I am excited to welcome Sheri Velarde, author of Mikhail’s American Adventure. Ms. Velarde lives in New Mexico with her husband and their two dogs. Being an avid reader since an early, she has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. She has been writing all her life, but only recently started to actually try to pursue her dream of writing for a living. She specializes in all things paranormal and that go bump in the night. Her heart truly lies in exploring unknown worlds or adding the supernatural to our world. If it goes bump in the night or has magical connotations, Sheri writes about it. She writes everything from sweet romances to horror stories sure to scare you.
In her spare time Ms. Velarde is an artist, jewelry designer, independent comic writer/artist and freelance non-fiction writer. Hiking in the mountains, going to live concerts, art openings, museums, watching movies, playing games, and hosting intimate dinner parties.
MP: Thank you for taking the time from your hectic schedule to join me. How long have you been writing?
SV: It is my pleasure to be here. I’ve been writing and making up my own stories since I could read pretty much. However I have been writing with the intention of getting my writing out into the world since 2009 probably. It took a couple years to get published, but I am still going strong.
MP: So tell me, how did the desire to write began for you?
SV: For me it began as escapism. I had an active imagination as a child and being shy and nerdy, well making up my own worlds and stories on paper gave me an outlet that was much needed.
MP: I can relate to that. What is it about your writing you love?
SV: The interesting characters that do and say things that I would never be able to do here in the real world. My characters are always braver and bolder than I am and I think I sometimes live vicariously through them!
MP: That is so true. Tell me about the story you will be including in the Summer of Seduction anthology, Mikhail’s American Adventure?
SV: My story is about an alpha werebear who has certain expectations placed on him by his clan, expectations that are weighing on him. In Mikhail’s American Adventure, he is visiting his brother in Washington, DC. There he has no expectation, he can be free to be as frisky as he likes with no consequences. It is a fun and very naught romp for him!
MP: Interesting plot. From all of the books you have written, which one do you consider your masterpiece?
SV: Why? I really don’t know if I have a masterpiece yet. I am probably my own harshest critic. However the book I am most proud of to date is my romantic fantasy Quest for Redemption. It is my first full length novel and my first fantasy, both of which I am proud to have achieved.
MP: Congrats! What or who has influenced you the most in your writing career?
SV: Thank you. .My husband’s never-ending support is one of my biggest influences, as is the support and encouragement of my long time editor Leona Bushman.
MP: As a writer do you feel you have come full circle, i.e., are you achieving your passion?
SV: I believe that engaging in your passion each day is what writing is all about. I have not achieved half of what I would like, but each day I get a little closer.
MP: That is true. Who is your favorite author?
SV: JRR Tolkien. He inspires me to write and Stephen King keeps me writing with discipline. Too many independent authors to name who put out quality fiction despite the odds being stacked against them, like the other authors in Summer of Seduction.
MP: What words of advice you have for new writers?
SV: Keep writing every day. Read as much as you can. Learn from rejection and come back each time better than ever.
MP: Awesome advice. Why put your work in an anthology?
SV: Anthologies are a great way to expose your work to new audiences, as each author participating has their own fan base, many of whom you will be new to.
MP: That is true. I should try that. What is your writing mantra?
SV: Write every day.
MP: Are you a pantser or plotter?
SV: Total pantser! I create characters and let them take me for a ride!
MP: I am too. I find that they really do come to life. Are you published traditionally or self-pub? Why one route and not the other?
SV: I am a hybrid. I have been with several smaller publishers, my latest being Hot Tree Publishing. I also self-publish quite a bit. I like both, but prefer to not have all my eggs in one basket so to speak.
MP: Where do you see in the future for the publishing houses?
SV: I think there will continue to be publishing houses, though they are going to have to learn and adapt to the new world where self-publishing exists. Those who adapt the best will continue on, those who don’t will fade away.
MP: Sad but so true. What lies ahead for Sheri Velarde, author?
SV: I am always writing. I have several project set to come out later this year and next year, including some horror and fantasy pieces as I expand my genres. You can keep up with all my releases at my website: authorsherivelarde.weebly.com.
MP: I want to thank you so much for stopping by. I wish you and the other authors great success in your Summer of Seduction anthology’s release.
