“Wednesday Writer” – Tami Franklin

Tami Franklin, better known to her readers as T.M. Franklin, writes stories with a liberal sprinkling of romance, mystery, adventure, and a touch of magic. She hovers between fantasy and contemporary fiction, between full-length novels (even series) and short stories. Let’s see what we can learn about the mysterious T.M., shall we?

T.M.FranklinME:  Please describe your childhood, where you grew up, and your first memorable encounters with fiction. (And I’d love a picture of you as a child, with or without your family.)

TAMI:  I was born in Seattle, WA and grew up in Washington state, with a brief foray into California. I lived with my parents and younger sister, who never ceased to drive me insane. (Isn’t that what families are for? To test our social limits?)

I was always a voracious reader as a child – some particular favorites included What the Witch Left, by Ruth Crewe and Ozma of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, among many others. (Aha! The early fantasy influence) I loved stories with a little bit of mystery to them – a little magic that had you wondering, “What if that happened to me?” I guess that explains why I now write those kinds of stories.

(Exactly!)Image(Tami as a little girl…hasn’t changed much, has she?)

ME:  Who among your family or acquaintances first encouraged you to pursue writing?

TAMI:  Although my family has been quite supportive, it was an online community of writers and readers that first really encouraged my fiction writing. In fact, it was a friend online who initially recommended me to what is now my publisher.

(Now that’s a first among all I’ve interviewed thus far. Others have talked about their writing groups, but Tami found hers online. A writer’s own group of colleagues, online or in person, can really make a difference!)

ME:  What was your first childhood ambition and what led you to broadcast journalism (a major I also pursued in college)?

TAMI:  Well, I wanted to be a princess when I was a little girl, but eventually learned that was probably an impossible goal.

Initially, when I went to college, it was with the intention of studying pre-med. My first college chemistry class cured me of that goal, however. (Not surprised.) I took a journalism class to fulfill a basic requirement and decided that was the road I’d like to take.

ME:  Please summarize your career in television and share how that experience has helped you in your fictional endeavors. (I’d love a picture of you with your Emmy Awards.)

TAMI:  I worked for nine years in TV news, as both a newscast producer and what’s called a “special projects” producer, which means I put together special reports and series for ratings periods and special broadcasts. I had semi-moved into a management position as a senior producer of the morning newscast when I decided to leave the newsroom behind when my son was born.

My Sad Broken Emmys(Her sad broken Emmys…fragile, but still powerful)

I find that the writing style I developed for television – shorter, conversational sentences with minimal filler and no “flowery” language – has definitely impacted my fictional style as well, I tend to write how I speak.

ME:  Tell us a bit about your first “unsuccessful” novel. What led you to write it and how did you come to the realization that it wasn’t good enough?

TAMI:  It’s still on my computer! It was about a TV news producer (go figure) who found out the apparent suicide of a software billionaire wasn’t quite what it seemed. I queried it unsuccessfully to a few agents and it was one of those agents who encouraged me to keep writing and hone my skills.

That novel was set aside and I started something new – and since have written quite a few other stories – and it was only after going back and looking at it that I really understood why it didn’t make the cut. I might go back to it at some point and try to clean it up. It’s just hard to make time for it when I have so many other stories running around in my mind.

MoreME:  Please share the story of how you came to write your first published novel, MORE, and include a bit about the storyline.

TAMI:  I started writing MORE as part of the National Novel Writing Month challenge. For those who aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo – it’s a challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November. I decided I wanted to try to write another novel during November of 2011.

(Good for you. I’m such a slow writer that I’ve never had the guts to try NaNoWriMo.)

I knew I wanted to write about something with ties to myths and legends, so I started thinking about what if some of those legendary creatures were real? What if they lived today? If they were around, why wouldn’t we see them? Where would they be and what would they be like? That was the initial inspiration for the First Race in MORE. Then I thought, what if their survival depended on secrecy, and a normal girl found out about them? What if they saw her as a threat?

