From time to time, I “discover” new authors that I just have to share with others. Susan is one such wordsmith, and I’m pleased to provide a stop on her Blog Tour this month.
Hi Susan! I’m so glad to be visiting with you today.
Thank you, Pam, and thanks for the guest spot. I am delighted to be here.
Here are some questions our readers want to ask:
Your fabulous debut novel, WHISPER CAPE, is a romantic fantasy adventure that comes across so believable, it seems like reality. What real-life experiences, if any, inspired some of the scenes?
You’re kind, thank you. As you stated so well above, the story is pure fantasy—well paranormal fantasy. The only thing I can think of that would even be remotely true to any of my life experiences would be the setting. The beach house that Cael rents, is forged from The Little River Inn in Mendocino, California where my husband and I spent one of our wedding anniversaries. It’s a little different, but I’ve tried to keep the view and the surrounding area as true to my memory as possible.
Not every reader comes away with the same response to a book, but WHISPER CAPE‘s fans seem to all agree on one aspect: Cael is a to-die-for hero. Describe, if you can, how you created this luscious man and how your understanding of him evolved from the beginning.
Believe it or not, this is not a very easy question to answer. I would have to say that Cael is a combination of every good quality of every gorgeous man I’ve ever seen. He is my fantasy man. I’m a sucker for blue eyes. Green or even gray isn’t bad either. Heck, a beautiful man with dark dreamy eyes … I’ll take him. A rock hard body, with muscles in all the right places is a must. But I wanted a man with the opposite color of Addison’s and I gave her golden brown eyes. I wanted a man with a sensitive side, but someone with enough arrogance and strength that he could kick the crap out of any bad guy or demon as well. The fact that he can take a girl anywhere she might like to go at the blink of an eye is just a bonus.
Writing habits. Most readers and writers like to know how an author progresses through the writing of a great novel. In the case of CAPE, did the story come to you wholly formed, or did it sort of construct as you wrote? How long did it take to write, and what was your writing pattern like?
I woke up in a bad mood to begin with. Groggy, tired, I squinted at my cell phone as I staggered into the kitchen in search of some coffee and dog food. The kibble was for Sandie and Dolce, the coffee, well, for me. But I paused when I saw an email subject line from an old friend in the east: “Sad news.” And I knew.
Lorraine was my first real editor. While that in itself is important, what was even more valuable was her belief in me as a writer. As an author. She loved my stories, praised them time after time. The edits were grueling; after all, these were my early romance novels and I was still developing my skills. But she once said, of StarCrossed Hearts, “I must have read this manuscript seven times by now, and I still love reading it. Your characters are like old friends of mine.”
She once pitched my book to John DeSalvo, who happened to be sitting at the same table during a romance book convention. For those not in-the-know, John is one of the most popular romance novel cover models ever–he’s appeared on over 1500 books! So John mentioned he was going to become a movie producer and was looking for a big, epic romance to film. Lorraine handed him a copy of my book. Bless her heart.
Lorraine was a founding partner of Wings ePress, which opened its publishing doors just ten years ago next month. StarCrossed Hearts was one of their four launch titles. I was quite proud of that fact. Later, I went to work for Wings, managing their cover art department. It was a lot of work for very little pay, but I enjoyed working with Lorraine, the other partners and staff members. And, of course, the authors, all realizing their dreams of becoming published.
We always worried about how hard Lorraine worked. She would often sit in her recliner until the wee hours, reading and editing on her Rocket eBook device. She was exhausted, but she almost never missed a deadline. She was firm but kind to her authors. She loved her dogs, her friends, her sons (not necessarily in that order). She spoke with a little bit of urgency, but with a Southern inflection I loved. Writing under the name Margaret B. Lawrence, Lorraine was also a fine author of romantic and historical suspense.
I’m sure the long hours and stress took its toll; a few years back, Lorraine had a debilitating stroke that left her unable to work like she had before. Regrettably, at first because I didn’t want to bother her, we lost touch. I’d been meaning to write her. Always thought I would, one day, talk to her again. But last night, her heart decided to take a well-deserved rest.
