Mercedes Fox ~ Author

My Writing Blog

Tag: contemporary romance

Meet Author Anna Chastain

Halo me lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with author Anna Chastain

Anna Chastain is a born and raised California girl. She currently resides in central California with her husband and two daughters. She is addicted to books, music, and Greek yogurt; “Morning Star” is her first published novel, “The Good Side of Crazy,” her second, and “My Kind of Crazy,” her third. On an average day, you’ll catch her hanging with her kindergarteners singing songs about ABC’s and pizza, her kindle and iPod not far out of reach.

Book grabber: The Good Side of Crazy, contemporary romance:

Shae Martin has been called up for duty, guardian duty. When her dad and stepmother are killed in a car accident, Shae is called up as guardian of her 15-year-old sister, Sadie. It wasn’t that long ago that Shae, herself, was a teenager; but you’d think, based on her current relations with Sadie, that it had been a millennia.  Shae struggles to balance cover-3being a “pseudo-mama” to a teenager, back to living in a small town, in her estranged father’s home, with dating and career and her sanity. Sadie’s assistant principal, Adam MacCallum, is entirely too delectable for Shae to pass up on, whether or not Sadie approves; and Sadie’s bad-boy, Cash, is the thorn in Shae’s side that just won’t go away. So the question is, can these women navigate the many facets of love in their lives, and resolve to settle their futures without killing/maiming/deleting, or becoming each other’s worst enemies in the process?

Why do you write? I write because I have to.  I write because, for years, I have written stories and developed characters in my head and finally, I had to get them out.

When did you decide to become a writer?  I always thought I’d be a writer.  I wrote tons in high school, I was an English major in college; words have always been a huge part of my life.  Deciding to write wasn’t hard, but actually doing it was.  It took me years of adulthood to just do it, to be brave and put the words down on paper.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  So far, since my first published book, I’ve published one a year.  Writing out the actual story is the easy part, funny enough.  It’s the editing, formatting, cover-creating, etc. that seem to take me the longest.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  Well, I turned 30 and realized I hadn’t done some of the things I thought I would have gotten to by then; at the top of the list was writing a book.  So, I started typing and seven years later, I haven’t stopped.  The first book I ever finished is still sitting unedited in a drawer at my house, in fact.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  My days are crazy!  I teach kindergarten and am the mom to two busy girls, so my time is stretched thin.  I usually reserve my Sundays for writing and have been known to sit at the table for eight straight hours typing away.  Also, when we have breaks during the school year, I try really hard to spend extra time writing.  I find that my most creative time of day is late at night, but I don’t function so well on minimal sleep, so I’ve had to make due with taking notes as I think of things and then trying to turn my brain off (which is not easy).

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  I think the biggest evolution for me has been finding my voice in my writing and discovering how to create characters who are relatable and real.  Also, I’m not so afraid anymore.  There will always be a certain level of self-consciousness at putting my writing out there because it is a lot like giving pieces of yourself to people, but with each book I complete, I gain more confidence and pride in knowing at least I did it.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write?  TV, never.  I’d get way too distracted.  Music, often.  Sometimes, I need it quiet so I can focus on what’s happening inside my head, but music is a huge part of my life always, and songs can create stories all by themselves.

What have you written?  I have written three contemporary romance novels, all published on amazon and nook.  Morning Star was my first, followed by The Good Side of Crazy, and My Kind of Crazy is my most recent book.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?  I’m a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal, mostly.  I will usually have the majority of the book plotted out in my head, and will have scenes written out of order sometimes; then I sit down and work to put it all together.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website? So far, I have designed my own book covers using stock photos.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?  Gah, no!  The marketing side of self-publishing is a struggle for me.  I enrolled my books in kindle unlimited on amazon, and that has helped with exposure, for sure, but as far as sales, I think it takes a blogger or bloggers to catch on and spread the word.  It’s hard, for sure.

Any advice for aspiring authors?  Just do it.  Write the book.  And also, read about other author’s experiences before publishing and decide what’s best for you, and reach out to the author community.  They’re an awesome bunch and super willing to help with questions!

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?  The main character in The Good Side of Crazy is Shae Martin.  She is awesome because she is smart, independent, strong, and caring.  She’s just cool and relatable and someone we’d all probably want to be friends with.

