Robin Leigh Morgan

GHOSTS, GHOSTS, GHOSTS

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TALKING with JOYCE STRAND

Posted by rlmorgan51 on May 20, 2013 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Hi everyone. I'd like you to join me today as I interview Joyce Strand who's volunteer this week to be on the proverbial HOT SEAT as I ask her questions about her , her writing, and of course, herself.

Robin Leigh Morgan: Please introduce yourself. Joyce T. Strand: Please meet Joyce T. Strand, author of the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries On Message and Open Meetings, and avid reader of mysteries and suspense thrillers. I LOVE Broadway musicals, and attend as many as my budget can support.

I served as a PR professional in high tech and biotech companies for more than 25 years in the San Francisco area. I live in Southern California near San Diego with my two cats, my collection of cow statuary, and my muse, the roadrunner.

Robin Leigh: Tell us about your latest published novel. Joyce: Open Meetings is a Jillian Hillcrest mystery. PR Executive Jillian Hillcrest is having lunch with a reporter colleague when a woman enters and begs him not to print anything she’s told him because they will kill her if he does. A few days later, the reporter tells Jillian that the woman was killed in his hometown in the California wine country. Police ruled her death as an accident in a car crash caused by driving while under the influence of alcohol—except the woman had vowed never to drink again. Jillian joins with the reporter to investigate the suspicious death, and they both uncover far more than anticipated.

Robin Leigh: What are the two latest books you’ve already published? Give us about a five sentence description for each? Joyce: In addition to Open Meetings, which I described in the previous response, I have also published On Message, the first Jillian Hillcrest mystery. Jillian, the head of corporate communications at Harmonia Therapeutics, is eagerly staying “on message” to inform investors, the media, and the community about her company.

A call from a homicide detective interrupts her routine when she learns of the murder of a friend. She encounters a determined San Francisco police inspector who is convinced she is the key to her friend’s murder, which he subsequently connects to another killing. With the help of her ex-husband–whose attentiveness to her suggests he wants to amend the “ex” status–and a retired middle-aged intrusive motherly neighbor, Jillian fits together disparate pieces of the puzzle to help solve the crimes.

Robin Leigh: What can you tell us about your current writing endeavor? Joyce: I am currently finishing the third Jillian Hillcrest mystery, Fair Disclosure, which is going through the editing process. Jillian and her ex-husband are enjoying a play at a local community theater when a scream interrupts the production upon discovery of a bludgeoned volunteer. When it turns out that the victim is someone Jillian interviewed for a job at her company, she becomes involved in another crime, drawn ever deeper by a second murder, an irate investor, and suspicious stock trading in her company.

Robin Leigh: Can you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite scenes in your latest novel? Joyce: From Open Meetings

Chapter 1

“You absolutely cannot print anything I told you. They'll kill me.”

Jillian Hillcrest looked up from the lunch menu. She saw a non-descript, thin, brown-hair-in-a-bun, middle-aged woman dressed in jeans and a white V-neck top frantically approaching her lunch companion, a local reporter. Jillian watched as the reporter quickly stood up, uttered a brief “Excuse me” to Jillian, and put his arm around the woman, leading her outside. He appeared to be trying unsuccessfully to calm her along the way. She continued to plead with him that he must never repeat what she had told him.

Jillian was interested in what the woman was saying to the reporter. Somewhere in his late 40s, the tall and slightly stooped Miles Smith was a stringer for a local newspaper and also had a blog focusing on city, county, and state government. He had a history of investigative journalism that impressed and fascinated Jillian. For example, he had uncovered a county assessor's officer who collected for property value assessments that weren't done, and then funneled the money into personal bank accounts. So she was intrigued about whatever it was the frightened woman did not want Miles to print.

Robin Leigh: What was the inspiration for your latest novel? Joyce: All of the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries are inspired by real California cases. Actual events of the murder of a former biotech executive in La Jolla, Calif. led to On Message. A series of crimes committed by a network of former and current police officers in the San Francisco bay area suggested the core plot for Open Meetings.

I based my protagonist, PR Executive Jillian Hillcrest, on my more than 25 years serving as the head of public relations at high tech and biotech companies in Silicon Valley.

Robin Leigh: How did you decide what the title of this book would be? If this book is part of a series, then the books in the series. Joyce: Open Meetings refers to the California Brown Act that guarantees citizens’ rights to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies. As part of her responsibilities as a PR executive, Jillian works with local communities as a representative of her company. In Open Meetings much “not-open” corruption draws her into trouble as part of her community relations duties.

On Message is a phrase used by public relations practitioners to indicate communicating a particular point, or message, and continuing to reinforce it through repetition in various situations. Since Jillian is a public relations practitioner, it seemed like a good title to connote the book’s environment.

