Friday, October 18, 2013

Interview: Lane Heymont

Today on the blog we have author Lane Heymont. If you're on social media, you might see him tweeting away as himself (@laneheymont) or as The Seymour Agency (@seymouragency). If you're not, then you're missing out!
"The Freedman and the Pharaoh's Staff  by Lane Heymont is an intriguing blend of historical fiction, the occult, and action drama. At times, it reads almost like science fiction ... the climax is intense ... the characters are diverse and the action will keep you engrossed."Grady Jones, San Francisco Book Review 

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The Book

In 1871, the United States government has nearly eradicated the Ku Klux Klan, who they fear will inspire Southern whites to make certain the South will rise again. The Klan's remaining forces have retreated to Louisiana in hopes of escaping the "Northern" government.

Jeb, a former slave, rescues his brother-in-law Crispus from the Ku Klux Klan, only to be drawn into a world of Creole Voodoo, racism, time travel, and redemption. Verdiss, the leader of the Ku Klux Klan has gained possession of the Pharaoh's Staff, a magical artifact from ancient Egypt and concocted a diabolical plan far more insidious than himself. In the end, Jeb and Crispus must stop an entire people from eradication and each find redemption for their own past sins.

Inspired by the slave narratives, Lane Heymont's hypnotic debut novel blends science fiction, the occult, and American history in a gripping page turner that explores the damaging effects of racism and where it can and has led us, but also offers a poignant vision of the healing power of unity when we rise beyond prejudice to fight for freedom, equality, and human dignity against all odds.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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The Interview
1) What was the hardest part of writing The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff?
Definitely all the research. I have an addiction to trying to make things as accurate and realistic as possible, coupled with a love of research; it made for a dangerously long process. I was writing The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff while still in undergrad so I spent all my free time on campus at the school library doing research. I needed the type of meals needed to be accurate, the language too, and especially the political turmoil at the time.

2) Why are you a writer?
R.A. Salvatore once said, “If you can quit, then quit. If you can’t quit, you’re a writer.” I haven’t been able to quit yet. Writing comes natural to me. It’s my go-to thing. If I’m bored, I’ll start writing something even if it’s crap. I don’t know whether I’m trying to work out my own thoughts, living the stories floating around in my head, or if there’s something to say. It might be one, all, or none of those, but all I know is I can’t quit. I couldn’t quit writing The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff and now it’s published!

3) Do you buy books based on the cover or the blurb?
A cover will make me stop and pick up the book, but it’s the blurb that convinces me to open the book and read the first page. Usually, it’s that first page, or paragraph, that decides whether I’m plunking down my money or not.

4) Do you read horoscopes?
Sometimes. I have a love-hate relationship with horoscopes. When I read mine I always find it somehow applies to my life, but that’s probably me looking for a connection between the two. I’m pretty sure if read the wrong horoscope I’d find it applied to what was going on in my life, too. It’s all just fun.

5) Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks, or hardcover?
I love paperbacks, and it’s scary thinking they may one day fade away, but I most often read ebooks. Though when I’m doing research, I need a hardcopy to study from. There’s something about holding paper filled with information I need to dig through and discover like some old scribe. It just feels easier.

1)      Coffee or Tea? Coffee in an IV please.

2)      Morning or night? Night

3)      Shower or bath? Shower, but I like baths when I need to relax.

4)      Laptop or desktop? Laptop.

5)      Summer or winter? I hate the cold, so summer.

6)      Rivers of oceans? Oceans. Deep, unexplored, full of wonders.

7)      Casual or couture? Sometimes casual, sometimes couture.

8)      Champagne or liquor? Liquor. Never liked the taste of champagne.

9)      Cupcakes or ice cream? Cupcakes!

10)  Motorcycle or bicycle? Neither.

