November 5, 2012

Time Travel: Rising Above @toninoelwriter #amreading

Toni Noel, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Rising Above.
Genre: Historical Time Travel
Buy links:
Desert Breeze Publishing
Or from your favorite eBook store.
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Cover artist: Carol Fiorillo
Length (words): 105,000
Heat rating: R
Tagline: A misfit tomboy goes back in time, compromises her reputation with a disillusioned Pinkerton man who to her dismay insists on a marriage of convenience, while she longs to return to her own time.
Bad weather cuts short Wilda Stone's hot-air balloon race, throwing her back into widowed lawman Hal Grantham's time, the 1870's. A sand storm forcing them off Hal's horse and into a cave where they spend two nights, compromising Wilda's reputation, and forcing Hal into a marriage of convenience. Once they make love Wilda realizes she has fallen in love with the terse lawman and abandons all thought of returning to the twenty-first century. Her stoic husband conceals his true feelings for her. When diphtheria-- the same disease responsible for taking his first wife and son -- threatens the silver mining town of Cerro Gordo, deep concern for Wilda's welfare drives Hal to send his wife back to her own time in her balloon. His actions convince her Hal shuns her love and she departs, whispering a promise to return, without revealing her pregnancy. Once her conveyance rises beyond his reach, Hal realizes his mistake and launches a futile search for the woman he now readily admits he loves.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Wilda Stone and Hal Grantham. 28 and 32. In her other life Wilda was a flag person on a Caltrans road crew. In Cerro Gordo the only acceptable work to fill her time is helping out in the kitchen of the American Hotel, a totally unacceptable activity for an awkward outdoor girl who can't cook.
Hal is a disillusioned undercover Pinkerton agent ready for a change.


How do you come up with ideas?
Inspiration strikes me at the oddest times, and in unexpected places. Usually it's through something I see, or hear. A boarded up house in a ritzy neighborhood we were driving through inspired Decisive Moments. A network news story about the rising birthrate in a faraway Irish town inspired Fairy Dusted. A weekend stay in the refurbished bunk house of a restored silver mining town inspired Rising Above.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love the freedom of being my own boss, and the chance to escape reality while I write, but I also enjoy the anticipation I feel when a friend buys one of my books. I can't wait to hear how they liked it, whether it made their day a little happier or gave them something new to think about.
What do you enjoy most about life?
The thing I enjoy most is simply being alive. I am so blessed. A loving family. Good health. A wealth of knowledge at my fingertips and time to explore all of it to the fullest. It's a great life.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
The inspiration comes first, then a character's name or the novel's setting. Next, as ideas come to me, I list fifty scenes necessary to move my characters through the story and reach a satisfactory conclusion. I'm very visual, so I transfer the scenes to stickies, arrange those on a story board, and after identifying the major turning points and the blackest moment for each character, I'm ready to write. The beauty of this method is the stickies can be moved around countless times, and the scenes rearranged as I write to give the story ending a satisfying resolution, showing ways in which the main characters have changed.
What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?
In my teens I called square dances for the Y.M.C.A. and later did alterations for a cleaners. When we were without health insurance, and our four young children had run up a big debt at their doctor's, I made drapes for his new office to settle our account. I've also performed puppet shows and taught crafts at nursing homes. Before retiring, I supervised a computerized payroll, and included some of my office experiences in Temp to Permanent, a romantic suspense.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
I want my readers to feel satisfied with their read. I write novels about finding a safe haven for the heart and firmly believe this is what everyone hopes to find. I found my safe haven early in life, but it still delights me when the book I’m reading ends with the heroine finding her safe haven in the arms of her newly found love.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
I would specialize in classically styled upscale dresses and suits, go-to outfits a woman reaches into her closet for every day. I'd have a complete selection of leather boots in a variety of styles and widths. The leather purses I carry will have wide openings and no places for lipsticks and car keys to hide. I'd showcase earrings with silver or gold posts for pierced with only snap closures, no easily-lost separate parts. In the casual clothing department you'll find quality merchandise for travel, spectator sports and working out all in one place, the huggable woolens and cashmeres incredibly soft to the touch, the baby terry and fleece silky smooth next to your skin.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
I loved the countless opportunities for expanding my horizons school provided. I had endless curiosity and still question everything. My favorite question is "Why?"
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Caution. Contents under extreme pressure and with good cause will likely explode. (I inherited my father's volatile temper.)

Please Fill in the Blanks

I love vegetarian pizza with artichokes.
I'm always ready for fun.
When I'm alone I eat dinner on our best china. It makes me feel like I'm eating out.
You'd never be able to tell, but I was the head cheerleader for my high school.
If I had a halo it would be bent.
If I could crochet I'd own that sweater I've been admiring.
I can never diet for long because I love to eat and have no willpower.

About the Author

Toni Noel's Novels... Safe havens for the heart.
Toni Noel's love of books started in childhood, when her mother first read The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew to her. She helped start church libraries in two rural Tennessee towns and appeared before the City Planning Commission and the San Diego City Council to urge a site be purchased. As the neighborhood spokesman for the new library the City Councilman for her district invited her to turn the second shovel of dirt at the groundbreaking for the new library. Toni's fondest dream, to see one of her safe-haven-for-the-heart novels available for checkout there may soon be fulfilled. Desert Breeze Publishing will release in print form in November the author's first published novel Law Breakers and Love Makers.

