Thursday, January 17, 2019

An Interview with Curtis A. Cooper

Good morning readers! Today, I am pleased to be interviewing my friend and fellow eXtasy Books author, Curtis A. Cooper, who wrote the Heart Series. The third book in the trilogy, "Character of the Heart" was released on January 11, 2019, and it looks like it's an amazing read.

You can purchase "Straight from the Heart", "Back to the Heart", "Character of the Heart", and other books written by Curtis at his eXtasy Books profile page: https://www.extasybooks.com/curtis-a-cooper/



Enjoy!

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1. Who are your influences as an author? 

CC: First, I want to thank you for your interest in me, VJ. I don’t get the chance to open up too often. As for my influences? I don’t think I have an influence, per se. When I started writing, I planned on one book. I developed a story line and started writing. I talked the conversation parts through my head as though I was listening to the conversation. I guess I’ve seen enough movies that dialogue sounds choppy. I never wanted mine to be like that. I needed to make sure they flowed smoothly. And because of the story I chose to write, it made me learn the value of research. I liked taking what I learned and putting it all together like an elaborate puzzle.

2. Have you ever done a search on Google for yourself as an author? 

CC: Definitely. I wanted to see where I was located on the internet and how I was able to be found.

3. How do you select the names of your characters? 

CC: A lot of my characters are names of my family. I did one book sort of alphabetically like first name A and last name Z. Well, not Z. But close to the end. Mainly, I just pull them out of the air. That can make for issues on its own. And thank goodness for editing. Once I finished a book of mine, I printed the whole thing out and went from start to finish editing. Half-way through, I found I’d changed the name of one of my characters.

4. How long does it take for you to write the first draft of a book on average? 

CC: That’s hard to put a good number to, the way I write. I would say it takes roughly a week for me to write a chapter. But then I type it, print it, edit it, and then send it off to my writer’s group for their chance to find errors and make recommendations. So, it takes me roughly 8 months to write a novel using those steps.

5. Which area of writing do you think you could improve the most? 

CC: Scenery details. No one does dialogue better than me, but mentioning surroundings definitely needs improvement.

6. What do you consider the easiest aspect of writing for you? 

CC: I really don’t find anything easy, to be honest. And now that I’ve taken up romance as my main genre, it’s that much harder. I know there are lots of people that think romance is Harlequin rubbish. But I’m here to tell you, romance is one of the toughest genres. You can’t shoot through the sky in your rocket or evade the latest monster to evolve in romance. Yes, those aspects could be in the romance novel, but having a creature come at you is much easier to write than having to strip your characters down to their raw emotions and make them not only human, but believable.

7. Which author would you like to write your biography? 

CC: I can’t say I would want my biography written, to be honest. I’ve had a colorful life, but I would leave much out as I thought about who would be reading it.

8. Would you ever write someone's biography? If so, whose? 

CC: I’ve never really wanted to attempt non-fiction. Granted, some of those who have biographies written are excellent examples of fiction.

9. What was your inspiration for writing the Heart series? 

CC: I was writing my fourth book and got bogged down in what some might consider writer’s block, but in reality, there were barriers placed in front of me that took longer to get around at times. One night, I’d thought of an idea for a “what if” love story about 2 characters that should be so different that they could not come together. I talked to a friend about it and came up with a few other challenges that would fit the scenario. Suddenly, I was flooded with ideas and it didn’t take me long to drop the novel I was working on and start this story. Straight from the Heart was born. When I got back reviews on the story, some of those reviews prompted me to write a second. I wrote the third because I didn’t believe a series was only 2 stories. Incidentally, all the titles of my Heart series have double meanings in them.

10. Why did you choose romance, instead of another genre? 

CC: I’d say I didn’t choose romance. It chose me. I told myself way back, that I would never write in this genre. Now, I have three novels, two short stories, two novels with romantic overtones, and I’m working on a mystery/romance. I believe the feeling I got from readers of my first true romance won me over. Even with the subject matter I chose, I didn’t lose any readers. I gained several, though.

Thank you for your time, VJ. If you or any of your audience wishes to see my works, I can be found at http://curtisacooper.com Thank you all for your time.

THANK YOU for being here, Curtis! I hope to have you again in the future!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Cooking!

Yes, I have been cooking lately, healthier things for myself. I really went off course with eating right over the holidays, so I decided to stick to a very strict regime of eating right and no junk food, not even in moderation. Whole grains, no more than 50 carbs per meal, 10 carbs in a snack, lots of liquids - coffee does count as a liquid, right? - and no added sugar, sugar alcohols or anything that may up the glucose or the A1C glucose. Very little processed foods, they have a lot of added sugars, salt, and other things that will mess with a person's system. Whole foods are best. I work from home, so I can take the extra time to prepare healthy meals, and if I can purchase locally grown and raised foods, I will. 

