Friday, August 31, 2012

Book Birthday! Bayou Blue Releases Today!

Whew! Well today is the release of the third and final book in my Shades of Hope series.Bayou Blue hit the ether and the shelves and I am so excited!

Here is the blurb: 

Caught between revenge and redemption...
Sheriff Jake Ayers wants his parish to heal from the tragic bombing that left his town in mourning, but with Riley Drake back in town, that’s not going to happen. Jake cares for the beautiful, determined reporter, but Riley is causing no end of trouble. Most of the people want her dead. Emotions run deep in the bayou, and Jake’s are no exception. Keeping a level head and an indifferent heart is going to be as difficult as keeping Riley alive.

With her family shamed, and her faith shaken, Riley carries a heavy burden. She returns to Bayou La Foudre Parish to clear her brother’s name, but her mission is difficult. The people of the town are convinced of his guilt, and her only ally is Jake Ayers. Both frustrated and fascinated by the parish’s brooding sheriff, Riley hopes she's found someone to trust with her burden…and her heart.

Gotta say, it was so fun to try out those alligator hush puppies and crawfish gumbo as research. Surprisingly good, people! So my journey through the mysterious waterways of the bayou was so fun.

I have been super busy with the preparations for this release and now that its finally here I think I might need a bubble bath or something.

I'm busy at work on my new series though, so I won't be resting for long. So excited to share this special day with all of you!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Four Score...The Best of...Call Me Ishmael

So next week is the first day of the creative writing class that I will be teaching. Its an elective so I have room to play around and do some fun things like Free Writes, Flash Fiction, maybe some Vignettes or what not. I realized a few days ago that Blogfests are an awesome way to practice different styles of writing and I've grabbed some ideas from the many going on right now.  From best action sequence, funniest dialogue, scene painting, all the aspects of writing all floating together on the wispy ether of the internet. Score!

Rabbit Hole, Oceanside
I decided to work on story beginnings on the first day because it is easy to recognize a lot of them even if you are a high schooler that only reads because you are forced, under pain of bad grades and ruining your future, to read. 

But beginnings are a good place to start, as is said often down the rabbit hole..."Start at the beginning and when you get to the end...stop." Well said.

sweet baby "novel'
That got me thinking about my own beginnings as an author and how a simple assignment in a college writing class became the seed of my first completed novel.  

It was not the first one published...because it was vast (over 100,000 words) and meandering (a plot that spanned the globe) and a little of everything which made it a whole lot of nothing in particular. 

But it was an amazing learning experience and my sweet baby still sits on my bookshelf in all its yellowed printer paper glory awaiting me to pay it some attention.

Alas, I've moved on, but I still consider revising and slashing and burning, quite frankly, a lot of it in order to get it into submission shape.

What were your beginnings?  Did you start out with a bang like the amazing literature offerings we all know or was more of a soft rustle that eventually became your writerly roar?

Until next time...Go Write!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pugs Are Not Manly...Right?

Well, its official. Only a couple more weeks until Bayou Blue, the last book in my Shades of Hope series is released.  Kinda bitter-sweet for me because I so loved writing this series, but I'm totally excited for my Gothic Romance series to debut in January!

On the promotion front, I'll be over at Family Fiction later this month, then The Romance StudioFiction Finder did an interview with me earlier in the month. It was a lot of fun and the questions were entertaining so hop on over if you'd like.

So now I'm going to really commit to finishing my second Gothic romance set in and around the mysterious Noble Island.  I'm looking into adding a dog. This is after an interesting conversation with my illustrious critique partner, Erin Spock, who just went and conquered RWA's Anaheim conference. Despite late starts, the wrong hotel, and an actual RIOT in the area, she emerged victorious with several requests for material!  Woo hoo for Erin!!

Brooding Hunk
Anyway, the dog. She felt it would soften up my dark hero and provide both a talking point and a connection to his past with my heroine. Seems legit. 

Most of her suggestions on. I just know, KNOW, though that I will spend a lot of time deciding the kind of dog a brooding gypsy prince would have.  So, you know, if you have any suggestions...

<---This is what I've written Siyah to look like. Sort of a scruffy Mr. Cavill.  Love that chiseled jaw...but I digress.

Chocolate Lab
I'm thinking...chocolate lab?  Or weimaraner? The both have that earnest, loyal air about them. I've known people with both breeds and they love to swim, fetch stuff in the water, etc.

But... I asked an actual boat living person and they suggested a pug because they don't jump very high, need a lot of space, or require a whole lot of exercise.   Which may make sense but...a Pug?

