Friday, April 18, 2014

Promo and Excerpt From UPON YOUR HONOR on Musings of a Writer Blog!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Marie Lavender A Spotlight of an exceptional author

Marie Lavendar


Author Bio:

Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 18 other books. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial's Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader's Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.

At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. Her imagination fueled a lot of her early child's play. Even growing up, she entered writing contests and received a certificate for achieving the second round in one. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted - to be a writer. While there, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal. After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book.

Since then, Marie has published nineteen books. Marie Lavender's real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories. Most of her works have a romantic element involved in them. She just released Magick & Moonlight, a paranormal romance, in March. Upon Your Honor is her second historical romance. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things


*****

Upon Your Honor, sequel to Upon Your Return, Releases on Monday, April 21, 2014

*****

Upon Your Honor blurb: 
Deception is a dangerous path…

New York City, August, 1891 – Orphaned after the death of her father, Chloe Waverly stows away on La Voyageur to escape the clutches of her cruel fiancé, Lamonte Beckett. Gabriel Hill, a strange and compelling gentleman, comes upon Chloe and promises to protect her without knowing the true circumstances of why she is running away. During their journey, Gabriel doesn’t bargain on being distracted by her fair beauty or succumbing to her many charms.  As their attraction to each other grows, so does the danger and Gabriel suspects things are not as they should be. 

Both are determined to get to New Orleans, where she can start a new life.  But, once they reach their destination, events spin out of their control and Chloe is captured by the fiancé she escaped. Gabriel is left wondering if he can overlook her betrayal. Soon he finds himself in a race against time, to reach her before Beckett can exact revenge.

*****
 
 

Excerpt from Upon Your Honor                                                                             


It was difficult to wake this time, like waking from a deep sleep. The remnants of confusion were with her immediately. Chloe moaned. Her eyes felt too heavy to open. With an effort, she opened them by degrees. The first thing she noticed was the blurriness of the room, then the terrible headache. For a moment, she had to squint to dull the pain. Gradually, it eased, but it was still there, lingering like an annoying neighbor.
When her vision cleared and she could focus, she saw that she was in a bed, a truly comfortable one. The room was a cabin, filled with books and maritime instruments, a large red chair near the fireplace, and a small chaise close by. A tall man with broad shoulders stood facing the fireplace, holding a glass.
Something had happened. They had found her. With that knowledge, Chloe became aware of her state of dishabille as well as the loose hair that fell past her shoulders. They knew she was a woman. What would they do to her now? A moan of distress escaped her lips as she tried to sit up, failing due to a bout of dizziness. She had wanted to appear composed, but she was more like an invalid.
At the sound, the man turned and stepped towards her with purpose. He set his glass on a nearby table, pulled a chair up to the side of the bed and sat down. “Perhaps it would be better if you lie still for now. You will have pain for a while. Until it goes away, I suggest you try to rest.”
His dark red hair was familiar. And now that he was closer, she saw that his eyes were a unique shade of gray. Once she realized it was the same man from before, she managed a nod. Her tongue felt leaden, thick in her mouth. How could one man render her speechless? Clearing her throat, she found her voice at last. “I feel a little silly lying here though, when there is an inquisition to attend.”
“Oh?” He nodded. “Yes, I suppose there is a lot to answer for. But, rest assured, I am at the moment the only one here that is aware of your presence, though others will know very soon. If you have an escape plan, you’d better hatch it.”
His warning sent a shiver over her. “You foresee a lot of trouble then.”
“In your position, you should expect it.”
“I do. I am prepared.”