(As any good journalist knows, all it takes is asking the right questions to get you hooked into a great story.)

From there, I put together a rough outline and started writing MORE on November 1, 2011. I made my 50,000 words during that month and finished up the novel in early 2012.


The GuardiansME:  How does its sequel, THE GUARDIANS, carry the plot forward?

TAMI:  In MORE, Ava Michaels finds out about The Race and begins to see how she fits into this secret world hiding in the shadows of our own world. In THE GUARDIANS, she discovers more about why she was hidden in the human world in the first place. She’s got a lot on her plate – the rebel Rogues are after her, the Race’s Ruling Council still wants her, the cops think she’s a killer, and her boyfriend, Caleb, has disappeared and is accused of betraying the Race. In order to survive and figure all of this out, Ava has to make some rather unlikely alliances.

(Sounds very well plotted and intriguing.)


ME:  You’ve also written and published short stories—Window and A Piece of Cake. The former was an Amazon bestseller and the latter was included in the ROMANTIC INTERLUDES anthology.

Romantic Interludes

Which is harder for you: writing a novel or a short story, and why?

TAMI:  Oh, I would say a novel is definitely more difficult – especially a series like the MORE Trilogy. There is just so much more to keep track of – story arcs that carry on from book to book, as well as subplots that are resolved within a single book, not to mention all of the characters!

With a short story, it’s all so quick. There’s really only time for one main plot, and a handful of characters, so it’s much easier to focus on that. The downside of a short story is making sure the characters are sufficiently fleshed out. You have chapters and chapters to get to know a character in a novel. You really have to make your words count in a short story.


ME:  Please describe your writing process and tell us what you’re working on next.

TAMI:  My writing process has really become pretty organized. I start with a three–page synopsis of the entire book (something that’s required by my publisher when I submit.) From that, I flesh out a chapter-by-chapter outline, then divide the chapters into scenes. I use yWriter5, a free writing software download that allows me to input the chapters and scenes, and then I can move them around, add notes, keep bios on the characters, etc. That’s a huge help for me.

(My author friend, Marsha Ward, first tipped me off to yWriter5. As a Mac user, I’ve moved on to Scrivener, but yWriter5 does work really well.)

Right now, I’m working on TWELVE, the third book in the MORE Trilogy. I just received a release date for that and it will be out October 9, 2014. I’m also working on a YA romance about a quirky boy who sets out – in a rather unique way – to win the heart of the girl of his dreams. It’s called How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You, and we’re still working on the release date for that one.

ME:  Finally, please describe your office or writing space in the voice of Ava, your protagonist in MORE. (And I must have a picture to see how it matches up.)

TAMI (as Ava):

Tami doesn’t write in an office or at a desk. She has her computer set up on her kitchen island. Why? Well, if you ask, she’d probably say it’s so she can spread out her notes, or so she can have a view of the back yard. The REAL reason, I’m convinced, is that she’s two steps away from the coffee machine. She may not have any writing rituals, but she guzzles coffee like there’s no tomorrow. Around noon, she switches to either water or Diet Coke, so amidst the papers and pens, you’ll often find a cup, glass, and can or two. It’s a little cluttered, but she swears she knows where everything is.

Image 1(Not too messy, I’d say)

By the way, Tami’s MORE was a 2013 Finalist in the Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book Awards:

2013 Finalist

And here’s a peek at the book trailer:

If you’d like to learn more about Tami, check out her website, Facebook page, or Twitter page. You can also order any of her books on Amazon. In fact, if you’re interested, she’s offering a giveaway of both MORE and her latest in the series, THE GUARDIANS. The giveaway is good until December 2nd.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next week I’ll be back to interview best-selling author, Trina Boice, who specializes in nonfiction for LDS readers.

Trina Boice

Originally posted 2013-11-13 06:00:04.

