Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Meet Marin McGinnis

My guest today in My Writing Corner is Marin McGinnis. Tell me a little of your writing journey.  How did you get started?


I started writing a mystery with a friend from work about 25 years ago, but it never went anywhere; I stuck it in a file drawer and forgot about it. Then one day 6 or 7 years ago I got a story idea stuck in my head, so I sat down and started to write. I’ve been writing ever since.
Did you always want to be a writer?

No, definitely not. I didn’t truly want to be a writer until I hit my 40s. I didn’t even read romance until my 30s.

Your new book is Stirring up the Viscount. How did you come up with the idea for it?
Stirring Up the Viscount is a story of a woman who gathers up the courage to fake her own death and flee her abusive husband. She takes a job as a cook at an English country house, hoping to earn enough money to go to America. Instead, she falls in love with the heir to the estate. Viscount was inspired by a few things: Downton Abbey, a BBC series called The Victorian Kitchen, and from somewhere in the dark recesses of my brain, the Julia Roberts movie Sleeping With the Enemy.

Your story is set in the Victorian era. Why did you choose that particular time period?
I love the Victorian era! It’s such an interesting period. There were so many technological advances during Victoria’s reign, and society changed drastically as a result. There is the aristocracy trying to cling to the old ways, and a new middle class springing up. Absolutely everything was changing, and the world was getting smaller—travel became faster, easier, and much more affordable. Social and sexual mores were changing as well. Everyone tends to think of Victorians as so strait-laced, but they had a racy side. Victoria herself had nine children. By the time Victoria died in 1901, England was a completely different place than it had been when she assumed the throne in 1837. So much for a writer to explore!

What do you like best about your hero?
Jonathan is a sweetheart. He likes to take care of everyone. He takes his responsibility as the heir to the earldom very seriously, but at the same time he’s not afraid to thwart convention when he falls in love with a servant, even after he learns who she really is.

What about your heroine?
Theodora has been beaten down, both literally and figuratively, for so many years it’s kind of amazing that she hatches her crazy scheme to escape. She’s surprisingly strong and resilient underneath her meek exterior and I like that about her.

Was there anything you learned from writing this book, either research wise or about writing?
I learned a lot writing this book! I learned quite a bit about the Victorian era, and the differences between the classes. I tried a few Victorian recipes (my family was not even remotely impressed with my efforts!), and learned how things worked in a Victorian kitchen. I learned a lot about craft, especially editing, as well. This is the first book that I worked on with critique partners, so I learned a lot about critiquing, and how to be critiqued, as well.

What are you working on next?
I finished a second book, about Theodora’s long lost brother, in December, and am currently working on a book about Jonathan’s younger sister, Julia.

How about a blurb?
Seeking to escape an abusive husband, Theodora Ravensdale answers an ad in The Times for a job as cook in a country home. A fortuitous house fire enables her to fake her own death and flee to northern England and live under an assumed name. But Theodora’s refuge is not all she would wish, when she stirs emotions in the heir to the estate, Jonathan Tenwick, and in herself.

Meanwhile, as the connection between Theodora and Jonathan grows, her husband learns she did not perish in the fire, and searches for her. Fearing he is close to finding her, Theodora must flee again to protect the family and the viscount for whom she cares deeply. In the final confrontation with her husband, Theodora learns she is stronger than she ever knew, and love is worth fighting for.​

How can readers reach you or find you online?
Readers can find me at marinmcginnis.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarinMcG, and on Twitter @MarinMcGinnis.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Rebecca!

And thank you for being my guest!  Any questions or comment for Marin. I know I'm looking forward to reading this book.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Meet Rebecca Grace

Today in My Writing Corner I am doing things a little differently. Normally I spotlight an author and a new book. Last Friday my latest book, Blues at 11, came out so today I am spotlighting ME, Rebecca Grace! I went through the list of questions that I often send to my guests and pointed them back in my direction. So here we go --

Tell us a little about your new book.

Blues at 11 is a lighthearted mystery with some romance, some fun and ... of course, a mystery to solve. It's a fun story about what happens when a well-known Los Angeles anchorwoman is suspected of killing an ex-boyfriend. Complete with car chases through the hills above Brentwood, catfights in the john, and spiced with several sexy men, Blues had me laughing almost all the way through writing it.

