18 Truths Blog Tour Wrap Up, My Writing Process, and Shattered Secrets

Today I’m participating in Elsie Elmore’s blog hop. Elsie is one groovy chick! 
Here’s a little bit about her: 
ElsieElmoreOutside the city limits on a small patch of land in North 
Carolina, Elsie lives with her husband, two kids, and two dogs.

She’s a science nerd with creative tendencies. And the stories she writes come to her from life’s experiences after her mind has warped them almost beyond recognition. Her first YA PNr, The Undead, is due out this year from Curiosity Quills.

Before I answer four questions about my writing process for the blog hop, I need to give a shout out to my writer peeps who hosted me during my last week of my 18 Truths blog tour. Incase you missed it:

 Last Tuesday, I visited EDC Johnson with my 5 Tips For Writing Trilogies.

On Wednesday, Tyrean Martinson challenged me with the “1 Word Interview.”

Eliza Tilton brought out the teacher side of me when I guest posted on her blog on Thursday with 3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Reading.

Friday was Valentine’s Day, so I told Michelle Ziegler about meeting my husband.

On Sunday, I shared 18 Ways to Use 18 Things/18 Truths in Your Classroom with teacher/writer Lynn Jake.

And yesterday, I shared 18 Ways to Market Your Book with Pk Hrezo.

*Thanks to everyone for your support with the release of 18 Truths! Because of you, I have 2 books continuing to trend in the top 100 for Coming of Age Fiction! Also, be sure to check the Rafflecopter Widget in the top right corner to see if you’re a winner of one of the 23 prizes that was up for grabs during the tour (I’ll email winners as well). And my publisher is still continuing the giveaway of 10 paperback copies of 18 Truths over at Goodreads. But hurry–ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT TO ENTER (don’t forget to add it to your TBR shelf while you’re there).

 Okay, now that you’re all caught up, here’s today’s blog hop questions.

 1)     What are you working on?

 I’m working on the last installment of my trilogy, 18 Thoughts. Here’s the blurb:

Olga Gay Worontzoff left the Underworld anxious to return to normal, but fate had other plans.

Now she’s caught in a world that’s a mix of familiar and supernatural, torn between past and present. All sorts of bizarre events has her senior year of high school becoming increasingly odd with every passing hour. Things like the new hottie at school reading her thoughts but nobody else’s and her best friend waking up from his coma acting like a completely different person. Now she must confront what she will—or won’t—do to save the lost soul her childhood friend has become and stare down her own perceived inadequacies to face a couple of tenacious demons, figurative and literal.

Everything she thought she knew about reality will require suspension of her disbelief as she walks the line between fear and faith, love and loyalty.

In the end, she’ll realize “normal” in the conventional sense of the word is the one thing she could never achieve.

2)    How does your work differ from others in its genre?

YA Paranormal Romance that circles around the truth of the goodness of God is not so common in my genre. When I sat down to write my trilogy, I knew I wanted a faith story that said something unique. I felt like I had an issue that wasn’t dealt with a lot in the YA publishing world . . . death and faith going hand in hand. When someone dies, especially someone young, most people cry out “Why God?” I wanted to write a story in which a teen experienced loss and was consumed with guilt, and how the loss inspired her to live freely. But I didn’t want to tie everything up in a neat bow at the end. My childhood Catholic roots, my obsession with the television show Lost, my need for radical hope even in the face of death, and my belief that we’ll always end up with the person we’re supposed to, became the ultimate catalyst for the 18 Things trilogy.

3)    Why do you write what you do?

The message of my trilogy is my heart’s cry. It’s my humble attempt to put into words the message of a powerful work God did in me. Yes, it’s a fiction book, but at its core, it celebrates our significance to God. We are not forgotten. He collects our tears in a bottle. And going through hell is worth it if it leads us to the place God has. I hope my trilogy will not only entertain, but serve as a reminder of these timeless truths during this generation’s teen years—and throughout life (my oldest reader is 96). That’s why I write YA Coming of Age Fiction.

 4)    How does your writing process work?

 I’m a pantser by nature. So usually, I just sit my butt in the chair and write. After I’m done with my first draft, I fill in a plotting chart to make sure I’m hitting all my major and minor plot points at the right spots.

Thanks to Elsie for letting me play. And here’s 2 other peeps posting for the hop. Be sure to check them out!

MargoBondCollins Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up DeadFairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.

Orians_Headshot copyAdopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. By the sixth grade, Vicki penned her first, full-length screenplay. She is a member of SCBWI, a co-founder of The Writer Diaries, and her short story, PRINCESS UNAWARE, placed fifty-sixth in the 80th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition in Children’s/Young Adult. Vicki is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Finally, I leave you with a special treat . . . the cover reveal for Shattered Secrets by Krystal Wade, releasing in just 2 weeks!


