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



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Finding Story Ideas - Anne Ashby

Please help me welcome fellow Kiwi and incredibly talented author, Anne Ashby. Little did Anne know that I was one of her preliminary readers for this book before it was contracted (hehehe) and I was absolutely blown away by the writing, characters and beautiful setting. After reading it, I had to read more of her work. Grab yourself a copy - I bet you'll be blown away too. 
Hi LaVerne, thanks for inviting me to join you today. I’ve been giving some thought to providing an interesting (and possibly helpful I hope) little spiel on some facet of writing and have come up with an idea I’d like to share.

Finding Story Ideas

One of the most frequent things a writer seems to be asked is “how do you come up with ideas?” For me the answer is likely to be an “oh, I don’t really know, they just pop into my head”.  I do find driving is great for me and my muse, swimming too. Probably that’s because my brain is pretty dormant during these times. Luckily, once I think of something it tends to stay with me, so I don’t have to hurriedly drive onto the shoulder, stop and grab a pen, or even more awkward, have a pen and pad beside the pool.
There are so few themes in romance stories and sometimes it feels a struggle to add something fresh and new to the mix. But finding a unique story isn’t so hard if you are open to the suggestions that abound around you every day. Surfing the net will bring you a gazillion ideas, newspapers and magazines heaps more. Song lyrics, TV programmes, talking with people, all add volume to the possibilities. For example, some years ago I read an article that brought tears to my eyes.  About a high flying business woman, it wasn’t until halfway through the article we learned of her youthful angst which this lady dismissed as irrelevant.  However to me it showed her enormous strength of character and I based Kelsey in ‘TIME TO BURY THE PAST’ on this amazing example. Reading of how she’d survived an abusive relationship, the means she employed to protect her child, miscarrying a second child because of a beating that almost killed her as well, finally running away and hiding for years until she knew her partner had died in a gang related incident. The horror of a young teenager needing to deal with such occurrences stuck with me and I wanted to share that even such horror can lead to a happier life. My most recent release ‘WILDERNESS LIAISON’ sprang into being after a walk down memory lane with my mother. We were chatting about a tramp (hike) we’d done along the HEAPHY TRACK some years ago and suddenly Shal and Jodie were the ones beside the swollen river.
                                                                     My advice is to be open to everything around you. I’m sure there are stories being written right now with a sports theme. So many exciting/interesting things have happened in London I’m sure some of them will be blended into stories. Perhaps the girl beside herself with happiness at winning a bronze or the one crying despairingly because she’d only managed silver could spark an idea for your heroine. Avoid the Olympics as a setting though, this will date your story. There are many other events which occur every year, use one of them instead if you do decide on a sporting theme.
But what I wanted to share with you is some great advice I recently read. I wish I had taken the name of the person posting it on-line so I could give her credit but unfortunately I didn’t. However I am going to share it anyway because it struck me as being a wonderful way to search for ideas. Every week this writer reads a magazine outside of her area of interest. What a great idea. You only need to visit the magazine section of the supermarket to see how much variety there now is. A city girl, she spoke of reading an article about a woman farmer that had spurned her into writing a story. Perhaps you might never use that particular idea/setting given in an article, but reading it will give you a greater depth of knowledge and understanding of human nature so your time will never be wasted. Maybe it’s not your hero/heroine but a secondary character who might become a karate expert, a heavy metal musician or a scrap booker. A DIY expert, a joiner or a quilter. The prospects are endless. Get off to the library or magazine shop, who knows what exciting ideas might be lurking within covers you’ve never considered opening before. Your next storyline and/or characters might be patiently waiting there.  Good luck and happy hunting.

Back Blurb

The concrete jungle defines financier Shal Gregory. He thrives on the liveliness and sheer vitality of the fast paced business world. So how does he find himself alone in the thick of the New Zealand bush with a feisty guide who undoubtedly despises everything he stands for?
Jodie Mathieson’s devotion to the wilderness fulfils her. She isn’t prepared for an intimate liaison with a man who clearly does not share her love of the great outdoors. But the sparks between them ignite and soon scare Jodie into flight.
Bewildered but determined, Shal tracks Jodie down and resolutely embarks on a course to convince her that having some differing life goals isn’t enough to keep them apart.
But can Jodie ignore past experiences? Dare she believe him?
Website:                                              www.anneashby.com
Facebook:                                           www.facebook.com/AuthorAnneAshby
Twitter:                                                www.twitter.com/AuthorAnneAshby
The Wild Rose Press:                      http://goo.gl/rl2D2
Amazon:                                              http://goo.gl/Dg08q
GoodReads:                                       http://goo.gl/u2uIj

