Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Few Little Things...

First of all, as March comes to a close, a huge THANKS to everyone who wrote blogs and commented on the March Author Series! I think it went very well. Authors who submitted posts, I'd love to hear feedback from you. Did you see any increased traffic to your websites or increased sales? Would you be interested in another series like this?

April brings us into the A-Z blogging challenge, and most of the letters have been snatched up. Prepare for 26 days of unique guest posts, all related to the letters of the alphabet.

Now, for some fun, I'm sharing a snippet from Chapter 3 of Serenya's Song, Book Two of my Tallenmere fantasy romance series, which will be out in a few weeks. In this excerpt, our heroine, Serenya, has just met Jayden (our hero) prior to this during a brief encounter at her stepfather's tavern. He's a recent arrival there in Summerwind, where the story takes place. Serenya's dearest friend, Lillyanne (Jayden's co-worker) is back in Summerwind too. Coincidences can be quite interesting...
From Chapter 3: Serenya's POV

I donned my cloak. We left the tavern, headed down Main Street, and crossed Hightower Road to the long drive that led to the Crowe Estate. The moon played peek-a-boo with the clouds overhead. Hot, humid summer air had retreated, and a chilly dampness enveloped the countryside. I shivered and pulled my cloak tighter around me. Despite the temperature, my heart warmed at the thought of having Lilly back in town. I’d finally have someone to talk to again.
 Lilly had been in Leogard for the past ten years, only visiting Summerwind on occasion. She had told no one else about her work in the Leogardian Intelligence Organization, or the L.I.O., as she liked to call it, not even her parents. I looked behind us and made sure all was quiet.
  “So,” I said, conspiratorially, “will you still be working for the you-know-who?”
 “Aye. For a while at least.”
 Lilly had always relaxed after a bit of ale. I thought perhaps she’d had enough to let me broach another, more sensitive, subject.
  “And what about your partner? You told me once that you had feelings for him.”
 She took a sip and glanced up at me. A hint of disappointment lined her frown. “Jay and me would have never worked like that, ye know. The last two years have been rough for ‘im, but I’ll tell ye about it later. Would ye believe he’s moved here as well?”
 Mr. Handsome’s image popped into my mind, not that it had ever left. “Really? That might have been him I saw tonight.”
 “Fine-looking wood-elf, ‘bout yer height, sandy brown hair down to his shoulders, blue eyes like sapphires?”
 Oh, I had noticed his eyes, along with his hands, his voice, and everything in between. I understood why Lilly had been attracted to him. Who wouldn’t be? Yet, I had to play nonchalant again. I was no longer the daydreaming teenager I’d been when Lilly moved to Leogard. I was the wife of an Earl. Besides, Lilly had once been in love with him, and I guessed she still harbored some feelings. Any interest in him on my part would be more than wrong.
 I put on a thoughtful expression. “I bet that was him. He gave me a rose. I think he liked my music.”
 Lilly stopped walking. Her eyes narrowed. “I’ll warn ye just this once. Jay’s had a thing for the ladies. And now, he’s mendin’ a broken heart. It’s a dangerous mix.”
 Someone had broken his heart? Was that why he was here? I swallowed back the urge to interrogate Lilly and laughed dismissively. “He’s handsome enough, but you’ve nothing to worry about.”

FREE Today Only!!
Raise your hand if you believe there's nothing to worry about....funny, I didn't see a single hand raised. Ha!

And if you were diligent enough to read that whole thing, here's another treat for you. Until Midnight tonight, that's 12:00 AM EST, I'm giving away a FREE copy (PDF or Kindle) of the first book in the Tallenmere series, A Ranger's Tale, to anyone who leaves a comment with your email addy on this post!

To avoid spam-bots, you can leave your email like this: yourhandle (at)blahblah (dot) com

All the books in this series are meant to be stand-alone, but subsequent books focus on previous characters, so don't miss out! Grab your copy of A Ranger's Tale, and if you like it, I hope you'll come back and buy a copy of Serenya's Song too. Happy April!!


Friday, March 30, 2012

March Author Series #22: How a Naughty Fairytale was Born by Doris O'Connor

For our final installment of the March Author Series, please welcome Doris O'Connor as she tells how a call for submissions sparked an idea...a very naughty idea, indeed. This multi-published author is also the mother of NINE kids! My hat is off to you, Doris. Read on and show some love, peeps!

