Posts Tagged ‘author workspace’

Workspace Wednesday welcomes Christy Reece!

I am so excited to have New York Times bestselling author Christy Reece in the house today! You know how you scurry around and dust and polish and fret over every little thing when someone special is coming? That’s how I feel to have Christy here. (Sweeps up stuff previously swept under carpet.) Christy is a bestseller for good reason. Her Last Chance Rescue Series is the bomb! Simply put, she rocks. She also writes a completely different (but still awesome!) brand of romantic suspense as Ella Grace.

Take it away, Christy!

CHRISTY REECE: Thanks so much for inviting me over, Norah. I don’t get a lot of visitors to my office–even the hubby cautiously sticks his head in and asks if it’s safe. LOL It can get scary in here sometimes.

These photos were taken long after a deadline and a major office cleaning. It rarely looks like this but I couldn’t bear for you to see just how bad it can get. You’ll get a little taste of my disorganization when you see my stash of books. Seriously need more bookshelves!

The recliner is my writing chair…I’ve written most of my books here. My office is on the second floor of my house and the chair sits beside the window so I get numerous squirrels playing on the roof to distract and entertain me.

Most of my close-up work, like copyedits and galleys, are done at my desk. The manuscript on the corner is Midnight Secrets and the cover flat beside it is for inspirational purposes only. :) The picture on the wall above my desk is of a young couple saying goodbye at a train station. It was a gift from hubby and I love it! I’ve made up numerous stories in my head about this couple and why they’re saying goodbye. I’d love to write a story about them someday.

Behind my chair is my printer and beside it are all of my published books, along with my Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award for Last Chance and my Daphne Award for Sweet Justice. More inspiration to help me when I’m struggling with words. The bookshelf is filled with mostly reference books, along with hardbacks of some of my favorite authors. 

Above the bookshelf is a saying so appropriate for a romance writer: ‘All because two people fell in love.” Isn’t that a lovely saying? Below the frame, you’ll see lots of different knickknacks, including a rubber chicken in a bikini named Agatha. Doesn’t every writer have one of these?

This sign hangs over my door as a reminder of my ultimate goal as I write.

So Many Books! See how disorganized I really am? Yikes it’s a mess!

This is Blossom who for 13 1/2 years was my best friend, office manager, and muse. I lost her in December and still struggle to work without her. She was a tiny precious tyrant and the perfect writing companion.

This is Prissy (Pea-Pot-Pie) who has interviewed numerous times to be my office manager. However her need for frequent breaks and a treat every few minutes earned her an indefinite suspension. She’s also a drama queen. One of those in the office is quite enough. :)

This is Boney the Cat who has interviewed several times also. She’s actually a good little worker but has a tendency to walk on my keyboard and type her own words. So far I’ve not been able to interpret the language.

I am considering hiring her as a watch cat though.

The job position is still open but I have three more fur-kids who are anxious to interview. They declined to have their photos taken, citing privacy concerns. LOL Got a feeling I have three divas on my hands.

And that’s my little corner of my writing world.

Thanks again Norah for the chance to share!

 

Thank you, Christy! And you had me sniffling about Blossom. Although she looks nothing like my homely mongrel Bandicoot who warmed my feet for 11.5 years, she reminds me very strongly of him. And LOL about the job applicants! That’s a tough position to fill, but I’m betting on Prissy to step up. Or she’ll train you, more likely. In my experience, cats are unsuited to managing authors, with our delicate egos. (My cat is looking disdainfully at me from inches away as I type this, whilst my dog is exuding approval from her cushion by my desk. Just sayin’.)

Okay, on to the winning! Christy has kindly offered the following giveways: A signed copy of MIDNIGHT SECRETS (by her equally awesome alter ego, Ella Grace) and a digital copy of CHANCES ARE. (This book has an UNHEARD OF average star review rating of 4.8 on 62 reviews at Amazon. That blows my mind!)

AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, THE HEAT BEGINS
On a hot southern night, with a storm on the horizon, a family is shattered. Three beautiful daughters—Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina Wilde—go on with their lives, each significantly changed, as they bear the memory of the murder-suicide that killed their parents. For years, they have stayed away from Midnight, Alabama. Until Midnight calls them home.

Savannah is the first one back, when a grueling case in Nashville leads the young prosecutor to seek shelter in the quiet of the once grand Wilde mansion. But when she finds letters casting doubt on her family’s dark, shameful past, she realizes that peace in Midnight is a shallow façade and sinister secrets lurk beneath the surface. Zach Tanner, once the town’s bad boy, is now the new police chief and still has a wild hold over her. Zach can feel it, too, but he hurt Savannah once. As teenagers, they broke every rule together. Now it’s his job to keep her safe, even though he isn’t sure who her enemies are—or which ones might be his own.

  She is his dream come true. He is her nightmare.

Angela Delvecchio has always dreamed of being an LCR field operative. As LCR’s main researcher, she’s helped rescue victims, but always from the sidelines. Until now. Last Chance Rescue has been asked to assist the authorities in apprehending a serial killer terrorizing London. Angela knows this is her time and her mission.

After the murder of his wife, Jake Mallory stopped believing in anything good. Now, as an operative for Last Chance Rescue, he’s found a new purpose but he’ll never let his guard down again. The beautiful and much too vulnerable Angela is a temptation like no other—one he dare not take. Hearing that she’s going to be an operative is a surprise, but Jake is stunned to learn her first assignment will be to bait and trap the Red Rose killer. Assigned to be her partner, Jake knows he wouldn’t have it any other way. He failed the last woman he cared about…he won’t fail Angela.

Angela thought going undercover as an exotic dancer would be the toughest part of the job, and Jake thought keeping his hands off his partner would be his biggest challenge. They were both wrong. Taught to expect the unexpected, Angela faces events she never anticipated and Jake must allow the unthinkable. Now it’s a fight for survival because evil has more than one face and to stay alive, death may be the only option.

As always, all you have to do is comment for a chance to win one of these great prizes. And trust me, if you haven’t read Christy Reece yet, this will be a true prize.

Let the commenting begin!

Workspace Wednesday welcomes Laurin Wittig

I am beyond thrilled to have fellow Montlake author Laurin Wittig with me today. Her Scottish historicals are the bomb. Also, she’s just as lovely as her picture leads you to believe. Welcome, Laurin!

