Reaching The End

Thank you for stopping by. While I operated Romance Writers on the Journey for over three wonderful years, I’m no longer adding new content.

Sometimes reaching the end of something we’ve poured our hearts into can be difficult. Such was the case for me last year when I decided to stop posting interviews and articles here. The decision was so hard for me to make that I didn’t bring myself to post a final farewell at that time. I’m doing so now.

I launched this blog on May 26, 2008 and published the last post August 29, 2011. During that time, I was privileged to interview 206 talented not-yet-published and debut romance novelists and to join in the celebrations of 29. I had a great time getting to know my guests and formed many wonderful friendships with them and the blog’s visitors.

While I no longer blog here at Romance Writers on the Journey, I’m still blogging on my personal blog and would love to connect with you there.

I continue to write the stories I love: inspirational historical romance novels. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, will be released July 1, 2012. Here’s a look at the lovely cover my publisher designed:

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Meet Debut Novelist Sandra Orchard

Sandra Orchard writes inspirational romantic suspense set along the northern shores of Lake Erie in the heart of the Niagara region, Canada. In 2009, she won the Daphne DuMaurier Award of Excellence, which led to signing with her ACFW-nominated agent-of-the-year, Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency. The following year, Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense bought her debut novel and has since contracted two more books for her Undercover Cops series. Deep Cover is available now at eHarlequin and will hit bookstore shelves in September.

Sandra lives in rural Ontario with her husband of 24+ years, two college-aged children, and a husky pup with a fetish for rubber boots and remote controls. A former home educator, she received word of her first contract on her youngest daughter’s first day of college—a blessed launch to this new stage of her life. Sandra earned an Honours Arts & Science degree with a major in math, and taught high school math before starting her family. Since graduating from her home-teaching duties, she continues to keep the books for her husband’s business and writes full-time.

Sandra loves trying new things. She’s dabbled in a variety of arts and crafts over the years. She’s taken on just about every renovation project you can think of from building a run-in for her daughter’s horse, to re-siding their first house, to renovating bathrooms, to installing trim and flooring. Since a clean kitchen was only ever one meal away from being a mess again, she always preferred doing something more substantial. A back injury sidelined those hobbies, prompting her to single-mindedly pursue her writing. When not writing, she enjoys hanging out with family, especially her new grandbaby, brainstorming new stories with fellow writers, and hiking or kayaking in God’s beautiful creation.


Sandra’s Journey

When did you fall in love with romance novels and decide to write your own?

I discovered romance novels when my children were little and I’d just lost my mom. Seeing characters cope with many of the emotions I was experiencing helped me immensely. I began to devour the books and after awhile my husband suggested I write my own. The idea had already been growing in my mind and his nudge was all the encouragement I needed.

What sparked the idea for Deep Cover? A breaking news story? An overheard conversation between police officers at a coffee shop? A scene you witnessed on a ride along?

It’s so long ago, and the story has evolved so much that I can’t pinpoint something specific that sparked the idea for Deep Cover. However, breaking news of the officers shot in a donut shop and of another officer shot while working in his garage, vindicated my hero’s greatest fear, and I mentioned the news stories in my proposal.

Your stories earned you placements in several contests for unpublished writers. What role did these successes play in getting you where you are today? And did you laugh, cry, or sigh when you received the good news from the contest coordinators?

When I finaled in the Genesis in 2008, I was so excited I emailed all my online writing buddies to squeal. That commendation definitely earned me a few requests at that year’s ACFW conference. However, none of the contests I actually placed in garnered a request by the judging editors.

Then there’s the Daphne. The Inspy coordinator called me from the awards ceremony to tell me I’d won. I screamed and thanked her, but the connection wasn’t good and there was lots going on at her end, so she said she’d call back in a bit. Well, after jumping all over the house celebrating with my family, I dashed to my computer to tell all my writing buddies. I couldn’t have been more floored when Sandra Robbins emailed me to say, I didn’t just win my category. I won the whole shebang!

More squealing and dancing followed that news. And when the coordinator called me back I think I caused her to go deaf.

In my intro, I mentioned that winning the Daphne got me an agent. It also paved the way to interest Love Inspired editor, Tina James, in reading the full of the winning entry, even though her predecessor had already rejected a proposal for it. Although, as written, it didn’t suit their suspense line, Tina explained exactly why. I made the necessary changes to another manuscript I had ready to submit, and voilà, it sold.

Sandra’s Support System

Who are the charter members of the Sandra Orchard Fan Club?

My husband and three children. For years I swore them to secrecy, because from all that I’d read, I knew it took a long time to break into publishing, and that people who aren’t writers don’t understand that. They might think it’s an interesting hobby, or be impatient to know when your book is coming out. And okay, if I failed to ever sell anything, I suppose I didn’t want people to know.

You’ve been blessed with awesome mentors. How did you link up with them, and what have been some of the most valuable lessons they’ve taught you?

My very first mentor was actually Janice Dick. She critiqued one of my proposals at the first writing conference I ever attended. She liked the story so much that she offered to read the whole manuscript. Her enthusiasm for it was encouraging to me, and was one of the reasons I revised that particular story (the one that eventually won the Daphne) so many times. I connected with Margaret Daley in a similar way at a different conference a few years later (different manuscript).

Linking up with Susan May Warren is a whole other story. Two days before I was supposed to fly out to Texas for my first-ever ACFW conference, I woke up unable to move without excruciating pain. I ended up in the hospital (blown disk). It was too late to get a refund on my registration, but the board very kindly sent me the CDs of the workshops to listen to as I recovered. Susan taught one of those classes. Soon after I paid for some of her “book therapy” and learned so much and made a wonderful friend and discovered another author whose books I love to read!

You’re represented by a respected literary agent. How did your offer of representation come about. How did you react when you got The Agent Call?

Joyce judged my winning entry in the Daphne DuMaurier contest and afterward offered to represent me. I was thrilled by her enthusiasm for my work, but I was also hesitant. This wasn’t my first time around the block. Every agent is different. Some pass your work through untouched whether it’s ready or not. Others give your work a thorough vetting, offering numerous suggested changes before agreeing to send it to editors. Others are somewhere in between. I had to really soul-search to decide what kind of agent I wanted. I contacted several of the authors Joyce represents and they were candid about her strengths and weaknesses, as Joyce, herself had been with me. In the end, I gave Joyce an enthusiastic yes, and I’ve never regretted it.

