Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Romance to Kick off Your Summer Reading

With the start of summer we all need new material to read while sitting outside on the patio or while we're relaxing on vacation.  Today we feature a book that will be coming out next month -- just in time to start reading a good new book.  My guest today is multi-published romantic suspense author, Sandra Kerns. Her newest book, Securing the Rancher's Heart comes out next month.
Did you always want to be a writer?

I never really thought about it until we moved to Minnesota and I was inside so much. Then characters kept running around in my head as soon as I went to bed making it hard to sleep. So, I started writing their stories down during the day and could finally sleep. It wasn’t until I moved to Colorado a couple of years later that I got any real training or information on actually doing it for a career.

Where do you get your story ideas?
Everywhere! In fact, I recently saw a commercial for Ancestry DNA that sparked one. I’d seen the commercial dozens of time before and all I thought was I don’t need a DNA test to tell me who I am. But this time what popped up in my head was, what if someone got their DNA ancestry, then started the ‘family tree’ search, and ended up digging up information someone wanted to keep secret. Oh yeah, that one’s going in a book, so don’t steal it!

Tell us about your writing process. Do you plot carefully or wing it?

I mostly wing it when it comes to writing. Stories percolate in my head for ages and I might write down a note here and there, but I do not plot. The act of putting the entire story down in an outline kills the motivation for me. If I know the end (other than it’s happy) I don’t want to write it. My characters tell me their story as I go and it makes the journey more enjoyable.

How do you normally come up with characters?

I don’t have a great answer for this. Like my story ideas, they just kind of blindside me. Sometimes the story idea comes first and sometimes a character does. When a character does he/she comes into my mind with a specific job/career. Then I decide what can happen in that career to make their life difficult.

Tell us about your latest book and what made you want to write it.

My upcoming release, working title, Securing the Rancher’s Heart, (due out June 21st) will be the first book in my new Master Security series. First, this series is a spin-off of my Masters Men series that featured the Masters/Collins clan through all of them getting married. My readers constantly want more of the Masters brothers and this was my way to continue using them. The brothers have all retired from their previous careers and joined forces in the part-time security business Ace Masters had started a few years earlier.

Securing the Rancher’s Heart came about because Chance, a character with a minor role in Her Master Match, kept yammering for his own story. He grew up on a dairy farm and had a high school crush on an upperclassman who was the daughter of a rancher. I’m sure you know the old saying that ranchers and farmers don’t get along. That’s where the fun starts.

What do you like best about your hero and heroine?

I like Chance’s battle between his family’s heritage and his desire to follow his own dreams. He was also a star shortstop in high school. I’m from NY and love my Yankees, (though I miss Derek Jeter immensely), so Chance being a shortstop just makes him irresistible to me.

For Marley, it’s her inner strength and determination to succeed while at the same time caring about others and her community. Granted, that strength and determination get her and Chance into some major arguments. Hey, what’s a romance without a challenge?

How about a blurb?
A Rancher. An intruder. A Security Man.
Marley Jasper can't deny trouble is knocking on her door whenshe has to shoot at an intruder. She needs to make her guest ranch secure before the season's kick-off barbecue. When she walks in the Master Security office, the last person she expects to see behind the desk is the baseball player she had a crush on in high school. 

When a gorgeous woman walks through the office door, Chance Dugan thinks his luck for the day has changed. Then she introduces herself and he realizes his mistake. The daughter of a rancher was definitely too good to be seen with the dairy farmer's son. Too bad she looks even better than before. When she tells him she shot at an intruder, the past is pushed aside by his protective instincts. The problem is those instincts don't work to protect him.
If you like strong heroines, determined heroes, and a little suspense in the mix, you’ll love Securing the Rancher’s Heart.

Preorder link:
How can readers reach you or find you online?

            I love to touch base with readers. They are so much fun to talk to. If they want to sign up for my email list and get to know me a little better along with getting 2 free ebooks, they can go to:

Or check out any of the following:

Twitter: @SandraSKerns

LinkedIn:  Sandra on LinkedIn

 What are you working on now?

            I’m working on books 2 & 3 in the Master Security series so I can get the series off with a bang this summer.
That sounds like a busy summer for you, but should make enjoyable reading for the rest of us.  Any questions or comments for Sandra?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Romance & Mystery in the Nation's Capital

Museums and a good mystery -- those are two of my favorite things, and my guest in My Writing Corner today mixes them both, to my delight.  Meet M. S. Spencer who says that although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), she has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. Blessed with two fabulous grown children and an adorable grandchild, she has published ten romantic suspense/mystery novels. She now divides her time between the Florida Gulf coast and a tiny hamlet in Maine.

