Tag Archives: Author

Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Hop and Giveaway!


Hi Everybody!

Starting tomorrow, December 13, 2014, we will be having our 12 Days of Christmas blog hop and giveaway. There are some fabulous prizes (including a signed copy of The Marker from me, as well as a gift set of all four of my ebooks. If you’re really lucky, and I get my copies in time, I might even give away a signed copy of my best-selling book, Highland Deception. Because, honestly, I love the feel of paper books). There are a number of really fantastic writers among this group, so make sure to check it out. Enter often!

The rafflecopter for this is:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/153622a61/

I think it is, anyway. I’m technologically challenged at the moment, so if any of you find an error, please kindly let me know. I’ve been pulling my hair out these last few weeks, and it’s left me feeling a little bit like this:

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But hey, ’tis the Christmas season, and I promise to make everything into smiles and unicorns.

Who am I kidding? That’s not me at all. I’m not happy if I’m not a little bit stressed out.

So, in the spirit of the season, I say, Welcome! Check out the ridiculously fabulous line up of authors we have going over the next few days, and sign up to win prizes from… All of us!

Check out these prizes!

$10 Starbucks card from Cynthia Gail AND a Bark Less Wag More coffee mug and author swag from Rachel Lacey

$10 Amazon card from Jennifer Faye AND Author swag from Darcy Flynn

$10 Starbucks card from Jessica Jefferson AND Autographed PB copy of Marked by Jeanne Hardt

$5 Amazon card from Maureen Bonatch AND Bag of heart-shaped pasta from Abigail Sharpe

Bodycology Moroccan shower gel & lotion and author swag from Meda White

$5 Amazon card from Sophia Kimble AND Pair of hand-painted ceramic penguin holiday mugs from Ryan Jo Summers

Paris scented shower gel/lotion/mist set from Sloane B. Collins

$5 Amazon card and ecopy of Perfectly Honest from Linda O’Connor

PB copy of Sugarwater Ranch and keychain from Stephanie Berget

Complete ebook set of Aisle Bound series from Christi Barth

$5 Amazon card from Kim Hotzon AND ebook set and signed PB of The Marker from Meggan Connors

$25 Amazon card from Ann Lacey

$15 Amazon card and giant chocolate bar from Heather Miles

$10 B&N Card from Tracey Livesay

$10 Amazon card from Rebecca Neely

$10 Amazon card and curvy-love bracelets from Aidy Award

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WInner, winner, chicken dinner!

How sweet is that? Check out all of those gifts! Woot!

Have a great Holiday Season!

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Romance Weekly: Decisions, Decisions


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Welcome to Romance Weekly! If you’ve come from JJ Devine, then welcome. If you’re starting here with me, howdy! Let’s get to this!

1.) Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you were going to become a writer? If so, what was it?

The short answer is no. I never knew I would become a writer. I’d wanted it since I was in the sixth grade, but I didn’t know if I’d be able to get published. I don’t think it was until I actually was published that I figured out I was going to become a writer. And even then, because I suffer from imposter syndrome, sometimes I still wonder if I’m going to become a writer, and that’s after four published books.

The long answer is that there was a moment when I decided I wanted to try. My son was two, and my husband decided he was going to start writing apps. And I remember looking at him and saying, out loud even, “I think I can write a romance novel.” I surprised even myself that day, because I never thought I would admit that out loud. That i wanted to be a writer, that I thought I could be a writer, and that I was actually going to try, despite my insane fear of rejection. It’s funny, because after I said the words out loud, I set out to doing just that: writing a romance novel.

2.) When you write a story do you see it unfold as one big picture, or do you add layering in subsequent drafts?

I layer in subsequent drafts. I’ve been known to change a story 70,000 words in, which is crazy, and don’t do that. I usually know where I’m going to end up, but how I get there changes with each draft.

3.) How many drafts do you usually write before you send your work to your editor?

