Wednesday, November 26, 2014

TAKEN BY STORM by Tamara Mataya

I featured Tamara Mataya last year, and I'm excited to announce that her new book, TAKEN BY STORM, will debut December 2.

Check out the pretty cover:

And here are Tamara's answers to some updated interview questions!

TAKEN BY STORM is a great title. Does it involve a peek at Malcolm and Jayne or will it showcase some newer characters?

Thank you! It's a new stand-alone. The blurb:

Leilani’s plan was simple: Return for her father’s wedding, housesit for the happy couple while they went on their honeymoon, then get the hell outta dodge. She’d thought the worst thing would be returning to the town she grew up in (and despised). She was wrong.

A flashflood hits the small town, stranding Firefighter, Ryan, and a few strangers at the local bar. Worst of all, Leilani, his old high school rival – and last night’s scorching one-night-stand – is one of the people stuck in the bar. With waters rising, they need to stick together and wait for rescue.

The power grid’s knocked out, and cell phones aren’t working.  When the others panic and leave, Leilani and Ryan are left alone in the dark. Fortunately, words aren’t necessary to keep the former rivals warm. But when they’re forced to leave their refuge, they must cooperate to navigate the flood ravaged town and reach safety.

Rising waters bring them closer together. Rising tempers might tear them apart.   

Definite intrigue! You write in multiple genres. What do you like most about each genre you write in, and what advice (if any) do you have for writers writing in multiple genres?

I like weaving serious issues into everything I write, but without being preachy about them. Bullying in The Best Laid Plans. Synaesthesia and coping in Just Breathe. Taken By Storm is based on what my town went through in the 2013 flash flood. Make Me (coming March 31/2015 from Random House) has two characters who have dealt with war torn countries and how those experiences have shaped them. I try to work substantive issues into everything I write.

Advice? You have to write what sells if you're looking at writing as a career. The book that got me my agent was an Urban Fantasy, but the market isn't looking at that from debut authors, so I switched focus to contemporary romance. There are books of our hearts that we need to write, but if you're looking at it from a career perspective, you have to look at what's selling. Or, bide your time until the market turns around. It always ebbs and flows. Will I write more spec fic? Damn right! But I have deals in contemporary romance right now. Writing in multiple genres can be tricky as well because you've got to focus on your brand. If you gain readers for a science fiction, those readers might not appreciate your sudden switch to erotic romance. My muse needs a bitch slap because I literally have ideas in all genres and categories. But, again, it's focusing on what's selling, and trying to keep to that brand.

Blending art and career is a really smart idea. I'm also interested in how you blend writing and library life. What are some of the challenges you face when managing your time?

My hours are part time and I have no kids. I'm lucky that way, in that I have more time to write. I don't know how many of my Critique Partners do it, especially those with multiple kids. They're frigging heroes in my book.

Mine too! Your Goodreads bio mentions that you are a musician with synaesthesia, which has been described as a merging of the senses. Does your music inform your writing, or vice versa?

It's a part of who I am, but I don't think one has much bearing on the other, except when it comes to listening to music while writing. If I haven't heard the song before, I can't write to it - I'm too focused on listening :)

Thanks Tamara, for another great interview!

To pre-order TAKEN BY STORM for yourself, feel free to click the link below:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I BELONG TO YOU by Lisa Renee Jones

Lisa Renee Jones is a New York Times bestselling author, and her new book, I BELONG TO YOU, the fifth in her Inside Out series, just came out yesterday! Have a look:


Being that person, that man is how I define myself, how I allow the rest of the world to define me as well. And now, with a terrible loss shredding me inside out and someone trying to destroy my family to punish me, control is more important than ever. It is everything. It is what I need. It is all I need. Or maybe I just need…her.

Here are Lisa's answers to some questions:

According to your website bio, your publishing journey began in 2007. How did you know that writing was something you wanted to pursue?

I did acting in some independent films when I was young and then started secretly doing that with some success again. But I owned a business and had teen kids. I grabbed a book one day and rediscovered my love of reading. I knew immediately that was my creative outlet.

Sounds like you've dabbled in a lot of creative mediums. I love the premise of I BELONG TO YOU, the fifth book in the Inside Out series. Where did the idea come from, and how did the characters develop as you wrote them?

I'd know what I BELONG TO YOU would be for a very long time. I'd just been waiting and leading everyone there. Everything starts with the journal found by Ella and given to Sara. And that idea came from a journal I found when auction hunting to pay the bills while waiting for my writing career to take off.

Fascinating. You also have a YouTube channel--what do you enjoy most about vlogging, and what have you learned from doing it?

It's been a fun thing for Diego and I to do together. Learning about lighting and editing and sound are challenges and a work in progress. But I learned Diego and I love trying these new things together. It's great to have a husband who shares these things so eagerly with me.

Indeed it is! The Inside Out series is currently in development for Cable TV. What advice, if any, do you have for authors considering television deals?

