January 18, 2013

Time Travel: Rising Above @toninoelwriter #RLFblog



Rising Above

Toni Noel, welcome back to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Rising Above.
Genre: Historical Time Travel
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.
Blurb:
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.
Buy links:
Desert Breeze Publishing http://is.gd/Toni_DesertBreeze
Or from your favorite eBook store.
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.

Interview

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.

My Booklist

Law Breakers and Love Makers, soon in print, too.
Temp to Permanent
Decisive Moments
Restored Dreams
Fairy Dusted
Rising Above

Books Coming Soon

To Feel Again
Fragile Bonds
Toni Noel
Homeward Bound

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

January 16, 2013

GLBT Romance: Comfort and Joy @CharleyDescote #RLFblog

Charley Descoteaux, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Comfort and Joy.
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: M/M Erotic Romance
Cover artist: Valerie Tibbs
Comfort and Joy
Length: 10,195 words
Heat rating: 4
Tagline: How much love does it take to heal the wounds of hate?
Blurb:
Sam and Charlie have been together over a decade, and their commitment to each other has only grown stronger through the years. But love isn't always easy, and eighteen months after a violent assault, their fairy-tale relationship is still struggling. Charlie can’t shake the lingering fear of attracting more violence by displaying affection, and he's angry at himself for not getting past it. Sam would do anything to help Charlie feel better--if only he knew what that was.
The century-old farmhouse in Northwest Oregon is the perfect place to spend the holidays with Sam’s family, but it was their refuge after the attack, and it still holds painful memories of those difficult first months. Christmas should be a joyful time, but even being surrounded by people who love him isn’t enough to make Charlie feel safe. He could try to keep to himself, but even if Sam agreed to give him the space he needs, Sam’s warm and loving family might not. And even though they agreed not to exchange gifts, Sam has a surprise up his sleeve that he hopes will make everything merry and bright. But he may end up more surprised than Charlie before the week is out…
Buy links:

What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Sam White and Charlie Price are both 28 and professional musicians.

Interview

Tell us about your latest book, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
Comfort and Joy, m/m erotic romance, is the story of an established couple, Sam and Charlie, and their struggle to heal the lingering effects of an assault and re-capture the joy of their love for each other while celebrating Christmas with Sam's family.
How do you come up with ideas?
Coming up with ideas is the easy part. I've gotten ideas from things people say, music, random things I see while on public transportation. The hard part is deciding which ones would make the best stories. I admit, I'm not always sure about that. Take my current WIP: it's a paranormal erotic romance with mystery elements. I've never written anything like it before so I have no way to know if it's any good until it's finished and I start sending it out.
What is the single most important part of writing for you?
It proves that I'm not insane. *lol* At least it proved that to me, because I've had characters in my head all my life. When I was a kid sometimes that worried me, but now it's just awesome.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
I’m not a big plotter so I usually start with a character and a feeling. With Comfort and Joy, I wanted to write a Christmas story that celebrates family and love and all that good stuff. I added a couple I’d known for a while and just started writing. It doesn’t always work out, but this time it did.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Your home doesn’t have to be clean, write more!
Is your muse demanding?
Sometimes -- usually at night when I'm trying to sleep! He gives me a lot of wonderful material to work with, but is even more of a night owl than I am. His sweet spot is between 11 p.m. and 2 or 3 a.m. which makes it hard when I have to get up early.
Are your stories driven by plot or character?
Most often, by character. Most people have defining moments in their lives, and so do characters. These are where good stories come from.
That said, my current WIP started out very plot-driven. I knew what I wanted the world to be like but it took a while to get to know the characters who live there and I'm still learning! It was fun going about it in such a different way.
How do you balance a life outside of writing with deadlines and writing muses?
Balance? I'm not good at that. If I could, I'd spend most of every day writing. Unfortunately, I can't do that so I have to make lists of things that I can't let slide and force myself to do those first, like grocery shopping and cooking dinner. It works more often than not, although I do have a long history of transferring items to several lists before they get done. To paraphrase Tyler Durden, it's about letting the truly unimportant things slide.
What is the craziest thing you did as a kid, and would it ever end up in a book?
Well, kid is a relative term. In my late teens and early twenties I did a lot of experimenting to try and figure out my sexuality. Some of that will definitely end up in a book, or maybe several!
What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?
I’ve had a lot of strange jobs, or at least jobs that brought me in contact with strange people. I’ve been a bartender and a waitress, worked in book stores, flower shops, and a three-person newspaper office. Some of these have popped up in stories, and I’m sure more will in the future!
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
I’m not sure, but I hope they’ll tell me what they do take with them. I’d love to hear from any reader anytime!
List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
Like most writers I love to read. I read a lot of YA because those authors are amazing at writing a tightly-plotted story. My favorites are Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan and John Green. I also love reading LGBT fiction and M/M Romance. My favorites are Tara Lain because she makes me laugh and Amy Lane because she makes me cry.
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
I really wanted to tackle this one, but the perfect answer escapes me. It never fails, the ideas come faster than I can write them down as long as I'm not trying to write about myself! *lol*
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
Everything! I loved school and was a shameless apple-polisher. Teachers and librarians are still some of my favorite people. I was one of those nerdy kids who wanted to write reports about what I saw while playing in the back yard!
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
I'd love to have a cute little cottage on the Oregon Coast. My dream house is a cozy single-story three bedroom with weathered blue-gray wood siding, beach access and a big old tree in the back yard.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
I'd be one of those dusty little antique shops run by a little old lady who has no idea what things are truly worth. Everything from ornate gilt frames to used books to kitschy statues and vintage hats and purses would cram the shelves, and if you really loved something it would be at a price you could afford. Either that or the store mentioned on The Daily Show last week, "Chocolate, Blowjobs & Beyond".

