Tuesday, February 28, 2012
My first novel, Bizarre Life of Sydney Sedrick, was reviewed by Coffee Time Romance. They gave it a 3 star rating on Amazon.com, and I couldn't be more pleased, here's the review:
Coffee Time Romance
This review is from: Bizarre Life of Sydney Sedrick (Kindle Edition) This story has a lot of potential. I liked Sydney a lot. She has spunk and wit, and the guts to stand up to some pretty scary creatures. Her chemistry with Blake is very hot, and I would have liked the author to have done more with their attraction. The vampires were also an interesting group. I just had trouble understanding The Selected's powers. It is nice to be able to tell when a rogue paranormal is in the area, but throwing up and passing out are not typical of the tough heroine Sydney is, otherwise. These things really need a lot more explanation since a heroine with these severe faults will not survive very long in such a dangerous environment.
You ask, why would an author by so pleased with a 3 star review? She must be loony, well, yes, I am, but there's a serious side to me too, and that side wants nothing more than to continue writing, and to improve with every story that I tell! The above review tells me that I have a character that a review likes, that means my readers will probably like her too, and that's key to engaging the reader and hooking them to my novels :)
I'll keep writing, happy reading to everyone!
Monday, February 27, 2012
1.) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I think I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 18 or 19 years old, but never really had the courage to sit down and actually write.
2.) What type of genre do you write in? I write women’s fiction and contemporary romance.
3.) What inspires you to write in this genre? I like writing about issues contemporary women face, like juggling career and dreams and life. Women have broken into so many previously male-dominated fields, and I like to see how women deal with the issues unique to their gender when they take on careers in these more masculine domains.
4.) Where to you get your ideas for your writing? Some of my ideas come from my own life and experiences, others from the experiences of friends and family. Still others come out of thin air.
5.) Who are your favorite authors and why? I love Nora Roberts. Her characters are people I’d like to hang out with. Her stories are modern, her heroines are strong, her heroes sensitive, and her love scenes steamy. I also love Kristan Higgins. Her combination of sweet and funny makes her stories unique, and her voice is so fresh.
6.) In your opinion, what key parts of a story make it great? Layers of conflict keep me reading. And the conflict doesn’t have to be life or death. It can be something as basic as being faced with the decision to leave a good job with a stable income to pursue your dream, which could leave you flat broke.
7.) What activities do you undertake for inspiration? Reading. When I read a great story that excites me, it sparks my desire to write. It lights a fire under me that makes me yearn to sit in front of my computer and create the same compelling characters, conflicts, and plots.
8.) Do you belong to any writing communities, or critique groups? I belong to Florida Romance Writers, Florida Writers Association, and RWA.
9.) Do you have a day job? I guess you could say I have two day jobs. I’m an attorney for a large state university, and my husband and I also founded a non-profit organization that keeps us pretty busy.
10.) If you could do it over again, what aspects of the writing/submission process would you change before becoming published? I don’t think I’d change anything. My process was probably the same as most writers. I wrote a novel, submitted it, got rejected, rewrote it, submitted it to contests, rewrote it, submitted it to agents and publishers. Got my fair share of rejections until the day I got “the call.” I’d say the process has taught me a great deal about myself and about my writing.
11.) What is the title of your upcoming/newly released novel, and where can we find it? My debut novel is The Promise of Change, and it’s available from Soul Mate Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
Monday, February 20, 2012
1.) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I was young. My family read a lot and I saw my father typing up his sales reports. An aunt and uncle were newspaper reporters, too, so the idea of writing was something I took for granted. When I was about ten, I discovered the Hardy Boys and wrote my own stories, one wide-ruled page for a chapter, and my mother typed them up for me. Seeing my words in print was a huge thrill. That probably did it.
2.) What type of genre do you write in? Generally crime stories. I wouldn’t call them all mysteries, but there’s usually a crime involved somehow. My characters seem adept at making bad choices that have worse consequences and things grow from there.
3.) What inspires you to write in this genre? Well, my parents read golden age mystery writers—Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Erle Stanley Gardner, Josephine Tey, Dorothy Sayers, etc.—so I was used to mysteries. I like the idea that at the end of a mystery, everything makes sense, too. A mystery discovers or re-invents logic in a way that’s comforting to the rational part of us. At least I like to think so. Justice and logic seem to be fading in the real world, so I try to remind myself that those things still exist.
