Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from Make-Believe Mondays


Make-Believe Mondays is on holiday this week and will resume next Monday.

I would like to take this time to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

There are so many things to be thankful for, even when times are hard. Each day is a chance to find something new to be thankful for. What are the things you are thankful for?

This morning I am thankful for fresh air, breath, the ability to wiggle my toes, leaves which fall to feed the earth and the coming spring, time to be able to write my novella and those friends and family who understand why I need that time.

Debra's News/Debra is watching:

This week I am working hard to finish the western novella to meet a Dec 1st deadline with Samhain Publishing. Every so often they put out a call for submissions.It's the first novella length fiction I've ever written and I am enjoying it immensely.

If you're browsing the net this holiday week, here are some of my sites:

Debra on MySpace

Debra's fan page on Facebook

Debra's poetry blog, Write Around The Corner

See you next week and have a blessed holiday!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Make-Believe Mondays With J.K. Coi

Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is J.K. Coi.

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

J.K.: Having recently finished my third book in the Immortal series, Dark Immortal (due for release in the new year), I have turned my attention to the fourth book, Forever Immortal.

This series is about a band of immortal warriors charged with the responsibility of keeping the world safe from demons. Book 4 is about Gideon. He’s one of the newer Immortals, and one night his inexperience in the face of a very dangerous demon cost the life of an innocent human bystander. It’s a mistake that will torment him for the next five years.

Lyssa James just wanted to go out on the town and leave behind thoughts of her dead-end job and obnoxious ex-boyfriend for a while. What she got instead was a first class ticket to a demon hell dimension where she’s been trapped for five long years. Finally, providence intervenes, giving Lyssa access to the very portal that had swallowed her whole and taken her life. But when she comes out the other side, she finds herself facing the same Immortal that botched her rescue five years ago. Now, if only she was still human instead of the very thing Gideon’s sworn to destroy. Demon.

Debra: 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?

J.K.: That’s a good question. I think it helps to try and take a break every once in a while. When I finish a book I like to let it simmer for a while before I go back to read it, or before I start another one in that same series. During these in-between times I do a lot of reading and I work on my stained glass projects. I might start writing again, but I’ll likely choose to do something that isn’t related to what I’ve just finished. For example, when I finished writing book 2 of my series I got right back into the chair and started writing The Trouble With Destiny. I could do it because they’re very different stories (although they are similar in genre), but I couldn’t have started another Immortal book at that time.

Debra: Yes, I agree. It makes the editing process much smoother too, if you've had a break from the story and characters. And one of the nice things about writing in more than one genre is you can give one a rest while working on the other.

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

J.K.: Definitely. I think it takes me about 25,000 words to really figure out my characters—which means I usually end up going back and fleshing out the beginning a little more afterward—especially since I don’t write very detailed outlines. I kind of like to figure things out as I go along, and that goes for my characters as well. But once they have been nattering around inside my head for a while, then things really get interesting. They start talking to me more clearly, demanding things and arguing with each other. The trouble comes when they stop talking, either because I haven’t been listening closely enough or because the “real” world has gotten in the way and I’m feeling the stress.

Debra: For me it is chapter three. They all start showing up around that time. One of the things that makes it fun is having a character surprise me. Silent characters usually means the story is stalled for some reason.

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?

J.K.: I can’t say that I’ve dreamed a scene for my books because I’m a very deep sleeper and I don’t often wake up remembering my dreams. But I do daydream a lot. More than I should, and I do keep a pad of paper beside the bed because I’ll often be thinking of my story before I fall asleep and there are a number of times I’ve had to write something down so that I don’t forget it in the morning.

Debra: Daydreaming is good too. :-)

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

J.K: I loved the Narnia books when I was young, as well as The Lord of the Rings. Those fantasy worlds called to me, and it might be one of the reasons why I’m drawn to writing about the things that I do.

Debra: 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?

J.K.: Just that I’m positive the two go hand in hand. I don’t think that you can have good fiction without a healthy dose of imagination and dreams. We have to bring that magic into every manuscript. That’s what makes the really awesome books stand out for our readers.

Debra: Well, you know I agree completely with that. :-)

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

J.K.: Thank you very much! This was a lot of fun and I appreciate the opportunity to meet your readers. Here is my pertinent book and contact info and I hope to see you again soon!

The Trouble With Destiny is now available!

