Sunday, April 28, 2013

Post-Regency & Pre-Victorian – Why I Write In-Between

I am so lucky to be able to host the lovely and oh, so talented fellow Crimson Romance author, Amanda L.V. Shalaby on my blog today. Her new book, Audra, is being released tomorrow, April 29, and she told me there was no place she'd rather be than right here today. She offered to explain her rationale for why she writes in the English time period that she does--or rather, between the time periods that she does.  Take it away, Amanda!

As a fan of both the Regency (1811-1820) and Victorian (1837-1901) Eras, even I was surprised when the majority of the action in both of my English historical novels ended up taking place between 1832 and 1836.  It certainly wasn’t my intention from the start.  It took the accidental placing of a major plot point at the time of an incompatible historical event to shift both stories to the timeline they belonged.

There was a time – it seems so long ago now – that I was an English 19th century history virgin.  As the story was coming together for my first book, Rhianna, I was ferociously devouring all things Jane Austen.  The music, the hairstyles, the clothing, the etiquette, not to mention the ins and outs of daily life in the city, in the country, and the modes of travel.  I read history books and traveled to England, examining every aspect of every corner of life during Jane Austen’s existence, determined to get my facts straight.  Rhianna was going to be an historically accurate depiction of the time in which the story was set – Jane’s time!

Except I up and sent my heroine to school in France during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815).

Blast!  After all that research and study, I thought you could have asked me anything!  When did the Union Jack Flag come into existence? What popular drink rivaled beer?  What card game is the ancestor of bridge?  But apparently, you wouldn’t have been able to ask me if the country was at war, because I shipped homegirl off to Napoleon. 

Are.  You.  Serious.

I learned a lot from that little discovery.  First of all, my history lessons were clearly far from over (though, I have come a long way since then, I promise)!  Secondly, you have to be flexible with your writing.  Sometimes, you have to let the story tell itself – sometimes even when it takes place.  In Rhianna’s case, her schooling in France was critical to the storyline, so the timeframe had to be pushed back (and subsequently, Audra, a follow-up which takes place four years following the end of Rhianna).  I had to let Jane’s time go.  I had to re-focus my research efforts (and had a blast doing it) on a new, in-between time – post-Regency, pre-Victorian – because that is when the stories happened. 

And who’s going to fight that?

Thanks, Amanda, for explaining. Sometimes (often), you do have to let your characters hijack the story and let them tell it for you, research be damned.

Here's the teaser for Audra. Did I mention it's being released tomorrow?

Audra Kingsley, a wealthy heiress, may not have seen much of the world, but she knows exactly how she wants her future to play out - and a coming out ball held at her country estate, Kingsley Manor, would suit her just fine. Her father’s wish that she be presented at St. James in London seems silly since she is to marry her neighbor and childhood sweetheart, Lord Crispin Brighton, but she obliges him.

Audra travels to London with her patroness, the eccentric Lady Sutherland, intending to return home as soon as she has curtseyed to the Queen. Unknown to her, Lady Sutherland is in no rush to leave London before the Season is over and intends to show Audra she has more options in the suitor department than Lord Crispin, a second son.

Audra finds herself surrounded by few friends and is forced to attend parties, balls, and operas - all while becoming the object of a secret admirer’s obsession. As Audra struggles to make her way home to her beloved, plans to compromise her into an unwanted marriage are underway.

You can buy it right now by going here:

News Flash: Amanda's first book, Rhianna, is up for an award by In'D Tale! She'd love to have your vote. Please go here to register and vote for Rhianna.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Meet Lynn Cahoon!

 I had Lynn Cahoon on the schedule for today's blog for a couple weeks now, but little did I know she'd be pulling out some big news just in time for her appearance today. She's just inked a three-book deal with e-Kensington books for a cozy mystery series called The Tourist Trap Mysteries. Congratulations, Lynn! You go, girl. Let's find out a bit more about her now.

Bull Rider’s Brother, Bull Rider’s Manager—I’m sensing a theme here. Tell us a little about your background and how you know so much about the inner workings of a rodeo.

As a new author, I kept reading advice on write what you know.  So two things kept running through my mind, the rodeo that took over my home town every July since I can remember (and probably before that) and a trip to a small town, party rodeo I took with boyfriend before the husband. So the town of Shawnee was born.

I grew up on a farm (which in Idaho terminology means crops and livestock.) Summer rodeos and riding horses were part of my daily life. Although I loved reading in the shade of the old tree more than anything else.

Give us a little glimpse into the daily life of Lynn Cahoon. I’m thinking horses, acreage, long trail rides with your own long, tall drink of water. Am I even close?

A few years ago, yes.  And definitely, I have my own long, tall drink of water.  Sometimes though, having the dh is more like “What cha going to do with a Cowboy?”  If you haven’t heard the Chris LeDoux song, find it.  Now.

***twiddles thumbs**** 

You’re back, good, we can go on. You understand. LOL

So my day?  I work for a large leasing company now after spending four years in health care and twenty in social services.  Really no difference except who is the end customer and what service provided.  I’m up early, try to get off the social media sites quickly, then write or edit for 30 minutes. Quick shower, dress, and a 45 minute commute to the day job. (Here’s where I fit in my reading. I love audio books. LOVE.) Work 8 hours. Come home, watch whatever bad habit I’ve got going in reality shows, (Currently – Fashion Star and Project Runway) and then write for about an hour.

Rinse, repeat. Your version sounds so much better.  Can I live in your reality?

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? When did you start to take it seriously?

