Wednesday, August 16

#AuthorInterview: Melinda Dozier's #NewRelease

Hey, WordWrangler Readers! We're excited to welcome author Melinda Dozier into the Round Corral today. We're interviewing her first, and then she's going to share a snippet from her new release Time Changes Everything. Welcome, Melinda!

WW: What was the first seed of an idea you had for your book? How did it develop?
Melinda: Time Changes Everything started out as a young adult love story. Then the adult versions of Jake and Amanda spoke to me and said they wanted to be grown ups. So, the story went on from there. It took me about seven years to write this book, so I’m happy to say it was finally published. By the way, the young adult version is the prequel and is free on Smashwords.

WW: What do you keep in mind as you write? An overarching question? A theme? The last line of the book?
Melinda: The characters are always my driving force for my novels. They take charge and force me to write them. The first chapter is what really propels the story forward. Once I have that, then it’s time to plot and plan.

WW: Was there a scene that was more difficult than others? One that you pondered whether or not to include it?
Melinda: Since this was the first novel I ever wrote (and re-released), the sex scene was hard to write. The other scenes were the young adult versions of Jake and Amanda. I didn’t know if it should be a prologue in the book or not. My editor and I opted out of the prologue and got right into the action.

Fast Four:
WW: Sweet or Salty: what's your favorite writing-on-deadline snack?
Melinda: Salty and Lays Potato Chips
WW: Comfort read or literary masterpiece: what's your favorite type of book to read?
Melinda: Comfort read. I usually pull out Jill Shalvis or Kristan Higgins when I just want to relax with a good book.
WW: Smexy or sweet: what is your favorite hero type?
Melinda: Smexy of course! I love alpha heroes, because I think bossy, manly men are hot!
WW: Sassy or vixen: what is your favorite heroine type?
Melinda: Sassy, especially sarcastic ones.

Thanks for visiting with us today, Melinda! Readers, read on for a glimpse inside Time Changes Everything. 

He turned her hand in his and rubbed her palm. “I thought we had something good going on back there.”

“Me too, but I changed my mind.” Amanda pulled her hand from his and stared out the window. She’d been having a good time – maybe too good – but that was before Jessica Rabbit and Bimbo Number Two appeared on the scene.

Jake sighed. “I’ll get your door.” He got out and ran to her side of the car. As he opened the door for
her, he held out his hand.

Amanda ignored him as she got out. I can’t look at him. If I look at him, I’ll melt into his stare. Get out, say goodnight and go home. As the car door closed, she turned and he leaned against the shiny, black fender with his hands in his pockets.

Jake lowered his gaze in confusion. “I hope you had a good time tonight, even though you’re acting like you didn’t.”

Amanda crossed her arms in front of her chest and sighed.

He took a step closer and shook his head, looking hotter than she’d ever seen him. His hands still rested in his pockets and his serious deep-blue eyes stared at her. “You don’t have to be scared of me.”

“I actually don’t trust myself, Jake.” She switched her weight to her other leg and rolled her eyes.

“Why? You think you’re going to jump me?” He chuckled as he took his last step to her. “I wouldn’t mind.” His gaze traveled over her face, as if he were memorizing every freckle.
He wanted more. Hell, she did too. But then what?

“So, you think that after I jump you, all this will go away?” She pointed back and forth. “That this attraction will be out of our system and we can continue to be friends? Is that how it works for you?”

He clasped her body tightly to his, his hands wrapped around the sides of her waist, his breath on her face. “What I know is we’ve passed the line of friendship already, so we should just stop holding back.”

Then he kissed her. Completely. Thoroughly. Long and slow and deep. His lips were perfect and she found herself moving to get a closer touch – if that was possible. His hands roamed her back and warmth shot up her neck and back down to her toes. The man knew what he was doing. Either he was a pure player or his desire ranked up there with her own.

Since her knees wobbled, she balanced her hands on his chest, and before she was ready for it to end, he stepped back and smiled, “See what I mean?”

Amanda Larson is dedicated to her job and doesn't want to make time for anything else. Until she runs into Jake Edwards. He used to be the cute boy next door; now he's a sexy, big shot lawyer.

Jake Edwards isn't interested in commitment. He's successful, sexy, and single--and that's how he likes it. When he reconnects with Amanda, Jake realizes he might have to rethink his philosophy on the carefree, bachelor lifestyle.

But, is it too late for them? Or can he convince her that he's ready to give her his heart?

Book Links:

Author Bio:
Reading romance has always been at the top of Melinda's favorite past times. You can always find a book in her hands no matter where she is.

Melinda is Louisiana born, New Mexico raised, Guatemala adopted, and recently a newcomer to Houston, Texas. So, it's only natural that her stories take place all across the world.