“You are?” He smiled a little. “Even though you convinced me you were a sailor at first, I now know to expect anything from you. However, you don’t strike me as the kind of woman who has approached many of these situations.”
Chloe licked her lips before replying, “You don’t really know what I will do in order to survive.”
“I suppose I don’t know much of your character. But, you hid away in the storage room for some reason. Are you running from the law?”
She was suddenly aware that he had an accent. French perhaps? She shook her head. “Not yet. No.”
He nodded. “Are you willing to take it to that level?”
“I would like to avoid that if possible.”
“There must be a story, then, if you are willing to do nearly anything to survive. What will you divulge to me if I am your only hope? What will you do to save yourself?”
Indeed, what could she do? The minor insinuations he was making disturbed her, but did not shock her. She was aware that some men were not entirely honorable, including Lamonte. “First, I would need to know whether I was in any danger in your hands.” She swallowed hard. “And then, if that turned out well, we would see…”
Mademoiselle, you honor me.” He paused. “I assume you are not married?”
She shook her head in negation and licked her dry lips. “If my honor is at stake, then I would expect some cordiality.”
He cocked his head. “Would a stowaway have honor?”
Chloe’s jaw tightened. “Every man or woman has a right to some dignity in the face of extreme circumstances.”
“Extreme? I would say you’re fairly coddled right now. If I had any less respect for your dignity, you would be in a prison. Or worse.”
*****
Contact Marie Here:

Catch the first line of UPON YOUR HONOR with First Line Friday on Susan Wingate's Blog!

The First Day of “First Line Friday”

It’s here! The first of First Line Friday. As you may know, each Friday I will be featuring different authors’ first lines of their work. Whether novels or short stories, these first lines will be from fiction work. Authors come from all reaches across the globe. Their work is equally diverse in genres from romance to literary fiction.

First Line Friday is a chance for me to show off some authors who you may not have heard about before today. Each excerpted first line is shown in parentheses. Anyway, have fun!

AUTHOR MARIE LAVENDER


Marie Lavendar-Upon Your Honor -300

From Marie Lavendar’s second novel, Upon Your Honor, which will be out on April 21, 2014. Upon Your Honor is Marie’s second book in the Heiresses in Love series.
“Chloe Ann Waverly sat on the stone bench in her father’s garden, her fingers curling around the hard edges.”

Marie Lavendar-AuthorShot
http://www.marielavender.webs.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
http://www.amazon.com/Marie-Lavender/e/B00C10Q94I/

Cover Reveal for New Release UPON YOUR HONOR on the 411 on Books!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21899046-upon-your-honor Deception is a dangerous path…
 
New York City, August, 1891 – Orphaned after the death of her father, Chloe Waverly stows away on La Voyageur to escape the clutches of her cruel fiancé, Lamonte Beckett. Gabriel Hill, a strange and compelling gentleman, comes upon Chloe and promises to protect her without knowing the true circumstances of why she is running away. During their journey, Gabriel doesn’t bargain on being distracted by her fair beauty or succumbing to her many charms.  As their attraction to each other grows, so does the danger and Gabriel suspects things are not as they should be.

Both are determined to get to New Orleans, where she can start a new life.  But, once they reach their destination, events spin out of their control and Chloe is captured by the fiancé she escaped. Gabriel is left wondering if he can overlook her betrayal. Soon he finds himself in a race against time, to reach her before Beckett can exact revenge.




Author Bio         
Mariepic2 - small1_Marie LavenderBestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 18 other books. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.

At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. Her imagination fueled a lot of her early child’s play. Even growing up, she entered writing contests and received a certificate for achieving the second round in one. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted – to be a writer. While there, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal. After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book.

Since then, Marie has published nineteen books. Marie Lavender’s real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories. Most of her works have a romantic element involved in them. She just released Magick & Moonlight, a paranormal romance, in March.  Upon Your Honor is her second historical romance. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender:

Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor

Kathryn Layne: 

A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse:

Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things;
Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

Erica Sutherhome: 

Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night;
Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Interview on Devika Fernando's blog!


Once again, I'm happy to present an interview with one of my talented writer friends. Thank you, Marie Lavender, for taking the time to answer my questions. It's wonderful to learn more about you.

10 questions with Marie Lavender

What do you like most about being a writer?

