April 3, 2012

Interview with Babette James

Clear As Day. 
Babette, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Please tell us about your latest book, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
My debut, Clear As Day, is a spicy contemporary romance coming from The Wild Rose Press. The story began its life as a short story I wrote back in college, and never found a home for, but loved too much to give up on over the years. I decided to play with rewriting the story and was delighted to see it bloom into life as the sweet and sexy full-length novel it is now. It’s been exciting (and not a little nerve-wracking) preparing for the upcoming release on April 4, but holding my first book in my hands has been an awesome experience and I was thrilled to learn recently Clear As Day received a 4 1/2 stars scorcher review from the Romantic Times Book Reviews.
To those around her, artist Kay Browning seems a happy free-spirit. However, she hides the pain she carries from her past from everyone. For her, love is only true in fairytales and friendship is all she will allow. She believes she is content with the quiet, organized life she’s made for herself and the peaceful, friends-with-benefits relationship with photographer Nate Quinn.
Nate’s wanderlust keeps him abroad most of the year, and that very absence has helped make him the one man who’s been able to get past Kay’s wary heart. However, despite his love of travel and adventure, Nate longs for commitment and settling down. He believes love is forever and Kay is his forever. Naturally, this leads to a few problems.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I enjoy the surprises of storytelling. I enjoy seeing a story grow out of a little idea, plots twist and turn, expand and shift, how one story can spawn into a series, and how the characters grow and reveal their lives and find their happily ever after.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
I start with a scene, a little setting, a character, and two questions: why and what happens next? I do eventually create an outline as I go deeper into the story to keep track of scenes and start to build the synopsis, but the story comes first and outline second.
What did you learn from writing your first book? 
As I worked on Clear As Day, I learned a great deal about rewriting and editing to tell a better story. And now that the book is being released, I also learned I hadn’t really comprehended the amount of time and energy promotion can consume or how much conflicting advice is out there on what to do or not do. I’m not an extrovert and making myself active in social networks and other venues to “sell” myself is not as easy as I would like it to be, so I would have liked to have done far more planning and networking “before” so it wouldn’t feel so awkward and stressful now.
Are your stories plot or character driven?
Definitely character driven. Being a pantser, I’m led through the story by my character’s interactions. The only plot goal I have in the beginning is that my hero and heroine will reach their happily ever after at the end and the story then grows like Topsy in every direction until I discover how it all works out. I’m often as surprised as my characters are along the way. Plotting would be much more efficient, I’m sure, but I’ve given into the fact my mind doesn’t work that way and now I enjoy the unexpected on the journey to The End.
How do you balance a life outside of writing with deadlines and writing muses?
Lol I’ll let you know if I ever figure it out.
What is the craziest thing you did as a kid, and would it ever end up in a book?
I was far from a wild and crazy kid, but here’s two of my more adventuresome moments: played with a tiger in my front yard (he was someone’s pet) and got thrown off a runaway horse (ouch!). As for any crazy kid moments ending up in a book? Well, if it works for the story, it’s in.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
I hope they will enjoy Nate and Kay’s story and come to love them and their circle of friends as much I do.
List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
It’s not easy narrowing it down to two, but at the moment, I’m reading Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward and also rereading Toni Blake’s Destiny series as I wait for her Willow Springs to come out.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
On a quiet farm near a small town, with a pond and horses.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
Antiques and all sorts of curious odds and ends.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
The library. It was a haven and a doorway to adventures.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Undercaffeinated-Handle With Caution
Books Coming Soon
Clear As Day, coming from The Wild Rose Press on April 4, 2012
Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with anchovies.
I'm always ready for a glass of good wine.
When I'm alone, I write.
You'd never be able to tell, but I used to have a tidy desk.
If I had a halo it would be probably lost on my desk somewhere.

Find Me Here
Youtube Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/E1ur-avq5YI
What’s a girl to do when her summer lover wants forever?
Haunted by dark memories of her parents’ volatile marriage, artist Kay Browning keeps her heart locked behind a free-spirit facade and contents herself with the comfortable affair she has every summer with easygoing photographer Nate Quinn.
The only trouble with her plan? This summer Nate’s come to Lake Mohave to claim the lover he can’t let go. He’s done with the endless traveling and settling for temporary homes and temporary loves. Kay’s always been more than just a vacation fling, and now he must convince this woman, who sees love as a course to certain heartbreak, to take that leap of faith and learn how safe love with the right man can be.
Bio: Babette James writes contemporary and fantasy romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. A teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! She lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and three extremely spoiled cats.

April 1, 2012

RLF Gems - Top Bloggers for Mar 2012

RLF Gems. 
I'm pleased to report the status for March 2012 for the RLF blog. Winners this month topped the highest hits we've had since the blog began. This is in part due to Triberr, which helps deliver blog content to Twitter, and to the various networking apps such as Networked Blogs, Linky Followers, and Google Friend Connect. But the two top reasons for the success of these posts is good content, and the efforts of the guest blogger to share the site with others. For that, I'm grateful.

Here are the top five posts, in order of total hits. Click the link to visit the post.

1. Jason Aaron Baca - Interview

2. Paul Bright - Outlantacon Interview

3. LM Brown - Blogging, a New Form of Self-Imposed Torture

4. Kage Alan - Outlantacon Interview

5. Xavier Axelson - Character Interview (3rd time Xavier has been on the top hit list!)

Not including myself, authors this month (in alphabetical order by first name) were; Aubrie Dionne, Blaine D Arden, Camelia M Skiba, CR Moss, DC McMillen, Dev Bentham, Jane Toombs, JoAnne Kenrick, June Kramin, Lila Munro, Margay Leah Justice, Mary Wilson, Pauline Allan, Perry Martin, Sabrina Pandora, Skye Warren, and Stephanie Burkhart.  
My sincere thanks to each guest who blogged this month. I enjoyed hosting you, and hope you'll come back when you have a new book or other info to share.  Thank you to those who have made RLF a new place to hang out and discover new books and new authors.

March 27, 2012

A World Apart Hero Interview by Camelia M. Skiba

A World Apart 
Camelia Miron Skiba's hero, Major David Hunt in A World Apart, is the interviewee today. Let's meet this fascinating character!

Tell us about the main character in your current book. What is he like?
Major David Hunt is a trauma surgeon for the US Air Force deployed to the Black Sea during the Iraq Invasion. His traits—service to God and country, sacrifice, professionalism, honor, courage, heroism, and compassion—epitomize our image of the American soldier. Yet, David is not infallible; he's stubborn, uncommunicative, and by-the-book to a fault.

If your main character was here today, what would he say is his strongest point?
Patriotism. Impeccable career as a fourth generation soldier and using his talent as a distinguished trauma surgeon to serve his country.

Does he think he has a weakness? (If so, what does he think it is? What does his lover think it is? What does his enemy think it is?)
He's weakness is clouded judgment caused by … Romanian Lt. Cassandra Toma trauma surgeon in the Romanian National Army. She's deployed at the same military base as David. He's unable to resist her even when she breaks military procedures and is more stubborn than "the mother of all mules." Cassandra hates judgmental, arrogant, and rigid people, qualities she believes David embodies. He has no enemies.

What drives your hero to do the things he does? What makes him want to be the "good guy?"
David is driven by his sense of honor and his duty as a soldier and as a doctor. His priorities are saving lives and keeping Cassandra safe at all costs. In doing so he becomes a controlling nut, butting heads with her, which drives them apart.

What's your main character's favorite guilty pleasure?
Music—the thing that frees him from his leadership responsibilities if only for a short time. That and his love of Cassandra, which drives him to take actions that he never could have foreseen in himself.

Answered as Major David Hunt
If you didn't know how old you were how old would you be?
I feel as if I lived many lives. War takes you to a different dimension, where life measures in fleeting moments, priceless in saving one's life. In the time that stretches between incoming casualties I feel old. When the Blackhawks are on approach and the adrenalin is kicking, I feel 18.

If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
As an active officer I'll live wherever my country needs me.

What song would best describe your life?
Bon Jovi's "It's My Life."

If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
A scalpel–precise, wielded with skill, it's confident and serves a specific purpose.

Tell us an embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story about a significant other will do. ^_^
English is Cassandra's second language. She's actually cute saying something when she actually means something else. Once she told me to write her off instead of write her up. She calls jerky beef instead of beef jerky.

If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Just do it! Take no shit. Handle with care. Fragile. Hot to the touch. Keep out of reach of children. For adult use only. Store in a dry place. Harmful if swallowed. Refrigerate after opening. Can't touch this. Hammer time. Do what I say, not what I do. I'm too sexy for this shirt. If you don't know where you are, you don't belong here. Carpe Diem!

About the Author

I Write. I Love. I Dream. I Write.
I’m Chris’ wife, Patrick’s mom and Bella’s owner. During the day, I’m the assistant to the Director at SESE at Arizona State University, and romance’s slave at night.
I moved to the U.S eight years ago, following my heart and the man who stole it. I love comedies, historical dramas and happily-ever-after stories. English is not my native, not my second, but my third language.
Camelia M. Skiba
Some fun facts about me:
Each year I participate in one big event that requires me to physically train. My biggest sportive accomplishment was the 3-day 60-mile Susan G. Komen Walk.
Annually I pick a color I decree my favorite (this year it’s salmon).
I refused to text until 2010, always preferring to hear voices rather than sending emotionless messages. Politics bore me to death and I have no tolerance for arrogance.
“A World Apart” is my second book. My debut novel “Hidden Heart” came out March 2011.

Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with ham or bacon.
I'm always ready for a comedy.
When I'm alone, I write.
You'd never be able to tell, but I'm actually shy.
If I had a halo it would be a rainbow.
If I could clone my dog I'd do it.
I can never be drunk because I don't drink.

About the Book

In a war that’s not hers, she loses everything.
Everything she loses is because of him.
Forgiveness is not an option.
Or maybe...

Lieutenant Cassandra Toma, trauma surgeon in the Romanian National Army starts her deployment at a joint-unit air base on a wrong foot, clashing on her first day with her new commander, Major David Hunt. Her rebellious nature and sassiness rival her excellent performance in the operating room—the only reason why she's not reprimanded, or maybe not the only reason.

They meet. They clash. A forbidden passion consumes them with the intensity of an erupting volcano, leaving her heartbroken and him with tarnished honor and pride as an officer. The only way out for David is disappearing into the dangerous warzone in Iraq. Their flame was supposed to be over when destiny brings them back under the same roof, this time with a common goal—to find Cassandra's brother, Maj. Robert Toma, kidnapped by insurgents while on patrol.

To rescue Robert, Cassandra and David put aside their resentments, uniting forces against a common enemy. Trying to forget the painful past, Cassandra opens up to give David—and their love—another chance. What she doesn’t realize is that her anguish is the result of David’s impetuous action—one reckless choice he made for which she may never forgive him.

His mistake, his secret, could cost them both the love they've finally found.