Q+A with TJ Kline

The last time T.J Kline visited Plain Talk she opened up about coping with PTSD. Click here to read more.

Q: Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

Easy! My cell phone. I live on it. I made sure the last time I upgraded that I purchased one that would serve me, and my writing, on the go. I do everything from it – reading, emails, texts, appointments, even writing. I can even set my home alarm from it. I even use it to set up playlists for while I’m driving. I’d be lost without it (which is why it has frequent backups!)

Q: What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?

The best? The fact that, most days, I don’t even have to brush my teeth if I don’t want to. I do, every day, I swear! But I don’t HAVE to. I have the freedom to style my hair or not, wear PJs all day or dress up. I can set a doctor’s appointment whenever I want to rather than in limited “free” time. I work around vacations and trips, around my kids’ schedules and when I want to. Being a writer has given me more freedom than any job I could ever imagine.

The most challenging? The freedom. When you don’t HAVE to do anything, you have to be self-disciplined to still get up every day and do what needs to be done. There are times, under deadline, when I’ve planned poorly and forgo a trip to the movies. Or, even more difficult, when I’m not under deadline to actually sit in the office chair and put words on the page knowing no one is keeping tabs and I have an entire season of Hart of Dixie waiting for me on my DVR.

Q: What do you do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing, you can either find me hanging out with my husband and kids (two- and four-legged). If I’m not out working with my horses – is it work if it’s something you LOVE to do? – the family loves being outdoors. We’ll take off and go to the beach for the day, hiking in the mountains, or playing in the snow. Living in California, we can pick from all three, in the same week even, and I’ll be taking pictures the entire way. If weather doesn’t permit, you can find us watching movies together with popcorn, pizza, candy and sodas.

Q: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Be prepared for the “real” life of writing. It’s not all fun and games, pajamas and book signings. Most days, it’s ugly, hard, gut-wrenching work. You will doubt yourself, listen to people rip your work apart and feel like you are crazy for attempting to make this your life. It’s okay…we all live there. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve written one book or nearly twenty, writing is always hard work. But, as I said earlier, is it really work if it’s something you love to do? Never give up on what you love to do, whether it’s writing, painting, acting, debate, mathematics, history, woodworking…do what you love and it will show in the results.

Want more T.J. Kline? Head over to our website to catch her Book Talk interview.

Continue reading

Behind the Scenes with LT Shade

LT Shade blog tourToday I’d like to welcome L.T. Shade. Shade is the author of the romance novel Under Her Authority.  Below she talks about the behinds the scenes of her book. Enjoy

If you could spend time a character from your book whom would it be? 

Hmm, this is a hard question because I want to spend time with all my characters! But if I had to narrow it down to only one, I would love to spend time with Rose’s best friend, Olive. Olive is just so much fun to be around. I really enjoyed writing scenes with her. She’s great at making people laugh and helping Rose get through tough situations. She’s a genuine friend. I think everyone should have a [someone like] Olive in their lives.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with and why?

Oh, this is easy. Simon, Rose’s ex-fiancé. Simon is one of the antagonists in the story. His motivations for doing what he did (*no spoilers*) aren’t as clear as say Matthew Moreno’s motivations, who acts as the main blockade in Rose/Shane achieving their goals. With that being said, and maybe I’m sticking my foot in my mouth confessing this, I can’t help but feel sympathy for Simon. He did something unforgivable, and Rose was right to be angry at him and take certain actions because of it. But, at the end of the day, situations are never as black and white as they seem. Rose realizes this once she confronts Simon for the last time and it helps her move on.

Tell us about your book cover and how it came about.

I’d like to think my book cover is somewhat unique in a genre where most covers are of openly suggestive. Erotic romance usually isn’t subtle in its book covers, and they’re mostly male-focused. Not that I mind. I love some eye-candy and those covers make for great marketing. I just wanted to go with something different, subtle, where the female can shine. Both characters are obscured on UHA’s book cover, the female especially, but anyone who sees it knows who is in charge. Rose. Thus the title Under Her Authority. That’s why I chose the cover photo with a background of Charlotte, where it takes place. I have the amazing cover artists at Totally Bound to thank for putting my idea into something tangible.

How do you choose the names of your characters?

My brother. No, seriously. I asked my younger brother to pick two names he liked and that is how the names Shane and Rosemary came about. You could say it’s my way of giving tribute to him and putting a piece of myself into the story.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

Wow, I haven’t even thought about it. No one comes to mind when I think of the actors/actresses I know.

