Posts Tagged ‘SMP author blog’

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.



Giving Characters Unique Voices

By Elle Hill

Imagine a scene in your book in which an inspector asks three different characters the same question: “Were you there last night?”

As authors, our job is to make each character’s voice distinctive enough that adding “Jose said” or “Jae Lin replied” becomes all but redundant. Not just with words that reflect our characters’ . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

SMP Author blog

Read Full Post »

Friday Features


Coming Home To Love


Katie O’Boyle


Katie has provided a guest blog post today to share with our readers. She is asking the question:

Do your stories come from Real Life or from Imagination?

Although I do most of my writing in the quiet of my home office, many of my ideas flow from chance encounters in the course of a day. Just this morning, when I rushed into our fabulous local grocery store for a cup of coffee, I was greeted with a sight that slowed my steps and put a big smile on my face.

At the register stood a tall, slender young man, juggling his purchases as he tried to reach for his wallet. In one hand he held a sweet bouquet of yellow lilies, babies breath, and ferns; in the other, three individual red roses.

My imagination took off! Who were the flowers for? What was the occasion? …and what a great catch this earnest young man would be!

When people ask where I get my story ideas, that’s one example. Wouldn’t that scene make a great opening for a romance story or a chapter in a novel? For this writer, those moments of connection and inspiration in the course of an ordinary, busy day can spark a story or put zing to a scene that “just needs something.”

Another example: one morning in June, over a leisurely cup of coffee in a café, I jotted notes about the heroine of my next novel. A conversation behind me caught my attention, and I turned my head to see two women enjoying breakfast as they talked about some shared interest.

One of the women wore a long cotton skirt with a ruffle at the bottom, paired with an immaculate white T-shirt. Her cotton sandals had a striped, grosgrain ribbon that wrapped around her ankles. Out of nowhere, the voice of my heroine-to-be informed me, “That’s the outfit I’m wearing in my opening scene. Got it?”

Some of you may recognize that outfit from Scene Two of Coming Home To Love, as Gianessa throws together an outfit for work when she’s called in unexpectedly and her uniform is in the hamper.

Another day, I enjoyed a quiet dinner on the patio of an inn and had an internal conversation with the hero-to-be of the same book. My eyes strayed to the fountain in the center of the courtyard, which featured the statue of a beautiful maiden braiding her hair as she rose from the water. My character, Justin Cushman, broke into my thoughts and blustered, “She has no business braiding that glorious hair!”

Justin shares that opinion—silently, with the reader—in Scene Three of Coming Home To Love, when he and Gianessa meet for the first time. He later confesses it to Gianessa, and the words that follow show that their relationship has gone far beyond “just friends who cook together.”

There’s no question that my Lakeside Porches books are works of fiction. However, my everyday interactions with people, places, and things provide details—and sometimes inspiration—for my stories. Is that true for you, as well?


Featured is book two: Coming Home To Love by Katie O’Boyle

Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/ogxm2z8

 20150313 Coming Home to Love MEDIUM


With his health deteriorating and his spirit dying, Justin Cushman has come home to the Finger Lakes to assist his injured nephew Joel. Sick of accumulating wealth for its own sake, Justin knows that his life is meaningless without a loving relationship and a purpose for his billions. On a whim, he visits Joel’s spa, looking for a massage to relieve his pain. Gianessa Dupioni is a gifted masseuse who starts the boss’s irritable uncle on a journey of health and happiness. Too bad for Justin that Gianessa is devastated by personal losses and strictly focused on rebuilding her career. Justin may be a master strategist in the financial world, but can he persuade Gianessa to let love in?



     “You know,” Gianessa said, as she stroked his palm with her thumb, “I was prepared not to like you. Look how that turned out.”

     He blustered. “Not like me?” He winked.

      “The first time I saw you, you were badgering Grace.” She leaned forward, leading with her breasts. “That ticked me off.”

     “And you wore your hair in that French braid, which ticked me off.”

     She gathered her long, toffee tresses behind her shoulders. “You never said you didn’t like my braid.”