 

 

LAURIN WITTIG:  Thanks so much for inviting me to share my lair with your readers, Norah! First off, I have to admit that I’m sharing my current-but-not-for-long office. Both of my children have moved out of the house in the last few months so we’re busy repurposing the upstairs. As soon as I get the new office painted I’ll be moving out of my office of the last 14 years – the formal living room that is smack in the traffic pattern at the bottom of the stairs with kitchen and family room just steps away – to the upstairs guest room that is completely out of the traffic pattern. I know, I know, the kids are gone, but my husband works from home two days a week and never fails to cut through my office on the way to or from the kitchen or the family room. Plus, our dog can open the French doors of my current office but won’t be able to do that upstairs!

 

 

It’s hard to tell in this picture but the walls are a dark forest green. I just love green. My husband and I found my desk – a 1920s library table – at a local antique store years ago. It’s got a perfect foot perch underneath. My ginormous iMac sits in a place of honor and you can see that I use the bottom of the monitor as a handy post-it note place. I’m flanked on either side by matching bookcases (with doors – I hate dusting!). This one holds my craft of writing books, along with copies of my own books and books by my critique partners, awards I’ve gotten for my books, and a lot of little mementoes from friends, conferences, and my children. Underneath is where I hide a lot of my office supplies.

 

 

Here you can see the matching bookcase, just behind my grandmother’s rocking chair. This bookcase holds my research library. See the basket on the right? That’s Anna’s basket. She’s my miniature Eskie and that’s where I pile all the dog toys that mysteriously end up in a ring around my desk chair whenever I sit down to work.

 

 

And here is the corner opposite my desk. The bulletin board used to be for plotting, but now it’s where I pin up still more memorabilia, notes from friends and my publisher, and conference stuff. I wish you could see it more closely – one of my prize uber-nerdy things is on that board: a “May the force be with you” button that I got at the second showing of the original Star Wars movie back in 1977. I know, I’m a serious nerd and proud of it!

The picture above is a drawing by my good friend and awesome artist Elizabeth Holcombe. It’s of Symon MacLachlan, hero of The Devil of Kilmartin, my first book. As you can see, I’m a bit of a clutter-bug, and I love to have a lot of trinkets that remind me of people and events that have been important to me.

And now for the moment of truth: I use this office for the business side of being a writer. I do research, my bookkeeping, pay my bills, check my email/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest, update my website, write blog posts, etc. etc. etc. in this office. But I rarely write here.

This is my real writing office:

 

 

I use an awesome program, Scrivener, that lets me keep all my plot notes, scene notes, research notes, and manuscript in one place so I have almost everything I need to write my current book right there on my laptop. I take my laptop/office to a local coffee shop every morning, Monday through Friday, where I meet two other writers to work. It’s the only way I can keep myself focused long enough to actually get my books written.

So that’s my office(s)! The book on the laptop is the sequel to my new book that releases on August 6th, Highlander Betrayed. Leave a comment here and I’ll randomly choose two commenters to receive an advance reader copy of Highlander Betrayed. And I’m going to copy my fellow Montlake author, Tracy Brogan, and offer another advance reader copy to someone over on my Facebook page – just mention that Norah sent you! I’ll choose the winners on Monday since my laptop and I are out of town until then.

 

Hidden deep in the rugged Scottish Highlands lies the Highland Targe, an ancient relic guarded for centuries by clan MacAlpin. It is said the Targe can shield the heart of the Highlands from invaders and now, as part of his plan to crush the Scottish rebellion, the English king wants the Targe for himself . . . .

Rowan MacGregor, orphaned niece to the chief of the MacAlpins and the rock her family depends upon, is worried. With the dwindling health of her aunt, the Guardian of the Targe, the protections that have kept the clan safe and prosperous are fading, and the new Guardian, one of her cousins, has yet to be chosen. Rowan wants nothing more than to see the clan protected again, but when it seems that will never happen, she despairs—even when a handsome and charming stranger comes to her aid.

Nicholas fitz Hugh is not what he seems. Half-English, half-Scottish, he turned his back on his Scottish heritage early in his life, giving his loyalty to England instead. Now he is a talented and cunning spy charged with finding and stealing the Highland Targe for his king.

But when Nicholas finds himself falling for the bonny Rowan and wanting to protect the family she holds so dear, he is forced to choose between his king’s will and his own: Will he betray his king and his mission? Or will he turn his back on the woman he has come to love?

 

Thanks, Norah, for letting me share my office here!

Bio: Laurin Wittig is an award-winning, bestselling author of enchanting Scottish medieval romances that bring together strong warriors, smart women, and a land that tests those men and women again and again until they ultimately find their happy ever after. Romantic Times says, “She’s well on her way to becoming one of the genre’s finest storytellers.”

Laurin’s next book, Highlander Betrayed, book one of her Guardians of the Targe trilogy, will be released on August 6th and is available for preorder now.

You can find Laurin on-line at her web site LaurinWittig.com, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (links on her web site!).

 

Thank you so much for that tour, Laurin! And wow, I think I’m going to have to cave and learn Scrivener. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it.

Okay, let’s have some comments! How cool would it be to win an advance reading copy of that book?

Workspace Wednesday welcomes Wendy Ely

Today I welcome a new-to-me author, Wendy Ely, whom I met on some of my Internet travels. Wendy has a new book coming out, so this appearance is timely!

Take it away, Wendy!

 

WENDY ELI:  Norah, thank you so much for letting me be part of Workplace Wednesday! I’m so excited to share this private part of my life.

 

 

Here is where the words magically flow from my fingertips… or I bang my head on the desk. HA! My actual work area. I’m so proud of that computer. Pink is my favorite color and my honey picked this laptop out for me because the keys glow in whatever color I choose. Also in this picture is my work bulletin board that is half whiteboard (and I always find loving or silly notes added from my family). I use the other board for inspiration. We’ve recently moved and most of my inspirational items fell off. Right now I have a picture of me with my siblings. I won that board and the animal print pencil container from my local RWA chapter. My desk has an extra pullout shelf for a keyboard. I use a laptop so this extra part of my desk provides extra space to work… usually when I put pen to paper.

