Double Take – new YA novel

14 Sep

I’m happy to announce the sale of my YA novel Double Take to Fire and Ice, a division of Melange Publishing. It is scheduled to be released in March 2014.

Neil Gaiman talks about his love of libraries

18 Jul

Neil Gaiman talks about his love of libraries.

Never Read Your Reviews at Night!

2 Jul

Tip: Never read reviews of your work at night. If you’re like me, by evening I’m usually exhausted and unprepared for unkind words. One of the most unsettling reviews of my novel See Mommy Run began “Four reasons why I hate this book.” Another began “Why did I ever waste my time reading this?”, which led me to wonder why I’d ever wasted my time writing it.

Thank God I’ve received enough positive comments to keep me tapping on the keys.

Remember, a less than stellar review from a stranger is better than a rosy review from your mother. Learn from them and become a better writer.

Welcome author Paddy Kelly

24 Apr

paddy kA believer in equal blog time for the sexes, I’m happy to have Irish author and all-around good guy, Paddy Kelly to Author! Author!

1.     Erotic Refugees is a novel about two young Irishman in contemporary Stockholm.  Is the story semi-autobiographical?

More than I dare to admit, although you’ll need to work out for yourself which bits are real and which are wishful fantasy. Rob and Eoin’s stories are very like my own, and indeed like very many single Irish guys in Stockholm  We come for love and we kind of stick around and become Swedish without noticing.

In Sweden it’s also very common for parents to share custody of kids after divorce, so divided up my home-dad-life and my going-out life into two characters. To be honest, I’m a lot more Eoin than Rob.

2.     If not, what inspired you to create Erotic Refugees?

See my answer above, but also the fact that I’d been writing speculative fiction for a while and decided to have a stab at a more mainstream book. Being an exile in Stockholm seemed like a natural topic.

3.     It sounds as though Stockholm is a large, cosmopolitan city with a huge number of young, single divorced parents.  Would you have written ER if you’d lived in another city?

If I hadn’t been a single dad, probably not, as that theme is central to the story. So it’s hard to say as I’ve only lived long-term in two cities, Dublin and Stockholm, and only in one with a small child. But, when it comes to getting dates in Stockholm, as an Irish guy I have a huge advantage. We’re just so damn exotic!

4.     Do you have a lot of female friends?  You sound as though you understand women pretty well, at least more than the average bear.

I do have many female friends (many of them I met through dancing). I must admit I find women more interesting than men, possibly due to my total lack of interest in “male” things like sport and cars and so on. Sport bores me to tears, to be honest. I also make an effort when I write to create strong female characters and steer away from stereotypes. For a man, I’m quite a militant feminist. I hope.

5.     I have the impression you’re an IT guy.  If so, are your attitudes about working in the computer electronic field reflected in Rob’s comments?

Indeed I am! You got me there, Rob’s experiences in IT are basically my own. Stockholm is a world centre for indie and casual games right now, and not many people know that. Minecraft, for example, comes from here, and the people I work for make that horribly addictive Candy Crush game. If Rob were in Stockholm today, he’d have a hard time staying unemployed for long!

6.     I know you’re working on a new novel.  Can you tell us what it’s about?  Will it be based in Sweden also?

The new novel is a very exciting project, and has been a hard one to write. But now I’m coasting towards the climax, and it’s a very nice feeling. It’s a speculative fiction adventure book set in dreams and in the real world, although the real world parts are in Dublin. Any more than that, I’m not saying for now. But it will be awesome! And it has the best villain.

7.     Do you think writing for an American audience is different than writing for a European one?  And if so, why?

I haven’t thought about it, really.The Americans in my writing group have told me that my writing is “very British” and I suppose that’s true. I think writing to a specific audience is a mistake – you just always have to write the book you want to read.

8.     Your two male protagonists, Eoin and Rob, are funny guys, especially Rob.  Do you consider yourself funny when out in the real world and not just when tapping on the keys?