“Wednesday Writer” – Cindy C. Bennett

I woke up at 4 am for some odd reason this morning, so I’m about ready to keel over right about now (it being 3 in the afternoon). But I cannot give in to a nap, not when that was brought up in my very first question to YA author, Cindy C. Bennett, who has written and published 8 novels, among doing many other things.

Author Photo 2012 smallME:  I have to say that, having read your bio on your blog, I am now completely worn out and need a nap. With all that you have going on (several writing projects, critique partners, a new writing business venture, a podcast here and there, etc.), do you ever have time for a nap? Or are you not the napping kind?

CINDY:  Nap? What’s that? LOL. I do work a lot, so it’s a good thing I love what I do so much. I usually sleep from around 4-6 am until noon or 1 pm. (Talk about a night owl!) So depending on what time I go to bed I might get my full eight, or I might only get five or six hours of sleep. So far it seems to work for me, though.

(I sense an Energizer Bunny…)

ME:  In fact, did you nap as a kid? Please tell us what your childhood was like and the kinds of activities you enjoyed most. Did anything hint of a writing future? (I’d love a picture of you as a child.)

Cindy Bennett age 7(Cindy at 7…Is that a dragon claw she’s sculpting at the beach?)

CINDY:  When I was a kid, I played Barbie’s almost obsessively. Looking back now, I can see that it was nothing more than a precursor for writing fiction, as I was making up fictional stories using my dolls. It was my favorite activity until I was deemed “too old” and then I switched my passion to reading. I could read a book a day, especially during the summer when I was out of school. 

Cindy Bennett age 9

(And here she is at 9…with a teddy bear instead of a Barbie)

ME:  You’ve written about how much your high school English teacher, Mr. Bickmore, influenced you with his 10-minute writing assignments. Can you give us the gist of your most memorable piece created from one of those assignments? (Also, I’d love a picture of you in high school, preferably a shot that includes Mr. Bickmore.)

CINDY:  I wish I had kept those writing assignments. I didn’t keep any of my schoolwork, other than a story my mom found recently that I wrote when I was 12. It’s so horrible; there’s nothing in it that would indicate any talent for writing, so maybe it’s good I no longer have any of those assignments. I wish I had a picture of me with him as well. I was extremely shy in high school, so it would never have occurred to me to ask him to be in a picture with me. That would be too far outside my comfort zone of the time. He now is a professor at LSU and an editor for The ALAN Review, and I’m in contact with him through the wonderful world of Facebook.

steven_bickmore-78_600(I used my researching skills to find Mr. Bickmore as he looks today.)

Cindy Bennett age 16(And here’s Cindy at 16 with a Mountain Man for a date…who ended up marrying her.)

The one of me at age 16 is with my then-boyfriend-now-husband at one of those horrible old fashioned photo places that, I admit, I love. In fact, I made my kids do those almost yearly when they were younger, and which they absolutely hated. Not sure why I like them because, let’s face it, they’re never a good photo.

(Not sure I agree. I think she looks pretty good!)

ME:  Did you go to college or go straight into marriage? And since you’re into YA and romance, just exactly how did you meet and fall in love with your husband? Make us swoon, please. :D (Also, a wedding photo would be greatly appreciated.)

CINDY:  My husband is my high school sweetheart. We met when I was a freshman and he a sophomore. He’d been dating one of my friends, and she hooked us up because she wanted to date his friend. Sounds like a soap opera, huh? It’s amazing he liked me since I was so severely shy and didn’t talk much. He played football and wrestled and wasn’t at all like the kind of guy I thought I’d fall in love with. But he was sweet, and funny, and fun to be around—and had great arms and a really nice chest (remember, football and wrestling). (It must have been all that bear rasslin’.) We dated all through high school and married a year after I graduated, and we’re still together all these years later.

Cindy Bennett wedding photo(The promised wedding photo, which she claims reveals a hideous 80s hairdo and a “ragged” look from crying…Say what? Anyway, here’s her preferred engagement photo.)

