Laina Turner-Molaski is a business woman, mom, author, Professor, and a major supporter of shopping.  She has an undying love for shoes, coffee, and great company.

With many letters after her name and a ton of student loan debt, she is always working to pay the bills.  While she enjoys her day job, her passion is writing, and she uses her spare time writing or working on her social website for women,  She is hoping to sell enough of her books to buy her own private island and retire.

Laina is currently living in Indiana, with her family, and is always writing something, whether it’s blogs, articles, business journals and books or ideas for her next novel. She is continuously doing what she loves which is writing or drinking coffee.  You can learn more about her on her website at, follow her on twitter @lturnermolaski, facebook or

Why did you become a non-fiction writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

I have always wanted to be a writer and because I enjoy experiencing a variety of things I enjoy writing about a variety of things.  I am also a college professor by day and I think that also inspires me to write about nonfiction.  I like true stories.

What was the inspiration for your latest work of non-fiction?

This book, Chiczofrenia – crazy is an art form, evolved out of a difficult time in my life. I started writing as a therapeutic process and when discussing it with a friend of mine she suggested that I turn it in a book.  That I surely wasn’t the only women to feel the way I was feeling and maybe it would be helpful for others to read what I was going through.

What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books? 

For Chiczofrenia, I asked for other women to contribute.  I wanted to get women from all walks of life that did have similar obstacles in life with a positive outcome.  I felt this would enhance the audience for my book.  Make it more meaningful.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many amazing women.

Where do you go to do your research?  

I use a lot of social networks.  From Linked In, to Facebook, I also use HARO (Help a reporter out).  I asked my current network who they might know that fits the demographic of who I am looking for.  I have been amazed time and time again at how many people out there are willing to share.

How do you go from an idea for a book to its completion?  Is the process the same for every book you write?  How long does it take you to write a book? 

I don’t know if it’s because of my academic background or not but I am one of those who writes from an outline.  I get my idea then I brainstorm other ideas and start to try and organize the thoughts.  I then just start writing to the outline.  I go start to finish on the outline making notes of other tangent ideas I have to come back to.  When I have finished that first rough, rough draft I then re-read seeing where I can fit those “tangent “ ideas and start the process over.  I followed this method when writing my dissertation, nonfiction, and fiction books.  It just works for me.

Are you currently working on any new book projects?

Yes.  I am very passionate about promoting awareness for the disease Multiple Sclerosis and am putting the finishing details on a book of stories from people with MS. The purpose of this book is to hopefully inspire and educate others.  The book will be released March 14th, 2011 in conjunction with national MS week.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a non-fiction book?  Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published? 

My biggest pieces of advice would be research and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  With nonfiction I feel you need to be passionate about your subject matter and be able to convey that to your reader. Knowing as much as you can makes you knowledgeable and confident.

Promotion wise you first need to have a platform to accompany your book.  Start working that platform, getting your name out there, and make people aware as soon as you start the book writing process.  Do NOT wait until your book is done to start this.  You want to get people excited and build your credibility for the topic.  You can’t start that soon enough.

What’s your writing schedule like?  When do you find time to write?

I do have a full-time job as a college professor so I write during what I like to call second shift, which starts about 9:30pm after my kids are in bed.  I am more creative early in the morning so I do my brainstorming then and then buckle down and crank out the words at night.

How did you find your publisher?  What was your journey to publication like?

After much research and soliciting advice from agents and publishers at conferences I decided to go my own way and I formed a publishing company called Five Seas Ink.  My original intent was to just publish my own works but have since picked up other authors.  I will be publishing two authors this spring and have a few more interested.  I am a business woman and knew I could take my business skill and apply it to my book selling.  I spend just as much time, if not more, on the marketing and promoting of my work (and soon others).  It is hard but worth it.  My biggest piece of advice here is no matter if you self publish or go the traditional route don’t give up.  It’s hard but if you are persistent it will pay off.

Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies? 

I edit in long hand and it can’t be in blue or black ink.  I like color. Especially green fine tip sharpies.

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you?

Right now it’s time.  I would spend all my time on it if I could but I can’t.  Yet.  I am determined to create success this year that will allow me to write as my full time job.

Please share some information on your books.  We’d love to find out more about your work.

Stilettos and Scoundrels   

Presley Thurman, a sassy, thirty-something red head, was looking to reinvent herself.  She didn’t allow the fact she was recently fired to bother her - she was ready to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a writer.  Presley was a lover of shopping and Starbucks, and even though she sometimes had bad taste in men, she always had great taste in clothes.

However, the new writing job turned into something unexpected when the U.S. Senator she was slated to write about was murdered - in her home town!  Presley was determined (not to mention curious) to find the killer and write her story.  After all, she couldn’t afford her shoe habit without a job and she was certainly not one to shy away from danger.  Presley was able to discover the Senator’s wife, Helen, had been having an affair… with her best friend’s boyfriend!  Did Helen kill the Senator? Or was it the Senator’s love of gambling that got him killed?  And what was Cooper’s secret tie to the mob boss Garrison Palazzo?

Book: $14.95
ISBN: 0-578-03407-7
E-Book: $9.95 available on Kindle and iTunes,,

Chiczofrenia– crazy is an art form– released January 2011.

