Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Romance Weekly: #LoveWriteChat

Love reading sinfully delicious romance novels? Want to know more about how those novels come to life and wind up in your hands? Each Tuesday, a merry band of romance writers spill the beans on all their trade secrets. To join the fun, simply blog hop from one author to the next. And if that's not enough excitement for you, Romance Weekly has a new website to explore, Twitter feed to follow, Pinterest page, Google+ page, and newsletter to sign up for. We've got exciting stuff going on around here! 

Romance Weekly

If you found me by way of Fiona Riplee's fabulous blog, welcome! This week's questions come from Vicki Mixon. Let's jump right in.

Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you were going to become a writer? If so, what was it?
I don't there was ever one single moment when I knew that I would wind up as a published writer. I've always tinkered around with writing, using it as an outlet for my emotions, but dipping a toe into the publishing world was not initially an ambition I'd aspired to. I've always viewed myself as a teacher first, and a writer in my spare time. Someday that might change. 

When you write a story do you see it unfold as one big picture, or do you add layering in subsequent drafts?
Usually the story unfolds for me as I write. I may not always see the entire big picture when I first begin writing the story, but eventually I get small snippets of the storyline, enough to keep me going. Sometimes, the story stalls while I ponder the dilemma my characters find themselves in. That's when I get really good at procrastinating and my house gets uber clean. 

How many drafts do you usually write before you send your work to your editor?
Too many to count! Once the first draft is done, I play around with my story, adding more setting details, and tightening up the plot. As I finish up my first draft of Assassin P.I., I've kept a separate document with revision notes to myself. Stuff like, use Jack's hat as a symbol of his vulnerability, or mention his love of comic books again. The document gets pretty long by the time I'm done with the story. The way I see it? I'm still learning how to write novels, so I can forgive myself for writing a lousy first draft, but I can't forgive myself for publishing a subpar novel. Revision and rewrites are a vital part of the process . . . and kinda fun! 

Next up? Vicki Mixon http://vickimixon.com. See you next week! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Romance Weekly: #LoveChatWrite

Come on, you know you're dying to find out what goes on inside the twisted minds of your favorite romance writers. What inspires them? What makes them tick? Each Tuesday, the writers of Romance Weekly will take you behind the scenes and tell all. So sit down and buckle up for the ride. Comments are always appreciated. 

If you found me by way of Mikki Cober, welcome!  This week's questions come from the ever fabulous Beth Carter. Ready? Let's dig in! 

What’s your favorite aspect of novel writing? Dialogue? Setting? Conflict? Narration? Explain.

Dialogue, definitely the dialogue. When I sit down to write a scene, it's the dialogue that I hear. It's as if my characters are inside my head having a conversation that only I can hear. I think a lot of that stems from the fact that I started out writing short plays. In a play, there are no character thoughts to contend with, the conversations drive the entire plot. With my first novel, I had to write in complete silence, so I could hear my scenes. With Assassin, P.I., I have a soundtrack that my dialogue is set to. Once I capture the lines I hear, I go back and layer in the setting details and flesh out the narration. 

How do you choose the setting for your plot? Are they always similar settings or does it vary? (i.e., small town, big city, castle, etc.)
I tend to lean toward small towns for my stories. It's what I know. It's all I know. We might not have the traffic, drive-bys, or the oodles of people big cities have, but small towns have secrets to hide, and decades old feuds that just won't die. Gossip could practically be considered a sport. But despite all the potential negatives that come with living in a small town, there's nothing quite like it. When tragedy strikes, the entire town pulls together. After all, everyone is connected in some way. We're practically family. 

When it comes to selecting a setting for my stories, trust me, I've got all the inspiration I need, right here in my small hometown. 

I’m a big six-word memoir fan. (Hemingway even wrote one.) Describe your writing day using just six words.
Only six words?! I'm a pretty chatty gal, so stopping at only six words is nearly impossible. But here's my attempt: 

Must teach students: write, revise, repeat. 

I might not have the pleasure of spending every day with my butt in the chair, writing until my fingers are numb, but I do have the distinct pleasure of sharing my writing knowledge with my students. Ergo, I am writing by default. I'm just not adding to my word count at the moment. 

Thanks for stopping by! Next up on the blog hop? Raine Balkera. Hop on over and show her some love.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Chef d'Amour by Brenda Margriet

One of my favorite parts of being a writer (other than being paid to do what I love), is that I get to meet a slew of talented authors and introduce them to you! This week's talent is Brenda Margriet, author of Chef d'Amour. Brenda is a contemporary romance writer and one of my Romance Weekly Blog Hop friends. Be sure to spread the love and leave a comment before you leave today.

Without further adieu, here's Brenda to tell us all about her new release. 

Brenda:   Thanks so much for hosting me today, Elizabeth! My second romance, CHEF D'AMOUR was released August 29th by The Wild Rose Press, and I am so happy to be able to share this event with my Romance Writer's Weekly friends.

E.J.:   The pleasure is all mine! Congrats on your new release, by the way. Your cover art looks fabulous. So why don't you tell us all what Chef d'Amour is about. 