Sandra’s First Sale

On September 7, 2010 you received The Call. OK, these days it might have been The Email. Whichever it was, you must have been thrilled. Tell us about the experience, what thoughts ran through your mind, and if you screamed so loudly the neighbors wondered if they should come to your rescue.

Getting the call wasn’t at all like what I‘d always imagined. My emails are preprogrammed to go to different folders. So when I saw that I had a new email in my Agent folder the day after Labor Day— the day my agent said the editor would give us her response to my manuscript—my heart sank. I figured that if I got the contract my agent would call. Wouldn’t you?

So … I read all my other email before I even opened the folder. My heart jumped into my throat when I saw the subject line: Good News!

I quickly read the email and then called my agent. She was super-excited for me and I felt like my insides were bubbling over as I started to absorb that this was real.

I got the news on my youngest daughter’s first day of college. I homeschooled all my children so what a way to celebrate my graduation! When my youngest daughter got home, she was, of course, bubbling over with news about her day. I kept smiling and spreading my arms in a gesture of―well, are you going to ask me about my day?

Finally, I said, “Guess what?” And her response was priceless. She screamed, “You sold your book!” and then jumped up and down and hugged me wildly. As an aspiring novelist herself (already published in non-fiction and short story, I might add as a proud homeschooling mom) she knew exactly how huge this was. And it was sweet to have her share my joy!

Sandra’s Debut Novel

Please tell us about Deep Cover.

Maintaining his cover cost undercover cop Rick Gray the woman he loved. Ginny Bryson never really knew Rick. He never gave her the chance. Not then, and not now, when he’s back with a new alias to gather evidence against Ginny’s uncle. The man’s crimes led to Rick’s partner’s death, and Rick wants justice to be served. But his investigation is stirring up trouble, and Ginny is smack dab in the middle. Someone wants Ginny to pay the price for what her uncle has done. But how can Rick protect her without blowing his cover, jeopardizing his assignment…and risking both their lives?

Sandra’s Journey Continues

You’ve sold a second book, Shades of Truth. What can you tell us about it?

It features the heroine’s friend from Deep Cover.

A compassionate youth worker fighting to preserve her dying father’s legacy battles the justice-driven detective who threatens her mission and her heart.     

What story are you working on now?

The third book in the series, which just sold on proposal! Dose of Deception is Zach’s story (he’s the mentor to Deep Cover’s hero). He’s posing as an IT consultant in a hospital on the hunt for a killer. The heroine is a nurse that the killer fears can identify him.

Let’s Learn a Little More About Sandra

Cookies, cake, pie, or. . .?

Cookies, home-baked chocolate chip, warm from the oven. Or frozen from the freezer with vanilla ice cream in between. Yum.

High heels, tennis shoes, flip flops, or. . .?

I’m Canadian, eh? So our terminology is a bit different. My editor is always changing this in my manuscripts. To me a tennis shoe or sneaker is the flat canvas laced shoes we used to wear in oh, the 70s. I wear “runners” or “running shoes” the kind runners wear, also advertised as cross trainers. Would you call that a tennis shoe?

Soft rock, country, jazz, or. . .?

Soft rock, but I’m starting to get into some of the new country. Some of them have great lyrics. There’s a new over-the-air TV station that shows Country music videos 24 hours a day, and sometimes when I’m in need of inspiration for my story, I’ll take a break and watch a few.

Mountains, beaches, deserts, or. . .?

I love rugged shorelines, being on the water (lakes or rivers) or hiking in the woods.

Cats, dogs, fish, or. . .?

Despite the…hmm…vices of the newest addition to our family, I am definitely partial to dogs. They teach us so much, such as: Don’t bite when a simple growl will do. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Eat with gusto. And my favorite, when you’re happy, jump around and wag your whole body.

Sandra’s Question for You

I’m always on the lookout for interesting eccentricities to give my characters, so I’m curious… What’s the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Sandra’s Drawing

Sandra has generously offered to give away a signed copy of her debut novel Deep Cover.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Sandra by midnight September 5th and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.

On September 6th, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well as in a comment and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.

Congratulations to Kav, winner of the drawing!

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Learn More About Sandra

Visit her website ~ www.SandraOrchard.com

Visit her personal blog ~ Conversations About Characters

Friend her on Facebook ~ Sandra Orchard (page)

Join her at Goodreads ~ Sandra Orchard

Posted in Sandra Orchard | Tagged | 28 Comments

Meet Debut Novelist Mary Moore

Mary Moore writes inspirational historical romances set in the Regency era of London, England. She has been an avid student of the Regency era since the 1970s and is a member of the ACFW’s historic fiction community. She’s been writing historical fiction for over fifteen years, and her debut novel, The Aristocrat’s Lady, releases September 6th from Love Inspired.

Mary had to put her writing on hold while undergoing a battle with breast cancer. Because of that, she’s now even more excited about her writing as she incorporates her struggles throughout her books. She’s dedicated to encouraging others in the Lord and using her talent to His glory.

A native of the Washington, DC area, Mary and her husband now live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with their only child: a black lab named Darcy. Mary and her husband are very active in their church. When she’s not writing or reading, Mary enjoy festivals and fairs, loves to go antiquing, and looks forward to weekend getaways.

Mary’s Writing Journey

When did your love of romance and history compel you to start writing your first story? Did you give in right away, or were you hesitant to put down those first words?

It’s funny really – I never was compelled to write. I read Regencies voraciously and I always thought about characters I would like to see and how much a story would be better with a different plot, but I never thought about writing my own. And when I began reading Regencies there were no “inspirational” stories; they were all secular.

Back in 1995 my husband started a job at a hospital on the 4:00 pm-12:00 am shift, so I was by myself in the evenings. One night I just pulled out a spiral notebook and decided to write a book with all of the ideas that I guess had been floating in my head for years. I wrote about five stories during that time in my life, all for my own pleasure.

What sparked the idea for The Aristocrat’s Lady? Did you begin with a name or place? Did scenes begin playing in your mind? Or perhaps your characters began chatting?

Actually the first book I wrote those evenings was The Aristocrat’s Lady. After reading Regencies for so many years, I will admit that some of the stories seemed done over and over. There is no malice whatsoever in that. The Regency period is arguably a nine to twenty year span of time.

So when I started writing, I just knew I wanted to try to come up with a storyline that I had never read before and that had spiritual influences as well. I thought about the premise for the story and The Aristocrat’s Lady is what came out!

