Friday, December 30, 2011

Interview with Guest Blogger: Debra Holland

It is my pleasure to have Indie Author Debra Holland back on my blog this month. I am currently reading the first book in her God's Dream Trilogy and LOVING it. I'm sure readers will too! I asked Debra about her current series, what she's working on now and, since she writes screenplays too, a little bit about her screenwriting.

Lisa: What inspired you to write Sower of Dreams?

Debra: I wrote a short story for Andre Norton’s Witchworld Anthology. When I queried her, she wrote that she no longer did the anthology. So I changed the world to one of my own, expanded the story to a book and entered it in the Golden Heart, where it finaled. Then I made it a long book, with two more in the trilogy. All the time I was writing the Sower of Dreams, I continued to correspond with Andre, and she ended up reading the book and giving me suggestions. Then she gave me an endorsement--one of the last ones before she died.

Lisa: I know you write screenplays as well. Can you tell us a little bit about that project too and how you got into it?

Debra: When you take plotting classes, most teachers use screenplays as examples because more people have seen the same movie than read the same book. The structure for screenplays and novels are the same.

I started writing screenplays when an actor friend introduced me to his director and asked that I help with the movie, which was a Western. I went to a meeting with the director (who wrote the original) and the man who was the writer at the time. I’d marked up my version because even though I didn’t know much about screenplays, I did know about motivation and visuals and other important details. In the meeting the other writer would argue with me. For example, we spent 45 minutes on the concept that if a man is going to change from being a good man to being a bad man, that has to be motivated. He can’t just wake up the next day and be bad. Luckily, the director kept siding with me and the other writer quit in frustration.


I adapted my first book, Wild Montana Sky, into a screenplay. It’s won some awards, but I haven’t done anything with it.

Lisa: How does writing novels and screenplays differ?
Debra: The biggest difference is no interior thoughts in screenplays. You have to show the emotion or have it expressed in dialogue. It’s hard for screenwriters to switch to writing books because they tend to gloss over this.

In some ways, screenplays are easier because they are shorter. But you have to make everything count.

Lisa: Is there anything in particular that you find challenging about writing? How do you overcome it?

Debra: Actually doing it. I avoid writing as much as possible. J About three months ago, a friend (who also wasn’t writing) started coming over, and we sit at opposite ends of the table and work on our own stories.

Lisa: Plotter, pantser, puzzler or linear writer? (For the record I am a puzzler. I write completely out of order.)

Debra: More of a plotter than a panster. I have some books well plotted out and others the outline is vague.

Lisa: Do you have a routine when you write? Must have coffee in hand? Must sit in the same chair at the coffee shop? Must eat donut before you get started?

Debra: No routine, although I write better after a nap. J

Lisa: Speaking of coffee...Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?

Debra: Lol. Green tea. So I’ll go to Starbucks for that. But mostly I make it at home.

(Note from Lisa: No coffee? I wouldn't survive! If I could put a Dunkin Donuts in my front yard I'd be thrilled!)

Lisa: What is the most interesting thing you have done to research a book?

Debra: I think it’s what I’m about to do in researching my current book--Harvest of Dreams. My heroine competes with the saber. I’m going to have to go and learn a bit about the weapon.

(Note from Lisa: Very cool!)

Lisa: Tell us about your current series? What do you have coming up next?

Debra: I’m working on the third book of The Gods’ Dream Trilogy, which is fantasy romance. I hope to have it out in three months.

I’m finishing up the last edits for Stormy Montana Sky--my sweet historical Western romance series. I should have it out next week.

The first book in my space opera trilogy is ready to publish. I’m waiting for the cover for Lywin’s Quest, then it will be available. Hopefully next week.

(Note from Lisa: Space opera trilogy? I can't wait!)
Excerpt from Sower of Dreams:

 






Dream threads wrapped around Daria, tugging her away from Seagem to an unfamiliar place.

She stood on a hilly desert, gritty beige sand under her bare feet. Overhead, a yellow sun blazed in an arching azure sky. The starkness of the color dried the air from her lungs, making her lightheaded.

Daria fought the dizziness. Where is this place? What am I doing here?

She’d curbed herself of dream walking without the presence of Yadarius, ever since Indaran’s death. Somehow her blocks must have slipped.

Trepidation, like cold fingers, clutched her stomach, chilling her in spite of the blistering heat.

