing to rescue herself.

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?

Oh I do love Klaus from the Vampire Diaries and The Originals. He’s cold and arrogant and oh so violent, but there’s this tiny vein of vulnerability that makes you think maybe, just maybe, his humanity can be reached and redeemed. Joseph Morgan plays unapologetic evil so well! Joseph/Klaus was actually my inspiration for the character of Malegant in Camelot’s Queen, so be prepared for a bit of Klaus to show through! (He was so much fun to write!)

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

Out of this one it’s all my villains: Morgan, Malegant and Marius. I think some sick, twisted part of me likes the villains because it’s fun to see what machinations they will think up next, how they will twist the plot to suit their own needs, and what lengths they will go to in order to get what they want.

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

I mainly write historical fiction (the romantic comedy was never intended; it just kind of happened). I’ve always loved history and I’ve found there are so many stories, particularly women’s stories, that have either never been told or aren’t know by a broad audience. My mission as a historical fiction author is to rescue little-known women from being lost in the pages of history. While other writers may choose to write about the famous, I tell the stories of those who are in danger of being forgotten so that their memories may live on for at least another generation. I also tell the female point of view when it is the male who has gotten more attention in history (i.e. Guinevere to King Arthur).

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m doing final edits on my July release, Madame Presidentess, which is about Victoria Woodhull, a real woman who was the first to run for President in the US in 1872. Despite that distinction – and the fact that she was the first female broker on Wall Street (along with her sister, Tennie), the first woman to speak before Congress, one of the first to run a newspaper and a powerhouse in the suffrage movement –  she’s largely been written out of the history books. This book is my way of lobbying to get her back into the public consciousness, especially in year when we may see our first female President.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I’ve been writing as a hobby since I was little and started writing the first Guinevere book in 1999, but I didn’t start taking my writing seriously until about 2008. What changed? I read Twilight. (Go ahead and laugh.) There was something about it, about Stephenie Meyer’s story, that made me think, “hey, if this ordinary woman can do this, so can I.” And so my time as a serious author began.

As far as what got me going on Guinevere, I’ve been a fan of the character since I was a little girl. She was and still is a hero of mine. When I was in college, I read The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I LOVED that book (it changed my life in many ways), but I hated her portrayal of Guinevere as an agoraphobic, simpering Christian. So I wrote my own version where she is pretty much the exact opposite. Parke Godwin’s book Beloved Exile made me wonder about the unknown parts of Guinevere’s life (the beginning and later years after Arthur) and with the two together, my trilogy was born.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

I feel like my characters pick me. I am inspired by TV, music, movies, books, and Pinterest but I really believe that finding little-known historical personages to write about isn’t something left to chance. I believe these people want their stories to be told and pick authors to help that happen. (Yes, I’m getting all woo-woo on you. But Elizabeth Gilbert says something similar in Big Magic, so I’m using that as my excuse even though I believed it long before she wrote about it.) That would explain why you often see a proliferation of books about the same people/subject at the same time. A few years ago Hemmingway and his wife were all the rage, and at one point everyone had a book about Anne Boleyn. My beloved Victoria is even having a small resurgence at the moment.

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

I guess given that many of the characters in this series are pagan and I don’t exactly portray the Catholic Church very well, you’d be surprised I used to want to become a nun. I was actually voted Most Likely to Become a Nun in high school and went so far as to study with the secular Carmelites for a year. But that was not the path I was meant to follow. However, religion and spirituality remain very important to me, something you’ll likely see at least as a faint thread in all my novels, depending on the needs of the story.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

Writing is my big talent. But if you want something off the wall – I can belch as well as any boy. I went to an all-girls high school and we were really, really good at teaching each other. My dad swears that that was all I learned in four years. (He kids. I learned so much more and my alma mater actually had a huge influence on my portrayal of Avalon in these books.)

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

The first author I ever met was YA author Alyson Noel. I had just completed my first draft of my first book and was so excited to begin querying agents. She told me “Don’t count the ‘no’s’ because it only takes one ‘yes.’” That is so true. This industry is so full of rejection and words like hers really helped me through the dark days. I can’t tell you the number of times that has gone through my head over the years: when I was querying and on submission especially. Then eventually when I decided to become an indie author, I expanded it to include “sometimes you have to be your own ‘yes.’”