Robin Leigh: Would you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser? Joyce: When I start writing a new mystery, I know the main characters, opening chapter, the crime—which is based on a real case—and the conclusion. Jillian and her friends guide me through the bridging chapters. Frequently, the antagonists gets an upper hand, and another murder occurs, or Jillian disappears and her ex-husband has to track her down. I let them guide me as I write as long as we are headed toward the intended conclusion.

Robin Leigh: What made you decide to become an author? Joyce: As an out-of-work public relations professional, I was spending a frustrating time trying to find a job – for more than a year. My husband, who I’m sure was tired of my moping, suggested I write a mystery. I had always been a writer. Throughout my career, I wrote my doctoral dissertation (which I consider my first book), dozens of by-lined articles, hundreds of press releases, lots and lots of white papers, fact sheets, and many other documents. To become an author, I had to learn how to write fiction—and I’m still learning.

Robin Leigh: In your latest novel, who’s your favorite character male/female? Tell us why. Joyce: In Open Meetings, I tend to favor Jillian’s friend and neighbor, Cynthia Anderson, a retired SFPD police officer. She is friendly most of the time, but we gain insight into her police persona as she helps Jillian and her reporter friend to track down the truth about a dead informant and her own husband’s death 20 years earlier. I like her because she is a strong—but understated—woman who chose a typically male career of a policeman, and someone who still engages in solving crimes when presented with them. She also loves to cook.

Robin Leigh: Do you set aside a specific amount of time to write, write/answer emails, and market/promote your book[s]? Joyce: Setting aside a specific amount of time sounds so organized. I’m really a “just do it” kind of person, although when I set goals I typically achieve them. When I’m in the middle of writing a mystery, it becomes my primary driver, and I usually devote more time to it than marketing. However, I also like to see results. So I gear my marketing efforts to achieve a certain number of likes, followers and hits. That helps guide my input so that my efforts are effective.

Robin Leigh: Do you read books outside the genre you write in? What are they? Joyce: I read mostly mysteries and thrillers. However, my favorite book is Shogun a historical novel about medieval Japan. I do enjoy historical fiction especially if a mystery is involved. So I guess you could say that I read historical fiction, which is outside my typical mystery/thriller genre.

Robin Leigh: What must you have around you when you write; food, drink, music, etc? Joyce: Above all, coffee in the morning. No music – I need silence. (Yes, I was one of those students who had to go to the library to study.) I definitely need my computer—not just for writing but to research. Having a cat on my lap can be helpful, but also distracting. I use food as a way to take a break and bribe myself to write just one more chapter.

Robin Leigh: When you were an aspiring author you needed advice. What advice would you give to those aspiring author in those shoes today? Joyce: First – if you want to be a writer, just write. Don’t worry about your first words being perfect. You’ve got the editing process to re-write as much as you want.

Second, if you self-publish, make sure your book or short story is error-free. You can control errors and typos. Do not allow your output to be posted as an e-book with formatting errors, typos or spelling and grammatical errors. Readers deserve perfection, and they expect it.

Third, help other authors. You can learn much from them.

Fourth, market, market, market. Be prepared to learn more ways to market, and market some more.

Robin Leigh: Is there anything else you’d like to briefly tell us about your book, your writing, or yourself. Joyce: I’d like to ask readers to please show your appreciation for a book by posting reviews. Aside from the fact that it takes us authors years to bring a book to market and so we appreciate hearing from readers, our sales and marketing efforts rely on reviews. We really need them to be successful.

Thank you so much, Robin Leigh, for the opportunity to do this interview.

GENERAL_INFORMATION

Where can we find your book?

Open Meetings Amazon:

Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/cent6zr

Paperback: http://tinyurl.com/d7leoyh

Barnes and Noble:

Nook: http://bit.ly/YiHW6V

On Message Amazon:

Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/crog4om

Paperback: http://tinyurl.com/d8wbtem

Barnes and Noble:

Nook: http://bit.ly/ZGTO3c

Where can we find you on:

BLOG: Strand’s Simply Tips http://strandssimplytips.blogspot.com

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/JillianHillcrest

GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/Xx8kab

TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/joycetstrand

Are there any other internet sites you would like to tell us about where we can find you?

WEB PAGE: http://joycestrand.com

Joyce: THANKS for your time in allowing me to interview you. Robin Leigh: You're quite welcomed, it has been my pleasure. I believe my readers as well as yours will be pleased with this informative interview.

If you have any comments or questions for Mandy, I'm sure she'll be happy to hear from you or answer your questions.

If you're not already following this blog. I'd like to invite you to consider following it.

TALKING with NICKY WELLS

Posted by rlmorgan51 on May 13, 2013 at 2:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Hi everyone. I'd like you to join me today as I interview Nicky Wells who's volunteer this week to be on the proverbial HOT SEAT as I ask her questions about her , her writing, and of course, herself.

Robin Leigh Morgan: Please introduce yourself. Nicky Wells: Hi! I’m Nicky Wells, your ultimate rock chick author. Signed to US Publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, I write Romance That Rocks Your World, featuring the rock star and the girl next door.

