Friday, January 22, 2016

Books, Chocolate and Wine with Lita Harris

Today’s guest at Books, Chocolate and Wine is Lita Harris. Lita and I are New Jersey Romance Writer’s members. Her stories are about family relationships and more often than not, are filled with magic. She's answered some questions for you that I know you'll find interesting. Lita is one of the Timeless Scribes. 

  1. If you could have one special, supernatural power, what would it be?
Invisibility
  1. What is your favorite film? Music?
Film - I like classic movies. It’s a Wonderful Life, Arsenic and Old Lace, and (not a classic) The Burbs are my go to movies.
Music – Just about everything. I’m a concert junkie, always have music playing. My favorite right now is Elle King, her album is terrific. She covers different genres on the same album. I can listen to it all day. Her voice is unique and immediately captured my ear.
My favorite male singers are Alex Band and Austin Winkler. I think they are the two best voices in music today.
  1. What is your favorite quote?
“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” (Kurt Cobain) I see so many people trying to imitate others and want what they have instead of learning who you are and giving that to the world.
  1. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
True to my love of music I’d have to say, The Dirt, an autobiography by Motley Crue. Wow, just wow is all I can say about that book. I read it in hours and couldn’t believe the stuff I was reading.
  1. What was it about your book that made your editor want to buy it?
I honestly believe it was timing and that is about a family that bonds while healing from a tragedy.
Love at Christmas (Originally called, Christmas in Brookside Falls) had been rejected by two other publishing houses. I knew about a special holiday call for a third publishing house, changed the title of the book, submitted it and they bought it.
  1. Why did you decide to write women’s fiction?
Focusing on a genre was not a conscious decision. I get an idea for a character, which always seem to be a female who is going through some soul searching and it makes its way to the page.
The short stories I’ve written have moved closer to contemporary romance but still lean more heavily to women’s fiction. The current short I’m working on is the first to include a male point of view instead of only the female main character.
  1. What is your process for writing a book? For example, are you a plotter or a pantzer? Do you start at page 1 and write your book sequentially or do you skip around? Do you start with your characters or the plot?
Definitely a pantzer. The closest I get to plotting is figuring out how many chapters will be in the book and then how many scenes within those chapter. And that still turns out to be a crap shoot.
One exciting element to being a pantzer is you never know what you’re going to churn out. It can be 300 pages of terrific writing or complete garbage and you have to start over. I do admire writers who can plot and work from an outline because it would save a lot of time. I’ve never been that disciplined.
  1. Do you use any techniques, tools, or aids to help you write?
Chocolate, music, and critique partners who I can vent to and understand my pain when the words don’t flow.
  1. What advice do you have for other writers?
Write. That’s it—write. That is the only way you will become an author.
  1. If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
I would love to have been a backup singer. I never had the confidence to sing solo but I think I could belt out a few verses from the back of the stage.
  1. What books can we expect to see in the near future?
I’m starting a new project with fellow writers, Ruth A. Casie, Emma Kaye, and Nicole S. Patrick. The series is a small town east coast setting, and will include novellas from each of us. I still have a three book series to revise and edit and one new family drama that needs about 30K more words and then revisions and edit. So’ I’ll be busy.
  1. What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as an author?
No matter how much you enjoy the creative element, you must accept the business side if you want your books in the market.
I think it’s important to know up front what kind of author you want to be. One who churns out work to keep your name in the market and rise to the tops of lists or are you content writing for yourself and are happy with the romantic idea of being a writer and grateful for any recognition you receive.
Neither is wrong but I think many authors set themselves up for failure because their goal is to hit the New York Times Bestseller List and they put a ton of time and work into their baby and the sales aren’t there. That doesn’t mean your writing is bad. It’s a crowded market and discoverability is the toughest part of the process.
  1. With so many changes in publishing over the past year, where do you see the future of publishing going
There are so many options available to writers today so it’s hard to say what publishing will look like a year from now.       
  1. Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?
I do have an ebook reader but never use it. I’ve had a NOOK and Kindle and gave them away. I use an iPad but it’s really just an expensive way to play games and check Facebook statuses. I’m a print person, and actually prefer hardcovers.

Love at Christmas
Will deceit change their lives forever? 
Kristen Anderson is resigned to live a child free life in New Jersey that is until she is given custody of her seven year old nephew after the death of his mother. Christmas brings them to their grandmother’s house in Pennsylvania where the family focuses on healing and reopening the family inn in time for the holidays with the help of Luke Baldwin, a man with a past that leaves him uncertain of finding love until he meets Kristen again who is also wary of finding true love. Kristen and Luke’s desire to be together is complicated by Kristen’s yearning to return to New Jersey, her grandmother’s determination to keep Kristen in Brookside Falls, and a family secret shared by Kristen and Luke’s families that is revealed on Christmas Eve. Will the deceit that threatens to break apart Luke and Kristen change their lives forever? What will Christmas bring them?

