Monthly Archives: February 2012

Dreaming of the Waltz & Robin’s Winner!

Diana at the Viennese Waltz

     I’ve always dreamt of being at a grand ball and waltzing.

     The image of tall, mysterious men circling a floor to the strains of Strauss, while their partners’ dresses billow behind them, is incredibly romantic – like a music box springing to life.

     Too bad it only happens in novels.

     So, when the invitation came for a true Viennese Ball at the National Museum for Women in the Arts, I begged my husband to go.  It was a wonderful cause and the fairytale event every girl dreams of.  Poor guy never stood a chance.  Imagine, a beaux art mansion in the middle of D.C., a candle-lit dinner on the mezzanine, overlooking the marble dance floor where a twenty-piece orchestra played.

     Sigh.

     My imagination has played this scene for so long it morphed into the first chapter of my spy novel.  My heroine sneaks into a very fancy, very private ball in modern day Budapest in a mansion overlooking the Danube.  (excerpt)  The adventure takes her to Hong Kong where she battles traitors and falls in love.  So, even if  the view was that of

Guests beginning to waltz. Later the floor was completely full.

New York Avenue, instead of Strauss’ famed river, last Saturday night really was a fantasy come true.

     It’s amazing how plots get inspired by these kinds of settings.  While other people worried about dance steps, or romancing their partner, my husband had to deal with me checking out alternative exits, stairwells, and figuring out who might make a good villain in my next book.  It’s wonderful when every event takes on the nuances of a Bond film.  Too bad it is more exciting in my head than in real life.

     And, oh the beautiful people!   Everyone wore black tie.  Some women went for full ball gowns, and military men, in perfectly fitted dress uniforms, sparkled with medals.  There were couples who put Fred and Ginger to shame, and then there were couples like my husband and me – let’s just say my toes will never be quite the same.  Still, I wouldn’t have traded him for any other guy in the room.

     By the time the evening was over, we’d met some lovely people, got the hang of dancing counter-clockwise, participated in the grand march, and learned the quadrille.

     And every now and then, behind billowing ball gowns and marble pillars, I may have seen my hero and heroine laughing, as they danced in the night.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Now without further ado, the winner of Robin Perini’s new release, Finding Her Son, from Harlequin Intrigue is … Rebecca York!  Please contact us within ten days with your preferred email address.

Stop by tomorrow because Roxanne St. Claire will be back with an exciting announcement on behalf of her fellow authors from the MurderSheWrites blog: Their exclusive e-book anthology Guns and Roses. And she’ll be giving away a free copy!

A Cinderella Success Story: The Fabulous Robin Perini!

Writing is hard work.

An author works on a manuscript for years, prays for an agent, begs for a sale.  More than anything it is a waiting game.  Waiting for time to finish, time to revise, waiting for an agent to get back to you, waiting for an editor to fall in love with it.

No one knows more about waiting than Robin Perini.  Devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes adventures, with love stories sure to melt hearts, she’s spent years perfecting her craft — and winning a few awards along the way.  

Did I say a few?  

Robin Perini

Robin finaled for the the prestigious Golden Heart a mere seven times.  Last year I was thrilled and honored to stand on the stage with Robin when she won the medal for Contemporary Series Romantic Suspense, and I won it for (Single Title) Romantic Suspense.  In a way that makes us sisters.  So, I was especially proud of my GH sis when she sold seven of her books in one single year.

SEVEN.

No one I know sells seven manuscripts, in one year, straight out of the gate.  If this tells you anything about Robin’s skill and perseverance, you will share my prediction that she is sure to become a major talent.  If you need proof, here is the beginning of her debut novel, In Her Sights:

“The trigger felt right.

     The sight was zeroed in, the balance perfect.  The Remington 700/40 fit her body and her mind like an old friend she could trust, and Jasmine “Jazz” Parker didn’t trust easily.  But she and this rifle were connected in a way a lover, friend or family could never be.  The Remington would never let her down.”