What is it about the Regency period you find most fascinating?

Wow, that’s a hard question; at least without filling up pages and pages of answers! I love the elegance and language; the gentlemen and the ladies and their courtships; the beauty and the estates; the codes of honor; should I go on? I can even appreciate that so much during that time was also horrible: the poverty, the plight of the servants and the tenants of bad masters, the poor returning from the war, even the seedier side of the elite. All of that makes the time period so interesting to me that I read about it before I read anything else. And I want to incorporate all of it into my stories.

You’re a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers as well as a number of chapters in each. In what ways has your involvement in these organizations helped you grow as a writer?

In a word, tremendously! Each of those organizations has their loops of emails where everyone writes to each other. I started there. I just lurked at the beginning. But when I started to see valuable information that I would need to come back to someday (if I ever got published) I began making actual file folders by subject and printing out each one for its file. After awhile, it became a little overwhelming, and I realized I needed to break off into smaller groups that applied more specifically to what I write.

As you mentioned, I am in several of the chapters of RWA and ACFW, but there are three that have been so helpful in actually learning the business of writing and publishing.

The Beau Monde is a wonderful group of writers that solely write Regencies. The amount of knowledge they share with each other and the support they give to one another is incredible.

The second is HisWriters who are devoted to European history. They also have a plethora of knowledge on so many topics.

The third may be the most important at this particular time of my career and that is the Love Inspired Authors loop. They have been there for me through this entire process and are eager to impart their wisdom and knowledge and it is wonderful to be able to share even our deepest prayers because we are sisters in Christ.

I am indebted to them all, and recommend these associations very highly to anyone interested in writing.

Mary’s Challenges and Victories

Sometimes, despite our dream of being a published author, our determination, and our dedication, life intervenes. You faced a number of major hurdles that sidetracked your plans of pursuing publication. What happened, and how did you handle the challenges that came your way and keep your dream alive?

My particular hurdles have been of a physical nature. And can I say here that I don’t put my hurdles above what anyone else has had to face. I truly believe God doesn’t give us the ones we can’t handle, so mine were meant for my growth and my faith. I know others who have gone through much harder trials.

In particular there are two physical battles I faced. The first is Lupus and it is ongoing. I wasn’t well for a long period of time in the mid-late 90’s and we didn’t understand what it was. We went from doctor to doctor, got contradicting diagnoses, and felt kind of lost in the medical world. It took almost two years until we met a rheumatologist that diagnosed it as Lupus. I do not have it as bad as some others, so I’ve been blessed, but joint pain and fatigue are my constant companions.

In 2004 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That year of the mastectomy and chemo was one of the hardest in my life. I thank God for my husband who was there for me through every minute. It is funny, but we found my box of manuscripts in the attic (we had relocated since I had written them) and it was during the chemo when your body has absolutely no concept of a time schedule, when I pulled them out and started reading them again and even adding little bits of things I had been learning.

And that is when my sister-in-law, the only one of a very few that had ever read one of my manuscripts, went into overdrive to get me to try to get them published!

You learned and grew as a result of the challenges you faced—and you persevered. And one memorable day you received The Call. When did it come, and how did you react? Tears? Cheers? Or stunned silence?

My agent, Jenni Burke, was in constant email contact with me after she sent out the proposal, but one afternoon she called me on my cell. It was wonderful. She was so encouraging and so supportive. It is actually the first fictional manuscript she had ever represented, that’s how much she believed in me.

The offer from Love Inspired came in October 2010.  They had an opening for September 2011 if I could get the changes they wanted done by January 2011. Jenni asked me if I thought I could and I wasn’t going to let that opportunity go, so I pretty much said good-bye to Thanksgiving and Christmas and got it done!

Jenni was so sweet; the name of the book was originally The Scent of a Rose so imagine my surprise when the day after the contract was signed I received a dozen roses from her. I cried the rest of the day (in happiness, of course) and I thanked God for her and this opportunity.

Please tell us about The Aristocrat’s Lady

She was resigned to a life alone—until she met him…

For a few moments on a moonlit balcony, Nicole Beaumont was just a beautiful woman catching the eye of the handsome Lord Devlin—but she knew the illusion couldn’t last. If the enigmatic aristocrat knew her secret, he’d realize that her disability left her unfit for love. So who could blame her for hiding the truth a little longer?

Devlin had never met a woman like Nicole. Her unique combination of innocence and wisdom left him utterly intrigued. Yet what was she hiding? For a man who did not trust easily, discovering her secret was devastating. Overcoming their pasts and forging a future would take faith, forgiveness and trust. And second chances could lead to new beginnings.

Reactions and Reviews

What was it like to see your book the first time, hold it in your hands, feel the smooth cover, and inhale that new book ink on paper scent we writers love?

It was a little surreal! I mean, this is my first book! I didn’t know exactly when to expect my copies of the book, so when I saw the box on the front porch from Harlequin, I really felt excited. I really loved the cover of the book the first time I saw it on Amazon.com. It was just as I had described it to them. But on the cover of the actual book, it was amazing.  I wanted hundreds of copies to send to everyone I know so they could share my excitement.

I’m looking forward to that day when the book is actually released and my family and friends, hopefully, will feel the same excitement as they had been feeling with me throughout this whole process.

You’ve already received a number of glowing reviews, including 4-1/2 stars from RT Book Reviews. Which have meant the most to you, and why?

My husband and my sister-in-law would be the most important, because they believed in me and the story from the start. Then my agent, Jenni, and my editor, Rachel Burkot, because they actually made it happen.

I didn’t realize that the Love Inspired book club received their copies ahead of the release, so my first one by an unknown reader was a great blessing. The review in itself was a surprise, but she was so kind and told me specifically how certain parts of the books affected her. I knew by those comments that she really listened while she read, and that she understood some of the points I wanted readers to feel personally.

Finally, the review in the RT Book Reviews really had an impact. I wanted Regency lovers to like the book and feel like they got their Regency “fix.” I hoped some book club members would like the book and begin an excitement for a genre they might not have read much about. But when an industry review specially mentioned that you might like this book whether or not you liked Regencies normally, I got stoked. If readers value that reviewer’s opinion, they might sit through a Regency and an inspirational that they never would have before. And that allows the opportunity for the reader to be exposed and perhaps impacted by God as well as the genre.

Mary’s Journey Continues

Your first book will be in readers’ hands soon. What are you working on now?

