Friday, January 31, 2014

A cold glass of wine and a hot conversation with Rachel Leigh

Grab a cool drink and relax. It's a hot time on the blog today with Rachel Leigh. Rachel has several stories out. 

Today she's giving us a glimpse into her writing world. Thank you for being here. 

Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write?
I start every book with an idea and then find the characters to fit the story – I usually write a synopsis and character sketches and then write the first draft from beginning to end without looking back. The hard part comes in the following drafts!

When did you decide to become an author?
Life decided rather than me! I started writing short stories for women’s magazines and after a little success, I wondered if I could write sexy/erotic romance. My first attempt was Explicitly English which The Wild Rose Press accepted in 2010.

What was the hardest chapter/book to finish and why?
ALL my stories are hard to finish, lol! I only write short novellas of around 30,000 words but every time I hit that half way mark, I hit a brick wall. The only way to deal with this, is to carry on writing and see what happens. That’s what additional drafts are for!

What tips would you give a new writer?
Keep writing – allow yourself to write a first draft from beginning to end and not worry if it’s any good. So many aspiring writers never get past the first two or three chapters because they are too concerned on perfecting them. Write the whole story, then perfect :)

Does working to deadline inspire or annoy you?
Deadlines inspire me – I LOVE a deadline! They keep me focused and working. I am one of those people who work best under pressure…

so a little about you...

What is your favorite drink?
Ice-cold white wine – preferably Chablis or a white Bordeaux…

Do you ever wish that you had an entirely uncreative job, like data entry or working in a factory?
Never! I love what I do – I used to work in a bank, 9–5, and longed to write. I thought it would always be a pipedream so when I gave up work to have my daughters, I was determined to use the time to do what I’d always dreamed of doing.

Do you enjoy giving interviews?
Yes! I love the promo side of writing even if it does take me away from getting words on the page. I love talking to other authors and readers!

And I thank you for being here with me today.

Have you ever found true love?
Yes – and I married him! I have been with my fabulous and sexy husband for 21 years, married almost 16. We’re very happy :)

Are you jealous of other writers?
No! What I love more than anything about being a writer, is the generosity of other writers. I’m pretty sure the level of support, encouragement and help is unique amongst the romance writing community. Anything an aspiring or experienced writer wants to ask, you can go online to a writers’ forum and authors will jump on board to help you out. I love being one of those people!

Find out more about Rachel on her website


Follow her on Twitter

Her current release Teach Me To Ride is available at Amazon and retailers everywhere. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Discovering Monica Epstein

Today we have Monica Epstein on the blog. 
Her new story, Where There is Will is available Exclusively on Amazon! 

But look for the World Wide Release in April 2014!

Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write?
WHERE THERE IS WILL definitely unfolded as I went along. In fact, it felt like it wrote itself at first. The hero and heroine kept telling me where the story needed to go. Then once I had the basics of the plot written, I had to rewrite it to make it a story others would want to read.

Are your characters based on real people?
My heroine, Michelle, in WHERE THERE IS WILL is somewhat autobiographical. Unlike Michelle, I am happily married, but I did face a crossroads in midlife (mine involved career choices), I have a phobia, which I don’t like to talk about in detail, and I love hats and miniatures. And people say the picture of Michelle on the book cover looks like me. I hadn’t even realized the physical similarities until then.

How did you do in English as a kid?
In elementary school, I did well in English and my creative writing was praised by teachers. I still recall my mother sharing a poem I wrote in first grade at our family Thanksgiving table. But when I hit high school and had to write research papers, and my teacher wasn’t happy with my work, I began hating to write. I became good at writing research papers, but I didn’t enjoy it. It took me over thirty years to try writing fiction again.

When did you decide to become an author?
It wasn’t a conscious decision. I had made some online friends who liked to share stories they wrote. While listening to music on a plane (I was on my way to an Alaskan cruise), I got this idea of two strangers comparing their tastes in music while stuck next to each other for a long flight. On the first day of the cruise, I wrote the story and planned to share it with my friends. But I still had time at sea and Michelle and Will seemed to want me to tell more of their story. By the time I arrived back home, three chapters were written and there was no stopping them, uh, me J

What was the hardest chapter/book to finish and why?
Although the second to last chapter of WHERE THERE IS WILL was not the hardest to write, it took me the longest to finalize. I had several phases of beta reading, and my beta readers didn’t agree on how Michelle and Will’s story should end because of their age difference: Michelle is nearly twenty years older than Will. I wrote it both ways, that is, a happily ever after AND a break up. I finally went with my gut. You’ll have to read it to learn which ending I chose ;-)

How do you get to know your story characters better?
You might think Michelle would have been easy to know because she was semi-autobiographical, but what helped the most was some advice I got from a contest judge. She suggested I write the first chapter in first person to help me determine how Michelle truly felt about her situation (she is newly divorced). I don’t think the judge intended for me to change the book from third to first person, but I enjoyed the exercise so much that after I finished rewriting the first chapter, I kept going. The final product is written entirely in first person.

