Wednesday, November 25, 2009
As the yacht docks in the marina, Lori Graham, Senior Editor of the Crimson Line of The Wild Rose Press steps out. Dressed in a crimson-red sundress, her blue diamond locket shimmers. Oliver, dressed as a cabana boy, rushes down to escort Lori to the private terrace overlooking the shores of the crystal blue waters.
He grins a roguish grin as he presents her with a bouquet of crimson roses. We meet again, Lori. Might I add how dazzling you look in your sparkling blue diamond. How thrilled we are to have you join us at the private yacht club for lunch. Sharon has already arrived and is seated on the teakwood terrace.
Lori: I couldn’t be happier to be here, my dear, and always enjoy my time with you both.
With its teakwood furniture and complementing accents, the terrace boasts a tropical island atmosphere. Chaise lounges with splashy cushions encompass the turquoise swimming pool, and just beyond, thriving eucalyptus plants and festive flowers landscape the border.
Sharon stands to greet her editor. They exchange brief hugs and sink into the comfortable cushions of their highback wicker chairs surrounding the umbrella table. Calypso music plays in the background and Oliver hums along, off key. Still grinning, he stands before them, at the ready, pencil poised above his notepad. May I start you ladies with cocktails? A tropical drink from the bar or some mint tea, perhaps?
Lori: A nice raspberry tea would be nice to start, my dear fellow. The fun stuff will come later.
Sharon: A mint tea…with lots of ice!
Oliver: I’ll be back in a flash. He saunters off, swaying his hips to the music.
Sharon: Well, I must tell you, Lori. I am very excited about the new submission call out from the Crimson line of The Wild Rose Press. Tell us all about Jewels of the Night and how you came up with this dazzling theme?
Lori: Actually, I can’t take all of the credit for this submission idea. I had input from the other crimson editors (Johanna, Julie, Laura and Anne) as well as the owner of Once Upon A Romance, Connie. We bounced a couple of ideas around and through it Jewels of the Night was born.
Our thought process was to create something as a central piece that had multiple venues in which it could be used. Now to be honest, I first thought of a contest but you know what…I would much rather sit here with you and Oliver. So, at random, we will choose one of the contracted pieces to receive the special “prize.”
So to submit, write the manuscript featuring the blue diamond in a 20-65,000 word format. Once you have it done, send a query and synopsis to me at lori (at) thewildrosepress.com.
Sharon: Jewels of the Night drew me in at once because to me, the blue diamond conjures up so many images. Danger, ice and fire all rolled up in one. And without giving away the location of my setting or the storyline, let’s just say my story has already taken off. What image comes to mind when you think of a blue diamond?
Lori: I have to tell you that this submission has so many different options that no one image comes to mind. These submissions could be set in any locale and could involve treasure hunts, or family inheritance, or… The options are just endless. The diamond speaks for itself. What does any woman love more than a diamond? I do have to admit that I chose the blue diamond because I think they are exotic and gorgeous.
Oliver places the drinks on fancy cocktail napkins. And are we ready to order? Our house starters include either a cup of lobster bisque --or a tropical salad of wild Pacific greens, pineapple, mango and papaya, both served in coconut shells.
Lori: Absolutely the salad
Sharon: The tropical salad sounds delicious.
Oliver: And today’s entrée is either grilled salmon or your choice of tropical seafood kabobs or chicken kabobs, served with a tangy pineapple salsa and order of chips.
Lori: Chicken kabobs some wonderful, thanks
Sharon: Mmm. The seafood kabobs, please.
Oliver, playing the perfect cabana boy, plucks a fan from the table and fans Lori.
Lori: Just a little to the left, you sweetheart you…ahhh, that’s so much better.
Sharon: All right, cabana boy, about our meals?
Oliver leaves, still singing.
Sharon: One lucky submission will be chosen at random to launch the Jewels of the Night series. And it will receive a premium publicity spot for the month of November. For those readers not familiar with The Wild Rose Press, can you explain the reasoning for the November time slot?
Lori: November is the month that Crimson Rose is featured so it just makes sense to kick off the month with something this fun.
Sharon: And can you entice us with some of the publicity the selected contract will receive:
Lori: Would love to…they will receive the lead-off spot with a guaranteed publish date in November 2010. That in itself is a great thing. Then in addition, we will give them an advertising banner to use in their PR. In addition, they will receive a featured review and interview with Once Upon A Romance where they will be able to display their banner for thirty days for free.
Oliver presents the salads, sprinkling each with just the perfect amount of house dressing.
Sharon: Thank you, Oliver. Simply perfect. And, Lori, here is my question. The guidelines request a word count between 20-60,000 words. Once the contract is chosen to launch the series, can the stories that come in later be longer in length?
Lori: You know that is a good question; we hadn’t really talked about that. I’ll have to think about that when I don’t have Oliver standing over there diverting my thoughts. One thing I do want to mention though is that the submission deadline is March 31st. Only manuscripts received before this date will be considered for the special prize. However, we will continue to accept submissions even after this date so please don’t worry that we’ll turn anyone away. J
Sharon: When I wear my blue diamond, I am always surprised how many people have never heard of this stone. Have you found this to be true?
Lori: I agree. Most people tend to just think the normal diamond. They don’t realize how many colors they come in from yellow to blue to pink and so on.
Oliver appears with the chosen cuisine, a fragrant mist of tangy spices filling the air. Then he refills the drinks, casting a wink to Lori.
Sharon: I think the appeal of this series is the undercurrent of danger, intrigue and romance. There are so many ways for the imagination to go with it. Cool ice, hot fire and you have the ingredients for a spicy blend for a barrage of storylines. And you give such a wide spectrum with the location and time period. Here’s another question that comes to mind. The Crimson line is the suspense line of The Wild Rose Press, romantic suspense and mystery. When I write suspense, I prefer to write in present day, but that’s just my personal preference. What about an author who writes in the paranormal or historical or inspirational line from a different era? Do these genres fit into the Crimson line if the storyline deals with a high level of suspense?
