Meet the Chapter Mates: Tessa McFionn

Author picThis month’s Meet the Chapter Mates features our current RWASD treasurer, Tessa McFionn.  Tessa not only writes paranormal romance but has a ton of other talents including a wicked sense of humor.

You can find out more at her website: TessaMcFionn.com

 

Tell us a little about yourself! Who are you? What do you write?

Hellooooooo! So, I’m Tessa McFionn. I’m a Gemini and I like long walks on the beach. Okay, so that last part might be a stretch. I write paranormal and sci-fi romance.

 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Well, like most published authors, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. Be it little kid poetry or high school journalism, I ran the gambit. But it wasn’t until about seven years ago, in a rather dark period in my life, when I seriously picked up the pen again. I finished the first draft of Spirit Fall and it sat on a virtual shelf for years until a good friend talked me into sending it out. That was back in Fall 2013 and Spirit Fall hit the public December 2014.

 

What does RWASD mean to you?

Oh wow. That’s a great question. The amazing camaraderie, the support, the chance to get honest feedback and spend an afternoon with inspirations writers. It has been such a godsend to me. It’s wonderful to be able to openly talk about the writing world and to get insight and advice. I just love it all.

 

What is the biggest challenge you have faced on your journey to becoming a writer?

Time. Hands down. I have a full-time day job which has a tendency to leak into my freeSilly selfie time as well. So, I have to carve out writing time whenever I can and it can be frustrating when the only time I can find is so late in the day that my brain refuses to function. But I do cherish my weekends and spend most of that time glued to my laptop.

 

What attracted you to the genre you write? Why does it speak to you?

Super easy. I love make believe. If it was fantastical, I loved it. I still do. I remember my mother reading The Hobbit to both my brother and me when we were kids and Fantasia was my favorite movie at age five. Read Dracula at a very early age and my mother also bought me Dune and An Interview with a Vampire when I was in junior high. So, when I started my own writing, it seemed natural for my stories to be infused with elements of other worldliness.

 

Where is the weirdest place or what is the weirdest thing that inspired an idea?

LOL! Weird, huh? I love hunting for locations in various neighborhoods. Found a really creepy looking gated house in San Francisco. Hanging on to that one for someone. As for weird things, I have a horror short inspired by a leaky faucet. I guess since I consider myself as weird, all these things seem normal to me. 😉

 

Who’s a writer you would do backflips to meet and why?

Oooh. There are so many and I feel lucky to say that I’ve been blessed and have had opportunities to met and talk with several of my inspirations. So, of the ones I haven’t met, it would be Anne Rice. I met her at a book signing back in 1994 but that was before jumping off the deep end into the writing pool. Now, I would love to talk to her about the craft.

 

If you could go back 20 years ago, What advice would you give yourself?

Follow your gut; you’re on the right path! During this time, I was transitioning out of a toxic relationship and returning to the person I love. So I would tell myself to keep going.

 

Dual coversTell us about your latest novel!

YAY! I’d love to! So, I’m working on the third installment on my currently published series. This goes way beyond a trilogy since the fourth Guardian is already waiting less than patiently for me to get to his story. But in this tale, we move out of California to the Windy City. Here we meet immortal Guardian Sebastiani Cristofano Lamberhetti, or Bastian, an Italian Renaissance assassin who isn’t the cuddliest of guys out there. It’s got intrigue, slimy mobsters, a beautiful singer, gambling and a crazy stalker. And of course, lots of vicious fight scenes and hot, steamy sex.

 

Can you share a little of your current work with us? 

With pleasure 😉

“Not blonde.” Bastian whispered half to himself and Miranda raised her gaze. Her deep sapphire orbs, hazy with passion, shifted to include a trace of expected rejection. The combination of her flushed ivory cheeks, piercing blue eyes and mahogany tresses was sheer perfection.

“I’m sorry. I know that gentlemen prefer blondes.” Her seductive voice carried a tinge of sadness. Cupping her face, he placed a tender kiss on her lush lips, a light brush to tide him over.

“You are beautiful, tesorina. Never be sorry for who you truly are.” He slid his mouth along her jaw, licking his way to her tempting lobe. “And for the record, I don’t prefer blondes.” Twirling his tongue around the slender shell of her ear, he breathed hotly against her skin. “Nor am I a gentleman.”

 

Before you go, any advice to give to the new writers out there?

