Tag Archives: critique partner

Author In The House- Interview with Donna Hatch, Historical Romance and Fantasy, Award-Winning Author

6 Nov

Author of Historical Romance and Fantasy, award-winning author Donna Hatch is a sought-after speaker and workshop presenter. Her writing awards include the Golden Rose and the prestigious Golden Quill. Her passion for writing began at age 8 she wrote her first short story, and she wrote her first full-length novel during her sophomore year in high school, a fantasy which was later published. All of her heroes are patterned after her husband of over 20 years, who continues to prove that there really is a happily ever after.

I invited Donna here @ LOVE. WITHOUT YOU for an interview, and she graciously accepted. Her short regency story titled The Reluctant Bride is free for download here.

Donna, thank you so much for taking time to chat.

Personally, 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 prefer either silence or music, but only instrumental like new age or light classical. Lyrics or a drumbeat are too distracting. That being said, I’ve gotten pretty good at tuning out the usual noises of my family like conversation, TV, etc.

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?

I seldom get writer’s block. In the rare times that I do find myself at a loss for words, I either take a break and read something, or do things to reduce stress. Then, when I return to writing, I am usually okay to write again. Sometimes, I really don’t know what happens next in the plot so I have to skip ahead to the next part of the book where I do know what’s going to happen. And sometimes I turn to a critique partner for help, and we brainstorm a solution.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

When I got “the call” which was actually an email from a publisher telling me they wanted to publish my book, I skipped around the house singing and terrifying my children. My oldest son told my hubby that he should take me out to dinner to celebrate. I don’t know if he was being thoughtful or just afraid and needed me to go away for a while J

What hobbies do you have?

I enjoy singing, playing the harp, and ballroom dancing.

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?

I’m sure there is a little of me in all of my characters, too. I often try to think of what I experienced physically and emotionally when I felt whatever emotion my character is going through and to put that into words. The hard part is making sure the characters do what their personality type would do and not what I would do.

My characters are all braver and stronger than I am, so that part of them is all fiction and wishful thinking. I suppose Emma, a character in my tongue-in-cheek novella Emma’s Dilemma is most like me overall—overly dramatic and with an imagination that gets her into trouble—only she’s nicer than I am.

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

Strive for excellence. Don’t be happy with ‘good enough.’ Continue stretching and learning and growing so everything you write is your newest best work.

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

I’ve been criticized for not putting sex in my books which was hard to take at first, although not unexpected. It doesn’t bother me any more. I don’t like reading hot sex scenes and I won’t write about them. I think sex should be enjoyed privately, not written in graphic detail. I frequently receive emails from fans saying how much they appreciate emotionally satisfying stories without graphic sex and thanking me for giving them the kind of books they crave. That makes it all worth it.

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?

I prefer paperbacks; hardcovers are too big and heavy. And expensive. But there are some definite advantages to ebooks such as storage, price, and instant access. I do own an ebook reader and am using it more and more.

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

I’m working on book 3 of the Rogue Hearts Series, entitled A Perfect Secret. It’s sort of a Regency version of Sleeping with the Enemy but the hero is a bigger part of the plot. I hope to have it out within the next few months, but I don’t have a release date yet.

In the meantime, I was invited to participate in an anthology with five other authors, all of whom are really awesome. The anthology is called A Timeless Romance Anthology, Winter Collection. It contains six sweet historical romances, all taking place during winter, some during Christmas. The stories are all varied in style, plot, and era, but have one thing in common; romance. A Timeless Romance Anthology was just released a couple of weeks ago, and has already gotten fabulous reviews. I hope you check it out.

Thank you Donna for stopping by and good luck!

For more information about Donna and her books please visit:





Sherry Gammon + Unlovable = YA novel turned into movie

15 May

As promised in the beginning of the LDS Authors Giveaway Hop I have an interview with Sherry Gammon, author of Unlovable.

Sherry is not only a very talented, promising author of young adult novels, but she’s also a very dear friend of mine. Sherry’s work is so incredible, she recently signed a movie contract for her first novel Unlovable. How cool is that?

Sherry–thank you so very much for stopping by. Congratulations on your movie contract, I can’t wait for the premiere. I’m curious about your work and your journey through publishing.