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 love to talk to Christopher Marlowe. He’s always fascinated me and I am of the belief that he didn’t really die in that bar fight so many years ago. (I think he was Shakespeare, a subject I plan to novelize in the future.) I would want to know what really happened to him, what it was like being a spy in Elizabeth I’s court and what the deal with Shakespeare really was. (Can you tell I was an English major in college?)

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

“Wonder” by Natalie Merchant. I was born three months premature, weighing less than two pounds. No one thought I would survive. But here I am, 36 years later. I truly believe I was put on this planet for a reason and it has something to do with my writing.

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


A beloved housecat. I LOVE cats. I only have two (Conor and Caitlyn, twin sable Burmese), so I don’t know if I really qualify as a crazy cat lady, but I like cats more than I like people. I’m convinced they have a direct connection to the Divine or can at least see beyond the veil to the other side, so I’d love to know what that is like. And to have someone love me as much as I love my cats would be an honor.





I made it to my room and slammed the door. Alone at last, I leaned against the door, struggling to catch my breath. Tears spilled over as the enormity of the day finally sank in. I slid down to the floor and ran my hands through my hair. How could my life have changed so much in only a few hours? I thought Arthur had grown to love me, but he had just accepted a former lover back into his confidence after only having been reunited with her for a few hours. What did that mean for my marriage?
I didn’t know how long I spent contemplating my situation, but just as quickly as the tears had come, I started laughing. I was being ridiculous. Arthur had had to learn to live with Aggrivane at court long ago. Granted he’d sent my former betrothed on missions away from Camelot as often as possible, but he had still learned how to cope with his presence. I was behaving like a child. Galen had been right the day we argued in the forest so many years before. I really was worse than a fisherman’s wife. And worse, I had changed little with the passage of time. I stood, straightening my dress and mentally preparing myself to apologize to them both.
After a few deep breaths, I went back down to the meeting room, expecting to find Arthur and Sobian discussing the finer points of her new role. But to my surprise, the room was empty. Octavia came in, holding a tray to collect the ale pitcher and our used glasses.
“Do you know where Arthur went?”
She eyed me carefully. “He is in his room. Alone.” She emphasized the word, knowing I would wonder. “They told me about her new role. Are you in agreement that it is wise?”
“I will be,” I reassured her.
Octavia made a noise indicating she wasn’t so certain then busied herself cleaning up the table. That was when I saw the lone sheet of paper. Thinking it to be notes from Arthur and Sobian’s discussion, I bent over the table to get a better look.
My blood turned to ice. The letters were formed of patterns made by varying lengths of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines. It was written in Ogham, the ancient language of the Druids, so it could not have come from Arthur. He hadn’t studied with them long enough to have learned it. Plus, its message was not one a husband leaves his wife.
I ran to Arthur’s room, rubbing my hand over the goose-pimpled flesh of my arm. “You may wish to rethink your decision,” I said as I entered.
He looked up. “Why is that?”
I held the paper out to him. “This was left in the meeting room.” I shivered again.
He plucked the paper out of my hand and turned it in several directions, trying to figure out how to read it. “Ogham. That’s unusual. What does it say?”
I grabbed it back, irritated beyond decorum. After what had happened with the madman and Sobian, I didn’t think I could take much more.
“That’s the problem. I think it’s a threat. ‘My queen, you may close your eyes to the one you scorned, but that will not keep me away. I will breathe your last breath so that you will live on forever in me.’
Arthur’s face darkened. “Only one man could claim such a thing.”
I looked at him quizzically, brow furrowing. “How do you know Sobian isn’t party to this? It appeared right after she did in the very room she last occupied.”
Arthur sighed, clearly frustrated that I didn’t trust Sobian implicitly as he did. “Because this isn’t her way. As she said, if she wished you dead, you would be. She has no need for idle threats.”
“Who then?”
“Think about the message.” His tone took on a condescending air I did not care for. “Someone you once rejected? Who did you give up to marry me? You may not want to see it, but the answer is right in front of you.”
He didn’t have to say the name. Suddenly I knew exactly who he blamed. His menacing gaze was fixed on my former lover.
Guilty or not, Aggrivane was in serious trouble.






Saturday, April 9, 2016

Welcome My next Guest J.J. DiBenedetto! @JJDiBenedetto

I want to welcome J.J. DiBenedetto!  First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Tell us about your latest release.

It’s called Finders Keepers, and it’s an adventure story about an archaeology student who gets mixed up with international art thieves.  If you picture “Romancing the Stone” you’re not too far off.  It’s the first book of a new series, and I’m already working on the next book.

