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Author Smackdown: Writers get it wrong!

Guest post by Rolynn Anderson.rolynn_small

Writing is a humbling career.  Every day I make presumptions and end up red-faced because I was wrong-sometimes horribly wrong-about my reckonings.  FAINT, my sixth novel, released this week, is living proof of author smackdown.  I took on Alzheimer’s, blindness, embalming, burial rituals, organ transplants, and clairvoyant dogs in FAINT, third in the funeral planner suspense series.  No wonder the novel took me two years to write!  My research on all these areas made me woozy with revelations.

 

Let’s take embalming.  Better yet, you take embalming.  Whoa!  Consider the instruments and chemicals involved, the cleaning of the corpse and plumping with injections…the make-up…the dressing.  Lordy, I even watched a ‘Do it at home’ embalming on You Tube.  I had to hide my eyes half of the time.  Among all these new learnings: Embalmers are bound by strict rules, forbidden to stray beyond their ‘normal’ tasks.  They can’t even take fingerprints off the cadaver!

 

Blindness.  Pete, a character in my novel, is a blind forensic investigator.  I’d learned about blind men and women employed by the FBI after 9/11 to analyze suspect audio tapes and I wanted to explore their skill sets.  Some of my characters were prejudiced against Pete.  New learnings: blind people are shunned in some cultures, regarded as ‘less than,’ even evil.

 

untitledTelepathic dogs.  I was worried Elwood (Elly) a Scottie, who warns his mistress when she’s going to faint, was pushing a paranormal envelop.  New learning: dogs can be trained to alert their owners of impending seizures and insulin lows.  Elly’s skill was not a stretch, at all. 

 

Burial rituals.  Turns out every religion has a specific way to deal with the deceased.  New learning: Certain orthodox religions require mourners to kiss the corpse in an open casket, within twenty-four hours.

Sounds like fiction, huh?  I love what research turns up, pleased to see my presumptions challenged and energized by the complexity I get to add to characters and plots.  Now, with my sixth book published, I’ve learned to test each and every assumption…but I must admit I don’t mind being wrong, because I can use that new information in my story!

 

It’s your turn.  

GIVEAWAY QUESTION On what topic did your research for a book point out faulty assumptions?  A free e-book of FAINT (you choose the format) goes to a random commenter.

Here’s FAINT, my newly released third in the Funeral Planner Suspense Series.  Happy New Year, everyone!  Rolynn

 

Their dead clients refuse to rest in peace.Faint Rolynn

 

How did small-town boutique funeral planning morph into crime-solving?  Ask freelance embalmer Trudy Solomon, or Pete McDonald, a blind, forensic investigator.  They’re unearthing mysteries of the deceased for their pregnant boss, Jan Keller, while her journalist husband, Roman, is benched by a ten million dollar defamation suit.

 

A dead client goes missing, and investigating his disappearance forces Trudy and Pete to confront their fiercely independent styles.  When danger stalks them, will they blend brains, brawn and belief in one another to solve crimes and save themselves?

 

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Lark Brennan Explores the Dark Side of the Caribbean

Lark Brennan

Lark Brennan

I am thrilled to introduce you to my critique partner of 10 years, Lark Brennan. On December 1st she’ll debut her multi-genre romance, DANGEROUSLY YOURS. (It’s a romantic, paranormal, suspense-thriller.) Lark is an outstanding author, whose wild imagination and unique world building will turn this industry on its head. Check this out:

Whales don’t just vanish, but marine biologist Lex Durand saw one do just that. With years of research at stake and driven by her bond with the whale, she seeks the help of scientist-in-hiding Bodie Flynn—a man with a mysterious past and a justified hatred of her brother. But while Lex was warned Bodie would be difficult, she never expects to find he has psychic abilities equal to her own.  

bookmark-1.5inx7in-h-frontBodie despises being trapped in Durand Tech’s version of the witness protection program, and when a gorgeous Durand heiress lands on his beach asking for help, he’s unhappier still. The last person he wants in his life is the sister of the man who ruined him, but the disappearance of Lex’s whales could be related to his own research and he isn’t above using her to get her data.  