I think I wouldn’t be so focused on appearances (i.e. who plays who) as I’d want the embodiment of the characters’ personalities to be spot on. For instance, whoever plays Shane needs to be able to have his same country-boy gone city charm. He’s cocky and arrogant but at heart, he still holds onto those small-town, gentlemanly, principles. Rose is a special character. She is someone who takes a huge risk and opens herself up after falling down again and again. Her courage to face her obstacles, even her own confusion, and doubt, is endless. Whoever plays Rose has to be as special as her. Continue reading

Chatting with Jennie Marts

Jennie Marts photoJennie Marts is the USA Today Best-selling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. Readers call her books “laugh out loud” funny and the “perfect mix of romance, humor, and steam.” Fic Central claimed one of her books was “the most fun I’ve had reading in years.”

She is living her own happily ever after in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies. She’s addicted to Diet Coke, adores Cheetos, and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes, or friends.

Her books include the contemporary western romance Hearts of Montana series, the romantic comedy/ cozy mysteries of The Page Turners series, the hunky hockey-playing men in the Bannister family in the Bannister Brothers Books, and the small-town romantic comedies in the Lovestruck series of Cotton Creek Romances.


Q&A

Describe yourself in five words or less. 

Funny, tender-hearted, hugger, kind, positive

Can you tell us a little about your book?

Skirting the Ice is the story of a buttoned-up accountant and a wildcat hockey player. Jack lives an uncomplicated life until his teenage crush moves back into the house next door–all grown up and sexy as hell. Murphy Ryan is still wild and reckless, and danger has followed her to Colorado. Jack will do whatever it takes to protect her, even it means letting her go…again.

Murphy is focused on building a new NHL women’s hockey team. But staying on her game is hard with the distraction, and the memories, of the hot nerd in the house next door. Jack Bannister had been her first kiss, and she wants him to be her last. With his dry humor and sexy glasses, being smart never looked so good.

Jack’s been given a chance to win back the one that got away, but worries this gorgeous hockey player is still out of his league. He’s kept his heart on ice, but now that Murphy’s back, she might be the one to finally thaw it.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

My current theme song is Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song”. I just love the spirit and the power behind it. And it’s a great one to turn up loud in your car and just belt out those lyrics and they make you feel strong just by singing along.

Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
Continue reading

Q&A with Lele Iturrioz

Lele author YASeasons Within, author, Lele Iturrioz joins us for our first session of the new series Book Talk. Plain Talk was part of Lele Iturrioz’s blog tour with Xpresso Book Tours.

When you develop characters and plot, do you already know who they are and what’s going to happen before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?

I’m a major planner. I have a huge binder with all the planning, ideas, outlines, characters, and everything for all of the five books. I plan everything and everyone ahead because if I know where my characters end up, it becomes easier for me to know how to get them there.

How did you get inspired to write your antagonist?

I got inspired by all those men who believed in something good that within time made them obsessed and turned radical.

Out of the protagonists you’ve written about so far, which one do you feel you relate to the most?

Everyone has a piece of me, even when I didn’t plan for it.

If you could spend time a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Veter (the wind wielder) and Priyam. I would fly and joke around all day.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

Synthia… it even stresses me out each time I write about her. Continue reading

10 Questions with Mitch Goth

Mitch Goth currently resides in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he attends Antioch College. When not writing, he spends his time investigating the paranormal and indulging in a good book or movie.

Mitch is also the author of War Town, a new adult thriller. Read more about War Town here.

I got to ask Mitch 10 questions, here are his answers.

If you had a choice to live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

I’m not sure, somewhere warm and close to the ocean. Living in the Midwest my whole life, those are two things I get very little of. So I’d love to live somewhere on or close by the ocean or some other large body of water. Plus, relaxing by the water puts me in the perfect writing mood.

What is your writing process?

I start with a lot of outlining, working through detailed character and plot descriptions before actually writing. By the end, my outlines end up being novellas themselves, often between 20k and 40k words. After that, the actual manuscript writing becomes mostly just filling in and expanding on the outline. I know exactly what I want to say and how I want to say it before the words hit the page, and I know exactly where the book (or in some cases, the whole book series) is going.

Describe your journey as an author so far.