Lori: This will fall under the same guidelines as any other manuscripts coming in. The focus needs to be on the suspense (after the romance, of course). Now that isn’t to say there can’t be a little paranormal in it. For example, your heroine could be a psychic. That would be okay. Historical and inspirational get a little trickier because those lines aren’t quite as broad. I have no problem with the character being a Christian so that isn’t a problem. However, if their Christianity is a big part of the story, it would probably be a better fit in White Rose so that it gets the exposure it requires.
I wasn’t asking you to take your shirt off, Oliver. I was talking about sales of a book. Oh my, it is getting warm. Anyway, I don’t want to discourage that but it does make it something I would need to look a little closer at. If anyone has a question, they are always welcome to email me and share more of their specific idea and I would be happy to give them an opinion.
Sharon: The only other submission call in the Crimson line I’m aware of is the Men in Uniform series. Is it difficult to come up with a new theme each November?
Lori: Well, we really don’t have a set time to come up with new themes. It is just when the muse hits us. We do like to come up with something interesting for our featured month to really draw attention to the fabulous writers we have within our line.
Sharon: The deadline for submission for Jewels of the Night is March 31, 2010. As an editor, do you feel placing a specific deadline on a project helps or hinders the creative muse?
Lori: Both. Some authors need that to get down to business while others feel pressured. That is why we will take the submission no matter when it comes in. It is only the extra goodies that require the deadline. The reason for that is the publication date in November. Even with ending it in March, the editing staff will have to work hard to get it ready by November. (I may have to borrow Oliver from you during that time to keep the editors fed and happy.)
Oliver grins and takes a sweeping bow.
Sharon: Well, here comes Oliver with dessert. And while we’re enjoying the delectable treat with some premium tea or coffee, let’s give the readers a chance to question you about Jewels of the Night. Thank you so very much for joining me today, Lori. It’s been a delight.
Lori: It is always a joy to join the both of you. I always have a good time and leave here very satisfied. Oliver, oh Oliver…
Oliver swaggers out, balancing chocolate mousse dribbled with rum sauce on a silver tray above his head. With a sweeping bow, he serves the dessert. After setting down carafes of coffee and tea, he plucks up a ukulele and serenades Lori with a stringed instrumental of Crimson and Clover. In love again, Oliver stands there, stunned speechless after his performance. Blowing kisses to Lori, the gaping, still mute Oliver sighs and disappears into the cabana, his heart all a flutter.
Lori: Sharon, you certainly do know how to pick them, my friend. (Sighs)
Friday, November 20, 2009
The Author Roast and Toast
Today's guest is Stacy Joy Netzel, or her role for today, Stacey Claus. It's a Christmas party and we are having a bon fire, singing carols and sampling Santa Oliver's goodies. Come join the fun!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
“What was Ina thinking?” Lauren said to the equally outraged dog. “This isn’t good
for you; it’s terrible for David, and uncomfortable for me.” She eased into a plastic
lawn chair and
had just stretched out when a grey Chevy Blazer breezed into the driveway.
“You can bite him,” she whispered to Dud as an
athletic looking man in jeans, faded blue shirt, and black sport coat approached the porch. His skin was bronze and his hair long and silky. Lauren was sure she had seen someone this good looking before - maybe on the big screen in a chilly movie theater. In her experience guys with GQ looks
like his were always morons.
He opened the screen door and crooned, “Hey, baby! How are you doing?”
“Doing all right,” Lauren answered before realizing he was talking to the dog. She blushed and folded her hands behind her back.
Dudley, the traitor, inched forward to sniff the stranger’s cowboy boots. Yuma Hawk
whipped out a bone as big as a bow tie. The dog snared it, then gulped it down.
Already he is outspending me on dog treats. Lauren stood frozen while Hawk
switched the high-beam smile from the dog to her, and advanced with an extended hand.
“Good to finally meet you, Lauren. You’re a bit younger than I expected.”
Over the loud ruckus of the jets performing acrobatic skills in the sky, the blast off of rockets ships as they soar into space, and the deafening roar of propellers as helicopters make their landings, a shrill whistle rises. Why, it’s our very own Kathleen O’Connor trying in vain to catch her un trainable dog, Dudley! She shouts out commands like a woman possessed, but Dudley, on a roll, ears slicked back, barrels full steam ahead, coming to a screeching halt when he skids onto the poolside terrace. Turning to the audience, he sits, pretty as you please, gracing them with a high beam doggie grin. Kathleen, dragging her feet, still shouting commands to her charge, falls into a canary yellow lawn chair with a heavy sigh.
Sharon: Let’s have a warm welcome for Kathleen O’Connor and her adorable Westie Dudley!
Thunderous applause explodes through cyberspace, followed by hoots and whistles.
Sharon: Well, Kathleen, you look a bit parched after your wild chase. Allow me to call my butler. Sharon rings sterling silver bell…Oh, Oliver, we’re ready for refreshments please.
Oliver appears, silver tray poised above his head, a roguish grin on his face. He presents two ice cold cokes and a plate of wheat thins with Dubliner cheese. Unwrapping a straw, he puts it in one of the cokes and holds it to Kathleen’s lips. Then he feeds her a few crackers…and when she has her eyes closed in ecstasy, tosses a huge t-bone to Dudley. Dudley gulps it down, staring at Oliver like he’s the King of Sheeba. Oliver places a pan of water on the ground and saunters off.
Sharon: That’s some spirited dog you have there, Kathleen. And this is your creation from Men of Paradise. Tell us where you got the idea for two strangers to inherit custody of this rather rambunctious dog?
Kathleen: I love dogs and inheriting joint custody of a dog by two strangers had romantic and comic possibilities.
Sharon: And tell us about the title. How does it fit into the storyline of two strangers and a dog?
Kathleen: The story is about three men who flee to Florida (Paradise) in search of a second act.
Sharon: And can you share with us a bit about your two main characters, the hero and heroine?
Kathleen: I have three heroes and heroines but the main ones are Yuma Hawk and Lauren Pierce. Yuma (or yummy Yuma as my editor Kathy Cottrell says) has come to Florida and taken the job as director of security for a private community where Lauren Pierce is illegally (no children allowed in bylaws) raising her nephew. She would avoid Yuma except that they are raising this dog together.