Welcome, M. S. and please tell us about your newest book, The Mason's Mark and its location.

Thank you for having me, Rebecca! 
Most of my romantic suspense novel, The Mason's Mark: Love and Death in the Tower, is set at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. The 330-foot-tall building has three sections—the ground level, the main floor, and the tower. The tower holds six progressively smaller rooms. The top level opens to an observation deck, from which visitors can see all of Alexandria and Washington, DC—or, if you’re my heroine, find a dead body.

The fourth floor contains a museum dedicated to George Washington. Washington served as the Charter (first) Master of the Alexandria lodge, and many of his letters and memorabilia are housed here, including the Washington family Bible. Since our heroine and hero meet in the museum, it follows that the Mason's Mark would involve long lost papers, distant family scandals, and academic intrigue concerning our first President. Delicious mystery and even more delicious romance ensue.

That sounds like a great setting for a story and Washington is always a wonderful place for setting a romance. I really like the cover for this book. How about a blurb?

In both the best and worst first day at work ever, docent Claire Wilding meets the man of her dreams, but her carefully rehearsed guided tour of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial collapses when she discovers a body and is drawn into a dark world of black ops and Italian renegade masons, of secret cabals and hidden treasure. Also cloaked in mystery is handsome Gideon Bliss, a George Washington expert who haunts the Memorial, his manner evasive. What is his secret? Claire fears she'll fall in love with him only to learn he's a thief or even a murderer. Juggling two eccentric mothers, an inquisitive sister, and an increasingly smitten detective, Claire must find answers to a complex web of intrigue, including who to trust and who to love.

Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble:
AllRomanceEBooks (pre-order):

I'm sure I will be checking out one of those buy links to get my copy soon. Thanks for introducing us to your new book, M. S. and to the George Washington National Masonic Memorial. How can readers get in touch with you?
Google +:
Linked in:

Author Pages:
Romance Books 4 Us: OR
Amazon Author Page:

Thanks again, M. S, for being my guest today.  Any questions or comments for M. S. ?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Sweet Side of Romance and Success

It is always exciting to see a new writer enter the publishing world. It means more books to read. Visiting today in My Writing Corner is Mariah Ankenman who is a new writer with The Wild Rose Press. Please tell us about your road to getting published with TWRP:

Like many authors, once I finished my first manuscript I queried the heck out of it. Years of rejections and a few manuscripts later I read an interview in the Romance Writers Report about small press publishers. The Wild Rose Press was one of the publishers interview. I really liked what they said and how they approached the publishing process. I sent them one of my manuscripts and they liked it. When I got the contract offer I literally jumped up and down screaming like a maniac.

That reaction sounds familiar!  When did you know you wanted to be a writer?  
I was always playing make believe as a child, making up stories in my head, but I think the very first time I truly knew I was meant to be a writer was in fourth grade. My best friend and I collaborated on a story. I wrote and she drew the pictures. It was a murder mystery and looking back, pretty laughable, but our teacher encouraged us. Teachers have so much more impact than we give them credit for. They are a truly undervalued profession.

Tell us a little about your new and how you came up with the idea for it:
My book, Love on the Sweet Side, is a friends to lovers story about a baker and a cowboy. I got the idea from a dream I had one night about two people being snowed in at a cabin in the woods. The story developed from there.

Now that sounds like the perfect premise for a good love story. What is your writing process—outlining or just writing:

When I first started writing I was a “go with the flow” type writer. It took me a year to finish a book because some days I would only write one sentence. Now I am completely in the outlining camp. I plot out the entire book before ever sitting down at my computer. It keeps me on track and knowing where I‘m going with a story. That said, I always allow myself to deviate from the outline if the story pulls me in another direction, but having the basic story mapped out allows me to stick to deadlines.

Any advice for others who are trying to get published?

Don’t give up! You only fail if you don’t try. Keep writing, keep submitting. Take classes, go to conferences,  go to writer’s groups. Find what works for you and stick with it. Also, a good editor is worth their weight in gold. Listen when an editor gives you feedback, they know what they’re talking about and their suggestions will make your story shine like you never believed.

What is your next project:

I’m currently working with TWRP on the rest of the Peak Town Colorado series. The second book is in with my editor now, release date TBD.

We'll look forward to it. How can readers get in touch with you and buy Love on the Sweet Side?

Buy links:
Contact info:
Twitter: @MAsBooks

Thanks for being my guest today. Any questions or comments for Mariah?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Love Affair with Western Romance

As someone born and raised in the west, I have always been a fan of movies and books set in the West, whether they are historical or current. Today my guest is Nina Barrett who has written several romances with that wonderful western setting. How did you get started in publishing?

