Tuesday, July 26, 2022

An Engaging Summer Series

Buying and reading books in a series has long been one of my favorite ways to pick out my next book to read. For years, I've looked forward to my favorite authors' latest books to learn what is happening in their characters' worlds now.  Keeping up with favorite characters' lives is so much fun.  That's one of the reasons I have developed a few series of my own--the Dead Man and Blues series.

Today's guest, Jana Richards appeared previously in My Writing Corner, when  Book 2 of the Masonville series, To Heal a Heart was featured. Jana now gives us the opportunity to return to the Masonville series, through Book 4, Strong Enough.  Today, Jana will interview Charlotte Saunders, a character in  Strong Enough but let's learn more about Jana first.

When Jana read her first romance novel, she tells us, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then, she says she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she tells us, she likes to throw in a generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense novel, Seeing Things, was a 2008 EPPIE finalist. 

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and wife to her husband, Warren. She says she enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada. She says she loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com.


Now, let's learn more about Jana's book, Strong Enough. How about a blurb?


Charlotte Saunders has a full life—a rewarding career as a nurse, meaningful volunteer work at a dog shelter, and family, friends and pets she adores. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t forget the horrible event that’s haunted her for ten years.


A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Damon Greyson now helps others who have suffered trauma. His experience and intuition alert him to trouble in Charlotte’s past, and he wants to help her, if only she’d let him.


As they work together to help veterans suffering from PTSD and neglected dogs needing loving homes, their feelings for each other deepen. But when the trauma from Charlotte’s past roars back to life, both are forced to confront their painful histories—or die trying.


Jana agreed to interview her character, Charlotte:


Jana Richards: Hi Charlotte. Thank you for sitting down for an interview with me.

Charlotte Saunders: (Charlotte squirms in her chair.) You’re welcome.


JR: So, I understand that you volunteer at a dog shelter.


CS: Yes. I do whatever I can to make the lives of the dogs at the shelter more comfortable, and perhaps a little more bearable. 


JR: Why is helping at the shelter so important to you?


CS: Because dogs are beautiful, trusting animals. They deserve our protection. All animals do. 


JR: I have a feeling protecting dogs is very personal for you.


CS: Well, yes, of course it’s personal. Through my work at the shelter, I’ve seen how cruel people can be to dogs, how they use them for their own financial gain without any thought of the pain they’re inflicting on fellow creatures. It’s horrendous what people are capable of. I take personal offence to the cruelty, and I feel compelled to save suffering dogs.


JR: You can’t save every dog.


CS: (Frowns.) Maybe not, but I can certainly try. 


JR: Fair enough. Let’s change gears. Tell me about your relationship with Damon Greyson.


CS: We’re friends, that’s all.


JR: You’ve been friends for a long time, haven’t you?


CS: Yes, since we were kids, though we hadn’t seen each other for a long time until he moved to Masonville recently.


JR: What did you think of Damon when you were teenagers?


CS: I thought he was very shy and quiet. I wanted to draw him out because there was something…I don’t know…fragile about him back then.


JR: What do you mean?


CS: I guess I sensed he was hurting and I wanted to protect him. I’m not sure what made me think that. But then, not long ago when we were at Blair and Garrett’s wedding, he told me about being sexually abused as a child. I was outraged on his behalf. How could his parents have let that happen to him? But looking back, his shyness as a teen made sense. He was filled with shame he couldn’t speak about. But it wasn’t his fault. He was just a little boy. (Her eyes fill with tears, and she turns away.)


JR: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.


CS: (Wipes her eyes with a tissue.) Sorry. Thinking about what Damon went through as a child makes me sad. And it makes me angry, too. Parents are supposed to protect their children.


JR: It’s obvious you care about Damon.


CS: Sure. As a friend.


JR: As a friend, sure. What do you like best about Damon?


CS: He’s a very compassionate person. He’s dedicated his life, and his life savings, to helping veterans with PTSD. Damon is a very special person and I admire what he’s doing.


JR: How do you feel about him, as a man?


CS: (Shrugs, looks away) I think he’s a wonderful man.


JR: Have you thought about having a relationship with Damon, beyond friendship? Have you thought about making love with him?


CS: (Her eyes widen in alarm.) Of course not. Like I told you, we’re friends. That’s all.


JR: What are you afraid of, Charlotte? Why is it you haven’t been in a relationship with a man since you were in college?


CS: I’m not afraid of anything. (She stands up.) I’ve got things to do. Are we done here?


JR: We’re done. For now. But we’ll talk again soon.


CS: (Charlotte walks away.) Don’t count on it. 


A very interesting interview!  Let's get an excerpt of Strong Enough.


    As their names were called, Charlotte reached for Damon’s outstretched hand and stepped into his arms. They glided effortlessly across the floor as if they’d been dancing together all their lives. As if they were perfectly in sync. 