She shaded her eyes with one hand, staring at the vast blueness. She wasn’t in Seagem anymore; she doubted a sky of such a hue existed anywhere on her world. Was this Yadarius’ doing? Had He sent her somewhere? For what purpose?

Turning in a small circle, she scanned her surroundings, searching for signs of the SeaGod’s presence.

Nothing. Not even a hint of brine in the parched air.

She took deep breaths, striving for calm. To break her paralysis, she forced herself to take a step. The hot sand slithered under her feet. At least being in a dream protected the soles of her feet from burning.

The act of moving freed her from the bonds of her childhood fears. I’m a woman grown. A warrior. This is an entirely different dream walk than my last meeting with Indaran. She tried to believe her words.

Trudging to the top of the hill, Daria looked around. Sand dunes ringed this barren, rocky outcropping, scarce of vegetation. A sense of purpose unfurled tendrils of knowingness. There must be a reason for her being here, and she needed to find out what.

Her ears caught a rhythmic sound, then the scrape of a shod hoof on a stone.

More curious than apprehensive, she waited.

A rider on an ebony stallion, leading a pack mare, appeared between two ridges, The man wore a loose, light-colored garment over trews, and a head-covering that looked like a cap with a long cloth shielding the back of his neck. She noted the bow hooked close to his hand on the saddle and the fletches of what must be a quiver of arrows on his back. No sword, though.

He turned his head. A strong face, unlike any she’d ever seen. Hawk-like features. Dark skin. Penetrating brown eyes.

His gaze shot to hers, like an arrow through her heart.

Daria felt the impact and stumbled back, her hand flying to cover her chest. Beneath her palm, her heartbeat stuttered, then quickened, like a horse kicked into a canter. Warmth spread under her fingers, racing throughout her body. Her knees weakened.

The man reined in his stallion, watching her, his eyes narrowed. Slowly, he extended his hand to her, palm up, a clear invitation to come to him.

She reached out her hand.

A chain of connection forged across the distance between them.

Then she saw darkness stain the horizon behind him. A clear warning of danger swept through her othersense. She lowered her hand and backed away.

Then the dream threads unraveled. Daria slept on, dreamless.


Visit Debra Holland at http://www.DrDebraHolland.com

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

GUEST BLOGGER: Tracy Sumner

It is my pleasure today to have Tracy Sumner on my blog as our guest blogger!  While she's here visiting with all my readers, I'm over at her blog today.  She was kind enough to interview me, so once you're done here, make sure you head on over to Tracy's blog to read my interview.  Both Tracy and I are giving away books today!  One lucky commenter will get a copy of TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL and one commenter will get a copy of TIDES OF PASSION.  AND all commenters will be put into a 2012 drawing  to win a Kindle!  Here is a little about Tracy Sumner...

BIO:
Tracy’s story telling career began when she picked up a copy of LaVyrle Spencer’s Vows on a college beach trip. A journalism degree and a thousand romance novels later, she decided to try her hand at writing a southern version of the perfect love story. With a great deal of luck and more than a bit of perseverance, she sold her first novel to Kensington Publishing.

When not writing sensual stories featuring complex characters and lush settings, Tracy can be found reading romance, snowboarding, watching college football and figuring out how she can get to 100 countries before she kicks (which is a more difficult endeavor than it used to be with her four-year-old son in tow). She lives in Charlotte, NC, but after spending a few years in “the city”, considers herself a New Yorker at heart.

Tracy has been awarded the National Reader’s Choice, the Write Touch and the Beacon – with finalist nominations in the HOLT Medallion, Heart of Romance, Rising Stars and Reader’s Choice. Her books have been translated into German, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish. She loves hearing from readers about why she tends to pit her hero and heroine against each other and that great novel she simply must order in five seconds on her Kindle.

Ciao!

________________________________

Hello everyone! I’m thrilled to be a guest author posting with Lisa Mondello!

I’m here today to discuss setting. Our characters not only require a stage to perform on, setting is a wonderful way to guide the theme of the story and enhance emotional drama. I didn’t really think I had a strong command of setting when I first began writing romance. I wasn’t even sure I liked added the layers that make up setting. Then, reviewers and readers kept making comments about “lush description” and “compelling setting detail”, and being immersed in the locale. I was “writing what I knew”, the North Carolina (Outer Banks) coast. Though in 1898, which did not know! J

I began to see that I used my settings to up the emotional stakes in key scenes with my characters. To intensify the drama. Take, for example, a excerpt from the newly released TIDES OF PASSION. The setting is the Outer Bank (NC) in 1898, and I found the setting (sand, sun, sea) very easy to romanticize.

