New Excerpt and a Giveaway!

When you lose your mom when you’re little, it’s hard. But you miss her even more when your dad has to buy you your first bra.

I’m so excited! The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave will be out Oct. 31st. I think you’ll love Riley Smith as much as you loved Kylie Galen.  Yup, they have a lot in common. One thing is that they both see ghosts—but both girls also have a lot of baggage to deal with. Riley lost her mom when she was young, and that’s bee difficult, especially when her dad had to be both her dad and mom.

If you pre-order The Mortician’s Daughter, you’ll get it for a special price. So head over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and pre-order it today.

EXCERPT FROM THE MORTICIAN’S DAUGHTER

I’d always gotten a feeling Dad didn’t know how to parent a daughter. My first bra and the whole starting-my-period experience almost killed him. And not once has he said the word “sex.”

Working on that Mustang gave us something in common.

“Speaking of cars,” Dad says, smiling, “I’m about to make your day.”

“Really?”

“Yup. I got your insurance card in the mail.”

“Yes!” I do a little victory dance in my chair. When he lost his last job, he had to cut the insurance on my car, so I haven’t been able to drive it for almost two months.

“So I can drive it to school tomorrow?” I ask and squeal a little.

“Yeah.” He chuckles. “You and that car.”

Thrilled I don’t have to walk to school anymore, I dish a big bite of stew into my mouth and taste it for the first time. It’s good. “You sure you don’t want a bowl?”

“No.” He sips his water. I eat.

The almost empty echo in the house reminds me how big it is. All our houses in the past have been small, older. They seemed to fit us better.

“Have you made any friends at school?” Dad asks.

I almost lie, then decide against it. “Not really.” A sudden puff of steam rises from my bowl. A chill runs down my spine. I continue to eat and ignore it. Pumpkin hauls ass out from under the table and darts under the sofa. Dad frowns.

“You should put yourself out there more. Make some friends.”

I point my spoon at him and force my eyes to stay on him. Just him. “Says the man who never puts himself out there.”

“I’m around people all the time.”

“Dead people don’t count.” I lift a brow and take another bite.

“Not just dead people.” He turns the water bottle in his hand. “Did you get into the honors classes you wanted for next semester?”

I think so,” I say. Good grades mean a possible scholarship. I’m going to need one. My next intake of air brings with it a hint of jasmine. I remember smelling it earlier. Dad leans back in his chair.

“There’s an antique car show going on downtown this weekend. I thought we’d go. Hang out. Talk cars with people.”

“Great idea.” I finish my last bite of stew and go rinse out the bowl and put it in the dishwasher. Then I pull out containers to store the leftovers.

Giveaway!

This week I’m giving away a signed copy of The Mortician’s Daughter to one person who leave a comment. (Sorry, but this giveaway is for U.S. residents only. If you’re reading this on Goodreads, you must leave your comment on my blog to enter this giveaway.)

Winner!

The winner of last week’s giveaway of a USB with The Mortician’s Daughter on it, is Fiona Sutton. Congratulations! Please email me with your postal address at cc@cchunterbooks.com.

Halloween!

Halloween is coming. It will be here soon. I have my ceramic pumpkin that I put a candle in and set out on the thirty-first, but I unfortunately, we don’t’ get a lot of trick or treaters. Still, my husband uses that as an excuse to bring home candy.  Right now there are packs of peanut M&Ms calling my name in a kitchen drawer.

 

 

I recently read a few surprising statistics about this beloved holiday, so I thought I’d share them with you.

  • More than 35 million pounds of candy corn are sold annually. That equates to nearly 9 million pieces, enough to circle the moon 21 times! (Didn’t think that many people liked it.)
  • Fifty per cent of American homes decorate their yards for Halloween.
  • U.S. growers produce over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins every year. That’s twice the weight of the Empire State Building!
  • A pumpkin grown in 2010 weighed 1,850 pounds—as much s a dairy cow or half the weight of a small car.
  • There are36 million children in the U.S. between the ages of 3 and 13—the prime ages for trick or treating.
  • Reese’s is the number one Halloween candy with $509.86 million in sales. Number 2 is M & Ms.

