Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Finding the Time to Write . . .

     Luckily for me I’m freelance, so I work from home. Sometimes this is really good, but like anything else it has its disadvantages. Like overseeing various repairs by engineers to household equipment (dishwashers, washing machines, ovens, showers etc.,) and keeping an eye on decorators, builders or anyone else who happens to be doing something to, or for, our house. Quote: ‘Well you’re there all day aren’t you?’ Hmmmm, yes I’m here, but I still have deadlines, just not the daily commute.
      My official day job is book cover design, and like any other freelance work, sometimes I’m busy and other times I’m not. The busy times are bonkers and I’m knee deep in my bonkers time at the moment. Freelancers are rarely given the same amount of time to design a cover as designers in-house are. Having worked in-house for years, I now look back and wonder how I filled my time with such long deadlines! Now it’s, ‘Here’s a new brief for four covers, can we see visuals next week?’
      When I’m merely ‘ticking over’ on the design side, I restrict myself to designing until 4.30pm, and then I write until 7.00pm. This works quite nicely, giving me a nice chunk of time to write before the family come home. Of course now I’m in the bonkers time of year, I’m designing all the time with no time to write much at all. (I think I managed half a page yesterday!) It also explains why this blog is a day late!
      Do I balance things? Yes I think so, kind of ... it’s not easy, but it wouldn’t be half as much fun if it was. I’m convinced I’d get writer’s block if I just wrote all day and there wasn’t a ‘day job’ at all.
      As a family we’re all pretty busy anyway, so it’s not unusual for us to be in different rooms of the house, each doing our own thing. Obviously it was much more difficult when my son was little, but now he’s all grown up and working for a television company in Central London, so his hours are strange too. It’s really funny listening to him complain about the Jubilee Line, signal failure and crowded trains. Been there. Done that.
      There are times when I would be happy to write on and on, late into the night, but my husband gets up really early and it wouldn’t be fair, so I have to make myself stop at a decent hour. That’s the biggest problem I have really, because then I start writing in my head, which then makes sleep impossible. But hey, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big problem.
      Fledgling has been published now for nine whole months. I can’t believe how the time has flown by. I still get a huge burst of pride when I see it on Amazon.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Research widens the plot

A continuing part of writing is doing research. An reviewer asked about the information I used in Ancient Awakening and I had to assure her that I had researched the facts I used. Building a novel takes more than one fact. I took information from many areas and used my imagination to recombine the ideas into my plots.
In my paranormal Ancient Awakening, I used the obsession with immortality to add layers to my villain’s character. The individual’s desire to live forever is recorded throughout history. 
Several decades ago, the world was amazed by the discovery in China of an immense grave site. Thousands of terra-cotta figures stood in ordered array.
Archeologists discovered that Emperor Ching Shi Hwang-Di spent his life hoping to avoid death. He commissioned doctors to concoct potions and sent ships out to sea in search of islands where immortals supposedly lived.
Fearful that his efforts might ultimately fail, he conscripted more than a half-million men to build a magnificent underground tomb. He had the tomb surrounded by over seven thousand life-size terracotta soldiers in military formation.
Upon the emperor's death, he ordered his living servants buried with him.
I was fascinated by his creation.
The idea of being immortal is common in fiction. In the ‘Lord of the Rings,’ Sauron is immortal.
Many fictitious characters are said to be immortal if they cannot die of old age, even though they can be killed through other means, such as injury. Achilles was such a character. He had only one place where he could be hurt and was ultimately killed.
Another example of this obsession is in the first know writings of man. Gilgamesh, the hero of ancient Mesopotamian mythology, searches for the magical plant or herb of immortality.  He provides one example of how stories use plants as symbols of life and of the healing power of nature. I used this idea in Ancient Blood. My hero searches for the way to use Wolf’s Bane to cure his curse.
Ancient Blood
Lily Alban escapes a murderous stalker, but his vicious attack leaves her with the ability to see auras. She finds safety in the tiny hamlet of Rhodes End where a stranger stands out like a red light. Try as she might to deny her growing desire for Cole, she seeks his help but soon discovers the man she loves is not a man at all.
Werewolf Cole Benedict resists his attraction to Lily. A botanist researching the healing herbs to find a cure for Lycanthropy, he’s determined to protect Lily from her stalker as well as himself even in human form, but instinct takes over when he changes to his inner beast.
Together they must use their extraordinary gifts to catch Lily’s stalker before he attacks again, but revealing their secrets to one another could destroy their growing love or save them both.