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?

That’s a tough call!  From a book, I’d say Marc Remilliard, in Julian May’s “Saga of Pliocene Exile.”  He’s charismatic, smart and he’s got believable motivations for what he does.  Plus, you have to love a guy who can teleport halfway across the galaxy just using his psychic powers!

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

In this new book, it has to be Jane.  I’ve actually had versions of her show up in different stories and even in a role playing game, so she’s been with me for almost 20 years.  She’s a lot of fun – she’s got a good heart, but she’s also a little bit crazy.

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

This story is basically an adventure, and it wasn’t a choice, that’s just the story that came to me.  My previous series, the Dream Series, is basically paranormal romance with a strong mystery/suspense feel to it as well, but, again, that’s just the story that I “had” to write.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m working on Jane’s next adventure.  She’s going to have to try and help her father get remarried, stop a college friend from getting married, and there’s also the matter of a treasure-trove of art stolen by the Nazis during World War 2 that she’s going to have to find before it falls into the wrong hands.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I’ve always written, since at least junior high school.  But about 3 years ago, a good friend sold her first novel, and I decided “hey, why not me, too?” and I got more serious about things.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

They really spring from the characters.  Usually I come up with who the character is, and then it’s just a matter of following them around and seeing what they do.

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

For my Dream Series books, I’ve had readers be surprised that I’m a man.  Those books are written in first-person, from the point of view of the heroine, who we first meet as a college student.  So I guess it’s a compliment that I got into her head well enough that readers were surprised to discover I wasn’t actually a young woman, but a man in his 40’s!

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I’m a fast learner, that’s probably about it.  I have no artistic skill at all – I never progressed beyond stick figures.  And although I love and appreciate music, I am about the least musically talented person you will ever meet.

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

Keep writing.  That’s really the best advice I’ve gotten, or that I could give to anyone else.

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

Maybe Frank Herbert.  I’d love to ask him what he really intended for the final book(s) of the Dune series.

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

On a bad day, I’d say the Oath Trio from the end of Act II of Gotterdammerung (bet you weren’t expecting that answer!).  But as a good Sicilian, I’ve been known to hold a grudge, and when someone really gets on my bad side, I’m right there with Brunnhilde when she calls down the wrath of the gods to wreak vengeance on the people who’ve betrayed her.

On a good day, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.  It’s optimistic, joyful, and it makes me think of my native New York.

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

A dog, provided I got to also specify that I’d be born into a good home with a family that properly loved and cared for their animals.  If not, then a Komodo Dragon.





Bio:

J.J. (James) DiBenedetto is a long-time Arlington resident, having lived in the area since 1995.  He’s a marketing professional by day, and a prolific author by night, with his tenth novel scheduled for release on October 20th.
His Dream Series novels are bestsellers, with over 130,000 copies of the first book in the series, DREAM STUDENT, having been downloaded from Amazon.com and other e-book retailers. 
Aside from marketing and writing, J.J. enjoys photography, cooking, the opera and almost any book or movie about time travel.  He’s also a rabid New York Giants fan.
J.J. currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and their cat/owner, Danny.

About FINDERS KEEPERS
1,400 miles.
3 countries.
2 men she can’t trust.
What could go wrong?

Blurb:

It should have been a simple job.  All archaeology student Jane Barnaby had to do was pick up a box her professor needed and deliver it to him at his dig site, along with his new car.  Yes, his office was in Oxfordshire, and his dig site was in Spain, a trip of 1,400 miles across three countries and two bodies of water.  Still, it should have been simple.

And it was, until Jane discovered she picked up the wrong box by mistake.  Not the one with boring pottery samples, but instead the one with priceless ancient Egyptian artifacts.  The one that a team of international art thieves is after.

Now she’s chasing – and being chased by – the thieves.  And she’s picked up a pair of passengers who claim they can help her outwit them, get her professor’s pottery back and return the artifacts to their rightful owner.  If only she could figure out which one of them is working with the thieves and which one she can trust in this high-stakes game of finders keepers.

Excerpt from Finders Keepers:

“My apologies, Jane,” he said.  “You’re right, of course.  I should have made allowances.  It’s not your fault that you have such a poor grasp of the English language; you didn’t have the benefit of a British education growing up, after all.”

