Writer Interview-Mary Frame

Imperfect Series - High Resolution - Book 4b (1)Describe your day job.

I work for a super-secret government agency. Just kidding! I do work for the government, but it’s not very glamorous. Mostly paperwork—your basic desk job in cubicle land. It is very busy, but I’m grateful for it and I enjoy being able to talk to people and help them on a daily basis.

Tell me about your latest book.

I just released the fourth book in the Imperfect Series—Picture Imperfect. The series consists of interconnected stand-alones. They are all romantic comedies with quirky characters and beta heroes. Picture Imperfect is a twist on the fake relationship trope—instead of falling for her fake boyfriend, our heroine falls for his brother.

Who are your writing role models?

I have so many! My favorite writers who help other writers with craft and storytelling have to be Larry Brooks and James Scott Bell. Larry runs storyfix.com, and he has a ton of information about writing and crafting compelling fiction. Both Larry and James have written excellent books on the craft of fiction writing that I highly recommend. My favorite from James Scott Bell is Write Your Novel From the Middle. For Romance writers in particular, I really love Gwen Hayes book, Romancing the Beat. It’s perfect for learning to craft a compelling and satisfying romance!

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?

I write on my breaks and lunch at work. I get two fifteen minute breaks and a thirty minute lunch break. So that’s an hour of writing time every day—even if I have to break it up into chunks. I also wake up early in the morning to write before work starts. I try to leave weekends and evenings for my family, but periodically I do cheat and spend a bit of time writing or marketing. I also bring my laptop with me to places where I have to wait around, like the DMV, doctor’s offices, etc. You can get things done in small amounts of time if you can focus.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

I love reading and cooking and spending time with my family. I also like traveling (and need to do it more!).

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

One of my favorite quotes is from Jim Rohn, and it states, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” I have it printed up at my desk and I think it’s true for anyone who has any kind of goals or ambitions. There will always be obstacles. We all make choices about what we do with our time, whether it’s watching TV or being on social media. There’s always extra space somewhere, you just have to find it and maybe give up something else. 😉

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Wooing the Muse

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Albert Einstein

A chief complaint among loved ones is that we take them for granted. We walk in the door, world-weary, throw our woes at their feet and wonder why the blank stare. Is it too much to ask for unconditional love in exchange for an earful of problems? Our muse reacts much the same.  Constantly pressing her to produce magic out of thin air against tight deadline and suddenly she stops speaking to you and you’re faced with a blank page or an empty canvas.

While deadlines are important, just like other necessities of daily life like laundry and paying bills they can put a strain on relationships.  A few years ago at a writer’s conference held at the Silver Spur Guest Ranch, some of my colleagues agonized over how to spend their free time.  Should they devote the time to their latest WIP or go horseback riding? “Sometimes you have to prime the pump,” my cabin mate remarked as she slid on her cowboy hat and headed out into the Texas sunshine.  While there were a few anxious souls intent on their laptops in the dining hall, I’m happy to report most of the writers hit the trail.

This Valentine’s Day, make a date with your muse to do something, not tied to a specific project or deadline.  Doing stuff kids like to do is usually a good start, coloring, blowing soap bubbles or losing yourself in a book you loved as a child. Better yet, you can include your loved-ones.

Getting More Mileage from Writing Conferences

Sam's Town

Even with not playing slots, my trip to Sam’s Town for the 20Books Conference resulted in a jackpot of opportunities.

Maybe one of your resolutions this year is to attend a writer’s conference. While conferences are a valuable source of information, often pearls wisdom gleaned from a conference are often left to languish on a laptop or notebook. Here’s a few tips on how to better leverage your new-found knowledge.

  • Create a to-do list based on conference materials. Which includes following up with any contacts that you met at the conference. One of my to-do’s from the 20 Books to 50K conference resulted in an interview with Cameron Coral who then invited me to be a guest on her blog.
  • Share what you’ve learned. Conference re-caps make great blog posts. Courtney Kenney recently posted an excellent re-cap of the 20 Books to 50K conference.
  • Schedule time to review your notes a few weeks to a month after the conference. Do any new action items come to mind?
  • Make a date for lunch or coffee with one of your writer peers to discuss the conference highlights. Additional discussion will reinforce what you’ve learned.  Besides there’s something magic about sharing knowledge over a good cup of coffee or a delicious meal.

