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Blog Blizzard – Sara Barnard – Author Interview

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

I have enjoyed creating stories since I was a little girl, playing with my dogs in the backyard. I remember all through school, I wanted to be a forest ranger … we would take our aptitude tests and I would answer all of the questions so that it would point to “outdoors career” but whenever it came to talking about the classes about making that happen, it was all science-related, which made me kind of turn up my nose. I kept writing all the while, winning a contest here, being published in the school paper there. It wasn’t until my husband deployed to Afghanistan and I had three little kiddos at home that I seriously put pen to paper. Once I started writing, I felt that all of the chaos that came with my everyday life kind of made sense out of itself once I got it down on paper (or typed into a Word document). I began my novel, A HEART ON HOLD, at that point and a mess of other short stories and kid’s stories. Now, I finally feel at peace!

What genre(s) do you write?

Children’s Nonfiction, Adult Historical Romance, and Children’s Fiction.

What genres and authors would we find you?

I would be honored to be on the shelves among literary greats such as Lucia St. Clair Robson and Larry McMurtry with my adult historical romances and Sandra Boynton with my children’s books.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I faced many challenges writing A Heart on Hold (Book One of An Everlasting Heart series). First of all, Dear Hubby was deployed so that was an emotional roller coaster in itself. Secondly, I underwent surgery for a malfunctioning thyroid gland soon after beginning work on it. Then, I kept writing through my husband’s homecoming, a cross country move, the buying of a first house, epic PTSD-related breakdowns, the birth of baby number four, and another cross country move to our present duty station in the historic Oklahoma hills. Then came the three rewrites!

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A pantster in fiction, all the way! I love writing the stories because the characters take on a life unto themselves and I am living and experiencing the adventures and adversities they face right along with them! I am plotted in nonfiction.

Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?

They shouldn’t.  They should choose my books AND the other authors!!

What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

Life experience, a feeling of hope, and happily ever after.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Perseverance, faith, trust. Oh yeah, and above all, LOVE. Love for Him and for him!

How long have you been a writer?

For as long as I can remember! I won my first writing contest in the 3rd grade and constantly came up with adjectives that described my animals. For instance, when I was eight, I remember we Sevin-Dusted our dogs. My dog, Callie, went bounding through a giant white spot of Sevin dust and I recall thinking “And Callie bounded happily through the Sevin dust …”

How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?

I began A Heart on Hold in 2008 and it was publsihed in 2012.

What other careers have you had?

A wildlife biologist intern catching and removing snakes, counting bats, and tracking mountain lions; selling cancer insurance; Army wife; mommy of four; media relations specialist; legal secretary; courthouse researcher; and book acquisitions assistant!

 Do you write under more than one name? Why?

No. I write what I won’t mind my children reading someday. I want people to know that it’s me!

 Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

Yes. In my children’s story “The Big Bad Wolf Really Isn’t So Big and Bad”, the narrator, Cocoa, is based on my late wolf-hybrid of the same name. In A Heart on Hold, Sanderson is based on two people: Captain E.A. Adams of the Confederate Army who really died in Alton Confederate Prison, after lasting longer than most of his comrades, three days before the war ended; and my sweet husband. Cotton is based on my eldest son, while the three children Charlotte has to rescue is based loosely on the rest of my children. Minerva is based on my best friend, Rochelle, while in Charlotte, I tried to show a little of myself. In all honesty, Jackson is based on Jackson Rathbone’s character in Twilight.

How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?

My name is Sara, I love reading, writing, traveling, animals, my family, and trips to town. (We are country folk.) Larry McMurtry and Lucia St. Clair Robson have molded me as much as anything. Once I got out of my horrendous teenage years, I fell in love with school and excelling at subjects I enjoyed and learning as much as I could about those subjects I didn’t. The core of my soul though is centered around the conservation of our natural resources and wildlife.

What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?

My passion for animal rescue. All of our cats (four of them) and all three of our dogs are rescued animals with a story all their own.

What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

I am a metal head. At work, I received a call from the management representing some eighties hair metal bands who want to write books about their lives. When the management official told me their names, I squealed like a groupie. Sheesh.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

Ann Swann, because she is my mother and her writing has captivated me since I was small.

Stephen King. I don’t read horror (mostly because I read the newspaper and that is horrific enough), but my mom’s collection of his works surrounded me as a child. I remember looking at the book covers and the way they smelled and looked on the bookshelves in our southwestern-decored home … and that will always be home to me.

Larry McMurtry and Lucia St. Clair Robson, for obvious reasons.

How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

Everyone is very supportive, particularly my sweet mama. While I believe her writing blows mine out of the proverbial water, she insists we simply have different writing voices.

Where are you from?

Odessa, Texas, land of the most beautiful sunsets in the world! I have called New Mexico, Georgia, Alaska, Italy, Colorado, and Oklahoma home, as well.

How do you come up with the titles?

My books have always sort of named themselves, if that makes sense.

Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

Yes, it has gotten busier! But in my quest to become published, I learned many tools of the trade with I believe has helped me grow and evolve as a writer. I flatter myself to think (hope?) I have gotten better.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

Oh I multitask!!

When not writing, how do you relax?

Relaxation? What’s that? I work full time, write, and raise a family alongside my husband. Plus, I try and get outside as much as possible to remember what life is all about.

Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.

I was almost a guest on The Next Great Baker.

I used to dance at Powwows.

I watch mostly nonfiction nature shows if I have control of the remote … if I don’t, it is either Pocoyo or jail shows.

I am trying semi-hard to learn French.

I have been accepted to graduate school in hopes of earning my Master’s degree in Fish and Wildlife management.

Please share with us your future projects and upcoming releases.

I have several children’s books under consideration with 5 Prince Publishing including CHUNKY SUGARS, an infant book, LITTLE SPOON, THE BIG BAD WOLF REALLY ISN’T SO BIG AND BAD, and THE THREE LITTLE JAVELINA’S: THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, TEXAS STYLE.

Books 2 and 3 of AN EVERLASTING HEART series are coming, too. A HEART BROKEN and A HEART AT HOME.

I have several other titles in the works as well: another children’s chapter book for my daughter, more nonfiction plants books, and some more historical family dramas.

Please share any links you would like listed.

www.sarathreesuns.blogspot.com

www.sarabarnardbooks.com

sarathreesuns@gmail.com

facebook.com/sara.barnard6

facebook.com/sarabarnardbooks

 

 

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Blog Blizzard – M.J. Kane – Author Interview

Meet M.J. Kane

 What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Being able to get the people that inhabit my mind out on paper! For years I’ve gone to bed at night with scenes (well, I didn’t think of them as scenes at the time) replaying over and over in my head while I waited to go to sleep. I had no idea that the stories I made up would ever become something to write about!