 

 

This little table sits next to my desk and adds extra storage to my workspace. My kids bought me that clock many years ago. The drawing (that really needs to be framed) hanging on the wall was done for me from a friend. On this table you’ll also notice some essentials such as: Bath and Body Works body spray (Paris), EOS lip balm, and my Post-it note holder. I also keep two books that I always use: The Writer’s Thesaurus and The Emotion Thesaurus. The shelf holds extra copies of my books and my cat often sleeps here. What you don’t see is the double doors near the bottom. I keep stacks of notebooks here.

 

 

I have been reduced to 1 bookshelf at this house. Sigh. As you can see, I need a few more. My “to be read” books are here, but I keep my writing resource books and autographed books separate. You’ll also see a black and white photo of my kids when they were younger.

 

 

Here is the top of my shelf. My books that are in print are on display here. I also have a little figurine that a former daycare child gave me for my birthday. See that vase of roses? My RWA chapter gives a rose for every book published. I’m so proud of these.

 

 

Here is my shelf of autographed books and important things. I love having books autographed by the authors and I’ll keep these books forever. You’ll also notice a hat sitting on top. A dear friend gave this to me. The back reads, “Thomas.” The white container holds my paperclips (usually glitter pretty clips!) and the rest of the figurines were given to me by friends. Can you tell I love fairies?

 

 

But the best part of my office is my assistant. Kujo follows me everywhere and often lounges in my office while I work. Here she is sprawled out on my chair.  Good thing I looked down before I sat, huh? She used to sleep on my desk, but she doesn’t fit anymore.

 

Thank you for stopping by my workplace! In honor of my post, I’ll be giving away an ebook copy of my brand new release Dangerous Flames.

 

Dangerous Flames

Sometimes heroes are taught to do really bad things…

Mikolas Russo is one hit away from becoming part of the Medini crime family. But is this what he really wants?  Killing people for money is what he has been trained to do even though he’d give anything to trade the nightmares for sweet dreams of the forbidden Gabrielle. Thinking he has the chance to reveal his feelings to her, he arrives at her house to find her brandishing a loaded gun, ready to take control.

During Gabrielle’s teen years, she attended a private school in Italy. This is where she learns the meaning of Mafia but believed crime families no longer existed. Now back in Las Vegas and demanding answers to the hard questions, she quickly learns that the Mafia still has a hand in controlling society and her father is the Don of the largest mob in the area.

The Mafia doesn’t seem so glamorous any more after a hit is taken out on her father, especially when Gabrielle has reason to believe that her secret love’s safety is in jeopardy too.

Will the truth fulfill her desires, or will Mikolas be the one to shatter everything?

 

You can find Wendy Ely on the Internet in these places:

Amazon (check out her current releases).

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Email Wendy: authorwendyely@gmail.com

 

Thank you for that lovely tour, Wendy! And LOL – I keep my authographed books and special keepers on a different shelf too. They deserve it. ,-)

Okay, my lovelies, you know the drill — comment for a chance to win an ebook copy of Wendy’s new release, Dangerous Flames.

 

 

Workspace Wednesday welcomes Kate Kelly

This is a very special Workspace Wednesday for me. Kate Kelly is a writing buddy from way back. We basically learned to write together in a small critique group. Kate and I later went on to final in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart ® contest in the same year (2001), each with our own manuscript, and each story was a romantic suspense with a cowboy at its center. Kate has since self-published a number of her fabulous romantic suspense stories, and she also writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Superromance. If you haven’t read a Kate Kelly novel yet, you should treat yourself. She has an amazing voice!

Take it away, Kate!

 

KATE KELLY:  Okay, before you come into my closet, er…office, there’s something I have to tell you. Like most things in my life, it’s a work-in-progress. My real life hero is building our new house around me, and I get to make choices, like do I want my custom-built desk or do I want a door on the bathroom. So, yeah, no doors on the bathroom. <kidding> 

So come on into my office.

 

 

Norah said she didn’t want a complete photo album of my office, so you probably can’t see the cool stuff on my desk like the tiny Buddha that’s no bigger than my smallest fingernail. Or the gorgeous cranberry coloured pottery bowl my daughter-in-law made for me. It’s filled with cool rocks and shells. And, ahem, my Daphne du Maurier pewter bookmark I received for placing 1st once upon a time.

Check out how tall my desk is. It might not be pretty, but I love being able to stand up later in the day to work, and I’m told standing is better for you than sitting. The desk has a hydraulic lift, and with one press of the button it can go up, and down, and up, and down. I don’t play with it. Much. 

There’s more stuff to see in the office but because the room is so small, it’s impossible to take a picture that includes everything. Unless Norah lets me send the photo album, of course.

The best feature of my office, and the reason I never feel crowded is the view out my big window. Some days the view looks like this.

 

 

And sometimes like this.

 

 

People often ask me if the view distracts me, and the answer is on occasion. But don’t your best ideas come to you when you least expect them?

Currently I’m working on the third book in my series, Stolen Hearts. The first book is about an art thief, the second an art forger, and the third book, a jewelry thief. The research for these books is absolutely fascinating. Out of Control is a free novella that introduces some of the recurring characters in the series. 

 

And I’m excited to have a Harlequin Super Romance coming out in September, When Adam Came To Town.

Leave a comment for a chance to win either an e-copy of Sleight of Hand, the first book in the Stolen Hearts series, or a copy of When Adam Came To Town.

 

Chance Spencer, doesn’t steal. Not anymore.

Suddenly suspected of stealing half a million dollars of original paintings, Chance can’t afford to have the FBI delve too closely into his covert past. When one agent in particular endeavors to put him behind bars, Chance coerces the real thief’s daughter, Sarah O’Sullivan, into helping him flush her wily father out of hiding. Both want him found. Sarah, to warn her father of Chance’s intent to turn him over to the FBI. Chance, to hopefully catch the thief red-handed. To succeed in capturing the thief Chance must keep Sarah close to him. But his plan quickly deteriorates when the stakes for his freedom soar. How can he ruthlessly use the woman with whom he’s falling in love?

