Inspiration

Look Away, Away

Look Away, Away
Kimberly Brock 2016
The River Witch

Kimberly Brock 2016Look Away, Away

by Kimberly Brock

 

I think writers of any ilk can benefit from a healthy appreciation of setting, but regional – particularly southern writers – are haunted by our connection to, love of, loss of, and clawing crawling, desperate journey back to – the land. Oh, I wish I was in Dixie…away, away. Every song is a lullaby of going home. We close our eyes and dream of the old house in the valley. We contemplate a city skyline, thinking only of the ancient ridges that surrounded freshly turned lowlands where we walked a row as a child. That old scene where Scarlet O’Hara’s father warns her that land is the only thing that matters? We took that old man seriously and so, when we write our stories, do our characters. Their whole world, how our characters view their circumstances, why they struggle, why they rejoice – it’s all reflected in the setting. Pick up any piece of southern fiction and you will understand what Lee Smith meant when she said of regional literature, “There is an intimate identification with landscape. Setting is so important that it often defines the lives and possibilities of its characters…Place is the central defining factor of southern writing. There’s just simply more there, there.”

 

In writing THE RIVER WITCH, I knew Roslyn’s story would end upThe River Witch - 200x300x72 on the island – I knew she would go into a kind of exile. I imagined Roslyn’s need for isolation, and her need for great beauty, which led me to the Georgia Coast. I wanted it to be a place that would keep her off balance so she’d have to struggle to understand it and meet its demands. I needed a place that Roslyn believed was a complete departure. My character’s story is also the story of this environment and if you look at one, you will inevitably discover something about the other.

 

I’d written a good part of the first draft before Roslyn’s past and her childhood memories of Glenmary, Tennessee, began to surface. There, I found a people rooted for centuries in hard ground. Ancient mountains that would not be moved. Do you see these places? Then you see the people who inhabit them. I came to understand these were the characteristics at the core of Roslyn, this place defined all the ways she was at odds with herself, and as with everything else in the novel, these seemingly contradictory environments and cultures of Appalachia and Coastal Georgia would serve as mirrors for one another – just as the characters tend to hold up mirrors to one another. Some of this was written intentionally, but a great deal of it evolved with the story.

 

I’d always been fascinated by the idea that the Sea Islands shift and change, the idea of the alligators roaring season, the romance of the great live oaks, and then there was the element of superstition that lent itself to Roslyn’s haunting. The island was like going back to the mire from which we all emerge. I chose the island setting so she could fight her way back from her loss, physically and psychologically. That’s what Roslyn’s character ultimately faced – what each of us, ANY character ANY place, faces – a transformation that leads to resolution. She had to learn to shift and change to survive, just like the land beneath her feet. Her connection to place informs the reader of Roslyn’s internal journey through metaphor, but it also grounds the reader firmly in a compelling reality, one that every reader will envision for themselves. We are called to whatever away, away means home. To me, the true power of setting is that it gets to the heart of our human search for belonging.

 

Barbara Kingsolver said it best when she spoke of setting. “I have places from which I tell my stories. So do you, I expect. We sign the song of our home because we are animals…Among the greatest of all gifts is to know our place.”

MAKE SURE YOU GRAB THE RIVER WITCH TODAY FOR JUST $1.99! ONLY FOR A LIMITED TIME!

From a Teenage Girl to a Teenage Boy

From a Teenage Girl to a Teenage Boy
Marilee Brothers
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Marilee BrothersFrom a Teenage Girl to a Teenage Boy

by Marilee Brothers

I spent five years of my writing life inside the head of Allie Emerson, the teenage girl featured in the Unbidden Magic series. It was surprisingly easy for me to channel Allie, even though it’s been—well—let’s just say I haven’t been a teenager for a good long time. Apparently teenage angst lives on forever. After I finished Midnight Moon, the last book in the series, I decided to write a YA book with a male protagonist. Enter Gabriel Delgado, hunky eighteen-year-old senior at Maple Grove high school.

