Thursday, November 21, 2013

Meet the Author - Donna Michael

All this month we have been featuring a number of my fellow authors from The Wild Rose Press.  Today my guest is Donna Michael, whose sexy cowboy heroes really caught my attention.

Donna, you write in a number of genres.  Is there any one in particular that you like better than another?   Why?

~Thanks for having me here today, Rebecca. My mind is constantly going and to pin down one genre is tough because I never know when the fancy strikes me. But I have discovered I really enjoy writing hot, humorous and heartwarming, and picked that up for my tagline. If that can be considered a genre, then that’s what I like because it can be applied to all. lol

How do you keep them all straight when you write?

~For me, it’s easy. Even though they may all have a common thread in the humor and heartwarming aspect, they all have a different tone and that is the key for me.

Where do you come up with such a wide variety of ideas for each genre?

 ~As it states on my website, it’s all my mother’s fault. Lol Actually, my parents. I was exposed to all kinds of books and movie genres, and every one of them sparked my imagination. And it just never stopped. Every day life sparks a story idea. I can remember sitting outside my son’s basketball practice watching birds sit on a wire. One bird in particular was always by itself, the others would land in different sections of the wire and stay away from him. I wondered why he was ostracized and a paranormal idea formed right there.

Yeah, it doesn’t take much. Ideas are everywhere!

Cowboys make great heroes and you include a good many in your books.  What do you think makes them so special?

~Cowboys, to me, are so male, so sexy, yet so chivalrous even when they’re frustrated with the heroine. And of course, I take great pleasure in having the heroine frustrate that man! I also enjoy writing a military hero, and when I can combine the two (cowboy and military), like in Cowboy-Sexy, it’s such a treat for me!

You mention on your blog that your mother read a lot to you.  What were your favorite stories when you were growing up?

 ~Fairy Tales with Happily-Ever-After endings, of course. J

Please tell us a little about your journey to publication.

~That which doesn’t get us published makes us stronger. lol Rejection, rejection, rejection. I have a nice drawer full, but I am proud of them. They helped me to persevere, grow and look for a publisher that publishes the type of stories I write. I had waited until my last child hit grade school, before I settled down to pen my stories. My first sale was Thanks For Giving, a midlength story published through The Wild Rose Press. This was back in 2006. Since then I have over fifteen books published through two publishers and several I self publish, with more waiting on my hard drive...and in my head. I am a big fan of going both routes in my career.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer that you wish you knew when you began writing?
~None. I know that sounds terrible, but in order to grow as an author, you need the ups and downs. And since the publishing world has changed so much since I first started, my advice would be obsolete. So, just write what you love, be true to your voice, and get a critique partner with a similar voice.

What is your latest book or the next book you have coming out?

~ The third book in my Harland County Series, HER UNIFORM COWBOY is due out in early December. Kade is a sheriff, part owner of a horse ranch and a First Sergeant in the Texas Army National Guard. He has some lingering issues, but so does my heroine, Brandi. She has a thyroid disease and is a designer, but used to be a violinist in the philharmonic and in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, which she keeps to herself for a bit. I like to keep my protagonists real with real issues.

HER UNIFORM COWBOY will be FREE for the first three days of release. Please keep an eye on my website to look for the download link.

How can readers get in touch with you?

I’m all over the web, and even have a newsletter signup on my website. Here are my links:
FaceBook Author Page:
Amazon Author Page:
Google +:

 Cowboy-Sexy Blurb:
Finn Brennan was used to his brother playing practical jokes, but this time he’d gone too far--sending him a woman as a ranch hand, and not just a woman, but a Marine.

When Lt. Camilla Walker's CO asks her to help out at his family's dude ranch until he returns from deployment, she never expected to be thrust into a mistaken engagement to his sexy, cowboy twin--a former Navy SEAL who hates the Corps.
The Corps took Finn’s father, his girlfriend and threatened his naval career. He’s worked hard for another shot at getting back to active duty and won’t let his brother’s prank interfere. The last thing he needs is the temptation of a headstrong, unyielding, hot Marine getting in the way.