SV: Thank you so much, Miguelina for inviting me over.
Ms. Velarde is constantly putting out new material with various publishers, so it is best to keep up with her on her website: http://www.authorsherivelarde.weebly.com. Thanks for stopping and I hope you have enjoyed Ms. Velarde’s interview.
Ms. AnneMarie Brear
Please meet Australian born Author, Ms. AnneMarie Brear. Ms. Brear writes historical novels and modern romances. Her passions, apart from writing, are reading, researching, genealogy, roaming historical sites, buying books and gardening. She is an author of historical women’s fiction, contemporary romance and several short stories and is currently living in England.
Ms. Brear welcomes her latest release, Where Rainbows End.
“I’m not a man, but that won’t stop me. Just you wait and see.”
It’s 1850 and the Noble family have arrived in Australia to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England. Headstrong Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plans for a successful stud farm a reality.
Pippa is immediately spellbound by the untamed outback landscape, although she learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush – sometimes with devastating consequences. When circumstance leads to Pippa tending the new farm alone, it is the steadfast friendship of neighbouring country estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through.
Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa’s dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family’s land and make her mark, even if it means losing everything else …
‘Pippa! Come look!’ Davy ran into the stables. ‘There’s a carriage coming with two shiny black horses with white feathers on their heads.’ He grabbed her hand and pulled her outside. ‘A carriage!’
Intrigued, Pippa frowned at Robson as he came to stand at her side. They both stared along the valley track. Indeed a large, shiny black carriage pulled by magnificent horses rumbled beside the creek towards them.
‘Who could it be?’ Pippa glanced at Robson for his input.
‘Nay, miss, I know of no one with such a carriage in this district.’
Davy jumped up and down, clapping his hands. ‘It’s a Prince!’
Pippa gently pushed him towards the house. ‘Go to your mother.’ She and Robson walked away from the stables and waited under the big gum tree near the footbridge. On the other side, Davy and Millie watched the carriage approach.
The driver halted the fine pair and drew the carriage to stop. The door was flung open and Gerald popped his head out. ‘Pippa!’
Pippa’s eyes widened in disbelief. ‘Father?’
Gerald exited the carriage and handed Hilary down and then the maid, Cissie. ‘We’re here at last!’ he shouted, reaching back into the carriage.
Hilary ran up to Pippa and hugged her. ‘It’s good to see you! Have we surprised you? How are you? Mother fainted! As soon as we started the descent into the valley, she screamed that we would all fall to our deaths and then fainted.’
Blinking rapidly to make sure of her vision, Pippa let Hilary’s words wash over her. Her family here! She couldn’t believe it. They’d sent her no word of their impending arrival.
‘Come, come, Esther. Pippa wishes to greet you,’ Gerald cajoled his wife out of the carriage. ‘You’re safe now, so stop your hysterics.’
Pippa stepped forward and kissed her mother’s pale cheek. ‘Welcome, Mother.’
Esther, fanning herself with a white handkerchief, sniffled. ‘What a journey, Philippa, what a journey.’ Slowly she raised her head and gazed about. Her eyes widened, her mouth dropped open.
The heavy weight of guilt sunk Pippa’s happiness at her family’s arrival. Her mother’s rigidness confirmed her fears. She hated the valley. ‘Mother—’
‘You …’ Esther turned to scan the whole valley and all it contained, her eyes filling with tears. ‘Gerald …’ She blinked, her chest heaving as though she struggled to breathe. ‘You brought me here?’
‘How could you?’ Esther’s voice lowered in anger. ‘I’ll not spend one night in this god-forsaken backwater!’ She spun on her heel, re-entered the carriage, and slammed the door.
Pippa stared at her father, whose cheeks flushed beet red. He stormed to the carriage and jerked open the door. ‘Get out at once!’
Hilary silently came to Pippa’s side and took her hand as, in disbelief and with acute embarrassment, they watched their parents argue and wrestle. At last, Esther emerged from the carriage, dishevelled and indignant.
‘I will stay but one night, then I am returning to Sydney to the Talbots.’ She marched past them all and crossed the footbridge. Hilary hurriedly followed her.
Sighing, Gerald walked away, around the other side of the carriage, and, after a glance at Hilary, Pippa went to join him.