“Lily?” His strong hands gently cupped her shoulders.
“Don’t, please don’t.”
She pulled away, fully intending to flee. Her resistance shattered, and she turned into his embrace. It was too late to escape. Pressing against his strength, she wound her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. His erection prodded her stomach, and she moaned. A heavy groan filled his throat as he lifted her from her feet. He kicked the bag aside as he sat her on the counter.
“I can’t wait,” he growled. His flaring aura spiraled with colors she couldn’t name. She caught her breath. One hand burrowed through her hair, keeping her still as he stepped between her thighs. “You’re all I could think about all day.”
Clasping her bottom, he slid her to the edge of the counter. With his lips claiming her mouth, he unbuttoned her slacks, than lifted her slightly to push them down and off.
The cold surface only made her more aware of his scorching heat. His rough denim pants scraped her inner thighs in contrast with the silky hair under her palms. Her pulse leaped, and she gasped. His male scent mixed with hints of the wild forest filled her nostrils. When his fingertip explored the heated moisture gathering at her juncture, she tightened her thighs around his hips.
Barbara Edwards
The Wild Rose Press: Ancient Blood, a Black Rose
‘Like” Ancient Blood on my Facebook Bookpage!/pages/Ancient-Blood-by-Barbara-Edwards/122722171136047?sk=wall

Saturday, May 19, 2012

FOREVER FREED Turns One & is 99 Cents!

I'm so excited to celebrate the first publication anniversary of my debut novel, a vampire romance called Forever Freed! This book was the first I wrote and first I sold, and it remains very dear to my heart. And it's had a great year, too:
  • WON the NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal of 2011!
  • Finaled for the NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best First Book of 2011!
  • Finaled in the GDRW Booksellers' Best Contest for Best Paranormal of 2012!
  • Finaled in the GDRW Booksellers' Best Contest for Best First Book of 2012!
  • Gothic Romance Amazon Bestseller!
With so much to celebrate, I'm throwing a party over at my blog complete with THREE prizes you can win. AND TWRP has put the book on sale for a limited time for just 99 Cents! That's such a steal for a 332-page award-winning vampire romance!

So, don't miss out on the party or the sale! Thanks for reading!

Laura Kaye

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Juggling Act of a Writing Mom

When I was working full-time (without children) my life was structured. I had a time mapped out for everything. Clear, written plans. A calendar with times and dates filled in, writing-time, work-time, fun-time. Now, not so much. I’ve learned to become flexible. A lot! Having kids is a full-time job in itself! Adding a day job and writing to that mix makes it all the more interesting. But, my passion for books continues. And I make room for it around my family. Since I’ve become a stay-at-home mom, I have several openings available to me throughout the day to fill my notebooks and computer files with my stories.

There is still a bit of structure to my day. I have about 30 minutes to an hour to write in the morning. I tried getting up earlier to have more time, but I swear my oldest son (6 y/o) is psychic. No matter how quiet I woke (no alarm clocks!) or how quietly I walked (I do have to visit the bathroom in the a.m.), within ten minutes he would wake and come see what I was doing. Then he would lecture me about how it was still night-time because the sun wasn’t out and I should be asleep. I’d like for him to take his own advice!

After I see him off to school, I spend about 2 hours cleaning the house or other morning chores. I move as quickly as possible since I’m not a big fan of housework (who is?), but if I don’t do it, it won’t get done. Then I have about 2 hours of writing time while my 2 younger children (4 y/o and 20 month-old) play. That is, I do what I can on my laptop while sitting in the living room and settling squabbles or disputes, suggesting silly games to entertain them or when they watch a little TV (I believe Sesame Street is educational and it gives me at least an hour!). This time is not always guaranteed. I might actually squeeze in only 10 minutes of writing or editing, but that’s 10 minutes I won’t have to do later. The rest of the day is a blur of kid-time activity, other household chores, running to the grocery stores or paying bills, and mealtimes until after they go to bed around 8pm. From 8-11pm I can devote undivided attention to my writing, or as much as I can until I fall asleep. Some days I don’t do too much at night simply because I’m tired from my day. Being a mother is exhausting!  

Of course, the school year is almost finished, and my writing schedule will have to re-adjust. As I’ve mentioned, having kids has made me learn to become flexible. But, I will continue simply because I can’t stop writing. I’m a writer. I’m determined to succeed. And the simple matter is that no matter what, we are all given the same 24 hours every day. If I can get only 15 minutes of that time spent on writing, I’m happy. That’s 15 minutes I won’t have to do tomorrow.

~Tricia Schneider writes paranormal and gothic romance while raising her 3 young children. Visit her at her website.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Birthday TWRP!!!