Yes, I do try to keep things funny. The world is awe-inspiring and terrible but also hilarious. As a non-religious person (and fervent ex-Catholic) I need to find my joy in every moment. Life is full of those moments if you’re paying attention and de-stress and just observe. Here’s an example of that (written, oddly enough, by me):

http://www.thelocal.se/23570/20091130/

4 Feb

Welcome author Selena Robins!

Laura: Hi, Selena. Welcome to my blog. 

Selena: Hi, Laura. thank you for introducing my work to your blog and readers.

My current release is What a Girl Wants.  It’s contemporary romance  for readers who enjoy a tropical setting (Hawaii) a lot of spice, comedy, sexual innuendo, witty repartee, unexpected twists, sensual lovemaking scenes, and a splash of mystery in their books.

The heroine’s (Maddie) business is mischief . . . the hero’s (Alex) business is singe-the-eyebrows off a manequin sex appeal and keeping secrets– together their businesses are booming–together they’re trouble-together they never expected their lives would spiral out of control and on a different path than what they’d ever imagined.

Laura:  What was your inspiration for What a Girl Wants?

Selena: The friends-to-lovers storyline has always been a favorite of mine. Do I  think that all female/male friendships end in true love? No, however, I do believe that a strong friendship which has an underlying sexual attraction that both people ignore for whatever reason can be the foundation for a rich, long lasting love affair (marriage). Even with all the screwups and internal conflicts they have to encounter along their emotional roller coaster ride, I love the idea that even with all the baggage, personal demons, careers that test their loyalty to not only their friendship but their love, they have to work hard at recognizing that love, and maintaining the fun, chemistry, sexual tension and excitement that brought them together in the first place- a unique bonding friendship.

(P.S. I married my best friend, but really, I’m nothing like the heroine as I’m much more reserved and shy).

Laura: There are lots of “shoulds” and “have to’s” in this business. What one piece of advice would you advise an unpublished author not to follow?

Selena: I highly recommend writers don’t follow the Write what you know advice. I’ve read this advice in a lot places, and in my opinion it’s one that cannot possibly be followed and can stunt a writer’s learning curve and growth.

Has anyone actually met a vampire, angel or fairy? (Okay, I’m sure there is some society out there that claims they have, but I’m talking about the norm.) The same goes for heroes we love to read and write about such as police, firemen and Navy Seals. We love to write about them but most of us haven’t been in these professions. The same goes for villains we love to hate: mobsters, high powered, cranky talk shows hosts, crooked judges, etc. If we should only write what we know, then we couldn’t create characters with the aforementioned professions or even delve into writing about fantasy and horror.

I would tell aspiring writers to fire up their imaginations with the emotions they have experienced in life: first crushes, heartbreak, love, even hate, losses, gains, thrill of that first job., the kick in the gut when you’ve been fired or betrayed. Emotion is what develops great characters and we’ve all experienced a myriad of emotions in our lives.  Tap into your own emotions, whether they be happiness, fear, phobias, love, heartbreak . . .  whatever the emotion, use it to develop your characters and advance your story.

Laura: Character development is crucial to a good book. What do you think readers would most enjoy about your characters in What a Girl Wants?   

I agree characters are the most important element in a novel. From the feedback I ‘ve received, readers enjoy the the heroine’s quirkiness and outrageous antics, but at the same time they appreciate her intelligence, passion and loyalty.

They loved her interaction not only with the hero but with her girlfriend , her mother, and the people she meets on her journey. I’ve received a lot of feedback about the hero’s drool-worthiness, but even more than his good looks, they loved the way he respected the heroine, himself and the people around him. These people are not perfect-they have many flaws- and that what I believe draws the reader in as it allows them to relate and dare dream that maybe they can take life by the reins and go after what they want.

Laura: Who has been the person or persons who have supported you? How important is the support of others in the writing process?

