Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Author interview with Kacey Hammell

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a bookaholic, have been since about the age of thirteen. I found Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber and Joan Johnston and never looked back. About seven years ago, at the encouragement of my husband, I sat down to write my first story. After a personal hiatus after a tragedy, I’m back to the keyboard and listening to the voices in my head.

I’m a mom of three socially active children who has learned to balance writing with their schedules.

What book are you reading now?
I’m nearly finished Cynthia Eden’s Deadly Fear – she’s a new author for me. I hate to put the series aside, but I must!! I received JD Robb’s latest In Death book, Celebrity in Death, and I have to read it before continuing Cynthia’s series. I’m addicted to JD Robb’s In Death series!

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A Mom—that was all that I wanted to be. I love kids, was the neighbourhood babysitter growing up and wanted a houseful of my own one day. After three, I was blessed and we decided not to have any more. However, all of my kids’ friends call me Mom as well, so I have my houseful. *g*

What do you like to do for fun and relax?
Long walks/hikes with the family. Plus my daughter and I, since she’s the only girl, do a lot of fun things together—weekends away and such. Reading for pleasure is my best relaxation—sitting in the bathtub for about an hour, washes the craziness of the week behind.

Now, about your story. What can you tell us about it? What influenced the idea for this story?
Illusions is a romantic suspense with erotic romance interwoven. Isabella & Brady, the main characters, are friends who became lovers and fight commitment every step of the way. Neither believes that love is for them and they do everything possible to avoid it. However, as their secret relationship gets deeper, and a psychotic killer is inching his way closer to home, both of them realize that they can’t control everything. No matter how much they’d like to…

Which character gave you the most trouble when writing?
Isabella. She’s stubborn, opinionated, seems entitled to hold onto her grief forever. At the original time I wrote this story, I’d only ever lost my brother. Since, I also lost my dad so I understood her a lot better and she seemed to become more real to me. However, she was still stubborn, something many people say that I am. So, she and I butted heads… A LOT !!

What makes your characters a perfect match for one another?
Brady and Isabella are very perfect together. She understands his “gift” and he knows how to let her vent and still there for her when she’s done. They simply understand one another, love passionately and unconditionally, and the friendship they had first, tightens their bond as lovers.

Are you actively working on a new WIP?
The sequel to Illusions is submitted to Decadent, I’m waiting to hear about that.
The finished WIP, titled Dare, is also submitted to a few publishers that I’m waiting to hear about.
I am doing my read through/self-edits for another WIP (yet untitled) that I wrote within a week. A tortured heroine who’s had some horrible tragedies in her life. It was a gut-wrenching story to write but she wormed her way into my heart and thoughts and wouldn’t let go. Once I’m done my polishing, I’ll submit it to a few publishers and see what happens.
I have the paranormal/ménage series started and about to focus on that.
Things are never quiet in my head. LOL

Where can readers contact you? (Social networks, site, email, etc.)
Website/Blog --

By Kacey Hammell
Book 1: In the Arms of the Law
Publisher: Decadent Publishing

Protection. Adventure. Love.
It's all found within The Arms of the Law...

Detective Isabella Knowles, a tough-as-nails cop, lives by the law, and knows what she wants out of life. And it doesn't include marriage or all that comes with it. Everything Isabella has ever known seems like an illusion when a new relationship makes her feel more alive than ever before. She isn’t happy about it and fights it every step of the way.

Burned by his fiancée years ago, seer and P.I., Brady Jacobs never wants another commitment in his life. But his bachelorhood and heart are threatened when he has one of his visions and see a killer striking too close to the woman he has recently come to love.

Danger lurks close to home and neither Brady nor Isabella like that they can’t control every situation…especially matters of the heart.

Giveaway---To win a copy of one of Kacey’s backlist titles, simply leave a comment with your name and email address. One random winner will be drawn tomorrow, using, and announced here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

But the power of science lies in open publication, which, with the rise of the Internet, is no longer constrained by the price of paper. - M. Shermer

As the time draws nearer that my first book will be released, I reflect back on what it’s taken me to get here, and who’s helped me along the way.

This blog entry comes off the heels of my interview with my idol, Lynn Kurland.

When I very first began my journey four years ago, I reached out to Lynn for any advice she could give me. I wanted to know of good research books and other tidbits I needed in order to launch my career as an author. I couldn’t believe it when she wrote back to me a couple days later, referencing a list of books and giving me small pieces of advice of writing in the sub-genre. I knew I wanted to write time travel and I view Lynn Kurland as the best out there in executing in the niche market. But, such as life happens, shortly after getting all of the information I needed from Lynn, half of our apartment complex burned down in a wildfire. Add to that my son was constantly sick, I put writing on the back burner. It wasn’t until a year later, when the dust of life settled, that I finally picked up my computer and started to write. I went back to the email Lynn sent me, bought a few of her book recommendations, and started writing. Most of my journey you already know from a previous post so I won’t bore you to death with the same old tale, just on a different day.