I love the freedom in writing, the way I can put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) and just let it flow out of me – the words and feelings until I’ve created a scene.  It just feels so right when I’m in the zone.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I do a lot of my best writing at night, unless I’m too tired to finish.  That’s when all of my good ideas come to me.  I write during the day as well, but the main inspiration comes just before I go to sleep.  This, of course, causes a lot of late nights.

What are you currently working on?

I am on a bit of a self-imposed hiatus after working on the sequel to my historical romance for so long (I just received a contract for that and it should be out soon).  This break isn’t lasting very long, however.  Occasionally, I still work on the third book in the series or whatever else strikes my fancy.  I have a lot of works in progress.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

Tough question.  My most recent book is a paranormal romance called Magick & Moonlight.  I think Rachel Weisz might be a good choice for playing the character of Jessie because of her elegance and those soulful eyes of hers.  As for who would play Ethan?  Maybe Henry Cavill.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

I can’t think of any book specifically, but I can think of a poem.  I have always loved Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata”.  I guess I would like to have been so wise to have written something like that.  It must have taken a lot of life experience to write those profound words.

Paperback or eBook?

Paperback.  I will always prefer the print version of a book to the electronic version.  I guess I am a Luddite that way.  I really like the feel of a book, the exhilaration in flipping through the pages.

Where lies your strength in writing (e.g. descriptions, plot twists, characters, dialog)?

I think maybe characters.  I tend to get into the character’s head a lot.  Dialogue works out fine.  I do struggle with descriptions.  For that, for world building, so to speak, I have to rely on a bit of research to fill in the fine details.  I try to use pictures and write from my impressions for the description of a place.

If you were sent away to a deserted island, what 5 things (yes, 5 instead of 3) would you take with you?

Well, I guess a phone’s out.  No reception.  Just kidding.  I would probably choose a journal (pen included…I need to write stories or I’ll go insane), some lip gloss, a compass (I guess I’d need to know which direction was north), a camera (to document my experience visually).  What did I forget?  Oh, yes!  I am not going to a deserted island alone.  I am dragging my fiancé there to tough it out with me. 

Do you have a strict writing schedule? How do you balance your personal and writing time?

No, I’m pretty casual about it.  If the mood strikes me, I’ll write.  Now, when I really focus on a project, I can get a lot of writing done.  Then I try to work on it every day, even several times a day if possible.  As for balance, I’m not so great at that.  Still trying to figure out how to balance work and a social life.  Sometimes I have to be strict with myself and avoid the computer or anything that would tempt me for a few hours just so I can relax.  I guess you could say I am a bit OCD these days because I have a lot going on as an author.  LOL.

If you could throw a party with any five people (living or dead) who would you pick and why?

I would invite all of my favorite authors, of course:  Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, J.R. Ward, P.C. Cast and Chloe Neill.  Because a lot are from different genres, I think that would be a fairly interesting party.  Even if we didn’t talk about writing, I’m sure those women would have a lot to say.

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Upon Your Return - Marie Lavender
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Magick & Moonlight - Marie Lavender

New review for M&M on Author Alliance and Amazon!


3.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet, April 15, 2014
By 
This review is from: Magick & Moonlight (Kindle Edition)
Magick & Moonlight is a sweet little romantic short story that chronicles the relationship between Jessie (a witch) and Ethan (a former cop).

The story begins with Ethan alone in the woods not too far from the cabin he's renting. He spies a fire and goes to investigate. He finds Jessie, naked, dancing around a cauldron and chanting. He's captivated by her body and spirit and his groan belies his presence. Jessie confides in him that she's a witch.

Later, once Ethan has taken Jessie home, she begins to worry that Ethan will tell her secret to the small town and things will go badly for her. She has visions of witches burned at the stake and being run out of town. Desperate, she works a love spell on Ethan. He shows up at her door almost immediately and they begin a very passionate and deep relationship that very night. But soon, the spell wears off.

