You've found the home on the net for romance writer, LaVerne Clark. Thanks for visiting! :)

I write suspense and light fantasy/paranormal set in the beautiful country of New Zealand. A land of myths and magic, Aotearoa (Maori for Long White Cloud) has always been a storytelling nation and it is my pleasure to share mine with you.

Make yourself your drink of choice, stay a while and feel free to leave comments. I love to meet new friends.

Heartpounding suspense and fantasy Downunder

Monday, March 19, 2012

Author Interview - Ann Montclair

Please help me welcome my very special guest, Ann Montclair to Novel Natterings. Ann has been an incredibly busy, and I have to say, inspiring lady. And check out that house! Isn't it every writer's dream?? Just beautiful. Who wouldn't be inspired living there?
Ann's cabin in the woods - sigh....

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thanks for asking. I’m a wife of 17 years, a mother to two beautiful children, ages twelve and twenty-one, and a college English professor on sabbatical until August 2012. I reside in a little cabin we built in the woods (a dream that took my husband and me fifteen years to accomplish) with a posse of dogs and cats.  I enjoy hiking and biking, listening and dancing to music, and cooking French, Italian, and Puerto Rican cuisine.  We also spend scads of time reading and writing.
No wonder I like you Ann - we'd get along famously! You'd do the cooking and I'd do the eating though - mmm Puerto Rican.... ;)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Foremost, I consider myself a reader. Born an only child, my books were my best companions. Reading books led me to writing.  I’ve been writing poetry and essays since childhood. Writing novels was a lifelong goal, and I began writing the first book I finished in December 2010.  I was at a place where it really mattered that I accomplish that goal, and I wrote a Tudor Era romance in about six months.  I wrote three more books in the next year—all contemporary, fun romances with high emotional stakes.

Do you remember what inspired you to write your first book?
I was at a place where I was ready to do something new, something stimulating, something for me. My son had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and had become terribly ill.  He’s well now, thank God, but I learned then how precious life is, how important it is to not delay achieving a goal. Writing also provided me a world I could control.  It offered escape from chaos.
What an awful wake-up call for you all Ann. I'm so glad your son is now well and you managed to get control over his illness. There is always a silver lining don't you think? But this time, its your readers who got that one! :)

I love call stories. Can you tell us about yours and your reaction?
I received an email from the editor at Soul Mate Publishing with an attached contract to sign. I screamed, danced, and then drank wine.
Great day!

What drew you to write romance?
Romance is all about love and happily ever after endings.  I wanted to provide an ideal fantasy based on my belief that life is not just what happens every day, but what we make happen.  All my characters are driven by moral, intellectual, and spiritual standards they’ve set for themselves.  My stories tend to reveal the flaws and vulnerabilities of those dispositions as well as the strengths.

What’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
Stopping.  I started writing novels little more than a year ago, and I tend to spend all day and most evenings generating text.  Then I dream about the stories all night. One might call it compulsive!  As far as the writing process goes, I adore pre-writing and drafting, but revision remains a challenge.  I’m never quite satisfied, but I’ve learned to stop and start the next most challenging aspect—seeking publication.  I think every writer knows publishing is a beast, requiring great research and patience, but what a thrilling reward to have a book sold! Then comes marketing.  The marketing part of actually selling the book, getting it into the hands of a reader once it’s released, is by far the most challenging piece of the publication process
Amen to that sister! ;)

Has anything coincidental happened in the real world while writing one of your books in terms of the characters, scenes or world you’ve created?
Great question.  Yes.  One Wet Summer, my next release, had been plotted, and in the middle of the story I had the heroine’s loved one die. As I was writing the book and came to generate the chapter where my heroine’s grandmother passes, both of my grandmothers died within two weeks of each other.  Deja vu, big time. The novel will be dedicated to those amazing women. They became my angels, pushing me through to the end.
I'm sure they helped pave the way in the writing of One Wet Summer and they will be two very proud angels watching over you.

What are you working on right now?
I am working on marketing my first contemporary romance, The Billionaire’s Bauble, which was published by Soul Mate Publishing December 2011. I’m completing final edits for my next contemporary romance, One Wet Summer, to be published by Musa in May 2012; additionally, I’m in the midst of edits for my third book, Good Things Come in Tall Packages, due out in August 2012, also with Musa Publishing.  Finally, I am revising my first Tudor romance, A Lady in Deed, and hope to have that to my editor by spring. 
I'm loving your titles Ann!

Latest news?
Up next, a romantic suspense tentatively titled Lies Sleeping and completing a second Tudor romance already one third drafted and shelved title The Lady is the Law.

Where can we find you and your books?
You can find The Billionaire’s Bauble at Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 and Soul Mate Publishing

You will be able to find my next two romance novels at Musa Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other smaller venues.  To keep up with when and where all the romance happens, please visit  Join my blog, friend me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.  All those links can be accessed at my web site. I hope to get to know some of you via my books and social media. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to meet New Zealand readers.

Let me share my blurb and cover for my novel, The Billionaire’s Bauble: they say it best.
Determined to land an executive position at Grant Oil, Sloane Porter, an educated, independent woman with goals for the future, refuses to consider the option of returning to her home in New York and the life she'd left behind. But when she arrives in the CEO's office with a stellar resume in hand, can she ignore the fact that in a moment of weakness, she’d kissed this man in a Fairbanks bar two years earlier? Can she remain indifferent and land the job, or will the man who has haunted her dreams steal her heart and change her life forever?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Editors blog: What is Showing and What is Telling

Behind The Garden Gate: What is Showing and What is Telling: by Cindy Davis, Editor The difference between showing and telling is a difficult concept to understand. It takes practice and perseverance ...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Queen Heather of NaNo!

