Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Writers Wednesday: Katherine Grey

Please help me welcome historical author Katherine Grey, whose Regencies are available from Wild Rose Press. I love Regencies, Katherine. What draws you to that genre?

I’ve always liked history. History and English were my favorite classes in high school so when I first discovered romance novels, I automatically gravitated toward historical romances. A friend introduced me to the wonderful works of Georgette Heyer. From that point on, Regency romances became my favorite type of historical romance to read. I also started reading a lot of non-fiction about the Regency period. I find the whole time period fascinating, not just the lords and ladies of the Ton, but the “regular folk” of the time as well.

Heyer was a such a wonderful story teller. I loved her books. Would you tell us about your latest, THE MUSE?

THE MUSE is part of the Love Letters line published by The Wild Rose Press. The hero, Blaine Hobson, was a secondary character in my novel, IMPETUOUS. I had such a hard time keeping him from taking over that book that I ended up sending him off to France for a good portion of the book. At that point, I knew I’d have to write his story which led to THE MUSE.

Blurb:


Noted poet Blaine Hobson counts the Prince Regent among his patrons. But ever since the socialite he wished to marry took her life, he has been unable to compose a single line of poetry. With a sonnet commissioned by the Regent due in a few weeks, Blaine spends his time alternating between trying to write...and wishing he had the courage to join his beloved in the grave.


Raised in an orphanage with her sister, seamstress Emma Tompkins lives with the guilt of her sibling’s death. Accidently finding a suicide note penned by Blaine, she resolves to keep him alive at all costs. Vigilant, she returns each day, pushing her way into his home--and losing her heart.


Can Blaine forget his beloved and return the affections of the seamstress? Or once finished with his work, will he cast Emma out of his life forever?


Excerpt:


The wind picked up, causing the skeletal tree branches to scratch against the sky. Leaves skittered along the ground, crackling like sheaves of paper as they shuffled against the gutter. Clouds raced across the sky, obscuring the moon more and more often.


Emma looked up at the inky darkness. No stars in sight. She didn’t consider herself to be superstitious, yet she had hoped to send a wish to one of the stars watching over the night. She needed reassurance that she’d done the right thing leaving Mr. Hobson alone. The guilt of Penny’s death nearly crushed her. She wasn’t certain she could withstand another death on her conscience. Not when she could have done something, anything to stop it.


She quickened her pace at the sound of footsteps behind her, scanning the darkness as she hurried along. There was no one about. She tightened her grip on the front of her cloak, trying to hold it closed against the harsh wind. The thin garment did little to keep out the cold.


She glanced behind her as she passed an alley, careful to give it a wide berth. Lazarus had told her of men who pulled women unfortunate enough to be out alone into alleys only to sell them later to a procurer for some of the worst brothels in London. Why hadn’t she remembered that before setting out?

So intent on watching the alley, Emma walked right into a stone wall. At least that’s what it felt like.

Two hands gripped her arms. She looked up at her captor, her heart in her throat.

And...and...who is it? Don't leave us hanging like this. LOL. The story sounds great. What’s your next project?

I just signed a contract for a full length novel featuring Lazarus. He plays a large part in THE MUSE and captivated me even more than Blaine had while I was writing that first book. (Lazarus is briefly mentioned in the above excerpt.) I’ve already started working on edits requested by my editor so that’s my focus right now.

That's great, Katherine. Good luck. What one tip would you offer writers?

When you receive a critique that you don’t agree with, don’t automatically discount it. Set it aside for a couple of weeks then come back to it and look at it again. With time and distance, you may be able to see what the person who gave you the critique was trying to say. If you agree with the comments, then make changes. If you don’t, then ignore it and move on. But if you’re getting the same type of comments then it’s not them, it’s the story and changes need to be made. Of course, I’m talking about constructive critiques, not ones given just to tear the writer down. (Yes, I have had some of those.)

I don't understand people who are so destructive. Thinking of something more positive: Do you have a special place you like to write?

I like to write at the dining room table. It gives me plenty of room to spread out my research notes, thesaurus, my book on word origins, and I don’t feel closed off from my family. Though I do have to make sure I sit so I can’t see the TV in the living room or I don’t get any writing done.(LOL)

How do your story ideas come to you? Which do you visualize first, characters or plots?

This is a hard question to answer. I get story ideas from all sorts of places ranging from newspaper or magazine articles, a line from a song, a conversation with a friend or family member, even a snippet of overheard conversation while waiting in line somewhere. In nearly every case, the characters have come to me first. They slip into my mind and whisper in my ear at the most inconvenient times so I’ve started carrying a small notebook wherever I go so I can jot down what they say.

Thanks so much for being here, Katherine. Come back again, when your next book is out--the one about Lazarus.

Thank you. I would love to.

Visit Katherine at her blog – http://katherinegrey.blogspot.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Katherine-Grey/265375626827267?sk=wall
To buy Katherine’s books:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Writers Wednesday: Lynn Cahoon

Hi everyone. Help me welcome Lynn Cahoon, whose very first book THE BULL RIDER’S BROTHER, was released June 4 from Crimson Romance. Lynn’s a chapter mate from St. Louis and fellow blogger at New Kids on the Writers Block.