Lorraine, you did good, girl. You went after a dream and made it come true. You made it possible for hundreds of struggling writers to become published authors. I’ve seen their tears of joy upon getting that first copy, that first tangible evidence of their success. You accomplished that. All those nights of burning the midnight oil, all those aches and pains, the tired eyes, sacrifices—it was all worth it. And in case I didn’t say it enough before…
Thank you, LOLly. I miss you.
Happy New Year.
Have been thinking about what to say, but I’m so late I’m afraid all the good topics have already been written. And it’s already the 4th; folks are probably DONE hearing about how bad the ending of LOST was, how sad it was when so-and-so passed away, how shocking it was to see Miley sucking on a bong. Okay, maybe not so shocking, that.
And the year to come? My plans? I have plenty. In the writing arena, I’ve made some decisions concerning my backlist, which has been just sort of sitting without much support from me. These three books are going to get a minor makeover and be re-released under my own publishing byline by this spring. New edits, new covers, new prices. I mean, why not?
Becoming a publisher means I can publish some other things, too, experimental works and some shorts for a couple of
new authors just wanting to dip a toe in the water. I’ll need an editor or two, and some help with the cover art. Cover art must be first rate, it’s the very first impression and if it’s shoddy or amateur, no level of quality in the book will make a difference.
That being said, my books with Echelon (CAPE SEDUCTION, POINT SURRENDER) will stay with Echelon. I have no desire to move them, and will continue to promote them alongside my newly released backlist work. If I’m right, all will benefit. I will focus heavily on ebooks this year (as if I haven’t for twelve years already!), although with the help of sites like Amazon’s CreateSpace I can re-release my older books in paperback as well. I’m glad for that, for those people still digging in about paper.
Once I reach a level of completion with this project, I’ll be able to resume work on my next lighthouse mystery. ANGEL’S GATE is started, but I felt it was heading toward a proverbial cul-de-sac and I need to back up and take a turn. I’m hoping to be able to convince the PTB to let me inside the real Angel’s Gate Lighthouse in Los Angeles Harbor. I just need to meet the right person!
On January 22nd, I’ll be speaking at the Blanchard Community Library in Santa Paula, California. The topic? Lighthouses, of course! Specifically, California’s lighthouses, and how they helped shape our history (it is California history month, after all.) I will focus on a few specific beacons, then segue into those that inspired my work. Really looking forward to this event.
Considering Romantic Times Convention on April 8 at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. Pricy, but lots of fun. Will advise.
April 30/May 1, in addition to my yearly stint signing with Sisters in Crime/LA, I’m joining a small consortium of authors in a booth at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, this year being held at the University of Southern California. I hope UCLA fans won’t stay away!
The cabin in the mountains is coming along nicely! Should be done late February. I can’t wait to hunker down with my books and hot toddy before a roaring fire…
Over the holidays, my niece and I took a day off and drove up to Santa Barbara for lunch. To our astonishment, both Barnes and Noble and Border’s were selling out their inventories, both closing their doors on December 31st. These stores are across the street from each other. I guess Santa Barbara book buyers will have to turn to the web. And ebooks?
Speaking of those minute miracles, I am rapidly filling up the new COLOR NOOK my husband bought me for Christmas! Man, do I love this device. I’ve always been somewhat of a gadget person, but this thing is fab. Does almost all that an iPad does – for half the money. I’ve loaded it up with songs, photos, books – I can do a crossword puzzle, check Facebook, write an email and edit my latest manuscript – and I can do it in the dark!
Further to my “Long Lost Relatives” post, I was contacted by my newly discovered cousin’s ex-wife. I wrote her back, giving her all the info I had and the one photo from my website. She has yet to respond, but I can wait. It’s been my whole life, after all.
Can it be? Moi? Unable to scratch out even a few words? Well I guess I am doing it now, but under duress. Under the weight of extreme embarrassment. Such a struggle, it should not be…
So a few words.
