Sunday, August 24, 2008

Make-Believe Mondays With Dana Marie Bell



Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest is Dana Marie Bell.

Dana first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Dana: My current manuscript is book four of the Halle Puma series, entitled Bella Luna. It’s about a woman who, by rights, should have been a hero in Halle, but instead was shunned by all but the most important members of her Pride. She leaves Halle to be with the man who’s declared that she’s his mate. There’s only one problem: He’s a Wolf, and the Alpha of his Pack, and not all of the Wolves are happy about a Puma as their Luna.

Belle’s been through so much, her tolerance for foolishness is, on a scale of one to ten, roughly zero. She puts the Wolves in their place and proves she has every right to stand by their Alpha’s side as their Luna.

I’m a little over half-way done. I gave my husband a sneak-peek at a scene in it, and he laughed out loud in three places. To me, that means I’m heading in the right direction.

Debra: Yes, that does sound like you're headed in the right direction. How nice that you have a husband who appreciates your work that way.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Dana: With the three R’s: Reading, wRiting, and Rugrats. I read just about anything I can lay my hands on, from romance to sci-fi, and let it percolate. I write, because when you don’t use a muscle, even if it’s a mental one, it atrophies.

Debra: Yes, it certainly does.

Dana: And my Rugrats, my kids, who keep the wonder alive for me even as they drive me demented.
Have you ever sat down and watched TV with a child, and asked them what they thought of it? Or talked about a book they’ve read? Or when they play a make-believe game, the ideas they come up with?
It’s scary, but incredible.

Debra: My two sons are grown, in their twenties now, but yes, I remember. I've been visiting with my two year old nephew this week and having a blast. Their little minds are so active, so unfettered and full of wonder. We can learn so much by spending time with children. They understand pure joy.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Dana: If they aren’t “speaking” to me before I put my fingers on the keyboard, they don’t get written. I need to hear them telling me their story as I do the outline, or it just doesn’t work for me. Trying to force characters to be or do something they aren’t meant to frustrates them. Have you ever heard Pumas singing Kumbaya off-key? Trust me: it ain’t pretty.

Debra: Kumbaya off-key sounds pretty awful. But pumas singing might be interesting. :-)

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

Dana: Oh, yes! In The Wallflower, Emma is the Curana, or female ruler, of the Halle Puma Pride. Curana is a play on the Portuguese word for cougar: ├žu├žuarana.

Debra: Fascinating. I love knowing the history of a word. Where it comes from, how it changes.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Dana: I actually dreamed the entire plot of book 5 of the Halle Pumas. It wouldn’t stop until I got up at six-thirty on a Sunday morning (my one and only day to sleep in) and typed the outline into my PDA. Once I was done Gabe and Sarah shut up long enough for me to go back to sleep!

Debra: Lucky for you that you got it all down before the dream drifted away. I wish there was some sure fire way to capture that.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Dana: Isaac Asimov was my hero, as was Ray Bradbury and Robert A. Heinlien. Then I discovered JRR Tolkien, and thought, “Oh, that’s what I want to do.” I must have read The Lord of the Rings at least ten times. (I even managed to finish The Silmarillion!)

Now my parents wonder what the heck happened to “I want to be Isaac Asimov when I grow up.”

Debra: Ah, maybe you discovered it was better to be Dana Marie Bell. ;-)

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Dana: Pretty much what I do now. I take my imagination and allow it to have flight. For instance, I just recently submitted a story about how Loki got a bum rap, and two people are the key to saving him. Sometimes the story works out, and other times it doesn’t. But I won’t know until those voices start talking and I set fingers to keyboard.

Debra: Story telling is such a great adventure. Like life, you just never know if one story or another will work out.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Don’t ever give up following that dream. It may not happen when you want it or how you want it (hello? ex-Isaac Asimov wanna-be here!), but if you keep on trying you’ll eventually succeed!

Debra: Dana, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

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Debra's News/Debra is watching:

This week I am in Ohio visiting family and talking to local bookstores around my home about doing book signings in the spring after the print edition of my book comes out. Since I will be driving back to TN on Monday, I'm posting this interview a little bit earlier than usual.

