Interview With Daryl Devore

_WHiB_CoverI sat down with Daryl Devore to talk about her book, What happens in Bangkok!

 

When did you realize or decide you wanted to be a writer?

In grade 10, I wrote my first book. So, I would say I’ve wanted to write forever.

What has been your best experience as an author so far?

Meeting other authors and fans.

What sort of challenges have you faced as a writer? How did you overcome them?

Who said I’ve overcome them?!?!? I am not good with edits.

How do you research and plan your books? Do you find outlining helps or hinders your process?

I don’t outline. I’m a pantser. I just go for.  If I need to research, it’s done on the fly as the book is rolling along. With What Happens in Bangkok – I’ve never been there – I need to know some street names and the transit system name and what they call their money. I research as I write.

Have you learned anything really cool or interesting while researching your books? What’s been the weirdest research you’ve ever had to do?

Ok – let me just say – I’m an erotic writer. One book dabbled into BDSM – so you can let your imagination run wild with what I researched.

What advice would you give to new writers in the field?

Find a critique group. Other eyes have to go on the chapter/book. It isn’t perfect. Even as a multi-published author, I send my books to my cps (critique partners) and betas before sending it to the publisher.

Have you made any writing or reading themed New Year’s Resolutions?

I don’t make New Years resolutions. If I make them, I have to stick with them. It’s hardwired into my personality. So I save myself a lot of stress and don’t make any.

Tell us a little about your writing nook! Favorite tea/coffee/writing snack?

I have a little corner all to myself, next to a wood stove to keep me warm on cold Canadian winter days. Generally, I’ll have a Diet Coke and sometimes chocolate. Ok, maybe more than sometimes. Ok, maybe I’m munching on some now as I write this.

Of all of your own characters, who would you most want to date?

I think Darien from my latest. The world sees the arrogant rock star, but I know the other side of him and he’d be fun to talk to.

What project are you currently working on?

I’ve been fighting it out for years – a medieval romance with a prince- a dragon and a woman with a secret. Talk about a book that doesn’t want to get written! I’ve written 4 other books and I still can’t get from chapter 2 to chapter 3. Never knew dragons were so difficult.

What’s next for you?Teaser 8_Willing to let her

What Happens in Bangkok is Book 1 of the Two Hearts One Love Trilogy. Book 2 – Darien’s Desire is at the publisher. It’s gone through round one of edits and will get sent back to me soon for final edits. So, it’s publishing debut is not too far away.

Book 3 – Forever, is already written and is waiting for Book 2’s publication then I’ll send it in.

 

Daryl Devore lives in an in old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, a large salt water aquarium full of fish, a black cat named Licorice and some house ghosts. Her daughter is grown and has flown the nest. Daryl loves to take long walks up her quiet country road, or snow shoe across the back acres and in the summer, kayak along the St. Lawrence River. She has touched a moon rock, a mammoth and a meteorite. She’s been deep in the ocean in a submarine, flown high over Niagara Falls in a helicopter and used the ladies room in a royal palace. Life’s an adventure and Daryl’s having fun living it.

 

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About the Book! 

Tell us a little about your new release: What happens in Bangkok

Take an international rock star. Put him in a private club in Bangkok, Thailand. Have a rival triad attack the club. Everyone – except the rock star is killed – and now he’s running for his life.

Take a small drag queen club where a brother of the rock star performs nightly as Madonna. Said brother figures out the perfect disguise for his younger sibling.

To save Darien’s life his brother asks, “Can you walk in high heels?”

Teaser 1_Girl gets itchesWhere did your inspiration for the book come from?

I was driving down to NC to visit my daughter and a song came on the radio. Next thing I knew, I had 3 chapters written on my laptop. Luckily, my hubby was driving at the time – lol.

Did you outline the story, or dive right in?

Card carrying pantser. Winging it all the way.

How did your characters come to life?

They exploded onto my laptop.  The characters just happened.

Did you do any cool or interesting research for this story? What did you learn?

Lol –  drag queens. I researched them and their lifestyle. One thing a queen has to do is tuck. A certain male anatomy part must be hidden so the lines of an evening gown aren’t disrupted. That was an hilarious video to watch.

What was your favorite part of working on this story? What was the most challenging?

I got stuck part way through writing this book and put it away. Then one day in yoga class the solution hit me. Write a sequel. Once I decided I could tell the whole story that way – What Happens in Bangkok flowed right to the end. I started on book 2 – and hit a wall and discovered there was a book 3. Book 4 tried to assert itself, but I got everything done in 3.