How did you get started as a fiction writer?

I began writing fiction when I was a teenager and I kept it up all through college. I’d go for walks to the park with a spiral notebook and sit and write romance novels. My early stories were terrible, and mainly meandered without a plot going anywhere, but I kept at it. I eventually finished a book and it is still sitting in a box in my basement. I sent an early manuscript to Harlequin and was crushed by the rejection so I stopped submitting but I kept writing. I had a full time day job working in television newsrooms so I was writing non fiction every day, but I also really liked making up stories too.

Eventually I tried getting published again. This time I also took online writing courses and joined writers’ groups and eventually was able to get my work published.

 Your books are set in the world of broadcast journalism. How much of your background do you use in your stories?

I spent 30+ years in television news so when I started developing stories, I found it was much easier (and fun) to set my books in that world that I knew so well. My characters are not based on anyone I know – I basically make them up, but some of the characteristics of people I've known are there. For instance, most news people I know, from reporters, to photographers to writers and producers are very aware of the world around them and very curious about things and people. We always want to know more, and gossip can become a way of life. Most also have a sharp sense of humor and aren't afraid to share our opinions.

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write in those genres?

I started out writing romance novels and short stories, but eventually I began trying my hand at suspense. I’ve always enjoyed mystery books and suspense, and it just seemed to work. Blues at 11 is my first straight mystery, and I’m almost finished with the second book about Kimberly and her adventures.
 
Which of your books you’ve written is your favorite book and why?
 
My first book, Love on Deck, which was a romance, will always be one of my favorites, because it was the first book published. But it was also about one of my favorite subjects – professional baseball. It was about a woman who sets out to be a baseball announcer and her involvement with a team manager.

I also really enjoyed working on Blues at 11, because it was the first time I had attempted to write a
book in first person. Being totally in Kimberly’s head was not only fun, but it gave a whole new dimension to my writing.

Where do you get your ideas?

My ideas can come from anywhere. Small incidents can turn into scenes and sometimes those small incidents can turn into full fledged story ideas.  Blues came from a conversation I had with a friend in a bar after breaking up with a boyfriend.  We were sitting at the bar and coming up with ideas for murdering him and how to hide the body.  After a while the bartender came over and told us he wouldn’t tell the police what he’d heard when the body was eventually found. Well, that got me to thinking about what if we were someone who might be a familiar face, someone with money. The idea of turning a character into a well-known anchor just made sense and I was off and running. Setting the story in Los Angeles was easy because I had worked there for so many years.

How do you come up with your characters?  

I am a big believer in fashioning characters who are individual and unique. To me my characters are real people you might run into any place, with real fears, dreams and quirks. I think that last thing is critical because everyone has something in them that sets them apart from others. And I like to feed on my character quirks, especially when writing something light hearted and that was what I wanted for Kimberly. As for the other characters in the story, I might take a piece of someone I know, but then I mix everything around so that each character is totally different. I knew I wanted Hank to be sexy, but I also knew that since I wasn’t going to be able to bring his thoughts out I had to show him through Kimberly’s eyes.

What is your next project?

I am always working on several things at once. Right now I am finishing up the second part of my Dead Man series, which is set in New Mexico, but I am also working on finishing up my next Kimberly story. This one is called Reality Blues, and it has been great fun to write. It brings in Kimberly’s mother to help her solve a crime.

So there will be more adventures with Kimberly?
 
Yes, definitely. I have several planned. I am having such a great time writing about her and her friends. They keep me laughing and I hope they keep readers laughing and solving the crime puzzle too.
 
Here is a blurb:
Kimberly Delagarza is a familiar face in Los Angeles. She can be seen nightly on the evening news. She drives a fancy car, lives in a house on the beach, and wears designer clothes. But now she is no longer delivering the news—she has become the biggest story of the day. The TV anchorwoman is suspected of murder.

No one believes she didn't kill her louse of an ex-boyfriend after he dumped her. Her next picture may be on a wanted poster, and her next home may be the Big House, with a wardrobe consisting of orange jumpsuits. The only man who can help her is a man she once wronged...

