Tuesday Talk with Barb Meyers

Today we get to welcome fellow author Barb Meyers! Can’t wait to get to know her better. Here you go, folks!

When not writing fiction, Dr. Seuss-like poetry or song lyrics, Barbara Meyers can be found at the local Starbucks culling story ideas from customers while masquerading as a shift supervisor. Her hobbies include tormenting her long-suffering husband, interfering in the lives of her grown children, and sneaking into gated communities to walk her almost perfect dog, Pepper. Her latest release is A FOREVER KIND OF GUY from Samhain Publishing, the second in The Braddock Brotherhood series. Visit her web site at www.barbmeyers.comor follow her on Twitter @barbmeyers or her fantasy-writing alter ego @ajtillock
1.      Who was your first author crush and why?

Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  I never thought of myself as having an author crush, but when I saw the question I remember when my daughter was maybe eight or nine she asked me who my favorite author was and SEP was my answer.  I think I’d just read her book Honey Moon at the time.  She’s one of those truly consistently good authors.  I’ve never, ever been disappointed with one of her books, never been turned off or been at a point where I wanted to take a break from reading her.  Another author that came to mind is Karen Robards.  For all the same reasons.

2.  What was your first clue you were a writer? Was it a long journey or a short one? Have you always known?

My first clue I might want to write novel-length romantic fiction was after I had read many, many romance novels and I had just finished one particularly bad book.  I threw it across the room and declared, “I can write better than that!”  It’s been a long journey for me in that I wrote and wrote and wrote without seriously pursuing publishing until the last several years.  I always liked to write, but I don’t know whether I always knew I was “a writer.”  I know it now.

3.  What are some of your writer-esque quirks (do you have to be in your pjs? always facing the door? Do people look at you after something funny happens and say ‘that’s going in a book, isn’t it?’)?

I’m not aware of any writer-esque quirks.  Unless you count walking the beach and talking to my characters or taking a notebook to the beach (which is where I go when I’m stuck) praying for inspiration and stopping to write things down when inspiration and answers appear in my head.

4.  Finish this joke: A clown, a priest and a writer all get onto an elevator…

The elevator plummets to the ground.  They all survive.  The clown joins the priesthood  (something he always secretly wanted to do).   The priest becomes a clown (which is what he always secretly wanted to be.)  The writer turns the experience into a bestselling novel, sells the movie rights and never sets foot on an elevator again.

5.  Speed round: Without giving it too much thought, pick which one you favour over the other: 

Chocolate                         or         flowers

Talk                          or         Text

Mountains                   or         Beach

Cowboy                      or         Marine

Wine                         or         Beer

Cats                             or         Dogs

Ebooks                    or         Paperbacks

Pantser                   or         Plotter

Batman                  or         Superman

Ability to fly               or         Power to be invisible

Prius                            or         Hemmie

Follow the rules          or         Break the rules

TV                             or         Movies

NY                              or         LA

Vampires                     or         Angels

Fall                           or         Spring

Neat                            or         Messy

Werewolf                    or         Genie

Tell jokes                     or         Pull pranks

Home cooked meals    or         Go out to a restaurant

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Tuesday Talk with Janine Ashbless

Hi folks! There was a speed bump in the schedule, but we’re right on track now! And here’s our next wonderful author to visit, Janine Ashbless!
Hi, I’m Janine Ashbless. Usually I write erotica and erotic romance with fantasy or paranormal settings, for people like Black Lace and Ellora’s Cave and Mischief, but Heart of Flame, my first novel from Samhain, is an Arabian Nights fantasy full of monsters and magic and djinn … and okay, yes: romance. Quite hot romance. I just can’t stop myself, can I? But it’s crammed with swashbuckling adventure too, I promise!
1.      Who was your first author crush and why?Ummm … Tolkien, I guess, when I was a kid. Because, clearly, the world he wrote about was WAY better than the real one. I once decided to copy out the whole of The Silmarillion by hand … *headsdesk*
2.      What was your first clue you were a writer? In our primary school yearbook from when I was nine, there were photos of all of us and the class teacher had written a caption beneath each portrait. The one she wrote for me was “You’ll be reading my novels one day!”  So yes, I think the people around me knew, even if I didn’t … (Hey, I thought I was going to be an animal doctor and live on a ranch full of wild horses.)
3.      What are some of your writer-esque quirks?  Nothing really weird, honest … I play one game of Tetris before every writing session. I tend to get story inspiration while showering. If I’m wrestling with an idea in the morning, I’ll have a shower and then lie wrapped in my wet towel on the bathroom floor until I’ve got it sorted. Don’t ask me why it should be the bathroom floor – it’s not particularly comfortable!
4.      Finish this joke: A clown, a priest and a writer all get onto an elevator…
and it starts to plummet 180 floors to the bottom of the shaft. The priest prays – “Lord! Save us! We repent of our sins!” The clown goes pale, but says “Hey, I’ve lived a full life and made people happy, this isn’t so bad a way to end it.”  The writer gets out a little notebook and starts scribbling. As they reach floor 10, still falling, the priest breaks off praying to ask the writer, “Are you writing a will? Think of Eternity instead!” The writer says, “I am. I’m taking notes on this, in case I can use the situation in a novel.”
5.      Speed round: Without giving it too much thought, pick which one you favour over the other: 
Chocolate                    or         flowers: Chocolate!
Talk                             or         Text: Talk
Mountains                   or         Beach: Mountains
Cowboy                      or         Marine: Cowboy, I guess…
Wine                            or         Beer: Wine
Cats                             or         Dogs: Dogs
Ebooks                        or         Paperbacks: Paperbacks
Pantser                                    or         Plotter: Pantser
Batman                        or         Superman: Batman without a doubt
Ability to fly               or         Power to be invisible: Flying J
Prius                            or         Hemmie: Huh?
Follow the rules          or         Break the rules: Follow the rules – can’t help it L
TV                               or         Movies: Movies
NY                              or         LA: Neither – SF!
Vampires                     or         Angels: Vampires
Fall                              or         Spring: Spring
Neat                            or         Messy: Messy
Werewolf                    or         Genie: Genie
Tell jokes                     or         Pull pranks: Tell jokes
Home cooked meals    or         Go out to a restaurant: Restaurant

Addendum to Top 10…

Okay, I’ve been reading Lilith Saintcrow‘s and Connolly’s posts about whining writers.  My last post could be seen as whining.

That was not my intent with the top 10. I put my butt in the chair every day. I work at it. It’s difficult and some days I don’t end up with any word count (cutting and editing take away chunks) at all. THOSE DAYS STILL COUNT.

If writing were easy, everyone would do it. I know that. I don’t get a regular paycheck to show everyone that yes, I worked hard today. But that’s not why I write. I don’t need a cookie everytime I finish a paragraph. I’m not sitting in a chair at the keys waiting for someone to notice me. I do go to coffee shops and libraries to write, but for the change of scenery that shakes up the writing. I feel guilty taking up a booth for three hours but I don’t sit there and preen. I WRITE, damn it.

 I need the words everyday. I need self-discipline to practice my skills everyday. I have that. And I do it ON TOP OF my day job.

I’m not a special snowflake that deserves extra attention. I was poking fun at myself. My last post was purely meant as fun. Smile people, it burns more calories.

Top 10 excuses…what are yours?

Writing, at least lately, seems to be about getting over the fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear that this book is going to suck and I should just quit and start over on the shiny new idea that is bouncing around in my head.

But I never face fear as fear. No, my fear is stealthy, sneaky, seductive. My fear procrastinates, my fear stresses, my fear distracts. Basically anything my fear can do to disguise itself and not call it fear, it does. Let me explain.

It’s 5:35am. I don’t have to get up until 6ish. But I’m awake. I think to myself ‘Hey, you should get up and get writing, get an early start to the day’. That sounds reasonable.

Excuse 1. But you don’t know what to wear. 

Pathetic, I know, but…sorta. I’m  substitute teacher for my day job and sometimes don’t get called in. So it’s a jeans and t-shirt day, a comfy bra sorta day, a nobody-is-going-to-see-me day. Okay, yes, it’s sad.

Moving on. I finally get dressed (in something I can change out of quickly) and suddenly remember THE LIST. This is actually…

Excuse 2. I have a zillion things to do             
                 BEFORE I can write.                      

This one is particularly henious. I can waste DAYS like this. Blog posts, twitter schedules, ancient Viking undead and weaponry…FACEBOOK! The ways to waste time in the name of preparing is
literally endless. This doesn’t even include housework or necessary social interaction so I’m not the lady rocking in the corner yelling about marketing and stinky cheese when I’m in the old folks home.
This leads, inevitably, to the next excuse.

Excuse 3. I AM OVERWHELMED!               

Yes, cue the swelling music and the southern-belle-swoon attitude. I know my inner Diva is feeling under-appreciated when this comes out. I feel choked. I CAN NOT WRITE! It’s like a kid with medicine. NO NO NO NO NO!

Eventually, I coax myself into my chair at my desk only to find…

Excuse 4. There is too much clutter.                 

Seriously. I organize my change, color-code my pens, get out a highligher, an eraser, a ruler, a pencil and a rainbow selection of stickies EVEN THOUGH I WRITE ON A COMPUTER. Still, I cannot write.

So I do the only logical thing left to me. I move to the kitchen.

Excuse 5. There’s too much noise.                     

You think I’m trying to be funny, but I’m not. I plug in my earphones (seems logical, right?), and
boot up my tunes. This is not the boon to sanity it seems.

Excuse 6. I need the RIGHT
                playlist.                                               

So an hour or two disappears as I search through the 4000 plus songs I have only to discover I don’t have the one RIGHT song and therefore must go online to the store to search out the songs that capture the mood I’m trying to achieve. I debate a goodly while about dishing out the sum demanded. Does my writing career really need this? Yes, damn it!

So, music achieved, writing space settled, supplies organized and to-do list conquered, fear must now attempt a frontal assault on my peace and quiet.

Excuse 7. Your writing will never be as good
                 as (insert fav author du jour), so
                 why even start?                                  

I have tried various methods to argue this point with myself. Because I can’t not write. Because the stories are always there, have always been there. Because no one has to see it if it really sucks. Because you have to start somewhere. Every first draft is terrible. Because you don’t take dictation from Divinity, you take hints for directions…yadda yadda yadda. The one come back I can’t argue with? Because I sleep better at night. It’s true, I do sleep better if I’ve written. The more I write, the better I sleep, in fact.

Not to be outdone, my fear rallies.

Excuse 8. You’re never going to sell this.          

Maybe. Scary to think of this fact. But writers do it all the time. And to be honest, that’s not why I write. I want to know how the story ends. I saw this character/world/problem and it interested me. I’m not a quitter. Not in my writing.

I finally managed to screw my courage to the sticking post, or whatever that saying is, and then, fear comes back strong with a one-two punch.

Excuse 9. Why write it down at all?                 

 If all I want to do is see how it ends, then daydream. Doodle, make shadow puppets, anything else than write. Why write? Which is true, except that I have no confidence in my memory in order to re-tell my daydreams. I can’t evoke the emotions I was feeling at the time. I need to write it down so I can share it with someone else. Because stories are how I make sense of the world and my place in it.

Excuse 10. There is nothing new under
                   the sun.                                           

Maybe that’s true. But I haven’t heard everything under the sun, haven’t seen it, haven’t tried it. So my writing is my take on things, my opinions, my VOICE. Everyone deserves to be heard.

Fear generally backs down at this point. At least until I sit down and realize my keyboard isn’t centered with my laptop screen and I feel like I’m writing crooked. But that’s a whole other post.

Tuesday Talk with DONNA ALWARD!!!

SQUEEEEEE!!! Okay, I’m a teensy bit excited to have Donna Alward here from my RWAC group. She’s also the one who turned me onto the #1k1hr phenomenon on twitter. We run into each other all the time there. She’s a fellow Samhain writer, writes for Harlequin and is a RITA nominee for 2012! Not only that, but today is her release day! GO DONNA!!!

Buy Donna’s Book Here!



Donna’s Biography

A busy wife and mother of three (2 daughters and the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist.

An avid reader since childhood, Donna always made up her own stories. She completed her Arts Degree in English Literature in 1994, but it wasn’t until 2001 that she penned her first full-length novel, and found herself hooked on writing romance. In 2006 she sold her first manuscript.

Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly 12 years in Alberta where her Harlequin career began, writing about cowboys and the west. Donna’s debut Romance, Hired by the Cowboy, was awarded the Booksellers Best Award in 2008 for Best Traditional Romance.

Donna loves to hear from readers; you can contact her through her website at www.donnaalward.com, visit her facebook page, or through her publisher.

*taken from her website www.donnaalward.com*

 Deep breath…here goes!

1.      Who was your first author crush and why?

LaVyrle Spencer. She was my first, and you never forget your first, right? The first romance I ever read was VOWS and I loved it. She’s my favourite writer ever. I was so sad when she retired!

2.      What was your first clue you were a writer? Was it a long journey or a short one? Have you always known?

I think in a way I’ve always known. I definitely knew I always wanted to write a book. I wrote all through high school and university. But real life can be pretty, well, REAL, and I stopped writing when I entered the work force, got married, started a family. When I came back to it I fell in love with it all over again. It took me five years of consistently writing and submitting to get published.

3.      What are some of your writer-esque quirks (do you have to be in your pjs? always facing the door? Do people look at you after something funny happens and say ‘that’s going in a book, isn’t it?’)?

I need a clean workspace. I’m a creature of habit, so I like it quiet, I need to be sitting at my desk in my office, and my desk has to be at least MOSTLY tidy. I can write somewhere else if I have to, but this is my habit and it puts me in the zone.

And yeah, I get those looks. I also get a lot of  “you should put that in a book” comments for stuff that I know would never work. LOL!

4.      Finish this joke: A clown, a priest and a writer all get onto an elevator…

The clown pulls a funny face and pushes every floor button on the panel.

The priest sighs, bows his head and prays: “Father, please let the elevator lift us up to our destinations to do thy will, amen.”

The writer takes out a note pad and jots down: A clown, a priest and a writer all get onto an elevator…

5.      Speed round: Without giving it too much thought, pick which one you favour over the other: 

Chocolate                   or         flowers

Talk                             or         Text

Mountains                   or         Beach

Cowboy                      or         Marine (you can’t expect me to choose one over the other!

Wine                            or         Beer

Cats                             or         Dogs

Ebooks                        or         Paperbacks

Pantser                                    or         Plotter

Batman                        or         Superman

Ability to fly               or         Power to be invisible

Prius                            or         Hemmie

Follow the rules          or         Break the rules

TV                               or         Movies

NY                              or         LA

Vampires                     or         Angels

Fall                              or         Spring

Neat                            or         Messy

Werewolf                    or         Genie

Tell jokes                     or         Pull pranks

Home cooked meals    or         Go out to a restaurant
Thank you Donna!!!