See – a total pantser – had no idea I was even going to write a trilogy.

What’s next for this story – is it part of a series? When does it come out?

Book 2 and 3 are written – so the trilogy is done. Book 2 has gone through first edits. Waiting on final edits from editor then it’s cover and galleys etc.  When it is close to publication, I’ll send book 3 to publisher. All 3 should be out this year.

 

Share an Excerpt:

“Or both.” She popped a salsa-covered chip into her mouth.

“Awesome.” Darien dipped a chip and bit into it, trying not to look like he couldn’t tear his gaze from her. The elegance of her moves as her fingers unfolded and reached for a chip. The curve of her wrist as she scooped some salsa. The jolt in his body when she opened her mouth and licked her lips. Watching the chip disappear past her teeth was too much for his control. His cock sprang to life. He’d never be able to look at chips and salsa the same way again.

The waitress placed the tray of monkey wings on the table. Erika squealed as they both reached for one. The happiness spread from her face to her body. Her nipples were visible, pressing against her dress. The pressure in his slacks increased. Her lips parted. He stifled a groan. She slid the piece of meat into her mouth and lightly bit into it. Her teeth grazed against the chicken meat, pulling it from the bone. A dribble of sauce escaped. She flicked her tongue across her bottom lip, closed her eyes and heaved a delighted sigh. Sweat ran down Darien’s back. Yes, the wings were spicy. But the vision across from him was twenty jalapenos hotter. She picked up another wing. Darien trembled, grabbed his drink and chugged half of it. It did nothing to cool his soaring temperature, or reduce the swelling in his pants.

The visual of her lips wrapped around the chicken wing morphed into her lips around his fully aroused cock. As she pulled the next wing from her mouth, he swallowed–hard. He wiped his brow. “This is hot.”

“Not too hot for you?” She placed her index finger in her mouth and slid it out, licking off the sauce.

“Not really, but I just might have to take a cold shower.” He grabbed another wing. She reached for one. Darien shuddered. He never knew eating Mexican could be so erotic.


eXtasy Books

Amazon

Amazon – Paperback

Amazon Canada

KOBO  

Book Strand

 

Other books by Daryl Devoré

Brace For Impact erotic crash romance

Billionaires vol 1 – erotic billionaire romance

FL.E.S.H. – erotic contemporary billionaire romance

Capri’s Fate – erotic contemporary fantasy

Black Dorn – erotic medieval romance

Sexy Red Hood – twisted fairy tale

A Kept Woman – erotic contemporary billionaire romance

 

Books by Victoria Adams (Devore’s other pen name)

Circles Trilogy – Dancing in Circles – NA contemporary romance

Circles Divided – NA contemporary romance

Circles Interlocked – contemporary romance

 

A Guy and A Girl – NA contemporary romance

 

Red Tulip – flash fiction with a hint of mystery

 

Herculean Effort

An MRFW Author Post

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20, 000.

I have written 20,000 words in a single day. My wrists burn, carpal tunnel snaking a life-long promise up my forearms and into the hinges of my shoulders. My neck cracks and doesn’t crack back. My brain is all used up.

I do not care.

adult-1850177_1920I have written 20,000 words in one day. I feel exhausted and invincible and intimidated of the editing stage, but proud. Writing – word count – this is where I shine.

I write quickly, I always have. Before National Novel Writing Month was mainstream, the only people who did it were the nerdy kids who liked English class too much (cough) were the only ones who did it. Back then, I beat the clock 7 out of 8 years I tried, my very first attempt as a Freshman in high school, handwriting in a binder that never again saw the light of day. I wrote voraciously, with manic focus and flying fingers, and I got far, told the stories I wanted to tell.

The writing has always been the easiest part. Of all the things I have learned as a writer, in my quest for understanding the craft I have devoted my life to, I never really had to learn writing. I learned the mechanics and grammar and passive voice. I continue to gobble up all I can on research and outlining and plotting and characterization. My toolbox grows larger, the more I realize that I don’t know. But actually putting words to the page, that’s never really been a problem.

I suppose I’m a lucky writer. I write in big, steaming chunks. When I’m in the middle of a brand new first draft, the day feels incomplete unless I’ve put down 4,000 or 6,000 words. I’m lucky, because a lot of the stuff I don’t know can be learned – researching techniques and character elements, that’s craft. I can learn craft. If I were to pick one element of writing to make really, really easy for myself, it would be the writing. After all, as Nora Roberts once said, ‘I can fix a bad page, but I can’t fix a blank page.’

