One of the coolest things about being a writer is getting to know other writers. Because we’re all a little…ahem….eccentric, it’s really nice to connect with others who spend the majority of their time obsessing over imaginary people.
Despite the competitiveness of authoring and selling books, writers tend to be a very generous group. We celebrate one another's victories, we commiserate when the words won't come, and we share one another's work with our friends.
So since the flowers are blooming, and giddiness reigns, let's FLING into SPRING with four of my favorite writers.
Charly Cox and I have more in common than our love of green chili cheeseburgers and our distaste for shopping. We crack each other up. And we ALWAYS have each other's backs. When she hit the bestseller list with her jaw-dropping Detective Alyssa Wyatt Series, she was kind enough to let me tag along for the ride. I've learned a LOT from her---seriously, tenses are complicated---and I've delighted in watching my friend take the literary world by storm.
Born in the South, raised in the Midwest, Charly now resides in the Southwest in the Land of Enchantment, Green Chile capital of the world, which is good because she enjoys eating copious amounts of the spicy food.
CHARLY SAYS: "For as long as I can remember, books have been my salvation. I always have a book (or my Kindle) wherever I go. When I was a teenager, I had an old curling iron with a broken heating element, and I would plug it in, hide under the covers with a book, and use the little orange light from that broken curling iron to read. I'm surprised I didn't damage my eyes. But, a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do, right?"
When she's not reading, writing, or plotting sinister evils with her antagonists, she enjoys doing jigsaw and crossword puzzles, hanging out with her husband and her spoiled Siberian Husky, visiting her son in Arizona, and traveling, preferably to places surrounded by sun, sand, and warm uncrowded beaches.
"As an adult, I no longer have to sneak-read, which is a relief.
These days I can be found writing my own novels (where I can legitimately say reading is research) or spending time with my husband. I love to travel to all kinds of places, but water is always a plus, with the ocean a major bonus."
Check out the rave reviews for the ALYSSA WYATT SERIES!
"Fast paced. Just brilliant!"
"One of the best crime thrillers I've ever read."
"Breathtaking. I was on the edge of my seat."
"Completely gripping could be an understatement."
All His Pretty Girls
A woman is found naked, badly beaten and barely alive in the New Mexico mountains. The shocking discovery plunges Albuquerque Detective Alyssa Wyatt into a case that will test her to the limit.
It appears that Callie McCormick is the latest plaything of a shadowy psychopath that leaves a long shadow on the streets of New Mexico – an individual linked to a string of deaths but leaving no evidence behind.
But when Alyssa makes a breakthrough that just might reveal the killer, she unknowingly puts herself in the crosshairs of a brutal maniac – one with an old score to settle.
Because the killer knows Alyssa very well, even if she doesn’t know him. And he’s determined that she’ll know his name – even if he has to extract his deadly revenge on her and everything she loves.
The Toybox : You don’t want to play their games…
All around Albuquerque, New Mexico, young women are going missing, seemingly vanished into thin air. With no link between the victims, Detective Alyssa Wyatt is quickly plunged into a horrifying case with no obvious clues.
And when Jersey Andrews, the best friend of Alyssa’s teenage daughter, Holly, joins the list of vanished girls, the case becomes personal.
But this investigation will lead Alyssa and partner Cord into the most sinister depths of humanity; an evil place where life is expendable, and where the depraved can fulfill their darkest desires – if they have the money to pay for it.
As the first bodies appear, abandoned on the streets, Alyssa is forced into a frantic hunt to track down the killers – before more innocent women lose their lives. But when the truth comes out, it seems that the key to solving the case was hiding in the last place anyone expected…
Alone in the Woods
It was a scene from a horror movie; Gabriel Kensington and his wife Lydia were found brutally slain in their luxurious home in New Mexico. A frantic, whispered phone call from their teenage daughter Addis and her best friend Emerson alerts the authorities to the killings – and worse, that the killer is still inside the house.
But when detective Alyssa Wyatt and her team arrive at the house, the unthinkable has happened – the girls are nowhere to be found.
Waking up in a dilapidated cabin, nestled high in the woods north of Albuquerque, the girls find themselves at the mercy of a brutal stranger who could take their life at any moment. While they fight for survival, it’s up to Alyssa and her partner Cord to discover just why the Kensingtons have been targeted – and fast.
Because for Addis and Emerson, solving this mystery might just mean the difference between survival – or an unthinkable death...
CHARLY GETS PERSONAL
Would you and your main character get along? Yes, I think we would. Alyssa Wyatt embodies the strength and perseverance I admire in others, and she's able to always keep her family in the forefront of all she does.
If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which would you pick? This is actually something I'm considering. I think any of Alyssa's team would be a fine choice, but I'd probably pick Liz Waterson or Tony White.