Sharon: Is or was the character of Dudley inspired by one of your own spirited dogs?
Kathleen: My Bichon Frishe Wooster was like Dudley. He could be very badly behaved but then smile at you and melt your heart.
Sharon: Why a Westie? Do they hold a special place in your heart?
Kathleen: My neighbor has a Westie named Bonnie who is very cute.
Sharon: Oh, here comes Oliver with dessert. Oliver breezes onto the terrace, shoving a silver caddy. Parking it in front of Kathleen, he unveils her favorite, Stella D’Oror Breakfast Treats. Choosing one, he feeds it to her, sneaking one to Dudley.
Sharon: That will be all, Oliver. Stop showing off so we can finish up our interview. Maybe you can take Dudley for a walk about town.
Dudley, hearing the word “Walk”, leaps into action. Oliver gives chase around the pool three times. Taking a nasty skid, Oliver plunges into the pool, doing a rather impressive belly smacker. Water splashes, getting Sharon and Kathleen drenched to the bone. Oliver emerges, sputtering, gulping for air like a fish out of water. Dudley grins his high beam grin and takes off to parts unknown, Oliver hot on his heels.
Sharon: Hands plush towel to her guest. Grabs another and pats her face dry before waving her hand. That’ll keep Oliver occupied whilst we finish up our interview. So Kathleen, what’s next for you?
Kathleen: I’ve just finished a short story.
Sharon: And what genre is Men of Paradise?
Kathleen: It’s pure romance – a Debbie Macomber kind of story where you really get to know all the characters in a small town.
Sharon: What other genres would you like to explore if any?
Kathleen: I write mysteries and have one coming out in December by Whiskey Creek Press. It’s the edgiest of my books and is called A Private Matter.
Sharon: Oh, here comes Dudley. Dudley skids onto the terrace, ball in his mouth, Oliver behind him, all befuddled and out of sorts.
Sharon: Oliver, what a mess you are. Isn’t he priceless?
Oliver just grins his roguish grin and swaggers away…
Sharon: And finally, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could star in any literary fiction, which would it be and why? And who would you want playing your romantic hero?
Kathleen: I like Florida (where I am) and I guess I’d like to star in Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes with Colin Firth as the hero and Sandra Bullock playing the heroine
Sharon: Thank you so much, Kathleen. Where can readers buy your books and get in touch with you?
Kathleen: Amazon, Fictionwise, Whiskey Creek and Wild Rose press.
Just then, Come Way With Me by Norah Jones blasts on the radio. Oliver, donned in a new butler’s outfit, grabs Kathleen in his arms and pulls her close, gazing into her eyes as they dance, their feet never touching the ground.
Kathleen is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, recipient of a James Michener
fellowship and the Connecticut writing Awards. Her short stories have appeared in
Woman's World, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Seventeen Magazine, St Anthony's Messenger
Her novels are: A Private Matter (a Whiskey Creek Press Dec. 09 release), Men
of Paradise, (The Wild Rose Press) and
(Whiskey Creek Press).
Saturday, November 14, 2009
But before she arrives, here is a blurb and excerpt:
An antique ivory locket catapults Aimee Reynolds back to the year 1847. Alone in St. Louis, Missouri, she has to find a way to get home to present day Seattle. She needs a suitable male willing to marry her or be left behind when the emigrant train departs for the Oregon Territory.
Jake Marshall, scout for the Markham Party, is the perfect, if unwilling choice. Undaunted by his overt rudeness, Aimee entices Jake to the alter, promising her diamond earrings as payment for a marriage of convenience. Properly wed, she secures passage on the wagon train, and discovers her future may be in the past.
“Sure you don’t want to take me up on my offer?” Jake’s teasing was old.
“You wish!” She huffed and stalked out, forgetting to check the hallway first and banged into a boarder walking by. A lascivious leer devoured her, replacing the boarder’s previously blank expression.
“Looking for customers?” He smacked his bulbous lips, reminiscent of an overeager suckerfish. “I just might be interested.”
Her shoulders drooped in disgust. “You are soooo sickening.” She glared at him. “How about you get out of my face before I ream you a new orifice?”
Startled, the man’s mouth flew open as he gaped in surprise.
Jake stepped into the hallway and lowered his voice to sound ominous in the ensuing silence.
“The lady was just returning to her room. I suggest you do the same.”
The hapless man barely glanced at his threatening stance before he scurried down the hall. Jake’s lips twitched. He couldn’t blame him. He’d made the same offer more than once today. But, damn, if she wasn’t a feisty piece of woman. At least she hadn’t threatened to ream him a new orifice— whatever that was.
“Thanks…again! Seems like all I do is thank you for one reason or another.” Aimee hesitated, appearing unsure. Her vulnerability stirred deeper feelings in him, making him uncomfortable.
“I’ve had more creepy offers from more creepy men in one day than I’ve had in my entire lifetime!”
“If you keep running around in your underclothes, it’s pretty much what you can expect.”
He followed her across the hall. “Stay in there and don’t answer the door, and if anyone bothers you—scream. I’ll hear it.”
She slipped into her room and pivoted, staring up at him. “Why are you helping me?”
And here comes Patsy, so sit back and enjoy the show!
As the emigrant train makes its way across the wide open prairie, a herd of wild buffalo and bison graze in the grass. The pioneer spirit of the Wild, Wild West is palpable as the covered wagons chug along the Snake River. Someone fires a rifle, sending the bullet ricocheting into the crystal blue horizon. With a screeching halt, the train comes to an abrupt halt and P. L. Parker steps off, donned in Aimee’s antique ivory locket.
Sharon: A warm welcome for P. L. Parker. Welcome, Patsy! Come sit around the campfire. Kick your cowhides off, sit a spell and let Oliver wait on you hand and foot. Oh, Oliver! We’re ready for refreshments.
Oliver struts out grinning, costumed as Buffalo Bill. He tips his hat at Patsy and hands her a beer and a bowl of caramel popcorn.