Sarah O’Sullivan is also looking for her father, but for different reasons. With her best friend getting married, Sarah realizes she’s alone in the world and needs her family. That would be her father, who has been absent most of her boarding-school life. When Chance arrives in New York to inform her he’s going after her father, Sarah follows him to Canada, hoping to warn him before Chance or the FBI find him. But living in close proximity with Chance, Sarah soon starts falling in love with him. She struggles with her divided loyalties as the FBI and the local police close in for an arrest. Someone has to be arrested for the theft. Chance or her father?

 

Temptation moves in next door

Sylvie Carson has no idea what she’s going to do with the rest of her life! Artistically blocked, she hopes a prolonged stay in the seaside village she grew up in will help her get over this hump. But when Adam Hunter moves in next door, things only get more complicated, not less.

The artist in Sylvie is immediately intrigued by her new neighbor—the haunting lines of his face, the natural athleticism of his body. Maybe Adam is the muse she’s been looking for…but his shadowed eyes suggest he’s just one more person keeping secrets from her. Though Sylvie can’t deny that Adam inspires passion in her, the last thing she needs is a romance…right?

 

Thanks for having me, Norah. I love reading this blog and seeing other writers’ workspace.

 

Thank you Kate! And I can’t believe I’m seeing your new office for the first time in a photograph! I really need the actual tour. But thank you for joining me and giving us this virtual tour. Your view is stunning, as I’m sure readers will agree. Also, I see When Adam Comes to Town is available for pre-order on Amazon. Woot!

Okay, let the commenting commence. One lucky commenter will receive their choice of either the ebook of Sleight of Hand or a print copy of When Adam Comes to Town, available in September. Good luck!

Workspace Wednesday welcomes Tracy Brogan

I am super pumped to have Tracy Brogan on my blog today. Tracy is a fellow-Montlake Romance author who has encountered fantastic success. Her debut romantic comedy, Crazy Little Thing, has been nominated for Best First Book by the Romance Writers of America®, and I’ll be there to cheer her on at the awards ceremony in Atlanta next month. Go, Tracy!

 

TRACY BROGAN: Thanks for inviting me to Work Place Wednesday! If I recall, you invited me once before and I had to cancel because my desk was such a mess that even my computer stopped working! Fortunately I got that snafu worked through and here I am today. The pictures you see are ones taken at various stages. Since I’m currently under a mad-dash deadline, things around here are a little cluttered for my taste. (For those of you who have read my contemporary romantic comedy, Crazy Little Thing, it’s no coincidence that the heroine is a professional organizer. I do indeed have labels on my refrigerator shelves, just like she does. And just like in the book, no one pays any attention to them except for me.)

 

 

I work best with a clean space. But I’m also the post-it note queen so there you have my constant internal conflict. What I’ve started doing recently, thanks to a fa-fa-fabulous workshop I took with Cherry Adair, is take post-its with notes pertaining to the scene I’m working on that day, and I stick them all around the edge of my screen. Right now I have notes that say, “Spider, barefoot, and tattoo.” They remind me that in this scene, I want to establish how my heroine is afraid of spiders, my hero prefers to be barefoot, and I need to explain the significance of his tattoo because its meaning plays a part later in the book. Sometimes I will also have “theme” or “ARC” notes, too, such as one saying, “She’s not ready to commit,” or “he’s been thinking about the future,” things like that. I find this helps me keep my characters on task so they don’t go wandering off into the forest and fraternize with mythical creatures or something. Because I don’t write about mythical creatures.

 

 

I also have dozens of trinkets. I think I’m constantly on the lookout for that secret talisman that will provide constant inspiration. So far the best I’ve come up with is intro-venous coffee, but that doesn’t stop me from collecting other items. I have a “good karma” bracelet from a critique partner, another bracelet with charms attached to represent each book I’ve finished, bookends that hold up the books of my wonderful writer friends, a tiny bronze Liberty Bell because the heroine of my latest release (Hold On My Heart) is named Liberty Belle Hamilton, and last but sooo not least, I have pictures of handsome men who have served as stars in the mental casting of my books. There are a few picture of the heroines, too, but I don’t pay much attention to them. And those are mostly there so I can say to my husband, “See? I’m working. Not just ogling men.”  When it comes to my “casting” though, don’t typically tell people who my “heroes” are because I don’t want to flavor (or tarnish) a readers vision of what he looks like. I want readers to intuit a vision of their own favorites.

 

 

I also have a big white board with a grid. This is another trick from Cherry Adair and her color-scheming madness. I won’t go into detail about how her system works but if you’re remotely a plotter, you will love her method. And if you’re a pantser, you would still probably benefit from seeing how she does it because you could set up your grid after you’ve written your first draft to see where your plot holes and pacing problems are. It’s worth the time.

 

 

This office is far from perfect. There is no espresso machine, and I can hear every dog in my neighborhood bark all day long, but I’m incredibly grateful that since I’ve sold my first book, and just signed another 3-book deal, I was able to move out the guest bed, sewing cabinet, and buy some real bookshelves for this room. It’s officially MY office. Now if I could just install a lock on the door, I’d be all set.

 

 

Thanks for having me, Norah. If you don’t mind a shameless plug of self-promotion, I have a new book coming on June 25, 2013 called Hold On My Heart. Here is a blurb:

 

To build a future, sometimes you have to tear down the past…

Chicago event planner Libby Hamilton can turn any bland setting into a dramatic venue – but when she abruptly loses her job, and her fair-weather boyfriend moves to another state, Libby suddenly finds herself back in the tiny town she grew up in. Worse than that, her father wants help transforming an old schoolhouse into a vintage ice cream parlor and Libby must trade in her power suits for power tools.

Widowed restoration specialist Tom Murphy can rebuild just about anything – except the shattered relationship he shares with his teenaged daughter. Hired by Libby’s father, Tom isn’t interested in sharing the details of his personal life with beautiful, spunky Libby. He just wants to get the job done. But she is tenacious – and sexy – and it doesn’t take long before she breaks down his walls, builds up his hope, and gets a hold on his heart that won’t let go.

 

And for a little extra fun, here’s the trailer:

 

I’d love to give away some copies of this book! So three lucky winners will win a free print copy! Just leave a comment on this blog, and three names will be selected at random. Or come on over to my author Facebook page and leave me a note saying Norah sent you. I’ll draw another name from that list!  Four winners total!!  Thanks for playing and have a great Wednesday!