Don’t give up!!! If you truly believe in your words, you will find an audience who believe in you enough to love your stories. One of my amazing chapter mates, Lisa Kessler, gave me some awesome advice that I truly believe needs to be shared. “Being an author is a marathon, not a sprint.” Be ready for the long haul but never give up.

 

Meet The Chapter Mates: Alice Lake

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Its time to meet another of our talented chapter mates!

Alice Lake is a self published author of historical romance. She also writes contemporary romance under the name Mila Rossi. You can find more about her work at her website, MilaRossi.com. Lets find out more about her!

 

Tell us a little about yourself! Who are you? What do you write?

I’m originally from Romania and grew up in Austria. I came to the US as a teenager and am still very homesick. Luckily my husband likes to travel. I’ve been a member of RWASD for a couple of years now and I write historical romance under the name Alice Lake and contemporary romance under Mila Rossi.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve always written something, whether in school (I was an English major) or at work (as a technical writer), but I didn’t tell others I was a writer until I published my first book.

 

What does RWASD mean to you?

I’ve been so grateful to join RWASD because I met wonderful writers, learned valuable information and improved my craft as a result.

 

What is the biggest challenge your have faced on your journey to becoming a writer?

Goodness, everything has been challenging. Writing has always been a passion, so I don’t feel like that’s hard to do. I have so many ideas, but not enough time to write them all down. The business aspect is a big pain in the butt, especially if you self-publish. I had to learn all sorts of things I hadn’t considered before, such as book covers, formatting, beta readers, reviewers, the hassles of dealing with anything technology-related….It’s a long list.

 

What attracted you to the genre you write? Why does it speak to you?

a5I started out writing Victorian-era romance because that’s what I liked to read. In the last year, I’ve branched out to contemporary romance, which is much easier to write. There isn’t as much research involved, and it’s a relief when a character can just pick up the phone and call somebody, as opposed to my Victorian ladies who have to make a social call.

 

 

Where is the weirdest place or what is the weirdest thing that inspired an idea?

I was watching a show called House Hunters and saw a couple checking out tree houses to move into. I thought this was so crazy and exciting. Suddenly, my WILD GAMES story was born.

 

Who’s a writer you would do backflips to meet and why?

A couple of years ago, I would have named a few, but after actually meeting some, I realized that I apparently get very starstruck and clam up. I waited in line several hours to meet Janet Evanovich and then barely said Hello to her when it was my turn to see her.

 

If you could go back 20 years ago, What advice would you give yourself?

Start now! I waited a long time to start writing and even longer to become organized. After learning so much these last few years, the writing flows much better and the publishing process is not nearly as gruesome. I should point out that I self-publish, so I have everything down like a well-oiled machine.

 


WILD GAMESTell us about your latest novel!

WILD GAMES was released just before Thanksgiving and is a contemporary romance novella set in the Costa Rican jungle. It features a feisty botanist and the security guard hired to keep an eye on her research team. It was fun to see how these two hotheads bickered and overcame the challenges of sharing a tree house. I had a great time writing it.

 

 

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I am finishing up CHANGE OF PLANS, my latest Mila Rossi novella, which deals with the consequences of the characters’ one-night-stand. It was interesting to write since I hadn’t written about one-night-stands before, but I like to challenge myself. Also, the first Victorian-era book in my Guild of Hybrids series is being published on February 1st, so I’m very excited about that. It’s called DANGEROUS KISSES and features a secret female society. Lavinia, who is a Guild of Hybrids member, is hired to ruin her client’s fiancé, whom she of course falls in love with. It’s never easy falling in love.

 

Before you go, any advice to give to the new writers out there?

Yes, read and write with an open mind. Be open to new ideas and don’t be scared to try new genres, different POVs and considering input from others. With my first couple of books, I was so stuck on doing only what I thought was right, but now I value the opinion of others.

Getting to Know Your 2016 Board Members

2016 is right around the corner, and with a new year comes a new RWASD board! For those of you who aren’t already acquainted with our incoming board members, here’s a chance for you to familiarize yourself with their faces and get to know a little bit about them.

Tameri Etherton, President

Tameri is the award-winning author of the Song of the Swords fantasy series. As a born storyteller, Tameri grew up inventing fictional worlds where the impossible was possible. It’s been said she leaves a trail of glitter in her wake as she creates new adventures for her kickass heroines, and the rogues who steal their hearts. She lives an enchanted life in Southern California with two dogs, a finicky cat, her two grown children and her very own prince charming.

