Sunday, June 28, 2009

Welcome My Blog Guest, Author Diana Duncan!


Hi everyone! I have a special blog guest today.
A warm welcome for Harlequin/Silhouette author Diana Duncan. Diana was kind enough to agree to be interviewed on my blog and I hope you will enjoy getting to know her as much as I did!


1. Diana, welcome! Let's get to my first question, which I am always excited to hear the answer to! Who were some of the authors that have inspired you on your writing journey?


The first was Mary Stewart. I discovered her books in the library when I was 12 years old and got instantly hooked. Her book: THE MOONSPINNERS is one of my all-time favorites. Her combination of action, romance and humor is the style that my own voice popped out with when I wrote my debut book, BULLETPROOF BRIDE, which was based on a true-life incident after I was robbed while working for a bank! (That misadventure is blogged on my website.)

I have pretty eclectic reading tastes. Other authors who influenced me along the way are Erma Bombeck (adored that woman’s sense of humor!), Danielle Steele (she was the first author I wrote to, and she sent me back a lovely, handwritten letter.) I actually named my daughter after her. Of course, Kathleen Woodiwiss (the founding matriarch of romance). More currently, there’s Suzanne Brockmann, Virginia Kantra, Fiona Brand, Kylie Brandt, Karen Marie Moning, J.R. Ward, Debrah Morrison (who wrote for Silhouette Romance as Debrah Morris), Susan Gable, Janet Evanovich, and the incomparable Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb. I’d read La Nora’s grocery list if she published it!

Those are just a few out of hundreds. I have an insatiable reading habit.

2. Your books combine action with romance. What research do you do when starting a new book?

Oh, I love research! (It’s so much easier than actually writing the book.) I’m committed to making my stories as technically accurate as possible. I dive in headfirst. For my SWAT stories, I took dozens of classes both online and in person, watched non-stop reality cop/SWAT programs, and even got my hands on police-issue SWAT training manuals. I always track down several willing victims – um…advisors – who work in my hero and heroine’s professions to proof-read manuscript pages and answer zillions of strange questions during the course of the story, either by phone or email. (“Can a SWAT officer rappel off a high-rise with a K-9 dog?” Turns out that he can!)

Among others, I’ve conversed with snipers, airplane and helo pilots, K-9 officers, bomb techs, FBI agents, DEA agents, smoke-jumpers, and guys in every branch of the military. I’m positive my scary Googling and library check-out habits have landed me on an FBI watch list somewhere.

The hands-on research is the most fun, though. I’ve done some pretty outrageous things. I’ve traveled to Scotland on a moment’s notice with a gal I’d known only online (that story is also on my website), had my husband tie me up with duct tape and lock me in the car trunk (had the neighbors talking, for sure!), climbed into the display window of a department store and undressed one of their mannequins (my teenage daughter who was with me at the time nearly croaked of embarrassment), choreographed and videotaped a male strip dance routine, and after chatting up a police officer in a really long line at Starbucks, asked him to take me out and handcuff me in the back of his patrol car so I could see exactly what it was like. Teenage daughter was with me then, too. Funny, she will hardly go anywhere with me anymore.


3. Wow, Diana! Talk about throwing yourself into your research! Now for a fun question : I noticed on your website that you have a section on Men in Kilts. Why do you think women are so drawn to a man in a kilt?


Sexy strong, muscled legs (and the mysteries underneath that plaid ) not withstanding, I don’t think it’s the actual garment itself, but what a kilt represents. Celtic men are warriors with poet’s souls, a man who will kill to protect his woman, then bring her roses. Celtic fighters are among the fiercest in history. Did you know that an astonishing majority of the medals won in all world wars to date are by men of Celtic heritage? I’ve stood beside William Wallace’s sword. It’s as tall as I am, and let me tell you, it takes an amazing man to wield that weapon! Throughout the centuries, Celts have heroically sacrificed all for honor and country. What woman with a pulse can resist?
As you can tell, I’m fascinated by Celtic heritage. One of my grannies was Scottish and the other ½ Scots, ½ Irish, so Celtic blood runs strongly in my lineage.