 

Biography:  Past or present, Tracy Brogan loves romance.  She writes funny contemporary stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love, and stirring historical romance full of political intrigue, damsels causing distress, and the occasional man in a kilt.

She is a best-selling author, a 2013 RWA® RITA Best First Book Finalist for Crazy Little Thing, and a two-time Golden Heart Finalist in both contemporary and historical romance.

Her next contemporary romance, Hold On My Heart, releases June 25, 2013.

Tracy lives in Michigan with her husband, her children and their overly-indulged dogs. Please stop by her website at tracybrogan.com.

 

 

Thank you, Tracy! That was a fun tour. I love your space, and I feel like I learned a lot about you. I wish you’d come organize me!

Okay, folks, you heard the lady. Three of you will win her terrific new book just for commenting, and you have a bonus chance if you drop by her Facebook page. Let the commenting begin!

 

Workspace Wednesday welcomes

I am so pleased to welcome Cynthia Woolf for today’s edition of Workspace Wednesday. In my view, Cynthia epitomizes the talented, hard-working indie author, and she is always producing new material. She’s an active blogger who has done a ton to try to help other indie authors achieve some profile. I’m happy to have the chance to try to do the same for her. Please welcome Cynthia Woolf.

 

CYNTHIA WOOLF:  Thanks for having me on Workspace Wednesday.  I think it’s a fun idea but I was hesitant to show pictures of my workspace.  I’m a bit of a pack rat and so my desk and wall is cluttered.  My husband has the other half of the office and his workspace is worse than mine.

We turned the smallest of our three bedrooms into an office.  Me on one side of it and him on the other.  It usually works out pretty well.  Sometimes we’ll knock each others’ chairs when we both try to get up at the same time but that doesn’t happen too often.

 

 

The frames on the wall are of awards and my rankings for my last three books.  They reached up to #1 in Books-Western on Amazon and I wanted to commemorate it.  I’m actually a #1 bestselling author.  In Western’s anyway.  Someday I hope to be number one over all.  Which is exactly what we all hope for.

I don’t have a view from my workspace, I face the wall, but if I did look out the window it would just be at the neighbor’s house so we keep the curtains closed all the time.  What I’d like to do, eventually, is move my office into the breakfast nook.  The view from there is great.  It’s of Longs Peak in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  For me, having grown up in the mountains, being able to see one as unique as Long’s Peak, everyday from my desk would be heaven.

If you look hard at the picture of the wall you’ll see the cover for my WIP, Fiery Bride.  I think the cover is beautiful.  Of course, I love all my covers.  Currently, my husband is printing them all out and we are going to frame them and then hang them around the top of the walls just below the ceiling.  When that gets full (notice I say when and not if) then we’ll start on the second row.

I’ve got my latest release, Heiress Bride, in a frame but not on the wall yet, otherwise I’d have it prominently in the picture.  You can see part of it on my monitor, which I just bought.  My vision is bad and even with new glasses I wasn’t able to see the stuff on the monitor clearly.  So we went and got me a new monitor.  A 27” monitor.  It’s huge and I can see everything.  It would probably be too big for most people but for me, it’s perfect.

 

 

Thanks again for having me.  Hope everyone has a wonderful day.  Oh, I almost forgot.  I’m giving away two prizes today.  One lucky commenter will receive a copy of Heiress Bride, my latest release and another commenter will receive a $5 Starbucks card.  Be sure and leave a comment and put your email address in the comment to be entered into the drawing for the prizes.

 

Heiress Ella Davenport survived a carriage accident that killed her father. Her life saved in exchange for savage scars marring her beautiful face. Her friends, socialites, showed their true colors, casting Ella aside like damaged goods and leaving her a social pariah. Even her wealth can’t buy her the kind of marriage she wants. Desperate to find a husband who can accept her despite her scars and, without knowing about her money, she seeks to become a mail order bride. Matchmaker & Co. is her one chance to start over and leave the pain and betrayal far behind her.

Nathan Ravenclaw was run out of town by the father of the girl he was courting once he discovered Nathan’s Arapaho heritage. It didn’t matter that Nathan was a successful rancher, businessman, and a positive member of society. The white community suddenly saw only a half-breed. Even his money couldn’t buy him a wife. That was ten years ago. He moved and rebuilt everything that cold rancher once took from him. He has it all…except a wife. Matchmaker & Company promises to send him a woman willing to start a new life with him. But Nathan’s battered heart lacks the ability to trust. He longs for children, not romance. His new bride, scarred and cast aside like himself, promises to be perfect for him. Until he meets his mail order bride. Fierce desire and an even more dangerous hope roar back to life within him. Two things he swore never to indulge in again.

And love? For these two battered souls, that’s the biggest risk of all

 

 

Thank you, Cynthia! And OMG, i can’t imagine working in such close quarters with my DH. Our workstations aren’t even on the same floor! LOL. But I love that monitor. I find I need really good lighting these days. I have a giant sun-strength light on my desk, but maybe a better idea would be a giant monitor…

Before I turn it over to comments to win Cynthia’s fabulous prizes, here is some contact info for her:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

 

Okay, let’s get to it! Comment for a chance to win Cynthia’s latest book or the coveted $5 Starbucks card.

 

Workspace Wednesday welcomes L.j. Charles

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to L.j. Charles. I met L.j. online early in the indie author movement, when there weren’t so many of us. And no, that doesn’t make us dinosaurs. That makes us early adopters. (Sounds so much nicer, huh?)

Okay, L.j., take it away!

 

L.j. Charles:  Thank you, Norah, for inviting me to Workspace Wednesday. It’s such fun to share my office with you, but I have to preface this by saying that I rarely work there. I’m a Have Laptop—Will Travel writer, so I’ll start by being right up front with it. I do a lot of my writing, and most of my revisions at the local Perkins restaurant as is shown here. I’m quite fond of the never-ending supply of Diet Coke they provide.

 

I do curl up on the sofa in my office to write on weekends, usually to avoid being interrupted by my Dear Husband.

 

 

He truly understands what a distraction he can be, and purchased this reminder for the door of my study.

 

 

The actual office space is quite small, and is usually inhabited by a cat or two. The black feline is Oliver Biscuit, and the wide-awake little one is Harley. The Biscuit kitty likes to sleep on my arm when I’m writing—which is one of the reasons I hide at Perkins.