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Tami Vahalik, President-Elect

Tami writes contemporary romance with a kick and a twist that includes the sports world. Her stories are inspired by her time on the field as a certified athletic trainer. In other words she takes care of boo boos and owies that can and can’t be seen, then writes about them. It’s all fair game. Each story she writes has at least one real life incident. Can you figure out the reality from the fantasy? You might be surprised.

Eleanor Nystrom, Secretary

Eleanor Nystrom writes paranormal romance with badass heroes and badasser heroines. She is thrilled to be next year’s secretary.

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Tessa McFionn, Treasurer

Tessa McFionn is a very native Californian and has called Southern California home for most of her life, growing up in San Diego and attending college in Northern California and Orange County, only to return to San Diego to work as a teacher. Insatiably curious and imaginative, she loves to learn and discover, making her wicked knowledge of trivial facts an unwelcomed guest at many Trivial Pursuit boards. When not writing, she can be found at the movies or at Disneyland with her husband, as well as family, friends or anyone who wants to play at the Happiest Place on Earth. She also finds her artistic soul fed through her passions for theater, dance and music. A proud parent of far too many high school seniors and two still living house plants, she also enjoys hockey, reading and playing Words With Friends to keep her vocabulary sharp.

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Lisa Kessler, Vice President, Programs

Lisa has been a member of RWASD since 2009. Since then, she’s had 11 books published, with 3 more due to come out in 2016. In our chapter, she has served as President, VP of Programs (twice), and Publicity Chair. She also worked on the California Dreamin’ Conference board. When she’s not writing, she sings professionally and teaches writing courses online as well as at San Diego Writer’s Ink in Liberty Station.

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Cassi Carver, Vice President, Programs

Cassi writes spicy urban fantasy, contemporary romance, and paranormal romance. She lives in sunny Southern California with two dogs, four kids, varying numbers of pet chickens and tropical fish…and one very patient husband. When Cassi isn’t busy plotting or writing, she enjoys reading, gardening, horseback riding, spending time with family and friends, caring for pets, volunteering at the local animal shelter, drinking copious amounts of Diet Dr. Pepper, and watching sappy movies that deliver reliably happy endings.

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Kristin Rockaway, Communications Director

Kristin is a native New Yorker who spends her days writing contemporary romance and women’s fiction. Her latest novel placed second in the 2015 Orange Rose Contest for Unpublished Writers, finishing first in the Women’s Fiction with Romantic Elements category. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, and planning her next big vacation. RWA is an important part of her life, and she’s thrilled to be able to serve on the board this year to give back to the organization that has given so much to her.

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Diane Kennedy, Hospitality Director

Diane is a native San Diegan who joined RWA and the San Diego Chapter in 2014 while in the midst of writing her first novel, a contemporary YA romance.  She’s happy to say that she completed the manuscript and made PRO this year.  Now her work is focused on final polishing and word-tweaking so she can go to Nationals in July with the confidence to pitch her debut novel. Along with being a writer, she is the proud mom of a grown up son and daughter, the grandmother of two beautiful granddaughters and one darling baby grandson who fill her life with joy.  She is also the bride-to-be of the perfect man for her; proof that we’re never too old to find our true love.

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Cindy Kinnard, Outreach Director

Starting her adult life as a theater nerd, Cynthia earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Costume Design and worked as a designer for many years. But her first love since childhood was telling stories. After some encouragement from a couple of authors, she decided to go down the rabbit hole and write paranormal romance. When not telling tales about hot dragons and werewolves with tight behinds, Cynthia is an SCA geek and an amateur artist. She loves costume dramas, horror films, zombies, steampunk, pirates, historical costumes, RPG games, Indiana Jones, bright colors, and LUSH. Cynthia resides in sunny San Diego, California with her husband Max, two cats of varying intelligence, and a ton of goldfish.

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Rachael Davish, PRO Liaison

Rachael Davila, writing as Rachael Davish, has been a member of RWA-San Diego since 2012. Joining the board as the newsletter editor, she’s held the position of treasurer and co-PRO liaison. With Laura Connors, she will continue as co-PRO Liaison for 2016. When she’s not handling her board and family responsibilities, she’s writing contemporary romance with touches of paranormal.

