Posts Tagged ‘guest

26
Feb
10

Guest Post and Contest: The Evolution of a Character by Elisa Lorello

Today, we are happy to welcome guest author Elisa Lorello on the last stop on her whirlwind blog tour. She is going to talk a little about the evolution of one of the characters from her books Faking It and Ordinary World. And, Elisa will be giving away a PDF copy of each book to one lucky reader. Check back after Elisa’s post for the entry rules.

From Devin to David: The Evolution of a Character

The idea for my novel Faking It was conceived back in 1999.

I had discovered this new television sensation called Sex and the City and didn’t know what to make of it. It was actor Chris Noth who had brought me there—I had become a fan of his when he starred as Detective Mike Logan on the original Law & Order—but the sexual boldness of these characters both intrigued and intimidated me. I had grown up in an environment where sex wasn’t discussed in private, much less in a public restaurant at lunchtime.

A what-if suddenly appeared: What if a woman never learned what she was supposed to learn about sex and dating? What if she met someone who would teach her what she needed to know? What if he was a male escort? The very last what-if was further inspired by my favorite movie, When Harry Met Sally: And what if they became friends?

Thus, my original vision of Devin the Escort was a slightly younger Mr. Big. Charismatic, well-groomed, affluent, and very, very charming. Ok, downright gorgeous. In 2000, I saw Chris Noth perform in a Broadway play called “The Best Man”, and after the show, I met him in the lobby.

“You were wonderful,” I said, gushing. “Excellent performance.” He turned to me, made eye contact, and smiled.
That smile.

His smile was electric. Mesmerizing. For a split second, I was the only woman in that theater lobby. The only woman he saw. The only woman he wanted to see.

I then knew that Devin’s power would be in his smile. His smile and his eyes.

It took another four years before I finally wrote the first draft, and another four years after that before I published Faking It, but by the time I did Devin was more than a handsome schmoozer. He was a man who had a tumultuous relationship with his father. He was an art enthusiast who never realized his dream. As intimate as he was with his clients, there was one thing he never gave away: his heart. And for all Devin has to teach Andi, He also realized that he has a lot to learn.

So how did Devin become David? And does he end up with Andi?

Well, I don’t want to tell. Read Faking It first. Then read Ordinary World to find out.

What I will say is that I love the depth and complexity of the characters in Ordinary World. They have shed their skins, re-invented themselves. They are even more vulnerable, more fragile, more loving. They have grown by leaps and bounds. Despite the fact that Andi is the narrator of both books, I think in some ways Devin is the real star. I remember reading an excerpt from an early draft to my college writing class, and one of the female students blurted out as soon as I’d finished reading, “Oh yeah. I’m in love with him.”

“Me too,” I said. Still am.

Faking It and Ordinary World are available in print and e-book at Lulu.com and in e-book at Amazon Kindle Store.

Elisa Lorello was born and raised on Long Island, New York. In 1995, she moved to southeastern Massachusetts, where she attended University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Her career in rhetoric and composition studies began in 2000, and since then she has been teaching first-year writing at the university level. Currently, Elisa lives and teaches in North Carolina and is co-writing her third novel. She is happily single.

To learn more about Elisa and her other writing projects, please visit her blog “I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Official Blog of Elisa Lorello at www.elisalorello.blogspot.com, or her official webpage at www.elisalorello.com.

Here is how you can enter to win a PDF of both books:

  • Commenting on this post.
  • Tweeting a link to this post in Twitter. You’ll need to comment letting us know that you tweeted. Include your Twitter username for verification.
  • Posting a link on Facebook. Again, comment letting us know that you posted the link.
  • Following The Romantic Journey in the Facebook Networked Blogs application.
  • Adding The Romantic Journey to your blogroll. Comment that you did that and include a link for verification.
  • Posting something about The Romantic Journey on your blog. Comment that you did it and include a link for verification.
  • Subscribing to the RSS feed or email feed. Comment that you did it to be entered.
  • Following The Romantic Journey on Twitter. Again, comment with your Twitter username for verification.

You receive one entry for each action, so you can potentially receive eight entries.

The winner will be announced 12 March. Entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. UTC on 11 March, 2010.

No transfers or substitutions.

22
Jan
10

Interview and Giveaway with Dating Detox Author Gemma Burgess

Today, we welcome Gemma Burgess, author of The Dating Detox. Here’s a little description of the book:

If you can’t date anyone nice, don’t date anyone at all.

Dating is a dangerous sport. So after her sixth successive failed relationship, romantically-challenged 20-something Sass decides she’s had enough. The Dating Detox is born. No men, no break-ups, no problem.