4.) Where to you get your ideas for your writing? Everywhere. Several of my stories are based on things that really happened to me and got major revision. Sometimes I see a story in the newspaper or see a person who interests me for some reason. My recent novel The Whammer Jammers came from my daughter’s (who also runs my Web site) telling me that she had joined the roller derby team in New Hampshire. The more I looked into roller derby, the more I knew there was a story in there somewhere.
5.) Who are your favorite authors and why? Naming all my favorites would take days, but I admire Dennis Lehane and Robert Crais because they plot so well and create complex characters. They also write excellent dialogue and can balance darkness and humor. Linda Barnes, Carol O’Connell, John Hart, Laura Lippman, Lynne Heitman, and Tana French all write terrific prose. So did Ray Bradbury at his peak in the fifties and sixties. Don Winslow has a great voice and uses brutal irony. Kate Atkinson weaves plots together with her characters and takes her own sweet time doing it. The late Ariana Franklin blew me away with her work, and I usually don’t care about historical fiction. For more literary stuff, I admire Ann Patchett and Cormac McCarthy, especially his Border trilogy and Blood Meridian. Is Chuck Palahniuk literary or genre? I taught high school English, so I still go back to Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Lardner, Sherwood Anderson, Faulkner, and Steinbeck often. I did a lot of theater, too, and directed six of Shakespeare’s plays during that part of my life. That’s a start. I won’t bother to mention Cather, Wharton, the Brontes, Austen, Dickens, Crane, or Conrad.
6.) In your opinion, what key parts of a story make it great? I tend to remember characters and language much longer than I remember plot. Great dialogue sticks in my head and I have to be careful not to steal it for my own stuff. I recently caught myself reading Karin Slaughter’s dialogue out loud because it felt so right.
7.) What activities do you undertake for inspiration? Most of my stories use song titles because I used to play guitar and (even more badly) bass in a band. I love blues and listen to music whenever I’m driving. Lots of titles or song lyrics give me ideas, and jazz or baroque can help me find the right mood. I try to get to the health club several days a week; repetitive physical exercise—an arc trainer, elliptical, or bike, for example—allows me to let my mind wander. I do some of my best editing on a cardio machine.
8.) Do you belong to any writing communities, or critique groups? I’m a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and their subgroup The Guppies (“Great UnPublished,” although that’s a misnomer). I’m also in a critique group with a half-dozen other writers in various genres that meets every two weeks. We discuss each other’s work for about three hours at a clip, so there’s lots of good feedback there. I really need other people to test whether or not my writing works. I know what I meant, but I can’t tell if it comes across.
9.) Do you have a day job? I taught high school English for thirty-three years and still substitute occasionally. I read the newspapers to the visually impaired on radio every Friday morning.
10.) If you could do it over again, what aspects of the writing/submission process would you change before becoming published? I never took a creative writing course in college or grad school. While I have no desire for an MFA, I wish I’d taken some classes to learn about plotting and character and pacing more efficiently. On my own, I wrote five novels (all of them terrible) over the course of eight years before I figured out my most efficient process. It took me a few more years of reading books on writing and going to workshops and conferences before I began to understand how to do it adequately.
11.) What is the title of your upcoming/newly released novel, and where can we find it? The Whammer Jammers, a thriller about roller derby and urban cops, is available on Amazon as a trade paperback and as an eBook from either Nook or Kindle. It came out October 1. I have a short story in Dead Calm from Level Best Books coming in November, another story in Vengeance, edited by Lee Child for the MWA next April (?), and an article in Now Write! Mysteries, coming in late December. I plan to re-edit and re-publish my earlier novel Who Wrote The Book of Death? later this year when my contract with my present publisher is up, too.Thank you for participating in my author interview and good luck with all your future projects!
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Here's a great blurb for what the novel is about:
Hunting down a dangerous mob boss has brought FBI agent Mitchell Donovan home, reawakening an old flame, resurrecting a dead best friend, and discovering fatherhood. As if those aren’t enough, his new case will push everything else aside: finding the kidnappers who took the daughter he never knew he had.