What genre(s) do you write?

Interracial Romance, Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction

What genres and authors would we find you?

Not sure I understand the question. But if you want to know where my book would be found, Women’s Fiction and Contemporary Romance would suite my writing best.  I’m can’t say that I would compare my writing to anyone author in particular. I’ve strived to create my own style, something new to me and hopefully my readers.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Perfecting the minor details…punctuation, monitoring the use of dialogue tags, and staying in the same tense throughout without switching between past and present. Those things take time, patience, and lots of practice! My original manuscript has had at least ten sets of revisions to get it where it is today, and that was before it even saw an editor! After that would be learning when it’s time to put my baby down and entrust it to my beta readers and editor, praying they see my story the way I want it to come across.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am proud to say I am a reformed panster! LOL! My stories didn’t reach the level of writing I wanted them too until I sat down and plotted! Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to change my plot when my characters tap me on the shoulder, but I have to have a detailed road map to point me in the ‘write’ direction!

Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?

I don’t want anyone to choose me over any other author, but I do want to be an author that a reader chooses. There are so many stories to be told, and so many different ways to tell them…as a new author I want someone to give me a chance and not push my book away because they prefer another author. Before I stared writing, I was one of those who read the same authors faithful without giving anyone else a chance. The minute I dropped that mindset, I found myself exposed to a wider variety or stories, unique and different writing styles and voices. Expanding my reading expanded my mind. I wish for my readers to do the same.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

I want my readers to understand that no matter what our backgrounds are, or where we are from, someone somewhere is experiencing the same thing that you are, good and bad. What matters most is how we deal with those experiences. Everyone may not have the love and support they need to help them make the decisions best for them. Reading how my characters endure, overcome, and evolve into stronger individuals due to the obstacles I put in their path is what I wish all my readers will learn. The ability to evolve into more is something that is possible in all of us.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Never give up going for your dream, despite what anyone says. Dig deep within yourself to find the courage you need to push through the negativity. Somewhere out there, there is someone else who is going through the same thing.

How long have you been a writer? 

I’ve wrote my first short story, a fan fic of the show, LOST, in 2005 as a prompt for a fan site. It eventually turned into a 30 page story. But it wasn’t until 2009 that I hijacked my hubby’s laptop, raided my local library for books on writing, and began writing as a hobby. It took a year for the hobby to turn into a way of finding myself again.

How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?

Four years! During that time it went from a hobby to a career. I’ve given up, gotten frustrated, and then reinvigorated. Thank god I didn’t give up!

What other careers have you had?

Let’s see, I’ve been a cashier, customer service rep at K-Mart, Dispatcher for UPS and Safelight Auto Glass, Floral Designer for Hobby Lobby. I’ve worked as a 10-key Operator for several major banks in their Operations centers. And of course, I am also a wife and mother of 4 kids!

Do you write under more than one name? Why?

No, my pen name is all I can handle. I spend too much time in my character’s heads to give myself yet another name! LOL!

Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

Yes. Most of the men in my stories are loosely based on a facet of my husband’s many different careers and skill sets. The women in my stories are different pieces of women I know. They are also loosely based on the different aspects of my own personality, whether pronounced or hidden.

How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?

I love reading stories about strong women living lives and working careers that I can relate too. My goal is to bring what I feel is missing in storytelling to my readers through a fresh voice and different style of writing. My books will not only entertain you, they will offer encouragement, comfort, and support to those in need.

What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?

I survived a series of strokes in 2006 that nearly killed me. I was in ICU for two weeks, and paralyzed on one side of my body for several days. Every time I meet someone and say that, they think I’m lying. Believe me, I lived through it, it’s not an experience I would make up or wish on anyone! The fact that I have been able to recover and discover a talent for writing and to have gotten published is a blessing. There are many authors out there who have strived to get to this level for years and are still trying. Since surviving the stroke, I’ve learned a lot about me and what I can overcome. That is why I focus on the ability to overcome life’s adversities in my stories.

What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

When I write, I try my best to tell stories I feel my readers can relate too. I like real characters, real situations, real everything. I literally cry with my characters when I put them through the wringer. It was a struggle to learn that hurting my characters and watching them grow stronger is the only way to tell a good story.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

There are so many!! I will say that as of late, I have studied the writing styles of three very different authors: J.R. Ward (Erotic Paranormal Romance), Suzanne Brockmann, whom I’ve had the privilege of meeting and getting a book about my favorite characters autographed! (Military Romance), and Janet Evanovich (Comedy, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance). All three tell very different stories using unique and intriguing voices. I have read and studied every book in their series and have learned so much. I don’t think my series would exist if it wasn’t from learning from them!

How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

For the longest my family thought of it as just something I did to keep busy, then again, so did I. It wasn’t until I reached a very changing point in my life when I put writing to the side for a month to focus on my personal growth that I realized the newly developed people in my head wouldn’t leave me alone. From there I made moves to learn as much as I could about writing. It was then not only me, but my family began to see this as something I cared about. Since then, they’ve had my back, and continue to do so. Outside of my house, not very many people know about my writing. I prefer to keep outside negative influences away and concentrate on those who are either supportive or interested in my work.

Where are you from?

Atlanta, Georgia, yes I am indeed a Georgia Peach!

How do you come up with the titles?

I think about the story and what theme flows throughout. I love symbolism. So if there is something symbolic about my characters life, or relationships, I try to tie that into the title. The original title to my debut novel was The Healing Heart. Since the heroine is a Veterinarian, her job entails taking care of animals, healing them when they are sick. But the story doesn’t focus on her job. It focuses on her experiences outside of work, events that test her as a woman, lover, and friend. Thus, A Heart Not Easily Broken. It suggests strength, endurance, and the desire to never give up. The title of the second novel in the series is called Jaded, and fits the hero and heroine perfectly!

Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

Uh, no, other than being a lot more tired by the end of the day! I still get up and drop people off at school and work. Still have to make sure the bills get paid, homework done…lol, the wife/ mother duties never change. If anything, I’ve made myself busier! Every day is a struggle to remain on task and find a schedule that works. Since I am not the best at scheduling or staying on task, it’s always a challenge. I’ll get it down eventually!

Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

I little of both. Whatever deadlines my publisher has for me takes precedence. I still have times where no matter what I am working on, characters from one of the next five books pop in and demand my attention. After a week of being bombarded by their voices, I will pull out my voice recorder and dictate the scenes playing in my mind, then put it away. Many a scene has been dictated while I’m driving or sitting in the parking lot of the high school waiting for my kids! If I have time, I grab pen and paper and write it down. Each novel already has bits and pieces of the stories outlined, scenes written, character charts worked on. But nothing is set in stone until it’s time to focus on that book.

When not writing, how do you relax?

Relax? What’s that? My characters won’t shut up! When I do force myself to take a mental break, I read books by my favorite authors, or new authors I have met. I also watch TV, but have found television boring and lacking, so I pick back up another book. I play The Sims sometimes, talk to my kids, and play with my two pit bulls.

Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.

  • I am an only child.
  • I am hard headed…lol.
  • When I was younger, I      wanted to be a mermaid.
  • I am a Star Wars Fan! But      you will never catch me in the Princess Leia Slave Girl outfit!
  • I don’t like spending a      lot of time in the kitchen.

My debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, Book One of the Butterfly Memoirs, will be published September 20th as and eBook, October 4th, in paperback.

Jaded, Book Two of the Butterfly Memoirs will be available March 2013. Look for a excerpt at the end of A Heart Not Easily Broken!

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Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

Available now from 5 Prince Publishing! Buy Now!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free.  Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.

No longer a television addict, if M.J. isn’t reading a book by one of her favorite authors, she’s battling with her creative muse to balance writing and being a wife and mother. She resides in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart, four wonderful children, and two pit bulls. MJ can often be found hanging out at the local library where she is director of a local writer’s group, or online connecting with readers and other authors. Other activities she enjoys include: creating custom floral arrangements, assisting her children in their creative pursuits of music and art, and supporting her husband’s music production business, 3D Sounds.

You can find MJ on social networking sites, sharing writing tips, talking about music, life, and family. She’s always excited to meet new people. Connect with her via the websites below.

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A Heart Not Easily Broken: Excerpt:

The song ended, and I opened my eyes to cheer with the rest of the crowd. I was noticed all right. Various men in my immediate vicinity threw out catcalls and whistles, which were flattering, but the drummer paid me no attention. In fact, no one in the band seemed to notice me, except for one man.

One of the guitar players watched me intently. Astonished, I nearly stumbled in my heels. He was attractive but… he was white, not what I was aiming for. My lips tilted in a small smile before I moved out of his line of sight, placing myself in front of dancers who’d moved closer to the stage blocking my view of the drummer.

The next song played, and again, I tried to get lost in the music. My eyes closed, it was impossible to find my groove again without feeling stalked. The hair on the back of my neck stood up, drawing my attention down the length of the stage and to the guitar player, who once again, watched me with a predatory gleam in his eye. When the song ended, I worked my way back to the bar.

Neither Yasmine nor Kaitlyn were there.  They must have gone to the bathroom.

“What can I get you, miss?” the bartender asked, interrupting my thoughts.

Music from the loud speakers blasted again, after the MC announced the band was taking a brief intermission.

“Margarita, extra shot of tequila, please.” The bartender nodded and went to fill my order.

“Did you get a load of the blond guitar player? He’s hot!”

My attention turned to a busty brunette who’d taken up temporary residence in the empty seat next to me. I recognized her as being one of the women who’d been dancing next to me. She adjusted her boobs, primping while talking to her friend.

“He doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going home with him tonight,” she continued. Her friend giggled.

Good luck. She had a better chance than I did of finding a man tonight.

“Here you go.” The bartender placed a napkin in front of me with my drink.

“I’ve got this,” a deep voice said close to my ear, making me jump. It was incredibly sexy despite the fact it scared me. It also sent a warm tingle down my spine. Intrigued, I turned and found myself face-to-face with the guitar player. The same one my barstool neighbor wanted to go home with.

Any sort of coherent words failed me.

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Blog Blizzard – Meet Melynda Price

Author Bio:

Melynda Price:

An avid lover of paranormal romance, Melynda was inspired to write her own series after reading the Book of Enoch. She’s always had a fascination with stories about angels, and the role they’ve played in the history of our multi-dimensional world.

She attended Bethel University in Minnesota and graduated in 2003, holding AA, ASN and BSN degrees.

She lives in Northern Minnesota where she has plenty of snow-filled days to curl up in front of the fireplace with her Chihuahua, and a hot cup of coffee, to write. She’s blessed with two amazing children, and a wonderful husband of seventeen years.

Until Darkness Comes:

 “Writing Until Darkness Comes has been a fantastic adventure, culminating a world of mystery, suspense, love and deception. Have you ever wondered what it might be like if we could see beyond our dimension? Step into Olivia Norton’s world, where nothing is quite as it seems, and evil lurks where she least expects it.”

Visit Melynda at www.MelyndaPrice.com

 

Book Blurb:

A guardian angel… A forbidden love… Eternal consequences…

Olivia Norton was born with a gift—a gift heaven has sworn to protect, and hell is bound to destroy. Her perfect world is turned upside-down when two handsome strangers, Max and Liam, step into her life. Olivia soon discovers that her ‘Mr. Perfect’ is actually a perfect nightmare.

The rules of engagement have changed and Liam, Olivia’s guardian angel, is forced to cross dimensional borders or risk losing the woman he’s sworn to protect. Suddenly, thrust into a world unlike anything he’s ever known, Liam isn’t prepared to come face to face with the young woman whose life he holds in his hands.

But nothing is as it seems, and secrets abound that will ultimately force him to choose between two impossibilities. Max will stop at nothing to finish what he’s started, and Olivia is soon plunged into a battle between good and evil. Her very life hangs in the balance as two forces fight to win her heart.

                       

Until Darkness Comes Excerpt ~ First kiss…

Olivia took a brave step closer to Liam and cupped the side of his cheek, forcing him to look at her. “Then who are you? Surely you can tell me that. And don’t you dare lie to me, because I know you’re not normal. I’ve never met anyone like you before. Normal guys don’t act like you. Normal guys don’t look like you, and if they do, they’re usually more like…”

“More like what?” His eyebrow arched curiously.

“More like Max, I guess.”

“Well, I can promise you that I am nothing like Max. More like the exact opposite, to tell you the truth.”

“Why do you hate him so much? At first, I thought it was because he was my boyfriend, and that you were just jealous or something. But it’s more than that, isn’t it?”

“There’s a darkness in him, Olivia. Can’t you feel it?”

