Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fellow TWRP Rose Maria Imbalzano Plots Legal Romances

Today I’m happy to welcome fellow TWRP author Maria Imbalzano, whose contemporary UNCHAINED MEMORIES was released January 17. Congratulations, Maria. I'm already hearing wonderful reports about the book. I'm looking forward to reading it. Would you tell us a little about it? I

The blurb:
Returning to her hometown of Princeton was not part of Charlotte Taylor’s plan. She had a prestigious job as a medical malpractice attorney in San Francisco, a great apartment overlooking the bay and a somewhat serious relationship. But her brother-in-law’s untimely death has her flying clear across country to help her sister and two young children survive unimaginable loss. Memories of her parents’ deaths in a car accident ten years earlier, as well as her serious injuries, come flooding back.

Running into Dr. Clayton Montgomery at a fundraiser was the last thing she expected. He had been an intern at Princeton General when she’d been a patient a lifetime ago. As an 18 year old, she had a mad crush on the gorgeous doctor, yet he didn’t seem to notice.  Now, sparks fly as they reconnect.

Unfortunately, philosophical differences over the benefits and detriments of medical malpractice suits soon become a reality and Charlotte is faced with the choice of representing a client against Princeton General – and against Clay.   

 I love stories involving the legal and medical professions. A book that combines both sounds great. What drew you to this particular one?

 When I was younger and couldn’t sleep, I would make up stories in my head.  One of those stories was about a romantic reunion between a doctor and a previous patient who came back to visit an old friend at the hospital    When I began writing romance, I remembered this story and decided to work with it. 

I determined that the heroine would be a medical malpractice lawyer to ramp up the conflict between her and her old crush. And I always like the idea of family conflict, so I gave the heroine a reason to come back to her hometown, causing the deep-seated resentment of her sister to come to a head. 

The setting was easy because I live near Princeton and I love the town – a perfect combination of quaint shops, the University campus, and historic and cultural sites.  Armed with a hero, heroine, their careers and a setting, I was able to then develop the romance, along with the characters’ personalities. It was pure fun – and a lot of work.  But I loved every minute of it.

What’s your next project?

My current work in progress is called DANCING IN THE SAND.  It’s about an accomplished dance major at New York University, Ava, who is pursuing her dream of becoming a professional dancer upon graduation.  When on stage, her feelings of unworthiness melt away, and in their place grows confidence and value, feelings she doesn’t get from her workaholic father whose presence in her life all but disappeared the day her mother abandoned the family to live her dream.
One summer weekend in Newport, she meets her roommate’s brother, Brian, a charismatic Harvard grad who is joining his father’s business. They steal private moments together and fall quickly for each other, but the weekend ends with a disastrous accident leaving Brian with a head injury and no memory of Ava.

 When Ava learns she is pregnant, her world collapses. She gives up her passion –dance – and goes to law school so she will have a lucrative and steady career, if not the creative career she aspired to.  She wants to help support her daughter financially, even though she convinced her sister and brother-in-law to adopt her child.

 Five years later, as a new associate at an environmental law firm, she meets with Brian, who is looking for representation for the family business. He doesn’t know Ava, but is drawn to her.  They start dating and old feelings surface, as well as memories of their weekend together. But will her secret destroy their newfound love?  

That sounds fantasitic! You have an affinity for the legal heroine and I can see why after reading your bio. Very exciting. But with your demanding career and a family, you obviously know how to manage your time. What one tip would you offer writers?

Be persistent and never give up.  I started writing fifteen years ago. At the time I didn’t know where to start.  I had never been a good creative writer in school, and writing legal briefs and memoranda of law is a very different type of writing.

I knew nothing of point of view, conflict, characterization or dialogue. I just started writing (after I made a lengthy outline.) 

It wasn’t until I joined New Jersey Romance Writers and began attending seminars and conferences that I learned the art of creative writing. Needless to say, the first two manuscripts I wrote will never see the light of day. Since then I wrote four more manuscripts, one of them being “Unchained Memories.” 

I received dozens of rejections over the years, but I knew if I was persistent, I would get published someday.  Last May, I signed my first publishing contract with The Wild Rose Press. 

Do you have challenges with finding writing time?