Chiczofrenic is the term for the woman who is purposeful and intentional in how crazy her life may be.  The goal with this book is to recognize many women drive themselves crazy, intentionally, by trying to be all they can.  I firmly believe we can have it all.  A great relationship, being a great mom, keeping a good house (if that’s important to you), being a career woman, following your dreams, working out, eating right, and many more.  Women seem to have the knack for how to manage it all and not go crazy.  Women seem to always take on more and more…and are successful at it.

Women have tried forever to pretend they fit in the norm even when the norm wasn’t what they wanted.  I want women to embrace that more - without caring what anyone thinks.  Learn to laugh at your own craziness and be cool at the same time.  Be the strong individual you want to be while looking like a million bucks.

Being a woman is difficult and is a constant evolution and journey of self-discovery.  It’s not always an easy journey and through the process you realize everyone has her own issues.  Her own brand of crazy, which is my own kind of normal.  Crazy but embracing it.

ISBN: 978-0-578-07034-6
Book: $14.95 Available on,
E-Book: $9.95 Available on Kindle and Smashwords

The MS Project – raising awareness for Multiple Sclerosis – due out March 2011.

A collection of stories of people afflicted by MS or who have loved ones afflicted. This book is meant to be informational regarding the disease as experienced by real people and to showcase the amazing strength people find when facing adversity.  A portion of proceeds will go to the MS Society.

Book: $14.95,

But It’s my Business

A necessary business owner’s field guide to avoiding the common pitfalls of owning and running a business, this book is filled with real stories relevant to any business owner.  But It's My Business takes a practical, upbeat and candid look at why, as a business owner, you need to follow some rules but others are made to be broken.  It also discusses how to get the biggest bang for your buck in areas such as your employees, your online presence, creating a brand, and leveraging your finances.

Book $9.99
ISBN #: 0-578-03430-1
E-book $3.00 available on Kindle,,

Laina, thank you so much for stopping by today.  I enjoyed our conversation and loved learning more about you and your work. 
Julie Kimbrell lives in Arkansas with her high school sweetheart and two children. She loves to read but her passion is writing. Not only does she write Adult Contemporary Romances, she recently began YA paranormal romances as well.  Julie primarily writes for Wild Horse Press, but recently signed a contract with Gypsy Shadow Press and will have a short-short story published by GSP in early 2011.

You can reach Julie via e-mail: and her web address is

Julie’s latest work is called In Limbo and is available at 

In Limbo tells the story of two teens, Ashton and Luke, who are best friends.  After the two are involved in a car accident, they are left in a coma and rely on each other to get through the difficulties they face.  Not only do they fall in love, escape from the Soul Seeker and make friends with The Coma Club, Luke and Ashton discover the truth about a family friend and how he caused the death of Luke’s father.

Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

Actually, my mother, Linda Varner Palmer is a published author with Silhouette.  She encouraged me to write about two years ago when I looked to her for ideas on a hobby to pick up.  After that one conversation, my first YA Suspense/Romance novel developed.  It will actually be published in 2011 by WHP.  The name of it is “No Stranger to Fear”.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Completely from my imagination.  I come up with a vision and the characters develop their own personalities then do what they will which turns into my story.

Are you currently working on any new book projects?

Yes, I am working on a Valentines Day Anthology, which will be published by Wild Horse Press.  It’s YA Paranormal and really funny.  It will be alongside Jessie Colter’s “Love Storm” and Linda Palmer’s “E.V.E.R.” in an Anthology called “Calling Cupid”.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book?  Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?

Beginning writers should take their time.  Rushing is my biggest problem.  Make sure all the scenes have closure.  All the problems need solving.  It’s tedious, but self-fulfilling to get one written.  Since I have a full time job, promoting my books are difficult.  I usually post them on Facebook and look for review sites that might be interested in taking a look.

What is your favorite work of literary fiction and why?  Do you have a favorite literary author?

I love all of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.  I also love all the Stephenie Meyer Twilight Series.  Both are absolutely brilliant ideas and excellent writing.  I can’t say I prefer one over the other because they are totally different in relation.

How have your friends and family received your career as an author?  Are they supportive?

Since my mother’s an author, the news of me writing wasn’t that surprising.  My family is very supportive.  When I began writing, my parent’s bought me a Sony E-reader as a “We’re proud of you” present.

Thank you, Julie, for stopping by today.  I enjoyed our conversation!
Staring at a mountain in your life can become pretty daunting.  If you are not careful, you’ll get discouraged and think you can never ever climb that mountain and then cross to the next valley.  That’s when; digging deep inside yourself to find the courage to continue to the valley of your dreams is the answer.  For me, faith is the first step to getting at the answer of how to traverse the mountain pass.  If I don’t have faith that God is watching out for me and has a plan, then I’m walking in my own strength. 

My mom used to always tell me that where there’s a will, there’s a way.  I truly believe she was right in drilling that into my mind and heart.  If I don’t have a desire to succeed and strive for success, how will I ever cross that mountain? 

However, willpower is not the only ingredient needed to trek through that mountain pass.  You need climbing gear and food and to basically be prepared for the unexpected.  In your writing life, you need the same thing.  Have you studied and learned your craft?  Are you keeping current on all the best marketing strategies?  What about your emotional needs for encouragement ~ have you linked up with other authors who can provide that encouragement to you? 

