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Get Real! by Meriam Wilhelm @meriamwilhelm

October 20, 2017 by in category Writing tagged as , , , , ,

Give Up
Give In
Get Real

I hit an unexpected writer’s block this past year. I sort of lost my way and it had me really wondering what to do next with myself. I have always been a goal driven person who needed to be reaching for that next carrot in order to feel good about myself. Yes, I agree that may not be the healthiest way to live, but I guess it’s just how I’m wired. The other part of me is that I expect that dedication and hard work will more times than not – result in success. But it’s the definition of that word – success – that suddenly had me paralyzed, and more than a little uncertain of my writing future.

It all started three and a half years ago. After thirty-five years in education, I retired. I had loved being an elementary school principal and there were still a thousand stories, strategies and recommendations racing through my head. I wanted to share all that I had learned and decided to try writing parenting books. I poured out my heart and soul with strategies on bullying, homework issues, parent/teacher relationships and more.

Six books later I realized that I was getting bored talking about the same old stuff I had for the last thirty-five years. I needed to do something different. I took a chance, deciding to throw my hat into the world of fiction writing. And I had a blast creating my first fictional series The Witches Of New Moon Beach. I created a welcoming – albeit quirky, action packed world filled with witches, magic and love, all at the beach.

Although I was happy with how the series did, I guess I had hoped for more. After all, I felt like I had worked really hard, spending endless hours in front of my computer. Suddenly I was wondering what the “more” was that I was looking for? More sales..more exposure more…
more what?

A couple of my friends gently suggested that I might consider giving up. Why spend so much time if it wasn’t truly productive. “I mean are you even making any money?” one asked. Others said that I should give in to the fact that the e-book market may have shrunk. Maybe I’d missed my chance and I’d never make it big. Maybe I just wasn’t good enough. It left me considering, who was I to think that I might actually make it in this gigantic world of publishing?

It was my husband who caught me feeling down one day and said something rather life changing – Get Real! What the heck did that mean, I asked – not really wanting to know the answer.

Then he asked me four powerful questions.
1) Did I still have a passion for writing?
2) Was I having fun?
3) Had I done all that I could to improve my writing skills and publishing opportunities?
4) Was I really ready to throw in the towel and walk away from writing?

After dropping these atomic questions on me, he calmly reassured me that whatever my answers were – he’d still have my back.

I spent a lot of time thinking about his queries. And in the end, it was the answers to those questions that helped me to redefine my idea of success and happiness.

I do have a passion for writing. I love creating fictional worlds over which I have total artistic freedom and control. My mind is constantly spinning with new characters, themes and plot lines.
I love creating new characters. It’s fun. In fact, I wake up at night to jot down new ideas that just popped into my head while I was supposed to be sleeping. I carry around my Book O’ Names with me so that when I hear an unusual name I quickly jot it down for later use.
Ouch! No, I hadn’t done everything that I could to improve my writing skills. I listened to writer podcasts, read articles by other writers and secured new support software. I knew that I needed to do a better job editing my books. I’d been zinged for it in the past and recognized that it was one of the areas I could strengthen. I secured the help of a fab editor – Jenny Jensen. She has been a godsend and has made all of the difference in the world in helping me to tighten up my story lines and confirm correct grammar usage. Most importantly, I feel better about my work with her support.
Hell No! I am not ready to throw in the towel. I love writing and even though I still hit bumps in the road; writing makes me happy.

So what did I do with all these newly found answers? I put my head down, recognized that this was what I’m meant to be doing right now – and wrote. I reawakened by imagination and had fun creating a new story – one that I am ready to share with you.

Murder By Magic is my first cozy mystery and I sincerely hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

And should you feel stuck along the way, you are more than welcome to borrow my husband’s four questions to get you headed in the right direction – right for you that is!

Oh, and thank you Paranormal Romance Writers Guild for giving me a 5 star review!

MURDER BY MAGIC
Buy now!
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A Q & A with Author Laura Drake by @JannRyan

October 2, 2017 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

Laura Drake is a New York published author of Women’s Fiction and Romance. Her romance series, Sweet on a Cowboy, is set in the world of professional bull riding. Her debut, The Sweet Spot, won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She also published a four-book small town romance series with Harlequin’s Superomance line. Her latest women’s fiction released January 2016, and she has just accepted an offer to write three more western romances for Grand Central.

