The Tales of a Contemporary Romance Writer


I also edit, critique, and blog. So, please be nosy and look around.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hello to all my friends! 
As I get ready for conferences to start up, my drive to finish the edits on my latest novel, Midnight Sunrise, has consumed me. Being a perfectionist it seems I'm never done. But, I do see the end coming and can't wait to share it will all of you!

Today on Talkin' Tuesday I have my very funny friend Sandra Sookoo. Her comic stories are a pick-me-up whenever I'm feeling a little blue. She's giving away a book swag and a download of one of her books to a lucky commenter. So, make sure you check her out. 
Plus!!!! Sandi's shared a favorite recipe to include in my Friday 'Diaries of a Determined Cook!" Thank you so much Sandi. :)


Hi Sandra! The last time I saw you was last year. What the heck have you been up to?
LOL I think the question is more what haven’t I been up to?  I’m a busy bee when it comes to keeping busy in the writing world, working on a few historical pieces.

Hey, have you gotten the cat yet?
Nope, not yet. I’d need to come up with a $200 payment to own a cat at my apartments.
YIKES!
 
When writing your stories, do you have story boards which you work off of?
LOL I do have a white board for the more complicated pieces.  Normally, I just write out a bunch of outline notes in a notebook.  I have one for each book I do.

You’ve written many novels. How long does it normally take you to complete one, start to finish?
That depends on the length of the piece or how complicated the plot is.  The book I just finished (60K) took two and a half months to do (just finished the 1st draft) Short pieces (20K) can take two weeks and shorts (3-5K) can take a day.
LOL You're making me feel like a slacker, Sandi!
 
What surprised you most when it came to becoming an author?
That it was a huge amount of work, and you can’t just sit there and write.  There’s so much about the career that tears an author away from the creation of stories.
Promo. Promo. Promo. 
 
Do you read your own reviews or do you say, “The heck with it, I don’t care!”?
I glance at them and try not to care, but sometimes it’s difficult. I’m getting better about brushing them off if they’re bad.
*shakes head in disbelief* I just can't imagine you getting a bad one.
 
FOR FUN
Hot bubble baths or hot tub? 
Bubble bath!

What do you like to do for enjoyment when it’s just you?
Hmm, I like to catch up on watching my favorite episodes of Psych or Bones, or if it’s been a really bad day, I play Jurassic Park on Xbox.

If you could have any car, what would it be? 
An Altima.  Why? Simply for the glove box. It’s big enough and deep enough to hold a laptop LOL
Dude! That's awesome!
 
Perfect typist or chicken pecker? 
Perfect.  It’s just one of those things I learned how to do early in life.

What’s the largest/strangest pet you’ve ever had?
Well, I’ve never actually owned an animal all by myself.  Back in the day, we used to have a cockatiel.  He was a pain though LOL

BACK TO WORK
How do you get to know your characters?
I usually fill out character sketch sheets so I have a clue about where the characters came from, where they’re going, what they want, etc.
Those sheets are a total must.
 
When you were younger, did the voices in your head (because let’s face it, all us writers do hear them) make you feel different from everyone else?
Nope. I’ve never been in the “popular” crowds and have never been a “trend” follower, so knowing I’ve got people talking in my head never bothered me.  I’m good at being different.
Normal is soooo boring!
 
Who’s your own favorite character and why?
Oh wow, that’s a hard one!  For a heroine, I’d have to say Joy from my upcoming book Cairo Nights.  Her backstory broke my heart, but for a fun gal, I’d pick Kate from Wedgie Tales and Panty Lines.

For a hero, I’d pick Braeden from Dragons at Dawn. He’s a kind of anti-hero, or Nathaniel from Caribbean Heat.

Do you get to have your own writer’s office, or is it a community place full of noise and clutter which you work?
I have a tiny desk that’s shoved into a corner of the guest bedroom.  The desktop isn’t really big enough to actually work from, so I usually work off the dining room table or from the sofa in the living room.
I promise you wouldn't use the office, anyway! I have a nice one and right now I'm sitting at the kitchen table. I'm convinced it's because I like to be in the middle of it all. :)
 
What inspires you to write?
Everything! Music, stories I’ve read, pictures, snippets of conversation, whatever. Life is the best inspiration.

What’s the first thing you’d do if your stories catapulted you to celebrity stature?
LOL Well, I wouldn’t believe it, first of all.  Things like that just don’t happen to me, but it’s a nice dream to have.  I’d love to have people rushing out to buy my books.

Advice for aspiring writers on what not to do?
Don’t listen to negative people.  In fact, do everything you can to ditch them from your life.  And second, keep on plugging away.  The old saying “practice makes perfect” applies to writing.


Interested in a bit of what I write?  Here’s the blurb and a short excerpt from A WOLFISH SCANDAL.  It’s a Civil War-era historical with a touch of the paranormal.

He has nothing to live for.  She has nothing to lose.  Together, they have everything to gain.

Lyndal Carson's life is at a premium.  Afflicted with a heart ailment wherein she can drop dead at any time, she makes a pact with herself to create one scandal and to really live before she dies.  Tired of being a handmaiden to her family, she writes the letter that will change her destiny.

Grey Rutledge, a werewolf who is hounded by a reporter and haunted by memories, endeavors to provide a diversion large enough that the paper will forget its interest.  He invites twelve women to his estate on the premise of choosing one of them for his mate.  After the loss of his family, the only thing he wants is heirs and a woman by his side. 