Well, was there ever any doubt that Reese’s reigned supreme in the world of Halloween candy? That didn’t surprise me.

So, most scholars believe Halloween came out of the Celtic holiday Samhain (pronounced Sah-win), their biggest holiday. The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living. That’s why we see little trick or treaters in ghost costumes.

But for some people ghosts aren’t only around on Halloween. Riley Smith in The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave has more of a year round ghost problem. Guess her ghosts haven’t listened to the scholars, so they keep showing up in her life—and not always when she’s fully dressed! That can lead to some embarrassing moments, especially when the ghost is a hot, young guy named Hayden. But Riley’s job is to help these troubled souls move on, and she knows she’ll have to help Hayden move on, too. But what if she can’t let him go?

Pre-order The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave today at its special pre-order price and save!

You can buy The Mortician’s Daughter at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Giveaway!

I’m giving away another USB with The Mortician’s Daughter on it. It’s an 8GB USB, so there is room for more information on it. So, I’ll give one USB away to one person who answers this question: What is the best Halloween costume you ever wore?

(Sorry, but this giveaway is for U.S. residents only. And if you’re reading this on Goodreads, you must leave your comment on my website blog.)

Winners!

Last week’s winner of a USB with The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave on it is Meghann Sherman. The winner of This Heart of Mine is Mikayla Maynard. Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com with your postal address. Congratulations!

The One and Only Time I Made Money Taking Off My Clothes

(Warning This Title May be Misleading.)

The one and only time I made money taking off my clothes was in a fifth-grade school bathroom.   A certain girl, a bully, kept accusing me of stuffing my bra.  Yeah, by eleven, I was a B cup.  After weeks of torment from this girl, one day she pulled out a five-dollar bill and announced with snark and sass—in front of about fifteen girls—that she would give me that money if I would go in the bathroom and prove I didn’t have tissue in my bra.

People were watching, and for the first time, I wasn’t just embarrassed, I was furious.  So I dropped my books on my desk, and said “Come on!”

The two of us went into a stall.  I yanked my top up, lifted up my bra, then I grabbed the $5 bill and left that bathroom holding that bill out like a trophy for everyone to see.

That was one of the two times that I felt I’d bested a bully.  The other was in seventh grade and actually resulted in a fight.  I was the quiet girl, being dyslexic, I felt as if I wasn’t as smart or as cute as my peers. I know I wore my insecurity on my sleeves.  Which made me a target.  And this particular girl had tormented me for over two years.  I didn’t make money that time—I kept my clothes on—and I can’t even tell you if I won that fight.  Oh, but I remember being summoned to the principal’s office.

Of course this girl said I’d started it and made me out to be the bully.  When he informed me that because he didn’t know who was telling the truth, both this girl and I were suspended, I was so outraged that I found some courage.  I pointed out that I was certain this girl had been in his office numerous times for this very offense, because duh, she was a school bully.

With fire in my belly and leaking out in my voice, I asked him to find my records and tell me all the times I’d been in his office.  “What’s wrong?” I asked him, when he didn’t turn to the file cabinet.  “Maybe it’s because I’ve never been in your office?  And you still don’t know who you can trust?”

He listened to me.  Then he rescinded my punishment, but not for the school bully.

I like to remember those two times when I somehow found my voice and the courage to stand up for myself.  Recently I had a conversation with someone about my writing young adult novels. I told her one reason I felt I could write relatable teen characters was because I hated being a teen.  She laughed and told me that she, too, hated high school.

Today, I’ve tapped into my self-confidence.  I’m no longer quiet, and I’m comfortable with who I am.  I think writing did that for me.  But when I look back at my younger years, I get angry at my younger self for all the times I didn’t defend myself. Sadly, this isn’t just something that happened back then.  It’s something that’s happening today. So many teens lack self-esteem and confidence.