What tips would you give a new writer?
Learn the craft of writing fiction. I wrote the first draft of my book in six to nine months. Then I spent three more years and fifty-some drafts learning how to write a book that others might like to read.

How did you come up with the title?
The original title was MUSIC SHOWDOWN. Not only was it based on the first chapter where Michelle and Will compare music, but music was going to be an underlying theme throughout the book. When music’s role was lessened, I switched the title to A SHOWDOWN OF WILLS—a play on the word “will.” But I wasn’t happy with SHOWDOWN, which implies opposing sides. One day it hit me; WHERE THERE IS WILL. It still plays on “will” being both the hero’s name and a trait Michelle needs, but it’s a takeoff of the saying “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” as well.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Sometimes we need to learn to love ourselves before we can love another.
One of the things I’ve been trying to do in midlife is to learn to accept myself for who I am. I tend to be a “glass-half-empty” sort of person, the pessimist, the one who looks at the negative side of things instead of the positive. My story emphasizes how important it is that we like ourselves.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot about how to write a good book, such as, eliminating scenes that don’t move the story forward, and how to show not tell (for example, “My stomach tightened” became “My stomach felt like I was wearing pantyhose two sizes too small”). But I also learned that it’s never too late to pursue you dreams.

Which phrase in the book are you most proud of?
I do like my pantyhose line but maybe that’s because I think stockings were invented by a man who wanted desperately to punish the women in his life. But I also love my opening.
In my first draft, Michelle’s last name was Lerner. As I pondered how she felt about herself when the story began, it came to me that she saw herself as a loser. What if she thought others saw her that way, as well? So I began searching for a last name that could be mispronounced as loser, and my beginning fell into place:
The booming voice of the woman behind the gate desk of Messenger Airlines at JFK summed up my life in just two words.
“Mrs. Loser!”
Now for a little fun.

What is your favorite drink?
Strong coffee with just the right amount of half and half and sweetener

Do you ever write naked?
Absolutely not! I hate my body; I don’t even like to shower in the buff.

Do you enjoy giving interviews?
I love talking about my novel, but I hate speaking off the cuff or in front of an audience. I’m an introvert through and through. I’ll take a quiet evening at home over a party any day.

Do you laugh at your own jokes?
I do. In fact, I’m an awful joke teller because I can’t get the punch line out before cracking up.

I have that same problem, but by the time I get the joke out no one thinks it's funny anymore...except me.
Monica, thank you so much for stopping by. Also, I wanted to tell you how much I love your cover. Diana has done many of mine. I think she's amazing. 

You can find Monica on her website


And Google Plus 

Monica Epstein writes about topics that appeal to women like herself—over 40 and nowhere near ready to throw in the towel and call it a life. Her first novel, Where There Is Will, is published by The Wild Rose
Monica lives in a suburb of Washington, D.C. with her husband, their teenage daughter, and a small collection of hats and fascinators. She dreams of being the Queen of England in her next life.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Em Petrova has Somethin' Dirty to Say

WooHoo I have my Erotic Cravings sista here with me today. Please say hello to Em Petrova! 
Grab a cool drink because Em knows how to heat up a room. 
So Em,

Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write?
Writers refer to this as being a plotter or a pantster (fly the seat of your pants). I’m both. I plot my characters’ goals, motivations and conflicts. I know about 60% of what will happen in my book. But I give my characters some leash and see where they run.

Do you research your action/fight scenes?
If I’m using terminology, yes, to avoid sounding like an idiot. If I’m using weapons, DEFINITELY. Nothing worse than reading a book where a character is using a caliber that isn’t manufactured—ever.

What about your sex scenes?
Umm, no. I’m good at sex. ;)

So are your characters!

What about your chase scenes?
I might Google news with chases in them to gather some ideas.

What was the hardest chapter/book to finish and why?
My hardest chapter is ALWAYS the chapter before the climax. This is the point where I start to despair. I’m 100% sure the book is junk and cannot be salvaged. Then I tie up all the plot threads, launch into the climax, and I’m at peace once more.

How do you get past those bumps in the narrative that slow down your writing?
If I hit a bump while reading my work, I know something is wrong. I look at the words and often end up deleting or rewriting. If I’m getting stuck, the reader will for sure.