2007 was the year of cancer. While I sat waiting for treatments or doctors or labs or life to resume, I did a lot of reading. And thinking. I’d always said I wanted to write. Someday. When someday isn’t guaranteed anymore, then I got a fire.  My first sold piece to a national magazine told the story of freezing corn with my parent and siblings.  I sold a Chicken Soup essay that same month. 

Then I started experimenting with short stories.  And finally novel length projects.

How long does it take you from start to finish, on a project?

I love this question because the answer is ‘it depends.’ Truly.  I mentioned I’m writing a cozy mystery right now.  My plan is to have it completed by mid-May. But that’s first draft complete.  Then it needs to stew for a while and get beta reads.  So I should have it ready to go by my deadline of June 30th.

I can write at least 1000 words a day which should add up to 7-9K a week if I double up on weekends.  Category length book?  Two months.  Cozy?  Three. Single title?  I don’t know.  I’ve never completed one.

Snow day 2013 I wrote 5100 words in a day.  My eyes burned that evening.

What’s next up?

This month (April 20th) I have Temporary Roommates, a novella, releasing from Passion in Print. This story is just a little hotter than my other stories currently out for purchase.  I’m kind of on pins and needles waiting to see how it’s received. 

I’m currently writing book two of a cozy mystery series.  I’ll be posting more updates on my website on that project.

You’re also a fellow SoulMate author with a book scheduled for release soon. Tell us a bit about that one. Is it a different genre from what you’re writing for Crimson?

Marriage Not Included (releasing May 22nd) is probably more like the Crimson Bull Rider series than anything else I’ve written.  The book is set in Idaho and the small farm at issue in the book is based on the one where I lived as a child. The cool thing about the setting is all the restaurants and sites really exist, with different names. So imaging the heroine driving to the laser tag place for a birthday party or out to Murphy for dinner on the river, took me on a journey home.

What’s your writing process? Pantser or plotter? Messy desk with sticky notes or neat, orderly piles? Music or deadly quiet?

Do all pantsers have messy desks?  I wonder if that’s true? Anyway, it’s true for me. I’m trying to learn to plot and I keep cleaning my desk. But it’s a losing battle most days.  Sometimes I have music, mostly just quiet or my husband’s video games. Writing romance while the battle ranges on his computer can be challenging at times.

Information on Temporary Roommates:

When a determined nurse and a hot intern find the perfect apartment, the same perfect apartment, they must find a way to share it for ninety days, without killing each other.
Annie Baxter has her dream job.  Now, all she needs is a cheap apartment close to the hospital.  Troy Saunders knows his life as an intern is all about the long hours. He doesn’t have time to play doctor to some Nurse Barbie.  So when his sister finds a great apartment walking distance to work and next to the best running paths in the city, he’s sold. Two leasing agents, two prospective renters, one apartment.  Can they co-exist without fireworks?

Author Bio and Links:

Lynn Cahoon is a contemporary romance author with a love of hot, sexy men, real and imagined. Her alpha heroes range from rogue witch hunters, modern cowboys, or hot doctors, sexy in scrubs. And her heroines all have one thing in common, their strong need for independence. Or at least that’s what they think they want.  She blogs at her website

Passion in Print website -
Buy Link:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Are Some People Luckier Than Others?

Most people who are familiar with my habits know better than to call me on Monday nights. That's when The Voice is on. I'm fascinated how someone with no experience gets four chairs to turn while some who have been pounding it out for years can't get one. But then again, until they narrow down the group a bit, I'm not so much interested in the talent that tries to get a chair to turn around as I am the bodies in those chairs. To spend an hour or two staring at Usher, Blake and Adam does a romance writer's heart good.

The other night, though, it wasn't just the body that got to me. Usher was attempting to console one of the contestants who wasn't quite good enough. He said the person needed to continue to practice because "luck favors those who are prepared."

And that got me to thinking about writing--another artistic talent where the road to fame and fortune is equally elusive. Oh, sure, we've all heard stories about the author who writes his or her first book ever, on a whim, and it becomes an instant success, is one of Oprah's book club picks, gets turned into a movie and makes the author a million bucks. But, for most of us, it doesn't happen like that. We take classes, hone our craft, talk to others in the industry, slash the crap out of our work, massage, massage, massage. Then, maybe, if luck is favoring us, we'll win a few contests, maybe even a big one. We'll catch the interest of an editor or an agent. We'll be signed to a contract for a release date that's now reaching into late 2014. Then,  we'll wait another six months for a royalty check.

In the meantime, we're blogging, reading books on how to write, building a fan base, attending conferences, learning, always learning. After all, we want to be prepared when luck favors us.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's Tax Refund Time!

When I was in the 9-to-5 world, I always anxiously awaited my tax refunds. Sure, I'd be a good girl and pay down my credit card or other outstanding debt, but there was enough left over for a nice trip somewhere, or I'd be able to go antiquing for some new piece of furniture, or have a decadent spa weekend. I had something to look forward to every April.

Now, even though I get to do what I love every day, the tax refunds are considerably smaller. I just got back the last of them, from the state, and it barely made a ripple in my bank account. I was able to pay for my chapter conference, but still can't get myself to Atlanta in July for the big national one. And I'm debating between new rugs for the kitchen or a replacement side-view mirror for my Jeep. No trips to Australia or a new recliner. Sigh.

At times like these, I take stock of my life and realize others would kill for the opportunities I have. I can sit at home four or five days a week, and pound out my next story, without the interference of a job, a time clock, or a boss. I'm the boss. That sounds real nice. But being the boss also means responsibilities. I can't give myself too many days away from the keyboard or my social media contacts and still expect to sell books. So, the trip down under will wait another year, and I'll make do with the old recliner. My heroine is calling me to finish her story and give her the happy ending she so deserves.