Katherine Delaney never forgot the heartbreak Mitchell had caused with his abrupt departure all those years ago. With her dead ex-husband accused of murder and her daughter kidnapped, she will place her trust in the one man who could trample her heart again if she gets too close. But, will the resurrection of Katherine’s ex-husband and Mitchell’s chase for a killer destroy their second chance at love and happiness?
Now, here's a little info on Donna:
She lives in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, her children, and some great haunts. She’s a mom, a ‘gramma’, a wife, a friend, an avid reader and writer. When she’s not occupied with all that, she loves traveling to Playa del Carmen and Jamaica.
An FBI agent discovers more than embezzling and murder when he takes on the kidnapping case of a daughter he never knew he had.
Now here's a sample of Donna's novel, yep, it'll draw you in wanting more and more from this author:
They followed the paramedic toward the ambulance while Gladys and the other woman continued to talk.
He’d had a nightmare in the early hours before Gladys’ call had awakened him. The Camaro from his dream sat in the same exact spot. Aidan pointed out the car and told Mitchell he had to save ‘her’, whoever that might be. He figured he was about to find out. If, in fact, he wasn’t losing his marbles.
As they rounded the corner to the back of the ambulance, Gladys stopped short causing Mitchell to nearly colliding into her. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” he croaked, and then cleared his raw throat. “What’s the victim’s name?”
The paramedic shook her head, blonde ponytail swishing. “We don’t know. Haven’t found any ID yet, and she’s a little confused. Has a nasty bump to the head.”
He let Gladys climb aboard. Her upward movement stopped in midair, one leg dangling a little too close to Mitchell’s jewels. He jumped back as she whipped around, almost losing her balance. In a barely audible tone, she said, “I know her.”
“You know practically the entire town.” Mitchell gestured toward the victim. “Say something. Who is she?”
Her gaze stared off in the distance above his head. “It’s just so weird. It’s the widow whose husband drove off that bridge.” She pointed toward Jenkins Bridge, the old wooden-covered overpass in the distance.
An icy chill ran up his spine. Gladys moved aside, giving him full view of Katherine Delaney. She may be battered and bloody, but Mitchell could never forget her face, her high cheekbones, or the tiny, turned up nose. Shit.
Their eyes met, and his chest instantly tightened, his throat constricting. Something was wrong. She seemed to stare through him. Surely, she recognized him. He hadn’t changed that much. He managed to find his voice. “Hello.”
Katherine closed her dazzling emerald eyes. “What happened?”
He put his trembling hands behind his back interlocking them. “You were in an accident. What’s your name?”
She shook her head, the confusion apparent..
“It’s all right. This is Detective Freeman and I’m Detective Donovan.” Would the name register?
If it did, she didn’t react. She closed her eyes and turned her head away from them.
The paramedic announced, “Gonna have to finish this at the hospital after the doctor examines her.”
Mitchell reluctantly backed away allowing Gladys to jump down. Once the ambulance left, Mitchell said, “She didn’t recognize me.” Hundreds of miles apart and fifteen years later, and none of that mattered anymore. He wanted to wrap his arms around her and protect her. What was her life like now? Did she still live on the ranch with Aidan’s mother? Or did she have another whole life somewhere else?
Would she be okay? What if something happened to her? He couldn’t think like that. He wouldn’t.
“You know her?”
Of course he had. When he left Addison, he had been running from the hurt they’d caused one another. And his mother’s death. And his own demons.. “You keep forgetting. I grew up in this town.”
“What’s your connection?”
He didn’t want to get into his and Katherine’s complicated past at the moment. “We went to school together. Her husband, Aidan, and I were best friends.”
Gladys’ milk chocolate eyes grew large. “Oh wow. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. That was a long time ago.” Life goes on.
You can find Donna at:
On facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/shieldsdonna
On Twitter: @Donna_Shields
On SMP’s Author Blog: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/
You can buy Secrets of Jenkins Bridge at: http://soulmatepublishing.com
Coming soon to Amazon and Barnes and Noble also.
Now, let's get into the nitty gritty of the author and her answers to my interview questions:
1.) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? In 6th grade. My English teacher gave us an assignment where we had to write a short story with all the major elements. I instantly fell in love with writing right then.