Wishing all of you much success with your creative endeavors in 2018!

20Books Vegas

20 BOOKS

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“And everyone’s definition of success is different. Know what yours is before you start on your author journey.”  From 20Books 2017 handout.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a rookie, most writers agree that writing conferences are an excellent way to network and garner tips on perfecting your craft. However with the vast range of abilities and genres out there, it’s impossible for a single conference to be all things to all authors.  Even genre-specific conferences can have issues with logistics as a couple of my romance colleagues discovered when they attended an established romance conference in Vegas.  The duo trekked long distances to the panels only to discover the rooms filled to capacity.  Not to be denied their HEA, the pair spent the remainder of the conference in their suite working on manuscripts and strategizing for their next boxed set.

I’m happy to report a much different experience from 20 Books Vegas 2017.  Unlike many conferences which are focused on traditional publishing, 20Books is all about Indie publishing. What started as a Facebook group in March 2016 by Michael Anderle soon developed into a significant voice in the indie world.

Held at Sam’s Town, the event reflected the frontier vibe of the venue.  No shoot-out’s at Sam's Townhigh noon, but the spirit of people helping each other resonated throughout the conference.   Twenty minutes before Craig Martelle’s opening remarks, the Ponderosa room was already abuzz with discussion.  With many writers staying at the venue, networking was often as simple as waiting for the elevator.

I returned home with my green spiral bound notebook packed with ideas, business cards and a daunting to-do list.  I can’t say that I’ve got it all figured out, but I now have a better sense of direction thanks to 20Books.

Writer Interview-Maureen Bonatch

EvilSpeaksSoftly_w11335_750Tell me about your latest book.

Evil Speaks Softly is the first book of The Nightwalkers series. It’s a paranormal romance that explores the possibilities of what goes bump in the night. The first person narrative allows the reader to uncover family secrets, struggle with hopes, heartache and love and seek to break an ancient curse along with our strong heroine.

Here’s a short synopsis:

They were never supposed to meet. Fame came easy for Liv by following in the footsteps of the female writers in her family. The cycle repeated for decades…until Liv changed the story. Her villain doesn’t like the revision—and he isn’t a fictional character. In his story, the bad guy always wins.

They were never supposed to find love. Liv never questioned her demanding nocturnal muse, or the strange incidents in her old, family home until she met Gage. His job was to watch her from afar, not reveal the truth about the curse and the stories of the dead.

They’ve broken all the rules. Together they unravel secrets as they strive to stop the cycle. Liv’s ability to find love, and protect her loved ones, hangs on the fickle whims of the dead—and they’ve got nothing to lose.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on edits for the second story in my The Enchantlings Series tentatively titled Not A Chance as well as gearing up for NaNoWri (National Novel Writing Month) this November.

Who are your writing role models?

There are so many writers that I admire. Some of my favorites that inspire me include Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?maureenbonatch

I start my day really early. Getting up around 4:30 gives me a little time to work on my writing before I get the kids up for school or go to the day job. I take my laptop practically everywhere and sneak some time in for writing on lunch breaks, commercials, waiting for the kids during activities, or if I’m watching television.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

Besides reading, of course, my favorite hobbies include music and concerts, bicycling on the beautiful trails around my home and winding down with a glass of wine and a movie.  Plus since I can’t get enough writing, I’m also a freelance writer specializing in healthcare, careers and mental health.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

We all get the same amount of time everyday. You can find the time to do what you love even if it’s only a few minutes a day, or if you have to give up a little sleep or a television show. Thank you so much for having me here today.

Buy Links for Evil Speaks Softly

Amazon:

 The Wild Rose Press:

 Barnes and Noble:

 Kobo:

 Google Play:

 iBooks:

About Maureen:

Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line.

 

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Writer Interview-Rachel Leigh Smith

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Tell me about your latest book.

My newest book is the fifth novel in my A’yen’s Legacy paranormal sci-fi romance series, Hidden In Ashes. It does stand alone, but I recommend starting with the first book, My Name Is A’yen. It’s free everywhere.

The series is set in the far distant future, after we’ve made contact with a humanoid alien species. As is humanity is wont to do, we stole from them and enslaved them. A’yen’s Legacy is the story of their fight to regain their freedom.

