Friday, April 23, 2010

Susan Wiggs and Daughter Team Up to Co-Author a Book

Susan Wiggs and Elizabeth Wiggs Maas

How Planning a Wedding Sparked a Book

After the wedding came….the book with the real story behind the wedding, which will be in stores next January.

Here Susan and Elizabeth share some humorous behind-the-scenes stories and lively banter about the wedding, the book deal and writing together.
Read more......

I remember seeing the wedding photos on Facebook author Susan Wiggs posted a while back. And now, Susan and her daughter Eli

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sherryl Woods


With two other careers to her credit before becoming a novelist and four states in which she's lived for extended periods of time, Sherryl Woods has collected friends and memories, along with way too much unnecessary junk.

"The friends are the only things I've brought with me through the years that really matter," she says. "I could probably live without one more chintz teacup, another tin-litho sandpail or another snowglobe, but I need those friends."

The theme of enduring friendships and families is always central to Sherryl's books, including her latest Chesapeake Shores series — THE INN AT EAGLE POINT, FLOWERS ON MAIN and HARBOR LIGHTS.

Author of more than 100 romance and mystery novels, Sherryl Woods grew up in Virginia. Over the years she had lived in Ohio and Florida, as well as California. Currently she divides her time between Key Biscayne, Florida and Colonial Beach, Virginia, the small, river-front town where she spent her childhood summers.

A graduate of Ohio State University School of Journalism, Sherryl spent more than ten years as a journalist, most of them as a television critic for newspapers in Ohio and Florida. For several years she also coordinated a motivational program for the more than 8,000 employees at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

Her first book, RESTORING LOVE, was published in 1982 by Dell Candlelight Ecstasy under the pseudonym of Suzanne Sherrill. Her second book, SAND CASTLES, under the pseudonym of Alexandra Kirk, was published later that same year by Bantam. She began using her own name when she moved to the Second Chance at Love line at Berkley Publishing. In 1986, she began writing full-time and also began her long career at Silhouette Books with the Desire title NOT AT EIGHT, DARLING, set in the world of television which she covered for so many years.

In addition to her more than 75 romances for Silhouette Desire and Special Edition, she has written thirteen mysteries — nine in the Amanda Roberts series and four in the Molly DeWitt series.

When she's not writing or reading, Sherryl loves to garden, though she's not at her best on a riding lawn mower. She also loves tennis, theater, and ballet, even though her top spin has long since vanished, she's never set foot on a stage, and she's way too uncoordinated to dance. She also loves baseball and claims anyone who's ever seen Kevin Costner in "Bull Durham" can understand why.

Sherryl, thanks for stopping by Romance Author Buzz to talk about your latest release, Home in Carolina.

Is there a back story to Home in Carolina? Can you tell us about the Sweet Magnolias series?

Sherryl: I began the Sweet Magnolias series a few years back with a trilogy about three women who've been lifelong friends in a small South Carolina town. I loved the way these women interacted and supported each other and readers seemed to relate to them, too. I added a fourth story after that, but readers continued to plead for a story about Ty Townsend and Annie Sullivan, who were barely teenagers in the second book, A Slice of Heaven. I told everyone they were way too young to have a story of their own. Now they've been out in the world and lived a little and, in Ty's case, made some monumental mistakes. So, their book, Home in Carolina, is a story about reconciliation and forgiveness. Two other women in the next generation of Sweet Magnolias will be featured in Sweet Tea at Sunrise and in Honeysuckle Summer in May and June. And, of course, all the old familiar faces will be around as well with a couple of surprising twists.

Do you plot your stories or let your characters lead you.

Sherryl: I have to do some plotting just because of the way I write my proposals for my editor, but believe me, it's a pretty loose, short-story version of the book. Then I just sit down and fill in the many huge gaps.

How long have you been writing and what was your call story?