The result? Her life – usually joyfully/traumatically occupied with dates, clothes and vodka – is finally easy. Chastity rocks. No wonder nuns are always singing. Everything falls at her feet. Especially men.

Will Sass break the rules? Why does fate keep throwing her in the path of the irritatingly amusing Jake? Will she ever roll the dice and play again? Or is a love-free life too good to risk losing? For the post-Carrie Bradshaw, post-Bridget Jones, post-credit crunch generation of singles, life isn’t beautiful, a bitch, or a beach. It’s a party.

Romantic Journey: Welcome, Gemma. Thanks so much for stopping by today. How did you get The Dating Detox into print?

Gemma Burgess: I sent the first three chapters, plus a cover letter and a synopsis, off to 10 agents in London. Then Laura Longrigg at MBA asked to read the rest, at which point I had to write ‘the rest’. (Ahem. In my defense, I never thought I’d actually get that far…) Then she sent it out to publishers, and Harper Collins offered a deal. There was a lot of waiting and redrafts in between those moments of high excitement, but that was the basic path. If any of your readers want to know the full story, I give a month-by-month synopsis of how I did it on my blog at www.gemmaburgess.com.

RJ: Are you still working as a copywriter, too? If so, how do you juggle your two jobs?

GB: I’m a freelance copywriter – so I just don’t work when I am working intensely on a manuscript. It’s an ideal job for a writer. It also easy, as there’s less of the inevitable politics / pressure that comes with any permanent role. You just turn up, have fun with words, and go home. I used to get very involved in my job – in making sure my team was happy, and making sure I was impressing the right people, worrying about results and reviews and all of that. I don’t think I could have had the headspace to write a novel if I was worrying about work.

RJ: How does a typical day unfold?

GB: When I’m writing (ie, not copywriting), I wake up about 6am, and have coffee and start writing in bed. This is when I try to get big chunks of writing done – I don’t worry about word count so much as getting a particular event or scene done. After lunch, I reread and revise the morning’s writing. And then usually at about 3pm I get cabin fever, and I need to get outside and walk around or exercise. Then most evenings I slowly reread and think and let my mind wander… this is usually when I come up with little ideas and one-liners, rather than big plot chunks. When I’m going to sleep I go over the book in my head and often come up with answers to things or realise I need to change something. I need a notebook; at the moment I wake my boyfriend up and say something cryptic that I know will trigger the memory for me, like ‘Remember this in the morning: Janey emails, Dan says rabbit’ and he mumbles ‘Okay’. He always remembers, bless him.

RJ: Tell us a little about the Name That Bastard site. What makes a good bastard name?

GB: You tell me! Naming is a constant challenge for me – I asked for help on Twitter this week for a new character name, actually. When it came to naming the bastard character in The Dating Detox, I was so fed up of thinking of names that I thought I’d ask my friends about ex-boyfriends they’d like named and shamed. Everyone got very enthusiastic, and I ended up with Rick. So for the second book, I’m throwing it out to the world. So far we’ve had a lot of Daves. Doesn’t it seem like the most innocuous name? Apparently it isn’t…

RJ: What are your five favorite books? What lessons have you applied from them to your own writing?

GB:

  1. Bridget Jones – this book made me realise how just the way we think can be funny.
  2. Heartburn, by Nora Ephron – this book is so intimate and warm, I love the tone of voice. I aspire to a similar immediacy.
  3. Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis – the lead character is delightfully enthusiastic about being negative – you love that about him. And Sass in The Dating Detox is delightfully negative, too.
  4. Jilly Cooper – I love everything about her books, but particularly the party scenes. She obviously enjoys writing about people having a raucously good time, it’s infectious and puts you in a good mood… I tried to get that sort of feeling into my party scenes, too.
  5. I can’t think of a fifth without having a huge argument with myself, so it comes down to Nancy Mitford, Bret Easton Ellis, Fanny Burney, David Sedaris, Stella Gibbons, Jane Austen, Michael Chabon, Julian Barnes… they’re all inspiring in different ways.

RJ: Are you a chest or buns woman?

GB: Ha! Shoulders, actually…

RJ: We get a lot of shoulder fans. Perhaps we need to broaden our options. Who’s your fantasy man?

GB: Right now it’s Robert, one of the characters in my second book.

RJ: What is your favorite pair of heels? What makes them so special? And, how long can you wear them comfortably? (We would be happy to include a photo.)