Where do your ideas come from? My ideas come from all over the place.  I can hear a song that spurs an idea, or see someone out in public and create a story from there.  I like to write stories based in real life, only with the power to make the character’s lives turn out however I’d like. 😉       

What is the hardest thing about writing?  For me, finding time is a challenge.  In a dream world, I’d write when inspiration struck or, at least during regular business hours.  So that’s a hard one, having to save my ideas and thoughts until I can spare a few minutes in front of the laptop.  Writing, itself, is extremely cathartic; I love getting lost in my character’s lives.  Also difficult is getting your work out there once it’s finished.  It can be discouraging because you pour yourself into this work and you love it, but then no one sees it.  So, yeah, it can be easy to feel bummed out and want to stop, but I can’t.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?  With my last book, My Kind of Crazy, I got really stuck in the middle.  I had to stop for a couple of weeks and let the story marinate in my mind before I figured out what needed to happen.  That was a challenge.

What is your favorite movie or TV show?  Hmm.  My favorite TV show was The Office until that ended. L  Now, I guess I’d have to say The Walking Dead and New Girl.  I don’t watch a whole lot of TV.  As for movies, it’s nearly impossible to pick one.  I love The Princess Bride, Garden State, The Goonies, Grease, and anything Marvel.

Which writers inspire you?  My most favorite of all time is Jane Austen; her female leads were so far ahead of their time.  As far as modern authors, I’d say Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Christina Lauren, and Penny Reid are all authors whose writing I find inspiring.

What is the current book you are promoting?  The Good Side of Crazy and My Kind of CrazyMy Kind of Crazy is my most recent release, but the characters originated in The Good Side of Crazy.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser? 

From The Good Side of Crazy:  meet Adam and Shae

Hey, Mac, I’m a little freaked out over here…any chance you could offer a little distraction?

I lay back, my phone on my chest, and wait.  Thankfully, I don’t have to wait long before my phone vibrates back at me.

You know I’d like to invite you over, but you’re so hot I’m afraid you’ll skyrocket my air-conditioning bill…

Um…what?  I stare at my phone, confused.  Before I can respond, my phone buzzes again.

Baby, you’re so fine I could put you on a plate and sop you up with a biscuit.

I bite my lip as a giggle escapes from between my lips.

I’m sorry, did I get the wrong number???  I respond.

Nope, it’s me, Mr. Right.  Just who you’re looking for.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?  Hmm.  I do love Adam from The Good Side of Crazy, like, loads; but I think I’m going to have to stick with my girl, Shae.  She’s kind of the woman I hope to be.  Strong, smart, kind and caring, but doesn’t take any shiz, either, you know?

Who is your least favorite character and why? Oh, that’s a toughie…I love my characters.  I think in my first book, Morning Star, the character, Juliet, makes a lot of mistakes and choices I would never make, which was tough to write.

Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school?  I was an English major in college, and that involved creative writing courses.  I still have some of my work from way back then!

Do you have any “how to write” type books/instructional you’d like to recommend?  Unfortunately, no.  I got great tips when I first started from Jamie McGuire’s website about self-publishing, also Colleen Hoover.

What is your next project? Well, I’ve started three different books (hello, scatterbrain) and am currently deciding which of those I will finish first.  I’m leaning towards a series of contemporary romance books based on teachers.  I’ve got the first book mostly mapped out in my brain already. 😉

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?  Oh, that is so hard.  The first one that comes to mind is Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, my all-time favorite book.  She’s fierce and smart and stands up for herself, but is also able to admit when she’s wrong and ask for forgiveness.   

Do you have any fur babies to brag about? Sadly, I lost my fur baby just two months ago…L

Who is your favorite author and which of their books is your favorite?  I love Christina Lauren’s books because I think their character interactions are perfection.  Beautiful Stranger is probably my favorite because Max Stella, sigh.  Also, Penny Reid’s Beauty and the Mustache, because if I were asked to create a perfect male specimen, it would be Drew Runous.  I love his and Ashley’s story.  God, that poetry, though.

Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like? I read my books sooo many times over the course of writing them, but when img_4927I got my first paperback copy of my own book, it was so unreal.  Also, seeing my name on my kindle, gah!  It was definitely a surreal type of experience.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?  Oh, I love so many books, I just wonder if I’d feel the same about them if I wrote them…I would like to be a writer like Penny Reid, though.  She has such creative characters and they’re all so stinking smart!  I always think she must do so much research in so many areas, I’m kind of amazed.  Also, Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On. I loved it so, so much.  I love everything she writes.

Do have a favorite car or truck model?  Anyone who’s read The Good Side of Crazy could guess I love cars.  I love old cars, cars with engines that rattle your bones and go fast.  I, myself, drive a mom SUV but in the garage, have a souped up 1964 VW Bug that I have to share with my husband (not exactly a muscle car, but it goes fast!).

Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes?  Every time I try to write a sex scene, I think Oh, God, my mom is going to read this, and then delete it.

Thanks much Anna for sharing! For more about Anna and her work follow the links below:

Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Pinterest / Amazon / Instagram

Meet Author Aubrey Parr

Howdy my lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with author Aubrey Parr

Aubrey Parr didn’t publish her first book until she was forty. Though born and raised in Kansas City and spent over a decade in Houston, Texas, she now calls the Chicagoland area her home. She lives in the western suburbs with her husband and daughter. When she’s spending time with her family and friends, she finds time to sneak of and write wonderful love stories.

Book Sample: Love on the Malecon, book 1 in her Love on… series – Contemporary Romance

In the heart of downtown Puerto Vallarta, there is a magical oceanfront promenade known as the Malecon.

As a tribute to her father’s life, Nicole James travels to his favorite place on Earth. On the cobblestone streets of charming Puerto Vallarta, she meets Derek, an ex-MMA fighter who invested his winnings into land for luxury hotels. Derek is fabulously wealthy, aging like fine kindle-coverwine, and lives on resorts like an endless vacation. Could her father have orchestrated this chance meeting with Mr. Right from beyond the grave?

Derek Stone never thought a woman would fit into the world he created, until Nicole came along. She’s beautiful, smart, and sexy. More importantly, she has no idea of his money. Derek has taken care of himself for his entire life. He’s not used to trusting anyone. Can he tear down his walls and let Nicole inside?

When did you decide to become a writer? I always thought it would be an amazing job, but wasn’t ready to try. My daughter will be in Kindergarten next year and it hit me, this is the perfect time. This is what I would love to do while she’s in school.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book? To get through the entire process – it takes about six months. I lost tons of time over the summer while my daughter was home. I really only write when she’s in preschool or at night when my husband is out of town. I had Kendall all day and my husband barely traveled. I missed it so much!

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? Not at all! It would pull my attention away from the writing. After I’ve done the writing, I like to find songs that would fit certain scenes. Like a soundtrack of a movie.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website? I use Alexander Von Ness for my covers so far. He’s going to at least do all four books for this series. I’m very excited to share the cover of book 2 in the Love On… series, Love on Ocean Drive.

What is your favorite movie or TV show? I will always be a lover of Seinfeld and Friends. But, for current shows – Blacklist and Scorpion are my absolute favorites.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser? Here is a quick teaser from Love on Ocean Drive “Part of him wanted to paint her, part of him wanted to talk all night long over coffee and part of him wanted to ravish her. Somehow he wanted to make all three things happen.”

Who is your favorite character in your book and why? So far Derek is my favorite character. Since I’m only on my second twitter-picturebook, there weren’t lots to choose from. But, I feel like he’ll be the patriarch of the series. He’s the total alpha that loves hard as well.

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast? For Love on the Malecon – I would love Blake Lively as Nicole, Theo James as Derek (if they could make him look a bit older) Kate would be Rachel Bilson and Jaime Camil as Gael.

Where do you come up with your stories? They sort of create themselves. I get a vague idea and it’s amazing to see what happens. I’ve had characters create themselves out of nowhere. That has been fun to see what they have planned.

Do you have any fur babies to brag about?  My Akita, Maisy was my first daughter. She’s the mostmaisy amazing dog. I personally believe in reincarnation and I’m convinced she’s on her last life as an animal. She will be a person next time.

Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes? Not one bit. Mine aren’t over the top, but they are definitely in there. It didn’t even seem weird to have my mother read them. Now, if my father did – that might be a little awkward…

What book are you currently reading or just finished? I am currently reading Sweet on Wilde by Fabiola Francisco. I’ve been extremely lucky to become friends with some amazing authors this past year.

What do your fans mean to you? Fans mean everything! Without people reading my books, this couldn’t be a career possibility for me. Every time someone says they truly love my book, it makes me smile ear to ear.

Thanks so much Aubrey! For more about Aubrey and her books, follow the links below:

Facebook / Twitter / Linkedin / Goodreads / Pinterest Amazon  Instagram

Meet Author Sarah Iles

Howdy my lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with author Sarah Iles

Sarah Iles lives in Sicily with her husband, her twins and Nichy, the black cat. There she writes, reads and gets mad. She loves Young Adult stories, so “On tiptoe” was the first novel published in paperback in Italy (In punta di piedi) in 2013 with D&M. She loves Shakespeare and Ken Follet, but the movie she’s seen thousands of times is “The Lord of the rings” ‘cause she is a J.R.R. Tolkien fantastic world addicted. Currently she is an Amazon author, judge in literary contests and a real strong mummy and wife. So she hopes. Books and short stories: On tiptoe (Amazon 2016; plus Italian version “In punta di piedi, 2013); Kaliel (Short story for D&M 2014); Libera me (screenplay, the indie movie in 2015 won the Los Angeles Cine Fest, Miami Indie Film Fest and many others); È da te che verrò (Amazon, 2015); La ricetta di Nora (Dai un morso a chi vuoi tu, short story, for Booksalad 2016)

Book blurb: Genre: YA contemporary romance

Pgs:106, novella

Anna lives her life with her father, Gabriel, and her beloved dog Click. She tries to get confused in the fog of London and expresses her emotions only through dance.
“I’m fickle, tied to a life that doesn’t exist anymore: true love, perfect life, good friends. Everything is so damned difficult for me! Like a never-ending dance where the choreographer is never satisfied!”
And if life were an eternal dance? Would you dance with your eyes closed?
On her seventeenth birthday, on img-20160823-wa0009a windy spring day, Anna meets Romeo, his smile, his voice, and she wakes up. But in a play of silence and destiny, their roads divide, and Anna loses her equilibrium yet again.
Will any type of melody unite them again? Or is Stuart her true love?
Will dancing save her?

Why do you write?  I write for my heart, because writing is, for me, the voice of the soul. I think I have so many souls as my characters. I write, my heart beats.

When did you decide to become a writer?  Three years ago. It was a very hard time for me. So, I quit my job and I realized that I wanted to follow my greatest passion, so at first I opened a book blog and then I presented my book to publishers and was published in July of 2013. On tiptoe is the English version of my “In punta di piedi”

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  It’s hard to say that, ‘cause I’m editing a novel since 2005 and maybe on November I’ll publish it. Otherwise I’ve written books in three months.

What is the current book you are promoting? “On tiptoe”. I love this book because it is a beautiful story about the life of a teenager who experiments with strong feelings such as abandonment, love, death, fate. Love that of heartbeats.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?  I guess the main character, Anna, she is a beautiful girl in love with the dance, she is single but she’s waiting for the “real” love. She has a strong relationship with her father but she dislike her lesbian mother, not14115385_1078601755541411_6961906585815553717_o for her love “persuasions” but because she has always treated her as a  pupil. I love her because she is strong and fragile.

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast?

Anna: Emma Watson

Romeo: Armie Hammer

Stuart: Andrew Garfield

Emily: Alexandra Daddario

her Father: Huge Grant

… it’s a dream… it’s a dream

 What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?  “Perhaps there are no bad books, there are stories that we are not ready to deal”

Many thanks Sarah for stopping in! For more about Sarah and her work, follow the links below:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Facebook2 / Goodreads / Amazon

Meet Author K.R. Reese

Howdy my lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author K.R. Reese

K.R. Reese writes new adult/contemporary romances. She is currently a full-time student at Kent State University majoring in Public Health, and she’s also a full-time mom. She resides in Ohio with her husband and four children.