Laura is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. In 2014, Laura realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

 

Jann: Today I’m chatting with Author Laura Drake, who writes about ‘Ordinary women at the edge of extraordinary change’. Welcome Laura to A Slice of Orange.

I know you had a long road to publication. However, when you did sell your first book The Sweet Spot you won the 2014 Romance Writers of America Rita for Best First Book. What was that like?

 

Laura: I’m still pinching myself – it was the highlight of my life (but don’t tell my husband – he thinks he is 😉  After writing three books, and living through 417 rejections, I’d only hoped to be published. A RITA was beyond my wildest dreams! I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve watched the video of that . . . it’s like a well-worn touchstone I use to prove to myself I can do it, when I’m struggling with the writing.

 

 

Jann: You also have a love for Women’s Fiction and self-published Days of Glass.  Where did the idea for this book originate and share a bit of your experience self-publishing the book?

 

Laura: I fully intended on Glass being NY published. When I finished it, and my agent submitted it to Publishers, they all loved it, but didn’t think the market for Western Women’s Fiction was large enough to acquire it.

I didn’t care – this was the book I wrote in memory of the sister I lost to cancer, twenty-five years ago. None of the events are biographical, but the relationship between the sisters in the book is ours.

Self-publishing – The control, the technology and the learning curve – I loved every part of it!

 

 

Jann: You have a new book deal for a Western Romance Series. The first book is scheduled to release July, 2018. How exciting. What’s it about?

Laura: I’m very excited (when I’m not nauseous, thinking about the deadlines). It’s tentatively titled, Hand Me Down Dreams, and it’s the story of the perfect country girl-next-door, and what happens when her boyfriend won’t come off the rodeo road to marry her. Sounds fun, and it is, but if you’ve read any of my books, you know there’s some heavy stuff in there!

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

Laura: I’m a tortoise, a workhorse, a slogger. I take my deadline, and figure out how many words I need to write a day to make it. I add a 10% ‘stuff happens’ factor, and that’s it. I write every single day. For me (and everyone’s different), it helps me stay immersed in the story. Since I’m a pantser, that’s critical. 

Jann: What’s the best writing advice you ever received?

Laura: It was from our very own Char Lobb (who the Charlotte is named after, for anyone who doesn’t know). She told me after the first time she met me that I’d be one who ‘made’ it. At first, I thought she said that to everyone, because really, how could she know? I asked her about it when I knew her better, and she explained that she could see that I would keep at it, until I did. She was right. So miss that beautiful soul.

Jann: What’s the worst?

Laura: Whenever someone tells you they have THE answer. The method, the outline, the character sketch, the anything. There are as many ways to write a book as there are writers. You have to discover what works for YOU.  I have a theory, that our brains already know how to do this, but they’re not talking – we all have to learn through trial and error. Try everything – but don’t listen when someone tells you what will work for you. 

Jann: What sound or noise do you love? 

Laura: My husband saying my name. 

Jann: What sound or noise do you hate? 

Laura: Voices raised in anger. 

Jann: What profession other than your own would you love to attempt?

Laura: Photographer! But I cut people’s heads off in photos, so… 

Jann: What profession would you hate to do?

Laura: Attorney.

For more information about Laura, here are her Links:

Twitter

Facebook

Website

Writers in the Storm

Jann: Thank you Laura Drake for chatting with us today. We’ll be sure to talk again next year when your new Western Romance is released. If you have any questions or comments for Laura, you may use the comment box below. 

Jann Ryan


Jann Ryan | A Slice of Orange

Jann Ryan grew up with the smell of orange blossoms in Orange County in sunny Southern California, where she has lived her entire life and dreamed up stories since she was a young girl. Never an avid reader, she was in her thirties when she picked up her first romance quite by accident. She fell in love with happily ever after and has been reading romances ever since.

Wanting to put pen to paper, Jann joined of Romance Writers of America®. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense series set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town along the California central coast to fulfill her publishing dream.

 

 


Some of Laura’s books are available below. The rest can be found here.