It’s been a long journey, that’s for sure, and I have barely started. I started writing as a hobby since I knew how to write, scribbling stories since grade school. I wrote my first novel-length manuscript when I was fourteen, and wrote two unpublished works before releasing my first novel, Parabellum in March of 2013. Since then, I have released over a dozen other novels and novellas. More recently, I have refocused my writing skills to longer, more fleshed out single works rather than fast-paced, short novellas and novels. My most recent release, War Town, is a product of that mental restructuring, as will be numerous upcoming projects currently in the outlining phase. Continue reading

Sara Jane Stone Writing Journey

Welcome back Sara Jane Stone. I am really honored to get the chance to interview Sara on her writing process and journey. Such a great interview, thank you Sara!

Author of Full ExposureWhat is your writing process?

SJS: I start each book with a character outline and a short summary of the story. This two-paragraph blurb generally resembles the back of the book copy. Sometimes, if the publisher requests one, I write a synopsis. Then I start writing the first draft. I write whenever I have time until the manuscript is complete. I usually go back to the beginning about halfway through and read what I have to make sure the characters and plot are on track. And after the first draft, I go through many, many rounds of revisions and edits 🙂

Describe your journey as an author so far.


SJS: I discovered romance novels while working as a sales representative for Random House. The more I read, the more I wished to write them myself. After a few failed attempts, I wrote a story that caught an agent’s attention. Then I wrote another that I sold to Harlequin. My debut, Command Performance, released three years ago. Mixing Temptation marks my 13th published book!

How do you stay motivated?


SJS: I love to write. But deadlines also help. I’m generally very motivated when the first draft is due. And I’m always eager to hear what my editor thinks about story.

What has been your biggest obstacle while writing and how have you overcome it?


SJS: Learning how to structure a story. I wrote a few terrible manuscripts before I sold my first book. They were creative and I had a strong voice, but the characters lacked goals and motivation. Also, I’d skipped the conflict. My agent and my first editor helped me by recommending books about story structure. Save the Cat, a screenwriting book, is my favorite. My agent recommended a number of blogs. Then I took everything I’d learned and read a lot of romance novels. I reread some over and over until I understood structure and could apply what I’d learned to my own writing.

Why did you write this book?

SJS: Great question! I wrote this one for all of the readers who asked for Caroline’s story. Initially, I pitched Caroline’s story to my editor as a secondary character/plot line. But readers started asking, so I spoke to my editor and we decided that this was the right direction for this series. Even though writing a story about a woman who’d been raped while serving in the Marines didn’t exactly sound like a recipe for happy-ever-after, I found one for Caroline. But wow, the bumps along the way! Mixing Temptation was the most challenging story I’ve written so far. And the most complicated to research. The first person accounts and interviews were heartbreaking to read. In the end, I think the story delivers on the HEA promise romance readers expect. And yet it is also realistic.

Thank you for being a part of the Mixing Temptation blog tour! And happy reading!! Continue reading

Get to know Sara Secora

Secora interviewDescribe your journey as an author so far.

Exhausting, terrifying, exciting—it’s so many things. I poured my heart and soul into this novel and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. Although, it does still feel a bit surreal that I have a book out on shelves, and that I am a real author. That may take a bit longer to settle in than I expected.

How do you stay motivated?

I’m a very motivated person when something matters to me. It’s almost natural. The only issue I have is letting fear of failure rear its ugly head at me. Failure should never deter someone from reaching their goals.

What has been your biggest obstacle while writing and how have you overcome it?

As I said above, I’d have to say fear—or more specifically, the “imposter syndrome.” I experienced a lot of that as I tried to push my book forward. In fact, I still feel that way a bit, but the important thing is I never let it stop me.

Why did you write this book?

Becoming an author was a dream I’ve had for a long while. I adore fantasy and almost exclusively read it. That coupled with my love of the written word—it just felt fitting for me to write one.

What do you hope readers would take away from this book?

Amethysta is on a self-discovering journey, and I hoped that maybe younger readers might be able to relate to that as they go through their own journey in life.

How long did it take you to write Throne of Lies?

I’ve been writing Throne of Lies on and off for nine years. I’d say it was more consistently about four or five years. It took me a long while since I had no solid plans to finish it until about two years ago. I became determined to really get this rolling and spent most of my free time during those years writing away.

What’s next for you?

Finishing the Amethysta trilogy and working on another series on the side. I will also still be working as a voice actress and YouTube content creator.

What genres do you read?

I stated before that I almost exclusively read fantasy and that is true. Pretty much all I’ve ever read has been fantasy! However, I want to begin exploring other genres. Continue reading

Excerpt of Draw Play by Tia Lewis

Draw Play Tia Lewis

Excerpt

Draw Play by Tia Lewis

I smiled to myself then went back to typing my notes from the classes I had that day. I never would have thought it possible, but exams and papers were easier than ever. I had never felt like I was on top of things before I met Claire. I was always scrambling to keep up with deadlines and studying. I thought that was how everybody did it—I wasn’t kidding when I told her I never learned how to study. Using the things she taught me, I did better than ever.