Cindy Bennett engagement photo

Because I was so silly-in-love with him, I couldn’t wait to be his wife, so rather than go to college, I attended tech school to become a medical assistant. That’s a career pretty distant from writing, other than I did gather a lot of character ideas. I chose that because I’d had major surgery right after high school, and nearly died because of a pulmonary embolism. It was a nurse paying attention to her instincts that saved my life. I wanted to give back the same kind of care, so chose the medical field. I no longer work in the medical field but I miss taking care of patients on a regular basis. There’s something very satisfying in that.

(Okay, the high drama made up for the missing romantic details.)

ME:  Please tell us about what impelled you to write your first novel (and provide a cover photo).

Cover New Final smallCINDY:  There was a girl who lived near our house who was always outside on her swing set. It didn’t matter if it was 100°F outside, or 5°F with a blizzard, she’d be out swinging. In fact, anytime any of us came home we’d report on whether or not she was out. I’d been thinking about her a lot, and wondering what drove her to that swing set. My teen daughter had apparently been thinking along the same lines, so we decided to write a book together. I didn’t admit, even then, that it was my lifelong heart’s desire to be an author. I’d always been afraid of admitting it—and to this day, I don’t know why. Maybe just because it was something I wanted so bad I was afraid if I admitted it I’d have to do something about it and face possible rejection. Anyway, this was a safe way for me to actually complete a manuscript (I’d secretly begun many but never finished one). I wrote the first chapter then handed it off to my daughter to write the second. She liked the first so much she told me to write the second, which I did then gave it back to her. This same pattern continued until she told me just to write the whole thing, which I did. It became HEART ON A CHAIN, which to this day is my bestselling novel.

(I hope you dedicated the book to her!)

ME:  What is your writing process and where do you write? (I must have a photo of your writing space.)

CINDY:  It’s odd, I know, but I like to write in my family room, in the middle of life happening around me. That way I don’t feel as guilty spending so much time working because I’m still part of conversations that are happening, still part of the family. I bought a lap desk, and my husband converted it to make it work better for my laptop. I work from the time I get up until I go to bed if I don’t have anything else going on (and my house shows it! I wish I had some mice and/or birds to clean it up for me like Cinderella and Snow White). I do most of my marketing during the day, and then write at night until somewhere between 4-6 am as I mentioned above.

Cindy Bennett workspace(Her lapdesk…and you’re not going to believe this, but…)


(I have practically the same sofa set in our family room. Comfy, isn’t it, Cindy?)

ME:  You have tried both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Which do you prefer and why?

CINDY:  There’s something to be said about having an editor who books signings and other events for you, and who can get your book onto shelves at book stores. There’s also something to be said about having complete creative control over your work, and making much higher profits by doing it yourself. I suppose overall I prefer self-publishing because I’m a bit of a control freak, so I do like keeping control over the cover, the book layout, and how and where I can give my books away. And, let’s face it; earning 70% on an eBook is always going to trump 15%. Since you do the same amount of marketing whether you’re traditionally or self-published, it makes the higher profits that much nicer.

ME:  What other books have you either published or have waiting in the wings? (I’ll want those cover photos, as well.)

CINDY:  After HEART ON A CHAIN came GEEK GIRL, then IMMORTAL MINE. Then I wrote a short vampire story for Noble YA, and they published it as RELUCTANCE.

Geek Girl CoverImmortal Mine Cover Final 1200 x 1800RELUCTANCE_200x300I then published short stories for a couple of anthologies through my company, Prose by Design. Those are IN THE BEGINNING and WATCHED.

Find Me smallerwatched smaller(That cover’s scary!)

While writing RAPUNZEL UNTANGLED, which is a modern-day retelling of the story, I published five novellas that are fairytale retellings that now make up ENCHANTED FAIRYTALES, which I recently released. (She’s obviously making up for all those years she shied away from writing.)