What are your current projects?
I’m on deadline with a cowboy/naughty schoolteacher story contracted by Samhain Publishing. It’s book 2 of the Boot Knockers Series. J Look for book 1 in May 2014.

I can't wait!
I also write under two pen names, so I’m busy writing novellas!

So now for a little fun

Do you have a favorite quote?
It took me 15 years to discover I had no talent for writing. But I couldn’t give it up by that time because I was too famous~ Robert Brenchley

What is your favorite drink?
HAZELNUT ICED COFFEEEEEEEE. No, I haven’t had too many.

Oh my hello. I recently gave up coffee. God I miss it. 

This is a little personal, but do you ever write naked?
No, but I do sometimes strip off my panties when writing a sex scene. Inspiration and all that. Yep, that’s my story.
Good answer!

You can erase one embarrassing experience from your past. What will it be?
When I was first trying to get published, I read the worst bit of advice ever. Some author said to print a copy of your manuscript and give it to a trusted reader along with a red pen.

Unfortunately, my writing sucked at that time. It needed put straight into the shredder. The 2 people I gave the book to never mentioned they even received it, which makes me laugh and want to hide at the same time!

Who's more fun, bad boys or perfect gentlemen?
What fun is a perfect gentleman? I’d have to shake him up.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would be the most essential for you?
Ipod! Sunscreen. Cowboy.

Find out more about Em at

Follow her on Twitter:

And for a real treat, stop by her blog

Check out her latest, Somethin’ Dirty on Amazon.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Getting Down to Business with Ginger Ring

Let's get down to business with Ginger Ring! She has a a new story with The Wild Rose Press Getting Down to Business, and a Christmas short story – Getting Busy for Christmas

Ginger, thank you so much for stopping my my blog today.

Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write? 
I do a little of both. I am trying to get better at plotting but things happen that send me in a whole other direction at times. I guess I kind of go with the flow.

When did you decide to become an author? 
I had a dream as a teenager of becoming a writer but never did anything until I met another author on Facebook about year and a half ago. I entered a writing contest and when I got good feedback, I decided to take some classes and learn more. I submitted my first story in January and I got offered a contract.

Do you have trouble saying goodbye to characters
No. However, with my first book Getting Down to Business, I had a lot of people writing and asking for more of this great couple. I decided to do a short Christmas story with the two in it. I was amazed at how easy and fun it was to pick their story back up.

How do you get to know your story characters better? 
I try to do a detailed physical description and background for each character. Every scar, or tattoo, has a story and how they grew up can affect their behavior as well.

What tips would you give a new writer? 
Write, write, and keep writing. Don’t take criticism so hard. If everyone told you that your writing was wonderful, you wouldn’t have anything to work on or learn from. You also can’t please everyone. People have different tastes. I remember reading a book a few years ago, (that was made it into a film) and everyone was raving about it. I just couldn’t get into it at all. It didn’t mean it was a bad book. It just wasn’t a subject that interested me.

Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp? 
I try to pick a theme to work with for the story. Getting Down to Business was about timeless and ageless love. I have a new one I am working on in which both characters are searching for something. The hero is searching for his sister and the heroine is searching for her place in the world after the loss of her father. It involves discovering new things about themselves and what they are really made of. The theme of that one isn’t loss but trust.  They are intertwined.

What are your current projects? 
I am working on a 1920’s prohibition era/gangster romance that takes place in Northern Wisconsin called The Gangster’s Kiss. Al Capone, Dillinger, and others are a big part of our history here. Al Capone use to vacation north of here and nearby St. Paul was a safe city for outlaws. I am combining my love for local history, and my love of the twenties, into a fun, romantic story that I hope will keep readers guessing until the end. I also have a time travel waiting in the wings called The Pink Rose of the Prairie.

When did you first, without hesitation, call yourself a writer?
I recently wrote to a male model to ask if I could use one of his photos so, of course, I said I was a published author.  ;) lol

What is your least favorite part of the writing process? 
Finding the time to write is the hardest part. I am not very organized. I am married, and work full time, so there are never enough hours in the day. Also, the marketing is a lot of work. I am quite shy so it is hard for me to be pushing my book all the time but that is the only way people will find out about it.

Do you write under a pen name? 
Yes. I am not Ginger. I am actually a J girl.

And now for a little fun.

Are you fun to go on vacation with? 
Depends on what you want to do on a vacation. I’m not one to spend the time inside at a bar or sitting at a pool. I want to see everything there is to see and do everything there is to do.

