Thursday, February 28, 2013

Guest Author ~ Tia Nevitt

Today's post is an interview with Carina Press author Tia  Nevitt. Her new book, The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf, was released this past Monday. It's an fantasy romance, one of my favorite kind of stories. Check out the bottom of today's post for a Tia Nevitt exclusive give away!

Not even a stint in the military as an aircraft mechanic could erase Tia Nevitt’s love of fairy tales. To this day, she loves to read (and write) books that take her to another place, or another time, or both. She also dabbles in calligraphy, violin, piano and songwriting. Tia has worked on an assembly line, as a computer programmer, a technical writer and a business analyst. She lives in the southeast with her husband and daughter.
Tia’s novella, The Sevenfold Spell, won the 2012 EPIC ebook award for Fantasy. 

Here is a short description of The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf.
This story is about the mysterious face within the magic mirror of the Snow White story—who he is, how he came to be there, and why he finds the queen so lovely. It is also about the seven dwarfs, why they live together, and how two of them fell in love and came to defeat the evil queen.
Here are some questions that Tia has answered so we can get to know her better.

1.     How long did it take you to write The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf? About six months, with another two months of revisions.
2.     How much research did you conduct for The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf and what was the most interesting thing you did while conducting your research?
This was my most research-intensive book. I researched German farmouses, the kingdoms of Medieval Germany, images and videos of the Black Forest, the German language, deaf communities and most of all, achondroplasia.
For German farmhouses, it started with a question—what were German farmhouses like? Aren’t the style of farmhouses universal?
Certainly not. I read, fascinated, of the icon German farmhouse architecture—those immense buildings covered with windows, and timbers making squares and Xs almost at random all across the structure. I learned how they were designed that way so the farm family and the animals all lived in one structure—the animals in stalls toward the front and the family in more homey quarters to the back.
The other research topics might be obvious, but why deaf communities? I lived near one many years ago, and I started wondering if the whole idea of seven dwarfs living together might have evolved in a similar way as deaf communities. I decided that to reach such a conclusion was well within the confines of what is permissible with literary license. J
And finally, not only did I read all I could about classic dwarfism—achondroplasia—but I looked into day-to-day living challenges as a little person. I discovered furnishings for little people, specifically designed clothing (a grown man can’t shop in the kid’s section), and even things that don’t apply to the middle ages—like mechanisms to make driving possible—because it helped me develop what I hope was the proper mindset.
3.     Do you write multiple drafts or barely need revisions when typing, The End?
I needed plenty of revisions! And when I thought I was done, I sent it in. It was accepted but then what did I need more of? Revisions! Lots of them! With The Sevenfold Spell, I did not have much of a developmental edit phase at all. But with The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf, it seemed like there was a lot more.
Of course, that COULD have been because the story is almost twice as long.
4.     When you are writing, who is in control? You or your characters?
For this story, I was more in control. I was definitely more disciplined, and when I did go off into flights of fancy, I took a hard look at the resulting scene to determine if it really needed to stay in the story. If not, into the discards file it went. Ange as the Tattered Princess almost made it into that file, until I realized how important that scene would be to Richard’s emotional development.
That’s not to say that I don’t have to obey my characters when they insist on having their way. A certain scene involving Gretchen, Lars, a moonlit river, and nudity? That was all Gretchen’s idea, and I wasn’t about to stop her.
(And believe it or not, this book is rated PG-13!)
5.     What advice do you have for other writers?
Finish your first book, and then write another one.
I ran a blog focused on debut novelists for over three years and almost all of the writers said that they had written multiple books before they wrote one that sold. In one case—Alex Bledsoe—he had about 5 or 6 unpublished novels when his book, The Sword-Edged Blonde, was published. And  then guess what happened? He started selling his other books.
Don’t think of them as unsold books. Think of them as inventory. J
And yes, I have taken my own advice. I have an unsold series that will always be my trunk novels, plus two additional novels that I consider inventory. Even my trunk series is ripe for reuse; I have always wanted to use that magic system in another story.
6.  What do you want your readers to take away with them after reading the story?
I want them to have a smile on their faces.
7.  With so many changes in publishing over the past year, where do you see the future of publishing going?
I think books are going to be cheaper, and authors and publishers will, as a consequence, sell a lot more of them. I already see fiction evolving to be more immersive for the reader as ebook readers begin to do more than simply display text. I see the size of the press mattering less and less, while the quality still has to equal that of Big Six houses.
Anyway, those are my predictions.
8.  If you were a millionaire would you still write?
Are you kidding me? Being a millionaire would allow me to write for a living. I would put out a healthy four books a year. When I run into writer’s block for one idea, I’ll simply pursue another. And thus I would earn my next million!