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The Author

Lane Heymont was born in Pennsylvania. He has been a lifelong reader and since graduating from Springfield College with a BA in Liberal Studies with double minors in business and psychology he has focused on writing full-time. He writes historical and fantasy novels with strong connections to real-world issues. His debut novel The Freedman and the Pharaoh's Staff, a post-Civil War/Occult novel, is available from Sunbury Press. Lane also has a number of short stories published, one of which was recommended for a Bram Stoker Award.

For more information visit:

Connect with Lane:



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Find out what #author @LaneHeymont loves/hates!
Rivers or oceans? #author @LaneHeymont is full of wonder!
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So what do you prefer? Ebooks, paperbacks, or hardcovers?

xoxo ~Marisa

Friday, October 11, 2013

Interview: Jessica Lemmon

Happy Friday! Today we're featuring contemporary romance writer Jessica Lemmon, and if you're not following her on Twitter, you're missing some pretty fantastic tweets! But first, the interview!

What do you think makes a good book?

The truth. I love honesty in writing. If it’s raw and real and makes me feel what the characters are feeling, I’m sold.

How did you come up with the idea for your book Hard to Handle?

Hard to Handle is my second book, so Aiden’s and Sadie’s characters were introduced in Tempting the Billionaire. In a way, this made Hard to Handle easier to write because I already knew their personalities. BUT. Aiden and Sadie dated and broke up in the background of that first book. The challenge was figuring out what, exactly, had gone down between those two. I knew Aiden rode a motorcycle, and thought it’d be fun to pair him with a girl who was terrified of riding. To make it fun, I made her very passionate about her job…selling motorcycle parts! Sadie was a blast to write. She’s honest and snarky and so very strong. She’s such an honest character.

What was the “hardest” part of writing Hard to Handle?

Ironically, the hardest part of writing Hard to Handle wasn’t writing Hard to Handle! It was writing the companion (prequel) novella Can’t Let Go. Can’t Let Go is the “before” the “Happily Ever After” for Aiden and Sadie and I have to admit, it absolutely tore me up to write. In the beginning, they had it so, so good. They were in love, and it was easy to see how much they needed each other; how deserving of love they both were. Then Aiden’s mom gets ill and BOOM, Aiden’s family tragedy shoves Sadie right out of the picture.

Writing a breakup is no joke, people! And when I wrote the scene where Aiden’s entire family is talking in the living room, I cried. Like, actually sobbed while writing it. I’d never done that before (or since). I’ve had readers claim to have shed tears at that scene, too, which is just about the highest compliment you can pay a writer. I’m all, “You cried! Yay! I’m so glad!” LOL

What else have you written? Which one is your favorite?

There are 3 books in the Love in the Balance series:

1.       Tempting the Billionaire

2.      Hard to Handle (and the prequel novella: book 1.5 Can’t Let Go)

3.      The Millionaire Affair (coming 2014)

My favorite? Okay, confession. I think I’m still in love with Aiden. Don’t tell Tempting’s Shane…or Millionaire’s Landon, though. I love them, too. ;-)

Do you have a nickname?

A lot of people call me by my Twitter handle (@lemmony). Usually followed by asking me, “Is it okay if I call you that?” The answer is absolutely YES! Totally okay. I signed up for Twitter a long, long time ago and wasn’t sure what to make my handle…so I named myself after my license plate (on my yellow car) which reads: LEMMONY. It stuck, and after I became “an author”, I decided to leave it. I thought the nickname was fun and memorable. :-)

Fast Facts:

Coffee or tea?  Coffee! Starbucks, if you have it.

White wine or red? Yes.

Champagne or liquor? Sure, I’ll have some of that, too.

Laptop or desktop? Desktop. I have a lot of notes/stuff to spread out!

Casual or couture? Casual, all the way.

