Category Archives: Guests

The Most Important Element, Part II

Hi, Fellow Readers:

Today, my guest is Texas author Kathy Ivan and her story of how she came to writing. As you’ll see,  she’s an avid reader, as are most writers. I don’t know a single successful author is isn’t also a dedicated reader. Kathy’s story is testimony that it must be in the genes.

So check out the short synopses of her books. And take a good look at her delicious covers designed by the awesome Kim Killion. Don’t they speak to you? Don’t you just know that a great read resides behind these covers?

Anna kindly asked me to participate in her blog and tell you a bit about myself, my writing, and the lovely covers the amazing Kim Killion has created for two of my books.Headshots_001 

I’ve always loved reading.  I was one of those kids in school who would finish the entire year’s reading list in the first five or six weeks.  Getting lost in books, those wonderful stories, was the best part of my school day.  Plus I was gifted with an absolutely amazing mother who instilled in me a love of reading from a very early age.  She was a voracious reader herself, especially of romances.  Most of my fondest memories are of my mom with her nose buried in a romance book.  Genre did matter to her as long as there was a happy ending.

So, I’ve always been a big reader.  I dabbled with writing some in high school, took creative writing classes and did very well in them, but put all that aside when I graduated and moved on to the 9 to 5, Monday through Friday world of sit-your-backside-in-the-chair-and-work life.  It wasn’t until early 2005 when I was invited to a book signing by a co-worker (the lovely and talented Jane Graves) that the writing bug struck again.  Shortly after that book signing I joined DARA (Dallas Area Romance Authors and RWA.  And I’ve been writing ever since.  J

My first published book was Desperate Choices, a romantic suspense that won the International Digital Award for Long Suspense.

 

Following are blurbs about my newest books.

Second_Changes_800SECOND CHANCES:  Can Dreams and Destiny . . . Lead to a Second Chance?

Welcome to Destiny’s Desire Lodge, where The Fates can manipulate the threads of life at their whim and the Fate-Keeper battles to unite the predestined souls of true love. 

Wracked with guilt, Denver firefighter Ryan Jackson is haunted by dreams of his dead brother, asking for something . . . impossible. 

Unwilling to let the love of her life slip away, Rose Jackson will do anything to discover why her husband has become distant and withdrawn — no matter the cost.

Will an early gift, an unexpected trip, and Rose and Ryan’s love add a spark of magic to destined souls wanting a second chance?

Buy:  http://amzn.to/GIx1uB Losing_Cassie_800

LOSING CASSIE: 

Welcome to Destiny’s Desire Lodge, where The Fates can manipulate the threads of life at their whim and the Fate-Keeper battles to unite the predestined souls of true love. 

Firefighter Jake Stone lost the love of his life when his high school sweetheart disappeared. The arrival of a mysterious letter promising answers draws Jake to Destiny’s Desire. Cassie Daniels has been running for seven long years. At Destiny’s Desire she might finally have a chance for a happy future, if she can face the evil from her past. When Fate and Destiny Collide . . . Can Love Survive?

Buy:  http://amzn.to/19kbELh

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:  http://amzn.to/1ateyzt

 

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The Most Important Element…

As some of you know, I sometimes invite other authors. So today, my guest is Caroline Clemmons, author of western romance and adventure set in Texas.

I’m also featuring my cover designer, Kim Killion. Most marketing gurus tell independent authors that the most important element to selling a book is a good cover. If you can’t create one yourself, it’s worth the money to hire someone who can.

Taking that advice to heart, I was lucky enough to stumble across Kim. The day I found her was one of happiest in my independent publishing life. Not only is she a great graphic designer, even though I’m pretty sure she hasn’t had time to read my books, I feel we’re on the same page. To show my appreciation for her and her talent, for the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring some of my author friends who have also had Kim design their covers.