This was an enjoyable little story, but there was very little drama or character development. Of course it's hard to deeply develop a character in only 79 pages (at least 15 of which are actually acknowledgements and teasers of other books). The author does a good job of moving the story along and enough time passes that the relationship between the two does feel real by the end (it's a romance...it's a foregone conclusion that there's a happy ending). However, I found myself wanting a bit more emotion and less telling (more showing) in the writing. It's well edited and the editing is satisfying, so I give the book 3 stars.

**This review originally appeared on Author Alliance.**
 
 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Interview on MARSocial Author Business Enhancement Blog

Marie Lavender

1.  Did you pick your genre or did it pick you?

I would say a bit of both. I always loved romance movies and love stories. I started writing stories when I was a kid. Other than the occasional mystery, I noticed a recurring romance pattern in the stories. I was a voracious reader. But, after I read several Harlequin books and my first Catherine Coulter novel (Regency), I was hooked. So, in a way, it picked me.

2.  Do you write in multiple genres or just one?

I have written and published literary fiction, poetry and mystery/paranormal thrillers in the past. But, I usually stick to romance. There is so much you can do with it now. I have published contemporary romance, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, romantic mystery and historical romance.

3.  How much time do you devote to writing per day?

I guess it depends on what I have to do. I spend a lot of time promoting, especially around a release date for a book. But, if I have some extra time, I can spend a few hours writing. When I am really focused on a project, I can sometimes spend five to eight hours alternating between writing and research. The time kind of flies when you’re having fun. It just depends on what’s going on in my life.

4.  What have you published so far?

I have published 19 books (that counts my upcoming book release on April 21st). A list of my books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

5.  Has your method of writing changed over the course of publishing your books?
I would say that I’m a bit more organized now. I plan my books out more whereas I used to write them on the fly. I still get random scenes for unrelated projects that come into my head, but I write and shelve them for the future. Mostly, I take what I have then do a detailed outline for the book. After that, I worked on it exclusively until I’m done with the manuscript. Occasionally, I’ll work on another story in between, but not often.

6.  Where do you see yourself a year from now?

I’d like to see the final book in the Heiresses in Love series (Upon Your Love) published by then. If time doesn’t allow that, it’s fine. But, I assume I’ll be done with the manuscript by then, if not before. I also would like to have a good idea of what series or book I’m working on next. I have some ideas now, but I’m trying to decide between a stand-alone contemporary romance, a stand-alone historical romance or a series about a coven of witches in the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Big decision, right? I’ll figure it out.

7. Did you self-publish, go the traditional way, or do both?

I did both. I have self-published sixteen books, and published three traditionally. The self-publishing started out as something fun to do, and it became more serious as I went along. In the back of my mind, I always planned to save Upon Your Return for traditional publishing before resorting to self-publishing. Fortunately, I didn’t have to self-publish it. After many rejection letter by agents and publishers alike, Solstice Publishing offered a contract for the book. Since then, I’ve had two other contracts with them, one for a paranormal romance, Magick & Moonlight, and one for the sequel to Upon Your Return, Upon Your Honor. It has been a long, but rewarding journey.

8.  Which method did you prefer?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both. With self-publishing, every step is made by you . There are no channels to go through unless you hire a cover artist. Sure, you have to find a printer/distributor and they end up being the middle man in some ways, but mostly everything is on you as the author. In traditional publishing, you go through editors, cover artists, more editors, proofreaders and anyone else involved until it’s published. It’s hard both ways, but I do see a better support system with traditional publishing. My publisher is really good with offering advice on different issues and the other Solstice authors are very supportive. I will still self-publish on the side, but I prefer traditional.

9.  Of the books that you have written, do you have a favorite?  Why?

Upon Your Return will always be special to me not only because it was my first historical romance, but also because I fell in love with the characters. I got to revisit them a little when I wrote Upon Your Honor, and I am bringing them back with the third book. But, I will sincerely mourn them all when the series is over. I’m sure I’ll find new characters to love. That is the path of a writer.