EXCERPT

Later that night, Savannah tiptoed from the makeshift campsite, following the path leading through the break in the dunes. Tilting her head, she counted until she lost count of the twinkling lights sheltered in the black velvet sky. An owl hooted nearby, a gull somewhere beyond that. A respected marine biologist, Noah had identified every sound for them after supper while Elle looked on with her own stars in her eyes.

Savannah had left them sitting so close their heads touched, their hands linked as if they couldn't bear to let the other go. Pushing aside the pang of envy she hoped was a natural reaction to witnessing such devoted adoration, she trudged across the warm sand, the occasional chip of quartz—another bit of information from Noah—glittering in the moonlight.

They were due to sail back to Pilot Isle in another hour, when the tide rolled in or out, whichever made it easier, or safer, to get home. Home. A misstep to use that word. She had not had a true home since those ragtag Brooklyn days. Or certainly not since her mother's death, anyway. Her father had not had the heart to provide a home for the daughter he always wished had been born a son.

She wiggled her toes, relishing the freedom of bare feet, and, too, the freedom of being Savannah Connor and nothing more for the summer. She wasn't sure when she would put on another pair of pinching boots or form another picket line and spend the night in a filthy jail cell for her dedication.

Maybe never.

Peering through the shadowy moonlight, she found him sitting beneath a copse of sea oats, his back against the dune, hands stacked behind his head, bare feet propped upon a massive piece of driftwood. The wind tugged his shirt wide and pitched his crow black hair into his eyes. He looked vulnerable, sitting there in the darkness, alone and silent.

Sitting nearby, but not close enough to tempt either one of them, she pulled her skirt to midcalf and wormed her feet into the silken sand. Humid air whipped in from the east in gusts, and with an exhalation of surrender, she released her hair from the loose knot on her head.

"Lost, Irish?" His deep voice cut through the sound of the pounding surf.

So he did see her. Settling back against the dune, she gathered her thoughts. "Your family thinks we hate each other."

"Good. That'll keep them from asking questions."

"Do you, I mean, is this...." She shrugged, sending grains of sand down the back of her dress.

She had to ask.

"Wanting to wring your pretty little neck every other minute isn't enough to keep me from wanting to touch you, if that's where you're headed." He sighed, kicking at the driftwood. "Nothing seems to be enough."

"I'm sorry."

"For what?" Scooting close, he captured a strand of her hair between his thumb and finger. "For making me angry or making me yearn?"

Averting her gaze from the breadth of skin exposed by his unbuttoned shirt, she released a pent-up breath. "For my histrionics earlier this evening."

He seized her chin in his palm and directed her eyes to his face. "Say it again."

"I'm sorry," she whispered, stomach doing the familiar dance that must be what he called yearning.

He shook his head. "No. The big word."

She frowned, puzzled. Big word? Oh. "Histrionics."

His attention centered on her mouth, recording every movement of her lips. "I love watching you talk, Irish. When we're in bed the first time, I want you to whisper one of those big words you love every time I slide inside you." He wrapped the strand of hair around his finger in a lazy rotation. "I don't care what they mean."

Her face colored; she felt it flame. Her lips opened, closed, her brain powerless to string together a sentence, big words or small.

"You're afraid."

She shook her head. It didn't feel like fear.

It felt like excitement.

"There's no need. We'll take it at your pace. You tell me when, where, and how much. Or how little."

"We'll be friends when it's over?"

A stray beam of moonlight spilled across his face in time for her to see his pause, his thoughtful deliberation. It made her feel good to know he tried to answer honestly. "I think so, yes."

Her eyes again dropped to his chest, the sprinkling of dark hair glistening. With perspiration or perhaps salt water.

Releasing her chin, he slipped his shirt from his shoulders and shook it from his arms. Lifting her hand from its mired position in the sand, he placed it palm-flat on his chest. "Go ahead. I think you want to. Hell, my good sense dissolved like mist the moment you stepped off the ferry. You might as well lose yours."

His head dropped back, his lids sliding low as she began to explore; the sand coating her fingers an oddly pleasurable abrasion.