The problem is, I’m not nearly so fast at fixing those bad pages as filling them.

mistakes-1756958_1920Don’t get me wrong. After nearly two years of self-publishing and another nearly two years working with independent presses, I’ve grown adept at self-editing and recognizing the superior intellect of my editors. I’m a good editor, I’d hazard to say I’m even a really good editor – especially of my own work. But I’m a slow one.

It’s kind of hard to be a Type A artist sometimes. When I’m writing free flow – the best kind of writer’s high – and the words are coming faster than I can type them, the obsessive element of my nature shuts right down. Go for it, it says, we’ll iron this stuff out when you’re done.

But then I’m done and I suddenly get very, very invested in the minuta. I’m looking up the word origin dates and the distance between cities. Suddenly that whirlwind adrenaline junkie who popped off 10k in an afternoon is replaced with a school marm who wears her reading glasses too tight and makes noises without ever moving her lips as she edits your essay in class.

I understand that being a fast writer and slow editor go hand in hand. When I take a step back, I’m pleased with the way things landed, as far as my writing process is concerned. But that doesn’t change the fact that coming off a writer’s high-speed, progress, progress, progress, to the editor’s methodical, detail-oriented task is frustrating. It is.

Sometimes, I need to simply remind myself that this is the writing process. We struggle and we excel in different areas. I can write a whole book in half the time it will take me to edit. Okay, step one, book is written. That ain’t nothing.

I do my best to treat writing like a business. It keeps me focused and involved and I don’t get to rely on writer’s block or lack of inspiration to take a day off. But sometimes, too, it’s important to remember that writing is an art, and art takes time, room to relax and figure out where it needs to be. As authors, we’re often very hard on ourselves. I mean, 20,000 words in a day, that’s nuts. But we are the very central point of our operations. If we don’t treat ourselves well, there’s no book at all.

I’ll do my best to keep that in mind for next time.♦

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Runaway Writer

For the author whose writing process is a little out of control – An MFRW Post 

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I am a Gemini. Anyone who has ever known or spoken to a Gemini will understand why this is an important place to start when discussing my writing process. We are known for doing several things all at the same time, which gives us a sense of personal satisfaction, while making everyone in the vicinity totally, completely nuts. Add that trait to the creative mind, and you’re looking a powder keg – and I say that with pride.

batch-1867552_1920Being a Gemini, I’m usually knee deep in several projects at the same time. Right now, for example, I’m in the editing process on a historical romance novel with one publishing house, currently writing a short story, editing a novel for another editor and revamping a Special Forces series of six books. This is just the writing and editing faction – don’t let me start on the marketing.

In this regard, every writer is different. For some authors, one book at a time is the way they work best, delving deep into a storyline and staying there until the book is complete. For others, jumping between tasks is a way to prevent writer’s block, keep progress moving quickly and stay entertained ourselves. There is no right or wrong way to accomplish the final product, and I have great respect for authors who do it differently than myself.

All this being said, because I am a mad scientist writer with my hand in several pots all at the same time, I need to be organized. Really freaking organized.

Over the last three years, I have learned more and more about myself as a writer – what types of outlines work for me, how to better build unique characters, what role setting, time period and profession play in my novels. These styles may or may not change, but I have finally settled on certain elements that really work.

One of the most important of these truths is that I’m a visual worker.

As of right now, I have a bulletin board on my door, covered in stickies with book titles, series titles, notes on napkins, scrap paper and the backs of receipts. One pin simply say politics, sports, Norse, brother. I can promise you I know exactly what that means, even if it’s gibberish to anyone else. This my outline, coming soon, in the process board, which gives me an overview of the chaos that is my current writing deck.

post-it-notes-1284667_1920In the middle of the room is an even bigger bulletin board, with the outline for my six book series, split up into heroes, heroines, villains, the plot line of each book (number five is very, very blank right now), and other fundamental pieces of information I’ll need readily available during the writing process. Over the years, I have learned how important it is to have details for a series at the ready. It is a waste of time to spend half an hour looking through old documents for the first book in the series to figure out a character’s eye color or sister’s name. Since I’ve never done a series as large as six books before, I’m taking all the preventative measures I can.

I have a small whiteboard leaning against the wall, with my four current WIPs outlined for quick reference, and I recently cleaned off the massive whiteboard I had set up downstairs, with the scene by scene for my full-length novel, which needed serious editing. My mother could not have been happier to see it go.

