Wednesday, May 24, 2017

On the Road to Romance

Stories about authors and how they became published can be as fun and rewarding as reading their books at times. I always love to find out how authors discovered they wanted to be writers and then how the journey toward publication began for them. Today in My Writing Corner, I asked author Erin Bevan for her story. 

Erin, when did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I toyed with the idea, loosely, when I was about 23 or 24. Just kind of a what if thing, nothing serious. I had a job, a new husband, we were trying to have our first child. It was just a “wouldn’t it be cool if I could do this in life” kind of thought.

Then., fast forward about two years and I was alone in an apartment in South Korea while my husband was at work and my daughter was in a Korean day school program. I thought “this is my time”, so I signed up for an on-line writing class through the London School of Journalism and I gave it a shot. Writing became an outlet for me to not feel so lonely, and then it got kind of addictive, and so here, I am back in the United States and still writing. I guess you can say, I like it!

Please tell us about how you got published.

Well, as I started writing for pleasure, and to keep my mind busy when I was in Korea, I figured I might as well try to publish something. Little did I know how hard that actually was. After two or three years (my memory fails me) of dabbling in writing, I had pursued the publishing route and received lots of no’s. So many no’s actually! In December of 2013, I’d been waiting to hear back from one editor about a short story I had submitted. I had told myself if this editor came back and said “no” I was quitting. Everyone thought I was a joke anyway. At least that’s how I felt. When I told people I had started writing, they would look at me kind of like I was a desperate housewife. I was, but still, they could have at least acted like they believed me.

Well, one December afternoon, I opened my inbox to receive a long email. The first two paragraphs told me how bad I was. My finger hovered over the delete button. I didn’t need my EMAIL to tell me I sucked! So many people already had. But, for some reason I kept reading, and I saw a huge BUT. I continued reading only to see that a contract was attached. Despite the fact I sucked and had a long way to go, the editor wanted my story, and me! And that’s how I got published. My finger hovering over the delete button, milliseconds away from throwing my writing career away.

Where did you get the idea for your newest book, Tank?

A ladies’ night out and a few margaritas down the hole, someone started talking about bikers. I really can’t remember all the details, but then the group BACA-Biker’s Against Child Abuse was brought up, and my friends explained to me what this group did. A bunch of leather clad dudes that stood like vigilantes outside of abused children’s homes helping them feel safe. Right then, I knew that was a story.

What do you like best about your characters in this book?
I like a secondary character, Father, probably the most. I envisioned my husband’s uncle when I created the character, and I tried to incorporate a little of his humor. Overall, I feel like he came off the page pretty well, and I’m proud of how I’ve portrayed him.

Do you always know how your story is going to end?
Umm… yes-ish. I think. I don’t know the full story when I sit to write it. I see scenes, hear the way the characters would speak to each other… all the details, those come over rewrite after rewrite, but usually I have an idea of how the ending will go.

How about a blurb?

Tyler Wilde moves to Black Widow, Texas, to join the Blue Guardians, a local biker club that helps abused women and children. He's intent on starting his life over, but a small piece of his past collides with his present when he runs into the local waitress, Annie Carter.

Annie's the girl of his boyhood dreams, and Tyler can't wait to get reacquainted with her. Only problem is, Annie's engaged. But what has Tyler more troubled than the diamond on her finger is the bruise that graces her arm. To make matters worse, Annie's abuser and intended husband is also the town's Chief of Police. 

Tyler is determined to offer Annie a safe haven, but she refuses his help until her life is hanging by a thread... 

That certainly catches my attention! What would you tell writers who are just starting out that you wish you had known?
Believe in yourself and your stories. If you like it, chances are someone else will, too.

How can readers reach you or find you online?

Twitter: @ErinBevan

Buy Links

Thanks, Erin for being my guest and sharing your story and your new book.  Any questions or comments for Erin?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Escape to Romance

Spring is the perfect time to travel the world and read romances from different lands. This week I am off on a reading adventure set in the mountains of Iran with author Judy Meadows. Her latest book from The Wild Rose Press, Escape from Behruz, really grabbed my interest so I wanted to ask her about her writing life and how she developed her ideas for this book. 