Then …

     “Slowly, deliberately, Jazz exhaled and, between heartbeats, squeezed the trigger.”

Wow.  With talent like that, how could she not have won the Golden Heart?  

Here is the book trailer for In Her Sights:

Robin is giving of her time, always encouraging fellow writers.  Her workshops are nationally acclaimed and she really knows her suspense first hand.  In fact, she competes in small-bore rifle silhouette shooting.  Today she is also gifting one special reader, who comments below, with  a copy of her latest release, Finding Her Son from Harlequin Intrigue .  

While it is wonderful to see any author find success, when that person is as nice as Robin, it is special.  After working so hard, she is finally on her way — and just like Cinderella — she’s making an incredible splash and, I hope, having a ball.

(Tune in tomorrow, Wednesday 29th to find out who won and hear about Diana’s adventures Viennese waltzing!)

So, without further ado, Robin Perini asks:

How Long is Too Long to Leave Your Christmas Tree Up?

by Robin Perini

I love Christmas.

Not the hubbub or the shopping, but the meaning behind the season, the reminder to think of others and not ourselves can be joyous.

I know for many the holiday season can be a very tough time of year, but I am lucky. I have the most amazing family, and spending time together at Christmas is one of the highlights of the year. Usually that means travelling.

Even though I don’t spend Christmas at home, I still decorate. I put up a nativity scene, decorate the fireplace mantle and then put up a tree. I get to pull out Christmas ornaments from when I was a kid, and every one has a story behind it.

I love putting up the tree.

Robin's Tree

I hate taking it down.

I’m not quite sure why it requires so much effort to take the tree down compared to putting it up. And this year has been tougher than most, because there’s a lot going on in my life. Day job, family obligations, book deadlines…trying to work out on occasion. I’m sure you know the feeling.

So, we are now at February 28, and I still have my Christmas decorations up in the living room.

So, how long is too long to keep the Christmas Tree up?

I was thinking about this earlier today. You know the Gretchen Wilson song, Redneck Woman ? There’s a line in the song,

“And I keep my Christmas lights on, On my front porch all year long.”

Does that apply for trees, too?

I know I should take a deep breath and just put it away, but frankly, it’s a priority C on my ‘To Do’ list. And since I can’t seem to get to all my As and Bs each day. The Cs just sort of…well…don’t get done.

A few days ago a friend came over and just stared at the decorations in stunned disbelief. I shifted uncomfortably on my feet, and blurted out…My October Harlequin Intrigue® is called Christmas Conspiracy. I’m using it for inspiration.

Yeah, that’s it! That’s why my Christmas decorations are still up. Once I finish the book, surely I’ll have time…

Hmmm. At what point does taking down your Christmas Tree go from priority C to priority A. I have to wonder if July 4th – Christmas in July? At that point, do I leave the Christmas tree up all year long, too?

Hmmm…maybe I could take off the decorations and replace them each season with something…well…seasonal. Clovers and hats in March; flags and ribbons in July.

So, any advice, dear readers? How long does your tree or decorations stay up after the holiday season? Any holiday? How long is too long?  Comment or help me find the time to take care of my C-priorities, and you get a chance to win a copy of my latest release, Finding Her Son from Harlequin Intrigue.

So please join Robin and those of us at Kiss and Thrill by commenting below.  Remember the chances of winning depend upon the number of entries.  Good Luck!  And go out and buy Finding Her Son which rolls off the presses this week! (click here for an excerpt But make sure you come back and comment or you won’t be entered in the drawing!)


Debra’s Winners

Everyone’s a winner!

If you left a comment before midnight EST on yesterday’s post be sure to email Debra through her website (www.debrawebb.com) and let her know your preference, Kindle or Nook version, for OBSESSION!

Robin Perini

And don’t forget to join Diana on Tuesday when she hosts Montlake and Harlequin Intrigue author, Robin Perini!

After the Thrill is Gone–or NOT! by Debra Webb

Debra Webb joins us today to talk about renewing the thrill of an old relationship. And take note, readers, she’s giving away a free copy of her latest book to EVERYONE who comments before midnight EST tonight!