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The creative part of my brain got a major wake-up call. I was no longer a seventeen-year-old girl. I had to begin channeling a teenage boy. OMG, guess what boys think about? You know the answer, of course. Sex. One statistic says every fifteen seconds. Another says, they never stop thinking about it. From its title, Baby Gone Bye, you can probably figure out that Gabe acted on his thoughts. Therefore, he should not have been surprised when the doorbell rings and he finds a little “surprise” waiting for him on the front porch. So, what’s a household comprised of four males supposed to do with a little baby girl? Guess you’ll have to read the book to find out. Baby Gone Bye is now on sale for $.99 here: https://amzn.com/B00H4DZ844

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Excerpt from Chapter One  – it’s Friday night and Gabe has a date. He believes, incorrectly, that his evening will go on as planned. At this point, the family thinks the child is a boy.

 

The hall clock bonged seven times. Startled, Gabe leaped from the couch and placed the kid in his car seat. “Man, is it seven already? I’ve got a date. Can we put this on hold until tomorrow?” Without waiting for an answer, Gabe headed for the stairs.

     “Gabriel.” The steel in Papi’s voice stopped Gabe in his track. “Look at me.”

     Slowly, Gabe turned to face his father. He heard Simon whisper, “Dumb shit.” Henry giggled nervously.

     “Gabriel,” Papi repeated. “Do you remember when Rosie was a puppy?”

     Gabe shifted his weight from one foot to the other, wondering if he was about to step into something stinky. “Yeah,” he said carefully.

     Papi’s dark eyes snapped with intensity. “And how did you take care of her?”

     Gabe rolled his eyes heavenward, trying to remember Papi’s three cardinal rules for puppy care. “After she eats, put her outside to poop. Play with her. Put her back in her crate.”

     Papi clapped. “Excellent.”

     Gabe grinned. This was going well. He’d soon be on his way.

     “Now, Gabriel, tell me this, how do you take care of a baby?”

     Uh, oh. Gabe felt beads of perspiration pop out on his forehead. “Well, um, I guess you’re saying it’s the same concept. Right?”

     Papi strolled up nice and close and gave Gabe his shark’s grin. “So, after you feed him, you will take him outside to poop, play with him, and then put him back in his car seat?”

     Right then, Gabe knew he was screwed. He glanced at his brothers. No help there. He’d already stepped in it. Might as well go all the way. He looked his father square in the eyes. “Naturally, I won’t take him outside to poop, but I’ll feed him and play with him.”

    “And you will start this … when?”

     “First thing tomorrow morning.”

     Papi said, “And tonight?”

     Gabe squirmed. “Remember what you said earlier? We’re Delgados. We stick together when there’s a problem.”

     “Ah, now I understand.” Papi stroked his chin. “You assumed one of your brothers or your father would take care of your child while you went on a date. Is that correct?”

     Gabe flushed. “I would appreciate it.”

     “Gabriel,” Papi said again. He pointed at the baby. “That is not a puppy. It is a tiny human being who needs round the clock care. Care that will be given to him by you, his father. Do you understand?”

     Before Gabe could formulate an answer, he heard the amazingly loud rumble of baby flatulence. All eyes turned to the child, whose face was bright red as he clenched his fists and strained.

     Simon snickered. Looks like you forgot to take him outside to poop.”

     Papi handed Gabe a container of baby wipes and a diaper. “Better get used to it. He’ll be doing that a lot.”

     That’s when the Delgado family found out he was a she.

Inspiration

Inspiration
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Raiders of the Lost Bark (1)
Bees Snakes and Mountain Lions!
Raiders of the Lost Bark
Raiders of the Lost Bark

SparkleAbbey-AuthorPhoto-2Inspiration

by Sparkle Abbey

Inspiration is everywhere. As writers, we are always looking for ways to be stirred to greatness. Inspiration drives action…or in some cases, words on the blank page.

When we’re on deadline, we don’t get to wait for inspiration to hit, Raiders of the Lost Bark - Inspire blogwe have to sit down and do the work. But that doesn’t mean we stop looking for ways to add joy or meaning to our lives and our stories.

We’re moved by great books and entertaining movies. An oceanside photo and a road trip with our closest girl friends. A great conversation and other people’s success stories. The way we live our lives often provides our greatest inspiration: a positive attitude and a large dose of laughter.

The setting for our latest release, Raiders of the Lost Bark, was inspired by an Orange County camping trip that Anita and her Bees Snakes and Mountain Lions!family took a number of years ago. For three hot summer days, at the beginning of what was to become a five year drought for California, Anita’s family pitched their well-used six-person tent at the desolate Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park campground. Bees, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions. What were they thinking? After two restless nights of sleeping on the hard, dusty ground, and watching over their shoulders for mountain lions, they broke camp and headed east—to the even hotter Las Vegas desert, a cold hotel room and running water.

