Monday, February 25, 2013

Welcome a new friend to WWA

Today 2 Wild Women Authors are pleased to welcome [new to us] author Virginia Crane as she celebrates “All in the Game” her first release with the Wild Rose Press. This fast, fun story [we know because we’ve read it—several times] is part of Dearly Beloved, the newest series in the Last Rose of Summer line.
Welcome, Virginia.
Tell us a bit about Dearly Beloved. How did you hear about it? What compelled you to submit to it? I heard about it from Maggie Johnson, an editor I had previously submitted to and been rejected. <G> She contacted me and thought I would be a fit. So I got the brain in gear and came up with a story.
Is this the first time you’ve written for a series? If no, tell us about your experience with other series you’ve had. The very first. As a rule I write complete novels.
The title of your book is intriguing, particularly for this series. How did you come up with it? Actually, that was a song that was playing on the radio when I was on my way to the church to get married. My husband’s aunt told me to listen very carefully to the lyrics. It was a Tommy Edwards hit.
Your cover is terrific. Is the art work of your own design or did someone else do it for you? The art department asked what I had in mind and they did the mock up and it was just what I wanted.
Tell us a bit about your personal background. Where are you from? I am from Alexandria, Virginia. My hubby and I moved to Florida to escape winter. I worked in the nursing field until I retired.
Have you always been a writer or did you start out in a different profession? Heavens no. I am a late bloomer. I’m a registered nurse, retired. Although I wrote while I was still working.
What made you make the jump from nursing into the simmering cauldron known as fiction writing? I was doing some reading for a friend who did a historical novel. Then one day I was coming home from lunch and heard Garth Brooks singing “The Beaches of Cheyenne” and thought there’s a story here and started asking what if questions. Eleven years later it was published.
Is “All in the Game” your first ever publication or do you have a back list? I’ve had four books published with another publisher. They are: Emeralds on Wednesday, Gently Generous, The Snow Concerto and Hunter’s Redemption.
Do you have something in the works? Absolutely. At present I am working on edits for Starting Over to be published by TWRP. Writing is now part of my daily routine. It is a very rare day that I don’t write.
How do you relax? Believe it or not, I read to relax.
Who’s your favorite fictional character and why? James Lee Burke’s, Dave Robicheaux. He is very real, has flaws that he is aware of and comes across as a person I would like to know.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? Don’t give up and keep writing, and don’t throw anything away.
Last but not least, where can visitors to our blog today find you? At virginiaczaja.blogspot.com
Where can they go to purchase All in the Game? The Wild Rose Press
Thanks so much for spending time with us today, Virginia. Much luck in sales and in future works.
Kat and Veronica

Friday, February 15, 2013

Turning an Anti-Hero Into a Heor

We are so pleased to have a long time friend [like close to 20 years], critique partner extraordinaire and chapter mate visiting us today. . . Katherine Grey who will talk about bringing a character from the dark side into the light of day.
Welcome, K--
Can an anti-hero become a hero?
      When I was writing my short story, The Muse, the heroine, Emma, needed help and who should appear on the page, but Lazarus, king of thieves. Lazarus is everything a hero isn’t. He is the leader of a band of cutthroats and pickpockets. He is rumoured to have taken a man’s eyes just for looking at a woman under his protection. He is responsible for more than one man found floating in the river Thames.
      Yet, he was there when Emma needed help the most. He watched over her, extending the protection of his name to her, and asked for next to nothing in return. He intrigued me right from the start. As I wrote Emma’s story, I found myself wondering why he did the things he did, how he came to be the person he is.
      Soon after I finished The Muse, he started talking to me almost non-stop. He would pop into my head at the oddest times of the day and night telling me a snippet of his past, telling me of his search for his missing sister, and what he planned to do to the man who he believed had much to do with her disappearance.
      I never planned on writing Lazarus’ story because I wasn’t sure he was redeemable, but as I learned his story, he became less of an anti-hero. He was someone driven by his belief that he’d failed to take proper care of his sister and was desperate to make their lives better by any means necessary and when she disappeared, he was determined to find her at any cost. So, yes I do believe in some instances an anti-hero can become a hero and I hope you’ll feel the same way about Lazarus as I do.
Thanks, K
It's been a blast having you visit us.
Kat and Veronica