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Laura Connors, PRO Liaison

Laura has been a member of RWASD since 2012 and is grateful for this organization. She has acted as the hospitality chair for a year and a half and is about to take over membership responsibilities. An ADD writer, she has 15 books in progress in such categories as Historical Fiction, YA, fantasy, paranormal and contemporary. Her completed manuscript, Sea of Fate has placed third in multiple contests and second in FF&P’s On The Far Side. She has always wanted to be a writer, but it wasn’t until she met the amazing people at RWA that she found the courage to try. Some of her best friends belong to RWASD and she can’t imagine her life without it.

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Jillian Stone, PAN Liaison

Multi-published, national award-winning author Jillian started out as an advertising creative. And her career did seem to suit her as she won many national ad awards including the Clio and the New York Art Director’s Club Gold. What more could she ask for? Create her own worlds? Become goddess of her own universe? Yes! So, she began to write fiction. Her Victorian Romantic Suspense novel AN AFFAIR WITH MR. KENNEDY (The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series) won the Romance Writers of America 2010 Golden Heart Award and sold to Pocket Books. Her steamy paranormal detective novel, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK sold to Kensington Brava. Jillian lives in Southern California and is currently working on a sexy horror zombie novel serialized in the Sexy to Go anthologies, as well as the sequel to her erotic contemporary novel, THE DO IT LIST.

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Ava Blackstone, Webmistress

Ava writes contemporary romance. She is a winner and two-time finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® contest, and has published five short romance stories in Woman’s World magazine. She loves reading, traveling, cooking, hiking, eating, and sleeping (not necessarily in that order). Her first romance novella, Marriage: Impossible, will be available in January.

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Meet the Chapter Mates: Joel Dorr

 

Joel white shirtJoel Dorr is a born storyteller, athlete, and a complete delight to talk to. He has a deep love of the craft and is always eager to share a story or two.  You can find more information about his work at www.JoelDorr.com

 

Tell us a little about yourself! Who are you? What do you write?

I grew up in Montana and Wyoming, where as a young boy, my brothers and I raced by horseback across the grass pastures of my grandfather’s ranch. There is no video game that can match the exhilaration of riding full speed on the back of a galloping horse. With a full access nature pass, I swam, rafted and fished many of the lakes and rivers of Wyoming. Early inspiration hit when I located and walked down the same dirt path Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid used to hunker down in their Hole in the Wall hideout. My brothers and I carried fishing poles, instead of guns, that is when we didn’t have a pretend posse chasing us. I was able to put myself through college playing basketball, getting degrees in Theatre and Broadcasting. Later I began writing and developing stories for film and television, until 2006 when I became the Editor of Dramabiz Magazine, a theatre business management monthly.

How does a writer describe himself–with a story, of course? About 20 years ago, I flew to Wyoming to visit my family. Seated next to me on the airplane, was a gentleman with long, white hair, pulled back in a ponytail wrapped in leather ties with beautiful beads. We fell into an easy conversation telling each other our “stories”. He spoke of his tribe, their history and traditions. I countered with my clan, cowboys and Irish and German ancestors. In true “cowboys and Indians” fashion, the conversation turned to the Battle of the Little Big Horn and “Yellow Hair”. Generations of Dorrs living in Wyoming and Montana heard the stories—and not the kind you read in history books. We had much disdain for George Armstrong Custer, the great injustice the U.S. Government put on the native Indians and the fiction portrayed as historical fact. Finding common historical ground, the gray haired man shared how this too is a story passed down through the generations in his family, in fact some of his relatives died as they fought the American encroachment led by “Yellow Hair.” At the end of our trip, my new friend revealed that he was the official storyteller for the Oglala Sioux Nation. He expressed honor in meeting another tribe’s storyteller, which struck me. He said that I, just like him, was destined to be a storyteller, and that it was my responsibility to pass down my tribe’s history. Years later, I have come to realize what he meant. I have always felt a need to tell stories, as did my father and his father. Ironically, as I reflect back, I remember that I wrote my first play after my father took me to the battlefield at Little Big Horn and explained the truth behind the Indian Nations last great victory. I was in third grade. Who am I? I’m a storyteller from Wyoming.

I just completed my first novel, Those Crazy Notions of Otherwise Intelligent People, a contemporary romantic (dramedy) comedy about making bad choices good again. As a writer in film and television, I never thought of myself as a writer in any one genre because I wrote action, adventure, children, comedy and drama. One day, a friend that I trusted to read my work, asked me if I realized that everything I wrote had a touch of romance in it? When I went back and looked, he was right. Love is powerful. I write about it and all the aspects associated with the feeling. Through my writing, I get to experience it all over again and creating that emotion can be exhilarating or devastating. Many wonderful conflicts arise from being in love and lend themselves to all genres. The most heart wrenching stories of all time, like Doctor Zhivago, use love as the catalyst to propel the story forward.