Sharon: Go away, Oliver. Go rustle up some grub or someth
Patsy: Actually, I've always had a real interest in the Oregon Trail. I grew up in Idaho, then moved to Huntington, Oregon. Parts of the trail wind all around that area. Right outside Huntington, there is a spot where
Patsy: I tried different versions, but found that spelling most interesting. Aimee's Locket is dedicated to Ami Russell of TWRP, who was my editor when I first started there. Unfortunately, she left before we began the edits on Aimee's Locket, but Patricia did a wonderful job. I learned a lot from her.
Sharon: What a lovely way to show your appreciation. Now you write time travel
Sharon: What do you think about the Wild, Wild West and the open
Patsy: Nupe – nev
Sharon: LOL Patsy! You and me both. Here comes O
Patsy: Oh YUM! Umm
Sharon: You know what’s coming u
Patsy: I always "knock on wood." Even if I don't have wood to knock on, I say "kno
Sharon: Thank you, Patsy. It’s been a pleasu
Patsy: My web page is www.plparker.com, my blog is www.plparker.blogspot.com. I also have a myspace page, www.myspace.com/mrsplparker. All my books are available from The Wild Rose Press, www.thewildrosepress.com, Fictionwise, www.fictionwise.com, and most on-line bookstores.
I'm married. I have three sons, ages 35, 28 and 16 (a mine and ours situation). I'm married to my best friend, soul mate and best fan. Besides the houseful of men, I have a darling almost 3 year old granddaughter, Tannis, who lights up our lives, two huge male cats, Flip and Sam, and a toy poodle, Biddy, who rules the animal roost.
I currently have three novels in print and e-book, Fiona, Riley's Journey and Aimee's Locket. I also have a short story, Heart of the Sorcerer, and a Free Read, Prophecy's Bride. I will also have another Free Read coming out in the near future, Songbird.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Today's featured guest is Beth Trissel. Please come by for a murder in the mansion!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Carol Ann Erhardt!
Carol Ann, come on out!
The swooshing of helicopter blades whoop across the azure blue sky. Then the purple helicopter comes into view from a puff of billowy white clouds. As the aircraft circles the English garden, a white staircase swoops down and Carol Ann gracefully descends. She waves at Sharon, rushing onto the teakwood terrace where honeysuckle, rustic bittersweet and lavender scent the air with their delicate fragrance.
Sharon: Rushes over to hug her friend. Well, Carol Ann. You certainly know how to make an entrance, don’t you?
Carol Ann: You liked the purple helicopter, huh? I wanted to “rise” to the occasion of being here with you, but I must admit my fear of heights almost made me back out. However, the view was spectacular! Besides, purple is one of my favorite colors.
Sharon: Do have a seat in one of the plush teakwood chaise lounges and Oliver will serve refreshments. Isn’t it a lovely day?
Carol Ann: Gorgeous!
Oliver glides out, pushing a sterling silver caddy. With a sweeping bow, he pours two glasses of ice water into crystal glasses. Then he uncovers a platter of cheese and crackers. Strutting over to the rose arbor, he snaps a white rose from its glossy green foliage and hands it to Carol.
Carol Ann: Why, thank you, Oliver. You remember…so much.
Sharon: He remembers carting around the mug of white roses and says you planted the white roses in his garden. Is this true, Carol Ann? Or just another one of Oliver’s fantasies? He says you coordinated the fall contest for the white roses, Cup Runneth Over Contest. Do dish about this contest?
Carol Ann: Yes, it’s all true. Oliver was such a good sport carting around that mug on his tray. But, he looked so handsome doing his balancing act. I did plant white roses in his garden…well, we kind of did it together. As for the fall contest, it was so much fun! So many authors participated and we enticed a lot of readers to join in the fun. They searched through author websites and blogs to find hidden mugs of white roses. Each week, one person won a free e-book, and the grand prize winner, Crystal Renfro, won eight e-books, a white rose mug, a basket of Arbonne beauty products, and a box of white organic tea. The only bad thing about being the coordinator was that I couldn’t participate. I sure would have loved being the grand prize winner.
Sharon: Now let’s chat about how you keep it all balanced. Your mother has recently moved in with you and your husband. How is that going?
Carol Ann: I have to be honest and say that most days it is very trying. My mother wasn’t what you’d call an ideal mother in any sense of the word. I grew up never feeling loved or wanted. In fact, I moved in with my grandparents the day after I graduated high school. But, she’s my mom. The only mom I’ll ever have. After my stepdad passed away, we invited her to live with us but she wanted to stay in her house. I’m sure I’d be the same way, but we let her know the option was there. I called her at least three times a week to chat and to try and add some smiles to her life. Two years after Dad passed, the doctors diagnosed her with a bad heart valve. She refused to consider operation as an alternative. They gave her a two year time-frame. Eventually, she had to make the decision to move. She couldn’t keep up the house and she had very little money in her bank account.
We remodeled our bathroom to accommodate her. She’s been bitter and lashes out because she had to leave her home, but I know she’s angry at the situation, not at us. In her own way, she loves me. And, I’ve forgiven her. God and I have had many talks about Mom, and He’s shown me how to love her unconditionally. However, this has definitely added more responsibility onto my already full agenda.
Sharon: I’m sure that can be very distressing. But your wonderful faith in God has no doubt guided you during this trying time. Bless you, dear friend. And your husband has emphysema? Oh dear, I hope the roses Oliver is over there pruning for you won’t do any harm? I know I suffer from allergies (ha shoo) and even though I adore my flowers, they don’t always adore me! How is your husband?
Carol Ann: My wonderful, soul-mate husband loves roses. He loves to garden and work in the yard. The main problem is the condition he has prevents him from being able to do all the things he used to do. He has trouble breathing when he exerts himself too much. It’s scary to watch the one you love struggle to breathe. But, as long as he isn’t overdoing, he gets along pretty well.
Sharon: Doing what we love and enjoy is so good for the soul, isn’t it? I think that adds balance to the things we don’t particularly like. And you work full time? Tell us about your job and what it entails?