Motorcycle or bicycle? I want to say motorcycle, even though, like Sadie, I don’t ride. Somehow, though, I think Aiden Downey could talk me into it. Especially if he wore down my defenses the way he did Sadie’s in Hard to Handle…  ;-)
About Jessica Lemmon:
Jessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish, went out, and got herself a job . . . and then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another . . . and another. Soon it became apparent she'd only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since "eating potato chips" isn't a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she'd started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn't stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch), and she couldn't be happier. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. (While eating potato chips.)
About Hard To Handle:
Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she's bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body. Now she can't resist finishing what they started-as long as she doesn't let herself fall in love . . .
Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he's determined to win back the woman he's always wanted. Sadie agrees to let him into her life-and her bed-as long as there are no strings attached. But Aiden's not about to make the same mistake again. Can he convince her to take a second chance on a once-in-a-lifetime love?
HARD TO HANDLE buy links:

Jessica Lemmon on:
Twitter: @lemmony

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lauren Layne Spotlight

Sex, Love & Stiletto: The Making of the Series


Thanks so much for having me!  I’ve had a few opportunities to talk about specifics on my debut, AFTER THE KISS, but it’s rare that authors get a chance to ramble about the big picture of their series as a whole. The Stiletto world is so much more to me than just the string that ties the series together, so THANK YOU for the opportunity to talk about it!

Confession time: early on in my romance reading career, I didn’t care for series. They haven’t always been as big as they are today, and I used to narrow my eyes in skepticism when I read on the back of the book that it was “first in a fantastic new series . . .” I liked my books to be standalone. I wanted the characters to meet, fight, fall in love, fight some more, and then get their happy ending. From there, I’d mentally put them on the “happily ever after shelf,” where they’d ride into the proverbial sunset where I wouldn’t have to worry about them again. I think deep down I was terrified that by revisiting beloved characters, I’d find out that he farted in bed, or that she had a little crush on her boss, and that worst of all, the spark had dimmed even the tiniest bit.

Slowly, but surely, it came around. I suspect it was the prolific Nora Roberts and her trilogies about gorgeous Irish siblings, or modern day witches, or wedding planners. It finally clicked that series could be about connecting with old friends and visiting familiar places. In fact, I’ve come so far the other way, that there are now a handful of series that I hope never end. Say, Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor books, or Julie Anne Long’s Pennroyal Green series.

The Stiletto series was born out of a few writerly desires:

First: I wanted to write a series that was very “New York.” The end of Sex and the City left a bit of a void in Manhattan-based series, and as I was living in the heart of the city, I wanted to write about the gorgeously dressed women in their high heels and designer dresses and perfect hair. Despite Hollywood’s tendency to paint New Yorkers as caricatures, they’re real people with real issues and real love lives. They just happen to be a little more attractive than the rest of us!

Second: I wanted to write about women who wrote about men—Manhattan’s own “Dear Abbys,” if you will. Only of course these relationships “experts” then have to learn that love’s a heck of a lot more complicated when it comes to your own life!

The result? Sex, Love & Stiletto: A contemporary series about three magazine columnists who will do anything for a story—except fall in love.

Intrigued? I hope so! Here are some fast facts about the series:

What exactly is “Stiletto”?

Stiletto is the name of the magazine where my heroines work. Think Cosmopolitan and Glamour. Sexy, sassy and modern. It took me weeks to come up with the right name, but as soon as Stiletto popped into my head, I knew that was “it.” There’s something so iconic about the word and the image it conjures up.

Who are the Stiletto women?

Well, the Stiletto staff is HUGE, but the series right now focuses primarily on the three women behind the Love & Relationships department. Julie Greene (the heroine of AFTER THE KISS, available now), is the flirty, fun one. I envisioned her being a lot like Rachel from Friends. Grace Brighton is very East Coast sophistication, maybe a tiny bit prissy on the outside, but funny, warm and real on the inside. Last up is Riley McKenna, the bombshell of the group, who’s mouthy, gorgeous and blunt, but fiercely loyal to those she cares about.

Are there expansion plans for the trilogy?