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Like so many writers, since I was a child. Since I was a young bookworm going to the public library in my small town in Minnesota with my daddy.

Tell us a little about your road to publication?

I wrote the draft of Escape from Behruz (just out from The Wild Rose Press) and two other novels in the early 90’s. Life got complicated, so I put all three manuscripts in a banana box, put the box in the garage, and focused on life (kids, husband, moves, jobs, etc).

Fast-forward 25 years… I wrote a nonfiction book, Touching Bellies, Touching Lives: Midwives of Southern Mexico Tell Their Stories, and sold it to the first publisher I sent it to. Researching it had consumed me for more than ten years. Writing it had consumed me for about four. So…when the editing was done and the publisher said, “That’s it; no more changes,” it left a void in my life. I missed my early-morning writing sessions.

I remembered those old romance novels that I thought were probably still out in the garage (even after three moves). I found them and read two of the stories. (One I knew was hopeless.) The story that became Escape from Behruz was my favorite, so I decided to resurrect it.

First problem: my original work had been stored on floppy disks. The disks were in the box, but I no longer had a computer that could read them. I had to find a floppy disk drive. Good old Ebay solved that problem, but it took a while.

While I was waiting for the disk drive to arrive, it occurred to me that maybe I should abandon my old work on the story. I’m so much wiser now (I reasoned), and I have the experience of writing and publishing one book under my belt. I could probably do a better job now.

So, I started writing the story again from scratch. After about 30 pages, I remembered how much work it is to structure a story. I got out the old original and read it again. I realized it was good! I loved the charming details my younger self had known to include. (The story is set in the Middle East. I was then just back from a year in the Middle East.) So, I plugged in my new old floppy disk drive and got to work.

The final result was probably about 70% rewritten, but the bones of the story and many of the little details that make a story sparkle are from the original. I ended up with a new respect for the woman and writer I was 25 years ago.

Where did you get the idea for the book? How did you come up with the characters?

My goal from the beginning was to write a secret baby story with a believable and powerful reason for keeping the secret. (I like secret baby stories but not ones that hinge on the fact that the hero “would never forgive her” if he found out she didn’t tell him. That’s not enough motivation for me.) All the plot elements and the character development were driven by my desire to come up with really strong and believable motivation for keeping the secret.
It turned out that not only does the father of the baby not know the baby is his, he doesn’t even know he’s the heroine’s. A powerful man with a powerful reason has claimed the baby as his own (but he lets the heroine care for him). If the she ever reveals the baby’s true parentage, she’ll lose her child forever.

So far, readers have found the premise not only believable, but gripping and very satisfying.

What a wonderful writing story!  How about a blurb from Escape from Behruz?

Rashid will escort Olivia and the baby through the mountains to Iran in order to escape the violence in Behruz, but he won’t let Olivia near his heart. Not again. Not after the way she trampled it two years ago.

Olivia accepts his help, but she has no interest in his heart. She’s never forgiven him for abandoning her when she needed him most. Still, she has to be careful. He mustn't learn that the baby the world thinks is heir to the Behruzi throne is actually her son. And Rashid’s.

Can they make it through the trek, sharing a tent each night, without giving in to the attraction that has always drawn them together? Can Olivia hold in the secret that could destroy her?

Buy Links:

How can readers get in touch with you?

Facebook: Judy Meadows - Romance Writer

Thank you Judy for being my guest today.  Any comments or questions for Judy?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Romance from the Past

A romance involving a journalist -- now there's a line that will catch my reading interest every time.  As a former TV news person who often writes stories involving reporters or broadcast journalists, I'm always looking for new stories to read in that same field.  So imagine my joy at finding a new romance that also goes back in time to one of my favorite time periods. I'm referring to a new romance from Laura Strickland, my guest today in My Writing Corner.

Her latest release is Words and Dreams. The words of heroine Dorothea Sinclair and the dreams of hero O'Hare sound like a good combination for a romance from the past.

Dorothea Sinclair has left her small home town in Maine and come to Boston to begin a career as a newspaper reporter. But so far her job on the Guardian has proved disappointing. More skivvy than reporter, she's even been subjected to a humiliating proposition from the chief editor's son. She needs a break but never expects it might come from a chance meeting with an Irish Ruffian. 