 What’s next for you?

In the fall, I’m joining the world of shifter and mythology-based paranormals with my first shifter romance, To Hold A Siren’s Heart. Sirens from Greek mythology, shifters created by the Egyptian gods, and a blood feud between the Greek and Egyptian gods of war. It’s a lot of fun to write.

 Who are your writing role models?

I don’t know that I have role models so much as me being a serious fan girl of both  Nalini Singh and Sherrilyn Kenyon. I’ve met Nalini twice. Her especially, if I can write half as good as her one day I’ll be over the moon thrilled. Her imagination astounds me, and I love her almost poetic dialog descriptions. That woman can capture more emotion in a handful of words than any other author I’ve read.

 How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?

I actually have a very charmed life. I’m single, no kids except for my cat, and live at home with my parents. Due to chronic health issues, I only work part-time. I’m also a pretty extreme introvert, so I don’t go out much. I don’t have much difficulty balancing things most days, mostly because there’s not a lot to balance right now.

When I do have to balance things, it’s because of the aforementioned health issues. Fibromyalgia to be specific. That’s what steals my energy and makes life interesting in a bad way sometimes. I learned a long time ago to guard my down time and not bend my schedule to others’ whims. The physical price is never worth it.

What are your other passions outside of writing?

I don’t really have any, to be honest. Not ones that I’d qualify as a passion. I have several hobbies I enjoy, including counted cross-stitch, knitting, and coloring. And in the summer, floating in the pool with my mom and sister. We talk about all kinds of stuff out there.

I’m part of multiple pop-culture fandoms ranging from Doctor Who to Star Trek: The Next Generation to Sherlock to Orphan Black, but I don’t actively participate in any of them online. I just enjoy the shows a lot. Though I have been to a comic con to see Matt Smith from Doctor Who, and Alan Tudik from Firefly. And the opening night midnight showing of Star Trek: Into Darkness.

But passions? Nope, just writing. Putting words on the page, dreaming up characters, learning more about the craft, it’s truly my happy place and where I’m most fulfilled.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

If you have a dream, go after it. Don’t let work commitments or any other kind of time suck derail you. Chase it until you catch it, then hold on for life. You won’t regret it.

You can find out more about Rachel at her website: http://www.rachelleighsmith.com/

My Name Is A’yen, A’yen’s Legacy #1MNIA 200x300-7-30-16

They’ve taken everything from him. Except his name.

The Loks Mé have been slaves for so long, freedom is a distant myth A’yen Mesu no longer believes. A year in holding, because of his master’s murder, has sucked the life from him. Archaeologist Farran Hart buys him to protect her on an expedition to the Rim, the last unexplored quadrant of the galaxy.

Farran believes the Loks Mé once lived on the Rim and is determined to prove it. And win A’yen’s trust. But she’s a breeder’s daughter and can’t be trusted.

Hidden rooms, information caches, and messages from a long-dead king change A’yen’s mind about her importance. When she’s threatened, he offers himself in exchange, and lands on the Breeders Association’s radar. The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his heart.

2015 TMCC Writers’ Conference

new TMCC logo 1pms PC - WDCEToo often writers avoid writing conferences because they’re not ready, their work is not finished or the cost is too high in terms of time and money.  If you’re a writer in the Reno area (or live within driving distance), it’s time to stow the excuses, grab a notebook (or your laptop) and head to the TMCC Writers’ Conference .

This one-day conference is now in it’s 25th year. A writer in her own right, Kathleen Berry always assembles an impressive line-up of publishers, agents and writers.  This year’s panel includes, romance novelist, Kristen James and literary agents, Elizabeth Kracht and Gordon Warnock. Conference topics cover the craft and business of writing.

The lunch break offers the opportunity to network with other writers or the panelists. You can pre-order a box lunch for an additional cost or bring your own. Private one-on-one meetings with the panelists are also available for an additional fee.

I’ve attended the conference in the past and have always come home inspired with a notebook full of ideas.

Here are the details:

When:  Saturday, April 18, 2015

Where: TMCC Dandini Campus-Reno-NV

Cost: $119 (register before March 10th and save $15)

wdce.tmcc.edu or call 775-829-9010