How a Naughty Fairytale was Born 

My muse is a precarious little thing. I never know what may spark that idea off, but every one of my books has a little story behind it. Goldie And Her Bears, my latest release with Breathless Press, is no exception and has perhaps the strongest back story of all of them.
When one of my publishers first announced a new line called Naughty Nursery Rhymes, my interest was piqued immediately. Goldilocks popped into my head almost instantly in a 'hah hah, wouldn't it be fun' kinda way. I dismissed the idea initially because I'd never written a ménage before and I was in the middle of writing another story with several new releases to promote.

Buy it HERE!
However, the idea kept niggling at me.  My muse responds well to prompts, and once she gets the bit between her teeth, she is like a dog with a bone and will not let it go. I'm also a complete panster, so unless my characters are talking to me, no writing happens.

My brooding vamp, whose story I was writing stopped talking to me, as a different sort of growling started to happen in my head. You see during one of our regular Skype brainstorming sessions with the lovely ladies from my critique group, UCW, we were discussing this submission call. Again, Goldilocks popped in my head and I said, "Hmm, wouldn't it be fun, if the bears were triplets, shifters of course, and Goldie was human, and it was set in a BDSM club?"
The overall feedback was, "Yeah, go for it, sounds like great fun!"
I let it fester for a bit, as images formed in my head, and that growling got louder and impossible to ignore. Originally the three bears were all male, but then one of my crit partners said, "Oh, no, one of them needs to be female," and I thought to myself, "Oooh yes, now that would be fun…"
I resisted starting to write until my hubby came home from work for the weekend, because I knew those bears would just take over and there is the small matter of the kids. I needed him home to take over and bless him he did.
I started writing Friday Lunch time, and I didn't stop until that first draft was finished Sunday evening. 15K written in just three days—for me that's a personal best. Those bears however didn't let me rest there. I tweaked and polished until they and my whip cracking crit partner was satisfied. By the end of that week, the story was submitted and thankfully my lovely editor liked my bears as much as I did J
So there you have it, an insight into my at times rather chaotic writing process.
Glutton for punishment would be a good description for Doris... at least that's what she hears on an almost daily basis when people find out that she has a brood of nine children, ranging from adult to baby and lives happily in a far too small house, cluttered with children, pets, dust bunnies and one very understanding and supportive husband.  Domestic goddess she is not.

There is always something better to do after all, like working on the latest manuscript and trying not to scare the locals even more than usual by talking out loud to the voices in her head. Her sexy Alpha heroes and sassy heroines tend to be pretty insistent to get their stories told, and you will find Doris burning the midnight oil on a regular basis. Only time to get any peace and quiet and besides, sleep is for wimps. She writes contemporary, erotic and paranormal romance.

German born, Doris now resides in the middle of a busy town in Bedfordshire/England and dreams of a nice big house by the sea, with plenty of space to run kids and dogs and let her imagination soar.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March Author Series #21: Plot Development by Anna James

Today, Anna James, another regular here on Unwritten, shares a great informative post on developing plots. Many of you have heard this before, but for those just starting out in fiction writing, it's essential to know, and for the veterans, this is a good review. Read on!


Hi Everyone,

I’m Anna James, author of contemporary romance novels and I invite you to take a break from everyday life and get lost in a world filled with desire, passion and romance! Today I’d like to share with you my thoughts on plot development. Plot is an essential element of a good story. So let’s start at the beginning with a definition.
The plot - is a sequence of events that serves to move a story from the beginning through its climax or turning point to the resolution of its conflicts. It’s also why the story happens and why the protagonist learns or grows, or begins or chooses something.  It’s revealed through the characters actions and agendas and usually starts in a place that captures a reader’s attention.
Most stories follow the same basic sequence of events. Keep in mind the following as you create your story:
  • Rising Action: This where the events and actions become complicated and the conflict is revealed.
  • Climax/Turning Point: The point at which the protagonist decides how to resolve a conflict or faces those conflicts. At this point the story moves from building conflict to resolving conflict. It IS NOT necessarily the most exciting part of the story, but often times it is.
  • Falling Action: Everything that happens as a result of the climax.
  • Resolution/Denouncement: The part of the story that sums up or brings the conflicts to their conclusion. It should be believable, and not a huge surprise, because the plot should have been building up to that point.
Sometimes special elements of plot are needed to enhance the story and make it more detailed or interesting. They can include:
Buy it HERE!
  • Foreshadowing: used as a way to create tension and rising conflict and to move the story closer to its eventual outcome. It gives hints about what may eventually occur or be decided.
  • Flashback – An interruption of the current action to show what happened at an earlier time.
  • Stream of Consciousness: The author provides the protagonist’s thoughts through interior monologues throughout the course of the story. These thoughts do not have to be sequential or linear, and they allow the reader to experience both external action and internal thoughts and feelings about the action in the story.
Here is a quick glimpse of the plot for my latest release To Love and Trust again.