Sunday, February 10, 2013

Conning a Billionaire? Find Out How Today



We're going to start with a teaser from today's featured novel, The Billionaire's Con . . .
. . . Determined to succeed, Chef Meggy Calhoun realizes her dream with the opening of Boston’s hottest new culinary experience. But will her secret connection to one of New England’s most powerful families poison her recipe for success, and leave her heart flambĂ©ed?
If that doesn't make us want to learn more about chef Meggy, nothing will! Where are you from, Meg? Since I’m adopted, I’m not exactly sure where I was born, but I was raised in Palmerton Massachusetts, a small town just north of Boston.
What is The Billionaire’s Con about? It is a lighthearted love story about Trevor Bryce Christos, suspicious heir to a billion dollar empire, and me, a small town chef. In a nutshell, a letter from my birth mother set in motion a chain of events that changed my life. Okay, I set the events in motion by visiting Elizabeth Ashford’s estate on Martha’s Vineyard, but come on. If you suddenly found out you were the long lost great granddaughter of one of the richest women on the eastern seaboard, you’d be curious too. And the visit wasn’t a complete loss. It brought me Trevor. Sure, he followed me back to Palmerton and pretended to be an author doing research to prove I was a con artist bent on cashing in on Elizabeth’s fortune, the sneak, but I’ve forgiven him for that. After all, he was only doing what he thought necessary to protect the woman who raised him. And let me tell you, there is nothing sexier than a man trying to make up for misjudging you, especially one who owns your heart.
What did you think the first time you saw him? Though very attractive, he had that stiff, life-is-serious-business look about him, you know? I immediately thought lawyer, what a waste.
Hah!! Having spent a number of years with lawyers, in and out of the courtroom, we completely agree. What was your second thought? That I’d always had a soft spot for the Greek god type and looking at Trevor gave me a sudden craving for Feta cheese and ouzo.
Did you think it was love at first sight? I think maybe it was, but if you tell my friends, the O’Shea sisters, I’ll deny it. They recognized my feelings for Trevor early on and would be impossible to live with if they found out they were right.
Best friends are often a royal pain, right? What do you like most about him? Besides his sexy, dimpled smile, I love that for all his intensity in doing what he believes is right, he has a playful, whimsical side.
How would you describe Trevor? Did I mention Greek god? He isn’t really a god, but he sure acts like one sometimes. Autocratic at times, he can be stubborn, but I can handle him. He’s intensely loyal to those he loves and has a sweet side. I mean, how could you not love a man who picks up the lunch tab for an old man for an entire week, and doesn’t get mad even when he learns the old man owns the diner?
Our kind of guy. How would he describe you? He’d probably say I’m the more stubborn of the two of us, considering my reaction when I discovered the real reason he came to Palmerton. But hey, he was the one who told the whole town we were engaged when I refused to talk to him, so he has no business complaining that I involved the entire town in my plan to make him prove I was more important to him than the Ashford fortune.
What made you choose the culinary arts as a profession? It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be, well, except for that five minutes I considered joining the circus. Thankfully, it took only a minute or two to decide getting to wear one of those sparkly costumes wouldn’t be worth putting up with the smell from the elephants.
What is your biggest fear? Now that I know where I come from, I wonder what part her family's incredible wealth played in my birth mother’s decision to walk away from it all. From me. As Elizabeth’s great granddaughter, I’ve been thrust into a world I don’t understand, a world that requires people to constantly be aware of protecting themselves. Does that kind of existence warp people?
We hope it doesn't effect you like that. So, how do you relax? There’s nothing like a naked picnic in a big feather bed with a well built man. Oh, crap, did I say that out loud? Trevor would laugh his head off if he knew. Okay, a pitcher of martinis with the O’Shea girls is a great way to unwind.
Great way to unwind with anyone—or anything! Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Though I love all the O’Shea girls, I’d have to say Cara. As my best friend, she’s always there for me, and I owe her for my existence, after all. It was while Mac was plotting out a love story for Cara that I came to be.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? That came from Cara, when I told her my feelings for Trevor scared the crap out of me. “So you like the guy,” she said. “If it turns out he’s the one for you, there isn’t anything you can do about it anyway. You’re already a goner.” Then she wrapped an arm around my shoulder, bumped my hip with hers and grinned. “Spend some time with him. Get to know him. Better yet, seduce him. You know you want to.”