Selena: My husband is my biggest fan and cheerleader. I’ve also been blessed with supportive family, friends (both online and in real life), other writers who are also good friends, and most of all the readers who not only embrace the romance genre, but are enthusiastic, supp0rtive and eager to let a writer know how much they enjoy her  work. I’m grateful for all of them.

Support is crucial when pursuing a writing career or any art form for that matter. Creative people are highly sensitive and emotional and brave. We put our work out there and when the rejection or bad review comes in, we need to have a support system to listen to our rants, and of course supply the red wine and chocolate.

Laura:  Many writers say they are inspired by their dreams or the characters chattering away in their head. What insprires you to write the stories you create?

Selena: Throughout my life,  even during the difficult times, I’ve alway used my sense  of humor to get me through the highs and lows, and I think that humor comes out in my writing. As for inspiration, I wish I could say something deeply profound that people will Twitter and use as a quote but I really don’t know. I love books, I love the written word, and I love people watching and storytelling. I guess those are all inspirations.

Laura: Do you have a method by which you write — surround yourself by music, dim lighting, snuggle on the couch, a time of day?

Selena:  l’m a morning person so I do my best writing in the morning. Again, I wish I could conjure up a great vision of soft music and lighting while burrowed away in a log cabin, surrounded by deer grazing in a beautiful forest. That’s not the case. I do, however, like to light a fire in the winter. In the summer I sit outside to write.

Laura:  Are there any other genres you have written?

Selena: Outside of the romance genre, I’ve written childrens’ books under the pen name Maddie Rayan.  I thank my reader group for coming up with that title. They’re not only supportive, but if I ask them to help me out with a name, they are right there with wonderful suggestions. The book is called Pippy’s Wish and it’s now available on Amazon.

It’s about an Angel- in-Training who is quirky, mischievous, loveable and enchanting. She can’t wait to graduate and earn her wings and become a cool teen angel. Although she sometimes makes mistakes, her ingenuity and humor usually get her out of trouble.  Except  this time when it’s gotten her into trouble. Big. trouble. Pippy’s Wish is a fun, inspirational read for all ages that also includes some of Pippy’s favorite receipes.

Laura: What projects are you working on now?

Selena: I’m in the process of editing my second romance which is called Decoy In Stilettos and is targeted to be released sometime in February (fingers crossed). Readers can get a glimpse  of the first chapter on my wesbite https://selenarobins.com/Coming_Soon.html

I also have a cookbook that will be released in February. It was created along with seven other authors and is filled with an eclectic array of delicious recipes. I’m also working on a romantic suspense/thriller, yet unnamed, I hope to have finished this year.

Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Laura.  It’s been a real pleasure and I wish you much success in your publishing journey.

Laura:  And thank you for coming, Selena.  It’s been fun having you.

Where you can find Selena Robins:

Selena’s website: http://SelenaRobins.com/

Selena’s blog: http://SelenaRobinsMusings.com

Twitter: @SelenaRobins

Maddie Ryan’s Page on Facebook: https://facebook.com/MaddieRyanChildrensAuthor

Maddie Ryan’s Bloghttp://MaddieRyansCorner.blogspot.ca/

Aside

Welcome author Selena Robins!

29 Jan

What A Girl Wants 72 WEB

Laura:  What’s your latest novel and what’s it about?

Selena: Hi, Laura, thank you for introducing my work to your blog and readers.

My current release is What a Girl Wants. It’s contemporary romance for readers who enjoy a tropical setting (Hawaii) a  lot of spice, comedy, sexual innuendo, witty repartee, unexpected twists, sensual lovemaking scenes, and a splash of mystery in their books.

The heroine’s (Maddie) business is mischief….the hero’s (Alex) business is singe-the-eyebrows off a mannequin sex appeal and keeping secrets—together their businesses are booming—together they’re trouble—together they never expected their lives would spiral out of control and on a different path than they’d ever imagined.

Laura: What was your inspiration for What A Girl Wants?