Years later, we tossed around the idea of a story set outside of Raiders of the Lost Bark - glamping (2)Laguna Beach. What if our pampered characters were stuck between the sandstone canyons and parched wilderness campsites? How would they cope? What luxuries would they take with them? Would they still be able to catch a killer under the stars?

As you can see, sometimes inspiration is so close we just have to take a moment and stop; be mindful in that instant by listening to the silence, and taking a few deep cleansing breaths. We’re not all inspired by the same things or in the same ways. So what inspires you?

We hope ya’ll enjoy our latest Pampered Pets Mystery adventure, Raiders of the Lost Bark, out March 25th!Raiders of the Lost Bark (1)

Melinda Langston, amateur sleuth and Bow Wow Boutique owner, finds herself “Glamping Under the Stars” with a blackmailer, Orange County’s hottest new gourmet pet chef, Addison Rae. But before Mel can put an end to Addison’s strong-arming, the chef is found dead. Mel is just one of many suspects who had motive to snuff out the demanding chef.

Was it Redmond, the angry sous chef who detested working for Addison? What about rival chef, Pepper Maddox? The glamping chef gig was hers until Addison blackmailed her way into the job. And then there’s Asher, a charming fellow camper whose past relationship with Addison isn’t the only secret he’s guarding. Mel’s not one to tuck tail and run, even when it looks like she may be the next victim.

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of two mystery authors (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series. The pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets–Sparkle (Mary Lee’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). They reside in central Iowa, but if they could write anywhere, you would find them on the beach with their laptops and, depending on the time of day, with either an iced tea or a margarita. If you’re missing any of their  backlist this is a great time to grab them. Details here. And if you want to make sure you’re up on all the Sparkle Abbey news, stop by their website and sign up for updates at sparkleabbey.com.

Story Behind the Story

Story Behind the Story
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Web of Shadows

susanofficialnew-199x300Story Behind the Story

by Susan Sleeman

I love computers and electronics—like stand in line for the next iPhone love them. And since they are becoming more and more a part of our lives I wanted to use my knowledge to share stories of how cyber crimes can impact our everyday lives. That’s how the Agents Under Fire series was born. This series features three female FBI agents who work on an elite FBI Cyber Action Team, so of course, the stories in the series need to revolve around cyber crimes.

As I was thinking of plot ideas for Web of Shadows, book two in the series, I was preparing for an upcoming trip where I would be flying. As a writer my mind works in odd ways so as I was thinking about the trip, I asked myself what would happen if someone hacked into the TSA’s No Fly List and was able to add and delete people who could fly freely in our country.

After I got over the fact that I was indeed flying soon and I hoped this really didn’t actually happen J, I came up with the idea of a teen hacking into the list and making it vulnerable to unscrupulous people. I loved the idea, but then decided that the stakes weren’t quite high enough for my characters.

So I decided to have the computer that was used for the hack placed into a geo cache where anyone could find it and thus have access to the No Fly List. High enough stakes, you say? No, I wanted to make the crime personal to Nina Brandt, the FBI agent featured in this book so I decided the hacker would be the younger brother of Quinn Stone, the man she was in love with but estranged from.

Enough you say? No I wanted Nina to struggle even more, so I made the man who finds the computer be a former criminal who she arrested and is now free and has a giant grudge against her. Naturally, he wants to frame her for the hack, which he tries to do using everyday technology like cell phones and laptop computers.

From early reviews, I can see that readers think Web of Shadows is a thrill ride that provides a satisfying romance, and at the same time, the readers see the dangers in technology and also see how hard it is to protect our national security in the cyber world. I hope that you’ll check out the book and find the same thing true after reading it.

Web of Shadows has officially been released! Pick it up today!

