Thursday, April 17, 2014

Author Spotlight - Jacqui Jacoby

Today we welcome new Samhain author Jacqui Jacoby into the Minxy spotlight.

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I am a kick-ass, rocking, still going strong, retired mother of three, married thirty years to the same man who shares our empty nest. I love Earl Grey tea, drink Snapples to obsession, and have a thing for make-up and eye shadow colors. I feel every woman is entitled to a regular pedicure on the basic principal she deserves to be pampered and I am a grown-up with imaginary friends who I do talk out loud to when no one is watching. And I’m shy!! LOL

2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)
This is my second book out, though the first was a first only run of a Time Management book. With A Vengeance was the first legitimate book I wrote (though the third) and that was … maybe nine or ten books ago? Something like that. I have not produced as much as I could as I did end up ill and had to take some time off.

3. What inspired this book?
Music. There was this band I listened to at the time and when I heard them, I thought plot and characters. And the need to see a woman who could handle herself. This book was written before tough chicks were popular so it led the crowd even if it wasn’t discovered right away.

4. Who or what was the inspiration for your hero?
I had several. An actor named Spencer Rochfort from the early nineties. Scott Leonard of the band Rockapella. David Beckham in a certain photo … that is how it works for me. It’s not ever “the actor” or “the musician.” It’s **one** particular photo that is **it** … it is the one to capture what I was looking for. The overall person might not appeal to me at all, but that ONE photo … nailed it!! It’s been so long since I wrote the original, I no longer have the photos.

5. Have you any burning ambitions to write a story in a different genre?
I started out in CIA Action Romance. In 2004ish I switched to Paranormal. I have not wanted to leave that arena. It’s way too much fun to get to make facts and things like ghosts and goddesses. I just got down completely ripping apart vampire myth and rewriting it. It was a blast.

6. In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
In the process? Nothing. I am still doing what I always did: writing stories that appeal to me rather than what might appeal to a market. If someone says to me “write a sequel to Vengeance” (as they have) I can’t just turn on the magic button and make that plot appear. In the submitting aspect of the story telling, more work. A lot more work. Editing, deadlines, promoting. Promoting is a big one and drains the soul, a bit, I think.

7. What was the most fun part of writing this book?
Research. I got to spend three days with a rock band for research. I spoke to the CIA and they were not only helpful but friendly. I got to go see places, use places I had been. It was a lot of fun. To this day, all these years later, I do not buy an outfit without thinking “Would Jaime wear this?”

8. Do you have a writing routine? Do you write every day, and is there a time of day that works best for you in terms of being productive?
Yes. I write every day. Seven days a week. Holidays and birthdays included. I usually hit about six hours, but maybe ten and have gone fourteen depending on the project. I sleep late so I don’t start to write until about 11:30ish. If I have nowhere to be, I will be in my pajamas –cute ones, of course, with my hair done and make-up on. The creative writing, getting the story down, that is fun. Every second is an adventure. The editing and spell checking and formatting, is the fourteen hour, “I have a six week headache” day. I just did that for my new project which goes to New York on Monday with a publisher already requesting it.

9. Are your family and real-life friends supportive? If so, in what ways? If not, do you have another support network for your writing?
I had a party last week to celebrate the launch of With a Vengeance. It was an intimate gathering or family and friends. My daughters joined us for the cake cutting via Skype and my long time friend in Australia used Facetime. It was amazing and so sweet!!

10. How long does it take you to complete a book?
With A Vengeance, I wrote in 1994. I revised it nineteen times based on agent/editor interest and I submitted it fifty-eight times before I stopped counting. And then I just stopped counting. I was still submitting it. DEAD MEN PLAY THE GAME, going to New York Monday, I wrote it in seven months, from conception to completion. I wrote the first draft of the second book in the series, DEAD MEN SEAL THE DEAL, 100,000 words, in thirty days. So … I guess it depends.



Blurb

The more she wanted out, the more they dragged her back in.

