By JT Ellison
Via: JT Ellison
I have the distinct honor of hosting Carol Culver today. Carol is good friends with Catherine Coulter, and I met her at an author’s lunch at Catherine place a couple of years ago. She’s a fascinating woman, travels all over the world teaching writing, on cruises, mostly. I am not a cruiser – that whole can’t-swim-to-shore thing freaks me out – but I might be willing to make an exception for my friend. Enjoy your introduction to her wonderful world!
Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?
There’s no music in the room where I work. It’s hard enough to concentrate on those elusive characters and their problems without distraction. So here are the rules: no noise, no talking, no email, and no music.
Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?
A new series about a family of five sisters, which coincidentally resembles my daughter-in-law’s family. She’s delighted, but she hasn’t read it yet.
What’s your latest book about?
The newest book I’m writing is about a woman who gets sucked into being a bridesmaid for the 7th time. This time the wedding takes place on a cruise ship. Sound romantic? Not if you get seasick. But what if the ship’s physician – Dr. McDreamy – prescribes dancing under the stars, plenty of fresh air, and some TLC?
Where do you write, and what tools do you use?
I have a spacious office in my house in a redwood forest. From my window I have an ocean view which inspires me, especially when I see a cruise ship sailing out into the Pacific. Did I mention I love being at sea? I often teach writing classes aboard cruise ships. I’ll be sailing in April to Tahiti and other palm-fringed islands.
What was your favorite book as a child?
I loved the Heidi books, the ones where she lives in the Alps milking cows and eating cheese. It sounded like a wonderful life, once she won over her cold and frightening grandfather. Lots of conflict and a strong and plucky little heroine. Just like I wanted to be.
What book are you reading now?
I plan to read every book by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, the queen of romance novels. Great characters, wonderful settings and to-die-for heroes. I’m currently in the middle of WHAT I DID FOR LOVE.
What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?
Keep writing whether you feel like it or not. What’s that Nora Roberts says? “Put your butt in the chair and some words on the page.” And that means every day. Day after day. Got it?
What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?
What, words flow? You mean like water or wine? Not in my life. I just keep pounding them out.
What would you like to be remembered for?
For making readers smile and even laugh out loud sometimes. It would be great if someone said, “Yes, I get it. That’s just what it feels like.” But I’ll be happy just to finish a new book and publish every few months. It’s the world’s best job. I know because I’ve tried everything else – receptionist, ESL teacher, PR on a hospital ship, French translator and librarian.
Carol Grace is the author of over 40 romance novels for Harlequin, a mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, a YA series for Berkley Jam, a mystery series for Midnight Ink, and two romances for Pocket Books. She lives in California on a mountain overlooking the ocean and she travels the world for work and fun. Next month she’s off to French Polynesia.
And here’s a little more about the latest book Carol just released on April 1, THE BILLIONAIRE’S BRIDE:
Abbie Porter caught her French fiancé cheating on her, then she flunked out of cooking school in Paris. Feeling like a failure Abbie leaves for Bella Vista, her home in California, determined to get a new job but never ever to get married.
When she arrives at her family’s woodsy property she’s met by Jake Crenshaw, the new neighbor and Silicon Valley entrepreneur. It’s love at first sight for the dot-com billionaire who is not only rich, he’s gorgeous, friendly and sexy too.
But Abbie keeps her cool around Jake. She knows better than to fall for the first man she meets after her disastrous affair in Paris. Though Jake invests in her new food truck business, helps drum up business and buys her a puppy, she tells him they can be friends, nothing more. After a few weeks of working together making French crepes in the food truck, and after Jake has repaired the flat tire on her truck and fixed the faulty griddle and eaten every test crepe she creates, she finally falls madly in love. But Jake has to take a business trip which leaves Abbie to run the truck by herself. To her surprise she’s inundated by hungry customers and her food truck is a big success.
Turns out Jake has secretly supported her venture by underwriting the cost of the lunches and sending customers her way. When she finds out she’s furious and determined to make it on her own . . .
Get your own copy of THE BILLIONAIRE’S BRIDE to see how it all turns out!
By email@example.com (Alexandra Sokoloff)
HUNTRESS MOON and BLOOD MOON are Kindle Daily Deals, $1.99 today only on Amazon US!
Both books are still just £1 each on Amazon UK for the entire month of April, leading up to the release of Book 3, COLD MOON. Fantastic deals – please share!
Pre-order on Amazon UK
Pre-order on Amazon US
Via: Alexandra Sokoloff
So, HOC fans – what do YOU think? I’d love to be told off on this one!
If you’re in the UK – Amazon.uk has dropped the price of HUNTRESS MOON and BLOOD MOON to just £1 each for the entire month of April, leading up to the release of Book 3, COLD MOON. Fantastic deal!
(And yes, that’s a sneak peek at the COLD MOON cover – not finished, yet!)