Melinda loves reading, reality TV, traveling, blogging, and playing Zynga games.

Find Melinda on social media at:
Sign up for Melinda's Newsletter:

Tuesday, August 15

Spam...And Not the Meat-In-a-Can-Kind

I'm baffled. My guru for my personal website has done all he can to prevent me from being spammed—you know when some robot trashes your blog with about a hundred comments, selling everything from luggage to t-shirts to medicines to make a body part that I don't even own work better? It seems when I post more frequently than once a week, I end up coming in to clean out a ton of spam. The good news is all comments have to be approved by me, so none of this crap is ever seen by my readers. But geesh, it’s demoralizing to get a note saying “you’ve got 36 new comments,” only to find out I have 5 new comments and 31 spam attempts. So how is it getting through? And is it just the fate of a blogger to deal with this stuff? I don’t like it.

And speaking of things I don’t like… I also don’t like the fact that my personal email is getting spammed as well. This really ticks me off even more because I’m getting ads for…get ready for it…seniors. No kidding! People are trying to sell me hearing aids, for pity’s sake! And deals on senior housing and products to make  my “golden years” more comfortable like walk-in tubs and collapsible canes. Come on! Really? I’m turning 64 next month, not 90!  And how does anyone know to target me anyway? There’s nothing in my email address to indicate how old I am. I don’t remember signing up for any senior deals. Who gave these guys my contact info?

I don't need to be reminded that I'm getting older every minute. Why not send me ads for sexy lingerie, delicious chocolate, or amazing wines? Send me a promo for an incredible deal on a trip to Tuscany or a ski weekend in Vermont or some drop-dead gorgeous CFM shoes.

How about it? Give a girl a break. Don’t tell me how great it would be to prevent my ancient bones from crumbling or or how amazing it is to move my bowels regularly—tell me how wondrous it would be to spend a month in Paris. Okay?

Anybody else getting spammed like crazy? I hope it's not just me...

Monday, August 14

Gifts and givers

I think about gifts...write about them...hug them close sometimes to get through hard days. I've just had a lovely weekend with Duane, going to a place he remembers from childhood and I cherish because I've been there with him so often. The picnic at St. Theresa of Avila Church in Payneville, Kentucky is a gift in and of itself, with great food, a terrible bingo game I've never won even once, and a sense of community that enriches everyone who goes there.

As I work in the office, Duane plays music in the house. Sometimes I sit and just listen, which he doesn't like very much, and watch him. The music he shares lends depth and...yeah...richness to my life.


Being a writer, I think of words as gifts. I've read some powerful ones since we came home from Kentucky today. In case you missed them, go to Kristan Higgins' website and read about her grandfather. And the cross that was burned in his front yard.

Then run over to check in on Tanya Anne Crosby. Read about her mother. And her response to those who would treat her as less.

Did you hear Governor McAuliffe's speech directed at the white supremacists who dot our country with splotches of horror and pain and loss?

Here is yet one more place to visit, that I'm adding in later so it doesn't have a neat, titled link. Don't miss it, though. Don't miss it.

I don't have anything of my own to say today.  Just as the country I love is torn by divisiveness and  intolerance and hate, so I feel torn, too. While I'm as guilty of casting blame as anyone else, I also admit that there are no winners in the blame game.

The best thing any of us can do is be a good neighbor. That would be our best gift of all.

Hi. I'm Liz Flaherty. I hope you're having a great day. Is there anything I can do to help you?

Saturday, August 12

Summer Reading

For a lot of people, summer is a time for reading. What’s better than reading on a blanket at the beach? Or snuggling with a favorite book in a hammock at the cottage? The great thing about reading is that you can do it anywhere. One of my favorite places to read is at home on my deck. And I do a lot of reading on long road trips – print books when my husband is driving and audiobooks when I am.

I’d like to share some of the books I’m reading this summer, and I’d love if you can tell me what you’re reading.

I recently finished ABOUT THAT NIGHT by Julie James. Ms. James is one of my favorites and I love her series about US attorneys and FBI agents, set in Chicago. This one had a great conflict: a US attorney who falls in love with a convicted felon. Fortunately, this felon wasn’t exactly dangerous – he’s a computer genius who blew up Twitter – but his status means he should be off-limits to a US attorney who wants to maintain her squeaky-clean reputation. Unfortunately, he’s the perfect man for her. What’s a girl to do?

I’m in the middle of THE LIAR by Nora Roberts. Shelby discovers that the man she married wasn’t at all who she thought he was. I haven’t read one Ms. Roberts books in a while, and reading this one makes me remember why I gobbled up so many of her books in the past. I love that, through Ms. Roberts writing, I can almost hear the Tennessee accents of the characters. It makes the people come alive for me. Can’t wait to find out how this one ends!