I have a calendar on my website,
www.debraparmley.com
where you'll be able to keep up with events once I get them listed.

And I'm really looking forward to picking up my mail when I get home, as a friend emailed that I'm mentioned in Flavia's column in the latest Romantic Times Booklovers magazine. It's like Christmas......the anticipation is building....and building.
(So if you've read it, don't tell me yet! I prefer the joy of surprises to peeking,)
;-)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Make-Believe Mondays With Jenna Bayley-Burke



Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is Jenna Bayley-Burke.

Jenna, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Jenna: Right now I'm working on getting my not-quite three-month-old to sleep through the night. In the stolen bits of time I find, I'm roughing out a story about two lawyers who meet again following a one-night stand at a wedding. Kind of like Laws of Attraction, but without the fantastical Irish wedding plot line.

Debra: Oh, those stolen bits of time. They're like little gifts from heaven. Sounds like an interesting beginning for a story. I am impressed that you are finding time to write. (Kind of like breath though, isn't it? We authors need to write.) Congratulations by the way. I want to see photos. ;-)

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Jenna: That goes beyond seeing the glass half full, doesn't it! Sleep seems to be necessary for my work to be worth reading. Beyond the basics of life, I think reading does it for me. I love a story well told. It gives me something to enjoy and aspire to.

Debra: Yes, it does. I never did like either/or ways of thinking. It boxes us in. I've always loved that quote because it reminds me of how full and joyful our lives can be. Yes, sleep is a requirement, I suspect. And I'll bet you are celebrating every little bit you get these days and nights. :-)

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Jenna: Oh yes, right at the point when I think I know what is going on in their story, they pop up and steer me in their direction instead of my own. In

Par For The Course

I really struggled to keep an aspect of Jillian's past on her terms, reveal her struggle with an eating disorder in a way she would be comfortable with. It would have been much easier to do it my way, but I think it comes across more believable because I let her drive.

Debra: Such an excellent way to put it. Let them drive, yes.

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Jenna: You mean no word count, no publisher guidelines?

Debra: Yes, exactly. All those parameters.

Jenna: I don't really get fenced in. I think because I read so much, my stories naturally flow with the expected. How's that for exciting?

Debra: Natural flow is very exciting, because those are the stories that are real and have life. They aren't cardboard cutouts.

Jenna, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers. And I hope everyone in your house is soon sleeping through the night.

Jenna: Thank you for having me!

Debra: It's been a pleasure.

Please visit Jenna Bayley-Burke at:
Web: http://www.jennabayleyburke.com/
Blog: http://www.jennabayley-burke.blogspot.com/

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Debra's News/Debra is watching:

This week I am working on my second novel, getting it ready for submissions. It's a contemporary romance. I will also be visiting my family, in Springfield, Ohio, my home town. Sending in my registration for the RT convention in Orlando next year, so if you are planning to attend, I'll see you there!
I've got a calendar on my website where you can keep up with my comings and goings and I'm just starting to fill it in.

I have been watching Gerri Russell's blog as she travels through Scotland. It brings back memories of last August when I escorted a group to Scotland for nine days. Oh, the heather spreading across the hills, sailing on the Loch, the morning and evening mists in the highlands, tea and scones....

Monday, August 11, 2008

Make-Believe Mondays With Cassie Ryan



Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest is Cassie Ryan.

Cassie, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Cassie: Actually I just finished Triangle of Seduction, which is the third book in my Seduction Series. My current WIP is under my other pen name, Tina Gerow, and is an Urban Fantasy. As Tina I’ve written paranormal romance, but never Urban Fantasy, so I’m excited to try my hand at something new.

Debra: I can't wait to see what you do with urban fantasy. It's a genre that is new to me as a reader.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Cassie: I think keeping balance in your life overall is a big key to keeping my creative cup filled. When I’m on a deadline and my days revolve around my WIP and nothing but writing, then my creative well gets a bit low and I have to take time to recharge. However, I prefer not to get to that point if I can help it. I like to write every day, but also spend time with my family, friends, critique group, read books I love, hang out in the pool, see movies or whatever else comes along. If I keep everything in balance, my creativity seems to continue to flow well.