 

 

There are a few things in my office that mean a great deal to me. One of them is a certificate stating that I’ve kissed the Blarney Stone. I’m not comfortable with heights, and yet I stretched out on my back and leaned over the edge of the castle roof to reach the stone. To be perfectly honest, there was a strapping young man holding me down. I can only hope the experience is a positive reflection in my writing.

 

 

Another is my Color Outside the Lines painting. It was a Christmas gift from my husband, and I use it as a focus point whenever I’m stuck on a plot point.

 

It’s been a pleasure to share my workspace with you, and I’m very excited that this blog post has serendipitously coincided with another event that I’m very excited about. I’ve collaborated with six other authors in a boxed set of mysteries titled Mirth, Murder & Mystery, and it’s going on sale today for .99! We’re having a Facebook party to introduce our readers to our heroes, so please stop by if you have a chance.

 

 

Thanks to everyone who dropped in to visit, and for those of you who leave a comment, I’m offering a print copy of A TOUCH OF ICE, and A TOUCH OF TNT to two commenters. Each winner will also receive one of my collage bookmarks.

A Touch of Ice

Everly Gray’s fingers are a magnet for trouble.  When she touches photographer Mitchell Hunt and sees the image of a dead body, she dives into the murder fingertips first. Life takes a turn for the dangerous when she discovers the body is related to a small-time crime family that accidentally stepped on the toes of notorious criminal, Delano West. Caught in a web of intrigue where nothing is as it seems, El discovers an aptitude for breaking and entering, the pain of an up close and personal meeting with a bullet, and the terror of facing a cold blooded killer. What she doesn’t learn–to keep her fingers to herself.

 A Touch of TNT

Having ESP in her fingertips gives new meaning to “get the picture,” and for Everly Gray it’s a one-way ticket to trouble. With fear nipping at her heels, out of control curiosity, and a reluctant request from the chief of police for help with a case, she stumbles across, not one, but two dead bodies. What she knows puts her in the path of a killer. What she doesn’t know—she’ll be the one pulling the trigger.

Curious minds want to know. Has anyone kissed the Blarney Stone. Has it helped your writing? Do you have pets who insist on helping you write? Both of my cats are very attached to adding interesting comments to my WIP.

 

Thank you, L.j. Loved the tour! And how exciting about your multi-author box set! Trish Milburn, MJ Fredrick and I just had a Facebook party on Monday, May 20, to launch our romantic suspense box set, In Harm’s Way. What a great way for readers to try new authors. Discoverability, right?

Okay, guys, you can check out L.j. Charles at little more closely at her website or like her on Facebook.

Now, let’s open it up for comments and a chance to win books! L.j. has given us some questions above to start you off.

 

 

 

 

Workspace Wednesday Welcomes Kris Kennedy

It gives me no end of pleasure to bring you Kris Kennedy today as my Workspace Wednesday guest. Kris is a fellow Rock*It Reads author. I’m looking forward to meeting her in person one of these days, but even electronically, Kris’s personality shines through. She’s smart, insightful, energetic – just the kind of person you want to be around. And she’s extremely talented too! You may have read recently that her book DECEPTION just won Romantic Times’ K.I.S.S. Award for Best Historical Hero earlier this month. Without further ado, here’s Kris…

 

KRIS KENNEDY   When I think about my workspace, I feel ambivalent. I feel happy, for me. I have lots of workspaces, and can move around as the mood strikes me. I also feel sad, for my husband. Because I can move around as the mood strikes me.

I’m what you call a ‘spreader.’ I spread out. These pictures will not capture my utter spreadability. I’m like butter.

I’m also a researcher. A mad researcher. Writing medievals and Elizabethans requires a lot of research, and not all can happen online. I need big, heavy, beautiful books, and they too must spread. All over the house.

Then I must write notes, and mark up the big heavy books, so I can capture the information and be able to find it again. All this paper must move too.

We tried to set me up in an office in our extra bedroom. Bought a nice, big desk, set it front of a window, cleared out all the exercise equipment (at which point I bought a treadmill. My poor husband.) As an office, it totally works. See? I’m all set up.

 

Except, I rarely use the desk. I think it’s the chair. What I do use, without a doubt, is the treadmill desk.

 

Note my high-tech approach to ‘desk’–I laid the cardboard packing materials that came with the treadmill across its arms. It works fabulously! I can’t write fiction on it, but I can do all my online stuff, and burn 500-1000 calories, depending on how long I’m on Twitt— I mean, how long I’m on the treadmill. :)

Oh, that black splotch on the wall at the head of the treadmill? It’s a dress I WILL fit into again—it’s motivation. Or shame. Which is highly motivating. :)

 

Here you can get a peek-a-boo view of the approximately 6,549 research books (only a few are showing here), maps, folders, and scribbled sheets of paper I metabolize. Usually about 298 books are open and in use at any one point (if you look close, you’ll see copious post-it notes.) I write a lot of thoughts down by hand—I’m far too spatial to have everything be online or on the computer. I have old maps on England and Ireland on the walls, my husband got my covers framed, and index cards are taped to another wall, plotting out various plot timelines for stories. (Which I never use. Silly plotting.) I also have my son’s microscope there, as he sometimes brings in fun and exciting items to examine more closely.

 

Downstairs, we see the real nerve center—the dining room table. My husband loves this.

I have to admit, this picture reflects a false reality—there’s usually a lot more books and papers piled up. Over the last weekend, I cleaned up and moved a lot of stuff off the table, since we’re having about 30 people come to a potluck next weekend, and my husband was getting pale at the sight of mountains of research books and paper. “And so…are we gonna get this…when? Were you thinking, what was that? Today?”

Yes, sweetie, today.  :)

I love writing in the dining room, really. Way more than upstairs. And it only takes about 5 minutes every night to shift all the books and papers to the far end of the table so we can eat dinner, so why the heck not use it??  :)

But the sunlight is great (when we get sun), the kitchen is right behind me (probably a bad thing), I can let the dog in and out whenever needed, and when school & work are over and everyone’s home, I’m still part of us. Although seriously, I should probably rethink this approach, because it’s not the most work-conducive. But it is family-conducive, and I guess that’s more important right now.

 

 

Note the accoutrements I get rained down upon me if I stay connected in this way—Playmobil and Legos characters appear in random places at random times, scattered across my keyboard and research papers.

