Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Q&A with author Rose Anderson

Thanks for being here today, Rose. Would you please share a short bio about yourself?

First off, thanks for having me, Becky. I’m a new author with two books published through Siren-Bookstrand and several more in the works. Driven to create, I write across genres --everything from children and youth literature, to historicals and erotic romance. In between, I freelance. Yep, driven. :)

Q Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?


A Oh definitely. A painfully shy girl forced by life to grow into a marginally shy woman. I don’t think we ever really leave shyness behind. I think the truly shy person simply learns how to cope.

Q In what ways has being shy or introverted hindered your writing career?


A I don’t yet know if my natural shyness has gotten in the way or not because my career as an author is so new. It gets in the way in my day to day life so it will undoubtedly meddle in one way or another. I do know doing interviews in my quest to become a known author is a bit uncomfortable. :) Every inch of self-promoting is an inch outside my personal sphere of comfort. But self promoting is important so I deal with it and carry on.

Q In what ways has being shy or introverted helped your writing career?


A Being a shy child, I always stayed in the background trying to blend in with the wallpaper so no one would notice me. I became a keen observer from the sidelines. I’m usually aware of the smallest emotional details of people when they interact with one another. When I write, I use this detail. My characters are real in their settings. They think. They empathize. They feel. My characters are the sum of my own experiences and these shy observations of others.

Q What’s the hardest part of this business for you?

A I’d hate to admit this, but since this is the shy writer’s blog I’m sure every shy person reading will understand. It’s putting my face out there and looking people in the eye to introduce myself. I have a stack of lovely, perfectly worded, business cards and my shyness keeps me from passing them out! I went out with friends recently and five other women took my cards and passed them out to people without any inhibition. It was like that old TV game show from a zillion years ago -- What’s My Line? -- where each of the three contestants pretended to be the real person from the opening intro. These terrific women were happy to pretend to be me and pass out my cards, while I was busy being uncomfortable being me! It’s crazy.

Q Tell me about a time that you had to step outside your comfort zone either in your writing career or in your personal life?

A I’m very aware of my self-imposed personal limits. To break free of the shackles of fears and discomfort, I regularly throw myself into uncomfortable situations. For example: I’m a tad claustrophobic, so I took up spelunking (cave exploration). Sounds intense, eh? It is, but it’s like getting an inoculation. By living through a situation, I’m protected from full-blown discomfort the next time around. I’ve been forcing things on myself since my late teens.

When I was in college, I carried my shyness with me every day. A DJ radio slot came up at school so I took it to be able to speak. I mean I could speak, but I was all shy mumbles in social situations. Two things at that school helped me so much. The first was my radio show. There I made casual conversation to my microphone and played music. And all of it was done behind a closed door. No one could see me. The second was a speech class. Boy, that was brutal. I had to stand up in front of people and say things like himmel hummel himmel hummel and lalalalalala. We also had to do “spontaneous extemporanea” -- speeches off the cuff. And I’d do it all with a racing heartbeat and sweat. As uncomfortable as that sounds, I recommend it. The organization Toastmasters will help too.

Q What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?

A I do have a tip from that class. Eye contact is hard on shy people. Instead of direct eye contact in a social situation, focus on the eyelids or eyebrows of the person you’re talking to. You appear to be making eye contact but you’re really avoiding the source of pupil-to-pupil discomfort.

Q Would you please share a short blurb of your book and where my readers can buy it?

A My recent release is Dreamscape. Written in homage to Agatha Christie, this tale is peppered with clues that hint at the ending long before the last page is turned. From start to end, the story is far more than it appears. It has romance, history, time travel (of sorts), murder and lots of sizzle.

Blurb:


Unable to deny his own translucence, Dr. Jason Bowen determines his lack of physical substance could only mean one thing—he’s a ghost. Murdered more than a century before, Jason haunts his house and ponders the treachery that took his life. When Lanie O’Keefe arrives with plans to renovate her newly purchased Victorian mansion, Jason discovers, ghost or not, he’s still very much a man. Despite its derelict condition and haunted reputation, Lanie couldn’t be happier with her new home, but then she has no idea a spirit follows her every move throughout the day and shares her captivating warmth at night. Jason soon discovers he can travel through Lanie’s dreams and finds himself reliving the days before his murder with Lanie by his side. It took one hundred and twenty years for love to find them, but there’s that insurmountable little matter of Jason being dead.

Dreamscape will be in paperback any day now. The ebook can be found at most online booksellers and here: Buy Rose Anderson's Dreamscape

Q Where can my readers find you on the web?

