Friday, September 30, 2011

FRIDAY FIRSTS with Catherine Bybee

First five sentences of...Wife By Wednesday

“I need a wife, Carter, and I needed her yesterday.” Riding in the back of the town car en route to a Starbucks, of all places, Blake Harrison glanced at his watch for the tenth time that hour.
Carter’s startled laugh rode on Blake’s last nerve. “Then pick one of the masses and walk the aisle.”
His best friend’s offhand advice might have held merit, if Blake could trust the women in his life.

Wife By Wednesday will release in early October. You can learn more about this and Catherine's other books on her website.


1. What was the first Rated R movie you ever saw?
OMG... Remember the the movie Porkys?  Talk about a 'B' coming of age movie that was all about teenagers, drinking and sex! I was waaaay to young to be watching it and remember thinking... "What are they doing in the closet making all that noise?" I think my BFF had to tell me. She was a year older than me.
2. Tell me about your very first kiss?
His name was Kurt. He lived a few doors up from me growing up. We'd flirted around all summer long, held hands a couple of times then one night while we sat around talking about absoutely nothing he kissed me. Because I used to babysit his next door neighbors, he'd come over and stand outside the sliding glass doors and kiss me there. I wouldn't let him in the house. It was a summer of kissing and big fat grins all over my face.
3. What’s the first thing you do after you wake up in the morning (other than using the restroom LOL)?
I tell Bittermen to fire up the Lear so I can go to the spa in San Francisco for my workout and message from Sven. Oh, wait... you want to know what happens 'after' I wake up. Oh, okay... Make my kids lunches, get them off to school: One takes the bus, the other I car pool with another mom. I usually check my email via my smart phone then have a cup of coffee while watching the news with my hubby. By eight I'm at my computer doing stupid stuff until I get in the shower and really start my day.
Catherine loves hearing from her readers and encourages everyone who enjoys her books to follow/friend or even annoy her on:
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Friday, September 23, 2011

FRIDAY FIRSTS with Sarah Grimm

The first five sentences of... AFTER MIDNIGHT

Isabeau Montgomery sat in the dimly lit bar and shook like an amateur before her first recital. Her gaze, blurred by the sudden threat of tears, settled on the keys before her. Her stomach cramped painfully, yet the need was too great to ignore.

With ability as natural to her as the color of her skin, she began to play. The waterfall of music filled the air, washed over her, completed her in a way nothing or no one else ever had.


1. Tell me about the first book you ever wrote. What ever happened to it?

I always say that Not Without Risk was the first story I wrote from start to finish, but after being asked recently to put something together about my road to publication, I realize that it wasn’t. My first book wasn’t even a romance, it was the true story of my best friend: My cat. I don’t recall whether I was in third or fourth grade when I wrote My Cat Sneaker, but I can still recite the poem I wrote to go along with it. I still have that story, packed away with a few momentos from my youth. One memento being the Young Authors Award the book earned.

2. What’s the first thing you do when you start writing a new story?

Brainstorm a title. Odd, but true. I can’t get very far into a story without it having a title. The title doesn’t always stay, I may change it when I get a little deeper into the story, but I can’t do much more than scribble notes without one. ‘That book I’m writing’ doesn’t work for me. Honestly, neither does my WIP, or my work in progress.

The second thing I do—you’re going to find this one even nuttier—is write the back cover blurb. There’s never any question about whether the blurb will change before the book is finished, as I’m a pantser, which means I never know what’s going to happen until my characters tell me. But again, it’s something I need to do before I can really get my head into a story and write.

3. What’s the first thing you notice on an attractive member of the opposite sex?

Their smile. I’m a sucker for a great smile. To me a great smile is more than just a curving of the lips. It’s an expression that uses all of the face—especially the eyes. If I can’t see that spark of joy in his eyes, then the attraction just isn’t there for me. A man doesn’t even have to be that overtly attractive for me to be drawn to him. Not if he has an incredible smile.