Actually, I’m still busy with The Aristocrat’s Lady at this moment. I’m enjoying the opportunities to be interviewed by writers like you, and more interviews are scheduled throughout the upcoming month. I also have two book signings scheduled as well as visiting outlying bookstores and WalMarts to sign the books that they have in their stores.

In addition, my agent and I have proposed a new manuscript to Love Inspired. The interest has been heartening, however, it definitely needs tweaking and I’m earnestly working on that.

Five Things That Make Mary a Unique Character

1 ~ I want my work to glorify the Lord more than I want to become a famous author.

2 ~ I know the blessing of marrying my best friend.

3 ~ My Irish heritage – it is what makes family so important to me.

4 ~ I am such a night owl. Age is catching up with me, but I’m still hanging in there!

5 ~ I’m a cheap date!  Arby’s and a movie – I’m there.

Mary’s Questions for You

Even if I know what book I want on Amazon.com, I find myself still going to the reviews just to be sure. Perhaps that is fallout from less money to spend these days. I also find that I don’t always like something just because I loved the author before…most of the time I do, but I find I still check the review before I buy.

So, do you read the reviews first on Amazon.com when you go online to order a book? If you don’t use reviews, what is a common way you use to choose a book? Do you go by a friend’s recommendation? Do you stick with the authors you love? Can a book cover grab you in the grocery store?

Mary’s Drawing

Mary has generously offered to give away a copy of The Aristocrat’s Lady.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Mary by midnight August 29th and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.

On August 30th, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.

Congratulations to the winner of Mary’s debut novel, Judy Strunk Burgi.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Prizes will be mailed to US addresses only.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Learn More About Mary

Visit her website ~ www.marymooreauthor.com

Friend her on Facebook ~ Author Mary Moore

Follow her on Twitter ~ sugarbean1020

Posted in Mary Moore | Tagged | 26 Comments

Meet Debut Novelist Gabriella Hewitt

Gabriella Hewitt is the pen name of creative writing talents Sasha Tomaszycki and Patrizia M.J. Hayashi, who write romantic suspense and paranormal romance. Their first book, Dark Waters, started them on the journey of published author. After a hiatus they sold their Shadow Warrior series to Samhain Publishing and landed agent Saritza Hernandez of the L.Perkins Agency.

Patrizia lives on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan with her husband and three sons. Their Italian/American-Japanese household makes for some interesting cultural bumps. Patrizia’s addiction to mystery and romance novels ranks up there with chocolate, and she is ever grateful to Amazon for opening a Japan branch, which means she no longer has to wait for that once-yearly visit to the U.S. to stock up on books. The sale of Dark Waters represented her first step in her dream of being successfully published, and she looks forward to a long and successful writing partnership with Sasha, whose imagination takes Patrizia’s ideas for murder, mayhem, and alternate realities to new levels. Though she was born and raised in NY State, she’s spent most of her adult life overseas. She has a B.A. in Spanish from Grinnell College and an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley.

Sasha has been making up stories about vampires, werewolves, fairies, and other-worldly creatures since she could hold a pencil. Her imagination is as wild as her background: a crazy mix of Cuban, Puerto Rican, Trinidadian, Carib, Indian, English, and Chinese. (Unlike Patrizia, who speaks Japanese, Sasha can’t speak a lick of any of those languages—English included). A born and bred New Yorker, Sasha resides with her Polish-turned-U.S.-citizen husband and three children in North Carolina. She’s a repeat offender of maxing out her library card and can often be found with her nose in a book. A graduate of Baruch College, she holds a B.B.A. in Marketing and an MS in Elementary Education from Hofstra University.

Patrizia M.J. Hayashi

Sasha Tomaszycki

Gabriella’s Journey.

How did the two of you meet and begin collaborating?

 (Note: I’ve asked Sasha to put an S in front of her answers and Patrizia to use a P for hers when both answer. Yeah, I know. Real creative, huh? J)

We first met on eHarlequin.com’s Intrigue thread where we talked about writing, romantic suspense and life in general. Each of us pursued our writing careers individually. At one point we collaborated on a reader-generated online story for eHarlequin.com that turned into a popular series and developed quite an audience. We went on to win a Golden Noodle Award for our efforts. We still didn’t join forces at that point.

In February 2005, both of us were frustrated with the rejections and lack of progress in our writing. We brainstormed an idea to work on. Patrizia thought it an exercise in writing and craft, but she forgot Sasha thinks BIG! Sasha pitched that concept to a Harlequin editor she met at a workshop and received a request for a full. We only had three chapters written. LOL! We raced to complete the story and sent it in. The editor rejected it, but told us she like our writing style. So, we got to work on another story.

Your first book, Dark Waters, released several years ago. What is the story behind that story?

That second project we worked on was Dark Waters. We wanted to set it in Puerto Rico and bounced back and forth the idea of a New Yorker receiving an inheritance that wasn’t everything the heroine expected. We then came up with an ICE angle, still intending it to be a category romance for Harlequin. We sent it in to the same editor and again though she really liked our writing, she didn’t feel it quite fit the line.

We didn’t let the rejection get us down. We sent the manuscript to Samhain Publishing and they snapped it up. Lesson learned: Do not assume that if one editor does not contract your work that another won’t.

After years without another contract, you sold your novella, Out of the Shadows, which seems apropos since this story brought you back into the limelight. What transpired during your “shadowy” years, and how did things come together to bring this project to fruition?

S: We never stopped writing, but life got in the way. Both of us held full time jobs as teachers and have three children. It was tough making time to write, but eventually we found our rhythm again.

P: For a while, writing wasn’t a priority and it has to be. One day we woke up and realized that the publishing industry was going through major change as digital books became more mainstream and we wanted to be part of that process.

You came back in a big way, selling a series. Where did you get the idea for your Aztec Warriors series? Did the characters start chatting, did you visualize a certain scene, or did an entire story play out in one of your head’s movie style?

The roots for this concept started in our shadowy years. Samhain had put a call out for stories with dragons. We tried to use the ICE angle again, but threw in an Aztec dragon. The story didn’t make that cut but the idea of using Aztec mythology stuck with us. We actually made a few attempts before we hit the right story to get this series off the ground.

For both of us, plot tends to come first and we have to go back and really work on building characters. We’ll see scenes in the story and then think of how to connect them together.

Gabriella’s Process

I’m sure you’re asked this repeatedly, but how does your collaborative process work? What strengths do each of you bring to the writing partnership? How do you divvy the duties?

