One Week Later – What’s Next?

Hi I’m Nicole and this is my first blog for the “Ladies in Red”. I’ve been a “Red Lady” since June of this year and I couldn’t be happier to be blogging here today.

Well it’s been over a week since my book “Masquerade” was released to the world. So am I any different than I was just over a week ago? Do I look any different? Do I sound any different?

No, I’m still me. I’m still the person that has to get the kids up and make sure they eat breakfast and get to school on time. I still have to wash etc. But I know I’m different. I’m a published author now. A dream that had seemed so far off so many years ago is real. There is a book out there with my name on the front cover and someone right now could be reading it while they catch the train to work.  And that is a most amazing feeling.

So what’s next? Well the obvious thing would be – keep writing. That is so true, but also the doubts set in. The little voice that says, what if this book is the only book I’ll ever sell? What if I’ve lost my creative streak. What if I’m a one book girl? What if I’ll NEVER finish the books I’ve started?

Some might think these thoughts are a little ‘out there’ considering I’ve already got one book published, but they are there. We’re writers we talk to ourselves so of course we have these little conversations in our mind where irrational thoughts turn up ALL the time! It’s allowed.

All joking aside, for me, they have been real thoughts, but I’ve stomped on them. I have a book out there that is getting good reviews. I’ve had a great week since my release and it’s only made me want this more. This isn’t my only book, Masquerade is just the start.
My name is Nicole and I AM a published author.

Stop the Presses! Release Day for Secrets of the Fog by Jaye Shields

Hey guys and dolls, it’s Jaye and I’m very excited to announce the release of the first book in my paranormal trilogy, Immortals in Alameda. It’s been a whirlwind wind, the most exciting moment being when I had the honor of visiting the KPIX building in San Francisco to be a guest on the number one morning radio show, Sarah and Vinnie on Alice 97.3. I grew up listening to this station and going to their concerts in Golden Gate Park, so when they offered to let me come and talk about my releases, Confessions of a Sex Demon, and my latest release, Secrets of the Fog, I was over the moon.

 

Check out a picture of my moment in the studio. Oh, and did I mention I ran into the California Governor while I was there?

 

Secrets of the Fog is dear to my heart because it was only the second full-length manuscript I ever wrote. The quaint island town I called home, Alameda, inspired me. Secrets of the Fog takes place both around the dark, ethereal city of San Francisco, as well as the small, whimsical town of Alameda. Toss in some vampires, dryads, goddesses, demons and immortals and you’ve got my paranormal titled, Secrets of the Fog.

Check out this awesome review from Unwrapping Romance for a glimpse into it’s greatness. *cough* Not bashful or anything…

So, here it is—Secrets of the Fog. I hope you buy it, love it, and be inspired to write a book of your own if you have not already. 😉

 

Secrets of the Fog (October 29th, 2012)

A-Sexual Goddess + Giant Tree = Dryad. Or at least that’s how Tera was born.

When Tera’s friends inform her that the portal on Alcatraz Island was buzzing with an arrival, she thinks her goddess mother has come to visit. Quite the contrary. Another goddess has plans to kill Tera, and is sending a bunch of demons to do her dirty work. Instead of finding a goddess at the portal, Tera finds a gigantic otherworldly warrior causing mass destruction amongst the San Francisco tourists. Being a Forest Dryad born from the Goddess of the Hunt has its perks, and kicking ass is one of them.​ ​

Sabin is six-feet-six of hard-bodied soldier, used to subduing demons twice his size. One day after chasing an elusive smoke demon through a portal into the human realm, Sabin is brought to his knees by a beautiful woman, literally. After arriving to a pier full of dead bodies, Tera issues a passionate smack-down before Sabin can explain that he’s the good guy. He becomes dedicated to saving her as an ancient grudge comes to life.

Thanks for stoppin’ by.

XOXO Jaye

About Me:Born and raised in the grunge capitol, I took my love of music and poetry from the Pacific Northwest to California. Now I live in Alameda, a quaint island town in the Bay Area. With a degree in Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeology, I’m just itching to climb some more pyramids. When I’m not writing, I’m either working at VW or taking long walks along the Alameda beach and gazing at the the outline of San Francisco in the distance. Oh yes, and let’s all go to Paris…

Finding a name

A fan of Winter Fairy asked “How did you come up with the name Eloise?” Turns out her granddaughter shares the same name as the temperamental daughter of my hero, Carson.  Taken off guard by her question, I told her the name must have been bouncing around in my head, perhaps because of Kay Thompson’s children’s book, Eloise.  In truth, there was more to the process.