Review:
Amazon - Such a sweet story that will make you feel for the characters. There is more than just love between a man and a woman, but the love that holds families together and is the reason a house is a home stands out in this story. Perfect title! Can't wait to read more from this author.

Buy Link: Amazon

Excerpt:
She guided him to a section of trees about eight feet high. He took off his gloves and ran his hand down the branches. He pushed his nose deep into the tree and nearly buried his head. “I like this one.”
Kristen stood back, arms crossed, head cocked to the side. “Hmm, let me see.” She stood on her toes next to it, stretching her arm above her head. “Are you sure you want this one?”
“Yep.” Danny grinned, full of excitement as she had never seen it before.
“Alright, I think this one is yours. Hold this.” She handed her purse to her nephew who wasn’t much bigger than the bag. “Humph, this tree is heavy are you sure it’s not still in the ground?”
Danny knelt down and looked under the tree, still holding her purse tightly. “Nope, not in the ground. Pull harder.”
She yanked on the tree and it quickly sprung back nearly pulling her arm out of her socket. “What the…” she walked around to the back of the tree where it had been resting against a slatted fence. “Hey, that’s mine.”
Danny sprang up and ran to her side, clutching her coat pocket and dragging her purse.
“Are you sure this is your tree?” A soft wave of hair barely revealed his eyes as he stepped out from behind the tree. His cashmere overcoat told her he wasn’t from Brookside Falls.
She caught her breath and steadied her voice. “Yes, I’m sure it’s mine.”
“But I want this tree.” He tightened his grip around it. His green eyes twinkled from the moonlight invading their space.
“Too bad, it’s mine.” She moved in closer and staked her claim to the innocent evergreen that was embroiled in a custody battle in the church parking lot.
“It’s mine and my aunt’s tree, now give it back.” Danny let go of her coat but continued to clutch her purse even harder.
The man knelt down in front of Danny. “Oh, really? And how do you know this tree belongs to you?”
Kristen wanted to wipe the hair out of the stranger’s eyes. It was driving her crazy, unkempt like that. “Can we just say it’s mine? I’m sure there are other trees you’ll find suitable.”
He stood up. “Hmm, I’m not sure. I like this one.” His crooked smile annoyed her, yet there was something familiar about it.
“Yes, I do.” She held onto the tree, motioning with her eyes to Danny so this pain-in-the-ass person would get the hint.
He stretched out his hand to her. “Luke.”
“Nice to meet you Luke but I’m not letting go of this tree so you can rip it away from me.” Her eyes narrowed and shoulders firm, she made a promise to Danny and this was going to be his Christmas tree. His first real evergreen, and the first since his mother had died. No one was going to take it from her.
“What about I give you a hundred percent ownership in this tree in exchange for your name?”
“It’s Kristen. Now let go of my tree!” Danny yelled.
There was no eluding this stranger. Her nephew had given her up in exchange for a prematurely cut tree that would find its way to the town mulch pile.
“Truce.” Luke let go of the tree and held his hands up, palms open.
“At least you play fair.” Kristen pulled the prized tree to her as Danny dropped her purse at her feet and then crawled under the tree and grabbed the trunk.
“Unlike you,” Luke laughed.
She casually examined his hand. Is there a ring? His gloves were too bulky to reveal evidence of a ring. “Whatever. Don’t you have to find a tree?”
Danny popped up from under the tree and dragged it away from Luke. There was no letting go, the tree was his to take home.
A boy scout appeared from behind the row of trees. “Did you find what you want, ma’am?”
“Yes, thank you. How much?” She pointed to her nephew who struggled with her new purchase.
“Sixty, and that includes trimming the trunk, wrapping it, and hauling it to your car.”
About Lita Harris:
Lita Harris spends her time between New Jersey and the Endless Mountains region of Pennsylvania, where she writes most of her books. She also lived in Alaska for a short time just for fun. An avid crafter, unused supplies clutter her basement and attempts at making pottery, jewelry, and stained glass are proudly displayed in her house, usually behind a picture or holding a door open. She also makes candles and homemade soap. With enough books to stock a small library she may need to construct a building to store her literary obsessions.
 She writes women’s fiction, and short story contemporary romance.
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