GB: Oooo! Good question. I hate to play favourites – I love all my shoes equally, even the grubby Converses – but I just bought a pair of Miu Miu shoes (on sale! that’s God giving me a high-five) from Net-A-Porter to wear at my wedding in April. The picture is attached. I LOVE them. I might go and take them out of their box and give them a little hug when I’ve finished this interview, actually.

RJ: Those are gorgeous shoes! Now our last question: If your ship were sinking and you could grab one thing on the way to the lifeboat, what would it be? Go on instinct here; don’t let common sense interfere with you as you grab your hairdryer or laptop instead of food to take to the desert island.

GB: Uh… the cabinboy?

RJ: Nice. Thanks again for stopping by, Gemma. It was great getting to know you.

Now for the fun part. Gemma is giving away a copy of The Dating Detox to three of our readers. Here is how you can enter to win:

  • Commenting on this post.
  • Tweeting a link to this post in Twitter. You’ll need to comment letting us know that you tweeted. Include your Twitter username for verification.
  • Posting a link on Facebook. Again, comment letting us know that you posted the link.
  • Following The Romantic Journey in the Facebook Networked Blogs application.
  • Adding The Romantic Journey to your blogroll. Comment that you did that and include a link for verification.
  • Posting something about The Romantic Journey on your blog. Comment that you did it and include a link for verification.
  • Subscribing to the RSS feed or email feed. Comment that you did it to be entered.
  • Following The Romantic Journey on Twitter. Again, comment with your Twitter username for verification.

You receive one entry for each action, so you can potentially receive eight entries.

The winner will be announced 1 February. Entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. UTC on 31 January, 2010.

No transfers or substitutions.

01
Jan
10

Start the New Year with an Interview and Contest with Stephanie Draven

We’re starting the year off right with another guest interview and contest. Romance and speculative fiction writer Stephanie Draven is our interviewee. She’s giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky reader.

Romantic Journey: Stephanie, thanks for stopping by. Let’s dig right into the questions. How did you first get published?

Stephanie Draven: My first professional sale was a little short story I sold to Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. It was called “Limbo,” and it was a zany tale about a young woman looking for love in spite of the meddling of her dead ancestors. It’s a story I wrote on a dare, and it differs completely in tenor and tone from the dark paranormal romance I now write for Silhouette Nocturne.

However, my first Nocturne Bite, Midnight Medusa, was also written with a challenge in mind. I wanted to write a story that was socially aware, had emotional resonance, and pulled in elements of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I think I must thrive on proving that I can do stuff other people think can’t (or shouldn’t) be done!

RJ: Do you have another job? If so, what is it?

SD: Right now, I’m a full time writer, but I used to be a lawyer. I think it was penance I had to serve for sins committed in another life.

RJ: How does a typical work day unfold? Do you clean first or write first? How do you let your family know when you are in serious writing mode?

SD: I have a few different modes. I try to draft everything quickly, which usually means writing at least 2k a day for 30-45 days.  On those days, I wake up as early as 5am and I don’t leave the computer until I have my word count completed. On those days, if my family gets food on the table, they’re lucky, and I only clean once a week. (On Mondays, I run around the house with a timer, doing all my housework in increments of ten minutes.) [RJ: Must be another Flylady devotee. :)]

When I’m in editing mode though, I allow myself more flexibility and work more of a 9-5 kind of job, although frequently I work late into the night, and it’s sometimes hard to get my husband to understand that I’m still working!

RJ: What are you working on now? Anything coming out soon?

SD: I’m currently putting the finishing touches on a modern day re-adaptation of the Minotaur story. It’s the last book in my Greek myth inspired paranormal romances. (So far, for Nocturne, I’ve written about gorgons, dryads, chimeras, hydras, and nymphs of the underworld.)

In the coming year, my first full-length Nocturne will be on the bookshelves and I’m ridiculously stoked to see it. The story is about a modern-day nymph of the underworld who sets out to seduce and kill a notorious arms dealer by taking on the appearance of the woman he once loved. There are some parts of it that made me cry to write, but it has a happy ending!

RJ: What are your five favorite books? What lessons have you applied from them to your own writing?

SD: Oh gosh, there is no way I could pick only five favorite books. I have so many! But I can tell you what I hope to learn from what I’ve been reading lately.