What I will tell you is I’m beside myself with excitement. It’s so crazy for me to know that, in less than two weeks, my very first book will hit the internet, ready for readers to buy and dive in. Of course, I wonder what others will think and how they will react to my version of storytelling. For instance, there is a guy that I went to junior high and high school with, and he is all about buying to read. It’s weird for me to have somebody I’ve known for so long pick up my book, and to read something so close to me.

Of course, I know that there will be people out there that will not go crazy over it, but I hold to the fact that if it wasn’t good, it wouldn’t have been picked up. I cannot help but wonder if anybody in another country will buy it. What will they think? What will all readers think? Good, or bad, this is such an exciting event for me. I’ve loved the journey I’ve been on, starting with Lynn, moving my way through the RWA, to my publisher, Decadent, and now onto publication.
I’ve a total of over twenty blogs I will be featured on starting on March 2nd, and going through the end of the month. I will post here on what days I’m going to be on what blogs. I’d love it if you
joined me, and be a part of this experience with me. Without the support of people like you, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I hope everybody has a happy President’s Day. I will be working, but I hope others enjoy the day off.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Interview with NY Times Bestselling Author, Lynn Kurland

Welcome to Ramblings of a Writer, Lynn. Will you share a little bit about

I'm just your average wife/mother/laundress trying to keep up with a family while getting to spend all kinds of times taking notes about the activities of characters in a far different situation and typing them up into books. I love my family, love to laugh, wish I could live on chocolate and sharp cheddar (not together), and am amazed at the really wonderful people I've gotten to "meet" on this journey--like you, Erin! :)

Tell me about your newest release and where it is available:

GIFT OF MAGIC is out right now and is available either through your local bookseller or any online book site. It’s the third book in a trilogy about Ruith of Ceangail and Sarah of Doíre who are off on a rather difficult quest to clean up the mess Ruith’s late father made of quite a few things. Only what they find at the end of the road is not exactly what they were expecting to
find . . .

Where do you like to write? Is there a specific place that inspires you?

I'm not very picky about place or time. I spend lots of time working in the car while waiting for kids or surreptitiously scribbling notes on pieces of paper I have in the past resorted to borrowing from others when I had nothing with me.

If I were to write in my dream spot, it would be the Washington coast in a beach house with a fire in the fireplace and glorious views available thanks to big picture windows. I suppose I could, if I had to, make do with a cute little bed and breakfast in the Lake District or in a handy car park near any number of castles in the UK.

When/how did you decide you wanted to write for a living?

I had actually planned on being as professional a musician as preferring to be home at night in my pjs would allow, but apparently that wasn't in the master plan. Once I tried my hand at writing, though, I was hooked. I was very blessed to get picked up at just the right time by the right editor at the right publisher. It's been bliss ever since!

What inspired you to write time travel and fantasy romance?

I would have to say it was Constance O'Day-Flannery's books that got me hooked on time travels, and Tolkien who gave me my first love of fantasy. Couple all that with not enough romance in Lord of the Rings to suit me and a completely unhealthy relationship with Mad Magazine in high school and I think you pretty much have all my biggest influences right there. I love a good love story, a good laugh, and things that take me away to another place where anything's possible. Time travel and fantasy fit the bill for both.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

A little of both, probably, but not really wedded to either. I find the longer I do this, the less time I have to spend tossing out entire chunks of books and rewriting them, so I try to have some vague idea of where the story is going before I start. Sometimes I'll just create a big synopsis file and jot down ideas for plot points (which sometimes morphs into entire chapters or big chunks of the book if I get inspired), but the real joy of it all for me is starting with a blank page and just watching the story unfold. I don't think I'm a very good writer (you should see my first drafts--no, on second thought, you really shouldn't!!), but I think I'm an okay rewriter, and I do a LOT of rewriting no matter how detailed my big synopsis files get.

How do you develop your characters?

I always feel a little dorky saying this, but I honestly think they're just there. I don't know if Michaelangelo really said this, but he is credited with saying, "I saw the angel in the marble
and carved until I set him free." I'm hardly in his league, but I completely understand what he's saying. The characters are just there, waiting for me to dig around enough, write them and rewrite them enough until they are on the page how they are on my mental stage. I don't do character interviews, but I will sit down and write and rewrite their backstory until I think I know them well enough to either begin or continue on. Most of that stuff just hits the cutting room floor, but it helps me figure out who they are.

What do you do to keep things new and fresh?