 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

JD BeachI think it was the day I was going down an elevator from a meeting with a management company in Century City (in L.A.). Minutes earlier, my pilot for a television series, called WITNESSED, was optioned. I looked at my producing partner, trying my best to control my emotions as I’m sure they would be captured on the security camera, and asked, “Did what I think just happened, really happen?” When he smiled and shook his head yes, I was convinced that I could truly write, well, a TV script anyway. As the editor of Dramabiz Magazine, I had to interview, write and edit a monthly magazine, which taught me discipline and what to look for in quality writing. Those two experiences gave me the courage to write my first novel.

 

What does RWASD mean to you?

Always feeling a bit out of place, I would say RWASD feels like “being home.” I’ve never fit in with any one group. I was a basketball player who studied theatre in college. Theatre students disliked athletes and jocks didn’t understand the arts, so I was in the middle somewhere. As a writer, I sort of white knuckled my way along learning what I could from where I could find it through sheer determination. I’ve never established good working relationships with agents because I didn’t want to high concept a package of my work. I chose to work in the background, finding producers who preferred working directly with writers (through layers) to get the project done. But that is a lonely way to go about things. Film and television writer groups were not open or friendly, but rather competitive and secretive. For someone to help you in L.A., they wanted something in return. It was true quid pro quo that usually meant a part or a percentage of your good idea or project. And sometimes, they just took. It wore you down.

RWASD was like walking into a meeting of old friends who insisted you let them into your life, to help YOU make your writing better and the process of self-publishing easier. Everyone is caring, positive and nurturing–sincerely asking what you are working on and sharing information to help. Even from a personal perspective, I felt supported after sharing the ups and downs of my wife’s battle with breast cancer. They supported me while I was tired and struggling to find focus and strength. Finding this group was the best thing I’ve done for myself in many years. I can’t thank everyone enough for their help in my writing and personally.

 

What is the biggest challenge you have faced on your journey to becoming a writer?

The biggest challenge for me is to remember to make writing daily a priority. It’s a gift to have the ability to create a story in your mind and then translate an idea into words so that others can enjoy your thoughts. Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in life that I miss a day or two of writing. I loose touch with that joy of pushing a story along. It is an adrenaline rush to read what I have written after toiling late into the night. Never knowing if it is reader-ready as I boot up the computer, I oftentimes get excited at reading something special that I don’t remember writing (and no I don’t late night binge drink). On my list of loves, writing has surpassed basketball and sits right below family.

 

What attracted you to romance? Why does it speak to you?

I can tell you exactly what attracted me to romance and when. I was in the eighth grade and had my first crush. She was sitting next to me, both of our hands resting alongside our legs, fingers barely touching watching a film with really strange dialogue. I was totally caught off-guard and sucked in by the infatuation of Romeo for Juliet. I had never seen the brilliance of ingénue love and replicating it became engrained in my writing DNA. Can you think of a story line without love or romance at the core? Well, a story or movie worthy of your time anyway. It drives motives, good and bad, and intensifies the conflict due to the heightened sense of desire. Plus, sex drives people crazy.

 

Where is the weirdest place or what is the weirdest thing that inspired an idea?

I once met a stuntman who was missing his arm below the elbow.One Hour Warriors Among his many jobs, he was a stuntman for the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Predator, in a scene where they blew the Predator’s arm off. Anyway, I shook the man’s hand and suddenly I got this idea for a children’s action film featuring broken toys that come to life as imperfect super heroes. The toy’s broken body parts were remade with non-lethal weapons, like goo guns, which shot sticky stuff instead of bullets. They only came to life for one hour. The idea developed into a script called One Hour Warriors and was optioned but never made into a movie.

 

Love Scenes. Steamy or sweet? Why?

C’mon, I’m a guy. Do I need to answer this question? Bring on the heat! Well…after thinking about this a little more, I’m not into hot sex just for the sake of hot sex–I would be too exhausted. But when writing a story, it really depends on the story itself and what feels right. In Those Crazy Notions of Otherwise Intelligent People, I developed each love scene so there is an emotional response true to the characters and that escalates the intensity. Sometimes that intensity isn’t always a good thing. In one love scene, the reader learns the honest feelings of one of the characters, but I find it sexy that sex isn’t good when you can’t connect. I like unexpected love scenes at the point where the character leads can’t take it any more and they must have each other in a vivid and high-voltage experience leaving the reader in need of change of underwear or finding someone to help them with their pent-up needs.

