Blogging, Book Love, national novel writing month, writers life, writing

Happy National Novel Writing Month

yellow cosmos flower close up photography
Photo by Rahul on Pexels.com

Hi friends,

I hope you are having a good month so far. Good luck with National Novel Writing Month. I’m a little behind on my writing goals, but that’s okay 🙂 Some months are busier than others, for reasons we can’t anticipate.

I’m heading to Punta Cana with my family next Saturday and am looking forward to the sunshine 😀 We had a snowfall yesterday here in New Brunswick, hah!

Talk soon,

Loie

Author Interview, Blogging, Book Love, writers life, writing

MEANT TO BE YOURS by Susan Mallery Blog Tour

Meant to Be Yours cover

In Happily Inc, love means never having to say “I do”…

Wedding coordinator Renee Grothen isn’t meant for marriage. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, plan. But she never could have planned on gorgeous, talented thriller writer Jasper Dembenski proposing—a fling, that is. Fun without a future. And the attraction between them is too strong for Renee to resist. Now she can have her no-wedding cake…and eat it, too.

After years in the military, Jasper is convinced he’s too damaged for relationships. So a flirtation—and more—with fiery, determined Renee is way too good to pass up…until his flame becomes his muse.

Renee is an expert at averting every crisis. But is she finally ready to leap into the one thing that can never be controlled: love?

Q&A with Susan Mallery

 

What was your favorite part about writing Meant to be Yours

Ohhh, that’s a hard question! I love everything about writing romance. The first kiss is still magical to me. The passion, the emotional intensity. It’s a moment that changes the course of a person’s life. When you fall in love, your life is bisected into before and after. Love is transformative, and the greatest pleasure of my life is to write about it.

 

Jasper and Renee in particular were a lot of fun to write because Renee is just such a mama bear when it comes to protecting her brides. She’s a wedding planner at Weddings Out of the Box, a theme wedding venue in the town of Happily Inc. Jasper is a bestselling thriller writer who wants to set his next book at a wedding. Renee’s response made me laugh so loud that I’m pretty sure I scared my pets.

 

Jasper continued. “I thought I could follow you around for a few weeks, learn about the business and—”

 

“No,” she said firmly, as all thoughts of them having another close encounter faded from her mind. “You’re not getting your serial killer cooties on my weddings. I’m a big believer in keeping the energy positive and flowing forward. Do you know what a serial killer would do at a wedding?”

 

He stared at her, his gaze intense. “That’s what I was thinking. I want the serial killer to be a wedding crasher.”

 

“No,” she said firmly. “Just no.”

 

When Jasper goes behind her back to get intimately involved with one of her weddings, Renee vows to keep him from bringing darkness to her bride’s special day.

 

I also adored the animals in this book. In the beginning, Jasper doesn’t trust himself to let a woman into his heart. His simple but profound act of kindness to a dog who needs a home leads to him finally being ready to fall in love. The dog, Koda, is based on a reader’s real-life dog. I gave Koda the same adorable quirks and characteristics that make him special—and I gave Renee the reader’s last name in her honor.

 

Did you find out any funny or interesting facts about wedding planning when writing this book?

 

I have learned that brides and wedding planners are some of the most creative people in the universe. I can’t tell you how much time I spent on Pinterest, looking at pictures from theme weddings. There are some really beautiful themes, and some that are charming and humorous. Every theme uniquely reflects the bride and the groom in the most beautiful way. In Meant to Be Yours, Renee designs several lovely theme weddings with beautiful touches I think readers will enjoy. Here’s a snippet from one:

 

Jim and Monica Martinez were a sweet couple with a fun firefighter theme for their big day. There was a long tradition of firefighters on both sides of the family and plenty of cute touches in the wedding and reception.

 

Monica’s dress laced up the back and instead of white ribbon to cinch her gown, she’d used bright red. The centerpieces were ceramic boot vases painted to look like firefighter boots, filled with red, orange and yellow flowers. There was even a walk-through fountain at one end of the reception area, created with fire hoses, a pump and a lot of engineering.

 

Pay attention to that last sentence because I also discovered that a lot can go wrong when you invite a few hundred people to a party. Imagine a room filled with people who aren’t used to dressing up, plus a fountain made with fire hoses, and a wedding planner who will do anything to protect her bride.

 

Did Renee or Jasper surprise you while you drafted this novel? 

They did! When I started this book, I thought Jasper was the more wounded of the two. But as I wrote, I discovered that Renee’s scars went deeper than I thought. She’s been keeping a secret from her friends in Happily Inc, a secret about her mother that has cost her jobs, friendships and romantic relationships. Just when she starts to feel safe and accepted in her new home, her mother comes for a visit. . .

 

Can you share about what you’re working on right now? 

I’m working on revisions on the next Happily Inc book, a Christmas book that will be out next year. No title yet. It has all of the humor and heartfelt emotion readers love in my books—plus Christmas! I invited members of the Susan Mallery All Access group on Facebook (www.facebook.com/groups/susanmalleryallaccess) to suggest random items for me to incorporate into the story. When the book comes out next year, I’ll share a scavenger hunt list with my readers so they can find the objects as they read. It’s just a fun way for me to stay connected to my readers as I write. 