Debra: There is flow to our lives when everything is in balance, isn't there? I think sometimes when a writer is on deadline and everything else gets puts on hold it's doubly important to remember to get enough exercise, sleep and healthy food. Maintaining that balance isn't always easy.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Cassie: Absolutely. Since most of my book ideas have started with an overall idea and then turned into characters inside my head, my characters start chattering even before I’ve started writing the book. But putting them through their paces as I write the scenes is like watching your child grow up.

Debra: It's very much like that, isn't it? Then soon they are fully grown and go into into the big wide world.

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

Cassie: In the Seduction Series, since part of the story takes place on Earth and part on the fictional world of Tador, I did come up with some words/things just for my world. For example, balda is the native white stone of the world that has pink crystals running through it. The pink crystals help with the conduction of the power and energy created through sexual interaction. I also had ponga, which looks like a fuzzy purple peach with whipped-cream like meat. It smells like lavender and has an aphrodisiac quality when spread on the skin or ingested. There are more, but that will give you an idea.

Debra: How fascinating and how intricate to create a world down to the details of stone and fruit. Perhaps these examples will help readers understand why it takes so long to create some of our fiction, especially when it requires world building.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Cassie: When I’m deep into writing a book I do start to dream about it, and often scenes that spill out into my dreams do end up in the final book. I also have several book ideas in my idea file that were from dreams—especially those that repeat for several nights in a row. In those instances I think the Universe is trying to tell me something!

Debra: Oh, yes, those repeating dreams are a determined tap on the shoulder. A signal to pay attention.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Cassie: I’ve devoured so many authors’ books over the years that I’ve lost count. But a few that stand out from when I was younger were Anne McCaffrey and Piers Anthony. I could spend hours lost in the worlds they created, until I felt like they were real places I could actually visit.

Debra: I've lost count too. It's quite fun for me when an author lists one here that I've forgotten about. There is nothing quite like the joy of being swept away into the world residing within a book. And I'll make note of the ones I hadn't read before. Piers Anthony is going on that list.

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Cassie: Luckily I think I already do that. In the Seduction Series, I took a four-letter word that everyone in the world cringes at (The ‘C’ word) and turned it into the name of a race of witches who betrayed the throne of their home planet and were banished to Earth. So over time, the name of their race became synonymous with “traitor”. There were many people who told me I would never be able to sell a story like that, but the three-book deal with Kensington blew that out of the water. I usually write what I love or what I want and then worry about selling it after the fact.

Debra: It is so encouraging to me and to other authors I know to see this happening. There are so many naysayers in the world, and to know that we can write what we love and it can sell, helps us to carry on. Thank you for sharing this. I am tempted to bold your last two sentences and put them in caps.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Cassie: My best advice to writers is to let your imagination out to play. Don’t censor yourself, don’t worry about what people will think of you, just write! You can worry about all that other stuff later. And you can always tone it down if needed, but you’ll probably be surprised when people accept it without batting an eye!

And as a big thanks for spending some time reading my interview, I’d like to give away a signed copy of my newest release—Vision of Seduction, which is the second book in my Seduction Series. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and I’ll draw a random winner from everyone who comments!

Thanks! Cassie
cassieryan.com
tinagerow.com
butterscotchmartinigirls.com

Debra: Cassie, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Readers, be sure to get in on the contest! This is the first time we've offered a contest on Make-Believe Mondays, and I thank Cassie for her generosity and for the great idea!

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Debra's News/Debra is watching:

Next week, our guest is Jenna Bayley-Burke.

Just as Cassie said, it is important for an author to learn to find balance. This is one of the things every new author must learn. And there are so many things to balance. So many things to learn.

We must balance all the activities that come along with the publication of a first novel. Announcing the news is great fun and that falls under PR and marketing your book. If you've never had to opportunity to do any PR or marketing it's a great big learning curve. What works? What doesn't? Where do you put your marketing funds? How do you promote your book? The fact is, most publishers expect you to be actively promoting your book these days. This is why it is doubly important to write stories we believe in, stories we feel strongly about.