My books offer glitzy, glamorous contemporary romance with a rock theme ~ imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity ~ rock, pop, movie or other ~ you’ll connect with my heroes and my leading ladies!

Like my first leading lady, Sophie, I love listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When I’m not writing, I’m a wife, mother, and occasional teaching assistant. Rock on!

Robin Leigh: Tell us about your latest published novel. Nicky: Sophie’s Run. My second book baby… *sighs wistfully* Bringing you glamour, glitz, intrigue, romance, betrayal, a fire, an exploding cake, a dashing male nurse and, of course, the gorgeous rock star! What a labor of love. Here’s the blurb:

Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

Who says that the road towards true love is straight and even? Sophie is certainly discovering that it is anything but.

So she has finally found the man of her dreams! Well… she knows who he is, even though she hasn’t actually quite met him yet. But she misses her opportunity, and then her life goes crazy. Rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful. A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Then, just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal.

Sophie has had enough. Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for radical change. Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey and eventually gets her life back on track.

AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.COM | BARNES & NOBLE

Robin Leigh: What are the two latest books you’ve already published? Give us about a five sentence description for each. Nicky: Well, I’ve given you the blurb for Sophie’s Run above. Here’s the blurb for Sophie’s Turn, my first published novel.

So the rock star wants to marry her, but she’s already engaged…

One fine day in Paris, Sophie Penhalligan suddenly finds herself engaged to her teenage crush and love-of-her-life-from-a-distance, rock singer and star extraordinaire Dan Hunter.

But there is the small matter of her very recent, but very prior, engagement to Tim. Reliable, honest, trusting Tim, her boyfriend of two years stashed away safely in his mews house in South Kensington while Sophie is drinking rather too much champagne with Dan in Paris. This contemporary romantic fairy tale describes how Sophie gets into her impossible situation and how she turns it around.

Robin Leigh: What can you tell us about your current writing endeavor? Nicky: Ah. Interesting! See, I’ve just finished the third book in my rock star romance trilogy. Sophie’s Encore will be published on 5 September! So that makes my current writing endeavor my fourth novel.

So, my current WiP. It is a completely new story; no more Sophie and Dan; instead, you’ll meet Emily, Nate and Mike. Don’t worry, this isn’t a love triangle. It’s way more sophisticated than that but I don’t want to give too much away until I’m confident that the plot develops how I want it to. Suffice it to say that there’ll be a rock star in this book; possibly two!

Robin Leigh: Can you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite scenes in your latest novel? Nicky: Here’s one of my favorite excerpts from Sophie’s RUN:

Abruptly, he handed me four dresses. The magical blue one wasn’t among them. “Try these on,” he commanded. Fingering one of the dresses lightly, I sighed heavily. They looked divine. And expensive.

I stepped back, my arms folded across my chest. “I don’t think I can afford these.”

Dan rolled his eyes as though to say, “Not that old chestnut again.” Grabbing a random dress off the rack, he disappeared in a cubicle and pulled the curtain shut behind him. This got the personal shopper’s attention. She jumped up from her chair and walked over to me swiftly, eyes swiveling between me and the cubicle. She cleared her throat, uncertain how to handle this.

"Did he…did he go in there?” she confirmed unnecessarily.

“It looks that way,” I offered, trying not to laugh at her disconcerted expression.

“He’s not—is he trying the dress on?”

“Err, yes.” I breathed. “Why, is that a problem?”

Meanwhile, Dan had run into trouble in the changing room.

“I need some shoes,” he shouted woefully. “Could you get me some shoes to match? Size ten please, for me, and size six for the lady as well. Please?”

Confronted with a direct request, the personal shopper sprang into action. “Schuhe…” she murmured. “Size forty-four and size thirty-nine…. Hmm…” She bustled off.

Finally erupting into laughter, I bounced into Dan’s cubicle. I was going to ask him what he was doing, but the words stuck in my mouth. There he was, in a bright orange, low-cut, floor-length dress with a big bow at the front. He had filled in the missing curves using his socks, and he hadn’t managed to do up the zip. He looked disturbingly attractive in ladies’ fashion.

“Will you do me up?” Dan turned his back to me and tugged experimentally at the fastening. I swatted his hands away and closed the zip to halfway up Dan’s back.

“It won’t go any further,” I informed him dryly. “By the way, did you know your dress is called GaGa?” My eyes had caught on the flashy black-on-orange label sown inside the back.

“I didn’t, but it makes sense. It’s a wild dress.” He gave a little twirl. “What do you think?”

“I think you’re nuts,” I snorted. “You be sure not to ruin this dress or else we’ll have to buy it.”

“Never fear,” he grinned wickedly. “It would look much better on you, though.”

I shook my head. “I don’t do orange. Not if you paid me.”

A discreet cough disturbed our whispered conversation.