I see I haven’t taken any shots of the living room couch & table in front of it, which is my other workspace. (Refrain: My poor husband.) I sit there and write while they play splash-ball hockey around me, or toss balls over my head.

So if you read any of my books, know that as I try to transport you to another world in the story, I’m probably also transporting you around my house. My family seeps in. My dog, the Lego characters, my son’s laughter as he plays out back with friends, my husband calling to my son to come have a catch, the scent of dinner cooking and the touch of my husband’s hand on my back as he walks by. All because I’m sitting in the dining room aka: nerve center, not in my ‘office.’  :)

Silly offices.

I’ve got TWO books to give away to two commentors! Either THE IRISH WARRIOR or DECEPTION (your choice)! THE IRISH WARRIOR won RWA’s Golden Heart Award just before it was published, and DECEPTION just won Romantic Times’ K.I.S.S. Award for Best Historical Hero just last week!

So, fire away!  Do you think I’m nuts with this set-up? What does your husband/co-workers think of your work environment? Are they properly horrified, or are you the one they wish they could emulate? Is your workspace important to you, or could you write in a box?

 

Kris’s Website   |   Kris’s Twitter   |   Kris’s Facebook   |   Kris on Goodreads   |   Kris’s Amazon Author Page

 

Thank you, Kris. Silly offices, indeed. And great questions. I’m looking forward to reading the comments. Of which I’m sure there will be lots. Here are the two books up for grabs.

 

As his men are slaughtered around him, legendary Irish warrior Finian O’Melaghlin is held captive by the despised English Lord Rardove. Struggling to break free, Finian finds aid from an unlikely source: the beautiful Senna de Valery, who is also trying to escape Rardove’s bloodthirsty grasp. Risking both their lives, Senna releases Finian from his shackles so they can both flee, but their plight has just begun…Seeking safe refuge, Finian and Senna have only each other to depend on for survival. Neither can deny their immediate attraction, but indulging their desires will put them both in grave danger. Finian vows to protect the woman who saved his life, but he soon learns she is a pawn in a much larger battle. For Senna has an unbreakable link to a priceless treasure many centuries old. It is the stuff from which dreams are made and for which men will kill – and not even Finian may be strong enough to save her.

Award-winning author Kris Kennedy brings the treacherous world of thirteenth-century England to life in this scorching romantic adventure!

A dashing con man

Breaking and entering to reclaim her corrupt late father’s ledger comes surprisingly easily to Sophia Darnly. But is it mere coincidence that her misdeed unexpectedly reunites her with Kier, the outlaw lover who abandoned her years ago?

A lady skilled in trickery

Time has not erased Sophia from Kier’s heart, nor tamed her fiery spirit. She boldly insinuates herself into his plans. But Kier is on a mission of revenge, and can’t allow even the woman he once loved to stop him.

A game that could get them both killed

The danger mounts as they lure the leader of a powerful consortium who needs the fabled Darnly ledger—and all its damning details about the wealthiest merchants of England— to execute his nefarious plan. Their rekindled passion burns hot, but when they discover they too are the targets of a deadly deception, the fate of their love, and of England itself, lies in the balance.

 

Workspace Wednesday welcomes Zoe Dawson

 

I’m totally tickled to bring you Zoe Dawson for this installment of Workspace Wednesday. Zoe is the alter ego of Karen Anders, award winning, multi-published author. Her writing journey started with poetry and branched out into fiction. With a couple of college English courses under her belt, she penned a historical, then moved on to contemporary romance fiction.

 

 

She is the author of the very cool Going to the Dogs Series (Leashed, Groomed for Murder). She also has a six-book police procedural series (The Misfit Squad Series) featuring a group of troubled homicide detectives who have landed in the “last chance” squad. Watch for it from Entangled Publishing in 2013.

Zoe is a woman after my own heart. Not only does she write romantic suspense and romantic mystery, she’ll soon be publishing paranormal and urban fantasy novels. I love all those genres, and as a writer, I totally get the urge (need?) to be spinning stories in multiple genres.

Okay, Zoe, take it away!

 

ZOE DAWSON:   Thank you, Norah, for having me on your blog and sharing my workspace with you.  When I first started writing seriously, I lived in Virginia and my workspace was literally in a walk in closet.  Great cosmic writing power/itty bitty writing space.  The bedroom had two walk in closets so I could fit both my clothes and my writing passion into one room.  It was a tight confined space that only accommodated my desk and chair.  But it was perfect.  I could close my bedroom door, then the door to my small space and cut out all the noise from the household.  I loved that space.

When I moved to North Carolina, I lived in a two bedroom apartment with my daughter and I wrote in my bedroom again.  But this time I had to put the clothes in the only walk in closet.  Not as conducive to writing, but then I was developing ideas and had no contracts at the time.

I then moved to a three bedroom single family home where I had a dedicated office to work out of and it was huge, but with the change in the economy, I moved into a townhouse where I now currently write.  As you can see, the view is simply wonderful at all times of the year.

 

 

Even though we live right off a busy road, you wouldn’t know it by looking out the window.  Looks like we live out in the country.

 

 

 

I share the room with my daughter and when I need some quiet time, I take my laptop into my bedroom and produce away.

I have written seven books in this space and expect to produce a lot more as I have now diversified into self-publishing.

 

Thank you for that tour, Zoe. I’m so impressed by how clean your desktop is! And don’t you love having dual monitors? And is that a dog on top of your CPU?  :)

Okay folks, it’s your turn. Leave us a comment for a chance to win one of two electronic copies of Leashed.

 

And they call it puppy love!

When Jack falls head-over-paws for cute and cuddly Jill next door — that creamy coat, those soft brown eyes, and, yowza, those long legs, he simply cannot help himself.  Bing, bang, boom, a few weeks later, Jack has some ‘splaining to do when that cute female is with puppies.  Jack’s going to be a father, trouble is his lady love’s owner and his owner need a little shove into love.  Being a large and in-charge Great Dane, that’s no problem for Jack.  With a little cooperation and a little matchmaking, some nudging, whining and puppy dog eyes, hopefully, everyone will live happily ever after together.

 

Can a dog have a bad hair day?