If you are prepared with your power pack and have the will power to succeed, your trek through the mountain won’t be easy, but you will make it to the valley of your dreams.  Even if you don't see results right away, keep going; because if you don't, you'll surely never see any results at all.


I really want to encourage other authors to keep going to achieve their dreams, even when the going gets tough.  On Wednesdays on my blog, I’d like to share inspiring stories from other authors who have been successful and achieved success making it over the hurdles in their way. 

If you are an author who would like to share an encouraging story about your writing career, please contact me.  I would love to schedule you for a guest post on my blog.  Have a blessed day! 

Penny Zeller is the author of several books and numerous magazine articles in national and regional publications.  She also writes the humor blog “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author” (,is an active volunteer in her community, serving as a women’s Bible study small-group leader and co-organizing a women’s prayer group.  Her passion is to use the gift of the written word to glorify God and to benefit His Kingdom.  She devotes her time to assisting and nurturing women and children into a closer relationship with Christ.  When she’s not dreaming up new characters for books, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and camping, hiking, canoeing, gardening, and playing volleyball.

Penny’s most recent book,
McKenzie, was released in September 2010 by Whitaker House and is the first in the Montana Skies Series. Her second book in the series, Kaydie, is a touching book of trust and God’s provision, and is scheduled for release in April 2011.

She loves to connect with her readers at her website, blog, on Twitter at, and on Facebook at

Her latest book is titled McKenzie and is the first in The Montana Skies Historical Romance Series. Here is a short blurb:

Desperation to rescue her younger sister from an abusive husband prompts McKenzie Worthington to run away from her stately Boston home as a mail-order bride for a rancher in the rugged Montana Territory.

Desperation also prompted Zachary Sawyer to post the ad for a bride, and he eagerly awaits the woman God has chosen for his wife.

When they meet, McKenzie tries to keep her distance, but she can't help feeling attracted to Zach and his selfless ways.  What will become of her plan to annul the marriage when she finds her sister?

Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

I was bitten by the writing bug at age seven when I began writing Bible stories in my own words.  (I suppose you could call it grade-school commentary!)  My second grade teacher, Mrs. Vernon, encouraged me to continue writing about Jesus.  In fourth grade, I began to write fiction stories about a dog named Muffie and her adventures, as well as, other short stories neatly composed in homemade wallpaper-covered cardboard books.  I loved telling stories at a young age and enjoyed sharing those stories with my sister and cousin.  In fifth grade, I won in the Young Authors contest at our school and had my first poem published in a children’s magazine shortly thereafter.  My parents bought me my first typewriter (ok, I’m dating myself!) when I was 10 years old.  I would sit and type up stories on that electric gray typewriter for hours on end.

In November of 2000, I gave my writing to the Lord.  I quit my full time job with a social service agency to stay home with my infant daughter.  That was the start of my writing career, beginning with numerous magazine articles in national and regional publications. My first book, a children’s book about food allergies was published in 2003.  I am humbled that God has called me into a ministry of writing. I speak from experience when I say that when He closes one door, He opens a (much better) one and I firmly believe that if God calls you, He will guide you.

Years later, my inspiration continues to come from the Lord and I pray daily that the path I have chosen in life will glorify Him.  I get ideas from the Scriptures often and I build my book around certain biblical themes, such as, forgiveness and redemption.  My Christian characters pray and seek God for direction.  And as a writer I am in constant prayer for wisdom, guidance, and that my books would be life-changing – that they would bring others to the Lord or closer to the Lord.  Writing is my ministry, and I have chosen Psalm 19:14 as my life verse: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?

My family and I were in a car accident a couple years ago where I suffered neck and leg injuries.  During that time period of seven months, I was also hit with back-to-back bacterial infections.  Because of the injuries and illness, I was pretty much homebound and my active athletic lifestyle suddenly became limited.  I look back now and praise God that He gave me McKenzie, as well as two other manuscripts (another historical and a contemporary) I wrote in that seven month period of pain and illness.  God took what was a difficult time for me and turned it around to something positive that can be used for His Kingdom – taking the time to write the books that I had always wanted to write.  He has since healed me and I pray daily that the path I have chosen in life will glorify Him.  I think that’s why Jeremiah 29:11, which says, “’For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” is so close to my heart.

Where do you go to do your research?

I do a lot of research online, but also at our local library.  I also include Scripture in my books and spend a lot of time in the Bible allowing God to guide me to the glorious words from His Book that I should include in my novels.

Are you currently working on any new book projects?

The second book in my Montana Skies Historical Romance Series is set for release in April 2011.  Below is a short blurb: For the first time in years, Kaydie Worthington Kraemer can breathe easily.  Although she is still haunted by memories of her abusive husband, Darius, she takes comfort in knowing the man is dead.  Staying with her sister McKenzie and brother-in-law, Zach Sawyer, at their ranch, Kaydie is still wary of men, especially now that she has another life inside of her to protect.  As she looks forward to her baby's birth, she builds a protective wall around herself that won't be easy to tear down.

