Meet Me Mondays

Meet Me Mondays
Meet My Author Friends...Make Them Yours

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Please welcome Laurie Larsen to the "Meet Me Mondays" spotlight.  She's the 2010 Eppie Award Winning author of Preacher Man, a multi-published author, the Treasurer of the Central Illinois Heart and Scroll Chapter, and my mentor/my friend.  Oh, and she's also a busy mom and full-time Project Manager at a large corporation.

Q1: So Laurie, please share, as the author of Casey V (Young Adult), Preacher Man (Inspirational Romance), Legacy of Lies, Momentary Lapse and Whispers of the Heart (Women's Fiction), what motivates you most to write?

I’ve always loved to read and write.  One of my favorite past times is to get swept away by a great story, whether I’m writing it or reading it!  What motivates me most to keep writing book after book is the desire to do something all my own.  As you mentioned, I’m a wife, a mother, a career woman.  I’m always doing things for others, by the nature of my various roles. And I love all those roles!  But writing is for me.  It allows me to use my creativity and talent and skills to create a story all my own.  And if it gets published, and therefore shared with others who enjoy it as well, then that’s the greatest feeling in the world.

Q2: With five published novels under your belt, two additional works under submission, what can your fans (both present and future) look forward to next?

I have begun submissions for my latest manuscript, a contemporary romance.  Inner Diva is the story of Monica, a play-by-the-rules wannabe actress and Carlos, a hot Hispanic reformed bad boy.  They are total opposites with nothing obvious in common.  However, as their relationship develops they realize that each is instrumental in helping the other achieve their deepest personal dreams.  Inner Diva is a little bit hotter on the sensuality scale than any of my previous novels.  Although far from erotic, I really let loose and opened up the sensuality levels for this book!  The pages sizzle with Carlos and Monica’s passion for each other.  I hope to be able to announce to my readers a new release soon! 

Q3:  If you were to choose one of your five published titles to suggest to a new reader of your work, which one would you choose and why?

As a writer, I think I have a touch of ADD – each of my books have been very different as far as genre.  Of my five books, I’ve published one contemporary romance, two mainstream fictions, an inspirational romance and a Young Adult romance.  Although each one has a different target audience and genre, I believe the tone and voice for each of my books are consistent.  Having said that, when I meet someone new to my writing and they ask which one they should start with, I usually tell them:  Preacher Man.  My fourth book was the one that made me “an award-winning author.”  In March of 2010 Preacher Man won the Inspirational Romance category of the esteemed EPIC award, and I took home a trophy – a highlight in my writing career, and a moment I’ll never forget. 

Q4:  Your first book, Whispers of the Heart, was released in 2000, what sage advice can you share with new authors beginning their journey?

Stay true to yourself, while understanding the market.  To write the best book you can write, you have to draw on your unique talents and write what really speaks to you as an author.  But in order for it to be published, your work needs to be able to fit into a line or a genre that publishers are acquiring.  Sometimes that differentiation is clear, and sometimes it’s darn murky.  But finding a satisfactory resolution to both is where the best and most successful authors will reside. 

Q5:  For those of us in the business, many of us know what it's like to work with a critique partner.  Do you have a story to share about a great cp relationship you have/had?

I don’t really have a story, but just some guidelines to follow when you’re trying to match up with a critique partner.  It’s sort of like finding a spouse.  Don’t commit to one just to say you have one.  Wait till the right one comes along!  A critique partner should be someone you have a mutual respect for – you should respect their advice, and they should have a respect for your work.  They need to be able to point out things about your work that need changes, and they need to be able to communicate those changes in a way that leaves you feeling clear and comfortable about them.  Effective communication with the right amount of tactfulness is a vital skill between partners.

Q6:  What about a horror story?  (ha ha)

If a critique makes you want to curl up in a ball, cry and never go near your manuscript again that’s a horror story!  And that’s the wrong critique partner for you!  Be careful about giving over your work, just like you’re careful about giving over your heart!

Q7:  As authors, we have to be our biggest promoters ourselves, plugging away at blogs, interviews, appearances, etc. For the readers just meeting you today, please describe in a brief paragraph why they should read your books. 