Books 1 and 2 of the Immortal Series are also available. Get My Immortal and Immortal Kiss from Linden Bay Romance directly, and other major e-retailers online. You can also buy print copies of the books from your local stores.

Please visit me at my website for more information about upcoming books, chats, interviews, reviews, and all things Immortal: I’m also on MySpace: J.K. on Myspace and I blog at

Debra's News/Debra is watching:

This week I am working on my new western novella, trying to meet a Dec. 1 deadline with Samhain with fingers crossed that they will choose mine.

Over on Title Wave my AT II sister Maria is blogging about the American Title V contest and you can see the contestants there. Was it only three years ago that we were in the contest, excited, nervous, not sure how to promote ourselves, wondering who would win that publishing contest? So much has happened since then. Now I am a published author with my first book in print March 31, 2009. Dreams do come true. Be sure to check out this years contestants and vote. Help these aspiring authors make their dreams come true.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Make-Believe Mondays With Vijaya Schartz

Today on Make-Believe Monday my guest is Vijaya Schartz. Vijaya and I met last year when we roomed together at RT and I couldn't have asked for a nicer roommate. So I am very pleased to be able to introduce her here today, which also happens to be the release day for A Desperado For Christmas.

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

Vijaya: The art of writing is about re-writing, and I'm currently polishing the first book of a series titled THE CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE. It's a medieval fantasy, and the first book, PAGAN QUEEN, is set in Scotland during the early Viking invasions. My heroine is related to Morgane the Fae, wants to rally the many tribes of Alba against the invader, while fending off the persecutions of Charlemagne's bishop, who consider her anathema. On top of all that, she is plagued by a faery curse. The phenomenal amount of research was fun. But now I'm just refining the characters and the story. Since I wrote this a while back, as I rewrite I find myself fascinated by the degree of evil I can generate in my villains. I've been told that before, but it's scary sometimes.

Debra: Medieval times are one of my favorite time periods and Scotland tops the list for top ten favorite places I have been. I am really looking forward to reading this one.

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?

Vijaya: Boy, have I ever! I keep pen and paper on my night stand just for that purpose. Whatever comes to me in dreams is usually brilliant, whether it's a title, a high concept, a story line, or the start of a scene. But I go one step further. Whenever I experience a block in my story, I go to bed with a question or pray for a solution in my mind, and Lo. In the morning, I know the answer. Sometimes it comes through vivid dreams, sometimes I wake up hearing the words, and sometimes I just know what to do, or how the story should go. But each time that happens, it's an enlightening experience. Then I wonder, Why didn't I think of that earlier?

Debra: The best things do seem to come to us in dreams. Without that pen and paper they drift away though. I've learned to do that too, and hurry to scribble it down.

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?

Vijaya: In my writing career, I have always mixed categories, and even radically opposed genres. When my first book came out, Ashes for the Elephant God, no one knew where to place it on the shelves. Adventure? India? Reincarnation? Paranormal? New Age? Romance? It was a bit of everything. Since I wasn't aware of the rules, I wrote the story of my heart, and it sold, and it won awards.

Debra: It is wonderful when that happens. I think sometimes the book of the heart is a thing meant to be and the creative energy within that writing must be immense. The nice thing about sharing this is, it can give encouragement to others who are writing that book of the heart. I'm so glad you shared that.

Vijaya: Then I learned that there were rules, but I looked for publishers willing to push the envelope and break these rules to create mixed categories. I published a number of Science-Fiction romances with kick-butt heroines, evil aliens, paranormal powers, in a suspenseful romantic story. Agents tell me my stories are a tough sell, but I stick to my guns, because my readers are fiercely loyal, and in the end, they are the ones I want to please.

I enjoyed this Make-Believe Monday. You can find out more about me at and you can look for my new release from Sapphire Blue Publishing, A DESPERADO FOR CHRISTMAS. The story is about a rookie Border Patrol Agent, Kaitlin Harrington. She hates Christmas and all men, since her lover jilted her, and she lost her unborn child on Christmas Eve. This year, she guards the Mexican border in southern Arizona, but little does she know that her life is about to change forever. No amount of training prepared Kaitlin to arrest the gorgeous desperado who challenges her. His name is Miguel, and on this dangerous adventure through the Arizona desert, on the most magical of nights, anything can and will happen...

Thank you, Debra, for the opportunity to share this blog.

