Tabs

Friday, February 26, 2010

Meet Author Amber Scott

Happy Friday! Today, I'm so pleased to have author Amber Scott (occasionally aka Amber Dayne) with me. I'm also pleased that she graciously is also interviewing me over at her blog today as well. So, let's get started....

---------------------------

KS: Hi Amber, it’s great to have you here today. I mentioned you in my blog a few days back, and I’m excited that you agreed to allow me to grill…er, interview… you today about your writing.

Probably the most common complaint from writers is that they never have enough time to write. I know you have two small children at home, yet since I met you four years ago, you’ve had a baby, had six books published (Irish Moon aka The Last Templar, The Best Revenge, Jessie’s Girl, Wanted, Soul Search, and PlayFling) and now you’re also working on screenplays. This doesn’t even count the stories you’ve written which haven’t been published yet. Can you give us an example of your “typical” writing schedule?


AS: I tell you, when you throw articles and blogging in there, too, I get dizzy thinking about it. Thankfully, I’ve figured out how to take each task one at a time, or like Anne Lamott’s book explains, Bird by Bird. With two young children and a husband vying for my attention, I’ve learned how to write in small spurts and with a little one on my lap. A few years ago, I let go of the notion that I should be able to carve out a couple hours a day reserved for writing. Instead, I gave up TV and am constantly back and forth to my computer, to the kids, back to my story, over to dishes and so on. It’s an imperfect system I find I have to tweak and adjust to every day but I’ll get there.

KS: Well, you must be doing something right! I listened to your interview on Romantically Speaking w/ Danielle Monsch
(http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=73538&cmd=tc) and you mentioned your love of writing in different genres (I’m totally on board with you on that!) and I’m wondering what has been your favorite of the stories you’ve written so far, and why?

AS: Thank you so much for listening. Danielle is a lot of fun and made the interview really easy. It was like talking to a great friend. I wish I could pick one genre I prefer! It seems like it’d make the career building part of all this easier. Alas, I go where the itch takes me. I’m polishing an urban fantasy, called Realm, right now, continuing the doomed cupid series Play Fling, and started plus two screenplays, D-Word and Threshold. I’d say the two things I tend to stick to are paranormal elements and comedy but not necessarily together.

KS: Any one particular scene/hero/heroine out of all the genres that has really stayed with you?

AS:
Jessica Hayes in Jessie’s Girl has really stayed with me. I think gay and lesbian fiction is regrettably still seen as taboo but I hope it will become mainstream. Love is love, right? Jessie has such a difficult decision in this story. She falls for the girl her brother, who is also her best friend, thinks is ‘the one’. And Sabrina falls as well. Only Sabrina hasn’t quite come to terms with what ideal life versus real life means. Their story was heart-wrenchingly wonderful to write.

KS: It was a great story and the conflict was very moving. Speaking of conflict, most writers are familiar with the “inciting incident”, “the dark moment”, and the “return with the prize” in stories. I’m wondering if you may have experienced some of those in real life on your path to publication, what they were, and if you’d like to share them?

AS: My inciting incident to novel writing came with my first NaNoWriMo. It took me from dreaming of being a writer to actually writing and I got hooked. My dark moment came when I read Stephanie Meyers Twilight saga and had an epiphany: If I didn’t love my own characters as thoroughly as she clearly loved hers, was it worth pursuing this career? I took a break and realized, yes it’s worth it. The pain, the fear, the lack of sleep. And I stopped writing with that lingering desperation to find some secret formula and simply write for the fun of it now. My writing improved. My return with the prize has to be my first contest win, an Honorable Mention in the Save the Cat! Last logline of 2009! contest. The late Blake Snyder, author of the series and whose site hosted the contest, is my biggest writing hero. I really wish I could have met him.

KS: Congratulations - that's quite a journey, Amber! Where can readers find your work now, and what can we expect next from you?

AS: Right now Play Fling is at Smashwords.com and Scribd.com for a limited promotional release while I submit it to agents and editors. I’ll be placing a couple of freebie novels up on each site as well this summer. My screenplays may join the novels once they’re polished and registered with the Writer’s Guild. I see self-publishing as a great way to earn readers and share the process with them. I’m shopping my urban fantasy, Realm, also but contemporary erotica has been whispering in my ear again. I hope to have another novella completed and submitted to Liquid Silver Books soon. I adore this publisher and hope to continually add to my booklist there. You can also find me at 1stTurningPoint.com, a place for authors to learn and share all about promotion.

KS: Wow, you sure do keep busy, and I look forward to seeing more from you. Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know?