Cowboy-Sexy is available in eBook, Audio and now in Print. Here are the buy links:

Cowboy Sexy -- The Wild Rose Press



 The Wild Rose Press

Thanks so much for joining in the fun today. Please leave a comment and one lucky commenter will win a free Print copy of COWBOY-SEXY. Make sure to check back in the comment section of this blog tomorrow for the winner’s name! And if you’re interested in the FREE download of my new release next month Her Uniform Cowboy, keep an eye on my website for the link!
Good luck, and thanks for reading!!

Thank you, Donna for being with us today and as she said, one lucky commenter will win a print copy of COWBOY-SEXY.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Meet the Author - Presenting Susan Macatee

This week I am continuing a special look at some of my fellow Wild Rose Press authors. Today my special guest is Susan Macatee, who will be discussing her work and her book, Thoroughly Modern Amanda.
Welcome Susan. You specialize in writing historical romances, especially around the Civil War. What interested you about that time period?
First I'd like to say thanks for having me on your blog today, Rebecca.
I got drawn into the Civil War period when my husband started watching the Ken Burns series. Afterward, we took family trips to visit battlefields and museums and our ultimate Civil War location was Gettysburg. Since we live in Philadelphia, we were able to visit there more than once and we met a few reenactors. My husband was fascinated and wanted to participate, so he found a reenactment group in Philadelphia. We joined as a family and spent about ten years while our sons were growing up, camping out, dressing up and living as if we were in the 19th century during the Civil War. My husband, and later the boys as they grew older, played the part of soldiers. All the research that went into making reenacting authentic trickled down into my writing.

Your blog has some fascinating historical information about Victorian women writers. Is there anyone in particular who really intrigues you?
All the women writers I've researched fascinate me, but in particular, I loved the story of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women. She worked as a volunteer nurse during the Civil War in one of the hospitals and contracted typhoid fever. The drug they gave her to fight it gave her mercury poisoning that affected her for the rest of her life. I actually modeled part of the heroine's story in a young adult novel I had published in 2002 on Alcott. The heroine, a teen in the story, worked beside her physician father in a Washington hospital, became ill, and had to be sent home. My character didn't contract a life-long illness though, and that same character was resurrected at a later age in my American-Victorian romance, Cassidy's War. But I loved the idea of a Victorian woman novelist so much, that a few of my heroines in other books and novellas have been writers. Both Erin's Rebel and Thoroughly Modern Amanda feature women writer heroines.
Your blog also lists some interesting historical facts. Where do you come up with them?
Most I learned while reenacting and reading non-fiction books about the period. I've used a lot of that information in my romance stories.
 Where do you come up with the ideas for your historical stories?
My first full-length romance, Erin's Rebel, is partly autobiographical. When I was in college, I thought about going into journalism, but decided I liked writing fiction better. My heroine in that story is a newspaper reporter. And, since it's a time travel story, I used my own experiences as a reenactor in describing my heroine's reactions to being trapped in the 19th century in a Confederate army camp. The other stories I've had published were primarily based on real life people in non-fiction books I've read about the period. Everything I read filters down into my stories in one way or another.
 Historical romance has always been a favorite of some many readers. What do you think draws them in?
I think, like me, it's fun to be swept away by a romance and no matter how bad the twists and turns take the couple, a reader always knows they'll get that happily-ever-after. For me, and I'm sure for them, it's pure escape. Who wouldn't want to get lost in a great romance after a hard day?
 Tell us a little about your journey to publication?
It was long coming. I'd always wanted to write and took journalism and creative writing courses in school, but it wasn't until I'd been a stay-at-home mom for about eight years that I finally took a correspondence course in creative writing with the ultimate goal of seeking publication. This was years before the Internet existed. While still finishing up the course, the instructor encouraged me to submit the stories I wrote for the course. I was ultimately published in a few small magazines that paid only in copies. I then decided I wanted to write a novel and took a novel-writing course. My first novel was a children's book that was never published, although I did submit it. Just racked up a slew of rejections.
But I persevered and finally joined Romance Writer's of America. I took a lot of online workshops with RWA, and entered my initial work in contests to get feedback. I finally published my first romance, a time travel, with The Wild Rose Press. I now have seven books and novellas out with them and one coming out this January.
What do you like best about your current release? 
I like that the heroine in Thoroughly Modern Amanda is a Victorian writer with big ambitions and a feminist streak. And the hero, who travels through time, is a construction worker in love with Victorian houses.
Tell us about it and your inspiration for it?
Thoroughly Modern Amanda was inspired my Civil War time travel romance, Erin's Rebel. Amanda is the daughter of the hero in Erin's Rebel, Will Montgomery, a Confederate army captain. In Thoroughly Modern Amanda, she has her own story as an adult woman working as a writer for a small town magazine. In the original book, Erin's Rebel, Amanda's step-mother, time traveling Erin Branigan, was a newspaper reporter, who finds work in the past writing for a magazine, then ultimately settles into writing novels. Amanda aspires to be a writer like her step-mother. And the hero, Jack Lawton, is a construction worker who wants to restore an old Victorian home. Research on Victorian homes for my other stories had a direct influence on the creation of this new story.
How can we follow you?
Readers can stop by my website, and email me at
I'm also on Twitter @susanmacatee
I love to hear from readers and if you leave a comment, I'll enter you in a drawing to win an autographed copy of Thoroughly Modern Amanda. (US addresses only)
Thank you, Susan, for being my guest today. Thoroughly Modern Amanda sounds like a great story.  And please leave a comment for a chance to win her book.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Guest Blogging This Week