 

Who’s a writer you would do backflips to meet and why?

I would have liked to have met Michael Chrichton before he passed away. He was a brilliant man (he wrote a novel to pay for medical school for crying out loud) and was able to write novels for all ages with storylines that pushed the envelope of controversy while being entertaining. I miss him and his books.

 

If you could go back 20 years ago, What advice would you give yourself?

You’ve got potential, kid. Don’t let anyone steal that from you. Stay focused and work harder. Then get some humility.

 

Tell us about your latest novel!

Those Crazy Notions working Master 120115 copy copyThose Crazy Notions of Otherwise Intelligent People

Ilena Doran is a dedicated therapist with a serious problem, and not the lousy haircut or closet-full of outdated clothing kind. Ilena’s big challenge comes in the small, 7 year-old package of her son, Sammy, traumatized by his father’s death.
Percy Powers is a psychiatrist’s wet dream; a wayward rocket fueled by tequila and hard-wired to locate any party starring scantily-clad women in need of his company. Following a chance meeting with Ilena and Sammy, the morning radio star offers to help the little fella, hoping Ilena might entertain a subtle invitation to have a little adult fun along the way.

From what Ilena has seen and heard from the media, she doesn’t like or trust Percy. She knows the type all too well and her professional instincts scream ‘all Mr. Party Pants really wants is inside her lace panties’.

The story is about two people who have ridiculous notions about themselves and others when the truth contradicts what is right in front of them. Sometimes you have to learn to accept help even it if comes from the unlikeliest of places.

I think readers of romance will find the complicated male lead, Percy, to be fascinating and might just break down their stereotypical assumptions of how men think and act when it comes to women, love and relationships. This story is rich with eclectic characters including several strong women, who match wit for wit with the egotistical Percy. The best wit-matcher is Ilena, a warm, loving mom and therapist, who tries to dodge the Percy curveball that is on target to destroy her perfectly, organized imperfect life.

 

Before you go, any advice to give to the new writers out there?

Don’t write what you think will sell–write what you love to write. I’m finding the preconceived notion of a man writing romance to be a challenge, but with the support of RWASD (which all new writers should join), I’m learning my way.

Then read everything you can get your eyes on. Write every day.

Meet the Chapter Mates: Phyllis Humphrey

Phyl for PR

Phyllis Humphrey is a longtime writer of romance, romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries. You can find more of her work at her website PhyllisHumphrey.com. Lets learn a little more about her today!

1. Who are you? What do you write?

I’m Phyllis A. Humphrey. The A stands for Ashworth, my maiden name. Because I was called “Phyll” in high school, I used the name “Phyll Ashworth” on a few of my early books. My husband, Curt Humphrey, and I have been married a long time, so I use his name on my books. “P.J. Humphrey” (The J stands for Jean, my middle name) is on my novellas about Sheridan Holmes, who partners with the ghost of Sherlock Holmes when he appears in her apartment in San Francisco in the 21st century.

I started writing short stories many years ago (everyone did in those days) and my first book was a mainstream novel which I couldn’t get published via the “agent-publisher” system which was the only game in town until about 2001 when “POD” (Print on Demand) turned amateurs with a computer into vanity publishers such as iUniverse, Xlibris and others. All my writer friends were doing that, so I did it for one book.

By that time, all my friends were writing romance and I learned that, unlike other publishers, romance editors would read everything – no agents required – and I found small houses that didn’t charge and published my books. Then my husband was asked to publish a business book for his friend, so I asked him to do mine too. And he still self-publishes some of my books through the company he started in 2002. Amazon came along in 2005 and we all know what happened after that.

Personally, I gradually moved from straight romance to romantic-suspense and lately I’m writing mysteries, Which have always been my reading choice. This year, the two publishers who accepted Dead In The Water (a cozy mystery with humor which I’d written many years before) and Eyewitness (a woman-in-jeopardy mystery written with my friend Carole, also many years before) were both released the same month, October.

2. When did you first consider yourself a writer?eyewitness_300
In 1976

3. What does RWASD mean to you?
It’s RWA San Diego, my home.

4. What is the biggest challenge your name faced in becoming a writer?
I didn’t think about it – I just wrote and submitted.

