Tag Archives: Az Dreamin conference

How it all began: the making of Me Tarzan—You Jane

8 Jan

With the virtual book tour for Me Tarzan–You Jane in full swing, I decided to share what (or better said who) inspired me to write the story.

In May 2011 I went to Arizona Dreamin’ Conference, my very first writers’ conference. At that time my debut novel Hidden Heart was out since March and I was working on my second one titled A World Apart.

Ecstatic about my very first novel to finally be in readers’ hands, stuck with the plot for the second novel, I went to the conference extremely nervous. I’m a shy person by nature so being among strangers terrifies me. I only knew one author, the lovely Deena Remiel but I also knew she won’t have time to babysit me. So, here I was in the middle of a mass of strangers with me, myself and I.

Some memories are meant to stay with you forever and this is one of them: I walked in a room full of people for the wine reception prior to the conference. My heart hammered in my chest and I had this panicked voice in my head screaming, “Ruuuuuuun!” I told myself I’d only be there for five minutes and then leave as unnoticed as I came.

Women of all ages and sizes grouped around four godly looking guys. Think Chippendale x 10 times better looking. Intrigued about their presence I went to the improvised bar and helped myself to a plastic cup of chardonnay all the while observing the guys. Who were they? What were they doing here? Were they authors like the rest of us?

I eventually spotted Deena and went to say hi. She introduced me to the ladies she was talking to and even though minutes later she left us, I remained with my newfound friends. From them, I found out that the guys were models there for the contest called Men Of Our Dreams. I also found out that they were nothing compared with Jimmy Thomas, famous cover model for thousands of romance novels. Topping that?—how was that even possible?

(I wasn’t going to post pictures of Jimmy but decided at the last minute to do it,  sparing you the search for his covers–over 7,000 last I heard. I’m sure you’re recognizing him now, right?)

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I decided to stick a bit longer, not because of Jimmy Thomas—who at the time wasn’t among us, but because I enjoyed spending time with people who too heard voices in their heads and they were happy about them. Relieved I wasn’t crazy and the voices were just imaginary friends to any authors, I bounced from one group to another until this euphoria spread around the room like a blast of hot air, followed by cheers and applauses.

Being only 5”1’ tall it took me a while to see what or who had such impact on an entire room of people: famous Jimmy Thomas had walked into the room.

He doesn’t know I exist since I never had the courage to introduce myself, nor asked for a picture like every woman at the conference. In fact I bet my royalties I was the only woman not being photographed with him.

I don’t regret not being introduced to Jimmy. Or not owning a photo with a celebrity such as him. Because I have something better than that, something that not even time or history can take away from me. I have Me Tarzan—You Jane, my novel inspired by him.

Living in the fast lane @ Arizona Dreamin’

3 Jun

Wow! What a weekend I had. And not just any weekend, a looooong/ incredible/ fun/ energetic/ interesting/ educative/ relaxing weekend which started on Thursday with the official release of my newest historical romance BORN IN SIN, and a virtual party on Facebook to celebrate  it.

BIS-web COVER

Later in the afternoon I met the committee organizing the AZ Dreamin Conference, Arizona’s FIRST Romance Reader Event and began preparing to welcome the attendees. Beginning Thursday night I didn’t get home until after 10pm only to do it all over again the next morning starting at 8am. I have to admit that while my energy level sunk progressively toward the afternoon I operated on Carmel Machiattos which gave me the exact needed boost. Whoever invented Carmel Machiatto: God Bless You!

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Friday morning during the Buildin’ The Dream Event I took some interesting workshops about The Pitt falls of Self-publishing with the sassy Morgan Kearns, Creating Your Brand with the one and only Kris Tualla, and Characters To Love and Hate with Erin Quinn and Erin Kellison.  I also wanted to attend Deena Remiel‘s workshop about Marketing your books, but it was given at the same time with Morgan’s workshop and unfortunately my clone wasn’t there to join me. I’m humbled and honored to have spent hours in their lovely companies while learning more about the crafts of writing and publishing.

While I met old friends I made new ones. Loved catching up with everyone, and being introduced to new authors. Sharon Hamilton is one of them. Not only is she a sweetheart, but Sharon is also a mother of a SEAL, which brings both of us on common ground since I’m a sucker for all things army. Tami Vinson, KC Klein, Amber Scott, and so many more have also been added to my fave list of new authors.