Selena: The friends-to-lovers storyline has always been a favorite of mine. Do I think all female/male friendships end in true love? No. However, I do believe a strong friendship which has an underlying sexual attraction that both people ignore for whatever reason can be the foundation for a rich-long-lasting love affair (marriage). Even with all the screw-ups and internal conflicts they have to encounter along their emotional roller coaster ride. I love the idea that even with all the baggage, personal demons, and careers that test their loyalty, they have to work at recognizing their love, and maintaining the fun, chemistry, sexual tension and excitement that brought them together in the first place.

Laura: There are lots of “should’s” and “have to’s” in this business. What one piece of advice would you advise an unpublished author NOT to follow?

Selena: I highly recommend writers don’t follow the “Write what you know” advice” I’ve read this advice for writers in a lot of places, and in my opinion, it’s one that cannot possibly be followed and can stunt a writer’s learning curve and growth.

Has anyone actually met a vampire, angel or a fairy?  The same goes for heroes we love to read and write about such as police, firemen, and Navy Seals. We love to write about them, but most of us haven’t been in these professions. The same goes for the villains we love to hate; mobsters, high-powered cranky talk show hosts, crooked judges, etc. If we “should” only write what we know, then we couldn’t write about these characters or delve into writing about fantasy and horror.

I would tell aspiring writers to fire up their imaginations with the emotions they’ve experienced in life: first crushes, heartbreak, love, hate, losses, gains, thrill of that first job, the kick in the gut when you’ve been fired or betrayed. Emotion is what develops great characters. Tap into your own emotions– happiness, fear, phobias, love, heartbreak –and use them to develop your characters and advance your story.

Laura: Character development is crucial to a good book.  What do you think readers would most enjoy about your characters in What A Girl Wants? 

Selena: I agree characters are the most important elements of a novel. From the feedback I’ve received, readers enjoy the heroine’s quirkiness and outrageousness, but at the same time appreciate her intelligence, passion and loyalty. They loved her interaction not only with the hero, but with her girlfriend, her mother, and the  people she meets in her journey. I also received a lot of feedback about the hero’s drool-worthiness, but even more than his good looks, they said they loved the way he respected the heroine, himself and the people around him. These characters have many flaws, and that’s what I believe makes my readers relate.  It also allows them to dare to dream that maybe they can take life by the reins and go after what they want. 

Laura: Who has been the person or persons who have supported you?  How important is the support of others in the writing process? 

Selena: My husband is my biggest fan and cheerleader. I’ve also been blessed with supportive family, friends (both online and in “real” life), other writers who are also good friends and most of all the readers who not only embrace the romance genre, but are enthusiastic, supportive and eager to let a writer know how much they enjoy her work. I’m grateful for all of them. Support is crucial when pursuing a writing career or any art form for that matter. Creative people are highly sensitive and emotional, and also brave. We put our work out there and when the rejections come in or a bad review, we need to have a support system to listen to our rants and of course supply the red wine and chocolate. 

Laura: Many writers say they are inspired to write by their dreams or the characters chattering away in their head. What inspires you to write the stories you create?  

Selena: Throughout my life, even during the difficult times, I’ve always used my sense of humor to get me through the highs and lows we all face, and I think that humor comes out in my writing. As for inspiration, I wish I could give say something deeply profound that people will Twitter and use as a quote, but I really don’t know. I love books, I love the written word and I love people watching and storytelling. I guess those are all inspirations.

Laura: Do you have a method by which your write?  Surrounded by music, dim lighting, snuggled on the couch, time of day, etc.  

Selena: I’m a morning person, so I do my best writing in the morning. Again, I wish I could conjure up a great visual of soft music and lighting, burrowed away in a log cabin, surrounded by deer grazing in a beautiful forest. However, that’s not the case. I do however, like to light a fire in the winter months and in the summer sit outside to write.

Are there any other genres you have written? 