As the dangerous force behind the changing seas becomes deadly, Lex and Bodie must put aside their personal agendas to track down a powerful foe. But when their attraction reaches a boiling point, facing their feelings may prove the hardest battle yet.    Dangerously Yours

Click cover to pre-order

Welcome, Lark, and congratulations!! Your authentic world-building even blew your editor away. How did you come up with this unique premise?

I was playing around with the idea of a family of powerful psychics when Lex Durand marched in—a 6’ tall, gorgeous animal telepath who runs a marine mammal research foundation. She had so much attitude, I had to write her story. Of course a romance about a marine biologist had to start with a whale vanishing on camera and Lex blackmailing a super-hot physicist into helping her find it.

beach1

What kind of research did you do to make delphic energy and dolphin behavior sound so authentic?

Delphic energy is a totally made up scientific explanation of psychic abilities—glad to hear it sounds believable. I’m sure real scientists would roll their eyes. As for the dolphins—I spent countless hours on the web, bought a dozen dolphin books then ended up contacting the medical director at the Dolphin Research Center in Florida. She answered even my stupidest questions brilliantly. The dolphin telepathy I made up. I’m sure I’m going to hear from animal telepaths that I got that wrong.

Your descriptions of the BVI beaches, restaurants, etc. are sensational. Did you visit or live there?

I lived in the US Virgin Islands for seven years and spent a lot of time sailing and diving in the BVI. It’s an amazingly beautiful part of the world. We sailed the BVI just last summer and I’m relieved to report the places in the book are still there.caribbean

I know you’re under contract for a series, tell us the date, title and any details about the next book.

IRRESISTIBLY YOURS comes out June 21, 2016. It takes place in Paris where powerful telepath Adrien Durand has been forced to take over his family’s international business empire and protection of the source of their power. A lovely American empath shows up and he suspects she’s a spy. There’s plenty of action and intrigue and smooching.

Nothin’ wrong with plenty of smooching! Tell us one thing you’re thankful for (so we can call this a Thanksgiving post.) 😉

I’m so grateful to have such wonderful and supportive family and friends, especially the generous authors who have made the rocky road to publication so much fun.

Favorite food you can’t say no to?

Can’t think of a food, but don’t test me with a glass of excellent Bordeaux. 🙂

“I’d love to be stuck on a deserted island with…” (can be dead or alive.) And the one item you’d take with you.

My husband’s not reading this, right? No contest– Chris Hemsworth. And the item? I’d be wearing Heidi Klum’s body.

Really, Lark? Heidi?

Really, Lark? Heidi?

Favorite novel or author, and why?

Wow, there are so many. Probably Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ NATURAL BORN CHARMER because I love every character and subplot in it—and it has Dean Robillard!

If you could have any other career besides your present ones and had the skill to do it, what would you be?

An astronaut!

(Wow, I’ve known you for 10 years and that came outta left field!) What question did I not ask that you’d like readers to know about you?

You didn’t ask about Jody and Buffy!! My two puppy-dogs are just great—sweet, loving, hilarious and a little naughty! Thank you for asking.Buff - Jode

A question for all of you—one commenter will get a $25 Amazon gift card:

Bodie and Adrien are clean shaven except when stubble catches up with them, but I’m seeing lots more men with beards these days. How do you feel about facial hair? What do you think is sexy in a hero—clean shaven, stubble, beard, other? While you’re thinking about men and hair—body hair or man-scaping?

On Saturday, December 5th at 4:30pm, Lark is signing at MURDER BY THE BOOK with best selling romantic suspense author Laura Griffin! 2342 Bissonnet St, Houston

 

Lark’s love of reading, writing and travel has led her to a string of colorful jobs and a well-worn passport – as well as several years spent sailing and diving in the Virgin Islands. Her travels have inspired her stories–romantic adventures set in some of her favorite destinations around the world. When not traveling, she lives in Texas with her brilliant husband and two adorable canine “children.”
You can find Lark at larkbrennan.com, www.facebook.com/LarkBrennan and @larkh.

 

Thank you SO much for being here today, Lark, my excitement for your debut is only second to yours! Welcome to the published world, my friend. Buckle up, your sales will resemble a comet. 🙂

 

Enjoy the Dark Seduction . . . with Cynthia Cooke

Cynthia Cooke is an award-winning, multi-published author who has published 11 books and short stories for Harlequin/Silhouette and Steeple Hill. Her latest book, Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies will be one of the launch books for Entangled Publishing‘s new Dead Sexy Romantic Suspense line. Cynthia is best known for writing page-turners that will keep you up at night.  So if you choose to take that ride, over the edge and into the dark, don’t forget to turn on the lights. Cynthia’s books aren’t sweet and they aren’t for the faint of heart.  Enjoy the Dark Seduction. 