    “You’ve been holding out on me, Greyson. You never told me you could dance.”


    He appeared uncomfortable with her compliment. “My school had obligatory ballroom dance classes. To be honest I haven’t danced in years, but apparently it’s like riding a bike. You never forget.”


    “Those classes were time well spent, I’d say.”

    

    To her surprise, his mouth twisted in distaste. “My mother would likely agree with you. She’d be the only one.” 


    Charlotte heard the bitterness in his voice. Last summer at Everett Branson’s funeral, she’d sensed a deep tension between the three Greyson children and their parents. Blair refused to invite her parents to the wedding. It seemed very important to her, so despite the odd request, Charlotte hadn’t questioned it. Now as she stared up at the tight line of Damon’s pursed lips, she wondered at the reason.  


    “In any case, you make even someone like me with two left feet look good.”


    To Charlotte’s relief, the tension eased from his face. 


    “Glad the classes weren’t a total waste of time.”


    With that, he pressed Charlotte close and spun her into a tight, fast spin. She let out a squeak of surprise and hung onto to his broad shoulders. As he straightened their steps, she laughed in pure delight. 


    “Maybe I don’t have two left feet after all.”


    “Maybe you just needed the right partner.”


    Charlotte stared at him, her heart doing a panicked two-step as she tried to interpret what he was saying. Did he want a different, more serious relationship with her? She needed to keep their relationship light because she didn’t think she could deal with a totally serious Damon Greyson. 


    “Anytime you want dance lessons, give me a call,” he said, a teasing light in his eyes. 


    She relaxed again, relieved their relationship remained in the friendly, playful zone. 


    “Get over yourself, Greyson. You’re not that good.”


    Damon laughed and spun her again. This time Charlotte was more prepared, matching his steps. He held her close and she was suddenly aware of her breasts pressed against the hard wall of his chest, of his chiseled chin, of the smell of his cologne. As he gazed down at her, all teasing gone from his dark brown eyes, Charlotte found it hard to breathe. 


    He leaned forward to whisper in her ear. “I think you make me look good.”  





Thank you, Jana, for being my guest this week on My Writing Corner. Here are Jana's buy links and social contact information.


Buy Links:


Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09VNRFZW7 

Amazon CA - https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09VNRFZW7 

Amazon UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09VNRFZW7 

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/strong-enough/id1615684106 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/strong-enough-jana-richards/1141265231?ean=2940161031278 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60582342-strong-enough 

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/strong-enough-masonville-series-book-4-by-jana-richards 


Short Links:


Amazon ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon UKiBooks ~ BookBub ~ Goodreads


Social Media Links:


Website:  http://www.janarichards.com

Blog:  http://janarichards.blogspot.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/JanaRichardsAuthor

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/JanaRichards_

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/author/janarichards

Amazon UK Author Page:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B002DEVWWG 

Newsletter Signup: http://janarichards.com/contact.html#newsletter 

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2892274Jana_Richards

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jana-richards 


Are there any comments or questions for Jana?



Tuesday, July 19, 2022

A Romantic Adventure in Time

Summer has always been one of my favorite seasons for reading--whether on vacation or just sitting inside with a great book. (When I was young, I spent my summers at the library checking out several books every week.) We're halfway through the summer and many people are looking forward to vacation or just sitting around the house and beating the heat by sitting inside reading a book. (Just as I still do!) That's why I'm always watching for new authors to read. My guest today in My Writing Corner, Janie Emaus,  brings us a book that sounds as though it's perfect for summer reading.


Janie says she believes when the world is falling apart, we’re just one laugh away from putting it together again.  She has always wanted to be a writer and gained inspiration and confidence from her biggest fan: her sister. She is the author of the blended holiday picture book, Latkes for Santa Claus, a 2022 International Book Awards finalist, and the forthcoming Matzo Balls & Easter Eggs, coming out in 2023.  The Time Traveling Matchmaker is her first adult book. Her essays, stories and articles have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and websites. In 2016 she won an honorary mention in the Erma Bombeck Writing competition. But no award is more important than her family.   


Tell us about your road to publication.

I’ve been writing all my life with the goal of someday having a book on a shelf in a bookstore.

That dream came true in 2020 when my debut picture book, LATKES FOR SANTA CLAUS, was published. That book took almost two decades to sell and then sold very quickly after a Pitmad event.  And wouldn’t you know, my debut came out during a Pandemic! But I made the best of it.

After that I sold my debut adult novel, THE TIME TRAVELING MATCHMAKER to The Wild Rose Press, releasing July 25th and next year I have a follow-up blended holiday book, EASTER EGGS AND MATZO BALLS.

To quote The Beatles it’s been a “long and winding road.” Along the way, I’ve published articles and essays in various newspapers and online.  I’ve had several agents, all which ended without any sales, but brought me one of my best friends. 