Please complete the sentence

Charley Descoteaux
I love pizza with pepperoni, salami, olives and mushrooms.
I'm always ready for some smash-mouth football.
When I'm alone, I blast metal or club mixes and dance around while I clean house.
You'd never be able to tell, but I have an inner-preppie who pines for argyle and houndstooth everything.
If I had a halo it would be rainbow-colored plastic from the dollar store and a little squished.
If I could be a guy for a day I'd fool around with as many dudes as possible, and knit in public.
I can never judge anyone for being strange because it's a safe bet I'm stranger than they are.

Find Me Here


January 14, 2013

Paranormal: Pool of Souls @KrystalShannan #RLFblog


Pool of Souls

Krystal Shannan, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Open House: Pool of Souls Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Cover artist: Lauren McCauley
Length: 53 pages
Heat rating: Spicy
Blurb:
Intrinsically woven into the fabric of human existence, Aphrodite, Titan Goddess of Love and Passion, dedicates herself to matching soul mates….Rebecca Carol and Robert Corvin missed their original chance to bond when Ares, God of War, took control of Robert's career ten years ago. Their souls have naturally pulled them back together for a second chance at love, but… How far with the gods go to get their own way? Will divine influence create another perfect match or will it tear them apart forever?

Buy links:
Kobo http://kobobooks.com/ebook/Open-House-Pool-Souls-Book-1/book-OHXqaaSc_0GEmuZ8gF2Wvw/page1.html?s=7FjsaPGem0CRVKqm-ocdYg&r=1


What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Hero: Robert Corvin - 31 - Owns and operates a large software engineering company. Moving to Houston, TX.
Heroine: Rebecca Carol - 28 - Works as a real estate agent in Houston, TX.
Excerpt:
A deep male voice boomed through her garden, breaking her concentration. “Aphrodite!” The images of Robert and Rebecca swirled and were lost as the pool’s surface went clear. She turned to face the irate male.
“Ditee! Why can’t you just leave well enough alone?”
Aphrodite leaned against the cool rock and gave him a lazy smile. She’d expected Ares to complain. Robert Corvin played a key role in research and weapon development for the United States. No human got into his position without a little shove from the god of war.
“I will do exactly as I wish, especially when it comes to souls who have searched as long as these two have.”
“He’s mine, Ditee. I’ve finally got him where he will be of most use, and now I hear he has moved. Because of a girl! I knew it was your fault. Hands off.” His eyes flashed red, and a deep growl rumbled from his chest.
Aphrodite rose to face him. Her power rose and flamed within her, causing her skin to glow white. Ares took a step back. “You will not speak to me so rudely,” she said, her voice taking on its godly attributes, booming across the garden like a sonic wave. Ares stumbled a little from the force. “I am your superior. These souls deserve to be together, and you will not interfere.”
“The hell I won’t.”
***
Rebecca Carol parked her blue Honda Civic in front of the Williams Realty building on the north side of Houston, Texas. A heavy sigh escaped her. Her boss’s white Mustang sat next to the building. Drat! She had hoped to arrive first, grab her list of appointments, and leave before Marion Williams even showed up to start the day. No such luck.
The bell jingled above the door when she pulled it open and stepped into the office lobby. Vanilla roast hung fresh in the air. She might be a martinet, but there was no denying Marion made the best coffee.
“Rebecca? Is that you?” Marion’s shrill voice came from her office.
Marion Williams ran an excellent business, and most of the time, she was a reasonable boss, but lately her personality had become grating, like a cat clawing a chalkboard. Her nasty divorce was the cause for most of it, and Rebecca couldn’t really blame her. Who wouldn’t be irritable if you found out your husband had cheated on you for the last ten years?
“Yes, Marion. I’ll be right there. Let me put my things in my desk.”
“No, no. Come here first.” Her urgency was uncommon, and Rebecca moved swiftly, dropping her purse on the sideboard outside the door.
Purple and yellow were the company colors, and Marion’s office was quite a testament to them. The carpets were a bright summer-yellow. The desk was white, and the drapery and pillows in the window seat were a rich royal purple. A purple brocade high-back chair sat in the corner by a small bookshelf. The d├ęcor was a very bold statement, but Marion pulled it off.
“Is something wrong? You sound worried.” Rebecca stood in the doorway and waited for Marion to look away from her computer screen.
“Ah, no. Nothing wrong, just strange.” Marion continued to type.
Rebecca cocked her head. Her boss tore her gaze from the screen and met Rebecca’s. “You have an appointment today.”
“Just one?”
“I’m covering your other two.”
Now Rebecca was really curious. Marion never covered her appointments.
“Don’t look at me like that.” Marion tucked her bangs behind an ear. “I don’t know how you got this. I should be the one running this appointment, but you were requested by name. It’s a very high-profile client from out of town.”
Interesting. Rebecca shifted her weight from her right to her left foot. It was better to wait on Marion than to pressure her. She frowned as Marion gave her outfit the once-over and grimaced. Rebecca didn’t make enough money to dress in the designer labels like her employer, although with the impending divorce, Marion might find herself with less spending money than usual.
“The showing is in The Woodlands. You will need to go home and put on something nicer. Your dress is too casual.” Marion shook her head and looked back at her computer screen.
Rebecca swallowed a snort. The white floral dress was quite nice, especially paired with the cute green wedge heels. They gave such a nice pop of color. Most of Marion’s dislike came from the fact that they weren’t name brand.
Marion handed her the clipboard with the appointment information, and Rebecca’s mouth went dry.
Robert Corvin.
“Do you know this Robert Corvin?” Marion asked.
Rebecca glanced up from the clipboard and stared at her.
“I should be handling this appointment. You’ve never handled a sale this large.”
Rebecca tried to speak, but nothing came out.
“Rebecca!”
“Yes, ma’am. We went to high school together.” Her voice finally emerged to quell the storm in her boss’s face. With that said, Marion seemed to relax a bit.
“Well,” Marion gave her clothing another demoralizing examination. “I still think you should go home and change into something more appropriate. This is a really big sale. I want you to give him a very good impression of my office.”
Rebecca nodded. Marion leaned back in her chair. “I want this sale, Rebecca. I don’t care what happened between the two of you back in high school. Don’t let it stop you from sealing the deal.”
“Yes, ma’am. I will do my best. I’m surprised he even remembers who I am.”
“Men remember more than you think, young lady. He wouldn’t have asked for you if he didn’t remember you.”
“I should go. The sheet says he wants to meet at ten, and it will take me nearly an hour to get to the property.” Rebecca paused for a moment. “Is there anything else you need me to do, Marion?”
“No, get going. Call me after and let me know how it went.”
Rebecca nodded and walked out of the office. She picked up her purse and keys from the sideboard outside Marion’s door and waved to Paige, the receptionist who had just arrived. The bell jingled again to announce her exit.
She wondered if Robert would remember her. Probably not, it had been so many years. He’d probably tutored a lot of girls in freshman algebra.