To tempt you even more, here is the copy for the back cover of The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf.

Book two in Accidental Enchantments.
Prince Richard is cursed. Enslaved to a magic mirror, he must truthfully answer the evil queen when she uses it to call on him. To keep from betraying innocents, Richard wanders the countryside and avoids people.
 ll her life, Gretchen has been teased for being small. When she hears of a hidden farm populated by little people like her, she sets out to find it—and is welcomed by the mostly male inhabitants. Lars in particular woos her with his gentle kindness and quiet strength.
 Danger looms when Gretchen meets a runaway princess and offers her shelter at the Little Farm. Wandering nearby, Richard instantly falls in love with the beautiful princess, and is later compelled to tell the queen that she is not the fairest of them all. Enraged, the queen vows to find them and destroy them.
 If either Gretchen or Richard are to have their happy endings, they must team up to break the mirror's spell before the queen kills them all…

Get your copy of The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf at Carina Press and on Amazon.

Find her at her website/blog
On Twitter @tianevitt and Facebook

GIVEAWAY: All readers who leave a comment will be entered into my weekly giveaway, detailed here:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An Award? For Me?

And you thought the award season was over!

My friend from Writing Divas, Joelene Coleman, writing as Harley Brooks, has nominated me for the R.E.A.L.I.T.Y. Award.  Her book, Designer Genes, is due out this spring.
This award came with a list of rules:
The questions:
If you could change one thing, what would you change?
I would have started writing sooner. I've had stories percolating in my head for years but never put them down on paper.
If you could repeat any age, what would that be?
To be honest, I don’t want to repeat any age. I like who I've become and I don’t think I could have gotten here any other way. Besides, if I picked one I might not make the same mistakes, just new ones!
What is the one thing that really scares you?
Bugs! I've captured them under a trash basket and let Paul handle them when he comes home from work hours later. I’m not great with scary movies either. And scary movies with bugs EEEEK!
If you could be someone else for the day, who would it be?
I’m going to change this question around. It’s not who I would like to be for day but who I would like to be with for a day. My mom. She was always reading a book and she thought she hid the romance novels so my sister Bernice and I wouldn't find them. I’d like to hear what she has to say about my stories.
My nominees for the R.E.A.L.I.T.Y. Award are:
Maria Ferrer
All nominees must:
Visit the blog of the person who nominated you, thank them, and acknowledge them on your blog.
Answer the questions above and nominate up to 20 bloggers whom you feel are awesome and deserving of notice. Visit their blog and let them know.
Cut and paste the award above to your wall.
Thanks for stopping by and to my nominees...thanks for playing along. Do stop by and visit their sites. They've all got great stories to share! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Me and Lady Jane

Three years ago I had just written my first book, Knight of Runes, and met NY Times Best Selling author Leanna Renee Hieber at the New York City RWA chapter meeting. Feeling a bit like a fish out of water, over the next few months Leanna encouraged me and kept my spirits up midst rejections and rewrites.  She also told me about Lady Jane’s. It sounded like one of the great European salons where people sat and talked about the arts with artists and writers. I thought the idea of a salon dedicated to romance readings was brilliant. I went to my first reading and found myself in a world of fiction and romance. People spoke about characters as if they really existed and places that were real enough to visit. I met authors, editors, agents, and readers.