AS: Simply how much I appreciate their taking the time to share my inner worlds. Having a reader feels like sharing a favorite song or movie with someone. I cherish it. As a thank you today, I’d like to offer a free ebook download of Play Fling at Smashwords.com. This is the story of a doomed cupid determined to match a repressed divorcee with her ex. There’s just two problems: a too young, too hot college boy distracting her matchmaking target and the fact that she stinks at playing cupid. Simply enter code: SE77K. It expires March 17th. Thank you so much for having me, Kate. We’ve come a long way and here’s to much, much further!
KS: Here, here! Thank you, Amber. :)

----------------------------------------
So, what questions do you have for Amber? Side note: Amber is generously giving away copies of Play Fling for the time being, but my publisher would kill me if I gave away so many books. :) However, not to be selfish, everyone who comments here and/or on Amber's blog today and wants to be entered to win a copy of Managing Maggie in one of the following formats: .PDF, .mobi/Kindle, or .LIT simply has to state their preferred format in their post.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Meet Author Devin McKee


Everyone, give a warm welcome to romance author Devin MckKee. I'm so happy she's joining me today.


Devin is a member of Maumee Valley RWA in Ohio and her first book, DANGEROUS MAGIC, was released this month with Wild Rose Press. She was also one of my critique partners when we lived in Arizona, and she has graciously agreed to answer some questions here about her new release.

--------------------

KS: Devin, you and I first met a few years ago when you were working on a book about a guy named Riley, whom I seem to recall you saying was the guy you’d most like to take home to mom. Now here we are, and Riley is making his debut into the wider world in “Dangerous Magic”. Tell us a little of how that came about, and what is about Riley that connected with you?

DM: Ah, you remembered that, did you?? Yes, I said that about Riley from the beginning. I loved his casual, laid back manner with that right touch of humor. He’s businessman and cowboy all rolled up into one nice little package. Riley also has that heart of gold who’d do anything for his girl, Laura.

KS: Yummy. :) Tell us what your favorite scene in this book is, and why?

DM:
There were a few, but the one that sticks in my mind was the first meeting. Neither Laura nor Riley expected it to ever be anymore than a bodily collision on the street corner. But, as we know, a lot does develop from that one scene, and I, for one, am glad that it does. They are a fun couple. A cute couple and I hated to see them end as characters.

KS: I also recall reading a start of the sequel to Dangerous Magic about Riley’s brother. Is that something which is still in the works? (I’m very much hoping so, because I loved the bit I read!)

DM: Yes, it is. "Dangerous Waters" is being considered by Wild Rose Press. I’ve got to fiddle with a few changes and resubmit back to Wild Rose Press, but my editor is amazingly confident I can work through the changes. She gave me very specific feedback to what needs changing, and although it isn’t a lot, I still need to set it aside, mull it over, and I know I’ll come up with something.

KS: I have no doubt that you will! What else might we expect from you?

DM: I’m about to complete my third book, "A Heart’s Second Chance". I have not submitted it yet as I am working out the last few scenes. This book has some suspense, but I’d say it is more like a LuAnn Rice type book where there are other characters the story revolves around, other points of view than just the hero and heroine.

KS: Congratulations on finishing up another manuscript! What would you say has been the most exciting thing about going from unpublished to published author, and what has been the most challenging?

DM: The most exciting has been that email that said my foot was in the publishing world door. The most challenging are the changes made, some you really hate to get rid of. Still, what I found was that my editor was usually correct. She saw things that I couldn’t see being to close to the characters and story that made things work and flow.

KS:
I know what you mean. Now, since I'm no Barbara Walters when it comes to interviews, can you tell us where can readers find out more about you?

DM: I’m no techno geek, so my website isn’t completed as of yet, however, I do have a blog site at
http://www.devinmckee.wordpress.com . I seem to be able to manage that and try to update it weekly. Eventually, I’ll have information on what I’m up to, my books, some blurbs about upcoming books, and maybe a question and answer block with other authors. They can also check out other author guest spots I’ve done, and my bio on The Wild Rose Press.

KS: Great! Is there anything else you’d like to say to your readers?

DM: If anyone dreams of being a writer, never give up. That’s my motto. There were times I wanted to, but am glad I didn’t. Find great critique partners and do a lot of networking at writer’s conferences or online. It really does help to get your name out there. Thanks for having me today, Kate.

KS: Thank you, Devin.

----------------------------

I remember reading Dangerous Magic years before it was published, and one thing I remember most about Devin's writing is how she breaths such life and personality into her characters. I'm looking forward to seeing more from her. She never gave up on her dream of being published, of holding one of her books in her hands - and recently had the pleasure of seeing it come true at her first book signing at her local library. Congratulations, Devin!

