Friday, February 28, 2014

Q&A for B.J. Daniels “Atonement”



 


1. Tell us a little bit about your upcoming release, “Atonement?”

I wanted to write about Dillon Lawson, undersheriff in my Beartooth, Montana series. I’m also fascinated by twins – especially the identical ones who have taken different paths in life. With all my heroes the hard part is finding them a woman who is equal to them. Dillon deserved a strong, capable woman as a partner. A year ago, he buried his twin who he feels he failed, so he has his own demons when Tessa Winters comes into his life. Nothing is easy for Dillon so it should come as no surprise that Tessa is pregnant – and claims it is his brother’s child.

2. You moved to Montana at a very young age and many of your stories take place there. How do you think living in Montana has shaped you as a person and as a writer?

Life in Montana from the age of five has had a huge impact on me and the stories. I first lived in a cabin my father built from logs in the Gallatin Valley. My brother and I had the run of the mountains with all its rocks and trees and creeks and river as well as wildlife. We often had black bear, moose and deer in the yard. My brother and I even had pet squirrels.
Later I lived on Hebgen Lake. We didn’t have electricity or a phone, but we waterskied for hours, played in the woods and had grizzly bears on the patio. I still live in a wild isolated place three hours from the closest Target store. Today, I am pretty much snowed in as a blizzard just blew through and all the roads out of town will be icy and snowpacked. But this is what I love writing about, my experiences growing up in the state I love.

3. What book is on your next to-buy list?

I can’t wait for Lisa Gardner’s next one. Actually, I can’t wait to get to a bookstore. That is the hardest part of living in the boonies. I miss walking around a bookstore and touching and smelling books. I order a lot of books online (I still love the feel of them so most are paperbacks.)

4. What’s your go-to snack when you’re writing? 

Coke Zero. I made a rule about eating at my computer. When you’re writing you lose track of time – and anything you might be eating. J I have a friend who had a bowl of dried bananas next to her computer. One minute it was full, the next…she realized she’d just eaten 18 bananas. That’s what I would do if I had snacks while I was writing.

      5. Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have a certain place that inspires you the most?

 I love taking the pickup and driving out into the wilds. I have written many scenes sitting on the tailgate staring out at the country. I have an office three blocks from my house, but if I am stuck on a book – I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, so I never know what will happen next in a book -- I hit the road. For some reason, the story really comes once I leave town. Where I now live there is something like .03 people per square mile so there is a lot of space to create in without seeing another soul.

6. Are you for or against books being turned into movies?

LOL, I would love for one of my books to be turned into a movie. But we all know that the book is always better than the movie.

7. You’re an avid quilter. Tell us a bit more about that creative process and how is it different from the writing process?

Actually, it is a lot like writing. You start with nothing but a vague idea. (At least that’s the way I write – and quilt.) I often buy fabric without any clue what I am going to make with it, then I let my imagination run wild.
 What I love is that a bunch of quilters can take the same fabric and yet make something so entirely different. Same with a book. Give a group of writers the same basic plot and you will get completely different books. With quilting and all the different fabrics and pattern ideas, you can get as crazy creative as you want.
Also quilters are as creative and fun as writers, so I love that.

8. Who is your favorite author and why?

I really could not pick one favorite author. I love Lisa Gardner, Elizabeth George, Dennis LeHane, T. Jefferson Parker, Stephen King, Gillian Flynn…. I love any author who writes a book that half way through I don’t know how it is going to end. 

One of the problems of being a writer is that I often see the puppeteer behind the curtain. I hate that. I love authors who fool me. I get very excited when I’m reading a book and really have no idea how the author is going to finish the book.

9. How did you find the courage to pursue your dream of writing?

I come from a family of storytellers. When I was a child my family camped a lot. I used to lie in the tent at night and listen to the adults sitting around the campfire telling stories. It made me want to be a writer. My father always told me I could be anything I wanted to be. I believed him. He also taught me that if I wanted something, I had to work to get it. So I went at being a writer by learning as much as I could, writing a whole lot and not giving up.