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INSPIRATION AND LEMONADE

INSPIRATION AND LEMONADE
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Beside a Dreamswept Sea
Upon a Mystic Tide
Beyond the Misty Shore

31LEQcm1WqL._SX150_INSPIRATION AND LEMONADE:

The story behind Beyond the Misty Shore

by Vicki Hinze

Into every life, lemon juice does pour.  If you’re lucky, you learn to love lemonade. I’m lucky. And it’s a good thing because…

I was having a pitcher-full and a truth about life and lemonade settled in:  Loving lemonade is a choice.  I mean, we can’t avoid lemon juice any more than we can avoid challenges. We can fight it, but we are going to lose. Lemon juice will be poured; it’s inevitable. But that doesn’t mean it has to be bitter. We can make a different choice. Sprinkle in a little sugar or Splenda, so to speak, a little water, and we’ve got lemonade, which tastes quite good and, on a hot day, it’s amazingly refreshing.

So I got juiced. I was at this crossroad in my life, debating which way to go, and this lemonade truth kept stealing my attention. I refilled my glass with half-a-pitcher to go, and another thought came to mind.  We have a choice. When life throws us lemons, we can choose to make lemonade, or not. Another thought chased that one:

What if we couldn’t?

What if we didn’t have a choice. Or the choice wasn’t ours to make. We’d be stuck. Literally swimming in lemon juice without lemonade or a solution or resolution in sight!

I didn’t care for the feeling, and it shot holes in my theory that I had at least a little control in my life. Don’t you hate it when that happens?  When your illusions are shattered and as leaky as a sieve?

I more than didn’t like it, I hated it…but I was intrigued. So I thought about it.  Okay, so you have not a pitcher full of lemon juice but a barrel full. You’re already banged up.  (Can anyone get to adulthood in life without getting banged up?  Unlikely.  Rare, even.) So you’re chugging lemon juice from the barrel, eager to drain it and get the nastiness behind you.  You’ve deciphered your problems and have progressed to looking for solutions, and you’re feeling good about that because, while the bad stuff isn’t behind you yet, you’ve made progress.  You’re on your way to getting rid of it.

Only you’re not. You’ve wracked your brain and there just are no solutions. Not even one. Worse, not only have you been robbed of a solution, your choice in what to do has been stolen, too.  Now what?  What do you do?

That was the situation I found myself in that led me to write the Seascape novels, and Beyond the Misty Shore specifically.

Being stuck doesn’t exactly inspire you to be in the most receptive frame of mind. Sunshine is arrogant when you’re grieving, right? But isn’t it true that the worst possible time is always when important things happen? When life-changing things happen?

That’s been true in my life, and so I made it true in TJ MacGregor’s life, too.  He is the hero stuck at Seascape Inn in Beyond the Misty Shore.  Add more lemon juice in the form of Maggie Wright, a woman who loves to hate him, and Miss Hattie, the wise Seascape innkeeper (who seems to know everything about everything but won’t just tell anyone anything because “some things are best learned firsthand”), a colorful cast of local characters, Maine cliffs, and a little otherworldly intervention, and, well, T.J. has his work cut out for him, doesn’t he?

He did, and so did I. But don’t feel too bad for him.  We’ve all tasted the tart of the juice and, you know, sometimes when we’re broken, we have to really hurt to ever get beyond the pain. We have to figure out that we can heal before we do heal.

Eventually, we get it. And when we do, magic happens. We no longer just survive. We truly live.

Like you and me, he’ll figure it out… eventually. So will Maggie.  And what fun to watch without personally sucking lemons!

I’m getting a little misty here. I think I’ll pack a bag and go visit Seascape Inn again . . . just as soon as I finish this glass of lemonade.  Care to join me?

 

Vicki Hinze’s Seascape Trilogy is on sale through March 1st! Pick up these paranormal romances today!

 

Beyond the Misty Shore - 200x300x72Beyond the Misty Shore – Free!

Whimsy. Serenity. And a Touch of Magic. The Seascape Inn.

Marketing executive Maggie Wright and artist T.J. MacGregor are linked by a mysterious car accident that killed Maggie’s cousin, Carolyn, T.J.’s fiancée. When Maggie arrives on the Maine coast determined to get answers from T.J., she discovers a tortured man who is bound to the Seascape Inn by supernatural forces.

Despite the tragedy that stands between them, Maggie and T.J. begin to fall in love, seeking answers and a healing spirit they may never achieve.

 

UUpon a Mystic Tide - 200 x 300 x 72pon a Mystic Tide – Only $1.99! 