I also know that the bullies are probably dealing with the same kind of low self-esteem.  They bully to feel better about themselves.  Not that it’s okay.

I often ponder why so many teen girls deal with this.  Is it society’s view that all females should be pretty and beautiful? That we know the perfect standard and know we don’t measure up? Can bad body images cause this?  Or is it more?  Was my own self-doubt caused from being dyslexic and feeling less intelligent than my peers? Was it because I matured early and that caused bullies to attack me? Or is it all of the above?  Whatever it is, I wish I could fix it for all the girls today.

While it isn’t a cure, I hope by writing characters with their own insecurities, by showing my fictional heroines finding the strength to stand up for themselves, I’m offering girls a chance to tap into their own self-confidence.

Both Riley Smith in The Mortician’s Daughter and Leah McKenzie in This Heart of Mine are confronted by bullies.  Both find a kernel of courage to confront those bullies, to hold their chins high, and to use their voices to defend themselves against people who treat them as if they don’t matter.

As a teen, did you suffer from self-esteem?  Or, are you a teen now and suffer from it?  Have you ever had to stand up to a bully?  Do you have any advice for others who face these issues?

Winner!

The winner of last week’s giveaway is Theresa. Congratulations! Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com with your postal address. (You have until Oct. 17th to claim your prize.)

Giveaway!

This week, I’m giving away an ARC of This Heart of Mine and a USB with The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave on it to two people who leave a comment.

(Sorry, but this giveaway is for U.S. residents only. And if you’re reading this on Goodreads, you must leave your comment on my website blog.)

World Premiere!

I just got the book trailer to The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave and I couldn’t wait until my regular Tuesday blog to share it with you!!! Just click or tap on the video to get it to play.

Her dad’s job is with the dead . . . and he’s bringing his work home with him.

Once again,seventeen-year-old Riley Smith is the new kid in school and her dad’s career has her back to being dubbed a freak. Truth is, she’s a much bigger freak than her classmates think. The only company she keeps these days is the dead who follow Dad home from work. She can see them. She can speak to them. And Fate seems to think she can help them solve their last problems so that they can move on to the other side. Which is odd, because with the loss of her mother and her father’s alcoholism, she’s got enough problems of her own.

But nothing could prepare her for the next tormented young spirit who darkens Riley’s door. The young woman’s death wasn’t the accident everyone believes. Soon Riley finds herself face-to-face with the killer and her only protection comes in the form of another spirit, Hayden, a boy her age with a heart-melting smile and understanding eyes that make her feel safe. If she can escape becoming the killer’s next victim, Riley knows she’ll have to help Hayden move on too, but what if she can’t let him go?

Three Thing You’ll Learn From The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave

  1. It’s not just the parents who worry about their teens.  The teens also worry about their parents.
  2. Not all ghosts are scary.  Some of them are sweet, caring, and would be the best boyfriend, if only they were alive.
  3. Being the new kid in school is hard.  But when you’re in the twelfth grade and your father in the town’s mortician it can be terrifying.

Giveaway!

Have you ever been the new kid school?  Or have you ever been in a situation that were the newcomer and found it hard to make friends?  I’ll give away a USB card with The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave on it to one person who leaves a comment.

(Unfortunately, this giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only. And if you are reading this on Goodreads, you must go to my blog page to comment in order to enter this giveaway.)

The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave is available for pre-order at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Winners!

Last week, I gave you two chances to win a giveaway. Thanks to everyone who entered. Sonja, you have won a copy of Haven by Mary Lindsey and Courtney H., you’ve won a copy of This Heart of Mine. Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com with your mailing address. Congratulations!

Best Friends Giveaway!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know what I’d do without my friends. I have been truly blessed. They have been there for me through all kinds of weird s**t. Bad day.  Bad month.  Bad flu.  Bad boyfriends.  Bad husband.  (Yup, I had one of those before I met my hubby today.)