Below, read how Caroline Clemmons came to be an author and take a look at some of the beautiful covers Kim has designed for her.Caroline Clemmons - Dreamin in Dallas - 4-1-11

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved the written word. My dad, who had taught me to read, told me a good storyteller could create a story about anything. As examples, he mentioned a grain of sand. Where had it been, how did it get where it is today? Or, he added, a fly on the wall—what has the fly seen and heard? He encouraged me to read and to write.

CarolineClemmonsFront_TheMostUnsuitableCourtship_POD_1000pxThose early lessons stuck with me. I loved English classes and then took journalism to express myself. I won awards as editor of our school paper, and those encouraged me to stick with that type writing for many years. I even worked for a small newspaper as a reporter and featured columnist. The urge to create my own stories was relieved by composing long, long, anecdote-filled letters to my family.

What started me writing fiction? Oddly, it was my mother in law. On one trip to visit us, she brought a grocery bag filled with old Harlequin and Silhouette novels. She insisted that if I could write letters like mine, I could write romance novels. Secretly, I’d had an idea in my head for some time, but hadn’t the confidence to write it into novel form. My husband encouraged me and I launched into the story. I had never been to a writers group or taken formal creative writing classes. Do I need to tell you the story was awful? Not the basic idea, which I used later, but the higgledy piggledy execution.

Finally, I heard about and joined Romance Writers of America (RWA). Attending a local chapter, I heard excellent workshops. I learned about point of view, characterization, plotting, and the myriad of other tools for creating a story. What a shock to my muse.front cover MUH

I temporarily put aside my original book. Another contemporary novel idea hit me as my family was driving home from visiting our parents in West Texas. By this time, I’d also taken classes in creative writing. I sold the second novel in 1998. Hooray, I was a published author.

My dad had shared tales of his family coming to Texas from Georgia in 1876 and some of the family adventures in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Probably that’s why I enjoyed history, especially Texas history, so much. My brain finally got the message. Why not write historical novels set in late 1800’s Texas? Historical novels require immense research, of course, but remember I love history. Reading about the Old West was pleasure. I consumed it like chocolate, and I adore chocolate.

One thing I’ve realized, I’ll never run out of ideas. What a relief! In the future, I’ll be writing contemporary, paranormal, and historical novels. And now I’m stepping into audio books, always stretching to keep up with the times. But no matter what authors write, a good cover is one key to success. This is why I’ve switched from my Hero husband and me designing my covers to Kim Killion.

FrontcoverTheMostUnsuitableWife_POD_1000pxWhether an author is published with a “big six” New York publisher or self published, the author must be active in social media. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, WattPad, and LinkedIn. I have a website, I blog three times a week, and I’m on three team blogs: Smart Girls Read Romance, Sweethearts of the West, and Cowboy Kisses.  Yes, I’m everywhere.

Picture me banging my head against my desk. Yes, that’s how most authors feel about promotion. I genuinely love and am grateful to my readers. Although authors love meeting readers and love them for buying our books, we resent the time social media requires for promoting our work. We just want to write! Who knew we’d need an MBA in marketing to do so?

So now, thanks to getting acquainted with Caroline’s great covers, you’ll recognize her books instantly. And you’ll know the name of the cover artist as well as hers. And that’s a good thing. If you like tales of Texas with a dash of authentic history, you’ll love Caroline’s books.

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Meet Brooke Moss…

And take a look at her debut book, THE “WHAT IF” GUY.

Brooke is a new writing friend I’ve only recently met. Her debut book, a chick-lit/romance has been just recently released and she has graciously agreed to come here and talk to us about it. It’s a feel-good story about a courageous heroine starting over and lost love recaptured in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. Brooke’s writing sparkles with humor and warmth and you’ll find yourself chuckling more than once. You’ll probably want to put her on your keeper shelf.

As a new author, she has been asked about a million questions and one of them is why she chose a small town setting. Following are her comments.

Why Write About Small Towns?

By Brooke Moss

            When I set out to write what turned out to be my debut novel, The What If Guy, I considered a handful of settings.

I thought about having it set in a big city. I am a fan of big city romances, but alas…my knowledge of the big city (any one of them) is limited. I know the city of Seattle, and that is the setting for my trilogy coming out next summer. I needed some place fresh! Some place that nobody has heard of before.

