Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Writers Wednesday: Jennifer Wenn

Today I’m happy to welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author Jennifer Wenn, whose book A FAMILY AFFAIR was released July 19. 

Hi Jennifer and congratulations on your book. Please tell us a little about it.
A FAMILY AFFAIR is a historical romance about a young girl named Fanny who fell in love with her uncle’s best friend when she was five years old in that obnoxious, stalking way only a child can. She proposes to the ten-year older Devlin and he politely agree to marry her just to make the courageous (although very dirty) little girl happy.

Thirteen years later they meet again and are immediately drawn to each other.  Devlin is mesmerized by the merry young debutant and knows he must have her although he made a vow a long time ago to never marry or have a family of his own, all due to his father’s mental abuse during his childhood.

When the demons from his past threatens to destroy their happily ever after, Fanny determinedly joins forces with her large, interfering family to get her husband back where he belongs – by her side.

Sounds like a terrific story, Jennifer. The hero’s journey to redemption will be fraught will well-meaning folks who will endear themselves to him and to the readers, no doubt. What drew you to this story? 

Having a large family myself, I started to think about how it would have been for a couple if the heroine had an overprotective and loving family and the hero had none at all.  A too interfering family can be slightly annoying for anyone – how would it be for someone used to be by himself?

That would certainly make someone reevaluate. Would you share an excerpt?

“I’m not fond of balls. I find them rather boring. But I have been abroad for a couple of years and thought it would be a perfect way to announce I’vereturned for good. But most importantly I hoped I would meet up with some old acquaintances.”

“I will give you some advice,” Fanny said, giving him her most innocent smile. “It is really hard to meet good friends when one is hiding in the shadows of the balcony.”

His laughter filled the air, and she could see heads turning their way. Some people were slowly  moving closer to them, and she guessed they wouldn’t be alone more than a short while longer.

There were just too many eager mamas out there, ready to throw their daughters at his feet, and they wouldn’t let something like a quiet chat between two acquaintances stop them.

“Well, I wouldn’t really call it hiding. It’s more like trying to remember why I thought it was such a good idea to be here in the first place.”
“So what do you think now, when you have actually entered the ballroom, although from the wrong entrance. Was it such a bad idea?”

He leaned closer to her, and the warmth of his arm pressed against hers.

“Now I think it was the best idea I ever had.”

What’s your next project?

I and the editor are currently editing my second book in ‘The Royal Family’ series, NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE, which is coming out later this year.

That’s wonderful. I hope you’ll come back when it’s released. What one tip would you offer writers?

Never stop writing. As soon as you have written ‘The End’ (and edited the draft at least ten times) you should immediately continue with your next WIP. Quantity and quality another author once told me and I believe in that. Never stop writing and never stop editing.

Tell us a little about your process. How do your stories ‘come to you’ at first--through characters, setting, story line?

To me it’s the characters that introduce themselves and (sometimes) politely ask me to tell their story. When I have a hero and/or a heroine I always start with writing a sort of how-it-all-started-synopsis and then usually the rest of their family and friends comes to me as I write. I never outline the whole story immediately, not more than what I write in that first synopsis. I tend to scribble down a couple of sentences about the major plot points for the two or three next chapters while I write but no more. I know the ending – the rest will come as the story moves on.

That way has worked well for you. Do you have a special place you like to write?

I do most of my writing at our kitchen table, surrounded by my family and too many piles of dirty dishes.

You must have championship concentration. I’m impressed. Do you have other challenges with finding writing time?

I’ve seen other authors count the hours they spend writing – I count minutes. So yes, it’s quite a challenge to find time to climb into my bubble and lose myself into what story I’m currently working on. I have four children (the oldest has just turned nine) and they take up most of my days and nights. But then again, my problems with finding time makes me appreciate the precious minutes I find so much more.

Goodness. I wish you could teach a class on making the most of the minutes in your life. Good job. Best of luck with this book. It’s on my TBR list and I can’t wait to start.
Thanks so much for being here today. I hope you’ll come back again.

 Find Jennifer at:



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Writers Thursday: Debut Author Ellen Parker

Please help me welcome fellow chapter member and debut author, Ellen Parker, whose contemporary romance, STARR TREE FARM was released Aug. 5. I’m so glad you’re here today, Ellen. I know your writing journey has been a special one, and that you attribute much of your success to a bit of advice you once received. Would you share that with us?

The best writing advice I’ve received?

Join a writing group.

The idea presented in those four words have opened a new world to me. I can’t remember the instructor’s name. I thought I was taking writing serious and attended a few one day classes at the local community college. This was my second or third class and we went around the room at the end of the session telling what we preferred to write. I responded, “Fiction, mostly romance”.

“You need to join a writing group.”

They’d take me? An unknown, unpublished, medical technologist writing on the side? Aren’t writing groups multi-published authors sitting around discussing high, dry English class concepts?

A little detective work at the public library followed. I managed to find the website of Romance Writers of American in a craft book. One visit and I learned that a chapter existed and held their monthly meeting two miles from my home. They were making it difficult to turn down.

On a spring Saturday, I walked into a room without knowing any of the twenty or so women present.  I paid a visitor’s fee and listened to a presentation by an author I’d never heard of from another part of the state. People mingled. They offered introductions and asked non-threatening questions. I was hooked.

A few months later, after events in my personal life began to settle, I walked into another meeting. This time my dues to national had been paid and I filled out the form to join.

That was eight years ago. It’s been an education sprinkled with laughter and fun. I learned I knew less than I thought. And then a member would point out a resource useful to fill in the gaps. Others found fault with my writing – and then suggested two or three or more ways to improve it. I’ve attended workshops and presentations by experts in their field, travelled to new places, met writers from other cities struggling with the same concepts.

And I was forced to learn more and more computer skills. Like writing, I’m far from being a computer “expert”. (I yelled “help” to my geek sons recently when my CPU tipped over and filled the screen with gibberish –errr…code.) But I can do a little more than last year.

So….if you want to write and release the voices whispering, or shouting, in your head, I’ll pass along those words from years ago.

Join a writing group.
Fantastic advice, Ellen. Tell us about STARR TREE FARM please.

Here’s the blurb:
 One year after her husband’s murder, Laura Tanner’s grief has turned to frustration at the stalled
police investigation. She accepts an invitation from relatives to leave St. Louis and tend their Christmas tree farm near Crystal Springs, Wisconsin, for two weeks.

The small, peaceful community full of fond childhood memories is just the place for her to move
plans of a bookstore off paper and into reality. Plus, she’ll prod her reluctant private investigator uncle --there must be something he can do long distance to find justice for her husband.

Brad Asher’s military career ended when he lost an arm in Afghanistan. He’s returned home to Crystal Springs and works part-time in real estate. When he learns of Laura’s plans to settle in the community, he makes a few of his own.

As the neighbor boy during her summer visits, he bumbled the opportunity to express his admiration for her. He’s determined to make the most of this second chance.

But Laura’s arrival from St. Louis threatens this future as events around her husband’s murder follow her. Can Brad keep her safe and in his life?

About Ellen:Ellen Parker, a daughter of Wisconsin, currently lives in St. Louis. When not guiding characters toward “happily ever after” you can find her tending her postage stamp size garden or walking in the neighborhood.

Her debut book, Starr Tree Farm, released from Crimson Romance on Aug. 5. It is available at www.amazon.com, www.BN.com, and wherever fine ebooks are sold.