Book blurb: Come Back to Me (Wilson Creek, #1) New adult/contemporary romance:

Ella left her hometown a few years ago pregnant and afraid. She had no intentions of ever looking back. But when the threat against her brings her ex back into her life, things take a drastic change. Staying out of harm more than once, Ella’s faced with a choice: continue the way things have been or give in to what her heart wants. *** Trevor had lived these past three years believing that he’d never have hope again. When a domestic abuse call brings Ella back into the fold things, he doesn’t intend to let her go again. But fate has another idea and he has to fight for what he wants. *** In a town this small, it’s hard to keep a secret. When the truth comes out, Ella and Trevor must face it head on. Can they do it together? Or will their past get in the way of their future?

If you use a Pen Name why did you choose it? I don’t know if I’d necessarily call it a “pen” name. But, it was the short version of my full name.

Why do you write? I write because it is something I love to do, and the stories float around in my head all the time. If I don’t write them, I’d probably go crazy from all the voices going on.

When did you decide to become a writer? I’ve wanted to be a writer since junior high, but I never sat and actually did it. This past winter, I decided that I was done putting it off and I was going to make time for my writing.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book? My novella took me about two months to complete if I had published it without editing. But between writing the novella and editing it, about six months.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? I was tired of putting it off. I was ready to get some of the stories and characters out of my head.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? My day isn’t structured at all. I have four children, 5 years old and younger, so there isn’t a set schedule all the time. Besides the kids, I’m a full time college student and sometimes studying and homework take place of my writing time. But, I usually write late at night when I can’t sleep.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? I cannot listen to music while I write, but I do watch TV.

What have you written? I’ve written and published one novella that is the beginning of a series. The second novel is currently in the editing process.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? I do not work to an outline. I normally come up with a plot and have it kind of planned out in my head, but sometimes it changes and I just see where the idea takes me.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website? I currently design my own book covers, but I’m beginning the process of co-writing a novel and I’m thinking of having someone else design the cover.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? To be honest, my sales figures were nothing until I created a Facebook page and began promoting with friends and family help.

What is your favorite movie or TV show? My favorite movies are Pearl Harbor and Titanic. My favorite TV shows are Army Wives (no longer airing), The Little Couple, Teen Mom OG, and Teen Mom 2.

What is the current book you are promoting? Right now, I’m promoting Come Back to Me and Fall for Me. They are a part of a series that I plan on continuing for at least two more books.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser?

CHAPTER ONE

“Whose f-ing idea was this again?” Ella grumbled.

Ashlee McCoy looked back at her friend struggling to put on a simple garter around her leg. “Will you stop fighting with it? I’ll help you as soon as I’m done. Besides, this was what you wanted.”

“This is impossible,” Ella said. “I swear I wasn’t in my right mind when I got this idea.”

“Oh, quit it, you look wonderful,” Ashlee stated.

Ella snorted, and Ashlee couldn’t suppress a laugh. The other bridesmaid, Brianne, hadn’t shown up yet, so she’d had to do everything from hair and make-up, to helping Ella into her gown. Add that to the list of things she had to do to get herself ready and impossible just about covered it.

“I’m so sorry I’m late. The kids wouldn’t cooperate to stay in their clothes, and Aaron was of no help,” Brianne stormed through the door.

Ashlee had to hold back a groan. When Ella had first introduced them and told them that she wanted them to be bridesmaids at her wedding, they were excited, but Ashlee didn’t particularly like Brianne either. She knew this was going to be a tense day, wedding aside, because there was bound to be feet stepped on.

“Please say that you can do my hair, too,” Brianne begged, staring at Ashlee expectantly.

“Of course.” Looking back in the mirror, she put on her best fake smile. “I just have to finish up with mine. Ella’s took about an hour since its longer than usual, so I’m a little behind.”

Ella was studying her, probably trying to consider what she was thinking and whether to say it aloud or not. Ashlee winked at her and continued fixing her hair.

“You’ll love the way Ashlee does your hair; I’ve never seen anyone do it better.” Ella turned to retrieve the garter again, trying to put it on around her ball gown style wedding dress.

“Oh, I’m sure it’ll be fantastic. So, who does Trevor have standing up with him?” The question irked Ashlee for reasons known to no one but her. Brianne hadn’t been a part of any of the wedding planning. If she had, she’d know that Trevor’s brother Michael, and his father were standing with him. Then there’s the small detail of whether Michael was actually going to show up. They had left that little unknown from Ella, worrying that she’d freak out, which clearly wasn’t a challenge because she was already freaking out.

