Monday, February 27, 2012

Julie Anne Lindsey Blooms!

In January, 2012, Julie Anne Lindsey's debut novella, Bloom, launched the Honey Creek Line for Turquoise Morning Press.  In honour of the "Bloom Blog Tour," I had the privilege of interviewing my blooming friend, author, and one-woman tour de force, Julie Anne Lindsey.

Julie Anne Lindsey, Author

Julie, without giving anything away, would you give us a brief synopsis of BLOOM?
Bloom is the story of a small town woman with a broken heart.  Cynthia left town after high school and tried not to look back, but pain has a way of haunting us.  When she has to make a trip home, things get complicated.  The head-in-a-hole method of avoidance is my personal favorite, but let’s face it, eventually the one you’re avoiding will tap you on the shoulder.

Tell us about your publishing journey with BLOOM?
With Bloom, I happened into an amazing situation. I needed to get readers, but my potential readers had nothing from me to read. Hmm. So, I started asking around to see who was writing what and for where. A few of my romance writing friends write for Turquoise Morning Press, so I stopped to check them out and saw their call for submissions. When they accepted Bloom as a novella for their new Honey Creek line, I had no idea what I was in for. In the past year I’ve contracted a series of sweets with them for 2012 and written a full length sweet for 2013. I’ve had the opportunity to work with editors and be in two anthologies in 2011. I’ve met great writers with lots of experience and kindness and advice. I’ve been lucky beyond reason by finding this press and this line to write for.

Julie, what was your inspiration for BLOOM?
Bloom was inspired by one of my favorite movies, Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon. I adore that movie and I couldn’t help but write a similar tale of my own. In Bloom, my heroine, Cynthia returns home after many years away, not for a divorce, but to check on her grandmother. The problem is that she’s been avoiding home because of a heart break she incurred there. Coming home creates a lot of inner turmoil for my feisty heroine and the town’s new golden boy doesn’t help matters any. LOL She runs into problem after problem, while dealing with her grief and guilt and feelings for a man who seems to hate her for no particular reason at all. I can thank Reese Witherspoon for inciting this character.

Julie, please tell us about "Death By Chocolate - Book 1 of The Killer Confection Series."
Death by Chocolate is a novel of silliness and instability. The Killer Confections stories follow two nutty girlfriends working to get away with murder. They were spawned from the sweetest lady I know, who bakes for our church and looks like June Cleaver. She got me thinking about how much damage she could do with her sweet treats and never be suspected. Everyone loves here, but what if she wasn’t what she seems? This series is devoid of romance and filled with crazy. Oh, but what we won’t do to help our girlfriends!

Writers often describe themselves as "character driven," or "plot driven" writers - which are you?
I am plot driven all the way. I think up a great “what if” scenario and then I run with it! When I get a hold of an interesting story line, I build my characters around that. I try to create the best (or truthfully the worst) possible characters to be put in those situations and then I have something great to work on. Torturing my pretties makes for a great story!  

Julie, I know you are a busy wife and mother, how do you find time to write?  What's your writing schedule, and where do you write?
Our little princess (aka child number three) came along three years ago and my office effectively became her castle. So, these days I write on my couch, laptop on lap, and kids everywhere. It’s a crazy situation, but what can I say, I love writing almost as much as I love my little ones, so I write with them all around, and often stand up to find myself covered in My Little Ponies or Army Men action figures. It’s the insane little experiences that fuel my stories and inspire my characters. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It will be past too soon.

I should also add that I don’t sleep much - LOL!  I write before they get up (I get up at 6:00 a.m.) and after they go to bed (I write from 11:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.-ish, after Hubsy goes to sleep).  I plan to sleep when I’m dead, or when the government starts rationing coffee!