Ranch hand Jonah Dickenson views his boss, Zach, like a brother.  He does not, however, envy Zach's new role as a husband.  Deserted by his mother at a young age and forever despised and rejected by his own father, Jonah has few close relationships.  But there's something about Kaydie that draws him to her and makes him question his decision to remain a bachelor.

When Cedric Van Aulst, an old friend of Kaydie's, comes to town, an unforeseen prospect of marriage arises.  Cedric is someone Kaydie trusts.  Will she settle for a safe union with him, or can she trust God to guard her heart and her life in the arms of Jonah?

(A side note: readers can read the first two chapters of
Kaydie in the back of McKenzie).

I am currently working on Book Three in my Montana Skies Series, which will take fans of the series into the lives of more Pine Haven characters and a glimpse at the main character’s chance for love in an unexpected place!  I am also starting a new series that takes place in the Civil War era.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book?  Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?

For those writers wanting to write a book, I would encourage them to pray for guidance, write in a genre similar to what they enjoy reading, find a mentor, join a writing group, and begin by writing magazine articles and/or short stories.

Promoting your book is the hardest of all – I always say that after the book is published is when the real work begins!  It’s critical to set up a web presence – design or hire someone to design a website for you, open a Twitter account with your book’s picture as the background, and open up an account on Facebook and also a fan page.  Shoutlife is a Christian Facebook of sorts and is also a great promotional tool that allows you to blog, post your book’s photos on the site, and post events. A blog is very necessary and free ones are available through Wordpress or Blogspot.  Also, join a local writing group and/or an online writer’s group, such as ACFW and become a member of online groups, such as acfwyahoogroups where you can gain much benefit from networking.  Plan to do giveaways on your blog and on the blogs of others.  Networking is important for promotion.  Find bloggers who interview/review books and ask if they would interview you or feature your book on their site.  I have found that some of the nicest people to work with are bloggers! Plan to do some book signings and other events around your community.  One final note, join forces with other Christian writers.  After all, we are all working for the same Boss!

What’s your writing schedule like?  When do you find time to write?

I think this is one of the biggest challenges of being a writer.  Our lives are so busy and to add a writing career on top of that is nearly impossible at times.  I have posted my writing hours on my office door, not so much for visitors, but for myself.  It reminds me that if I don’t set time aside for my writing, it will be spent doing a host of other “necessary” things. I have to be deliberate about putting aside time for my writing.  I also work while my children are in school and then quit for the day when they come home.  My husband and my children are my main ministry, so they are most important.  I spend a lot of time in prayer seeking God’s guidance in using my time wisely.  Keeping priorities in perspective is so important.

How have your friends and family received your career as an author?  Are they supportive?

I don’t know what I would do without my husband, Lon, and my daughters.  They are incredibly supportive of me, as are my friends. In order to succeed in the writing ministry, family and friend support is imperative.

Penny, thank you for stopping by today…I enjoyed our conversation!
I have just completed the Bible study questions for Mr. Shipley’s Governess.  You can download the free PDF file with the study guide on my books page of this website.    

These study questions should be used in conjunction with reading Mr. Shipley’s Governess.  Each of the four sections, dealing with grief, faith, God’s plan for your life and healing, can be utilized for a single Bible study meeting.  There is a main scripture verse, followed by discussion questions.  I have listed scriptures for further reading on each topic and an inspirational word, then a prayer focus. 

I pray for God’s blessing upon your lives and that my book will impact you in some way. 

God bless,


Some people have the gift of editing and others have the gift of writing.  Some people have both gifts.  I find myself somewhere in the middle.  I love to write.  I feel that I am a better writer, than editor; however, I know that having my work edited by a professional will make me a better writer, if I learn from my mistakes.

Since I started writing in High School, I have grown by leaps and bounds as a writer, but that’s only because I’ve been open to instruction through editing.  I went to college and have an English degree.  I did well in school and went on to the business of PR.  When I finally got around to taking my writing seriously and finished my first book, I searched for a publisher.  At the time, I did not have the funds to have my book professionally edited.  Of course, I did my own edits and had some other friends (who are pretty good at editing, but not professional), review it as well.  The publisher I worked with did not have a good editing system; they really had no system in place at all.  I know my book was not polished, but I use that as a stepping stone. 

My current book has been through many edits of my own.  I submitted it to one publishing company that gave me a contract and they had an awesome editor that opened my eyes to major issues I had.  I learned a great deal from that editor.  That publishing company went out of business before my book was published.  I’m with a great company now and I just finished reviewing the current edits that my publisher did on my book.  It was another eye-opening experience.  I learned so much more.

After these two major overhauls on my book, I feel that Mr. Shipley’s Governess is finally ready to take on the world! 

During the first major overhaul of my manuscript, I learned that I had an issue with POV.  I kept head hopping between characters.  Once that was shown to me, I worked hard and made the necessary changes and the book was one more layer towards completion.  During that review, I also learned that I was going about my plot line wrong.  My book is an inspirational romance and the manuscript was anything but romantic.  I was telling the story, but the characters were on two different continents for a good portion of the story.  Once I realized that they needed to be in more scenes together, the reader is able to feel their story more; another layer completed.  My third problem was that I used passive voice too much instead of active voice.  I fixed that problem and ended up with another one.