I wrote stealthily, at nights and in the car waiting on my son to finish his swimming or piano lessons. I submitted to agents and publishers, all the while growing increasingly discouraged. A newspaper article about a contest the Antioch Writers’ Workshop was sponsoring caught my eye. The workshop was offering unpublished writers a scholarship to Antioch and Sue Grafton was to be the writer-in-residence that week. I submitted a sample of my work without much in the way of expectations and sometime later a reply came in the mail. It took more than a few days to open it.

Someone – actually a committee – liked my work. I was privileged to attend the workshop, network and meet published writers. The experience kept me pursuing my dream of publication.
Discouraged, I returned to Antioch and took a class with romance writer Jennifer Crusie who is as supportive and encouraging as she is talented. I gained the courage to join RWA and attend the national convention. Through my local RWA chapter I learned of a small e-publisher opening and soliciting for manuscripts. To my shock, I received the call and in June 2012 my western romance, Marriage Made in Haven, was published. Since then the Wild Rose Press has published my romances, Return of the Dixie Deb and A Man to Waste Time On. On April 27th, my latest Renegade Heart was released. I love crafting contemporary romantic suspense: romance + mystery + an HEA, something the world could use more of.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Yes! But being shy it was hard to admit it. As a child, I loved lying in bed at night making up stories. I’d be out West with Roy and Dale or in Sherwood Forest with Robin Hood. I finished my first ‘manuscript’ in junior high – an Agatha Christie-type mystery. In high school a friend and I exchanged stories and poems. After finishing college and surviving a divorce, I began life as a single mother teaching in a small town. I loved teaching, but it wasn’t enough. Teaching was what I did; a writer was what I was.
Tell us about your latest book, Renegade Heart, and where you got the idea for it.

The energy and excitement of Vegas seemed natural for a novel full of romantic entanglements and mystery. Renegade Heart is the second in my Vegas series.  In my previous release, A Man to Waste Time On, Cinnamon Smith is stunned to realize the general manager of the neighboring Imperial Hotel Casino is the waste of time loser who dated and dumped her sister back in their hometown. And he wants to date her. No way . . . but then securing an order from his hotel might prove salvation for her struggling business. And Tom is so good-looking.
Doing research on what goes on behind the scenes of a major Vegas property was so interesting it led to Renegade Heart and Director of Special Events at the Imperial, Kerstin Hennepin adventures when the National Finals Rodeo comes to town and Kerstin falls into the arms of a rodeo troubleshooter.
What do you like best about your heroine and hero? I liked the interesting juxtaposition of an executive at an upscale Vegas property falling (literally) into the arms of a troubleshooter for the rodeo. Trying to put a failed romance behind her, Kerstin is determined to make her hotel’s first time hosting the National Rodeo Finals a success. And is Jake Aaron a troubleshooter for the rodeo or just plain trouble. Their attraction is electric and one close encounter leads to another, but Jake comes with questions. True, he’s busy handling the offstage antics of rowdy rodeo contestants, but does his job also include romancing a young barrel rider and carrying a concealed weapon?
Kerstin needs answers. There’s more going on behind the scenes than on the arena floor and her search puts her and Jake squarely in someone’s crosshairs.
What is your writing process – detailed outlines or seat of the pants?
Do you have any advice for a beginning writer?  “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot
What is your next project?

My work in progress is part three in my Vegas series. My working title is Deep, Dark, Delicious. And Deadly. Sofie Matthews, heiress to a Vegas candy company, awakens from her coma to find a handsome stranger staring at her and a ring on her finger. So what’s the story with that?
How about a blurb for Renegade Heart
    As if Vegas didn’t have excitement enough, December brings the National Finals Rodeo to the city. In charge of the Imperial Hotel’s participation as a host hotel, Kerstin Hennepin is rushing to a meeting when a fall sends her tumbling into a stranger’s arms. And he’s in no hurry to let her go.
    Jake Aaron is a troubleshooter for the rodeo. Or maybe he’s just plain trouble.  Their attraction is electric and one close encounter leads to another, but Jake comes with questions. True, keeping a handle on the offstage antics of rowdy rodeo contestants keeps him busy, but does his job also include romancing a young barrel racer and carrying a concealed weapon?
    With the finale of the rodeo approaching, Kerstin is running out of time. She needs answers. But more is going on behind the scenes than on the arena floor and her search puts her and Jake squarely in someone’s crosshairs.

How can readers get in touch with you?

 I’m on Facebook as nina.barrett.315 and at - love to hear from readers and fellow writers!

This sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks, Nina, for being my guest.  Any comments or questions for Nina?



Characters Lead the Way

We're in the heart of the summer and it is time to relax and enjoy a few good books by the beach or in some secluded mountain cabin. To...