Rapunzel UntangledEnchanted Fairytales Cover smallerI have upcoming a book I wrote with Jeffery Moore, as yet untitled, but the working title is RAZARI. It’s a sic-fi, which is outside my usual genre, though it’s still a YA. It should be released within the next month. I’m also writing a book, again with Jeffrey Moore and also Sherry Gammon, which we call THE COLLABORATIVE, though that may change as well.

(Are you as impressed reading this as I am just writing it all down?)

It’s kind of cool. The story is about triplets born illegally into a world that only allows a single child per family, so their parents abscond with them to a planet called Senca One, which is where the overpopulated earth has started a new colonization. There, their parents are kidnapped and the triplets search for them, discovering along the way they have hidden abilities.

We are each taking a chapter and writing it from one of the triplets’ POV, so we each have one character to move the story forward. It’s been interesting and fun to write, requiring a lot of talking about how we want things to be and where the story should go.

(I’ll have to keep this in mind for a future posting about writing a series.)

I’m also over halfway finished with another contemporary YA book that’s more like my first few novels. It doesn’t have a title either—I’m really bad at titles so my books usually get them last minute. (Hey, I’d be happy just to match half of your annual output!)

ME:  Finally, tell us more about your new writing business and what you offer.

CINDY:  Prose by Design is a company I started with Sherry Gammon about a year-and-a-half ago. We’ve recently changed the way we do things. Our intent when we began was to help those who have no idea how to self-publish and market because we were spending so much time helping others anyway. We wanted to do some of the things they might not have the ability to do, such as editing, covers, formatting and layout, and show them the best ways we know how to market.

As it turned out, we were really sort of crippling those authors because we weren’t showing them how to do anything, just doing it for them. So we decided rather than publishing their books and keeping a chunk of the profits, we will instead offer individual services such as those mentioned above. If they want to have to lay out less money in the beginning, we’ll still publish their book and keep a portion of the profits until they’ve paid off their purchased services, at which time ALL rights revert back to them.

We’re also writing a detailed, cohesive book with step-by-step help from writing, to publishing (both self and traditional), including formatting, editing, layout, where to sell your books, how to have a book signing, how to do giveaways, etc. We also have an entire section on marketing which is detailed and will be updatable to those who purchase the book and have signed up for updates. That way, as we discover more marketing strategies, or as things change (as they constantly do), we can keep our readers updated. We’re hoping to have this published by the end of the summer. We’ll also continue to hold writing contests and publish the winners in anthologies. Currently we have a contest for stories for a Christmas themed anthology.

If you haven’t yet checked out Prose by Design, you might want to click on the link. Also, if you want to learn still more about Cindy, check out her website. There, you can find her bio, social media links, and purchasing links for all her books.

Now, I think I’ll take that nap! I need to rest up for next week’s interview with Childrens’ Books author and illustrator, Mikey Brooks.

Mikey Pic 1

Originally posted 2013-06-05 06:00:59.

“Wednesday Writer” – Marie Higgins

If you’re into romance, Marie Higgins is your author. She has a clean romance for everyone! If you like heroic rogues, she has a series for you. Victorian Romance, Regency Romance? Covered. She even has Time Travel Romance! But enough of all her sub genres. Let’s get to the heart of Marie! (I know, don’t groan. That was a bad pun.)

Marie HigginsME:  Where did you grow up, and who or what were your earliest influences in terms of your writing?

MARIE:  I grew up between Salt Lake City and Clearfield, Utah. The reason I say ‘between’ is because I was born in SLC, then we moved to Clearfield, and then moved back to SLC, then finally came to plant our feet in Clearfield.

Little Marie age 18 months(Cute little Marie at 18 months)

As for my earliest influences… I really don’t know who influenced me in terms of my writing. I remember as a child in school that I hated to read the books the English teachers made us read for a grade. They were boring! Yet somewhere in my junior and senior year in high school, I started playing with poetry. (Go figure!) I created poems…yet the poems were always in story format.