 About the Book

All Jemma Hedge wants to do is care for her ailing grandmother, and a job behind-the-scenes on the reality show Reservations for Two is the perfect opportunity. There's one rule—no fraternizing with the cast. Easy enough, until she meets the show's sexy bachelor, Paul Almeida, the smouldering restaurateur she's already had the displeasure of meeting.

Paul risked more than money when he opened his dream restaurant. To give his fantasy a fighting chance he accepts the role of Chef d'Amour on a brand new reality show. Flirting with the women vying for his heart should keep him too busy to worry about overstepping boundaries with the crew, until he spots Jemma.

The ingredients for love are at hand. Can Jemma and Paul create the perfect blend?

Brenda:   I have a confession to make. While CHEF D'AMOUR is set behind-the-scenes on a romance reality TV show, I have never watched one. Like my heroine, Jemma, I have trouble believing that a true, lasting love can grow under the beady-eyed lens of a television camera. A romance behind the camera, however – that I can get into! Maybe because that's how I found my true love – but that's a different story....

E.J.:  Ooh, do tell! I love hearing about real-life love stories. Maybe you can give me the inside scoop when we're done here. But seriously, I love the premise. It's easy to understand and the conflict isn't contrived. It makes sense. I'm kind of dying to know who makes the first move. 

Brenda:   It was a lot of fun writing about Paul and Jemma, and I hope you enjoy reading about them. As an added bonus, my romantic suspense, MOUNTAIN FIRE is only 99 cents until September 12th on Amazon, Kobo, Nook and more. You can find all of my buy links on my website – www.brendamargriet.com.

E.J.:   How about giving us a juicy little tidbit in the meantime? Pretty please? 

Brenda:   Here's a publisher-approved excerpt.

Dizziness swirled through Paul and he lifted his mouth for an instant, long enough for a quick, desperate breath before dipping back to sip from Jemma again. A taste, one more, another—then she tore away, thrust away, threw his hands down. She pressed against the far wall, staring at him with her unearthly blue eyes. Her breasts heaved under her black t-shirt. A flush shaded the hollow of her throat. 
His palms tingled from the silk of her skin, her tang lingered on his tongue. Need for her simmered in his veins. 
She stared at him, one hand held to her mouth. He should say something. Apologize. Apologize? What the hell for? 
“Are you trying to get me fired?” Her voice came out squeaky, panicked.
Oh, right. She wasn’t allowed to associate with him. “Of course not.” That kiss was well over the line, but he didn’t regret it, not one bit. 
“Then what was that?” Her hand flailed between them. 
“I kissed you.” 
“I know that!” Her eyes flashed. “Why?” 
“I wanted to.” He rolled tense shoulders. His breathing eased as his pulse steadied and he resisted the impulse to hold her hard against him, nestle her to his body. She’d probably slap him. “I have to tell you, Jemma. You are much more fascinating than any of the women on the show.” 
“I’m not a contestant!” Red brightened the tip of her nose. “You can’t pick me. You have to pick one of the contestants.” 
“I’ll pick who I want.” And I pick you. He didn’t dare say it out loud. 
“Stay away from me.” She edged past him, grasped the door handle. “Just stay away from me.” She fled.

E.J.:   Who knew Paul could be such a naughty boy?! Can't wait to find out how he wins Jemma over. This one is definitely going on my TBR pile. Let's see what the experts are saying about Chef d'Amour.

from Cora Seton, national bestselling author of the Cowboys of Chance Creek series 
"Great story - I love, love, love all the detail. Brenda Margriet does a terrific job setting up scenes and evoking places, and I felt like she really knew what she was talking about when it came to showing behind-the-scenes on a television set. Terrific book!"
from Kim Handysides 
"Brenda Margriet's characters are interesting, quirky, nicely rounded and the conflict is great. I love the authenticity she brings to the television studio scenes. I thoroughly enjoyed Paul and Jemma's story."
E.J.:   Before we close for today, I think everyone needs to know more about you, the brilliant writer behind that delicious scene.

About the Author:

Brenda's love of books began as a child. She ran into the living room holding "Old Hat, New Hat", tripped and smashed into the corner of the coffee table. The book sustained a deep gouge in its cover, and Brenda has never forgotten its sacrifice.

As a teenager, she saved babysitting money to buy a typewriter. It had an electric keyboard with manual return, and cost more than $300. When she wasn't clacking away on it, she could be found hiding behind the couch with her nose in a book.

Her first release, MOUNTAIN FIRE, is a romantic suspense set in Northern BC. Her second release, CHEF D'AMOUR, is a contemporary romance set behind-the-scenes on a romance reality TV show.

Brenda lives in Northern British Columbia with her husband, three children (all of whom are taller than her) and various finny and furry pets. By day she is Production Manager at the local television station, and by night she pecks away at her works in progress.

Find out more about Brenda, including social media and buy links, at www.brendamargriet.com

E.J.:  Thank you so much, Brenda, for joining me today. I wish you good luck and hope you enjoy many, many sales. May your book hit all sorts of best seller lists!