‘I’m sorry, Father. I didn’t expect you. Hilary’s letter said it could be another month as Mother had engagements. Inside the house is not complete yet. I kept the men working on extending the stable block.’
‘I do not blame you in the least, dearest.’ His eyes softened and he slipped his arm around her waist to hug her to him. ‘In fact, I’m so very proud of you.’ He gazed out over the valley, at the cluster of buildings, the horses and sheep grazing. ‘What you’ve achieved here in such a short time is inspirational, my dear. You have the courage of a lion.’
Pippa kissed his thin cheek, aware that his ill health had taken its toll on him. ‘I did it for us all, Father. This is our home now, and we’ll be successful, I know it.’
‘I have no doubt about it, not with you in charge.’
‘Oh, but Father, I’m not in charge now you’re here.’
Gerald shook his head. ‘No, Pippa. This is your dream, your future.’
She stepped back, frowning. ‘But it’s yours, too. We share it together.’
‘Yes, but I don’t have the youth, the energy, the heart that you do.’ He shook his head and sighed. ‘All I wanted to do here was to make money. You wanted to make a home.’
She touched his arm, frightened by how old and defeated he looked. ‘We can do both, Father.’
He remained silent for a long time, staring out over the land.
‘Please don’t be dispirited, Father. We can be successful. The mistakes made in England do not have to be repeated here.’
‘My health is failing, but I tend to think that is a good thing.’
Gerald held up his hand. ‘Hear me out. I insist we have honesty if nothing else after so many years of lies.’ He paused and took a deep breath. ‘If I were hale and hearty and a few years younger, there would be no stopping me, but no doubt that would have led to our ruin as it did back home.’
‘I’ve had time to think while bedridden and holed up with the Talbots, and I’ve made a decision.’ He took both her hands in his and smiled. ‘I was going to tell you this later, but I might as well do it now and be done with it.’
‘What is it?’ Pippa braced herself for bad news, for his tone was the same he used in England when he would admit failure in some investment or when the bailiffs came to clear the house of their belongings to repay his gambling debts.
He sucked in a deep breath. ‘The valley is yours to do with as you please. I’ll sign it all over to you, with the provision that you support your sister.’
Pippa blinked. ‘But what about you and Mother?’
‘We shall return to England.’
HallowRead is a book festival and mini-con for authors and fans of Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Steam Punk and Horror.
This neat concept was born out of local Maryland author of dark urban fantasy, Rachel Rawlings, who decided to create a book convention for genre fiction and hold it the weekend before Halloween at the haunted and historic Ellicott City, which holds a special place in her heart. With no other place to take her first convention of its kind, the town welcomed her and HallowRead with open arms.
The proceeds of the event went to the Ellicott City Partnership—a coalition of residents and business owners for the betterment of its town. HallowRead raised money for projects like rain barrels which help reduce the sediment and contaminants running into the Patapsco River and fund grants for projects like Paint Main Street which helped small business owners get a much needed fresh coat of paint improving the moral and over all appearance of their businesses and town.
This year HallowRead hopes to take the convention on the road to raise funds for Harford County literacy programs and the local library. For a listing of their events please visit their site at www.hallowread.com.
When I learned of the group, I was disappointed to have missed their event last October. I was promised by one of their authors, Ms. Loni Lynne, Author of Distilled Spirits that she would let me know when they’d hold their next function. So I was delighted when last month I got an invite from Ms. Lynne to join her at HallowRead.
So Saturday, June 18, 2016 I took off to Frederick, Md for my first, of which I hope will be many, mini-HallowRead gatherings. The big one is in October of each year. And will be larger in comparison to the mini-ones held once or twice a year with more authors and readers of urban fantasy, paranormal, steampunk and horror.
At the small gathering I was delighted to meet up with Loni, once again, and to meet three other talented ladies whose stories ranged from paranormal to urban fantasy: Ms. Patty Taylor, Author of Mortal Magik, Ms. Toni Decker, Author of Images Eternal and Ms. Jean Murray, Author of Soul Reborn. Four great books of which I am looking forward to reading.