Sherryl: I started writing back in 1980 after quitting my newspaper job, and sold my first books fairly quickly. The first two, in fact, came out in 1982. Believe it or not, I never really anticipated writing novels. I loved journalism, but I think that trained me to look for stories everywhere. Maybe that's why, over 100 books later, I've never really run out of ideas.

What are you currently working on?

Sherryl: Right now I'm deeply involved in next spring's Chesapeake Shores trilogy, a follow-up to the three books that were out in 2009 and to A Chesapeake Shores Christmas, which will be out in late September of this year. These are continuations of the stories about the O'Briens, a family that also seems to have struck a chord with readers.

Of all of your characters, do you have a favorite you identify with and why?

Sherryl: I honestly don't. People who know me well say they can find a bit of me in many of my characters, and I try to make each book both better and even more creatively challenging so writing each one stays fresh for me.

What is the best thing about your job as an author? What is the hardest thing?

Sherryl: The absolute best thing is hearing from readers who can relate to something in one of my books or who tell me how much a particular book has helped them through a rough spot in their lives. There's nothing more rewarding about this job.

As for the hardest, it's staying on top of all the business aspects of publishing. I believe in being actively involved in those decisions, even though it would be a whole lot easier to pretend that books succeed through sheer magic.

Describe a day in the life of Sherryl Woods.

Sherryl: I live in two different cities, so my days vary a bit depending on where I am. In Miami, I'm at the gym in my building by 5:30 a.m. a few days a week (hating every minute of it, by the way), at breakfast with friends by 6:30, back home at 7:30 answering emails and then writing until I hit my page quote for the day -- anywhere from 10 to 15 pages, depending on where I am in the manuscript. In the afternoon I do all the business related stuff.

In Virginia I have breakfast, try to fit in a bit of gardening, then pick up my day with emails and writing on the same schedule as Miami.

What is something you definitely want readers to know about you?

Sherryl: That scenery counts. I have to be by the sea, whether it's the Atlantic I can see from my balcony in Florida or the Potomac River across the road from my house in Virginia. I actually visited a cousin in North Carolina on my way north last week and fell in love with her house and her neighborhood, but there wasn't a speck of water in sight, at least not the kind I'm used to. I couldn't imagine being content without the sound of waves to lull me to sleep.

When the time comes for you to retire from writing, what would you like your readers to remember the most about you and your writing?

Sherryl: That I always tried to write stories about real women encountering real problems and not just surviving, but triumphing.

What are you currently reading?

Sherryl: The Summer Hideaway by Susan Wiggs.

Before I let you go is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know?

Sherryl: That if they happen to know Trace Atkins or Rafael Nadal, I'd like an introduction! Of course, Nadal, who for a few blissful moments was seated just a few rows behind me at the Sony-Ericsson tournament watching the Roger Federer match, is young enough to be my son...okay, grandson...but he has the best smile on the tennis circuit. As for Trace, hey, I'm not immune to those bad boys, either.

Sherryl, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me!

For a list of Sherry'ls currect books, check it out here.

To purchase Sherryl's books, they can be found at EHarlequin

To win a copy of one of Sherryl's books, stop over on her Facebook page and tell her you read her interview on Romance Author Buzz and come back here and post your contact email.
Contest Ends May 15th.

Florida Authors Talk About Romance

My dear friend Rocki St. Claire recently appeared in this video and article, along with other romance authors.

Romance writers don't need your literary honors, your manly techno-thrillers or your respect.

They already generate more revenue than any other genre, please millions of readers with escapism in hard times, and are fine knowing that book covers featuring naked torsos sell quite well, thank you.

"I'm college-educated. I can read anything I want," says Roxanne St. Claire, a Satellite Beach author who's won a Rita, the romance equivalent of an Oscar, and who just turned in her 27th book for publication.