To read excerpts of both novels in the Seaswept Seduction Series: TIDES OF PASSION and the just-released, TIDES OF LOVE, please visit my website at www.tracysumner.com or visit me at Facebook.com/TracySumnerRomanceAuthor or @SumnerTracy.

Everyone who signs up for my newsletter or comments will be put into a 2012 drawing for a Kindle!

Also, my Christmas novella TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL is on the Amazon Top 100 List! Come along for a story of holiday seduction that Romantic Times calls, “a searing passion…a sexy tale filled with great verbal repartee!”

Happy reading!




Thursday, December 22, 2011

Guest Blogger: Laurel O'Donnell

Laurel O'Donnell - Author
What a treat!  Today I have Laurel O'Donnell at Conversations to talk about research she did for her book The Angel and the Prince.  If you've been to my blog before then you know I love to learn about history.  I include the "On this day in history" link on the sidebar below mostly so I can learn a little something every day.  Okay, I'm a little weird that way.  But you never know where ideas are going to come from.  So I'm pleased today to have Laurel tell us about her research for her medieval romance. 

****Giveaway***  Laurel is giving one lucky commenter a copy of her book Lost Souls: Resurrection.  So don't be shy.  Leave a comment for a chance to win!

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Hi everyone! Thanks for having me, Lisa. I wanted to tell you a little about some of the research I did for my medieval romance, The Angel and the Prince. It takes place during the one Hundred Years War between England and France. All of the battles during the war were fought on French soil. One of these battles was the Battle of Agincourt. This battle is one of the turning points in The Angel and the Prince as well as the war.

The battle of Agincourt was fought in a narrow strip of open land between the woods of Tramecourt and Agincourt. The English were hopelessly outnumbered, with some estimates being the French army having 50,000 men and the English army 10,000. The English were tired from marching and illness. The night before the battle, King Henry V ordered all his men to silence in order to stay focused.

The French were confident of victory, not merely because of the size of their army, but also because of the number of nobles who considered themselves better then the English archers. The chronicler Edmond de Dyntner states there were “ten French nobles against one English.”

On the morning of the battle, King Henry gave a speech, rousing the spirits of the weary Englishmen. He told them the French had boasted they would cut off three fingers from the right hand of every archer, so he could never draw a longbow again.

The field of battle, that narrow strip of open land, was muddy from recent heavy rains. This favored the English whose armor was lighter. The French monk of St. Denis describes the French troops “marching through the middle of the mud where they sank up to their knees. So they were already overcome with fatigue even before they advanced against the enemy". Once knocked to the ground, the fully armored French knights would have a hard time getting back to their feet to fight. Some knights, so overly encumbered by their armor, actually drowned in their helmets.

In The Angel and the Prince, Ryen de Bouriez, the heroine and French knight, voices her concerns of the coming battle to her brother, Andre:

As banners were furled around lances and knights began to remove their rain-drenched armor, Andre returned to Ryen’s side, nudging his horse up beside hers. “You’re shivering. You should get out of those wet clothes,” he murmured.

Ryen barely heard him. She felt her horse slide and looked down. Thick mud sucked at the animal’s feet, engulfing his hooves. She scanned the field to see that all around them the ground was wet, and as the men and horses trod through the camp they created even more mud. On either side of them, rows of trees stood tall and majestic, encroaching upon the field as if they were anxious to see the upcoming battle. “This field is not suitable to battle the English. We should retreat to more solid ground,” Ryen said.
Romance novel cover for the medieval romance The Angel and the Prince
Andre was silent for a moment as his gaze swept the field.

“The ground is slick and with the weight of our armor, let alone our horses, I’m afraid that we will have trouble,” she added.

He looked across the field to the English camp. “Henry’s men have traveled a long way. They are tired and far from home. They will be easy to defeat.”

“The field is too narrow, the men packed in too tightly. We will have trouble using the archers. I can’t see what the constable is thinking, waging battle here,” Ryen mused.

“I disagree with you. With all our men, how can we possibly lose?”

Ryen glanced at him, her brow creased.

“Do not worry, Ryen. The coming morn will bring our victory.”

That arrogance will be the downfall of the French, Ryen thought.


###

She looked away from the messengers to study the French positions. The constable had placed the army between Tramecourt on their left and Agincourt on their right, thus firmly blocking the English army’s route to Calais. But the field before them was restricted to about three quarters of a mile by the woods that fringed the two villages.