Hi All,

I am away from my blog this week, but I'll be appearing as a guest on several other blogs. I hope you'll stop by and visit.  If you leave a comment at any of them, you might win a free copy of Shadows from the Past, my novella that has just come out in print from The Wild Rose Press.

Today, I am guesting over at fellow TWRP author, Dylan Newton's blogdiscussing Shadows from the Past, among other topics, including the reasons why I love to participate in NaNoWriMo every year. It's an intensive month of writing, but I'm already on track to finish 50,000 words.

Tomorrow I will be a guest at Victorian writer, Susan McAtee's blog. I'll be talking about how I develop my many characters and what they meant to me, plus why I chose to write a gothic suspense story.

Finally, later this week, on Thursday, Stacey Moreno from Shadows will be interviewed at Donna's Dish.  Find out what she's hoping to achieve as she sets out on a journey of discovery.

Again, you could win a print copy of my novella if you leave a comment at any of those blogs. I'll be selecting a different winner every day.

I'll be back next week with a look at my visit to the Tony Hillerman Writer's Conference in Santa Fe New Mexico.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Meet the Authors

For the next two months I am going to introduce some of my fellow Wild Rose Press authors who write suspense and whose books have just come out or will be coming out in the near future. I'll also be featuring the opportunity to win a free copy of their books or one of mine for those who leave a comment.

Today we are talking to  Dylan Newton, who is from upstate New York. She's always loved reading and writing but got sidetracked by the real world, like so many aspiring authors. She is married to her high school sweetheart, raising a family and writing romance and paranormal romance. Her latest book is titled, ANY WITCH WAY, and is available in print this week from The Wild Rose Press.

Welcome, Dylan, and please tell us a little bit about your book and how you came up with the idea?

ANY WITCH WAY  is a paranormal romance that features a graduate student with a devastating curse who encounters a Wiccan with a secret of his own. Together they battle an ancient evil, struggling to save their lives and their new-found love, ANY WITCH WAY they can.

The idea for the novel was actually a writing challenge issued by my critique partners: we were to write a story based on Halloween. In researching the holiday, I discovered October 31 is the Wiccan New Year ‘Samhain.’ That led me to researching Wicca, and the rest is in my book!

You seem to specialize in books dealing with the supernatural.  Where did you get that interest?
I was always sort of a morbid kid. My family used to call me “Little Miss Blood and Guts” because I had a fascination with all things creepy. After my school day was over, I hung out at our local library—mostly because I hated the school bus and had to find a place to wait to be picked up. Our library was this old, building that had a basement for the outdated books called ‘the stacks’—it was a spine-tingling, creepy labyrinth full of books that held every paranormal topic my little blood-and-guts heart desired.