Not very manly. Not even aesthetically pleasing, no offence to you Pug owners. What if it's eye pops out. That totally happened to my friend's neighbor. Apparently its a problem with them. Bleh!  

Not sure if I'll give in to reality or just go with the dog most likely to hang out with Siyah and melt the heart of a wounded but hopeful Raven. 

I'll keep you posted. Until next time...Go Write!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Inside Look at the 2012 Laurel Finalists

This Thursday, Aug 16, Clash of the Titles will announce the 2012 Laurel Awards winner. 
It's a much anticipated day, and COTT judges have three amazing finalists to choose from.

Our judges are readers who have no connection to the publishing industry. It's the love of an engaging and spiritually uplifting (or challenging!) story that brought them to the COTT judges bench, and we thank them for it. The judges are basing their scores on the first two chapters of  the participating novels, and from what we hear, they're loving their job!

Sound like something you would like to do? You can!

The Olympia (our new contest for unpublished writers) is just around the corner, and with more and more authors participating, we're going to need more judges! If you're interested, follow this link to learn more. It's simple, fun, and rewarding. And it's not everyday you get a chance to influence what might very well be the next great novel to hit your book store's shelf!

Soon, one of the below novels will take home the 2012 Laurel Award. They've each gotten rave reviews from our judges, and we'd like to share a bit of them with you. Here are the first 100 or so words from each of them. Enjoy!

Waterfall by Lisa T Bergren

We paused on our hike, panting and wiping our upper lips as our guide—an old, Italian farmer who owned this land—chopped down a small sapling, clearing the overgrown trail. “Ecco, vedi,” he said, pointing at the ground. See, here?

“See that?” my mom cried, pushing the tree branch back farther, squatting beside a slightly sculpted limestone paver. Not really expecting a response, she spoke more to herself—or was it Dad’s ghost she addressed?—than to us. But the hairs on the back of my neck prickled with echoed excitement.


The Redemption by MaryLu Tyndall

1665 – The Caribbean

Charlisse bolted upright, her heart pounding. The ship’s tiny cabin rocked back and forth. She grabbed the bedpost to keep from being tossed onto the floor. Books flew off the shelves. A wooden chair tumbled across the room, crashing into the far wall. The ship bucked. She jolted off the bed, then plunged back onto the hard mattress, smashing her elbow into the bed frame. Pinching tremors shot up her arm. What was happening?

Charlisse tried to remember where she was. The merchant ship. She had bartered passage from London to the Caribbean in search of her father—a man she had never met—and the only real family she had left in the world.

A Harvest of Hearts by Laura V Hilton

Something brushed against her hair, just above her left ear. Shanna Stoltzfus swatted at it. When she touched flesh, she jumped, her attempts to pray forgotten, and raised her head from the steering wheel in time to see maple stained fingers, complete with calluses and a small cut.

The hand pulled back.

“Is something wrong? Are you hurt?” a deep voice asked.

She looked up into incredible gray eyes belonging to a drop-dead gorgeous Amish man. He grasped his straw hat in the long fingers of his right hand. His light brown hair shone with natural-blond highlights. She’d paid big bucks for streaks like those. Strong, clean-shaven jaw. Nice. Too bad he hadn’t been around when she was Amish.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pinterest Potential...100%

Time management is becoming an issue for me at this juncture. I am gearing up for the release of my third book, my home-school room is in transition from the wreck it was last day of school to what I hope will be a bastion of learning adventure for my incoming Kindergartner and Preschooler.  Fingers crossed cause my two youngest are super squirmy!

So, between choosing and ordering curriculum for my three teens, designing a creative Preschool program, and trying to get my syllabus together for a creative writing class I'm teaching...I'm a little tired.

Thank goodness for the help of my amazing husband, David. He's been doing renovations on the schoolroom during his summer break. Having a hubby that is a teacher is immensely helpful!

Well, hopefully, when things get into a rhythm here, I'll move into a writing groove. I'm going to try doing a set amount of pages instead of a set amount of hours this time because apparently I can spend hours on Pinterest without even realizing it...but man, can I potentially make super yummy cupcakes!

Speaking of said internet time-suck...I've been seeing books pinned on there and was wondering if anyone had good results with that.  Not sure how I feel about it yet...?

Stay tuned for links to my upcoming interviews as Bayou Blue releases!  I'm so excited despite needing to main-line caffeine at the moment. 

Now Go Write!
Photograph by Saaleha Photograph by AntwerpenR