If I manage either, it's from the sheer terror of possibly having every review begin with "it's the same old stuff all over again!" I guess there's a point where you could drive yourself crazy trying to keep everything new and different and original. How many variations can you make of the plot line "boy meets girl, stuff happens, boy gets girl and they live happily ever after?" Throw a little time travel in there and you have my stuff in a nutshell.

The saving grace for me is just the characters and how they linger in my mind. I find that with books that were really memorable for me, it's characters who I can call to mind years later, not the plot. My characters are going to fall in love, stuff is going to happen to keep them apart, there's going to be a resolution, but how that all happens for that particular collection of people
is going to be specific to them. Hopefully that's enough originality to make the books worth reading!

Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?

I love Coco Channel: "How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something, but to be someone."

Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?

I've just now been working (in the car, waiting for a kid, as usual) and in the past twenty minutes I've listened to Corinne Bailey Rae, Vladimir Horowitz, Grieg's piano concerto, the Rachmaninoff Vespers, Taxman (the Beatles), Shining Star (Earth Wind and Fire), Take 5 by some quartet I've never heard of, 5-o'clock-world by Hal Ketchum, some Enya, Duran Duran's title song from The Saint, something by Kurt Elling . . . I listen to a lot of classical just because I love it, but there's no rhyme or reason to it. I don't know why, but I write twice as fast and at least twice as smart when I have some sort of instrumental something going on as background noise. I am currently loving Keira Knightley's Pride and Prejudice.

Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and

(Is my husband going to read this?) Um, Patrick MacLeod would be first on my list--if we were both single, I was a little younger, and didn't have dark circles and bags under my eyes--followed closely by Robert Cameron (same caveats) for the men, Jennifer McKinnon, Sunshine Phillips or Peaches Alexander for the women. I think the person I would least like to have dinner with would be Bentley from A Garden in the Rain. I'd probably push his soup off into his lap.

What's next for you?

I'm finishing up the first book of a new fantasy trilogy right now, then turning to the romance for 2013. I don't think I can give away any details about the characters yet . . . too soon for that!

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?

The most challenging is probably maintaining an uncluttered enough mental space to create easily--let's not talk about an uncluttered physical space! The most rewarding is definitely the emails I get from people who've found something useful in my books. What a gift!

What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?

Early on I got an email from a gal who told me the story of her experience with two of my books. Stardust of Yesterday she had loathed with a white-hot passion and vowed never to read anything I wrote ever, ever, ever again. Fast forward a couple of years, she picks up a book with a cool cover (I think it was This Is All I Ask), starts it, then shoots me a furious email that said, paraphrased, "I was only a couple of pages into it before I realized it was YOU!" Book met wall. I'm imagining there was swearing involved. I was frankly thrilled that someone could pick up my book while obviously forgetting my name yet still be able to recognize my voice. Yippee! It was probably the highest compliment anyone has ever paid me, but I'm pretty sure that wasn't how she meant it! :)

Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?

I loved Elizabeth Peter's Emelia Peabody series, Dorothy Cannell's The Thin Woman, Dick Francis' To The Hilt (well, I own his entire backlist and love them all, but that's my favorite), Anne George's mysteries. John Prebble's Lion in the North is probably my favorite non-fiction historical work. I have an enormous romance and fantasy pile that I’ll get to when I’m not writing either! Right now I'm reading P.G. Wodehouse's Blandings castle series, which I'm liking a little less than the Jeeves books.

What is your favorite color?

Blue. When it's not green.

What is your favorite food?


Who is your favorite author?

Tolkien. He's the master.

Thank you very much, Lynn, for taking the time to do this interview. I know you are a busy woman and fitting me into your schedule means more than you know. I wish you the best and cannot wait to read your next release.

You can find Lynn at

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Since there is nothing so well worth having as friends, never lose a chance to make them." - Francesco Guicciardini

Two years ago this past January I attended my very first Orange County Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. As I said in a blog before, the very first person I met was Christine. A couple weeks after that first meeting, a "Bootcamp" class started. It was my very first experience, outside of the normal OCC RWA meeting I had attended, to sit in a class setting and learn more about the craft of writing. Our first assignment was to bring the pages one through twenty of our manuscript.

So, of course like any green writer, I polished the first twenty pages to the best of my ability, took them in hand and practically skipped the fifteen miles to the hotel where we met. I remember being so proud to show off my amazing work to the published instructor, Shannon Donnelly. But, instead of her reading and critiquing, I soon found out we'd be separated into groups of three and reading our pieces out loud to our peers. I thought "Great! I'll show these ladies what a marvelous writer I am.". The first woman, Julie, read her piece. My confidence waned ever so slightly listening to her speak. Her story telling ability was amazing. I could totally picture what transpired on paper in my mind. When it came to be my turn to read, I grabbed all twenty pages in both of my hands, sat up straight, and began to read aloud.