 What time, right?  I am a divorce attorney in central New Jersey and have a husband and two daughters.  My daughters are now in college, so I have a little more time for writing at nights and on weekends. I needed to learn to give up watching TV in the evening to relax and instead, sit at my computer and write.  After a long day at work, you may not think that you have anything left in you to start working on what may be called a second career.  But I find that I enjoy writing so much, it doesn’t seem like work.  It’s fun, exciting, and gives me a chance to create wonderful characters and stories. 

What energy you have. Thanks for taking time to sharing your journey with us today. I can't wait to start on UNCHAINED MEMORIES. 

Here's an excerpt:

 His familiar voice rained over her like fairy dust and her skin tingled as she turned away from the hospital elevator.

“Clay.  I was wondering if I would see you here today. I stopped by to visit with Dr. Collins.”  She inwardly held her breath as she made the snap decision to leave it at that and not disclose the true reason for her visit.

Clay’s smile quieted some of the sting still smarting from Matt’s caustic comments on her career choice and his kiss on her cheek definitely made it all better.  Clay sure had the power to heal.

“I bet Collins was thrilled to see you.  He brought your name up over the years with such pride in what you were accomplishing.”

“Really?”   Strange since she barely kept in touch with him after she had gone to college, despite his attempts.  It just showed what a genuine, caring person he was.

“Did Collins tell you about all the renovations that were made since you left?  Especially to the children’s wing.  You wouldn’t recognize it.”

“No.  We didn’t talk much about the hospital. Maybe you can give me a tour sometime when you’re free.”  Charlotte hoped her tone held just the right amount of interest without sounding like she was desperate to spend more time with Clay - although she had thought about him non-stop since running into him at the Gala.  And every time she replayed his invitation to dinner in her head, she pummeled herself for not accepting.

“I just got off and was heading to talk to Collins about some administrative issues, but that can wait.”

“Matt Branson was just in there to meet with him as well, but Dr. Collins said he didn’t have time right now.”

“Then I’ll catch up with him later.  Let’s go.”

Clay put his hand on her back to guide her in the right direction – an insignificant gesture that burned through her suit jacket and sent crazy atoms zinging through her body.

As they moved along the hall, he explained some of the changes that had been made to other areas of the hospital as well.  His enthusiasm was catchy and Charlotte found herself an engrossed and captive audience.  Or perhaps she was just caught up in Clay, the man who once again starred in her fantasies.

Approaching the children’s wing, Charlotte gasped.  The colors burst from the walls – blue, green, purple, yellow, orange.  No longer that sanitary eggshell paint that she helped decorate with the children’s drawings when she visited them.  “This is amazing.  I love it.”  She turned in every direction to take in the wonderful changes.  “This doesn’t look like a hospital wing.”

“That was the goal.”  Clay grabbed her hand and took her over to a little girl maneuvering on crutches toward a play area. “Hi, Tessie.  How’s it going?”

“Good, Dr. M.  I’m really getting the hang of these things.” She smiled at him with a missing-tooth smile that warmed Charlotte’s heart.

“This is my friend, Charley.  She used to be a patient in this hospital after a car accident, just like you.”

Tessie looked Charley up and down.  “You got better?”

Charlotte smiled.  “I sure did. This is a great place to heal.  And Dr. Montgomery helped me a lot.” 

Although Tessie was substantially younger than Charlotte had been when she was a patient, Charlotte could see the infatuation on Tessie’s face when she looked at Clay.  God, I hope I wasn’t that transparent.

Clay introduced her to a few more children and explained their conditions, just as he had done when she’d been a patient here.  She had loved coming to the children’s wing, not just to spend more time with Clay when it had been part of his rotation, although that had been a bonus.  But to take the children’s minds off their troubles by playing a board game with them or making a puzzle or drawing a picture.  Having no family around, it was therapy for Charlotte as well.

The memories clogged her mind and she barely heard Clay when he suggested they continue on the tour.  Were those memories as vivid for Clay?  Doubtful.

For the next half hour, Clay was the ultimate ambassador for the hospital.  If she hadn’t known him, she would have expected a subtle request for a large donation at the end of the tour.  Instead, she was the beneficiary of Clay’s time and attention and she loved every minute of it.

