A Prepublished Novel in the Process of Revisions and Rewrites

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Author Spotlight: Christine Columbus, Romance Author

Please welcome Author, Christine Columbus today. Hi, Christine, glad to have you here today. Tell me a bit about yourself. What makes you angry, happy, sad, snoopy dance?

Glad to be here, Dayana. Well, Christine Columbus, is my ‘real name’. I am 50 and a MT Nester (empty nester) – my kids are off to college, although they left behind their Jack-A-Poo, (but she has a doggy door)

So, for the first time in my life I have no responsibilities and no expectations-- (I don’t expect the kids to have cleaned the house or taken out the garbage…I don’t expect the dust bunnies to have prepared me a meal…while I slugged away at my day job)

My Motto - No Expectations and No Disappointments Now when I get home from work…everything is exactly like I left it…No surprises…(unless the SO sneaks into town for a visit)

LOL Your motto I believe is universal.  I could carry the same myself:) Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
Writing is like Desserts… I don’t eat them because I am trying to gain weight. I eat them because they are Pure Pleasure…I don’t write because I want to be rich…I write because I love to entertain.

What a wonderful metaphor, Christine, and so eloquently put.  Great answer to the question and one I will surely remember:) When was the first moment you felt comfortable saying, “I am a writer?”

When my son was in first grade, we were at a school function; a parent walked up to me and asked, “What do you do?”

Before I could answer my son said, “My mom is a writer.”

“You are.” The parent said.

What could I say? My son was correct, while he played at the park I wrote, when he was busy playing with his toys, I wrote. I didn’t want to embarrass my son and as hard as it was, I said. “Yes, I am a writer.”

Where do you write?  Besides the park that is...

I write everywhere, at home standing at the pub table, huddle beneath the covers in bed with the laptop on my lap, (I now know that you can’t set your laptop on top of your down comforter - apparently the little fan can’t suck in a cool air—the name laptop is misleading…)

Hehehe... I learned that nifty little fact myself the hard way. Do you put pieces of yourself or your life in your stories?

No, but I do put pieces of other people’s lives into my stories…which makes my friends a little nervous.

What is your least favorite thing to do as an author? Allow me to clarify: query, write a synopsis, write a blurb, market, you get the picture.
I hate to write the end of anything…short story, novel, letter… I just love doing the beginnings – I can write and re-write a beginning a million time. The start of something is so magical. The ending of something is depressing. But there is one thing that I don’t like to start…housework, because there is no ending…just lots of middle.

Again, I have to agree with you.  I really love the way this woman thinks, don't you? What is the most uncharacteristic thing you have ever done?

I haven’t done it yet…. (wink)

I have lived my entire life in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am a Romance Novelist for The Wild Rose Press, with a number of short stories and soon to be released novel, ‘The Perfect Country and Western Story. My latest poem appeared in the Bloomington Art Center’s Literary production Waters. my flash fiction appeared at MnArtist.org. Other publishing credits include creative non-fiction, poetry and children’s fiction stories.

Tell us a bit about your latest release, Trust Your Heart and what inspired you to write the novel.

They say, ‘write what you know.’ I know love, men, co-workers and kids. That’s what you’ll find in “Trust Your Heart” My latest release from The Wild Rose Press.

The idea for Trust Your Heart…
Waking up late, I slugged into jeans and a sweatshirt - my co-workers wore jeans, soiled t-shirts and construction boots. No one cared what I wore as long as I entered payroll on time.
There I was stuck away in the corner of the basement, in an area no larger than a storage room; I sat at table with my back to the department manager. Keystrokes, copies, and digging through old dusty records eight hours a day as the boss rambled on … but the job paid the bills.

Then out of the blue a handsome man walks in wearing a suit with a trench coat folded over his arm…


My head snaps around so fast. Everyone called me Christine. I look closer. Couldn’t be? “Dave?” No way. This professional man couldn’t be the guy that had hair past his shoulders and stood outside the school smoking instead of attending class.

He stepped up to my desk and pointed a picture on my desk. “Your daughter?”

“Yes, she’s eleven.”

“Wow, she looks exactly like you at that age. That’s what it’s all about…family,” he said with a faraway look in his eyes.
That conversation and the following piece of prose sparked - “Trust Your Heart.”
Ever Wonder How Angels Fly?

The snow white play-sand in a turtle shaped plastic box was supposed to keep my children entertained, but like most things reality was different than fantasy. Instead of being outside in the sunshine, building castles they were tugging on the edge of my t-shirt as I tried to vacuum the sand hills from the carpeted steps.

“Mom, mom, mommy!”