There's  a great deal of injustice in Boston, and O'Hare, embroiled in his fight for equality on behalf of Boston's Irish, is well aware of it. When he rescues Dorothea's hat on the waterfront, he's surprised to learn she's a reporter. And when she offers him the opportunity to state his case in the Guardian, what can he do but accept? It's the perfect chance to put his dreams into his own words--and the only sure way to see her again.

And of course, putting on my own journalist's hat I had to ask Laura if I could interview O'Hare to find out a little more about him. So, O'Hare, I have some questions for you.  Give us a little of your early history.

Ah, now that’s a story and a half, that is. And a sad story, to boot.  Are you sure you want to hear it, pretty lady? There was a great deal of hunger involved and me being sent out at an early age to work for what stray pennies I could earn. Running errands for wealthy toffs; sweeping up after their horses; even working as a boot black in one of the big houses. Learned a lot there, I did—mostly what I could do without and not to expect anything from anyone.

What brought you to Boston and keeps you there?

My mother brought me away with her when she ran off from the small town in Maine where we lived. I must have been about three at the time she met a traveling salesman, Eugene Browne, and threw in her lot with him. Before that she worked as a barmaid at a tavern called the Hogshead. Gene dragged us hither and yon, being more con man than salesman half the time, and at last to Boston where we settled, if you could call it that.

Why do I stay in Boston now? Well, I guess it’s home, or as close as I’ve got. My employment’s here; I ‘prenticed to a cabinetmaker and worked my way into a fair wage. And there’s the Cause. I’m engaged in the fight for Irish equality here in Boston. You might say I’ve made a bit of a name for myself as Hare O’Hare. Some people call me infamous.

Tell us about meeting Dorothea. What was your first impression of her?

I first saw Dorothea on the waterfront when she was chasing down her hat, that the wind blew away. I don’t think I ever beheld a lovelier woman. Black hair and eyes the deep blue of a sky at night. Skin like alabaster kissed by a rose. She had the class of a lady and the sweetness of a child all rolled into one. Did I fall for her right then and there? I’m not telling.

What draws you to her?

A thousand things.  The way her face lights up when she smiles. How smart she is and how quick her mind, bright as a new penny. The way she can spin words together, making music of them and touching people’s hearts. Most of all, though, I admire her warmth and compassion; Dorothea sees people as people, regardless of how much money they have in their pockets. She’ll feel a stranger’s pain, she will, and weep with him. I’d lay down my life for such a woman.

What is her one trait that makes you upset or drives you to anger?

Well, some people might say she talks too much. I never would, mind, though she will run on and on, especially when she’s happy or enthused about something. I find it a charming trait and love listening to her. I’m not one for saying much, myself, and I like the way she fills up the silences.

What is your biggest hope or dream for the future for yourself?

I learned long ago not to hope for anything. A lad who’s hungry just feels that much hungrier once he starts hoping to get his belly filled. And the less you want, the less disappointed you’re bound to be. Dreams, now, dreams are different: they’re precious things that come along and whisper to you when your guard’s down. Sometimes it’s hard to steel your heart against them. If I were to let myself dream…but no, better not.

For your family or people?

I want justice for the Irish in Boston. I want men who work hard in dirty jobs no one else would tackle to be treated fairly and earn enough so their families won’t go hungry.  I want people to stop calling the Irish here ignorant and lazy, drunkards and savages. I want folks to know these immigrants love and value each one of their children, even if they do have a great flock of them. I want safe conditions on the docks, and rights so a man can’t be turned away from his job just for making a complaint. How can I think about myself, when there’s a fight to be won?

Thank you, O'Hare, and good luck to you in your work and your life and your future with Dorothea.

Here are the buy links if you would like to learn more about O'Hare and Dorothea's romance: 

If you would like to reach Laura, here's how:

 Author Web site:
Author Facebook: 

Thanks, Laura, for being my guest and for bringing me such a wonderful interview subject. I'm looking forward to reading Dorothea and O'Hare's story. Any questions or comments for Laura?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mixing Sports and Romance - A Real Winner

Romance novels involving sports figures have always been among my favorite books to read and write. The first novel I ever wrote was about a star football player and my first romance novel published involved baseball. That's why I was so pleased to discover a new romance novel featuring a hockey player from author Daphne Dubois.