Find Me Here

Buy links:
Desert Breeze Publishing
Or from your favorite eBook store.

November 4, 2012

Shopgirl and the Vampire @Ciar_Cullen #amreading

Shopgirl and the Vampire
Ciar Cullen, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, The Shop Girl and the Vampire*.
Genre: Paranormal Historical
Buy links:

Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Length: 35p, 11,000 words
Heat rating: sweet
Tagline: At the cusp of the 19th century, a penniless lass learns her dashing guardian angel is a bloodsucking devil.
*Winner, Boroughs Publishing Group @FirstSight short story contest.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Kitty Twamley, Irish scullery turned talented artist, 24
Phillip Orleans, socialite/vampire
Boroughs Publishing


What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
It’s taken me about 7 years to actually know how to “write from the heart.” I used to hear that phrase and thought I knew what it meant—with passion and verve. It’s akin to “write what you know”. Write what you know in your heart; write your own psychological journey onto the page, and don’t assume that no one will understand it. Be authentic. When you write your version of “junk food,” it comes out the intellectual equivalent of junk food. Write with abandon.
If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
Just about everything. I wrote every high fantasy trope into that book: the journey, the unavailable royal, the brothers, the bad wizard’s fortress, the heroine who feels bad about herself until the hero loves her, the campfire meal on the journey… oy vey. Lord of the Rings “lite”. Shudder.
What do you enjoy most about life?
I think the thing I enjoy most about life is the mysterious nature of life itself. Hmmn, enjoy might be the wrong word. But as I get older, I find that the trivial really falls away and you’re left with questions about yourself, and how you fit into the Universe.
If you could choose anyone to be your mentor who would it be?
For writing, hands down, Mark Twain. While he had some great sadness in his life, his wit and unorthodox (for the time) way of looking at his world were genius.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
I’d tell young Ciar that she deserved good things, as we all do, that she was entitled to look out for herself, and that she didn’t have to spend her life trying to take care of others who would not accept responsibility for themselves. Oh, and not to wear pale blue eye shadow. And that 118 pounds wasn’t fat. (I’d scream that last part).
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
I really like nonfiction. Books like “Devil in the White City.” I love Victorian settings, exotic settings. For fiction, I don’t much like the Oprah Book Club type “women’s literature.” I’m more likely to reach for something on my “great books” list, which I’m trying to work through. 200 books that my high school and college didn’t make me read. Thackery, etc.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview. What will you take with you and where will you go?
I am a low-maintenance gal. I’m opening a rucksack, throwing in jeans and cargo pants, a swimsuit (and 100 SPF sunscreen), a hat, shorts and tank tops, some underwear, and headed for the Amazon. Oh, pretty heavy hiking boots.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
My go-to hobby is knitting. Everyone I know has an afghan from me; a few have lace shawls. I’m now making a coat of many colors!
If your life became a movie, who would you want to play you?
I can’t picture a single moment of my life being movie-worthy, except perhaps when I was an archaeologist, but of course, the great ones come to mind—Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, etc.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
“American Beauty Rose” my mom used to call it. Not in-your-face red, but with just enough subtlety to take the edge off. But noticeable, for sure. I share a birthday with Lucille Ball, and that pretty much sums me up!
Which statement is more like you:
"I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and relaxed."
"I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation, because I do things as fast as possible."
I’m a “do the world in a month” person. Fast, fast, fast. Except for writing. Snail-like.

Please Fill in the Blanks

Ciar Cullen
I love pizza with lots of cheese.
I'm always ready for sleep.
When I'm alone, I daydream.
You'd never be able to tell, but I’m very religious.
If I had a halo it would be rusty.
If I could do it over I'd become a surgeon.
I can never stray because I’m very loyal.

Find Me Here

November 1, 2012

RLF Gems: Blog Stats for Oct 2012

October on Romance Lives Forever saw eleven author interviews, ten character interviews, and two articles.

This month marks the first full month during which we used the author's Twitter handle as part of our post titles.  The impact of hits mentioning the author on Twitter help show them how valuable a visit on this site can be. Does it help bring people to the blog? Consider this: 18 of the 24 bloggers this month placed in the top 33% of overall hits on the blog.

Here are the top five posts for the month of October (judging by page hits).
1. Susan Lodge -- Character Interview with Hetty Avebury
2. Charlie Cochrane -- Character Interview with Ben Edwards
3. Ally Shields -- Author Interview "Awakening the Fire"
4. AR Norris -- Author Interview "All Female Planet?"
5. Stephanie Burkhart -- Character Interview with Lady Keira

Other participants this month in alphabetical order by first name are: Adriana Kraft, Andrew Grey, Barbara Bradley, Brenna Zinn, Casey Sheridan, Cynnara Tregarth, Dominique Eastwick, Elle Druskin, Holley Trent, Jennifer Stevenson, Kate Hill, Kendall McKenna, Keta Diablo, Kristina Knight, Rhea Rhodan, Sharon Kleve, Terry Spear, Tmonique Stephens