Saturday, September 27, 2014

Another 8 Sentence Sunday

It's time for yet another Weekend Writing Warriors 8 Sentence Sunday. So come join us in the fun that is #8sunday! ;)

Click for more information and to see other 8 Sentence Sunday posts.
This post is part of an ongoing blog hop hosted by Weekend Writing Warriors. Every Sunday, participating authors post eight sentences from a published work or even a WIP (work in progress). Then we hop to our fellow warriors’ blogs and check out all the fabulous fiction that’s happening! It's a great way to meet readers, writers, and your next favorite book!  :)

Here are 8 sentences from Amnesie.

Maryanne and Elfie have been together for years. Yet suddenly, it's as if they're complete strangers. What happens to love when life changes? Two women in love, one debilitating change...

Maryanne groaned as she changed the laundry. She opened the cupboard. The laundry detergent wasn’t there. “Damn it,” she mumbled. “I hate when Elfriede does this. She’ll either leave things out, or she changes where she puts them. Why does she always have to do this?” Maryanne mumbled in frustration.

Happy reading!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Writing is a team effort

Happy Thursday, cats and kittens!

Today, I want to talk about life behind the scenes of writing a book. Just as there in an entire crew behind the cameras of a movie, there's a crew behind each and every book.

Believe it or not, writing really is a team effort.

I kid you not!

There's always at least one editor involved. No matter how good a writer is, we ALL need an editor. We just do.

Then, depending on the size and nature of the publishing company, you have people working on the actual publication of the book, marketing, book trailers, advertising, design and layout, printing, distribution, and more.

As you can see, there are many hands involved in the entire process.

What does this mean?

It means that we all need to be willing to work as a team. There is no room for egos. Each and every person involved has something wonderful to bring to the table. We all need to work with, accept, and appreciate everyone's gifts and differences.

I recently had a conversation with my publisher. She has been an amazing publisher. I've worked with her for the last 7 years. We've both seen and helped each other to grow. So when she approached me about changing the title of my upcoming release, I knew that I needed to put my ego aside and trust her. She hasn't steered me wrong yet. She, our editor and I all have the same goals for this book - and all of the books that we publish. We all want to do our best, and to see each book succeed. She wasn't bringing this up as a way to hurt me, or as some flighty, impulsive move. There was thought, reason, and planning. There is a method there, even if I don't see it.

Was it difficult to step aside? You bet! I pour my heart and soul into every book that I write. There is a reason behind every word, including the title.

I'm not so stuck on myself that I would argue. For as much as I would love to think that the title is superb, I can respect the fact that she and my editor see something different than I do. Their fresh eyes on the piece can only make it better. So I acquiesced. And as long as I keep my ego in check, I will remember that this will only help the book to be better than it already is.  :)

So the next time you crack open a book or turn on your e-reader device, remember that there's a big crew behind the scenes that worked with the author so that we could all give you the best stories possible.

Happy reading!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Here's another Weekend Writing Warriors 8 Sentence Sunday. So come join us in the fun that is #8sunday! ;)

Click for more information and to see other 8 Sentence Sunday posts.
This post is part of an ongoing blog hop hosted by Weekend Writing Warriors. Every Sunday, participating authors post eight sentences from a published work or perhaps their current work in progress. Then we hop to our fellow warriors’ blogs and check out all the fabulous fiction that’s happening! It's a great way to meet reader, writers, and your next favorite book!  :)

Here are 8 sentences from Unbreakable Hostage

Lareina Oliveira is as beautiful as she is smart. a Ph. D. student, she quickly catches the eye of fellow student, Tony Covelli. Tony can't get enough of Lareina. Lareina can't get away from Tony. After repeated rejections, he finally makes her his own by taking her hostage.

These 8 sentences take place during her grueling hostage experience.

As they continued on their aimless journey through the dark winter night, Lareina felt
her leg was increasingly aching and hurting. The pain was considerable. Thinking that it
was because she constantly slipping, twisting her ankles and falling on the uneven frozen
terrain because of her kitten heels, Lareina nonchalantly slipped them off as they hiked
through the forest. She didn't know if they would help lead to her rescue but she hoped it
would at least ease the pain in her leg.

Tony wasn't giving her any time to slow down, so hopefully walking barefoot would
help her to keep up with his brisk pace. He again hardly gave them enough time to eat,
rest, or even relieve themselves. Lareina prayed with each step, though, that she would
somehow be found.

Happy reading!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Quality Vs. Quantity

Happy Thursday, campers!

Today, I want to revisit the topic of quality vs. quantity. I've written about this before, but I think it's a good topic: one that we should discuss again.