P: We’ve been getting this question a lot lately and I’ve also been seeing more and more writing teams out there. I think every team is different. Sasha and I don’t divvy up the work. One of us starts and the other will pick up from where the first one left off. We might go back and completely rewrite what the other did. We definitely go back and layer. We write over each other so much that it’s completely one voice in the end.

S: We’re constantly chatting and batting ideas back and forth. I’m always throwing new story ideas to Patrizia. I’ve got so many crazy characters running around my head. LOL! When we started we were more pansters, in that we simply ran with an idea but then we ran into dead ends. Now, we write out chapter outlines and that keeps us on track.

What challenges do you face co-authoring a novel. How do you overcome them?

If you’re writing with another person, ego has to be checked at the door. Neither of us owns the writing. We go in and do what has to be done to make the story the best it can be.

World building plays a big role in writing a paranormal. How did you go about developing the world for your series?

Once we hit on our shadow warriors concept we knew that we had to build the Aztec aspects of the story. We’ve done a lot of research into Aztec mythology and even language. It’s a fascinating civilization and it’s been a lot of fun figuring out how to fit the mythology into our stories. Since there is much still not known about the Aztecs, it gives us leeway to adapt the gods and goddesses to our storyline.

Gabriella’s Latest Release

Please tell us about Out of the Shadows.

When the last shadow warrior falls, so will all humanity.

With each demon he vanquishes in service to the Aztec sun god, Tomás fulfills his duty to defend humankind—and surrenders another piece of his humanity to his wolf spirit. All hope seems lost until a mission leads him to the door of the one thing he thought he’d never find…his spirit mate. The only woman who can save him from oblivion.

When Carolina hears the wolf’s howl, it pierces the very core of her lonely heart. Yet she dare not answer. As the last guardian of her land and the secret it contains, she is haunted by the mistake that cost the lives of her family. Never will she repeat that mistake, especially with a warrior who is more beast than man.

Chasing away the demon is easier than breaching the barriers around the heart of the young woman who possesses a strange power over water—and his very soul. But if they are to survive the night, he must convince her they are destined to stand together.

Five Fun Facts About Sasha

~ She loves chocolate so much that she named her hairless Yorkie, Coco. (And yes, she said hairless, he is a rare breed. There is only 1 in every 10,000 born.)

~ All her children are named after saints. (Wishful thinking on her part.)

~ She likes to refer to herself as a Caribbean Cocktail. Her heritage is a mixture of English, Trinidadian, African, Indian, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Greek.

~ She drives a minivan but don’t mistake her as a slow poke. She tends to have a lead foot and has pushed the speedometer up to 180 mls p/h! (And yes, she is notorious for getting speeding tickets. She finds it a great way to meet cute cops. LOL)

~ She doesn’t care much for weeds in her garden and can be OCD about pulling them, spraying them and outright going Banzai on them.

Five Fun Facts About Patrizia

~ Pasta, bread, chocolate and coffee are her weaknesses. She can be bribed!

~ She loves the water and has always lived close to it. Even in Tokyo, she lives near the bay.

~ She hasn’t owned a dishwasher or dryer in over ten years. This is sooo not a fun fact! LOL!

~ She doesn’t own a car and walks everywhere. It’s a great way to keep down her weight from all that pasta, bread and chocolate. ;-)

~ She adores cozy mysteries and is always on the lookout for a new series to get hooked on.

Gabriella’s Question for You

Recently, we did a post on our blog titled, Find Your Passion.

Writing is our passion, what’s yours?

Learn More About Gabriella

Visit her website ~ www.GabriellaHewitt.com

Posted in Gabriella Hewitt | Tagged | 3 Comments

Meet Debut Novelist Bonnie R. Paulson

Bonnie R. Paulson delves into discovering sweet contemporary romance stories in the green wonderland of the Inland Northwest. Her debut novel, Breathe Again, releases from Carina Press August 22, 2011.

With passion geared toward dirt bikes, her romantic husband, and her children, Bonnie finds it easy to transition between the stories she writes and the life of a busy mom. While certified as a radiologic technologist, she works as a medical transcriptionist and writes well past the point of aggravated carpal tunnel. Four kids keep her busy. She couldn’t be happier.

Bonnie includes something medical in each of her novels. She can’t seem to stay away from the medical field or dirt bikes. When she’s not writing, buzzing around the Rockies, reading, or playing with kids, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen. Most of the time, her original recipes end up in her stories. Her idea of Heaven? Sitting on a dirt bike with a chicken parmigiana sandwich in hand while the family revs around her.


Bonnie has chosen my Writer’s Quiz interview format. Since she has not one, but two degrees, this seems fitting. Rest assured, there are no grades involved. Bonnie is already a winner in my book. :-)

Thank you so much for having me, Keli. I love RWotJ. I am so honored to be here!

Multiple Choice Questions

(Please explain your answers.)

1) When did you first experience your love of writing?

  1. I began writing as soon as I could hold a pencil.
  2. I dabbled in high school but didn’t get serious until recently.
  3. A romance-reading friend dared me to write one.
  4. None of the above

I would have to say all of the above. When I was little, I wrote poems – Roses are red and that type. Then in high school and college I started a bunch of stories but never finished them. The seriousness of writing didn’t occur to me until a friend in my A&P (anatomy and physiology) dared me to try writing. It’s been one great roller coaster of emotion since then.

2) What kind of stories do you write?

  1. Sweet contemporary romance
  2. Romantic suspense
  3. Stories with medical elements
  4. None of the above
  5. All of the above

All of the above. Sweet contemporary romance is my focus right now. Advice from multiple agents, editors and other authors is to focus on a main genre until you establish a readership at which point you can explore other genres. I have a couple romantic suspense manuscripts completed, but I have chosen to focus on the contemporary aspects right now. And no matter what I do, medical elements slip in and take over. I can’t avoid it.

3) When did you come up with the idea for Breathe Again?

  1. While watching the evening news
  2. While rushing to the Emergency Room
  3. While waiting for a traffic light to turn green
  4. None of the above

Rushing to the emergency room. Keli, you’re good! I was rushing to the emergency room with my mentor for a trauma. Halfway down the stairs she got a call on the radio that she needed to turn around. The trauma was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. She had discovered her son with the same injuries not long before. I wrote the first few pages while she recovered in the break room.

True or False

(Please explain your answer.)

1) I like to deal with controversial subjects in my stories.