Four pages in, I started to seriously doubt my earlier beliefs. Julie and Christine's (the other woman) eyes glossed over and they slumped in their chairs. By page ten, I began to receive audible sighs. It didn't help that Shannon would come over from time to time, listen to me receit my story, and scribble notes on the already-read pages. Soon, I no longer believed the beginning of my novel to be a masterpiece, but a masterful mess.

Yet, through it all, I learned a valuable lesson that day. To always be humble, and to admit when I know I need work in whatever area I choose to perfect myself in. As writers, we pour our emotions into our writing. Our stories become a part of us. To open ourselves up for criticism, even constructive, is a hard pill to swallow.

Over the course of the next six months, I attended this class six times. I typed pages upon pages of notes. When I was called upon in class for participation, I was determined not to let my emotions overrule sound reasoning. Looking back, the expierence was just what I needed in order to become a successful as an author.

I learned that when one person disagrees with me on something, I look at it as advice. When two people disagree with me, I need to look it over. When three people disagree, it is time for serious attention to the problem at hand. I recite this logic to myself every time I have someone critique my work. Without it, I wouldn't be the writer I am today.

This coming up Saturday is our monthly OCC RWA meeting. I'm looking forward to meeting with some girlfriends I met at OCC before the meeting starts for some good breakfast. I'm thankful to the organization in more ways than one.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Interview with author Christine Rice

ERIN: Welcome to Ramblings of a Writer, Christine. Will you share a little bit about yourself?Christine: Absolutely. I’m the author of three books: Poetry for the Heart, Essays for the Soul, and My Not-So-Ordinary Life. I’ve been a published writer and author since 2007 and I’ve been a freelance writer and editor since 2011.

ERIN: Tell me about My Not-So-Ordinary Life ( and where it's available.

Christine: My Not-So-Ordinary Life is an autobiography of my life up to age 28. It tells my story of growing up in a small town with only the desire for happiness and independence, and after discovering who I was, and struggling through adolescence, I finally chose a healthy and wholesome life, and decided to further my education so that I could pursue my dream of becoming a writer. It is available at the Apple iBookstore, the Nook Bookstore, Amazon (Kindle), Lulu, and Smashwords.

ERIN: Where do you like to write? Is there a specific place that inspires you?
Christine: Just recently I converted a spare bedroom into an office, and that is where I do most of my writing. I write on the computer at my desk, and I get a lot accomplished, because I have lots of privacy and quiet, which I like. I also have a bookshelf in my office with all of my favorite books, and a bed in the corner where I can comfortably read and do research.

ERIN: When/how did you decide you wanted to write for a living?
Christine: In 2005, I read The Weight Loss Diaries by Courtney Rubin, who is a journalist for Shape magazine. The book is a collection of articles from her column in which she writes about her yearlong experiences with losing weight and getting fit. I loved the idea of writing about an interest for a career. That was the first time I seriously considered being a writer, and I began pursuing my dream immediately.

ERIN: What do you do to keep things new and fresh?
Christine: My interests change quite often, so I’m always reading about new topics or stories. I incorporate the ideas I get when I read into my writing, so I’ve written about a lot of different topics and a variety of books.

ERIN: Do you have a favorite quote you’’d like to share?
Christine: Yes. “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” – Stephen King, On Writing. For me, it’s not easy making sure I write every day, but it’s easier to do that than to skip days. Because if a day has passed since the last time I’ve written, it is difficult to begin. That is where the quote comes in. So I end up just doing it – sit down and begin writing – and it goes well and I feel great afterwards.

ERIN: What's next for you?
Christine: I’m planning on publishing two books this year – a reference book for freelance writers new to the industry, and a compilation of all my past journal entries. After that, I don’t have a plan as to what’s next, but something always comes up. And I’m sure I’ll be writing about it.

ERIN: What’’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Christine: Editing a book is the most challenging, because it takes a long time and it’s detailed work. The most rewarding part of writing is the completion of each writing session, because I feel good that I completed my purpose for the day; and also, after publication, when I know that people are reading my books and, therefore, are seeing into the depths of my heart.

ERIN: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Christine: For fiction, I like Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. For nonfiction, I like health, psychology, self-help, memoirs, and reference books, and some of my favorite authors are Geneen Roth, Robert Bly, Mary Pipher, and Anne Lamott. I’m currently reading The Indie Journey: Secrets to Writing Success by Scott Nicholson.

Thank you, Christine, for taking the time to do this interview. I really appreciate it. I wish you the best in publishing the two books you spoke of, a reference book for freelance writers new to the industry, and a compilation of all your past journal entries. You can find Christine on Twitter. @Christine_Rice