Daughter to murdered CIA officers, niece to a deputy director, Jaime Walsh has never known life outside the world of espionage. Until a high-action case in Buenos Aires leaves her gutted. Physically, emotionally…and professionally.

She’d planned for her long-overdue vacation to be a time to rest and reassess. With her longtime partner Stephen not far behind, it’s a tropical paradise away from work. A paradise where boundaries will be tested.

From their training days, Stephen Reid has watched Jaime kick ass while performing what has become his second job—watching her back. But now his feelings have grown.

As best friends look at each other in a new light, they like what they see. And Jaime dreams of a new life outside “the company”.

Except someone from their past won’t be satisfied until Jaime and the man she loves are hunted to the brink of death. Now Jaime must find the strength to trust her heart and let go of her fear. Before she loses everything…


With a Vengeance is available direct from Samhain, and from Kindle and Kindle UK. You can find out more about Jacqui at her website www.JacquiJacoby.com.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Author Spotlight - Jane Linfoot

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I’m Jane Linfoot, and I write fun, flirty fiction, with feisty heroines and a bit of an edge.
I live in a mountain kingdom in Derbyshire, England, which is less remote than it sounds, but is very muddy. When I write romance it’s the one time I get to wear pretty shoes instead of wellies. I love hearts, flowers, happy endings, all things vintage, most things french. I enjoy walking and gardening, and on days when I want to be really scared, I ride a tandem.

2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)
This is number 2 for Harper Impulse, but I had a co-written paperback out with Snowbooks back in 2006.

3. What inspired this book?
I grab my inspiration from anywhere and everywhere, then fuse the different strands together. With The Right Side Of Mr Wrong the heroine, Shea, was inspired by someone I met at a hen party, and Brando grew out of an article in a Sunday paper about a lonely rock star. The plot came from a TV programme I saw, where a playboy had a neglected castle he never visited, and the presenter suggested he needed a wife to help him with the project. It was a fabulous location, which looked perfect to use in a novel, and when I went on the website to find out where it was I discovered that lots of women had left messages on the website offering to marry the guy! Awesome! So The Right Side Of Mr Wrong grew from that!

4. Who or what was the inspiration for your hero?
Although I didn’t write Brando with Henry Cavill in mind, they’re not far apart.

5. In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
Wow! Good question! I kind of imagined being a published writer would be about hiding away, writing books, but it couldn’t be more different from that. These days self-promotion is be a huge part of being an author, and keeping a high profile on social media is crucial. The promo side is much bigger than I’d anticipated.

6. What was the most fun part of writing this book?
Some books are a struggle, but The Right Side of Mr Wrong was a blast to write. I loved every bit of it, because I had such fun hanging out with Shea and Brando. You’d think it would be great to get to the part where you write “The End”, but by the time I got to that bit I had tears rolling down my face, both because of the emotion (even though it does have a happy ending!), and because I was so sad that my time with Shea and Brando had come to an end.

7. Which of your characters would you most like to be?
I’d like to be Shea from The Right Side Of Mr Wrong, because I’m totally in love with Brando (from the same book)!

8. Do you have a writing routine? Do you write every day, and is there a time of day that works best for you in terms of being productive?
I try to write every day – my favourite time to write is late at night, when the writing’s going so well I don’t want to stop.

9. How long does it take you to complete a book?
A book can take anything from six weeks to six months!

10. Do you have any tips, tricks or sacrificial rituals you do when you hit a story roadblock?
I always head off into the woods with the dog, onto a circuit that takes in an abandoned ice house. Usually by the time I’m a couple of hundred yards along the path ideas and solutions are popping into my head.

11. Where do you write?
I’ve always written in the room between the kitchen and the rest of the house – that way I see everyone as they pass, and I can easily dip in and out as the family needs me.


The Right Side Of Mr Wrong

One-off, moving on sex wasn’t meant to be this hot…
When determined singleton Shea Summers is persuaded to become the “wife” of the Lord of Edgerton Manor, the last thing she wants to do is play house with a stranger.