His eyes twinkled so prettily as he said it, Jane couldn’t work up any annoyance over the insult.  “Not like you, I’m sure.  Eton, right?”  She paused for an instant, trying to recall the names of other posh boarding schools she’d heard in her time at Oxford.  She didn’t want him to assume she was some silly, ignorant American who’d only heard of Eton because everyone knew that one, even if they didn’t know anything else about it.  To her surprise, several names came to her quickly.  “Or was it Harrow?  Winchester?  Maybe Brookfield?” 

He grinned again, his eyes twinkled again.  “Oh, yes.  Dear old Brookfield!  How I loved to walk by the statue of old Mr. Chipping every day on my way to the cricket pitch.”  She’d stepped in it, but she had no idea how, exactly.  And then, after a moment’s reflection, she did.
Brookfield!  Of course!  The name had come not from one of her current classmates, but from an old, old movie, one that her mother had loved.  Jane couldn’t believe she’d botched things so completely. 

But it was done now, and she had to say something.  What would her mother have done if she were in Jane’s position?  Jane remembered times that Mom had been caught in a white lie or a little joke, and her mother had always brazened it out regardless.  Surely Jane could do the same?  “I’ve heard the cricket pitch is lovely,” she said, meeting his eyes.  Just barely, but it was eye contact.  “And the Latin teachers are second to none, aren’t they?” 

 Purchase Links:

Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)

Social Media Links:


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Welcome My Latest Guest Dorothy A. Bell!

I want to welcome Dorothy A. Bell. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Tell us about your latest release.

Reinventing Mica Avery is a contemporary novel, the story is the story we all eventually face, that being the tying up of the loose ends our parents leave behind after they’ve gone. Coming from a dysfunctional home situation makes Mica’s task complicated and confusing. But it also offers the adult Mica the chance to heal and close some old wounds. Of course there is a love interest, contractor Gus Breedon. Gus is unlike any man, or person Mica has ever known before. He’s someone she can rely on, someone who wants to be her friend as well as her lover.

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?

Hands down Jack Nickelson as the Joker in Batman with Michael Keaton. So creepy and sappy. Evil and childish. Not unlike some of our politicians.

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

Buck Hoyt from my Oregon historical romance Dance Hall Road. Buck runs a whore house way out in the back-of-beyond. He’s a grouchy, prickly recluse with a heart as big as all outdoors, and when he cleans up, he’s real sexy.

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

Romance. Always romance. Mostly Oregon historical or western romance. I love the time period of the late 1800’s so much is going on, the industrial age is moving people into a whole new world, a world many are not ready to accept. Women are beginning to see they’ve been getting the shaft and are starting to stand up for themselves. We still have a lot of work to do in that respect.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m working on a sequel to my Dance Hall Road series. I have another Dance Hall Road novel with the editor on the queue titled Do-se-do. Do-se-do is the story of Petra’s son, Gabriel. In Dance Hall Road Buck saves Petra and her infant son from certain death and a bleak future on the run.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I started writing novels way back when my husband worked the swing shift. Instead of turning on the TV I wrote stories, stories that I could see in my head. Stories where I could play all the parts. At that time I had not a clue how to have any of my novels published. That came about much, much later. I had a lot of learning to do.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Names of places and people intrigue me. Dance Hall Road came about while my husband and I were out for an afternoon drive east of Baker City. There is a Dance Hall Road out there. Out there in the middle of nowhere, a road that goes nowhere, a road with no signs, no buildings just dirt, sage and rock. I had to put a story to that place.

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

Oh, first off, I once weighed 204 pounds and I’m only four foot eleven so that wasn’t good. Six years ago I lost eighty five pounds. I’ve gained some of it back over the last year. But I’m fighting the battle. I spent eighteen years of my life as an aquatic exercise instructor. Retired now, I go to the pool and do my own thing. I’ve had my knees replaced. I met my husband in the sixth grade. He bugged me all through grade school, middle school and high school. I agreed to go out with him when I was sixteen. And we’ve been going steady ever since. Oh, yeah, I’ll be seventy this summer and I feel like I just got started on my life.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

One of them, the biggie, is story telling. I do garden and landscaping.

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

Don’t lose your voice, don’t try to be something you’re not.

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

Cary Grant, Kathryn Hepburn, Spencer Tracey, Eleanor Roosevelt. I wouldn’t talk, I would listen.  

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

 Imagine by John Lennon.

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

A cat, they know how to survive. And do they ever have an imagination.