Spoiler alert: In Book Two (LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH, available Dec 7th), we’ll see a recovering Southern Belle who turns their trio into a foursome, and I have definite plans for Emma and her ex-fiance!

So all of this goes down in New York City?

Yup! Mostly in Manhattan, although Book 3 spends a fair amount of time in Brooklyn where Riley was born and raised. The subway, cabs, Central Park, and swanky uptown bars are all a major component of the series. I think of the city more of a character than a setting!

Does one have to love Sex and the City to enjoy Stiletto?

I think fans of the SATC will definitely see parallels, but there’s one huge distinction: at the end of the day, Sex and the City was about the women. But with Stiletto, it’s all about the relationship. Big and Aidan in SATC were more or less accessories in Carrie Bradshaw’s life, but the men in Stiletto are very much real people. The books are split between heroine/hero point of view, so we get inside these guys’ heads. And while the Stiletto series definitely has plenty of sexy-times, it’s not in-your-face the way it often was on SATC. Stiletto’s every bit about the sweet butterflies you get in your stomach when he touches your hand accidentally as it is the hot and dirty against the wall.

Can we get a teaser?

Of course :) Here’s an excerpt from one of my favorite scenes in AFTER THE KISS. Julie thinks she has Mitchell wrapped wround her manicured finger, and she’s so, SO wrong:

Neither spoke as they fetched her coat and headed out the door.

“You like Guinness?” he asked gruffly as they walked into the late spring air.

“Love it,” she lied. She wasn’t really a beer girl unless she was on a boat in a bikini on the hottest days of summer. But she knew how this worked. Playing the high-maintenance card this early in the game would never get her a second date.

And it certainly wouldn’t get her that story.

Mitchell led her to a small Irish bar that she’d never heard of, and opened the door for her.

“Thanks,” she murmured. He put his hand on the small of her back to guide her inside and Julie froze.

Uh-oh. She’d been wrong about them not having any chemistry. Very wrong. The brief brush of his fingers against her spine gave her immediate goose bumps and Julie resisted the urge to turn and run. Being attracted to Mitchell was not part of the plan, and yet here she was, quivering and wanting to rub against him.

Mayday, mayday! I want to hump my story subject!

Mitchell snatched his hand back too quickly, rapping it on the door jamb, and Julie felt a small measure of relief. At least he’d felt it too.

“So what do you do, Mitchell?” Julie asked, hoping to diffuse the sudden shock of awkwardness as they settled at a cozy table in the corner

“Wall Street,” he said as though it needed no further explanation. And really, it didn’t. In Manhattan, you were either on Wall Street or not on Wall Street. And if you were in the “not” category, you didn’t have the faintest idea what the hell happened down there. And you didn’t really care.

Or at least Julie didn’t care. Except this time, she had to pretend that the topic didn’t bore her to death. If she was going to survive two months with this dud, she at least needed to be able to speak his language.

“How interesting,” she said, leaning forward slightly and casting her eyes up.  “What’s that like?”

To her surprise, Mitchell snorted and sat back in his chair watching her with a faintly incredulous look. “Does that usually work for you?”

Julie jolted out of her fluttering routine, blinking in confusion. “Does what work?”

He waved a dismissive hand over her. “This whole thing. The eyelashes and the cooing and the false interest.”

Julie sat back sharply in surprise, feeling stung. “Who says it’s false?”

He braced his forearms on the table as his eyes bored into hers.

Abruptly, Julie realized her mistake. Mitchell Forbes might look harmless, but he was definitely not to be trifled with. She’d played her cards all wrong.


Thanks so much for having me, Marisa! I’ve been a long-time fan of your blog, and I was giddy when you asked me to visit :)

More from Lauren Layne:


Twitter: http:/



WOW! What a hot teaser! I can tell you, as I've already read this incredible book, that Lauren Layne has played her cards all right in this first book! I loved it beginning to end and then begged her to spotlight on Pens and Peonies! So thanks, Lauren, for taking the time to stop by the blog!