This week I am shifting back to working on new stories while continuing to market my first novel, A Desperate Journey. It is a balancing act, and I must work on the plans centering around the print release in March. Already I have an ad set to run in the October issue of RT magazine. They offer a special section for new authors with special pricing, and they have been a pleasure to work with. It will be exciting to see that issue come out. It wasn't all that long ago that I was in the American Title II contest and would search eagerly through each issue to find the contest pages. This will be exciting in a whole new way. Another first.

So many things to look forward to. But now I must get back to the root of all these good things, back to the source. I must get back to writing my stories and the reason that I write. The reason is simply this. It brings me great joy.

And here is a wish for all my readers:
May you find things that bring you great joy this week.

Until next week,
Debra

debraparmley.com

Monday, August 04, 2008

Make-Believe Mondays With Melissa Lopez



Today on Make-Believe Mondays, my guest is Melissa Lopez.

Melissa, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Melissa: Right now, I’m under deadline to Loose Id. The story is called Gamer Love. It’s a hot, modern story centered on role-play.

Debra: Now that is intriguing. There are so many different role-playing games on the market now.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Melissa: Oh yeah, as soon as they spark to life. They’re real to me. Some are louder than others, but from the moment I first hear them they exist for me.

Debra: As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Melissa: Actually, no. Not as a child. Instead of being read children’s books I was raised listening to things like Sammy Terry. And horror films of the times.

Debra: Fascinating. Kind of the opposite of not allowing children to watch horror films. Who better to write horror stories then?

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Melissa: I believe I’d still be writing what I do now. Besides contemporary romance I write dark edgy paranormal romance. So I’d still weave my Netherworld full of horror, fantasy, and paranormal elements.

nether-world.net

Debra: Melissa, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Melissa: Thanks so much for having me Debra. I enjoyed visiting.

Debra: It's been my pleasure.

Please visit Melissa Lopez at

melissa-lopez.com

JOURNEYS OF LOVE every woman needs to take.

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Debra's News/Debra is watching:

On Friday I received my very first review and I was ecstatic! (Another milestone to celebrate and one worthy of breaking out the champagne again.) It is such a wonderful review I decided to share it here. Future reviews will be posted on my website. www.debraparmley.com

A Desperate Journey
Debra Parmley
Historical romance
Available from Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 1605040746
July 2008

Through dangerous days and nights, Sally Wheeler and Rob Truman would learn that life is full of unexpected trials and horrors. But sometimes fate lends a helping hand so that we could continue onward with a little bit of happiness mixed in. Having her bigamist husband steal her son, Sally joined up with Rob Truman who was bent on revenge against the man who had caused him to spend time in prison. Along the way to find her son, they found themselves dodging bullets and trying to stay alive against their enemies.

As she struggles to keep her tears at bay over the loss of her home, Sally Wheeler felt as if the world was on her shoulders. With her loser husband gone with her son, she tried to be strong for her daughter, Carolyn. Finding the strength to go on was so hard that she wondered just how much more she could take. Missing her son Mathew, with the ache only a mom could have at the disappearance of a child, almost brought Sally to her knees.

With a very heavy heart, she set out to find her son resolving that nothing would keep her from her mission. Meeting Rob Truman, Sally immediately knew that trouble was brewing, along of course, with the instant attraction between them. Rob Truman, had nothing but burning vengeance in his heart for the man who had taken over five years of his life away. Meeting Sally Wheeler was bringing him closer to finally accomplishing his one goal. Only problem was, that the instant attraction that flared between them kept getting in the way. Determined to ignore it, both Sally Wheeler and Rob Truman forgot that sometimes fate plays a hand and it was up to each of us what we do with that hand.

A desperate journey is a well-written, historical romance set in the middle of the nineteenth century when cowboys ruled this land. I felt Sally’s pain and anguish at the lost of her son Mathew and cheered her on when she wouldn't let anything stop her from finding her him, no matter what others said or thought. Rob, was a man with a lot of hurt and anger deep inside. After what Sally had endured at the hands of her husband, these two souls deserve some happiness. And I’m glad to say, that this story has a happy ending.

Overall rating:
Sensuality rating: Mildly sensual

Reviewer: Margo Arthur
July 30, 2008