How did you get started in your writing career?
I did it the old-fashioned way—by cold query letter. My first novel, DESPITE THE GHOSTS, was my NaNoWriMo project. I finished it, edited, and then sent query letters to my top agents and publishers. My query worked (click here to see a copy of my query letter), and I got several partial manuscript requests, finally accepting a contract with The Wild Rose Press in 2008.

What advice would you give a would-be writer wanting to get published?

1.    Finish your novel.
2.    Edit it to within an inch of its life (or yours)
3.    Query, Pitch and submit—try all avenues and be persistent! Many times it’s not magic, it’s mathematics!

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Ooh, there’s so many! I adore Stephen King (of course) but I also love Elizabeth Berg, Gillian Flynn, Gena Showalter…my list could fill pages. I love authors that paint vivid pictures in my mind—things that stay with me well after the last page is turned.

What comes first for you -- the character, the plot or the setting?

That’s a process of elimination. I don’t plot (although I’d like to!), and setting is usually driven by the character’s story. So, character, character, character for me!

Please tell us what you are working on next.

My third novel, “Despite the Fangs” is due out in 2014. This paranormal romance features a foul-mouthed werewolf heroine with overactive follicles, a lab-created, sexy hero who’d do anything for his son, and a world that—for the time being—doesn’t know they exist.

That sounds like a fun read. Thanks for being with us today, Dylan! We wish you the best of luck with your books. They sound fascinating and I know I am ordering a copy of "Any Witch Way" and I'll be watching for the others in the future.
Thanks again for having me here today, Becky! I’m thrilled that my second book, “Any Witch Way” is finally out in print! While I love the convenience of e-books, as a reader (and author) there’s something about physical books that is so gratifying! In fact, one lucky commenter will receive a SIGNED COPY of “Any Witch Way” (US only) as a thank you for visiting! J Comment below and good luck!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Your Characters are People

by Becky Martinez

One of my worst writing habits (and I have many) is working on a number of projects at the same time. I’ve  always been so excited to start a new story and then before long I find myself with a new story idea and I want to go to work on it immediately. Since I seldom plot much in advance of the writing process, it’s not hard to do. If I come up with a character and a scene I start to write it.
Last week my sister asked if that confuses me. She wanted to know how I kept my characters from all sounding alike.
The next day, while attending the Colorado Romance Writers Tea for Readers, I mentioned that comment to the writers and readers at my table. And the answer just seemed to come to me. I see all my characters so distinctly I can’t imagine them all sounding alike. I could gather them all in a room, in a group just like we were in and I could see them all as distinctive people.

So how do you turn them into people rather than characters on the page?
Interview them. I’ve often suggested this to writers. Spend a few hours asking your characters who they are and what they remember of their past. Every character has a past, a family (or if not, a reason for not having one) Ask them about their memorable moments and their biggest successes and failures. Ask them what they want out of life beyond just their goals in your story.

Take them some place and see how they react. For instance, I could see Bonita, the young mother, from my book Home Fires Burning being very at home at an event such as the elegant tea I attended on Saturday. I could see her chatting at the table, talking about her home and her son, Teddy, with pride. On the other hand, I could see my character, Connie, from my book, Deadly Messages, constantly finding a reason to get up and move around the room. She would want to meet everyone at the table immediately and then move on to meet others as well. She likes to stay on the move. My character, Stacey, from Shadows from the Past, would be less comfortable. She would be friendly, but constantly worried she was going to spill her tea and if you told her to look to her left, she might easily look to the right. She might even be late because she got lost.

Spend a day with them. Each character would want to do something different. My character, Amber, from Love on Deck, would definitely want to go to a baseball game, while my newest character, Kimberly from my next book, Blues at 11, would insist on a spa, while Bonita might want to go for a horseback ride around her Colorado ranch.
Listen to them.  The speech patterns for your characters will be different too. My character Connie is going to talk faster than the rest while I know Stacey is just going to bubble over with enthusiasm whenever she talks, even if she says things that she wishes she hadn’t. In my next book, Dead Man's Rules, I have two cousins, Cere and Freeda, but I still worked hard to separate they way they talk so that readers can pick out each one in conversation. Cere is more serious, while Freeda is fun and flighty. I got halfway through writing that book before I knew I just had to write Freeda's story, which is almost finished.

