Featured Author

Welcome to my newest featured and New York Times bestselling author, Linda Goodnight.

How would you describe your style of writing to someone that has never read your work?

I primarily write Christian romance and some “sweet” women’s fiction. Others describe my writing style as emotional, heartwarming and often heartrending, and it’s also been called lyrical-whatever that means. J .  Generally my stories are about families and small towns and broken characters in search of healing and hope.

What mindset or routine do you feel the need to set when preparing to write (in general whether you are working on a project or just free writing)?

Gosh, I wish I had something cool or unique to say but, actually, I’m kind of boring.  I simply sit down and start writing. I guess my routine or mindset comes from knowing that I have deadlines to meet and stories to tell so I go to the office every day and get to work. I also remind myself that my readers expect the best book I can write and I want to give them that.

Do you take your character prep to heart? Do you nurture the growth of each character all the way through to the page? Do you people watch to help with development? Or, do you build upon your character during the story creation?

Oh, yes. For me, character is the king of the story, so I take my character development very seriously. Strangely enough, my story people usually appear with no information at all. I see a scene and start writing. After a while, I stop and ask myself a bazillion questions. Who are these people? What is their problem? What do they want? What  are they trying to tell me? And so on.  Though I don’t people-watch for my characters, I do spend a lot of time looking at photos of people, settings, etc.  Once I know what a character’s physical appearance, I slowly develop his/her back story.  This development continues all the way to the end of the book and even into revisions as the characters grow and change.  Sometimes they even surprise me.

To give an example, in one of my early books, A Touch of Grace, I was part way through the book when the hero revealed his penchant for buying athletic shoes. He recognized it might be psychological but didn’t know why.  He bought shoes, wore them once or twice, and then gave them away.  Even though I was the author, I didn’t have any idea either about why he was doing this until his back story-which neither he nor I fully knew-was finally revealed. And it made me cry. Surprises like that are a fun part of being an author.

Have you found yourself bonding with any particular character? If so, which one(s)?

All the time! I fall so in love with most of my heroes, it’s ridiculous! Right now, I’m totally bonded to the heroes of my most recent books- Quinn of Lone Star Dad and Hayden in The Rain Sparrow. I think this is because they are both very damaged men (in vastly different ways) who desperately want to love and be loved, but their wounds are so deep and their secrets so painful, they’re afraid to let anyone see who they really are.

Do you have a character that you’ve been working on that you can’t wait to put on paper?

I sure do. He’s an Irishman, and I can feel who he is, and I really like him, but he has no story yet.

Have you ever felt there was something inside of you that you couldn’t control? If so, what? If no, what spurs you to reach for the inexperienced?

If I was a suspense or horror writer, I’d try to shock you and say, “I can’t control the need to murder people.”  Joking, of course!  In reality, I battle insecurity and I really, really wish I could control it. Even after a long career of many published books and successes that I’m so thankful for, I still doubt myself.  Yet, I am a striver so I keep reaching toward things I have yet to experience anyway.

What do you have coming up next for your readers?

Thank you for asking.  The aforementioned books, The Rain Sparrow and Lone Star Dad are available now at Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com .  On May 23, Lone Star Bachelor releases and resolves all the issues the Buchanon family has been facing for four whole books. Yep. Finally. Then in late July, The Innkeeper’s Sister, a southern women’s fiction novel filled with secrets and a dual storyline, hits the stands.   Both are available for preorder at Amazon. I hope you love them as much as I loved writing them!

Linda’s newest book, The Road to Love, is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Linda’s entire collection of books are available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=linda+goodnight&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Alinda+goodnight

 

Available June 1, 2017. Pre-order now!!!

About Linda

Winner of the RITA Award, Linda Goodnight has also won numerous other major awards. She has appeared on the New York Times and USA Today’s Bestsellers lists and her romance novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages.  She is also an “Honor Roll” member of the Romance Writers of America. This former nurse and teacher of the year lives in rural Oklahoma with her family, including two daughters adopted from Ukraine.  Linda loves chocolate, baking, and hosting meals for her giant family.  She also loves connecting with readers, so visit her on Facebook or through her website, www.lindagoodnight.com

 

 

Thank you, Deborah Ann Davis, my previously featured author.