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book Blurb Blitz Tour - Shewanda Pugh


Welcome to Novel Natterings. I'm privileged to be a part of Shewanda Pugh's Blurb Blitz tour. How wonderful does this story sound! I can't wait to read it. Just need to carve out a bit more time :)

Shewanda will be giving away a $10 Amazon GC for one lucky commenter during her tour, so the more you visit her stops and comment, the better your chances :)
Here is the link for the rest of the dates of the tour: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/07/book-blurb-blitz-tour-crimson.html

BLURB:  

When an insecure, bi-racial woman begins a cloak-and-dagger love affair with a Japanese American man, she is intent on keeping her bigoted family in the dark—albeit with devastating consequences. On the night of her brother’s murder, Deena Hammond stumbles upon Takumi Tanaka, lost and on the wrong end of a .32. After rescuing him from the certain fate driving through the hood in a Porsche will bring, a sweet kind of friendship begins. A balm for her grief. Maybe, Deena likes to think, it happened the day her white mother killed her black father. Or maybe, it was always a part of them, like DNA gone bad. Whatever the case, Deena knows that her family would never approve, hell, never acknowledge her fast-growing love for Takumi. And had he never made love to her that way, in that unraveling, soul-searching sort of way, she could’ve done the same. But love’s a devil that way. So, their game begins. One where they hide what they are from everyone. Anyone. And Tak understands this—for now. After all, Deena’s career hinges on the favor of her mentor and boss, his hard-ass of a father. And the Hammond family is already stretched thin with grief. Yet, each step Deena takes toward family and career brings her closer to an acceptance she’s never had. And away from him.

Crimson Footprints Excerpt


         A slender, striking man of Asian descent was on the wrong end of Anthony’s .32. With arms raised, his hands were splayed in a show of defenselessness. His expression was calm, despite the growing crowd of onlookers and the pistol in his face. Behind him, an old woman made the sign of the cross.

         “Anthony!” Deena cried, rushing towards them. Her brother cast a single sideways glance but kept his gun level.

         “Get back in the house,” he said.

Deena turned her attention to the Asian man. She was struck by his eyes, wide and heavy-lidded. His mouth was generous, his square face softened by layers of thick black hair. He had boyish good looks and a long, lean athletic frame.

Japanese.

            She was certain he was Japanese.

            Deena turned to her brother. “Will you put that thing away?”

            The two stared at each other, older sister, young brother, eyes narrowed. When he didn’t move, Deena stepped between the gun and the stranger, her eyes level with the barrel. Anthony lowered the gun with a sigh and Deena seized the opportunity to snatch it.

            She turned to the stranger. “I assume that’s your car,” she said, nodding towards a sleek gray convertible parked haphazardly, a shiny nickel in a murky puddle. He nodded, his glossy black tresses falling into wide almond eyes.

            “Yeah, um, about that.” He cleared his throat. “He uh, took my keys.”

            Deena turned to her brother, hand extended. He dropped the keys in her palm with a sigh, a new Ferrari slipping from his grasp with reluctance.

            She passed the keys to the stranger and their fingertips brushed. Something warm and foreign turned over in her and her lips parted in surprise. She thought she saw the makings of a smile in his eyes, but she dismissed it. He took the keys and thanked her. And as she watched him peel off with the top down on his sleek convertible, Deena’s pulse skittered then and long after.

AUTHOR INFORMATION:
Shewanda Pugh is a native of Boston’s inner city, though she now lives in sunny Miami, Florida. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Alabama A&M University and a Master’s in Writing from Nova Southeastern University. Fueled from a young age, her passion for crossing societal boundaries like race, class and culture, is the inspiration for both her cluttered bookshelf and her writing. When she’s not busy obsessing over fiction, she can be found traveling, nursing her social networking addiction or enjoying the company of loved ones.