A I’m all over the place it seems. I love to hear from readers. Drop me a line! Join my Google+ Circle, Follow me on Twitter, or just Subscribe to my Blog for updates, releases and reviews. Any good search will turn me up somewhere! Here are a few of my links:

My Blog CalliopesWritingTablet


See My Book Trailers


Follow me on Twitter!


Join my Circle of Friends on Google+

Monday, September 26, 2011

Q & A with author Sarah Grimm


Thanks for being here today, Sarah. Would you please share a short bio about yourself?

As a young girl, Sarah Grimm always had a story to tell. At times they were funny, other times scary, but they were always happily-ever-after.

Sarah spent years scribbling in notebooks, filling the pages with partial chapters and the margins with titles and story ideas. She told friends that the characters spoke to her, and she was compelled to get their stories on paper. Eventually, she sat down at a computer and wrote her first tale of dangerously sexy suspense. That book, Not Without Risk, is a 2011 Readers Favorite Award Winner.

Sarah lives in West Michigan with her husband, two sons and three miniature schnauzers. Between mom's taxi service, parts runs, and answering the phone for the family marine repair business, Sarah can be found curled in her favorite chair, crafting her next novel.

Q Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?
I have to laugh at this question because my older sister was just telling me the other day how envious she’s always been of my outgoing personality. We moved a lot while I was growing up, and she claims within 24 hours of arriving in a new town, I always had a new best friend. LOL I don’t really recall that, but I do know I’ve never allowed fear or being the “new kid” to stand in my way. Take, for example, my first RWA National Conference.

The year I joined Romance Writer’s of America their national conference was held in Chicago, IL. Since Chicago is only a three-hour drive from my home, I knew I had to go, even though the idea of going solo frightened me. I knew no one. I was a young mother who managed to eke out enough time to complete a manuscript. But meeting other writers? That hadn’t happened. Instead of letting the idea stop me, I got my sister and mother to share a hotel room with me. While they shopped Michigan Avenue, I cruised around the conference, attending workshop after workshop, making certain to talk to as many people as I could.

Q What’s the hardest part of this business for you?
Promotion. It’s exhausting! I thought the hardest part would be writing the book, getting the story out of my head and onto paper (or the computer screen as the case may be). But after the book is completed and contracted with a publisher, that’s when the real work begins. When I decided to do a blog tour for my current release, I didn’t think too much about it, I just scheduled my appearances. Then I counted up how many blog posts I had to write. YIKES! I panicked a bit at first, and then I pulled on my big girl panties and got down to business. Promotion isn’t easy for me, but it’s a necessary evil.

Q Tell me about a time that you had to step outside your comfort zone either in your writing career or in your personal life?
At the same RWA conference I mentioned earlier, I attended an editor’s panel. This is where editors from a specific house get together and explain what they’re looking for in manuscript submissions, followed by a question and answer session. At the time, I wanted to be published by this house more than my next breath, so I sat in on the panel, absorbing everything that was said. One editor in particular held my attention. She was looking for romantic suspense, specifically featuring heroes in law enforcement, which was exactly the story I wrote. I desperately wanted to talk to her, but was terrified. I sat in my chair, silently watching as writers approached her at the end of the workshop. I waited and I watched, finally gathered my courage and approached her. And you know what? I survived. She didn’t laugh too much when I stuttered my introduction, and in the end, she invited me to submit. I didn’t sell that book, at least not to that particular publisher, but I was happy I conquered my fear. Especially because when I left the workshop, I passed a woman in the hallway who was in tears because she allowed her own fear to stop her from approaching the editor she was interested in. I’ve always wondered what happened to that woman. If she ever conquered her fear and reached her dream of being published, or if she allowed fear to cripple her?

Q What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?
Never give up.

Q Would you please share a blurb of your book and let my readers know where they can buy it?
Here's the blurb:

She wants to forget her past.
He wants to reclaim his.
Sometimes the moment that changes everything comes After Midnight.

Thirteen years—that's how long Isabeau Montgomery has been living a lie. After an automobile accident took her mother's life, Izzy hid herself away, surviving the only way she knew how. Now she is happy in her carefully reconstructed life. That is until he walks through the door of her bar...

Black Phoenix singer/front man Noah Clark came to Long Island City with a goal--one that doesn't include an instant, electric attraction to the dark-haired beauty behind the bar. Coaxing her into his bed won't be easy, but he can't get her pale, haunted eyes nor her skill on the piano out of his head.