Only a little further. I ignored my Max and Emma, stretching the hose out as I held the humming machine in place with my knee. Sweat trickled down my back. One more step. The Dirt Devil’s roar came to an abrupt stop. Crap! I didn’t need to see the limp cord to know I had once again pulled the plug from the outlet.

Wearily, I dropped to the step, my elbows balancing on my knees and my palm holding up my chin.

“Mom, mom, mommy!” Max persisted.

“Yes,” came out on a sigh.

“Is this heaven?” he asked.

Max’s sky blue eyes gazed expectantly at me. I pushed the damp hair from the back of my neck. “No, this is not heaven.” I arched my back trying to ease my sore muscles.

“How do you know?” His small hand rested on my forearm.

How could this be heaven? My muscles tensed, a beautiful Saturday morning, stuck inside cleaning the house, with a list of chores that never ended.

Max’s soft pudgy hand pressed against my cheek. “This could be heaven,” his sweet voice softly spilled into my ear.

Two healthy children, a home, job…”Yes, this could be--”

“This isn’t heaven,” Emma interrupted with arms folded tightly across her chest.

I nodded. “It might be--”

Posturing like a General ready to face battle her blue eyes darkened. “No, it’s not.”

Not wanting to argue with a six year old, yet not willing to toss away the notion that maybe eternal bliss wasn’t something rewarded at the end of a successful life but, rather experienced by living in the moment…If I could teach my children to find happiness in the most mundane activities—

“Is too,” Max’s voice pitched higher.

“Is not,” Emma shouted.

Wanting to defuse the situation, I reached out. Emma resisted my hug. “This could be heaven,” I spoke softly.

Her head shook as she pushed from my arms. “It. Is. Not.”

“Why?” I asked suddenly curious as to what could possibly be so awful in her little life that would prevent this perfect Saturday from being paradise.

A long slow sigh slipped from her lips. “Because of gravity, it’s not heaven.”

“Huh?” I shook my head.

Emma leaned closer. “In heaven there is no gravity. That’s how angels fly.”

Michelle, a divorced mother of two preschool children living in a Minneapolis suburb, maintains her subscription to her hometown newspaper. So when she bumps into childhood friend David, she already knew he was successful and a bachelor, but what the paper forgot to mention was how he had matured into a handsome man.

Memories of their past resurface, and once more, she envisions playing house with him. Although this time it's the adult-rated version, where he's selling software that threatens her job, her co-workers refuse to play nice, her ex-husband is acting just plain weird and the hometown paper is in an uproar over who is sending her flowers and who she should date. Michelle doesn’t know whom to believe until she steps back and looks deep within and trusts her heart.

Visit me at my Website: http://www.christinecolumbus.net/

Saturday, November 21, 2009

'Tis the season...

Okay, you gotta love this!  I just couldn't resist. It may be the only decoration I buy this year, for as we know dollars are extra tight for many but I just had to do it! LOL

Who doesn't absolutely love "A Charlie Brown's Christmas?"  I grew up with this cartoon and to me, it is Christmas!

I also love Allistair Sim's version of "The Christmas Carol" as well "The American Christmas Carol" with Henry Winkler, "One Magic Christmas," "Prancer," "All I Want For Christmas," "The Little Matchstick Girl," which they never seem to put on any more, oh and so many more. 

Throughout my life, year after year, I settle in and watch these holiday specials over and over again.  What do you like?  What are your favorites?

I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR! So bright, so cheery, though I do miss the northeast the most this time of year, as unless shipped in, we don't get snow and Christmas isn't Christmas without snow...

Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Author Spotlight: Annette Snyder, Novelist

Good Morning, Annette.
Thank you so much for stopping in today.  Well... Let's get down to it, shall we?

What inspired you to write your first book?
I was in a museum with my kids. There was an exhibit on orphan trains that ran across the USA and stopped at all the little towns giving homeless/parentless children away. While I was reading one of the stories on a story board, someone tapped me on the shoulder and said, “My name’s Sally. Write about me.” When I turned around, no one was there but I had this idea for Sally Murphy. Turned out to be a great story plus seven.

Wow! what an interesting inspiration, Annette.  Gives me chills:) How many books have you written?
I’ve got twelve pubbed books, counting my December release, Travis Pass MegaBook II. If you’re into historical reads, it’s a great bargain as you get 3 books in one. Travis Pass MegaBook I released in October. I’ve got another that I’m submitting and maybe 30 that I have to get ready to go out. Then I could actually name three characters right now begging me to write their stories so—MANY!