LINKS:


Thanks for stopping in Shewanda. It was a pleasure learning more about your book :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Andrea Downing's Loveland

I'm thrilled to introduce to everyone, Andrea Downing, debut author for The Wild Rose Press. Welcome to Novel Natterings Andrea! :)


Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 
I was born in New York but have spent most of my life in the UK.  However, in 2008, I decided I wanted to be near my baby who had graduated from university in the states and had decided to stay on and work over here.  So back I came to NYC, swapping year-round rain for snow and heat, the Underground for the Subway, and sticky toffee pudding for red velvet cupcakes.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? 
About age 6!  I wrote my first story in one of those dappled black and white school books.  Most likely it was a cowboy romance because I watched every western there was on TV.
Do you remember what inspired you to write your first book?
If we’re talking about Loveland, because that is my first published book, it was when I discovered how many large ranches were actually owned by British companies headed by members of the aristocracy.   When I think of it, I must’ve made a wrong turn somewhere down the line and gone east to England rather than out west.  I’ve always loved the west, had our family vacations out there twice a year for most of my daughter’s childhood and, even now, I go every chance I have. So what better subject for me than an English Lady being sent west and falling in love?
I love call stories. Can you tell us about yours and your reaction?
Oh, dear, mine was a bit of an anti-climax.  The editor at The Wild Rose Press who had first asked for a partial and then my full, left the firm for family reasons and I wasn’t told until the very day she said I would hear one way or the other.  So I had to start all over again with a new editor and another wait.  But when I got the email asking ‘how would I like a contract?’ I was already so fed up with the dang thing, and engrossed in mss.2, I was too numb to react any other way than to tell my daughter, who was really excited.  So her excitement for me rubbed off, and then I was really thrilled. 
What drew you to write romance?
I don’t know that I was specifically drawn to write romance but they are definitely the stories I imagine.  I like having happy endings, I like having a beginning, middle and an end, and I don’t particularly go for this modern thing of leaving a story hanging inconclusively.  And, of course, I like to think of people overcoming the odds to be together and fall in love. I mean, who doesn’t like a good love story?
What’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you? 
I call it ‘the tyranny of the clean white page.’  Usually I have the beginning and the end figured out, can even write the last scene prior to anything else—and I recently read that author John Updike is the same.  But that middle bit, that getting from A to Z, is difficult.  I’m a pantser and my characters write the story themselves so I never really know what’s going to happen and at times that white page just looms and torments me.
Ooo! I hear you, 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? 
Oh, this is so funny LaVerne; I’m so glad you asked me this. The very first full length mss I wrote, way back in the 70s—which I actually never showed to anyone because I ended up feeling it was too unbelievable—was about a modern day British Prince who falls in love with a commoner.  Well, duh…guess what?  LOL.
LOL - you're so right Andrea! Maybe you should dig out that old manuscript again? What are you working on right now? 
Well, it’s a double romance—two for the price of one, folks!  It’s Texas Hill Country meets the Hamptons, and ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ mixed with ‘Crazy Heart.’ It’s about the relationships between parents and children as well as the relationships between men and women, and it’s about letting go of the past and facing our fears, the lies we tell ourselves just to get by each day.  But it’s also about finding love where—and when—you least expect it. I know that’s clich├ęd but it is…
Latest news?
I’m going to be doing a signing at the Loveland Museum and Gallery in Loveland, Colorado, USA on September 14th.  They are having an evening called “Historical Loveland by Book” and there’ll be several authors there so anyone in the area please do come by and say hello.
That sounds so exciting! Wish I could be there to cheer you on :) Where can we find you and your books? 
PLEASE go check out my appearances page for other interviews and guest blogs at http://andreadowning.com and buy my books at
AND
And LaVerne, thanks so very much for having me.  I greatly appreciate it—this is probably about as close to being in New Zealand or Australia as I’m likely to get in the next few years!
It was my absolute pleasure Andrea. Just make sure you let me know when you're in town! :)
Now, if that cover wasn't enough to entice you (and can I just say, wowsers!), let me tease you with the blurb and excerpt for this fantastic looking story. I'm off to go buy mine now... ;)
BLURB:
When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society --and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life...
Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.
Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?