DEBRA WEBB, born in Alabama, wrote her first story at age nine and her first romance at thirteen. It wasn’t until she spent three years working for the military behind the Iron Curtain—and a five-year stint with NASA—that she realized her true calling. A collision course between suspense and romance was set. Since then she has penned nearly 100 novels. The Faces of Evil is her debut thriller series. Visit Debra at www.debrawebb.com or write to her at PO Box 12485, Huntsville, AL, 35815.

After the Thrill is Gone—or NOT!

The run for your life thrills are very much a part of the romantic suspense and romantic thriller genres. Equally important are the thrills related to the developing or ongoing relationship between the two main protagonists. Sometimes, like in real life, the thrill of the latter can fizzle. One of my favorite themes in romance is reunited lovers. That was the reason I chose to make Special Agent Jess Harris and Chief of Police Dan Burnett high school sweethearts who became lovers and ultimately lost each other somewhere along the way as their lives moved from those turbulent teenage years to the more stable era of adulthood.

Jess’s parents died when she was a kid and a carousel of foster homes greatly changed her outlook on life in general. Dan, on the other hand, grew up in a wealthy Birmingham family with his future mapped out with financial and family security. I know from personal experience that uncertainty fuels a different kind of determination in a person. Nothing in life is taken for granted, least of all the idea of financial security, when everything has been lost. Jess’s determination to ensure her future, financially and otherwise, became a kind of obsession for her—one she didn’t recognize until she was past forty. Dan, on the other hand, as one whose financial and relationship foundations were rock solid, soldiered forth taking the usual risks and making the normal assumptions. He, too, recognized as he passed that forty mark that his somewhat blasé attitude was off somehow. As her professional life unravels Jess must face the fact that she has sacrificed her personal life to attain a certain goal and that change is necessary. Dan becomes aware of the same only for completely different reasons. Owning the need for change is a challenge for these two driven characters.

OBSESSION, the debut in my Faces of Evil series, focuses on exactly that—obsession: that unrelenting compulsion to have or to accomplish a goal. The theme resonates through every level of the story. Dan and Jess are brought together again as aspects of both their personal and professional lives are coming apart in different ways and to different degrees. The thrill of that innate connection that once held them has fizzled but the spark remains, smoldering and threatening to ignite. It was and is too real to be lost or gone forever. But how will they find a way to reconnect fully and how can I possibly resolve the issues two decades in the making over the course of a twelve-book series? The dilemma I face as a writer is a bit like the Texas Two-Step. Two quick steps forward, then two slower steps forward. The problem is, when a couple does the two-step, one is moving forward while the other moves backward. The dance will at times be difficult for this determined couple but it’s the pull of that tiny spark—that smoldering thrill that never was completely gone—that will draw them through the steps like music.

With that in mind, I decided that each story in the series will resume where the last left off not only in terms of the development of the relationships between the characters but also time wise. IMPULSE, book two, starts right where OBSESSION ended. POWER, book three and my current work in progress, begins forty-eight hours after the ending of IMPULSE. My goal is to show the day-to-day evolution of the lives of these characters in real time. Can they ignite the fire that once burned between them and stoke it to a full blaze ultimately bonding their relationship? Only time and the triumph over obstacles along the way will tell!

What about you, have you experienced a reboot in an old thrill—whether related to a relationship or to a career?

Share your experience or just leave a comment and win a free copy, Kindle or Nook version—your choice, of OBSESSION!

Thanks for joining us Debra!

Carla’s Winners!

Carla Neggers, Photo by Julie Ireland

Carla, thank you so much for being with us at Kiss and Thrill! Please let us know anytime you’d like to return. We loved having you, and next time I will leave out the word “favorite”. Sheesh, I guess I’ll have to wait for Heron’s Cove to find out about the bean-hole supper 🙂 Congratulations on all your success. I hear  SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER recently hit the NYTimes list! And thanks for your generosity to our commenters! 