2.) What type of genre do you write in? I write in both romantic suspense and paranormal romance.
3.) What inspires you to write in this genre? I’m a sucker for plot twists and if ghosts and other paranormal pieces are a part of the story, even better.
4.) Where to you get your ideas for your writing? They come to me in all different ways. But, usually when I’m driving down the road, working out on the treadmill, or in a dream.
5.) Who are your favorite authors and why? Patricia Cornwell, Tom Clancy, John Grisham because they write suspense well. And of course my all time favorite author is Stephen King for his epic imagination and going where not too many authors will go. His is endless.
6.) In your opinion, what key parts of a story make it great? The struggle for romance between the hero and heroine and the conflicts.
7.) What activities do you undertake for inspiration? Believe it or not, just surfing the web through news stories can trigger a great idea for me.
8.) Do you belong to any writing communities, or critique groups? I belong to Up and Coming Writers Group, Soul Mate Publishing Authors Group, and Chapter by Chapter critique group. I’m also a member and moderator over at Savvy Authors.
9.) Do you have a day job? Yes, I’m a full time warehouse receiver. My husband and I also own a motorcycle repair shop, and as if all of that and my writing isn’t enough, we’re going to be starting another business – an auction site.
10.) If you could do it over again, what aspects of the writing/submission process would you change before becoming published? I would’ve had a synopsis all prepared.
11.) What is the title of your upcoming/newly released novel, and where can we find it? Secrets of Jenkins Bridge can be found over at http://soulmatepublishing.com/secrets-of-jenkins-bridge
Donna, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be here on my blog today, good luck with all your writing endevors, and I wish all the success :)
Monday, February 13, 2012
1.) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
The Tell-Tale Heart. To a fifth grader who had never been exposed to secular books, T.V., music, or anything that did not expressly glorify God, Edgar Allan Poe was riveting and I was in love. Yeah, I said it. My first crush was an old dead guy named Edgar. And that’s what we call rebellion, people! - Great answer, it seems dead guys are hot these days. I'm a fan of vamps myself :)
2.) What type of genre do you write in?
Romantic science fiction and fantasy. Ooh! Doesn’t that sound professional? All bright and shiny. I thought about saying, science fiction and fantasy romance but chose to put the romance first because I write and sell mostly romance and erotic romance. Leave it to a writer (over?) analyze the correct placement of words. - Yep, we certainly do.
3.) What inspires you to write in this genre?
I love the escapist elements in fantasy and sci fi mixed with the realist elements that make-up a romantic relationship. Now, I have a character who likes to say that all romance is fantasy, but she’s jaded while I’m more of an optimist…or a hopeless romantic, depends on who you ask. Wait. What was the question? Right, inspiration. I am inspired by my love for science fiction, my love for fantasy, my love for love (or romance). And like The Beatles sang, “All you need is love.”
4.) Where do you get your ideas for your writing?
Oh, no! I hate this question because I always draw a blank. Okay, let me try to explain myself. I’m an obsessive. I fixate on an idea, a person, place, thing, and go over it repeatedly, wear it down until suddenly a new idea, a new person, place, thing, is born. But by the time I get there, by the time I’m pregnant with this new spark of life, I no longer remember how I got knocked-up in the first place. I have great feel, taste, and smell memory but sight and sound, not so much.
5.) Do you belong to any writing communities, or critique groups?
My first critique group was local with a large group of authors that split over a disagreement that I wasn't there to witness. The smaller group I joined right after the break-up had three other writers, but it soon dropped to two, then me and one other. The first to go was a man who was very analytical. He loved to do the research and world-build, but he had no interest in characterization, plotting, or telling a fully-developed story. The second writer was a gifted storyteller who became clinically depressed and dropped out of everything in her life, which included the group. The third writer refused to accept feedback from anyone except editors, agents, or (multi-published) authors so unless I found a typo, she disregarded my weekly critique. Eventually, I gave up trying to convince her that my feedback held value and dropped out of what was left of my local group. Since its slow, painful demise, I have joined CritiqueCircle, a lively online critique group. You’ll meet all kinds there, and even the least experienced writer can give valuable feedback. Like everything else in life, you just have to be open to it.
6.) What is the title of your upcoming/newly released novel, and where can we find it?