I’m reading How not to Make a Wish by Mindy Klasky–which is a lighthearted magical tale. Mindy has a great sense of humor, but more importantly, she has a sense of grounding detail in everything she writes, and I need to learn to do that. Mindy’s details are so rich that she’s even put out the cookie recipes of one of her characters, and let me tell you, I’ve had those almond lust cookies, and if I weren’t already married…

I also recently read Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran, which I fell in love with. I’ve long been fascinated by Selene (and have a book of my own coming out about her in January 2011, written under a different pen name), but I particularly enjoyed this novel because it effortlessly wove the protagonist through her times. I started out in fantasy and speculative fiction, so the way I approached Selene’s story was with a great deal of magic realism. I think I learned from Cleopatra’s Daughter, though, that sometimes the history is enough.

Not long ago, I read Megan Hart’s Dirty–which made me sob.  Repeatedly. It taught me that contrary to expectations, erotica can be much more than sexy. It can also be moving, meaningful, and socially aware. I learned from it that books can still shake me and that true art can be found in any genre.

Another favorite is Philippa Gregory’s Wideacre, which is a book I’ll never get out of my head. I guess I learned from that book that it really is possible to write an absolutely captivating anti-heroine, and I think my own heroine’s have been more edgy because of it.

And I guess last, but not least, is First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner, from whom I’ve learned to really plan and outline my work.

RJ: Are you a chest or buns woman?

SD: Eek, are those my only choices? The first thing I tend to notice about a man is his eyes and his hands. But if I have to pick between chest and buns, I’m going to say chest because I’d rather he were walking towards me than walking away.

RJ: Who’s your fantasy man?

SD: I married him! No, seriously. I have the best husband ever. He loves me unconditionally, treats me like a princess, and has made my entire writing life possible. He’s smart and sexy and a much better person than I am. I’m always striving to be more like him. (I’m really in love, if you couldn’t tell.) But if he happened to come home one day looking a little bit more like Smallville’s Tom Wellling or Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles, I wouldn’t complain.

RJ: Very good taste. I’m a big Ackles fan myself, although some of the other ladies here are more into his co-star, Jared Padalecki. Anyway, What are your goals for 2010? Personal or professional are fine. Whatever is important to you today.

SD: Personally, I have a goal of teaching my cat Butterscotch a new trick. (He already sits up, shakes paws, and will give me a high-five. He also sometimes fetches. He thinks he’s a dog.)

Professionally, though, my whole next year is already mapped out writing my next book, and I couldn’t be happier. I think we’ve all been through some rough times lately, but I really believe that things are starting to look up!

RJ: Great outlook. I feel as if we’re on the brink of some positive times, too. Again, thank you for visiting with us today. And thanks for the generous contest item.

Readers, find out more about Stephanie on her website. And, here is how you can enter our contest for a $10 Amazon gift certificate courtesy of Stephanie Draven:

  • Commenting on this post.
  • Tweeting a link to this post in Twitter. You’ll need to comment letting us know that you tweeted. Include your Twitter username for verification.
  • Posting a link on Facebook. Again, comment letting us know that you posted the link.
  • Following The Romantic Journey in the Facebook Networked Blogs application.
  • Adding The Romantic Journey to your blogroll. Comment that you did that and include a link for verification.
  • Posting something about The Romantic Journey on your blog. Comment that you did it and include a link for verification.
  • Subscribing to the RSS feed or email feed. Comment that you did it to be entered.
  • Following The Romantic Journey on Twitter. Again, comment with your Twitter username for verification.

You receive one entry for each action, so you can potentially receive eight entries.

The winner will be announced 11 January. Entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. UTC on 10 January, 2010.

No transfers or substitutions.

28
Dec
09

Guest Interview with Romance Writer Mima

Today, we welcome Mima, who has published quite a few Bonded Fantasies stories with Liquid Silver, including her most recent release Spirit Within.

Her final purpose was to save him. The slave woman never flinched from releasing the hawk in her care. If the only way out was to become a darkmage, then that’s what she’d do. Her entire goal was his freedom. When her goal was achieved, she was left nameless, tainted, lost.

The hawk named Tydus endured believing he must reveal the darkness’s hidden depths to his people. The slave who cared for him became his partner, one he wouldn’t leave behind. When he finally stood free of his chains, he looked down to recognize his mate … and a darkmage.

Friends help them find a way back to civilization, but no one who hasn’t lived through what they did can understand it. Clinging to each other, their connection saves their sanity. Struggling to shed the emotional poison they were infected with, they discover passion can transcend fear. In order to heal, there can be no lies between them, especially in bed. He thinks it’s his task to heal her, but she knows what he’s hiding.

How does a shattered woman face a dominant man’s needs?

How does a guilty man fight through his wounded woman’s fear?

Hope born in darkness glows brighter from the shadows.

Romantic Journey: How did you first get published?