“Excuse me, sir? Madam? I’ve got your shoes…”

“Great,” Dan enthused and stepped out of the cabin. “Let’s have them.” He took a pair of orange flats out of the assistant’s hands and regarded them critically.

“I was hoping for heels,” he announced with a straight face, and I almost peed in my pants with laughter.

The assistant was now in professional mode. “I can’t offer you heels in this style in your size,” she announced, “but I do think we have some silver-colored shoes that would work with the dress. The heels are—” She looked attentively at Dan. “The heels are probably about six centimeter stilettos. Would you like to try them?”

“Why, yes!” Dan enthused. “I most certainly would.”

The personal shopper went off to fetch the silver stilettos, and Dan grinned his wicked boy smile at me.

“Do you reckon she’ll let us take a picture?” he wondered out loud.

“Hm…possibly, why?” I wondered back.

“It’d be cool to stick up on our website, don’t you think?”

I regarded him critically. He was most probably joking, but with Dan you never did know.

"Yeah. But perhaps you ought to tuck those socks in more carefully,” I suggested, tugging playfully at a black-and-pink striped heel that was protruding from his chest area. “It does rather kill the look.”

He peered down his front appraisingly. “D’you reckon?” he asked. “I think it has something, this unexpected flash of black sock.”

“Well, it does rather go with your hairy chest,” I conceded. “If you’re serious about the dress, you might consider shaving.”

“I thought you liked my chest hair?” Dan mock sulked.

“Yes, but it doesn’t work with a dress. It’s just wrong.”

“That’s sexist,” Dan declared, then changed the subject abruptly. “Here, try this.” He handed me the divine-looking blue silk creation. “It’s perfect for you.”

I gave in.

Robin Leigh: What was the inspiration for your latest novel? Nicky: Let me tell you about the inspiration for the Rock Star Romance Trilogy. You see, this is all my husband’s fault. He knows I have a ‘thing’ for rock stars. He’s made his peace with the notion. Yet sometimes, he can’t resist teasing me. So imagine the scene. Here’s Nicky, over eight years ago, heavily pregnant, watching something on the telly involving one of her favorite stars. Nicky swoons. “Cor, if he ever proposed, how’d a girl turn him down?” Nicky’s husband, deadpan: “Good job you’re married to me then.”

We had a laugh about this but it got me thinking. What would I do if Jon Bon Jovi knocked on my door tomorrow? Well, nothing, is the answer. But in a different life… and there, the story was born.

Robin Leigh: How did you decide what the title of this book would be? If this book is part of a series, then the books in the series. Nicky: Interesting question! Sophie’s Turn was born under the title “Full Circle” and lived as such for nearly six years. It was only when I was trying to figure out a cover design that I realized the title didn’t work. It lacked a certain… panache. My husband pushed me and pushed me, trying to distill the nugget of the story—which, in essence, is about choice. Well, the title “Sophie’s Choice” was very much taken so I opted for “Sophie’s Turn” and the title works on so many levels… it was just perfect.

“Sophie’s Run” and “Sophie’s Encore” followed on naturally, both playing on the key ideas of the respective book. Although my personal favorite is, I have to say, “Sophie’s Encore”. You’ll have to read the book to find out why… Did I mention it’s out in September?

Robin Leigh: Would you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser? Nicky: Plotter. Compulsive, obsessive plotter. Iterative plotter! From nugget to hand-drawn plan on one-page, to hand-drawn page on two-meter piece of paper, to Word outline, to detailed chapter-by-chapter crib sheet and research notes. I use colored post-its to track character development and sub plots. Yes, I am a plotter.

Robin Leigh: What made you decide to become an author? Nicky: Um. I didn’t really decide that, it kind of happened. Maybe I was born that way, because writing in some capacity or another has been the core professional theme in my life. Maybe I simply got lucky and had the opportunity, when the time was right, to get writing fiction… and keep writing. Either way, it’s a life-long ambition, a dream come true. And it gets me excited to ‘go to work’ every day!

Robin Leigh: In your latest novel, who’s your favorite character male/female? Tell us why. Nicky: That would have to be Dan, the rock star; referring back to the Rock Star Romance Trilogy. I want one of him. Kind, caring, highly talented, good-lucking, powerful, musical, smart, funny, not to mention sexy… with just a hint of naughty in there for a bit of excitement. *swoons*

Robin Leigh: Do you have a set aside a specific amount of time to write, write/answer emails, and market/promote your book[s]? Nicky: Oh yes. I can only pursue my authorly existence during the school day, between 9 am and 3 pm during term time. Holidays are a different matter and I won’t bore you with the detail.

So, between 9am and noon, I write. I don’t do anything but. No phone, email, Internet. Just write. (Oh, and I drink copious amounts of tea!). After lunch, I catch up on emails and do all the promotion I can squeeze into the available time; yes, that means Facebook, Twitter, blog and so on.

Robin Leigh: Do you read books outside the genre you write in? What are they? Nicky: I read almost anything. I don’t particularly like science fiction or horror, but apart from that, I’m game. Firm favorites outside of the romance genre are crime and travel books.