063-Susan Mallery Head Shots 2015-Annie Brady-mass market

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.

Author Website

Twitter: @susanmallery

Facebook: @SusanMallery

Instagram: @susanmallery

Goodreads

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You can pick up a copy here:

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

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Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

Blogging, Book Love, fairy tales, Nature, October Poetry Challenge, Poetry, The Creativity Diary, writers life, writing

October Poetry Challenge: Day 24

mountain and trees reflection
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

Adventure

 

A faint brush of hope

whisks across my painting,

and I watch an image form

of a crow and a sparrow,

myself and another

embarking on

an adventure beyond the mountains.

*

Happy Thursday, friends! Hope you’re having a good week so far ❤

Loie

 

Blogging, Book Love, fairy tales, Nature, October Poetry Challenge, Poetry, writers life, writing

October Poetry Challenge: Day 23

abandoned ancient antique architecture
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Escape

 

The stone feels foreign beneath my fingertips.

Dirt crumbles, moss glares, the wind accuses me.

A loud-mouthed crow dives forward.

 

My foot slips on a loose brick,

but a helping hand steadies me

I won’t be devoured by the ravenous bramble this time.

*

Hiya friends, I’m a bit behind on the poetry challenge because I traveled to Nova Scotia last weekend to visit my family.

We went to a pumpkin farm with giant pumpkins (some of them weighed over 1000 pounds), visited pumpkin people in Kentville, and stopped at the cutest tea room called Tangled Garden.

It was a great little getaway, and I returned with a new story idea for my NaNoWriMo project 😀 I’ve already written two chapters, haha. When inspiration hits, I follow ❤ I’m going to save my notes for this project and tackle it in December or January.

Happy writing and see you tomorrow!

Loie

Author Interview, Blogging, Book Love, writers life, writing

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon – Blog Tour and Q&A

gravemaidens_cover

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

Author Q&A

I would like to welcome amazing YA fantasy debut, Kelly Coon to my blog. I’m on her street team, the Skeleton Crew ❤ She answered some of my questions about her inspiration behind Gravemaidens, her writing process, and more. Let’s get started 🙂

Loie: Did Gravemaidens change a lot from the first to final draft? 

 

Kelly: What a good question! As a matter of fact, it DID. I’d say the finished hardcover is close to the 35th draft of this story. I dropped a POV character—the Boatman—and rewrote nearly every single scene from the book. It was a massive undertaking! 

 

Loie: When you’re brainstorming a new project, what do you start working on first? Do you like to research, think about the plot, or work on your characters? 

 

Kelly: I tend to start with my characters, because until I know who they are, I can’t know the plot. The decisions they make in their character arc will change the course of the plot, so I have to nail down what they want, what they need, the ghosts in their past, and the truth that they need to hear. I also need to know things like how they solve problems, how they view the world (because that impacts their voice), who they have conflicts with, and their values.   

 

Loie: Can you give us a hint at what you’re working on right now 🙂 ? 

 

Kelly: Yes! I just finished the last round of developmental edits on the GRAVEMAIDENS sequel (I cannot wait until I get to introduce you to some of the new characters) and am working on a contemporary stand-alone with speculative elements. It’s a daunting book, because one POV is written in verse and another POV is written in prose. =)

 

Loie: When were you first inspired to write Kammani’s story? 

Kelly: I wrote two completely different novels set in versions of Kammani’s world from 2013-2015, but the characters and plots did not work at all. I hadn’t yet gotten to the heart of the story she should be in. So, I scrapped those two novels completely and started over from scratch in 2016 with new characters, a new premise, and a whole new world. I queried it in early 2017 and got my agent, Kari Sutherland, who is amazing, in April of 2017, just a couple of weeks after she read it. =)

 

Loie: When you’re writing, do you need complete silence or do you listen to music?

 

Kelly: I actually listen to white noise for the most part. I’ve written six novels (and much of a seventh) with white noise, but the poetry I’m writing for my WIP has been written to loud, screaming, pulsing music. Haha

 

Loie: What was your favorite part about writing Gravemaidens? 

 

Kelly: There’s one scene near the end of the story where I felt myself let loose. Like I untied all my strings and allowed my imagination to take me wherever it wanted to go, plot outline be damned. This scene is still one of my favorite scenes in the whole book because it’s imaginative and weird and exactly the right fit for that part of the story. 

 

Sometimes writing this book was an absolute struggle, but other times—like that night—it was magic. 

 

Thank you a million times, Loie! These questions were amazing! =)

Loie: Thank you so much for answering all of my questions 🙂 If you’re interested in pre-ordering a copy of Gravemaidens, you can find it here. It releases next Tuesday, October 29th. I’m anxiously awaiting for my own copy to arrive in the mail! 

Until next time,

Loie xo

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Blogging, Book Love, fairy tales, Nature, October Poetry Challenge, Poetry, writers life, writing

October Poetry Challenge: Day 18

landscape nature flowers summer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Light Abounds

 

A bright goldenrod

drops on my cold windowsill,

on this rainy day.

*

Hey everyone, hope you’re having a good month so far. I couldn’t find a pic of a goldenrod so I settled with the one above 🙂

See you tomorrow!

Loie