Heh. It depends on the book. I usually edit as I go, and rewrite chapters as I write them (finish a chapter, then go back and re-read, edit a little, fix some more, etc). The bare minimum is three. The first one to get the story down, the second complete re-write to make sure that I don’t have any issues with continuity (though that happens anyway, when, in subsequent drafts, I change something and forget to fix a word. I’m still kicking myself over that one). The third draft is where I run the entire document through autocrit to catch over used words, make sure I’m not using too much passive voice (actually, my major failing is “it/there” and “that”.), and cut out all the damn sighing. Once I start looking for it, I start thinking, “OMG, my characters all have asthma or COPD!” It’s ridiculous.

Typically, the work you are reading is a third completed draft, followed by two rounds of edits, and another read through. And even then, errors get in. By that last round of edits, I don’t see them anymore. That’s what beta readers are for, I suppose, though it’s hard to ask when you’re on a deadline and you know you’ll have to tell someone, “Oh, hey, I need this back in four days. Can you do that kind of turn-around?”

**SIgh**

Why not go see what the lovely Leslie Hachtel has to say on the subject?

TaBiMB Welcomes Becky Lower!


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We’ll do the fun questions first. Feel free to edit a question if you need to.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’ve never married, and have no children, so I have been lucky enough to have the flexibility to move around the country. I’ve lived in Ohio, Michigan, Washington, DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Arizona, and Texas. I’ve met amazing people in these various locations, and use both the locations and the people to create my stories. Couldn’t have done that if I’d stayed in one spot my whole life.

What is the most romantic thing your significant other or anyone has done for you?
This may not sound romantic, but when I was living in West Virginia, the only heat in my house was by a wood stove. I had a whole truckload of wood delivered, dumped in my driveway, and then had to rush to the airport to pick up my sweetie. When we arrived back at my house, I went inside to get dinner started and he stayed outside, stacking every single log for me without me asking him to do so. What would have taken me hours to do, he was able to accomplish while I was making dinner. It sure beat getting a box of chocolates!

I’ll be honest: that sounds pretty romantic to me!

Do you ever write in your PJs?
Most of the time, yes, I do. My most creative time is in the morning.

If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be, and why?
I’d love to be Nemo, since I’ve never been comfortable in the water.

White wine or red?
Depends on what’s for dinner. I like it all.

Coffee or tea?
Coffee.

Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?
Vanilla. I’m not a chocolate girl, except at Easter.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I’m fortunate to have a home with a dedicated office. I have a lovely desk, it’s not far from the coffee pot, and my dog likes to come in and visit me, lying down in the spot where the sun comes in the window.

If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
Thomas Jefferson, Jedediah Smith and George Clooney. No women.

I’ll admit: I love my girlfriends, but I picked men, too. Why share all that attention?

So, who’s an actor you have a crush on?
I’ve always had a crush on Robert Redford. Just his hair, though. It was recently pointed out to me that most of my heroes have shaggy blond hair. And most male models don’t. I guess I need to change my hair crush to someone like Johnny Depp.

I love Robert Redford’s hair. My screensaver is a picture of him and Paul Newman from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
My sister was in town over Christmas and we saw Saving Mr. Banks, which was excellent. It’s about how Walt Disney turned the book, Mary Poppins, into the movie, and worked with the author to make it happen. When the author started to correct the script at the first line, it reminded me of something Nora Roberts once said about having her books turned into movies—Pick your battles.

Now comes the ones about your writing:

What made you decide to be an author?
I’ve always written, from a young age. I never took it seriously, though, and thought I needed to do something that was more like WORK in my professional life. So, I WORKED for years, the whole time vaguely discontented, knowing that I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to do. The economic depression in 2008 caused me to lose my job, and made me take the leap into becoming a legitimate writer.

How did you choose the genre you write in?
I write what I have read for years—historical and contemporary. I loved Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, but wanted to write about American history rather than Regency England. That’s how my Cotillion Ball series came to be. I also am a sucker for time-travel books, beginning with A Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux. My time-travel book has been written and rewritten time and again. Some day, I’ll finish it. And, as for contemporary romances, the gold standard is Nora Roberts.

Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?
I’m kind of a hybrid. I like to use Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet to figure out the main plot points and then put it away and just let the story unfold. The book I’m working on now is one where I had to write the synopsis first, and I did it the same way. Put it away and didn’t look at it while I was writing the story. I’m about halfway done with it now, and pulled the synopsis out the other day and compared the two. I was amazed at how far my story has strayed from the original story line. Still the same story, just a whole lot different.

Is there a particular author who may have influenced you?
My all-time favorites are Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn and Jude Deveraux, obviously, although there are so many more that I admire.

What is your all time favorite book?
A Knight In Shining Armor. I read it every year, almost.

What is your favorite sentence or quote in your new release?
It’s a sentence from the mother of all the Fitzpatrick children. She’s a meddler in her children’s love lives, since it’s her job to get them all married off now. Her eldest, Halwyn, exposes her meddling and asks her how this has happened. Her response still makes me laugh: “Well, I suppose in the same way it’s been happening for thousands of years. Man meets woman, the pair spend time together, decide they care for each other well enough to spend the rest of their lives together, marry, and have a family.”

How much trouble did your characters give you while writing your new release? Which one gave you the most trouble and why?
This was the first book where there was an actual villain. He started out just being a mean guy, but, as the book went on, the stuff he was pulling got meaner and meaner. He became an abusive husband, caused accidents that could have killed people, gambled his money away. I had a hard time getting into his head, since it’s such foreign thinking to me. Although I do have a hard time passing a slot machine.


Where do you get your ideas from?
Where don’t I get ideas from?

A snippet of an overheard conversation, a billboard or a clever commercial, a sassy response from a reality TV star, or a line from a song. Those are all great idea-starters.
admire.

How did you choose your title?

Titles and cover art are so important. My Cotillion series began with a book called The Reluctant Debutante. The second one was The Abolitionist’s Secret. By the time I wrote the third one, I realized I was locked into three-word titles. I try to tie in a bit of the book’s story line into the title, but it’s really a process. Blinded By Grace is about a man who just got glasses to correct his nearsightedness, and is able to see across the ballroom for the first time. He spies a friend of his sisters, Grace, sitting alone across the room.

How do you cure writer’s block?
I’ve never had writer’s block. I always have more ideas than I have time. Sure, there are times when where to go next with the story can be problematic. And, if that happens, I’ll stop and write a quick blog, go back to my beat sheet and take a look at that, or cook something and just think about it for a while.

Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?
Don’t put off what you really want to do until later. I know having a family and a job can make it seem like you just can’t find the time to write, but make yourself and your happiness a priority. Carve out an extra half-hour each day to take care of admire.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given in regard to your writing?
To trust my writing. The reason my time-travel is still a WIP is because I shopped it around at contests and agents. I took every ounce of criticism and advice from them, and changed the story around to address all those comments. It sucked the life out of the story to do that. I didn’t trust myself and my writing enough to write the book I wanted to. I will, one day, finish it. I promise.

And, most recently, an editor told me to trust my reader. I was trying to explain the behavior of the villain, and doing it over and over. My editor said the reader would understand without the constant reminder. I ended up removing thirteen references to it. I really was pounding it over my readers’ heads. There’s nothing like a good editor.

Where can your readers stalk you?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beckylowerauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BeckyLower1
Blog: http://beckylowerauthor.blogspot.com
Website: http://www.beckylowerauthor.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6159227.Becky_Lower
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/authorbeckyl/


Tell us about your new release:

In 1858 New York City, Halwyn Fitzpatrick thinks he’s off the hook for attendance at the annual Cotillion Ball. He has no sister to shepherd down the grand staircase this year and no real desire to go through the rituals of courtship and betrothal himself. Besides, he’ll know the right girl when he sees her, especially now that he has new spectacles. But his mother has other plans for him. At 27 years of age, her son is in dire need of a wife.

Grace Wagner needs a husband by July, in order to inherit the trust her father has left for her. Her stepfather, though, has other plans for the money, and the last thing he wants is for Grace to find a husband before she turns 21, thereby fulfilling the terms of the trust. She’s been in love with Halwyn since she was thirteen, but he hasn’t noticed her at any of the balls they’ve attended over the years. With the aid of his new spectacles, he spies Grace from across the room and they share a dance. Grace decides to present him with a business proposition that will satisfy them both. But, can a clueless knight in shining armor and a desperate damsel in distress find a way to turn a marriage of convenience into something more?