In my books you’ll meet ordinary people who meet up with extraordinary circumstances.  Every day life with just a touch of worst case scenario.  Stories that will live on long after the book is closed. 

Visit Laurie’s website for news, a journal, photos and giveaways! 

****Prize Alert**** One lucky commenter will receive a variety pack of Laurie’s promos (bookmarks postcard, notepad).  Comment by Friday, February 4 at 9pm CST.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Author Interviews...What do you want to know?

Hello Everyone!
Thank you to Willa last week for spending time with us.  If you missed the announcement, Drea, is the lucky winner of Willa's debut novella, Naughty List.  Congrats Drea!!!

This week I shine the spotlight on YOU! So tell me, what questions do you want answered in an author interview? I will pull them all together for our next guest, author Laurie Larson, 2010 Eppie Award Winner for Preacher Man.  You won't want to miss it.

Please share.
;) Kienna

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In the Spotlight ~ Willa Edwards

Welcome friend and fellow Cobblestone-Press author, Willa Edwards.  She's talented, witty, and knows what she wants out of life.  Her debut novel, Naughty List, is number 12 in the 12 Days of Christmas series from Cobblestone-Press. 

Also, today is Willa's birthday, let's wish her Happy Birthday, read her blog about WISHES, and maybe your wish will come true too. Willa's offering a free copy of her novella to one lucky commenter.  (Must be 18, and comment by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, January 12).

The Power of Wishes
The origin of the wishing on your birthday candles comes from ancient Greece. The Grecians would ask for gifts from the Gods around a burning sacrifice, the smoke from the fire was supposed to bring their wishes to the Gods to be fulfilled.
As a rule, I’m not a big fan of wishes. Not to say that I don’t close my eyes and make a wish as I blow out my birthday candles, or when I find an eyelash on my cheek. But wishes, on their own, don’t have much power. The true power is what you do with them. How you put your wishes into action. How you make what you want happen.
Last year, as my birthday candles burned brightly before my face, the wax melting down into my cake, I closed my eyes tight and made a wish. I wished to be a published author, to have one of my stories published.
My wish was fulfilled before the next time my birthday candles were lit. This Christmas I celebrated my first release, Naughty List, with Cobblestone Press. But it wasn’t because of my wish, that my story was published. It was my hard work. It was due to the many hours at the computer I spent writing, editing, learning the industry. It was a direct result of me following my writer instincts.
A wish can help you decide what you want. Can help you make it real by voicing it. But a wish will never make you sit in front of the computer and put the words on the page. A wish can’t make you take the chance and hit send on that submission. It can’t help you fight the butterflies in your stomach as you wait for that yes or no.
Wishes only take you so far. After that it’s all up to you.
As to what my birthday wish will be today. Well that I can’t tell. I might not put much stock in wishes but I’m not going to jinx my one wish a year. J
My hero and heroine from Naughty List both have a wish, for the other. And they’re waiting for their wishes to be fulfilled, though neither has the guts to do anything about it. They’re both waiting a miracle to happen, for their wishes to be fulfilled and bring them together. Callie even goes so far as to write all her naughty wishes down during a fun girl’s night in.
Luckily when that list of wishes falls into his hands, Eric doesn’t rely on wishes to make Callie’s naughty list happen, he takes action. But you’ll have to buy the book to find out how he makes their wish happen.

Enjoy the book blurb and a free read of Chapter One here:
Willa has wanted to be a writer since she was four years old typing away at her grandmother’s typewriter. She wrote her first novel in fourth grade about the trials and tribulation of twin alien princesses. Since then Willa has dabbled with many different genres, including sci-fi, paranormal, mystery and suspense. When she read her first romance at fifteen she knew she’d found her place, and she’s never looked back. Willa is now a contemporary and historical erotic romance writer who lives in New York. When she’s not writing you can find her curled up in bed with her two fur babies, her nose pressed to her e-reader.
Follow me on the web:
Let me know what’s your wish (naughty or not) and one lucky commenter will win a copy of my debut novel, Naughty List.