If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters? This is a great question, and I know many authors actually have an entire list of wish list actors who would be perfect if their books were made into a movie, but I'm not sure who would play my characters. There are simply too many great actors/actresses out there for me to choose. That being said, I'd want someone really tall to play Cord Roberts and someone around 5' - 5'3" to play Alyssa since those are important character traits for them. I do envision someone like Colin Lawrence (my first choice) or Michael Ealy as Captain Guthrie Hammond. (The late Chadwick Boseman would've tied for first place with Colin Lawrence.)
Follow Charly at: www.charlycoxauthor.com
Emma Lombard is perhaps one of the most generous writers I know. Her website alone runs like a well-oiled search engine. She offers a variety of resources for writers, including interviews with cover designers and illustrators, and even random things like links to query trackers. Her tips and tools for building a social platform ease the process for newbies, and her newsletter is a must-have for aspiring writers. Emma is the real deal. She's a writer's writer. She's an Aussie powerhouse, and she's my mate.
Emma Lombard was born in Pontefract in the UK. She grew up in Africa—calling Zimbabwe and South Africa home for a few years—before finally settling in Brisbane Australia, and raising four boys. Before she started writing historical fiction, she was a freelance editor in the corporate world, which was definitely not half as exciting as writing rollicking romantic adventures. Her characters are fearless seafarers, even though in real life Emma gets disastrously sea sick. Discerning Grace, is the first book in The White Sails Series.
As the first full-length novel in The White Sails Series, DISCERNING GRACE captures the spirit of an independent woman whose feminine lens blows the ordered patriarchal decks of a 19th century tall ship to smithereens.
Wilful Grace Baxter, will not marry old Lord Silverton with his salivary incontinence and dead-mouse stink. Discovering she is a pawn in an arrangement between slobbery Silverton and her calculating father, Grace is devastated when Silverton reveals his true callous nature.
Refusing this fate, Grace resolves to stow away. Heading to the docks, disguised as a lad to ease her escape, she encounters smooth-talking naval recruiter, Gilly, who lures her aboard HMS Discerning with promises of freedom and exploration in South America.
When Grace's big mouth lands her bare-bottomed over a cannon for insubordination, her identity is exposed. The captain wants her back in London but his orders, to chart the icy archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, forbid it. Lieutenant Seamus Fitzwilliam gallantly offers to take Grace off the fretting captain's hands by placing her under his protection.
Grace must now win over the crew she betrayed with her secret, while managing her feelings towards her taciturn protector, whose obstinate chivalry stifles her new-found independence.
EMMA GETS PERSONAL
So cool that you live in Australia!! Have you ever run into Eric Bana at the grocery store? LOL! Seriously, tell us about Brisbane, about your country.
Haha! No, I've not run into Eric Bana at the grocery store. My only celeb encounter was a few years back at a Stargate Convention in Brisbane. A friend won tickets and asked me to go with him. When we stepped into the elevator there was already another guy in there. He smiled at me and we started chatting about what we'd had for lunch. He laughed about how he'd ended up wearing his lunch down his front and that he needed to change his shirt.
I noticed my friend being all weird and silent beside me, but I had no idea why. When Friendly Elevator Guy stepped out on his floor and the doors closed, my friend turned to me and said, "Well that just happened." I had no idea what he was talking about. Then we stepped into the convention room (it was a small one) and the compere started announcing the guest stars who were going to speak. She introduces Ben Browder of Stargate SG1 and in walks Friendly Elevator Guy! He spotted me in the crowd as he walked towards the stage and winked at me. And then I was like, "Ohhhh, I get it now!"
Though, I'm glad I didn't realise who he was in the elevator or I'd probably have been just as tongue tied as my friend! For the record, after that little encounter, I ended up binging ALL the Stargate series. Brilliant!
Australia is actually my adopted country, though I've lived here longer than I've ever lived in any other country (21 years now). I love it—it's been a great place to raise four boys. The summers in Brisbane get a bit hot and sticky (but that's what air con is for, right?) The Aussie culture is a laid back, friendly one. It's very un-Australian of me, but I don't like the beach. LOL! It's hot and the salt-water is sticky (and burns your eyes), and the SAND—don't get me started on crunching on sand sandwiches.
What is your favorite time of day to write? And why?
Between the hours of: just-after-my-morning-bucket-of-coffee-has-kicked-in and just-before-three-thirtyitis-kicks-in. This is when my brain feels the freshest and most creative. Plus it's when these old eyes of mine are rested and can cope with the screen time. Though, since getting my new specs with the anti-glare coating and upgrading my ancient laptop to a new one with better screen resolution, it's much more pleasant.