4. What are your current works in progress?

Interesting you should ask, given the above discussion. I’ve recently found myself in a place where I’m writing a book I started years ago, but didn’t have the writing chops to do it justice. It’s a single-title paranormal series that involves hunky kilted warriors, ancient Celtic legends, lots of suspense and a wee bit o’ snark tossed into the mix, because I simply can’t write anything without being cheeky. And nope, it’s not a time-travel.


5. Where can readers find you on the web?

You can find me playing around – um…networking – almost every day on Faceboook at: http://www.facebook.com/dianaduncan1 (where you should definitely check out my “Visual Aids” photo album!)

My website is at: http://www.dianaduncan.com/ Links to all my web contacts, including my newsletter, are on my website.

6. You have had much success with your books: RITA Award Nominations and Romantic Times Book of the Year Nominations. Do you have any advice for writers striving for their first sale?

Educate yourself as much as possible. Join RWA and your local chapter. Take classes. KOD (Kiss of Death chapter) offers dozens of affordable online classes about both non-suspense general writing craft, and suspense topics, taught by knowledgeable professionals.

Hone your writing/plotting skills. Read, read, read, read. Inside your genre and out. It’s the most important thing you can do to learn what you like and what you don’t, what works for you and what doesn’t and how good (and sometimes not-so-good) stories are built.

But most of all, never say die. Take constructive criticism and apply it to make your writing better, then ignore the nay-sayers. It took me eight completed manuscripts and five years to sell my first book. I was told by agents, editors and literally over 100 contest judges that I’d never publish it. (“You can’t have a bank robber hero!”) Bull. You can do anything you want, as long as you do it well!
After that first sale, I went through an 18 month dry spell, where none of those eight completes sold. I had to develop something completely new, and my 24 hour, Forever In A Day series was born.
Now, after five years in publishing and six very successful books for Silhouette Romantic Suspense, two RITA nominations and an RT nomination for Best Book of The Year, I’ve hit a wall. I've sent in 11 proposals that were all rejected. It’s been 16 months since my last sale and none look to be forthcoming anytime soon. So I’m picking myself up, dusting myself off and starting a new adventure...with my Celtic warriors. Whoo hoo! I can’t wait.

Don’t ever give up. Not matter what anyone else tells you, believe in yourself and your stories.


GREAT advice, Diana! Thanks again for visiting my blog!

Thank you for having me, Rachel! This has been great fun!

Diana will be answering all questions and comments, so feel free to comment below.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Solstice Week News and Litha Contest! *WINNERS ANNOUNCED*

Hi Everyone!

I would like to welcome all visitors who got the link from




Lots going on lately in my little world. Summer is always my busiest season with work and today was the first day in quite a while that I actually A) slept past 7 AM B) scratched a whole lot off of my to-do list and C) was able to catch up on my friends blogs and share in all of the good news that is going on out there!

I want to encourage all aspiring romance writers to join their local Romance Writer's groups! I have attended three of Rhode Island Romance Writers meetings and have gained great knowledge and learned about resources. The next meeting is not until September and I already find myself looking forward to going.

This week I am holding another contest in celebration of the Summer Solstice! Two commenters on this post will be chosen at random to get a PDF copy of LITHA DREAMS. Feel free to spread the word! The contest will be open until 145 AM EDT on Sunday June 21, which is the EXACT moment of the Summer Solstice. Winners will be announced on Sunday evening.

Here is some fun and interesting Litha/Summer Solstice trivia taken from http://www.squidoo.com/summer-solstice:

Litha, another way of saying the Summer Solstice, comes on the longest day of the year and is at the opposite side of the year from Yule, the Winter Solstice.

This Solar Festival marks the day when the Sun God is at the height of power. It is a time of merriment and magic as noted in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"


Weddings by tradition were held in June, and June remains a popular month for weddings today. The bride and groom would be given things to eat and drink made of honey to encourage love and fertility over the first month of the marriage. Hence, the honeymoon

Have a GREAT week and I will be back on Sunday to announce the winners!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Litha Dreams is up for Book of the Week at Long and Short Reviews PLEASE VOTE!