Mima: I suppose you could say I took my courage in both hands and researched some epublishers and went for it. Tina Burns at Liquid Silver contracted my first story, Wild Within, and the Bonded Fantasies were born.

RJ: Do you have another job? If so, what is it?

M: I’m a children’s librarian in a public school. I adore my day job. I laugh all day long, in between challenging students to discover new facts and books.

RJ: How does a typical work day unfold? Do you clean first or write first? How do you let your family know when you are in serious writing mode?

M: Up at 7, half hour drive through beautiful country to work. Talk to the kids about their gerbils and how cool tanks are, lead some reading workshops where kids blow me away with their thinking about stories, guide creative and nonfiction writing lessons, or instruct research lessons with some new technology like jing and pebblego. I’m often at work until 5 or 6.

Home and visit Romance Divas, a writer’s forum, and either read, write, or edit for a few hours. I can write with a certain level of filth, yes. My husband gets home at 9. On the weekends, we often assign “cave time” where we’re each on our own doing our own thing, but since it’s the only time I get to see him, it’s hard to write on the weekends. Sometimes he’ll try to talk to me when I’m at my desk in a scene and I’ll just say, “Can’t talk.” He’s generally supportive, except at 2am on work days.

RJ: What are your five favorite books? What lessons have you applied from them to your own writing?

M:

  1. Jayne Ann Krentz/Castle/Quick. She’s not a book you say? Well, her stories are like potato chips to me. I can’t stop. No one does dialogue like Ms. Krentz. I reread her stories to study how she can do characterization in three words or less.
  2. I just recently finished The Flame and the Shadow by Denise Rossetti. It had been a very long time since I was bowled over by a story. I laid down after I finished it and just… savored. It is a genre mashup, the kind that first drew me to epub, the kind that made me pick up my pen, and the kind I have very, very rarely seen in mainstream press. It has made me reconsider my opinion of my place in NY publishing.
  3. Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne. It’s a brilliant, simple, direct depiction of deep POV. Every year I teach it, it rejuvenates my desire to get into characters’ heads. When I write, I’m not me. I’m them.
  4. Humor is hard. I do better with sex and emo so when I read funny, I’m always curious how the author pulled that off. Stephanie Plum novels really rock my world because they bring together characterization, wit, and situational humor. I especially remember Lean Mean Thirteen. I can picture myself on my porch, laughing until my face hurt and my cat ran away from my flailing limbs.
  5. Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks. It’s the most heart breaking romance. I adore it. I’ve read it every week for three months. I can’t get it out of my mind. I’m always reminding myself not to be too nice to my characters.

RJ: Are you a chest or buns woman?

M: Buns if I had to pick, but thighs, actually.

RJ: Who’s your fantasy man?

M: I’m pretty crazy in love and lust with my guy. However, Viggo pretty much lights up my world. He’s a total package.

If your ship were sinking and you could grab one thing on the way to the lifeboat, what would it be? Go on instinct here; don’t let common sense interfere with you as you grab your hairdryer or laptop instead of food to take to the desert island.

M: (mima is laughing at jen. hairdryers on boats? really?) I’m a practical person. My first grab, if it wasn’t my people, would be a life jacket since I wouldn’t be wearing one (lifelong boater). Now if the boat was my home, and I was trying to save my most precious possession that wouldn’t be ruined by water… probably my jewelry case. I’m a girly girl and I’ve got good taste. I have some damn fine jewelry. But this question reminds me of one of my favorite movies: Waterworld. There’s not a whole lot that would be possible to take with you on the long slog to shore. When your ship goes down, you’re pretty much sunk.

RJ: Thanks again for stopping by, Mima. It was great getting to know you and your stories.

Readers, you can find out more about Mima’s Bonded Fantasies and other stories at her website.

25
Dec
09

Our Christmas Gift to You: An Interview with Debbie Mumford and a Contest

We’ve got another contest for you this Christmas. Debbie Mumford stopped by to tell us a little about herself. And, she has agreed to give one lucky reader a copy of The Silver Casket.

Cat Logan, a young American with a recent degree in medieval literature, travels to Scotland to discover her roots. She finds more than she bargained for when a mysterious silver casket (rumored to hold the desiccated heart of a long dead Scottish laird) transports her back in time to the 1400s and the man whose heart she holds in her hands.

Romantic Journey: Thanks for taking a few minutes out of your holiday preparation to chat with us. How did you first get published?

