Monday, December 12, 2016

Joanne Dannon & Indie Publishing

Please welcome Joanne Dannon to the blog today!
I started my writing career in 2005 when most books were read in print and self publishing was virtually unheard of. I loved romance, always have, so it was only natural that I would start writing in the genre I loved.
I have to confess that back in 2005 I had no idea what I was doing. Yes, there are some authors who can write and have their first book is published. But I wasn’t one of those writers.
I learnt what writing craft was and started reading as many craft books as I could. I connected with other writers  (through  Romance Writers  of Australia) and soon had a couple of critique partners who provided honest and valuable feedback on my writing.
Fast forward a few years and I was managing to write one novel a year. Not a lot but then I had two children, my corporate job and a hubby who travelled a lot. I had plenty of rejections from romance publishers which was difficult and many times I considered to stop writing. 
I then took six weeks off work, did a Margie Lawson course with a friend and with my newly found confidence, I wrote the story and the hero I wanted to write. 
Note - this book was published in December 2015 as Kisses under the Spotlight which currently has 4.7/ 5 star ranking on Amazon.
Instead of a hero who was a banker or CEO or entrepreneur, I created Alex Jackson, a singing, dancing superstar. Just think of Michael Bublé, Hugh Jackman and Adam Garcia all rolled in to one super hero! Yum :) My mentor, the amazing Melanie Milburne, who’s written over 55 books for Mills and Boon told me no publisher would want a dancing, singing hero.
And guess what? She was right! Every romance publisher I submitted to rejected my book. 
But I was determined not to change my hero. I’d written what I loved and wasn’t prepared to compromise. I wrote a series and this was book number 1. Unable to sell the first book, meant my other books couldn’t be published. 
With a corporate job, I just wrote what I wanted. I wrote the heroes, heroines and storylines that I loved. It was a defining moment for me because even though my books were being rejected, I knew they were much better from when I’d tried to fit them in to a “box” of what I thought the publishers wanted.

And then I went through redundancy in my corporate job at the same time my husband had a serious fall off his bike, injuring his vertebra. Then my father-in-law became seriously ill and later died. Our family needed me. I needed to care for my husband, our children and my mother-in-law. I couldn’t even think about applying for a new job when there was so much stress going on in my personal life.

And so I headed down the path of self-publishing. It sounded easy, everyone said so. I’d like to add that advice given to me was wrong, wrong, wrong.
Self publishing is hard. Sure you can stick a book on Amazon but there is much more to being a successful self-published author.
I now have 5 books published and work long hours to make my books, the best romances they can be. And behind is an amazing team that supports me – my editor, my formatter, my artist and my writing friends. 

I love the freedom that being an indie writer brings however, despite the enormous work load, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I write the stories I love but what makes the long hours worthwhile are the beautiful reviews and feedback I get from my readers. I am one very happy romance writer.


Joanne Dannon has been living in the world of romance for as long as she can remember.  From doodling love hearts on her school notebooks to regularly reading romances, Joanne’s world has always been filled with the excitement of love stories. So it was just a natural for Joanne to begin writing the genre she’s always loved. 

Formerly a policy writer by day and romance writer by night, Joanne now spends full time writing the books she adores. Creating heroes for readers to fall in love with and heroines to cheer on, her characters are people readers can identify with.

Joanne writes to give her readers the experience she still loves to savor—indulging in a sigh-worthy-happily-ever- after, being swept away from the everyday by diving into a delicious romance novel.

Joanne Dannon is a happily married mother of two heroes-in-training who loves spending time with friends and family.  She can be found on Facebook and her website chatting about reading, writing, cooking, vintage-inspired dresses and all things romantic.  She loves to hear from readers.  