Hi everyone!

I am asking for everyone's help today. Please stop by http://www.longandshortreviews.com/LASR/recentrev.htm
and vote for LITHA DREAMS as Book of the Week in this fun poll!

Thanks in advance and here is hoping for a win!

Rachel

Thursday, June 4, 2009

LITHA DREAMS Gets a 4.5 out of 5 Books From Long and Short Reviews!

This was a super way to start the morning.


http://www.longandshortreviews.com/LASR/recentrev.htm








Litha Dreams by Rachel E. Moniz
Publisher: DCL Publications
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Heat: Spicy
Length: Short (13K words)
Rating: 4.5 Books
Review by Buttercup

The rebellious Lady Morgan Mackenzie has been feeling pushed into finding a husband that her mother deems suitable. Morgan, however, has other ideas about the man she should choose. Laird Rowan Buchanan is without a wife and his Uncle James will not tolerate the Buchanans not having a strong heir. A common dream, a colorful gypsy and a concerned cousin all come together to bring these two soul mates together and make their Summer Solstice a very memorable night.

Morgan MacKenzie, a mere eighteen years old, is a step this side of spinsterhood according to her annoying mother, Lady Ellen. A constant parade of suiters are thrust upon her each one older, balder, and less desirable then the previous. Morgan will choose a husband or one will be chosen for her states the dower shrewish Mistress of Lochaber Castle.

Rowan Buchanan, Lord and master of his own keep, Culloch Castle, is in need of a wife. Time is passing and he just can’t seem to find a woman that moves him. They all seem to be gold diggers and boring. He wants a free-spirited woman that has an adventurous nature.

Morgan and Rowan share many things in common unwittingly but one is the dream of a soul mate that haunts them each night and drives them to seek out this person each has given themselves to so completely yet each wonders if the other exists.

The common thread in this tale is Morgan’s hand-maid and friend, Ruadh whose aunt is a Gypsy palm and Tarot card reader. Morgan agrees to join Ruadh at the Pagan celebration of Litha on the night of the Summer Solstice.

As coincidence would have it, Rowan is a friend of the Gypsies and is also joining in the celebration. Will dream lovers cross paths lending magic to the air.

You can’t help but root for feisty Morgan in this historical story of magic and mayhem. Ellen, Morgan’s mother is bound and determined to see her daughter married off and safe to someone, anyone who is worthy of a full purse and secure lifestyle. Morgan wants the man in her dreams that Ruadh, her friend, advises is fated to her. She only must find him. While Ellen plans and connives for a husband for Morgan, her cousin, Aleister fears Morgan will lose her free spirit and individuality. He supports her in her rebellious nature and aids her in her wayward plans and is also an ally to Rowan when he sets his sites on Morgan. Aleister also loves Ruadh and stands to be opposed in his choice of mate as he stands to inherit Lordship of Castle Lochaber and when Morgan’s father departs his earthly presence.

Ms. Moniz weaves a magical tale of love and keeping with one’s desires and destiny. Morgan is willful and steadfast as is Rowan. I read this short in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it. A clean, crisp, whimsical read, I strongly suggest delving into this one. You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Celebrating Annie Marshall's New Release "Her Noble Destiny"

Welcome all! Today I have fellow DCL Publications author Annie Marshall joining me on the blog. She is celebrating her second release Her Noble Destiny and was kind enough to sit down with me and answer some questions about her work.







BLURB

Stricken with grief after finding out his brother had died in battle; Aiden MacAlister devotedly takes care of both lands by traveling back and forth to his brother’s holdings and his own. Then one day on the road to Dunstaffnage Castle, he comes across a very naked woman crawling on her hands and knees towards the loch. Terrified for her safety, he calls out to her as he scrambles from his horse and snatches her into his arms just before she falls into the icy water.

Jaedin Greer, a captain and nurse in the United States Army was on a mission when her convoy was attacked and her Hum-V was hit by mortar fire and tossed it like a toy leaving it upside down. A bit shaken but alright, Jaedin cut herself loose then grabbed her pack of supplies to help her wounded medic. Once she dragged the soldier away from the wreckage, there was another loud explosion and bright flash of light, knocking her unconscious. The next thing she knew, it was raining and she couldn’t see. While crawling around to find her bearings, a set of large, strong arms encircled her, picking her up as if she weighed nothing while he asked if she was daft.