During the second major overhaul that I just completed, I realized that as I was revising the manuscript to use more active voice, I removed the passive voice, but that meant that I was now starting too many sentences with “he, he, he and she, she, she.”  I was so focused on the action verbs that I didn’t realize I was losing the flow of the paragraphs.  So, the problem is now solved and I thank my editors at the publishing company for showing me that writing flaw.  The other major flaw that I had in my writing was that I used too many “said’s” in the dialogue.  For example, Mr. Shipley said, “Wait, I’ll be right there.”  I learned that it’s better to rephrase that.  Mr. Shipley stood up from his desk.  “Wait, I’ll be right there.”  The latter definitely makes the dialogue sequences have more action and follows the mantra of show, don’t tell.  Once I rephrased my dialogue sequences, it was amazing to me what a difference it made.

If you are a beginning writer, it is so important for you to have a professional editor review your work.  If you can’t afford to hire an editor, do your own homework and make sure you have good POV and don’t head hop.  You need to use active, rather than passive voice.  Steer clear of repeating words and starting sentences with he/she all the time.  Make your dialogue into great action sequences.  Keep your plot lines strong with characters that change and grow with the story.  Don’t let the plot become convoluted.    

Always be open to instruction from editors.  If they see a problem, address it.  Once you’ve taken an open-minded look at their suggestions, if you don’t agree, fine, then walk away from their suggestions.  However, if you want to be successful, be open to constructive criticism.  That’s the only way to improve your writing and grow in your craft.  Your readers will thank you!     

The willing suspension of disbelief was first utilized by the English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  Basically, if a writer can impart a human element and an aspect of truth into the story, the reader will be drawn in and willingly suspend their disbelief and fully engage in the far-fetched tale. 

Isn’t that why we read fiction novels and short stories and go to see movies?  We want to be entertained and forget about our lives for the moment and transport to another world.  Of course, when you are writing, you always want to get the facts straight and keep those in order so that your readers believe your words.  However, when you write something fantastical or paranormal, you have more license with your story telling, provided you create a believable human element to your story. 

No matter what you write about, if you don’t have a compelling human element, your readers will not be drawn into the story and they won’t willingly suspend their disbelief and walk with you on the journey that could be great if your human element was great. 

One of my favorite aspects of writing a book is to create compelling characters.  I want them to captivate the readers from the moment they meet them and read the first description or first bit of dialogue.  I want my characters to be three-dimensional.  Even if you have the best plot, if your characters are not compelling, your story will fall flat and leave the reader wanting more. 

One-dimensional characters are only fillers and you usually will not have many of these.  They exist as a necessary means to move certain aspects of the plot forward.  For example, in my book, Mr. Shipley’s Governess, my protagonist walked to the post office to get the mail.  She met a woman outside and just said hello and also spoke to the Postman.  They were necessary one-dimensional characters, not heard of again in the rest of the novel. 

In most short stories, the characters are two-dimensional and readers do not see much personal growth because these characters are only supposed to move the plot line forward.  In the short story, the plot is the star, not the characters. 

In a novel, the characters take center stage and it is through them that the reader is drawn into the story and the characters drive the plot.  The human element must be real in a novel; otherwise, the readers will not connect with the characters and thus they will soon tire of the novel.  Three-dimensional characters must have a past, live in the present and look towards the future.  They must exhibit believable emotions, even if the story line is fantastical.  If the emotions are raw and real, the reader will truly bond with the characters and become totally engrossed in the story. 

Especially when writing a romance novel, the writer should focus on the two main protagonists, the romantic interests.  Other characters will be secondary; although, contrary to the short story, these two-dimensional characters will have to be fleshed out to some degree to make them work well in the novel.  If you are writing a mystery novel, you will still have only a few (one to three) main characters, but you also need to focus in on making certain your secondary characters have some depth.  However, never rob your protagonists of the center stage.  They are the ones that your readers will focus most attention on and rightly so. 

Keep your facts straight and you’ll get points with your readers.  Take time to edit your work so that grammar mistakes and misspellings do not distract your readers.  Create a gripping plot that will keep your readers turning the pages.  However, most of all keep the human element as the highest priority and create compelling characters that your readers will relate to and come to call friends. 

Lila Munro is a writer of contemporary romance currently residing on the coast of North Carolina. She is a military wife and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past fourteen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. Her previous works include The Executive Officer’s Wife, Bound By Trust, and Destiny’s Fire. Anthology work includes a piece in All I Want for Christmas is Redemption. She loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted via her website, her joint effort website or through Facebook at

Said Wendy from Happily Ever After Reviews about Bound By Trust:

Let me say, I loved the book and I fell in love with the characters. Their story is so realistic I felt as if they were my friends. Through all the hardships, Rafe is a man who Madi learned to depend on and love again. He made her feel like a woman cherished while teaching her what she craves is right in his arms. Theirs is a true love story with their share of disagreements and trials. The story had me from the first paragraph and is a must read if you want a real man falling in love with a real woman. 5 Teacups.