True! I can’t help it. I know a lot of authors that baby their characters. Mine start out in a pickle. Breathe Again deals with death – suicide and terminal illness. Both are tragic, of course, but one is easier to accept than the other. Maggie almost loses her chance with love as she discovers the differences.

2) I spent years querying before I finally received a contract offer.

False. I actually completed Breathe Again (then titled Whispers of Me) in the hospital after delivering my fourth child in April of 2010. I sent it out soon after and received some R&Rs (revise and resubmits) from a few editors. While those were in, I sent the original manuscript to Carina and forgot about it. In November (the 4th to be exact), Angela James called me with an offer. Six months. Not bad. Now writing, yes. I’d been writing for a while. :-)

3) I got The Call and told the editor I thought I was going to throw up.

True. Angela James called me and first I thought she was a telemarketer. Then she explained the call and when she asked if I had any questions, I told her I was going to throw up. She laughed and tweeted it a bit later that day.

Essay Questions

(Maximum of two paragraphs per question.)

1) How did you come to be represented by highly respected agent Rachelle Gardner?

I got the call from Carina and emailed Rachelle the next day. We discussed representation over the phone that evening and I was ecstatic to announce it. In March, unfortunately, Rachelle and I amicably parted ways. I have a great respect for her clients and what she has worked hard to build in the industry, but she and I just weren’t the right fit. And in this industry, it’s a like a business-marriage, you need to fit or there is just frustration on both sides.

2) With four kids and a job outside the home, when do you find time to write?

I have to say, I have no idea. I utilize nap times, down time, snatches of free moments (ha) here and there. Sacrifice the majority of sleep. I think I get an average of 4 hours a night during the week. But writing for me isn’t something I fit in around my schedule. I seem to fit my schedule around the writing. I write down goals with my critique partner, Maggie Fechner, and then stick to them… no matter what. Time just seems to find me, I guess.

3) How has your job as a radiologic technologist served you in your writing endeavors?

Oh man. Well, Maggie – in Breathe Again – is a radiologic technologist. It’s a position that goes relatively unrecognized and yet RTs are in the middle of everything. You have a terrible cough with a fever? Go to the ER and you’re going to get a chest x-ray. Fall down the stairs? You’re getting x-rayed. Have a lump? Mammograms are radiology. Stroke? CT scans are radiology. So are MRIs, ultrasounds, radiation therapy, fluoro treatments (esophagrams, barium enemas, etc.), DEXA scans (bone scans for calcium density), and the list goes on.

If you go to the hospital or the doctors, there is a greater likelihood you will see radiology than a low bill. Since RTs are in everything, it gives me a chance to see a multitude of techniques and experience procedures I would have no idea of otherwise.

Fill in the Blank

1) The quirkiest thing I’ve had a character do is _____________________.

Great question. Maggie goes to the store and stares at a gallon of chocolate milk. She can’t help herself and then suddenly there is Brodan.                          

2) I’m excited about writing for Carina Press because: ________________.

Oh, the team members. I have had more author building focusing on craft, brand, marketing, and more since I signed with them than in the three years since I started writing. Not once have I been given the impression they don’t have time for me or aren’t interested in what I have to say. Add to that the fact that Carina Press is a Harlequin imprint and therefore a member of the H family. Everything about CP is terrific. I have had an exceptional experience with them so far.                            

3) The members of The Bonnie R. Paulson Fan Club are: _______________.

Me! Just kidding. Actually, I have serious insecurities about myself, so I would never be in a fan club for me. But my biggest fan is my hubby. He is my rock. And yet, he’s never read anything of mine. True, he has typed my work and when I do red-ink corrections, he types them in for me, but he’s never read anything of mine. My mom and sister-in-law, Cassie, would probably be next as well as my grandparents and other family. Wow, I didn’t realize how many people support me until I wrote this down. Thank you.

Story Problems: Just for Fun

(X is an unknown number. You get extra credit for tackling these. :-))

1) You’re contacted by a major dirt bike manufacturer and asked to be one of X models in their latest ad. In exchange they’ll give you the bike of your dream as pay. Which model would you choose, and what special features would it have?

Oh. My. Heaven. Hello! This would be great! Of course it would be the Honda CRF250X. Not the R. The X has more affinity for trails with a lower end torque to climb up trees if you want. Headlight, electric start AND kick start, a 249 cc liquid-cooled single cylinder four-stroke engine, 12.9:1 compression ratio (purrrr!), and a solid 37.7 inches seat height (ideal for my vertically challenged self) among other things too numerous to list. I actually haven’t even declared this as my new choice yet. You are getting an exclusive!

2) Your best friend, who knows you very well, calls to invite you to lunch and suggests your favorite X restaurants. Which are they, and which one wins out?

This is going to sound so immodest. I don’t like restaurants much because I cook better than most :-). Is that bad to say? If I had to choose one, though, there is a terrific little Chinese dive in eastern Spokane called Ching Hua. Their egg flower soup and sweet and sour chicken is AWESOME.

3) One studly snowboarder, two fine-looking fishermen, and three buff dirtbikers enter your favorite mall with you, where you were the winner of a $2,500 shopping spree. Each of the six men was provided to tote the bags for you from your favorite X stores. Where are the bags from, and what is in each of them?

One store and I could spend that money in no time! I’d take those hot men into Motion Sports and buy up LBZ pants, Fox jerseys, Fox riding boots, a fog-resistant helmet, sports bras (of course), knee high socks, Fox gloves, a Fox bandana, Spy sunglasses, Fox stickers for my bike and maybe an after-market muffler if my ride didn’t have one already. New plastics for the bike would be up my alley, but the men would have to be STRONG to carry all of it. Plus, new gas cans, a few duffels (certainly Fox), as well as some lanyards and maybe a backpack, too. (I have a bag fetish). I could do with a few extra pairs of Skechers and another pair of Keens, but I’d be more than happy to buy each of the guys something too. Can’t go into the testosterone store with men and not buy them something. Poor guys. And more likely get double of everything but in my hubs’s size. He loves this stuff more than I do!

Bonnie’s Question for You

Not everyone loves dirt biking (gasp), but everyone does have a passion about something. What is yours and how often do you get to spend time doing it?

Bonnie’s Drawing

Bonnie has generously offered to give away a digital copy of Breathe Again as well as a $10 Amazon gift card (separate prizes for two winners).

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Bonnie by August 15th and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.