Somebody Like You . . . or Me (Welcome a Contemporary Romance Author with a Southern Flavor)

So I’ve been working hard on the sequel to 18 Things and haven’t felt much like blogging. I’ve wanted to visit other blogs, but I’ve limited myself in order to get some work done . . . hope you’ll forgive me and we can still be friends:-) I just can’t seem to fit social media in and writing *sighs* But this Wednesday I’m back with an interview with a wonderful buddy of mine, author Lynnette Austin, who I met through my Southwest Florida Romance Writer’s Group!

L: Jamie, thanks so much for having me on your blog today.

J: The pleasure is all mine:-) So Lynnette, can you tell us in 20 words or less what your book is about?

L: How about fifty words? I know, I know. That’s bending the rules, but…sometimes you just have to color outside the lines. J

In Somebody Like You, rancher Cash Hardeman loves longneck beers, while heiress Annelise Montjoy prefers champagne. Both have a secret—she’s trying to save her grandfather’s life; he’s trying to save the family ranch. Cash belongs in Maverick Junction, Texas, Annelise in Boston, or could it be they belong together?


J: Sounds fantastic!!! Your book is with Grand Central Publishing. How did your deal come about and how do you like working with them?

L: Nicole Resciniti, agent supreme, sold the three book series to Grand Central. We actually had multiple offers which sure made my heart beat a little faster! After some discussion back and forth between us and the publishing houses, we decided to go with Grand Central. The fun part of this? Our writing group, Southwest Florida Romance Writers, was hosting a conference at the time GCP made their offer. I stopped by Nicole’s, and she shared it with me. We went inside to a houseful of editors down for the conference, all of whom congratulated me on my sale. What could be better?  

I love working with Grand Central Publishing. I made a quick trip to New York City last fall to visit a friend and fellow SWFRW and had the opportunity to have lunch with Lauren Plude, my fabulous editor, and Amy Pierpont, senior editor at GCP. Can you say fabulous? It was really great to visit the office and see, as Amy said, where the magic is made. I also got a chance to meet some of the others who work so hard to bring our books to life.

J: Nicole is agent supreme for sure! I’m looking forward to meeting my editor for the first time in July *squeeee* What does your typical writing day look like?

L: Even though I continuously promise myself I won’t, the first thing I do is check my email to see if there’s anything that needs taken care of, anything that won’t wait. Then I pull up my WIP and get busy. I like to work in the mornings, but with tighter deadlines I’ve found myself working most of the day. At the beginning of a book, I figure how many words per day I have to write to meet my deadline and stay at my computer till I get there.

I generally start by reading over what I wrote the previous day and making light edits. Then I pick up where I left off. A quick tip. I’ve found it works so much better for me if I don’t stop writing at a chapter or scene end. I usually quit for the day right at the beginning of a new scene. I write just enough that when I turn on my computer, I remember where I was headed and can jump right back in. I’ve already set the stage. It can really help eliminate what many call writer’s block. There is no where-do-I-go-today moment. I’m already on my way. Also, my storyboard keeps me on track.

I seldom reread what I write that day. By the next morning, I can see it through fresher eyes and make better decisions. Besides, it’s extremely important to keep the story moving forward. It’s really easy to tweak and fiddle around with what you’ve written, but that’s not going to get you to the place where you can type “the end”.

J: Great advice! Somebody Like You takes place in Texas . . . have you ever visited? What’s your favorite place in the world?

L: I have been to Texas, yes, several times—and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each and every visit. It’s a great state and very unique. I’ve covered the state north to south and east to west, and, believe me, there’s some miles to cover there!

My favorite place in the world. Hmmm, that’s a hard one. I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, New York, Wyoming, Florida, and Georgia and love them all. I’ve traveled in Europe, Africa, Central and South America. In North America, I’ve been in all fifty states with the exception of Alaska and have traveled fairly extensively in both Mexico and Canada.

If I had to choose one spot, though, I’d say Bantry Bay, Ireland. Two friends and I rented a small cottage there for a week and fell in love with the small town and its people. The bread in the market is made daily by a local and brought into the small store. The postmistress couldn’t sell us stamps when we arrived because it was too early, so she shared biscuits and tea with us in her living room. Our kitchen window looked out over the green, green hills and farms, and our living room window looked out over the bay with its beautiful blue water. My dream is to return there. 

J: Hubs and I visited Ireland for 2 weeks in 1999–would love to go back and visit that small town!

What would you like the world to know about you and your books before you leave?