Other Authors—Our Friends, Our Support System, Our Life Preservers

As I was going over Joanne’s suggested topics for today’s post, it struck me that a couple of them overlapped in my mind. For you see, the best I can give a novice writer actually has to do with networking with other writers. Writing can be a very lonely business. Most of the time, it’s just you and your keyboard busily hacking out an existence in the literary world either by keeping up with blogs, sending out for reviews, guesting for someone, or actually working on a manuscript, which seems to get the least attention these days in comparison to the marketing side of things. But the loneliness and frustrations can be eased with the help of a few good authors. Someone said to me a few days ago that another writer in his genre was his competition. I get to politely disagree. Other writers are not only our friends and can ease the loneliness of the trade; they are a well spring of information.

When I first started out I had absolutely no idea what I was doing as far as promoting and marketing were concerned. Then I started researching and found a few good resources, but the more I dug and the more people I met the more I realized that if only asked, these other more experienced writers knew what to do and where to go. Once I began networking, the whole business seemed less daunting. I found that most were willing to share their resources as long as I asked politely and offered thanks. That’s how I found out how to devise a proper review request, how to secure guest blogging spots, and where to go for free promo opps. They knew the best blogs to subscribe to, the best newsletters to have sent to the old inbox, and they knew which people to avoid. Yes, there are people out there that warrant avoiding. They are difficult to work with and don’t do what they say they will. If you have a heads up in advance to them, it saves you a lot of time and effort. That’s not to say that the good people outweigh them by tons.

Aside from resource management and learning the tricks of the trade, other authors are a must in the survival of this game because only they understand what you are going through. The frustrations, the ups and downs, the joys and triumphs, and the loneliness. One of the highlights of my career has been to work with other writers on group projects. It’s a great way to hone your skills as well as gain perspective on sub-genres you may never have considered before. That happened when I worked on a paranormal Christmas anthology and again while working on a new project due out in the spring through Rebel Ink Press. Both works were a joy and a tremendous learning process.

The best advice I can give a novice writer today, network with other authors. Make friends and swap ideas with them. Communicate with others that understand you and I promise you won’t be sorry.

Now I’d like to introduce you to my new novel that will be hitting e-shelves tomorrow, January 18, at ARe through Rebel Ink Press for $5.99. It is a 58,000 word contemporary romance with erotic overtones and is entitled A Slower Lower Love.

Here’s a bit about the story:

When running isn’t the answer,

      Cait O’Kelley loved Bryce Delaney with all her heart. But loving him scared the hell out of her. She didn’t want to settle for being married to a cop and having his children. She wanted more. Unfortunately, more came with a price. After leaving her small home town for more glamorous life and working her way up the corporate ladder, a whirlwind affair with the boss’s son tears her world apart. On the brink of losing everything she’s worked for, she had to make a decision.

and going back seems impossible,

       After eight years of living without her, Bryce finds himself tasked with the job of watching over Cait during her week long stay at her parent’s beach house in Bethany. She’s come there to sort her life out and while she’s contemplating her future, they discover the fireworks are still there. But can they ever go back to where they once were? As his secrets begin to surface, he sees only one way to save her. He disappears without a trace leaving Cait behind to pick up the pieces and deal with a whole host of new problems. One of which she can’t explain away or hide.

can you find middle ground?

      With Bryce out of the picture, his brother, Kurt, finds what he’s wanted a lifetime handed to him on a silver platter. After watching Cait and Bryce toy with each other for fifteen years, he steps up to the plate. He’s always wanted her and now is his chance. But is he strong enough to ground Cait and keep her from making yet another mistake? Which brother will win her heart and show her that a slower lower love is enough?

I’d like to share a short excerpt with your readers, Joanne. I hope they enjoy it.

     The sound of seagulls screeching like nails on a chalkboard pulled Cait out of the peaceful place somewhere between sleep and wake she’d been dozing in and out of most of the morning.  The raucous cacophony was far too close for comfort.  Pushing up on her forearms in the warm soft sand, she peeled her eyes open.  A summer browned boy that looked to be around ten or eleven stood a few yards away with a clear plastic bag full of bread crusts.  The band of ivory and gray birds dipping and swooping behind him cast shadows over her and her fluffy yellow beach towel.  Did the boy have no sense at all?  Probably the offspring of interlopers, he obviously didn’t realize the scavenging birds would never leave if you fed them just once.

       “Hey, kid,” she shouted. “Go somewhere else with your bag of bread.”

      She didn’t want to share her space with a child and his flock of motley birds. Why wasn’t he back in school anyway?  It was well past Labor Day.

       He glanced over at her, pulled a piece of crust from the bag, and waved it in the air blatantly ignoring her wishes to be left alone. 

Hating to be taunted, she started to get up. “I said get down the beach you scrawny urchin, this isn’t public access, so go.”

        After watching him dart away with the gulls not far behind, she lowered herself back on her towel and closed her eyes again.  She’d come here to rest and try to piece her life back together, not deal with truants. 

       It was her mother’s suggestion that she take a week at the beach house after the last holiday weekend of summer.  She’d finally agreed after giving the idea some serious pause.  There were too many memories here she didn’t particularly care to rehash.  It had seemed at the time, however, a better alternative than being secluded in her town home for one more day alone. But if her first morning was any indication as to what her stay was going to be like, she might well change her mind and go back to Baltimore before sundown.

        For now, at least, here she was.  The very place that eight years ago she’d absconded like it was infested with the plague.  Fled for a life outside the confines of small town life to anywhere bigger USA. 