Buy on Amazon UK £1.00 Buy on Amazon UK £1.00
Buy on Amazon US: $3.99 Buy on Amazon US: $3.99
I’m beyond thrilled to have my friend and very first editor Bryon Quertermous on the blog today. Bryon gave me my first break – accepting a short story I wrote for Demolition Magazine’s “Women of Crime Fiction” issue. That story was X – a title of his own choosing which was much better than my original – and I’ve always been indebted to him for taking a chance on a complete newbie. Now’s my chance to return the favor. Bryon’s debut novel, MURDER BOY, came out last week, and it’s burning up the charts, which isn’t a surprise to any of us who know him. Here’s what I thought about the book:
“Rough and raw and fast and furious and genuinely funny, with a dizzying array of villains and a hefty dose of madcap adventure, Bryon Quertermous’s love letter to the crime fiction genre, MURDER BOY, is an awesome debut from a talented, assured voice. MURDER BOY is a winner.”
As for what I think about Q? He’s a great guy, with a cool family, and a VERY twisted mind. So without further ado, may I present Bryon!
“Smoking Gun” by Robert Cray. I love this song so much and it NEVER comes up in shuffle. Must be my lucky day today.
Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?
I’ve got some freelance editing projects I’m trying to wrap up so I can put more effort into finishing the second book on my contract (man, that is fun to write) called RIOT LOAD. On the surface the book is about a sperm bank robbery and a writer trying on a new career as a private detective, but at its core it’s about adjusting to fatherhood and dealing with real life after that one big dream in your life comes true. I’m very excited about the book but just last night realized I was attacking it in completely the wrong way and had to go back and rewrite a big chunk of the beginning. Oops.
It’s called MURDER BOY and it’s about a writer named Dominick Prince, a student in a Detroit creative writing program who has wasted a lot of great opportunities in his life but is determined not to waste his latest opportunity for a chance to live and write in New York City. The only thing standing in his way is his elitist thesis advisor who refuses to sign off on his final project because he thinks crime fiction is beneath a good writer. So, like any normal person would do, Dominick hires a bounty hunter to kidnap the professor and things go very, very wrong. But, as with the other book I mentioned, what it’s really about is my own struggle with writing and wasted opportunities and failure to reach my stated life goals in an appropriate time frame.
I have three little kids and a day job so I write anywhere I can. I like coffee shops and the McDonalds in town, as well as dive diners and book store cafés. My main tool is a laptop and that’s all I really need. I have an awesome little MacBook Air that works like a dream and also has software on it called Freedom that shuts me off from the internet so I can actual get stuff done. Though I do have to put an asterisk on this because I sat on the final draft of MURDER BOY for almost a year absolutely unable to figure out how to end it. But one cold fall day in an Arby’s in suburban Milwaukee, I grabbed a stick pen and a composition notebook and started writing by hand and was finally able to work out the ending. I enjoyed the experience and may try it again if (when) I get stuck again.
I read so fast and so varied that I never really had a favorite book. The first book I really remember speaking to me though was when I read THE OUTSIDERS in junior high. It was such a great book and hit me at just the right time that it really stuck with me.
I’m reading Lou Berney’s new one THE LONG AND FARAWAY GONE. It’s really amazing. I love it because Lou started like me by writing two fun caper style crime novels and I can only hope to eventually write a big book that’s even half as great as this one is. Everyone should go buy it RIGHT NOW.
Write 1,000 words a day. This seems to be pretty divisive writing advice and I know it won’t work for everyone, but for me, it makes all the difference. I need to be working on the book every day for everything to work right with it. When I start skipping days and only putting in minimal effort is when things start going poorly. Writing 1,000 words is enough to keep the pages piling up at a steady clip but isn’t so taxing mentally as to undercut the effort.
If I haven’t been writing regularly, I’ll force myself to do my 1k every single day whether the words are good or not, and it usually only takes a day or two to clear the cobwebs. If I have been writing regularly and find the words suddenly go quiet, I read through the book to figure out where I went wrong. Writer’s block, for me at least, is almost always the result of a stupid decision I made somewhere in the book that took it in a direction it had no business going in.
I know I’m supposed to say my family and all of that, and it’s really true I hope I leave a legacy of great kids who change the world and are great people and good citizens. But I can’t shake the desire to be legendary. I want to be remembered as a writer who pushed the genre in a new direction or did something new with an old form.
Bryon Quertermous is the author of the novel MURDER BOY and the forthcoming RIOT LOAD. His short stories have appeared in PLOTS WITH GUNS, THUGLIT, and CRIME FACTORY, among others, and in the anthologies HARDCORE HARDBOILED, THE YEAR’S FINEST CRIME AND MYSTERY STORIES, and UNCAGE ME. He was shortlisted for the Debut Dagger Award from the UK Crime Writers Association. He currently lives outside of Detroit with his wife and kids.
And here’s a little more about MURDER BOY, now available wherever books are sold!
Dominick Prince is out of options. He’s lived in Detroit long enough to use his experiences of crime and poverty to fuel his writing, but he’s ready to move on to bigger and better things. Dominick’s thesis advisor, the elitist Parker Farmington, refuses to let Dominick pass his class, thinking the genre of potboilers beneath him. Which means rather than becoming the next literary sensation, Dominick will spend his life asking customers if they’d like fries with that. And if that’s the only plan, kidnapping doesn’t seem like such a bad plan B.
