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Pick Six Interview with Author Jennifer Lyon

June 26, 2017 by in category Pick Six Author Interviews tagged as , , ,

Pick Six Author Interviews are occasional features on A Slice of Orange. We send a bunch of questions to the author who then picks just six of the questions to answer.  This month we are featuring a Pick Six Author Interview with best selling and multi-published author Jennifer Lyon.

Jennifer Lyon | Pick Six Interview | A slice of OrangeJennifer Lyon is the pseudonym for USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer Apodaca. Jen lives in Southern California where she continually plots ways to convince her husband that they should get a dog. After all, they met at the dog pound, fell in love, married and had three wonderful sons. So far, however, she has failed in her doggy endeavor. She consoles herself by pouring her passion into writing books. To date, Jen has published more than twenty books and novellas, won numerous awards and had her books translated into multiple languages, but she still hasn’t come up with a way to persuade her husband that they need a dog.

Jen loves connecting with fans. Visit her website at follow her on Facebook and sign up for her newsletter.

One: Do you have any writing rituals? Schedule?

Is coffee a ritual? I like to write with a cup of coffee. I don’t have a lot of other rituals, but I do like to write at my desktop computer in my office. I also have a laptop that I can use when necessary. For me, when a book is going well, I can write anywhere.

Two: What kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?

I’m neither. I’ve found that word or page counts don’t work for me. I become artificially focused on the numbers, instead of the story. I’ve learned that the first 100 to 200 pages of my book will be painful, slow and awkward. If I can just get through it, no matter how long it takes, then the second half usually goes much faster. For me, my trick is to show up at the computer and try. Some days are good, and some days are not. But what counts is that I keep showing up, and somehow, I’ve managed to write 25 books that way.

Three: What are you dying to try next?

I really want to write more Wing Slayer Hunter books (my paranormal series), and I want to tell the stories of the four other members of the Savaged Illusions band. Someday I’d love to try my hand at a really intense thriller too. I always have more books I want to write, it’s the time to do it all that’s in short supply.

Four: What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?

I’m currently working on SAVAGED DEVOTION, the final book in the Savaged Illusions Trilogy. Justice and Liza finally get their happily ever after in this book! Writing this trilogy has been an epic rollercoaster ride for me, and I hope readers will love it as much as I do. It’s a rock star romance about the price of fame vs the power of love. SAVAGED DREAMS is book one, SAVAGED VOWS is book 2, and SAVAGED DEVOTION is book three.

Five: What’s the best thing about being an author?

I get to live realities I never would in real life. I’ve solved murders when I was writing mysteries, been a witch, fought demons and made an ancient dragon fall in love with me in my paranormal series, and now I’m living the life of a  rock star, and he’s falling in love with me too, LOL!

Being an author is a journey into a new and exciting world with every book I write, and ever better, I get to meet incredible characters who overcome huge obstacles to win against evil and find real love. The down side is that coming up with ideas is easy, but writing them into a compelling and emotional book is hard work that keeps me awake nights worrying and trying to find the best way to tell the story. Deadlines are brutal, and juggling writing and promotion is exhausting. But as hard as it is, I loved it and can’t imagine doing anything else.

Six: Do you listen to music when you write?

Usually the only time I listen to music while writing is to get amped up for a fight scene. Hard rock helps me get into that adrenaline fueled state I need to write the action scene. Otherwise, I like quiet. When the writing is going well, I “hear” the voices of the characters in my head. If it’s going really well, then I can’t type fast enough to keep up. When it’s not going well, I resort to wine over music 😊

On the flip side, I sometimes bake to stir my creativity, and then I have music going full blast in my kitchen. Music has a way of bringing out our emotional truths, and that in turn, helps me get to my character’s emotional truths, which many times will solve my writer’s block.

Bonus: If a spaceship landed in your backyard and the aliens on board offered to take you for a ride, would you go? Why or why not?

No, first off I don’t know if they have coffee. I mean…shudder. And secondly, I’d miss my family too much. However, if they had French bulldog puppies, they could probably lure me into their spacecraft.

Thank you, Jen for taking time to answer our questions. We think you should get that French bulldog puppy for answering a bonus question. 



eBook: $3.99
Series: Savaged Illusions Series, Book 1
Genre: Romance
Tag: 2017
How much will she risk for love? How far will he go for fame? More info →
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Dad Jokes: Part Two

June 18, 2017 by in category Apples & Oranges, Java Plots tagged as , , ,

Dad Jokes | Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange

A few years ago (okay nine years ago) I wrote the following post for Father’s Day:

I collect Dad Jokes. These are not jokes about dads, but are jokes that dads everywhere tell little kids. Dad Jokes have three things in common:

1. They’re G-rated.
2. They’re lame.
3. You laugh anyway, even years later.

My own dad had a good supple of Dad Jokes starting with “What’s black and white and red all over?” His answer varied according to the age of audience, preschool or kindergarten aged kids got “newspaper” and older kids got “sunburned zebra.” Either way gales of laughter would follow, which fascinated me even as a little kid. Let’s face it, that joke is so old most children are probably born knowing it.

But that joke wasn’t the one that cracked me up. My favorite Dad Joke is (and this is really dating me):

“What”s black and blue, lays in the grass and goes ding-dong?”
“A wounded Avon lady.”

My bothers and sisters and I all went to Catholic school so a close second is:

“What’s black and white, black and white, black and white and black and blue?”
“A nun falling down stairs.”