Do all these female characters sound like they might be my friends?  I’ve often said that I always enjoy my characters. The women might be someone I could enjoy (and sometimes want to strangle)
And these are just the women. I do the same with the men too. The men are guys I might alternately love and hate. But I’d like to take everyone of them home.  I can’t expect my character friends to fall in love with them if I can’t.

All these characters are why I find it easier to write different stories at one time. As I told those at the tea, if I want to spend a day shopping and have light-hearted fun, I would chose to go shopping with Kimberly. If I want a steady pal I can tell my troubles to, I would tell them to Lisa, who helped out Connie in Deadly Messages and whose story I am now also writing. Whatever story I feel like writing, it’s just a matter of getting in touch with my character friends
If you get to know who your characters are, they will become more distinct in your head and that should make them more alive for your readers.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Re-Energizing your Writing

By Becky Martinez

Writing can be such a solitary occupation that sometimes we can forget everything else around us. Actually we may ignore our own surroundings, as we plunge ourselves into new worlds that are exciting, frightening and unique. But sometimes we have to come back to earth and when we do, it pays to visit with other authors and get a look at their worlds.

In the past month I have gone through a number of different writing experiences that involved other authors and I have to say it has been a fabulous time. All these events have made me realize how invigorating it is to just listen to other writers talk about how they create their works and to have a chance to share some of my own ideas.
So if you need some inspiration and feel your writing is growing stale, how about trying some of these things:

1.      Attend a book signing. I don’t do many and wish I had time to attend more when people I know are signing, but I usually try to get to the signings for writers I don’t get a chance to see very often. In late August I went to Diane Mott Davidson’s book signing to hear her discuss her latest mystery featuring Goldy the amateur sleuth/caterer. I always enjoy her signings because she brings a tasty treat from her latest  book, but also to hear her discuss her research. This time she talked about how she came up with people who got killed in her books. I have to admit she was the first writer I heard say that she usually kills off someone who has angered her in some way. Since then I’ve killed off an old boyfriend and a couple of ex-bosses in my books.

The second book signing I attended was just for the sheer joy of meeting one of my favorite authors for the first time -- Sue Grafton. I've enjoyed her works for nearly 30 years and she was one of the reasons I decided to try my hand at writing mysteries.

2.      Try a writing convention. I always enjoy writing conventions so it was no surprise that the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold turned out to be as helpful and fun as usual.  The session were top notch and spending time with other writers always gives me new ideas on stories I am working on and what I might want to write next.

3.      How about a retreat? After Colorado Gold I spent four days at the RMFW Writer’s Retreat. If you’ve never been to one, I highly encourage it. The great thing about a writing retreat is that you have to work.  With a room full of writers around you, typing on their laptops, you can’t time out to play a game or tease the cat. My first discovery was that I was too used to working in a noisy area. (too many years in noisy newsrooms) I’ve always been able to write in busy restaurants or coffee shops.  The silence in that room, except for the tapping on keyboards was deafening. I finally plugged in my earphones to listen to music.  The only problem was that most of the music on my computer is sad or very romantic. I ended up writing so many sad scenes I almost had myself crying right there in the room.

4.      Don’t ignore meetings of your writing groups.  I belong to too many groups to make all the meetings, but whenever I get to a nearby session, it is always helpful. This past weekend I attended the all-day Heart of Denver Romance Writers session on selling your books on Amazon.  The information was great, but hearing from other writers about their own publishing journeys was just as good. They’ve been down in the trenches getting their work out there for the public.

5.      Finally, try linking up with a writing buddy. One of my critique partners and I have made a pledge to meet every week to go through what we are working on and to discuss trends in the business. It’s a way to keep up on what is happening and to talk about anything that might be developing into a problem with our current books.