Robin Leigh: What must you have around you when you write; food, drink, music, etc? Nicky: Tea. Milk, and two sugars please. Biscuits. And a cardigan; my office is an ice box, even in the summer!

Robin Leigh: When you were an aspiring author you needed advice, what advice would you give to those aspiring author in those shoes today? Nicky: LOL, Robin, in many ways I’m still an aspiring author. Yes, I have books published, but I still want to write more, grow my readership, improve my craft… I think it’ll take another twenty or so years before I consider myself ‘accomplished’! J

But in answer to your question… here goes.

1) Build an author platform as early as you can. Blog, Facebook, Twitter—you have to have a presence, a means to connect with readers.

2) Build a brand. What is it you write? What makes you unique? Be clear about your brand—it tells your readers what to expect.

3) Don’t oversell. In fact, don’t sell, as such. Build relationships. Make friends. Let your friends know about your books. Honestly! Think about it. When is the last time you bought a book because an author told you every five minutes in your Twitter stream,

Buy My Book? Exactly. It turns you off. So don’t sell. Be you, live your books, your excitement, and share that with your friends and potential readers.

4) Write, and keep writing. The ONLY way forward is to keep writing, to show the world what you’re made of.

Robin Leigh: If there’s anything else you’d like to briefly tell us about your book, your writing, or yourself. Nicky: Did I mention I love rock music? Ha ha ha, I bet I did. Robin, I think I’ve said enough and I can’t thank you enough for your time. I hope your readers enjoy meeting me here today!

GENERAL_INFORMATION

SOPHIE’S TURN [Amazon] UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sophies-Turn-Rock-Romance-ebook/dp/B00961HXC2/ US http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sophies-Turn-Rock-Romance-ebook/dp/B00961HXC2/

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sophies-turn-nicky-wells/1112526809?ean=9781938404207

SOPHIE’S TURN [Amazon] UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sophies-Rock-Romance-Series-ebook/dp/B00BBK38UM/ US http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sophies-Rock-Romance-Series-ebook/dp/B00BBK38UM/

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sophies-run-nicky-wells/1114128758?ean=9781938404498

Where can we find you on:

BLOG:http://nickywellsklippert.wordpress.com TWITTER: https://twitter.com/WellsNicky FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/nicky.wells.54?ref=ts&fref=ts AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Nicky-Wells/e/B005CGMAY6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1 GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5047973.Nicky_Wells ROMANTIC NOVELISTS’ ASSN: http://www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org/index.php/about/author/nicky_wells SAPPHIRE STAR PUBLISHING: http://www.sapphirestarpublishing.com/nickywells

Robin Leigh: THANKS for your time in allowing me to interview you. Nicky: THANK YOU, Robin, it’s been a pleasure!

If you have any comments or questions for Mandy, I'm sure she'll be happy to hear from you or answer your questions.

If you're not already following this blog. I'd like to invite you to consider following it.

TALKING WITH MANDY EVE-BARNETT

Posted by rlmorgan51 on May 5, 2013 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (1)

Hi everyone. I'd like you to join me as I interview Mandy Eve-Barnett who's volunteer this week to be on the proverbial HOT SEAT as I ask her questions about her novella The Rython Kingdon, her writing, and of course, herself.

Robin Leigh Morgan: Please introduce yourself. Mandy Eve-Barnett: As a fairly recent resident of Alberta, Canada from my native England, I found a fresh passion in my new home - writing. A chance discovery of a writing group had me attending one meeting. I've never stopped going from that day on. In the 3 years 48 weeks as a member of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, I have become the secretary of the foundation and published two books.

Robin Leigh: Tell us about your latest published novel. Mandy: My latest novella, The Rython Kingdom is set in medieval England following the adventures of a troubadour, Guillem Ruet. He answers the King's command to relay his fantastic stories to the court. Unaware he has been bewitched Guillem will tell a story containing a release spell unleashing the vengeful witch, Malgraf. Guillem's curiosity is aroused by a strange servant at court, whose real identity shocks everyone. Help comes in the unexpected form of an old groan and her beautiful granddaughter.

Robin Leigh: What are other books you've already published? Mandy: A previously published book was Rumble's First Scare. A children's story about a young monster experiencing his initial All Hallows Eve. Rumble follows his mother from his underground home to the bright, hard surfaced world above. With his mother's guidance, Rumble is able to scare several children with his monster growls and bag of pets.

Robin Leigh: What can you tell us about your current writing endeavor? Mandy: Currently I am in the midst of a couple of projects. One is a collaboration with two friends creating a 'how to' memoir book. The other is writing another children's book with a magical forest theme.