Blurb:

Taking a lesson from a house riddled with mold, clutter, and bitterness, Mica Avery unearths a treasure trove of lost love and forgotten dreams and enough wealth to begin her life anew, if she’s brave enough to grab hold and live it. 

Excerpt:

She’d never thought of herself as one of those swooning, fluttering types of females. But she sat there, her pulse playing hop-scotch, stomach woozy, and not a damn thing she could do about it. She couldn’t form a simple sentence or focus on anything but Gus Breedon, his tan, hairy legs, his muscular shoulders, and bulging biceps.
Oh, and the earwigs that probably, at this moment, were crawling up the side of the very stump she sat on.
With his hand going to her shoulder, he said, “Put your head between your legs, I hear it’s supposed to help.”
She closed her eyes to say, “It always sounds stupid to me. Who can bend over that far?” She didn’t say it out loud, but she thought, besides, if I look down, I’m gonna stare at your legs, those hairy, muscular, tan legs in those skintight cutoff shorts. Oh, my God.
“I sure am sorry I frightened you. I didn’t mean to.” Gus did have a nice, soothing voice, deep and warm like rich, brown molasses. She had to recover and fast, and made herself think of Gary. She needed to remember how Gary sounded. When she thought of Gary’s voice, she thought smooth, like cold steel. He clipped his words, making noises like a salesman most of the time. Lately, the sound of Gary’s voice irritated her. Yup, that worked—thinking of Gary pulled her completely out of panic mode, leaving her to feel nothing but stupid.
Gus Breedon, of all people, she couldn’t believe it.
“I’m okay,” is all she could say...very clever. “My heart, I think, is slipping back down into its correct position in my chest instead of up in my throat. My pulse has slowed from an all-out gallop to a trot.”
She rarely blushed, but around Gus Breedon she couldn’t stop the rush of heat from infusing her cheeks. Becoming flushed all over, she scolded herself you’re too old for this, too experienced for giddiness.
She had a mad desire to rip her clothes off and run through the sprinkler—with Gus giving chase, naked, of course. Well, what a silly thought. She blushed on top of her blush, and ordered herself to get a grip.
“Where did you come from?” she asked before she had time to think of another ridiculous scenario. Gus had a big face, a manly face, like the Brawny towel guy, only more brawny. Groan—there you go again. She could feel the giggle coming on. She wanted to stop it, stop it right now. She didn’t have time for Gus Breedon. As a matter of fact, she resented his presence altogether, with his hairy legs and big face.
“Oh, yeah. Well, I’m over at the Kramers,” he answered, and glanced over his shoulder toward the construction site. “We’re building an RV garage for them.”
This situation, with all the neighbors watching, all the guys on the construction crew watching her from the moment she’d pulled into the driveway—so typical Perry Grove. She could imagine them watching her, listening to her go around the house, looking in the windows, hollering for Lela.
Suspicious, Mica asked, “I thought you worked at the hospital?”
“The hospital...? Oh, oh, yeah, the janitor cart. I had a construction job, doing a remodel of some storage rooms. I stayed to sweep up, clean up after...you know. When I got off the elevator I went the wrong way. I should’ve taken a left to the service elevator, but I went right. I knew it the minute I turned the corner, and that’s when I nearly took you out. Sorry.”
Mica didn’t know why, but she nodded her head, even though she didn’t understand at all. Gus stood before the patio door, studying it. He bent forward, then squatted down on those magnificent thighs to run his hands along the aluminum channel at the bottom of the door. She wished he would go away. She didn’t need strangers hanging around. Lela would hate it, if she was in there stuck in the tub or something.
Gary should be here, not Gus Breedon. Gus Breedon wasn’t really a stranger, he knew Mica at twelve when she wore braces. Gus Breedon knew her at fifteen, her face one big pimple. And God help her, he knew her at sixteen, pregnant, and in disgrace...in so much trouble.
Here she stood, in trouble again. But this was a private, personal moment. She wanted to keep it between Lela and her, no outsiders allowed in on this one.

Links:
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Writing Down the Bones: Ten Things You Need to Know about Writers #writingtips

Ten things you need to know about writers (whether published or not) continued.

This is the next installment of the handout by Debbie Macomber. Once again I have put it into my own words. Enjoy!

6.) Writers are readers. We are our own audience.

7.) Writer's would rather have their books already written than to have to write them. They joy felt when the book is done is something that can't be explained.