     When he finally brought her to the main entrance of the hospital, disappointment swirled around her; their brief time together, over.  A miniscule grain of hope pitted in her brain.  Maybe she could bring the conversation around to his prior dinner invitation.  This time she wouldn’t be so negative.

     Just then his phone buzzed.  The conversation was brief and curt.  “I’m sorry, Charlotte, but I have to go.  Great seeing you again.”  He squeezed her arm and without more, he left. 

     She watched his retreating back, strong and solid, his stride purposeful, until he disappeared. 

     Along with her hope.          

Maria Imbalzano is a matrimonial lawyer in central New Jersey where she not only uses her law degree to navigate her clients through the court system, but her psychology degree to guide them through their personal struggles. While writing motions, legal memoranda, and briefs is fascinating, it pales in comparison to creating memorable characters and taking them on their emotional journeys.

In addition to practicing law and writing fiction, Maria enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters either at home or at the Jersey Shore.

Visit Maria at www.mariaimbalzano.com


To purchase UNCHAINED MEMORIES go to any of the following:


The Wild Rose Press


Barnes & Noble.com

All Romance

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Writers Wednesday: It's Gothic for Gloria Marlow

Today I’m happy to welcome Gloria Davidson Marlow, whose book When Swallows Fall was released in November. Hi Gloria. So glad you’re here. Would you please tell us a little about your newest?

Although Ophelia Garrett loved Cade Scott first, it was her sister he married and took home to his plantation. When Ophelia receives word of her sister's murder and Cade's arrest, she travels there on a mission to learn the truth. She soon finds the halls of Almenara are haunted by secrets, peril, and quite possibly her sister's ghost.

Despite the cold, angry man Cade has become, Ophelia's heart refuses to believe he is a murderer. Vowing to do everything she can to prove his innocence, Ophelia must open wounds she’d hoped were long healed and face the feelings that still burn between her and Cade.  As everyone looks to Cade as the suspect, evil haunts the dunes and halls of Almenara, bringing death to two more young women and forcing Ophelia to confront the danger.

Goodness, that sounds so intriguing. I got chills just reading the blurb. What drew you to this story?

I always loved gothic romances by Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney and other authors. I wrote the first sentence of the manuscript and just knew that’s what this was going to be. I absolutely loved writing it!

I loved reading Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney, too. They couldn’t be beat for gripping stories. Would you share an excerpt of yours?

Here you are:

“How did Desi die, Cade?”

He lifted his head, his face mere inches from mine. Emotion clouded his gaze, and he opened his mouth as if he meant to answer me. Instead, a low moan escaped him and he caught my mouth in the hungry kiss I had dreamed of for six years’ worth of lonely nights. For just a moment, the reason for that loneliness was completely forgotten.

A cry rent the air, and I jerked away from Cade, guilt and alarm whipping through me in equal measures as I turned to stare at the maid who had finally returned with the broom and dustpan.

“Oh, Mr. Scott, forgive me, please.”

“No need for apologies, Susan,” Cade said, bringing the woman’s stammering apology to an end.

He looked at me, his eyes shadowed with pain. “I am the one who should be sorry. I’ll see you at supper, Ophelia.”

I was left standing in the hall with the maid, who stared at me with open disdain. Her voice was sharp and cold when she spoke.

“I thought you were Mrs. Scott, you know. Kissing her husband like that. It made me think Kathleen was right and she had come back from the grave after all.”

“People don’t come back from the grave, Susan,” I retorted, hoping my haughtiness hid my shame. If Desi were to come back to haunt the halls of the home where she’d died, I was fairly certain what I’d just done would be reason enough for me to be her target.

What’s your next project?

I’m working on another gothic romance, as well as a contemporary romantic suspense. My backlist is being re-released by Salt Run Publishing, so I’m working on editing those as well. As a matter of fact, Shades of Silence, which was my third book, was re-released in December and my second book, The Butterfly Game, will be re-released in March.

Goodness, you have quite a lineup for re-release. Looks like you’ll be a busy lady. What one tip would you offer writers?

Learn the rules, abide by the rules, and write from your heart. It is possible to do both. It took me a while to come to grip with the rules after I wrote my first book without any clue they existed. Once I started learning them, I was so worried about breaking them, I could barely write. They did eventually become ingrained enough that I can write without thinking about them constantly. Especially the first draft – I’m not sending that draft out, so I can fix what I miss when I go back in.