She frowned as she noticed that most of the French nobility seemed to have pushed themselves to the front of the line in their eagerness to participate in the expected massacre of Henry and his army. The dukes, counts, and barons had displaced many of the lowborn archers and crossbow men who were so crucial to the successful execution of the battle plan; how could they be effective if they were too far back from the line of attack? She shook her head.

“Did you hear that the constable has promised to cut off three fingers of the right hand of every archer taken prisoner so that none of them will ever draw a bow against us again?”

Ryen turned to see Andre stepping out of the tent. She pretended she hadn’t heard his query. The idea turned her stomach. “I have an ill feeling about this battle, Andre,” Ryen said, staring into the distance toward the enemy.

Ryen was right. On October 25th, 1415, the English defeated the French in one of the most famous battles in the one Hundred Years War, the battle of Agincourt.

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You can check out Laurel O'Donnell's books by visiting her at her website: http://www.laurel-odonnell.com/  or her blog http://herstorycalls.com/author/laurelodonnell/.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guest Blogger: A Day in the Life of Christy Hayes

**Giveaway**

Yes, today we're having another giveaway!  I do love giveaways and today this one is coming from my Guest Blogger, Indie Author Christy Hayes!

It is my pleasure to feature Christy Hayes on my website today.  As an Indie Author, she has an interesting life and we're going to hear about it today.  Truthfully, people think that writers sit around all day having their maids bring them martinis and chocolate while they dream up tales of adventure and romance and immediately become New York Times Best Selling authors.  We get our nails done.  The maid does the laundry and grocery shopping for us, and the nanny carts the kids around all day.  Well, one can dream.  But we all need a clean toilet and food on the table when the family gets home and most of us don't have a maid or a nanny to help us get through the day.

In truth, writers are like everyone else.  We just get to hang out with our imaginary friends all day when everyone else is at work.  And we don't have to wear panty hose. (One of the many perks of the full time writer.  But I'm going to let Christy tell you about her day herself. 

Before I do, let me tell you that Christy Hayes is giving one lucky commenter a choice of one of her books.  So don't be shy.  Make sure you leave a comment.  If you'd like to learn more about Christy's books, click on the carousel below.

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A Day In The Life

I’m up at 6:00 am every day, seven days a week because I get so much done before everyone else gets up. As the mother of two tweens and two dogs, just getting a head start on email can help me have time to write later. And I’m bad—I baby my kids, so nothing gets done until they are up and on the bus at 7:30.

I catch up on more email before the dogs start bugging me and force me to take them for their morning walk around 9:00. They drag me around the block and I’m back in the chair by 9:30.

I eat (I’m a total cereal addict) and finally look over the writing I did the day before in order to get back into the story. If all goes well, I can get a good hour or two in before my ADD kicks in and I have to exercise.

Thank goodness for technology. I love my iPad and use it while I work out to read blogs, stay abreast of publishing industry news, and read.

After showering, I typically run a few errands, usually to the grocery store, otherwise known as my home away from home. And I don’t even like to cook!

I head back and try to get another hour or so of work done before the kids get home at 4:00.

The moment the kids get home, my real job kicks in. I help with homework, do laundry, chauffeur kids to practice or a friend’s house or run an errand for a school supply they needed yesterday. I could have picked up said supply on my earlier errands if only I’d known they needed it.

Back home to make dinner around 6:00. My husband will eat and enjoy anything (love him!) but my kids tend to wrinkle their noses at whatever is placed before their discriminating palates. Go figure!

After cleaning up the kitchen, the dogs need another walk around the block. I try to get anyone from the family to come with me and suddenly everyone has a million things they have to do.

As soon as the sun goes down, I’m in my pajamas. I make sure the kids have all their homework done, try to get them to read instead of watch TV, and eventually make them go to bed. I check email one last time and try to spend a little time with the hubby IF he hasn’t already fallen asleep watching Storm Chasers!

I’ll end the day with a good book on my iPad, knowing my eyesight is paying for all the hours I spend looking at a computer screen. I’m usually asleep by 11:00 because I’ve got to do it all again the next day!

As you can see, I lead a very exciting, adventure-filled life! All kidding aside, I’m truly blessed to be able to work at home with the love and support of my family. Even if they do drive me crazy!