“Michael and his dad,” Ella remained focused on the garter.

Brianne slid up on the stool beside Ashlee, staring at her in the mirror.

“That’s great. Michael hasn’t been back here in a while, has he?” Brianne tried to distract Ella from what was inevitably going to happen. Funny how everyone knew that there was a possibility of him not coming at all.

Ella frowned as she threw the garter across the room. “No, he hasn’t. Trevor’s hoping he sticks around for a little while with their mom being sick. But, honestly, I don’t think he’s capable of it. He didn’t even come back when they first told him about the cancer, so why would he stay now?”

What do you do when you’ve got nothing else? Ashlee kept the thought to herself. All she knew was that Michael had moved away for college, started his own business, and never came home. He kept in contact with his family, but wasn’t fond of his hometown or the people here in Wilson Creek.

On the day Ashlee moved here to help Ella recover from the assault Jake had done, she fell in love with the place. Wilson Creek was beautiful, small, and everything Ashlee had moved away from. Obviously it wasn’t her hometown, but it was similar and made her comfortable. She had stayed with Ella for a while until Trevor moved in. She had found a small house that suited her, moved in, and here she was.

“I have to go to the bathroom, then I’ll start on your hair.” Ashlee rushed out of the room, fighting off the tears that threatened to overflow. Closing the bathroom door, she leaned against it. Leaving her hometown had been her last choice; it wasn’t what she’d had planned. Marrying Nathan had been the plan, but life had other ideas.

When the call had come that Nathan had been in a car accident, Ashlee’s world had tilted upside-down. Everything had gone gray and dull, and the light that she once carried had died. Rushing to the hospital, a doctor said she could see him, and she had to stifle the sobs when she entered the room. So many thoughts had gone through her mind that she couldn’t begin to imagine what was going to happen. As strong as Nathan was, he looked battered and broken, unable to keep his eyes open. Ashlee had wanted to help, take his pain away and put some of it on herself, if only to ease it. But she couldn’t do that.

“I love you, Ash,” Nathan had said to her. His breathing was harsh and he fought to hold on to her. “I will always love you. Continue on with your life and be happy. I hope you find someone who loves you as much as I do.” And then he was gone. Ashlee sat beside his bed and cried for what seemed like hours, but was really only minutes. The doctors had come into the room and called her mother to come get her. A few days later was his funeral and she had completely fell apart. Since then, she hadn’t been with anyone, keeping to herself. No one had even struck an interest within her, so she thought it for the best.

A loud knock on the door snapped her out of her daydream.

“Ashlee, are you alright?” It was Ella’s voice through the door, sounding worried. She doesn’t need this on her wedding day.

“Be right there,” she replied. Getting to her feet, she checked her make-up in the mirror and took a deep breath. Throw a pity party for yourself later. Opening the door, she slammed into something as unmoving as concrete. She slipped and felt herself start to fall.

She thought she heard a few foul words thrown together, but that was likely her own voice, not someone else’s. Her head smacked the floor, thankfully softened from the hairstyle she wore.

When she opened her eyes, she thought she was daydreaming. The man standing over her had ice blue eyes, broad shoulders, and a short, military-style haircut.

“Are you all right?” the man standing above her said.

Ashlee just stared. His eyes were piercing through her skin, holding her to the floor.

Oh Lord.

Definitely not a dream. If it were, there wouldn’t be a surge of desire racing through her system. At least she hoped there wouldn’t be.

Copyright © K.R. Reese 2016

What is your next project? My next project is a co-write military romance. There’s no details yet.

Who inspires your writing? Many self-published authors are my inspiration.

Who is your favorite author and which of their books is your favorite? Where to begin? I’d have to say that Zoe York is my favorite author and her Pine Harbour series is my favorite.

Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like? I didn’t read it fresh off the presses, but when I did receive them in the mail, it was very weird to hold a physical copy of my book.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer? The greatest lesson I’ve learned as a writer is that you should never complain about all the reading and writing classes you are forced to take in junior and senior high. If it wasn’t for those classes, I would not be able to do my own editing.

Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes? I’m a little self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes because I’m anxious when family and/or friends read them that they will think of me differently.

Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others? There are many books I could recommend, but they are all written by Zoe York or J.M. Madden.

Many thanks K.R. for coming by! For more about K.R. and her work, follow the links below:

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Meet Author Dakota Willink

Hello lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Dakota Willink

Dakota Willink is a self-employed writer and editor, and the author of Heart of Stone, a contemporary romance novel.   She is an associate member of Romance Writers of America.

Dakota has always had a passion for reading and writing. From the time she was an adolescent, she enjoyed curling up with a good paperback, reading genres that ranged from thriller and fantasy, to mystery and romance. She always dreamed of one day writing her own book, but had put her aspirations on hold to focus on her family and a career that would pay the bills.

Although she earned a degree in business and had built a solid reputation in retail sales, her heart continued to be with fictional characters – whether they belonged to a favorite author or if they were just stories that she made up in her own head.

In 2013, Dakota gathered enough courage to turn her dreams into a reality. In between playing chauffeur to two very busy children and working her job during the day, Dakota began to put words on paper. Eventually, she began to describe her life as a book. Everything she saw or heard throughout the day, intertwined with her imagination for the creation of future writings. By 2014, with the support of her husband and two children, she gave up the security of a steady paycheck and began working on her first novel full time.

Dakota Willink is a lover of music, and appreciates the power and stimulating effect it can have on the brain. She often uses lyrics and melodies to help her through bouts of writers block. At the end of her novel, you can find an authors note that recognizes and thanks the artists that gave her inspiration.

Dakota resides in the Western New York area, where she enjoys spending time with family, her two Labrador Retrievers, and her spoiled rotten cat. During the summer months, she can often be found on a boat, soaking up the sun on the Great Lakes with her family.

Book blurb: Heart of Stone

Krystina Cole was a girl on a mission. She had big dreams and aspirations, none of which included a man by her side. She knew better than that – at least until she met Alexander Stone, the New York billionaire real estate tycoon. She saw the way that he looked at her, and the dark promisesHeart of Stone (Kindle) in his eyes. She was curious about his world and all that it entailed. But the shadows of her past haunted her, making her afraid to explore possibilities that she could never before have imagined…

Alexander Stone was a man who knew how to get what he wanted. He understood the value of finesse, and the importance of patience and diligence to achieve the desired result. He was successful and wealthy, relying on his naturally sharp instincts to guide him through life. But a chance run in with Krystina Cole quickly turned his world upside down. Her quick wit and firecracker attitude was the complete opposite of what he wanted in a woman, and his instincts failed him at every turn…

However, both Krystina and Alexander are clinging to the secrets of their past, and neither of them are willing to compromise. Krystina’s hardened heart makes emotional surrender a hard limit. But for Alexander, revealing his past could have devastating results.

What genre are your books? The genre that I chose to write is contemporary romance.

What draws you to this genre? I read just about every genre, but romance is what I read more often than not. Because of this, it’s what I felt the most comfortable writing about.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book? That’s hard to predict – an author never knows where the story is going to take them once it takes flight. Heart of Stone took me two years to write, but I was juggling a lot of other responsibilities for much of that time. Now I write full time, without the obligation of another job, so I expect the next book to take about a year.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? I always wanted to write, but I made excuses about not having enough time. Then one day, I met someone locally that had written and published. She was a wife and mother of three, and just as busy as I was. So, to make a long story short, I just sat down at the computer one day and started typing. I didn’t have a plan or an outline, I just wrote the first things that came to mind. It was that simple.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? No – I can’t do that at all. I wish that I could because music is so inspirational to me, but the littlest noise is often a distraction (which makes my family crazy sometimes). We have a lot of “silent time” at home when I’m working. However, when I’m struggling with writers block, I put the computer to bed and scroll through my iPod for inspiration.