Robin Leigh: Can you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite scenes in your latest novel? Mandy: Excerpt from The Rython Kingdom:

The mysterious servant entered a small copse and disappeared into dappled shade. The trail was partly overgrown, Guillem would have to tread carefully so as not to break any twigs and alert Stephen to his presence. He had observed Stephen floating several inches above the ground confirming Guillem’s suspicions that the young servant had indeed ‘acted’ walking in the castle corridor. Deeper into the copse, a thin veil of blue mist hung like a curtain. It shimmered as Stephen passed through it and was no more. What magic is this? Guillem hesitated. To follow alone would be folly, no-one knew of his whereabouts. He would inform the king of his findings and direct the soldiers to this place. As he had surmised there was more to Silent Stephen than met the eye. There was magic here as yet unown whether it be of evil intent or not.

Guillem retraced his steps to the rose garden. The hour was later than he had expected. Had the veil changed time? Upon entering the great hall, all heads turned toward him expectantly.

“Guillem, I have sent scouts to all corners of my grounds in search of you. Where were you hiding?”

Your majesty, forgive me. I was in yonder copse. I have a matter of some urgency I must relay.”

“Matters can be relayed later, Guillem, my guests and I are anxious to hear the rest of your wonderful tale.”

“With all respect, sire, I feel the tale must wait.”

“Wait? I think not, Guillem, we have waited patiently for your appearance. The tale first, then we shall speak.”

Not wanting to displease his sovereign, Guillem took his place beside the king’s table and began.

Robin Leigh What was the inspiration for your latest novel? Mandy: My current writing endeavor, Ockleberries to the Rescue, was inspired by a lifelong love of nature and a whimsical fascination for magical creatures.

Robin Leigh: How did you decide what the title of this book would be? Mandy: The title came about when I misheard someone talking. What I thought I heard was ockleberry but of course it was something else entirely. However, the 'name' stuck with me and I knew it would be perfect for this particular tale.

Robin Leigh: Would you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser? Mandy: Without a doubt I'm a panster! Once an idea pops into my head I give it free rein to go in whatever direction it wants to. The thoughts are channeled down to my finger tips.

Robin Leigh: What made you decide to become an author? Mandy: I didn't actually purposely decide to become an author. When moving to Canada I promised myself a creative outlet. As I mentioned before attending a writing circle ignited my creative self. And there I have stayed finding a wonderful circle of friends and supporters and the spark that sees me totally obsessed.

Robin Leigh: In your latest novel, who's your favorite character male/female. Tell us why. Mandy: In The Rython Kingdom, although I am fond of Guillem, my favorite character is Juliana. She is a mysterious woman with hidden talents. Her fragile frame belies her inner strength.

Robin Leigh: Do you set aside a specific amount of time to write, write/answer emails, and market/promote your book(s)? Mandy: As I work full time, have a teenage daughter, a husband and a home to run as well as assisting with a friend's company and my role as secretary of the WFSC. I try hard to maintain regular posts on social media and my blog as well as attend book festivals and events.

Robin Leigh: Do you read books outside the genre you write in? What are they? Mandy: As with my writing, I am not limited to one particular genre when I read. From Stephen King to Kate Morton to new authors. Reading is an adventure for me and I hope my writing gives my readers the same experience.

Robin Leigh: What must you have around you when you write? Mandy: A perfect writing atmosphere is a silent house and a cup of tea or a glass of wine; depending on the time of day. On occasion I listen to classical music too.

Robin Leigh: When you were an aspiring author you needed advice, what advice would you give to those aspiring author in those shoes today? Mandy: My mission is to help other writers in any way I can that is why I share my journey on my blog. When anyone asks for my help I oblige. My advice to anyone beginning their writing journey is not to give up and believe in yourself and your work.

Robin Leigh: If there's anything else you'd like to briefly tell us about your book, your writing, or yourself. Mandy: I have several projects on the backburner at the moment, two of which were the culmination of NaNoWriMo's in past years. One has a reincarnation theme, The Twesome Loop and the other a speculative fiction, alternative future novel, Life in Slake Patch. I'm currently pursuing representation for them both. I post a Saturday writing prompt on the Writers of Strathcona County website and am currently in the midst of a 'post a day in 2013' on my blog.

Robin Leigh: Where can we find your books? Mandy: Both of my books can be purchased on www.dreamwritepublishing.ca

The Rython Kingdom e-book can also be purchased on:

SMASHWORDS: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/214247 as well as on

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.ca/The-Rython-Kingdom-ebook/dp/B00AUBP2SO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367202929&sr=8-1&keywords=the+rython+kingdom

Robin Leigh: Where can we find you on the internet?

Mandy: Blog: http://mandyevebarnett.com/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477059.Mandy_Eve_Barnett

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mandyevebarnettcom

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mandyevebarnett

I can also be found on - Google +, Jacket Flap, LinkedIn, Canada Arts Connect and in November - NaNoWriMo!

If you have any comments or questions for Mandy, I'm sure she'll be happy to hear from you or answer your questions.

If you're not already following this blog. I'd like invite you to consider to do so.