In addition to the whiteboards and pin boards, I have two notebooks for my biggest series at my right hand as I’m sitting at the desk, and a journal in my front drawer for any new story ideas that don’t belong on the board just yet. The room is a little messy, and my desk is definitely up there on the chaos factor, but I know where everything is, which makes the whole writing process so much easier.

I’ve never been a pantser, but I definitely used to be more big picture. I’d outline my book in large strokes – here he robs the museum, here he meets the heroine, etc. I left all the research, characterization and background for the actual writing process. It turns out that doesn’t work for me. Recently, I have begun to understand that the more I know going in – the character’s looks, their history, their personal challenges, in addition to setting and plot points large and small, the better the book is going to be. For me, as a Gemini, researching during the writing process is a detriment to progress. I get distracted by what I learn and end up on some Internet search adventure.

Now, I research, I characterize, I outline, I interview. I know how my hero and heroine sound. I know what they regret from their childhood, what they dream about, what they see in each other. I look up pictures of the city where my story takes place, determine the route the characters take and learn all I can about their favorite hobbies or professions. It has made me a better writer and my books better reads. Not all of the information shows up in the novels – of course it doesn’t. But the details and knowledge I have of these characters, settings and storylines, give them more depth, more three dimensionality.

I’ll probably always be working on several projects at a time. I used to think I was rushing through them by doing so many, and I probably was. But now that I have a better understanding of just how important research and outlining is to my books, the organization and preparation will allow me to turn out the best novels I possibly can.

Sure, it gives me more to do, but I feel like I owe it to my readers and my characters to take the time the story deserves, besides – Geminis work best under pressure.♦

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Seven Guilty Pleasures – A Writer’s Daily To-Do List

An MFRW Authors Post

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The hardest part of being a writer. There are a lot of answers to this question, especially depending on where in the writing process you are, but the truth is that my challenges as a writer usually come back to one thing – procrastination. I’ve used the line ‘but I work better under pressure’ more times than I’ve worked under pressure. Guilty of plucking my eyebrows, cleaning my closet and reading feminist think pieces, if I put half as much time into work as I did finding ways out of it, I’d actually be getting somewhere.

All that being said, here are a few of my favorite ways to muck off, when I should be writing.

Eating chocolate-covered espresso beans.

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This one is pretty self-explanatory. I mean, they’re delicious and full of fun kinds of energy that I can use for not-writing! 

Listening to dirty audiobooks. 

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My face listening to dirty scenes in public places. 

Watching Criminal Minds. 

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I legitimately tried to write this one off as research for a while but even I wasn’t buying it. 

Looking at pictures of the cast of BBC’s Musketeers. 

Two gifs because TRY AND ARGUE WITH ME, I DARE YOU. 

Reading Harry Potter FanFiction. 

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FanFic made me the smut writer I am today! (Side note: Supernatural + Fourth Wall = Smashy, smashy.) 

Looking at spring dresses on Pinterest/ModCloth.com. 

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Except I don’t have any money and I spend most of my time in oversized sweaters and slippers. 

Buying Books. 

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Ya had to know this one was coming! I just can’t seem to stop myself. 

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Interview With Sarah Doughty

I sat down with Sarah Doughty to learn about her writing process, new books and more!

unnamedWhen did you realize or decide you wanted to be a writer?

I think in some ways, I’ve always been a storyteller. I remember, as a kid, acting out these elaborate scenes that ran through my head. Later, when I was old enough to formulate complete sentences, I started writing them down so I could look back at them later. Regrettably, most of those notebooks were lost over the years.

What has been your best experience as an author so far?

Learning and expanding my knowledge in poetry really helped me to compound as much detail and story content into my fiction without all the wordiness. Without it, I’m sure the grueling editing process would take much longer.

What sort of challenges have you faced as a writer? How did you overcome them?

Before my first novel, I never successfully completed anything longer than a short story. All my manuscripts were plagued with questions, like “How does it end?” or “Where do I go from here?” which usually resulted in an abandoned project. I knew that “pantsing” my way through a bigger story wasn’t feasible. So I needed to figure out what would work for me.

How do you research and plan your books? Do you find outlining helps or hinders your process?

I developed a system to create a world so I knew the ins and outs of so-called rules and structures. Like for instance, how the hierarchy of a vampire nest works. And then I detailed the characters, adding information as I plotted the story. I don’t start writing until I know exactly where the story is going from beginning to end. Otherwise I’ll end up derailing the whole thing.