How would you describe your style of writing to someone that has never read your work?

I write quirky suspense fiction for young adults. Because I see the humor in every day life, my characters will make you laugh.

What mindset or routine do you feel the need to set when preparing to write (in general whether you are working on a project or just free writing)?

Get my butt in the chair…or on the sofa…or at the table…wherever it is I’m writing today. I try to switch it up so my body will get variety. Remaining in the same position day after day leads to overuse injuries.

Do you take your character prep to heart? Do you nurture the growth of each character all the way through to the page? Do you people watch to help with development? Or, do you build upon your character during the story creation?

I build my characters as the story unfolds. I’m just as surprised by their antics and idiosyncrasies as the reader. When I’m done writing the book, I feel like I’ve spent some quality time with my new friends.

Have you found yourself bonding with any particular character? If so, which one(s)?

Not so much bonding as relating to particular characters. As a science teacher, over the years the most charming geeks have hung out in my classroom. Their insecurities always frustrated me because I could see how cool they truly were. At least one person in each of my books experiences the same type of journey, but I get to insure they triumph in the end and realize their awesomeness.

Do you have a character that you’ve been working on that you can’t wait to put on paper?

Always! Right now I’m working on a street musician who travels with a carnival. Although he’s saving his money to get himself to New York where he can be discovered, he keeps giving some away to the homeless he encounters.

Have you ever felt there was something inside of you that you couldn’t control? If so, what?

My diet, aka my nutritional intake. I’m not even going to talk about it.

If no, what spurs you to reach for the unexperienced?

Curiosity, excitement and pushing myself make me try new things. For example, I’m going to a zip-line park with my college-age nephew as soon as it warms up. It’s not a typical activity for a 60-year-old woman, but that doesn’t seem to matter to anyone I know.

Connect with Deborah at: http://deborahanndavis.com/

Find Deborah’s books at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

If you’d like to reach out to Deborah, you can find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and also at her blog at: http://deborahanndavis.com/merry-meddling/

 

 

Previously featured author, Elizabeth Davies, author of the Resurrection Series, The Spirit Guide and The Medium Path.

How would you describe your style of writing to someone who has never read your work?

Gosh, it’s not easy to look at your own work that objectively, is it? My writing has been described as both descriptive and to the point, fast-paced and too slow! I suppose it depends on what the reader is expecting and whether my work meets those expectations – for some people, it does and for others…

What mindset or routine do you feel the need to set when preparing to write (in general whether you are working on a project or just free writing)?

I usually write first thing in the morning, and I often wake up before the alarm goes off, so I tend to lie in bed and think about my characters, and what I wrote yesterday, so when I sit at my computer I’m all ready to go. I don’t cope well with distractions either, so I like it when no one else is in the house!

Do you take your character prep to heart? Do you nurture the growth of each character all the way through to the page? Do you people watch to help with development? Or, do you build upon your character during the story creation?

I create my characters as I go along, and sometimes they surprise me. I start with a vague idea and as I write they become more real until I find myself talking to them. Hopefully I only do this when I’m alone, but I have caught some people giving me the occasional strange look, so maybe I do actually say things out loud.

Have you found yourself bonding with any particular character? If so, which one(s)?

I’ll always have a soft spot for Grace from the Resurrection series. She was my first MC ,and after I wrote the first three books (which I thought worked fine as they were, but my readers wanted more), and began the fourth, it was like being reunited with my best friend. I’d spoken with this lady for hours in the middle of the night – I know her so well!

Have you ever felt there was something inside of you that you couldn’t control? If so, what? If no, what spurs you to reach for the unexperienced?

I can’t control my urge to create. Years ago I tried my hand at all kinds, embroidery, greeting card design, knitting, painting, but none of them really scratched the itch until I discovered writing. The feeling of putting ‘The End’ to my first manuscript was monumental and life-changing. Now I can’t imagine not writing, and I get really, really grumpy when I don’t.