      “I wanted from that first moment to get my hands in your hair. I plotted six ways to Sunday to get rid of the braid.”

     “My braid is perfect for work. It feels elegant and simple, and it makes me feel put together and focused.”

     He caressed her cheek and jaw and neck with eager fingers. “But you’re elegant and complex, and I prefer you undone.”


Author Bio and contact links:20150313 Katie O'Boyle

Born in the upstate-New York village known as the Birthplace of Women’s Rights, Katie O’Boyle loves the Finger Lakes in every season. She enjoys lunch with friends at lakeside inns, and she cherishes the lakeside porch as a place for intimate sharing, laughter, and inspiration. To the outside world, she is a tech-savvy college professor. In her soul, she is a passionate author of warm-hearted romance. She has just finished writing book four of the Lakeside Porches romance books and novellas.

Meet Katie O’Boyle:

on Facebook as “Katie O’Boyle Author

on Twitter as “TompkinsFalls”

website: http://www.katieoboyle.com/


Read Full Post »

Friday Features


Claire Gem

Author of

Phantom Traces


Clare Gem is here to tell us a little about the background to her book Phantom Traces and why she writes stories that have haunting and ghosts.


Hunting Ghosts

Why do I write romance stories infused with hauntings and ghosts? Because that’s what I love to read, and darn it, there just doesn’t seem to be enough of those kinds of stories out there.

Three things I love the most inspired my new release, Phantom Traces: romance, ghosts, and libraries. Okay, so I’m a little weird, but my favorite place to hang out is in libraries, especially old ones. I spent the weeks before starting the novel scouting the ones in my area, snapping pictures, and picking elements of each to create the one in the book. Then, on November 1st, 2012, I packed up my laptop, drove to the one in Spencer, Massachusetts, and plopped myself down at a secluded desk amidst the stacks. This is where Phantom Traces was born—I wrote the first two chapters that day in three hours, the first day of National Novel Writing Month.

I stayed on task. By November 30th, I had a “complete” novel, right to The End—54,000 words comprising the skeleton of the book that eventually found its way to Soul Mate Publishing and a contract. Dozens of revisions, feedback from my fantastic online Rom-Crit Group, and hours of agonizing and swearing at the screen during edits, and voila! Phantom Traces—Romance with a Ghostly Twist.

Addressing the theme of the May-September romance (my husband is 15 years my senior and we’ve been married over 36 years), Phantom Traces combines a modern love story, a historical tragedy, and a spooky paranormal in a multilayered, fast-paced plot guaranteed to take the reader on an emotional ride.



A history professor in a tweed jacket, a cheeky Goth chick, and a pipe-smoking, book-hurling ghost. Put them all together in an antiquated library and, well…

Professor Jack Wood’s silver-streaked hair definitely ages him, and he can thank Killer Dawn for that. He won’t be falling into the love trap again anytime real soon. But this new librarian has him curious, with her head-to-toe black Goth garb, piercings, and a defiant attitude to match. Definitely not his type of girl, but still…

Abigail Stryker’s got her work cut out for her. The last two librarians didn’t last a month before airborne books chased them off. But Abby’s determined to make her new life a go – and to stay as far away from older men as possible. Once was enough. Might be tough to do when the library’s best patron is none other than dreamy-eyed Jack Wood. And it seems the eccentric ghost may have taken a shine to her as well.

20150306 PHANTOM TRACES_805x1275


At that moment, the lights in the building flickered, dropping dim and pale. They pulsed for a beat, then went completely out. It was still light outside, though the fading twilight cast the interior into near blackness.

“What the . . .” She looked around, wrapping her arms around herself and instinctively moving a step closer to Jack.

“Oh, that’s not unusual around here.” His voice was calm and reassuring. “Blue Ridge Power is infamous for testing transformers at the darnedest times of day.”

By the time he finished speaking, the lights began to glow, then steadily increased until they were fully illuminated. He grinned over at her. “At least it doesn’t last long.”