"In the first book of a delightful new series from Lauren Layne, the star columnist of Stiletto magazine will do anything for a story. Anything... except fall in love."

What do you think? Have you ever been attracted to someone you didn't want to be attracted to?

xoxo ~Marisa


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Interview: Jessa Russo

Pens and Peonies is thrilled to be hosting established author Jessa Russo on the blog today!

Jessa has been creating stories in one form or another for as long as she can remember. Though somehow, even when recognized in college for her writing ability, she never realized she was meant to follow her passion and actually become a writer. Years later, a rediscovered love of reading combined with a heavy love for paranormal romance led to writing her first novel. Jessa began writing seriously in 2009. She has no plans of stopping. When not writing or reading -- or raising the coolest kid ever -- Jessa enjoys making memories with her amazingly supportive family and friends, while secretly planning her next trip to New Orleans. She will always call Southern California home, where she lives with her husband and daughter, and a Great Dane who thinks he's the same size as his cranky sister, the Chihuahua.

As part of her BLOG TOUR for the launch of the second book in the EVER Trilogy, Pens and Peonies has pinned down Jessa for a fabulous interview!

Why are you a writer?

Why is the sky blue? I think because God intended it.

What is your writing schedule like?
Schedule? HA! I wish.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time before you were published?
Long answer: Oh geez. My biggest self-sabotaging hurdle is my lack of patience. I’m always in such a hurry when it comes to getting published. In every other aspect of my life, I’m late for EVERYTHING. I take my time writing, and I definitely don’t consider myself a fast writer, but once the book is done, I want it out, out, out! And I’ve regretted the rushed decisions I’ve made in this journey, though I will not go into those in any detail.

Short answer: Be patient, Jessa.

What has been the most thrilling part of being published?
Holding my books in my hand. My publishing journey has been a bit less than what I anticipated, which is really okay. Though, I do have my moments of self-doubt and wishing for more, and my CP’s often have to remind me of what I have accomplished. In many aspects of my life, I have a hard time with focusing on what I don’t have, rather than what I have, so this fault tends to bleed over into my writing career as well. I hope that one day I have other thrilling moments, like movie deals and NYT best seller status (hey, one can hope!), but for now, it’s definitely holding my books in my hand. They’re beautiful.

What was the hardest part of writing EVADE?
Ugh. The hardest part of writing EVADE was getting past the negative reviews about EVER. I truly, TRULY, wish I’d ignored them. I should have never logged onto GoodReads, never had Google alert me to new posts about me, never read any reviews, good or bad. It changed me. It affected who I was both personally and professionally, but only because I let it. I had a very difficult time getting back into Ever’s story, and EVADE took me way longer to finish than it should have. But, I’d allowed myself to feel so defeated by the people who didn’t like Ever, that I let that overshadow the people who loved her. Worse even than that however, is how I let that negativity overshadow MY love for this series. It won’t happen again.   

How many books have you written, and which one is your favorite? 
I have completed four books now. EVER and EVADE (Books 1 & 2 of the Ever Trilogy—YA paranormal romance), DIVIDE (YA standalone fairytale redux—Beauty and the Beast mashed up with a bit of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde), and ARK OF DREAMS (an edgy new adult contemporary Noah’s Ark retell—evil governments, conspiracies, false claims of biblical rains, and the two people caught up in the middle of it all who beat the odds and find love along the way.) ARK is definitely the best thing I’ve written so far, and I’m very proud of it and so excited to start working towards getting it ready for submission!

What's one thing you can't live without?
Aside from my family, pets and friends? Um . . . if I had to leave my house and take only ONE thing, I’d grab our little safe/firebox because it has the letter from my dad that he wrote to me when I was four years old. He was in the hospital due to his heart condition, and thought he was dying, so he wrote a letter for my mom to give to me when I turned 18. He died years later, when I was 16, and that letter is my most precious material possession. Aside from the diamond he gave my mom, which is now on my finger.