"I choose to read what is going to make me feel good, feel empowered and feel happy at the end of it, a 'romance' novel where the story is about a woman generally beating the odds, overcoming something, becoming a better person by the end of the book. And they're not a better person because they found love. They found love because they're a better person

Rest of the article here

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

E-Interview with Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery is a New York Times bestselling author and has written well over one hundred romance novels. Her most recent series to date is the Lone Star Sisters featuring the Titan family, although the Fools Gold series is due out later this year. Susan's most recent standalone novel is High-powered, Hot-blooded in which a grouchy CEO in need of a public perception change asks a kindergarten teacher to play his pretend mistress. Feel free to visit her website or follow her on twitter. Take a nosey at Susan's site! It's bursting with lists of all her books and other goodies, and sign up for the newsletter because you'll get to read short stories and certain excerpts that others don't have access to.

Fans of contemporary romance novels featuring funny heroes and heroines (and goshness knows that's me!) look no further! Don't forget that you can check out our booklists, one highlighting all of the Susan Mallery titles we hold in Manukau Libraries, and the other recommending similar authors/titles.

1. Why romance writing in particular?

I’ve always loved reading romance novels, so writing them was a natural fit for me. How great is my job? Time and again, I get to relive that zing of attraction. Nothing is more exciting than the first steps into love… or more terrifying. As readers, we have a comfort level knowing that the ending is going to be happy, but the characters don’t know that at all. They can feel themselves falling, and they have no idea whether they’ll have a safe landing or end up crushed. As a writer, I can’t imagine anything more fun than that.

2. Do you prefer a ‘happy ever after’ ending or a ‘happy for now’ ending?

Both can be lovely, but I write about characters who, by the end of the book, are in it for the long haul. They are in love and committed to each other. My readers can close the book with a satisfied smile, knowing those characters have found their partner for life.

3. Do you get recognized while out and about in public?

Only if I’m at a book fair or writer’s conference. And thank goodness for that! I have never wanted the kind of fame that comes with instant recognition.

4. How often do you get fan mail?

At least a few emails every day, and I love it! I respond to every email personally, usually within a week. If I’m on deadline, it might take me a bit longer. It means the world to me to hear from readers who have enjoyed my books. Often, their letters move me to tears, as they tell me how the stories helped them weather a storm in their life. At other times, they make me laugh as they tell me a particularly embarrassing story of why they relate so well to a certain character. Readers can write to me via my website,

5. What can you tell us about your next book?

Next year, I’ll introduce a new series set in the California wine country town of Fool’s Gold, and I’m really excited about it. Fool’s Gold is a fabulous tourist town known for its festivals and parades, its quaint architecture, and its incredible mountain lake scenery. In the first book in the series, CHASING PERFECT, Charity Jones comes to town as the new City Planner. Only after she arrives does she discover that she’s been hired primarily to attract men to town. Fool’s Gold, it seems, is suffering from a shortage of men… and no one knows why.

CHASING PERFECT will be released in the States in May of 2010. The New Zealand release should follow shortly thereafter. Keep an eye on for more information, or join the free Members Only area at my website,, to get an email when the books are released.

6. What freedom does your writing career bring?

Writing does bring a significant amount of freedom, but it comes with an absolute requirement for self-discipline. If I need to go shopping in the middle of the day, I can hop in the car and go. I don’t have to answer to a boss for every minute of my day, and I’m very grateful for that. However, the words don’t write themselves. I approach writing very much as I would a regular job, in that I go to my office every day and work until the day’s pages are complete. Sometimes that means working overtime.

7. Do you belong to your public library and, if so how often do you visit or, if not why not? (Sorry, I work for a public library and am always curious about the library habits of authors).

I love libraries! I’ve moved frequently because of my husband’s career, and one of the first things I do when arriving in a new city is to join the public library. I could make a beautiful collage with all my library cards. I visit the library once or twice a month, on average.

8. Do you read Harlequin Mills & Boon novels?

Absolutely! Here in the States, we don’t call them Mills & Boon. The books are published as Harlequins or Silhouettes. I write for two of the Silhouette lines, Silhouette Special Edition and Silhouette Desire. I love these shorter books where 100% of the focus is on the love story.