So if Farmington won’t pass him willfully, Dominick will make him do it forcefully. And once he has Farmington’s signature, fame and fortune are within Dominick’s grasp. But while Dominick may have a devious and brilliant mind on the page, in reality he’s more Betty White than Walter White. And before he can write ‘the plot thickens,’ Dominick’s plan begins to go horribly wrong. Teaming with Farmington’s jilted mistress and her loose-cannon bounty hunter brother, Dominick finds that if even the best laid plans go awry, then his doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. And being a great writer won’t matter much if he’s six feet under.
I have a surprise for you! I’m involved in another EPIC anthology project. This is WAY more than just stories — it’s stories from local Tennessee authors, songs based on those stories, and artwork based on them both. I’ve been dying to share this incredible project with you — and here it is. If you’re in Nashville, this is an absolute MUST literary/songwriting/art event. Happily, anyone interested in Nashville will have access to this one-of-a-kind anthology.
My contribution is a never-before-seen, greatly expanded version of a short story I wrote called THE NUMBER OF MAN. It’s a love story, of sorts. With a twist. A very twisted twist.
Read on for lots more information, and a great opportunity to participate in this truly unique anthology.
On Monday, June 15th, 2015, East Side Story and the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville will celebrate the release of what could possibly be the most epic creative collaboration of Nashville artists … ever. Titled BASED ON: Words, Notes, and Art from Nashville, the project is a special collection of short stories, songs, and visual art prints which are all inspired by one another and blended together into the fold of a single book (cd of the music included). The one-night release concert extravaganza at Belmont’s University’s McAfee Concert Hall performed by a majority of the contributing artists will commemorate the launch of this unique project.
Please find more information about the list of contributors and the release event at the end of this message.
Aside from collecting corporate sponsorships, we are running a limited chance for YOU to individually help with the production of this Nashville project. The first 200 folks who donate $100 will receive an autographed copy of the book/cd, one ticket for admission to the release event, and a receipt for a $50 tax deductible donation.
If you would like to be one of the first 200, please send a check addressed to Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville to:
Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville1900 Belmont Blvd. Nashville, TN 37212
Please include a memo with your check that states: For East Side Story Anthology.
More about this incredible project:
BASED ON: Words, Notes, and Art from Nashville
What: BASED ON: Words, Notes, and Art from Nashville (book/cd & event)
When: June 15th, 2015
Where: Belmont’s McAfee Concert Hall (event), East Side Story and http://www.abcnashville.org (book/cd sales).
Artist Participants from BASED ON:
Authors - Chuck Beard, Paige Crutcher, Tony Earley, JT Ellison, Cary Graham, River Jordan, Ariel Lawhon, Betsy Phillips, RashadthaPoet (Rashad Rayford), Victoria Schwab, Shawn Whitsell, and Tommy Womack. (intro by- Craig Havighurst /afterword by- Robert Hicks)
Musicians - Kyle Andrews, Boom Forest, Carolina Story, Michael B. Hicks, Griffin House, Phil Madeira, David Mead, The Coal Men, The Lower Caves, The Rough and Tumble, Tristen, and Brooke Waggoner.
Visual Artists - Adam Baker, Cory Basil, Carl Carbonell, efharper (Emily Harper Beard), Michael McBride, Barry Noland, Rebecca Sloan, Julie Sola, and Ian White.
What to Expect: The Arts & Business Council is thrilled to join with East Side Story to present Nashville’s first-ever, all-local major collaboration between Nashville musicians, authors, and visual artists. This book/cd and release event will be like none other in town before. It will be hosted by Music City Roots host Craig Havighurst and include various local creative artists, leaders, and more.
How YOU can Help: In order to produce the anthology book/cd and launch a successful release concert June 15th, we are raising a pool of monetary awards for the local sponsors that fit with the project the best and we want you on board! Your generous support will take care of the release event costs and also pay a local copyeditor, printing company, music producer, and recording studio for their services to make the book/cd in Nashville from start to finish. All proceeds from this project will go directly to Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville in order to help them continue to leverage and unite the unique resources of the arts and business communities to create a thriving, sustainable creative culture in Nashville.
By JT Ellison
a Rafflecopter giveaway
In 2014, the boxed set curated by Brenda Novak’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research (title A SWEET LIFE) raised almost $100,000. This year we’re back for a second helping, and you can indulge, too! This fascinating limited edition collection features thirteen brand-new thrillers by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors.
Make a difference while you read! All proceeds from the sale of SWEET DREAMS will be donated to the Diabetes Research Institute via Brenda Novak’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research.
SWEET DREAMS includes stories from acclaimed authors such as:
Allison Brennan / J.T. Ellison / Cynthia Eden /Heather Graham / Liliana Hart / Alex Kava / CJ Lyons / Carla Neggers / Brenda Novak /Theresa Ragan / Erica Spindler / Jo Robertson / Tiffany Snow
PRE-ORDER SWEET DREAMS NOW!Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo