Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest author Bernadette Walsh

Today we have author Bernadette Walsh as a guest on RtM

“The score is not what matters. Life does not have to be regarded as a game in which scores are kept and somebody wins. If you are too intent on winning, you will never enjoy playing. If you are too obsessed with success, you will forget to live, If you have learned only how to be a success, your life has probably been wasted.”
                                                    ---- Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton was a big deal at my alma mater, St. Bonaventure University. He had taught there for a short time and had mentioned the university in his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain. I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t read a word of Merton while at Bonaventure. I was too busy taking business classes and studying for the LSATs and chasing boys.

Thankfully as an adult I discovered Merton and when I donated twenty-plus years of books to my local library, some of the few that survived were his books. I took one out today, a book of essays entitled Love and Living and found the above passage, and it really spoke to me.

You see, for most of my life I have been a classic “type A” overachiever. But once I hit forty, I began to revaluate how I lived my life. I think being a working mother taught me the valuable lesson that sometimes “good enough” really is good enough and through simple lack of time, I had to let my perfectionist ways go. I joined a local choir and learned to appreciate being part of the group, rather than striving to be the soloist out front. And when I first started writing, I swore that I would not get caught up in the quest for publication and would instead savor the pure joy of writing.

Of course, despite my original good intentions, my type A tendencies crept into my writing life and I became a slave to my Amazon rankings and how many people on Goodreads added my books on their “to-be-read” pile. Taming my inner perfectionist demons and just going with the flow is probably the most difficult part of writing for me. But last week on Goodreads a friend from college gave one of my books a five star rating. When this woman last saw me I was a skinny twenty year old. But now she has been able to experience who I am and how I’ve (hopefully) grown as a person through my writing. And really, how cool is that?

So Miss Inner-Type-A-Perfectionist-Tyrant, the next time you scour the Amazon rankings and lament how few books you’ve sold, remember what Merton said: “If you are too intent on winning, you will never enjoy playing.” It is true for writing as much as anything else in life.

Thanks for being here today.

Bernadette is currently busy promoting her series Devil's Mountain
Devil_s Mountain-logo-300dpi-5.jpg

Devil’s Mountain
Book One of the Devlin Legacy

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Horror

Publisher: Lyrical Press

ISBN: 9781616503697

Number of pages: 122

Word Count: 39,000

Blurb/Book Description:

You will hate Him for all that he's taken, but you will love Him. God help you, you will love Him.

Mary Devlin accepted her fate years ago, to serve Slanaitheoir, the mountain spirit who saved her ancestors from the Irish Famine. The hauntingly beautiful woman submitted to His every caress, His every humiliation, but He’s gone too far by threatening her family.

Mary’s daughter-in-law is now an unwitting pawn in the fickle spirit’s game. Mary must challenge her fate and that of all future Devlin women, but Slanaitheoir is the most powerful being in the land. And when part of her still yearns for His touch and love, how can she fight him and win?


Bernadette Walsh has been writing contemporary and paranormal romance for four years. She has published three novels to date (The House on Prospect (Echelon Press) and Gold Coast Wives (Lyrical Press)) and the first book of her paranormal trilogy, Devil’s Mountain -- Book One of the Devlin Legacy. While Bernadette has hopped around genres, all of her books to date have a common theme: strong women handling what life throws at them the best way they can.


@BWalshWriter Twitter

https://twitter.com/#!/BWalshWriter http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bernadette-Walsh-Author/196567653686807

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Guest author Christina Leigh Pritchard

Today we have author Christina Leigh Pritchard at RtM.

I asked her my favorite question,
What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

I try to create outlines for my stories, really, I do. The only problem with this is that once you've created a character, they take on a life of their own.

Sure, I want my story to end happily or with a twist. The characters, to my dismay, take control of how the story works. Sometimes, I want to save one that originally was supposed to die, disappear, move, etc., but in all actuality, I've zero control over what happens. This makes serials hard for me. I know what direction my story needs to go in to coincide with the next novel but, when writing; I come to be so engrossed in the characters that they literally shock me by what they end up accomplishing or doing. Sometimes it’s so real, I hate the words my fingers type knowing I’ll have to readjust all future novels. I scream at them for making me pen such things!

