Saturday, December 05, 2009

Writers' Weekend: An Interview with Joanna Challis

Welcome to a special author interview with Joanna Challis. Her brand new novel, MURDER ON THE CLIFFS, is the first in the Daphne du Maurier series. Today she's visiting with me for a look at the woman behind the book...and at the end of the interview, you'll find a hint at how you can win a copy of it!

Hi, Joanna, and thanks for joining us here today! So, when did you first begin writing?

As soon as I could hold a pen in my hand! My parents' house is littered with my early attempts. Growing up, I loved English and History and any chance to write a story. I finished my first novel at 15 and never looked back. If I'm not writing something then I don't feel normal!

Tell us about your latest published title.

MURDER ON THE CLIFFS is the first in a new murder mystery series featuring Daphne du Maurier. It has all my favorite elements: history, mystery, a touch of romance, and the setting is the Cornish coast and an Elizabethan mansion full of secrets.

How do you go about developing your characters?

Characters come out first for me. I have a sketchy plot in mind but the characters lead it once they're fleshed out and I learn their motivations. They become real and seem to take over :)

What advice would you give to new authors just starting out?

To love what you do. To never give up.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When at home, read and watch favorite movies. When not at home, travel, particularly the overseas kind: Europe for its scenery and history.

What is your favorite movie? Did it inpsire your writing in any way?

REBECCA, PRIDE & PREJUDICE, THE PRINCESS BRIDE...I seem to love a blend of the old classics with a good mystery/suspense and a touch of the fairy-tale is always nice too!

Joanna, thank you so much for your time! Now, readers, for a chance to win a copy of her new book, MURDER ON THE CLIFFS, simply go to Joanna's book tour page and enter this distinct PIN #: 3829. Have a great weekend...hope you win!!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Friday Fun Facts

"Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?" ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Received my Romance Writers Report the other day...I'm always interested to see what articles are featured. Here are some of the highlights in December:

What Can Internet Communities do for You?
Hook those Readers with a Great Scene
Writing by Committee?
There is No Such Thing as Bad Publicity and Other Famous Lies
The Warrior Writer: Using Green Beret Techniques as an Author

The most interesting for me, though, was an interview with best-selling author Christina Dodd. A couple of my favorite excerpts:

"The most important thing an author can have is an absolutely brutish belief in herself and her talent, and she can never, ever allow the facts to change that faith..."

"...on any given day, successful writers write the best way they can, and if what they're doing doesn't work, they adapt. Best way to write a book, I guess. But, I admit, I spend an incredible amount of time thinking I know nothing. That seems to be part of the job."

Please note: Tomorrow I'll be featuring a special Weekend Writer's Interview with author Joanna Challis. Stop back on Saturday to read her interview and find out how to win a copy of her new book!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Writers' Wednesday: What to Give, What to Give?

"Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow." ~Jeff Valdez

'Tis the season to start shopping - if you're lucky enough to either have ideas for your recipients, or a specific list from them. But what do you do when you have neither?

No, that isn't a rhetorical question...I'd really like to know! Every year my husband and I are faced with the dilemma of buying holiday gifts for relatives who give us no clue as to what they'd like. You might think this makes things easy; after all, a gift card or two, and you're done. But it's not. We struggle every year.

So I'm asking for ideas. Anyone have a foolproof (or nearly foolproof) idea for buying at holiday time for those loved ones who either (a) have everything or (b) don't know what to ask for??


In a sidenote, here are two ways you can give this holiday season and benefit animal shelters!

Send an Ecard, Help an Animal

Give a Dog (without really giving a dog)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Mentionables

"Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall. We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall, then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space." ~ Dave Barry

Sooo...did you survive Thanksgiving and Black Friday? Were you brave enough to risk the stores and the sales, or did you stay in the comfort of your home? Are your holiday decorations up yet? Holiday cards ready to be sent? much to do, and such a busy season! Last night I tackled the order for our Christmas cards. Last year we sent out simply a photo card, but I was surprised at how many people said they wished for the yearly update "letter" I usually send out with them. Since my father was so sick this time last year, it was all I could do to manage a card. But this year, I'm returning to the letter. It's a bit tricky, you know: you want to sound friendly and newsy but not pushy or overly annoying with all the wonderful things you've spent your year doing :) I tried to keep it short and sweet, but we'll see. I'll read it over in a day or two and see what I think with fresh eyes.

The Romance Studio is having a terrific holiday promotional event. Many, many authors are giving away all sorts of books and goodies, so if you're not a regular visitor to their site, bookmark it for December and give it a try! I have several giveaways and promos being featured there between now and the end of 2009.

Finally and most exciting, I received the covers of my 2 books that AudioLark is making into audio books, One Night in Memphis and Lost in Paradise! I have to say, it's a funny thing, seeing new covers for books that have been out for awhile with another publisher (but since they are new rights, this company can do whatever they want with the covers). I love what they did , though...check them out!!