I’ve got another book I’m in the middle of (I really shouldn’t start one book before I finish the last one!). When Celestina finds herself in crippling debt, Ryan makes her an offer: he’ll pay off her debt if she gives herself to him in bed, yielding control completely to him. UNDER CONTRACT by Jeffe Kennedy is BDSM romance. I don’t usually go for the kinky stuff, but Ms. Kennedy is a master at telling erotic love stories. I guess I enjoy it so much because at its heart, it’s a really good love story. I really have to finish this one and I look forward to reading more books by Ms. Kennedy.

Last summer I read SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE by Canadian author Jennifer Robson. I loved it, so when I found a sequel to this World War One story in my local bookstore, I had to pick it up. MOONLIGHT OVER PARIS is set in Paris in 1924. After a failed engagement and an illness that almost kills her, Helena wants to start over someplace where no one knows her. So she goes to Paris to live with her aunt for a year. She wants to break away from the constraints of English society she’s left behind. But is she strong enough to grab the life and love she wants? I can’t wait to start this book. When I finish this one,there's another book in this series that's calling my name. AFTER THE WAR IS OVER tells the story of two characters from SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE. I have to know what happened to them!

I need to get busy reading! What book(s) have you read this summer? What would you like to read?

Friday, August 11

Bad Books and the Reader who Hates Them

Happy Friday Wranglers! My post-RWA Conference weeks have been a flurry of activity and I can’t
believe we’re already well into August! Aside from catching up on my z’s and pondering all my conference learnings, I closed on my mother’s house, sent the kiddos off for their first few days of school, returned to writing on my third book with a surprising amount of renewed focus, and promised hubby I’d start a serious job search this month. So, to recap: yay, yay, YAY, blech. ;-)

But what I really want to talk about today, and which fits nicely with this week’s National Book Lover’s Day, is my renewed interest in reading. I’ve heard it before and it was stated many times during the conference: a good writer is an avid reader. While my current level isn’t anywhere near “avid,” I have been reading these past couple of weeks. For fun. Which means I’m not counting the “How To (Insert Writing Skill)” books I purchased based on the recommendations of the many workshop presenters… you know, the books that will surely kick my career into overdrive just by the sheer fact that I purchased them.

I have been reading actual books. Romance (go figure) books. And my take-away from this renewed experience? PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY GET A GOOD EDITOR!

I know I’ve said this before, and my heart hurts having to scream it again. And maybe I’m just a picky bitch. Oddly enough, this isn’t a traditional vs indie published issue. In fact, the books that were represented by “publishers” seemed to be the worst offenders. And it’s not newbie writers either. I read a range, from new author to established, bestselling author. And, no, I am soooo not going to name names or titles…Just because I winced every time an author breaks one of the many writing commandments I’ve been taught doesn’t mean that another reader won’t be able to look beyond and enjoy the story.

But I truly think the books could have been stronger if they had been more thoroughly edited. One book didn’t even have an editor listed… just a proofreader. Well, that proofreader missed a lot. So much so that my head has a permanent welt from banging it in frustration. In these books, I found spelling errors, little words missing or added (like when if we type to quickly an forget should reread for correctness… see what I did there?), head hopping (seriously, just because the reader can keep up with whose POV we’re in, doesn’t mean an author should hop around with each paragraph), passive sentence and verb structure, flabby writing, blasé verb choices…. The list continues and my reader enjoyment plummets.

Now, I know I’m not perfect. I’m sure my books have errors in them (just as I was about to hit “publish” on my first book, my eye caught a sentence talking about my heroine’s “wonton dreams.” Apparently she was hungry for Chinese food, Lol…). But not because my editor, writer friends, and I didn’t scour the story with a fine-toothed comb to prevent them. Stories that are rife with these issues tell me that the writer either didn’t know these basic writing tenets (yes, I’ve been that writer before!), or that they don’t care. They raced to get the story published without stopping to truly craft the best book possible. As a reader, I feel cheated. And I personally won’t be reading those authors again.

So, rant over. I’ve since cleansed my offended reading palate with a couple books by local writer pals, and thoroughly enjoyed them (Here, I’ll name names: Jillian Jacobs and Gina Drayer). Cleanly edited, well-crafted stories which immersed me in their characters. Yes, I’ve lost a lot of sleep this week because I couldn’t put the books down. And I’m a satisfied reader because of it!  

Let’s get some dialogue going here… Are you able to look past poor editing (Nan, I think I know your answer ;-)