And the winners are (please contact us within ten days): 

Na S.  You have won an e-copy of SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER and SAINT’S GATE 

please contact us with your preferred email and your preference for Kindle or Nook.

Smartmouthtexan You have won an autographed copy of SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER, SAINT’S GATE, and a T-shirt! Please contact uswith your preferred email and your snail mail address.




Don’t miss the fabulous DEBRA WEBB  right here on Kiss and Thrill tomorrow! 

Carla Neggers: Carey spotlights the New York Times best-selling author

Carla Neggers, Photo by Julie Ireland

Hang on! There’s an interview with the New York Times best-selling author of more than 60 novels, Carla Neggers, and a chance to win autographed print books, e-books, and a t-shirt!


But first I want to talk about those books.

SAINT’S GATE is a complex suspense involving a murdered nun and a missing painting that holds the key not only to a series of current day thefts and homicides but to past mysteries as well.  In this book, Carla lives up to her reputation for delivering atmospheric romance by transporting the reader to small-town Maine, as well as Dublin, Ireland. If you are a lover of rich, lush detail and multi-level storylines, I think you will truly enjoy this.

The romance between the main characters, Colin Donovan and Emma Sharpe, is strong enough to bear up in the midst of a big plot. I feel not only the sexual sparks, but the deep emotional connection resonating between Colin and Emma.

A cast of fascinating secondary characters, in particular, an Irish priest with quite a story of his own, rounds out the book.

The story is complex and satisfying, and all the threads are tied tightly into a satisfying knot. But I was left wondering- Carla, what the heck is a bean-hole dinner?

SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER.  I can only reiterate that Carla Neggers is a master of atmospheric romance. This contemporary love story will transport you to Knight’s Bridge Mass.  where Oliva Frost is renovating a historic home. Enter the owner of the dilapidated neighboring home, Dylan McCaffrey, and the journey to discovering secrets of the past begins. Another strong cast, a satisfying mystery, and of course a love story, spells another win for Carla Neggers.

An interview with Carla Neggers, www.CarlaNeggers.com

Carey: If you were stranded on a desert island with one other author, yes the real author, not a book, who would it be and why?

Carla: I have so many writer friends! I’d pick one of them. Preferably all of them. I have lots of authors from the past that I’d like to meet, but too risky on a desert island if they turn out to be…well, not someone you’d want to be stranded on a desert island with.

Carey: LOL. Sounds like there’s going to be a full-out party on your island. What is your favorite book?

Carla: I don’t have one favorite book but I often turn to Mary Stewart and Rex Stout for a “comfort” read. I remember discovering a musty copy of The Moonspinners in our town library. Loved it. And Nero Wolfe…I especially love his early cases and the depictions of New York in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

Carey: Nero Wolfe is one of my favorite detectives too, but I haven’t read any of the books in a long while. I’ll have to revisit one soon. Do you have a favorite song?

Carla: No one favorite song, either. It depends on my mood. Right now I’m into Irish music. I love the traditional musicians like the Chieftains, but I also enjoy the Young Dubliners, especially their album All Due Respect, and Dropkick Murphys—nothing like The Meanest of Times for a jolt of energy!

Carey: How did you come to write your first manuscript?

Carla: In a tree! I was a kid. I grew up in the country with six brothers and sisters, and I’d go off on my own and climb a tree with a pad and pen and write. I had several manuscripts by the time I graduated high school…all still safely out of public view! I continued to write fiction through college and finally submitted a manuscript to an agent shortly after my first child was born. The agent took me on, and I eventually sold that book.

Carey: I love that story, and I am amazed that you had several manuscripts completed before finishing high school. A sign of a born writer. Do you have a personal hero?

Carla: My husband is one of the finest men I’ve ever known.

Carey tries to refrain, but then gives in to saying, “Awww!”

Carey: Which of your series or which of your books is your favorite?

Carla: I’m afraid I’m not any good at these “favorite” questions! To me, each book and each series stands on its own, and I’m always excited about the book I’m writing.