I got to meet each lady and spend some alone time with them to discuss their stories and methods of research. Patty uses her family’s history to write her stories, while Jean researched ancient Egyptian mythology to bring us stories of long forgotten Gods of the dead and living, Loni brings us stories of the paranormal-spirits brought from the dead to full-fill their fates, and Toni writes stories of immortal guardians. Their stories are full of adventure, love, hotness and happily-ever-afters.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my thoughts and hope to see you at the next HallowRead – October 2016 in Ellicott City, Maryland. For more information please visit them at HallowRead.
Ms. Carly Phillips, Author of the Dare to Love Series
After a successful fifteen year career with various New York publishing houses, and over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels published, N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips is now an Indie author who writes to her own expectations and that of her readers.
She continues the tradition of hot men and strong women and plans to publish many more sizzling stories.
Ms. Phillips lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She’s a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom.
In addition, she’s a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers. You can find out more about Ms. Phillips at www.carlyphillips.com.
TRI: Thank you so much for taking time from your busy schedule to be here. Do you remember how we met? I think of it as very special. I got up early one morning to check twitter and saw you had tweeted about needing a small carrier for your dog. I was in awe that you would tweet to ask someone’s advice. I mean the Carly Phillips, famous author of over 15 years of romance books, needs to know where to get a small carrier for her dog. I had two yorkies, at the time, so I knew what you were looking for.
I quickly when on the web and found you one and tweeted it back. Not believing for one moment that you would respond to me because I was so sure you would have had millions of responses. But, to my surprise you did and very graciously thankful for my response. Since then we have been tweeting back and forth, especially when I discovered you were an All my Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital fan. The rest is history…a nice one…Who does not love an author with your amazing history of wonderful love stories, who takes the time to respond to a reader or a newbie, like myself?
CP: I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t remember but I am so glad you reminded me! Thank you! I love social media because I love interacting with readers and other writers, people who love the same soap operas I do (you know I’m a soap junkie). I’m so touched that you remember meeting me online!
TRI: I will never forget. So tell me what got you started in writing? I read you were a lawyer but an unhappy one.
CP: Well yes but there’s a misconception that I left law to write. I left law because it made me emotionally unstable and insane. OK slight exaggeration but truly it was way too much for me. And so I left law, we moved out of NYC, we decided to start a family … and I began reading again. I fell in love with Romance and decided I had to try to write one. Seven years, ten manuscripts and too many rejections to count, later, I sold my first book. That was 1999.
TRI: As a temp I worked at a law firm and recalled it to be very intense. So, I understand totally. Was there an author, when you started out writing that you wished at the time you could be like, i.e., successful in their writing careers?
CP: Yes! In larger scope, LaVyrle Spencer and Catherine Coulter. As I found Romance and Harlequin, I wanted to be like the Harlequin Temptation authors who had a solid career of 2-3 books a year with the line of books. I met my best friends when I ultimately sold to Temptation, Janelle Denison, Leslie Kelly and Julie Leto. All originallyTemptation writers.
TRI: Who has influenced you a lot in your writing career? Is this person your favorite author, if not who is your favorite author?
CP: Oh wow. I can’t say there is one person. I have been so fortunate and lucky to cross paths with so many talented people who have had an impact on my career. I can say, former Harlequin editor, Brenda Chin, who bought my first book and believed in me long before that, absolutely set me on the right path.
TRI: I know marriage is not easy and no I have not been married before, but I just know relationships take time and a lot of patience, I believe I read somewhere you are on your 24 years together. With that said, and being one of the Queens’ of Romance fiction how does that make you feel?
CP: OMG I’m a Queen of Romance fiction? THANK YOU! That’s so very humbling! J I feel so lucky to be in a happy, stable relationship with my best friend. We met in college and no matter the ups and downs, through solid communication and respect, we’re still together 25 years later.
TRI: That is amazing and sadly rare, but I do feel that in relationships, communication and respect is key. Before your interview I did some research and found you are very open with your readers. I liked that about you. As a long time reader of romance, I love authors who are so open and relate to their readers―down to earth. Why is it important for you to do that?
CP: Thank you! I’m just me. I’ve always just been me … even when my books took off. When my girls were younger, I kept their pictures out of my “sharing” but the rest? I’m pretty much an open book. Now my daughters are 23 and 18 … so I can share even more. That said it’s a careful sharing. I still protect my immediate universe and home life.