You have such a strong, high-profile web presence, with planks such Twitter, Facebook, Musings From The Slush Pile.  Can you please speak to this?  How would you advise aspiring writers to build their platform?
Just like writing, building a platform takes tenacity. You work at it day by day and after a week you’ve been seen 7 times, a month = 30 times, etc. You just keep showing up and people start to recognize your name, your personality and even begin to feel like they know you. Make an account everywhere and drop in once a day to say something. You don’t have to stay all day to make a place for yourself.

Social media is free and those not taking advantage of it are missing out.  The online writing community is so witty and charming, and encouraging and knowledgeable. Make some writer friends!  Also, set up a free blog and keep it active so the search engines don’t mark it inactive and drop it 50 pages down in the search results. Use Twitter!  Readers, writers, agents, editors, publishing houses, all use Twitter.  Get in there!  And don’t forget Goodreads; it’s a great place to keep up with what’s selling, who’s reading it and where you can fit your work into the fold.  Just keep moving forward.  It all counts!

Julie, what are you currently reading, and what books are on your nightstand?
I just finished the newest Stephanie Plum novel, Explosive Eighteen.  It was fabulous, as they all are. I am beginning Hallowed the second in Cynthia Hand’s series that started last year with Unearthly.  Normally, I have at least three books going, but my hard drive crashed recently, and I lost everything I have ever written (gasp, bawls, dies), so I’m busy making up all those lost pages and piecing things together from email.  I have limited time for reading comparatively *wipes tears*.

Which authors (living or dead) would you consider as your personal writing influences?
There are so many amazing writers out there today that I admire.  I love Janet Evanovich for her quick wit and outstanding humor. I love Maggie Steifvater for her beautiful words. I love Becca Fitzpatrick for her vivid storytelling. That doesn’t begin to touch on all the debut authors I read and loved in 2011.  To go all 100 years ago on you, I’d also love to talk with Emily Dickenson. I cannot imagine being a writer before the Internet, when it was a solitary affair. Who would you talk to? No one, I’m guessing, because women were barely treated as people let alone given any respect as writers. She had a lonely life pursuing her dream. I think of her when I’m wallowing in rejections or self-pity.  I have a whole world (literally) of writers at my fingertips to pick me up when I’m down.

What is your "all time favorite" book, and why?
Well, I have to say my favorite book is Twilight. Ugh, I know, collective groan, but let me explain!  Until I saw Twilight on Pay Per View, I hadn’t read a book in ages that wasn’t about parenting or homeschool.  Twilight caught my attention and pulled me back into my love of all things literary.  I am eternally grateful I saw that movie, or I might never have picked up the book. *shudder*  What would I be doing today if not writing? I never would’ve met my awesome author friends like YOU!

Can you name a book you wished you'd written, and why?
Nope.  Let me tell you why - LOL!  I think that, as writers, we are specially gifted with experience and perspective to tell our stories in ways that only we can.  If I had written my favorite book, it wouldn’t have been the same at all.  I’m thankful every day for the flooded literary market because it allows me to see unlimited stories through the eyes of the world. My small rural Ohio perspective couldn’t begin to do so many stories justice.

Julie, if you were to write an autobiography about your life thus far, what would the title be?
Oh, my autobiography is already written. It’s the Cinderella story. My life was crazy and not in the fun way for 25 years. Then I met my husband and everything slowed down. He has been my knight in shining armor and my prince from day one. I am blessed and lucky that he saw something in a bar-dancing grad student and asked her out. I had a bare midriff, a belly button piercing, a bad attitude and a 3.97 GPA. I guess it intrigued him -  LOL - and, the rest is history.  Today my life is my own personal fairytale.

What are your future writing goals; what's next?
Wow!  I think everything is yet to come. I have three romance novellas coming this year to Honey Creek and another novel-length sweet coming next year for this line as well.  My debut novel, Death by Chocolate releases late in March, and I have lots of fun events scheduled around Ohio and the web for that.  I have a YA with my agent and am writing a cozy mystery.  The Death by Chocolate sequel will come early next year.  There’re just so many wonderful possibilities around every corner. I excited to see what will happen next!  If you have a moment to get away, I hope you’ll visit Honey Creek.  It’s a beautiful place where anything can happen. Kick off your shoes, relax into that porch swing and cuddle up to a steamy mug of cider. Taking a trip to Honey Creek is as easy as Amazon : ) See you there!