10. Do you have any special techniques for writing effective suspense plots?

I love to scare myself. If I am on the edge of my seat while I am writing a scene, then I figure my readers will be too. I’m the kind of person who always looks in the back seat of my car at night to make sure there is no one back there.  
Recently I was working on my next HQN and I realized I was breathing hard – and it wasn’t the love scene. I was anxious, afraid my heroine wasn’t going to get away. That is why I love writing so much. J

11. What is your favorite fairy tale?

Cinderella. I think we all want to have that kind of magic in our lives – not to mention love and a handsome prince. I lucked out and got mine, but it took kissing a couple of frogs. J
Cinderella is also about justice. The stepmother and stepsisters got what they deserved at the end.  So that appeals to me because I write mysteries where the bad guy is going to get his. J

12. With more than 40 short stories and 70 books published, how do you come up with new and compelling stories that capture your readers’ attention?

It’s funny, but the ideas are always there. I’ve been fortunate that way. As I’ve mentioned, I’m a seat of the pants writer. I start with a blank page and just begin typing. I never know what is going to happen – and I love that. I couldn’t write a book that I knew the ending. I would feel as if I’d already read it. So mostly I write books that I want to read. I think that keeps me from writing the same book over and over.
Who is your fictional character crush?

 Right now it is Dillon Lawson from Atonement. He’s the kind of man we know we can depend on. You just want to curl up in his arms and ride out the winter. 
I love strong men, men who would fight for their woman. Montana cowboys live by a Code of the West and Dillon is no different. There are lines he won’t cross, so he fights his growing feelings for his brother’s woman.

14. What is the first book you remember reading as a child? 

I wasn’t much of a reader when I was very young. Then I got hooked on Trixie Beldon mysteries. Then I read Frank Yerby’s adventure books before stumbling onto Kathleen Woodiwiss and Stephen King and James Michener. As you can see, I was all over the map. I still am.

  15. What are you reading right now? 

The Obituary Writer by Ann Wood. I love the way two separate stories come together from different decades. Before than I was reading nonfiction books on serial killers for my upcoming HQN titled MERCY out in September. I’m also listening to Elizabeth George’s new book, Just One Evil Act, on CD in my car. I always have a couple of books going at the same time.

16. What are the latest trends that you are noticing in romance/romantic suspense novels these days?
 
 I don’t read a lot of romantic suspense because I write it. But I feel that we all take a different approach to it. Some are more romantic. Most of mine are more suspense, I think. They’re hard to write because you need a balance between the two. But I think that is what a lot of readers really like. They love suspense and romance. Kind of like chocolate and peanut butter. 

 17. In pagan religions, a spirit or totem animal is meant to be a representation of the skills and traits that you are supposed to learn or have. What is your spirit animal? 

The bear. I wear a silver one on a chain for luck. The bear for me is a symbol of strength.

 18. What advice would you give to a struggling writer? 

Don’t quit. Read everything you can get your hands on. Never stop learning. And remember, it is all about the story. Tell a good story. One of my favorite writing books is Stephen King’s On Writing. So much about succeeding is putting in the hours at the computer writing.
I think the hardest thing for most writers is staying off the Internet. If you write a lot of emails, you feel as if you wrote that day and yet your book never seems to get finished. I know how that works.
I put together all my suggestions for aspiring writers after being asked this question. The book, Write Your damn Book, is available only digitally online.

 19. What is your favorite line or phrase from “Atonement?”

It’s the first time my hero and my pregnant heroine meet:
“Look, I’m not sure what your story is, but that baby you’re carrying? It isn’t--.”
“If you dare say it isn’t yours…” Her right hand dipped into her shoulder bag. An instant later he was staring down the barrel of a .45.