With their painful divorce looming on the horizon, radio psychologist Bess Cameron and her soon-to-be-ex-husband, John Mystic, meet at Maine’s Seascape Inn to finalize the terms of a property settlement. Bess believes John is in love with someone else, and she’s determined to move on without him. Their marriage appears doomed until the Inn’s matchmaking ghost, Tony, and its irrepressible owner, Miss Hattie, take matters in hand.

 Sometimes you have to leap upon a mystic tide and have faith the sand will shift and an island will appear . . . The second book of bestselling author Vicki Hinze’s Seascape Trilogy brings readers back to the gentle magic of a place where love is always stronger than the fragile boundaries of life.

 

Beside a Dreamswept Sea - 200x300x72Beside a Dreamswept Sea – Just $5.99!

Welcome to the third book of The Seascape Trilogy, three mystical romance-mystery novels by bestselling author Vicki Hinze.

New love isn’t on the agenda for widower Bryce Richards, who comes to the peaceful Seascape Inn with his three children, hoping the ethereal setting will help them recover from the death of their mother. Likewise, fellow inn guest Callie isn’t looking for romance either; she’s recovering from an emotionally abusive marriage.

It will take all the matchmaking skills of innkeeper Hattie Stillman and her ghostly assistant to bring Bryce and Cally together.

 

 

About the Author:

31LEQcm1WqL._SX150_Raised in New Orleans, Vicki Hinze began writing before Kindergarten but her journey to writing books included a lot of corporate pitstops. Eventually, she settled in and her first novel landed an array of awards and on the bestseller list. With nearly 40 books published, she’s been back many times with awards in multiple genres and appearances on multiple bestseller lists, including USA TODAY. Vicki is recognized by Who’s Who in the World as an author and an educator and is best known for chilling suspense, trailblazing, and creating series that genre-blend. Her works include suspense, mystery and romance. Since 1994, this former VP of International Thriller Writers has written heavily about military and military families and in nearly all genres except horror. Hinze is a Floridian married to a former Hurricane Hunter/Special Operations Officer. She constantly pushes the boundaries on existing genres, opening the door for new novel blends.

Grist for the Mill

Grist for the Mill
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Laurie_0555 (3)Grist for the Mill

by Laurie Carroll (also writing as Laurie C. Kuna)

A standard question people often ask authors is: “Where do you get your ideas?” My usual reply: “From anything and everything,” But when I started Fate’s Fortune, at least one key scene literally came to me in a dream.

. . . A swordfight on a ship’s deck between a dashing sea captain and the pirate he had come to capture. A beautiful female pirate. . .The duel’s outcome would determine the pirate’s fate. . .

She won. . .

I woke up, grabbed the pen and notepad on the bed stand, and wrote the entire scene, probably seven or eight hundred words. Obviously, that single scene comprised a tiny part of a final manuscript of well over 100,000 words, but it was the start. And as much as the final product differed from the first draft, that scene never substantially changed.

However, the path that brought hero and heroine together did change, in part because when I sold the story to ImaJinn Books the company published only paranormal romance. Fate’s Fortune already had a ghost who, much the same as Hamlet’s father did him, spurred the heroine to revenge over the man who’d ruined their lives. For the hero, I added both a revenge element (although misguided and subsequently redirected) and a paranormal element. His comes in the form of a magically connected dagger and amulet―one his, the other hers―that enhances the attraction between them.

But back to that initial scene…Who doesn’t love a good pirate story? And why not make that pirate a highly skilled, highly motivated woman? I know I had the late Maureen O’Hara in mind when I started developing the character of my heroine, Meghan Windgate. In At Sword’s Point, the first movie I saw O’Hara in, she played the daughter of one of the Three Musketeers. She also had her father’s skill with a sword. In that movie, and in so many other swashbucklers, Ms O’Hara kicked butt, took names, and never apologized for doing so. And the men who played the heroes to her heroines loved her for it.

So, why not give my heroine that same kind of prowess? Why not give her the admirable qualities quite often reserved for our heroes? No need for the damsel in distress to sit around waiting for Prince Charming to rescue her. Our heroines rescue themselves, and only men who are comfortable in their own skins need apply for the honor of being with them.

Authors get their inspiration and ideas from innumerable sources, and I never discount any one of them. In the case of Fate’s Fortune, I guess I could say I dreamed this one up.