 

AGAINST THE ODDS

Buy now!
AGAINST THE ODDS

COWBOY KARMA

Buy now!
COWBOY KARMA

DAYS MADE OF GLASS

Buy now!
DAYS MADE OF GLASS

HER ROAD HOME

Buy now!
HER ROAD HOME

NOTHING SWEETER

Buy now!
NOTHING SWEETER

SWEET ON YOU

Buy now!
SWEET ON YOU

 

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Hop aboard The Magic Christmas Train — nominate my book & get a Free copy from Amazon if it’s selected for publication by Jina Bacarr

September 11, 2017 by in category Jina’s Book Chat tagged as , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Magic Christmas Train from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Ever since I could hold a microphone, I haven’t stopped telling stories. I used to record fairy tales on an old tape recorder when I was a kid . . . then later I went on to radio doing live commercials, news, voiceovers, interviews, talk radio, etc.

I love to tell stories and add pictures and music.

Which is why I couldn’t resist putting together this 2:00 video about my Kindle Scout book “The Magic Christmas Tree.” Imagine if you could go back to a special Christmas, see family and friends you miss, and change the course of your life . . . and save the man you love from being killed overseas during World War 2.

If you ever wanted to go home again . . . this is the story for you!

A hot, sexy hero, a spunky heroine who tries to save him, and the magic of a small town Christmas . . . and plenty of good food!

So hop aboard the Magic Christmas Train and meet the Arden Family doing their best to support the troops during that Christmas of 1943.

I’d really appreciate your nomination . . . part of the process is getting your book “Hot” and it’s not easy! So any help is much appreciated. Thank you!

You can check out The Magic Christmas Train HERE =

Jina

 

Facebook: http://facebook.com/JinaBacarr.author

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JinaBacarr

Once Upon a Story blog: http://jinabacarr.wordpress.com

Videos: https://vimeo.com/user216350

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jbacarr

 

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An Interview with Romance Author Maureen Child

August 2, 2017 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , ,

Maureen Child | Jann Ryan | A Slice of OrangeBestselling writer Maureen Child is a native Southern Californian now living in the mountains of Utah. She’s the award-winning writer of more than 150 books and novellas. A seven time finalist for the RITA, Maureen’s books have won the Golden Quill, the Prism and the National Reader’s Choice Award.

One of her books, A POCKETFUL OF PARADISE was made into a CBS-TV movie called THE SOUL COLLECTOR.

And as much as she loves Utah, she really misses her friends and the monthly meetings at OCC. For more information about Maureen and her novels please visit her on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/maureenchild/

 

Jann: Today, I have the pleasure to welcome Romance Author, Maureen Child, to A Slice of Orange—and OCC misses her as well.

Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories? What? Why?

Maureen: I don’t know if it’s a ‘theme’ or not, but I do find myself always returning to humor. Even in my darker books—examples, the books I wrote for Harlequin Nocturne or the Witch books I wrote for NAL. As dark as those themes were, humor kept encroaching on the story.

I think it’s because I do believe that everyone needs laughter as much as love. And maybe in those dark moments when writing, I need the light-heartedness as much as my reader might!

Jann: What’s the best writing advice you ever received?

Maureen: Actually the very best advice was something I heard at an OCC meeting about 24 years ago! Susan Phillips was giving a workshop and while she had a lot of great information that day, one phrase stuck with me.

“There is no substitute for persistence.” That sort of became my mantra. Because at the heart of it, that’s all that matters. Persistence. The determination to never quit, never walk away. To keep trying no matter what, to reach the goal you’ve set for yourself.

I still hear a lot of people say, “Oh, I’ll write a book someday.” Those people never will. To be a success at something, you have to love it and you have to put the time in and you have to never stop trying.

Jann: Have you ever suffered writer’s block? If so, how did/do you get past it?

Maureen: Actually, I don’t believe in Writer’s Block. Are there times when the well is dry? Sure. Are there days when I just don’t think I can write a word? Absolutely. Heck, there are times I want to take a hammer to my laptop!

But you write anyway. Even if you end up deleting it all the following day, you write. Because that’s what we are. That’s what I am. Writing is a job. It’s a great job, but it’s still a job. The hardest part for me is the self-discipline and I’m still struggling with it after more than 150 books!

