Writer Wednesday: Meet Taryn Noelle Kloeden!

Welcome to Writer Wednesday!

Most weeks I bring you a fellow romance author, usually with one or more books to their name. But occasionally I like to break the pattern and feature someone who writes in a different genre, or someone who is “pre-published” (as I heard it called at a Virginia Romance Writers meeting – isn’t that a great term for authors whose work isn’t quite on the shelves/screen yet?).

I’m thrilled that today it’s my fellow writing friend, Taryn Noelle Kloeden. Taryn and I are members of the Shenandoah Valley Writers critique group, so I’ve gotten to know her and her writing over the last two years. Both are amazing!

So grab that mug of tea or cup of hot cocoa (or maybe a nice iced drink if you’re somewhere hot), and enjoy learning more about Taryn and her upcoming YA epic fantasy release, Hex Breaker

Continue reading Writer Wednesday: Meet Taryn Noelle Kloeden!

It’s Good To Get Off The Interstate, In Life And In Writing…

MountainViewUsually, the monthly Virginia Romance Writers meetings take place in Richmond. To get there, I simply hop on interstates 81 and 64, and two hours later, I’ve arrived. It’s fast. It’s familiar. It’s not particularly relaxing.

This past weekend, the VRW meeting happened in Fredericksburg. Let me tell you, there is no direct interstate route between Harrisonburg and Fredericksburg. Oh, I could take interstates, but it’d actually tack time onto the trip. Instead, I dutifully followed Google and traversed the smaller highways, 33 and 20.

It was heavenly. It was stunning. It was an unexpectedly delightful experience, both coming and going. Continue reading It’s Good To Get Off The Interstate, In Life And In Writing…

Writer Wednesday: Meet Lizzie Leaf!

Lizzie_T__Leaf_pic-smallerWhoa, baby. Can you believe it’s Wednesday again already? Where does the time go? But Wednesday is always a time for celebration around here – not only is it hump day (which really has no meaning to writer who works odd hours, you know), but it’s Writer Wednesday, the day fellow writers grace me with their presence just long enough to spill a few of their secrets (maybe) and chat about their latest release. Fun, fun for everyone.

Romance writer Lizzie T. Leaf is burning up the Writer Wednesday hot seat this week! I’m pretty sure that T. stands for terrific; she’s not only loads of fun to chat with, but she’s also written a number of romances (paranormal, contemporary, and others) for y’all to read. Win, win!

Settle in with that cup of tea (or Diet Coke, or chocolate bar, whatever your poison is) and get to know Lizzie a little better. And if you have chocolate, would you please share some?

What inspires you to write?

The stories playing through my head pushes me to put them on paper. If not, they only get louder. At times when I’m in the middle of one book another pushes its way to the front and demands at least jotting down notes.

The stories have been there since childhood. I spent a lot of time alone on the swing under the Pecan tree swinging and making up friends. Like me, the friends have grown into adults and the stories have changed, but they remain.

What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

NordicHeatThere is more to writing a book than typing the end. Your journey has only started. From those two words you move on to the reality…sending the manuscript out to publishers and agents or making the decision to self-publish.

If self-publishing is the road you travel, then find an editor to catch all the things you can’t see in your baby. I relate an unedited book to…I can’t see the forest for the trees. The mind sees what it thinks should be there not necessarily what is there.

Whatever way the book ends up published, the promoting begins and that is an endless job at which most days I suck. But as you strive to get the word out, there is the next book that needs to be written and needs starting immediately. As the old saying goes…no rest for the wicked, and some days I must be very wicked the way my Muse bugs me.

Name two things people don’t know about you.

I don’t think a lot of people know I’m a Master Gardener. Love gardening and find digging in the dirt a good way to vent my frustrations. When the fruits of labor produce in late spring and summer, there is nothing better than sitting on the patio with my laptop and writing. The buzzing of the bees and songs from the birds stimulate my wee brain.

The other thing most don’t know is I’m a Certified Tour Guide and Tour Director. Though I don’t work the profession I’m always mentally critiquing the guides on travel excursions. Some are really entertaining and information, while others can put me to sleep the way the drone on about a subject.

What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?

I love The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. I fell in love with the epic romance novel then. The Meggie & Ralph experience had me in tears. [SPOILER ALERT] When he dies in her arms at the end, I sobbed. Yeah, you have to love a great angst ridden story!

And now a bit about Lizzie’s latest release: 

DeadAwake_300x450Lizzie T. Leaf books have heat, but humor comes into play too.

DEAD Awake is re-releasing at Decadent Publishing and the pre-sale is on now.

Here’s the story:

Socialite Deb Stein lives a life of luxury until she takes the hunk dressed as a vampire to her bed. When she wakes up one of the living dead, she’s pissed-off. To complicate matters more, she has to find a new identity since everyone thinks she dead. Plus, if she’s dead, she can’t touch her trust fund, and that means she has to work! How can someone who has never held a job find one?

And her social life is in the tank. Her new friends are a street guy called Rat and fellow strippers at the dive where she works. If she ever sees Aaron Lowell again, she’ll put a stake in his heart.