When I’m lucky, my characters tell me their names.  Sometimes the names come in dreams, but more often one character reveals the name of another through a line of dialogue.  I appreciate these helpful characters. They are a nice contrast to the stubborn ones.  The heroine of one work in progress, a first person point of view, didn’t tell me her name until page twenty-five.  She still refuses to tell me her last name except to say it is French and not the same as her father’s.

I could say the names come to me from the ether, but I admit I spend a lot of time perusing baby name sites, particularly when I want a name with a certain meaning or evocative of a specific place.  My favorite website is the Social Security Popular Baby Names.  I love clicking through individual years and decades to see the trends.  You can learn a lot about demographics, immigration and the rise of individualism as you look at data going back over 100 years.  Surprisingly, the name Unique is not all that unique since it cracks the top 1000 names more years than not in the twenty-first century.  I refer to this site often for children and secondary characters.  For older characters, I look at the top names for their generation. For children, I consider who the parents are and what they would pick.  Carson and Catherine wanted a traditional name, but not one of the trendier ones. Eloise fell in the middle of the pack, but sounded similar to some other more popular names like Emily.

Through these multiple information streams, Eloise was born. Or more accurately, named.  The origin of the name Carson is easier to explain.  I wrote during football season. When neither the Jets nor Bears played, the Bengals were on by default.

Where do you find your naming inspiration? Have you ever had a strong reaction positive or negative to a character based on name?

Place as a Character in a Romance Novel

Vicarious travel.  Don’t you love it?  Especially, if travel involves a luscious romance.

Sheik in romance novelsPlace has been an important character in romance novels from the very beginning.  It was not only the handsome sheik leading warriors to abduct the heroine (and, of course, eventually fall in love with her), there were rich tycoons, pirates, ranchers with spreads the size of Texas…you get the idea.

A good writer can bring you to a sense of place in a few words. She or he can set the mood and give you a sense of anticipation about what’s to come. And for people who consider their lives ordinary and humdrum, being whisked off on a private jet to Paris sounds heavenly.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier has one of the most famous opening lines in literature, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Right then, you know that Manderley was going to be an important influence in the novel. And who can forget the hulking home that became a nightmarish prison to the young bride?

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” The opening words of A Tale of Two Cities immediately lets us know that the setting for the novel will have an enormous impact on the characters. Indeed, the French Revolution has served as the backdrop for many sweeping romances. One of my favorite movies is The Scarlet Pimpernel with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour (1982). I highly recommend it for a winter afternoon’s escape.

While I don’t begin my novel, California Sunset, with description, the Central Coast has shaped the heroine and provides one of the motivations for her actions. In the following scene, Annie, the heroine, is bringing her sleeping teenage son to soccer practice.  She knows she has a choice–stay in California and lose her job or move to New Jersey. In this passage, California tugs at her heart:

She took the southern route over the Coastal Mountains, climbing the switchbacks to Hecker Pass on Highway 152. The road always soothed her, even though its twists and turns required concentration. Glimpses of Watsonville’s morning-lit strawberry fields framed by the curve of the Monterey Bay lifted her heart as she ascended. The early spring air was clear, washed clean by the rain of the previous two days.

The landscape abruptly changed from sunlit ocean edge to secretive forest when she crested the summit. She always felt as if she was entering one of the fairy forests from Lord of the Rings. Maybe this was where the mountain knights lived. Maybe that wasn’t a patch of dogwood in the trees, but a knight’s white stallion. Song of India played on the car radio and she could almost believe in dreams coming true.

Almost, but not quite.

What book have you read where the place holds a strong spot in your memory? Let us know about it!

Blog post by Casey Dawes, www.stories-about-love.com

photo credit: mharrsch via photopin cc

Meet Lady in Red: Robyn Corum

Melinda Heads West by Robyn Corum

What happens when a feisty young woman travels west in 1880 to pick up a family deed? If it’s small-town Melinda McCorkle, you can count on luck to take a hike. Mindy is travelling with six strange men in a hard-riding stagecoach. When the coach breaks down, they’re forced to walk the thirty-five miles remaining to her destination. That would be enough to try anyone’s patience, but then the company is set upon by thieves and murderers in the form of the evil Byler brothers, and the stakes are raised.

Fortunately, Mindy makes the close acquaintance of two “gentlemen,” Luke Wilhite and Gary Boone, who try to help her through these dangers.