Joanne Dannon on the web:  

Facebook      Website      Instagram      Goodreads

An Unforgettable Holiday

A Magical Christmas In Jerusalem
Australian project manager Kiara Lonsdale is career focussed and determined to provide and care for the grandmother who raised her. Taking time off work to vacation has never been high on her agenda, but this year she’s made an exception. She’s helping her gran fulfil a life-long dream by accompanying her on a Christmas to the Holy Land tour.
Jacques Lenoir and his extended family run tours in Israel and he’s committed to their business. Jacques feels responsible for his grandparents’ welfare since they risked their lives, and others’, as operatives in the French Resistance, during the War.
But over romantic dinners in the desert, camel rides, and mud baths at the Dead Sea, sparks fly between Kiara and Jacques. Will this only be a holiday romance or will a touch of Christmas magic make it last a lifetime?
A Magical Chanukah in New York
Lisa Sassoon has shunned the scandal of her loser-ex cheating on her by escaping to New York. Instead of sightseeing, she’s become a recluse focusing on helping the less fortunate at a homeless shelter.
Gabe Olivari, entrepreneur and savvy business New Yorker, can’t let go of the pain of losing his best friend. So caught up in his own grief and believing he doesn’t deserve to be happy, he compensates by pushing everyone close to him away.
But when Lisa and Gabe meet, there is an instant connection that forces them to question not only their behaviours but their aspirations.
Can a dash of Chanukah magic help Lisa and Gabe realise that sparkling dates and dreamy kisses can lead to more? Perhaps even a lifetime of happiness?
Buy on:

Sign up to my Reader Newsletter and to say thanks, I'll send you a 

FREE e-copy of 
Bidding on Love! 

Thanks Joanne! Indie publishing is definitely Hard Work - and you're doing it very well. 

How about you? Indie or traditional or a combination of the 2? Are you a fan of Christmas stories (I am and Joanne's are great!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IWSG & Career Goals

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

December's IWSG Questions: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

This is the toughest question yet!

I'm not a great planner, but I am a great dreamer. So, let's see. In five years, I hope to have 3-5 novels out in my Bloo Moose series. I hope to be starting in on another series while continuing to add to Bloo Moose.

How am I going to get there?

Lots and lots of hard work! I've learned a ton since September (thanks to the amazing people I've encountered via a PitchWars contest) and I think this may finally be a doable goal. I'm still learning and have a ways to go, but I finally feel like that goal is within reach.

How about you? Are you more of a planner or a dreamer? Where do you hope to be?

Monday, November 28, 2016

People Watching - Christmas Shopping Edition

People are endlessly fascinating. As writers, we become expert people watchers and I had some fun this weekend while doing some Christmas Shopping.

Here are some folks who may or may not show up in a future story!!

  • the lady who, on Nov 27!!!, announced to everyone at the checkout that she was officially done her Christmas shopping. Her smug smile carried her through the front doors of the store while the rest of us in line either glared at her or whimpered after her with envy
  • the man wearing leather and chains with tattoos covering his hand whose toddler couldn't keep steady on his feet with all the crowds, so he hefted him up to his shoulders and softly sang Jingle Bells with him while they made their way through the store
  • the elderly couple pushing a cart through the store and chatting about Every. Last. Item. on the ends of the aisles. They held up traffic in the busy store, but, while I watched, not one person got annoyed. In fact, one teenager overheard part of the conversation and stopped to tell them that, yes, that pair of fuzzy slippers would be perfect for a twelve-year-old
  • the two women, busy chatting on their cell phones, who rounded the ends of the aisles and crashed right into each other, both of them dropping their bags and their phones. Just like a cartoon. Luckily, they straightened out the mess without too much trouble
  • the elderly woman who shoved me to the side so she could look at the jewelry I was checking out for my mom. When I stumbled (and nearly knocked down the display!), she sent me a glare and told me I should learn to be more careful. I froze a second before I started to laugh. She shoved her nose in the air, sniffed disdainfully, grabbed a necklace, and stomped off
  • the mom who pulled out a softball sized lump of some kind of homemade Playdoh while she stood in front of me in a checkout line. Her son's face lit up and he shaped and pulled and twisted quite happily while they waited for their turn to pay. Brilliant!
How about you? Spotted any great characters lately?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Layna Pimentel

Please welcome my friend & erotic romance author Layna Pimentel to the blog today with information (and a giveaway) for her latest release! 
- Layna Pimentel -

When betrayal hits the Highlands once again, the duty falls upon Laird Colin McIntyre to rid his country of those in league with the English. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love with the most unlikely of allies.