So, I guess it’s no surprise that friendship is always a strong theme in my books. What would Kylie, Della and Miranda do if they didn’t have each other? How many times did they save each other’s butts? And who can forget their Diet Cokes around the table as they talked out their problems and helped each other with solutions? In The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave, Riley finds a best friend, too. Kelsey is a bit prickly at first.  Oh, but soon she standing up for Riley.  Which leads Riley to stand up for her. It’s a shame that a fight erupts and Riley ends up with pretty black, blue and purple eye.  Then there’s her other friend, Hayden.  The only problem is that he’s dead. But she finds herself relying on him more and more as time goes by, even though she knows she’ll have to let him go.

On February 27th, This Heart of Mine comes out, and like the rest of my books, friendship plays a pivotal role. Leah MacKenzie’s best friend is Brandy. And Brandy is the friend who has stuck by her through her through thick and thin and even her heart problems. She’s the one friend that makes Leah feel like a normal teen. They share their problems and their dreams, even though Leah doesn’t expect to realize any of her dreams.

Last week, I gave you sneak peek of Riley and Kelsey’s world. So, are you ready to meet Leah and Brandy? Ready to be drawn into Leah’s world? I have great news for you! Follow the link HERE, download the PDF and you can read the first chapter of This Heart of Mine.

 

 

Giveaway 1!

Speaking of friends, one of my friends, Mary Lindsey has a book coming out called Haven on November 1st, right after The Mortician’s Daughter.  I’ve read it guys, and all I can say is WOW.  It’s up for pre-order at Amazon and I recommend you go snag a copy.  You won’t be disappointed! Because I love this book so much, I’m giving away a hard cover copy to someone who leaves a comment.

Giveaway 2!

I’m giving away one copy of This Heart of Mine to someone who leaves a comment and tells me about one of their friends.

Winners!                                        

The winners of last week’s giveaway are Isabela Salcedo & Ally. Please email me at cc@cchunterbooks.com with your mailing address so I can send you The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave on a USB stick.

Here’s to reading.  Here’s to best friends.

Excerpt and a Contest!

Are you ready to meet Riley Smith?

If you loved Kylie’s compassionate side, Della’s spirit, and Miranda’s zaniness, you are going to love Riley.  She’s spunky.  She’s spirited.  She’s full of sass.  And she sees dead people.

It won’t be long until The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave is released on Oct. 31st. Yes, that’s Halloween, and that seems appropriate since Riley Smith sees ghosts. She even tries to help them resolve their problems and finally cross over. But not all ghosts are easy to help, and some aren’t easy to let go of.

And . . . for you guys who can’t live without a print copy, The Mortician’s Daughter will also be out in print.  More details about that soon!

Her dad’s job is with the dead . . . and he’s bringing his work home with him.

Once again, seventeen-year-old Riley Smith is the new kid in school and her dad’s career has her back to being dubbed a freak. Truth is, she’s a much bigger freak than her classmates think. The only company she keeps these days is the dead who follow Dad home from work. She can see them. She can speak to them. And Fate seems to think she can help them solve their last problems so that they can move on to the other side. Which is odd, because with the loss of her mother and her father’s alcoholism, she’s got enough problems of her own.

But nothing could prepare her for the next tormented young spirit who darkens Riley’s door. The young woman’s death wasn’t the accident everyone believes. Soon Riley finds herself face-to-face with the killer and her only protection comes in the form of another spirit, Hayden, a boy her age with a heart-melting smile and understanding eyes that make her feel safe. If she can escape becoming the killer’s next victim, Riley knows she’ll have to help Hayden move on too, but what if she can’t let him go?

If you’d like to read an excerpt from The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave, just click HERE. 

Did you know One Foot in the Grave is only the first of three books in the series? Oh yeah, Riley Smith is going to be hanging out with me for a while. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy her company as much as I do. And for those of you who want a print version, well, the print version is now up for pre-order! You can get it at Amazon.

Contest!!