Luke is tall and fair, while Boone is taller and dark. Mindy feels an immediate attraction to Boone, but he’s married! Or is he? Who will finally win Mindy’s affection?

Introduce Yourselves, Ladies in Red!

Hi!  I’m Robyn Corum, one of the newest Ladies in Red, and I’m so pleased and honored to wear the name!

Is this a pen or personal name?

This is my real, true-to-life name.

Let’s get the details out of the way: Single, married, divorced, widowed?  Parent?

I’ve been very happily married to my own White Knight and Hero, Reggie, for over twenty years.  We have three fabulous kids and one son-in-law, whom I adore.  Lucky me!

Living where? And doing what, other than writing?

I live in a small town in North Alabama.  As far as what I do when I’m not writing… that’s a tough one.  My son says sleep!

Do you write about where you live or where you’d like to live?

A great number of the things I write about are located near where I live, or have that special flavor in the speech.  I love the South and its heritage.  If you could hear me talk, you’d catch it right away.  *smile*

What’s your secret passion? 

oooOooo  The Titanic.  The ship, not the movie.  I have dozens of books and videos relating to the design, sinking, the passengers…  Oops!  Getting carried away… sorry!

What’s the first creative writing you remember doing outside a class? 

I remember writing a poem about a tree when I was in sixth or seventh grade.  I have no idea what happened to it.  I’m sure it was brilliant!

Why do you write romance novels? 

That’s easy.  I love the idea of love!  Even though it’s not an easy thing…  Love requires a lot of work!  And not just by romance writers.  Everyone who’s ever been in love knows it comes with good days and bad days, triumphs and heartaches.   Capturing that on paper, so that a reader can say, ‘Yes, that’s what I feel!’ is amazing.

What else do you write? 

I write poetry and short stories, too.  In all genres. 

What one thing from your book did you take from personal experience? 

All of it!  Surely it  was me in that stagecoach and fighting off those bad guys!  It sure felt like it at times.  But, I guess, to be serious, it was some of the dialogue.  I bugged my hubby all the time.  He’s famous for his crazy sayings, and I would be in the middle of another chapter and I’d say… ‘Come on, honey.  Say something else for me!”  You’ll see what I’m talking about when you read the book.

What’s a typical day like for you?

I start earrrly in the morning.  I’m very serious about my writing, and I’ve learned that the internet and social media-branding that must be done to build your name can take over.  I try to make sure I focus on my writing project, whatever it is, first.  I aim to produce at least 1,000 words a day.  I don’t always make it, but that’s my goal.  Then, I turn to the business-side of things.

Favorite quote: 

“Books fall open and you fall in.”  – anonymous

Give us a hint about what the next book’s like.

It’s a very gritty look at life in the New York tenements of the late 1800s.  My heroine, Ama, is being raised by an abusive stepfather.  She and her stepbrother and stepsister eventually move to the West as she becomes a mail-order bride.  It’s a really hard story to write, but I hope everyone will see the story as I do, a triumph of will and determination over bad situations.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks for having me!

You can find out more about Melinda at:

to order

Facebook: Melinda Heads West

Find out a little more about me at:

blog @robynsrules

robyn on pinterest

contact me at: robyncorum@aol.com

Music, Maestro

Music inspires my writing, takes my mind off household chores and accompanies me in my car every day. It’s an important part of my life. So, no surprise, I make music part of the lives of the characters in my books. It can set a scene, illustrate who the character is and, I hope, connect emotionally with the reader.

Each book in my Second Chances series has a playlist I’ve used for inspiration or atmosphere while I write the story. Sometimes the music is specifically mentioned in the book or reflects the mood of a scene. Often it is by a local or regional group or artist I think my character would like.

Occasionally, a piece becomes so attached to a character that long afterward, when I hear the music, it’s that character’s experience I remember before my own association with the song surfaces. In my first book, “Beginning Again,” for example, the playlist contained mostly the golden oldies Liz Fairchild, the heroine, loved. I have a couple of the songs from her playlist on the one I listen to when I’m working on my art glass and, I swear, every time Linda Ronstadt sings, “When Will I Be Loved,” Liz joins me in my workshop.

The playlist for the second book in the series is more evenly split between the man and woman. “Loving Again,” which will be released by Crimson Romance on November 12th, (we have now reached the marketing part of the blog entry) is the story of a glass artist and a police detective. For artist Amanda St. Claire I combined the classic cello music and Nora Jones she plays at home with the Jimmy Buffett her studio mate loves to play in their shared work space. And I also included her local favorites Tom Grant and Pink Martini.