Unfortunately, crying is a necessary evil when scripting serials. In order to keep with the outline of the current and existing novels, sometimes I have to follow through on a plan I no longer wish to do. Sometimes the characters dishearten me with their treachery, some I fall deep in love with, others I love then hate... It's a necessary evil in the world of writing but also the hardest struggle. When you hold the power over life and death for even a fictional character, it's not any easier than if they were real living, breathing beings.

When you love the ones you create, it’s hard to destroy them, even when they’re rotten to the core. I think of a new mother when I write. The child is born with such promise. Sometimes, that same baby grows up into the parents’ worse nightmare. Do they love them any less? I doubt it. My characters are my children, writing their misfortunes, even when they probably deserve it, rips my heart in two.

Thank you for being here today, Christina!

Christina is busy promoting her C I N series
Genre: YA


Seventeen year old Lisa Brown’s life is falling apart. First, her mother and father divorce, then their house forecloses and now, her mother has decided to commit herself to a psychiatric hospital.

If that weren’t enough, she must leave sunny south Florida to attend a boarding school full of geniuses in cold, Lynn, Massachusetts. The city where the locals chant “Lynn, Lynn, city of sin; you never come out the way you went in.”

And, they aren’t kidding. Lisa must live in a tiny shack with two strange teenagers, a dog named Pig who growls when you look at him and a cat named Rat. “Mind the cat,” everyone says. What the heck is wrong with this place?

Lisa thinks she’s landed in her own house of horrors with the anti-social Alex and his facetious sister Ally. But, the real drama begins the day she is struck by lightning…

About the Author:

Christina Leigh Pritchard was born and raised in South Florida. Her first stories were written at the age of nine in $0.15 wide ruled, spiral notebooks (which were supposed to be used for class), and in the various diaries she kept. Stories she wrote from age nine to twelve fill about four storage boxes!

Since she's upgraded to a computer, she's completed over fifty books and still going strong. Her genre's include dark fantasy, young adult, drama, suspense, historical romance, multicultural, comedy, poetry and many more.

 Web and social media links:

Book trailer: http://youtu.be/yRdrGVinWdQ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christina-Leigh-Pritchard/118941638145057

C I N Series Blog: http://cinseries.com/

Author Blog: http://teeny120.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/teeny120

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lynn-city-never-Series-ebook/dp/B003T0G84A

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Guest author Pandora Richardson

Today I have author Pandora Richardson here at RtM.

I asked her:

What is the most difficult part of writing/publishing for you?

Writing seemed like it would be easy. Come up with an idea, characters, and a plot, mix in a little hubris and naiveté, and then set fingers to keyboard on your Mac or PC. Or at least this is what I thought. I wish someone had told me that committing to a novel meant research, tons of editing, and most importantly time.

Granted, writing the next New York Times bestseller is easier for some than others, but I doubt even for those authors it's as simple as so many of us first time writers are led to believe. Even if you manage to survive the literary gauntlet and after months or years find yourself with a completed manuscript, remember that the party has just begun.

The difficulties when writing are numerous and I am by no means an expert, but moving forward, I have decided to seriously plan out how much time I'm willing to commit each day to my novel and decided to spare no expense toward editing.

Characters and plots are more than names and situations, they have to be layered, three dimensional, and most importantly make your reader care. Even if your novel is expertly formatted, grammatically sound, and has zero mistakes, none of that will matter if the reader could care less about the story and all that it entails.

Looking back I have found that writing a novel is an exercise in balance. I feel more circus performer than English professor as I try to keep my ideas, concepts, and themes well rounded, entertaining, and delivered in a way that proves that I have made it past the second grade. I can't stress the importance of editing enough. Even after publishing my first novel and several rounds of edits, mistakes were still found.

Ultimately writing is not for the faint of heart and even with all the difficulties present in crossing the imagination minefield on your journey toward published author, I can say in all sincerity that this has been the most enjoyable experience in my life. Knowing that your story is being read and enjoyed by the masses produces a feeling in a writer that is incapable of being described adequately in the English lexicon. Remember to follow your passion and keep the faith.

- Pandora

Thanks for being here today!