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photo-3The highlight of Saturday night was the contest “Man Of Our Dream.” Tall, handsome, packs of muscles, corky, funny–you name it, the guys had it all. They gave us a ton of reasons to laugh and enjoy the view while entertaining us with their sexy persona and not only. And that’s as far as I’m going to disclose what happened there… I would only add that James D Magnussen won. Look at the photo below and you will understand why…

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Sunday morning’s author panel brought everything to a point we all dreaded: saying goodbye. I already miss “my girls”, but I also look forward to keeping in touch and seeing them next year at the 2014 AZ Dreamin Conference.

For those of you interested to meet new authors, make new friends with the same passion for books you can also join us. Kris, Morgan and Deena are hard at work organizing already the next event. For more info click here. Check regularly for when tickets go on sale. I know this year we were sold out at least a month in advance so get your ticket in time.

Goodbye AZ Dreamin 2013. Hello AZ Dreamin 2014!

Author In The House- Virginia S. Nelson

14 Mar

I am so thrilled to have as a guest today my wonderful friend and incredible author Virginia Nelson. We met last year at the AZ Dreamin’ Conference and we hit it off immediately. We became fast friends, sharing the same love for writing.

Virginia, before we start talking about your book, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?

Oh boy, where to start? Let’s see I’m Native American, a Scorpio and a retired teacher who spent close to twelve years teaching in the Middle East. What an experience that was! As you know, I now live in sunny Arizona where I spend most of my time on the computer hammering out my novels.

Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I’m a pretty active hands-on type of woman so when I’m not writing or reading I’m usually creating some type of historical costume – another passion of mine. If I’m not sewing, you’ll find me crocheting, beading or embroidering. Sadly, these days I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do. 

What is your daily routine as far as when you have an idea for your story?

Did I mention I live by schedules… I’m up around 5am, pour myself a cup of coffee and hit the computer. After checking messages and Face book I go to work on whatever book I’m working on. I remain on the computer doing thirty minute sprints. On my short fifteen minute breaks, I pour another cup of coffee and check messages again. I’m on the computer till about 2 at which time I take a well deserved break and eat some lunch. Afternoons are usually dedicated to edits and rewrites. Dinner around 6pm with my soul mate then we usually review what I worked on that morning. Bed comes early around this house – usually after an hour or two of television. While my other half gets his first two hours sleep I usually have a book in my hand and read for another couple of hours before drifting off to sleep. Sunday is the only day I actually take off and I tend to spend it with family or at the theater. (I love good movies)

Where do you get your ideas from?

I can honestly say most of my fiction stories come from my dreams. (I’m a very avid and active dreamer).

Out of all of the stories you’ve written so far, what would be your favorite and why?

I would have to say Eternal Blades – Sekhmet’s Guardians – Book 3 has to be my favorite so far. It’s not just the love story between characters but the sub-plots are so intriguing and complicated. Jennifer, the heroine from book one of the series is kidnapped by her “now” husband’s identical twin brother and is convinced she can help him see the light and change his evil ways.

Tell us something funny about yourself that not a lot of people know about?

Up until a couple of months ago I would have to say my personal relationship with my high school sweetheart. In 1966 Tom and I, both young teenagers ran away to get married. Sadly we didn’t go through with it and as fate would have it we ended up getting married to someone else and loosing touch with one another. Thirty years later we were reunited and are now planning on formally tying the not at the http://www.romancenovelconvention.com .The famous cover model Jimmy Thomas will be performing the ceremony. What better place to get married than a romance convention?

Does any of the stories you’ve written stem from real life experiences or basically just from imagination?

I think all authors use real life experiences in their work. Although my series was dreamed I know that some of my personal experiences as a young Native American woman come through Jennifer’s personification.  Sins of a Man, the story of a Mafia hit man, another novel not related to the series, I am currently working on is based on an individual I met in 1969.

Does your ‘muse’ have a name and if so what is his/her name?

I wouldn’t call him my “muse” – more like a pain in the rear, but Gabriel, the leader of Sekhmet’s Guardians is my biggest pain. He is the one who refused to let me sleep until I wrote their story.

What other genre besides the one you are writing about now would you like to venture into writing?

I actually wrote non-fiction for twenty years before venturing into to paranormal and urban fantasies. I think after I manage to complete all current projects I would like to try my hand at suspense and a screenplay.

Who are your favorite authors?

That’s a tough one, since I am an avid reader, who loves series; I would have to say I love J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood and Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed novels. As a young adult I read everything Wells and similar authors wrote in addition to the classics.