Marie's Seminary Graduation 1984 (2)(And here she is as a senior in high school)

It wasn’t until my senior year when I started writing skits for my community and church. These skits were performed and judged and I received awards of “Funniest” and “Best Written”. This was what gave me the drive to write after I was married and my daughters were in grade school. I haven’t stopped yet. So maybe my influences were those books I had to read in school that were boring. They influenced me to write fun stories with sweet romance, action and adventure, and suspense.

(A little reverse psychology, eh?)

ME:  Can you share the gist of the first story you ever remember writing?

MARIE:  Oh dear…you’re going to make me strain my brain, aren’t you? (You bet! I dig deep. :D)

I remember having a dream of a ballerina (I don’t know why because I was never really fascinated with ballet), but I remember there was some kind of mystery to the plot. I think the hero was a detective or cop. I had started writing the story to the way my dream had shown me. I don’t think I finished the story, but soon after I started writing, my muse kicked into action and gave me ideas for other stories. The rest, they say, is history…

(That’s all it usually takes, all you writers in embryo–a good dream…that you can remember, anyway.)

ME:  Which romance authors have influenced you the most and how?

MARIE:  The very first romance I read was titled A Rose in Winter, written by Kathleen E Woodiwiss. I was amazed that this author could get me into the story so quickly and make me feel like I was one of the characters. And the plots….woo-wee, what a ride!

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss(Kathleen E. Woodiwiss)

A Rose in Winter

(Woo-wee, indeed!)

From there, I read Judith McNaught, LaVryle Spencer, Jude Deveraux, and Johanna Lindsey.

Judith McNaught(Judith McNaught)

LaVyrle Spencer

(LaVyrle Spencer)

Jude Deveraux

(Jude Deveraux)

Johanna Lindsey

(Johanna Lindsey)

After sweeping through them at record speed, I realized there were other romances out there written by Christian authors. I was very happy to start reading more.

Anita Stansfield(Anita Stansfield)

The two authors that influenced my writing the most at this time were Anita Stansfield and Rachel Ann Nunes. Anita wrote some very emotional stories, while I absolutely loved Rachel’s suspense! (Amen!)

Rachel Ann Nunes(Rachel Ann Nunes)

ME:  I know romance sells best in our country (and perhaps worldwide, for all I know), but besides the money, why do you choose romance over other genres?

MARIE:  Because I enjoy falling in love—over and over again. And I enjoy my readers telling me how much they enjoyed falling in love—over and over again, too.

(Ah, so you’re a true romance novelist. Money has nothing to do with it.)

ME:  You’ve written over 30 novels. Has the content and style changed over the years, and if so, how? Please compare your first novel to your latest. Also, are covers changing in any way?

MARIE:  Yes, the style of romance writing has changed over the years. Back when I first started writing romance, my writing/critique groups drilled into me the need for descriptions…TONS of description. If you’ve never read a Kathleen E Woodiwiss story, she is the queen of description. She could describe one countryside in three pages.

But now…it’s short, sweet, and to the point. Flowery words and phrases are not that popular any longer, and although I still wish I could write that way, now it’s all right if I don’t. As long you can pull the readers into your story and never let them go until the very end, you’re doing great.

Another thing that has changed is pages per chapter. When I first started writing, our chapters had to be at least 20 pages long. Now ten pages for a chapter are appropriate.

(Personally, I think this is because we live in a “fast food”, ADD-type world. Too many interruptions and too often. It’s definitely had an effect on fiction of all genres.)

It’s funny you’d ask me to compare my first to my latest. They are nothing alike. With each story I write, the plots get more complicated, and there is more suspense.

As for covers, I think they are changing. With the first books that I had read (see A Rose in Winter above), some of the book covers looked like paintings or drawings. Some covers just had one or two objects. Now covers have models in period costumes. Personally, I like the covers with models dressed to look like my characters. Of course with today’s technology, it’s easier to find pictures for book covers. There are tons of websites for this now.