“I’m not sure how I feel when I’m with Max anymore. I used to feel…carefree—wild and reckless, you know? But lately, I’m starting to just feel…afraid. Like I’m walking on a tightrope and I’m about ready to fall.”

“I’ll catch you,” he whispered, slowly trailing his fingers down the side of her neck.

Her pulse beat erratically beneath his touch; she opened her mouth to say something, but stopped. Instead, she moistened her bottom lip with the tip of her tongue. His heated gaze fell to her lips and she felt Liam’s resolve snap. A wave of desire blasted into her and a soft groan of defeat rumbled in his chest as he lowered his head, capturing her lips in a tender embrace. His kiss tore through her like fire. What started out as tentative and sweet, quickly escalated to urgent and demanding as a rush of adrenaline flooded her veins. She melted into his arms, her lips fitting perfectly against his, like she was made just for him.

He tasted exactly like he smelled—faintly of cloves, delicious. She parted her lips, aching for more and instinctively he responded to her request as if she’d spoken it. Drawing the kiss deeper, his tongue brushed against hers. The more he kissed her, the hungrier she became, fueling an insatiable fire deep in her core.

Olivia wound her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. She’d never felt more starved and yet completely satisfied as she did at that very moment. He tightened his arms around her waist and pulled her against him, as if he couldn’t get close enough. Her feet left the ground as he molded her to his lean, powerful body.

Time momentarily ceased. She had no idea how long they stood there in each other’s arms as the floor of the boat rocked beneath his feet. The captain’s voice crackled over the speaker, announcing the end of their tour. A reluctant groan escaped Liam’s lips as he broke their kiss and slowly released her. Olivia stumbled when her feet touched ground and his hand shot out to steady her…

 

GUEST BLOG:

 I’ve been doing several interviews lately, and would like to take the time today to talk a little about my journey from unpublished to published author. Everyone has their own story to tell and I love hearing about other author’s success, but even more, I also want to hear about their failures. No, I’m not sadistic, lol, but I believe there’s a lot to be learned in these failures—my own and others.

Patience, perseverance, and gratitude are a few qualities that have grown in me through rejection. So, today’s stop, I want to pay special attention to the unpublished authors and to those who are struggling in their career. I’d like to share something I’ve learned through my journey.

It only takes one “yes.”—five simple words, yet so profound. This little bit of advice and encouragement was given to me by my good friend and author, Laura Breck, and it will stay with me forever. It only takes one “yes” for your dreams to come true, so try to take each “no” as a learning and growing experience. Easier said than done, I know, I’ve been there and I still have those days.

But this is what I’ve learned and truly believe: Often, the rejection to contract Until Darkness Comes was based solely on the query letter alone. When you have a project you’ve loved, nurtured and cherished, it’s hard not to take that rejection personally, but you can’t. A query letter isn’t your novel, and if it’s rejected, they’re not rejecting you or your work per say, but the query itself.

I rewrote my query letter numerous times, and by far I found it more difficult than writing the book itself. I knew I’d finally gotten it right when I started getting requests to submit my manuscript. At the time I signed Until Darkness Comes with 5Prince Publishing, I’d gotten two offers to contract this book. I took me a year of submitting, getting rejected, tweaking my query letter and re-submitting, before it all started coming together. I’ve talked to other authors who have said it took them as long as five years to get their first book contracted. In researching the dreaded query letter, I found a few helpful examples and included them on my website under “Writing Tips.” Feel free to check them out. I hope it helps. Thanks for stopping by today, and I wish you all the best in your literary journey.

Melynda Price

www.melyndaprice.com

 

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Blog Blizzard – Mylnda Price – Author Interview

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

I love creating and world building. Being an author of paranormal romance, I get to create characters that are larger than life and stretch beyond the borders of our world as we know it. My only challenge is to make the unbelievable believable. I love it when someone asks me, “Is that really a place, or did that really happen?” Then I know I’ve done my job well.

What genre(s) do you write?

Paranormal Romance.

 What genres and authors would we find you reading?

I only read Paranormal Romance and I prefer series. It’s so sad when a good book ends, I like series because it keeps the characters alive. The bigger the book the better, I don’t like investing my time into a shooting star story. I want development, strong plotting and believable world building—that takes time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Writing the ending. It’s hard for me to say goodbye to the characters I’ve fallen in love with. I also find it the most challenging to wrap up a story that brings good closure and a conclusion that doesn’t leave that reader feeling cheated or rushed.

 Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a pantser by nature. Most of the time I don’t know what’s going to happen in the story until I’m writing it. But, I have been doing some plotting when it comes to the endings. I just don’t have the patience to plot out an entire storyline before I start writing it. I like being surprised by my characters, lol. J

 Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?

I wouldn’t necessarily say that a reader should choose me over other people. I don’t believe in putting others down to build yourself up. All I can say is that I believe I have a very original storyline and a good “voice” in my writing, that I hope people enjoy.

 What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

I hope that my characters become so real to them that they find themselves thinking about them for days after the book is finished. I want them to be as sad as I am that the book has ended and excited to read the next one. J

 Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There are a few messages in my Redemption Series that I hope come through strong. First, true love often requires sacrifice. Second, we all make mistakes. Third, it’s never too late for second chances.

 How long have you been a writer? 

I’ve always enjoyed writing and did quite a bit of it in college. After that, I needed and outlet for my creativity, so I picked up writing again. I’ve been doing it now full-time for the past three years.

 How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?

It took me a year to find the right home for Until Darkness Comes. During that time, I probably rewrote it six times. When the offer came through to contract with 5PP, I also had another offer for the book. It was very flattering because so much of this industry is rejection. You really have to have perseverance and thick skin in this business.

 What other careers have you had?

Well, I was a rocket scientist and a brain surgeon at Mayo Hospital, but, ultimately, I’ve found that writing is my true calling. 🙂

 Do you write under more than one name?

I only write as Melynda Price.

 Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

My characters are all my imagination. Inspiration to write a fallen angel series came from the Book of Enoch. However, this story is its own and does not replicate any specific angels or events. I just found it a fascinating read.

 How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?

I write fast-paced, voice-driven novels without a lot of filler. They’re believable, high-stakes stories, with good vs. evil conflicts and eternal consequences. Also, I like cheap wine and expensive chocolate J

 What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

I wasn’t really a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon. I just made that up, because I’m rather good at making sh!t up. (:

 What books or authors have most influenced your career?

I would have to say that I most enjoy works by Lara Adrian and J.R. Ward.