As the days go on, both Lyndal and Grey find that elusive piece missing from their lives.  When their respective secrets are revealed, they both run the risk of losing everything.  Danger catches them unaware during an innocent afternoon but it's what is decided as life hangs in the balance that will change their lives forever.
Excerpt:

"What the hell were you thinking?" The forceful shout rang through the orchard and displaced a robin. Said bird flew to the next tree with a squawk of outrage.
James Greyson Samuel Rutledge glanced over his shoulder. His cousin, Franklin Garrett, rushed through the apple trees with a newspaper crushed in one fist. Clasping his hands behind his back, he waited until his relative joined him before he quirked an eyebrow. "That depends on what exactly you refer to. I am a man of many interests."
"You forget trying to be vague and mysterious has absolutely no charm with me. I know all your secrets and have kept more than a few." Franklin raked a hand through his mop of reddish-blond hair then glared over the tops of his wire-framed spectacles. "I am referring to this nonsense of an advertisement you placed in the Indianapolis Journal." He shook the paper for emphasis.
"Ah. I thought it turned out rather well for all the complaining the typesetter did." A grin lifted the corners of his mouth as his cousin's face reddened. "Calm yourself. It is printed and cannot be withdrawn. The world didn't end as you probably thought it would. Of course, it's too early to know if I will receive letters of outrage from the general populace, but even if that eventuality occurs, it will make no difference. The matter stands."
"Why did you do it?" Franklin unwrinkled the paper. "‘Experience in sensual bedroom arts is preferred but not required. Ladies maids or attendants will not be needed and are definitely not desired.’ What the hell, Grey? Are you trying to tempt scandal and sully your name further, or have you simply lost your mind after all these years?"
"As if I had a chance of escaping scandal. It's only a matter of time before it catches me here, and it will soon if that damn reporter has his way. At times, I think perhaps that would be best because then everyone can be free of the misery."
"Spare me your defeatist outlook."
"I apologize." He unclasped his hands and walked through the orchard. A tiny bit of relief swept through him when Franklin kept step. He half-suspected this would have been the act that made Franklin abandon him. They'd been born relatives, but friends since the cradle, and though they'd had disagreements in the past, they'd never parted ways.
"The reporter, Mr. Carson, returned? I hadn't been apprised of this fact."
"He came snuffling around a week or so ago. Even went so far as to write a short piece in the paper speculating on what could be the source of the missing and killed livestock. He also theorized on what really haunts the night in this area."
Franklin shook his head. "He's getting too close. It's only a matter of time."
"Perhaps, that is why I invented this lark of a party. Not only will it divert the paper's attention, but it will also open the property up for prying eyes."
"God, Grey, that's a loose plan at best. No mother in her right mind will consent to let her unmarried, unchaperoned daughters come here for a ridiculous house party that rings more of an orgy than a polite society affair."
Since when have I ever been concerned about polite? My dependence on the whims of society dimmed years ago. "That depends on how worried folks are. This is wartime, you must remember. Mindsets are different. Stakes are raised. Idyllic comforts have been taken away, stripped down until only the raw need remains." No one was better qualified to make that analysis than he, except what he wanted and needed weren't necessarily the same. "Desperation will drive the match."
"Which is exactly what you are if you continue with this plan. And to require the 'candidates' list out their physical attributes. Are you insane, because I know you're not that shallow?"
"I figured if I'll be condemned for this stunt regardless, I may as well see the best of what Indianapolis and the surrounding areas can offer in the way of the opposite sex." He lifted an eyebrow. "Not that I wouldn't consider an everyday female. I suppose it's really personality and temperament I'm after, but you must admit, a troublesome attitude goes down better if it's hidden by a pretty face."

I hope you’ll snag your own copy of A WOLFISH SCANDAL.  You can find it here:


You can find me around the web at the following places:
Believing is Seeing blog:  http://sandrasookoo.wordpress.com/
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/sandrasookoo
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/sandra.sookoo

Thanks for having me on your blog today! Giveaway on this post: One lucky commenter gets book swag plus a free download of a backlisted book (2012 excluded)

Chocolate Zucchini muffins (from Penzey Spices)
Ingredients

½ cup room temperature butter (1 stick)
½ cup canola oil
1 ¾ cups white sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup milk
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
2 cups peeled and finely grated zucchini
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325°. Line 2 standard muffin pans with papers. In a large bowl, mix butter, oil and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, VANILLA EXTRACT and milk mixed with vinegar (sour milk). Blend well. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, COCOA POWDER, baking soda, CINNAMON and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir by hand to combine. Add grated zucchini and half the chocolate chips and stir well. Spoon the batter evenly into the pans, filling each paper 2/3 full. Sprinkle the other half of the chocolate chips, on top and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or they spring back when lightly touched (don’t touch the melted chocolate, though.)

Yield: 24 muffins.
Prep. time: 15 minutes.
Baking time: 20-25 minutes.

Oh my gosh, Sandi, thank you for being here! I love when you come to visit because we always have such a great time. ;)

Have a Sparkling Day everyone and don't forget, one lucky commenter gets a free swag and download of Ms. Sandra Sookoo's backlist!

Rebecca Rose

 

9 comments:

  1. Your books sound like fun to read! Gonna try them out for sure! And I LOVE Penzey Spices! Thanks for sharing :)

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  2. Thanks for visiting Jennifer :-) Hope you'll check out my books and man, can't seem to stay away from Penzey's. Need to go this weekend :-)

    Thanks Rebecca for having me on your blog today!

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  3. Fun interview, ladies! Sounds like a delicious recipe, Sandi.

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  4. Bernadette WalshMarch 6, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Great interview--Can't wait to try one of your books

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  5. Hi Bernadette! Thanks for coming and I hope you'll try my books :-)

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Congrats Bernadette (but 2012 books are NOT included in the backlist) If you could email me your choice of book and your mailing address, I'll get the swag in the mail
    sandra (dot) sookoo (at) comcast (dot) net

    Thanks again for coming out!

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