Fast Facts:

Coffee or tea? Coffee! Never black, and always with CoffeeMate creamer. Unless I’m sick, then it’s tea with massive amounts of honey and lemon, and . . . occasionally . . . whiskey.

Morning or night? Morning. I love early mornings with coffee and silence.

Rivers or oceans? Both. But I have to live within an hour of the coast.

White wine or red? Again, both. Red for cool evenings, white for hot summer days/nights.

Champagne or liquor? Champagne, definitely champagne. I love mimosas. *grin*

Cupcakes or ice cream? Ice Cream.

Laptop or desktop? Desktop.

Casual or couture? Um . . . I think I’m a healthy combo of both. Though I don’t spend a lot of money on my clothes, I do shop often and always look good. *struts*

Ponytail or headband? Hairclip. Yup. Now you know my dirty little secret.                          

Shower or bath? Ugh, I hate baths. If I want to relax, like, with a glass of wine and a book, I shower first, THEN sit in the bath. I’m sure that’s a huge waste of water, but sitting in dirty bathwater or shampoo/soap filled water grosses me out.

Summer or winter? Fall.

Motorcycle or bicycle? For guys? Motorcycle. Chopper, if we’re being specific. Unless we’re talking about me specifically, then neither. I can’t even ride a bicycle. You can laugh.

So now you know Jessa's dirty little secret! What's yours?

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Book Blurb:

In this thrilling sequel, Ever Van Ruysdael's race to beat the odds—and the clock—begins with the introduction of an integral part of her past. As secrets are revealed, and truths uncovered, she learns her imminent death is the least of her problems: Ariadne did more than just put an expiration date on her life; she marked Ever's soul by upping its value for greedy collectors looking to buy their freedom.

Condemned by the countdown on her life, and hunted by hired Seekers, Ever’s journey leads her to question everything she’s known and everyone she’s trusted, while growing closer to the one person from her past she was determined to avoid—and the one guy she never could—Toby James.

With her ex-boyfriend by her side, and the countdown clock rapidly ticking away, Ever tries thwarting fate’s plans. But as her nineteenth birthday approaches, and desperate Seekers follow her every move, she may be too late.

A marked soul is hard to come by . . . and even harder to escape.

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Connect with Jessa!

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Help spread the awesome interview through social media!
Check out #author #interview w/ @jessarusso!!! #amreading #EVADE
The interview where Jessa Russo admits to self-sabotage and the one thing she can't live without!
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Click HERE to see Jessa's full BLOG TOUR schedule!


xoxo ~Marisa

Friday, October 4, 2013

Interview and Cover Reveal: Tamara Mataya

While Tamara was squee-ing and trying not to cuss all over Twitter and Facebook, Pens and Peonies was messaging her on Facebook and asking all kinds of random questions. Here's your sneak peek at Tamara's exclusive, on-the-spot answers!
*picks up microphone* So, Tamara, I hear you wrote this super steamy romance novel that made Marisa cry. Can you give us a hint at what part of the novel induced tears?

Tamara: I've heard a few people cried while reading TBLP, but there was one scene that takes place on a bathroom floor that kicked her in the heart. :)

 Oh! On the bathroom floor! Is it "that" kind of book? No, seriously, give us a couple words to sum up the idea of this story.

Tamara: You never know what someone's history is based on their appearance. Even the most perfect looking people are carrying the weight of their years inside their hearts. Some people are better at letting go of that weight than others. Also, who DOESN'T love a hot guitar player, and a woman who knows what she wants?!

Sounds extremely profound. Care to share which character you relate to more closely? Malcolm or Jayne?

Tamara: That's tough. Like Malcolm, I found healing through music. I experienced bullying - though not to the levels explored in the book (except for that time I got stabbed with a pencil). I definitely relate more to Malcolm, and his emotionality.