 How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

For the most part my family and friends are extremely supportive. I have a few that beta read for me and that’s really fun. It’s hard to find balance with writing and family sometimes because my characters aren’t always willing to punch a clock. (:

 Where are you from?

Originally, I lived in Clear Lake, IA. Now I live in northern Minnesota, though I’d prefer sunny California.

 How do you come up with the titles?

I make a list of ones I like and then research them to see if there are other books with the same titles. I narrow them down and take a poll if I can’t decide.

 Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

No, not really. I’m the same I always was, except I’m busier with marketing now and have less time to write sometimes. Some days it’s hard to fit it all in.

 Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

I was writing one project at a time. I think I work faster and more efficiently that way, but now I’m multi-tasking with another series I’m writing and sometimes those characters don’t want to wait their turn, lol.

 When not writing, how do you relax?

To me, writing is relaxing, but when I’m not doing that, I’m spending time with my husband and two children. We sit down almost every night together and watch a movie, though some of them are pretty terrible. They tease me that I’m a horrible movie picker. Other than that, I really just enjoy sitting down with a glass of wine, a good book, and my Chihuahua, Ren.

 Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.

  1. I have a very  sick sense of humor. My daughter even has a facebook page called “Things  Mother’s Should Never Say To Their Daughters.”
  2. My Chihuahua is  named Ren. Yes, from Ren and Stimpy.
  3. I’ve been on  seven wine tasting events in California with my brother and sisters, and an $8 bottle of Arbor Mist Blackberry Merlot is still my favorite. J
  4. I love slapstick comedy and laugh inappropriately when people get injured, especially my  kids. They don’t find it nearly as amusing as I do. They’ve stopped getting mad at me for being so insensitive and usually join in after they’ve finished crying, lol.
  5. I have horrible  fashion sense. My favorite outfit is sweatpants and a t-shit. My daughter dresses me when I have to go out in public.

I’m currently finishing Shades of Darkness, Book 2 Redemption Series. The third book, Courting Darkness is completed in first draft. I’ll start getting that one ready for submission as soon as Shades of Darkness has been sent to my editor.

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/melynda.price.9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/MelyndaPrice1

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13829312-until-darkness-comes

Blog: http://melyndaprice.wordpress.com/

Website: www.melyndaprice.com

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Blog Blizzard – M.O. Kenyan – Author Interview

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

I love the fact that I can create different worlds, characters and be a direct influence to a character’s life.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write Romance and Fantasy. It’s easier to make two people from different worlds and with different personalities fall in love. And creating a beautiful guy who suddenly turns green is awesome too.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part would be keeping in touch with reality. Even in writing fantsy I want to keep cloe to reality. The last thing I want is a reader to go like, “oh Please, are you serious!”

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I plot, I think it’s important to know where you want to go at a certain point in the story. But apart from the basic skeleton I let the story and the character’s lead me. I could never force an independent character to suddenly rely on someone else.

Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?

I think every author drums their own beat and everyone should dance to it. You can’t possibly say choose mine cause I am better. We all have our audiences.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

That I put in my 100% into the story. Hoepfully they can find a little piece of themselves in the story and maybe and Oh! Moment.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I try to push the neccesity of love and family and truth to oneself ij everything I write. At the end of it all when we are stripped bare all we have are the self, love and family.

How long have you been a writer? 

I would like to say all my life, but the first novel I ever wrote was a fantasy trilogy (not yet published) back in 2010.

How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?

My first book forever. My first published book (shades of spring 1964) took about a month to write and four to publish. In total it took about six months before it became and E-Book.

 What other careers have you had?

 I’m still a student, so I wouldn’t call anything else I have done a career. But from being a receptionist I learnt a lesson in human interaction, an intern at BBC I learnt the importance of truth in a story and from being a legal aid I learnt the importance of work.

Do you write under more than one name? Why?

 I write fictional romance under M.O Kenyan, although my fantasy books are yet to be published, I write under M.O Knight. I think it’s important for their to be separate names for separate genres. It helps your audience distiguish which genre the book is written in without having to read the back cover.

Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

Most of my writing if not all have a piece of me in it. And if I have interacted with you in the past twenty three years you are probably in it too. But I try not to make it so obvious.

 How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?

Loyal, honest and a contradiction. Happily ever after is not my thing, yet I make sure all my characters get to that point.

What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?

I honestly don’t know. Most people think I’m crazy but considering all the voices and people in my head maybe I am.

What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

Besides the 100% I do my best to please myself first before anyone else. Being tru to myself and my characters is important.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

Nora Roberts, Stephanie Meyers, Nicki Charles, Brenda K. davies, Stephanie Meyers, Ruth Ann Nordin and the list goes on.

How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

One word, interesting.

Where are you from?

Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya.

 How do you come up with the titles?

I come up with title before writing some of my books. And sometimes a sentence or a word just jumps at me. No real thought process I am led by instinct.

Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

Honestly no, maybe. Having my work out there does make me nervous on how people receive it. But I am yet to have my Oh my God moment. I don’t know why.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

I write books one at a time. But plots and ideas may come to me at the same time. I may say multitask because if I think of a story and a scene seems very crucial to me I will start with that, then be done with it before I start working on another scene.

When not writing, how do you relax?

I sleep.

Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.

I am impatient, and when someone gives me a bad impression that’s what sticks with me. I like getting somone commited to my work as much as I am. If I don’t I loose interest.

Please share with us your future projects and upcoming releases.

I have a number of books that I am now comfortable with quering. ( THE MARA SONG- valentine themed) Right now I am writng a book called ONE PERCENT.  It’s about a woman who only knows how to interact with life by measuring her odds.

www.mokauthor.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/MOK_Author

http://www.facebook.com/MokAuthor?ref=hl

http://5princebooks.com/buy.htm

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Blog Blizzard Author Interview – Christina Ow

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Being able to express my imagination on paper and the fact that there is no limit or boundaries when creating an entirely fictitious new life I can live in for a few months.

What genre(s) do you write?

Romance, Paranormal, Suspense, Contemporary

What genres and authors would we find you?

Nicky Charles, Quinn Loftis, Bernadette Marie

 What was the hardest part of writing your book?

When you have to describe a very painful scene. I really don’t want to do it, but the book really needs it. I end up feling guilty destroying a life.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Both.  I like planning out my books especially the series. It gives me a sense of direction and how and when the characters are to grow.

In Star Bright I was a pantser. I knew who Maria was and who Dave was at the beginning of the book but when the other characters come in, they just shaped them and they became these other people, very different from whom I thought they would be. Maria grew into this fierce confident woman, mother and wife and this was all because of Dave and to some extent Ricky, the villain.

Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?

I don’t think my book is better than anyone elses. A book is suppose to relax you, make you think or open peoples minds. It just depends on what rocks the readers’ boats, and if my books are it, that’s cool.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

It’s not wrong to dream, true love does exist and to always think of yourself and be selfish sometimes. Or you could risk getting lost or stuck.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

In Star Bright. The message is don’t make excuses when you are in an abusive relationship because there is a man out there just waiting to show you what true love is.

‘I am the master of my destiny, the leader of my actions, the dictator of my world for the power lives in me and no one else.’

How long have you been a writer? 

I love writing poems and I’ve done so for many years. I started writing novels in 2010, so two years.

How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?

Star Bright, it took me six months to finish writing it, about three months of queries and finally four months of editing.

What other careers have you had?

I was an intern at a law firm for three months and then I did two months as an apprentice at a fashion house. I also feature in other artists songs

 Do you write under more than one name? Why?

No. I use only one pen name Christina OW.

My real name is Rinah Lidonde

Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

Star Bright yes. Spousal abuse is everywhere so this was my way of writing a happy ending to all of them.

How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?

I’m an onion. One peel at a time and you’d have to be very patient. Trust doesn’t come easy to me.

What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?

I’m a twin. We have the same interests, writing being one of them but we are two completely different people, its even visible in how we write.

What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

The romantic suspense thriller, Fatal Jealousy will be released in January 2013.

Twins Ellsa and Ellie are completely different in character, personality, taste and interests. Apart from the striking resemblance to each other, they share the one thing siblings shouldn’t…. the same taste in men.

They keep falling for the same man, creating a quiet rivalry between them. Determined not to let a man come between them ever again, Ellie and Ellsa agree to stay away from each others relationships. But when they meet Dale Carson, an FBI agent and a bachelor, their love lives are turned upside down.

But they aren’t the only ones taken by the rogue. His partner and long time lover, Gwen Johansson, also called dibs.

Carson is interested in only one of them. He is pulled by Ellie’s passion for love and art, and most importantly, him. What starts as a sexual chase, ends with his permanent retirement from bachelorhood.

But their love story is not a smooth one.

Carson’s day job comes knocking on his front door and before he knows it, his whole world is ripped apart.

Out of all the possible suspects, Ellie has the most evidence stacked up against her. She is implicated in the brutal murders of her ex-boyfriends, and Carson is faced with the horror of arresting the love of his life. With two suspects of his own, he is convinced she is being set up, but he has no way of proving it.

Case Title: Woman Scorned

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

Stephanie Meyer, Ann Rice, Sydney Sheldon, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, Sherrilyn Kenyon

How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

The rest of my family is like congratulations. My sisters are very encouraging and excited for me but my mom takes the cake! My mom is so supportive. She’s more excited than I am! Once the book cover was out, she sent it to everyone who’s ever sent her an email.

That’s why I use her name as my author’s name. She’s done everything she humanly could to help me become the person I am and do everything I set my mind to. She deserves all the credit.

Where are you from?

Kenya but right now I live in South Africa. I’m still in University for a BA in International Studies, Communications and media studies

 How do you come up with the titles?

I try to sum up what the story is about in five words or less

Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

Not really. The only thing that has changed is my demeanor in all my ventures. I’m more confident with what are do, school, writing, designing. There is an extra 50% in everything I do.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

Multi-task. When I get stuck in one story it helps to go to the next story.

When not writing, how do you relax?

I read novels.

Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.

Quiet, Thoughtful, Creative, Very Private, Sometimes Gullible

Contact Christina Ow at:

Facebook- Christina OW

Twitter- @christina_ow

WordPress- christinaow.wordpress.com

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Carmen DeSousa – Author

Author  – Carmen DeSousa

Book Title: Entangled Dreams

When Alexandra Nicole was eight, she thought she was a princess in a fairytale.  But after a tragic accident shatters her magical life, she finds herself in a cold and heartless reality.

As an adult, she once again faces harsh truths and decides to take control of her destiny. Unfortunately, choices have a way of entangling her dreams and pushing her down a dark and dismal path.

Alexandra must trust her instincts to escape danger, but be able to surrender all to find her happily ever after. Knowing how to decipher the difference, will be her toughest challenge.

Author Bio:

While Carmen DeSousa does not write “Christian” books, she does share her characters’ Christian beliefs. Her characters are real people who come with real flaws; no perfect people allowed.

She characterizes her stories as modern-day fairytales, as they are overflowing with romance, mystery, suspense, and of course, tragedy. After all, what would a fairytale be without a tragic event setting the stage? All of her novels are sensual, but not erotic, gripping but not graphic and will hopefully make you cry, laugh, love, and hope.

Both of her published novels, She Belongs to Me and Land of the Noonday Sun, have reached bestseller status right alongside Nicholas Sparks, J.D. Robb, and other great authors. Her third novel, Entangled Dreams, releases September 2012.

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

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Blog Blizzard – Introducing Carmen DeSousa – Author

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

I love being able to create characters that reach into a reader’s soul, making them feel as if they are living and breathing individuals.

What genre(s) do you write?

Short answer: Romantic-Suspense

Long answer: I characterize my stories as modern-day fairytales, as they are overflowing with romance, mystery, suspense, and of course, tragedy. After all, what would a fairytale be without a tragic event setting the stage? All of my novels are sensual, but not erotic, gripping but not graphic and will hopefully make you cry, laugh, love, and hope.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Ending it. I fall in love with my characters and don’t want to let them go. I end up having to trim away scenes, so my stories won’t be too long.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A pantser without a doubt. Even when I write a whodunit, I’m not sure who did it until the end. J

Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?

For years, I watched as writers felt in order to tell a story they had to shock their readers with graphic scenes. My goal is to take you to the precipice in all areas of my writing. My stories do have violence and sex as they are a part of life, but I leave the best parts to your imagination, as I believe most readers have marvelous imaginations. That’s why they read.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

Above all, love and hope. My stories are about overcoming adversity and finding a way to live again.

How long have you been a writer?

My entire life, but I decided to see publication in 2010.

How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?

Approximately eighteen months.

What other careers have you had?

Sales and marketing for fifteen years. Editing ten years.

Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

Yes, but I won’t tell you which book or characters.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

Sidney Sheldon

Iris Johansen

Nicholas Sparks

Jaime Rush

How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

Shocked the heck out of the ones I told. I kept it a secret for two years until I decided to publish. Yep, even my husband didn’t know.