Debbie Mumford: My first published piece was a children’s story in an ezine. I actually published several short stories in online venues before I found Freya’s Bower. Credit for that connection goes to Romance Divas! I joined RD, and a couple of weeks later saw an announcement of a new e-publisher that was asking for writing samples. I sent one in and was contacted in a matter of hours. Talk about thrilling!

Freya’s Bower asked me to write two related short stories to help them launch. After that, I submitted a novella, Sorcha’s Heart, and the rest is history.

RJ: Do you have another job? If so, what is it?

DM: Well, I did until the current recession hit *sigh* I’ve been a technical writer in the land use / land planning field.

RJ: How does a typical work day unfold? Do you clean first or write first? How do you let your family know when you are in serious writing mode?

DM: When I was employed, I got up at 5:30 a.m., wrote for an hour, and then prepared for my day at the office. Now my schedule is a bit more relaxed, but I’m still a morning writer. I prefer to get my pages done before I move on to other things.

RJ: What is the biggest blooper you’ve written?

DM: Oh! My first published novel, Second Sight, was a nightmare. I wrote it during NaNoWriMo one year, and almost gave up on it before it was in marketable condition. I have my Freya’s Bower editor to thank for its continued existence. If she hadn’t encouraged and poked and prodded, I’d’ve given up on the sucker.

RJ: And what line that you’ve written continues to amaze you?

DM: I love this one from near the end of a YA book my agent is currently shopping:

Being bodiless, I was beyond the rush of chemicals we understand as emotion, but I watched with sublime awe as the dragon who had taught me to accept myself transformed into the faery I would have loved.

RJ: What are your five favorite books? What lessons have you applied from them to your own writing?

DM: Oh, wow. You’re limiting me to five?

  1. Any of the Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey – I love dragons and Anne taught me that they could be intelligent, caring, and heroic. [RJ: Look for a photo of Debbie with Anny McCaffrey–also one of my formative writers–on her website.]
  2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – Tolkien taught me that faery stories aren’t just for children, that fantasy is ageless.
  3. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – Rowling taught me to accept the magic in my soul.
  4. White Lies by Linda Howard – one of her early romances that caught my heart and taught me to love the romance genre.
  5. Any of Nora Roberts’ fantasy trilogies – Nora has taught me many things, but I love how she manages to blend fantasy with romance in a contemporary setting. Amazing.

Yes, I know. I cheated. That’s a lot more than five books, but honestly! I was a reader long before I was a writer.

RJ: The Silver Casket includes time travel. What drew you to the concept of time travel? What inspired the love story?

DM: I love time travel stories. I think the first one I ever read was “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain.

I love them when the heroine is taken back in time, as she is in The Silver Casket, and I love them when the hero comes forward in time, as in the movie Kate & Leopold. The imbalance in societal values and general knowledge of the world provides such wonderful intrinsic conflict. I’d always wanted to try my hand at one.

As to the love story, well…that one is pure wish fulfillment!

RJ: Christmas-themed romance stories—love them or leave them?

DM: Who doesn’t love a romance involving snow, and holiday lights, and warm, cozy nights curled in front of a crackling fire? I like romance at any time of the year!

RJ: If your ship were sinking and you could grab one thing on the way to the lifeboat, what would it be? Go on instinct here; don’t let common sense interfere with you as you grab your hairdryer or laptop instead of food to take to the desert island.

DM: My laptop, of course! Who cares that the battery will die in hours? I’m sure my own personal Robinson Crusoe will figure out a way to power it once we reach the desert island. I’m nothing if not optimistic!

RJ: Thanks again, Debbie. It was great findingout more about you and your work.

Okay, readers, now for the fun part. Here’s how to enter the random drawing for a copy of The Silver Casket:

  • Commenting on this post.
  • Tweeting a link to this post in Twitter. You’ll need to comment letting us know that you tweeted. Include your Twitter username for verification.
  • Posting a link on Facebook. Again, comment letting us know that you posted the link.
  • Following The Romantic Journey in the Facebook Networked Blogs application.
  • Adding The Romantic Journey to your blogroll. Comment that you did that and include a link for verification.
  • Posting something about The Romantic Journey on your blog. Comment that you did it and include a link for verification.
  • Subscribing to the RSS feed or email feed. Comment that you did it to be entered.
  • Following The Romantic Journey on Twitter. Again, comment with your Twitter username for verification.

You receive one entry for each action, so you can potentially receive eight entries.

The winner will be announced 2 January. Entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. UTC on 1 January, 2010.

No transfers or substitutions.

21
Dec
09

Get to Know Erotic Romance Writer Jeanne St. James

Today, we welcome Jeanne St. James, whose most recent book, m/m romance Rip Cord, is available now.