Brooding playboy Brando Marshall, is far from happy when Shea turns up at his sprawling estate with production crew in tow. Surely she’s just another woman after his wallet? And if she’s looking for Mr Right, she’s definitely hitting on the wrong guy. Then again, after catching an unscheduled glimpse of her knickers, perhaps Brando needs to teach this “gold-digger” a lesson!

She’s seizing the moment, he’s breaking the rules, and when bad boys can be so much fun, who can resist getting on the right side of Mr. Wrong...


The Right Side of Mr Wrong is available from Amazon and Amazon UK.

You can chat to Jane on Facebook, Twitter or her website.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Hollywood Endings

Life is imitating art more and more these days, as is evidenced by the plethora of outrageous, over the top real life proposals that spring up on youtube every day, it seems. You know the ones, the ones where an unsuspecting woman is either out to dinner or just going for a walk with her boyfriend, and suddenly everyone starts singing to her, or a flash mob appears and her previously perfectly normal seeming boyfriend switches into true Bollywood mode and starts singing, dancing, juggling etc and then eventually slides down onto his knees and begs for her hand in front of a cast of thousands.

So, the two things you need in a Hollywood ending - public - the hero/heroine makes themselves vulnerable in front of two or more people, and the possibility that it will all go horribly wrong lurking bubbling under the surface.

Dangerous stuff. I think people like it so much because there's always the worrying question - will she say yes? Or will she shake her head, or run away as fast as her legs can carry her... it's a hell of a lot of pressure. The running away from an elaborate proposal has always appealed to me as the perfect beginning of a book-but I guess that's just the 'writer as torturer' coming out in me. I've always thought that a private, low-key reveal of love is powerful to read, but decided to look today at 5 blockbuster Hollywood movies to see if I'm right about that. These are all movies that I've enjoyed, without actually analyzing the endings-and the question is - Hollywood ending or not?

1. Pretty Woman - ending - Richard Gere sticking his head through the top of his limo, opera blaring, climbing the fire escape with a rose between his teeth. Public humiliation? pretty possible. He could fall or be rejected publicly. Definite Hollywood ending and it works.

2. Romancing the Stone - ending - pretty similar to Pretty Woman ending actually, but with a boat instead of a limo. Also works.

3. Bridget Jones' Diary - pretty unforgettable ending actually - Bridget in her leopard pants running out in the snow to find Mark Darcy who she feels has left because of something hateful she's written about him in her diary. Nice bookend from the beginning of the movie - it's all about the diary... And she finds him, he's bought a new diary, a new beginning. Cue bemused onlookers and a heartfelt confession from Bridget in front of strangers...yup, another Hollywood ending.

4. 27 Dresses - The absolute ending has the funny scene where the heroine forces all her friends to wear the horrible bridesmaid dresses that she's had to wear while she was their bridesmaids, but backing up a bit, to the story resolution--yup, another one. Our heroine stands up at a wedding in front of loads of guests, and says she's fallen in love with him. He doesn't respond immediately, then says 'Get over here'. Hollywood ending. All the way.

5. Working Girl - Tess, has lied to Jack ( by pretending to be a trader on Wall Street when she is actually Jack's ex, Katherine's secretary. The romantic conclusion is a way before the actual ending of the film, and more subtle, but it does include the elements of a Hollywood ending.  There's a chance meeting in the office building, where Tess is clearing out her stuff, having been accused of lying and passing off Katherine's work as her own. Katherine, Jack and their client, Trask and his people are about to go into the lift, and Tess has dropped her possessions and files. Jack helps her pick them up. Although at this stage, Katherine has won, she can't resist a final snipe at Tess. Jack breaks - refuses to go into the lift with them, and stands up for Tess, saying she is the team leader of the project.
He risks his position with the valuable client by going out on a limb - in front of all the other executives (publicly) and by doing so, demonstrates that he has faith and belief in Tess. The actual 'love result' is played out in my favorite ending - Jack and Tess are obviously sharing an apartment and they're having breakfast standing up, while Jack packs her lunchbox before she goes in to her new job.