With that, we can't think of a better way to finish this part of the interview than to read an excerpt from The Billionaire's Con. . .
What are you doing in here, Meggy?” Jill moved to stand beside the stepladder. “And why are you painting?”
Meggy frowned at the intruders, ignoring Jill for the moment. Her gaze scanned the tall stranger. She noted his expensive suit and handsome face below a thick pelt of dark, auburn hair. Though very attractive, he had that stiff, life-is-serious-business look about him.
Lawyer.
Meggy sighed at the waste and turned her frown to Jill. “I needed something to keep my hands occupied until I can get back into the kitchen.”
Agitated as much with the delay as the mess, she flicked her hand holding the roller. A silken thread of paint danced through the air, leaving a drizzle of pale yellow across the faded denim of her favorite jeans.
Perfect. Just perfect.
“Get back into the kitchen?” Jill placed her hands on her hips. “I thought the kitchen was up and running.”
Meggy hoisted her butt off the top of the ladder and slapped a hand to the wall when she lost her balance. From the corner of her eye, she saw the lawyer take a startled step forward. With a disgusted growl, she glared at the fresh slash of paint coating her hand, and clambered down the ladder backwards before he could reach her.
“We had a leak.” She jumped the last two steps to land on the floor, jamming the roller into the pan at the foot of the ladder. “The plumber is there now, dealing with the aftermath.” Reminded of the calamity in her kitchen, she turned a glower on the silent man and quirked a brow. “And you are?”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Jill rolled her eyes at Meggy and made the introductions. “Meggy Calhoun, this is Trevor Bryce. He’s a writer who’s interested in renting the Carriage House. Mr. Bryce, Meggy is one of the owners of Palmer House. She’s also the head chef.”
Meggy watched, fascinated, as the stiff lawyer vanished behind a wicked smile, a flash of white teeth, and dimples. There was nothing stiff about the penetrating gaze that met and held hers. The deep drawl of his voice, when he said hello, reminded her of the smooth slide of the aged whiskey found in Palmer House’s well-stocked bar.
She glanced at the hand he held out, and flipped up her own paint-smeared palm. “Sorry, I’m a mess.”
Laugh lines crinkled the tanned skin at the corner of his eyes, and the soft core of femininity within her sighed in appreciation. She’d always had a soft spot for the Greek god type. Looking at Trevor Bryce, she had a sudden craving for Feta cheese and Ouzo.
Whoa. After that enticing entry, we have to talk to Mackenzie Crowne. What movies or books have had an impact on your writing? I like my romance with a smile. P.S. I Love You, You’ve Got Mail, and my all time contemporary favorite, While You Were Sleeping all do it for me. Then again, I’ve been known to curl up on the couch and sigh through Pride and Prejudice on occasion. I lean toward contemporary in my choice of reading as well, though I do love a well written historical or fantasy. Susan Elizabeth Philips always delivers and her It Had to be You is the book I’d write, if I could - and if she hadn’t already written it, of course.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? The Billionaire’s Con is my second contemporary title published through Still Moments Publishing. They’re a relatively new romance e-publisher though they do make print titles available through Createspace. They were less than a year old when I heard about them through an author friend and critique partner.
What influenced your decision to submit to them and tell us a bit about the submission process. There were several reasons I decided to submit the first title to SMP but the biggest reason was my desire to work with one of their editors. The experience was as phenomenal as I hoped, and I’ve since worked with another editor and was just as thrilled with the process.
How long did it take from query to release? The query to release time line is from four to six months and their submission guidelines are available at Still Moments Publishing.
This has been a super experience, we thank Mac and Meggy for taking time out of their schedule to stop by and visit with Two Wild Women. Much luck with sales and with future books!!
Kat and Veronica
To learn more about Mackenzie Crowne and the stories she creates go to: mackenziecrowne.com
To purchase The Billionaire’s Con, go to SMP e-book Store or Amazon