Read this dream today! FATE’S FORTUNE is only $1.99 through the 31st! 

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Night After Night

Night After Night
Night Falls Like Silk

Eagle Author PhotoNight After Night

by Kathleen Eagle

Where do characters come from? From life, of course. From people. Even if the character is an animal, if it has thoughts, it’s a personification. Every writer’s characters come from people the writer has somehow experienced. Fiction is about the human experience—yes, even sci fi, even fantasy—fiction is about us. Writers find stories and characters in the world around them.

 

One of my most memorable characters is just a boy in THE NIGHT REMEMBERS, which was published in 1997. His father is black, his mother Lakota Sioux, and Tommy T—the nickname his father gave him—lives on the streets of Minneapolis. He’s resourceful, independent, witty, irrepressible, already a brilliant artist at the age of 12, when he “adopts” Angela, a woman who is out of her element and on the run. His older brother is a sad case, so Tommy T tries to look out for him, too. But Tommy T needs a hero, and he finds one in Jesse Brown Wolf, the enigmatic troubleshooter Tommy T calls Dark Dog.

 

Tommy T is one of my favorite characters, and he was inspired by a student from my early teaching days. Oliver was a terrific artist, a wonderful basketball player, a very smart young man. Years later—soon after we moved to the Minneapolis area—we ran into Oliver at an art show. It was so good to see someone from Standing Rock, the Lakota reservation where most of the Eagles live, where my husband and I met, where I taught high school for 17 years and where our 3 children were born. But here we were, out of our element, and here was Oliver, who was also glad to see people from back home, and who said, “I’m really doing good now, Mrs. Eagle.”

 

It wasn’t long after that meeting that Oliver died tragically. Heartbreakingly. Senselessly. Years later I wrote a story—not about him, but for him. And readers began to let me know that it wasn’t finished. Tommy T was one of their favorites, too, and he ought to be more than a secondary character. Tommy T had to grow up.  I knew who Tommy T was as a man, and I wrote NIGHT FALLS LIKE SILK.

 

Tommy T is now Thomas Warrior, a reclusive graphic novelist. He’s crazy successful and drop-dead handsome, but he’s also troubled by his past. He visits Angela, his adoptive mother, but only when Jesse isn’t home. He blames Jesse for his drug-addicted brother’s troubles. And now the characters in Thomas’s stories have begun to haunt him. They want him to go back to his roots, reclaim his heritage. Maybe that’s why he finds himself bidding on a set of century-old ledger drawings and feeling more than simply challenged by Cassandra Westbrook, the beautiful but outrageously privileged woman who outbids him. I believe NIGHT FALLS LIKE SILK is worthy of the irrepressible Tommy T as well as the irresistible Thomas Warrior.

 

Thank you, Oliver.

 

NIGHT FALLS LIKE SILK is only $1.99 through the 31st. Pick it up today: 

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From Jeanne Stein

From Jeanne Stein
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Blood Drive

pic 1From Jeanne Stein

 

I want to thank Belle Books for featuring Blood Drive in this month’s promotion. I thought one way to promote it was to show you a few of my favorite moments in writing the Anna Strong novels.

 

The first picture is my writing space. I love seeing where other authors work their magic. I hope you enjoy this peek into where I spend much of my time.

 

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Next, Blood Drive has been translated into three languages. Here’s the Norwegian cover.

 

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The Anna Strong stories are set in Mission Beach, California. If you are familiar with the area, you will recognize many of the locations I use in the books.

 

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While I’ve been on several National Best Seller lists, The only Anna Strong title that has yet to make the NYT list was the story, Blood Debt, in the anthology HEXED.

 

4Hexed

 

It was a thrill to see my name on that NYT list, even if only for a week!

 

Hexed  by Ilona Andrews, Yasmine Galenorn, Allyson James, Jeanne C. Stein

Format: Paperback Released: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Berkley List price: $7.99
ISBN-10: 0425241769 ISBN-13: 9780425241769

 

New York Times
Mass-market Fiction
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June 26, 2011  32

 

 

 

So there it is…a glimpse into the life of a writer. It’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had, but without a doubt, also one of the best. Please feel free to contact me at Jeanne@jeannestein.com. I love hearing from readers.

 

Pick up BLOOD DRIVE for just $1.99 through the 15th!