My delightful little grandson was born 4 weeks ago today. He’s already playing Scrabble and longboarding down the street. Well, maybe not. But he’s holding his bitty head up now and again! Little sweetie. My dear son and dearest DIL are settling in to the routine. Her wonderful parents are visiting from Singapore. All good.
Our cabin seems to be constructing itself right before our amazed eyes. Might be occupied by mid January (?) (!) There is snow up there now, but the roof is on and the windows are installed. All good.
Thanksgiving was super good. I brined the turkey for the first time. Made wonderful gravy-for the first time. Daughter made chipotle mashed sweet potatoes that were spicy and yum. Lotsa work, lotsa fun, very thankful and all good.
On the down: My 2 month old Kodak EasyShare broke. I have to mail it to Kodak, at my expense, for repair.
I have been summoned for Jury Service at the U.S. District (Fed) Court in downtown Los Angeles. If called, I will have to board a bus at 6:30 am tomorrow and ride for 1.25 hours to the courthouse, then repeat after 5 pm to come home. I am stressing beyond belief. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s a phase in my life. A few years ago it wouldn’t have bothered me much. But now, I’m a wreck. And I have to be on-call for 2 weeks. Bleh.
Did you know that Grand Jury appointments last for 6 or 12 months? Yep, you have to go once a month for the duration. Somebody hand me a Tums?
May I have a drum roll please? Contest time! Jeepers, I had a lot of entrants. Have written all the names down on tiny fortune-cookie-sized papers and folded them up. Have dropped them into the beautiful ceramic bowl my son made in high school. Have stirred them. Have woken my teenaged daughter from her after-school nap and made her dip her fingers into the bowl. Draw one please?
But wait! No, I’m thinking I’m feeling very generous today. Pick THREE. Yes, dear, pull out three and then go back to bed.
WINNER #3 – DEIDRE DURANCE
WINNER #2 – CAITE MAIRE
and (drum roll quickens, ascends, ceases!)
WINNER #1 – SUSAN GRISCOM! Susan, you’ve won your choice of a $25 giftie card from everybody’s favorite big box book bin, Barnes & Noble… or 5 ebooks of your choice from Echelon Press!!
Deidre and Caite each win a copy of one of my books!
Well done, bloggers!!
And thanks ever so much to Karen for hosting me today! In the words of our immortal governator, “I’ll be back!”
I’m writing you from my wonderful, relaxing vacation in the upper and very cool part of Washington. Not D.C. Port Townsend is a great little bohemian seaport filled with ambiance and art and fun and laid-backness, just what I needed!
Nonetheless, I embark on another sort of tour Monday, where I will begin my “trip” with author Sean Hayden! Sean has taken the time to ask me some new and interesting questions, and will share them on his blog at Sean Hayden’s blog. Do stop by!
Same day, I’m guesting at The Romance Studio, talking about whether books with lotsa sex and lust sell better than those considered “sweet” = plot that suggests intimate relations but doesn’t give the play-by-play. Help me out with your comments.
Don’t forget about the contest! All you have to do is read the CAPE SEDUCTION excerpt and leave me a relative comment—you’ll be in the drawing for FIVE Echelon Press eBooks of your choice, downloaded onto a really cool 2GB flash drive! (Or a $25 gift card to B&N, your choice.) Drawing will be on my last blog tour stop.
To make this more interesting, you’ll get an additional chance to win for every comment you leave at my tour stops! Whoa! Dude! So here’s the sched:
Monday, Aug 30: Sean Hayden’s Blog
Monday, Aug 30: The Romance Studio Blog
Tuesday, Aug 31: Legendary Lighthouse
Wednesday, Sept 1: Enjoying the Waves
Thursday, Sept 2: Beth Fish Reads
Monday, Sept 6: JFHilborne’s Blog
Tuesday, Sept 7: Mysteries and Margaritas
Wednesday, Sept 8: A Writer’s Jumble
Thursday, Sept 9: Lighthouse Musings
Friday, Sept 10: Echelon Press
So, come on down!!