Saturday, December 17, 2011

You did what? - Promotion for the Indie Author

You did what? is something I've been hearing a lot lately.  Other authors have asked me why I decided to give away over 200,000 copies worldwide of my book ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU for free.  I did it for two reasons and those two reasons I did not take lightly.  I thought about them and how this decision would impact me as an author.

First, I love the book.  Pure and simple.  It's family, it's forgiveness, it's learning to trust and it's Christmas all rolled up into one.  It's the Christmas season, and like many readers, I always stock up on Christmas themed books to read. I'm also a Hallmark Channel junky.  In November I set my DVR to record all my favorite Hallmark Channel Christmas stories so I can enjoy them throughout the Christmas season. 

I know I'm not the only one like this.  So choosing between the 4 books I self published last September was not a hard one.  If I'm going to give away a book, it may as well be one that readers like me will be drawn to.

The second reason I decided to give ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU away in most outlets had to do with marketing.  Publishers pour a lot of money into marketing.  I don't have that kind of cash on hand.   But publishers also give books away to readers and reviewers as a way to entice readers to join book club membership and to get them hooked on a series.  They give away books to create a buzz.  Sure, they can create a buzz by placing ads in places where readers will see them.  But there is no better way to let a reader know who you are and what you have to offer than to let them "sample" your work.  In these days of electronic publishing, it's harder to get your book noticed among a sea of other electronic books.  And without a ton of money to pour into advertisement, it's important to draw on what you have and work it.  Giving away an electronic book is virtually painless and it's free!

So that's what I did.  I looked at what resources I had at my disposal, my books, and decided to use that to my advantage.  Right now ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU is sitting on over 200,000 ereaders, cell phones, iPhones, laptops, etc. around the world.  Most of the people who downloaded my book probably won't read it. I think that's fair to say.  I buy books all the time and never read them for various reason.  But some of the people who download the book for free will read it.  If they like what they read, they may buy some of my other books.  If not, they'll cross me off their list of authors to buy without having paid a cent for my book.  Judging from the reviews I've received by email and at online bookstores, readers are pleased with what they've read and I couldn't be more thrilled!  

Let's go back to those readers who have my book on their ereader and don't read it...today.  Every time they turn on their ereader and browse through the books in their library, they'll see my book.  They'll see my name.  It's an impression.  How do I know this?  I'm a reader.  Remember all those books I buy and don't read?  I remember a lot of those authors names and books, even though I haven't read them, because I see the name and book title on my NOOK every time I turn it on.  If they don't read the book today, maybe they'll read it next month or next year.  I haven't lost my chance at winning these readers over until they delete the book from their elibrary.

You may be thinking that readers will expect a free book all the time.  There are certainly some readers who comb websites for free books.  But judging by the surge in sales on my other books, sales I'm sure I would not have had had I not chosen this marketing method to promote my books, I doubt it.  In fact, on the few online bookstores that still list my book for 99 cents, sales for ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU have done wonderfully.  Again, I'm not sure this surge in sales would have happened organically or not.  But I'm happy with the way things turned out.

I haven't reinvented the wheel.  Other authors have offered their books for free for a period of time in order to boost sales.  Publishers do this all the time.  Maybe they haven't done it for as long as I have.  But that was my decision.  And it's working for me.  I'm happy that I have a simple and inexpensive way to promote myself and my work while giving readers a gift from me.  Will I do this for the other books I currently have out?  No.  ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU is my gift to readers this year.  Next year?  Who knows. 

Lisa Mondello

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Guest Blogger: Interview with Terri Reed

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to Terri Reed who will be giving us some insight on her writing career and her upcoming books.  But before we get to my interview with Terri Reed, I want to remind everyone that we are still celebrating the Romancing Christmas Giveaway Hop!  I am giving away a copy of all three ebooks in my Fate with a Helping Hand series to one lucky person who comments on my blog between December 10 and December 16.  So don't be shy.  Sit back with your peppermint mocha cappuccino and enjoy the interview with Love Inspired author Terri Reed.  But make sure you post a comment for a chance to win!
Interview:




Lisa: When did you know you wanted to be a writer? 
Terri: I can’t pinpoint the exact moment. I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember.  I loved all my writing assignments in school and can remember telling people as young as sixth grader that one day I’d be a writer.   What was the catalyst in making you take that first step?  There are a few things that prompted me to pursue my dream.  First, my college creative writing professor told me I should be writing for Harlequin.  This was back in the mid 80’s, but at the time I was just getting my modeling career going so I didn’t do anything about it except dream.  Then in the early 90’s my mother-in-law gave me a small word processor and said start writing.  I started my first romance.  Then I found Romance Writers of America and started to learn and grow and eventually sell to Love Inspired.