And then I had it….my own hometown of Fairfield, Washington. Population five hundred residents. A place not reached by any freeways. A town with not one stoplight. It was the perfect setting for my new book. Who in the world would expect to run into their long lost love in a town the size of half a postage stamp?

Autumn Cole certainly never expected to.

One of the great bonuses that I discovered when I decided to write about the town of Fairfield was the amazing cast of characters that I’d tapped into. People that I hadn’t appreciated as a kid. Town gossips, quirky people who—in any other town—would seem peculiar, and of course, the misunderstood townies whose roots are so deeply woven in the town’s history that one without the other makes no sense. These are the types of people I wanted to write about.

Another reason why I wanted to base The What If Guy in Fairfield, Washington, is because of its stunning beauty that is often overlooked. When most people hear the words “Washington state”, they picture lush green trees, rain, fog, and miles and miles of Pacific rainforest. However, the great thing about Washington state is, it offers desertland and the rolling, golden plains of the Palouse as well. I wanted to paint a picture of the beauty that is found in eastern Washington, and make it as desirable as the Twilight saga made the lush western side of the state for so many visitors.

I love my home in the city. I love the convenience it provides, and the sound of horns honking and trains blowing their horns in the distance. But every once in a while I watch my children playing in their fenced yard, or in their city playgrounds, and feel a tug in my heart.

They will never experience the joy of running and running for miles, barefoot and without limits. They will never hear me calling them inside for dinner from our front porch clear across town. They will never be lulled to sleep by the lullaby of frogs an crickets. These are details about my childhood that a treasure, and mourn the fact that my own kids will never experience the same things.

A book with a small town setting provides an additional character: the town itself. And I, for one, am charmed by all that comes with its presence in a love story.

My name is Brooke Moss, and my debut novel, The What If Guy, is now available from Entangled Publishing. It tells the story of single mother, Autumn Cole, who is returning to the miniscule hometown of her youth, to reluctantly reclaim her role as daughter of the town drunk. Things become even more complicated when she discovers that her son’s history teacher, Henry Tobler, is none other than the college sweetheart she left behind, but never stopped loving.

The What If Guy is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Diesel Books, Books on Board, and at your local bookseller. Grab a copy today, and tell me what you think. Reader feedback is priceless, and I am anxious to hear who YOUR what if guy is.

Find me elsewhere on the web, at my websiteblogTwitterGoodreads, and Facebook.

Fondly,

Brooke Moss

This is a taste of what’s in store for you when you read THE “WHAT IF” GUY. And now for the best treat of all, we have some excerpts!

Here’s what happened in the prologue:

Seattle, Washington

“Why are you doing this?”

The desperate, sad look in Henry’s eyes made my heart ache. His brown hair fell
across his forehead in rain-soaked waves, and his eyelashes gathered in dampened
clumps. Henry’s eyes, the same shade of gray as the weeping clouds above us, searched
my face for answers I was too ashamed to give.

“What we have is real, Autumn.” He pulled me against his chest. I felt his heart
pounding through the wet fabric of his soft, flannel shirt, and we trembled in unison,
standing on the front steps of Henry’s apartment building. “Why do you want to break
up? Don’t you love me?”

“Don’t do this,” I said weakly. My eyes filled with hot tears that threatened to
undermine my brave façade. When he grazed his fingers across my cheekbone, swiping
away a tear, I instinctively turned my face into his hand, breathing in the warm,
outdoorsy aroma of Henry.

My Henry.

He kissed my cheeks, my temples, my shivering lips. My resolve started to
crumble. Strength. I needed to show strength. I needed to walk away before I ruined his
life, before I hurt him any more than I already had.

“Tell me that you don’t love me,” he whispered into my drenched hair, tangling
his fingers in my curls. “Tell me, and I’ll let you go.”