Buy Links for Blues at 11
 
http://amzn.to/1G87Z5B                          Amazon

http://bit.ly/1yEZTMX                             BN.com

http://bit.ly/1BbqyTe                               TWRP

Contact me

Website: www.rebeccagraceauthor.com

Rebecca.Grace@aol.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/rebeccagraceauthor

follow me on Twitter:  @RebeccaGrace55

Finally, I'd like to say thank you to my readers.  I hope you enjoy Blues at 11.  If anyone has a question or comment, I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Meet Mary Gillgannon


Joining me today in My Writing Corner is author Mary Gillgannon. Mary, please tell us about your road to becoming a writer. When did you know you wanted to write?

Although I was always a voracious reader, for a long time I didn’t even dare imagine I could write a book. Authors were gods, after all! An English professor in college convinced me I had writing ability and I ended up majoring in journalism. I still didn’t attempt fiction until I had emergency back surgery and realized I would never be happy unless I wrote a novel. A year later, I began working at the local library and discovered my primary genre, historical romance, and started my first book.
How did you get published?

I met an editor at a writers’ conference. She didn’t buy my book, but she passed it on to a co-worker who did.


Your books stretch from modern times to way back to the past. How did you decide to write time travel books.
I didn’t decide, my characters did!  I was working on a book set in ninth century Ireland, and I just couldn’t seem to get my characters to a happily-ever-after. Eventually I realized things didn’t work out for them in that time period. Then my heroine showed up in contemporary Denver and the story turned into Call Down the Moon. 

I understand it is the first of a series. Tell us about the series.
What if you found your soulmate, but due to circumstances beyond your control, you couldn’t be together? Would you be willing to use magic to follow them to another time period for another chance to share your life with them?  My characters are willing to take that chance. 

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
The opening for this book just came to me. I knew that my heroine was part of a cult of priestesses who were healers. But despite their abilities, the Nine Sisters are outcasts and many people fear them. My hero is also wary of them, but he knows they are the only ones who can heal his badly-wounded foster brother. When he takes his foster brother to them for healing, he meets the heroine.

How do you come up with your ideas?
Most of my ideas are triggered by historical research and stories and legends from other times.

How do you go about developing characters?
My characters tend to just appear to me. Although in several cases, they were based on real people. I work at a public library and before we started using self-check out, everyone had to come to our desk to check out their materials. I got to observe people close up and during the routine work of scanning their books, I would sometimes think about their stories, what sort of person they were, etc. Sometimes just looking at a patron triggered a story idea. For one of my books, Beyond the Sea Mist, both the hero and heroine were based on library patrons. They came in at different times and I only saw them once, but something about them made me imagine them in Viking Ireland. Based on their appearances and their demeanor, their personalities started to form in my mind, and before I knew it, they were like real people whose story I had to tell.     

Do you do you use the internet for research?
The internet has been a huge boon to historical writers. In the old days, if I wanted to know what an Irish curraugh (hide-covered boat) looked like, I had to find a book with a picture of it. Now I can go on the internet and find websites that show how to make one!

The hard part of searching online is that there is so much out there that it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for. I remember trying to find out if there were ever panthers in Ireland and every search I did took me to websites about sports teams named the panthers. I finally tried searching for “mammals native to Ireland” and got the list I needed. Alas, there never were panthers, or any wild cats, living in Ireland. Which is too bad since there were giant elk that were nine-feet high at the shoulder, with antlers six feet across.  They went extinct before humans arrived in Ireland, so they must have always died of natural causes since there were no predators big enough to kill them.  
What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on another reincarnation story. This one is starts out in Ireland about two hundred years later than Call Down the Moon. The hero is a Viking metalsmith who goes on a raid and ends up capturing the heroine and making her his slave in order to protect her. When their enemies succeed in keeping them apart, my hero uses a magic sword (which also appears in Call Down the Moon) to travel to the present time to be reunited with her.  Like the first book, the second book in the series takes place partly at a Celtic Festival, giving me an excuse to visit another medieval faire.
What would you tell writers who are just starting out that you wish you had known?