Lisa: What type of books do you write? 
Terri: Mostly I write inspirational romantic suspense and occasionally inspirational romance.  I started with inspirational romances but my stories all tended to have some action/adventure/mystery/element of danger which my editors seemed to like.   

Lisa: When you write, do you draw from real life or are your books ideas come completely out of nowhere? 
Terri: A combination of both.  I read lots of news articles from all over the country and the world looking for unique ideas and situations.  Sometimes the characters come to me first then I build the plot around them.  Usually I start with the plot and then develop the characters. 

Lisa: Do you have an author who has really inspired you? Why? 
Terri: Dee Henderson. (NOTE FROM LISA...I LOVE Dee Henderson books!)  She was the first Christian author I read who weaved suspense, faith and romance together seamlessly.

Lisa:  How long did it take for you to publish?

Terri: 10 years.   

Lisa: What road did you take? Small press first? Indie first? Traditional to Indie? 


Terri: Traditional.  My first ever published story was a novella for Barbour publishing.  Then I sold my first full-length novel to Love Inspired.

Lisa: How do you research? Do you draw just from what you know or do you do intensive research? 

Terri: The Internet is a wonderful tool for research.   I also have several books that I use.  I have an extensive collection of research books on various different aspects of law enforcement, criminal justice, protection professions and forensics.  I look for research workshops at various writers conferences and pick up the phone or email specialist in a field I’m writing about. 

Lisa: Please tell us about your latest book and what inspired you to write it?  


Terri: I’m working on a mini series titled Protection Specialists featuring a team of bodyguards.   The first book in the series came out in July, THE INNOCENT WITNESS.  In this story, ex-Secret Service agent Anthony Carlucci is sent to escort a senator’s widow and son to safety after the child witnesses his father’s murder.  But the killers are determined to silence the innocent witness.  Anthony will protect the mother and child with his life but is he willing to give his heart?

The second book in the series is a January release, THE SECRET HEIRESS. This book is set in rural Mississippi on an old plantation. Caroline Tully was adopted as a child and always longed to know where she came from.  She’s shocked to learn she’s an heiress to a fortune.  But there is one condition; she must visit her dying biological grandfather in order to inherit.  Only someone doesn’t want to share with the newcomer and will stop at nothing to ensure she doesn’t live long enough to inherit.  Caroline hires bodyguard Don Cavanaugh for protection.  She soon realizes not only is her life in danger, but also her heart.

Lisa: What is coming up in the future for you? 

Terri:  The Deputy’s Duty, book 6 of the Fitzgerald Bay continuity will be out in June 2012.   A family secret, a missing baby and Meghan Henry, a headstrong reporter, challenge Deputy Chief Ryan Fitzgerald’s faith and his heart.

The Doctor’s Defender, the third Protection Specialist book will be out in Fall 2012.  Someone wants Dr. Brenda Storm dead.  Its up to bodyguard Kyle Martin to keep the doctor safe, but will he lose his heart in the process?

A fourth, as yet untitled and unwritten, Protection Specialist book will be out in early 2013.  
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Thanks so much for being here today, Terri!
Terri's books are available wherever Harlequin Love Inspired books are sold.  You can also buy them online at Amazon.com by clicking on the link on the carousel below.

 
Remember, leave a comment for a chance to win!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We're Having a Romance Hop!

Between December 10 and December 16 we are having The Romancing Christmas Giveaway Hop. To celebrate, I am giving one lucky commenter for this week a chance to win not one ebook, but all three ebooks in my FATE WITH A HELPING HAND series.  The series includes ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU, THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT and THE KNIGHT AND MAGGIE'S BABY.  All you have to do is post a comment on any of the posts made between now and December 16.  (This post counts!)  I will tally all the comments and randomly pick 1 lucky poster to receive the entire series.  That's it.

But that's not all.  I'm not the only blog participating in this giveaway.  Reading Romance has 50 different blogs participating.  All blogs are giving away prizes.  So make sure you stop by for a chance to win and discover great new authors!