I’m giving away two USB drives with The Mortician’s Daughter: One Foot in the Grave on it. I love these.  Plus, it has extra room for you to store other things. To enter share the link to to the excerpt on your own social media page and leave me a post here saying you did it.

 

 

 

 

Houston & Hearts

So many lives have been upended in Houston by Hurricane Harvey.  My heart breaks when I see the news. My family and I are all fine, and for that, I am so grateful.  For any of my fans in Houston, my heart and thoughts go out to you. The spirit of Texas is alive and well in all the volunteers that have come together to help others.  In so many ways it is this spirit that inspired the life force of Shadow Falls and the characters in my many novels.  Thank you for being fans and here’s to the power of human kindness. If you’re looking for a way to help, donate HERE to the Red Cross.

I’ve talked before about my husband’s kidney transplant. At one time, he was lined up to get both a kidney and a heart.  We had to take classes and we learned about all kinds of transplants.  Hubby ended up getting the kidney and his heart improved.  We are grateful for every extra day that has given us. Here are some of the things I learned.  Did you know that about 3,000 people in the United States are on the waiting list for a heart transplant on any given day? And only about 2,000 donor hearts are available each year. Wait times vary from days to several months and will depend on a recipient’s blood type and condition.

An organ transplant can save a person’s life. I think it’s safe to say this young man appreciates his heart transplant. Just watching this video brought tears to my eyes. I hope he has a long, healthy life. I hope he keeps dancing.

Like this teenager, Leah needs a heart transplant in This Heart of Mine. So, when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life—and love. This Heart of Mine is available for pre-order now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM, Indie Bound and Powells.

Do you know anyone that’s has had an organ transplant?

FIGHTING BACK Release Day!

Today is the release of Kylie and Lucas’ final chapter, Fighting Back. Previously only available to those who pre-ordered Miranda’s book, Fighting Back is now for sale for only 99 cents. The story returns to Kylie and Lucas as they try to navigate graduating high school and the changes that come with spreading your wings and growing up. In Fighting Back, they  face their biggest challenge yet.

 

 

 

 

 

Kylie Galen has never questioned her love for Lucas Parker.

Until now.

Ghosts.  Danger.  Murder.

Discover how far Kylie will go to save the man, her relationship, and the life of the werewolf she loves.

So if you didn’t get a copy of Fighting Back, go snag one now at Amazon. And if you feel so inclined please leave a review. I’d really appreciate it.

RWNZ HEART TO HEART INTERVIEW

I’m still in New Zealand.  The RWNZ Conference was amazing, and I had the best time. I met so many wonderful people and made some forever friends. RWNZ interviewed me before I went over there, and I thought they asked me some interesting questions. So, I’m sharing it with you.

  1. How do you juggle your multiple writing personas and keep everything straight in your mind?

I keep the two writing personas in separate rooms and one doesn’t even know the other exists.  As for the second part of that question, who says I keep anything straight in my mind.  LOL.

As for having two different writing personas.  The hardest part of the juggling is feeding the two different dragons/genres. Making sure I put out books in a timely manner so the readers don’t forget me.  I try to do two books of each a year, but I don’t always accomplish that.

A lot of people assume that I use two different voices.  But I don’t really feel that I do.  Actually, when I was asked to write my Young Adult series, the editor made it clear that she didn’t want me to change my voice.  So as I started writing the Shadow Falls series, all I did was change the age of the characters and pull character traits from someone in my protagonist’s stage of life.  Because St. Martins also wanted it to be paranormal, I added magical elements.  All of my books contain a blend of heart, humor, mystery/suspense and a sexy tone.  Some books are stronger on heart than they are on humor, all of my books are sexy, but some are just more explicit than others.  Some plots focus more on the suspense elements. Each book, depending on character and targeted audience, will be heavier on one element more than the other.  I just sold an adult Romantic Suspense trilogy that will be more suspense than humor.

  1. Do you write your different types of books in parallel or sequentially?

I’m definitely a one-book-at-a-time person.  I may be working on one and have to do the copy edits on the other, but for the most part when I’m in a book, I don’t jump to another.  I know a lot of writers who can do this, but I’m not one of them.