20. What are you working on next? 

I just finished my next HQN titled MERCY. It was the hardest book I have ever written but now that it is done, I love it. I wanted to do a different take on serial killers, so I did. I am fascinated by how two people can grow up in the same house, same genes, etc. and turn out so differently. I find it interesting also that the same horrible childhood that makes a serial killer can do just the opposite to someone else.
I also love seeing what happens to the continuing characters in the series. While each book stands alone, I like some characters who I can check back in with and see how their lives are going.



For more info, visit  http://bjdaniels.com/

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Latest reviews posted!

 
New reviews have been added for February 2014.
A new schedule has been added for the March author chats.
It's not too late to enter the February contest if you have not done so. Deadline is midnight Friday (2/28).
February 2014

Contemporary Romance
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE - Marie Force - A Green Mountain Romance - Jane - 2/2014
BOUND - Lorelei James - Mastered, Book 1 - A Perfect 10 - Amanda - 2/2014-
Erotic - New!
BOUND TO BE DIRTY - Savanna Fox -A Dirty Girls Book Club Novel - Patti - 2/2014
THE COWBOY OF VALENTINE VALLEY - Emma Cane - A Valentine Valley Novel - Patti - 2/2014
New!
DISARM - June Gray - The Complete Novel - Astrid -2/2014
JADED - Anne Calhoun - The Walkers Ford Series, Book 2 - Robin - 2/214- New!
LETTING GO - Maya Banks - Surrender Trilogy, Book 1 - Jennifer B. - 2/2014 - Erotic
MELTING THE ICE - Jaci Burton - Play By Play, Book - Jennifer B. - 2/2014
A MILLION GUILTY PLEASURES - C.L. Parker - Million Dollar Duet, Book 2 - CeCe - 2/2014 - Erotic - New! SIMPLE PERFECTION - Abbi Glines - Jennifer H. - 12/2013
SOMEBODY TO LOVE - Lori Wilde - A Cupid, Texas Novel - Patti - 1/2014
THE VALENTINE'S ARRANGEMENT - Kelsie Leverich - A Hard Feelings Novel - Patti - 2/2014 -
New!
WINTER AT MUSTANG RIDGE - Jesse Hayworth - Mustang Ridge Series, Book 2 - Robin - 2/2014 -
New!
FantasyA STUDY IN ASHES - Emma Jane Holloway - The Baskerville Affair, Book 3 - Robin - 1/2014 - Steam Punk

Historical Fiction
THE ROSES UNDERNEATH - C.F. Yetmen - A Perfect 10 - Jani - 2/2014

Historical Romance
THE COUNTESS CONFESSIONS - Jillian Hunter - A Boscastle Affairs Novel - Robin - 2/2014 LORD OF THE RAKES - Darcie Wilde - Carolyn - 2/2014
ROMANCING THE DUKE - Tessa Dare - Castles Ever After, Book 1 - A Perfect 10 - Jane - 2/2014 - New!
WHY EARLS FALL IN LOVE - Manda Collins - Wicked Widows Trilogy - Jani - 2/2014 - New!

Mystery
MOVING TARGET - J.A. Jance - An Ali Reynolds Mystery, Book 9 -Carolyn - 2/2014

New Adult
CONNECTED - Kim Karr - The Connection Series, Book 1 - Jane - 2/2014 - New!

Paranormal Romance
AUTUMN ROSE - Abigail Gibbs - A Dark Heroine Novel, Book 2 - Jani - 2/2014 - Young Adult
CRIMSON VEIL - Yasmine Galenorn - Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon, Book 15 - Jennifer B - 2/2014
DARK WOLF - Christine Feehan - A Carpathian Novel, Book 25 - Carolyn - 1/2014
RULE BREAKER - Lora Leigh - A Novel of the Breeds, Book 29 - Carolyn - New!UP FROM THE GRAVE - Jeaniene Frost - A Night Huntress Novel, Book 7 - Jennifer B - 2/2014 - New!
VAMPIRE MOST WANTED - Lynsay Sands - Argeneau Vampires, Book 20 - Amanda - 2/2014 -New! WULFE UNTAMED - Pamela Palmer - A Feral Warriors Novel, Book 8 - Carolyn - 2/2014 - New!
Romantic Thriller
WATCH YOUR BACK - Karen Rose - Jane - 2/2014 -New!