Buy Link:
http://www.amazon.com/Blinded-Grace-Cotillion-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00IKVF00G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393038219&sr=8-1&keywords=blinded+by+grace

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The Heart of a Writer


My thanks to Brooke Moss, who inspired this blog post. In today’s post, she talked about how she’s been getting grief from friends and family who don’t understand how busy she is as a wife, mother, and published author.

While I’m still awaiting publication (next month!), I can relate. After all, I have two kids and work full-time. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve gotten grief for not having time for anyone anymore. It started when I first had kids, and then got worse when I went back to work full-time.

I live a tightly regimented existence between the hours of 6AM and 8PM. I don’t really talk to my friends during those hours because I’m either getting ready for work, at work, or actively doing something for the kids. Playing with them, doing homework, coaching soccer, taking the kids to their various lessons, cooking dinner, or trying desperately (and futilely) to bring my house back from the brink of chaos.

It is a very… busy… life.

And then, to make things more interesting, I decided I was going to write a novel just over two years ago. So now, my days are regimented from 6AM to midnight.

I don’t have a lot of spare time on my hands.

My friends (the ones who “get me”) understand this. I will make time for my friends, absolutely, and if one of them really needed me (and you know who you are), I would drop everything to help them, because honestly, they don’t ask.  So when they do ask, yeah, I know it’s important.

Earlier today, during one of my fits of guilt, the husband and I were discussing my time, or lack thereof. I was telling him that if I invested the same amount of time on a second job that I have with the writing, I could have us out of debt. I’d never be home, and I’d hate it, but I would do it.

And do you know what he said? He said he knew I’d give up the writing if he asked me to. And then he followed it up with this kicker, “But I wouldn’t ask you to do that, because you’d be giving up the only thing you’ve ever had that was just for you. You’ve wanted this since you were ten years old. Who am I to tell you no?”

I wanted to cry, because he’s right. That man knows my heart. If he asked, I’d give up the writing. Just like my grandmother before me. And if I did that, I would spend the rest of my life… missing something. Eventually, I would tell my granddaughter about the stories I tell in my head to help me go to sleep. I’d tell her how I’d never been free to write them down, and she would feel sorry for me like I felt sorry for my grandmother all those years ago.

I was fifteen, and to this day, I wonder if that’s the only real conversation I ever had with her.

I sometimes wonder if she told me because she thought I might be the only person in the family who really understood. I never thought of my scientist grandmother as having the heart of a poet, but I guess she did. She gave up that heart because my grandfather told her it was a waste of time.

A waste of time.

My husband supports every crazy idea I’ve ever had–and I’ve had a bunch. When I told him I wanted to write, he got me a giant monitor so I could see it, because we didn’t know how long my vision would last. He’s taken me to conferences, driven me two and a half hours over the hill so I could attend meetings, read all my contest entries, and helped me choreograph fight scenes. He’s done all of that, while less supportive people have done nothing more than roll their eyes and suggest that I give up writing altogether to focus on cleaning my house or relaxing, as if the latest episode of Maury Povich is somehow more important. (Aside: is that show even still on?)

People who don’t write don’t understand what those kinds of suggestions do to those of us who do. When they tell me to stop wasting my time, they don’t understand that they’re not helping. That they are, in fact, attacking the very essence of who I am. Those people, who deride the “weird writer types,” are attacking me, because I am a “weird writer type,” whether I write down the stories in my head or not.

So when I don’t call, don’t freak out. It’s not because I don’t care. It’s because I’m so busy I can hardly see straight. At the same time, I don’t need all sorts of unwanted advice about how I can achieve balance by giving up the one thing I have that is mine–writing. When you do, you are telling me I should give up that which makes me me. 

I am not ashamed of who I am.

I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a teacher. I am a friend.

I am also a writer.

And there is no shame in that.