His killer smile shot a jitter through her middle again. She smiled back but found she couldn’t hold his gaze long without feeling as if she had a fever coming on. She turned away.

“I’d better let you get to work,” she mumbled, then scooted around the reception desk and into the back room.

Tea. I just need a cup of peppermint tea to get my mind back where it belongs.

As she stood in the small anteroom, she could feel Jack watching her from his seat across the way. She dunked the tea bag in the steaming water for way longer than necessary. As the pale green essence oozed into the water, all she could think of was how the hue almost matched the color of his eyes.



Claire Gem writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance, sometimes with a 20150306 Claire Gemparanormal twist. A voracious reader, she’s an avid fan of strong but sensitive heroes, spunky, sexy heroines, and a ghost story worth at least a few goose bumps. Her vision is to transport her readers into another place and time, and loves creating characters so real, readers miss them when the book is closed.

Always fascinated by the paranormal, she holds a Certificate in Paranormal Studies from Duke University’s Rhine’s Research Center. When she’s not writing, she can be found glued to the latest episode of Ghost Adventures, out to dinner with her happy-ever-after husband, or enjoying cocktail hour with her daughter, who is also her very best girlfriend.


Book Trailer Link: http://bit.ly/1EIj4IY

Website: http://www.clairegem.com/

Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.to/1JrjWoH

Read Full Post »

Friday Feature


Culinary Seduction


Merritt Kelly

Merritt shares with us her writing journey and a challenge for us all.

Fulfilling A Dream


Merritt Kelly

     After my bout with breast cancer I chose to concentrate on my writing career. We became a one-income household and I was now the writer in residence. I wrote and wrote, answered ads for freelance writers and wrote some more. I wrote about apps for a digital geek site. I wrote about yoga for a yoga website. I wrote about influential women for a girl geek website. When I felt like I was good enough, I sought out places that would allow me to have more control over my content.

I found an online magazine called HaveHeart. HaveHeart’s editor struck in chord in me. Heather Niccoli believes in real women. Her magazine never photo shops women. Real issues, real victories and real inspiration are featured. It’s meant for real women wherever they are in life. How could I resist?

Since my husband was the only one bringing in money, I felt it was important to find ways to save. I began cooking more. I found it therapeutic. I became obsessed with the Food Network and the Food Channel. Writing for HaveHeart allowed me to share more of myself. I wrote about my garden, I cooked more, created recipes to share with readers. I shared my dream of being a published author, as well as my family’s struggle with grief and the loss of loved ones due to suicide and illness, specifically with cancer.

My mother lost her battle with lung cancer three and half years ago, though she hadn’t smoked in more than fifty years. My sister has had her second go around with breast cancer. At one point all three of us had cancer at the same time. Only two of us survived. My sister and my mother are my inspiration. Life gives you no guarantees. Reach for your dreams. I am.


Thank you Merritt for your story. Are any of you out there reaching for your dreams? Share how you are with Merritt.

Now for a little about Merritt’s book Culinary Seduction.

20150227 CulinarySeduction_200


Food is the new sex and cheftestants Andrea Claire and Danny Miller are battling it out to see who becomes the new high priest or priestess. The two face off in a contest for hosting duties of new show called Culinary Seduction.

Chef Andrea Claire is a woman who knows what she wants, and what she wants is to build her own culinary empire. Hosting the show would give her the injection of cash she needs to finally get a store front for her catering business and give her the credibility she seeks. Her food is infused with her warmth and passion.

Bad boy chef Danny Miller’s bold flavors and state-of-the-art techniques in molecular gastronomy set him apart from the pack. Hosting the show would raise the profile of his restaurant and he could pay what he owes the bank and his grandmother.

Will his talent be enough to garner him the win? Or will Andre’s seductive on camera personality and obvious passion for cooking win out? Their on air chemistry is undeniable. The test kitchens at Cuisine Channel have never been so hot!