So - a Hollywood ending can be as large and elaborate as one of today's proposal's on youtube, but doesn't have to be, it can be smaller but no less profound, as long as it includes the Hollywood ending elements in bold above.

And because everyone loves Mark Darcy, here's that Bridget Jones ending to set us up for the week...




Thursday, April 3, 2014

Author Spotlight - Hannah Emery

Welcome to new Harper Impulse author, Hannah Emery, talking about her debut novel, Secrets in the Shadows.

Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I have written stories for as long as I can remember. I love writing about how fragile the present is and how so much of it depends on chance events that took place years ago. I studied English at the University of Chester, and I now work in a college where I mentor higher education students. The most important things in my life are my family, my friends, books, baking on a Saturday afternoon, getting glammed up to go out for champagne and dinner and having cosy weekends away. I live in Blackpool with my husband and our little girl.

What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)
It’s my second book, but the first to be published. I learnt a lot from writing my first, but I felt I could do better!

What inspired this book?
Lots of things: Blackpool, my fascination with twins, my obsession with family history and the amazing way that one decision can affect future generations for hundreds of years.

Who or what was the inspiration for your hero?
There are two heroes in Secrets in the Shadows, and my inspiration for them is my years of chatting to friends, watching things like Sex and the City and wondering why some people go for Eliots, and other people go for Noels…

Have you any burning ambitions to write a story in a different genre?
I adore the YA genre so I would love to try that. I’d also like to try and write a children’s book. Reading to my daughter is one of my favourite things to do, and her favourite books are amazing and inspiring. Julia Donaldson is a genius.

What was the most fun part of writing this book?
I loved researching Blackpool. It’s changed a lot in the last hundred years or so, and it was fascinating to learn about its history and incorporate what I found into my book. The event that sparks the main story of Secrets in the Shadows is a fire that actually happened on North Pier in September 1921. Reading a newspaper article about the fire was amazing - I love old newspapers.

Which of your characters would you most like to be?
I would like to be Grace. Although she is troubled, she’s strong, gifted and likes to have fun. And she owns a book shop!

Do you have any tips, tricks or sacrificial rituals you do when you hit a story roadblock?
I read. My favourite authors always inspire me again!

Where do you write?
Ooh - well at the moment, I write on my laptop on the sofa or sitting on the bed - normally with coffee. But we’ve recently moved, so I will soon have an office space! I’m going to be doing a blog post about my office soon, so look out for it on my blog!

Blurb:
A must-read for fans of Kate Morton!

In 1920s Blackpool, eleven year old Rose wanders away from her parents and has a unique gift bestowed upon her. This gift will leave a haunting legacy, seeping down through the generations…
Decades later, Louisa has a vision of her mother walking into the sea. This isn’t the first time it happens and it won’t be the last, but what she sees isn’t always what she wants. The rest of her life is spent trying to change the future that haunts her.

In present day Blackpool, Grace is going to be married someday. She knows this because she’s seen it; a vision of a white dress, daisies embroidered on the sleeves, the groom by her side, vowing to love her forever. Except the man in her premonition doesn’t belong to her- he belongs to her twin sister, Elsie.

Haunted by what they know and what they are afraid to find out, all three women must make a choice: in the face of certain destiny should you chase the outcome that’s “meant to be”, or throw away fate and choose your own future?

Twitter: @hannahcemery
Blog: http://hannahcemery.wordpress.com

Secrets in the Shadows is available from Amazon, Amazon UK and all other major eBook retailers.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Right brained? Left brained?

A friend of mine sent me the link to this test this morning and I thought it would make a fun post. Give it a try: are you more left brained (analytical, logical, verbal) or more right brained (imagination, intuition, non-verbal)?

You can find the test here: http://en.sommer-sommer.com/braintest/



I'll admit to be being surprised by my 25% left brain and 75% right brain score. In my day job I work with figures and do logistical planning. I run two romance writer organisations with all the admin that requires and create spreadsheets for just about everything. This score has made me realise that these are pretty amazing feats considering how much time I spend in my own imaginary world!

Let us know in the comments how you scored.