Carey: Which of your books would you suggest for a reader if they could only read one?

Carla: Whichever one appealed to him or her! I’d read the first few pages and go from there.

Carey, sheepishly:  Do you have a favorite among your female protagonists and why?

Carla: Again, I don’t think in terms of “favorites.” I’m enjoying writing about Emma Sharpe, an art crimes expert with the FBI who happens to be a former novice from an isolated Maine convent. Emma’s full of surprises! We meet her in SAINT’S GATE, out now, and then again in HERON’S COVE, due out in late August. Order SAINT’S GATE here.

Carey: You write so convincingly about the art world in Saint’s Gate. Do you have a background in art?

Carla:I don’t have a formal background in art but it’s long been an area of interest and study for me. I studied music at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts and roomed with artists who became lifelong friends. And my son’s a graphic designer!

Carey asks, and then ducks for cover: Do you have a favorite among your male protagonists and why?

Carla: That “favorite” word again! Colin Donovan, a deep-cover FBI agent, is every bit Emma’s match in SAINT’S GATE and now HERON’S COVE…and he has three hard-headed brothers.

Carey: I noticed all those brothers! I hope that means a long series of Donovan books. I know Saint’s Gate is the first in a new series for you, can you tell us some secrets about what’s in store for Colin Donovan?

Carla: Colin Donovan and Emma Sharpe return in HERON’S COVE (September 2012), when his world as an undercover agent and her world as a Sharpe—a family of art crime experts—collide.

Carey: Please tell us about your upcoming release, Secrets of the Lost Summer.

Carla: SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER marks my return to contemporary romance…but, of course, there’s a puzzle to be solved. Olivia Frost gives up a career in Boston to return to her little hometown to turn a historic house into a getaway. Just up the road is an abandoned house with junk in the yard. A real eyesore. She tracks down the absentee owner to clean up the place…but Dylan McCaffrey has never heard of Olivia or the town, or even knows he owns a house there. Turns out his treasure-hunter father left it to him. But why? Dylan heads to New England, and the fun goes on from there. Lots going on in this story!

Carey: What motivated you to go back to your roots in contemporary romance for your latest release, Secrets of the Lost Summer?

Carla: Simply put, the idea. I was gripped by it. I often write about small towns, secrets, adventures…SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER has all that…and a jewel thief! I’ve appreciated how readers have embraced the story. Order SECRETS here.

Carey: Is there a story you are itching to write, but haven’t done so? Do you foresee yourself ever writing that story and under what circumstance?

Carla: SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER was a story like that. It was a bit different, and I was itching to write it…and I did! Now it’s turned into a series, and I’m writing the next book, THAT NIGHT ON THISTLE LANE.

Carey: Your novels are noted for their strong atmospheric elements. What draws you to a particular setting, and how do you make that setting come alive for readers?

Carla: For me, the setting is almost like another character, and I enjoy bringing it to life for the reader. SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER is set in a fictional town near where I grew up on the western edge of the vast, beautiful Quabbin Reservoir (which plays a key role in the ‘secrets’!). SAINT’S GATE and HERON’S COVE take place in Maine, Boston and Ireland…three of my favorite places. I’m going back to Ireland soon to research DECLAN’S CROSS, the third in my Sharpe & Donovan series.

Carey: I love this You Tube where you talk more about SECRETS and the setting that inspired you. Readers will be interested to know that you took most of the photos used in this video.

Carey: And finally, Carla, I’d like to ask if you have a special cause that is close to your heart?

Carla: I’ve been doing what I can to help people here in Vermont to rebuild after the catastrophic flash floods that struck our mountainous state in late August. Two of the little covered bridges at the bottom of our hill were casualties, but the detours are minor inconveniences compared to the jobs and homes lost. There’s progress every day, and Vermont is definitely open for business. Come visit!

Carey: Carla, thank you so much for being with us today and for putting up with all those favorites questions! Now let’s open things up for questions and comments.