9. How much of your work is inspiration and how much is discipline?

It is definitely a mixture, although it’s hard to quantify. Ideas come pretty naturally to me. Stories are everywhere. I get inspired by snippets of overheard conversations, songs on the radio, articles in the newspaper. There’s just something in my brain that is frequently sparked with story ideas. The real trick, then, is to turn that spark into a story that can sustain a 400-page book. That’s where the discipline comes in.

10. I’ve often read that authors are better for writing what they know – is this a maxim you write by? And, if so, what unusual things have you had to do to keep to this rule/ideal?

Yes, I do believe you should write what you know, but I don’t think that means you should write what you already know. I think it means that you should put due diligence into research and make sure that you learn what you need to know in order to be accurate. For example, in my most recent series, Lone Star Sisters, the hero of the second book, LIP SERVICE, was a wounded war vet. Mitch lost part of his leg in Afghanistan. In order to do service to the soldiers who make such sacrifices for us, I had to make sure that I got the details right. I read everything I could get my hands on, and I connected online with some wounded vets who were generous enough to share their experiences with me. I’ve gotten a lot of very moving mail about this book.

11. Do you read romance novels in public?

Yes, yes, yes! I’m never without a book, and it’s almost always a romance. At the doctor’s office, at the airport… I always have at least one book in my purse. If I’m traveling or if I’m nearing the end of the book, I’ll have a back-up.

12. What was the last movie/dvd you watched?

My husband and I watched Love Actually last night, the start of our annual Christmas movie tradition to get into the spirit of the season.

Note: When I emailed Susan asking if I could con her into answering some questions it was just short of the Christmas holidays, hence question 12 relating to the 'spirit of the season.'

Monday, April 05, 2010

April Spotlight - Lisa Jackson Q & A and Contest

Welcome Lisa Jackson to Romance Author Buzz.

Lisa, I’ve heard WITHOUT MERCY is different than your other novels? In what ways?

I like to think all of my books are different, but I know what you’re saying— WITHOUT MERCY is only the third of my contemporary thrillers to be set in the Pacific Northwest and, since that’s actually home, people have been a bit surprised. WITHOUT MERCY is also about teens, so there’s a lot of adolescent issues to deal with. It should appeal to readers just out of their teens. Also, I’ve loved writing about Reuben Montoya, Rick Bentz, Kristy Bentz and the other New Orleans characters and they’ve kept me hopping. Stories just keep springing up around them. I think another “difference” is the introduction of new protagonists, Jules Farentino, her sister Shaylee Stillman and Cooper Trent. Except for the Montana set LEFT TO DIE and CHOSEN TO DIE with Detectives Selena Alvarez and Regan Pescoli, they’re my first new protagonists in a few years.

So, why did you set this book close to home?

I wanted somewhere rugged to set Blue Rock Academy. It’s an elite boarding school for troubled teens. It needed to be a place that was hard to get to and hard to leave. That would also be a way to provide the isolation I wanted for the characters at a pivotal point when a blizzard hits. I love the mountains. I knew they’d be a perfect setting and then I thought of the gorgeious Siskiyou Mountains on the Oregon-California border.

How does Blue Rock Academy fit into WITHOUT MERCY?

Blue Rock and the many acres that make up the school are the setting for almost the entire book. In some ways it plays as important a role as a character in that it reflects much of what happens in the book. There’s a spiritual side. Physically, the weather in the Siskiyous is so varied it could reflect calm or turmoil in the plot. There are some rather daunting hallways and off-limits rooms, and parts of it are very spread out. It’s definitely a place where secrets can be hidden. In some ways locations at Blue Rock ended up reflecting people in the book to some extent. For example, the stables are the domain of a volatile, unforgiving character and much of what takes place there reflects that.

What else can you tell us about the story?