Friday, September 16, 2011

FRIDAY FIRSTS: K. Victoria Smith

The first five sentences from: Ogham Court

Symbols are the Ogham,
first form of writing in Ireland.

“I’m so sorry for your loss, Nora. I will miss your Aunt Aine terribly. So gifted, so important to the community, a blessing from the Goddess.”  Another hand to hold.  Faces I would never remember once things were settled with the shop and I was back in Philadelphia.


1. What’s the first thing you do when you start writing a new story?
That has changed over time. My first novel, Dark Dealings, also expected in 2012, started as the main character’s voice.  She was demanding to be heard.  A Wall Street banker, she found in me a kindred spirit--a person who had tried to be what she wanted to be and not she really is. So that book was written in flashes of scenes and characters.  I learned a lot from that and from Chris Vogler’s book The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers.

Since then, I start brainstorming about plot and characters on my 4x3 whiteboard at night and in notebooks as I go through the day. Ideas are loosely transferred to notecards that represent the touch-points of the Hero’s Journey. It’s not exactly outlining, but I’m not a pantser either.

2. When standing in front of a buffet line, what’s the first food that catches your eye?
Dessert, especially chocolate!  Like my novels, I need to have a good idea of the ending and the sweeter and gooier the better.  One of the things on my bucket list is to go the Hershey Spa for a chocolate body wrap.  I don’t think they supply the hunk to help “remove” it so I may to bring my own. Hey, I can dream…I’m a fiction writer.

3. What was your first date with your significant other?
To begin with, we met at a bar in Tribeca that formed the basis for the Salmon Run Inn. It was not a fix-up but a get-together of a group of people engineered by a bond trader I worked with who also happened to have gone to high school with him.  We spent the evening together (only the evening).  The next morning I called my best friend and told her I had just met the man I was going to marry. Over a week later, he finally called and we decided to have dinner in a cute Mexican restaurant south of Washington Square Park.  During dinner, I found out he was over three years younger than me.  Back then that was cougar territory. He was very nervous.  At the end of the meal, he reached into his pocket. The color drained from his face and he started to stammer.  He had left his wallet on the dashboard of his car which was parked down by Canal Street. So I paid for dinner. Miraculously the car and the wallet were still there.

This December we will be together 28 years.

4. If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you’d buy?
I would buy the farm in Ireland, outside Galway, that belonged to my maternal grandfather’s family.  It was sold off during the days of the Celtic Tiger economy for development. Fortunately for me, although unfortunately for the developer, the real estate market there is as bad or worse than the US market and no development has taken place.  When last visited by family members, the original farmhouse with thatched roof and center hearth was still intact. What a wonderful place to write my stories and hold writing retreats with whiskey around the hearth.

About K.Victoria Smith: She learned storytelling at the feet of her Roscommon-born grandmother.  For years, K.Victoria lived in an imaginary world peopled by magical and horrifying creatures and the humans who loved them. Then one day, these characters demanded to be let out. So during the day, K.Victoria is a mild mannered banker while at night she writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy. The magic of Ogham Court will see the light of day in 2012.

 Visit her author page on Facebook:
On her blog: Storyteller’s Grove:
On Twitter as @kvictoriasmith: where she has been known to hang out at #pubwrite.

Friday, September 9, 2011

FRIDAY FIRSTS: Greta van der Rol

The first five sentences from... The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy

Ullnish Space Port, a spectacular confection of multi-colored domes and turrets in the best ptorix architectural style, glowed a welcome. Allysha traded a look with Sean as the driver guided his taxi around the concourse to join a line of vehicles, all depositing passengers.
“Looks like we made it,” she murmured.
“So far. But they’ll be after us.” Sean stared along the road to Shernish, where lights were starting to hold their own in the gathering dusk.