Commenters: Don’t forget to stop by Thursday and find out if you are a winner! One lucky commenter wins an autographed copy of  SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER, SAINT’S GATE and a t-shirt from the lovely Carla Neggers! A second commenter wins an e-copy of SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER and SAINT’S GATE! 

And the daily-double winner is …

Nina Bruhns

I want to thank the lovely Nina Bruhns for such a wonderful interview yesterday and to thank her for offering one of our readers a copy of one of her books.  The lucky commenter will choose from Warrior’s Bride, Catch Me if You Can, or Sweet Revenge — all terrific reads.

And, don’t forget to buy Nina’s newest books, White Hot and the French Detective’s Woman!

So, without further ado, the Winner is >>>> Chavie!!!!

Congratulations!

AND  from Tuesday’s blog with Dawn Brown, the winner of two of Dawn’s books is >>>>> Trish J!  Trish will receive e- copies of Blood and Bone and The Curse of Culcraig!

(Note: Only commenters with a U.S. mailing address are eligible, so if anyone announced below does not provide a U.S. mailing address, we will choose another winner.)

CONGRATULATIONS! To redeem your free book – please email your snail mail address and preferred email address to contact@kissandthrill.com (or go to contact page for details). Remember, we must hear from you within 10 days.  Chances of winning depend upon number of qualified comment entries.

Spine Tingling Tales of Mystery and Romance – Author Dawn Brown

Kiss and Thrill welcomes romantic suspense author Dawn Brown!

Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, Dawn Brown’s first sojourn into storytelling began when she was nine. She would gather neighborhood kids into her garage and regale them with ghost stories, believing even then that atmosphere played an important role in a good story.

She has a diploma in journalism, but oddly found herself pursuing a career in the less than exciting world of computer leasing. After the birth of her son, she gave up the corporate world to be a mom and write full time, trading in her dreary cubicle for a dreary atmospheric room in the attic.

Now Dawn spends her days creating dark, romantic mysteries with edgy heroes, clever heroines and villains she hopes will keep her readers sleeping with the light on.

Living Lies was the second book she wrote and was published in 2008 by Samhain Publishing. Her next book, The Curse of Culcraig, was published with The Wild Rose Press in 2009. And her most recent release, Blood and Bone, came out in October of this past year, also with Samhain Publishing.

I heard about Dawn from our mutual agent, Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates, Ltd. Dawn and I chatted via email and after ‘meeting’ her that way and then reading up about her novels, I was thrilled to ask her to come visit with us on Kiss and Thrill. I can’t wait to read her latest, Blood and Bone, especially after reading her 4.5 Star review from RT:

In a genre saturated with amped-up covert or rogue heroes, it is refreshing to see Brown return to the very roots of romantic suspense. Her plotting is of the highest caliber — making for a terrorizing, fervent illustration of depravity with an impressive cast of characters and a ferocious pace that doesn’t waver even for a second.

Isn’t that an awesome review?

To get to know Dawn better, I asked her a few questions.

Lena: Since you’re a fairly new author, care to share your call story?
Dawn: My call was actually an email from my editor at Samhain. I was so used to getting rejections by then I had to read it twice before it really sank in that she was offering me a contract. And after an embarrassing little happy dance, I found my husband and we sat outside and had a drink to celebrate.

Lena: Any contest finals or wins that are dear to your heart? What is your opinion on contests and whether they help/hurt?
Dawn: I only ever entered one contest. I scored well, but didn’t final. The feed back was good and the experience wasn’t terrible, but I felt that I could get the same feedback from my critique group.

Lena: Who are your favorite authors?
Dawn: I have a lot of favorites. Nora Roberts, Amanda Stevens, Stephen King, J.R. Ward, Kelley Armstrong and Minette Walters are on the top of my auto buy list.

Lena: Can you give us a blurb about your latest release? When is it coming out?
Dawn: Absolutely. Blood and Bone is available in ebook now and will be out in print September 4th of this year.