Do you write your synopsis/blurb before or after you write your book?
Definitely after. I'm a bit of a pantser, so I don't always know where my story is going at first. Then I write far too much and have to pare it back with the help of my developmental editor. Only then do I get a clearer idea of my story arc, which then enables me to write a cracking blurb. Every writer's process is different but this one is mine.
To join the crew—and snag a free copy of Discerning Grace, subscribe to Emma's newsletter: www.emmalombardauthor.com
Janetta Fudge-Messmer is a lot like sunshine. She's bright, warm, and if you get too close, you'll find your eyes leaking with laughter. Her joy is contagious, her faith is strong, and she is a character. She's also approachable. After reaching out to her for advice I came away with more than clarity. I came away with a friend for life.
Check out her Devotional and you'll see what I mean. With chapter titles like Do I Talk Too Much? and Pennies...I mean--Quarters From Heaven, how can you go wrong?
Janetta Fudge Messmer’s tagline is Turning Life into Comedy. The reason being, she loves to laugh and that’s why she writes Christian Comedy (with a touch of Romance). She’s also a speaker and an editor. For Janetta, writing and traveling go hand in hand, since she, her hubby (Ray), and their pooch (Maggie) are full-time RVers. Most days you’ll find them sightseeing around the USA in their Winnebago…but first Janetta has to sit down and write a few words.
God's Grace in Our Grumbling –A Thirty-Day Devotional
On any given day, most of us are barely hanging on. Countless questions bombard our brains. The answer I’ve found is seeking Him more. When I call on the Lord, I find the pit I dug for myself wasn’t as deep as I’d imagined. He was ready to rescue me from whatever I was going through. And He will do the same for you. God will give you and me grace in our grumbling.
JANETTA GETS PERSONAL
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
I've written eight books. My favorite is my first book. I thought I'd always write more serious novels because those are the kinds of books I love to read. Then I started writing Early Birds, and my characters came alive in my head. It turned into a series and I joke, "they wouldn't shut up."
What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
My steno pad to write down things I want to remember. The other more important thing I need is complete silence. Since we're full-time RVers, sometimes campgrounds can get a little noisy. I have to wait until it's quiet again to write.
If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?
I can't pick one. The first would be Victoria Holt. I read all of her books as a teenager and into my twenties. I'd also love to chat with Sidney Sheldon. Both were outstanding authors.
Follow Janetta at janettafudgemessmer.com
Ann Elizabeth Fryer and I met a year ago when we participated in Twitter's Faith Pitch, which is basically arranging 280 characters in such a way as to entice a publisher or an agent. I'm not sure either of us succeeded that day, but we did find each other---and haven't lost touch since. Together we've toiled and triumphed through the world of publishing, and NOW find ourselves holding PUBLISHED books in our hands. So it was clearly a Win-Win!
Ann Elizabeth Fryer loves nothing more than using story and romance to relay the depths and graciousness of a Father who holds us securely in the palms of His hands. Daydreaming her surroundings from a young age, she's lived in historic homes most of her life and regularly participates in backyard archaeology. When she's not writing historical projects, her contemporary novels show a flavor of her forever-passion for all things old. Ann, her husband, and three children make their home in small-town Illinois where they can hear church bells keep time and tradition.
Of Needles and Haystacks
A young woman inherits a farm she isn’t meant to have and uncovers a secret her neighbor planned to keep forever…
After her parent’s untimely deaths, Dorothy Trafton has nowhere to go but her uncle’s Kentucky farm, a place she’s never visited. Uncertain of her surroundings, grief festers. It doesn’t help that her war-scarred neighbor, James Bleu, knows more about her mother’s secret life—and family—than she does. And why does he lie about his involvement with her father?
When news of her inheritance, the contents of an old trunk, and a disaster upend her life, Dorothy must forge ahead by making a home for herself in a dilapidated cottage—alone. Yet, she can’t ignore Mr. Bleu’s change of ways. His kindness runs far deeper than she ever imagined…
ANN GETS PERSONAL
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I came up with the title "Of Needles and Haystacks" when I realized my character was looking and longing for something simple, yet hard to find in the mix of her circumstances. Being "farm fiction", the expression seemed to fit!
How long did it take you to write this book?
This story took me nearly four years to write (busy x 3 young kids= slow writing)--and four years to be brave enough to publish.
Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favorite?
Movie soundtracks for this romantic at heart! Ever After (Drew Barrymore) and Shadowlands.
Follow Ann at www.annfryerwrites.com
I hope you've enjoyed Flinging Into Spring with my wonderful writer friends. Treat yourselves and grab one -- or more -- of their books!
I'll leave you with a special video from my back yard. I have a new neighbor :)
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