Pandora is currently on tour for her book 

Amelia Jones Private Detective Series, Book 1


Genre: Mystery, Paranormal

ASIN: B00802VL80

Number of pages: 172

Word Count: 61,000

Purchase Links: http://amzn.to/AmeliaJones

Book Description:

Amelia Jones finds her world turned upside down after meeting a wealthy client who needs evidence of her husband’s infidelity. Even though Amelia's offered a lot of money to go undercover in order to catch him, the situation is more than she can handle and unlike anything the young, virginal detective has ever experienced. Deep down Amelia knows that she should not accept the case, but the allure of money is too hard to resist. Distracted by a series of mysterious events and delicious eye candy, Amelia is lost with choices that threaten to reveal secrets that should remain hidden.

Author Bio:

Pandora Richardson grew up in Northern New Jersey with a pen and a pad stuck in her hand. Throughout her childhood she was either writing the next great American Novel or painting the next Mona Lisa. She always imagined that she would be famous as a writer, an artist, or both. However, life eventually got in the way of her dreams and Pandora found herself working as a consultant in Washington, DC where she now resides with her canine familiar, Loki. The past several years have found Pandora once again committed to writing, this time with her fingers glued to a keyboard. When she’s not creating the next bestseller or engaged in the thrilling misadventures of the Rat Race, Pandora loves to curl up on her sofa reading the next Vampire, Shape-shifter, Wizard, Zombie or Romance novel from one of her favorite authors.


Twitter: @authorpandora

Facebook: authorpandorarichardson

Goodreads: Pandora Richardson

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guest authors Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays

Today I have authors Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays.

Finding balance, and other myths about the writing life
It’s Friday night and everyone we know is out having some well-deserved fun after a long work week. A nice meal with locally-sourced ingredients, microbrews and trip-hop at a music venue, chalking up at the climbing gym, returning from wind-surfing at Hood River or some other equally Portland-centric activity.

Here at chez Cowboy and Vampire, the TV is on mute, the laptops are fired up and we’re pecking away on another blog post and a new interview while keeping an eye on the tweet stream.

We’re often asked how we balance creative writing (which is super fun and, to be honest, our only reason for living) with marketing (which is hard and soul-sapping). The simple truth is, we don’t. There is no balance. Ever.

We both work day jobs in communications. We’re “lucky” because we write for a living. The unlucky part is that we spend nine-plus hours each day writing on someone else’s timetable and for their purposes, and we’re exhausted by quitting time. That means our creative work and self-promoting usually happens only on nights and weekends.

That also makes trying, and failing, to find balance between working on the next book and marketing the current book more precious than diamond-covered unicorns.

Any second spent not writing creatively seems skin-flayingly torturous, but with hundreds of thousands of books coming out each year, getting Blood and Whiskey noticed demands, tragically, plenty of marketing: blog posts, guest blog posts, interviews, blog tours, media pitches, Facebook posts, tweets, etc., ad infinitum, times a thousand.

We both nurture a secret belief that writers shouldn’t have to be marketers, but the days of martini-swilling publishers and fedora-wearing agents running interference, if they ever existed, are long gone. Today, the writing world requires making peace with self-promotion. We joke that a successful writer is 50 percent talent, 50 percent marketing and 50 percent stubbornness. And probably ten percent “needs to brush up on math skills.”

Our trick to finding balance (keeping in mind that balance is unattainable) between writing and promoting is to convince ourselves that promoting is creative. Or at least endeavor to make it creative. So we find topics that intrigue us (near death experiences, sunstones), sharpen up our skills on every blog post, use interviews to perform a forensic dissection of our books as a way of arming ourselves with the best approaches for the next book. It requires a sustained derangement of the senses, but isn’t that what writing is in the end?

There’s only one rule: never give up. Do something to self-promote every day until it’s time to move on to the next book. And after years of working together, we’ve come up with a highly scientific process to determine exactly when to unbalance the two and switch back to straight creative writing: when you just can’t write one more self-promoting word without vomiting on the keyboard.

Actually, that would make a pretty good blog post.

About the authors: Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall wrote The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Darkly Romantic Mystery, and Blood and Whiskey. They are currently working on the next book in the series, when they aren’t marketing. Find out more at www.cowboyandvampire.com.

Currently on tour for their book Blood and Whiskey


Blood and Whiskey
A Cowboy and Vampire Thriller
by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall
Publication date: May 1, 2012
Fiction, Trade Paperback (362 pages) $14.95; e-book $4.99
ISBN: 978-0-9838200-1-7; Library of Congress Control Number: 2012902814


Wanted: Lizzie Vaughan, Dead or Alive

Relationships are always hard, but for a broke cowboy and a newly turned Vampire, true love may be lethal.