 

TALKING WITH MARTHA EMMS

Posted by rlmorgan51 on April 28, 2013 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Hi everyone. I'd like you to join me as I interview Martha Emms who's volunteer this week to be on the proverbial HOT SEAT as I ask her questions about her novel A Portrait of Our Marriage, her writing, and of course, herself.

Robin Leigh Morgan: Please introduce yourself. Martha Emms: Hi, I’m Barbie Herrera but I use the pen name, Martha Emms. I chose a pen name to honor my Mom and Aunt, who both suffered with brain tumors. I chose Martha to honor my mother who used to hope I would become a writer. She would say, “If you write, write from your heart.”My Aunt Emma, also wanted me to become a writer, she was an avid reader. She would tell me to stir the pot, when I wrote to get people talking.

Robin Leigh: Tell us about your latest published novel. Martha: My latest and so far only novel is, Portrait of Our Marriage Memoirs of Love, Family, the Internet, and Obsession. While the book is about a couple, it is mostly about one woman’s life. It is her journey of discovering herself, becoming a woman, a wife, a mother, and learning to value her own opinion. As a couple they have fun, fall in love, and get married. In ‘the online age’ she discovers her husbands once casual interest in porn has become an obsession. It is not only affecting their sex life but changing who both of them are. Passion, sex, romance, and intense drama are woven into the story as the reader follows the couple through years of their marriage. A culmination of dreams, research, and information from 8 women’s lives give the book a flavor of realism. Entertaining, thought provoking, and blatantly realistic, you will succumb to an emotional rollercoaster ride of love and madness. This is not your fantasy fairy tale romance but an adult story that takes you behind closed doors into the forbidden private world of a couple dealing with an addiction of our time. Portrait of Our Marriage is a fictional memoir that takes on Love versus Addiction.

 

Robin Leigh: What can you tell us about your current writing endeavor? Martha: I am working on a sequel to Portrait of Our Marriage and also a family story that deals with pets.

Robin Leigh: Can you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite scenes in your latest novel? Martha: “Do you know what time it is?” I asked, looking at the clock, not waiting for him to answer, “It’s three in the morning.” This was the sixth time in two weeks that he’d wakened me early in the morning for sex after visiting his online porn sites. “You really have a damn nerve, coming in at this hour expecting sex after the way you ended our last conversation. You sit up all night and morning looking at these sites with naked girls spreading their legs and posing like sluts and then you want me?” Seething, I continued to unload, “Well hell, why shouldn’t I just jump on it? Maybe I should just go for it and ride you like a bull. Give Mr. Commando some mouth-to-mouth? Geez, what’s wrong with you? Why are you doing this to us?”“Nothing is wrong with me, stop saying that!” he yelled. “What’s wrong with you? You’re my wife and I want to make love. You should be here for me, I have needs.”

I twisted the covers so I could face him even better. “How old is that saying? You have needs? What about my needs?”

"You’re inaccessible; when I’m ready you’re not. Like now,” he answered with a determined scowl.

Getting out of bed I matched his infuriated gaze, “Good one, well you’re never ready when I’m awake.” The air in the room was cloaked with a rank stench from a digested and soured brew. “You smell of beer.”“So I had a couple of beers. I’m not drunk and I’m here in my own home. So even if I wanted to get drunk, I could. I’m an adult and I want to make love to my wife.” Inebriated and not wishing to argue further, he patted on the bed motioning for me to get back in, then he reached for and grasped my hand. He gave me a pouty look, gushing with his boyish grin. I looked at Brett, fully aware of the man who was and has been a virile lover. A man with a kind and caring heart, but seeing him in that moment, I wondered who this Brett was.

Robin Leigh: What was the inspiration for your latest novel? Martha: After watching an episode that was on The Oprah Show, years ago that dealt with the issue of men being addicted to porn, I had a dream. The dream was so vivid it was like watching a movie, and so began the inception of Portrait of Our Marriage. Since I continued to have different dreams about it, I was almost haunted me into writing the story.

Robin Leigh: How did you decide what the title of this book would be? If this book is part of a series, then the books in the series. Martha: I kept having dreams of the story, and in my dreams the main character was often looking at pictures on a digital picture display device. She would view the pictures and remember past events from her life. Then parts of her past would play out like a feature film. The title popped in my head after one of those dreams, even before I began writing.

Robin Leigh: Would you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser? Martha: I’m definitely a panster because I am a dreamer. Ideas, stories pop in my head constantly but especially when I’m sleeping or daydreaming. I write something everyday but as far as writing my books I write when it comes to me.

Robin Leigh: What made you decide to become an author? I have always written stories, poems, or songs. Martha: Ever since I was very young. They were nothing professional though, just for friends. But, in the 1980s, I wrote a children’s story. I did submit it, but after so many rejections I gave up. The story of Portrait of Our Marriage would not leave me alone and after years of research and gathering very personal information from 8 different women, I had to write this story. I truly believe it needs to be out there. There are many couples dealing with this issue and even though my story isn’t a recommendation of what someone should or should not do, it is a story of what could happen. While I say that, I must also stress the book is in no way a lecture, it is a story.