Crime writer Shayne Reynolds is looking for the next book that’ll get her out of her parents’ basement and on track to rebuilding her life. She’s found it in Robert Anderson, a confessed murderer who’s out on parole. Something’s never added up about that case.

From the moment she sets foot in Dark Water, nothing goes as planned. Anderson’s family wants her to drop the story—especially surviving son Des. A man who ignites sizzling heat even as he stands firmly in her way.

Laboring under his father’s crushing legacy and his grandmother’s iron resolve to get rid of the nosy writer at any cost, Des struggles to save the self-destructive sister who once saved him. There’s something honest and forthright about Shayne, though, that tempts him to help her get to the truth. Even if it means double-crossing his powerful grandmother.

Despite their resolve to keep it strictly business, sexual sparks quickly set fire to tangled emotions. And threads of a fragile bond that someone with a vendetta could use to weave their death shroud…

Lena: Sounds great! I am definitely getting a copy! Have you gotten to keep your original book titles? If not, care to share what they were as opposed to now, and the reasons behind them being changed if you can?
Dawn: I was able to keep my original titles for Living Lies and Blood and Bone, but not for The Curse of Culcraig. It was originally called The Witch’s Stone, but my editor felt it could give readers the wrong impression that it was a paranormal.

Lena: What’s your writing process? Fast draft? Love writing drafts, hate revisions? Or love revisions? Plotter? Pantser?
Dawn: I’m a pantser, nothing kills a story faster for me than outlining. Though, I do like to have fairly good idea of who my characters are, especially their goals, motivations and conflicts before I start writing.

I write my first draft, which is really loose and rough when I finish. Then on to the second draft where I clean up, fill in any plot holes and research the details. After that I go through it all a final time to make sure it’s as clean and tight as possible.
 
Lena: Favorite TV shows?
Dawn: I’m ridiculously addicted to The Walking Dead. I can’t begin to explain how happy I am about new episodes starting this month. I’ve been counting down since January.

Lena: Hey, I’m all about zombies. Love that show too. What do you do for fun?
Dawn: Between work, writing and family there isn’t much time left over for hobbies or anything. Fortunately, I’m such a nerd writing is fun to me so that works out. I like to read and get together with friends and family. My husband plays in a band and I’ll go watch when they play.

Lena: Beach or mountains?
Dawn: Beach, definitely. Preferably with a frothy drink in my hand and just the sound of the waves against the sand.

Lena: Dream vacation would be what/where?
Dawn: I’ve always wanted to go to Greece. But right now, the beach and the quiet is sounding pretty darn good.

Lena: How did you get your agent? Why did you decide to get an agent in the first place?
Dawn: I decided to look for an agent because I felt like I was at the point in my career where I needed one to really move forward. I researched agencies interested in representing the genre I was writing in and sent out queries. When Nalini Akolekar from Spencerhill Associates contacted me, she was really excited about the book and it seemed we would be a good fit. It’s been great having someone advocate for me and my work.

Lena: Craft book that inspires you?
Dawn: On Writing by Stephen King. His advice works the best with my process.

Lena: Workshop you recommend to others, such as from RWA nationals? Or a particular conference you recommend (like a local conference)?
Dawn: A few years back I took the Margie Lawson workshop for deep editing—the one with all the hi-liters—and found it worked great for pace and digging deeper into the characters’. I still use a lot of the techniques she touched on.

Lena: Future plans for new books? Anything you can share?
Dawn: I’ve just wrapped up a book that I think will be the first in a three book series. It’s a romantic mystery, but with a strong paranormal twist that will carry through the other two books. I’m really excited about it.

Lena: I love series, and they are so hot right now. Good luck! Can you give your future readers more details about what to expect – heat level of your books/violence (on-page? Off page body count?).
Dawn: My books are moderately hot, but not shockingly so. As for the violence, it’s a mix. Most occurs off page, but not all.

Dawn is giving away an ebook copy of Blood and Bone to one lucky commenter, and an ebook copy of The Curse of Culcraig to another lucky commenter!

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