First off, I could be considered somewhat of a hypocrite. I have produced many books in short periods of time. Fiction and non-fiction alike. I'm not going to defend it. I've written them quickly for a myriad of reasons. My goal was never to see my name on the cover of a book. I know some people who write stories incredibly quickly just so they could have bragging rights. "Oh, look at me! I'm a prolific writer: look how many books I've written!"

That's what bugs me. When it's done for the ego and not love of the craft.

I recently asked my publisher about my up-coming release, Candles on the Spinet. She said she wants to take her time with this one. That was the kick in the head that I needed.

I need to slow down. Granted, Candles on the Spinet took me 2 years to write. But I need to slow myself down as well as accept a slower pace for release. It's very important for me to remember that good things come to those who wait. For me, it's not about seeing my name on a book. It's about producing the best work that I can. If I promise you my best, then I am going to deliver!

I want to produce quality books. Stories that are well-crafted, deep, touching. I feel that I do to some extent, but I need to do better. I know that I can, now I just need to make that happen.

Quality is important in everything we do. For the people around us as well as for ourselves, we need to give, produce and be (people of) quality. I promise to be a quality writer for you, my awesome, quality readers! ;)

Happy reading!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blog Hop Tour

Hi everyone!

Today, I am part of a blog hop tour.

My name is Lauren Shiro.

I write contemporary LGBT fiction.

I was invited to answer these by author K'Anne Meinel. You can find out more about her and her infinite list of titles at

ABOUT ME: I've been writing my whole life. As a kid, I had much more fun staying up in my room writing "novels" than playing outside. At the age of 14, I was published nationally for the first time. Since then, my work has been found in newspapers, magazines, online, in books and text books. I love writing, both fiction and non-fiction alike. When I'm not writing, I spend my time working as a licensed veterinary technician, and I enjoy hobbies from wood working to roller derby.

CURRENT PROJECT: I just finished a full-length novel, Candles on the Spinet.

Military couple Darryl and Corinne Richards purchase their first house. With Darryl’s army career coming to a close, they feel ready to settle down in Louisville, Kentucky. With impeccable timing, Darryl is sent on one final tour, leaving Corinne to live in this new house and new city alone.
Overwhelmed, Corinne becomes reclusive, living a quiet, boring life with her cats as she adjusts to her new surroundings. The problem is: someone or something does not want her life to be quiet or boring. And then there’s the creepy piano in the basement…
A series of strange experiences and events triggers Corinne to dig deeper into her home’s history, and herself. As Corinne learns of the people and past of her home, she also learns some new skills, and she learns about who she really is.
There is more to that creepy, dilapidated piano and that house that Corinne could ever imagine. Through highs and lows, twists and turns, she realizes the importance of placing candles on the spinet.

Candles on the Spinet is due for release this fall!

My current project is a story called Life, Upside Down.

Chantal Thompson is a strong, independent general contractor. She's the kind of person that's always going. A terrible accident suddenly brings her to a screeching halt. Unable to move, she is forced to reevaluate her life. She needs to come to terms with her past, accept her current situation, and look towards the future. It's amazing how slowing down your pace can completely change your perspective on life.

WHAT MAKES MY STORIES DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS IN THE SAME GENRE?: My stories are character driven, rather that plot driven. It's not to say there isn't a plot. My stories connect you deeply with the characters. You see their perspective, you feel their feelings, you experience their story. My books are deep, emotional and very cerebral.

WHY DO I WRITE THE STORIES THAT I DO?: I write my stories with a hope of creating positive social change. My tag line is "Stories of Love without Boundaries." In my stories, you will see me challenge racial lines, social stereotypes, and common prejudices. My books are very much a means for me to create. Personally, I create with intention. In this case, my intention is to help shatter the accepted social norms and to send a message of love, acceptance, and equality.

HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?: I like to think of myself as an organic writer. I go into each of my stories with a basic premise. As I work, I just let the words, people, and events come to me. There have been many times where I have been surprised by what comes out. I like going with the flow and allowing my stories to create themselves. Inspiration can come anywhere and at anytime. I try to keep a pen & paper on hand so I can jot down notes if I'm not able to get to my laptop right away.

WHO'S NEXT ON THE BLOG HOP? I happily pass the torch to a good friend and a great writer, Chelle Cordero. I've known her for years, and her work never ceases to amaze me. She is an author for all readers! Her blog is at You can also find out more information about her at

Thanks so much for joining us on the blog hop! Happy reading!!! :)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

8 Sentence Sunday

Happy weekend, kids! :)

Once again, I am doing the Weekend Writing Warriors 8 Sentence Sunday. So come join us in the fun that is #8sunday! ;)

Click for more information and to see other 8 Sentence Sunday posts.