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Drum Roll Please . . . Dearly Beloved

Today 2 Wild Women Authors are pleased to welcome Brenda Gayle as she celebrates Father of the Bride?, a recent release from The Wild Rose Press. This fast, fun story [we know because we’ve read it—several times] is the first release for Dearly Beloved, the newest series in the Last Rose of Summer line.
Welcome Brenda
Tell us a bit about Dearly Beloved. How did you hear about it? What compelled you to submit to it?
As a TWRP author, I received the Call for Submissions for Dearly Beloved from my editor, the fabulous Maggie Johnson. I had just completed and submitted a romantic suspense (the second book in my Heart’s Desire series) and thought this would be a great change-of-pace before I embarked on writing the third book. I hadn’t written a short story, so I was up for the challenge.

A few months earlier I had read an article about high school sweethearts who reunited later in life. The first line of Father of the Bride? is almost a direct quote from the woman in the article: You are not supposed to meet the love of your life when you’re twelve. For some reason that quote stuck with me.
Is this the first time you’ve written for a series? If no, tell us about your experience with other series you’ve had.
Father of the Bride? is the first time I’ve written for a multi-author series. I’m currently working on my own series of contemporary, romantic suspenses for TWRP. I like series because of the sense of familiarity it provides to the reader. In Dearly Beloved, the focus is a wedding and the story involves and older heroine (not necessarily the bride). It’s a really great premise and so much fun to see the different stories authors come up with.
The title of your book is intriguing, particularly for this series. How did you come up with it?
Actually, the title was suggested by my editor, Maggie Johnson. I had originally submitted the manuscript under another title, a play on the name of a well-known movie. Maggie was afraid my title would give away the surprise plot twist. Since she’s usually right about these things, I agreed with her suggestion to change the title to Father of the Bride?, with the very important punctuation mark at the end.
Your cover is terrific. Is the art work of your own design or did someone else do it for you?
I wish I had some artistic talent, but I have none. I took Art in junior high school and received an A for effort and D for achievement. My cover was designed by Tina Lynn Stout. She did a wonderful job of interpreting my disordered ramblings about what I’d like to see and created a beautiful cover that incorporates the key elements of the story. The Wild Rose Press has the best covers going and I am in awe of these talented artists.
Tell us a bit about your personal background. Where are you from? Have you always been a writer or did you start out in a different profession?
I've been a writer all my life (a clichĂ©, I know) but returned to my love of fiction after more than 20 years in the world of corporate communications—although some might argue there is plenty of opportunity for fiction-writing there, too. I have a Master's degree in journalism and an undergraduate degree in psychology. I am a fan of many genres, but feel drawn to contemporary romance where I enjoy creating deeply emotional stories with elements of mystery and suspense.

I live in eastern Ontario with my wonderful husband, two fabulous children, a rescued cat, two Siberian Huskies, and assorted aquatic wildlife.
Is Father of the Bride? your first ever publication or do you have a back list?
Father of the Bride? is my fourth project with TWRP. I have a contemporary romance (also under the Last Rose of Summer imprint) entitled Soldier for Love, and two contemporary romances in my Heart’s Desire series, The Hungry Heart and The Doubting Heart.
Do you have something in the works?
Right now I am finishing the third book in my Heart’s Desire series, tentative titled The Forsaken Heart.
How do you relax?
Relax? What’s that? I have two active (pre-driving-age) teenagers, so if I’m not writing I am usually chauffeuring them to their various sports and social activities. If I do manage to find some time for myself, I like to read—that’s the one thing I wish I could do more of. There are so many books out there; my to-be-read pile is enormous.
Who’s your favorite fictional character and why?
I adore Jamie Fraser, the hero of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I love how he’s fiercely independent, unrelentingly loyal, and unconditionally in love with his wife. The relationship between Jamie and Claire is one of the best-written, most emotionally satisfying in fiction. Despite their differences and all the hardships they encounter, they are devoted to one another, but more importantly, they are confident of the other’s commitment.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
There’s nothing that’s been written that couldn’t benefit from a good editor. My background in journalism and corporate communications has taught me (the hard way) that not everything I write is golden. I am blessed to work with the wonderful team at The Wild Rose Press. Together we share a passion to create the best story possible—and sometimes that takes many, many revisions.
Last but not least, where can visitors to our blog today find you?
I’m all over the web and I love to talk with readers about books (not necessarily mine) and life. You can find me via my website (www.BrendaGayle.com), Facebook (www.facebook.com/BrendaGayleAuthor), Twitter (@Brenda_Gayle), and Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/BrendaGayle).

Where can they go to purchase Father of the Bride?
To purchase Father of the Bride? go to The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, or other digital retailers.

Thanks so much for spending time with us today, Brenda. Much luck in sales and in future works.
Kat and Veronica

Friday, February 1, 2013

Turning a Setting Into Something Special

Today, we're celebrating five unique stories, all part of the Class of '85, all FREE today [February 2, 2013] and February 14th and 15th.
We hope you'll take advantage of this offer and enjoy.