Robin Leigh: In your latest novel, who’s your favorite character male/female? Tell us why. Martha: I believe it would be Nicky. She came from a very strict upbringing and when she meets Brett, she really isn’t sure of who she is. Her belief system about herself, is vulnerable. Throughout her marriage we see her as many different women - shy, religious, a sexy seductress, loving, a caring mother, a vixen, in denial, frustrated, and determined. In Nicky, I see parts from all of us, and I like them all.

Robin Leigh: Do you have a set aside a specific amount of time to write, write/answer emails, and marketing. How does anyone handle all this? Martha: This has all been an issue I find myself drowning in. The email issue is unreal. I hate to admit it but I cannot read through them all. I try to, but some days there are just too many to manage. Trying to do social marketing and promote, is another time consuming issue, especially when you have no funds for it. It is difficult to find time to write and manage everything else but I’m finally getting a handle on it.

Robin Leigh: Do you read books outside the genre you write in? What are they? Martha: Oh yes, I love reading all kinds of books. Some of my favorite authors are Ken Follett, Lawrence Sanders, Tom Clancy, Robyn Carr, Debbie Macomber, Jill Shalvis, Nora Roberts, Stephen King, and Clive Cussler. I need the different authors and genres they write in, for my all my different moods, to fill every void in my life.

Robin Leigh: What must you have around you when you write; food, drink, music, etc? Martha: Background noise, usually from a crime drama on TV, and iced tea.

Robin Leigh: When you were an aspiring author you needed advice, what advice would you give to those aspiring author in those shoes today? Martha: First, write for the story not for what’s expected or wanted from others. Stay true to the story you want to tell. Second, if you’re self publishing, hire professionals to edit and proof read your work. Third, if you don’t know them, learn about all the social networks before your book comes out. Fourth, meet other authors, they are amazing and supportive people. You can learn a lot from them.

Robin Leigh: If there’s anything else you’d like to briefly tell us about your book, your writing, or yourself. Martha: I’m almost 60. I would give a big shout out to others to remember, it isn’t your age that limits you, it is your thinking. Never give up on your dream. It took me a long time but I believe I am finally doing what I love, while also doing what both my mom and aunt wished I would do. I am not rich or famous, but I am living the dream, I have a book out that I think accomplishes what they both wished from me, (except for all the sex, LOL). My book has heart and soul written in it and enough storyline to stir the pot and hopefully get people talking.

GENERAL_INFORMATION

Where can we find your book?

Amazon: http://tiny.cc/1hgskw

Amazon print: http://tinyurl.com/c7mgdpm

Barnes & Noble: http://tiny.cc/dggskw

Where else can we find you on the internet:

BLOG: http://marthaemms.blogspot.com

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/martha.emms

FB Book: http://tinyurl.com/bfy82wo

GOODREADS: http://tinyurl.com/9mrku45

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/barbiesway

Are there any other internet sites would you like to tell us about where we can find you?

Pinterest: http://tinyurl.com/9fqp3rs

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME, ROBIN!

You're quite welcomed Martha.

If you have any comments or questions for Martha, I'm sure she'll be happy to hear from you or answer your questions.

If you're not already following this blog. I'd like invite you to consider to do so.

THINGS HAVE BEEN HAPPENING

Posted by rlmorgan51 on April 11, 2013 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

By now you probably can tell by my recent posts I haven't done much, if any, writing on my second romance novel. Instead I've been busy writing Flash Fictions, and networking to get interrviews, spotlights for my YA romance nover, I Kissed a Ghost.

As of today, I've had 8 interviews posted, 2 SpotLights for my book posted, as well as 2 guest blog posts. In additional I've completed 8 interview questionaires, and I'm merely for the date when they'll be posted. A complete listing for these can be found on this website under "Interviews/Spotlights' at the listing on the left.

Lastly, the Kindle version of I Kissed a Ghost, will become available around April 24th.

WHAT I'M DOING NOW

Posted by rlmorgan51 on March 9, 2013 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

I've decided to stop writing my next romance novel for another week, and to concentrate searching for opportunities to be interviewed. I was so exciting about having my first one posted on February 28, 2013 and posting it all over, that I forgot about posting it on all of my blogs.

SHAME SHAME -- I've been a bad Robin Leigh.

I didn't realize this until I wanted to let everyone know that my second interview got posted today.

Anyway here is where you can find my interviews

February 28, 2013 – Dorothy Dreyer http://we-do-write.blogspot.com/2013/02/interview-with-robin-leigh-morgan.html

March 9, 2013 – James Oh http://liftyouup.blogspot.com/2013/03/guest-author-interview-with-robin-leigh.html

If anyone here does interviews on their website or blog, I'd love to have the opportunity to be interviewed by you.