I choked on a sob. I did love Henry. The past two months had been the best
months of my life. Not once had I dreamt of meeting someone who made me feel safe,
peaceful, beautiful, and deliriously happy, the way Henry Tobler made me feel. I wanted
to be with him—and no one else—forever.

“Of course I love you,” I said.

“Then why are you doing this?” His voice cracked.

I shivered in Henry’s arms, not only from the cold, but also from the burden I

bore. Pulling back, I raised my eyes to meet his. “I….I’m pregnant.” My words were
barely audible over the sound of the pounding rain and passing traffic.

His face morphed from shock to anger, then settled on absolute sadness. We
hadn’t slept together yet.

“It was from before,” I explained lamely, feeling dirty as the words came out my
mouth. Henry’s shoulders drooped. He released me and a shadow fell across his eyes.
That said it all. His girlfriend was pregnant with someone else’s child.

Henry deserved better than me.

I had to get out of here. I backed away, down the cement steps and onto the
sidewalk. I rubbed my chest, my heart breaking just beneath the surface.

“I’m sorry,” I said, words quavering. “I’m so sorry.”

I turned and ran. Away from love.

And this is what happened after that:

I knocked on the door of room five. Elliott briefly slipped his hand into mine and
whispered, “Love you, Mom.”

I squeezed his hand. “Love you, too, buddy.”

“Come on in,” a male voice called.

The classroom looked and felt exactly the same way it had when I was a kid,
including the judgmental stares from the students. With his back to the class, the teacher
scribbled a makeshift map on the whiteboard at the front of the room. All of the students’
eyes shifted to Elliott. Some looked at him with interest, but others already glared with
disapproval. I wished that El hadn’t been wearing his yellow and black checkered vest
and a bow tie when I’d thundered down the stairs to find him waiting at the front door,
tapping his foot. What had been stylish in his funky Seattle school was a blinking neon
sign declaring I’m an oddball at a small country school like this.

“Um, hi?” Elliott’s voice cracked. “I’m Elliott Cole, and I’m, uh, new.”

Pride swelled in my chest, and I beamed at my son. I leaned down and whispered
in his ear. “You’re awesome, El. I love you.”

He gave me a stiff nod. “Thanks.”

“Welcome, Elliott, it’s good to have you.” The teacher spoke in a low, gravelly
voice.

I straightened and smiled at the teacher. “Thanks…”

All the oxygen left my lungs, and I stood paralyzed. The class became silent.
Elliott’s teacher and I stared at each other, dumbfounded—mouths open, hands half-
extended, eyes round and wide like headlights set on bright. My insides vibrated like the
engine of an idling grain truck. All in response to the teacher, who gawked at me with
what appeared to be the same mixture of shock and disbelief.

Elliott’s teacher was Henry Tobler.

“What are you doing here?” I whispered.

I regretted my words the moment they came out. I should have said something
eloquent or profound. Something that would have made seeing each other for the first
time in over a decade less awkward. As if that were remotely possible.

Henry’s eyes, that rainy-day shade of gray, narrowed, and a line formed between
his eyebrows. “I work here.”

I couldn’t help staring. Henry looked like a teacher, but no teacher I’d ever had at
Palouse Plains. He wore a grayish-blue button-down shirt, untucked, and a worn, olive-
colored sport coat. His wavy, brown hair was cut shorter than I remembered. Even at ten
o’clock in the morning, he sported a sexy five o’clock shadow that made my stomach
twist. I remembered those whiskers well.

He still resembled the young man I’d made eyes at across the lecture hall during
college, so long ago—his face chiseled and rugged-looking. Back then, a perpetual smile
had teased at one side of his mouth. Now, I saw no hint of that smile. But his eyes still
revealed his emotions, no matter how hard he tried to hide them. I wish he’d outgrown
that, because his eyes screamed, I’m not happy to see you.

“Y-you’re a teacher now?” I stammered.

“I’ve always been a teacher.”

“Right, but…”

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See? I told you you’d like it. And if you want to know what happened after that, you’ll have to read the book. <huge grin>

Thanks for stopping by and please leave us a comment.

Anna J

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