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Inherit the Stars–with Laurie A. Green

2011 Rita & Golden Heart AwardsWelcome today to my Science Fiction Romance Brigade sister LAURIE A. GREEN! Thanks for being with us today.

First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?

Thanks for inviting me to your blog today! I’m Laurie A. Green and I live in the great state of New Mexico, though I’m a native Michigander. My husband and I own a small ranch, so yes, we have the usual menagerie of critters—dogs, cats, horses.

As far as addictions (assuming the internet doesn’t count), I generally can’t function before I’ve had my two cups of coffee in the morning—and on really rough days I need an afternoon booster from Starbucks. I’m also a peppermint chain-popper, especially the soft puffy variety. Did you know peppermint is a natural antacid? Works wonders.

I don’t have a degree though I have quite a bit of unfinished business at various colleges. I’ve worked for 20 years as a military budget director, so the lack of a degree hasn’t hindered me and likewise, I don’t feel it’s had any adverse effect on my writing career.

Inherit_the_Stars_Complete_NovelTell us about your most recent publication. 

I just became a debut author in January with a novelette, Farewell Andromeda, but my first novel, Inherit the Stars, launched in February. (It actually had two debuts—first as a serialized novel in three parts, and again as a complete novel in one volume.) Both titles are part of a Science Fiction Romance series. It’s now available in print, too!

What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

The core idea for Inherit the Stars came to me in a dream. It’s about one man’s attempt to escape enslavement by a galactic superpower. To evade his captors, he strikes a desperate deal with the female captain of a prototype starship, and soon finds himself not only emotionally connected but fatefully entangled in her destiny–a course that will take him full circle to face the very evil he most fears.

I have to avoid spoilery here, but I can say I did quite a bit of research on theories surrounding dark energy, camouflage capabilities in space, and high tech communications, and then let my imagination take the reins. Writing is an education in and of itself. I always learn new things when I’m researching a novel.

Sounds fascinating! How would you best describe your books?

Unapologetically Science Fiction Romance with a side of high adventure. Most of my novels include military elements in some form, which seems to flow naturally from my long career in military in civilian support. Honor and duty are themes readers will see often in my work, and a love vs. duty scenario can lead to some powerful emotional conflicts.

What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

Oh, it’s SFR on both counts, but I do have one slipstream SFR/Paranormal manuscript completed and I do occasionally read outside the genre.

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?

New Mexico picIt would still be Science Fiction Romance, but I have to confess…I do have a family saga Historical on slow simmer in the back of my mind. It takes place in Spain, Mexico and the colonial Southwest (New Mexico) in the 1600-1700s. Maybe when I’m retired and have the time to do all the necessary research, I’ll see where it leads. It would be an ode to my adopted state.

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I’ve written stories ever since I learned how to scrawl words out on paper. Just wired that way, I guess. I was a very shy, quiet kid, and it was about my only outlet for self-expression. I think I have to credit my dream to become an author to a junior high English teacher who gave me a ton of encouragement and once told me to never stop writing. Someday I’d like to be able to tell her, “Thank you, Ms. Phillips. I never did.” I’m sure she has no idea what a huge impact her words had on me.

What do you love most about writing and what do you not like?

I love everything about writing. I totally get lost in the stories and the world when I’m in the zone. A whole day can pass in a blink. What I don’t enjoy is trying to juggle the time I want to spend on writing with all the other priorities in my life—the promotional duties, professional job and household chores all add up to a lot of demands on my time. If I had my druthers, I’d spend that time at the keyboard.

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Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

I’m one of those who can’t listen to music while I’m in the process of creating the story. I need absolute quiet for that. But I do listen to music when I’m plotting or brainstorming. I do a lot of that on my two-hours commute to and from work and it helps set the mood or tone for the story. I prefer soft and classic rock—America, John Denver, ELO, John Mayer and Moody Blues are some of my faves. I have “soundtracks” on my iPod for my various novels.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

Yes, I’m a member of RWA, LERA (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors), FF&P (Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal), and The Golden Network local chapters, CritiqueCircle, and the SFR Brigade.

CritiqueCircle.com was a huge find for me. I joined in 2007 and I made more progress in that first year than I had in the previous ten! I learned oodles about the craft through the critiques, and three of the novels that went through the CC queues went on to final in the RWA Golden Heart Awards. I also developed bonds with a large group of peers who have since become published authors—Barbara Elsborg, Arlene Webb, D.L. Jackson and Liana Brooks, to name just a few.

I know I love my critique group. You do learn so much!  Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience? 

I think having a critique group is an essential tool for a writer. I have a pool of writers and authors that I exchange critiques with, many of whom I met on CritiqueCircle. Most of the writers on our joint blog—Spacefreighters Lounge—are close peers that I can count on to critique or beta-read my work or just help me hash out a new idea. I also have a couple of local peers I work with for face-to-face critiques. It’s more time consuming, but it can be really energizing to get that direct, immediate feedback.