But through all the “this story isn’t right for us” and “I didn’t love it enough” rejections, I kept on believing in myself and my stories.  It’s all about perseverance. 

How do you come up with your plots?

I write all the time while walking. In my head, of course. Ideas come from everywhere. Snippets on the news. Eavesdropping. My crazy, complicated life.  I usually start with a character. Someone who starts talking to me, telling me about some event which just took place in their life. As I start writing, a story begins to take shape. But I have to admit, plots don’t always come easy for me. I have a great friend/critique partner and we brainstorm a lot.

When I get stuck, I’ll write a blog which directs my brain down a different path. This seems to clear out the clutter and I can get back to my novel. 

What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?


My latest book is THE TIME TRAVELING MATCHMAKER. I’ve always loved time travel stories. This book started off as a YA novel, then went through many transformations until landing in this final version. 

The first nugget of the story came after reading about a girl who had disappeared. I began thinking what if she had been picked up by a time traveling matchmaker and was living happily ever after in another time.  

I’m more of a Pantser than a Plotter. I know where the story is going, but not how it’s actually going to get there. My editor suggested the epilogue, but the book definitely leaves some threads open-ended for a sequel. 

Let's get a blurb:

In The Time Traveling Matchmaker, love takes on a new meaning when soulmates are brought together through time and space.

 

Like every goal-oriented twenty-something, Jessica Singleton, an aspiring filmmaker, is obsessed with finding her future as quickly as possible. What she doesn't know is that the future is obsessed with finding her, too. Renn Porter, an agent with Time Traveling Matchmaker's Inc, blasts back in time - and into her life- in order to transport Jessica to the soulmate who has paid for this service...in the future. But things turn dangerous when it's revealed that Renn has been sent after his own soulmate.

 

Caught between two times, Jessica and Renn must struggle to stay alive. Falling in love is the biggest risk either of them has ever taken - because, as they are destined to learn, the very existence of Time Traveling Matchmakers, Inc. rests in Jessica's hands.


Tagline: A young screenwriter meets her soulmate, only to discover he is from the future and must return in order to save her life. 


How about an excerpt?


    Renn was coming toward me now and our eyes met. Fireworks went off inside my chest. He wasn’t avoiding me this time. This time I would learn the truth. 


    I raised my hand in a small wave. 


    “Watch out!” A bicyclist shouted as he sped down the sidewalk, completely out of control. 


    He clipped Renn’s shoulder, pushing him up against me. Renn’s coat got caught on the buckle of my purse. I heard a rip. No, more than that - I felt a rip down the center of my body, jagged like a piece of broken glass. Beneath my feet, the sidewalk tilted, and I lost my balance. 


    A strong a wind kept me from falling. Once steady, I turned to find Renn. 


    This all happened in a less than a second. And in that second Renn was gone. Vanished. Just like that. All that was left was his lemony scent. And the memory of his hand on my arm.  


    I didn’t see him in either direction. My head throbbed as if something heavy kept knocking into it. 

  

    A minute later a mother with her little girl walked past me. I knew before she stopped, that the little girl was going to bend down to tie her shoe. Time was going to repeat itself. Again.


    She giggled, just like before. “Thanks, Mommy,” she said. “Tomorrow I can do it myself.”


    I held on to the desire I had seen in Renn’s eyes, wondering about my tomorrow.


What is your next project?


I’m working on a humorous women’s fiction, as well as another picture book. If the Time Travel book does well, I’ll probably write a sequel. And I’m always writing articles and blogs.


What advice do you have for beginning writers ? 


The best advice I have is to not ever give up.  Believe in yourself.  I’ve been a member of several critiques groups, all very beneficial. Make sure you join a group of like-minded writers. But always listen to yourself first.


And read alot. Not just in the genre you’re writing.  


As I said, it took me twenty years to sell my debut book. Those years were filled with hundreds of rejections. I even followed advice which took me further from publication. There was a lot of heartache. But I never gave up.


The three most important aspects of getting published: Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance. 


                                                            *****


Thank you Janie for being my guest this week on My Writing Corner.  Here are Janie’s buy links and social contact information to learn more about her writing.


BUY LINKS:


Short Amazon

https://amzn.to/3vPTbqO   


B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-time-traveling-matchmaker-janie-emaus/1141389591?ean=9781509241019

 

Bookshop

https://bookshop.org/books/the-time-traveling-matchmaker/9781509241019


SOCIAL CONTACTS:


https://www.facebook.com/janie.emaus

https://www.facebook.com/Janie-Emaus-Books-Blogs-473633136036884

https://twitter.com/Janie_Emaus

https://janieemaus.medium.com

https://www.instagram.com/janieemaus/

https://www.janieemaus.com

 

Does anyone have any questions or comments for Janie?




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