Three years ago Molly Quin walked out of Dan Berringer’s apartment and told him that she wanted nothing to do with him ever again. Now, after accepting a position with Bennett Engineering, she will have to see Dan every day. Fate could be so cruel! Seeing him again so unexpectedly, she discovered to her chagrin, brought back feelings she thought she’d dealt with a long time ago. 
Dan Berringer made a mistake. He’d hurt Molly badly. He wants her back now and will stop at nothing to win her including letting Max McDermott get in his way.

Max McDermott wants Molly Quin. She’s smart, funny and sexy as hell, but he is reluctant to pursue her. He knows Molly is attracted to him too but what about her relationship with Dan Berringer? And is he willing to become involved with someone he works with again?

Follow Molly on her journey as she deals with hurts from the past and her feelings in the present and learns how to love and trust again.


Hi I’m Anna James, author of contemporary novels and I invite you to take a break from everyday life and get lost in a world filled with desire, passion, and romance!

I have been writing for years and was first published in 2010. Since then I have published seven stories.

I was born in Connecticut and lived there until I was nine years old. My family and I spent the next eleven years living in Williamsville, a suburb just outside of Buffalo, NY. I returned to Connecticut after receiving my associates degree in Engineering Science and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. I continue to live in Connecticut with my husband and children.
I am a romantic at heart and enjoy reading and writing romance novel.

Follow me on Twitter - @authorannajames

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March Author Series #20: A Book in Songs--My "Bites" Playlist by Ninfa Hayes

I do believe Ninfa Hayes is a girl after my own heart! Music can be a huge inspiration for writing, especially for me, when I'm crafting scenes and want to get the mood just write. Get it? Just write? Anyway...see some of the fabulous songs that inspired Ninfa's paranormal romances. Some of these I even have on my own playlists! Read on...

 A book in songs: My 'Bites' Playlist

First of all, thank you to the lovely Mysti for the opportunity to guest post here at “Unwritten”.

There are different things in life that inspire me, but music is definitely high on the list. I simply can't write without music. It isolates me from whatever is going on around me and seals me in my own little world, surrounding me with melody and words.
Buy it HERE!

And we all know words, when you write, are always a good thing.

So I thought for today's post I'd share with you those songs that helped me shape the two novelettes that make up “Bites”, my YA Dark Fantasy anthology.

Hope you'll enjoy this little trip into my writing world!

“Last of the Blood”: Some of these songs inspired me because of the melody, some because of the lyrics, but all of them played a big part in shaping Damon's story.

•                     “Bullet with Butterfly wings” by Smashing Pumpkins
'The world is a vampire, sent to drain
Secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames
And what do I get, for my pain?
Betrayed desires, and a piece of the game...
...Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage...'
The whole song is the perfect set up for the story...

•                     “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri
Definitely Nataliya and Gabriel's song...just read their story and listen to the words and music...
'And who do you think you are?
Runnin' 'round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me
Who do you think you are?'

•                     “It will rain” by Bruno Mars 
•                     “My Immortal” by Evanescence 
•                     “The Only Exception” by Paramore
•                     “Never Think” by Robert Pattinson
•                     “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron and Wine
All of the above songs have a soft, romantic tone that suits Damon's mood when he meets the two girls in his life. There's hope, loss, heartache and melancholy in these songs and they're the perfect backup to Damon's love stories.