Me getting ready to read
Fast forward to this month. I've just finished the edits on my new story, The Guardian’s Witch, and got it off to my editor. I can’t wait to see my cover. But more exciting than that was Hope Tarr’s invitation to read at Lady Jane’s Salon in New York City this month. There I was. Reading at Lady Jane’s Salon.
I read excerpts from various sections of Knight of Runes and took the audience from Rebeka meeting Lord Arik to their first kiss. I have to tell you, each time I read the story I love it more.
Knight of Runes - in print!
I found myself in great company from the audience that included friends from NYCRWA and Eloisa James…
Me and Eloisa
…to the NYTimes best selling authors that were also reading Jennifer Probst, Hope Tarr, and Sarah Maclean.
Sarah, Ron, Jennifer, Me, Hope, and Leanna
Jennifer Probst read from her book, The Marriage Bargain. The story is about a marriage in name only between a woman in dire financial straits and a billionaire who needs a wife in order to get his inheritance.  It was a wonderful funny excerpt.
Hope Tarr read from her new story, Project Cinderella the third in her Suddenly Cinderella Series of unlikely Cinderella’s that are helped along by their fairy-godmothers in a contemporary re-telling of Cinderella.
The fourth reader in our quartet, Sarah Maclean, read from her new story One Good Earl Deserve a Lover. This excerpt was about a prime and proper young lady who propositions the most notorious rogue in London in order to learn all about the art of love making before she marries.
It was Lady Jane's Fourth Anniversary. We toasted with champagne, ate delicious cupcakes provided by Entangled Publishing and had tastes of chocolate vodka from Three Olives Vodka.
New York City isn't the only venue for Lady Jane. There are Lady Jane Salons in Denver, CO, Raleigh-Durham, NC, Naperville (Chicago area), IL, and San Diego, CA. A new salon will be opening soon in Greenville, SC!
Lady Jane's Salon meets the first Monday of every month (that in two weeks!) at Madam X in SoHo.
Here's to another four wonderful years of romance reading!
(photographs courtesy of Lady Jane's Salon)
Also posted on Blame It On The Muse.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Guest Author ~ Shawna Thomas

Today's post is an interview with Carina Press author Shawna Thomas. Her new book, Journey of Awakening, was released this past Monday. It's an epic fantasy, my kind of story. 

Shawna Thomas - Website
Winner of a 2011 RT Reader’s Choice award for her debut book, Altered Destiny, Shawna Thomas has been making up stories ever since finishing Gone With The Wind. Once she put her own ending in writing, there was no looking back. A wife and a mother of seven, (yes seven!) Shawna lives in California where she gardens, writes, and drinks lots of coffee.

Here is a short description of Shawna's Journey to Awakening
Trained from birth for one purpose, Sara must reunite three ancient stones to restore balance to the land but one of the stone keepers has other plans.
To get to know Shawna better, she has answered a few questions. 