Congratulations, my friend. What did you do to celebrate Release Day? Chocolate? Dinner out? Shopping?

This is a good question since I’m writing this pre-release day. I think I’m bringing home dinner from my favorite Chinese place. And having spring rolls. I never have spring rolls even though I LOVE them. Like most debut writers, I still have the day job.

Yes, we need that day job. Please tell us a little about the book.

THE BULL RIDER’S BROTHER is a small town, secret baby, homecoming, reunion story. (Say that ten times fast.) Lizzie’s a strong, determined single mom who never reached out to James, her baby daddy, for help. When he shows up in town, his brother in tow, Lizzie has to decide if letting him into her life is worth the pain and confusion of a readymade family.

The setting is a fictional version of a lovely little town, nestled in the Idaho Mountains. THE BULL RIDER’S BROTHER is based on the town of Riggins, Idaho. The first weekend of May, the rodeo comes to town and takes over. It’s a party and everyone is invited.

Knowing that I wanted to write a small town story based in my home state of Idaho, the Riggins rodeo seemed like a terrific jumping off point. Then, like all good stories, I started wondering why? Why would people stay in the little town? What happens to the kids who graduate from the high school? And the four friends who became my main characters started talking about their lives.

Would you please share an excerpt?

Sure, short and hot. LOL

“All the better.” James slid an arm down her legs and swung her into his arms. He kissed her soft and slow. “Ready for this?” He waited for her answer before he took the next step on the stairs.

“This doesn’t mean anything.” Lizzie leaned into him placing her hand on his chest, drinking in his smell. Sweat, salt, and a hint of Stetson, memories clawed up to the surface wanting to overwhelm her. “It’s just sex.”


“I don’t know what you’ve been doing the last six years, but sex means something to me.” He stopped again on the stairs and waited for her to lift her eyes to his. “And don’t call it sex, Liz, we’re making love. Don’t you remember?"

What’s your next project and when is it scheduled for release?

A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL, a paranormal novella, is scheduled for release from Lyrical Press on November 19. I’m so excited about this upcoming series.

Currently, I’m writing the sequel to THE BULL RIDER’S BROTHER, called
QUEEN OF THE STAMPEDE. Cross your fingers my editor loves it as much as she did book one.

Once I’m done with that, it’s back to writing witchcraft and suspense as I write the second in the Magic Council Series.

Goodness, you have your next months organized. What’s your writing schedule like?

See above day job comment. Actually, I write most mornings for about an hour. My goal is 1000 words a day, sometimes it even happens. My writer/mentor and I chat almost daily on what we’re doing in the writing realm. And I’m a big believer in baby steps. Writing a novel is overwhelming if you really think about the word count. But I can write 1000 words. Or 500.
In addition, I’ve given myself permission to schedule and attend writer retreats. Since my available time is so short, convincing myself that spending travel time to meet up with writer friends is valuable took some practice. But last month I drove to Nashville to attend a book signing and spend some quality writing time.

Believe me, as a writer, there’s lots of times you doubt yourself, your work, everything. Having that one or two friends you trust totally, gets you through the valley of despair. And you have to spend time to develop those relationships.

Next month, I’m taking off work to do some events for a traditionally published author friend and we’ll have a mini writer’s retreat in between the chit chat.

I so agree about the importance of friends you can trust travel with you on the writing journey. And I really like your outlook on writing daily, even in small increment. What advice would you offer writers?
Join a local writer’s group. (Big props to MORWA here-the St. Louis based RWA chapter. The programs are amazing and the critique group is a learning opportunity even if I’m not reading.) Take advantage of the opportunities to network. This is a big one, and hard, oh so hard, for me. My first MORWA meeting I sat in the parking lot and had to convince myself to go into the meeting. But it was the best move I’d made to support my writing.

Take risks with your writing. I hear so many people talking about the one book they’ve written. I’d written eight books before I sold one. Then I signed two contracts in one month. A Member of the Council, my novella that’s coming out in November was written as an experiment to see if I could write hot paranormal.

And one last word, focus. I know, that contradicts the take risks advice above. But you have to finish a project before you can send it. Last April, I got overwhelmed. I had several unfinished projects, several revise and resubmit requests, and had been receiving a lot of rejections. At one of my writer retreats, my friend advised me to step back and work one project at a time. A year later, I’ve sold two of those projects and have more in the hopper.

Wonderful news. How do you manage to generate such a list of ideas?

Growing up on a small farm in rural Idaho, I guess I was like Lizzie, my heroine in The Bull Rider’s Brother, looking for a way out to the big city. But life takes you on roads you don’t expect. I was born in Nampa, Idaho. My father died when I was a baby, leaving my mother a widow with five kids. When my mother remarried, we moved back out to the country, less than a mile away from the dairy farm where I was born. My graduating class from Kuna High School was sixty three strong.

I’m still not living in a big city; my new home town sits on the Mississippi river and was the site of the Lincoln Douglas debate as well as the honor of being the most haunted American city. The McPike Mansion is right down the road from my house. But I love all the story ideas that keep floating into my head while I’m walking my two Poms.

Thank you for being here. Please come back again. Best of luck.

You can visit Lynn at:
Website  Blog Facebook Twitter  Amazon Author Page Goodreads