After barely surviving an undead apocalypse in The Cowboy and the Vampire, Tucker and Lizzie hightail it back to quirky LonePine, Wyoming (population 438), to start a family. But she’s got a growing thirst for blood and he’s realizing that mortality ain’t all it’s cracked up to be when your girlfriend may live forever. With a scheming Vampire nation hot on their boot heels and a price on her head, how far will Lizzie and Tucker go to protect their unlikely love?

Blending evolution, religion and an overly sensitive cow dog named Rex, Blood and Whiskey drags the Vampire myth into the modern west, delivering double-barreled action, heart-pounding passion and wicked humor. 


Long before Twilight and Vampire Diaries, Llewellyn published the first book of a thriller series, The Cowboy and the Vampire, in 1999, in trade paperback, with a print run of 10,000 (which sold out). It then went out of print. In response to the Twilight and Vampire Diaries mania, Midnight Ink, an imprint of Llewellyn, released a second edition in 2010 with a print run of 6,000, and, for the first time, with an e-book edition. Blood and Whiskey, the second book in the thriller series, is now being published by Pumpjack Press. Both books are by husband and wife writing team Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall.


Clark Hays grew up in Montana in the shadow of the Tobacco Root Mountains. In addition to his fiction work, he is a cowboy, a published poet and occasional food critic. Recently, he was nominated for Pushcart Prize for short fiction and not so recently for a Rhysling award for poetry. Clark brings a deep knowledge about the modern west, weaponry, country music and existentialism to his writing.

Kathleen McFall grew up in the heart of Washington, D.C. She worked as a petroleum geologist and, later, as a journalist, and has published hundreds of articles about scientific research, energy and natural resources. An interest in the overlap of science and mysticism are an essential aspect of her fiction writing. She received an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship for fiction writing.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The importance of drafts

One of the questions I’ve found most repeated among authors is the standard, “What annoys you most as an editor?” I’m sure some editors keep a catalogue of actions, expressions, tropes, words, and so on that make them grit their teeth and fantasize about strangling the author through the computer. I find with most of the manuscripts that land on my desk, the majority of the issues are repeated throughout.

Why? Because authors have their favorite ways of expressing their characters’ actions. One of my editors pointed out that my characters routinely smirk and shrug. And they do. I always see my characters shrugging or smirking or even at times doing both. Therefore, I know to look out for these things when going back through it. But I’m not perfect (though I often boast otherwise), and since it is my work, there’s no way I’m going to catch all of my own boo-boos. So I’ll send my manuscript to two or three crit partners and maybe one casual reader to gage their reactions.

Does this mean the manuscript is perfect when I submit? Heck. No. I don’t even expect the manuscript to be without the occasional typo when it’s officially published. No one is above the typo. Not me, not you, not Stephen King, not the bible, nothing.

But this does bring me to my major pet-peeve as an editor: authors who submit without doing at least one of the following:

1) Rereading their manuscript. After you type “the end,” close the program and let the document sit for 24-48 hours, preferably longer. Go do something to take your mind off it. Have your S.O. take you to dinner to celebrate finishing a project at all. Go for a hike. Read a book. Watch a movie. Buy yourself a present. Just don’t look at the manuscript. After you actively avoid looking at the manuscript for a period of time, read it carefully from start to finish. Do this at least once.
2) Send it to someone who doesn’t think the sun shines out of your ass and have them read it.

A completed manuscript is just the first step. It’s what we call a “rough draft.” Do more than one draft. Make sure you leave nothing dangling, and if you do, you have a good reason. Make sure the characters’ eyes don’t change colors unless they’re supposed to change colors. Make sure that a drink a character was holding in the beginning of the scene didn’t disappear midway through. Read, absorb, and understand each word, identify your weaknesses and ask others for help.

Most importantly: work with your editor. We’re not perfect. You’re not going to write the flawless novel, and your editor isn’t going to necessarily catch every little thing. The editing process is a give-and-take relationship. It’s not an editor’s job to fix something, rather improve. It’s not an editor’s job to rewrite, but help you rewrite. It’s not an editor’s job to make you feel good, but identify as many of your manuscript’s warts before it becomes available to the public. 2) Send it to someone who doesn’t think the sun shines out of your ass and have them read it.

A completed manuscript is just the first step. It’s what we call a “rough draft.” Do more than one draft. Make sure you leave nothing dangling, and if you do, you have a good reason. Make sure the characters’ eyes don’t change colors unless they’re supposed to change colors. Make sure that a drink a character was holding in the beginning of the scene didn’t disappear midway through. Read, absorb, and understand each word, identify your weaknesses and ask others for help.

Most importantly: work with your editor. We’re not perfect. You’re not going to write the flawless novel, and your editor isn’t going to necessarily catch every little thing. The editing process is a give-and-take relationship. It’s not an editor’s job to fix something, rather improve. It’s not an editor’s job to rewrite, but help you rewrite. It’s not an editor’s job to make you feel good, but identify as many of your manuscript’s warts before it becomes available to the public.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Finding time

There are times when you click your inbox's refresh button repeatedly and jump at the first sign of something new, even if it turns out to be an Amazon ad or an unwanted piece of spam. Then there are times when you can't think about checking your email because of the eight thousand nine hundred and seventy one other things taking up your time.

My life at the moment definitely falls into the latter category. This is hardly the first time and god knows it won't be the last. During such hectic times, the idea of getting anything accomplished -- not just worked on, but finito, signed, sealed and delivered -- seems completely impossible. You remember Past You, merrily pounding away at the keyboard and shrugging off impending obligations, thinking Future You will handle those inconveniences. When Future You becomes Present You, and those impending obligations become Gotta Have This Done YESTERDAY, time at the keyboard dwindles, and you hit that all-too familiar feeling you have a big test coming up and you haven't so much as glanced over a semester's worth of lesson plans.

"Next time," you dutifully promise yourself. "Next time, I'll remember what happened this time, and what happened this time won't happen again."

Of course, by the time Next Time rolls around, your song has changed from I'll Do Better to Maybe This Time It'll Be Different.

The only advice I can impart -- speaking to myself as much as anyone else to whom this applies -- is stop worrying so much. The words you get out now don't have to be perfect. No one sees this draft but you and those you opt to share it with. And even if things don't work out the way you planned, there are always options. There are always roads less traveled by. That's a part of the excitement that comes with being a writer. There is not an obstacle too great for the all mighty backspace.

So, faithful Musees, if you don't hear from Rosalie for the next few weeks, rest assured she will be back. Sometimes we have to cry uncle and ride it out. For this blogger, this is one of those times.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Walk A Thousand Miles To Fall Down At Your Door

When Titanic first premiered, I saw it in the theaters a total of seven times. Granted, I was thirteen or so at the time and, being a natural romantic, the story touched me...and for those of you not alive or in a coma in the 90s, you know I wasn't the only one. The whole, "The Ship Sank, Get Over It" craze was inspired by people like me. It doesn't help that I have an obsessive personality; I exhausted myself on the movie, the Celine Dion song, and even a few really, really bad cheesy romance novels set on the Titanic to cure me of Titanic fever.

After my Titanic obsession ended, I swore it off. The thought of watching the movie again made me sick, just because I was so freakin' burnt out on it. And if someone played "My Heart Will Go On" one more time, the radio was going through the window.

There's an episode of How I Met Your Mother where the single of "I Would Walk 500 Miles" is jammed into a car's cassette player, where it loops and loops and loops for years. While on a road trip, character Ted tells Marshall, the car's owner, that the song is making him physically ill. Marshall assures Ted, "it comes back around." Sure enough, in the next scene, Ted and Marshall are cheerily singing along with the Proclaimers.

Writing is much the same. During intense writing marathons such as NaNo or a race to meet deadlines, writing becomes as much a part of the day as eating or going to work. Take a break, though -- whether or not it's planned -- and it can be incredibly hard finding motivation to resume the habit. One minute, you're happily singing along, and the next you can't stand the song. How can you fall in love with something you can't fathom listening to/watching/working on again? How do you find the love for Titanic after you overcome your need to violently punch the next self-righteous asshole who proclaims himself, "King of the World"?

The trick? Well, there is none. You can force it if you like, but the best advice I can offer is the knowledge eventually it'll loop around again. Singing along with feigned enthusiasm rarely convinces anyone, least of all yourself. Sooner or later, though, you'll remember why you loved writing in the first place.