  1. Romance writing never used to be humorous because jokes were supposed to kill the mood. But we’ve lightened up now – how do you feel humour enhances the romance?

I totally disagree that humor kills the mood.  First, there have been studies to what women and men find most attractive about a mate.  The majority said a sense of humor.  Second, love is supposed to be fun.  Have you ever really noticed someone who is just falling in love? They go around day and night wearing that stupid grin.  Love makes us happy.  I believe it was Jennifer Crusie who said something like, you’d better write a character who you wouldn’t mind being locked in closet with for four or five days, because that’s what you are asking of your readers.  To stop their lives for however long it takes them to read your book and spend time alone with your story people.  Let me tell you, if I was locked in a closet with someone who was solemn, serious, and acted as if they had a stick up their rear, I’d go crazy.  Give me someone who can laugh, joke, and is fun to be around.

As for how humor enhances romance.  Laughter releases feel good hormones in our mind.  Falling in love releases even more hormones.  By writing humor and love in our books, we offer readers a double dose of an irresistible cocktail of fun hormones.

  1. We can still add naked, tattooed guys, right?

Oh, yeah, we can have all the naked tattooed guys, with tattoos where we didn’t even know men got tattoos.  You don’t need to be writing a romantic comedy to use humor in your books.  Humor should be part of real life just as it should be part of our fiction.  Think of Steel Magnolias or Fried Green Tomatoes.  I took the advice from my grandmother, “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.”  I’ve given this advice to every character I’ve created.

  1. What’s been your proudest moment as an author?

Oh, that’s a hard question.  Part of me wants to say it’s the feeling I get every time I finish a book, because there’s nothing like that feeling. Another part of me hopes it’s one that hasn’t happened yet.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some real proud moments: finishing and selling over 40 books, making the New York Times list, making RWA’s Honor Roll and being a RITA finalist.  That said, I’m a firm believer that if we ever stop trying to reach for our next big goal, if we stop learning or stop challenging ourselves, we shrivel up, get old, grumpy and sad.

  1. You’ve co-written a humorous self-help relationship book – can reading romance genuinely help with relationships or does it give unrealistic expectations as critics claim?

It’s been proven that married women who read romance have more sex than those who don’t. It’s said that reading romance can rekindle our belief in love.  Romance novels show strong women standing up for what they want. They show heroines and heroes, most of whom have had bad relationships and who have overcome that pain, willing to give love another shot.  I don’t think I’ve read a romance in a long time that made it sound like all you needed was love.  In these novels there’s conflict, compromise, and a couple learning how to make each other happy.  There’s also great sex.  Can anyone claim those are bad things for which to aspire?

As for your question about romance books being unrealistic. It’s true.  Romance novels are fiction. We don’t hang around these fictional couples long enough to write about how the man starts leaving the toilet seat up, and how he’s flexing his muscles while nude in front of a mirror and becomes more of an eye roller than a sight for sore eyes.  Or about how we women may put on some pounds and get a few stretch marks. My husband and I have been married thirty-three years.  We’ve argued, disagreed, I’ve been known to nag some and he farts in bed.  Most of the time, sex isn’t mind blowing, but it’s still good.  Yet, we’ve stuck by each other, we respect each other, and we support each other. Now, if I had to write our story, I’d take out some of the nags, farts, and add more mind-blowing sex—I’d probably leave the naked flexing in front of the mirror.  Heck, I might even leave in the farting—but the most important part of our story would be the love and devotion. And that is not unrealistic.

  1. You’re from the heart of the American South, Alabama. How do you feel that’s influenced your writing?

My fans tell me I have a southern voice.  It makes sense.  Southern is what I know.  I have southern beliefs.  I’m kind, and even when pissed, it takes a lot to make me say more than, “Bless her heart!” And as my grandmother said, “Every southern gal must know how to fry a mean bird.”  Most of my characters are southern.  But I think the biggest way it has influenced my writing is that I’m a storyteller.  When we went to see my grandfather, we would sit around on the floor and we’d listen to him tell stories.  At the dinner table we told stories.  And they’d better be interesting.  It didn’t matter if you had to fictionalize them some, the stories needed to be intriguing.