Gil Davis had hated high school. Ever the geek, he had no intentions of attending his 10th year class reunion. The last thing he wants is to relive the taunting and teasing he received during his teenage years. However there is one thing he missed from high school: the star Varsity football player. The one he had a crush on since the first day he laid his eyes on him. But the last thing he expects is the now pro football player to come back to their home town to attend a lame high school reunion. Known as the Bad Boy of the NFL, Ripley “Rip” Cord, not only shows up, but shows up without a date and an eye for Gil.

Romantic Journey: Thanks for joining us today, Jeanne. How did you first get published?

Jeanne St. James: Blood, sweat and tears. No, seriously, I just finally started submitting my work. It was that simple for me. So far I’ve submitted three books to three different publishers and all three got contracted in about a six month period. I feel that I am lucky that my work was so well received.

RJ: What led you to electronic publishing rather than print?

JSJ: I was too intimidated to submit to print publishers. I liked the way the erotic romance genre has really grown. And epublishers have opened up a lot of opportunities to us writers. There seems to be limited spots for print publishers. Also, I figure epublishing is the wave of the future.

RJ: Do you have another job? If so, what is it?

JSJ: Yes, I work full-time as an emergency dispatcher. I plan on eventually writing full-time though. I’m heading that direction.

RJ: How does a typical writing day unfold? Do you clean first or write first? How do you let your family know when you are in serious writing mode?

JSJ: Actually I don’t clean or write first. I get on my computer and do my favorite hobby in the morning while I drink my coffee… sweepstaking (yes, I’m a sweepaholic) AND then I go to work second shift. And THEN I write (at work or at home after work or on my days off).

RJ: What are your five favorite books? What lessons have you applied from them to your own writing?

JSJ: I’ll mention three Laura Kinsale’s books: Flowers from the Storm, The Prince of Midnight, and The Shadow and the Star. I actually like all her books. And I’ll mention two Katherine Sutcliffe books: Fire in the Heart and Shadow Play. I like all her books, too.

With those two authors, I learned that I really like dark romances with damaged heroes or heroines. So I try to incorporate those types of characters into my books in one way or another.

RJ: Are you a chest or buns gal?

JSJ: Oh, I have to pick one? Then I am a buns man. Nothing like a nice ass on a man. My husband is a runner and he has a really nice rear end.

RJ: Who’s your fantasy man?

JSJ: I have a few. But really for the complete package I like Mike Rowe (from “Dirty Jobs” and “Deadliest Catch”). He’s sexy, has a great voice, and has a great sense of humor. Not to mention he is very successful.

RJ: If your ship were sinking and you could grab one thing on the way to the lifeboat, what would it be? Go on instinct here; don’t let common sense interfere with you as you grab your hairdryer or laptop instead of food to take to the desert island.

JSJ: My iPhone. So I can Twitter updates from the deserted island, as well as check my email because I’m obsessed with checking my email (sorry to say). And my Facebook account… And I can’t live with out Internet!

RJ: Jeanne, again, thank you for stopping by today and telling us a little more about you.

Readers, Find out more about Jeanne, her other current release, Banged Up, and her forthcoming story, Double Dare at her website. Also, connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and her blog.

19
Dec
09

Interview with Internet Dating Diva Rachel Goodchild

Today, we welcome Rachel Goodchild, an author and journalist who just released Eighty-Eight Dates, a great book on dating in the Internet age.

Internet dating.  Everyone’s doing it.  Maybe even you?

Whether it’s to find true love, a bit of romance or just a good time, using a computer to connect with other people is now part of everyday life.

The hilarious, painfully embarrassing and poignant stories in this book with remind you to be prepared to kiss a few frogs before you meet the perfect internet date.  But the commonsense dating guidelines will help you avoid disasters.

Eighty-Eight Dates is a fun collection of anecdotes and advice for anyone interested in what it’s really like to date online.

Romantic Journey: Hi, Rachel. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by and say hello.

I’ve just finished reading Eighty Eight Dates and loved it! It’s scary, funny, downright bizarre in some places and also has a few of those Awww! moments when people met that special somebody they were looking for. It’s also a very practical book full of tips and advice, can you tell us what prompted you to write a book on the do’s and don’ts of Internet Dating?

Could you tell us how you carried out the research for EED including one of your own stories – which are hilarious.

Rachel Goodchild: I researched heavily for six months. I like to think I was taking one for the team 🙂 I personally went out with over fifty guys in a six month period. The worst moment was when I got banned from one dating site for “researching” and I lost three months of emails! Had to start again.