TRI: You have two daughters. How do they feel about their mom being famous and a fabulous romance author? Are any of them interested in the writing bug? What advice would you offer to them if they were?
CP: Luckily (or unluckily) this is all they know, mom as a romance author, so they’re used to it! Now that they’re older they come to conferences, the older one acts as my assistant at signings. It’s great. It really is. The oldest is a reader and may have the writing bug. Not the youngest. And that’s fine. I want them to follow their own path! But if they want this path, the advice I’d give is this: nothing happens without hard work and a lot of paying your dues.
TRI: I think that is an awesome experience for them. How has the industry changed for you? I understand you’ve self-publish some of your stories. Do you prefer self-publishing from traditional publishing? Why?
CP: The honest truth is that as good as my publishers have always been to me, I looked at the raw numbers and knew I had to make a change. I needed to be able to control covers, price, length, and even more of content. I can do that with self publishing and I absolutely love it―all of it. Even the constant work because it really is a 24/7 job. As much as all writers think about writing ALL. THE. TIME … when you add self- publishing, you’re building your own world/mini-empire. You need to hire professionals to handle things the publisher used to do without you thinking about it. I used to think it would be overwhelming. I never knew I’d take to it and love it.
TRI: That is great. It gives me hope, because sometimes I think it is overwhelming. What advice would you offer a newbie author?
CP: You only get ONE first impression so make it a good one. Just because you finished the first book you ever wrote doesn’t mean you should self-publish it. Maybe it’s a learning experience. My first 10 books were learning experiences. Granted I didn’t have the self publishing option back then but I know it wouldn’t have been smart to self-publish those early books.
TRI: Good advice. I see your Dare to Hold story from the Dare to Love Series is coming out in a couple of weeks. I read the excerpt and can’t wait to get my hands on it. I had the pleasure of meeting Nora Roberts and got to ask her what keeps her going. Her face lit up and she simply said, “I love the work.” She actually put me to shame. But she is right you got to love it, breath it, live it. Just as readers we love it, breathe it and live it. That is what keeps us coming back. What keeps you going?
CP: I have to quote Nora. I love the work. All of it. The writing, the promoting, the planning. All of it. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d still write. J
TRI: I feel the same way about the lottery. I see you are attending the Readers for Life Literacy Signing in New York in July. Is this a dear to your heart topic?
CP: Literacy is a very important topic … and I have been signing there since I first published. I love meeting readers at the different venues every summer. It’s always so much fun and the money goes to a fabulous cause.
TRI: Awesome! Last but not least, about your furbabies … I think it is great that you integrate them into your website. I love the way they answer questions on your behalf. Do you ever include them in your stories?
CP: Oh yay! I get to talk about my doggies! I used to include stories with animals. Not so much anymore … but my entire life revolves around my dogs. Their schedule is my schedule and they don’t let me forget it. I have a soft coated wheaten terrier girl named Bailey and a Havanese boy named Brady.
TRI: Yep, I totally understand. I still have a yorkie. She is going to be 15 next month. And I just rescued a beagle mix and she is as big as a horse, well almost. It was a shock, being used to small dogs. But she is a sweet heart. What is ahead for Carly Phillips the author?
CP: More writing! More Dare to Love series stories. Each book in the series stands alone but it’s fun to read in order too. Up next is Dare to Hold (Scott & Meg) 4/14/15. I’m currently writing Dare to Rock (Avery & Grey) 8/4/15. After that, I’ll be finishing up the legitimate and NY Dare siblings. Then I have three “illegitimate” Dare siblings to write if I feel reader reaction to the stories is still strong and they want them. I recently had an idea to keep the Dare stories going beyond that … but I can’t tell. I haven’t even told those closest to me yet! So we’ll see. I love, love, love what I am writing. If I weren’t writing the Dares, I’d still be writing sizzling hot contemporary series.
TRI: Sounds like a lot of work ahead of you. So, with that said, I want to thank you so much for allowing me to talk with you. I wish you success in your endeavors and I will let you know what I think of Dare to Hold after I’ve read it. My best…
CP: Thank you so much for asking to interview me. It’s been fun! I hope you love Scott and Meg in Dare to Hold!
TRI: From what I’ve read, I am pretty sure I am going to love it…