Have you learned anything really cool or interesting while researching your books? What’s been the weirdest research you’ve ever had to do?

I researched ancient Egyptian mythology and other different types of mythical creatures, blending actual lore with my fictional world. On the other hand, I studied martial arts and certain types of weaponry and how to use them correctly.

What advice would you give to new writers in the field?

I cannot stress this enough: new writers need to develop a system they can stick to and create a system that works for them. This includes writing every day. Yes. Every. Day. The longer you go between writing, the further you separate yourself from your world.

Have you made any writing or reading themed New Year’s Resolutions?

After almost five novels and two novellas from the same universe, I’ve reached the point where I don’t feel like the whole project will derail if I don’t write on a daily basis.

Tell us a little about your writing nook! Favorite tea/coffee/writing snack?

My office is a part of my home’s open living space. Separation from my family gets pretty lonely, so I’ve found being near them, with my headphones on when I need to concentrate, works well.

What project are you currently working on?

I’m finishing up the next novel in my Earthen Witch universe, called Safe, which continues Aisling’s story, the main heroine.

What’s next for you?

Once Safe is released, my next project will be the next novel in the universe, Stronger Than Blood. But this time, it’ll follow a new heroine, which will send a fan-favorite vampire on his own journey. I can’t wait to get started on it!

Author Bio:

Most Downloaded Author Sarah Doughty conjures words from the ether. It’s like breathing — her weapon — her therapy. It allows her to weed through all the pain, in an effort to find herself again. She’s shared her books online for anyone who wants to read them — for free, to offer someone else hope, or the same, temporary escape as they did for her.

When she’s not writing, she spends time with her husband and peanut butter-loving little boy, or fueling her addiction as an urban fantasy and paranormal romance-reading junkie.

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Only Cake is Moist [MFRWAuthor Post]

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I have no problem with the word cunt. In fact, I’m of the firm belief that it can be empowering, when used in the proper context, and I never hesitate to find the proper context. Cock is a fun word, preferred over dick, personally, and I’m ever the fan of throbbing and pulsing. In the whole wide world of romance novels, there are words that show up again and again – and for good reason. It’s pretty clear, and often distracting, when authors try and get overly creative with their euphemisms for the goods.

banana-1238714_1920I recently stumbled upon a list of Christian words for penis, and it’s truly remarkable what’s out there – God’s Harpoon, Oozing Whistle, Meat Banana and Tangy Tart Trombone, just to name a few of the ones that will make you scrunch your nose up in confusion. Let’s be clear on this point – there is no meat in bananas, and I don’t think we should start putting it there.

For the most part, I’m pretty committed to the old-fashioned way of things. There are a handful of good words for male and female genitalia that keeps the reader in the moment, without making the moment a comedy sketch. But of all the words that routinely show up in traditional and contemporary romance novels and erotic scenes alike, there is one I cannot abide.

Moist.

Gag.

Moist isn’t an uncommon word, and I’m sure we’ve all come across it before. It’s divisive too – many readers and writers are on the same page as me, when it comes to the role of the word moist in romance novels. In my humble opinion, there’s only one thing in the world that benefits from being moist – cake. In any other circumstance, moist makes me think of a basement, where the walls are a little slippery and you definitely don’t want to startle whatever is living behind the old cabinet. Literally, when I search moist under Google Images, mushrooms showed up. Mushrooms! Literal fungus. Moist feels damp, and damp is not the sensation anyone wants when a hot CEO or brazen cowboy is going down on you. 

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This can be moist! 

I know there are likely some words I use that would squick various readers. Depending on the heat level of the book, there are more or less words that might make you stop and frown. The euphemisms are a wonderful part of reading romance, but you don’t want them to take away from the moment. I once read a Scottish highlander novel where the metaphor for his penis being a gun went on for five pages of bad puns. At that point, I’m decidedly not thinking about the book’s heat level.

But I find that back to basics is usually the safest way to go, and that’s why most people stick with it – though let me be clear – I really don’t mean health class basics. When I hear the word vagina in the middle of a hot and heavy scene, it freaks me out. Penis, too. It’s a clinical term – takes the intimacy and mystery out of the moment and puts me back in high school, all in one, damning fell swoop.

All this being said – I would rather read the word vagina a thousand times than moist even once.