Could this woman be the antidote Aiden needs to help him find peace with his brother’s death? Can this Highland warrior see beyond his own burdens to be Jaedin’s much needed eyes? Will Jaedin, an ambitious modern day warrior allow this arrogant man close to her heart and find Her Noble Destiny?


Welcome Annie! It is so nice to have you visit today. Her Noble Destiny is the second book in your "Destiny" series. How many books can we expect and what was your inspiration for this time-travel series?

There are thirteen books total in the Destiny series! Later on in the series, the books will reveal the significance of thirteen.

I will give this hint away...the thirteenth book is quite different. It is Lorna and Te├árloch’s story. They are the King and Queen of the Fae Guardians and parents to all twelve heroines in the series!


Your heroine in Her Noble Destiny is in the US Army. Do you use any of your personal experiences from your time in the military when you write?

Somewhat. I still remember some of the lingo and there are times that I pull a few tidbits from my life; however times have changed so much since I was in. It’s a different Army now! LOL

But one thing hasn’t changed, the women are still warriors, standing side by side the men. Ready to do battle when called upon! I only hope I’ve done justice to my heroines.

Tell us a little about RomVets.

RomVets is an elite group of extraordinary women who have turned sword to pen! All of us are writers who’ve proudly served our country in the military.

Our ranks include authors such as Cathy Maxwell, Diana Cosby, and Merline Lovelace.

Not all of us are Romance authors, but our company roster is certainly romance strong! LOL You can read more about us at: http://www.romvets.com/
Which writers have inspired you on your writing journey?

I’ve read many authors over the years, but I’d have to say Jude Deveraux has unquestionably given me a love for Time-travel when I read her book “A Knight in Shining Armor.”

I have to also give credit to Deborah MacGillivray for mentoring me when I was on the fence about submitting my first manuscript for publication. She saw so much potential in me even when I questioned myself. It was her gentle nudge that gave me the courage and the strength to submit and to my utter delight, “Her Highland Destiny” was accepted! I will forever be grateful to her for her guidance and support.

What are your current works-in-progress? Will there be any other new releases in 2009?

I’m currently working on the first book in my Crimson Dragon Saga called “Secret Ritual” and the third book in the Destiny series called “Her Island Destiny.”

“Secret Ritual” (The whole Crimson Dragon Saga) is about seven 13th Century Welsh brothers that all died in the first battle of 1277 against the English. Their ghosts are in limbo until their brides-to-be find them. Unfortunately, they are forced to wait a long time; until the 21st Century. This saga defiantly has a different feel to it than the Destiny series and has a heavy paranormal flair with ghosts and magic.

“Her Island Destiny” is the third installment of the Destiny Series. My heroine Isla MacKinnon is a CH-47 Chinook Helicopter pilot and my hero Cian James is laird to Maol Castle on the Isle of Skye. Cian has Norse blood in his veins and is being questioned about his capability to remain laird because of it. He knows the only way he’ll be able to maintain his position is to take a Scottish bride, yet he is unhappy with his choices. At least until he sets his eyes on the bold Isla MacKinnon.

Where can readers find you on the web?

Everywhere! LOL

http://www.annie-marshall.com/
My Blogspot

The trailers for your books are wonderful and you produce them yourself. Tell us a little about Beyond the Book Productions.

Beyond the Book Productions is a full service company that produces Book Trailers, Book Covers, Promotional Items, and Photography. Set aside from writing, Beyond the Book is my own little creative outlet. I enjoy working with all aspects of creating a book and BtB definitely feeds my creative side. LOL To see a sample of my work, you can go to: http://www.beyondthebookproductions.com/ and www.myspace.com/beyondthebookproductions

Annie, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy release week to stop by and say hello to the readers who stop by my blog. And readers, comments and questions are welcome!

Thank you so much for having me here in your corner of the world! It’s been a pleasure sharing a bit about me with your readers!