Selena: Outside of the romance genre, I’ve written children’s books under the pen name Maddie Ryan. I thank my reader group for coming up with that name for me. They’re not only supportive, but if I ask them to help me out with a name, they are right there with wonderful suggestions. The book is called Pippy’s Wish and it’s now available on Amazon.

It’s about an Angel-in-Training, who is quirky, mischievous, lovable and enchanting. She can’t wait to graduate, earn her wings and become a cool teen Angel. Although she sometimes makes mistakes, her ingenuity and humor usually gets out her out of trouble.  Except this time, it’s gotten her INTO trouble. Big trouble.

Pippy’s Wish is a fun, inspirational read for all ages and the book also includes some of Pippy’s favorite recipes.

Laura: What projects are you working on now?   

Selena: I’m in the process of editing my second romance, which is called Decoy In Stilettos and it’s targeted to be released sometime in February (fingers crossed). Readers can get a glimpse of the first chapter on my website here: https://selenarobins.com/Coming_Soon.html

I also have a cookbook that will be released in February. I along with seven other authors have put together a cookbook filled with an eclectic array of delicious recipes.

I’m also working on a romantic suspense/thriller, yet unnamed, and hope to have it finished this year.

Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Laura, it’s been a real pleasure and wishing you much success in your publishing journey.

Where you can find Selena Robins: 

Selena’s Webiste: http://SelenaRobins.com/ 

Selena’s Blog: http://SelenaRobinsMusings.com 

Twitter: @SelenaRobins

Maddie Ryan’s Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaddieRyanChildrensAuthor

Maddie Ryan’s Blog: http://MaddieRyansCorner.blogspot.ca/

4 Jan

Shoulder Pads & High Hair – Yes, it’s the 80′s!

This blog post first appeared on Selena Robins Musings.

Selena Robins welcomes Kame Book Reviewer who is tag-teaming with me to interview author, Laura Kennedy.

About Laura Kennedy:

Growing up in Minneapolis, Laura Kennedy was molded by a mother who wrote and sold two romance stories a month for over thirty years. Longing to be a movie star, Laura realized by the time she could tie her shoe laces she’d wanted to be a writer, too. By her early twenties, Laura was living in California, was married, had a baby, and was flat broke, the perfect Petri dish for a writing career. Borrowing her mother’s portable typewriter, she concocted her first romance story in five days resulting in her first sale, creating what has been often called a quirky, humorous, easy style she sprinkles like paprika into everything she writes.

About Kame Book Reviewer:

Kame is a wife, mom of two and a professor. She loves to read books from Christian Fiction to Steamy Romances and is a guest book reviewer. Kame has read and reviewed Laura Kennedy’s, SEE MOMMY RUN. You can follow Kame on Twitter and join in her twitter fun.

About Selena Robins:

Genre-defying, witty, humorous, suspenseful, romantic and sexy— words used to describe Selena’s novels. A self-professed foodie and chocolate guru, Selena loves to dance with her dog, sing into her hairbrush and write in her PJ’s. In love with her family, friends, books, laughter, hockey, lively discussions and red wine (sometimes all at the same time).

Selena is a dragon slayer who enjoys reading and writing sassy heroines and hot heroes (the ones your mamma warned you about, but secretly wished she’d dated a few in her life).

The Interview

KAME: Selena, I want to thank you for this opportunity to interview Laura with you. Laura, I read your book in one sitting, but thought about it for days after. Did you know when you wrote it that it would stir such strong feelings among the people who read it?

Laura: Although I’m loathe to admit it, that’s when I was raising my teenagers–three girls and a boy. Of course, I was a child bride. Ha ha. Actually, my target audience was any woman who could identify with Margie. Initially a publisher was interested, but it ended up a no go. One agent said he couldn’t imagine anyone leading such a hellish life. Obviously, he was single and living in a pent house in New York. I intentionally kept the story in the 1980′s as I think the story would have been harmed if I’d changed decade.

KAME: Mike and Margie have two delinquent daughters. Was it a conscious choice for their children to be girls? Could this have been the same story if they were boys?