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Working Title [An #MFRW Post]

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When it comes to titles, I am all or none. Some days, the blessed title deities generously bequeath the perfect name for my current work in progress, simply out of the kindness of their hearts. Other days, the well runs dry, the ground cracks below my feet, and I beg for the simplest drop of inspiration, but none is to be found.

That’s what family is for.

Book Author Type Writing Read Font TypewriterRecently, in the RWA publication, The Romance Writer’s Report, I read a fascinating tidbit about how certain writers work by speaking through their ideas aloud. They don’t actually need much response or reaction from the people they’re talking to, but once they give literal voice to the ideas of the character development or the sticky plot point, the problems they’re experiencing become more clear and much easier to solve.

I am absolutely this type of writer. My dutiful boyfriend stares at me, glassy-eyed, waiting for the final diatribe about my heroine’s tragic past, responding when appropriate, asking enough questions to make it seem like he’s listening. It’s a necessary evil, and I am forever grateful to have the support and love of the people I live with. It especially helps that they’re all creatives, designers, actors, writers, themselves, and therefore find the task of helping me develop my books a little less arduous than most.

That goes for titles too. You should see them get down to it when I have to, God forbid, actually name a character. Much like title names, the character either come up to me and introduce themselves with a smile and a huge, or they linger in the corner, brooding and pissed until I come up with their name myself. Character names are tough, but arguably easier than book names. Character names exist, it’s just a matter of figuring out the right one.

Book names, on the other hand, do not. (And if they do, whoops, back to the drawing board.)

So we sit around the dining room table, laughing over the world’s worst puns. (Last week, my boyfriend and I combined our myriad talents to waste a significant amount of time coming up with cat-themed literary classic book puns: Purrsuasion, The Whisker of Our DisCattent, Purrlock Holmes, Northanger Tabby and Hairy Potter and the Order of the Felines were the best of the bunch…) They give me great input, but more than that, it affords me the chance to hear how the words sound out loud, how they might work in a series, whether they sound too good, (and in that case someone already has it), onward and upward. Thinking aloud is good, but doing it with an audience is a surefire way to find what you’re looking for. Most of the time.

Startup Stock Photos

It’s still a struggle. I was working with a series – book three needed a title – and my brother was being less than no help. I wanted to have the same cadence of title for each book, but the third one, about a biologist and special forces operative, was bringing up nothing good. Jack’s favorite – Infect My Heart. ‘Cause everyone likes a little venereal disease to go with their hot military man. (No thanks…)

Credit where it’s due, the family was a massive help when it came to The Full Swing series, among others. Duel of Hearts was from my dad, and I think he gets the credit for The Adventurous Heart, as well – might have been a combined effort.

The point it, sometimes books are easy. Sometimes the characters come forward without hesitation, the plot is seamless, the black moment convincing. Those are the days when being a writer is fun, simple, like the movies make it seem. But that’s not the norm. These plots and characters and themes and challenges are a real, honest struggle. Even if your whiteboard outline is sound and your hero and heroine’s backgrounds are strong, you will still have trouble. You will still have a book that you can’t possibly find the title for.

So you talk through it. You find the people willing to fire names or bad puns at you over dinner. You welcome the input from different walks of life, different mindsets, those people who don’t know your characters yet. For me, it’s my family and my boyfriend and a handful of really remarkable friends and editors who not only keep me on track, but sometimes drive the car for me. The more I write, utilizing the skills and knowledges of those around me, the more I realize I can’t do it alone. Not all of it.

Some days, you get a title, a book, and characters worth loving. Other days, you have to ask for help. It’s a part of writing, and it’s a part of life. Plus, who doesn’t like having dinner conversation entirely comprised of puns?

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Redheads, Road Trips and Romance, Oh My (Mary)! [An #MFRW Post]

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Mary and I met when we were seventeen, volunteers at a winter weekend for the summer camp we attended and where we would spend several years working. It was only a matter of time before our paths would cross, given the size of the camp and the summers we spent sharing a bunkbed, but I firmly believe we would have found each other, no matter the circumstances. Mary is a friendmate, and I am lucky to call her mine.

13If you’ve never worked as a summer camp counselor, then you can’t understand the pressure and responsibility, or how close you become to your co-workers. For eight straight weeks we slept little, worked lot, and survived on the snippets of adult conversations – treasures found late at night, or around the morning coffee pot. Mostly, they were in front of foggy mirrors in the staff bathrooms, while we combed clay out of our hair and scrubbed tie dye from our skin.