On August 16th, I will hold the drawing and post the winners’ names here as well as in a comment and will contact them via email to get an address.

Congratulations to Wilma Metcalf, winner of the Amazon gift card and to Brooklyn Ann, winner of the digital copy of Bonnie’s book, Breathe Again.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Prizes will be mailed to U.S. or Canadian addresses only.

Learn More About Bonnie

Visit her website ~ www.bonnierpaulson.com

Visit her personal blog ~ Bonnie R. Paulson

Friend her on Facebook ~ Bonnie R. Paulson

Follow her on Twitter ~ @bonnierpaulson

Posted in Bonnie R. Paulson | Tagged | 28 Comments

Meet Novelist Wendy Paine Miller

Wendy Paine Miller writes contemporary women’s fiction, pulsing with broken characters and probing moral questions. Her works have been published in multiple anthologies and online sites. Writing helps Wendy better understand the world around her. Her passion for crafting novels wakes her up, invigorating her to explore ways to intentionally engage with her surroundings.

As a mother to three girls, Wendy uses a great deal of ingenuity when it comes to finding time to write and edit. Other hats she’s worn include soccer coach, caregiver for an aging dog, and assistant in her church’s mom’s group. She graduated with a BA in English, writing concentration. In college she earned an Honor of Distinction for her accrued knowledge of literature. Her background in marketing and communications has provided her with valuable insight as she ventures ahead in this ever-fluctuating industry.

Wendy feels most alive when she’s spending time with loved ones, speeding in a boat, reading, writing, refurbishing furniture, and trusting God.


Wendy’s Writing

You’re a wordsmith of the highest order, putting words together in ways others would never think of. When did your love affair with words begin?

What a fabulous question. I think as a child I discovered I wasn’t able to verbally communicate as well as I’d hoped. I expressed myself much more succinctly when I wrote my feelings down as opposed to speaking them. My journals as a child were the conduit to that love affair.

When did your penchant for crafting your tales turn into a serious pursuit of publication as a novelist?

My passion moved from nonfiction to fiction four years ago and I dabbled in the pursuit a year later. I received an immediate positive response, but I quickly ascertained I wasn’t ready yet. I spent the next three years developing my craft and growing confident in my genre, while enthusiastically building my platform. I’d say the pursuit turned serious last year at the ACFW conference when I pitched my fourth novel.

And published you have been. Where? What have your ventures into the publishing world taught you?

Four of my short stories have appeared in Christian Fiction Online. My nonfiction works have been in several anthologies, including Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms and Love is a Flame. And I’ve written for numerous online sites and have blogged a book worth of posts. I’ve learned it’s worth it to take risks. And I’ve learned that the process takes time…not to rush it.

I remember hearing that you’ve completed five stories and are working on a sixth. What do they have in common, and how do they differ?

Wow, would you believe I’ve completed six and I’m working on a seventh now? The common thread is that I tell the stories of raw characters dealing with complex life struggles, but I will say each of their stories is so individual for me. They don’t bleed into each other at all, other than that they’re women and they feel passionately about something.

You finaled in the Novel Matters Audience-With-An-Agent contest in 2010. Please tell us about that experience, what it meant to you, and how you reacted when you heard the exciting news.

I was greatly honored to final in that contest. I admire the writers on that blog and in many ways they’ve become like mentors to me. Honestly, I heard not long after my dad had died and it felt like rain on my parched soul. I fell to my knees and thanked God for the goodness.

Wendy’s Vision

Your view of the world is unlike that of anyone else. You see life in vibrant color—with no lines to constrain, confuse, or confound you. I invite you to give us a glimpse of your views on three things. Since you write women’s fiction with an inspirational aspect, I’ll use themes often explored in that particular genre.

What is your vision for family?

I cannot say enough about grace. I think because I’ve experienced it so intimately in my own life, I’ve woven grace-filled responses throughout my novels.

What is your vision for characters facing life-altering challenges?

I’m going with an all G theme with my answers and for this question I’ll say growth. I love to be surprised by what my characters learn. Believe it or not, I’ll often learn from their growth and how they come through a gut-wrenching situation. Isn’t that wild, that God could use our writing in that way?

What is your vision for those in need of a life-transforming infusion of faith?

I’ll say gradual for this one. I think as Christians sometimes we have this overnight “Are you saved?” type expectation of someone once they’ve heard the message. And the truth is I’ve been a Christian for over twenty years and I still struggle with my faith. I know God’s working in me, but it feels much more like how I feel when I work on a piece of furniture, taking my time with it, as opposed to ripping off a Band-Aid.

Let’s Learn More About Wendy

Like Wendy, I delve deeply at times. I did just that when I visited her website and blog, seeking to learn everything I can about this fascinating woman who embraces life with all the wonder of a child, ready and eager to learn all she can about herself, others, and the world around her. As I soaked in the essence of this vibrant soul, I found some unanswered questions and want to see if I can coax Wendy to explore them with us.

You have a journal containing your “bucket list.” What are some items topping that list?

I want to run a half marathon, publish four books, and go to New Zealand. Those are some biggies.

You can envision yourself as a stand-up comedian in front of an applauding crowd. What topics would you choose for your routine? Would they be funny things that have happened to others, or would you pull tidbits from the archives of your life and put your own unique spin on them?

Most likely I’d poke fun at myself. I create a wealth of material every day and I’m a natural at finding the funny in my quirkiness.

Everything in your life changed when you were fifteen? Why was that?

I understood God’s grace for the first time.

Spoons make you smile. What are some of the most memorable things you’ve done with a spoon or savored from a spoon?

This is embarrassing to admit, but I found a spoon once on the sidewalk, took it home, gave it a good wash, then hung it in my house. (I was just out of college…does this make more sense now?) I also have four spoons hanging like musical notes in my dining room now. They make me happy, what can I say? :-)

You say that you’re an amalgamation of every place you’ve ever lived. Where have you lived? Of those places, which hold the most treasured memories?

Let’s see if I can recollect…England, Germany, CT (two locations), OH (three locations), GA, KY (two locations) & WA (two locations).

Oh, tough question. Most treasured memories would likely be from Connecticut. My time is adding up in that state, so maybe that makes it an unfair question. I also attended school in CT from first grade until I graduated and moved to college. Those are influential years.

Wendy’s Question for You

I’m weird in that I love music (LOVE it) but I cannot write with it on. But because I love it, I’m always curious what kinds of music others like.