What questions do you have for her?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Coming soon...

Devin McKee will be my guest tomorrow, discussing her book DANGEROUS MAGIC. Please join us and say hello. :)

On Friday, Amber Scott will join me to discuss writing in different genres and how a busy mom finds time to write. At the same time, she will be interviewing me on her blog. Please stop by both blogs and say hello for a chance to win free ebooks. :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Magical Monday - Stolen Words

I found this over the weekend. It may be familiar to some of you, but it was brand new for me and stopped me in my tracks.

If only you'd remember before ever you sit down to write that you've been a reader long before you were ever a writer. You simply fix that fact in your mind, then sit very still and ask yourself, as a reader, what piece of writing in all the world Buddy Glass would most want to read if he had his heart's choice. The next step is terrible, but so simple I can hardly believe it as I write it. You just sit down shamelessly and write the thing yourself. I won't even underline that. It's too important to be underlined. Oh, dare to do it, Buddy! Trust your heart. You're a deserving craftsman. It would never betray you.

-JD Salinger

Many writers have been told to "write from the heart." But we're also told to write for the market. We've been told to "write what you know." Arthur Levine says to not write what you know, but write what you are, your own unique emotional experience. The difference is subtle, but his blog post about it a few years ago connected with me as surely as did Salinger's words above. (And as soon as I find the link again, I'll post it.)

Amber Scott will be my guest blogger this Friday, and in her interview she mentioned an epiphany she had that was along the lines of the quote above. I won't go into detail about it right now, but leave that for her to tell you on Friday. (By the way, she and I will be visiting each others blogs that day, and you will have extra chances to win free books if you visit both sites.)

Magical Mondays has always been about those transcendent moments in life when you just have to sit back and stare in wonder at the ways in which the Universe works. Finding that passage from JD Salinger was just such a moment for me. It is, as he says, so simple it's almost terrible; hard to believe. I've often leaned toward writing the books I want to read - have even heard the advice to just that before - but what I want to read probably isn't all that popular. But really, how do I know that if I haven't tried?

Oh, dare to do it, Buddy! Trust your heart. You're a deserving craftsman. It would never betray you.


Do you dare?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just Some Good Stuff on a Wednesday Afternoon :)

Fascinating information about self-publishing to Kindle by JA Konrath:

Kudzu and Kindle

The last two books I've read:

Original Sin by Allison Brennan....
http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl/9780345511676.html

Just.... Wow. Fast paced, enjoyable, creepy at times. Good stuff.












Never After by Laurell K. Hamilton and others... Fractured fairy tales at their finest. :) http://www.amazon.com/Never-After-Laurell-K-Hamilton/dp/0515147281

Friday, February 05, 2010

Release Day!

It’s finally here! MANAGING MAGGIE is now available at Cobblestone Press: http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/maggie.htm

While I can’t tell you how happy that makes me, I’d also like to tell you about some friends of mine who were instrumental in my journey to publication.

About four years ago, three shy, unpublished writers met online and agreed to meet in person. Clutching their precious manuscript babies to their chests, they gathered around a table at their local Barnes and Nobles in Mesa, Arizona and began to introduce themselves. They were: a widowed travel agent who was writing the book of her heart; a young wife and mother writing her way through various genres in between diapers and naps; and a divorced, single mom who was taking up writing again after a 14 year absence. At that time, none of their work was available to the public, but they had dreams and determination. And if you look for their work today, you'll find them published under the names of Devin McKee, Amber Scott and Kate Sterling.

In a nice turn of fate, Devin and I have books that are being released on the same day: today! Amber just released PlayFling on her own at Smashwords.com while she's waiting to hear back from editors and agents, and you can find more of her work (also under the name Amber Dayne) at Liquid Silver Books and New Concepts Publishing. She has previously had work published by Cobblestone Press – there is no stopping this woman! This weekend she’ll join six of her local romance authors for a panel discussion at the Mesa Library Red Mountain branch at 1pm. If you are nearby in Arizona, be sure check them out.


You can find Devin McKee's book, Dangerous Magic at the Wild Rose Press. On Wednesday, February 10, the Montpelier Friends of the Library will be hosting her first book signing. If you’re in Ohio and nearby, be sure to drop by – she’s great. :)


In the upcoming week or so, I'll be interviewing Devin and Amber so they can tell you more about their journey in their own words. I'll also be appearing on Amber's blog in the near future as well. I'll post the details as soon as I have them. Really, these are great gals - talented and a lot of fun. I think you'll like them, so please check them out. :)

Monday, February 01, 2010