By now - you've probably heard about my first attempt to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. I was successful because of the encouragement of a lovely group of friends who also joined me on this mad adventure. I'm thrilled to say we all succeeded, but one in particular exceeded the challenge by writing over 100,000 words in the month! Impossible you say? I thought so too - so I thought I'd invite that incredible woman on to Novel Natterings to tell you how she achieved this feat. Ladies and Gentlemen - let me introduce you to Queen Heather of NaNo! ;)

In 2011 I wrote 100,000 words for National Novel Writing Month. Here’s a breakdown of my experience, and how I managed such a thing!

Nanowrimo 2011 was my fourth year running to take up the challenge of writing 50,000 words in a month. I have been successful each time, achieving just over my 50,000 word goal in my first and third years, and around 62,000 words on my second attempt. I was impressed with my achievements – I had attempted a novel before, and made it to 50,000 words after 3 or so months of writing – so to achieve the same and more in one month was great. Last year however, I blew those records out of the water.

So how did I do it? I suppose the first question is why did I even attempt such a thing!? Well, in that first week of November my story was flying from my fingertips, spilling out onto the screen. I made it to 25,000 words in week one – half way to the goal in only a quarter of the time. That’s when my partner laid it on me. “Reckon you can do 100,000 words?” He asked. “Sure” I said, “No worries!” And the challenge was on!

And now onto the how. There are many things that helped me reach my word goal last year. One of the things I have learnt doing Nano is that I am a planner. I write more if I have a plot planned out, even loosely; if there are characters sketched out (in words – drawing is not a skill I can claim). It helps if I can sit down and see where I need to go, what I need to write next, even if I sometimes go off the rails (and in 100,000 words I went off the rails many a time).

I also start ‘practising’ about a month or two prior to November. I often find it hard to write stories between Novembers, so I make a point of sitting down each night with the aim of writing 1667 words. It’s not a story, more a stream of consciousness that has a dual purpose of getting my fingers moving and emptying my brain of all the mindless babble that blocks the creative stuff from getting through. As I get closer to November this is extended to 2000 words a night. Over the years, I’ve managed to increase my speed so much that I can actually write 2000 words in half an hour, as long as I keep typing.

So this is how I started Nano. Breezing through week one, following my plot, developing my characters, my fingers flying across the keyboard. Week two was just as easy; my story was telling itself, characters were doing their own thing, surprising me along the way and I reached my new goal of 50,000 words for the week with ease. On one occasion I even had my son writing with me. His story “Duke the Angry Vampire” barely made it to 100 words, but is filled with magic and suspense, and we both agreed it was a great way to spend time together.

I should also point out that I had more spare time for this Nano, than I ever have before. I usually write at night, after the kids have gone to bed, giving me a few hours each night before going to bed myself. This year I had the added bonus of a son in Kindergarten (3 days a week) and a daughter in day care once a week, which meant I had 4 days to myself during the month. My children were also going to their dad’s every second weekend, and my partner was working Saturdays – another 2 days of the month I could dedicate to writing.

Week three I reached the 75,000 word mark, but things were getting harder. I’d reached the end of my story, at least as far as my plot was concerned. Week four and I was convinced my story was over, that there was nothing left to write. Still I sat down, laptop on my knee, and wrote. I was writing during the day too – lining myself up for nomination of ‘Worst Parent Award’ as my children were left to their own devices. When they were home they made their own breakfast and sandwiches for lunch (they are very independent anyway and have actually been doing this for a while, with varying degrees of help), and generally were left to entertain themselves. With no TV in the house that means DVD’s or Computer games. Otherwise they would come and harass me while I was trying to extract that next painfully stuck word from my brain. “You’re not writing again mum!” followed by a big sigh.

But by forcing myself to keep writing, even when I thought the story was over, I found that the story wasn’t over. It surprised me, as characters did things I had neither planned nor expected of them, as my story took on a life of its own, more-so than it had in those first few weeks. I felt I was writing better than ever before. I found the best of the novel came out after I thought it was done. And I am thrilled with that.

All the way through I had the encouragement of friends and family behind me. It made the experience so much easier, and very enjoyable.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Awesome NZ Historic Fiction

The Day She Cradled MeThe Day She Cradled Me by Sacha de Bazin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ms. de Bazin's debut novel is a compelling account of the only woman in New Zealand's history to be hung for murder.

It opens in a chilling scene of when Minnie Dean is being sentenced to death. We see through Minnie's eyes and feel her disbelief, confusion, loneliness and finally horror as the judge roars those damning words. It is an opening sure to bring goose-bumps to even the most hardened of readers.

I'd heard about this woman, Minnie Dean, years ago as a child. She was a baby-killer and a heartless woman who enjoyed nothing more than to poke hat-pins into children. But like most chinese-whispers, the facts had become grossly misshapen and enlarged beyond the truth until she was nothing more than a scary bed-time story for misbehaving children.

Using actual transcripts of the court proceedings and Minnie Dean's own correspondance, Ms. de Bazin has brought Minnie's story to life and allowed her a voice at last.

Thank you for the wonderful read Sacha and I look forward to your next project.  

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