Daphne writes contemporary romance and says she believes the right book at the right time can make all the difference. When she's not putting her characters into compromising positions (ahem), she works as a registered nurse. She is a  member of the Writer's Federation of Nova Scotia and lives in Eastern Canada, an area she calls the most romantic place in the world.  Her newest novel is The Right Fit.

A jilted bride sworn off love. A struggling hockey player desperate for a good luck charm. And the one night that changes everything.

When Maxine Nicholls discovers her fiancĂ© is cheating, she turns to fast food and nighttime soap operas, but her sister has a plan—unbridled rebound sex with a stranger.

As one of Toronto's hottest players, Antony Laurent tallies scores on and off the ice, but when the chiseled defense man hits a slump, rumors of a trade to the minor league send him to ambush a managers meeting at a posh club.

That night a chance encounter ends up as an unforgettable evening of passion. But Maxine and Antony are about to discover a game of casual hook ups can lead to something neither one of them thought they deserved—the right fit.

Here's an excerpt:

She dropped her gaze and stared at his hands. God, they are big hands. Big hands, big… “Do you want a coffee?” she blurted out.

“A coffee? Non.”

“Or maybe you need the washroom?” She pointed down the short hallway that lead to her bedroom.

He looked down the hallway, then back to Maxine. “You want me to use washroom?” he asked seriously.

“No.” She backed up a few steps until she reached the kitchen counter. The heat under her dress was now slick and uncomfortable. She glanced down and saw a mint leaf sticking out of her cleavage. Classy lady.

The romance cover model ran a hand through his hair again, making his biceps strain under the t-shirt sleeve. Maxine suspected he’d practiced that move in the mirror a few times. “Then what do you want?” he asked.

A burst of nervous laughter escaped, but then her smile faded. “No one has asked me that in a very long time,” she said. Slipping off his jacket, she laid it on the counter, letting her finger trace the stitching along the zipper, trying to build up her courage. “Why did you follow me into the cab?”

“Because no one has ever run away from me before.”

Rolling her eyes, Maxine looked up and saw that he was smirking. “Rejection is a new thing for you, I’m guessing.”

“Is that what you call inviting me here?” He tossed the ball cap and it landed perfectly on the dining table. The floorboard creaked as he took a step closer to her. There was a spark of anticipation in his eyes.

“Hold on, cowboy,” she said, putting a hand on his chest. My God! His muscles are rock hard under his shirt. Who the hell is this guy? She cleared her throat. “What makes you think you can kiss me again?”

He was still as stone under her touch, but Maxine could feel herself falling into his stare. “You kissed me,” he said, his voice ridiculously smooth. “There is a difference, I promise.”
It wasn’t only the French accent, but the confidence in his voice that made her knees almost unhinge. Her hand was flat on his chest; his racing heart was keeping time with hers. “That sounds like a proposition,” she said.

“It can only be decided one way.” Then he repeated his earlier question. “What do you want?”

He was so close she could see the faint brown and black colors of his stubble. There was a cleft in his chin. What do you want? An image of the long white box hidden in the closet was ignored; all Maxine wanted at that moment was to mold herself into his arms and forget about the last four years. “Kiss me,” she said.

His fingers grazed her cheek, tucking a wave of hair behind her ear. “Un moment,” he said. “A man should be prepared.” He peeled the last mint leaf off her chest then placed it in his mouth.

Maxine giggled through a surprised expression, which faded into a sigh.

Then, with deliberate care, he brought his lips down to hers, perfectly fitting their mouths together. He gently moved his chin starting a slow pace, controlled but with a sense of held back urgency.

This was nothing like the hastily stolen kiss at the club. The cautious seduction was almost too much for Maxine. She wanted to taste him fully, kiss him back hard—tackle this moment like Alexis Colby.

Thank you, Daphne, for introducing us to your new sports romance.  Here are the buy links and contact information for Daphne.




Any comments or questions for Daphne?

A Writing Quest

With the cold days of winter in the rearview mirror and spring taking a firm hold, it's time to look forward to all the reading we want ...