Carol Ann: I do. I’m a full time Executive Assistant to the President of a wine and spirits distributor. Mostly I handle a lot of reporting. He’s a good boss, and I love my co-workers. Since I love working on a computer, and that’s what I do all day, it’s a good fit. However, I have made the decision to retire at the end of this year.
Sharon: So how do you keep it all balanced? What is your secret? Do dish with us, girlfriend!
Carol Ann: Jesus keeps me balanced. Starting each morning with devotions centers me for the day. I do a lot of talking to God during the day, and when I come home at night, I’m always walking into a warm, safe place. As a mother of eight, who worked full-time, I learned to be organized. I don’t rigidly set a schedule, and I do allow interruptions. Rarely is there a time when I “plan” to write or read, when one of our children and their families drop in. But, knowing my priorities are God first and then family, the rest of the stuff can wait. Building good relationships is important both spiritually and emotionally. I’ve learned to “go with the flow.” My husband helps me a lot. He keeps things picked up during the day when I’m at work, does some of the grocery shopping, and always helps me clear up the dishes after dinner. He’s been so good about accepting Mom into our home, although it’s a test of faith daily for both of us. I remember how God walked with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace and saved them. I know that He walks with me daily as I go through the fires. Balancing priorities becomes a manageable task with Jesus.
Sharon: Amazing! A mother of eight! And you are still so young and vivacious! And I admire you for building such loving and emotionally strong relationships with your family. That’s the key to a healthy environment. They are all so fortunate to have you in their lives. And your husband does indeed sound like a gem. Tell me about your hobby? You like to look out the window and wait to hear God’s voice. That is so inspiring. Tell us what you hear.
Carol Ann: When you asked me what my hobbies were beside reading and writing, I had to stop and truly look at my life. In my spare time, that’s what I do! I read and I write. But as I pondered the question, I was looking outside my office windows at the beautiful world God created. This has become a ritual for me. My office is on the ground floor of our bi-level home. I face the windows and it’s so peaceful to just sit and stare out at the beauty His hands have created. I feel Him so close and I just sit back and listen for His voice. Sometimes I sit outside in the swing in our backyard, or walk the paths in our local park. I see God in the birds, in the butterflies, in the flowers, and in the puffy white clouds in the sky. What do I hear? Many times I hear Him telling me what I should write. Sometimes, He gives me direction on which path to choose when faced with a decision. He’s always there. Sometimes I just close my eyes and listen to His voice in nature. It’s such a calming, peaceful feeling. Even when I’m feeling low, He brings me comfort.
Sharon: That is so beautiful, Carol Ann. Thank you for sharing that with us.
Oliver, finished with his clipping and pruning, struts out with two bowls of butter pecan ice cream. He dips the silver spoon into a huge hunk and feeds it to Carol Ann.
Carol Ann: Mmmmmm. Now that’s pure delight. Oliver, you do know the way to a woman’s heart.
Sharon: I dare say he has a wee bit of a crush on you. He’s been pampering the roses and fussing all morning, counting the hours until your arrival. And what about your writing? You’ve written such beautiful and heart-warming stories. What are you working on now?
Carol Ann: The working title is Trapped. It’s the story of a woman who has an unfortunate auto accident, which leaves her incapacitated for several weeks in a small town where she knows no one. She’s been running from a man bent on destroying her and anyone she cares for. She has never known much about God. But when the entire town wraps their arms around her, showing her unconditional love, she begins to understand the power of faith. However, when her nemesis finds her, she’s got to make a decision. Run away to protect the man she’s falling in love with, or stay and trust that God has a plan?
Sharon: That sounds like another best seller! Where does your energy come from? Your source of inspiration?
Carol Ann: It comes every day when I put my feet on the floor and thank God for another day. He shows me things to strengthen my faith, brings a smile to my face, and presents opportunities for using my gift of words to bring Him honor.
Sharon: How would you like to be remembered when you leave this earth?
Carol Ann: As someone who served others with a cheerful heart.
Sharon: What do you do when you are zapped of all energy? Any secrets to share?
Carol Ann: I retreat. I need time alone, away from the hustle and bustle, to just relax and recoup. Having as many kids as we do, there were times when I would go into the bathroom to soak in a bubble bath with a book. I have to laugh when I remember the times the door would open and my youngest daughter would come in to ask a question. Then my husband would follow to try and get her to leave me alone, and in the midst of that, our large black lab would come lumbering in and splash his paws in my bubbles. Precious memories now, that was very frustrating back then. Finding times to be alone then was difficult. Today, I am allowed that privacy. And most times, I use that alone time to remember all those wonderful moments.
Sharon: That’s so sweet. And finally, can you give us some words of wisdom today, a quote from a poem or the Bible we can cling to in today’s trying world?
Carol Ann: Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
Just then, Oliver presents Carol Ann with a bouquet of freshly cut white roses. Taking her hand, he serenades her with her favorite song:
"There's Just Something About That Name" by Gloria and
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there’s just something about that name. Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all heaven and earth proclaim. Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there’s something about that name.”
As the helicopter comes to pick up Carol Ann, she is still smiling as she blows Oliver a kiss.
Carol Ann Erhardt, is mother of eight and caretaker for thirteen feral cats. She insists she isn't a crazy cat lady, but rather a "purr-petual" romantic who took action to spay/neuter the growing population of unwanted felines in her neighborhood. This romantic suspense novelist loves to read as well as write. Her novels are set in small Appalachian communities nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. To learn more about Carol Ann and her work, visit her website at www.carolannerhardt.com.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
As we know, the design of the book cover is a major selling point and can often lead to a stellar launching. That and a hook to draw the reader in. Where to begin? I start with a title. Grant it, this is generally a working title and is subject to many renovations as the story unfolds. But unless I have a title to anchor my creative muse to, the flow will be off. After settling on a working title, I envision a setting and then the characters who will come to life in this setting. What will they look like? What kind of personalities will make the chemistry between the hero and heroine sizzle? Then there’s the names. What names pack a powerful punch and will linger in the mind of the reader long after the last page is turned?