I should note that we were under strict orders from our mom NOT to tell that joke at school. I am fairly certain that was an order my brother Michael just couldn’t follow, that joke spread though St. Ann’s like wild fire. This was well before the days of “zero tolerance” in our schools where everything a child says is examined for possible homicidal intent, so no one got expelled as a result. However, it has not escaped my notice that there is a more polite version floating around these days, but I can’t think “a penguin falling down stairs” would have the same humor impact on Catholic school children.

My husband has a pretty good supple of Dad Jokes as well. Our sons still laugh at both:

“Why does an elephant paint his toenails red?”
“To hide in a cherry tree.”

“How can you tell if there’s an elephant in the refrigerator?”
“There are footprints in the butter.”

Our daughter’s favorite Dad Joke was told to her by her Uncle Paul. I know if I just mention this joke she, at age 26, will start laughing. So:

“Want to hear a dirty joke?”
“A white horse fell in the mud.”

Why is this “Dad Jokes, Part two?”

Because now I have internet resources for you. I’ve listed my favorite joke (or two)  and then the link to the site where I found it.

What do you call a fake noodle?
An impasta!
From Baby Center’s  35 Silly Jokes for Kids 

What do you call an alligator in a vest?
An Investigator.

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
From Jokes4US Kid’s Jokes

What do you call a tick on the moon?
A luna-tick

What kind of music do planets sing?
From Funology’s Outerspace Jokes

What do you call security guards working outside Samsung shops?
Guardians of the Galaxy.

If April showers bring Mayflowers, what do Mayflowers bring?

From Mon Junctions 85 Silly Jokes for Kids (Which I guess proves that moms like dad jokes as much as dads do.)


Happy Father’s Day!

What’s your favorite dad joke?

Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange



Marianne H. Donley makes her home in Tennessee with her husband and son. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, Romance Writers of America, OCC/RWA, and Music City Romance Writers. When Marianne isn’t working on A Slice of Orange, she might be writing short stories, funny romances or quirky murder mysteries, but this could be a rumor.

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The Extra Squeeze Team: We’re Taking Questions

June 14, 2017 by in category The Extra Squeeze tagged as , , , ,

Send Us Your Questions

We're Taking Questions | A Slice of Orange


Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing.

Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

Send The Extra Squeeze Team your Questions.

Your questions and their answers will be posted on the last day of each month.

If you have a topic or question for the Extra Squeeze Team,  contact the Extra Squeeze online producer Marianne Donley by using the form below.

The Extra Squeeze Team

Rebecca Forster | Extra Squeeze

Rebecca Forster

USA Today Bestselling author of 35 books, including the Witness series and the new Finn O’Brien series.

Jenny Jensen

Developmental editor who has worked for twenty plus years with new and established authors of both fiction and non-fiction, traditional and indie.

Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange
H. O. Charles

H.O. Charles

Cover designer and author of the fantasy series, The Fireblade Array

Robin Blakely

PR/Business Development coach for writers and artists; CEO, Creative Center of America; member, Forbes Coaches Council.

Robin Blakely | The Extra Squeeze Team | A Slice of Orange
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Helping Writers Become Authors

June 8, 2017 by in category Apples & Oranges, Writing tagged as , ,

Apples and Oranges three.png

The Internet hosts an amazing feast of website for writers. Some offer weird advice (it is the internet) and some offer good advice, but some offer excellent advice and provide step by step guidance—for free. One of those excellent and free sites is K. M. Weiland’s Helping Writers Become Authors.  The website was the winner of Writer’s Digest 10 Best Websites for Writers in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Helping Writers Become Authors is easy to navigate with a helpful menu across the top. On your first trip to HWBA, click on “Start Here” where K. M. Weiland has organized her “whopping big” website into quick steps to get you started. Two of my favorite articles is included here : How to Write Character Arcs and The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel.

Helping Writers Become Authors | Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of OrangeShe has free books Crafting Unforgettable Characters and 5 Secrets of Story Structure and for those of you who like to listen to craft she has a huge series of podcasts available both on her website or through iTunes. She also has a giant Story Structure Database where she deconstructs books and movies pointing out where the story structure is spot on and where it needs help. It can be very helpful to see the story structure bones of other authors. The database includes new movies like LOGAN and old ones like the 1959 BEN-HUR and books like WHITE FANG and GONE GIRL. The database also includes two short stories and a video game.Helping Writers Become Authors | Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange

K.M. Weiland has several reasonably priced books about writing from Creating Character Arcs and Structuring Your Novel to Outlining Your Novel. Structuring Your Novel and Outlining Your Novel are also available as workbooks.

Just this week she also released Outlining Your Novel Workbook Computer Program (for PC and Mac) which I’m pretty sure is going to be a birthday present for me.  I am very interested in seeing how this program compares to Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Pro which I use and really like.

She also writes historical and speculative fiction. Her titles include the award winning Storming, Dreamlander and Behold the Dawn. (Dreamlander is a free ebook.) I’ve read Dreamlander and enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading her other novels especially Storming—because hello, 1920s Dieselpunk!

Check out Helping Writers Become Authors. Let me know what your favorite resource is.


Marianne H. Donley makes her home in Tennessee with her husband and son. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, Romance Writers of America, OCC/RWA, and Music City Romance Writers. When Marianne isn’t working on A Slice of Orange, she might be writing short stories, funny romances or quirky murder mysteries, but this could be a rumor.



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