10.  Why did you become a writer?

I became a writer because I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a kid. Nothing else makes me happier or more centered (with the exception of being with my significant other, of course). But, professionally, this is what I’m meant for. Though I’ve entertained other things in the past (running a small bookstore or starting my own publishing company), nothing feels more natural than when I’m in the zone, when I’m writing a scene. Heck, I even enjoy the research usually. So, this is what I’m supposed to do.

11.  Who is your target audience?

Most romance readers are women, though I know that that trend is changing now. My target audience is broad, from 18 to 75. And even that is pretty limiting. There are no age limits placed on enjoying a good story. Even my 81 year old grandmother reads my books. She is a romance fanatic.

12.  What are you working on now?

I am taking a brief hiatus from writing Upon Your Love, the final book in the Heiresses in Love series, but I will get back to it soon. A few story ideas have come to me now and then. A couple of weeks ago, I was even working heavily on an erotic romance series. I don’t know if I will end up publishing it, but it was still fun to write. I am also doing a romantic suspense collaboration with another writer. It is titled Certain Death. It is about a highly skilled assassin who starts to fall for his target, but ignores those feelings. When he finds out the reason she is on a hit list, he realizes she needs his protection. By then, all hell breaks loose and he has to use his training to get them out of the situation. But, I’d better not say more because of spoilers. Anyway, that project is going very well and I am hoping we can get the attention of a larger publisher with that book.

13.  What makes you different from other writers in your genre?

I tell the story how it needs to be told. Whatever I write is based on the characters and the plot that plays out. The books are not based on any expectations for the industry. For example, I had one reviewer who was incensed with the lovemaking in Upon Your Return because it was not “historically accurate”. I will admit that Victorians were prudish, but I’m sure people couldn’t control their hormones then either. If there’s a moment alone between two available people who are highly attracted to each other, they will use it. It’s common sense. I have also written about sensitive topics in other books and if I offended anyone, I never meant to, but I won’t apologize for it either. That’s just what the characters experienced and there was no delicate way of explaining it. Life isn’t always full of rainbows. There are harsh and dark sides to it. And if necessary, I go into it. So, I guess that’s one difference in my writing compared to some other romances out there.

Upon Your Honor (Heiresses in Love Series, #2)
by Marie Lavender

Deception is a dangerous path…

New York City, August, 1891 – Orphaned after the death of her father, Chloe Waverly stows away on La Voyageur to escape the clutches of her cruel fiancé, Lamonte Beckett. Gabriel Hill, a strange and compelling gentleman, comes upon Chloe and promises to protect her without knowing the true circumstances of why she is running away. During their journey, Gabriel doesn’t bargain on being distracted by her fair beauty or succumbing to her many charms. As their attraction to each other grows, so does the danger and Gabriel suspects things are not as they should be.

Both are determined to get to New Orleans, where she can start a new life. But, once they reach their destination, events spin out of their control and Chloe is captured by the fiancé she escaped. Gabriel is left wondering if he can overlook her betrayal. Soon he finds himself in a race against time, to reach her before Beckett can exact revenge.

marie's upon your honor

FACEBOOK RELEASE PARTY:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1527635050796677/

To read more about this author please visit her sites below:

http://www.marielavender.webs.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://www.facebook.com/UponYourReturn
https://www.facebook.com/MagickMoonlight
https://www.facebook.com/WritingintheModernAge
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://plus.google.com/u/0/104926404745289477307/posts
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender
http://www.amazon.com/Marie-Lavender/e/B00C10Q94I/
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00IRKN5P2
http://store.solsticepublishing.com/magick-moonlight/
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00I0D9LQ8
http://store.solsticepublishing.com

Monday, April 14, 2014

Author Inteview on Dropped Pebbles blog!