*grabs tissues* Bullying? Stabbed! Tough subjects, indeed. But since it's Swoon, I'm going to assume he gets some action *wink, wink* in the bedroom too?

Tamara: Oh yeah. I don't want to spoil anything, but guitar players have *nimble* fingers.

I heard a rumor this is your first contemporary romance novel ever, and I also heard you wrote it in like an insanely short period of time. Explain! Your! Method!

Tamara: I've written other romances, but this is my first dual POV, which really let me get into both the characters' heads. Not only that, I really went in depth and focused on the relationship between Malcolm and Jayne. It's definitely the hottest thing I've ever written as well!

I'd written one scene of it last November, and put it away. My critique partners began baying for blood, and demanded I finish. I opened it up again in May, and finished drafting it in about three weeks/ a month. There isn't a big secret, but writing is like a muscle - you HAVE to write. Inspiration isn't always waiting or you when you wake up. Sometimes you have to top that little effer, and just get the words on the page. Writing time doesn't magically appear - I sacrifice other activities I enjoy to have more writing time.

OR I have a TARDIS and a Time Turner.

Speaking of critique partners... how do yours work? Like, what's your process?

Tamara: I have a few different CP's, and all of them have different strengths. I write the first draft, then revise. When I'm happy with it, I send the draft to whichever CP's are right for the project (if it's "their" genre) and have time. Crit Partners are NOT free editors. POLISH before sending your work. I revise based on their feedback, and send the shinier copy to a couple more CP's. Because I have more CP's than average, I don't require as many beta readers after the CPing. Being a crit partner isn't just about critting. Just because you've given me critique, doesn't mean you're my CP. Me critting your work once doesn't make me yours. It's a partnership, and about support, and truly being there for each other every agonizing, emotional step of the way!

As someone who has followed your writing journey, I know you signed with The Seymour Agency after hosting that pitchy thingy last December. That's less than a year after finding an agency. Was the journey what you expected?

Tamara: The journey was what I expected - I went into it with my eyes wide open. But I never expected how HARD it would be, and how wearing it would be. My rejections were POSITIVE! I never had any that told me I suck, or a manuscript was bad. I had referrals to colleagues, and 'This is great but not a good fit for our list at this time. What else has she got?' But even though they were positive, they weren't a YES. It's no secret that I write a lot. My journey may have been tougher on me because at one point I had four manuscripts out there on submission at once. Hearing 'Great voice, but not for us,' on ONE manuscript is bad enough. Hearing it on FOUR AT ONCE feels like everyone hates everything you write. But you've gotta keep writing!

What advice would you give to writers at these stages in their journey:

1. half way through the first manuscript? YOU CAN DO IT! Your words are important! The laundry can wait!

2. one complete manuscript? YAY! YOU WROTE A FREAKING BOOK! AMAZING! Now write another.

3. three complete manuscripts? Kick ass! Look at the first manuscript you wrote. Compare it to your newest. We should grow better as writers, the more we write. There should be visible growth in your writing. If there isn't, dig deeper. You're doing it wrong.

Anything you want readers/fans to know about your book before they read it?

It's not just about the sexytimes. The Best Laid Plans deals with some very serious issues too. I wish people would know that even if they feel broken, IT GETS BETTER. I hope you all find your own happy endings. No pun intended. Okay, it was intended.

Where can readers connect with you online?


Jayne Griffin isn’t looking for Mr. Right. She’s looking for Mr. RTFN and a toe-curling good time. Malcolm Black is unrecognizable as the band geek he used to be, but the pain still haunts him. The sexy guitarist hatches the perfect plan: Seduce Jayne into falling in love with him, and then shatter her heart. It all goes so smoothly until feelings start to develop . . . and that invitation to their ten year high school reunion lands in their inboxes.

Jayne wants the perfect lover. Malcolm wants revenge. But you know what they say about The Best Laid Plans!

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So what do you think of her cover? Here's what I want to know: what brand are those jeans?

xoxo ~Marisa