5. What attracted you to romance? Why does it speak to you?
Everyone needs romance. It’s who we are.

6. Where is the weirdest place or thing that inspired an idea to write?
Everyone has a weird place or thing that inspires writing, but mine was the train trip to Washington D.C.

7. Love scenes. Steamy or sweet? Why?
Mine are usually sweet, not steamy, because they’re easier. I don’t like writing steamy love scenes.

8. Who’s a writer you’d do back flips to meet and why?
Elizabeth George and I’d ask her why she moved from CA.

9. If you could go back twenty years, what advice would you give yourself?
I’d say, “Hurry up.”

10. Tell us about your latest novel?
It’s about a time fifty years ago and the world was simpler.

11. Before you go, any advice to give new writers?
Yes. “Hurry up. The world is changing so quickly.”

Meet The Chapter Mates: Regan Walker

Regan Walker profile pic 2014This month we feature Regan Walker. She has a passion for history and writes sweeping romance stories in several different time periods.

Her latest novel, To Tame the Wind is out now.

You can find out more about her work at her website: ReganWalkerAuthor.com

 

Tell us a little about yourself! Who are you? What do you write?

I am a lawyer turned romance writer as of 2011. I write historical romance with real history and real historic figures as some of my characters. I like adventure along with love and so I have a fair amount of action in my stories. Thus far, I have published 5 novels and 3 novellas. A few of my stories are in anthologies, too. My stories span the eras from Medieval to Georgian (18th century) to the Regency era. Last year two of my books hit the #1 spot on Amazon’s lists of the Top 100 for their categories.

 

When did you first consider yourself a writer

2012 with the publication of my first novel, Racing with the Wind, book 1 in the Agents of the Crown series.

 

What does RWASD mean to you?

Lunch with my romance author friends in San Diego and speakers from whom I can learn something.

 

What is the biggest challenge you have faced on your journey to becoming a writer?

Finding the right path for me as an author. Initially I went with a small publisher but once the self-publishing path opened up, I quickly found it was the right one for me. I have never had an agent and I suspect unless I end up wanting a NY publisher, I may not have an agent.

 

What draws you to historical romance?

I love diving into the past, researching the tidbits that make my stories seem more real, more believable, and building a world that might have actually been. For each of my novels I’ve done hundreds of hours of research.

 

What do you look for in a historical hero?

I like a hero who is smart and knows what he wants and doesn’t mind bending the rules to get it. Typically that would be the heroine, but it could also be a secret document, a pirate’s treasure, a ship, a horse or any number of things. Preferably, he will be tall, dark and handsome, but my latest hero, Capt. Simon Powell, is a blond.

 

Where is the weirdest place or what is the weirdest thing that inspired an idea?

Probably it would be the Ursuline convent in Saint-Denis in Paris. That is where To Tame the Wind begins.

 

If you could travel to a specific time period and place in one of your books, what and where would it be?

It would probably be Scotland in the deep past. I’m going there in some future books I have planned. It was the reason I traveled to the Western Highlands in September of last year.

 

If you could go back 20 years ago, what advice would you give yourself?

Though I had a great career in law, I would advise myself not to go that route again. Instead, I would have gotten a PhD in history, probably the history of Scotland, Ireland and England, taught at the university level and written romance on the side—much earlier in my life.

 

Tell us about your latest novel! ReganWalker_ToTametheWind - 800px

After writing my Agents of the Crown trilogy and some Regencies that go with it, I decided a prequel was in order. The result was a seafaring romance set in London, Paris and the waters of the English Channel in the last year of the American Revolution. Spies, privateers and politicians abound. The “blurb” kinda says it all:

 

Paris 1782…AN INNOCENT IS TAKEN

All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell’s schooner, the English privateer decided to take the one thing his enemy held most dear… her.

A BATTLE IS JOINED The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire’s father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.

NY Times Bestselling author Shirlee Busbee described it as “A sea adventure like no other, a riveting romance!”

 

Before you go, any advice to give to the new writers out there?

Just finish the book. Then get some eyes on it—people who are not your best friends but who know good romance and can give you some good advice. Not just a critique (though that is helpful), but the “big picture” advice about the story itself. Also, I’d plan ahead and keep a list of characters, etc. I wrote my first novel without doing any of that and now I must rely on my memory for a lot of it. Of course, I could go back and do all that but I’m not that compulsive. I am not a plotter either. But at least I now keep track of my characters and research as I go, keeping a record of it all.