Bloom by Julie Anne Lindsey
In a town filled with her past, she never expected to find her future…
Seven years ago Cynthia left Honey Creek with a broken heart. Three years ago Mitchell arrived with one.  Now Cynthia’s come home, and these two hardened hearts can’t stop arguing. If they’d only take a break long enough to find some common ground, they might be surprised to find love can grow anywhere.  If they’ll let it, love will find a way to Bloom.

Bloom is Book One in my new Seeds of Love Series.  I'll be planting those seeds all year!

Be sure to get your copy of BLOOM!

About Julie Anne Lindsay:
I am a mother of three, wife of a sane person, and Ring Master at the Lindsey Circus. Most days you'll find me online, amped up on caffeine & wielding a book.

You can find my blogging about the writer life at Musings from the Slush Pile
Tweeting my crazy at @JulieALindsey
Reading to soothe my obsession on Goodreads
And other books by me on Amazon

Thank you, Julie, and here's wishing you all the success in the world for 2012!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Family Day" in Ontario, Canada

"Family Day" is a provincial holiday in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, Canada on the third Monday in February. In the province of Manitoba, it's a general holiday, known as "Louis Riel Day." Whatever you call it, Family Day is a welcome respite between the Christmas/New Year holiday and Good Friday/Easter, in a month where it seems the winter will never end (although this has been a relatively mild winter!).

The idea of Family Day is to celebrate the importance of your family; to take part in activities that promote family life and togetherness. Some families go skating, tobogganing, skiing, or other outdoor pursuits, while many visit the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Ontario Science Centre, or the awesome Metro Toronto Zoo.

However, in my family, it's usually a day of sleeping late, enjoying a long, leisurely brunch, and then everyone scattering to the four winds to do our own things such as walking the dogs, watching movies, baking, reading (of course!), and catching up on some much needed sleep.

Whatever you like to do, have a great Family Day!

What are you doing on Family Day 2012?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Voice - Whitney Houston

I'm so saddened by the untimely death of "The Voice - Whitney Houston."

Although I didn't know Ms. Houston personally, we were only three years apart in age, and I remember her explosion onto the music scene as a young adult, and I watched (and listened to) her meteoric rise to the top.

During the 80's, you couldn't listen to the radio for long without hearing one of Whitney Houston's many hits.  Some of my favs: "Saving All My Love for You," "I Look to You," "Exhale (Shoop)," "I Have Nothing," and my absolute fav, "Run To You."

Although there were other singers with Ms. Houston's level of talent (Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, k.d. Lang, Kate Bush, Gloria Estefan, Agnetha Faltskog & Anni-Frid Lyngstad (the ABBA ladies), and more recently, Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, and Christina Aguilera, but to name a few) I felt there was something about Whitney's voice that contained the most emotion and soul, as well as the most amazing control and range - the "gold standard," if you will.  And, I loved that she always looked so stunning and regal.  In short, she made it look and sound easy.

Beautiful and mega-talented, to me, Whitney Houston has always been "The Voice."  My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.

What's your favorite Whitney song?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Read The Love: Happy Valentine's Day 2012!

In honor of Valentine's Day, my young adult paranormal romance, WIND (Kindle Edition), is now available for only $0.99 until Valentine's Day (February 14th).

Happy St. Valentine's Day, from me to you.  Read the love!

He brushed my cheek with his finger, then turned, and walked down the steps.  I stood, and watched, with my head resting against the cold door, and in a little while Dante had disappeared down the street.  I took a deep breath.  I was fairly sure I was finally standing on the edge of love.
~ Excerpt from WIND by Cynthia Watson 

What are your plans for Valentine's Day?