8.) Our publishers (editors and cover artists as well) want our books to sell.

9.) Writers are always learning. Everything fascinates us. Research happens everyday and everywhere.

10.) When we're not being neurotic we're depressed. But don't worry we're always looking for optimism in every corner.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Welcome my Latest Guest Rebel Miller!@RebelMillerBoox

I want to welcome Rebel Miller. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Hi! I’m a romance author with two books under my belt, Awakening and Promising, both part of my New Adult romance trilogy. I was born in Jamaica, but have lived in Canada for most of my life. I reside in the outskirts of Toronto with my two boys and hubby, and am enjoying an unexpectedly warm winter up here in the North!

Tell us about your latest release.

Promising is the second novel in my futuristic New Adult romance trilogy, which tells the story of Kira Metallurgist, a young woman starting out on her own at the age of twenty-one. This novel places Kira in even more complex and so challenging situations, in particular, the love triangle she finds herself in with Gannon and Tai, navigating the politics around her career ambitions and coming to terms with her family’s many secrets. Promising is an angst-filled romance set against a dramatic backdrop that resonates with readers – whether lovers of stories in contemporary or futuristic settings.



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?

Ooh. Good question! I love movies as much as I love books, so let’s start with my movie choice. I adore Joan Crawford played by Faye Dunaway in the movie Mommie Dearest. It’s becoming a tradition for my mother and I to watch it with a glass of wine and a good laugh on Mother’s Day.

As for books, I love Layla Sovereign, one of Kira’s adversaries in my books Awakening and Promising. She’s enigmatic, complicated and unpredictable. I enjoy a villain or adversary who’s unexpected in every way!

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

I’m pretty keen on Kira Metallurgist. I guess I would have to be to write three books focused on her and the challenges she faces! Kira’s dauntless in her efforts to protect those she loves. Despite her young age, she’s ambitious, very strong and confident. Growing up, I was always drawn to girls who thumbed their noses at authority and what others thought about them. Kira is that type of girlfriend but who still shows those moments of vulnerability that are expected for someone starting out in a new career and falling in love.

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

I write romance, currently in the futuristic setting, but I plan on writing contemporary as well. I chose romance because that’s what I have loved reading ever since I was a little girl. (Shh! I stole my mother’s romance novels and read them in the closet. Don’t tell her!)

I decided to write a futuristic romance for my first novel and series because I wanted to develop a whole new world and culture where I could really push the boundaries of a lot of belief systems and create high-stakes political drama between the main characters and those around them.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m working on the final book in the trilogy. It’s going to be one where Kira faces all her demons and has to make decisions on what type of path she wants to take – not only in terms of her love interest, but her career as well. After that, I’ll head right into writing a standalone contemporary romance.

5.) What got you to start writing?

Hmm. I have to say, I always knew that I would write a novel, but I had assumed that writing would be a career I took on maybe in another ten years or so. When I considered whether to become a writer in 2014, I had two kids under the age of seven and was well-underway establishing myself as a corporate communicator. I couldn’t really envision starting a writing career.

Then it occurred to me that I had always been a writer. As a communications professional, that’s what you do – write! It’s a different sort of writing, but the profession flexes your creative skills all the same. I had an idea for this story bouncing around in my head for months and said to myself, Why not? Why wait any longer? Write that darn book, Rebel!

I’m so glad I did. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it – even those moments of panic when I wonder how in the world I’m going to get that scene out the right way!

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

I love the idea of going against the status quo. The truth is, despite my name, I’m probably one of the most diplomatic, practical and orderly people you would ever meet, so the chance to challenge systems and beliefs is very appealing to me, and is a recurring theme in my writing. In my trilogy, I take on the idea of being able to love more than one person and the idea of pre-determined social position. I simply think of what’s considered the mainstream and challenge myself to create a story that goes against it, but will still resonate with readers today.

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

I was a beauty queen contestant in my former life *bashful face*. I won one cultural competition representing Jamaica and entered another to win Most Photogenic and Best Talent.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I studied modern languages for my undergraduate degree, so I speak a little (very little!) Japanese, reasonable Spanish and a dash of French. I can cook a mean Jamaican jerk chicken and will challenge any do-it-yourself home decorator to a mosaic tile competition any day of the week ;).