Brooke Palmer owns Pawlish, an exclusive doggie spa and grooming business in upper Manhattan, but when a client’s champion poodle gets a bad poodle cut and has to undergo therapy to recover, the client sues.  The lawyer they send is drop dead gorgeous, but Brooke won’t be wooed by a corporate shark in a sharp suit.

Corporate lawyer Drew Hudson has better things to do then take on this ridiculous lawsuit, but since he works for the client’s husband, he has no choice.  After meeting the beautiful, sweet-tempered owner, he can’t keep his mind on the silly case.  But when the client turns up dog gone dead, Brooke may be a conflict of interest when she’s charged with the murder.  All Drew wants to do is prove that this sexy entrepreneur is not dangerous, except to his heart.

Can she take a chance on him?

Workspace Wednesday welcomes Gail MacMillan

I am so pleased to have one of my local buddies, Gail MacMillan, join me today for Workspace Wednesday. And when I say “local”, that’s relative. Gail lives on New Brunswick’s north shore, while I’m way down here in Fredericton. But we’re fellow NBers, fellow romantic suspense authors and fellow dog lovers.

Gail’s Bio:  A three-time recipient of the prestigious Maxwell Medal, Gail MacMillan is author of twenty-two books. A graduate of Queen’s University with post graduate work in Expository and Narrative Writing at the University of Western Ontario, Gail has had numerous short stories and articles published in Canada, the United States, and Europe, several of which have won awards. Her three books about Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers (the first co-authored with Alison Strang) have met with excellent reviews and are selling well worldwide. Two of her canine books, Biography of a Beagle and Ceilidh’s Quest have won Maxwell Medals from the Dog Writers’ Association of America in NYC as the Best Dog Books in their category in 2002 and 2007 respectively. Gail also writes romantic suspense.

Welcome, Gail! Take it away!

 

 

GAIL MacMILLAN: Thank you, Norah!

When Norah invited me to be her guest on one of her Workplace Wednesday’s spots I was delighted.  Then, as I read more and more about her celebrated guests’ workplaces and saw more and more of their well-appointed and even glamorous writing areas, I began to panic.  I have no such designated place. In fact, I’m more than slightly nomadic in the locations where I choose to write. So, after giving the matter consideration, I decided that honesty is the best policy.  This is my workplace story.

I’ve always written from the time I could first form letters into words so I’d have to say my first workspace was my bed where I sat huddled against my pillows in the glow of a small lamp scribbling in secret long after lights out.  These tales I hid under my bed, afraid to admit to anyone that I dared to attempt to emulate actual authors.  Authors, I believed, were next to the gods on Mount Olympus with their gifts of conjuring stories out of thin air in an absolutely enthralling fashion. I had no right to try to attempt to enter their exalted realm.

But I continued to be a closet (or under the bed one) writer for years.  When I married my husband Ron he discovered my secret addiction and insisted I join a writer’s group.  That did it.  Spurred on by that enthusiastic gathering, I wrote at every possible moment, my favorite spot being the front steps of the two room shack we called our camp in Tabusintac.   I filled notebooks and every scrap of available paper with stories and even short novels.   I bought a second hand manual typewriter and began to write boldly, openly at the kitchen table where any passing neighbor might come upon me.  Third page headlines in the Moncton Times after my first book was published dubbed me the kitchen table novelist.

Later, in attempt to find a quiet place to write, I set up shop on a wobbly-legged card table in a corner of our unfinished basement.  When the kids were finally all in school, I moved my shaky writing centre upstairs to our bedroom.  There I wrote two more books and a bunch of short stories for religious (now called Christian, I believe) magazines.  And just before I moved again, I began to write the dog stories that would take me in a whole new direction.

Two years later we finished our basement.   This remodeling included a small office for me behind the furnace and the room where we were to store our winter’s supply of fire wood.  Thus isolated, I felt I’d be undisturbed to write and write and write.  My husband, bless him, in support of my elusive dream, even built me a beautiful roll top desk that took him an entire winter to complete.

 

 

It didn’t work out.  I soon discovered my imagination couldn’t flare locked away below ground level behind several cords of hardwood with only one small window.  I found myself holding a tablet or notebook on my knee in various brighter, more convivial locations.  Later I’d force myself into that cube in the basement where, thanks to a modest inheritance, I now had a miracle machine…a self correcting typewriter…to transcribe my stories.

These days, a laptop accommodates my moods and fancies.  Summers at our cottage in Tabusintac, I set up in the gazebo out back where I have a lovely view of fields and trees, birds and squirrels, and the occasional fox.  When the chill of late October drives me indoors, I once again become a kitchen table novelist.

 

 

Winters in Bathurst I mostly write at the dining room table (apparently you can take the table away from the girl but you can’t get the girl away from the table).  From my vantage point I have a lovely view of both my backyard and the street in front of the house.  My dogs are my associate editors, always ready to tell me when it’s break time, waiting patiently when it isn’t.

 

 

My office sits alone and uninhabited except for floor-to-ceiling, well-filled book shelves, filing cabinets, and bulletin boards.  We’ve moved the beautiful roll top desk upstairs to Ron’s office.  The expensive typing chair my doctor insisted I needed to keep arms and shoulders pain-free sits gathering dust in front of my old desk top (which still comes into play whenever the laptop is ailing).  I really should be sitting in that chair, in the book-lined office, isolated from the rest of the house and neighborhood, working like a rented mule, but I just can’t seem to get the hang of it.  Instead, I sit at the dining room table, then sometimes in my grandmother’s rocking chair in the living room and dream up handsome heroes and unstoppable heroines, often in pj’s and slippers.

 

 

I admire the other authors who have been Norah’s guests.  How organized, how professional, how in control they all are.  Maybe someday when we finally build that sunroom we’ve been talking about for years, I, too, will settle down in a single location.  But until then, like the Littlest Hobo, I’ll just keep movin’ on.

 

Thank you, Gail! My favorite thing? That sweet pug. Is he the star on the cover of Holding Off for a Hero by any chance?

 

 

Here’s another of Gail’s romances, set in the wilds of northern New Brunswick.

 

 

She also has some wonderful, award-winning non-fiction books about dogs, like this one:

 

 

Okay, now it’s your turn. Please leave us a comment for a chance to win an ebook copy of Holding Off for a Hero.