You need a good agent. The right agent who makes the right deals happen. I'm fortunate that I've had that through this process. Really, not one but two. I have a literary and film/tv agent and they are both very interactive with each other and me. I'm also fortunate that I'm involved with the producers and know what is happening. Often that just isn't the case. But AGENT. The right one/s. That's what is critical.

Excellent advice! Thanks, Lisa, for being interviewed!

To grab Lisa's books for yourself, click the links below:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

THE BURIED by Shelley Coriell

I was fortunate enough to meet Shelley at an RWA event in Arizona, and at a few subsequent writing conferences where she conducted workshops. Not only is she a great speaker, but her writing is fantastic. Her latest novel, THE BURIED, is the second in The Apostles series and available now (and it's also a contender for best Romantic Suspense of 2014 by RT Book Reviews!):

Secrets from the past.
Voices from the grave.
Because nothing stays buried forever...

Cypress Bend, Florida, is a small southern bayou town filled with long-buried secrets. It's also the home of successful, fiercely independent state prosecutor Grace Courtemanche, who's pulled into a world of terror and self-doubt when she receives a phone call from a young woman buried alive.

In a race to stop a revenge-seeking killer, Grace unearths skeletons from her past along with feelings for the one man she swore she'd never need again, Theodore "Hatch" Hatcher, a rootless, smooth-talking FBI crisis negotiator who's back in Cypress Bend to deal with a secret of his own.

Here are Shelley's answers to some questions:

According to your website bio, you used to write restaurant reviews. How did this segue into writing fiction, and can you tell us more about your path toward publication?

SHELL: A woefully practical writer, I knew that it was hard to make a living as a fiction writer, so I worked as a journalist for more than twenty years. My first job: covering high school sports at age sixteen for my local paper where I got paid $2 an inch. Since then I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, speechwriter, and when my kids came along, I picked up freelance work, including a cushy assignment as a restaurant reviewer for a national on-line entertainment guide.

And while I was paying my mortgage with non-fiction work, I’d spend early mornings and weekends writing fiction. It took me five manuscripts and five years before I got my first New York offer. There’s nothing sexy about my journey: Write. Edit. Repeat. (And show gratitude along the way!)

Gratitude is definitely important! 
THE BURIED has a great villain called The Gravedigger. How did the character come to you, and what suggestions do you have for making villains memorable? 

SHELL: As a child I had reoccurring nightmares about being buried alive. Horrible, huh? Makes a soul long for those anxiety dreams about forgetting your locker combination or showing up to work in your underwear. Writing THE BURIED and creating the Gravedigger was an exploration of one of my deepest terrors. But by tacking the fear through story, I controlled the terror and guaranteed myself happily ever after.

As for what makes a villain memorable, three things. The best villains are passionate and willing to die for their causes, 2) have some redeeming qualities that allow us to relate to them, and 3) are smart enough, strong enough, and motivated enough to battle our heroes and heroines.

It's great when we can confront fears through writing. And I loved the voice in your YA book, WELCOME CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE. What do you like most about writing YA, and how does it differ from crafting Romantic Suspense?

SHELL: All of my books feature relatively strong, independent women not afraid to speak their minds and live their truths, regardless of age. In YA, I love the raw truth and hope that defines the genre. Interestingly enough, crafting YA and romantic suspense is the same process. One character. One life-changing moment. One transformational journey.

So true! In your "Dream, Dare, Do" workshop, you offer some excellent tips on how to create an effective business plan. In your experience, what are the key advantages to having a business plan?  

SHELL: Crafting a business plan makes most of us better business owners. It forces us to think ahead, set goals, determine strategies, anticipate challenges, and define opportunities. Ultimately, business plans keep us on course and on fire about our writing. Here’s a simple business planning template for your readers.

Thanks for having me, Karen! Joy & Peace to you and your readers! 

And thank you, Shelley, especially for including the business plan template!

To grab THE BURIED for yourself, and its predecessor, THE BROKEN, click the links below:

And click here to get WELCOME CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Reassessments, and an Author Interview Next Week

I've slowed down with blogging here for a bit because I'm in the final throes of revisions for my current WIP, and I'm devoting more time to building my craft through short stories, scripts, and other types of media.

I'm also taking some time to reassess the scope of this blog, especially after reading Jane Friedman's post, "What Should Authors Blog About?" It's made me rethink my platform and what I want to be saying with it.

As of now, I dabble in what Jane calls "The Literary Citizenship Model" because I'm interested in promoting authors and their books. Any part about my writing life, known as the "Behind the Scenes" model, has migrated to the group blog I'm a a part of, Operation Awesome.

As an example, here's some stuff I've posted over there in the past few months:

Plot Running Astray?

What's in Your Toolbox?

Edited Prose Falling Flat? Check Your Inner Critic

Lemonade from Lemons: Filling the Creative Well During Rough Periods

How All Work and No Play Kills a Manuscript

And author interviews will continue to be posted here. Stay tuned next Wednesday, when I'll be interviewing the awesomely talented Shelley Coriell.

Food for thought: Do you find author blogs useful? Do you think blogs will eventually be replaced with something else?