(And, by the way, if you want to learn more about making your own covers, among many other things, you should come to the Indie Author Hub Writing & Publishing Conference this Saturday, June 7th, in Provo, Utah at the Courtyard Marriott! I believe Marie is going to be there, along with other fabulous authors like Rachel Ann Nunes, Heather Moore, Liz Adair, and Julie Wright. And there’s a mass book signing at the end.)

ME:  You’re what I would call a fast writer. You’ve said it takes you about 6 weeks to produce an 80,000-word novel. Is that before publication or including the publishing process? How do you account for your speed?

MARIE:  I wish six weeks included the publication process. The six weeks is an average of what it takes me to write a story. If there is stress in my life, the time frame gets stretched. Six weeks is from beginning chapter one to writing THE END.

Once I’ve finished my story, I let it sit a few days, maybe a week while my mind clears. Then I’ll get started on second-round edits. This is reading back through the story looking for mistakes and plot holes.

Once this is completed, I send the story to some of my critique partners, between 3 and 5. They go through and check for errors and plot holes. When they are finished, I add in their suggestions and read through it one more time before sending the story to 3 beta readers. After they give me their feedback, then I go through my story one last time to add in their suggestions and any others I might find.

FINALLY it’s time to publish. This process could take a month, or if I’m lucky, only a couple of weeks.

(Thanks for reviewing the whole process!)

In some of my stories, my characters are very excited to tell me their stories and they can’t stop talking in my head. That’s when my fingers fly across the keyboard so fast, and my fingers can’t keep up with my muse. That’s where the speed comes in.

Another thing I do that’s different than other writers, is that after I’ve written a chapter, I only read through it once before moving to the next chapter. I don’t take the time to go over each sentence, and each paragraph to make them perfect. I wait to do that during my second-edit process.

ME:  What turned you from traditional publishing to indie publishing? And how much more are you earning per month now that you take in 70% of the royalties? Do you miss anything about traditional publishing?

MARIE:  I don’t miss anything about the traditional publishing.

What turned me away was the small amount of royalties we authors get because a portion goes to the cover artist, another portion goes to the editor, and another portion goes to the marketing director, and another portion goes to the publisher themselves. Then…authors get the tiny amount that’s left.

In some publishing companies, they make book covers without the author’s approval, which I think is very wrong. Publishers have a very long release date scheduled for books (some are more than a year).

And my biggest beef with traditional publishers is that no author really knows if they are being cheated. Believe me, I’ve had a few publishers who cheat their authors!

What I love about indie publishing:

  • Finding my own editors
  • Creating my own book covers
  • Choosing my own sale price
  • Seeing my sales every day
  • Writing what I want to write instead of what the publisher thinks I should write.

ME:  How does your family (meaning your husband and children) feel about you writing all of this romance?

MARIE:  When I first started writing nearly 20 years ago (gads, has it really been that long?), my family didn’t like all the time I spent in the computer room writing my stories. It took quite a while, several years, in fact, before they realized that I would rather create a story than watch TV. All my daughters remember from their childhood is that their mom wrote stories and told everyone about them. Hahaha

Family(Marie with her family)

Anyway, now that my books are published and selling, my husband is very proud of me and encourages me to write more. (Go figure!) My daughters are out on their own now, and they have told me they are proud of me, too…because when people discover their mother is Marie Higgins, it shocks them. :D

(I’ll bet!)

ME:  Tell us about your latest release, and what’s up next?

MARIE:  My latest release is titled AMAZON SUNSET. The setting of this Victorian romance is in the Amazon Rainforest. I had so much fun researching this and trying to figure out what things could go wrong in the jungle.

Amazon Sunset

Here is the blurb:

Katrina Landon’s life is about to change. The wealthy father she has never known wants to meet her, but she has to travel from the slums of Boston through the Amazon rainforest to his plantation. As if that’s not bad enough, her guide is the handsome, self-assured, too confident for his own good, Mr. Knightly, who immediately stirs her temper.