I just did my taxes–do you know how awesome it is to have a dating service as a tax deduction? I went out with both nice and weird people to help men and women everywhere!

RJ: What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?

RG: Definitely the one with the guy who was really rude to me about our different political views, then, when I said I didn’t ever “put out” on the first date he said he wouldn’t be paying for dinner then and did I know any girls who DO put out on the first date?!

RJ: If you weren’t a writer what would be your ideal occupation?

RG: I’m doing all my ideal occupations- I believe life is too short to not just give it all a bit of a shot!

RJ: Are you writing anything new at the moment? If so, can you tell us about it?

RG: I’m writing a few things. The big two are two books filled with the best advice our parents gave us. I’m planning to release them next year- and all my royalties are going to go to a charity I fully endorse- Shine (www.2shine.org.nz) which helps families experiencing domestic violence.

RJ: Besides writing books, do you have a job? Hobbies?

RG: I have a pile! I am a mum to three amazing girls who are creative and clever and busy! I raise them by myself and love it.

I freelance write for magazines, do a little PR, write my blog askrachel.co.nz, and advice for The Radio Chick website, am the relationships specialist on TVNZ’s website and present a relationships segment on Breakfast with Paul Henry.

I also work in the educational field and provide professional development to Early Childhood Teachers. I also write educational books.

Hmm guess I could have summed this up with- “yep” huh?

Hobbies- reading, walking, food and socialising. love my life nearly all the time!

RJ: What’s the worst/weirdest job you’ve ever had?

RG: Worst was washing windows when seven months pregnant with our third child as we were so unbearably poor. But I fed my kids!

RJ: We know you have a Facebook page, can you give the readers the links to any social networks you have?

I have a facebook fan page (Rachel Goodchild), a twitter account (@rgoodchild), and a blog/website www.askrachel.co.nz.

RJ: How do you juggle your career as a writer with your career as a journalist – do you have a routine? Or fly by the seat of your pants?

RG: I fly by the seat of my pants a bit. I love being busy. I actually like getting up and working between 3-6am, then taking most of the day off to be a mum.

RJ: How do you let your family know when you are in serious writing mode?

RG: If I’m busy I tend to create a writing bunker in my bedroom and come out to throw food together, pass around a few kisses and take kids to school. They actually love what they do- probably because they don’t know anything else! My nine year old has just started her own website www.littlemisspinkhair.co.nz and she wants to work in a creative industry.

My job gives me time where I’m not really in a “good mummy” mood but it also gives me so much flexibility to be a mum when they need it too

RJ: What is the biggest blooper you’ve ever written?

RG: My first book with Penguin- I listed someone’s age and a few other pieces wrong. I was mortified. I was really careful with Mountain Men and the stories in Eighty Eight Dates were anonymous- phew!

RJ: And what line that you’ve written continues to amaze you? This can be in a bad or good way – we really don’t mind.

RG: Oh I really don’t know! I don’t tend to re-read my work once it’s published! 🙂

RJ: Are you a chest or buns woman? Please give examples of an ideal chest or set of buns and marks out of ten. We will include a photo if possible, purely for educational/illustrative purposes.

RG: Ha ha GORGEOUS. I am probably neither. 🙂

I like men with a certain sparkle in their eye. For that reason, the men I go for tend to be extremely creative, clever, witty, and fun.

Hmm ok- I do like chests better- but not too muscly.

RJ: Who’s your fantasy man?

RG: Ha ha. My type is pretty well the same over and over again. Simply enough, it’s tall, dark, and handsome. But more often than not he’s also really creative, a bit directionless, very witty, and probably not as ambitious as me. He’s best unshaven, and he’s someone I deeply deeply avoid at all costs now. See that type now and I run in the opposite direction. Still gets my heart pumping however 😀

RJ: If your life were ever made into a movie, which actress would you like to play you? Why?

RG: Oh, Catherine Zeta Jones, of course. (And I would look so hot!)

RJ: If your ship were sinking and you could grab one thing on the way to the lifeboat, what would it be? Go on instinct here; don’t let common sense interfere as you grab your hairdryer or laptop instead of food to take to the desert island.

RG: Cellphone. Can still check my email and tweet for 24 hours. But let’s be honest, it’s going to be glued to my hand anyway, so I’m going with sunscreen–there are far worse things than a few months alone on a desert island!

RJ: Thanks, Rachel for answering our questions. Best of luck with your writing–we expect to hear from you when your next book comes out!




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