Full list of Reading Romance Christmas Hop blogs: https://readingromances.wordpress.com/romancingchristmas/

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dr. Debra Holland talks about...COPING WITH GRIEF DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Today my guest blogger is Dr. Debra Holland, an author of wonderful stories such as Wild Montana Sky and Starry Montana Sky, and a psychologist who deals with grief and trauma.  This time of the year many of us are looking forward to the holidays.  But not everyone does.  I'm really pleased that today Debra is going to talk about how to cope with grief during the holidays.  I hope that some of the readers who may be reticent about the coming holidays will find her post and her book, The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving helpful.

BIO: Dr. Holland is a popular psychotherapist, consultant, and speaker on the topics of communication difficulties, relationships, stress, and dealing with difficult people.  She is the author of 5 books: the non-fiction book The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving, and 4 fiction novels that include Wild Montana Sky, Starry Montana Sky, Sower of Dreams and Reaper of Dreams.

COPING WITH GRIEF DURING THE HOLIDAYS



Tis the season to be jolly, to deck the halls, to experience great joy with family and friends. Yet for some people, this holiday season may be a time of sadness, of grieving because of the loss of a loved one due to death or a broken relationship, the loss of a job, the lack of money to travel to be with family, the loss of a home, or the many other reasons people can feel pain during the holidays. Sometimes the grief is new and raw, other times, it’s old and familiar, although no less painful.

The contrast between the outward trappings of the holidays and your inner feelings of grief can be so great that people may not know how to get through the holidays. Many of their friends and family may not know how to support them.

People often avoid others who are grieving because they don’t know what to say or do to help. If you want to support someone who’s grieving, ask how best to comfort him. Does he want company? To talk about his loss to someone who will just listen?


Sometime the worst part of the holidays is the dread leading up to them. The actual day might not be as bad as you feared, and might, instead, be a good day—or at least parts of it are. A loss can make you focus on and feel grateful for who and what you do have. Therefore, it’s important to take some time during a holiday to appreciate the people who care about you.

Follow your intuition about how to celebrate the holidays. Don’t let someone else (no matter how well meaning) tell you what to do. Whether you celebrate or not, go away or stay home, simplify or go all out, should be up to you (although you need to take into consideration the needs of other family members.)


Have a family meeting to discuss traditions, finances, duties, and feelings. Given the limitations of time, energy, and money, figure out what will bring the most peace and satisfaction to all involved. Divvy up what each person will do.

Some family members might want to be part of a crowd because they don’t want to feel alone. Others will want some quiet time on the holiday. Neither choice is right or wrong. The personal preference needs to be respected. So if someone wants to go to her room or take a solitary walk in the midst of the chaos, then respect that. Or just invite friends and family over for a short time.

If you’re grieving, let people know ahead of time how you think you’ll be feeling and how they can best support you. For example, if you’re not up to cooking a big dinner, but would still like to get together, have everyone bring a dish. If you can only tolerate others for an hour instead of the whole day like normal, be clear about the time boundaries. Talk about how you’d like people to support you if you’re emotional. For example, do they give you a hug, pretend not to notice the tears running down your cheeks, or talk to you about shared memories?

Find ways to help others. No matter how much pain you’re in, giving to others can lift your spirits for a while, or at least give you a feeling of purpose. Sometimes seeing the plight of others put your troubles in perspective.

Even if you’re scraping the bottom of the financial barrel, you can still be of service. You help an elderly person put up (and take down) his or her holiday decorations, serve food at a soup kitchen, babysit a neighbor’s children so she can go Christmas shopping, clean out your closet and take your unneeded clothes and shoes to a shelter or other charitable organization. Shovel the snow from the walkway of an elderly or disabled person so he or she can get out. Visit a convalescent home or a veteran’s hospital to visit those who are often forgotten during the holiday.

Avoid excess alcohol. Eat fairly healthy. (It’s almost impossible to eat completely healthy. Besides you’d miss out on some of the fun.) Exercise, even if it’s going for a walk. Get as much sleep as possible. Take a good multi-vitamin/mineral supplement and extra vitamin C and D to keep your immune system strong. Take an Omega three supplement, such as Krill or Salmon oil to keep your brain healthy. Although this is good advice for everyone during the holidays, it’s especially important for those who grieve.

What other ways do you know of to take care of yourself during the holidays?

Good Reads Review

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