Ellora’s Cave Blush published my latest release, a science fiction romance titled Revolution Lovers, which chronicles the story of a disabled veteran soldier, Adie, and a dethroned prince, Zin, who have to work together to save their planet, which is occupied by their enemy. Adie is my favorite character out of any story I’ve ever written. She’s a total bitch and so much fun to play with. A few paragraphs into her story, she let me know that what I wanted didn’t matter. She had her own story to tell and I could either tell it for her or forget about her cooperation. Zin balances Adie, understand her, loves her. And after all horror in her life, he’s exactly what she needs.
Ellora’s Cave Aeon will publish my next release, Intimate Enemy, a science fiction erotic romance featuring a naïve but gutsy female in search of the leader of an underground movement in the hopes that he’ll help rescue her cousin and provide them both a safe place to hide. Instead she finds her intimate—the one male in the universe who matches her mind, body and soul—who doesn’t want her any more than she wants him. I had a lot of fun writing it because the characters are wild and wacky bunch.
Thank you for participating in my author interview. Good luck with your future projects, i can't wait to read Revolution Lovers, definitely a must read :)
Monday, February 6, 2012
Shelly: I’m sitting here with Sara Friedman, who became an overnight sensation when a video of her vowing to meet and marry her soul mate by her thirtieth birthday got more than a million hits on YouTube. Thanks for joining us today, Sara.
Sara: Thanks for inviting me, Shelly!
Shelly: You’ve had quite a year. Can you tell us what it’s been like for you?
Sara: It’s been surreal, to say the very least.
Shelly: For those who may not have seen the video, tell them what happened on your twenty-ninth birthday.
Sara: I was a bridesmaid in my younger brother’s wedding. I was my twenty-ninth birthday. I was still miserably single, so I brought my best friend Missy as my date. Anyway, I hadn’t eaten anything since the four donuts I scarfed down earlier that morning and the champagne was really good. I got a little tipsy and before I could stop myself, my impromptu toast to my brother and his wife became a pledge to meet and marry my soul by my thirtieth birthday. Embarrassing myself in front of three hundred wedding guests was bad enough, but then someone put a video of my toast up on YouTube and suddenly millions of people got to watch the most humiliating moment of my life. When the Morning show called and asked to chronicle my search for the year, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it. Missy told me to and I always do what she says, so the next thing I know, I’m being interviewed by Bethany Williams on National television and writing a blog about my experiences for the show. Like I said, surreal.
Shelly: Why do you think the video resonated with so many people?
Sara: At first, I thought people just liked the video because they enjoyed watching a fat girl making a fool out of herself at her brother’s wedding. But my opinion changed over the year. There are so many women searching for someone to complete them. We think if we find “the one,” he’ll fill that void inside us. This year taught me that isn’t true. We have to be complete before we can honestly love another with our whole heart. I’m not sure I would have learned that lesson if it circumstances had played out differently.
Shelly: How did you search for your soul mate?
Sara: I used an online dating site called JDate and joined a dating service. Missy made up rules for me to follow and one was that I had to accept every offer of a date. I met a few nice guys, but on the whole…Let’s put it this way. There are some odd men out there.
Shelly: Did you meet your goal of finding and marrying your soul mate before you turned thirty?
Sara: I can’t tell you that! If I do, you won’t buy the book!
Shelly: Fair enough. What advice do you have for single women looking for “Mr. Right?”
Sara: For any goal, you can’t sit back and wait for it to happen. You have to make it happen. Whether it’s meeting your soul mate, writing a book, or curing world hunger, you have to invest your energy, time, and passion into it. Make a plan and follow it. If you hit a roadblock, don’t just go around it. Study it, examine it, and dissect what it is that really is holding you back. Because what it may be, just might surprise you.
Shelly: Where can readers find more information about A Year to Remember?
Sara: A Year to Remember follows a food addict’s journey to recovery under the watchful eye of the nation and is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Soul Mate Publishing.
Shelly: Thank you for sharing your story with us today. For contests, news, and an excerpt please visit http://www.shellybellbooks.com/.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
I'm also on Goodreads, a great site to discuss with readers what they like, what works, and what doesn't. Phew, I could use 40 hours every day and I just may get everything done that I set out to when I get up in the morning lol.