Felix Knightly isn’t looking forward to escorting a spoiled rich girl through the jungle no matter how much her father pays. Yet when he meets her, he finds Katrina’s distracting innocence and charming demeanor unsettling. She makes it nearly impossible to concentrate on his job—a problem he’s never had around women. He’d rather fight off the fire ants, howler monkeys, and crocodiles than risk losing his heart to her, since he’s never met an honest wealthy woman.

As they delve deeper into the shadows of the rainforest, they discover they weren’t just wrong about each other, they were wrong about the dangers of the jungle. Someone wants them dead and they have to find out who and why before it’s too late.

(Yummy…sounds steamy and suspenseful. If you’re interested, here are the links for the Kindle version and the paperback version.)

The book I’m working on next is #2 in this series. This story will be about one of Felix’s sisters. Her story is titled Amazon by Moonlight, and will also take place in Brazil in the jungle. So much fun!!

ME:  Finally, please describe your writing space in the voice of one of your favorite “bad boys.” (And I must have a picture of said space.)

MARIE:  My bad boy, huh? Well…I’ll give it a try… Okay Felix Knightly, take it away!

“Bad boy?

Do you realize how long it’s been since I was called a bad boy? The last time anyone referred to Felix Knightly as a bad boy, I was a lad wearing breeches, and I got caught slipping a toad into my sister’s bed. Needless to say, my parents punished me and I never did it again. That being said, I shall try to describe Marie Higgins’ office space as nicely as I can (because believe me, at one point I might not be able to hold back my disgust).

As I stand at the doorway of the kitchen and look into this small room, the desk is to the right of me, and beyond that is the door leading into her bed chamber. On the left side of me is the door leading to the bath chamber which has an indoor latrine. Very interesting concept, I might add. I wish they had thought of it in my era… This is a very old house and over the years rooms have been added on, but nevertheless, the space used is really quite remarkable with a closet and drawers built right into the wall.

The window nearby the closet is always open, and welcomes in the sunlight. Pictures hang on every wall, three depicting old fashioned hats and white, wicker furniture. The other wall has a glorious picture of Christ which brings serenity while gazing upon it. The third wall has a picture of a pirate ship. My personal favorite. Near the desk (which I’ll describe momentarily), stands a bookcase full of Marie Higgins’ favorite books from over the years. Lining the top of the book case are pictures of her family.

Now I’ll describe her desk, and try my hardest to be polite. Never in my life have I seen such a clutter! How could anyone be organized with such a mess? Forgive me, but, I cannot fathom how she’s able to write with so much distracting her from her stories. On the top of the desk she has a lilac scented candle that she lights quite frequently. She has some awards that were presented to her as well. One is a service award given to her from the Romance Writers of America Chapter in 2008, and another plaque was given to her when she was President of said chapter from 2006-2007. Another plaque—that I personally like the best—reads: “Grandchildren complete the circle of Love”. Papers, phone books, camera, lotion, calculator and other miscellaneous items also complete the disorder.

Regardless of this mess, Marie Higgins finds this environment comfortable and this is where she spends a lot of her time away from her full-time day job. Although I do not agree with such a mess to work around, she seems to do just fine with it, for which I’m grateful or else my story would not have been written and I would have never met the lovely Katrina Landon.

So Marie Higgins…I thank you.

Sincerely, your hero, Felix Knightly”

(Delightful! And here are the pictures:)

DSC00599(The view from the kitchen)


(And from the other direction)

Marie has a blog full of details about her books and writing. You can also watch a trailer there depicting her different series and books. And all of her books are available on Amazon.

For those of you familiar with my son Jason, diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder since age six, I’m excited to announce next Wednesday’s writer, Tracy Winegar, historical fiction author of KEEPING KELLER about a boy with autism. Be sure and check back next week!

Tracy Winegar

Originally posted 2014-06-04 06:00:10.