Author Interview with Romance Writer Marie Lavender

Mariepic2 - smallThis week’s interview is with Romance writer, Marie Lavender It was a pleasure to discover this enthusiastic author of a whopping 17 books (in addition to her other written works), so I invite you, dear Reader, to read on and meet her yourself. 

Welcome, Marie! So great to have you with us. Can you begin by telling us a little about yourself?

I am a romance author. I have published 17 books. I grew up in the Midwest and I still live there with my family and three cats. I have been writing stories since I was a kid.

Are you interested in other forms of artistic expression besides writing? Where does writing fit in, and why are you drawn to it? 

When I have the time, I like to cook. Most of all, I like to just come up with something without using a recipe. It usually turns out pretty well. I like to express myself with home decor as well, whether it is designing the look of a room or adding small touches here and there to make the theme work with the space. Let’s see…what else? I’ve always liked music a lot. I was in choir from the third grade to my senior year of high school. I even took a voice class in college. I was a soprano in my choir, and I did a lot of solos for performances. Music has always called to me. But, my main love has always been writing. Sometimes I combine the two, however. I listen to certain types of music while I am writing a scene. I’ve always had whole scenes playing out in my head, and my only choice was to write it all down.

What forms of writing and genres do you prefer and why? What can you never see yourself writing?

I have written short stories, books and poetry. Poetry is more of a hobby. I love writing short stories and books. That’s mainly what I write. And for the most part, I write romance, though I have dabbled in literary fiction and mystery before. As for what I can never see myself writing, I think I would have trouble with science fiction. I certainly don’t mind watching the occasional sci-fi film, but I don’t think I’d have the penchant for writing it.

As a reader, what do you think makes a good story? What’s one thing a ‘bad’ book taught you to not do in your own writing?

I think a good story has likeable characters (or at least some redeeming qualities), a compelling plot line and a good resolution. I can’t think of any “bad” books off the top of my head. But, I think we have all read books by authors we like or follow that maybe bother us in some small way. Perhaps we don’t like waiting until the next book in the series gets released because the author gave us an infuriating cliff-hanger. One thing that does bother me is killing off characters. That is an absolute no-no in the fiction world. But, it’s done all the time, isn’t it? In my Creative Writing classes, we were told never to kill off main characters. I guess that is a pet peeve of mine, and it’s not something I plan to do with my characters. If deaths do happen in my stories, they occur with villains or they happened in the back story, in the character’s past. I don’t think I would ever kill off a character, unless there was no other choice. But, it requires two living people to pull off a romance so I think I’m good there.

Very interesting points about killing main characters. I, too, have a hard time accepting books like that, as it’s hard to say goodbye to a character I have become attached to. 

As a writer, what elements do you find are the most crucial to include in your stories? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I think there should be an antagonist in a story, something or someone who keeps the character from what he or she wants the most. Maybe the hero’s enemy is himself, a certain past or belief that works against him. Maybe it is an actual person, preventing the character from getting what they want. I think having that makes the story interesting and drives the plot forward.

As for strengths, I think I am pretty decent at delving into a character, getting into the heart of that character and seeing how they tick. What are their hopes? Fears? Secrets? What do they want most and how do they plan on getting it? One weakness of mine is description. I can see a place in my mind, but I get so involved in the writing of the story that I forget to add what the environment might look like. A lot of times, that’s something I have to add later on in one of my revisions. I use research for the story or book and add the sensory details to bring it home. But, it’s something to learn, and I’m starting to get better at adding it right away.

Who/what are the biggest influences in your writing? How do they influence what you write?

Encouragement from readers is one. It is a major boost when a fan comments on how well they liked one of my books. That makes me want to get back to more writing. I am also inspired by the romance in my own life. What is the one thing a romance writer feeds off of the most? Love. I use love in my own life, my own love story with my fiancé, the love I observe from the couples all around me as well as my own imagination to fuel the fire.


What draws you to your preferred genre? What do you think makes your genre unique? And why is it so popular? 