I'm 12 days in to it, and I'm feeling a lot better. My mind is much clearer, and although I would love a bowl of my favorite cheese chips once in a while, I can't do it. It's either all or nothing. I admit I will treat myself to a diabetic friendly dessert once in a while - I have a few amazing recipes thanks to various diabetes sites and friends who do low carb! - or even a mug of sugar free hot chocolate (cocoa, milk, sweetener and real cream), but nothing that will make my glucose or weight go skyward. 

THANK YOU to my husband... Although he is still purchasing junk food for himself, he is buying stuff I do NOT like, which means I will not want any. Brilliant on his part. I didn't even ask him to do it. He's a wonderful man, I'm so lucky to be his wife...

It's been so cold the last few days, so I'm not walking outside at the moment. The cold and the wind make my trigeminal neuralgia go bonkers, which means I'm in constant agony while outside. I've been using the stairs in our house as an exercise machine. Walking up and down them a few times in a row burns a few calories, and helps my body's endurance. They're there, they are free to use, and I can do it at any time of day or night. Why not? Plus, I haven't felt like going to the track, which I should be doing too... So the stairs is a good compromise.

Writing wise, there's been a few changes...

Work on "Something About Alexis" is done until further notice. For the time being, I will not be posting public updates. For updates on it, you must join ROMANCING THE MARITIMES

Work on the unnamed MSIP continues. I've hit a few snags, but I'm hoping to get this latest one untangled soon. I have an idea of where to go with it, thanks to my longtime pal and fellow eXtasy Author, Maggie Blackbird, so with a little luck, I'll be zipping along in that one in no time. 

That's all for now... I leave you with "Right Through You" by Alanis Morissette.  

"You scan the credits for your name, and wonder why it's not there..."

Have a great day everyone!


Thursday, January 10, 2019

I've Been Interviewed!

My dear friend and fellow eXtasy Books author Denise N. Wheatley asked me to make an appearance on her blog, and it went live today!

I'm the one in the hot seat this time, Denise asks me questions about my writing process and other things that have happened to me on my journey to be published.

Check it out HERE: Denise Wheatley Interviews VJ Allison

Thank you so much for having me, Denise! That was a lot of fun, and it gave me a lot of insight to my own work and how a lot of what I do is similar or different to others out there.

Much love! ♥


Friday, January 4, 2019

INFAMY by Seelie Kay

Good morning everyone! Today, I'm hosting fellow EXtasy Books author, Seelie Kay, author of the Kinky Briefs series among other amazing reads.

Her latest book, "Infamy", hits the shelves today, it's Book 2 of her Feisty Lawyers series, and it looks like it's a good one. 

Congrats Seelie, I wish you continued success!

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PROMO SHEET:  Infamy by Seelie Kay
Release Date: Jan. 4, 2019
Publisher: Extasy Books
Romantic Suspense, three flames

An Interview with Seelie Kay:

Q.  Why do you write romance?


Q.  Do you prefer a certain type of romantic hero?

I adore smart, dashing gentlemen who aren’t afraid to live on the edge. They can be a bad boy, a billionaire, a prince, or a secret agent. That hint of danger just hooks me! However, I also love strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want, even love.

Q.  Why did you write “Infamy?”

The characters featured in this story—Sheikh Harun Ali and his wife, Marianne Benson--are both lawyers who focus on international law and their practice is devoted to compensating the victims of terrorism. So I was looking for a new hook, something on the horizon that could pose a serious threat to the world and in particular, the United States. I found it in an article on advances in “cloaking” technology or making planes disappear. For years, we have had stealth planes that do not appear on radar, but can be seen in the air if anyone is looking. I wanted to take that a step further: What if someone created a means to actually cloak a plane and hide it from everyone’s view? What if that technology fell into the hands of terrorists? And “Infamy” was born.

Q.   How does your former profession as a lawyer impact your writing?

After 30 years, the law and the legal world are so firmly embedded in my brain that I can’t flush them out. That has become the lens through which I view the world and that naturally guides my characters and plots. Little peculiarities that I have witnessed in lawyers and the law always work their way into my stories.

Q.   Any plans to write outside the romance genre completely?

Actually, I ghostwrite non-fiction for other professionals—doctors, lawyers, financial gurus—so I dip my toes into a lot of different genres. However, I have been itching to write a book about a relative who founded a religious cult. I researched it for years and found a lot of information that had been buried. I have a pile of paper a foot high. Someday, I need to go through it carefully and start writing. I have the interest, just not the time.



Blurb:
Infamy. An evil or wicked act. Terrorists bent on revenge have found a way to make planes disappear from the sky, without a trace. And when one winds up buried in a Wisconsin cornfield, it’s a race against time to rescue the passengers from certain death.