You are a busy little bee, aren't you? How do you decide on their topic?
My stories usually just come to me. When I get the idea, I write whatever comes into my head. The very first draft is really really rough and hardly even readable but I get the beginning, middle and end down while it’s fresh in my mind. I put it in an idea folder if my muse stops there and I go back and rework it when the urge strikes or I have time. Sally Murphy tapped me on the shoulder. My grandpa Doda whispered to write a story about whistles for him…which you can read on my website. They say to keep a pad and pencil by the bed, well, I leave my computer on and it’s not unusual to find me at my desk in the middle of the night.

LOL I know exactly what you mean. The other night I woke from a sound sleep with a title rolling around in my head then some story ideas so insistent that I had to get up and find my notepad and jot them all down because I knew they would be long gone in the morning.  Then the next morning I did an outline for the story line of a new novel! Amazing how the writer's mind works, isn't it? Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
I once read an interview with a famous author, and I don’t remember which one, but she said only the top 10% of writers actually make money doing it. I also talked to a famous author and asked him what he thought was the catch to make it and he replied, “Luck. Just plain luck.” So I guess I write because I love it and hope that someday I’ll have some of that luck!

You and me both, but I truly love the art as it is my stress relief when reality becomes too overbearing. I am able to lose myself in the worlds I've created:) What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?
I do the bookmarks and the flyers, speaking engagements and talking to the local booksellers. Promoting with people I know. I advertised with a group in Romantic Times and next year have purchased advertising in a Nebraska magazine because I’m a Nebraska author.

What are some unique methods?
I joined a regional marketing group that co-ops with other Nebraska producers and gets my novels to many more eyes than I could on my own. It does cost a little, but I’m finding the publicity is expanding my fan base and, because it’s a co-op, much of the marketing that I wouldn’t normally be able to afford, is done because I’m in the group. I also write a bit for one of the regional papers when they ask for stories about things. Usually they give away a short blurb about who the writer is so, since it’s a regional newspaper, I get to reach thousands of readers for free.

Do you write every day? Or when the muse strikes?
I write every single day. Sometimes it’s just a little, sometimes so much I don’t get anything else done. I hold a real job so I don’t write from 8-5 unless I’m off!

You know? I was just about to ask you that.  So many of us hold full-time jobs and have families to care for so writing can be the tiniest snippets of time. Me? I usually take time off from the day job and busy myself with my craftwork.  Time is a hard commodity to find sometimes. Where did you get the inspiration for (your current book)?
My latest release, November’s, is Eureka Springs. It’s the second in a series and it tells the story of one of the secondary characters from Viveka’s War, released in January and getting some awesome reviews.

Congratulations on your great reviews, Annette.

How do you come up with your title and main characters’ names?
In Viveka’s War, I knew I wanted my heroine to have an unusual name as it’s a story based on my grandmother’s life and she has an unusual name. For Eureka Springs, the main character reminded me of my great uncle and he had a girlfriend so I named the characters after them. Usually, I try and pick names for the time period unless the characters tell me otherwise.

Do you put pieces of yourself or your life in your stories? Doesn’t every author?

Well, I know I do:)  How long did you write seriously before your first book was published?
Five years

Me, too!  My first novel took three years to complete and two more years to publish, so a grand total of five years.

How many manuscripts had you written by the time you had your first publication?
By the time Sally Murphy came out, I had five or six more in the works.

Why do you write?
I write because one day I woke up in the middle of the night from this dream about two hot guys in a forest that found a woman and felt the need to save her. I woke up, wrote it down and it turned into sixty thousand words. That book is far from publishing stage as I’ve learned so much in the last years about writing, but someday I’m going to revamp it and see if anyone wants it.

Hmm...that sounds like something I would like to find out more about. Sounds quite interesting, Annette. Do you have an upcoming release? Eureka Springs came out November 1st.

Here’s a blurb:

Beginning life in a new direction is harder than Ruth Seidle realizes when hidden secrets surface. With an obscure past exposed, can Ruth forsake lies for honesty in effort to correct past mistakes?
John Vickers loved one woman. Tragedy, and an affair uncovered, forces a new path for him. Can he put distrust aside and let another close to his heart?

Where can we find your upcoming release? When will it be available?
You can purchase this title, along with all my others at http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/ and you can find out about them and more on what I do at http://annettesnyder.atspace.com/

Are any of your characters modeled after people you know?
My husband is the main character in Liberty Road. He tells everyone that he’s the hero in a romance novel.