LeatherandLaceI love romance. I am a hopeless romantic at heart, and I think if I had the chance, I would travel back in time to Regency or Victorian times just to see how it really was. I love reading historical romance. I really love any kind of romance, even modern ones. The genre is changing all of the time, encompassing new aspects. Now we have paranormal romance, romantic suspense, time travel romance, romantic fantasy, you name it. And I think that’s great. I have read some of these sub-genres. I think it’s wonderful that the genre is evolving so much. As for why it’s popular, I think partially it is about love. A lot of romance readers love reading about “love”. And beyond that, there is probably an appeal for escapism, just like any fiction lover would feel. What better way to forget about the realities of your own life than to escape for a time into the world of literature? It is another world, and, when I read, I welcome the escape.

You must be right. I hear Romance is one of the most, if not THE most popular genre at the moment. 

Can you tell us about your books? What other projects are you working on?

UponYourReturn_E-bookCoverAs aforementioned, I have published 17 books. I have published literary fiction, poetry, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, romantic mystery, paranormal romance and historical romance. In February of 2013, Upon Your Return, a historical romance, was released through Summer Solstice (a division of Solstice Publishing). And in November, I released a romantic suspense, Leather and Lace. I am polishing the sequel to Upon Your Return right now. I also have plans to release a new anthology. I am working on a romantic suspense collaboration with another writer. So, at all times, I have several projects at once.

If you promote other writers on a blog or website, why is that so important to you?

I do run a blog called Writing in the Modern Age. We host guest authors through interviews, guest articles and poetry spotlights. I don’t mind helping other authors promote their books and writing. It is very rewarding.

What do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing and how do you cope with it?

I used to think research was difficult. It still is very challenging, but I am actually starting to enjoy it a lot. It is part of any project, and I learn a lot of new information in the process. Now, editing seems like one of the more difficult endeavors. It is grueling, though necessary work. It is hard to make major changes to something that you have built from the ground up, so to speak. It is painful, but I still do it. And I know making those changes improves the overall work.

Who are your favourite writers and why?

My favorite for contemporary romance is Nora Roberts. I choose her because Nora always tells it like it is, no matter how gritty the subject is. I admire that. For historical, I would choose Kris Tualla, Catherine Coulter, Tessa Dare and Emma Wildes. I was referred to Kris Tualla this year, and I don’t regret reading any of her books. She has a unique spin on Viking romances. I like the other historical romance writers mentioned because they deal mostly in Regency romance, and the Regency period is one of my favorites. I have several works in progress set in Regency times. For paranormal romance, my favorites are J.R. Ward, Kerrelyn Sparks, P.C. Cast and Chloe Neill. If you didn’t know, these writers tend to write a lot of romances about vampires. And did I mention I like vampire stories? I have a few of those stories in progress as well. Of course, I read books by many other authors, but these are the main ones I follow.

What advice would you give to new writers, especially those looking to break into your genre?

Read everything you can in the genre or sub-genre you want to focus on. Then read some books on the subject of writing. Most of all, practice! It doesn’t hurt anything to implement what you’ve learned. You will pick up the techniques along the way, and end up creating your own voice. Oh, and step out of your comfort zone if you can. Your writing will be all the much better for it. For any aspiring writer, I would recommend starting a blog and creating a following, even a small one, early on. You’ll thank yourself for it later. And for aspiring romance writers, all of the above still applies, but don’t forget the HEA. If you’re familiar with the genre, you know what I mean.

That’s a great point about stepping out of our genres. I think that makes for more rounded writing and, possibly, something unique.  

How can readers get into contact with you?

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. You can also subscribe on both of my blogs and my website for updates and blog posts. Feel free to use the “contact me” button on my website. I’d love to hear from you!

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Marie, it was great to meet you and to learn more about you and your work. It was wonderful to learn of your passion for romance writing and your advice was  useful and easily applicable. Readers, I hope you enjoyed meeting Marie as much as I did. 

Please leave her a note below and visit her on one of her links.

Have a great week!