Happy Birthday to TWRP! I love writing for TWRP. The editors are attentive, the higher ups actually answer your emails, and everyone is happy to help. It makes writing fun knowing I'll be working with such a great group. I've been with TWRP since 2008 when they accepted my short story for the Got Wolf? anthology. Two books later, I'm still with them and enjoying it. Here's to many more birthdays!!
Happy Birthday, TWRP. I can't believe I've been with you for two years. In June 2010, TWRP released my first book, a paranormal romance entitled Out of the Darkness. I've gone on to publish two historicals and I'm currently working on a sequel to OTD. And in that time, I might still be waiting to hear something from some other publishers. lol! But TWRP responds quickly to queries and the editors work well with both new and seasoned writers.

I think I've found my forever home here. TWRP rocks!

Happy 6th, TWRP!

I'd like to join in to offer Rhonda, RJ, Callie, and everyone at The Wild Rose Press a Happy 6th Birthday!

I can't help but have a special place in my heart for TWRP. Not only did they give me my first opportunity to publish, but it was my first novel to boot! If that wasn't exciting enough, FOREVER FREED is coming up on its one-year publication anniversary on May 20, which makes this celebration that much more special!

So grab a glass of champagne (or, ya know, blood, if you're a vampire) and a slice of chocolate cake, and celebrate! You deserve it, TWRP!

Thanks for reading!

  • Amazon Bestselling Gothic Romance
  • NJRW Golden Leaf Winner for Best Paranormal of 2011
  • NJRW Finalist for Best First Book of 2011 
A heart can break, even one that no longer beats.

I stalk my new neighbors, a single mother and her child, drawn by the irresistible scent of their joy and love. I crave their blood, starved for some healing respite from my ancient grief. Now to lure them into my grasp.

But they surprise me. Little Olivia accepts me without fear or reservation--talking, smiling, offering innocent affection that tugs at my long-lost humanity. Her mother, Samantha, seeks me out when she should stay away, offering sweet friendship, and calling to the forgotten man within me. They lure me instead.

Ah, Dio, Lucien, run and spare them while you can...

Celebration Time!

It’s nearly two years since I got my first Black Rose contract. Because of the time difference it was about 11pm here, and we were watching the Eurovision Song Contest, laughing at the truly awful songs, and the even worse outfits. I decided to shut my computer down for the night, and that’s when I discovered an email from Callie saying she loved my book. I read the email and then re-read it a few more times just to make sure I hadn’t had one glass of Shiraz too many. (I didn’t want to start whooping in case I’d made a mistake.) Later, of course, there was much whooping – and also more Shiraz – after we realised it was real, and so my journey in the garden began. I’ve only ever worked with editors as a cover designer, so working in the role of new author was a real learning curve. I learned so much from Callie, things that had never even occurred to me before. (Like using ‘which’ or ‘that’ too often ☺) But I’ve enjoyed everything from signing the contract, and working on the edits with Callie, to contributing to the monthly Black Rose blog. The Wild Rose Press is like a family, and I’m proud to be part of it. Congratulations, a very Happy Birthday, and huge thanks to everyone who works so hard to get our books out there. xxx
Hello All!!! And a very Happy Birthday to The Wild Rose Press from all of us in the darker side of the garden!! Namely, Black RoseJ

Today we celebrate six years of success here at the TWRP. We have climbed to heights beyond our wildest dreams in a mere six years.  And we have the infamous RJ Morris and Rhonda Penders to thank for this.

Congratulations, RJ and Rhonda! 

You deserve all the best as you celebrate the wonder of six years in the business of publishing fabulous stories by the most talented authors—new and seasoned. And a heartfelt thank you to all our very talented authors, for without you we would not be where we are now.  And last but not least – the editors. All our talented and knowledgeable editors who work so very hard at pulling the diamonds out of the rough to provide the very best stories for our readers to enjoy and lose themselves in.

Come pull up a stump or fallen log. Sit with us and enjoy some celebratory cake along with our special cider.  Actually, we here in Black Rose have two celebrations at hand.  Today is May Day as well! 