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

Don’t over think it. As an author, you delve deep into the world of your characters and sometimes, for me at least, it’s hard to pull yourself out and see the bigger picture. I love sub-plot and adding conflict at every turn. When I get panicky over the tangled web I’m weaving, I tell myself not to overthink it. That usually means focusing the scene on one particular goal or plot point. Works like a charm ever time!

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

I have to say, I have a thing for TV writer and producer, Shonda Rhimes. I would be over the moon if I could sit down to talk to her about her creative process, her journey to success and advice on next steps in my writing career.

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

There are too many to list here! The song totally depends on the mood I’m in and what’s going on in my life at the moment. I’m feeling pretty darned good at the moment, so the song that comes to mind is “Happy” by Pharell.

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


Goodness! Hmm. How about a fox. They’re so stealth, smart and unexpected! 





Promising: Book Two of Kira’s Story

PROMISING, the riveting follow-up to AWAKENING by Rebel Miller.

Faced with diverging loyalties — between those she loves and her responsibility to the Realm — Kira has to make heartrending and strategic decisions that threaten to jeopardize her future.

As her connection to Tai deepens and turmoil in the Realm builds, so does Gannon’s frustration at being unable to call Kira his own.

Worlds at War ... A Heart in Conflict

While the Realm stands defiant amidst rising unrest, Kira is thrust into a role that puts her at the forefront of her system’s governance and law, supporting a landmark position. Following a devastating turn of events, she turns to Tai for a shoulder to lean on after making a painful choice to ensure Gannon fulfils the role he was meant for.

As she becomes a reluctant - yet inspiring - voice for her caste, Kira learns about one of the Realm’s most well-kept secrets and how far leadership will go to prevent it from being revealed. What she doesn’t know is how much the decisions of her past have the power to bring enemies into her path, threatening to destroy everyone she holds close to her heart.

This novel is for mature audiences (18+) and includes committed relationships with multiple partners.

Available Now




Giveaway

Enter to win an eBook version of Promising: Book Two of Kira’s Story, a Rebel Miller Books tote and magnet, and a signed poster.


Tweets

Worlds at War… A Heart in Conflict. Kira’s Story continues. #romance #newadult #TheRealmSeries http://bit.ly/rebelmiller

The Hunger Games meets the Crossfire Series in Promising. #romance #newadult #TheRealmSeries http://bit.ly/rebelmiller


Excerpt

“How is it that with all our system’s technology I can’t make love to you from thousands of light years away?”

I snorted, but my lips tilted up at the corners nevertheless. “I’m sure the Protectorate has some sort of virtual reality device that could be refashioned just for that purpose,” I offered, rearranging the wool blanket on my lap.

I was curled up in bed, facing my monitor and resting against a pile of pillows. It had become a familiar position over the last few weeks, one from which I would relay the day’s activities during my nightly call with Gannon. Well, it was a nightly call for me. The sun had already risen where Gannon lived, on Dignitas One.

Suddenly, Gannon seemed to be deep in concentration. “No, on second thought, there’s no technology that could ever measure up to the real thing.” He grinned.

I smiled, heat rising to my cheeks.

“There’s the smile I was looking for,” Gannon said, leaning closer to his monitor, and so closer to me.

He was sitting in his office. He had been holding our calls from there more frequently over the last month. From what I could see, his office was a large, well-lit space. A wall of floor-to-ceiling glass ran its expanse directly behind him. Through it, I could see citizens of every caste striding by in obvious haste to get things done, more than likely at Gannon’s bidding. During these nighttime conversations with Gannon, and within the intimate surroundings of my bedroom, it was easy to forget who he was and his status. As chancellor, he surely had, every day, a checklist as long as my arm, filled with tasks.

I frowned as I noted the time. “I should let you go,” I said, sitting up.

“Why?”

I glanced pointedly behind him, fiddling with the thin strap of my top. “Your office looks incredibly busy.”

He blinked then swiveled in his chair to look at the steady stream of people behind him.

“Oh, my support always look like that,” he said, mischief glittering in his clear blue eyes as he turned back to me. “They think it’ll prevent me asking them to do anything else.” He winked, and I laughed, loving his cheekiness.

About Rebel Miller

Rebel Miller is an author who overindulges in Pinot Grigio, caramel popcorn and an eclectic mix of movies, music and angst-filled romance novels.

Rebel earned a graduate degree in Communications and Culture from Ryerson University and an undergraduate degree from the University of the West Indies.

Rebel lives in the outskirts of Toronto, Canada with her husband and two sons.

Connect with Rebel