Current Release: Priestess of the Nile
Describe your current release in two sentences?
Priestess of the Nile is set in 1500 BC Egypt and is the tale of how Sobek the Crocodile God met and fell in love with a human woman, Merys. But of course in the world of paranormal romance nothing can be uncomplicated, the gods have rules about such romances, the goddess Isis is displeased and so the couple face many challenges along the way.
What was your childhood ambition?
I used to want to be the first woman on Mars but I think that dream went away when I hit the hard wall of high school trig and physics classes! Not a science and math person in the least, as it turns out. My day job is in the business area of a major aerospace research institute, so I found a way to keep my hand in just a little bit with outer space after all. I've been involved with the business aspects of projects ranging from interplanetary spacecraft to Mars rovers.I help the true dreamers - the scientists and engineers - to achieve their goal of enriching humanity's knowledge of the universe, in my very minor role, so I'm satisfied.
What is the one thing you do not want to live without?
Actually that would be people, not a thing. I have two grown daughters and a 9 year old live wire of a grandson and they're the heart of my life. As long as I have my family and we're happy and healthy, I can cope with pretty much anything else.
If I must list a thing, I'll go with the internet. Being able to access so much information instantly, to exchange ideas with people all around the globe, to stay on top of events as they happen - priceless! I'd have severe withdrawal pangs if it all went away.
If you could time travel, where would you travel to and why?
Obviously I would love to go visit the world of Ancient Egypt. I'd want to see all the temples and monuments in their original, freshly painted state. Wouldn't it be fun to hop around in time a bit and interview Hatshepsut, the woman who dared to be pharaoh? Or Ahmose, who drove the enemy out of Egypt and reunited the country, setting the stage for hundreds more years of their civilization to flourish? I crave the jewelry (I get to bring home souvenirs right?), the charming boxes and cosmetics jars....I'm totally there.
Please describe your writing environment.
I work in a quiet corner of my house, sitting at an antique drop front desk I inherited from my greatgreatgrandmother. Of course I'm sitting here in my black pleather ergonomic chair and I'm writing on a laptop, but I love the link to the past! I usually have music playing while I write and I just bang away at the keyboard.
What is your favorite TV show?
Currently I'm in love with "Once Upon A Time," the retelling of so many fairy tales, all wrapped deliciously into one package, with the evil queen at its heart. The writers have managed to put a fresh twist on pretty much everything we ever knew about our classic fairy tales. I'm usually watching it while I'm on twitter with fellow romance writers and we're moaning, groaning, complaining and speculating like mad. Adds to the fun!
What are you working on?
I just finished the next book in the connected series, Dancer of the Nile, so while my Critique Partners are going over it for me, I'm editing a science fiction adventure (with a smidgen of romance of course) I had written before. Nothing like a change of pace, as long as the romance remains constant! I have to write as much as I have to breathe so I'm ALWAYS working on something.
How was your road to publication? Have you every had to deal with rejection letters?
I've written since I was seven years old. I still have that self illustrated "novel", in fact. I tried submitting a few short stories to magazines as a high school student - looking back I'm sure they were pretty unpolished. I kept writing but I married young, had two children, was widowed when they were 3 and 5 and so for a number of years I had to concentrate on making a living. Not much time for writing! In the past 2 years I've really dug into learning my craft as a writer.
Last year, while working on something else, I just couldn't stop thinking about the Crocodile God. I'd used him as a minor character in a WIP but he stayed in my mind. What kind of woman would it take to touch his immortal heart? I wrote his story in a weekend, polished it a LOT with help from my beta readers and critique partners, submitted it to Carina Press because they had a call for Egyptian romance at the time and voila, got The Call! Priestess of the Nile will be Published!
I've had rejection letters on other manuscripts. It hurts a bit, but you have to realize publishing is a business, not personal. The best thing is if they choose to provide you any feedback with their rejection letter - that's rare, golden information and much appreciated, given how busy editors are. I keep working on many projects, I'm always submitting to various places because a writer can't have just one egg in their basket. I'm also an eternal optimist!
What has been the best way for you to engage readers? Face to Face / Chatting Online / Twitter / Facebook / Blogging
I discovered that I'm a total twitter addict! Turns out that's my favorite form of social media and I got over 10,000 tweets in pretty short order.I enjoy all the many conversations always going on, and I have friends in vastly different circles now - authors, editors, bloggers, readers, poets, the military and exmilitary community - it's never boring. I also love to blog. I enjoy researching & writing posts, getting the comments. I have a Facebook page I update at least once daily and love to receive feedback there as well. Since my first book is just being published, haven't done much face to face discussion with readers but I'm sure it'll be fun!
What is the best thing about being an author?
I get to share my stories! Since I was a little girl, I've always told myself stories because there were never enough books and movies about the things I was interested in. But now, as an adult, being able to write the stories down, have my heroes and heroines "live" on the pages and hopefully be appreciated by people besides myself is intoxicating. When someone says how much they've enjoyed a scene I wrote, or that they responded to the emotion or challenges facing my characters, well life doesn't get much better!
If you could live in a world created by an author, which book / world would you jump into?
I have ALWAYS said if I could travel to Anne McCaffrey's Pern, home of the Dragon Riders, I'd leave in the next five minutes. Of course I want to be assured that I'd Impress a golden dragon! But nowadays I'm seriously tempted by Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter world - those angels are ruthless but sexy. Hmm, I detect a theme here - flying with sexy men.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be here today, talking about Priestess of the Nile and writing in general!