May Day is our Pagan Spring and May Pole celebration.
May Day began as an ancient pagan festival held to celebrate the return of warmth to the earth and the beginning of the growing season. The Druids of the British Isles called the celebration Beltane. Flickering flames rose toward the sky as a symbol of the sun. Farmers walked their cattle through the fires to purify the animals and bring good fortune to the coming year. (Holiday description borrowed from Lifescript a site for women and healthy living. For more information please visit site.)
It is celebrated by placing a festive floral basket on the doors of family, neighbors and friends. As well, dancing about the May Pole as illustrated above with the cute squirrel graphic, LOL I just thought it cuteJ
Anyway, I digress. Back to our birthday celebration!  I’d like to take a brief walk down memory lane and share a bit of my history here at the TWRP.  I do tend to ramble on at times but will make every effort to keep it short so Lill can share her memories.  We invite you to share yours as well.
Here goes:
I stumbled into the Rose Garden more than five and one half years ago. I had been working for an epublisher that handled mostly mystery, nonfiction, and SciFi so I was seeking employment that better fit my interest, which is as you all know dark paranormal.  I noticed a sidebar for employment opportunities and applied.  Rhonda called me a day or so later and Voila! I got the job—but not in my desired capacity. Yet. She assigned me to Champagne, and I spent my first six months with Roseann.  I enjoyed working with her and learned so very much, but my desire was Black Rose  We were still a new press in those days and there was no room in the darker side. So I made myself at home in Champagne, our contemporary line, which was and has always been one of the busiest lines. Need I tell you, I always had work:)
One day, out of the blue, Rhonda contacted me and asked if I would like to move into the Black Rose line and take the SENIOR EDITOR position. I was flabbergasted. And very frightened, to say the least. I’d only been with the TWRP a mere five to six months! I wasn’t qualified to take over a line, I thought to myself. No matter I’d been editing for over eight years. I was also a bit fearful. I didn’t want to let Rhonda down. I had no clue what to do in a senior capacity, but in the end, she talked me down. I took the position and still LOVE my job to this day.  I can’t say enough about TWRP and its people from management, editing staff, to all the various departments such as, art, readers, marketing. The Wild Rose Press is a dream job. And its staff, collectively, like family. Not much more to say than I continously count the blessings of having stepped into the garden all those years ago.
I’ve grown with the TWRP and am fortunate to have watched it grow.  We’ve seen many changes—some for the better, some not so. We’ve also said goodbye to many editors—some of which are still missed to this day, many who moved on for an abundance of reasons. But the key motivation seems to be treating all with compassion, love, and respect for the craft of writing.  We truly are the “the kinder, gentler publisher” and I for one am proud to be here.
Cheers, TWRP, Rhonda and RJ
And the entire staff!!!

Thank you all for sharing this special day with us. I will now turn the floor over to Lill Farrell. And I would like to say a special thank you to Lill for keeping our blog going. It is quite a responsibility to keep things fresh and interesting, and she does it so very well. Also thanks go out to all you who have a hand in posting to our blog. 

Oh, by the way, you will want to read what Lill has to say.  A little bat whispered in my ear that she has quite a few surprises up her sleeve.

Callie Lynn Wolfe
Senior Managing Editor
Black Rose Imprint, TWRP

Lill chiming in here with Happy Birthday Wishes for one-and-all. And a huge congrats to the amazing Rhonda and RJ!!! I hope everyone finds time to celebrate TWRP’s sixth birthday today. Writer, reader, editor, artist, blog follower all are part of TWRP’s success. We really do have a wonderful group here in the Garden, though of course I am partial to our dark corner.

I can’t even tell you how I ended up finding out about editing spots at TWRP. Four years ago I had just moved and was doing one of those long-winded internet searches that lead you from page to page until you forget where you started, and in a split second of good fortune stumbled upon a posting looking for editors. An email (or three) to Rhonda, a couple of phone calls later and there I was.

Like Callie, I started out in other departments (with my eye fixed on Black Rose). My first editing journey was with a wonderful little Faery story and then I too spent some time in Champagne with the wonderful Roseann. And like Callie I suddenly found myself with the opportunity to join Black Rose which was a dream come true. And that dream has only grown.

Callie is just amazing to work under and our authors keep me hopping with their amazing characters and plots. The talent within the Garden is truly awe-inspiring and with each new submission, I find myself transported to wonderful places filled with hot heroes and spicy heroines. In addition, I work with some of the most amazing, interesting, talented and wonderful people on the planet What more could a girl ask for?

So I invite you one and all to join in our Birthday Celebration.  Visit the blogs, stop by on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and leave a comment (or two).  Since you are all such a big part of what makes TWRP such a great success and a wonderful place to be, we are going to give YOU gifts!!!!  There will be 6 prizes given away with the grand prize being a KINDLE FIRE!!!!!  Having just gotten one myself I can tell you they are amazing!!!!  

Lill Farrell
Black Rose Editor
The Wild Rose Press