But it was with the hero I had the most fun. Sam Richardson was born and raised on a ranch in Eastern Oregon and moved to the city, where he joined the Portland Police Bureau. Sounds like a Tim McGraw/Taylor Swift/Kenny Chesney kinda guy, right? Wrong. Sam grew up with classical music, thanks to his mother, a classically trained pianist, and he has season tickets to the Oregon symphony. When he visits Amanda in Seattle to convince her to return to Portland, he puts a Chopin nocturne CD on for her. (If you’re a classical music geek, you’ll recognize that the theme from his selection was turned into a popular song that contains a variation of the book title.)

But also on the playlist is an indie rock piece “Tell Me Why,” written by the very real Portland Chief of Police Mike Reese and performed by The Usual Suspects, a group made up of current and former Portland Police Bureau members, including Chief Reese. I figured even fictional police officers would want to keep on the good side of the actual Chief of Police.

Take a look at Sam and Amanda’s playlist from “Loving Again.” And in the comment section, tell me what role music plays in your life.

Bach Cello Concerto #1–Yo Yo Ma

Boats to Build– Jimmy Buffett

Caramel–Suzanne Vega

Chopin Nocturne #2–Ivan Moravec

Chopin Nocturne #4–Ivan Moravec

Everywhere–Pink Martini

Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue–Leonard Bernstein

Gold– Tom Grant

He Heals Me–India.Arie

I Don’t Know–Lisa Hannigan

In the Morning–Nora Jones

Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love–Pink Martini

Lonestar–Nora Jones

Never Say Never– Tom Grant

Splendor in the Grass–Pink Martini

Talk to Me Nice–Tom Grant

Trip Around the Sun–Jimmy Buffett

There’s a New Gang in Town — Nora Snowdon blog

In case anyone in the northern hemisphere hasn’t heard, I turned fifty-two this year. Whoo-hoo! Hurrah! And all that stuff. One can get a little bored with aging as it never really let’s up. But being in your fifties brings with it a whole new concept. Aging as a means to blend in with the scenery.

Now originally I was perturbed to find over the last ten years (it probably started earlier, but I’m never too quick on the introspection stuff) that I disappeared. Literally. It wasn’t like Claude Raines where only my clothes delineated my presence. No, instead I found in circumstances where before there would be obvious sounds and movements indicating when I entered or left an area, now there was simply a dearth of reactions. No whistles, catcalls or even casual head-turns heralded my previously celebrated walk past construction sites or Italian Cafés.

When I was younger I used to hate the attention I got just for being female. I didn’t dress provocatively, wear much make-up, and in the mid-seventies often forgot to even brush my hair, much to my mother’s chagrin. As a feminist, it irked me that I was viewed first and foremost in sexual terms. And, to be honest, I still hold those views. I still dislike being ogled by eighty-year old men with bad eyesight. (I’m assuming the ones possessing the 20/20 vision are still ogling twenty-year olds. Such is the incredibly obtuse optimism of the male species…)

I’ve discovered though, that with invisibility comes freedom. I can wear bright red lipstick and shiny clothes without worrying I look promiscuous. (no longer considered, as apparently us older ladies don’t “do” that sex thing.) Ditto with the new stiletto heels I tottered on precariously to a party recently. I’m just happily slipping into that eccentric older aunt character once so beloved on family sitcoms.

But there is also an evil side of fifty plus of which I had been previously unaware. For some reason there’s a group of women over fifty who want to take our newfound invisibility cloak and turn it into a secret army. You know what I’m talking about. You see them everywhere. The legion of faceless women sporting extravagant red hats, mulling through any large group of people. It’s a force that’s gaining power with every birthday. These women must be planning some nefarious plot to take over the world. Otherwise why would they submit to hiding their own personalities to blend into one homogenous group of similarly attired females?

My own plan is to keep an eye on this cavalcade of crimson, and if at any point they seem poised to annihilate or subjugate all others, I’ll don a red hat. But until then, I’ll stick with my own ways of celebrating my yearly deterioration. Another drink, perhaps?

Nora Snowdon is a Romance Writer, Collagist, and Aspiring Crazy Cat Lady. To read more about Nora, please visit www.norasnowdon.com

Her book Arsonists Anonymous, a paranormal romance from Crimson Romance is available now where all fine e-books are sold.

Her second book from Crimson Romance, The Spanish Acquisition will be available Dec 10, 2012