Excellent point, especially about worrying too much about breaking the rules. It takes time to find our own way. How do your stories ‘come to you’ at first--through characters, setting, story line? 

My stories usually come to me with a single scene and then build from there. When Swallows Fall started out with two names: Ophelia and Desdemona, and a woman having her newborn twin daughters placed in her arms.

Intriguing heroine names! All sorts of possibilities with both of them. Do you have a special place you like to write?

I like to write using a desktop computer. Until the last few years, I’ve always had a certain place I wrote, even if it was only in a corner of a room. The past few years, I’ve only had a laptop so I have to admit I haven’t written as much as I should. I’m currently in the process of carving out a writing space.  

Do you have challenges with finding writing time? 

The last few years, I’ve worked full-time and I have three grandsons I can’t resist, so I spend as much of my weekends as possible enjoying them. Finding writing time is difficult, but I try to do find a few minutes every day.

Writing every day is so important. And the working along with enjoying grandchildren in So understandable. Thanks so much for being here today, and best of luck with the release. I hope you’ll come back again.

Find Gloria online at:
Twitter: @gloria_marlow

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Selena's Fulton's NEVER LET GO Time Travel Into Danger

My guest today is talented author and fellow Lalala Selena Fulton whose time travel NEVER LET GO combines contemporary and American history. It's been a hit with readers, including me. It's a terrific read. Welcome, Selena. I love Kendra and Benjamin's story.  Please tell us a little about it.

Kendra Prescott, a high-powered Atlanta real estate broker, is sent England to coax the owner to sell a beautiful cottage. Family portraits line the stairway, and Kendra finds one man, Benjamin Sheffield fascinating. Too bad he lived almost two centuries ago.

In eighteen sixty-three, Benjamin Sheffield escaped England because of a trumped up murder charge. He came to America to disappear in the vast Western frontier, but is delayed by a little thing called the War Between The States. 

When Kendra falls and loses consciousness, she wakes up in the middle of Civil War torn Georgia. She doesn’t know what happened to the cottage, but when she sees Ben, she realizes he is the key, her only chance of returning to her own time. Trouble is, now that she’s met him, she isn’t sure she wants to.

I'd love to give everyone a hint about her decision, but readers must find out for themselves.  What drew you to this story? 

I love time travels. I used to wonder what people of another time would think of our modern day items.

Absolutely. I wonder if they'd adjust to the frenetic pace we have nowadays. Can you give us a little hint about your next project.

I am working on a contemporary fairy tale series. Stay tuned!

Now that sounds terrific, Selena. We'll definitely stay tuned. Let us know as soon as the news it out! Good luck. What one tip would you offer writers?
Never give up! The only time you truly fail is when you stop writing. 

So true! How do your stories ‘come to you’ at first--through characters, setting, story line? 

I get stories from everywhere. Something someone says. A dream. Something in the news. The seeds that grow into novels are everywhere.

That's the definitely of being aware of your surroundings! Talk about being a good listener! Do you have a special place you like to write

I love the view from the window beside my desk. Outside is a very full bush. Birds and squirrels peek in at me from time to time.  When I get tired of sitting at my desk, I have a very comfy recliner in my room too.

Sounds wonderful. Do you have challenges finding writing time?

My most productive times are first thing in the morning, and then again in the evening. But even when I’m away from my computer, I’m constantly thinking of my story. I jot notes down wherever I can.

I do too. I've been known to grab the back of an envelope or even a sales receipt. Thanks so much for being here today, Selena. Best of luck with the new series. Be sure to come back when you have news to report. Where can readers find you on the web?
Visit me at these links:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Writers Wednesday: Gina Danna and HER ETERNAL ROGUE

Today I’m happy to welcome MORWA chaptermate Gina Danna, whose debut book, HER ETERNAL ROGUE, was released in July. Glad you're here today, Gina, and surviving this incredible cold. I so enjoyed Alexander and Lavinia's story! Tell us about it, would you?

Love to! Let me just give you the blurb.
Alexander Barrington flees his tyrannical uncle for the open seas where he becomes a ruthless pirate who turns vampire.

Captured and sentenced to hang, a fate he must avoid to keep his vampire self hidden, a reprieve comes if he rescues Lady Lavinia Sinclair from the French pirates and returns her to her fiance in England.

Alexander falls for the woman who makes him feel human and alive, but can he really have her without exposing what he is - a thief, the undead? The damned? Refusing to taint her innocence any further, he erases her memory of him and vanishes into the night but can he really exist without her?

For anyone who likes Regency and or paranormal, that blurb is irresistible. What drew you to this story?
I wanted to write about pirates and I read a lot of Regencies so wanted that time. I started it when I decided to twist it and make my hero not only a pirate but a vampire as well – a different hook, you can say. Probably the biggest influences for both angles, pirate and vampire come from Pirates of the Caribbean and The Vampire Diaries.

 Would you give everyone a little further taste (no pun intended)?

Her Eternal Rogue
Alexander pulled her into his embrace, keeping the respectable distance though his eyes caressed her intimately. She flushed with excitement. He seemed to know the dance and picked up the beat, swirling her about the room. Handsome, with a cocky smile on his face and merriment in his eyes, he whirled her through the steps with expertise. She fought enjoying herself but the whiff of his scent, the aroma of spice and the ocean, enticed her to remember the summer not long ago and being—

She opened her eyes and glared at him. “That was inconceivably rude.”

“No,” he countered. “I broke in, he released you to me. All perfect English manners.”

“You shouldn’t be dancing with me,” she said harshly. “Especially a waltz.”

“This dance is perfect for lovers,” he replied with a seductive tone. “Or have you taken Monroe as your lover? Frankly, if so, the way he relinquished you to another does not prove any quality. You could do better.” He swung her around the next turn, closer to the edge of the floor.

“How dare you! I have done no such thing and for you to accuse me of—”

They were at the edge of the dance floor, near the opened windows that led to the terrace. Alexander stopped and pulled her closer, behind a statue near the doors. “Darlin',” he said, his voice holding more of the West Indies sway. “Surely ye know the laws concerning matrimony.” He looked her straight in the eye, a half grin on his lips that didn’t reach his eyes. “Knowin’ it’s illegal to marry yer deceased husband’s brother, my dear.”

She furrowed her brows. “What are you referring to, sir?” She turned, trying to find Nicholas, and opened her mouth to call for him, ignoring the commotion that would create.

He stopped them on the dance floor and took her out of the ballroom with lightning vampiric speed. “I am the deceased husband, Lavinia, and you married my brother.”

She shook her head vehemently. “I did not marry you—”

“Darlin', but I’m afraid we were married on board The Lily,” he told her quietly, his voice factual.

“As captain of a ship, I am the law—”

“I don’t remember any marriage ceremony, no vows exchanged.” She searched her memory frantically, looking for some truth in his declaration. The scene came crashing into her mind: standing on deck with those three vile pirates, and him protecting her, claiming her…


He said nothing.

“You’re lying.” A chill raced down her spine. “How can that be marriage? A vampire? A pirate? A dead man?”

“Sweetheart, keep your voice down,” he said, his voice calm as he encircled her waist. “Tell me how we are not.” He bent, sealing his lips over hers.

What’s your next project?

I’m working on the next story for Alexander and on a Civil War trilogy.

Great! And I know you have more than one title coming out this year. Lady, you have been busy. What an accomplishment. I hope you'll come back and tell us about those upcoming book. What one tip would you offer writers?

Grit and determination. As a writer I know says, its not normal to a person to sit down and write 100,000 words so…to do so is an accomplishment – and only the beginning. J

*How do your stories ‘come to you’ at first--through characters, setting, story line?
That depends. Characters primarily – those voices that don’t shut up & demand to be heard.

 Where is your special place to write?
Hmmmm A lot of it forms when I’m with my horse, because I don’t have any interruptions, like my phone going off with emails/texts/calls so my muse can play. Otherwise, my writing writing is at home, on my computer.
As quickly as you write, do you have challenges finding writing time?
Distance (like when I’m with my horse, its in a field, not even close to pen & paper!) and work.

Gina, thanks so much for being here today. We'll be looking forward to your next visit and hearing all about the upcoming books.