“Demonica”: The play-list for “Demonica” included more epic sounding songs, like “Lacrymosa”, “Supermassive Black Hole” and “Ava Adore”. I think they contributed in making the story so ambitious in scope, and, hopefully, helped me succeed in telling Irina's story.

•                     “Love the way you lie Part 2” by Rhianna feat. Eminem
There's one particular line in this song that started the whole “Demonica” concept, so literally, without this song, “Demonica” might have never seen the light of day!
'Even Angels have their wicked schemes,
and you take that to new extremes...”

•                     “Do you want the truth...” by Paloma Faith
To me this is “Eden's” song.

•                     “Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse
'Oh baby don't you know I suffer?
Oh baby can you hear me moan?
You caught me under false pretences
How long before you let me go?
You set my soul alight...
...I thought I was a fool for no one
Oh baby I'm a fool for you
You're the queen of the superficial
And how long before you tell the truth
You set my soul alight
You set my soul alight'

•                     “Ava Adore” by Smashing Pumpkins
'It's you that I adore...
...We must never be apart
Lovely girl, you're the beauty in my world
Without you, there aren't reasons left to find...
Evanescence: One of my FAVES!!
...In you I see dirty
In you I count stars
In you I feel so pretty
In you I taste God
In you I feel so hungry...
...We must never be apart...'

Lucifer's songs, both of them.

•                     “Tourniquet” by Evanescence 
'I lay dying
and I'm pouring crimson regret and betrayal
I'm dying praying bleeding and screaming
am I too lost to be saved
am I too lost?

•                     “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri 
'Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What's standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this
One step closer...'

•                     “Lacrymosa” by Evanescence 
'I can't change who I am.
Not this time, I won't lie to keep you near me.
And in this short life, there's no time to waste on giving up.'

All of the above are part of Irina's journey through the Daemonic Court and into Isola dell'Angelo, as well as her growth from a simple village girl to a queen.

I really hope you guys have enjoyed this little musical journey, and if some of these songs are new to you, check them out, you won't regret it.

Keep reading!
Ninfa xxx

           Ninfa lives in Manchester, UK with husband Gareth, daughter Cassandra and two gorgeous kitties, Jemima and Shelley.
Originally from Italy, she's half Spanish, half Italian and British by choice and marriage.
She loves books and is a total bookaholic! Reading and writing have always been a big part of her life and for this she thanks both her parents for passing down the literary gene and the passion for a good story.
Ninfa is big on Networking and co-runs an array of Facebook pages and blogs about books and all things supernatural. She also reviews books for the Facebook “Bookaholics Book Club” on a regular basis.
In this spirit, she's also training her daughter in these dark arts and plans on making her a huge geek, whether she likes it or not!
If you'd like to find out more about Ninfa Hayes and “Bites”, head over to:

Facebook @Ninfa Hayes

and you can also find her on

Twitter @Ninfa76

“Bites” e-book available now!

Or pre-order your paperback copy from:

Bitten Fruit Books (Also available exclusive signed copies!):

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Author Series #19: Inspiration by Laurel Wilczek

How imaginative were you as a child? I know I spent countless hours daydreaming and pretending, exploring the hills and hollows of my Kentucky home. I think we have to hang on to our childhood gift of imagination if we want our writing to resonate with our readers. Read this beautiful piece from author Laurel Wilczek to see how she draws inspiration from the magic of her childhood.


I grew up in Yardley, Pennsylvania, a town that I have carried around inside me all my life. A town full of mystical places. A black-water pond  infested with vicious snapping turtles. A mansion, with underground tunnels rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of slaves who traveled the Underground Railroad. A milky canal, home to catfish, leeches, and countless sneakers tossed from the wooden bridge.

Oh yes, and an apple orchard.

Picture this:

A leap out the back door, through air sweetened by lilac and the drone of honey bees at work. Twenty steps across the slick grass to the three-trunk oak. Forty steps to the white gate with the iron latch.  No lock. Behind it? Acres and acres of wild land. Apples. Plums. Peaches. Poison Ivy. Sand pits. Eight-foot-high thorn patches. Sand hills, fifty-feet high! Quicksand, who knows how deep? A water reservoir. A junkyard. A patch of sun-scorched ground infested by trees that no longer bloom.

Now imagine this:

Peter's Gate. You know Peter. No? Maybe you know Peter's not-so-nice stalker, the wolf?  Peter and his wolf are legendary.