I believe critiques are essential. No writer can work in a vacuum. You need to get your work in front of others’ eyes so they can point out issues or problems you may not see because you’re too close to your work. It has to be a peer you can trust to give you solid advice. Critiqueing is an art form in itself. Not everyone makes a good critique partner.

Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?

This is actually the second go-round for me. I was ardently pursuing a career in publishing back in the mid-1990s when I got so discouraged that I stopped writing for a decade. When I decided to reboot and take another shot at it in 2007 (I credit that inspiration to a Halloween eve movie marathon of the Lord of the Rings trilogy), I’d lost a lot of time but I was twice as determined.

Four years later in 2011, I was named a double finalist in the RWA Golden Heart Awards and then became a single finalist again in 2012 with three separate novels. (One of them was Inherit the Stars, under its original title P2PC.) I found my agent, Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary Agency, during that time after a peer read a guest blog she wrote and urged me to query her. Over the next two years we knocked on a lot of doors, but Science Fiction Romance just wasn’t getting any takers. We decided to forego the traditional path last September, and we co-published my first two works in January and February. C0-publishing is the term I use for being published via my agent.

Farewell_Andromeda-FinalHow did you find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?

As per the above, I’m co-published through my agent—I call it “Indie with benefits”—so when I talk about “the call” it was the one I received from Amanda when I first queried her, and she emailed to say “we should talk.” I was so nervous before we had that first telephone conversation, pretty much scared to death we wouldn’t click. Not to worry! We ended up chatting for hours about my work, my plans and the industry in general. Then she made her official offer to represent me. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to find someone so enthusiastic and excited about my work and who wanted to be my agent.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

Inherit the Stars was a very different experience from all my other novels because the idea hit so hard and the scenes unfolded so fast when I began writing that I blasted out the first draft in six weeks. I mentioned the original inspiration came from the remnants of a dream, but the story that unfolded from that single idea was like a driving force. My muse seemed to be on auto-pilot! And this novel is no lightweight, it weighs in at around 112,000 words.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you? 

Right now, I’m working on shining up the next novel in my series, The Outer Planets, for a fall release, and that will be followed in the Spring of 2016 with the third novel, also complete but in need of a good spit and polish. The next three books haven’t been written yet, but I’ll be retiring from my day job next February so I can devote more time to getting those wrapped up.

I’ll be attending the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas from May 12th-17th. This is my first RT, so I’m really looking forward to the experience. Next year, I hope to get to several more conferences and events.

What would you like to tell readers?

If you’re the sort who loves a good romance and feels a real sense of wonder when you gaze up at the stars, you’d probably enjoy my work. After all, space is the final Romance frontier.

If you’d like to learn more about my books, please visit my website: http://www.laurieagreen.com

Best wishes with your release!

 

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Love through a lens of secrets: Gemma Brocato’s EXPOSED TO PASSION

ETP CoverToday we welcome Gemma Brocato, whose new release EXPOSED TO PASSION, book #3 of the Five Senses series, is released just in time for holiday giving. Here’s a bit about the story:

They walked through the shadows individually. Will they emerge into the light together?

Leading a vagabond life as a curator for a traveling photography exhibit translates to a lot of bad days for Rikki Salerno. But her trouble doubles when a careless high school student shoves her into a marsh. Being rescued by teacher Sam Kerrigan should have made things better, but Rikki’s inability to confess her true identity casts a shadow over their budding affair.

When Sam refuses an overly aggressive parent’s marriage proposal, she’s determined to ruin him. Not only does she doctor photos to make it look like Sam’s behaved inappropriately in front of students, she hacks the foundation website to reveal Rikki’s true identity. Faster than the blink of a shutter, Rikki’s focus changes from pursuing her full-color future to the black and white necessity of clearing Sam’s name.

Now let’s learn a little more about Gemma!

Thanks for being with us today.

Thanks for having me here today, Lyndi.

First, would you tell us about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?

This should be easier. I love to talk about myself, doesn’t everyone? I live in the Kansas City area, American’s midsection. I love the big city/small town vibe and the amount of green space here. Prior to moving here, my husband and I lived in London for a few years. That’s where I wrote my first novel. The story was great, the writing was crap! So that one remains on my laptop. I get it out and tinker occasionally. I love coffee and wine and reading. Hey – at least one of those addictions is not bad for you. I do have a degree in journalism, which has helped throughout my career, but I don’t think you have to have a writing related degree to write a great story. The grammar and punctuation and deep POV things you need to know can be learned.

 Tell us about your most recent publication.