The story begins with Jules Farantino finding out her half-sister, Shaylee, is being sent to the school—it’s there or juvenile detention. A student at Blue Rock has already gone missing and her disappearance has never been solved. Jules, already concerned, becomes more so when Shaylee starts sharing rumors and reporting a student’s death—murder or suicide. Jules freaks and goes “undercover” as a teacher, determined to find out what is really happening. She doesn’t know what to expect but it isn’t to find former lover, Trent Cooper, on staff, another student missing, and an extremely lukewarm reception from others on the staff.

Your novels don’t pull any punches in sharing the violence with which you killers murder their victims. And at any point one of your “heroes” may have to kill to save his or her life. How about you? Do you think you could kill if you had to?

Back awhile, I was in Alaska for Bouchercon on a panel called “Hot Seat.” That was the first question. I thought “no way—are you crazy?” Even in a fight or flight situation, I’d choose flight first every time. Then I changed my mind. I thought about my kids. Then I knew—I had absolutely no doubt that I would kill to protect them if should they ever be threatened.

Why do you think readers come back again and again to your thrillers—to stories of serial killers and pursuit of them in general?

I think readers who enjoy suspense and “serial killer thrillers” choose the type of book for many reasons, but I think the books and authors they read based on what makes all fiction distinctive—the writer’s voice, the way characters are developed (or not), settings they are attracted to, and the complexity of the plot and sub-plots for example. Essentially, I think the readers who come back to my books enjoy the edginess of the plot, the level of suspense, many of the characters I’ve created and how the lives of those characters are explored as the pursuit of the killer unfolds.

What’s next?

Thanks for asking. This August will see the release of RUNNING SCARED in mass market. It’s a major reworking of my book WISHES, published in 1999 with a lot of suspense added. Early next year we have the mass market reprint of WITHOUT MERCY, and the paperback original WICKED LIES, the second collaborative effort between me and my sister Nancy Bush following the national bestseller WICKED GAME. This time next year my next hardcover, DEVIOUS will come out and it’s going to take us back to New Orleans!

On a personal note, last October I had the priviledge of hearing Lisa speak at the Emerald City Writer's Conference here in Seattle. Talk about a talented lady, so much fun, entertaining and the most amazing personality!

To find out about Lisa's latest release Without Mercy, more here.

Ever since her father was stabbed to death in a home invasion, Julia “Jules” Farentino has been plagued by nightmares. Her half-sister, Shaylee, now seventeen, has had her own difficulties since the tragedy, earning a rap sheet for drug use, theft, and vandalism. Still, when Jules learns of her mother’s decision to send Shay to an elite boarding school in Oregon, she’s skeptical. Blue Rock Academy has a reputation for turning wayward kids around — but one of its students went missing a few months earlier and her body has never been found.

On impulse, Jules applies for a teaching job at the Academy. Shortly before Jules arrives, a student is found hanged, another near death, and a hysterical Shay believes it’s murder. Then another girl is found dead. There’s no doubt something sinister is at hand. And Jules has become the next target of a blood thirsty killer without limits, without remorse, without mercy…

For a chance to win Without Mercy, become a fan on Lisa'a Facebook Page, come back here and post your email address and let me know you're a fan. Contest ends April 30th.

Lisa was recently interviewed by a local TV station in her area. Here's the interview.

Mind & Meaning: Why Mills & Boon still make the ladies swoon

Irish Independent, April 5, 2010
By Patricia Casey

Monday April 05 2010

When she saw me browsing over a Mills & Boon, my mother firmly warned me that I mustn't read such trash. Her stark prediction that no good would come of it has had a lasting impact on me.

I still don't know if she worried that the allure of a handsome and rich husband would entice me into an early and doomed marriage or whether she felt the gripping stories of romance and undying love would be so distracting as to thwart my ambition to become a doctor.

Rest of the article

I highly respect author Trish Wylie and here is her response to the above article. You go girl!


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