We spent those two shared summers working in the arts and crafts barn, singing, creating, and causing general chaos. I believe our friendship hit a true peak just before our second summer, when we took a week-long road trip to New Orleans, one of many such adventures to follow.

I have known Mary for over seven years, but it feels as though our friendship was forged in the fires long before our time – only not from brimstone or ancient witchcraft, but romantic comedies, road trip horror stories, love, book, and career advice, and so much more.

In addition to being so many things to me, Mary is my unconditional inspiration and support in the world of the romance novel. I can honestly say I owe my career to her – and Eloisa James, whom I would never have picked up, were it not for Mary’s suggestion. I checked out my audiobooks on her library account. We shared romance novels over the long summers at camp and far beyond, read historical romance aloud on our way to Louisiana and North Carolina, then got drunk and read them even louder on the beach together, all fueling a love for the genre and strengthening a powerful friendship.

The very first ‘romance novel’ I ever wrote was a fantasy short story involving Mary and a mutual friend of ours that I would go on to self-publish. It is not the only book I wrote with Mary as my heroine, and I’m sure there are more to come in the future. She has provided me inspiration of character, plot construction and research. Her influence fundamentally altered the course of my last novel, and it turned out far better for it. Just this week, we fangirled for two hours straight, as Eloisa James, Lisa Kleypas and Damon Suede spoke at a panel in Manhattan.

Mary is a remarkable woman, and I marvel at her strength, endless kindness and sense of self. She is the friend who I can buy underpants for, who will climb into bed with my boyfriend and I to watch sitcoms, and who will always, always be there when I need her, even if I don’t know it. I owe her my career and so many wonderful (and scary) memories. Admittedly, we can get ourselves into trouble if we’re not careful, but Mary inspires the committed, intelligent, healthy female friendships that I strive for in my books. I only hope everyone is lucky enough to find a Mary of their own.

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Interview With Nancy Fraser

Nancy Fraser stopped by to talk writing and tell us about her recent release, Kilty Pleasures! 

When did you realize or decide you wanted to be a writer?

Grade 8. I had a fantastic English teacher who encouraged me to let my muse loose. My plan was to write short stories and poetry. Romance was never part of plan until the day I made a crack to a co-worker that “anyone can write one of those”. She dared me to try and, three chapters later, I was hooked!

What has been your best experience as an author so far?

Probably my first book signing. I was so overwhelmed that someone wanted my autograph that I had to keep a box of tissues at hand.

What sort of challenges have you faced as a writer? How did you overcome them?

I’ve had a start-stop-and start again career. I sold my first book in 1996. The next year, I was divorced and had to go back to work full time. I still wrote but not to the quality/quantity needed for publication. I didn’t sell my second book until 2006, followed quickly by 4 more sales. Then, I took another break in 2009 for health issues, and didn’t sell again until 2012. My 25th, 26th, and 27th book come out later this year, so I’m slowly catching up.

Have you learned anything really cool or interesting while researching your books? What’s been the weirdest research you’ve ever had to do?

Probably the weirdest research I’ve ever done is nailing down 1920’s profanity and the names for female and male body parts for my award-winning erotic romance novellas, The Muse and The Mysterious Mrs. Pennybaker.

Tell us a little about your writing nook! Favorite tea/coffee/writing snack?

In 2014 I moved to a larger condo so that I could have a home office. I love my creative nook and have one wall dedicated to my framed book covers and awards. I’m definitely a coffee drinker … 4 or 5 cups a day! I try not to snack at my desk because I find I overdo it because I’m engrossed in what I’m writing.

What project are you currently working on?

Right at the moment, I’m putting the finishing touches on a vintage (1970’s) retelling of the Wizard of Oz for my publisher’s new “Stranded” line. The premise of the series is that the hero and heroine find themselves alone/stranded. What better example of being stranded than Dorothy in Oz. The title of my story is Waking Up in Oz.

What’s next for you?

I have a new vintage Valentine’s-themed novella coming out in February. Paging Dr. Cupid is set in the mid-1960s and is the sequel to my 2016 Valentine’s story, Only Yours. Then, in the summer, I’ve got a new release that’s a real departure for me. It’s an erotic futuristic/alien romance titled The Vessel.

perf5.000x8.000.inddKilty Pleasures: 

When Ronan MacAlister returns to Glencoe, Maine to see to the affairs of his late uncle, he’s immediately reminded of why he’s stayed away. The small town is definitely not his cup of tea, and he can’t wait to settle the estate and be done with the cold winters. The only bright spot is the feisty farm manager, Aileen. All grown up now and far from the shy and reserved girl from his childhood, she exudes a steamy sexuality that has Ronan and his unruly body on full alert.