Can Noah help Isabeau overcome the past? Or will her need to protect her secret force her back into hiding and destroy their chance at happiness?

AFTER MIDNIGHT is available from The Wild Rose Press:
http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=640&zenid=cac8f250e9c9d2f91424ee8492f70370

Q Where can my readers find you on the web?
Website: http://www.sarahgrimm.com

Personal Blog: http://www.authorsarahgrimm.blogspot.com/
Group Blog: http://www.smutwriterssoapbox.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SarahGrimm.Author
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SGrimmAuthor

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Q&A with author Rachel Brimble

Thanks for being here today, Rachel. Would you please share a short bio about yourself?

Sure! I was born and live in South West England, just a short thirty minute drive from the famous Georgian City of Bath in one direction and a sixty minute drive from the mysterious Stonehenge in the other. I am married with two young daughters (12 & 10) and lucky enough to be able to write full-time right now.


Hobbies are reading, TV, cinema…and white wine ;)

Q Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?
Yes! Others might disagree, but I am definitely.

Q In what ways has being shy or introverted hindered your writing career?
I am getting better as I grow older and become more determined to succeed but I know there have been some fantastic opportunities I have missed in the past because of my shyness. I have missed chances to speak face to face to agents and editors alike because I just have not had the courage to approach them.

Q In what ways has being shy or introverted helped your writing career?
I am happy to sit at home on the computer and write all day – in fact, those are my favorite days, lol!

Q What’s the hardest part of this business for you?
The waiting for editorial decisions, that all important yes or no on a new book you’ve submitted and of course, promotion that is anything other than sitting at my kitchen table completing an interview or writing a blog post.

Q Tell me about a time that you had to step outside your comfort zone either in your writing career or in your personal life?
I made more of a leap from my comfort zone this summer rather than a step! I attended the Romantic Novelists Association (UK RWA equivalent) annual conference and decided this year I was going to do a pitch even if it killed me! I am pleased to say I am still here and the editor from Mira requested my full manuscript, yay!

Q What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?
The only advice I can give is, to keep taking baby steps towards getting out of the unnecessary binds of shyness. It is hard and I am the worst offender but each time I’ve made myself do something, it has never, ever been as bad as I thought it would be. Not EVER!

Q Would you please share a short blurb of your book and where my readers can buy it?
Sure – Paying The Piper is my latest release and it is available from September 19th at Lyrical Press. Here’s the blurb & Buy Link:

Nightclub manager Grace Butler is on a mission to buy the pub where her mother's ashes are scattered but the owner wants to sell to anyone but her. And that owner happens to be her father...who has a secret she will do anything to discover.

Social worker and all around good guy Jimmy Betts needs funds to buy a house for three special kids before their care home closes. Time is running out and he's desperate for cash. He agrees to a one-time 'job' for bad-man Karl Butler. But in a sudden turn of events, Jimmy finds himself employed by Karl's beautiful, funny and incredibly sexy daughter, Grace. Their lives couldn't be more different, yet one thread binds them: they're both trying to escape the bonds of their fathers. Maybe the only way they'll be free is by being together, instead of alone.


Q Where can my readers find you on the web?
A http://www.rachelbrimble.com/
http://www.rachelbrimble.blogspot.com/
www.twitter.com/rachelbrimble


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Journey of a Shy Writer

By Debby Lee

(Note: Debby's first published short story just released. Butterflies Are Free is available now here.)

According to Murphy’s Law, the shortest distance between point A and point B is under construction. For my character Lena Thumble, in my short story Butterflies are Free, her point A was a quaint little house down the street for a life of dutiful housekeeping and point B was in Bethel, New York, where she dreamed of performing at Woodstock, the famed music festival. Much to her frustration, the road to Max Yasger's now famous farm appeared as daunting as flying to the moon with the first astronauts.


Life can be a real adventure when we can see the road before us and we’re excited about arriving at our destination. But life is also full of pot holes, speed bumps and detours. Sometimes we struggle to stay on the path we think is best and many times we get lost along the way.


As a writer, when I first began submitting my work, the fear and anxiety was enough to stop my wheels in their tracks. I was scared to put my work out there for the entire world to see. I know that what I write isn’t going to reach everybody in every situation, but the thought of harsh judgment and being laughed at is enough to make me think twice before sending my manuscripts to the editor.