Several years ago, using the RIFLE [Realistic, Interesting, Fun, Logical, Entertaining] Approach, four romance writers came together to create a four story contemporary anthology. The overall concept was based on five friends from high school who return to their hometown after twenty years when one of the five dies suddenly and leaves each survivor a legacy. Each novella focused on one of the four surviving male friends. Sadly, the anthology never came to fruition thought the concept morphed into The Class of '85, a reunion series for the Last Rose of Summer line at The Wild Rose Press.

The task then came down to 'inventing' the setting. Since we knew it would be a series of more than the original four stories, we decided to make Upstate New York our “World”, usingthe lake” [that's Ontario, Queen of the Great Lakes] as background flavoring. I spent hours exploring a unique neighborhood in the city of Rochester, took photographs and soon Summerville was born―on paper anyway.

As the ring leader [aka senior editor as well as one of the four originating authors it then came to me to lay the groundwork and either invent or expanded upon the social and political infra-structure of the town, further enhancing the “City/Town”.

As stories were contracted, the contributing authors tweaked the city/town into “The Hood” and then took it one step further to refine “The Set”. The inhabitants, primary and secondary were born and are unique to their individual needs and plot lines. The first 'alum' to make the reunion, “Getting It Right” was released in August 2010. By the Fall of 2011, twenty four stories were released.

Here's how creating a setting that speaks to readers worked for us and hopefully will work for you:

The World: Summerville, a town of 25,000, sits on a bluff over-looking Lake Ontario, Queen of the Great Lakes. Water sports are a popular outdoor activity. The area is a busy assignment for the Immigration and Naturalization Service as well as the Coast Guard and County Sheriff's Marine Unit, preventing illegal entry via the lake from Canada, drug trafficking and alcohol related marine incidents. A large transient migrant population in the region who work large farming operations make the area a hotbed for activists and illegal immigration―both in the past [for some of the characters] and current law enforcement personnel.

The City/Town deserved extra added attractions so we invented Summerville College, inaccurately termed 'the U' by locals. A co-ed, liberal arts school, it is known for its NCAA division I champion men’s lacrosse team. The town has a full service hospital which is code red most nights [the ER is full and can only accept chest or head trauma.] It's in desperate need of urgent care centers to cut down on bottlenecks in the ER and to put an end to patients using the ER's for a doctor's office.

For the sports nuts we offer the Hornets, a triple A baseball team, part of the Orioles system, and just as [un]successful and the Red Barons, part of the Buffalo Sabres NHL hockey system.

Local law enforcement is covered by the Summerville Police Department, headed by the former school bully. One of his former victims is now the County Sheriff. A former bad boy now advocates for victims of school bullies and non-responsive school systems. Note the over-use of the word ‘former’. Hmm. As an editor, I’m cringing as I read this.

Arts and entertainment are supplied locally with annual fine arts and artisans shows or by a thirty minute drive to Rochester which offers a symphony, several major museums and the Eastman School of Music.

The contributing authors also supplied “The Hood” by way of Down The Hill, Summerville's version of a slum, and Pill Hill and Castle Row, where the elite reside and never the twain do meet.

For “The Set”, where individual scenes take place one of the authors took a photograph of a local landmark and turned it into the Summerville Inn which is the setting for several of the reunion stories, one of which involves pre-reunion renovations, a reunion dance, and an elite awards dinner. A couple authors took a real-life former [there’s that word again!] orphanage located in Syracuse New York, renamed it, then picked it up and dropped it into Summerville. Hey, it worked.

Now for the good part: several of the Hood's inhabitants will be available for free over the next few months. They include:

*  A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for photographic journalism: “Embraceable You” by Kat Henry Doran
*  A retired rock star: “Lonely Road to You: by Jannine Gallant
*  A [former] socialite determined to pay off her ex-husband’s debts: “Promises, Promises”, by Silver James
*  A retired major league baseball player, now coaching the Hornets triple A team: “To Be, or Not”, by Margo Hoornstra
*  A former bad boy turned entrepreneur who falls for a woman in the midst of restoring an old house into a B&B: “Something More” by Keena Kincaid.

It is clear when imaginative people come together, any number of wonderful things can happen, including the creation of interesting, fascinating, unforgettable settings. We hope you'll enjoy these stories!