        It just happened that anywhere bigger at the time was Pittsburgh.  She’d found a job and earned a degree at the university.  Then she’d gone on to land a gig at one of the nation’s biggest marketing firms in Baltimore.  After working her way up from the mail room, she’d been in charge of some very affluent client accounts.  Always looking for more though, that hadn’t been enough fast enough.  No.  She wanted everything, and everything came with a price. 

       After practically throwing herself on him, she’d landed the bosses son.  As far as Jamison Curtis and all their friends were concerned, they were a match made in heaven.  They both had good heads for business and eyes on the brass ring attitudes, and after a brief courtship they had been engaged to be married.  

       They weren’t a match made in heaven in her book though.  He wasn’t much for wild abandon in the sack. In fact, he was more the missionary type, though she could concede it was usually satisfying enough.  He liked the opera, while she preferred alternative rock. He wanted steak every night and she would have chosen boiled crabs anytime.  On top of all that, she’d known she didn’t love him.  What did she expect hooking up with someone that wasn’t raised on the eastern shore, south of the Mason Dixon, where life was simpler?  But wasn’t that what she had run from all that time ago? 

        For her he was just a mere rung on the ladder of success, the toll to a better life.  At least that was what she believed until three months ago when it all came crashing down around her like a skyscraper after an earthquake.         

        Feelings complicated things, and she didn’t want complicated.  He, however, had apparently let himself fall hopelessly in love with her and it wasn’t until their engagement party at a five star hotel on the inner harbor that she fully realized that. She overheard him talking to his brother and inadvertently discovered how he couldn’t wait until they honeymooned in Paris, and actually hoped they came home expecting their first born.  That she hadn’t counted on.  After Jamison left Haden standing on the balcony overlooking the harbor, she had confronted him. They had already had the children or no children discussion and she had made it perfectly clear that they weren’t in the equation for her right now, and maybe indefinitely.

       That led to an argument right there in the ballroom that escalated until all she heard was the sound of their two voices reaching a piercing pitch.  The band had stopped playing and all their friends ceased what they were doing to stare at them there in the middle of the floor spearing each other through with glaring eyes.  The silence had been even more clamorous than the sound of their arguing.  That was the point at which the relationship had snapped in two like a dry twig.  Pop!  It was over.

       She’d composed herself and tried to salvage some of her dignity.  After apologizing to their guests, she made a hasty exit to take a cab home. Like a coward, she left Jamison there to put out the blaze she knew would consume Curtis Industries by Monday morning.

        After ignoring his calls all day Sunday, the phone finally quit ringing.  He hadn’t bothered leaving any messages.  Nothing he could say, and nothing she could do, would make things right anyway.  She’d torn another man down and crushed him.  Only this time she was a grown woman and it was no longer a game of hurt feelings.  Her livelihood would be affected by her stupid selfish actions.

        Monday morning she’d slipped into the Curtis building downtown under the cover of pre-dawn.  It only took minutes to clear her desk and type out her resignation.  She knew she could never set foot in the office again, and even if she could face the humiliation of it, chances were she’d be fired and asked to leave.  After depositing the letter on Jamison’s desk, and laying the two carat Marquis cut engagement ring on top of it, she left like the coward she was and went home to try to figure out what to do next.

         Three months later, she still hadn’t figured it out.  She had no job, no Christmas wedding to plan, and, if the tides of fate didn’t turn in her favor soon and leave some source of income at her doorstep, she would soon have no gorgeous town home.  Her emergency funds were vaporizing and she had received so many rejection notices from prospective employers that she now suspected the elder Curtis of blackballing her all over Baltimore and a few other choice cities. 

        She squirmed around on her towel trying to root out a lump under her right shoulder and let out a loud sigh when she felt another shadow fall across her.  That damn kid!  She shot up fully ready to march him off and leave him with his absent parents, wherever that was.  But when she looked up, instead of a four foot tall tow headed boy, a six foot tall dark haired man stood over her in blue board shorts with a matching towel slung over a very muscular shoulder.  The sun wasn’t at its midday point yet and fell behind him shadowing his features, but she could plainly see that he was stacked to the nines.  He sported chiseled biceps, his abs looked like a washboard, and every visible inch of his smooth skin was bronzed.

       “Is this seat taken?” That voice.  She couldn’t see him, but she would recognize that voice anywhere even though the years had deepened it to a low sexy pitch.

        “What are you doing here?” she snapped.

        “The same thing you are, Cait.  Trying to relax.  So do you mind if I join you?”  He started to spread his towel.

        “Yes, I mind.  No, you may not.  Possession is ninth tenths of the law.  I’ve been on this piece of sand since dawn. Therefore, in this case, the law is on my side.” She plopped back down and crossed her arms over her ample breasts. “Now, go away, Bryce, my life is complicated enough as it is.”

         “The law, huh?  In case your mother hasn’t informed you, I’m a cop now. Your whole law thing doesn’t hold water with me.  Have you forgotten our house sits just a few yards from yours?  We co-own this stretch.” He continued to spread his towel and sink into the sand next to her.