Meet the Chapter Mates: RW Richard

8192010[1]Welcome to this Month’s Meet the Chapter Mates! If you’ve been going to our meetings, chances are you’ve met RW Richard (aka Bob). Bob is a warm, welcoming gentleman who is always quick with a smile.
His blog, Romance: The Male POV is updated every week!
Tell us a little about yourself! Who are you? What do you write?
I’ve been nicknamed The Romantic Novelist by one of my fans and I think I’ll keep the tag.I grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia with a BS in Physics and an MBA in management/marketing. I worked many years as an engineer.
I’m a chess master and master swimmer. Love aerobics at the gym and walk my two dogs every day. Am an artist (paint and sketch primarily).

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

My eighth grade teacher thought I had some talent and my Physics professor at St. Joseph’s U. thought I might want to try writing after I penned a lab report about how I also burned down the lab. It took me until I wrote my master’s thesis at NBC and got a story contracted to realize that I’d eventually write full-time.
 
What does RWASD mean to you?
RWASD is the portal I found through Helen Kay Dimon’s course at the community college to come out of the cold and into the hot. The friendships and support are invaluable.
 
What is the biggest challenge you have faced on your journey to becoming a writer?
So far, it’s the disappointment of spending more than I make at it. Which makes writing a hobby until… I apply myself diligently and hope that those who do read my stories enjoy them. So far, so good.
 
What attracted you to the genre you write?
I enjoy great movies such as Sleepless in Seattle or You’ve Got Mail and great books like Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Natural Born Charmer. I prefer Romantic comedies in books like Mary Leo’s Stick Shift. I also like Janet Evanovich and Jeffery Deaver to name a couple. Why does it speak to you? I’m attracted to matters of the heart because I feel that love is man’s most important feature.
Where is the weirdest place or what is the weirdest thing that inspired an idea?
I rescued a dog who turned out to be half wolf. He inspired me to write POE AND MEabout how dogs came about before domestication (when wolf and man where equal partners). Basically, the entire story flowed right out of me (from him) plus a lot of research.
 
How does romance speak to you as a male writer?
Oh my God, I love women. I can’t think of a more apropos subject to address. Certainly, no other genre comes close to harnessing my heart and mind.
If you could go back 20 years ago, What advice would you give yourself?
 I would have to reject quitting my job as an engineer to finish my NBC project because the salary I made helped my two daughters grow into productive and loving women. However, I would have given up chess sooner to start writing part-time.
 Tell us about your latest novel!
My latest novel, Autumn Breeze, is my personal masterpiece. here’s the clip from Amazon:
Autum Breeze is available on Amazon.com!

Autum Breeze is available on Amazon.com!

On the morning of 9/11, a fourteen-year-old genius’s mother disappears. Her beloved father had been murdered years before. She’s now without parents. She resolves to get a new mom and dad and have them adopt her, before she is deported to Trinidad. For new mom, she selects her BFF (best friend forever), a New York City detective. For new dad, she selects the handsome spy who is investigating her BFF. The investigation was the girl’s fault. She had predicted the terrorist attack to her BFF. Her BFF, in turn, won’t give up her source, which makes the spy investigating her consider the detective as the possible predictor. Unbeknownst to the girl, a terrorist is also trying to find out who the predictor was, so he can silence him or her forever. Now, the girl is fighting to stay in the country, trying to make two people who hardly know each other, fall in love, get married and adopt her, while she is playing a most dangerous game of hide and seek with the terrorist to not only protect her life but also the life of her best friend.

The story, as it progresses, delves into how the City of New York responded to 9/11 by establishing an anti-terrorism task force, in which the girl’s BFF and the spy play important roles.
On the journey, the girl learns that love is earned, sometimes with a heavy price.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
After the required wandering around, Frank got down on one knee next to an engagement ring case. His eyes bore into hers turning her into Jell-O. “I’m so in love with you, sweetheart. Would you consider marrying me?”“Rise, my gallant knight.” She couldn’t wipe a huge grin off her face if she tried. This klutzy way of proposing was so him. Although he had a lot to learn about romance, his heart, the only important part of true love, was all hers.
Everybody in the store [Tiffany, NYC] displayed the most ridiculous ‘ah-faces.’

Before you go, any advice to give to the new writers out there?

Make sure you are invested in what you write and that it flow first from your heart with all the education, technique, logic and energy your brain can contribute. Never stop learning.