1.What was the first romance novel you read?
I think that would be the 'Angelique' series. It spanned quite a few books as I recall – six or seven – following the life of Angelique, a minor nobleman's daughter during the times of Louis XIV in France. I enjoyed the realism of the settings and the hints of sex (I was in my early teens at the time). In the first book, she was married off to a scarred nobleman she'd never met. He went to lots of lengths to win her heart and seduce her instead of just having his way with her. Then after they've had two sons, Joffre de Peyrac is arrested by Louis' police and killed and she has to make her own way in the world – which she does, with a succession of men in her life. Ah, me. Great stuff.

2. What was the first Rated R movie you ever saw?
It was 'The Exorcist'. I took my mother, who enjoyed horror stuff, to the movies. I went up to the ticket window, asked for two tickets and fumbled in my purse for the money. The girl said, “First, how old are you?” (Since it was R rated, you had to be over eighteen). I think the look on my face told her she'd made a mistake. “Twenty. Three,” I said. These days I'd be delighted to be mistaken for six or seven years younger than I am.

3. What is the first thing you do when you sit down each day to write?
I suppose that means after I've checked Facebook, gone through Twitter and emails and all that.

Right. Now it's writing time. Blank page is the worst. If I'm past that, I'll make a copy of yesterday's work and file it in my backup folder. I have a file for every day I write so I can always go back if I decide to take out an edit I've made. Then I'll catch up on and edit what I wrote yesterday. Then I'll carry on from there.
Greta van der Rol loves writing science fiction with a large dollop of good old, healthy romance. She lives not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia, and enjoys photography and cooking when she isn’t bent over the computer. She has a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping her in her writing endeavours.
Facebook: Author – Greta van der Rol
Twitter: @GretavdR
Email: gretavdr at gmail dot com

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Friday, September 2, 2011


Please welcome author Maris Soule to the blog today.

The crows cawed a warning. Then came the gunshots. Three in succession, a pause, then two more. The sound was close—too close—and a shiver of fear slid down my spine. Those shots had come from somewhere in my woods.
The Crows is available now!

Fun FIRST facts about Maris:

1. What was the first romance you ever read?
The title was Bold Venture, but I don't remember the author. It was a YA romance (although I don't remember them being classified as that back then) about a girl, a horse, and a riding instructor. The big, exciting moment was when he kissed her.

The romance that had the biggest initial impact on me was written by Kathleen Woodiweiss. The Flame and the Flower. What wasn't there to like? Even years later, when I started writing, I'd go back to that book to see how she did something. I always planned to only read a paragraph or two, but soon I'd find myself turning pages, once again caught up in the story.

2. What was the very first piece of fiction you ever wrote?
It was was when I was 12. If I recall correctly, it was a bit of a romance, but mostly a horse story. I thought it was so great, but no one else did, so I threw it away and decided writing wasn't for me. Many years later, I gave writing another try. That first attempt was really, really bad, but I didn't give up this time. That story never went anywhere, but I took parts of it and used them in several of the 25 romances that I wrote and had published after that story.

3. What's the first thing you do when starting a new story?
For me a book usually starts with an idea or a character. Generally I start by playing with the idea in my head, asking myself questions: What would happen next? Why? How can I make this more complicated? For example, in THE CROWS, which opens with the 5 sentences here, the idea came from an actual shooting that took place in the woods about 6 miles from where I lived. Two men were found dead and it took several years before they discovered who shot them. In my mind, I began playing with the idea. I wanted my main character to be female and for her to have a dog (a Rhodesian Ridgeback) like the one I had. I needed to decide why she would be walking in the woods and how to create a situation where she would have to be involved in solving the crime. I didn't want her to be in law enforcement, but I knew I would  need someone in law enforcement to help her, so why not also create a romance between those two? And that's how things progressed. I'm working on the third book in my "Crow" series and right now, in my head, I have a boat blowing up on Lake Michigan. It's the whys and hows that have me stumped, but I'm getting there.
Thanks so much, Maris! Your book sounds awesome.