EXERPT:

The two men looked over at Jesse who was leading his own horse into the stable, anger etched in every muscle of his face. Joe nodded toward the chuck house and they followed the others in to leave Alex alone when Jesse came out.
She was starting back to the main house when Jesse grabbed her arm and turned her around. “You ever do that again,” he said in a voice she had never heard, intense in its anger, rage just below its surface, “I swear to God, Alex, I’ll...I’ll take you over my knee and give you a lickin’ once and for all.”
“How dare you!” She shook him off. “How dare you talk to me like that! How dare you! Who the hell do you think you are?”
Jesse jabbed his finger at her to emphasize he meant what he was saying. “Who do I think I am?”he snarled back. “Who do I think I am? You ever, ever take a gun off me again and point it at someone, you’ll find out who the hell I think I am. You know that coulda gone off? You know you coulda killed someone? I told you—out there yonder—I told you, you never point that thing at anyone less’n you mean bus’ness.”
“I did bloody well mean business! They were destroying that horse. Furthermore, I knew, and you knew, and they both knew, there wasn’t a shot under the hammer. You taught me that, didn’t you? So there was no chance of an accident!”
“That don’t matter none. You coulda pulled the hammer back twice. Way you was, you were nothin’ better’n a loose cannon, Alex. You ever do a thing like that again—”
“You’ll what?” She shook with her rage as tears pooled against her will. “I apologized to them both and they accepted my apologies. It’s none of your concern—”
“None of my concern! You pulled my gun! You ever do that again— Don’t you walk away when I’m talkin’ to you!”
She turned back to him after a few steps. “You’ll what? You’ll what, Jesse? What will you do? I want to hear it! Say it again. What will you do?” And she stood there in the evening darkness, facing him down, wearing him out like she’d faced down the stallion.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Debut Author - Linda Trout

I'm very excited to be hosting fabulous debut author for The Wild Rose Press, Linda Trout. Welcome Linda! Its a pleasure to have you here :) Please tell us a bit about yourself and your new release, GRAVE SECRETS. The floor is yours...

Thank you so much for having me on Novel Natterings, LaVerne. I love your site!
I’d like to introduce myself to your readers. I grew up in a small farming town in Oklahoma. I recently left the ‘fascinating’ {Did you catch the sarcasm there?} world of oil and gas accounting to pursue my passion of writing full time. GRAVE SECRETS is my debut novel and I’m actually loving getting out and introducing people to my story. No one is exempt. I’ll ask the lady at the post office, tag agency, utility company (wherever) if they read, hand them a book mark, then launch into promoting my book. I’m actually getting kinda brazen about it. The thing is, there are romance readers everywhere! Which is a good thing for us. LOL
This morning a friend sent me a quote…or he might have made it up, I’m not sure, but I’d like to share it.
“The only person you have to be better than today, is the person you were yesterday.”
Too true. As writers, that’s what we have to do – make each story, each book, better than the last. If we don’t we’re sliding backwards and that isn’t what we want to do. We have to continually strive to improve our craft as much as we possibly can.
The friend I mentioned above bought my book at my debut book signing last Saturday.
I later got a note telling me he’d read it in one afternoon. Wow. That’s one fast reader! He said it had just enough sex in it to keep him interested. Didn’t say anything about the plot, the characters, the suspense or the surprise ending. Just the sex. (And there isn’t that much of it!) Guess it’s a guy thing. LOL  At any rate, I hope he at least passed it on to his girlfriend so she could read it, too.
I’m not sure what his expectations were regarding my book, and I don’t think I disappointed him. But what about the next book? Will the writing be up to par? Will it have ‘just enough sex’ to hold his attention? I’ll have to finish writing the book and sell it before I’ll know, now won’t I?
Here’s an excerpt that I’m sure my friend enjoyed.
Sara’s sobs, the first he’d heard from her, broke through his stupor. Was this the reason behind those dark circles under her eyes? The logical side of his brain said to back out of the room and get the hell out of the house. He didn’t need another mental case in his life, didn’t need the responsibility, and later the guilt, when he failed them.

Instead, he gathered her in his arms, then pressed her head against his shoulder. She cried so hard, her entire body shook, and her keening touched him in places he’d thought long dead. He had the feeling this was the first time she’d truly cried since they’d dug up her husband’s body. No wonder there were so many tears.

His shirt was soaked. He didn’t care. He forgot about his mom, about how Sara could already be headed down the same road and simply held her close. When the tears had abated and she’d blown her nose on the handkerchief he’d offered, he kissed the top of her head, whispering it would be all right. She looked up at him, parting her lips. Remnants of tears still trailed down her cheeks. Without thinking, he lowered his head and gently pressed his lips to hers to comfort her.

Sara had been clinging to his shirt, but now moved her arms around his neck, pulling him closer. She opened for him, inviting. Am I out of my mind? He couldn’t get involved with a client. Or a suspect. Sara Adams fell into both categories.

He chuckled to himself. He was about to make the biggest mistake of his life, but right now he didn’t care. When she whimpered he scooped her into his arms, her weight a turn-on by itself, and strode across the hall to the nearest bed he could find.