SW: Welcome, Cynthia. We are so happy to have you here with us today. You are an award-winning, multi-published author with Harlequin/Silhouette. What made you decide to publish with Entangled?

CC: I’ve heard so many great things about Entangled, especially the author friendly contracts.  And the idea that I could write a book and have it published the same year was VERY enticing.
 

SW: Please tell me a bit about your new Entangled story Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies.

CC: After an all-out assault by a vicious terrorist bent on destroying her entire family, former government agent Genie Marsters must break the strict rules she has always lived by when she emerges from hiding to reluctantly accept the help of her all-too-sexy ex-lover.

Running a deadly race against time, they rush to rescue her kidnapped sister, find her missing father, and bring the notorious villain to justice. But nothing ever goes as planned. Bullets fly, danger abounds, and their passion reignites even faster than the lies are flowing. But stubbornly held secrets just might spell the end of their rekindled love and hopes for the future . . . as well as their very lives.

SW: It’s a great cover! Did you have any input in the design?

CC:  I did! I sent a bunch of shutterstock images and examples of covers I like And they worked that around the dead sexy brand. The cover is AMAZING!!!

 
 

SW: How fun! What is on your TBR pile?

CC: Oh, this is so huge. I’m one of those people who is reading several books at one time, and listening to audio books when I’m driving.  Right now, I’m loving Nevada Barr and J.T. Ellison.

SW: I love audiobooks as well. What is your next project?

CC: I have two Harlequin werewolf books coming out in 2014. Right now, I’m wrapping up revisions on my second book in my werewolf series, Lying With Wolves, for Harlequin Nocturne.

SW: What is your favorite type of hero? (dark, bad boy, vampire, etc)

CC: I’ve thought about this question for another blog. I really don’t have a favorite type. I love my dark and dangerous vampires, my tortured werewolves, my action-oriented no-nonsense cops. I guess I just love them all, especially if they love the heroines, especially if it’s the last thing they want to do.

SW: I know you still have teenagers around. Do you get much writing done during the summer?

CC: I do, but I also gain a lot of weight! LOL! With three teenagers at home and the constant revolving door of all their friends coming and going at all hours of the day and night, I have to leave the house and write in coffee shops. My favorite is Panera Bread, which means I eat out A LOT.

SW: I LOVE Panera also. Especially their cinnamon rolls. Is there another genre you’d love to write?

CC: Yes, I’ve been working on a YA for the past couple of years in between contracts. I would really love to take the summer and finish writing it.

SW: Who does your website (it’s beautiful!)


CC: Thank you so much. That honor goes to Tivi Jones at Creative Media. She does so much more than websites now. She a digital marketing queen and has lots of tips on her blog. http://creativityloft.com/


SW: Will you write any more books for Entangled?

CC: I’d love to, though I’ve been too busy to submit a second proposal.

SW: Do you have an excerpt we can read?

CC: I do!

Kyle stared in disbelief at the odd, mushroom-shaped structure rising up from the cracked, dry earth of the Nevada desert.

“There she is,” the voice of Johnny Garino, his crew chief and closest friend, buzzed in his earpiece.

Genie stood on the roof of the strange house. Three black SUVs were corralled on the ground far below her. She looked incredible, breathtaking, silhouetted against the brilliant blue sky. Kyle sucked in a breath as she clipped a cable to her belt.

“She’s getting ready to fly!” Johnny called out, his voice rising in pitch.

“Hold on, baby. I’m almost there.” Kyle pushed down on the throttle urging the bird faster, even as he willed Genie to turn and see him, to hold on until he could sweep her away from the danger. And once he did, once he had her safe and secure in his cockpit, then what?

Then he’d try not to kill her himself.

Fantastic!! Thank you so much for spending the day with us, Cynthia. And for one lucky commenter, Entangled is giving away a free copy of Deadly Secrets, Loving LiesNow we’d love to hear your questions!
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