- Contest -

Win a $25 Amazon eGift card. Contest ends November 30, 2016 11:59 PM.

Published by Liquid Silver Publishing. Copyright © 2016, Layna Pimentel.
ISBN: 978-1-62210-360-7
Historical Romance | Scottish
171 Pages

Laird Colin McIntyre is faced with a dilemma. Wed the daughter of his enemy or watch the destruction of his clan. However, he’s captured before he can declare war. Time is of the essence, and if he’s to escape, his only chance rests with the hope that his men arrive before the wedding.

Abandoned by her guardian, Beatrice finds herself stationed as a servant in the keep and ordered by Laird Sinclair to tend to Colin, who is being held against his will. Inexplicably drawn to the Highlander and his kindness, she vows to help him escape, but at what cost?

With their fates intertwined, will Colin and Beatrice finally be free of Sinclair's reign of terror? Or will they be driven apart once again by an invasion led by new enemy forces, never knowing how much they’re meant to be together?

Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo 
Liquid Silver Publishing

- Excerpt - 

“Are ye angry with me because ye think I’m going to pass ye off to another or because ye want more of the pleasure I gave ye last night?”
Beatrice hadn’t the slightest clue how to respond to his question. In fact, she had no idea how to feel at this moment. She desired him, but she wanted so much more than to become a leman. Up until her exile, Beatrice had hoped to one day marry and have children, and no one in the Highlands would have her.
“I’m not sure why I’m angry, if ye must know. I have no idea why I thought giving myself to ye was a good idea.”
“If yer talking about the lad, I had no idea ye still cared for him. If yer worried that I will hand ye off to another, I will not do so unless that is what ye want. And I have no idea where ye seem to think I would have made ye my leman. I do not want one at all. I haven’t got the time to keep mistresses about, but I do have need of a wife.”
Beatrice stilled in his arms. “A wife?”
“Aye, a wife. How do ye suppose I will have heirs? Immaculate conception?”
“I see,” she said, unsure of where this discussion was going to end.
“Right now is not the time to discuss these issues. Even a laird has to take time away from bed to tend to important matters. I will return to the keep, and Giric will escort ye when yer ready.”
“Why must I go? Yer affairs are exactly that. Yers.”
“My affairs also include you, from the moment I made ye mine. So, ye’ll join me at the keep within the hour, and do not keep me waiting.”
Colin lifted her off of him and placed her back on the bed. She watched him dress just as quickly, splash some water on his face, and walk out of the cottage.
Lord, if they didna have the audience outside of the cottage, she’d have yelled at him soundly and remind him that this was her home and not his.
But Lord, how she adored that man and the very body he possessed.
Beatrice left the bed to see what clean water she had left in the pail. Luckily, she had enough to clean herself up and make herself presentable before Colin and Lady McIntyre.
By the time she met Giric outside, a small group of soldiers had joined him.
“Are ye ready, Beatrice?”
“I thought I was only to be accompanied by ye?”
“The laird thought it would be a good idea to have more just in case there were any lingering soldiers loyal to the Sinclair.”
“I see. Well, if we must, then let us be on our way. I canna imagine he’d be happy if I kept him any longer.”
“Just a word of advice, lass. What the laird wants, he usually gets. So ye might not want to incite his anger.” Giric leaned in and whispered, “Unless yer wanting yer backside spanked.”

- About The Author -

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Layna discovered her love of reading at an early age. She’s a bestselling author at All Romance eBooks and a multi-published author of historical, paranormal, and contemporary erotic romances. When she isn’t devouring salacious romance novels or writing, she enjoys hiking and researching ancient history, mythology, and weaponry. She lives in Northern Ontario with her husband and two daughters. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Crystal Collier & Symbolism

Please welcome my blog-buddy Crystal Collier here today to share her new book
and some little known facts about her books!

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

BUY: Amazon | B&N


Thank you Jemi for having me here today.

Symbolism is a powerful thing. People say they love my covers, so today I thought I'd share some of the hidden (or not so hidden) symbolism in them.

In Moonless, there are two clocks. One is in the Greek alphabet--to represent an ancient or timeless gift. The number of clocks on the covers of these books indicates where the story falls in the series timeline. Moonless starts in 1768. Sequentially, this is the middle time era in the story line.

Close ups. You'll notice that progressively we get a larger and larger perspective of Alexia, as her life, abilities, and vision expands. In Moonless we are up close, viewing what Alexia sees in the mirror the night her world is thrown into confusion. (The night she abruptly changes from ghastly to beautiful.)

In the animated version of the book, the title is constantly changing color, just as Alexia's life and perception of her world is constantly in flux.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. My cover designer said this one was a total accident. He was fixing something when one of the clocks landed in the wrong place. He sat back and thought, "Huh." The mistake stuck.

In Soulless, there are three clocks. This story starts in 1771, the latest dot on the timeline. If you'll notice, the main clock is backwards, as Alexia learns how to reverse the clock. The small clock is handless, symbolizing her power that waits to be controlled.

She holds a sword for obvious reasons, since the war between the Passionate and Soulless has begun. And, as you'd assume from the dress, there is at least a wedding...thus the church stairs in the background.

We are further back from Alexia. She now understands her world and the part she plays in it, but she's not done learning.

The title bleeds smoke, just like the Soulless.

This was the cover my designer struggled with the most. He made 3 breathtaking mock ups, but they were all wrong--like the wrong genre. (He was in a mood.) I decided to give him a hand and hopped on a stock image site. I created some (very) rough mock ups to give him my thoughts, and that was all he needed.

You'll notice in Timeless, the grim background has disappeared, replaced by space. Alexia's hands are now the clock hands, and if you look closely, you'll see that she is controlling time.

There is only one clock. This story is in the mid 1200's, and thus the first in the timeline.

The clock is metaphysical. It only exists in our perception.

The title is broken, or rather, shattered. I'd explain the symbolism behind that one, but I don't want to give anything away. (And no, it's not what you're thinking.)

My cover designer had this one conceptualized the first time he heard the summary for the book. He ignored any suggestions I offered, saying, "I have this." He certainly did. This is the most beautiful cover in the series if you ask me, which is appropriate considering the way the series ends.

And there you have it. Do you see symbolism in book covers? Do you see it in life?

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)

Thank you for visiting Crystal! I loved learning about the cover - it's all in the awesome details!
I don't always see the symbolism in the covers until AFTER I've read the book - love finding those details then.

How about you? Do you enjoy finding the symbolism in covers?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The IWSG & Yay I'm a Writer!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

November's Question: What is your favourite aspect of being a writer?

Another tough question!

There's so much I love, but I really love the thought that, one day, my characters will be 'alive' for someone else.

For me, reading and writing are all about the characters and their emotions. The people in the books I've read have often become real for me, starting with Anne of Green Gables way back when. If the characters' emotions reach into me, then those characters become people.

If I can write characters who truly come alive for a reader or two, that would be incredible!

How about you? Is it all about the characters for you, too? What's your favourite part of writing? Or reading?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Ella Carey & Writer's Block

Please welcome Ella Carey back to the blog today!

Thank you once again, Jemi for having me here.

I want to write about something a bit different today.  I want to write about it because it’s annoying, but important. If I can give you some techniques to brainstorm in order to overcome this problem that we all might face at one time or another, then I hope that this will help you deal with what can be quite a frustrating thing.

Writers’ block.

So what is it and how can you cure it? I think I’ve found out a way of dealing with it that works for me- it may not work for you. It’s only a suggestion. But, I can honestly say that I’ve had a light bulb moment this week.

I don’t know if you’ve experienced writers’ block. I don’t know whether you believe it exists. Well. Either way, this is how it went down…

I spent five days at my computer. That was normal. But in that time, I wrote one paragraph. That was it. Didn’t get any further. I was stuck. Don’t get me wrong, I kept re-writing the paragraph. But I just couldn’t make it work.

Now, you see, this is extremely odd for me. I’m a 1,000 words per hour sort of person when I’m on a roll, and that is most of the time… I write every day.

And I love my work- in fact it’s not work, it’s just the best thing. The bees knees. I adore it. I am so grateful that I get to do this and earn a living from it. It’s perfect. I’m in my zone.

I’m sure you wouldn’t be reading this blog unless you felt the same way about your writing. If you are fitting writing time into a busy schedule without any anticipation that you are going to be paid to do so, then you are probably a born writer.

But what do you do when the words dry up?

I’ve realized that this has happened to me twice. Twice in the last five years. Which isn’t bad. In fact, it’s a good track record.

But when I just couldn’t get the words out, I had no idea why. And then I realized something. It wasn’t anything to do with my writing. I hadn’t forgotten how to write. It was something else entirely that was bothering me, and until that was resolved, my writing had stopped. That was it.

So, if ever you experience this strange phenomenon, just stop. Take a look at what’s going on with you, and check it out. If you don’t know what the problem is, then maybe brainstorm a list of things that are bothering you and see which ones you can resolve. It never ceases to amaze me how intertwined all the aspects of our lives are… if one thing is troubling you at any level, it could just affect something else… your health… your work. It’s as simple as that.

Of course you can’t go around solving all your problems before you write, but if you do get stuck, maybe try brainstorming what else is going on, work out what’s on your mind and what you’d like to resolve, and try to do so. It’s as if your subconscious is niggling you- you can’t write until you’ve sorted it out.

Thank you Jemi…

Ella xx

Ella Carey is a writer and Francophile who claims Paris as her second home. She has been studying French since the age of five, and she has degrees in music, majoring in classical piano, and English, majoring in nineteenth century women's fiction and in modern European history. Her debut novel, Paris Time Capsule, has captured global attention and her second novel, The House By The Lake, was released in March 2016, remaining in top 100 of all kindle books in the US for six months. Her third novel is From a Paris Balcony and is releasing in October, 2016. She lives in Australia.

Ella Carey on the web:        Facebook        Twitter        Author Page    Website

From A Paris Balcony

Heartbroken and alone, Boston art curator Sarah West is grieving the recent deaths of her parents and the end of her marriage. Ultrasensible by nature, she’s determined to stay the course to get her life back on track. But fate has something else in mind. While cleaning out her father’s closet, she finds a letter from the famous Parisian courtesan Marthe de Florian, dated 1895. The subject? Sarah’s great-great-aunt Louisa’s death. Legend has it Louisa committed suicide…but this letter implies there’s more to that story.
Determined to learn the truth, Sarah, against her nature, impulsively flies to Paris. There she’s drawn into the world of her flatmate, the brilliant artist Laurent Chartier. As she delves deep into the glittering Belle Époque to unravel the mystery, Sarah finds that her aunt’s story may offer her exactly what she needs to open up to love again.
Following Sarah in the present day and Louisa in the 1890s, this moving novel spans more than a century to tell the stories of two remarkable women.
Buy on:
Amazon Kindle         Amazon Paperback         Book Depository      B&N
You're very welcome, Ella - always glad to have you visit!

That's such great advice! Life is always crazy busy here and I've definitely been stalled in my writing because I was just too exhausted to be creative. 

How about you? Have things BESIDES the writing stalled you in your writing process?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

IWSG & The Finish Line

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Question for October 5th: When do you know your story is ready?

Simple Answer: No clue!!!

Complex Answer:
I haven't published yet, so I really don't know when the story is ready. I'm a tinkerer and when I learn something new I want to apply it to the stories I've written. 

Which means --> REWRITE!

And driving myself crazy. I think I have 6 (or more???) stories that have been written that have potential to be published. BUT, none of them are ready. Some are a lot closer than others, but none are THERE.

Will they ever be?

Some days I doubt it, but more and more, I think I'm getting much closer to answering YES!

How about you? Are you a tinkerer? Can you let a story be, or do you always want to dive back in?