Laura: Hmm. I don’t think the story would have been the same if they had been boys. All the characters are fictitious, but my two oldest daughters were definitely my inspiration. They acted like unmitigated hell, but I’m happy to say they’re both wonderful, successful women today.

KAME: I want to avoid spoilers, so I will be a little vague. The people Margie meets and make up part of her life in San Francisco are very diverse. I sort of see them as each helping Margie develop a part of herself. Why did you choose the people you did as her new friends?

Laura: I think I can mention Randy without giving anything away. Although when beginning this book, I had no idea he’d spring full-grown into my consciousness. Moving Margie to San Francisco and not encountering the large gay population would have been unrealistic. As for other characters, I needed a female character as a sounding board for Margie, hence Ginger. As for Mr. Ass hole, Quinn, we’ve all known men like him. But, as a reader pointed out, he has lovable characteristics too, making him, hopefully, a three-dimensional character.

KAME: My last question. I felt at the end of the book that we have not seen the last of Margie; are you planning a sequel of some sort?

Laura: The idea of a sequel to See Mommy Run never entered my mind until recently. I recently was a guest at a book club and I was asked the same question. At this point I’m not sure. Is it better to leave Margie’s future to the reader’s imagination or I could writeSee Margie Run, Redux.

Selena: Thanks again for visiting us, Laura. How about those 1980′s fashion trends. Which ones do you wish would come back? (Please don’t let her say stir-ups or parachute pants).

Laura: Jumpsuits with shoulder pads, my favorite! I also remember big hair and big earrings. I used to go out dancing and boy did I think I was hot.

Selena: Favorite 1980’s girl band?

Laura: The Supremes. Actually, they were more ’60s and ’70s. As for guy bands, I loved Journey, The Eagles, Chicago and the Doobie Brothers.

Selena: Celebrity crush?

Laura: Since it would be indecent for me to have a crush on stars barely out of puberty, I would have to say Matthew McCouaughey. Even he’s too young.

Selena: If Hollywood came knocking, who would you cast as Marge? Mike? The Twins? Quinn? Randy?

Laura: If only they would. I always thought Meg Ryan would be a great Margie, but she’s probably a teeny bit too old now. Mike would be have to be someone funny like Matthew or Owen Wilson. As for the Bobbsey Twins (who are Irish twins since they’re really a-year-and-a-half apart), I’m not up on teen actors (they don’t call them actresses anymore). Kim would have to be a someone who could act wily and relatively mature; Molly would be more babyish and impressionable. Quinn must be hot! English actor Ed Westwick, who plays Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl, would be fabulous, but he’s a little young. But then, by the time the movie was made, he’d be just right. Randy would have to be gorgeous, too, since everyone falls for Randy.

Selena: Tell us about your next book.

Laura: I’m in the process of rewriting a couple final scenes in my newest Chick Lit novel, titled: Affairs and Fibs. When I announced the title, several writer friends (female) protested. Now I’m rethinking. Maybe your readers can help me out. My new novel is a contemporary story about a thirty-nine-year-old wife and mother who has an affair with a gorgeous twenty-four-year-old Greek guy. It’s set against the background of Coral Cove, Florida, an imaginary sponge fishing town. It’s a light read that will hopefully give readers a few laughs. It seems I’m not capable of writing anything too heavy.

Selena: Laura, thank you for walking down the 1980′s memory lane and or sharing your writing journey. Good luck with your next book and I will ask the readers to help you out with a title for your new book.

KAME: Thank you again, Selena, for letting me join you on this interview, this has been a lot of fun. I also want to thank RomanceMan for asking me to write the review for SEE MOMMY RUN . I rediscovered my love of reading and I love to talk about books. The Romance Man’s Blog is my favorite place to go talk about books.

Romance Man is funny and he supports woman’s causes, including ovarian cancer research. You can contribute to this cause by shopping through the Amazon search box on his website. They receive a small percentage and donate all the proceeds to ovarian cancer research.