Aaron Lowell feels guilty he took his mentor’s advice and left town after taking the sexy socialite into the undead world. Concerned, he returns to check on her and discovers she’s become a stripper—and not a very happy one when she sees him. But she’s still hot, and he can’t stay away from her, even if their meetings are explosive.

Can two vampires move beyond anger, combined with a strong sexual attraction, to find the kind of love they both crave?

Find it here, and on Amazon Kindle.

Want to connect with Lizzie? Stalk (er, I mean, find) her here:

Website: www.lizzietleaf.com



Like her author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Lizzie-T-Leaf/559039194149272?ref=bookmarks

Thanks so much for joining us, Lizzie!
Have fun with your gardening – I’m staying right here, in my air-conditioned, bug-free living room. Bwah ha ha! 

A Man of Character: One Week In & a Great Big THANK YOU!

A Man of Character Cover Margaret LockeWait, what? It’s been a full week since A Man of Character debuted? I can hardly believe it.

Thank you for the overwhelmingly positive response I’ve received! I’ve shed more than one tear in the last seven days, but luckily they’ve all been happy tears.

Thank you everyone who’s bought the book, everyone who’s reading the book, and to everyone who’s taken the time to leave a review on Amazon or GoodReads.

Y’all rock. 

Here’s a sampling of what I’ve heard this week:

“Mrs. Locke, I just finished your novel, “A Man of Character.” I just wanted you to know that it was one of the best books that I have read this year. I look forward to reading Eliza’s story, and I hope you will write William’s story as well. Thanks for the pleasure of your words.”

“Loved the story. I read way past my bedtime. It was an interesting and thought-provoking romance. Looking forward to more books from this author.”

“I don’t usually read romances, but I couldn’t quit reading this one. It arrived in the mail late Thursday, and I finished it Friday morning. This novel has a clever premise, cool characters, a neat twist toward the end (a perfect set-up for the sequel), and a great sense of humor. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can’t wait for Margaret Locke’s next work.”

“I loved it! This fun and thought-provoking romance novel offers a great balance of comedic elements, sweetness, and sizzle. Throw in a handful of handsome eligible men, a touch of magic, and journey of self-discovery, and you have a wonderful story. The book was a joy to read, both for the creative content and craft (it is very well-edited and formatted — the author obviously knows her stuff and invested the time necessary to develop an excellent product). I am very impressed and am looking forward to the next book! (I hope it’s about Eliza. I loved her character!)”

Margaret Locke A Man of CharacterThose are words that feed the writer’s soul – especially a nervous Nellie newbie like me!

I hope you’ll continue to help me spread the word about A Man of Character, whether through sharing about it on Facebook, tweeting about it, or good, old-fashioned telling someone about it directly. Word-of-mouth is everything in the book world, and something on which indie authors are especially dependent.

Thank you again, from the bottom of my romance writer’s heart. You know how to make a girl feel special!


Baa Baa, Black Sheep: On Writing Indie Romance

Black Sheep – CC/Flickr

Romance and its authors have garnered lots of publicity recently, especially in light of Laurie Kahn’s recent (and excellent) documentary, Love Between The Covers. Numerous articles are swirling around the internet, refuting many of the myths about romance novels and the people who write them. Here’s just a sampling:

I love that people are challenging the notion that romance is lesser, that romance writing is simplistic, that romance is dismissible. Those of us within the community have long known those things are false, of course.

The same can be said of indie publishing: its image is transforming from consisting of only poorly written, barely edited trash thrown up on the internet, to being a viable alternative to traditional publishing, featuring numerous talented, cutting edge authors. Many indie romance authors have become certified rock stars in the genre, including Courtney Milan, Bella Andre, Katy Regnery . . . I could name many more.

But as a newbie indie romance author, I’m suddenly realizing what an uphill battle I have to get people to take me seriously: not fellow romance authors, perhaps (although of course I need to prove myself to them, as well), but friends, acquaintances, and anybody not tuned in to the romance and indie communities.

I know this, because I’ve been talking–online and in person–about my debut novel, A Man of Character, which hits the market May 26th. People are excited for me, and I’m so grateful for that. But several times, after friends and acquaintances asked me what I’m writing and/or who’s publishing it, their expressions changed, their faces fell or took on a humoring expression, when I replied, “romance, and I’m indie publishing.”

Writing romance is dubious enough, apparently–add indie to it, and you’re really not welcome at the table.

I could be misreading their reactions. I could be projecting my own self-doubts and fears as this book goes public. Yes, I’m nervous. Yes, I realize there will be people who don’t like my book. Yes, I’m sure I can (and will) improve my writing as I continue down this career path. And that’s OK. Because that’s what it is to me: a career path.

Don’t hand me that black sheep fleece, because I won’t wear it.

I am a writer. I write romance, and I love it. I’m an indie author, and proud of it.

Thank to you everyone who’s supporting me, encouraging me, and cheering me on. Thank you to my critique group, to my beta readers, and to my editor, Tessa Shapcott: all of you helped shape A Man of Character into what it is–a book I’m thrilled to claim as my own. Thank you to my fellow romance authors, an amazingly welcoming group of women (and men) willing to provide guidance, advice, and valuable insider information to newbies following in their footsteps. .

And thank you to everyone who’s purchased A Man of Character, or will purchase it–your willingness to take a chance on a debut author means the world to me.