For me, getting a bad review gets me through several phases (from I-can’t-believe-is-happening-to-me, to I’m-so-done-writing, to not-even-God-can-possibly-satisfy-everyone’s-preference to I’m-so-ready-to-prove-them-wrong). How do you react to a bad review?

Luckily I haven’t had very many, nor have you, but at first I was devastated. You pour your heart and soul in to a novel and someone trashes it. Then I noticed that the people who give one and two stars are USUALLY (not always) the people who rate most novels poorly. Their reviews are less about critiquing and more about trashing the author and the author’s work. For me, the 3 star ratings are much better at honestly critiquing novels and I learn more from them. I may not agree with everything they have to say, but I do find them more helpful. Now when I want to buy a book to read, I read only the 3+ star reviews. I no longer read the 1 and 2 star reviews of my work or any author’s work.

Family and friends were all eager to buy my books. Sold all the hardcopies I had in less than a week. I thought, “This is piece of cake!” I remember receiving a notice from Amazon telling me in the next 5 days I will receive X amount for my sales. I went to Outback with my family to celebrate. How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

I didn’t! I don’t know why I haven’t, but with 6900 copies now sold, I think I deserve the Outback. Oh, Honey… ;}

Take pictures and frame them as “Celebrating Unlovable’s Fabulous Sales”.

Scenes pop in my head like popcorn in a microwave, triggered by as little as a gesture, an image, news headline or even random dialogue I hear down the street. Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

Everywhere, same as you. I’ve been disturbed by an article I read that talked about what seems to by the growing rate of teen subside. I am currently working on a book that deals with this very topic tentatively titled Soul in Peril.

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?

No. Again, like you I try and put a piece of myself in each one. I feel, for me, this helps to identify with them better. I understand why they do what they do, and what they would do in a certain situation.

The best advice I give anyone who wants to become a writer is edit, edit, edit. When you think you’re done, edit some more. What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Edit and read your genre. Get a good feel for your target market.

 Aside from writing I have a few other hobbies, the strongest one reading. What are your interests outside of writing?

I love to decorate, being with my family, and I enjoy bubble bathes!

Promoting your work is as time consuming as any other regular job, if not more demanding. What do you do to promote your books?

Book blogs and giveaways have been the most successful for me. I also respond to every comment I get and I thank people for positive reviews.

I used to work on one story at the time. Lately I have multiple stories. What projects are you working on and when should we expect another release?

I just finished a fun short story for an anthology for Prose by Design due out in June titled Pete and Tink. It’s about a very geeky boy whose mother wishes on a star for help. And boy, does he get it in the form of a 6 inch . . . I mean, 5-and-a-half inch faery. I’m also working on the story I already mention titled Soul in Peril.

In a few words what is this story about.

Soul in Peril is about a kid named Max who has it all: handsome, star baseball player, dating the head cheerleader. Until tragedy strikes. It’s also about a kid named JD whose life is the opposites of Max’s. He’s the school nerd, overweight, tragic home life and he’s nicknamed Lumpy Larry by some of the kids at school. These two come together to help each other survive in a very unique way. It’s a bit of a tear-jerker, for me anyway. I want to hold both of these two and tell them it will be okay.

Thanks for sponsoring this! I’m really excited.

With only a few days left in the LDS Author Giveaway Hop your chance to win either an e-copy or a paperback of Unlovable is only a click away. Fill out the form below and you’re all set.

Good luck everyone!


The Curtain is down–Last Day of A WORLD APART Virtual Book Tour

29 Mar

Today is the last day of my virtual book tour and I can’t help but feel a bitter-sweet emotion as I’m ending this incredible journey.

Bitter because, like all good things, it comes to an end. Sweet because I had a tremendous experience, met some amazing people and most importantly–made lots of friends: Liz Velez who worked really hard at organizing my tour. Deb, Holly, Amanda, Carly, Ing, Ruth, Calum, to name a few as well as my critique partners Cindy, Sherry and Jeff. 

Thank you all for helping me make the virtual book tour of my newest release A World Apart a tremendous success. Chin-chin!

Interview @ Jeffrey Moore’s Blog

11 Mar

It’s a wonderful Sunday morning visiting my dear friend (and critique partner) Jeffrey Moore. I met Jeff three years ago during an online writing class and we’ve been part of each other’s life and writing journey ever since.

Jeffrey has 4 books published, one better than the other, taking readers to alien worlds, time travel and spectacular creatures.  You wonder how two people writing different genres can partner up, but we are the proof of it. To find out what’s our secret, stop by at his blog. We have so much to talk about…

Review and Giveaway at Cindy C Bennett’s Blog

3 Feb

Today’s tour stop is at my dear friend and critique partner Cindy C Bennett’s blog. In her words, A World Apart is:

“…Skiba uses her own Romanian past to bring the people and places of her home country alive. She shows us what life is like for the Romanian’s through the eyes of someone who has lived it. That alone would be enough to make me want to read her books, but then she adds a great love story, interesting and fully-fleshed out characters, a host of supporting players, and the intensity and drama that Skiba is a genius at giving us. A World Apart gets an A+ in my book.”

Thank you so very much , Cindy!

Why do you write? Guest Sherry Gammon

11 Nov

When you meet someone, you know there are people you click in an instant with or people you know a lifetime but never really have much in common. You know some people step into your path of life, some entering and leaving your life as fast as a comet. Others are here to stay.

Several months ago we added a new member to our group, Sherry Gammon. She was quite shy I’d say, her too nice reviews reminding me of myself when we first formed our group. Back then I didn’t know how to say things for fear I’m going to hurt my critique partners’ feelings (that is long gone, when we realized we needed to be completely honest in our reviews, pushing each other to become the best writers we could possibly become). We kept teasing her until she showed her true face—a funny, spontaneous and caring person.

And yes, Sherry is here to stay. Not only in our critique group, but I hope in my life as a dear friend I’m going to share the good and the bad on my writing journey.

Sherry is my second guest in the cycle “Why Do You Write?”

Why do I write?

Hmm. Good question. For me, writing started as a child. I had the misfortune of witnessing some things that rocked my ten-year-old world. I really struggled with it, trying to make sense of why and how this happened. It haunted me, if you will. About six months later I was reading my favorites magazine … (Highlights magazine for kids!!) … perusing and absorbing each and every page … I mentioned it was my favorite magazine, right? ;} Anyway, while I was enjoying the poetry section, I decided to try and write one of my own.

I wrote a poem about what I had witnessed. It did not answer my questions as to why it happened, nor did it give me any other answers to my heartache, but it did ease my confusion and pain, exponentially. Why? I’m not sure, but I’m glad it did.

A love of poetry was born. I continued to write poems; fun, happy, sad, silly, it didn’t matter. In seventh grade my English class required that we write a poem and submit it in a book along with a collection of published poems we liked. A classmate submitted one of mine. The teacher loved it!

Fast forward to college. While thumbing through a yearbook of one of my roommates, I came across a large photo of a boy. It was an In Memorial photo. When I asked my roommate what had happened to him, she told me he had killed himself. She went on to explain briefly what led up to the death, and how he had chosen to end his life.

As you can imagine, the story was very traumatic for me. The photo haunted my thoughts, and I reflected on it often. I worry for this poor boy, prayed for him, but found no relief for my sorrow.

A year later I took a writing course in college, and we had to write a story as one of the requirements. I chose to write about the boy. I built a story around what few details I knew and added what I didn’t. My teacher loved the story and she encouraged me to publish it.

I learned something about myself that year. Writing helps me to deal with the things I tend to internalize. I am a very private person, which I already knew, and because of this I seldom share my deep thoughts or feelings with others. Writing gives my heart and soul relief that most people get when they talk about what bothers them. I guess I really should keep a journal!

My novel, “Unlovable”, was also taken from my life. It is the story of a young girl trying to overcome a very difficult life. Maggie, the girl in the story is, again, based on two girls I knew growing up. When it was finished and published, I felt such a peace to have their story out there. It was a closure that I really needed.

This is why I write. For the peace. For my peace. For the joy. For my joy. I love writing.

For more information about Sherry Gammon and her books visit http://www.wordpaintingsunlimited.blogspot.com/