HMM. Now this is where I become a bit whimsical. For those of you who know me and follow my blog, you know I am superstitious to a fault, adore legends and lore and believe in the Nine Muses. There is a reason why the goddesses—whose number set at nine by Classical Times embody the arts. They inspire the creative process with their grace through remembered and improvised song and dance.
Blame it on my wild Irish heart or on the powers that be! But before I begin writing each day, I rub the stones of my pink tourmaline ring and bracelet. According to legend, this gemstone will bestow inspiration upon the writer and the writing shall be blessed and published where it is meant to be. Then there is my musical fairy angel. I wind her up three times and allow the lyrical melody of Beautiful Dreamer to awaken my muse. These are my happy vibes and have inspired me to write stories of inspiration. Now when I write in my other genre, suspense, I wear my blue diamond. Blue diamonds conjure up images of forbidden danger, romance on the high sea and sunken treasures. Blue diamonds are very romantic…but seem to whisper an ominous warning in the wind. Which brings me to the manuscript I am embarking on. The new submission call out by the Crimson Line of The Wild Rose Press.
Jewels of the Night
One chosen submission will be drawn at random to launch the series. The theme of the story must be full of romance, danger and intrigue. But mostly, it must involve a blue diamond. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2010. For full details, see my blog entry of November 1st.
And if there is one thing you can be sure of, I’ll be wearing my blue diamond for inspiration while writing this manuscript!
Tell me your writing process? Where do you begin? Title or setting? Character sketches or outline? Plot and subplot? Maybe you have a new spin on an old endeavor. Leave a comment.
Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.
Love and Blessings,
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! My special guest today is friend and fellow Wild Rose author Liana Laverentz. Liana is here today to chat with us about her contemporary romance, THIN ICE, but before Liana comes out on stage, here is a little about her, followed by a blurb and excerpt:
Liana Laverentz is the author of thr ee contemporary romances with The Wild Rose Press, Thin Ice, Jake’s Return, and Ashton’s Secret. Thin Ice is a 2007 New Jersey Rom ance Writers Golden Leaf Award winner, a 2008 EPPIE winner for best contemporary romance, and was a nominee for Best Romance of 2007 at Long and Short Reviews. Jake’s Return is a 2008 Golden Leaf Award winner. Her third release, Ashton’s Secret, a murder mystery romance, has already received three five-star reviews. Liana is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Washington Romance Writers, and Pennwriters, Inc. For more information, go to www.lianalaverentz.com
Thin Ice Blurb and Excerpt
The last thing Emily Jordan needs in her life is a man, and certainly not one who uses his fists in his work. Her father hit her mother, and Emily’s already made the mistake of marrying a man who seemed to be a dream come true, but proved to be no better. An emergency room doctor and volunteer at a women’s s helter, she sees more than enough of the results of violence in the world, and has no use for anybody who contributes to it.
When she treats Eric Cameron in her ER after a bar brawl, her opinions of men in general seem to be confirmed. It isn’t until she meets Eric outside her eight-year-old son’s school after Eric gives a talk against using drugs and alcohol, that Emily learns he’s a hockey player, and her son’s newest idol. Robbie has been begging her to let him play hockey for months, and has now enlisted his new friend Eric, captain of the struggling Minneapolis Saints, to help him convince Emily to let him play.
Eric Cameron is more than willing to be Robbie’s ally. He’s never met a woman who intrigued him so much. Emily Jordan has it all…brains and beauty, a home of her own, a career she excels at, a son who adores her, and loving friends and family to help her bring it all together in a way Eric has longed for ever since he was a kid living over the ramshackle bar his mom ran when his dad ran out on them. He realized early on that hockey was going to be his only way out of spending his life busting up barfights.
Still, Eric was raised to respect and protect women, and this feisty, independent woman who wants nothing to do with him—and needs nothing from him--totally confounds him. The memory of her healing han ds that first night drives him to find the key to Emily’s heart, becaue he knows that once he wins it, he will have everything he’s ever wanted in life. But for him to succeed would mean that Emily would have to give up everything she has—her home, her career, her independence--and subject her life to the whims of the NHL….for a hockey player’s life is anything but settled.
Will Eric be able to win her heart despite her opposition to the only life he’s ever known? Or when the season ends will he move on again--alone?
“I want you to kiss me, Emily.”
The fire inside her rekindled.
He released her hands and held his up in surrender. “I’ll even keep these behind my back if you want me to.”
“Eric, this isn’t necessary,” she said in embarrassment.
“Oh, but it is. For whatever reason, it is, and tonight I’m playing by your rules. Now, where do you want my hands?”
Loaded, question, that. But she looked into his eyes and found them clear and direct. This wasn’t a game to him. This wasn’t teasing. This was real. “Behind my back,” she whispered.
He opened his arms. She stepped forward and placed her hands on his chest. His cable knit sweater was soft beneath her palms, a sharp contrast to the hard strength it concealed. He spread his legs to accommodate her, then slid his hands around her down parka, linked them at the back of her waist and pulled her close.
“Perfect,” he murmured.
“How so?” she asked uneasily, thankful the thickness of her coat prevented direct body contact.
He chuckled. “Because I’ve wanted to give you a hug for weeks, Emily Jordan. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who deserved one more.”
Wonder replaced wariness. She leaned back and looked into his dark eyes. “You’re serious.”
He tucked her he ad against his chest, settled his arms around her again and closed his eyes.
For the longest time he simply held her. Security settled around Emily like a warm blanket. She could have stood there for hours, cocooned in his arms, listening to the steady beat of his heart beneath her ear, smelling the clean, musky scent of him mingled with the faint smell of leather and the crisp chill of winter. Only the idea of her son wondering aloud to a group of strangers what might’ve happened to them made her pull away.
Eric dropped his hands to his sides and smiled. “See? Told you I wouldn’t bite.” At her sheepish look, he grinned. “Now, how about that kiss?”
Emily smiled. “Something tells me your storehouse of slick moves isn’t limited to those you use on the ice, Mr. Cameron.”
He laughed , a deep, hearty, happy sound that made Emily want to join in. Instead she looped her arms around his neck and drew his head down to meet hers, taking him by surprise.