Picture Peter's gate open. Standing on the brink of that undiscovered country:  One six-year-old girl with a paper lunch bag in one hand, a net in the other, a mesh sack stuffed in the waistband of her jeans, a rinsed-out milk carton tucked under her arm, new Ked's sneakers on her feet, and the thrill of an impending hunt tickling her stomach.

At the back of the orchard, south of the gate, there is a water reservoir. In the folds of shadowed current, the frogs grow into monstrous creatures with ping-pong eyes and wide-slit mouths that gape open like gutter spouts as they drift beneath the surface of the water.

Clumps of moss at first sight. Exquisite dragon babies to child sight. 

West of the reservoir, beyond a barrier of ground choked by weed and thorn, there is a gully filled with junk. A motley collection of gutted kitchen appliances, rusted car frames, bicycles without tires, mildew-stained mattresses, broken dishes, plastic toys, garbage bags bursting with ratty clothing, an abandoned trailer broken into two pieces, and an ice cream truck stripped to a hollow-eyed carcass. 

Buy it HERE!
A gully of rat-infested junk at first sight. A troll's hideout to child sight.

East of the reservoir, past the peach trees and barbed-wire fence, there is a red desert. Great mountains of sand lapped by rain and July heat into blood-colored stone. Apple trees whittled of leaf and wrapped with dead ivy. 
Naked ground gnawed by the teeth of a Styx wind.

A dumping ground for construction material at first sight. The demon underworld to child sight.

The sky above the orchard is filled with the glint of phoenix feather, the air, with the graveled song of the Jabberwocky. When the unharvested apples fall, it is the soft beat of Pan's goat hooves on earth. When the wind blows it is the rustle of the wolf stirring in his den.

An untended orchard at first sight. A realm of magic to child sight.

This is where my ideas are seeded and grown. My mindscape, guarded by the specter of a child who opened Peter's Gate and never closed it.  In my heart, romps a child muse still at large in the wild woods of an orchard long gone from this world.

In my mind,

I am child.
I am wolf.
I am writer.

We are hunter and prey.
Wanderer and guardian.
And we all live together in my orchard.


 Laurel Wilczek grew up in Yardley, Pennsylvania, a quaint little town that had its share of mystical black water ponds, milky canals, and magical orchards. A graduate of Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., Laurel writes literary fiction, fantasy and magical realism. Her short stories have appeared in T-Zero Literary Magazine, The Forward Papers, and Be a Better Writer. Writing under the pen name, Ravenne Law, Laurel enjoys exploring the dark fantasy. She is currently working on a 98,000 word Fantasy titled "Spells & Tells." Laurel lives with her husband, daughter, three nosy dogs and a cockatiel in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

The Raven's Eye Blog:

The Ravenne's Pie:

Monday, March 26, 2012

March Author Series #18: The Intuitive Writing Process by Lizzy Ford

If one of your goals is being more prolific as a writer, then you might want to read how Lizzy Ford can produce a new novel every month or so. I can honestly say, I doubt I'll ever reach that level of productivity. And what's with all these dreamers?! Read on to discover her secrets...

The Intuitive Writing Process

Buy it HERE!
The question I’m asked most frequently is how I can be a hyper-prolific, freak of nature writer.  Where do I get my inspiration from to write like a maniac? I write and publish a new novel every 30-45 days while maintaining marketing efforts and building up my social media presence.  Those who have read my work will tell you it’s good.  I’m not writing the Great American Novel, but I can write a darn good story with solid characters and a very imaginative plot.  In short, I can write a book that’s certain to entertain, and lots of people want to know what my secret is. 

It’s no easy feat to produce a book a month.  There are a couple of secrets, one of which I’ve been very open about.  I work with a team that consists of a freelance book editor, a graphics artist, and an I.T. person.  I write and revise my work.  Then, my editor beats the manuscript into shape, my graphics girl makes me covers and other material to promote it, and my husband (and IT guy!) optimizes our website to support each book.  All in about a month.  I’m ridiculously proud of my team!