Being a successful novelist is about hard work, perseverance and believing in yourself.
How about a blurb for Call Down the Moon?

In the ninth century, Irish warrior Connar fell hopelessly in love with Aisling, one of the Nine Sisters, a group of priestesses skilled in healing. When Aisling comes to a tragic end, Connar uses magic to travel to the future to be reunited with her.
His beloved Aisling is now Allison Hunter, a free-lance writer in Denver. Although Allison doesn’t remember her past life, she is instantly attracted to Connar when she interviews him for a magazine article. But someone has followed Connar from the past, and they are determined to keep Allison away from Connar. As Allison begins to recall memories of a violent and terrifying confrontation, she struggles to separate the past from the present and trust in a love that transcends even death.

How can readers reach you or find you online?
Website:  http://marygillgannon.com
Blog:  http://marygillgannon.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mary.gillgannon

Buy links:

Nook:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/call-down-the-moon-mary-gillgannon/1120971858?ean=2940149942527

Publisher:  http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=1207

Mary, good luck with your new book and thanks for being my guest. Any comments or questions for Mary?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Meet Lynda Coker



My guest today in My Writing Corner is Lynda Coker. 

She is a contemporary romance author whose works will linger in a reader’s mind long after they close the book. She lives in Northeast Texas with her husband of fifty years. They enjoy traveling, trying new foods, spending time with family and friends, and doing community service work together. When she feels the need to take a break from writing, she says she enjoys creating fabric art.  If you'd like to take a look at her work, she offers an open invitation to view both her writing and fabric art on her blog.   http://betweenthelinesandmore.blogspot.com
 Her newest book, a sweet romance, is Stormee Waters, which will be released by The Wild Rose Press next week, but it is available at Amazon for pre-order for Kindle right now.

Dirk Savage never fails to acquire what he wants until he encounters Stormee Waters and a backwash of trouble...
Stormee Waters knows about hard times. Needing to care for her aging grandmother and teenage brother, she moves to Houston, Texas and takes a writing job for a popular magazine. Her first assignment is to interview a successful business man for a series of articles entitled, Make My Man Texas-Sized. Her target, Dirk Savage, appears to have the right criteria. He's adventurous with the air of a conqueror. Admired by his peers and coveted by beauty queens and debutantes, he's just the type of man that Stormee needs to make her first article sizzle and sell. But can she handle the heat when she catches his attention?

Dirk Savage is used to acquiring what he wants, except in the illusive quest for the one woman who can fill his heart. The shock of discovering her in the naive young woman assigned to interview him sets his jaded emotions on high alert. Can he convince her that his pursuit is genuine?
Here is an excerpt:
She came back to reality and placed the box on the foyer table, picked up her purse, and stepped through the door. The evening light cast a deep shadow across the man at her side, giving the illusion that he became one with the darkness, and something more she couldn’t define. When he escorted her to a sleek, black sports car of indefinable origin, something more took on solid proportions in her imagination. Every tingling cell in her body warned her against the power of his striking personality. That feeling barely registered before another followed. Dirk Savage didn’t play by anyone’s rules but his own. She nibbled her lower lip and stole a glance at him as he helped her to fasten the seat belt.
“Don’t look so dismayed. I’m not going to ravish you, at least, not before we’ve had our dinner.”
Still leaning over her, with nothing but a thought between their lips, his low chuckle reached to the very bottom of her toes. Embarrassed by his scrutiny, she turned her head.
Fifteen minutes passed. He’d made no small talk, and she welcomed the silence. They’d cleared the congested part of town and cruised through an exclusive residential area. Expensive homes perched along the river’s edge.
To celebrate the launching of Stormee Waters, Lynda is offering a special giveaway until the end of the month.  Here's the link to enter:

http://betweenthelinesandmore.blogspot.com/p/stormee-waters-launch-giveaway.html

To If you would like to learn more about Lynda, contact her or pre order Stormee Waters, here are the links: 

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lyndacoker
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lyndacoker
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/lyndacoker/

Buy Links: (Release - January 14th)

The Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=6034

 Thanks, Lynda, for being my guest today!