Except when I was with her. I could type notes, but even then I couldn’t concentrate. I kept losing my place or typing the same things twice. When I did homework in my room, I never screwed up—even when a dozen guys watched a football game in the living room.

It was her. It had to be. I couldn’t stop looking at her after having her. I imagined her curvaceous body under her clothes. I loved it when she wore those tank tops that pushed her tits up, and the skirts that gave me a look at her legs. I remembered when they were wrapped around me, and felt so smooth against my body.

I looked at her out of the corner of my eye. She was deep in thought over what she read. She tapped the pen against her mouth, and all I could think about was the way her mouth felt on mine when I fucked her.

Stop this. Stop now. Too late. I felt my cock start to harden under the table as I got lost in my daydream. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about her.

My eyes drifted down to her chest. She must have been shaking her foot or her leg because her tits jiggled. It was just enough for me to notice them. My mouth watered for more of them. They tasted so sweet. I licked my lips, thinking about sucking those perfect, pink nipples.

“What’s wrong?” She looked at me, and it was evident my eyes were on her chest.

“Nothing.” I went back to looking at my screen. Continue reading

Excerpt of Waiting for You by Allison Williford

Waiting for you book coverTitle: Waiting for You by Allison Williford
Genre: Women’s Fiction

Synopsis

This day would always be burned into her memory, an ugly brand leaving its scar. 

Losing a loved one to death will always leave a gaping hole in our hearts — something 23-year-old Kylie Lewis knows all too well. But do we allow it to destroy us, leaving us terrified of ever loving again? Or do we force ourselves to pick up the pieces of our shattered hearts and continue with our lives?

Kylie’s quiet, rote life — working as a columnist at the Charleston Herald, hanging out with her best friend, Cat, and downtime with her mother — is soon turned upside down. Cat drags her to a concert, where she meets Adam Bell, an aspiring musician with a history of his own loss. Shortly after, her mother receives a devastating diagnosis of terminal breast cancer.

Stricken with the fear of her inevitable loss, Kylie struggles with her budding relationship with Adam. But with the help of Adam’s empathy, can she learn to grieve her mother without shutting out the world, as she once did after her father’s death? Can she learn to love in spite of her losses?

Waiting for You is a story of loss, grief, and love.

Continue reading

A Criminal Magic – Lee Kelly

Lee Kelly Criminal MagicToday I am pleased to introduce you to Lee Kelly. Lee is the author of A Criminal Magic.

What do you think is your lead character’s best trait?

I’d say Alex’s best trait is his ability to read people – he ends up being very good at undercover work because of his sensitivity to human interactions, emotions and experiences. And Joan’s best trait is her relentless commitment and determination – to her family at the outset, and eventually, to her work within the Shaw Gang.

Ironically I guess both Joan’s and Alex’s “best traits” can also be “worst traits” given the context.

Are there any characters in your book based on a real person?

Not directly, I guess – though Harrison Gunn is actually named after my friend and old co-worker, who insisted that I name a character after him in this novel (so take the bad guy Harrison )! Most of the characters in the book are my own creations or some kind of combination of multiple people: like Alex is sort of a combination of me and my husband, while Joan is a combination of me and my sister.

What’s something your readers would be surprised to know about you?

I’m strangely superstitious, or at least I used to be. I’ve stopped most of these superstitious “rituals,” but I used to have to turn the lights off three times before leaving my apartment or I’d think I’d have a bad day, or I’d have to wear a certain pair of earrings to an interview.

Where is your favorite place to write?

The place I always write is the office off my bedroom, so I guess that’s my default answer. But I really enjoy writing on the second floor of my town library, Millburn Library, because of the views of the woods – and I love those moments when I’m away from my everyday life and actually get in some writing time… like my parents’ kitchen table during the holidays before anyone gets up, or on vacation while my husband and kids sleep in. It feels like I’m sneaking out on a date with my characters.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A writer – though the answer briefly changed to archeologist after I watched the Indiana Jones trilogy.

What is your favorite book of all time?

I’d have to say The Phantom Tollbooth. I think the books you read as a child have a way of staying with you.

Describe your writing style in three words.

Character-driven, otherworldly thrillers.

What is your writing process? Continue reading