Where are you from?

Florida native.

How do you come up with the titles?

Usually from a line in the novel that best describes the story.

Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

Not really. I’m still me.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

Multi-task without a doubt. I have three in the stage of editing at the moment, and I’m writing two.

When not writing, how do you relax?

Is this a rhetorical question? Read, of course. J

Do you have any reading suggestions?

I have two follow up novels my readers might be interested in.

Split Decisions is the follow up to She Belongs to Me

When Noonday Ends is the follow up to Land of the Noonday Sun

Love Like Crazy is my first young adult, which I believe adult readers will still enjoy.

 

http://www.carmendesousa.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarmenDeSousa?fref=ts

   Twitter – @Author_Carmen

    Amazon: http://ow.ly/bfZKa

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Bernadette Marie – Interview

Have you ever wondered why an author decides to write? Or what they like to write about? We asked Bernadette Marie those questions and a few others. Read her answers below.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Creating! I love the whole process of building characters in my mind and portraying them, hopefully correctly, on the pages as their stories are told.

What genre(s) do you write?

I love to write Contemporary Romance.  However, I do have some paranormal in my future.

What genres and authors would we find you?

You’ll find me in contemporary romance and I’ve been blessed to ride the charts with such great authors as Nora Roberts and Bella Andre

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Not falling asleep at the keyboard.  I’m blessed with constant flow in my mind…but my eyes won’t always stay open for me.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Total pantser!  Nothing is planned when I sit down.

Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?

I think my voice is very natural. I don’t try too hard. My characters talk normal and their situations aren’t out of the ordinary.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

I hope they have a sense of I NEED MORE! But aside from that I promise happily ever after and I deliver on that. I want to walk away from a book and feel good for days.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I suppose it would be, if you look around you you’ll notice exactly what you need.

How long have you been a writer?

I have been a writer since I was 13, but have been published since 2010

How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?

My very first book is not published…it’s hidden.  However, the book that was first pubbed was penned with 12 others in 2007. I was on fire. So it didn’t take long to write. I received my first contract in December 2009 and the book was launched in April 2010.

What other careers have you had?

I never give up a good career. SO I’m still doing data entry, I still run a salon—only now it is in my basement. I teach anyone anything they want to know from writing to karate.

Do you write under more than one name? Why?

I only write under Bernadette Marie, which is my given name.

Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

After a while I found that my characters took on traits of other people.  As for events, they are modern day, so that keeps the events current.

How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?

I promise a happy ending. You won’t walk away from my books with a heavy heart.

What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?

As of October 2012 I will be a 2nd degree black belt momma! I have 5 sons (2 of them are 2nd degree black belts, 2 are conditional black belts and one is a high red.) We kick butt in this house!

What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

That I put my heart into every story I write. Sure I have been accused of being predictable, but with happily ever after that part is predictable…but the journey is the fun part.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

By far Nora Roberts has influenced me the most. Next would be Karen White, she was the one that took me out of the box of 3rd person always. And Megan Hart…well, I didn’t know an erotic story could change your life! She’s amazing and none of these ladies are a waste of time or money to read.  BUT early on it was Sidney Sheldon that got me reading and made me want to write. When I knew it was romance that I enjoyed the most then it was Danielle Steel

How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

There isn’t one family member or friend who isn’t 100% supportive of my adventure into writing! They are all amazing supports!

Where are you from?

Born and raised in colorful Colorado!

How do you come up with the titles?

This is a blessing to me…they are just there in my head!

Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

I’ve certainly had to learn to take personal compliments! As a writer you can change people’s lives with your words. It’s powerful. Other than that I’m still doing what I love and in the middle of that I’m driving my kids around, trying to clean the house, and kicking butt in karate.  That’s the best part about being an author.  The book is out there now doing the work.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

Multi-task to a fault!

When not writing, how do you relax?

I’m always writing…so I must be sleeping if I’m relaxing!

Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.

       

  1. I’m messy!
  2. I’d much rather be cold than hot. You can keep layering, but you can only get so naked.
  3. I’m a professional stylist and I cut my own hair.
  4. I can write backward as fast as I can write forward.
  5. I multiply by 9s on my fingers.

Thank you Bernadette Marie for being my guest this week! Looking forward to reading First Kiss!

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Blog Blizzard – Introducing Bernadette Marie – Author

I’m so excited to be hosting my very first Blog Blizzard! For the next month I will be featuring different authors. I would like to introduce Bernadette Marie. Let’s get started!

 Bernadette Marie has been an avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook with  stories that she’d share with her friends.  Her journey into novel writing started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old typewriter.  At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22 years.

In 2007 – after marriage, filling her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children – Bernadette began to write seriously with the goal of being published.  That year she wrote 12 books.  In 2009  she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born.  In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released contemporary titles and began the process of taking on other authors in other genres.

In 2012 Bernadette Marie found herself on the bestsellers lists of iTunes and Amazon to name a few.  Her office wall is lined with colorful PostIt notes with the titles of books she will be releasing in the very near future, with hope that they too will grace the bestsellers lists.

Bernadette spends most of her free time driving her kids to their many events.  She is also an accomplished martial artist who will earn her conditional second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do in October 2012.  An avid reader, she enjoys most, the works of Nora Roberts, Karen White, Megan Hart, to name a few. She loves to meet readers who enjoy reading contemporary romances and she always promises Happily Ever After.

www.bernadettemarie.com

www.facebook.com/authorbernadettemarie

www.authorbernadettemarie.blogspot.com

@writesromance on Twitter

info@bernadettemarie.com

       Chapter One

There was a chill in the air, even in June. Cade Carter rolled the windows up on his Porsche as he began his decent into the valley. The mountains of Colorado could deliver any unprepared traveler an array of weather to cope with, and it could change without warning in a matter of moments.

Though the higher peaks still boasted snow, he’d found the entire, long and boring trip from Green Bay, Wisconsin, to be fairly dry. Cade had considered driving his Bronco to Aspen Creek, but he’d needed the speed of the sports car and Ashley had needed it to move.

He glanced at his Rolex for the sixth time in the past half hour. He was going to be late.

Who was he kidding.  He’d had no intentions of getting to his own father’s funeral on time.  Had it not been for Ashley, he’d have blown it off all together.  But no.  The words still rang in his ears.  “You have to go.  He was your father.  He loved you.  You owe him…

Cade gripped the steering wheel tighter.  He did owe him the decency to be at his funeral, because Cade Carter had been the worst son, and he knew it.