So, I want to know…what’s your favorite song?

Where You Can Find Wendy

Visit her personal blog ~ Wendy Paine Miller ~ thoughts that move

Visit her group blog ~ The Writer’s Alley

Friend her on Facebook ~ Writer, Wendy Paine Miller

Follow her on Twitter ~ @wendypmiller

Posted in Wendy Paine Miller | Tagged | 24 Comments

Meet Novelist Dawn Alexander

Dawn is a Romantic Suspense/Mystery writer who spends her days teaching high school students and her evenings plotting murders. She lives in Texas with her husband, Scott, two elementary-school-aged daughters, and her four-legged writing partner, Cooper.

Dawn is always shooting people. When she isn’t thinking up places to hide the bodies, she has a camera in her hand either at her husband’s hockey games or her kids’ activities.  If there is nothing around to photograph, Dawn has a book in her hand. Reading is a dangerous pursuit for her since she always has to finish the book she starts.


Since Dawn’s a teacher, I’m turning the tables on her and using my Writer’s Quiz interview format. Rest assured, there are no grades involved. Dawn is already a winner in my book. :-)

Multiple Choice Questions

(Please explain your answers.)

1) When did you first experience your love of writing?

  1. I came out of the womb with a pen in my hand.
  2. I dabbled in high school but didn’t get serious until recently.
  3. I read a romance novel, fell in love, and had to write one.
  4. None of the above.

A. I always had a very active imagination. In elementary school, I wrote several “novels”. They were bound in folders with brads. I made sure they had a title page, a back-of-the-book blurb and a space for readers to leave comments. At some point, I started keeping my work to myself, but I never stopped writing.

A few years ago, I decided if it was really possible I was going to be 30 years old, then one day I might actually be 40 years old (!) and that shouldn’t happen unless I had at least attempted my dream of becoming published.

2) How many stories have you completed?

  1. I’ve finished my first story but can’t stop editing it.
  2. I finished my first story and moved right on to the next one.
  3. So many that I’ve lost count.
  4. None of the above.

C. I have no idea how many I have completed. Right now, I have four in various stages of revision that are all over 50k.

3) What kind of stories do you write?

  1. Mystery
  2. Romantic Suspense
  3. Contemporary Romance
  4. None of the above
  5. All of the above

E. As I said, I have four working right now. One is a mystery, one is Romantic Suspense and two are Contemporary Romance. I have to say suspense is my first love, though.

Essay Questions

(Maximum of two paragraphs per question.)

1) What have been the high points of your writing journey so far?

I would have to say the high point has been joining a writers’ group and attending my first conference. Being in the company of people who ask questions like, “What do you write?” and understand talking about characters like they were real people, is a terrific experience for someone who hid her love of writing for years.

2) What aspects of writing do you find most challenging? Most rewarding?

Most challenging has to be the discipline to go back and revise, revise, revise. Most rewarding is having a best friend say, “While I was reading, I forgot it was you who wrote it.” Meaning, she heard the character’s voices, not mine. That was a great compliment.

3) How has your day job as a teacher served you in your writing endeavors?

I definitely have no shortage of character material. My teaching doesn’t lend itself to actual writing. I think the process of being creative in my lesson plans spills over into being creative with my storytelling. Unfortunately, my obsessive planning for my class does not translate into obsessive plotting for my writing.

True or False

(Please explain your answers.)

1) I can’t imagine starting a story without plotting it first.

False! Plotting makes my eye twitch. I am a full-fledged pantser.

2) I get my story ideas from crime reports in the paper.

True. As you can tell from the Friday Plot Swaps on my blog, crime stories can be a useful source of inspiration. I would never want to be a true crime writer. Sometimes, just the snippet of the news story gets my mind moving.

3) I must have music playing when I write.

False. I am easily distracted. I use music for inspiration or to set the mood for a particular scene, but once I start writing I have to turn it off.

Fill in the Blank

1) My favorite writing buddy is: _____________________________.

Cooper, my furry companion who shares the other side of the love seat where I write.

Cooper

2) I love writing romantic suspense because: ___________________.

I love mystery and danger from the comfort of my home. I don’t ever want to actually face down a bad guy. I am a big ‘fraidy cat! But instead of cowering in the corner, my characters jump in and kick some tail.

3) The members of The Dawn Alexander Fan Club are: ____________.

My husband, Scott, who is amazingly supportive and helps me make sure my male characters sound like real men.

My two best friends, who aren’t writers, but are my “first readers”. They already have plans for my book signings someday. Everyone should have that kind of support.

My critique partner, Teri Anne Stanley, as well as all my other writer friends. Writers are a very supportive community.

Story Problems: Just for Fun

(X is an unknown number. You get extra credit for tackling these. :-))

1) Your hubby calls to tell you he’s taking you out to dinner at one of your favorite X restaurants. What will be the choices, and which one will win out?

Either Saltgrass Steak House, Joe’s Crab Shack or Cheddar’s.  Saltgrass would win because it is near the house and I like steak!

2) Your best friend, who knows you very well, suggests taking a road trip to your favorite X Texas locales—her treat. What places will you visit, and why?

Austin. Absolutely. I love Austin. There is just a good vibe there, lots of good memories and they have the coolest book store (Book People). There is also plenty of shopping, which with my best friend, is what we do best.

3) Your daughters talk you into a trip to the mall where you visit your favorite X stores. Which are they, and what items are likely to capture your attention?

I am really not a mall person. I worked in one forever and now I have students working at almost every shop I go in. I try to avoid the mall as much as possible :)

Dawn’s Question for You

I often give my characters a talent I don’t have, but wish I did. One of them is an artist, another has a beautiful singing voice. One is a sharp shooter and I have never even fired a gun.

Other than writing, what kind of talent do you have? Do you pass these along to your characters or do you give them the ability to do what you wish you could?

Dawn’s Drawing

Dawn has generously offered to give away a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card and, if the winner would like, a first-chapter critique.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Dawn by August 1st and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.

On August 2nd I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well as in a comment and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.

Congratulations to Candie L. Campbell, winner of the drawing!

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Prizes will be mailed to U.S. addresses only.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Learn More About Dawn

Visit her personal blog ~ Writer in Waiting

Friend her on Facebook ~ Dawn Alexander

Follow her on Twitter ~ @dawn_alexander

Add her to your Circles on Google+ : Dawn Alexander

Posted in Dawn Alexander | Tagged | 41 Comments