Buy it HERE!
However, my second secret is a little less well-known: intuitive writing.  In order for my team to have something to work with, I’ve gotta WRITE.  Where do these ideas come from, and how do I keep them coming?  My writing process is only partially done consciously.  I have help from what I affectionately call my ‘demons,’ which are the builders of my stories.  I’m mentally working on several books at once, even if I’m capable of writing only one at a time.  The demons weave little ideas into plots, scenes, characters during the day – and at night.

A good chunk of my writing is done in my sleep.  I’m an avid dreamer who can remember much of what she dreams.  The demons are freer at night to create, experiment, and play in my dreams, and trust me – they do!  Rubber waves, shards of glass, a metro car in a cave, a woman with colorless eyes, a misty forest, a floating key, glowing rocks … These types of hazy dreamscapes, shape-shifting people and creatures, and surreal items or events become full-fledged scenes, plots or characters for books.  I weave those dream-world ideas together when I’m awake.

Buy it HERE!
I’ll be the first to admit that the creative mind is not a decisive one or one that can be easily directed at times. The demons usually play around with the movies, adding to them and filling in the gaps between scenes, until the story is ready to write.  Once I write it, the demons’ jobs are mostly over, unless I feel something is missing from the story that I can’t pinpoint.  On days like those, it’s back to dreamland, where I challenge the demons to figure it out while I sleep.  They usually do, and in the morning, I’m able to change whatever it was that bothered me about the book.

I call this entire process intuitive writing, mainly because I don’t feel as though I control much of it!  I rely on my demons and dreams to generate ideas and fuse them together.  I’m not always sure where a story is headed, but some part of me is, so I trust that part of me to help me create and build.  I do what I do best and write the movies as they appear in my mind, hopefully before the demons change them too much!


Lizzy Ford is the self-publishing phenom of the sweet paranormal romance series: "Rhyn Trilogy" and "War of Gods" series; and the young adult fantasy trilogy, “The Foretold,” all of which launched in 2011.  She has also authored multiple single title young adult fantasy and paranormal romances. Lizzy's books have reached the bestseller lists on both Amazon US and Amazon UK in multiple categories. Widely considered a freak of nature by her contemporaries for her ability to write and publish a new book every 30-45 days, Lizzy attributes her success to a team that consists of her editor, graphics artist, I.T. Sherpa, and her rabid readers. 

Lizzy released ten books in 2011 and intends to release another ten in 2012, including launching two more series. Lizzy’s books can be found on every major ereader library, to include: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Sony and Smashwords. She lives in southern Arizona with her husband, three dogs and a cat. 

Lizzy’s links


Saturday, March 24, 2012

An Interview with Jenny Twist, winner of the Love at First Sight Writing Contest

In February, I hosted a little contest called the "Love at First Sight" Writing Contest, where the contestants shared their best scenes of sparks and chemistry from their larger or original works. Five finalists were chosen. You can see their entries HERE. Voting commenced and wrapped up within two weeks.

Not surprisingly, the winner was one of my favorite authors, Mrs. Jenny Twist! She shared an excerpt from a short story called "Jess's Girl", from her anthology, Take One at Bedtime, which I reviewed HERE.

Now, I get to interrogate her ruthlessly once again, because she earned the right as part of her prize for winning. Bwahahahaha! She also got a $10 Amazon gift card, which isn't too shabby at all, is it? Without further ado...

Jenny, you have appeared on Unwritten in interview form no less than six times, the last being part of a collaborative interview with the authors of Warm Christmas Wishes. I've since seen you all over the place talking about your books in guest posts and interviews, not to mention commenting so generously on so many other authors' posts. What do you think about the marketing/promoting process? What are the ins and outs of it, from your perspective?

Are you sure you're not getting bored with me? I hadn't realised it had been six times!
I would say I hate the marketing process, except that is through blogging and tweeting and joining author groups that I have made so many new friends.
Like a lot of new authors, I assumed my publisher would do all that and was a bit disheartened to find that now I was released from the grind of sending my books to agents and publishers I would have to spend at least as much time marketing them. The main problem, for all of us, I'm sure, is the sheer amount of time we spend on this. But now I've got the hang of it I'm beginning to enjoy it. It's not just that you meet lots of interesting people, you see interesting discussions, you find some really great books being given away free and you get the chance to air your opinions at length (and some kind people even read them and comment – more friends!).

Let's talk about your writing. Do you have any set routines or schedules?