She kissed him six times, her hands moving to frame his face and brush back his chestnut brown hair after the second kiss. Each time, she studied his face first, fascinated by the restraint she saw in his features, his refusal to take control. Shamelessly she experimented, her last kiss a hedonistic freefall that left her breathless and weak-kneed.
“Enough,” Eric moaned, sinking against the Suburban, keeping a steadying grip on Emily’s elbows. For a long minute they stood there, heads bowed, breathing uneven. When she finally found the courage to look into his face, she found not the cool mockery she’d come to expect in the past...but tenderness and open delight.
And it terrified her.
Buy Link: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/liana-laverentz-m-48.html
Thin Ice (NJRW Golden Leaf and EPPIE Award Winner)
Jake's Return (NJRW Golden Leaf Award Winner)
Let’s have a warm welcome for Liana Laverentz. Liana, come on out!
Liana skates across the ice, book in hand. With a thumbs up to the crowd, she snags the hockey stick from Oliver. Then she tosses her book on the ice and prepares to give it her best shot. With one swift and powerful swing, she shoots and scoooorres! The crowd goes wild. THIN ICE glides into the best-seller net! She tosses the stick to Oliver and blows kisses to her fans.
Sharon: Wow, Liana, what a goal! Welcome. Sharon and Liana exchange bulky-sweater hugs and take their seats in the parlor. With hockey season upon us, what better time to chat about Thin Ice. But before we do, let’s get comfortable with some drinks and snacks. Oh, Oliver, please bring refreshments.
Oliver skates out in his hockey gear, elbow and knee guards securely strapped. Demonstrating his agile moves to Liana, he does an impressive spin and presents the refreshments with a sweeping bow. His eyes twinkle with mischief as he pours a generous slug of Bailey’s Irish Cream over ice. Then he places a platter of cheese and crackers and mixed nuts on the table. With a wicked wink, he pulls a copy of Thin Ice from beneath his shirt. “May I have your autograph, Ms. Laverentz?”
Liana: Of course, my dear. Would you like me to sign your hockey stick, too?
Oliver swoons, kisses the book and skates off, in love again.
Sharon: Ah, Oliver, about my coffee and Bailey’s? Oliver? You do remember that auction where I keep threatening to sell you to the highest bidder, you know the one in Outer Mongolia where there are no women? Sharon rolls her eyes. Good help is so hard to find.
So how have you been since the Pennwriters conference, Liana? Unlike most of my online friends and fellow authors, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Liana in person several times. We are both members of the same writing group and attend the annual conference each spring. And by attending writers conferences, we can keep up on what is selling and what’s not. Liana, what do you find most beneficial about conferences?
Liana: I love just being in the company of people who don’t think I’m strange. But the most benefit I get out o f conferences is the networking. And the workshops. I make it a point to attend as many workshops as I can. Coffee helps a lot in that regard, since you don’t get a lot of sleep during a conference, and they’re always feeding you lots of carbs.
Sharon: Tell us about your book, Thin Ice. Many of us have read it—and the blurb and excerpt certainly draw us right into the story. But readers always like to hear an author’s brief synopsis of the book. Do dish.
Liana: Thin Ice is the book of my heart. In it, I believe I created the perfect man—oops, no offense intended, Oliver. But readers keep emailing me to tell me they “want their own Eric.”
Sharon: What made you center your theme around hockey? Are you a fan?
Liana: Yes ma’am. Used to go to games all the time, local, minor league and NHL. I’d take my binoculars and a notebook and pick one player to focus on during the game, and write down everything he did that I might be able to use in my book. I stopped going after they put the Jumbotrons up. It got too loud for me, and distracted me from the game. Then I had my son and couldn’t stay up late any more. He even played hockey for a while, so that was fun, learning about the pee wee league. A lot of my information in Thin Ice about Emily’s son’s hockey team came from those days.
Sharon: Let’s talk about your main characters, Emily and Eric. As authors, we spend so much time doing character sketches we sometime feel as if we know these people personally. Did you find this to be true with the heroine and hero of Thin Ice?
Liana: Yes, I know Emily and Eric intimately. Well, not THAT intimately. You know what I mean. They’re more real to me than a lot of people I know, because I lived with them in my head for months at a time, and know so much about the inner workings of their lives.
Sharon: You chose Minneapolis as the setting for your book. Is there a reason?
Liana: I chose it because I wanted to create a fictitious hockey team in a hockey town that could theoretically support a second team. Minneapolis-Saint Paul best fit my needs. The funny thing is, when I first started the book, Eric’s team was the St. Paul Saints. Then the Minnesota North Stars, which was to be their arch-rival team, moved to Dallas and became the Dallas Stars. So I re-wrote it again. Then the Minnesota Wild moved to St. Paul. (Passion – It’s in Our Blood. What a cool tag line.) So I had to move the Saints over to Minneapolis and go back to my original idea.
Sharon: And having a son, I’m sure you’re no stranger to kids viewing sports figures as their idols. In Thin Ice, Emily’s son considers Eric Cameron his hockey idol. Did you find this part of the story easy to write by putting a bit of your son’s point of view into it?
Liana: Oh, extremely so. My son was the perfect inspiration.
Sharon: And all those awards Thin Ice has won. Congratulations! Tell us how that made you feel? We have a celebrity among us, Oliver!
Liana: It made me feel very gratified, and validated. I had a dream for this book, and to have others accept and recognize that dream just plain made me feel good inside. I really don’t know how to explain it. It’s a very quiet sort of happiness.
Oliver struts out, blushing wildly, thrilled to learn of the awards Thin Ice has won. He clutches his autographed copy a little closer to his heart. He unveils his culinary skills, a perfectly brewed pot of Constant Comment tea and a platter of freshly baked brownies, no frosting. He pours the tea in dainty tea cups and hands Liana a corner brownie, holding it while she takes a bite.
Liana: Oh! Ommmmf…Delicious, Oliver. Thank you so much. Glances at Sharon, patting napkin to lips. I’m not used to being fed.