The first sign that would alert drivers to the small town of Aspen Creek was coming up on his right.  A left would take him over the next hill to the elite ski resort town of Aspen Hills.  The road he veered down would drop him into small town hell.

As the deep groves of Aspen trees thinned he could see the small town at the bottom of the valley.  Each street was visible, the cars looked small, and the town stood there as if someone had taken a picture of it fifty years earlier, not one thing had changed.  He did see a 7-11 sign peeking above the buildings.  Corporate America had moved in. That was new. At least he’d know what the coffee tasted like.

He could see City Park in the center of town.  The grass was green.  Green’s Market had the most cars in the parking lot and Sloan’s Diner must have just finished with their lunch crowd.

Aspen Creek rolled along the sides of town and under the Rose Bridge. It was fast, unforgiving, and cold all year long.  He’d had his share of dunks in that water, some on purpose, some not. Beyond the bridge and the white rapids of the river that rushed through town with its new melt off he could see the street where he’d grown up, where his father had lived, and where he’d fallen in love as a young boy.

Cade pulled the car to the shoulder of the narrow road and slammed it into park.  He lifted his sunglasses from his eyes and rubbed them.  He hadn’t been back to Aspen Creek in twelve years.  Long had been forgotten the sentiments of home, like people knowing your name, and not because you were some famous football player, but because you were Austin Carter’s son. High school football games, swimming in Aspen Creek, and the girl next door were things a man forgot about when he was an M.V.P.

He blew out a long, ragged breath. The comforts of a sports car were limited to the power of the engine on a man Cade’s size.  He tried to stretch his legs, but to no avail.  If he didn’t get out and walk around soon he’d be paralyzed in the car seat.  Just another thing he deserved he supposed.  Career killing injuries were just another daily reminder that he was lucky to be alive, even if he now stood on the sidelines and basked in the glory of what used to be.

It was easy for the team to cut him loose when he was no longer able to perform. The position needed to be filled by someone younger and able to play. He was just a washed up has-been now who’d collected his payout.

Adjusting his sunglasses back on his face, he put the car back into drive.  He had demons to face and he’d better just get it over with.  Ashley was housesitting in Green Bay and Cade was expected back in three days.  He couldn’t imagine closing out his father’s life could take longer than that.

Olivia Baker sat in the cemetery alone, next to the new grave and sobbed.  The funeral had been small, but Austin had kept to himself for the past two years.  She wasn’t sure everyone had even heard he’d passed.  She wiped her eyes.  No, they all knew he’d died.  He’d died right in her arms and that had gotten the attention of the local gossips.

The casket had been lowered, the chairs had been collected, and now the only man she’d ever cherished lay beneath the mound of red Colorado soil with a spray of wilting flowers atop it.  It didn’t seem dignified enough.

Her jaw clenched when she looked at the few bouquets and sprays that still lingered near the grave.  Not one of them had Cade’s name on it.

Damn him anyway.

What kind of son didn’t even make it to the funeral of the man who raised him?  The kind like Cade Carter.

The arrogant, self-centered bastard probably had some pressing football engagement and couldn’t be bothered with his father’s passing.  Some dry-cleaners probably needed him to cut their big obnoxious grand-opening ribbon with an oversized pair of scissors, and to Cade that would have always been more important than respecting his father.

Olivia noticed she’d twisted the head off a carnation at her fingertips.  She unclasped her hands and looked beyond the new grave to the one next to it.

CONNER CARTER.

Looking at the name written in stone sent chills up her spine.  She looked away.  She wondered if anyone at all had come to that funeral.  She hadn’t.  She’d been tucked away safely in Grand Junction, again, when Conner had died.  She was sure Austin had paid to bury him and had splurged for the headstone too.  And she couldn’t help but wonder if guilt over Conner’s death had in some way contributed to Austin’s death.

Just beyond the gate to the cemetery she could hear the sound of tires on the gravel.  It didn’t phase her.  Neither did her responsibilities at the bank.  Her boss Parker Woods had told her to take her time and that was what she was doing.  She was in no condition to head back to town and act professional.

Tears streaked down her face from under her dark sunglasses, and she let them fall.

The hole in her heart from Austin’s absence ached and she wondered if she’d get over her loss.  Her son Gabe would never remember the man she adored and loved.  He’d never know how much Austin Carter cherished him and loved him.

Olivia squeezed her eyes shut tight.  Would she miss Austin everyday when she looked into Gabe’s eyes and saw the resemblance?

She wiped away the tears and then noticed that the driver of the car, which had parked in the lot had walked across the gravel and stood only a few feet from her.  She did what she could to compose herself.  After all, she owed it to Austin to be gracious and welcoming to his mourners.

Olivia pushed herself up from the ground, brushed off her black skirt, and turned toward the person standing behind her.

There was an uneasiness that settled in Cade’s gut when he saw the mound of dirt before him.  Could guilt kill a man of his stature?

The woman who had been sitting at his father’s grave stood before him, her elegant black dress covered in dust, but she didn’t seem to mind.

He swallowed hard. “Is this Austin Carter’s grave?”

The woman shook her head more in an effort to convey disgust than to signal that he was in the wrong place.  “Why did you even bother?”

“I beg your pardon.”

“Why show up now, Cade?  You couldn’t even give him the decency of being here on time?”

“I…” he had no answers.  Besides who was she to be criticizing him?

Cade examined the lean, yet curvy woman in the well-worn dress who stood before him. Her hair was pulled back and dark glasses covered her eyes.  Little gold bands adorned each of her ring fingers, so she could have been someone’s wife.  Hell, he’d grown up in the town, maybe he did know her.  But still, what he did to get the funeral on time, or not, was not her concern.

“I guess you know me.  Who might you be?”

The woman opened her mouth, and then shut it again.  Instead of answering she picked her purse up off the ground and searched inside.  She pulled out a business card and handed it to him.  “I’m the one in charge of closing out your father’s estate.”

With that, she started off to the parking lot and he watched.  Back in town five minutes and he was already pissing off the women there.

He ran his hand over the back of his neck and looked at the card as the woman sped away down the hill toward town.

Olivia Baker, Vice President Aspen Creek Bank.

His head shot back up and the air in his lungs escaped him.

A man could drive into town, and the girl next door, whom he’d fallen in love with as a child, could hand him a card with her name on it and he didn’t even recognize her.

Suddenly the aches and pains in his leg, from his brush with death, didn’t hurt as bad when he was faced with a woman scorned and a week in small town hell.