Who is your favorite female and male characters from your books and why?

My series is multi-plotted with several characters. Each has their own uniqueness and special place in my heart so again that is a tough question. Where Gabriel is cold and heartless in the beginning of Eternal Lovers, he is soon transformed into the kind of man every woman would like to fall in love with. Still I think Raphael captured my heart from the very beginning. (He’s Gabriel’s best friend and the hero in book two, Eternal Nights). He’s the kind of hunk who is easy to talk to and has a love for animals similar to my own.  As far as female characters, hands down, I would have to say Alice, who is Jennifer’s best friend. She is crazy and wild, has a reputation as a die-hard shopper who is hooked up with a rock star.

What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer?

Balancing everything from writing to editing to promoting – especially time. Years ago, when I first started writing non-fiction the rules were much different than they are now.  A writer’s job was to write. Editors edited and promotion was left up to the experts. Nowadays it doesn’t matter who your publisher is, a writer is expected to do it all.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start off being a writer?

Learn as much as you can about the craft you are entering but remember to stay true to yourself. Personally, I have watched a lot of talented authors pay way to much attention to all the rules they have learned and in doing so lost some of their voice and muse. It’s OK to follow the rules, it’s also OK to break a few along the way. I know I did.

If you hadn’t become a writer, what do you think you would be doing right now?

Running my creative costume business.

Tell us about your latest story.

Ancient Legends – New Worlds – Humans weren’t the only ones to migrate to America

SEKHMET’S GUARDIANS – BOOK ONE – ETERNAL LOVERS

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When two hidden worlds collide near modern day Lake Michigan, Jennifer, a young Native American, is confronted with the reality, not everything is as it seems and things do go bump in the night. The questions she has long since asked are answered in this epic tale of self-discovery when she meets Gabriel, the director of Guardians Incorporated.

Born in New Tuat, Netchkhet, now known as Gabriel came to Earth some five thousand years ago to protect the human race.

Disillusioned by an unfulfilled prophecy, he has become cold and distant – even from those of his kind. He secretly waits for his enemy to take his head so he may leave this world for good.

Can a tiny Selkie melt his hardened heart and restore his faith in a power far greater than himself? When history repeats itself, can he save her from death’s embrace or will they be robbed of a future again?

 EXCERPT –

“Raphael, where the hell are you and why isn’t your phone turned on? Did she get the flowers? What did she think of them? Did you tell her I was drunk like we discussed? Am I forgiven? Do you think it would be alright if I see her now?”

God, what was with this guy? “Gabe, slow down, my man. First things, first. This morning Jennifer asked if she could go for a ride again so I figured it would be a good time to talk to her about last night. She didn’t remember much except she was scared. She actually thought maybe she was coming down with some bug and between that and the alcohol, she figured she overreacted. So I didn’t have to come up with the bull shit story that you were drunk… Do you hear what I’m saying? Gabe, it’s all good.”

He could hear Gabriel breathe a sigh of relief into the phone. “Great! I’ve been wondering how that was going down and what excuses you were going to have to come up with for my stupid behavior… thanks buddy… Raphael, where are you, it sounds like you’re in a well?”

 “Actually, I’m at the lake.”

“Again? Why the hell are you back there?”

“Not again–still. We rode out here this morning, like I already told you. Brought a lunch with us, so during lunch, we had our talk. She seemed pretty relaxed and was really tired. Guess she didn’t get enough sleep last night so I gave her a sleep enhancement, if you get my drift. Then, before I knew it, I closed my eyes and zoned. I woke up 10 minutes ago and before I started packing up to head back, I realized my phone was off. Man, I’m sorry, I had no idea.”

Dead silence…

“So you’re headed back now?” Gabe finally asked.

“Actually, no.”

He could hear Gabe grind his teeth.

“Pardon me?”

“I was packing up and she said she wanted to stay and watch the sunset over the lake…  She said she wasn’t in the mood to be around a bunch of people back at the house. Hell, what was I suppose to say? I told her I’d call the house and let her friend know so they wouldn’t send a search party. They all know she is safe with me.”

More silence…

“So is she?”

“Is she what?”

“Safe with you?”

“Oh, fuck me!  No fuck you, Gabriel! Didn’t we go through all this last night?”

Silence…

“Gabriel, I’ll have her back at the compound safe and sound before too long. I’m just indulging her. I’ll report in when I get her back to the house. Goodbye.”

The call ended shortly after Raphael heard Gabriel mumble a few choice cuss words before he threw his phone across the wall. Raphael wasn’t sure if he hung up or Gabriel’s phone ended the call when it shattered. It really didn’t matter, both men were pissed off. Raphael put the cell phone back in his pocket and walked back toward the cove.

Looking around he saw the horses grazing on the grass near by. The horses weren’t tied up but they were well trained and wouldn’t venture far. He looked at the spot were the blanket had been, the grass still laying flat against the ground. That was when he realized Jen wasn’t standing there. Where is she? 

He looked down both directions of the shore line, then his eyes focused on a large boulder near the water’s edge. What the Hell?   There laid her clothes, her boots leaning up against the rock. 

A good fifty yards from the shore, he spotted a little head bobbing in the water. Her arm reached for the sky as she waved to him. He threw his head back letting out a sigh, and prayed she’d worn a bathing suit under her clothes. Something told him she hadn’t. He waved back as she started swimming closer to the shore.

When she got within about 15 feet from him she stopped and motioned for him to come in. “Come on in, the water’s great!”

“Jen, I don’t think that’s a good idea, the fish in the lake are bigger than you are. Come on out. I’ll build a fire so you can warm yourself and not get a chill.”

“Nope, having too much fun… you’ll have to come in to get me.” She giggled, turned, and swam off, showing him a glimpse of her naked backside as she did.

He watched her as she swam farther and farther away from him and the shore. The sun was setting and even with his perfect vision he was having trouble seeing her against glare on the water and the high waves. Suddenly, he saw her go under. He waited and waited some more. She didn’t come up. Searching the water, he still couldn’t see her.

ALL HELLS BELLS!  He stripped out of his clothes. Leaving his boxers on, he plunged in head first. Swimming as fast as he could, he neared the spot he’d seen her last. Diving deep he looked for her. No Jennifer. He resurfaced, and then dove again. On his third trip to the surface, he felt a tap on his right shoulder.

“BOO!”

He turned to face her while treading water. “Shit girl, you gave me one hell of a scare. Are you out of your mind?”

“Nope, not at all… It got you just were I wanted you.” Jennifer giggled again before tapping him on the back. “Tag, you’re it!”  She turned and kicked off, skimming across the water in another direction.

What the Hell?   Her arms didn’t move like most swimmers, but her body wiggled up and down as she soared across the surface of the water. He had to use his super speed to catch her. God, she was as fast in the water as a water moccasin. 

Available worldwide in books stores and on Amazon

Eternal Lovers – Paperback –  http://tinyurl.com/b8ll29b

Eternal Lovers – Large Print – http://tinyurl.com/ae3u6lv

Eternal Lovers – Kindle –          http://tinyurl.com/amvlphl

Also available Cupid and Penelope – A Different Kind of Love Story

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Cupid and Penelope – Paperback – http://tinyurl.com/ayn33ud

Cupid and Penelope –  Kindle –        http://tinyurl.com/bfyue39

Eternal Nights – Sekhmet’s Guardians – Book Two is scheduled for release in May, 2013 followed by Eternal Blades – Sekhmet’s Guardians – Book Three in December, 2013.

Additional links to author’s website: http://www.authorvsnelson.com

 

 

Author In The House–Kris Tualla Interview and Giveaway

20 Aug

There are people you meet once and you know they’ll be here to stay. It’s a gut instinct, a voice in the back of your mind telling you, you’re in for a joyride because this new person’s impact and influence will add to your life something meaningful, something special.

One of these people is Kris Tualla. It’s hard to describe what Kris is, but to sum it all it comes down to a wonder woman. What Kris sets her mind to do gets done. And what Kris wants happens.

Aside from being a wonder woman Kris is an author. I met her during my first conference this year called Arizona Dreamin’, an event where readers interact with their favorite writers, one on one. The result? Friendships to last a lifetime.

Kris is here today for an interview. She also brought a paperback copy of her novel titled A Discreet Gentleman of Matrimony. For your chance to win it leave a comment and your email address at the end of this post.

Kris, thank you for stopping by my blog. Tell us what’s a day in the life of author Kris Tualla.

Authoring is my full time job. I spend 90% of my time when I am at home on my computers. My desktop is for non-fiction: email, Facebook, writing blog posts, teaching online classes for authors, designing book covers and other promo items, or planning Arizona Dreamin’~a reader event I created! http://arizonadreamin.wordpress.com/

The rest of my computer time is spent on my laptop where I write all of my fiction. The number of hours I spend on each thing depends on what deadlines are approaching. Funny part is, I can’t switch the computer I do these tasks on because my mind has been trained how to think on each one.

I get easily distracted therefore when I write I need complete silence, door closed. The only person allowed in my office is Bella, my dog. When you write do you need complete silence around you or noise?

I can write in the midst of chaos as long as the chaos doesn’t interest me. But things like songs with words (I’ll sing along), the Olympics (no explanation needed), or my husband’s channel surfing (what is that show/movie?) do pull my attention from my manuscript. Then I have to shut the office door and focus.

I have all these ideas and voices in my head, but for some reason I struggle sometimes to put them on the paper. Do you find yourself at one point or another at a loss for words?

Never at a loss for words, but sometimes unsure of the next scene. I write in a straight line, and sometimes I have to step back and ask, “What needs to happen next?” I put myself into my characters’ heads and feel what they are feeling at that point in the story. When I know it, I can write it.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

That’s an interesting question because I didn’t actually “sell” the first five! I self-published when my agent couldn’t convince traditional publishers to take a chance on my Norwegian heroes. After I fired her and proved myself, Desert Breeze Publishing asked for one of my heroes: Brander Hansen, my deaf “Discreet Gentleman.” They bought five books in his series so far.

What hobbies do you have?

Um… Uh… Does going out for coffee with friends count? Can I get back to you on that?

I’m not identifying myself with any of my characters, yet each one of them has a part of me. Can you see yourself in any of your characters? Which one and why?

Every single one of them. My sense of humor comes out, my logical approach to problems, my personal faith in God. They think like I do for the most part. And if they are thinking wrongly about someone or something, I give them a good, believable reason. Even the “bad” characters reflect some of those same qualities, but with devious motives ~ not pure ones!

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 

The single most important thing every author must do (assuming they are actually producing a product, of course) is get feedback from other writing professionals on their work. I’ve seen so many horrific self-publishing examples and it’s clear as glass that those authors never had anyone look at their work. WE CANNOT JUDGE OUR OWN WRITING. Period.

What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author? What has been the best component?

The toughest criticism is a comment on Amazon (I know ~ I shouldn’t read them) where a reader gave my book a 1-Star rating because my 1819, logical-like-me, heroine briefly considered raising a child on her own, rather than enter into an uncomfortable marriage. That reader downgraded the entire book based on her five-paragraph inward thought process. REALLY?

The best component was RT Book Reviews 4-Star review of my self-published third novel, the last of my Nicolas & Sydney trilogy. WOOT!!!

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?

I prefer to read on my Kindle, no contest. But I do make certain that all of my books are available in print as well because there is definitely a time and place where print books make sense.

What projects are you working on and when should we expect another release? In a few words what is this story about.

Are you ready? *deep breath*

“A Discreet Gentleman of Matrimony” (dead body behind a door locked from the inside) released on August 11 from Desert Breeze. http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-330/Discreet-Gentleman-Book-Two-cln-/Detail.bok

This is the second book in the series and the action immediately follows the first book, “A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery,” where I introduce Brander Hansen, my DEAF private investigator in 1720s Norway. It’s the he-and-she get together launch of the series.

The third book, “A Discreet Gentleman of Consequence,” (international money scheme) releases in December 2012.

I am currently finishing up Nicolas Hansen’s grandfather’s story: in 1749 his grandfather met his grandmother on the ship from Norway. When the ship docked in Boston his father, Reidar, was a month past conception. That book is called “Leaving Norway.”

The next book is Reidar’s story. As a Revolutionary soldier, his life is saved by a beautiful woman ~ whose life he saves a year later. Princess Kirsten Sven is the granddaughter of King Christian VI of Denmark and Norway, and her parents are none to pleased with her attraction to a soldier, even if he is Norse. This book is titled “Finding Sovereignty.”

I hope to have both of these books out by February 1, 2013.

After that come two more for Desert Breeze in 2013: October’s “A Discreet Gentleman of Intrigue” (a spy story) and December’s “A Discreet Gentleman of Mystery” (dead body in a wall). At that point there will TWELVE books in the Hansen saga.

*whew*

For more info about Kris visits:

http://www.kristualla.com/

https://www.facebook.com/KrisTualla

http://arizonadreamin.wordpress.com/

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