Aileen MacDougall had a huge crush on Ronan when she was a teenager, content to adore him from afar whenever his family came to Glencoe for a visit. Now he’s back, and although the circumstances are less than ideal, she’s eager to find out if her fantasies can live up to reality. But he holds the key to the future of Glencoe in his hands as well as her own hopes and dreams.

Can being trapped together in a remote cabin during a freak snowstorm melt his heart? Or will they discover they have differences even kilty pleasures can’t overcome?

Excerpt #1:

Angus gave another nod toward the table laden with food. “Why don’t I have her make you a plate? You can grab a spot close to the door and still greet your guests.”

“Thank you. I’d appreciate it.”

While he waited for his food, Ronan studied the townsfolk milling around the brightly lit, albeit stuffy, hall. They came from all walks of life. Farmers, store owners, and bankers. The one and only barber…who happened to be the town’s mayor as well. A cross section of exactly what made this place click and the main reason he could never coax his uncle into leaving.

Time and again his gaze returned to the beautiful woman near the far window. She fanned herself with a slim, delicate hand and he wondered how it would feel to have those same fingers caressing his skin. She was a goddess among a room full of middle-aged farm wives and gray-haired spinsters.

When she opened the shutters to let in some air the evening breeze blew her long, reddish blonde hair from behind her ear. The disheveled strands brushed her creamy cheeks and fell like a curtain over her slim shoulders. She tossed her head from side to side, jostling the silken threads until they came to rest across a pair of voluptuous breasts.

He gave his perusal free rein. Her trim waist flared into nicely curved hips. Perfect to hold onto during a long night of hot, satisfying sex. The thought made his palms itch.

~~~

Excerpt #2:

Ronan retrieved the bottle of cabernet from his uncle’s stash and pulled the cork. Aileen was giving him some enticing signals…at least it seemed like it. Given his body’s immediate reaction, he hoped he wasn’t reading her wrong.

He busied himself with building a fire from the logs and kindling in the basket beside the hearth. Once he’d finished, he crossed the great room and drew the curtains closed.

Setting a romantic mood, are you? Ronan gave his pesky conscience a nudge and turned the lock on the cabin door.

The soft ‘ding’ of the microwave proceeded the heavenly aroma of pungent spices. Aileen reached for dishes on the shelf above her head, the stretch of her arms outlining her curvy figure, lifting her lush bottom. His stomach growled with an appreciation that had little to do with food.

“So,” he asked, “what’s for lunch?”

“Beef stew, salad, and homemade biscuits with butter and honey. I put the kettle on for tea and there are sodas and bottled water in the fridge.”

“I’ve decanted the wine. It should go nice with the stew.”

She graced him with another of her smiles. “We can eat here at the table or over by the fire whichever you prefer.”

He nodded toward the low table and pillows in front of the fireplace. “Why don’t you take the food over? I’ll pour us some wine and be right behind you.”

They enjoyed their meal in a companionable silence. Like Aileen, the stew was complex with many layers of flavor. The simple salad was all business and the biscuits and honey a sweet ending. The meal, like the woman who’d made it, stirred his senses and begged to be tasted over and over again.

He set his dishes aside and pushed the table a few feet to the left. Relaxing back against the pillows, he pressed the wine glass to his lips and turned his attention to the sexy beauty sitting across from him.

The glow from the fireplace played off Aileen’s silken hair, turning the reddish blonde highlights to pure gold. He wanted nothing more than to wrap the gossamer strands around their naked bodies.

She took a sip of her wine and closed her eyes. When she darted her tongue out to catch an errant droplet on her lip he nearly lost the last increment of his composure. Not having her…all of her…was no longer an option.

Buy Links:

Amazon | B&N | WildRosePress

Note: Kilty Pleasures will be on sale for half-price through the publisher link on release day, December 16th.

About the Author:

Like most authors, Nancy Fraser began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.

Published in multiple genres, Nancy currently writes for four publishers. She has published twenty-two books in both full-length and novella format. In November 2016 Nancy celebrated twenty years as a published author and will release her 25th book in mid-2017.

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy splits her free time between her five grandchildren. She’s also an avid traveler with Las Vegas being her favorite destination. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.

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