I am the most disorganised person in the world. I set myself routines, sometimes I even stick to them for a while, but usually all my priorities change as soon as I open my emails. I actually spend a fair bit of time just deciding what the next most important thing is. When I do eventually get down to writing, I'm pretty disciplined. I can happily write all day, just stopping for coffee now and then. But I don't have set days or times when I do it. I just get the other stuff out of the way and then write for whatever time I have left – if any.

Since "love at first sight" is what brings us here, what can you tell us about your own experience with Mr. Twist? Was it love at first sight or something else entirely?

I met him at the folk club. He played guitar and sang and seemed a bit shy. I'm not sure whether I loved him immediately, but I certainly fancied him. The moment I definitely fell in love with him was when I arrived early for a dinner party and found him in the kitchen, wearing a butcher's apron, with a saucepan in one hand and a wok in the other. The calm confidence of his body language told me that this was a man who really knew how to cook. I proposed to him at the party. So did two other women! And he accepted all three! But I argued that since he accepted me first, I had first dibs.

Mysti: That's got to be the most interesting proposal story I've heard yet!

I'm crazy about your romantic tales, and I can pinpoint my own love of all things romantic back to the classic, Jane Eyre. Can you recall what books and or films inspired you to write romance?

I read all the classics – Jane Austin, the Bronte sisters, etc. and, to tell you the truth (I know this is a kind of blasphemy), I was not very impressed. The only one I really liked was Wuthering Heights, and that was probably because it was spooky rather than because it was romantic. No, I think the first romance that really grabbed me was Katherine by Anya Seton. I lived in that book. I must have read it dozens of times. It's set in the 14th century, the eponymous Katherine being first the mistress and eventually the wife of John o' Gaunt, from whom all three English royal lines are descended. It must have been a real love match. Princes didn't marry their mistresses in those days. 

Mysti: Wuthering Heights was good. Victoria Holt was another great influence for me.

Since nosy inquiring minds want to know, can you tell us what are you working on right now?

I have just finished a novel called All in the Mind, about an old woman who begins to get younger. It is quite definitely a romance, but not the usual 'boy meets girl' type. Like Domingo's Angel, virtually all the action takes place after they have met and married. I am also working on an anthology with Tara Fox Hall, in my opinion one of the best up and coming horror writers. Like Take One At Bedtime, it's a mixture of genres. We've practically finished it now, my stories are about a vampire, a haunted dolls' house, a nightmare mother and baby home and a woman who suddenly finds herself thrown into another dimension (this last has been published before, in Curious Hearts). If there's room, I might also write a sequel to Mantequero, which is Tara's favourite story. Tara is so prolific that we haven't yet decided which of her many stories to use, but I'm really hoping for Shades of Grey, a story about a mysterious seer.

Mysti: Wow! I look forward to those, for sure!

Random question time!!! What was the last (or most memorable) prank you pulled on someone?

I don't do pranks on purpose, but I regularly get other people into embarrassing situations through my own stupidity. One of the most potentially embarrassing was when I was working as an escapologist's assistant and I had just tied Tommy up and locked him in a dustbin (don't ask), when I realised I had left the curtained hoop (which concealed him from the audience for the crucial minutes when he was escaping) in the dressing room. The dressing room was right at the other end of the hall and, to the audience's amazement, I sprinted down the hall, dashed into the dressing room, grabbed the hoop and sprinted back. To my relief, Tommy had still not begun to emerge from the dustbin and I managed to get the hoop over the top in time. From the depths of the dustbin a hollow voice said, “Where the f**k have you been?”
To this day, I have no idea how he knew!

Mysti: You have had such a variety of jobs over the years, it's no wonder you can write anything!

Now, pretty please, share with us an excerpt from anything at all! 