What have you written? Heart of Stone is my first published novel. It is the first book in The Stone Series.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? I keep trying the outline thing with the hope that it will help me to stay more focused. However, I never end up sticking to it for some reason or another.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website? I looked into a few cover design sites, but in the end I designed my own. I had an idea in mind for what I wanted, so it was just easier that way.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special? Heart of Stone is written from the POV of both the heroine and the hero. When I began writing my characters, I had one goal in mind – make them real. I had recently found myself getting frustrated with some of the books that I had been reading. More often than not, I was reading a story with a weak heroine, one that allowed the hero to manipulate and control her. And while that seems to be what the romance genre has evolved to nowadays, I just didn’t have it in me to create characters like that. So to me, keeping them as true to real life people as possible is what makes them special.

That all being said, Krystina Cole plays the heroine in Heart of Stone. She is smart and sassy, but is scarred from a tragic past. She is strong, not afraid to ask questions, and she refuses to let the hero control her. Alexander Stone is the hero in Heart of Stone. Like Krystina, he also has a dark past. His past is what shapes him. He likes to have order and control, but he also has a tender side. He doesn’t try to dominate Krystina in every sense of the word, but understands that he has to have realistic expectations.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? It’s hard to keep reader feedback out of my head. I often find myself second-guessing what I’m about to write because of what a reviewer said. I have to remind myself to not let someone’s opinion influence my story.

What is the current book you are promoting? Heart of Stone, book one in The Stone Series

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser? Stepping Stone is the second book in The Stone Series. Readers can request sneak peek chapters through my website. For those that have already read Heart of Stone, know that you’ll finally learn Alexander’s whole story in Stepping Stone.

What is your next project? Once I am finished with The Stone Series, I have ideas jotted down for a few stand-alone novels.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Indiana Jones…because there’s just something about a rugged guy with a leather hat and a whip.

Do you have any fur babies to brag about? I do have fur babies! I have a black lab named Indy, a yellow lab named Leia, and a cat named Lily. I love them all to death, but their shedding makes me nuts!

Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like? I like this question. I’ve never been asked this before. But I did do exactly that…my paperback book arrived on my doorstep and I picked it up as a reader, not the author. It was surreal. A part of me found it hard to grasp that I was reading my own words, and that I was literally holding my greatest accomplishment in my hands.

Do have a favorite car or truck model? The Tesla. That’s the reason why I chose it to be Alexander’s car of choice – I’m obsessed with that car.

Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes? I don’t feel self-conscious writing about sex. However, I do get a little uneasy when I think about my mother reading what I wrote (insert cringe emoji here…lol)!

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing? Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published? Self-publishing is a lot harder in my opinion and this is a subject that I feel very passionate about. I will apologize in advance if I’m a little long winded, but I’ll try to keep this short. Traditional publishing (if you land with a bigger publisher) is definitely the more affordable and better way to go. However, it is extremely hard to get acknowledged in such a competitive market, particularly with the romance genre. More often than not, authors chose to self-publish because they don’t want to wait months or years for a publisher to read their book synopsis.

I think that there is a stigma surrounding self-publishing for three reasons. The first being that there is a lot of poor quality work out there – and not necessarily because the story is bad, but more because we can’t afford the $1,000 plus price tag that editors charge. This makes some readers shy away from independently published books. The second reason is that some readers Dakota Willink_Profile Picbelieve that authors publish independently because they were not good enough to land a publishing deal. This is not typically the case – more often than not, it’s because we are simply tired of being the needle in a haystack. And third, there are those that believe what some traditionally published authors claim, stating that independent publishing is the easy way out. The reality is, independent authors are doing double the work. It is most certainly not the easy way out. The list of when we do is unending because we have to do all the post book release legwork ourselves (finding reviewers, generating publicity, answering fan emails, etc). And while we are doing all of the above, we are still submitting our books to publishers and trying to write new material.

My opinion on this subject is not written as a complaint, but more out of pride in the work that goes into it all. At the end of the day, the most important thing about being an independent author is that we are a part of an amazing and supportive community. I will forever be thankful for that.

What do your fans mean to you? My fans are everything to me. Their support for an independent author means the world! I am so grateful to all who make up the loyal community of readers to whom I am connected.

Tell us something unique about you. I’m a total Star Wars geek. I have been since I was a little kid. Since the new movie release, there’s been a ton Star Wars hype. I’m loving it – I feel like I’ve been waiting for it my whole life!

Many thanks Dakota! For more about the fabulous Dakota and her work, follow the links below:

 

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