Available at Amazon and Carina Press

1.     How long did it take you to write Journey of Awakening? Well, it depends which time. I started writing this story over ten years ago. It’s changed much since then. The last version was done like a speed round. I had a newborn who did not sleep and a two month deadline to rewrite the manuscript. It’s a blur.  
2.     How much research did you conduct for Journey of Awakening and what was the most interesting thing you did while conducting your research? Unfortunately, a lot of researched material ended up on the cutting room floor. But Sara is a healer, so I spent hours researching herbal cures for different ailments. I found it fascinating and I tried several of them. They do work!
3.     Why did you decide to write fantasy? I’m not sure I ever decided to write fantasy. Rather it’s the way my brain is wired. However, I did publish erotic contemporary romance and gave it up for a chance to write and publish fantasy.
4.     Do you write multiple drafts or barely need revisions when typing, The End? Hah! I write fairly clean. (Looking over my shoulder to see what my editor might say) but I love revision. The first draft is usually bare bones. The next draft I’m adding flesh and bone, the next I’m dressing it up. I guess I write in layers.
5.     When you are writing, who is in control? You or your characters? It depends. I give my characters a lot of say. I think it’s one of the marks of a writer that they can argue with a character. These people have personality and depth. We just bring it out. But ultimately, I’m in charge. LOL I can almost hear my characters arguing with me.
6.     Have you had any "ah ha" moments as a writer? Oh yes, some of them embarrassing. Ah ha, this isn’t poetry, it’s narrative. Ah ha, no one will read my book just to glance around my world, something has to happen...
7.     What advice do you have for other writers? Don’t compare yourself to others. I have to tell myself this often, especially in regards to productivity. I don’t have much time to write so I’m not typically going to publish a book every six months. (This year is an exception)
8.     What was the most exciting thing that happened to you after you signed your contract – besides receiving your first check as a published author? My sister works for a hotel chain. She was across the country and mentioned to one of the managers that her sister was a writer. The man had read my book! It was amazing and humbling and wow!
9.     How does your family feel about your career as a romance writer? Hmm... My kids think I’m playing on the computer. From time to time one of my daughters will ask me how much money I’m making. (As in can we get a pool yet) My husband loves it. I don’t think most of them really understand what it means.
10.  What do you want your readers to take away with them after reading the story? I want them to fall in love with the characters. I want it to plant a seed in their imagination. I want them to want more. I want them to say, Ahhhh.
11.  What was the defining moment that you considered yourself an author? Defining moment... I’m not sure there has been one. I think it’s been a gradual thing. I do consider myself an author, but it wasn’t the first or even second book published that did it. Maybe when I won the RT reader award. That was pretty epic!
12.  With so many changes in publishing over the past year, where do you see the future of publishing going? I think we’re heading more toward electronic books. Two years ago it shocked me that my family didn’t know what an e-reader was. Now most of them have one or at least know what it is.
13.  What makes a man attractive to you? A good sense of humor. Oh, and he must have nice eyes and a good voice.
14.  What is the most interesting thing you’ve ever done? LOL. Do you really want to know that? I’m not sure it’s the most interesting but I’ve trapped and skinned a beaver. I used to live in Washington State and there was Indian trapper that wanted to teach me how to live like my ancestors. He took me trapping, taught me to make moccasins. FYI: You only eat the tail. The rest of it is inedible.
15.  What’s your biggest dream? Ten or twenty things came to mind, but you know, I am living my biggest dream. I would like my books to be successful. So I guess my biggest dream is to captivate people with my words.
16.  If you were a millionaire would you still write? Oh yes. I write because I love it. Because it’s part of who I am. But I’d have a maid come in once a week to take care of the house. Okay maybe twice. And someone to come in a few hours a day to watch the kiddos.
17.  Seven children! How do you find the time? Coffee! Their ages range from 24 to 8 months. The older ones help out with the younger ones. With a new baby I plot and plan during diaper changes and laundry and write during nap time. But definitely coffee keeps me going.
      To tempt you even more, here is the back cover copy of Journey of Awakening.
      After her grandfather's death, Sara inherits an ancient pendant and a near-impossible quest—master the mysterious pendant's source of magic. Driven to do so, she must find the other two stones of power, long considered lost, while preventing an unknown enemy from finding her first.
      Unprepared and alone, she travels to where the keepers of the stones, the Siobani, were last seen. Along the way she meets Tobar, leader of the nomadic Heleini tribe. As Sara wrestles with feelings for this intriguing man, she is also invigorated with her grandfather's passion to find the ancient Siobani race.
      After a rival tribe kidnaps Tobar's son and heir, Sara must harness the stone's healing magic to unite the tribes and save the boy. But as the dark power stalking her gains ground, will she continue on her quest to reach the Siobani or risk everything to save the warring tribes from eliminating each other?

You can find Shawna on Twitter: authorSThomas and Facebook: Shawna Guzman (Shawna Thomas)
She also loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at 
Thank you Shawna!