Sharon: That’s enough, Oliver. Go away so we can continue our interview. Liana, I must ask you about something I heard at a Pennwriters conference. I was pitching to that horrible New York agent, oh boo hiss, the one I was crying about when you met me? But one of the things he didn’t like about my manuscript was that my two main characters had names beginning with the same initial. But since he wanted no part of my manuscript, I decided to keep the names Margot and Michael. So I notice your heroine and hero are of the same initial. Emily and Eric. Did you ever hear this pet peeve from anyone?
Liana: I remember that. You were sitting in the lobby at a little table outside the coffee stand. I didn’t realize you were crying, though. You hid it well. About the names, I have heard of that pet peeve, and it didn’t even occur to me that I did that in Thin Ice until just this minute. I do, however, make sure if I have two males or two females in the same room, that they don’t have the same name. It can get very confusing for the reader.
Sharon: How would you like to be remembered after you leave this earth?
Liana: As someone who somehow made the world a little brighter. I love helping people, teaching them, guiding them, feeding them, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I try do that in my home, my work, my writing, and in my blog.
Sharon: Well, I’m afraid this brings us to the end of another Wednesday Spotlight. Before you leave, I have my three favorite questions to ask you. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could star in any literary fiction, which would it be and why? And last but not least, who would you want playing your romantic hero and why?
Liana: If I could live anywhere in the world, it would have to be somewhere where there’s four full seasons, with winter being the shortest. Maybe half as long as the others. My initial response was to say something like Greece, or Italy, but I think those would be better places to visit, and then come back t o all my comforts of home. I really like my house, and if it weren’t for the long winters, life here would be perfect. Then again, since I now write from home and don’t have to go out into the snow if I don’t want to, life is pretty near perfect.
Now, who would I want playing my romantic hero and why? Let’s see…my first choice for Eric would have been Russell Crowe, because he was so wonderful in Cinderella Man, and I could see Eric in that character through and through, but I just checked, and he’s 45, which would make him fifteen years older than Eric, so I’ll have to go with…Jake Gyllenhaal, purely on looks.
If I could star in any literary fiction? Sorry to say I’m not up on my literary fiction. How about commercial fiction? How about a movie? I vote for My Life in Ruins. She reminded me so much of me. So earnest and driven, with a life that just wouldn’t fall into place for her…until she learned to stop and notice what was right in front of her. Lucky woman. Come to think of it, that Alexis Georgoulis would be a good Eric, too….oh, and Oliver. Of course! Oliver! What am I thinking?? He’s right here in front of me! And he skates!
Sharon: Down, Oliver, down! Back! Back! Thank you for a lovely interview, Liana. Good luck with Thin Ice this hockey season and I hope you come back again. Until then, Oliver will cherish his copy and dreams of starring in the movie version! Where can readers purchase Thin Ice and your other books?
Liana: You can find Thin Ice, Jake’s Return, and Ashton’s Secret in print or ebook at The Wild Rose Press or on Amazon (they’re all available on Kindle. The ebook versions can be purchased at all sorts of ebook sites, but again, I’d recommend The Wild Rose Press. Especially with November being Crimson Rose month, with all suspense titles, like Ashton’s Secret, being 10% off.
Thanks for having me, Sharon. I enjoyed it. Mind if I steal a brownie? And you can tell Oliver that when the movie producers come around, I’ll keep him in mind for the role of Eric!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Introduces a Special Submission Call from Crimson Rose
Jewels of the Night…
WHAT MAKES THIS SUBMISSION CALL SPECIAL?
One submission will be chosen at random to launch the series. The selected contract will be given a premium publishing slot during Crimson month (November, 2010) as well as a featured review and interview with the review site Once Upon a Romance. The selected story will be showcased on the Crimson Rose Page of The Wild Rose Press website and the Behind the Garden Gate blog. The Wild Rose Press will provide an advertising book banner to the author. Once Upon a Romance will also display this book banner without charge for a thirty day period beginning with the day of book release.
· Must involve a blue diamond. It could be a treasure hunt or a midnight thief or… Let your imagination take flight! J
· Must involve a high level of danger
· Can be in any region of the world
· Can be any timeframe as long as the most prevalent elements are romance and intrigue
Stories must be complete. With a word-length between 20,000 and 60,000 words (miniature rose or rosebud length)
Must be an original, never-before published work and you must own the rights to it.
To qualify for the launch, submission must arrive on or before March 31, 2010
Manuscripts must be formatted per standard formatting rules (Times New Roman, 12 pt, double-spaced, 1 in. margins, numbered pages)
Submission call is open to both published and unpublished writers
Story content must adhere to posted Crimson Rose guidelines as posted on the submissions page of thewildrosepress.com
HOW TO SUBMIT:
Email your manuscript as a single Word .rtf attachment to Lori (at) thewildrosepress.com
Put: “Jewel of the Night Series: Manuscript Title: YOUR NAME” in the subject line
In the body of the email, include
Your Real name
Pseudonym, if applicable
Your contact email
Submissions received that do not follow these guidelines will be discarded without notice. The Wild Rose Press is not responsible for submissions lost in cyberspace and not received.
Upon receipt, you will receive a confirmation email. If you have not received a confirmation email within five working days of emailing your submission, please send us an email.
Direct questions regarding this submission call to: Lori (at) thewildrosepress.com.
If you have received receipt of your submission, please do not inquire about status until after standard response wait time. All entrants will be reviewed per our normal submission guidelines which are available at www.thewildrosepress.com.
Thanks for submitting and good luck!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
White Roses in Bloom Cup Runneth Over Week Seven:
Kim W. Congratulations, Kim! I hope you enjoy reading the book of my heart, The Claddagh Ring.
Grand Prize Winner of Cup Runneth Over Contest:
Crystal. Congratulations, Crystal! You hit the jackpot! Enjoy!
Winner of Pumpkin Trivia Contest:
Robyn Lee. Congratulations, Robyn! You got a perfect score and win a pumpkin-scented candle from Bath & Body. Enjoy!
A warm thank you to all who entered the fall contests. Stay tuned for more fun-filled contests and don't forget to sign up for my newsletter so not to miss a thing!
Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.
Love and Blessings,