Fun question (possible blackmail material down the line, LOL) What is the most uncharacteristic thing you have ever done? Please, no censoring? I have no qualms about placing a content warning on my blog!
There was a hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska with a swimming pool on the roof. My boyfriend at the time, and some friends, took the elevator to the highest floor we could, snuck out the fire escape (I think it was 10 floors up) and climbed to the roof for a swim. We did get caught by the security guard who was watching the elevator and knew no one was rooming any higher than the fifth floor. He ushered us out of the hotel. It was a big thing for me as I’m afraid of heights and going on that fire escape was so terrifying. Still, the water was warm and the view of the city from there…amazing!

Great story, Annette. Thank you for sharing it.  The most important thing is you didn't let your fear of heights stop you, LOL
As a great big thank you to Danaya and her readers, I’d Like to give away a copy of Eureka Springs, with a handy book tote for all your reading needs, to one lucky winner who comments on Dayana’s blog for my interview. Just post a comment for your chance to win and thanks for joining me here today!

Oh boy!  A Prize to boot!  Thank you, Annette for dropping by. It's been great getting to know you better. I will be looking up your work.  Best sales to you with your new releases and don't be a stranger. I'd love to see you back.

More about Annette:
My novels are available at www.whiskeycreekpress.com as well as www.fictionwise.com and their affiliates. My work is also available at www.growneb.com and their year round and holiday stores, some local stores in my area and at The Great Platte River National Archway Monument in Kearney, Nebraska.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Author Spotlight: Kelley Heckart, Historical Fantansy Romance

Good morning, everyone! Good morning, Kelley. Great having you here today.

Great to be here, Dayana. 

Well, might as well get started, shall we? I can't wait to hear all about you and your upcoming releases, Kelley. What inspired you to write your first book?
I had been writing short stories and my Creative Writing teacher encouraged me to turn one of them into a novel. I'm not sure I would have done it without her encouragement.

Sounds like you had wonderful support.  I took creative writing classes in school. I loved them and the teacher.  But I digress...

Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
I write because I love doing it. I wouldn't do it otherwise because writing is the hardest job I have ever had and I make very little money.

Ain't that the truth, LOL  All you newbie writers out there, if you are in this for the money, take heed. It really doesn't work that way for most, though we strive to get our stories told and perhaps recognized by larger circles, most of us just love to tell our stories because we love to. And, at least for me, it's like a stress release, a way to escape life's realities which are not always on the brighter side of the spectrum. I get to live through my characters and their adventures and hopefully so do my readers.
What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?
I am all over the Internet. I have a website, blog, myspace page, Facebook page and fan page. I am on twitter, Goodreads and various other social groups. I also write for two other blogs. I also belong to a bunch of Yahoo groups related to writing and romance books. Promotion takes up a huge amount of my time, but it does pay off.

I do agree with you, Kelley.  I feel the more visible you make yourself the better.  I, as well, try to keep my name out there.  I belong to many of the same venues and love to mingle with my peers.  I love that this craft is a small close knit community and we all are out there helping each other.

What is your favorite holiday? And why?
I love Halloween because of the whole mysterious and frightening nature of it. It's fun to dress up as someone else for one night of the year. Even if I don't go out on that night, I like to pop in a scary movie. I think I like to scare myself.

As everyone is aware, Halloween/Samhain is also my ultimate favorite:)  Good choice, LOL

What type of stories do you like to write and why?
I write Celtic historical romances/fantasy because I am inspired by the ancient Celts and the stories about them, especially the ones about the Irish gods, the Tuatha de Danaan, and the ones about the Irish Fianna, fierce warriors with the hearts of poets. All of these old tales influence me as a writer.

When do you read? Where?
My favorite time to read is early evening and I like to read in bed. I find that to be the most comfortable place to read.

Where did you get the inspiration for (your current book)?
I was researching the Picts and I came across an Irish warlord who had a mysterious past and may have fathered a king of the Picts. It fascinated me and I decided to make him the hero of my latest release, Cat's Curse.

Where do you go to think?
This is a good question. I don't try to think, things just pop into my head in the weirdest places like the shower or when I am cleaning the house. That's usually when I come up with a plot line or fix a plot problem.

Funny you mention that.  The other night I woke up at three or four in the morning with a niggling idea and a phrase running through my mind over and over like a broke record.  So intense I finally had to get up and I began an outline for a new novel and gained a title. So the ideas do just "pop up" at the weirdest times.

Do you have an upcoming release?
My upcoming releases from Awe-Struck are Night's Daughter and Beltaine's Song. Night's Daughter is the prequel to Of Water and Dragons and Ravenwolf and is set amid the battle between the Titans and the Olympic gods. I mix history with Greek/Celtic mythology in this book and draw some parallels that some people might not like. I love stirring up controversy. This unplanned series revolves around reincarnation and enduring love.