When international law attorney Sheikh Harun Ali is lured to the Amazon and warned of a frightening plot against the United States, he and his wife, Marianne Benson, enlist the assistance of their neighbors, covert agent Cade Matthews and his wife, Constitutional Law Professor Janet MacLachlan. Ultimately, these feisty lawyers are pushed to the wall, desperate to find a plane that has been buried in an unknown cornfield, the passengers still on board. The terrorists’ hatred for the Alis is absolute—the Alis once left their organization bankrupt and broken—but they hate America more. And their fiendish games are just beginning. They are seeking a much bigger prize, one that could destroy a nation and possibly the world. An act that will live in infamy. 

Excerpt:
Cade grasped his water bottle with both hands. “Before his brother died, he said eight words.”
Harun nodded. “They are going to make American planes disappear.”
Dianna’s eyes grew wide.
Anders rubbed a hand over his face, then through his long dark hair. His deep green eyes stared up at the ceiling of the plane. “Fucking hell. Nine-eleven all over again.”
“That is our fear,” Harun said. “However, so many precautionary measures are in place in this country, simply hijacking planes and flying them into buildings is no longer easy. They must have a different plan.”
Cade emitted a heavy sigh. “And that is what we need to figure out. What exactly do those eight words mean? For example, he did not specify that the planes would disappear in America, which could mean that they will disappear abroad or over oceans.”
Anders sat up straight. “And disappear could mean many things. Crash. Hijack. Pull a Malaysia. How many ways can you make a plane disappear?”


Amazon:  coming soon
Smashwords: coming soon

Barnes and Noble: coming soon

About Seelie Kay:


When not spinning her kinky tales, Ms. Kay ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. She resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she shares a home with her son and enjoys opera, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.

Ms. Kay is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Author links:

www.seeliekay.com
www.seeliekay.blogspot.com
Twitter: @SeelieKay https://twitter.com/SeelieKay
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seelie.kay.77
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Seelie-Kay/e/B074RDRWNZ/

Prior Books:

http://www.extasybooks.com/kinky-briefs/
http://www.extasybooks.com/kinky-briefs-too/
http://www.extasybooks.com/kinky-briefs-thrice/
http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1734-5-kinky-briefs-quatro/
http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2023-9-kinky-briefs-cinque/
http://www.extasybooks.com/the-garage-dweller/
http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1504-4-a-touchdown-to-remember/
http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-1795-6-the-presidents-wife/
http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2263-9-snatching-diana/
http://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2032-1-the-presidents-daughter

Coming soon:

Cult (Part Three, Feisty Lawyers): TBD

Seizing Hope (Divorce Divas anthology): TBD

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy 2019!

Happy New Year everyone!

2018 saw a lot of changes in my life, and except for the last three months of it, it was a rough year.


Marnie says "2018 can kiss my fluffy grey pantaloons, Mama!", which sums up how I felt about most of the year.

We all know the horrible things that happened last year in my end of the world, so I'm not going to rehash it. I am still crying over Amber's passing, a lot. She left a huge hole behind, one that Marnie is helping to heal.

2019 is starting off with a bang... A huge one! I am still working on the four projects I've mentioned in other blogs - an unnamed MSIP, a short story, revising a finished draft, and getting "Something About Alexis" ready for submission - and they are priority unless something comes up. Lewen has joined the team of beta readers, which is greatly appreciated. 

I have gotten the first round of critiques for "Something About Alexis" from Sara, and it's not as bad as I thought it would be. A few typos here and there, and a small plot hole that can easily be fixed. I gave everyone the deadline of January 30th to get back to me, so I have a couple of weeks to wait on that one. 

Last night, I did something spontaneous... I started a Facebook Group attached to my author page!

It's called "Romancing the Maritimes", and although it's brand new, I'm starting to get a few people interested in it. Certain things like early excerpts from works in progress, the first sneak peeks at upcoming releases and a few draws will be EXCLUSIVE to members.

You can find Romancing the Maritmes HERE... Thank you for joining everyone! ♥
My goals for 2019 include:

WRITING:

  1. Submit "Something About Alexis", and if I'm lucky, see it published.
  2. Finish the unnamed MSIP.
  3. Finish the short story.
  4. Start a new story.


PERSONAL:

  1. Get back to the track on a regular basis, and go swimming once in a while at the Lifestyle Centre.
  2. Lower my A1C hemoglobin glucose.
  3. Remind myself that it is okay to reject toxic people, no matter who is demanding I talk to them.
  4. Avoid drama at all costs - it makes my neuralgia flare up, and knocks me off the writing mojo.
  5. Stay positive!

Thanks again for sticking with me everyone... Have a fantastic 2019!