Visit Elizabeth at: https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Davies/e/B00E7O8QLK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1485909256&sr=8-2-ent

Find State of Grace, Book 1 in the Resurrection series at: https://www.amazon.com/State-Grace-Resurrection-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00901ACSA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485909256&sr=8-1&keywords=elizabeth+davies

 

 

Previously featured author, Lina Rehal, author of Carousel Kisses, October In New York and soon to be released, Loving Daniel.

How would you describe your style of writing to someone who has never read your work?

When I’m writing essays or nostalgia, I think my style is simple and easy for people to relate to. When I’m writing fiction, I try to create believable, likeable characters that people will remember and want to read more about.

What mindset or routine do you feel the need to set when preparing to write (in general whether you are working on a project or just free writing)?

I don’t really have a routine. When I’m working on a book and having trouble with a particular scene or chapter, I have to let ideas percolate in my head for a while. The words might be there, but not ready to come out yet. I sit at the computer and procrastinate for a while, scrolling through Facebook and checking email.

My characters often decide to show up as soon as I have something else to do. When I go out, the words start swirling through my head while I’m driving or at the supermarket trying to decide what to make for dinner. Sometimes, I pull over and write it down so I don’t forget. I’ve learned to wait. The words will come out when they’re ready. When that happens, I go with it.

What genre are you most comfortable with?

For a long time, I thought I’d found my voice in nostalgia. I still like writing about things from “the good old days” that conjure up pleasant memories. I like doing “slice of life” pieces, personal essays and writing about my granddaughter.

Since my retirement in early 2015, I’ve found a new “voice” in writing romance stories by combining my passion for fiction and love of storytelling. Romance is my favorite genre because I like happily ever after. It’s where I’m most comfortable now.

What do you like most about writing fiction?

I love writing dialogue and creating interaction between characters, especially a good argument or fight scene and the love scenes. I like it when my characters take over and the story seems to write itself. It often goes in a different direction than I planned, but I enjoy finding out where it ends up.

What do you like least about writing fiction?

Doing research. I hate having to stop and look things up. But, research is part of a story. Details are important. You can’t guess this stuff. Someone will pick up on it. It may be fiction, but facts still need to be accurate.

What one thing helps you the most when creating a scene?

I try to think like my character. I put myself in the scene. If you think and feel the same way your character does, you understand her/him better. When you do that, you can write it.

Do you take your character prep to heart? Do you nurture the growth of each character all the way through to the page?

Absolutely! If I’m not totally immersed in my characters, how can I expect my readers to be? If I don’t believe in them, no one else will either.

Do you people watch to help with development? Or, do you build upon your character during the story creation?

I do my share of people watching and eavesdropping. I often use some of what I see and hear in the development of a character. But, mostly, I build as I go. I love it when the characters surprise me.

Have you found yourself bonding with any particular character? If so, which one(s)?

Pretty much all of them. But, if I had to pick one or two, I’d have to say Grace Madden and Aidan McRae, the two main characters in my latest book, Loving Daniel.

Do you have a character that you’ve been working on that you can’t wait to put on paper?

Not right now, since I’m in between books. I felt that way about Grace and Aidan. Especially Aidan. I miss them when I’m not writing about them.

What made you decide to self-publish your first two books?

It seemed easier at the time. The actual process was easy. I like the control self-publishing gives an author. It’s the marketing I don’t like.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on the finishing touches to my first full-length novel, Loving Daniel. It’s about two people who find each other again after 24 years and discover they still have feelings for each other. They face the obstacles of a long-distance romance, trusting each other again and family issues. There are a lot of great characters in this book. I’m planning on making it a series.

Author Bio:

Lina Rehal is a self-published author known for her nostalgic stories and personal essays. Her first two books, October In New York: A Love Story, and Carousel Kisses, a collection of personal essays and poems about growing up in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s, are available on Amazon.com in both print and ebook formats at: www.amazon.com/author/lina_rehal

Watch for Lina’s new romance novel, Loving Daniel.

You can connect with Lina via email at : rehalcute@aol.com or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/thefuzzypinkmuse/

Lina’s website address is: https://www.thefuzzypinkmuse.com

 

 

Previously featured author, Alyssa Kress, author of the Home Again Series.

Why do you write romance?

The first romance I read was a Harlequin Presents, and I was in my late twenties. I’d run out of good classics to read (or so I presumed in the arrogance of my age). As most Harlequin Presents did in those days, this one involved an exotic setting, a virginal young woman, and an older, extremely wealthy man. I guess I’m either too confident or too ignorant to have felt offended by the implied sexism and other possible -isms. Mostly I was swept away by the incredible optimism of the story. People could get past their problems. People could fall in love. People could end up learning how to be happy.

This optimism is what I always want people to feel when they finish reading one of my own stories – in which it is rare to find a virgin.

How would you describe your style of writing to someone who has never read your work?

I like to think I write in an easy, humorous style – but I’m not sure it’s for me to say whether or not that is so! My ultimate goal is to write about emotion in a way that rings true.

Perhaps the best way to describe it is by example. Here’s one from Working on a Full House, where a sensible pediatrician ends up having a one-night stand with a Vegas gambler:

Exactly how did a girl go wild?

Valerie Kendrick sat at a bar overlooking the poker tables at the elegant Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, toying with the drink she’d thought she ought to order since she was supposed to be living it up this weekend. It wasn’t happening, though. Despite her grand effort to distract herself from all the disappointments back home, she only felt lonelier than ever while wandering the glittering casinos.

Clearly, neither drinking nor gambling were going to make her feel any better. Instead, what she needed was — was —

She had no idea. How did a woman put her self esteem back together?

Swirling her Margarita glass on the bar counter, she gazed down at the poker players half a level below her. All of them, bar one, appeared desperate to get rid of their money. The one, a man with tousled dark hair and a square-cut face, appeared discreetly determined to acquire more of it. He wore a lazy smile and had an arm hooked over the back of his seat, but he couldn’t hide his lurking competence.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Valerie played with her straw and kept watching. The soft gray cashmere sweater the guy wore only seemed to emphasize the roughness of the man underneath. He had an air of knowing a thing or two. A real card shark.

He was fascinating. Virile, excitingly dangerous, outrageously handsome. He was like a precious gemstone, out of her price range.

What mindset or routine do you feel the need to set when preparing to write (in general whether you are working on a project or just free writing)?

I try to stay away from ‘need’ when it comes to setting myself to write. The less needs the better.

Having said that, I’ll admit that my favorite place to write is Starbucks. Perhaps because I grew up in a large, loud family, I work best with a lot of noise and commotion around. As an added benefit, I will occasionally overhear some very interesting conversations. Am I an eavesdropper? Well…Is it really a sin to listen in when someone decides to have their phone call to the egg bank or argument with their soon-to-be-ex-husband in a Starbucks?

If you’re interested in hearing more about these adventures, check out my blog post at https://alyssakress.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/a-cafe-squatters-guide-to-santa-monica/

Do you take your character prep to heart? Do you nurture the growth of each character all the way through to the page? Or, do you build upon your character during the story creation?

Are you sure you want to ask this question? I will bore you to death with all I do to create the characters in my books. I fill out extensive questionnaires, goal-motivation-conflict charts, and even have them take psychological assessment tests. For me, the story is all about the characters. The plot revolves around how to move them through their character arcs in order to create that optimistic ending where they have learned how to be happy.

It is rare for me to significantly change a character once I start writing the story.

Do you people watch to help with development?

Despite my addiction to writing – and eavesdropping – at Starbucks, I can not remember an instance where I consciously used strangers or something heard from strangers in my character development. Rather, I dig into my own feelings and take the pieces that I need to make the character as real as I can.

Have you found yourself bonding with any particular character? If so, which one(s)?

Every single one.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I am the most die-hard plotter you will ever meet. Really. Ever. One time – once! – I attempted to write a book by the seat of my pants. The pain of it blocks from my memory how long I spent coming up with some fashion of incoherent novel. As you can probably guess, I threw the whole thing out.

The only thing I kept was the name of the heroine, Lucy. You can read the far different novel I came up with as A Perfect Knave, the only historical romance I have written.

And never, ever, ever, ever, ever again have I started a book without preparing a very detailed outline.

Where can readers connect with you?

Readers will find information about me, my books, and a few coloring books at: https://alyssakress.wordpress.com/

My latest series, the Home Again Series, starts with Good Neighbors, which is FREE!! at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple.

Only the news that her father is on his deathbed could bring Los Angeles physical trainer Erica Carmichael back to the town she’d wanted to forget and the parent who’d made her childhood a nightmare with his drunken rages. Her plans for a brief trip home to bid him a wary farewell are quickly complicated, however, by her discovery she’s now guardian of her teenage brother. She’s well and truly stuck. It might be some consolation that the man next door is handsome and attractive, but Erica doesn’t trust her growing feelings for the fellow. He’s too good to be true.

Sporting goods store owner Brennan Swift is saddened by the passing of his neighbor, a mentor to him in more ways than one. Now Brennan feels responsible for the disposition of his friend’s orphaned youngest son. Unfortunately, this involves dealing with the prickly Erica. Brennan is dismayed by his instant attraction to her. He can’t afford an involvement. He particularly can’t get involved with a woman who doesn’t believe in the possibility of a man’s redemption – for Brennan has his own dark history.

 

Previously featured author, Jocelyn Babcock, debut author of Mantic: The Eyes of March.

Jocelyn Babcock, author of Mantic: The Eyes of March

How long have you wanted to be a writer? When did you decide to write a book?

I wanted to be a writer since I was little.  My extended family always said “You don’t want to do that; you won’t make any money.”  I even wrote nonfiction reference books in high school, but I destroyed everything I ever wrote.  When I went back to college and took a creative writing class, the teacher made me promise not to destroy my writing ever again.  Even if I remove text  from my work, I save it in a Word document.  I’ve had to resurrect from the “dead words” on more than one occasion.

Speaking of my creative writing class, two book ideas came from short stories I wrote in the class.  The peer group responded well to my psychic with amnesia.  They wanted to know more about her story, and that required a trilogy.

What inspired you to write this story?

Returning from a ritual theater (screenplay) I wrote, I was doing homework in the car the day it was due.  The assignment was a short story based on irony.  I wanted to write a story about a psychic and asked my husband, “What’s ironic about a psychic?”  He said, “What if she has amnesia?”

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

I tried to plot my books.  Originally I was writing a humorous women’s fiction with 12 books planned.  I sat down and wrote a dark murder mystery, and only 3 books.  Trying to stick to a planned plotline is the worst.  I don’t want to stomp on the creative juices flowing.  I only have a planned beginning and end and let the middle get decided while I’m in the zone.

I’m a pantser.  Dialog comes naturally to me and is usually first.

How long did Mantic take to complete?

This is the part I don’t like to admit.  The concept came about in 2010 and I began the research.  After I graduated college, 2011, I put pen to paper and posted early rough drafts to Wattpad.  I worked on the novel sporadically.  I never believed I would finish it, though a friend kept me in check to keep moving forward.  I put the book down while I was pregnant.  I couldn’t get in the zone.  Then we tried to move and I had to stage the house every day and hang out at the park for showings.  Life felt like a whirlwind and the book was on the back burner.

My New Year’s Resolution was to finish the book in 2016, and I did.  Now, I know I can complete a book and put it out into the world.

Was this the first book you had written?

This is the first fiction book I have written.  As a technical writer, my name is in a few textbooks.

Did you work on simultaneous projects?

No.  I may research a little in the other books I have planned, but writing a trilogy requires world building and characterization and I immerse myself in that world until it is time to write The End.

How did you fit your writing into the rest of your life?