But I have responsibilities. Deadlines. When you sign a contract you make a promise to deliver that book. And before you have a deadline with a publisher, give yourself one and stick to it. Do your pages every day even if they suck. You can always fix them later. Having ‘writer’s block’ is not an excuse for not working. I do understand that some writers can’t work past the bad days and it’s a personal thing, true.  But not going to work because you don’t feel your best is just not the route I’ve ever gone.

Always remember that writing is your job and treat it like that.Maureen Child | A Slice of Orange

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

Maureen: For me, the best thing about being a writer is that I can do it by myself in my house. Wow that really sounds unsociable. But you know, most of the writers I know ARE. J We’re drawn to words. We’re drawn to people watching, studying the way strangers move and interact so we can go home and describe it. We watch a sunset and put together words in our minds to paint a vivid picture.

So in the morning when I get my coffee and go sit on my couch with my laptop, I’m officially in my ‘office’.  I actually have an office that houses collections of awards and certificates and whatnot, but never sees ME.  J When it’s nice out, I take the laptop to the deck and write out there. I don’t have to play well with others in my job, because I am my job. It’s perfect. Even the bad days.

Jann: What sound or noise do you love?

Maureen: I love the sound of babies laughing. That deep down from the belly laughter that just bubbles up into the air and reminds you that life should be fun.

Jann: What sound or noise do you hate?

I hate sirens. They mean that someone’s in trouble, or needs help and I worry about them. J

It was great getting to catch up with you Maureen and wish to thank her for taking the time to answer our questions. If you have any questions or comments for Maureen, please use the comment form below. 

Jann Ryan

 


Jann Ryan | A Slice of OrangeJann Ryan grew up with the smell of orange blossoms in Orange County in sunny Southern California, where she has lived her entire life and dreamed up stories since she was a young girl. Never an avid reader, she was in her thirties when she picked up her first romance quite by accident. She fell in love with happily ever after and has been reading romances ever since.

Wanting to put pen to paper, Jann joined of Romance Writers of America®. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense series set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town along the California central coast to fulfill her publishing dream.

 

 



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The Long Hot Summer . . . and writing by Jina Bacarr

July 11, 2017 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , , , ,

Ninety degrees.

In the shade.

It’s been a hot beginning to summer here in SoCal. Perfect time to write . . . or maybe not. It’s hard to think when you’ve got a cold pack on your head, but it’s even harder when you’re writing about Christmas.

Oh, is it. I keep forgetting to put a coat on my heroine or remind her not to forget her gloves. One good thing. The year I’m writing about — 1943 — there was little if any snow in my heroine’s part of the world. Pennsylvania Dutch country. But it was cold. 17 degrees at night. So I fill her up with hot soup — and thank God, coffee wasn’t rationed as much by ’43, but there’ s no hot cocoa. Chocolate went to the servicemen in the form of a D Ration bar — chocolate and filled with vitamins.

The best part about writing this story about a second chance at love via time travel is the love scenes.

Plenty of hot kisses to go around.

So the morale of my little tale is: whether you’re writing about summer or winter, make sure the love scenes are hot!!

Jina


Speaking of hot, reenacting the Civil War during the summer months can raise the temps, too, especially if you’re thrust back in time to the Battle of Antietam in 1862.

Like my heroine in LOVE ME FOREVER.

Love Me Forever is a big family saga with lots of angst and sexy heroes…if you like Civil War time travel, two wild, feisty heroines and the men they love, it’s on sale through today, July 11th, for 99 cents!

I’ve worked on this book for a long time…in between other books, always hearing no publisher wants a Civil War book, but I didn’t want to give up on my two feisty heroines and the military men they love…a story that spotlights the women of the Civil War.

I didn’t give up and Love Me Forever was selected as a Kindle Scout Winner!

Family is the theme of LOVE ME FOREVER. Two very different women, Liberty Jordan and Pauletta Sue Buckingham, with different ideas are thrown together in a mad, crazy scheme of spying, lost love, and passionate desire for what they can’t have.

The men they love.

Do they get their men?

Well, it is a romance, but it’s also a wild dramatic journey based on actual events in the Civil War. Liberty and Pauletta Sue will make you cheer, then cry, then hold your breath when it looks like all is lost…

LOVE ME FOREVER is available on Kindle and KU and is 99 cents through July 11, 2017.

Ends at midnight!

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