Would you like one from the new novel? 
Mysti: Yes please!! 
This is the first time it has appeared in public, so be gentle with it:

 Tilly was dreaming.
 It was VE Day and they were dancing in the streets. All the lights were lit. She kept looking at them, not quite believing it.
She was dancing with Johnny, her head against his chest, exhilarated by his closeness and the knowledge that the war was over.
  It was so real, the dream. She could feel the rough fabric of his greatcoat against her cheek, smell its particular aroma of damp wool and tobacco.     
She felt the dream slipping away and tried to hold on to it, but it escaped her grasp and shifted seamlessly into memory.
They had danced late into the night. Long after the gates to the nurses' home were locked.
 Eventually, exhausted and intoxicated with the euphoria of the crowd, they had walked back to the nurses' home and he had given her a leg up to climb the wall.
  “OK,” he said, with a grin, and dropped down on one knee. Did he know? Did he know then what her answer would be?
  “Tilly”... he began in a loud, theatrical voice.   
  “No, get up,” she whispered urgently. “Someone might hear.” 
 “Who cares? What are they going to do – sack you?”    
 She smiled back at him in the lamplight. “You fool!”   
 And she pulled her leg out of his grasp and dropped gracefully down to the grass on the other side. 
 “Well?” His head appeared over the top of the wall. “Will you?”     
 “Yes,” she whispered back to him. Then she picked up the skirts of her uniform and ran across the lawn towards the darkened building.      
As she ran, she heard someone whistling the Wedding March, the sound fading as he reached the end of the lane and turned into the street.
And as she sat at the top of the wall, one leg on each side, getting ready too swing over to the other side, he had grasped  her by the ankle and said, “Will you marry me, Tilly? As soon as I'm demobbed.”   
She looked down at his face, illuminated by the one street lamp in the lane, one lock of hair hanging over his forehead, his expression earnest and pleading.     
She said the first thing that came into her head. “You're supposed to get down on one knee.”     
Mysti: LOVE IT!! Thank you very much, Jenny, both for participating in the contest and for being such a good sport and contributor to my little blog. See ya next time!

Thank you, Mysti, for putting up with me once again. And thanks for the Amazon gift card. What a great present! I'm so glad to have you as a friend. ~ Jenny 

Friday, March 23, 2012

March Author Series #17: Messenger of the Written Word by Alyssa Reyans

Do the voices in your head keep yelling at you until you HAVE to write down what they say? Then, you might share something in common with Alyssa Reyans and others like her (me), who live only to dictate what the muse of the hour tells us to write. Read on!

Messenger of the Written Word

 First I’d like to thank Mysti for having me. It still seems weird to consider myself an “author”. Even though I look at my book 250 2 times a day on Amazon. While I have many inspirations for the words that filter from my fingers to the world, I still can’t see myself as a writer. For me I’m only a messenger between the world of words and the world of ears. I write the words the voices in my head tell me to write. At times I have little say over which words come out and which ones stay in. This has often caused many an argument because I am the one that has to defend the message even though I’m not really the one who said it. I merely repeated it. I’m sure by now you probably think I’m just totally insane.

Buy it HERE!
You’re not too far off if you have that thought.  For insanity is the inspiration behind much of my writing. You see, I’m a memoir writer. I’ve recently begun writing my memoir, Chronicles of A Fractured Life. To look at me on the outside, you can’t really see the broken parts or the pieces held together by worn out tape. I look pretty whole and complete. On most days I am, but on others I’m not. I’ve finally realized there’s nothing wrong with wearing clothes made of worn out tape. It’s rather different and I quite like being different. I see the world through a unique pair of eyes and ears. Windows and doors open for me that are closed for others.

There was a time I feared those opened windows and doors but no longer. I’ve learned to harness them. A little.

But the biggest inspiration of all is my children. It is the hope my words will be the connecting piece of the puzzle that brings us back together. If that means releasing the words and syllables trapped inside of me out into the world, then so be it. I shall be the messenger for the written word. And someday maybe my children will see those strung together syllables and know they were the inspiration behind it all. They’ll realize how loved and cherished they were, and they’ll know that even though I wasn’t there, my love for them always was.

Love and insanity along with the occasional lust, those are my inspirations. What are yours?

Alyssa Reyans is an American expat. Originally from the deep south, she converted to Islam in 1994 and moved overseas in 2005. In 2008, she met the love of her life, married him, and has been keeping him hostage ever since. She currently resides overseas with her husband and two cats where continues her daily battle with mental illness and the ghosts of her past.

As a special thank you to Mysti and all of her followers for having her, she's having a giveaway on her blog for a signed paperback copy of the first book in her memoir series, Letters from A Bipolar Mother, and a $10 Amazon gift card. To enter, just visit her site and enter via rafflecopter.  
                                                    **Open to US residents only**