        “Fine, suit yourself.  I’m sure it’s no coincidence that we’re here at the same time.  Our mothers made sure of that didn’t they?  I’ll try not to bother you.”  She turned on her stomach and pointed her head in the opposite direction so she wouldn’t have to look at the fine example of a man Bryce Delaney had become.  Her heart had done a familiar flip-flop at hearing him say her name and that really made her mad.  That was the problem with Bryce. He made her feel things she had no business feeling.

Thanks for hosting me today, Joanne. It was a pleasure being here. Your readers may purchase A Slower Lower Love tomorrow morning at

Glad you were able to stop by, today, Lila.  Congratulations on your book release!

Bloom where you are planted is a well-known quote and it came to mind today as I was working from my home office, trying to get a zillion things done and feeling a little overwhelmed as if nothing was getting done.  I was preparing for a status meeting for one of my clients that I do marketing work for and as I listed the weekly stats and updated where we’re at right now with our various projects, I remembered hearing this quote during a political speech several years ago and I stopped to think.

I realized that I can only do what I can do as long as I am also doing everything to my fullest abilities.  Of course I want to do good work.  If I don’t do good work for my marketing clients or in writing my books or marketing my books, that’s not good for me or my clients.  However, this quote made me realize that I need to do everything unto God and try my best and He’ll do the rest.  Bloom where you are planted

I may not be where I want to be right now in regard to having more marketing clients or making the best seller lists, but I need to be content in my current circumstances, while always advancing further and hoping to achieve more success.  If I’m complaining, that’s not going to get me anywhere, but depressed and never blooming into a successful person. 

No matter what I’m doing, I must do it with grace and dignity and try to do my best.  I must make every effort to succeed and grow from my current circumstances.  Even though I hate change, I must learn to embrace it.  Seasons come and seasons go, but as long as I am always trying to grow and become a better person, then I will truly bloom where I am planted

and bring a smile to my Heavenly Father’s face. 
Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 650,000 books in print. She is a member of ACFW and president of the local chapter.

Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon.  Cruising, Galveston, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico.  One day it will be Hawaii and Australia, but probably not at the same time.  Helping other authors become published really floats her boat.  And the high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially her fans.  And she loves chocolate, especially dark chocolate. - Author interviews/Free books - Regular Blogger  - - – Official Fan Page

Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico
By Lena Nelson Dooley
ISBN: 978-1935416746
Summerside Press
Historical Romance

All that glitters is not gold.

It’s 1890, and Golden, New Mexico, is a booming mining town where men far outnumber women.  So when an old wealthy miner named Philip Smith finds himself in need of a nursemaid, he places an ad for a mail-order bride—despite the protests of his friend Jeremiah.  Hoping to escape a perilous situation back East, young Madeline Mercer answers the ad and arrives in town under a cloud of suspicion.  But just as she begins to win over Philip—and Jeremiah himself—the secrets she left behind threaten to follow her to Golden...and tarnish her reputation beyond redemption.

Find Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico on Amazon:

Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

I’ve always written.  I didn’t know that people didn’t write until I married a man who didn’t read of write.  He wasn’t illiterate.  He just didn’t like to do either. He has become an avid reader of Christian suspense, but he still doesn’t write.

In 1984, God told me to become a professional writer.  If your readers want to read the whole story, they can go here:  

What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?

I’ve always loved mail-order-bride stories, but I didn’t want to write the same old, same old.  So I came up with a twist, and the readers have really loved the twist. 

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I’m sure bits and pieces of people I’ve known sometimes creep in.  With my background in drama, both as a director and an actress, I’ve learned to study people and their reactions in different situations.

What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?

This month I finished writing Family Secrets book one in the McKenna’s Daughters series.  This book releases in October 2011.  When trying to get a feel for the setting for Seattle in 1885, the research librarian in the Seattle Public Library system turned me on to a collection of historical photographs that had been scanned back in 2007. The photos from the decade of 1880-1890 were invaluable to me, and I learned several things I was able to incorporate in the story.

Where do you go to do your research? 

I often teach workshops on how to do research.  I use books and the internet.  I’ve learned how to find sites that can be trusted.  Sometimes, I’m able to travel to the location as well.

Are you currently working on any new book projects?

As mentioned above, I’m working on the McKenna’s Daughters series.  I’m starting book two right now.  This one is set near Portland.  This series is about triplet sisters whose mother died giving birth on the last wagon train west.  They’re separated at birth and don’t find out about their sisters until near their 18th birthday.

What’s your writing schedule like?  When do you find time to write?

Since I’m a full-time novelist, I go into my office and put in at least six hours a day for 4, 5, or 6 days a week, according to whether I have a looming deadline or not.  Some of that time is spent maintaining my Internet presence, and some on research, but most is for writing.

How have your friends and family received your career as an author?  Are they supportive?

I have the most supportive, wonderful husband in the world.  He understood God’s call on my life and has supported me emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially over the years.

With my children and grandchildren, it’s been a little different.  They would say, “That’s my mom, or that’s my grandma.  She writes books.”  Only recently have they begun to understand the scope of my fan base and writing community.

At a recent church event, my daughter introduced me this way.  “This is my mom. She’s a famous author.”  That’s probably taking it a little far, but it was fun to hear.

Lena, thank you for stopping by today…I enjoyed our conversation.

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