The bottom line here is not to get so involved with your computer that you forget to engage with others. We all spend enough time alone. And often our loved ones just don't understand when we talk about fighting with our characters or problems with a scene. Sometimes it is good just to get out and hang out with other writers to find out what their problems are and to celebrate their successes.

Okay, now it’s time to get back to work…


Monday, August 12, 2013

Keep Those Ideas Coming

By Becky Martinez

Story ideas can come from anywhere. I always say that to aspiring authors, and I often get that question from readers too. It still surprises me when I talk to readers and they’re surprised when I mention something simple like a walk in the park can inspire a story. Even the couple arguing in the restaurant can spark a story idea.
To me that is what writers do. A simple, overheard conversation can suddenly get the writer in us to thinking.  That restaurant argument continues in my mind with him leaving her with no way to get home and she decides she isn’t going home. She is fed up and leaving him. And suddenly she is off on a story adventure that might get her on a train or bus and get her out of town.

The walk in a park might spark an idea of a body hidden in the bushes up ahead. When I mentioned to a reader how much I love British Columbia and especially Stanley Park in Vancouver because it sparked the idea for my book, Deadly Messages, she gave me a blank look. A walk in the park sparked my idea? Because it had so many places to bury bodies, I mentioned to her. It suddenly made sense to her, though she admitted she had never thought of that when she’d visited the park.
For me, the idea of a bloody handprint in an old mining company store in southern Colorado did the same thing. Except I turned  the building into a dance hall and my imagination was off and running. The result is my next romantic suspense, Dead Man’s Rules, and it will be released soon by The Wild Rose Press.  The cover art was just released and as usual, my TWRP artist did a fabulous job, capturing that bloody hand.

I’m working on the second book in what I call the Dead Man series, and it came from another of those ordinary occurrences … the day I got stuck several miles up a mountain road in the snow and my car slid into a ditch… which I put together with the stories about my parents’ old home and the rumor of buried treasure… but that’s a story for another time.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Celebrating Opening Day... with Writing

By Becky Martinez

Some people look forward to each New Year as a time a new beginning. For others, the school year brings about annual changes, while others see their birth date as the start of a new year.

For me, there is something special about spring. It’s more than the end of dreary winter days filled with watching the snow forecasts. And it certainly isn’t the idea of spring cleaning that gets me excited. No, it’s the first day of the major league baseball season.

Why? Because each new baseball season is like the beginning of a new life. When teams start up the new year, they get to start fresh. Their record from the previous year is wiped clean and they get to start over.
 Opening Day 2012

Every player has a chance to make this the best year ever! Last year’s accomplishments—or lack of them—no longer matter. Stepping out on the grass for the first time each spring means a time for a new beginning-–the opportunity for players to start something with the hope that, come fall, their team will be fighting for a championship.

This week that drive toward the fall started anew for hundreds of major league players and thousands of baseball fans. The Colorado Rockies opened their new season out of town this year and so far they are 2-1. Not exactly championship caliber yet, but they show great promise with their hitting. They open their home season today, and I will be there to join the crowd.  We get to cheer wildly, drink beer, eat hot dogs and hope our guys don’t let us down and this will be the year we GO ALL THE WAY!

I’ve often applied that “spring” principle to my writing too. Think of how much you can get done by October if you start in the spring. Whether it’s writing a new romance, a new adventure, or a new mystery, spring offers the perfect time to begin a new story. I love beginning new writing projects when the weather warms up. New story ideas seem to “spring” to life under the warmer days that carry a hint of brighter days to come.

Like those baseball players taking their first pitches in the spring, this new story holds just as much promise. It could be the best story I’ve ever written. It holds all the exciting prospect of wonderful things to come. Of course there will be the doldrums of August and perhaps a few losing periods when I throw out and re-edit what I’ve written, but right now, there’s hope, there’s the thrill of that new idea, that new season.

So, it’s time to shed those winter pounds, time to get a new hair style and bright, fun clothes. Time to take those steps onto the fresh grass and start that new story and hope that come fall, I'll be fighting for a championship in the form of a new contract!


Mysterious Doings

As the  summer begins, it is time to start selecting those books we want to take on vacation or for sitting around the pool or at  the beach...