L:  I was a reader long before I started to write. There’s nothing like picking up an incredible book and losing yourself in the story, in the characters and their world. I sincerely hope my books will provide that for readers. A lot of time, thought, and effort go into every single one. I have fun spending time with my characters and hope my readers do, too.

My newest book, Somebody Like You, written as Lynnette Austin, is the first of at least three in the Maverick Junction series. There’s something so sexy about a cowboy, and Cash, Ty, and Brawley, the heroes of the series, have it in spades. Cash and Annie have to fight hard in order to be together. I like strong, independent heroines and a hero that’s every bit as self-confident. The next two books, Nearest Thing To Heaven (June 4, 2013) and Can’t Stop Loving You (November 4, 2013) showcase equally strong heroes and heroines caught in the act of falling in love. Having married my high-school sweetheart, I’m a strong believer in forever love.

I do write under the name Lynnette Hallberg, also. Chantilly Lace and A Pretty Face is a contemporary Western set in Wyoming. Moonlight, Motorcycles, and Bad Boys, along with Just A Little White Lie, are set in small town Georgia. I love to create small towns with all the flavor and quirky characters they seem to grow. Enchanted Evening takes place in Pittsburgh and Night Shadows, a romantic suspense, has that special magic only New Orleans can provide.

I’ve had a great time with you today, Jamie! Thanks again for having me over.


J: Thank YOU! And you’re welcome to stop by any time! If you’d like to get to know Lynnette some more (and who wouldn’t?!), you can find her on FB and Twitter.

*So, are you interested in reading Somebody Like You? It’s only $1.99 for the Kindle version–what a steal! And do you forgive me for being a bad blogger buddy, but a good writer *on hands and knees pleading* Hope to see ya’ll soon~hugs!

Introducing *drumroll please* . . .

 . . . Marisa Cleveland. I can’t believe I have the good fortune of interviewing  my fellow SWFRW (Southwest Florida Romance Writers) buddy. I first met Marisa back in March of 2010 at my second meeting of our local chapter. Newbies can bring up to ten pages for a fellow member to critique. She returned my pages the following month and graciously took me under her wing, reading soooooooooo much more of my crap over the next two years. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to land a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills without her help *gives round of applause* So you’re in for a real treat.

Me: Give us 3 words to describe your personality.

Marisa:  romantic infinite dreamer

Me: Very accurate. You and Simon are still so in love I want to puke every time I see you. Ha! Just kidding about the puking part–more like punch you in the face;-)  Tell us about what you write.

Marisa:  I write about relationships.

Me: That’s a sweet way of saying it! (I’ll add that she writes both Adult Romance & YA paranormal novels–talking about herself is not her forte, lol). Can you give us a sneak peek into what it’s like to be an intern at The Seymour Agency?

Marisa: super fun, amazingly insightful, and reading until the words blur on the page/screen

Me: I bet! I’m surprised you don’t need glasses yet . . . maybe reading is your super power, hmm? What’s your favorite craft book for writing? Favorite fiction book?
Marisa: craft book: Whatever I’m reading currently to help with whatever I’m having problems fixing in my WIP. I have a minor *but totally appropriate* crush on Donald Maass, so his Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction are definite faves of mine. fiction book: too many to name. Atlas Shrugged helped define me in high school, but I will stop whatever I’m doing to read a new release from Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Sherrilyn Kenyon.
Me: Yessss, Phillips is a rock star! Never heard of Atlas Shrugged  *rushes off to open another window and Google it* Okay, last question: Tell us anything fun about yourself, related or unrelated to writing.
Marisa: Fun… hmmm… I’m pretty tame. I save my drama for my characters. But I do have one thing that’s not fun, but it’s sort of interesting. I’m like a vault. I keep secrets better than anyone else I know, and when I have a particularly juicy tidbit, I get a pimple like a twelve-year-old. Like the one I have now on my cheek. 😉
Me: Well, I can attest that Marisa is a very private person, which is why I totally freaked her out at RWA Nationals in August of 2010 when I asked to spend the night in her hotel room and even though I barely knew her, unloaded my entire life story in all its ugliness. LOL . . . somehow she still spoke to me afterwards. Marisa, that wasn’t too painful, right? Right?
Oh, well! You can get to know Marisa better by visiting her blog (well worth a follow), and she’s also fun to Tweet with (psst . . . when she reaches 500 followers, there may be a contest involving an agent involved). Thanks for stopping by, fellow scallywags. If you didn’t know, this is all part of the Buccaneer Blogfest during the month of July and it’s not too late to sign up! Our ship duties today included interviewing the person below us on the blogroll. You can go here to read my interview by A.K. Morgen🙂
~Enjoy your weekend, matey’s!