Andrea shoved her phone back into her purse and dug out a compact. She needed some sort of distraction to keep her from staring at the hot guy seated across from her. He didn’t appear interested. Maybe he was shy. Maybe he wasn’t interested. Maybe he was keeping his mind on the competition like she should be doing. He had great cheekbones, warm brown eyes, and great hair. Nice arms. She wondered what the flames were about. It seemed to be the clichéd thing now, a chef with flames emblazoned on his forearms, but he didn’t seem like the type that followed the crowd. The rose on his other arm and the letters A J A beneath it made her wonder if that was for his wife. She put the compact away and looked out the window.

“I wonder how much longer.”

“LA traffic is the stuff of nightmares. We’re lucky to be moving at all,” he told her as he pressed the button to lower the screen. “Excuse me, can you tell me how much longer?”

“About forty minutes, sir. Relax. Have a drink or snack. You can even listen to the stereo or watch a movie. Control console’s right between the two seats there.”

“There’s our answer. I guess we make ourselves comfortable. I don’t know about you, but it’s a little early for me for a drink.”

“You know, the chauffeur who picked me up at my place offered me champagne too.”

“It might be a test,” Danny reminded her.

“They only suggested it. And neither one of us took them up on it. I don’t think it’s a test, I think it’s just a courtesy to offer it us.”

She folded her arms across her chest. Cute, but paranoid. Maybe the drive to wherever wasn’t going to be that much fun after all. She didn’t have to talk to him; he was nice to just look at. She had to consider they were fish out of water. Maybe he was right. What if from the moment they had touched down they were being monitored? Fine, she could play that game. She was just as capable of plotting strategy as Mr. Pompadour. It was a shame though, she had hoped for a more friendly rivalry.



Merritt Kelly has been in love with the written word as 20150227 Merritt Kellylong as she can remember. She’s a freelance writer, author, and columnist whose articles have appeared in the Colfax Gazette, Palouse Journal, and the Moscow/Daily News. Her work on the web can be seen on Paperdriods, DigiYoo, LexiYoga and HaveHeart Magazine websites under her real name Carol Traulsen. She has written on a variety of topics including the war in Kosovo, the death penalty, grief, coping with a cozy kitchen and cooking.

Merritt Kelly is a pen name she chose to honor her late mother who always believed in her writing ability. When she’s not writing she’s cooking, walking or reading. She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, her son and her cat.

She loves to laugh, all the music in the Guardians Of The Galaxy, trying new foods, a good glass of wine and almost anything chocolate. Her first novel, Culinary Seduction, a foodie/Chick lit romance is set for release in April of 2015.


Where to find Merritt and her book:

Website: http://www.merrittkelly.com/

The buy link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TUIAW92/

Soul Mate Publishing author site: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/merritt-kelly/


Read Full Post »

Friday Features


MJ Compton

Today we have MJ Compton telling us an interesting fact about her werewolves. She also has a special and unusual prize for one luck commenter. The contest runs today through Monday February 23rd 12:00 p.m. EST.

Thanks so much for having me today.

While initially researching the habits of wolves, I came across a mention of female wolves eating berries when they were about to go into season. Whether or not that tidbit is true, I realized it was something I could incorporate into my stories, especially when the males of my werewolf pack were mating with humans. And so the offering of berries to new mates because a werewolf tradition in my universe. But what if berries were out of season and the werewolves didn’t have access to a good supermarket? How could they offer berries to their women?

From Moonlight Serenade (Book 1 of the Toke Lobo & the Pack series)

      “Find me some blueberries or strawberries instead.” Tokarz reached for his wallet as he gave the order.

     Restin wanted to laugh at the expression on Luke’s face.

     Luke gulped, nodded, and took Tokarz’s money.

     “You’re serious about claiming the woman as your mate,” Restin said once Luke had left.

     “That’s what the traditional mating meal usually means,” Tokarz said.

I spent one evening in my local supermarket looking for items a werewolf could use to fulfill this part of their mating ritual. I also needed to follow the other dietary restrictions I’d placed on my werewolves—no chocolate and no alcohol—so I couldn’t include certain power bars or liquids like Raspberry Sparkletini. There are a lot of items out there: from Twizzlers to teas and TicTacs; lip balm to breakfast bars and berry-flavored waters.