How about those rejection letters? They’re practically enough to derail a seasoned writer, and make this writer want to end the trip altogether. After working so long and so hard on something I think is right, it’s disappointing to reach a proverbial dead end. It’s hard making a U turn, retracing the steps and figuring out how to pick up the trail again.


I know I can’t be the only writer to get bad scores on a contest entry and critiqued chapters that bled so much red ink I was sure the manuscript was dead, dead, dead! Events like this make me feel as lost, scared and confused as a new Army recruit in the jungles of Vietnam.


In spite of all the obstacles on the writing journey, the quest towards publication can be a learning experience filled with personal growth. Polishing manuscripts to a high shine, researching publishing houses and writing awesome query letters helps minimize the anxiety of submissions and can reduce the chances of rejection.


Take heart and allow me to encourage you. Don’t be filled with so much anxiety that you fail to or prolong taking that first step. Don’t let a dead end be the end of your trip. Get a road map and find a different route or find a way to blaze a new trail. If you feel like you’re going the wrong way, don’t be too afraid to stop and ask for directions. If you’re stuck in a rut, or broke down on the side of the road, don’t be afraid to ask for help. My heroine did.


Lena was passionate about being free to sing and express herself through verse and melody. The songs she wrote were poignant to her in controversial 1969. When she struck out on her own to attend Woodstock, little did she know how much that trip would cause her to grow as a person. She discovered that doing one’s duty, even when it was difficult, could be very liberating. It was quite a journey for the free-spirited Lena.


How is the journey going for you? Are there obstacles blocking the road to your dream? Make a comment below and tell me about it. Maybe we can find a way to get you there, one way or another. At the very least, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a free signed copy of Butterflies are Free.

Debby Lee has always enjoyed writing poetry, short stories and in her diary. Her work has been published in numerous newsletters, college journals, e-zine’s and in a book of devotions. Besides RWA, she belongs to the Christian Writers Guild and the American Christian Fiction Writers. She is happily married, has five children and lives in Centralia Washington with her family. Reading is one of her favorite hobbies. Her other interests include traveling, being active in her local church and cheering for the Seattle Seahawks. You can learn more about Debby Lee here.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Confessions of a Wallflower

by Anne Marie Becker
(FYI: Anne Marie's debut novel, Only Fear, releases from Carina Press on Monday, Sept. 5! Congratulations, Anne Marie.)

I confess… I’m a wallflower at heart. Circumstances beyond my control have pushed me (shoved, really) into the spotlight repeatedly over the years, but I’m happiest when I retreat to my cave to write about things that only occur in my imagination.

The problem is… I’m precisely 6-foot-1-and-3/4-inches tall, and have been since the ninth grade. It’s hard to fade into the background when the gene pool has dealt me such a strand of DNA.

And I have been president of my local Romance Writers of America chapter for the past three years, and still have one more year to serve.

And having a debut book coming out has forced me into promo-mode.

So, I’ve learned to shove my wallflower-ed-ness aside and step out onto the dance floor when I must. Sort of like an anti-ninja. (Well, I still love wearing black. I mean, it is very slimming and all.) I’ve adapted to fit my circumstances. Instead of stealthy, fade-into-the-background, security-blanket mode, I’ve forced myself to get out there and be seen. To confront my shyness head-on.

How? I forced myself to volunteer. It started with my online RWA chapter, Kiss of Death, where I helped update the Librarian page and coordinate the judging for their annual contest. Then I was elected President of my local chapter, so I had to start standing up in front of a group on a monthly basis. Yikes! Then I began presenting workshops and pitching at conferences.

And it’s totally been worth the risk. Volunteering feels good, and puts you in touch with some amazing people. I’ve come to believe in karma, since the year I started putting myself out there was when I signed with an agent and finaled in and won the Golden Heart.

My mantra became: “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Portraying confidence is everything (even if you’re quaking on the inside). I learned this technique in graduate school as I was studying to be a mental health counselor. When I feel uneasy about presenting, I remind myself that I know my material, and that people coming to see me will want to learn that material. I pretend I’m some super-speaker who everyone is dying to hear, and that what I’ve written to say is the best thing since Shakespeare. (And then, of course, I wear my slimming black outfit that makes me feel confident.)

Wallflowers, unite! Let’s get out there and show them what we’re made of. Standing together, we’ll make very pretty, very smart wallpaper.

And a huge thank you to Rebecca for having me here today, and for providing this support system for wallflowers like me.

You can find more about Anne Marie and what circumstances she’s forcing herself into now on her website. You can also find her on Facebook (Anne Marie Becker, Author) and Twitter (@annemariebecker).