By writing during naps and evenings when everybody is asleep.  You know, Jane Austen wrote in short bursts of available time.  She was incredibly busy with other duties and wrote large novels without spell check and other resources we have.  If you want to write, you will find the time.

Who gave you feedback as you worked through writing the book?

In January of 2016 I joined a group called Scribophile.  I finally found a place for honest and constructive feedback.  When my friends and family read through they tiptoed around me and pointed out spelling and grammar.  Doing a proofread of a rough draft is as useless as styling your hair before going to the stylist.  The rough draft changes so dramatically, I am not worried about SpAG.

Through Scrib I found consistent beta readers who read my book cover to cover and helped me shape it into what I wanted it to be from what I have.  I really love the quote by Shannon Hale “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”

What kept you going through the process?

Friends and family.  I could not have accomplished this without the love and support of my husband.  Different friends came and went at different stages.  From the simple “Tell me how your book is going,” prods to the encouraging, “It sounds amazing.  I can’t wait to read it,” at the beginning.  The middle was filled with writer and authors providing honest feedback.  In the end I had two friends kicking me in the butt if I slowed down and holding me accountable.  If they were willing to work so hard toward getting me published, I had to keep going.

What made you decide to publish independently?

Research.  Three times as many books are available than a decade ago.  Publishing houses demand solicitations by agent only.  Finding a dedicated agent can be difficult and a long process.  Even agents now a days want an author with an established platform.  You have to have close to 1000 followers to get a glance.

I weighed my options for the better part of one year before selecting the method best for me and my creative expression.  The Kindle Scout campaign allows me to build a platform before release.  If I’m selected, I get a 5 year publishing contract while retaining my print rights.  If not, I have a platform ready to go when I launch my book.  Either way, I win.

What was the biggest challenge of publishing independently?

Money.  A publisher supplies editing, formatting, cover design and a certain amount of marketing.  Indie publishers foot that bill or do it themselves, which is laborious when you factor in time not spent writing your next great work or missing time with your family.

What were the benefits of publishing independently?

The royalties are higher, your content stays intact, you decide when and where to promote your book.

What has surprised you most about the process?

The community of Indie Authors reminds me of the movie Bottleshock.  The philosophy that if one of us wins, we all win.  I expected writers would be snotty, anti-social, conceits (as portrayed in numerous movies).  Instead, I found a tight community that supports each other and celebrates small victories.

What would you change if you could?

I would have written the book faster.  I would take that time machine back and say, “You will finish this book, and some people do love it.”

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

3% of people who set out to write a book completed it.  Of that small percent, only 20% publish the book.  I’m not trying to scare you.  I want you to see how special finishing a book is.  How important publishing a book is.  You have to conquer your fear.  I recommend reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic.

She sees the future, but doesn’t have a past.

A psychic with amnesia? Two women murdered, both with identical tattoos. A third tattooed woman survives an attempted drowning. Valena is the only link to stop the serial killer pursuing her, but she is afraid of her dark truth and surrenders to amnesia.

Haunted by visions, she meets the Wyrd Sisters and enters a life of psychics, tarot readings, prophecies, and possible death.

When those from her past find her, how can she accept police help and hide from the killer if she refuses to remember?

Author Bio:

Jocelynn Babcock hates talking about herself in third person, but loves reading and writing third person narratives. A typical writer, she’ll tell you she created books with her grandma’s yarn as a child and grew up to marry an engineer (as all writers do). She lives in the Channeled Scablands where the fine line between sanity and not is an outlet for idle hands. You can follow her work on WordPress, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Website: http://jocelynnbabcock.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/JocelynnBabcock

http://www.pinterest.com/jocelynwb/

https://twitter.com/dirtiestangel

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31954129-jocelynn-babcock

http://jocelynnbabcock.tumblr.com

VIDEO explaining how to vote with Kindle Scout:  https://www.facebook.com/jocelyn.whitfieldbabcock/videos/1207242589325342/

Thank you Jocelyn for stopping by. I wish you great success with your debut novel, Mantic and look forward to the next book in the series. Blessed be, Tinthia