Series Romance

BOUND BY A CHILD - Katherine Garbera - Baby Business, Book 2 - HD #2286 - Patti - 2/2014 - New! HER TEXAN TO TAME - Sara Orwig - Lone Star Legacy - Jennifer B. - 2/2014 JUST ONE MORE NIGHT - Fiona Brand - The Pearl House, Book 5 - HD #2285 - Patti - 2/2014 - New! SNOWBOUND WITH A BILLIONAIRE - Jules Bennett - Billionaires and Babies Series - HD #2283 - Patti - New! WHAT A RANCHER WANTS - Sarah M. Anderson - Texas Cattleman's Club: The Missing Mogul, Book 8 - HD #2282 - Patti - 2/2/014 - New!
Terrie
Owner
Romance Reviews Today
__._,_.___

Chat Wed night with Jillian Hunter!

New York Times Bestselling Author Jillian Hunter joins us to discuss her latest book, THE COUNTESS CONFESSIONS. 
 
Door prize: Five lucky winners will each receive a signed copy of THE COUNTESS CONFESSIONS! 
 
Moderated by Sandi. 
 
When? Tonight (Wed) night at 9:00PM Eastern time
 
Where? http://client0.addonchat.com/sc.php?id=102122 or go to www.romrevtoday.com and click on RRT CHAT. Once the login screen loads, just type your name and choose Mo's room from the chat room menu ;)
 
Hope to see you for an awesome chat!
 
Mo
 
 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Q & A with Allison Merritt!






1.                  Tell us about your newest release.

Wildwood Spring is the story of Celia Landry, a woman seeking healing waters from a spring in the backyard of a reclusive man's property. Turner Wildwood has grown up in solitude because his father distrusted everyone after he fought in the Civil War. When Celia appeals to him for water, he agrees to help, although he warns it's not special. He keeps his real identity hidden from her. Celia returns to thank him and ends up staying at Wildwood Manor. As she discovers the secrets of the house and its occupants, she begins to fall in love with Turner. Unfortunately she unwittingly brings danger neither of them imagined.

2.                  What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
I love the setting which is Eureka Springs, Arkansas, which is known for it's springs. In the 19th century people believed the water had healing properties. There are springs all over the town you can drive around and look at. When I was doing research on the town, I learned it was established July 4, 1879 with about 1,000 residents. Within six months the population had boomed to around 10,000. It has the largest collection of Victorian homes in America. Pretty cool.

3.                  Do you have any interesting quirks or rituals?

I always put my left shoe on first. I think it's bad luck to start with the right foot. I don't always put my socks on like that, but usually I do. I have a tattoo of a four-leaf clover on my left upper ankle and I had it put there because of the shoe thing.

4.                  What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?

One of my big author influences was Louis L'Amour. His writing paved the way for my love of the Old West and historical novels. Linda Lael Miller's historical romances also inspired me. And I have to credit my critique partners for helping me learn to write better and guiding me down the right paths.

5.                  What does your family think about your career as a published author?

My mom always says, “Why does it have to have sex in it?” She just skips the 'dirty' parts though. She's a huge supporter, showing up when I go to book signings and she bought me a new 2-in-1 computer for Christmas. I run everything by her when I'm working on a new book. My husband says he hears “blah, blah, blah, book, blah, blah”, but he's been really good about coming with me to signing events and if I'm having trouble with a character name or sometimes even plot problems, he's helped me out.

6.                  Besides writing, what other interests do you have?

I love hiking in conversation areas and national parks. It's good exercise and the places and history often inspire new stories. I love antique stores too because all that stuff for sale was part of history! It's really neat.