What is your favorite comfort food?
I like anything that comes with gravy or a sauce. Lol Biscuits and gravy, mashed potatoes and gravy, or ice cream with hot fudge sauce.

What is your favorite drink?
I’m a farmer daughter from Wisconsin. Got Milk?

Do you ever go around in a corset, high heels, and a whip to get you in the mood to write something naughty? 
No, I tend to use music to set the theme for a story. That keeps me in the same mindset for the story.

What is your favorite time of year and why? 
I like all seasons as I tend to get bored with them but I do love Spring. I love the long days, the green grass, and seeing all the baby animals in the fields.

Who's more fun, bad boys or perfect gentlemen? 
I think any character can be fun. Is the bad boy really bad? Is the gentleman as perfect as he seems? I like characters with flaws and a lot of interesting history.

Thank you for joining us today. To find out more about Ginger, visit her website.
and follow her Titter @GingerRings

Getting Down To Business
Tired of living life out of a suitcase, traveling auto parts sales representative Jessie Knutson jumps at the chance for a position close to home. When a flat tire keeps her from an interview appointment and the hot tow truck driver awakens her inner cougar, she realizes too much time away has done a number on her libido. Now the only position she wants involves being naked and pressed tightly against a hot, younger man whose eyes say she's more than a roadside pickup.

BJ Spencer has no time for love with an auto parts store to run, though he yearns to find the right woman someday. So when the smoking hot redhead he rescues alongside the road gives him a sexy smile, he remembers sometimes a man needs to enjoy the finer things in life. Long legs encased in thigh-highs are definitely fine, but Jessie seems to be total perfection in a tempting package. BJ just might be able to make both business and pleasure work for him this time.

To purchase Getting Down to Business on Amazon 


“I hope you like the blues, ma'am. We don't get too many channels back here.”

Jessica nodded her approval. The sultry vibrations of Southern blues serenaded her. It didn’t take long for BJ to unload her car, pump up the jack, and start working on her tire. Watching the hunky mechanic work, listening to calming music, and feeling the wild rush of pre-storm air was exciting and nostalgic at the same time. She had grown up in a garage like this and instantly felt at home. The place was organized, quaint, and had the distinct smell of rubber and oil. A dark patina of grime coated the walls and worktables. A girly calendar and a time card machine graced the wall above the radio. Even the zip zip sound of the impact wrench was music to her ears.

Somewhere along the way—she really didn't care when—BJ had shed his shirt. His arm muscles bulged as he pulled off the tire. His sculpted chest glistened, broad shoulders flexed, muscles tightening. Her breasts ached to be pressed naked up against his chest, her body wanted to be held tight in those strong arms. She loved a man with chest hair. Springy black coils enhanced his pecs before tapering to a neat treasure trail heading south. She clasped her hands together, but they still involuntarily wiggled on their own, itching to run their way through the thick, dark curls.

Jessie had time to think while watching him work. Her mind reeled with plans to seduce him, but she was starting to think that was what he wanted her to do. Maybe she would wait and enjoy the show a little longer. He didn't seem to be in that big a hurry to get the job done.

He checked air pressure in the other three tires for possible leaks as well. BJ stretched and flexed his muscles several times—not that she was counting or anything. Her concentration broke only a couple times to listen to the severe weather warnings beeping on the radio.

BJ strutted by her again and returned from the office carrying a big towel. He headed to an outside water pump. Pulling the pump handle up, he splashed water from the hose over his glistening upper body and head. He shook his head sending a spray of droplets in every direction. Jessie smiled as she enjoyed the show. Boldly he glanced her way every so often and flexed a muscle or two. Yes, he was definitely hoping for some kind of response. She'd let him beg a little more. The click of the water handle hitting the pump ended his shower. Drying off with the towel, he headed back toward her chair.

His eyes locked on hers, a suggestive smile on his face. “Anything else I can interest you in today, ma'am, since we're already here in the garage? Need any spark plugs, a battery check…” He grinned and raised an eyebrow. “Lube job?” The Southern drawl rumbled slow and exaggerated.

Jessica almost laughed out loud. If she was anymore “lubed up,” she would slide right off the chair.

Ginger Ring is an eclectic, hat-loving Midwestern girl with a weakness for cheese, dark chocolate, and the Green Bay Packers.  She loves reading, playing with her cats, watching great movies, and has a quirky sense of humor. Publishing a book has been a lifelong dream of hers and she is excited to share her romantic stories with you. Her heroines are classy, sassy and in search of love and adventure. When Ginger isn’t tracking down old gangster haunts or stopping at historical landmarks, you can find her on the backwaters of the Mississippi River fishing with her husband.