Interview

How did you get your start in the industry?
Well, Open House: Pool of Souls is my first published book…. so I'm just getting warmed up. I've been writing for years. It was only just this past year or two that I've really pushed myself to take the leap into publication.
What websites do you visit daily?
Facebook, my blog, and Twitter…. does email count. I feel like I'm always in my email.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Write more! I wrote constantly in high school and college, but after I got married I let it go for a while. I wish I hadn't.
Do you have a muse? Describe this person, please.
I don't have one particular muse. My characters are my muses. My characters whisper…. does that sound strange. I joke that I have a multiple personality disorder, but that's how it feels to me sometimes. ROFL! My husband has even told me he's had conversations with some of my characters in the middle of the night. So apparently, even when I'm sleeping, they are creeping around up there!
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
Absolutely! There was the one time… it involved Mexican dominos…. satisfying someone….. and a whole lot of laughing. It's not in a book yet, but it totally is going to be.
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
I teach elementary music in a Texas public school, but I've also worked as a bank teller, and in a department store.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
I read mostly contemporary, paranormal, and a few science fiction romance thrown in for good measure. Lately I have started a couple of romantic suspense. Pretty much anything with a 'Happily Ever After' is fair game on my Kindle.
What do you think is the future of epublishing?
I think it will continue to grow and eventually dominate the publishing market.
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'm going to Greece! My dream is to see the ruins at Athens and on Crete. I would pull down my travel bag from my closet, load it with clothes, shoes, my husband's toiletry travel kit, make up bag, my camera, a beach towel, and I'm ready to go!
What is your favorite holiday and why?
I really enjoy thanksgiving. It's all about being grateful for what we've been given and celebrating with family…..plus really really really good food!
What good book have you read recently?
I actually just finished Jennifer Probst's The Marriage Bargain and Laura Kaye's Hearts in Darkness.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
Read. Watch TV. My favorite show is LOST GIRL and MERLIN.
If your life became a movie, who would you want to play you?
Kate Hudson…. hands down! I love her snarky sense of humor paired with loyalty and down-to-earth friendliness.
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."
The first, LOL. I just go with the flow most of the time.

Please Fill in the Blanks

I love pizza with canadian bacon.
I'm always ready for fun.
When I'm alone, I read.
If I could dance I'd want to be on Dancing with the Stars.
I can never stop writing because the characters in my head would torture me.

Other Books

Krystal Shannan
Pool of Souls Book 2 (coming soon)
A Very Russian Christmas (Decadent)
Holiday Chase

Find Me Here

Other sites: AmazonAuthor Page