7.                  Can you tell us what is coming up next for you?

I just finished another historical romance and I'm going to try something new for my next novel, a contemporary romance. I haven't written one in a long, long time, so it should be interesting, but I'm really excited about it.

8.                  How can readers connect with you online?


 *****

Blurb:


No one goes to Wildwood Manor, a hulking stone house on a hill outside town. Legend has it crazy old man Wildwood owes his life to the magical water of the spring at the back of the property. Celia Landry needs that water to save her mother, and she’ll brave anything to get it.

Turner Wildwood, the son of the house’s eccentric builder, is growing as reclusive as his father. When Celia turns up at his door, he’s drawn by her beauty and bravery. Wary of strangers, he doesn’t reveal his identity, but agrees to her request. When she returns to Wildwood in wake of personal tragedy, he's waiting there with a stunning change in his heart. He knows he should tell her the truth, but he doesn't want to ruin their budding friendship.

Celia's curiosity leads her to part of the frightening answers hidden behind Wildwood's doors, but her own troubled past may lead Turner into danger neither of them suspected.



Excerpt:


"Would you like to dance?" Mischief sparkled in his blue eyes. "This is one of my favorite songs. Despite my almost solitary upbringing, dance was part of my education."
She felt heat scorch her cheeks. "Not part of mine, I'm afraid."
"I'll teach you." He faced her, putting one hand on her waist and taking her hand in his. "Do the opposite of what I do. I'll count."
He counted in fours, moving in time with the music. Celia stumbled, but after a few moments, she caught on. Turner led her around the room as they spun in circles. She laughed, forgetting her worries. It wasn't a ball and they were both in their nightclothes, but it was as elegant a dance as she could hope for.
Turner grinned as he pulled her a little closer. Their bodies came together, fitting perfectly. He dropped her hand, wrapping both arms around her waist. They stopped moving, standing in the shadow of the mastodon. Dark blond hair fell over his forehead, but it didn't hide the desire on his face.
"Turner?"
"Yes, Celia."
Her name was a delicate breath of air, and he clung to her as though afraid she was a dream. She was too wide awake to believe that. Her senses seemed sharper than ever. He smelled of the lemony soap Mrs. Southard used for washing the sheets and the coffee he'd had at supper. Even in the muted firelight, she saw him clearly, his golden hair bright as sunbeams, his blue eyes the color of the sky after a storm.
She'd never been a romantic, knowing all too well she'd either be a spinster or a housewife too busy with chores and children to consider stolen kisses. She'd never imagined a man would want to show her stars, or dance with her around the skeleton of an ancient beast. These were moments she could cherish forever, think of when her world came back into focus.
It all had to end.
He lifted his hand to her face, pushing a strand of hair over her ear. "You look upset."
"I'm grateful." She forced the words out. "It's not every day I get escorted around a ballroom."
"You mean it might never happen again." He looked somber. "You'll return to the kind of life you led before we met. One where you're often hungry, alone, and overworked."
She glanced away, hating the truth of his words. "It isn't that bad."
"Somehow I don't believe you."
He wouldn't, not after the way she'd reacted to everything he'd shown her in his life. They were from different places and he could never understand how she'd lived before. She couldn't explain it without risking his pity.
"You could always stay. I'll find something for you to do in the manor. Official book reader. In the evenings you could recount all my favorites and the new ones I don't have time for."
His breath stirred the hair near her ear, tickling her skin.
"I think I prefer the title of cookie sampler. Who wouldn't want to sit in Finny's kitchen all day tasting the items he draws out of the oven." She pressed her cheek against his velvet lapel and closed her eyes. "You should have taken me back to town when you found me at the spring."
"I couldn't do that." There was the slightest hitch in his voice, as though the idea caused him pain.
"I'll be ruined for life outside of Wildwood."
"Good. Then you'll have to come back."



Author Bio:


A love of reading turned Allison Merritt into an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She graduated college with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust since it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.
She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.