Debra: It has been my pleasure, Vijaya, and happy release day!
Debra's News/Debra is watching:

Now that my galleys are finished, I'll be back to work on the new western this week.

Tuesday update!!
I have an interview and I am blogging over on Diane Craver's blog today. Come on over and say hello!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Make-Believe Mondays With JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest is JoAnn Smith Ainsworth.

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

JoAnn: I’m writing book two of a three-book, plot-driven, paranormal suspense series. Five psychics assigned to the U.S. Navy) hunt WWII Nazi spies on the East Coast. The hero is the skeptical Navy commander in charge of setting up the project and the heroine is the clairvoyant WAVE assigned to oversee the business office. Each psychic has a unique skill to bring to the mix (clairvoyant, medium, crystal ball reader, laying-on-of-hands healer, and seer of ghosts).
In the first book, they use their psychic skills to uncover two spies. As the book develops, they get to know one another enough to accept that each will watch the other's ‘psychic’ back.

The second book brings in black magick, Pennsylvania Dutch hex spells and pow wowing. The psychics must reach beyond their individual skills and unite as a group to fight and uncover a baffling barrage of occult magick. The reader learns that the heroine is a direct descendent to a Black Dutch ancestor from Bavaria, Germany, who has a powerful book of counter spells to drive back the evil directed at the U.S. Navy psychics by Hitler's occult group.

In book three, the hero and heroine travel to wore-torn London to retrieve the book of counter spells, which was smuggled out of Bavaria as Hitler was increasing his control on the country. What they don't know is that their supposed friend who accompanies them to England is working for Germany. He has orders to kill them if they get too close to Hitler's secrets or find the book of spells.

A romance between the heroine and the hero develops slowly over the course of the three novels.

Debra: Over the course of three novels? How very interesting. Keeping that suspense going as well.

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?

JoAnn: My ‘creative cup’ comes with the editing of the manuscript. That’s the time when I cut away the excess and choose the right word to convey the emotion of the character.

I write for ear and eye and feeling. The words have to look good on the page. The ear has to enjoy the way the words sound when combined. I need to feel the action’s drama. When I accomplish this, I have a big smile and my ‘creative cup’ is satisfied.

I’m a pragmatic person and never worry about keeping my ‘creative cup’ filled. I also never worry about writer’s block. If it happens, it’s like the 24-hr. flu. I put the manuscript away for a day or two. When I look at it with fresh eyes, I know what to do – especially because I have all plot points, character development, and an outline of the novel finished before I ever write a word on the story.

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

JoAnn: I started my career as an author by writing romances, which are character-driven stories. My H/H characters have to come alive for me before I can write their story.

‘Coming alive’ happens at different times for my characters. Secondary characters sometimes come alive because of their interactions with the plot. With my heroine and hero, I think about and research their time period (I write historicals) until they become three-dimensional in their settings. Then I start writing, and not before.

Debra: I am beginning to think every character is different in the way that they come alive. Those secondary characters can be just as vivid.

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?

JoAnn: I’m an example of never giving up on your dream. I’m a senior citizen who plans to write novels for the next 15-20 years. When I decided I wanted to use my education to become an author to supplement my social security and keep me active and alive after retiring as a database administrator, I had a ten-year plan. My employer unexpectedly went out of business in 2003 in the aftermath of the bust. I suddenly found myself without a job and in early retirement. I could have decided that my world had fallen apart and why bother, but I stuck to my dream and accelerated my writing process.

Uncannily, it ended up being the ten years of writing that I envisioned. I sold OUT OF THE DARK and MATILDA’S SONG last year to Samhain Publishing, Ltd. These novels are e-released and will be in print in bookstores in 2009.

My most recent excitement as an author was to find I am being sold in Britain by Libresco (iliad e-book reader) for ₤2.25, and by Amazon-UK and I wonder what the British will have to say about an American writing novels set in 1120 A.D. England!

To read reviews for OUT OF THE DARK and MATILDA’S SONG, please go to

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

Debra's News/Debra is watching:

Today was my turn to blog over on Title Wave Changes are coming there. Keep watching. ;-)

This week I am working on galleys for A Desperate Journey, which are due this Friday. Once that is done, I'll be back to working on my the new western.

One of my friends from RT, Andrei Claude, has started a new blog.
in-a-mans-world This is one I won't want to miss. Check it out!