Exposed To Passion is the third book in the Five Senses series, but each book reads as a stand alone. The story centers around Sam Kerrigan and Rikki Salerno and deals with the sense of sight. Rikki is a photographer. I tossed in a high school girl who is being bullied, a grown-up mean girl and a little over-exposure of Sam and Rikki’s affair.

 What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

I knew when I started the series I wanted each book to represent not only a sense, but a social cause. This book deals with bullying behavior, which is beyond reprehensible. Not only have Sam and Rikki both dealt with bullies growing up, they are still dealing with it.

MC900039215(1)I did have to research photography and cameras and learned how to do astro-photography. Have you seen those pictures of the Milky Way? That’s what astro-photography is. I loved writing a scene that detailed it.

 How would you best describe your books?

I’d call them sexy, sensual contemporary romances with heart.

What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

I recently made a foray into Science Fiction with my story, Mission: Mistletoe and I really loved it. But, I’m most comfortable writing contemporary romance. As far as reading, heck, give me the back of the cereal box. I’ll read anything.

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?

Well, it sure wouldn’t be writing about financial products (which I’ve done). I’d love to write paranormal or urban fantasy, but I’m not sure I can suspend my own disbelief enough to make it believable.

 What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I love to create the world with just words, to infuse emotion and passion into a world in order to make it three dimensional. When I quit a full time job I loved in order to be available when my teenaged children got home from school, I started considering writing. Then, after a transfer for my husband’s job took us overseas, I finally took the plunge.

 What do you love most about writing and what do you not like?

I like the freedom of setting my own schedule, which is also what I don’t like about it. Because the schedule I set is usually 12 hour days, at least 5 days a week. That doesn’t include weekends.

 Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

I am president of my local RWA chapter and I’m in a critique group, which is awesome.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

I’m more of an instrumental kind of gal. I find I can’t write to any music with words. I can edit to popular music, though.

What do you find most valuable about the experience in your critique group?

I love my critique group. They are terrific about catching issues in my manuscript and even better about brainstorming.

Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?

I currently have five books available. Three that were traditionally published and two I’ve self-published. When I finished my second novel, I shelved it until I finished the second in the series before I began trying to submit my first. After I pitched Cooking Up Love, and an editor asked for a full manuscript, the rest is history.

 How did you find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?

I did an online pitch with an editor through Word Wranglers. After she requested a full manuscript, I sent it and then kept writing until I heard a month later that Lyrical Press wanted to offer me a contract for the book. After the shock wore off, there was a lot of celebration.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

I was very excited to write about Sam Kerrigan. He has been featured in the first two books in the series and I’ve been eager to tell his story.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you?

I’ve just submitted the fourth book in the series, based on smell. And I’ve begun working on a new story I hope to have out early next year. I guess I better get busy adding words to that story.

What would you like to tell readers?

Keep reading and always remember to review the books you’ve read. Reviews really do help authors.

Excerpt:

Sam’s attention wandered yet again off the homework papers he was supposed to be correcting. The universal law of gravitation wasn’t nearly as riveting as the memory of Rikki Salerno wearing a purple jacket and tight running shorts in the early morning sunlight. He’d resisted the urge to wrap her in his arms when he’d run up on her in the park that morning. A fiery halo had lit her hair, glints of red winking in her messy ponytail. The sight of her when she turned back toward town and ran ahead of him! He’d have been happy to follow her for all twenty-six miles of a marathon. But, his need to talk to her overruled his desire to watch her spectacular behind, so he’d quickened his pace to catch her.
Rikki had tensed when he’d started ranting about Marguerite Sims. Without knowing how, he’d made her angry again. He didn’t understand it, but she seemed defensive when he’d made disparaging remarks about her boss. He was going to have to watch his comments about the pampered princess when he was around Rikki.
And, if wishes did come true, there would be a whole lot of around Rikki time. Her image in his mind’s eye—exotic, interesting, and intriguing, all wrapped up in one sexy package…. He fidgeted in his hard teacher’s chair, suddenly uncomfortable with the tightness of his khakis. Thank God, there weren’t any students in the room. That’d be a hell of a thing to explain to a bunch of horny teens.

Buy Links
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Exposed-Passion-Senses-Gemma-Brocato-ebook/dp/B00MMMGY18
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exposed-to-passion-gemma-brocato/1120138660?ean=9781616506162
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/exposed-to-passion/id908402553?mt=11&uo=4
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/exposed-to-passion
Kensington: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/30951?category=313085

Gemma BrocatoAbout the Author:
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.
After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Social Media Links:

www.Gemmabrocato.com
https://www.facebook.com/gemma.brocato
https://twitter.com/GemmaBrocato
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7229886.Gemma_Brocato
http://www.wattpad.com/user/GemmaBrocato
https://plus.google.com/+GemmaBrocato/posts

Also By Gemma Brocato:
Cooking Up Love
Hearts In Harmony

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