The second book in my Dark Goddess trilogy is coming out early next year. Beltaine's Song covers the time when Aedan is finally king of Dal Riata. Of course, being a king isn't an easy task especially with a Dark Goddess trying to destroy you, and having to contend with earthly foes as well. I also introduce another being who is somehow associated with Cat Anna (Cailleach). Their son, Gartnait, is one of the few people who can see her, but she may or may not be a threat. I had a theme going on through this second book that although spring brings about new life, it is also the time when clans battled one another so spring also brings about the harsh sound of the battle horn, and danger. I also have something coming out December 21 from Noble Romance Publishing. My sweet, short story titled A Winter Solstice Kiss is a contemporary paranormal is part of Noble Romance's Christmas/Holiday anthology.

Congratulations on all your releases, Kelley.  You certainly are a busy girl:)  Your books sound wonderfully intriguing.  I will have to put them on my wish list!

Where can we find your upcoming releases? When will they be available?
Night's Daughter will be available sometime in mid 2010. Beltaine's Song is scheduled for early 2010. Both books will be available at the http://www.awe-struck.net/ A Winter Solstice Kiss will be available from http://www.nobleromance.com/ Release dates and links will be postsed on my website at http://www.kelleyheckart.com/

What TV shows do you watch?
I am addicted to the television. My favorite shows right now are Supernatural, Smallville, The Closer, Saving Grace, Monk, Eureka, Warehouse 13, Ghost Whisperer, Bones and How I Met Your Mother. I watch a lot of the VH1 reality shows like Rock of Love and Daisy of Love and write snarky blogs about them on myspace for kicks.

Do you use music as a motivational source when writing?
Yes. This helps me when my muse decides to bail on me. I think the music coaxes him/her out. I haven't decided if my muse is male or female. My favorite music to write to lately is Icelandic Metal like Apocalyptica and Nightwish, but I also like to listen to Celtic music and other rock bands.

Tell us where else to find you.
My links:




My book page at Awe-Struck

More about Kelley:

Kelley writes Celtic historical romances with fantasy elements. Her stories reflect her passion for ancient history, storytelling and the supernatural. She is drawn in particular to the ancient Celts who are shrouded in mystery and associated with the otherworldly realm of the Fae. With her pen and paper, she recreates long ago places filled with fierce warriors, bold women, magic, conflict and romance.

Two of her favorite things are sunrises and men in kilts. She can be found online at http://www.kelleyheckart.com/

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Morning! I've been a very bad girl. It has been so busy, I seemed to have neglected my blog.  But, alas, here I am! Just dropped by to fill you in on some highlights:) 

My Halloween short, One Blessed Samhain, is available at Yareah.com which is a bilingual magazine out of Spain. I'd love for you to take a look.

I've got the very talented Kelley Heckart, Celtic Fantasy Romanc author, here tomorrow.  Please don't miss her.  She's wonderful and has some very fresh and new releases coming our way.

Due to time constraints and the hectic month of October, there will not be a November issue of my newsletter, but I promise the December issue will be full of Holiday fun and cheer.  There just doesn't seem to be enough time in a day! 

Well I'm off to ready for the day job!  Wishing you all a magical day.  Talk soon.


Monday, November 2, 2009


Evening all!
Hope your Halloween/All Hallow's Eve/Samhain were all you wished them to be. I know mine was:)

Well I wrote the participant initials on the back of my working pile of 3/5 cards really tiny at the top turned them over and shuffled and shuffled and...

Oh...are you waiting for me?

Sorry, let me get to the point before someone blows an important vessel. LOL Anyway, I picked a card turned it over...

And the winner of the Halloween Free Read Goodie bag is...

Lisa Finch!!!

Congratulations, Lisa. Please shoot me your snail mail address, and I'll get your goodie bag out to you:)

Thank you all for your participation. This was so much fun, I will be doing the Free Read again for the winter holidays, so as the saying goes, stay tuned.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Blessed All Souls Day...

I've gotten up this morning and lit candles for all of those I've lost in recent years, people and loved pets.  My mind is heavy with memory and my soul heavy with loss, though I know they are with me always and I pray for blessing on their souls as well as those of the living.

May you remember those you have lost as may their souls be eternally at peace and blessed as well.

Of note:
Halloween is now celebrated beyond Britain and Ireland but it dates back more than two thousand years to the Celtic Samhain festival. November 1 was the first day of the Celtic New Year. The transition between the old and new year was when the Celts believed the souls of the dead and evil spirits could visit the living world.

The Catholic church moved All Saints Day from May to November, perhaps in an effort to contain the Pagan festival of Samhain. Samhain then became known as Halloween - the eve before All Hallows or All Saints Day.**