From And Jericho Burned (new release)

     Luke’s face turned dark red. “Uh . . . I bought you something else.” He held up a bottle as if it were a trophy.

     The gold foil covering the neck raised a prickle of caution on Restin’s nape.

      “I’ve never seen this before, but it’s perfect. Sparkling blueberry juice.”

     Luke had Stoker’s full attention.

     “It’s like champagne, but it’s non-alcoholic.”

     “Blueberries are very nutritious,” Lucy said.

     “Offering berries to one’s mate–one’s wife–is a custom with us,” Stoker said. “They make her smell sexy.”

     Lucy’s brows rushed together, the skin between them furrowing into a deep vee. “Is that why you order blueberry muffins for my breakfast every morning? So I’ll smell sexy?”

     Stoker nodded, his gaze never leaving her face.

     She grinned. “Cool.”

Today happens to be my birthday, and to celebrate, I’m giving away a Werewolf Mating Starter Kit to one lucky commenter.

20150220 JericoBurned_505x825


Lucy Callahan will do anything to rescue her sister from a cult, even marry a werewolf she’s just met. But the werewolves are working undercover for the government, and Lucy fears a confrontation between the agents and the cult could be deadly.

Stoker Smith longs to be the best thing that ever happened to his human mate. He wants to take her home, start their family, and compose his music. And although his pack’s treaty with the government says he doesn’t have to work undercover now that he’s mated, he promised Lucy he’d get her sister out of the cult’s heavily armed compound. Lucy’s sister is now family and to a werewolf, family is everything.

But Operation Jericho quickly turns ugly, thrusting Lucy into the middle of her worst nightmare, where she must choose: her sister or her husband.


MJ Compton grew up near Cardiff, New York, a place best known for its giant, which turned out to be a fiction so incredible, PT Barnum himself borrowed it. That’s a tough act to follow, but MJ tried—by composing her own stories.20150220 MJ Compton Author Photo

Although her 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting her husband, MJ’s urge to create her own stories never went away.

MJ still lives in upstate New York with her husband. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of her passions, and she enjoys baseball and college basketball, but she’s primarily focused on wine . . . and writing.


Website & Blog http://www.comptonplations.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/Comptonplations

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMJCompton

Tsu http://www.tsu.co/mj_compton

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8075221.M_J_Compton

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/MJ-Compton/e/B00J9DFFIG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Buy Links:

Moonlight Serenade (Book 1 of the Toke Lobo & the Pack series)

And Jericho Burned (new release)


One lucky commenter will receive a Werewolf Mating Starter Kit (WMSK). The contest runs today through Monday February 23rd 12:00 p.m. EST.

Here is a sample of a WMSK.

20150220 WMSK MJ Compton


Read Full Post »

We’ve been sharing tips about writing a series, and today we have more tips. Also, we are guest blogging today at  the SMP Author Blog about writing a series with even more series tips. Last week we shared three tips we’ve learned about writing a series. Today’s tips are:

  • Be sure to update your plot charts, timelines, character charts, and world notes as you go along. Hunting for changes you’ve made–and trust us, you will make them–after the book is written, or published, can be tedious.
  • Don’t worry about finishing the entire series until you have a contract. The first book is the one authors are  passionate about, and having that one written makes doing the next one easier when you do sell. Writing book two tells us we can, indeed, manage a series. When we started The Turning Stone Chronicles series, we decided to finish our first book and work on book two while we tried to sell  book one  If we couldn’t sell the series, then we were going to scrap the idea and move on to something else. That way we wouldn’t waste all that time on a defunct idea.

For more tips on writing a series, follow this link to our SMP Author Blog where you’ll find five additional tips from us, posted  today, about writing a series.

Do you have anymore tips you’d like to share?

Read Full Post »

Come join us today at the SMP author site where we’ll talk about why collaborative writing works for us. Hope you’ll drop by and leave us a comment. We’ll be back here next week with more new content.

Read Full Post »