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What Began as a Whim…

What Began as a Whim…
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Dream Singer

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What Began as as Whim…

by J.A. Ferguson

Dream Singer, the first of the Dream Chronicles, began as a whim. I’d been writing historical romances for years, and I wanted to write something different. For the fun of it, taking the advice of C.S. Lewis to write the book I wanted to read. I took the characters of Durgan Ketassian and Nerienne and dropped them into the setting and let the story unfold.

The only requirement was that anything was possible.

I wanted the book to have music and color in it. I’ve always admired musicians who create wondrous melodies out of nothing as well as visual artists like my sister and my daughter. They see things in unique ways. I gave music to Durgan, making him a dreamsinger, someone who can see into dreams through music. Nerienne got the gift of being able to discern people’s true feelings by seeing the colors surrounding them.

Right from the beginning, the idea that they were enemies who would have to fight a common foe drove the story. Okay, it’s a beloved romance trope – the bad boy and the good girl. But in this case, the girl is well-familiar with evil because her mother, the leader of their world, is not the nice and cuddly soccer mom type.

I wrote the first chapters, but something was missing. The heroine needed a reflection character, someone she could talk to so the reader (me!) saw the emotions she kept hidden from the hero. I tossed away the ideas of a servant or sibling as mundane. That led me to a pet…a talking pet only she could hear. But better yet, a truly annoying talking pet. Bidge was born.

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I’ve been asked a lot about the origin of Bidge’s name. At first, I saw her as the character who not only listened to Nerienne, but nudged her to do the right thing. Her fuzzy-faced conscience in a shell. Nudge became Budge which evolved into Bidge. But Bidge evolved as well, and her name was even more accurate because instead of nudging, she nags. Think of a synonym for nag and say Bidge’s name aloud, and you should be able to pick up on the accuracy of her name!

With my characters in place, I wrote the book I wanted to read. Once it was finished, I went back to work on my contracted books. I never thought I’d do anything with it…until a good friend mentioned a friend of hers was starting a publishing company and looking for odd paranormal books. I sent off an email to Linda Kichline, the founder of ImaJinn Books, asking if she wanted to see my manuscript which definitely fit the definition of odd paranormal. Since then, the first book has grown into five, and my original three characters, especially Bidge, have played a part in each one to the delight of readers.

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NOT FOR EVERYONE!

NOT FOR EVERYONE!
Susan Kearney headshot
Solar Heat
Lunar Heat

Susan Kearney headshotNOT FOR EVERYONE!

by Susan Kearney

What’s an author to do when she loves to write stories that some readers won’t even try?  It’s a dilemma because writers need to pay their bills like everyone else, so we want to be popular with readers. At the same time, my taste has always been a bit outside the norm.  Okay, if I’m honest, my taste is far from the norm.  And when I wrote my first futuristic romance, the Rystani series, the books were way, way out there.  Readers either loved or hated them.  But I learned that many readers simply heard the word futuristic and thought–it’s not for me.  The reasons were varied and  interesting for not even giving the books a try.  Some thought it would be too techie, too weird, too hard to understand or simply didn’t think they could relate.  So I set out to write a book that would ease non-readers of futuristic romance into the genre.  Lunar Heat was that story and  I set the book mostly on Earth.  I made sure to make one character an earth woman.  Okay, I gave her a man from another world to love and a mission that tests her morally, emotionally and physically.  And the romance had to be steamy.  So I finished the book and you’d think an author’s work would be done, right?  Wrong.

The next step was working on a cover.  Lucky for me I got to pick the cover models, was there for the shoot and had a lot of say in the cover art.  I wanted romance and a mood that would be inviting to romance readers.  The cover was so important because I wanted to depict romance, because that’s what the story is.  It’s romance that just happens to be set in the near future.  And if there’s a side trip to the moon, please don’t let that throw you.  It’s fun.  And I promise…the science is underwhelming.  So if you’ve never read a futuristic, I urge you to give this book a try.  Perhaps you’ll fall in love with a new genre and even want to read the sequel Solar Heat.  Um, got to admit, I when a bit further out into the galaxy on that one.  🙂

     Pick up LUNAR HEAT for just $1.99 through December! 

Lunar Heat

And make sure you pick up the sequel – SOLAR HEAT

Solar Heat