  1. You seem to have a real passion for educating and motivating people. Where did that stem from, and what do you love about it?

I’m dyslexic and while storytelling might be a natural talent, writing wasn’t.  I had to learn to write.  And it was no easy feat.  It took me ten years to sell my first book.  And thirteen more before I sold my second.  I don’t have the educational background of some writers.  I’m self-educated, and I mainly taught myself to write by dissecting books.  Although I do have to say, I learned a lot by attending meetings through RWA over the years. But being dyslexic, I learned to persevere.  Writing is so important to me, that I want to share that passion. I think passion is the key element to teaching.

  1. Apart from speaking to us, what else are you looking forward to at this year’s #Love Romance Writers NZ Conference?

I love traveling.  I’ve been to France, South America, China, England and Denmark.  Now while I love seeing landmarks, history, and beautiful landscapes, what I love most is getting to know the people.  My Denmark trip stands out because the librarians who brought me out, took me into their homes and I got to know them. I got to peek into the real lives of Danish people. I learned how they live, their passions, their way of life.  I look forward to getting to know the people in New Zealand.

  1. If you had to give budding romance writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

Three pieces of advice.

  • Never stop learning. I know writers who stop reading, stop studying how-to books, or stop attending conferences.  We are in the entertainment business.  It changes so fast, that even if you just slow down on learning, you might get left behind.
  • Don’t write in a vacuum. I’ve heard some people say, all you need to do is write, write, write.  And that good advice.  But if you’re the only one who reads your work before you send it out, you might not realize the mistakes you are making.  Find people you trust to read your work and offer a critique.  And don’t give it to people who will love anything you write, you need honesty.
  • Never, ever give up. I have published 36 books and have sold four more and have a three-book Indie trilogy in the works.  And I will tell you out front that I didn’t accomplish what I have because I’m the best writer.  I accomplished it because I never gave up, I kept writing, learning, and listened to people’s honest evaluation of my work.

And five fun quick, questions to end on…

.1 If you could bring one fictional character to life, who would it be and why?

Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web.  I would be scared shitless because I’m terrified of spiders.  But that was the first chapter book I ever read.  And there was something about her characterization that I fell in love with.  I think all my characters have a little of Charlotte in them.

  1. What is your favourite word (it can be a curse word)?

Okay, the southern gal in me is trying to get me to lie.  But I will be honest.  It’s shit.  It was my father’s favorite word.  And what can I say, I’m a daddy’s girl.

  1. What word would you like never to hear again?

Can’t.  I hate it when someone tells me or someone else they “can’t” do something.  It makes me want to prove them wrong.

  1. What is your secret (or not so secret now) guilty pleasure?

Wine.

  1. Sneakers, boots or high heels?

Sneakers.


So I hope you enjoyed this interview, and maybe learned something new about me. As I said, I’m still in NZ, and I’m having a blast. I’m taking lots of pictures and I’ll share them with you when I get home.

I’m Off to New Zealand

I’m on my way to New Zealand, and I’m so excited about it. New Zealand is about as far away from Texas as you can get without getting closer. It’s about 2,500 miles off the East Coast of Australia and about 7,500 miles from Houston. Last year, RWNZ contacted me and asked if I would be a Keynote speaker at their conference August 18-20, 2017. Did I have to think about it? No way! I accepted immediately. So, I’m off to New Zealand this week for the RWNZ Conference at the Novotel Lakeside Hotel in Rotorua, which is on the north island of New Zealand. The area is known for its geothermal character with geysers and hot mud bath. It’s also known for its wines, so I’m looking forward to tasting some new wines. And Hubby is going with me, so we are planning on exploring the entire area while we are there. I promise I’ll take photos and share them with you.