Thank you again for letting me visit Novel Natterings. I’ve enjoyed myself immensely!
Oh, and I’ll be giving away a free digital copy of my book at the end of my blog tour to one lucky commenter. So comment often! Drop by my website for a listing of the other location on my tour.  http://www.lindatrout.com

Buy Links:
The Wild Rose Press:
Amazon:

I like to think my writing improves with each word I write. The more I write, the better I get. I hope. But how do you know? For that matter, how do you know your first book is any good? Well, for starters, it wouldn’t have sold, but beyond that you want to know how the reading public will perceive it.

Good question Linda. Perfect to ask our commenters. Have any of you felt the urge to contact an author after reading a book of theirs and if so - what was it that made you act? I'd love to know :)
Thank you for visiting Linda and all the very best for sales and the rest of your tour!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Tour - Rebecca Royce

Please help me welcome Rebecca Royce, YA author, to Novel Natterings. I'm thrilled to have you here Rebecca :)

Rebecca will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and a digital copy of Initiation: The Warrior Book 1 to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. One randomly drawn host will win a $50 Amazon GC. 

Sounds good doesn't it?! So without further ado - lets have a gander at SUBVERSIVE, Rebecca's latest release.


BLURB:

Rachel Clancy has been through a lot. She’s been sent to fight vampires, lost two boyfriends—one to a vampire and one because of his daddy issues—and now she is trying to lead a secret revolution that could change Genesis, her home, forever. Her confidence is shot, her hands are shaking, and she hasn’t felt a real emotion, except for anger, in a long time.

But Rachel should never be counted out. She sees things others can’t, even if her ideas are considered downright traitorous. There is an important life for Rachel to lead in the world, even if its filed with vampires and werewolves instead of romance and flowers. Rachel has always had to fight, she’s good at it, and the evil that has stalked her hasn’t forgotten her name.

 
I love the sound of this Rebecca! Looks like I've got a series to put on my TBR pile now :) Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a published author since 2009.  Mostly, I write Paranormal Romance but I do occasionally move out into other genres like Fantasy and Science Fiction.  I write both for adult audiences and young adult audiences depending on the series.
I’m a wife and a mother. I like reading, writing, Broadway shows, and travelling.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I published my first book Her Wolf: The Westesrvelt Wolves Book 1

Do you remember what inspired you to write your first book?
I went to the zoo with my kids around Halloween and I think it triggered the story but I’m never entirely certain where my ideas come from.
I love call stories. Can you tell us about yours and your reaction?
I didn’t get a call, I got an e-mail.  I was in Disney World with my kids.  I had sporadic e-mail access because I was in the parks most of the day. I got a ‘we like this but resubmit with some changes’ e-mail. I let my husband take all the kids to the park without me so I could sit in the hotel room and rewrite.  Then they took it.  It was great.

What an awesome feeling isn't it? And worth every minute of that hard work. What drew you to write your chosen genre?
I’ve always had an interest in the ‘other.’  And I’m a born Romantic.
What’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
Every book has a different challenge for me. Its actually interesting to see what things pop up where.
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?
One of my sons was recovering from surgery around the same time that one of my characters had to so I had a pretty good sense of things when I wrote it.  I think that would be the most coincidental thing I had going on. My ‘real’ life doesn’t coincide very often with my characters stories.
Probably a good thing judging by the blurb! :) What are you working on right now?
I’m writing one of my Outsider books.
Latest news?
I’m continuing to write stories that I hope people want to read.
Where can we find you and your books?
(Rebecca has an extensive backlist and current project list - check it out!)
Don't forget Rebecca's generous giveaway over the course of her tour - so fire ahead with questions or comments for her - and you can find the other stops on the tour here for more chances to win: 
Thanks Rebecca - that was fun!
As a teenager, Rebecca Royce would hide in her room to read her favorite romance novels when she was supposed to be doing her homework. She hopes, these days, that her parents think it was well worth it.

Rebecca is the mother of three adorable boys and is fortunate to be married to her best friend. They live in northern New Jersey and try not to freeze too badly during the winter months.

She's in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and tries to use all of these elements in her writing. She's been told she's a little bloodthirsty so she hopes that when you read her work you'll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. Rebecca loves to write series because she loves to see characters develop over time and it always makes her happy to see her favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.

In Rebecca Royce's world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.