Here are 8 sentences from The Vet Student, Katie's story in the Loving Her series:

As Katie stepped out of the steamy shower, she felt her heart skip a beat and then speed up. She grabbed a towel and wrapped her hair up in it.
She reached for the lotion. She squirted generous amounts into the small palms of her hands. She worked the lotion all over her legs and arms. Her scars felt like sandpaper under her hands as she continued to work the lotion in. She paused and looked at some the scars that dotted her arms. “No.” She said to herself. That was the past. It’s done and over. There’s no need to go back to that night.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Has every story already been told?

Happy Thursday, campers!

Today's topic: has every story already been told?

I've talked about this before, and as time has gone by, my perspective has changed. I think now is a good time to revisit this topic.

I've seen, heard, and read writers and non-writers alike say that every story has already been told. I used to argue vehemently that was not the case. Now, I somewhat retract my statement.


If you look at the bare bones of a story, yes it's been told before.

A person is placed in an unfamiliar situation, and they suddenly have to do things they've never done before in order to survive and grow.

Boy/girl meets boy/girl love comes along swimmingly and then a family member or life event tests their relationship. They either live happily ever after or they part ways.

Yeah, we've all seen and read them before. Yes, those basic premises run through every book - and even every movie. No one can deny that.

However, what changes are the details. You could give the same story line to 5 different writers, and you will get 5 different stories. THAT is what makes writing great. We all have different voices, different stories, different forms of creativity. That's what I love about being an author. There are so many of us. We each have our own voices, our own history, and our own takes on stories. There is a place for each and every one of us in the literary world. We may all be given the same blank canvas, but each final masterpiece is something completely unique and beautiful.

So sure, you can say that every story has been told. To some extent, you would be right. You'd also be right if you said they haven't. So if you're looking for a fresh, new story, take a look at my books!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I got a One Lovely Blog Award Nomination!

I want to thank Tamara Philip of for nominating me! :)

According to Ms. Philip, this award was created by Works of Art by Sara as a way to recognize her favorite blogs. Recipients pay it forward by passing the award along to their favorite blogs. and of course it quickly grew because it’s a very sweet thing to do!

Here are the rules:
You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
You must list the rules and display the award.
You must add 7 facts about yourself.
You must nominate 7 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they’ve been nominated.
You must display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

1) I have very small hands. My wedding ring was a size 4 or 4 1/2.
2) I have moved over twenty times since the year 2000.
3)I can read and write in Spanish far better than I can speak it. :)
4) My upcoming release, Candles on the Spinet, took 2 years for me to complete.
5) Thanks to my maternal grandmother, I can curse people out in Slavish. LOL
6) Our house was built in 1860.
7) I like to play around with wood working and wood furniture restoration.

Here are my wonderful nominees (please check them out. As a side note, Ms.Philip already nominated some of the people I wanted to nominate, so this became a bit tricky! LOL. Rather than just nominating ANY blogs, I am nominating 2 that I really believe in):

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Writing Weekend Warriors

Happy weekend, y'all! :)

I know it's the weekend! I'm just changing it up! ;)

This weekend, I am doing the Weekend Writing Warriors 8 Sentence Sunday. So come join us in the fun that is #8sunday! ;)

Click for more information and to see other 8 Sentence Sunday posts.

Here are 8 sentences for my upcoming novel, Candles on the Spinet:

Corinne sat in the bare living room with the front door to the old house wide open. The screen door made a pitiful barrier between her and the raging thunderstorm outside. The light, sweet, crisp scent of rain tickled the back of her nostrils with each gust of wind. The rain was more than welcome, though. The humidity had finally died down and there was even a slight chill in the air. Drenched green leaves danced and twirled on just the other side of the door.

Surrounding Corinne was a sea of boxes. Her whole life was contained in the plain brown parcels. Pictures, memories, books, sentimental items: indeed, her entire existence was covered in bubble wrap and contained in the boxes she had clearly marked.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Welcoming Susan Berry to the VHP Family!

Happy Thursday, world!

Today, I have yet another fabulous new member of the VHP family to introduce you to.

So here without further ado, is Susan Berry!

Susan Berry read her first romance novel when she was ten years old. Her grandmother gave it to her to help pass the time on a long car ride to the Midwest. She grumbled as she opened the book and began reading. Ten miles later, she couldn’t put it down. The characters came alive, the tension between them building as she frantically turned the pages. She had to know how it all worked out. That experience never left her. From that day forward, she read romance novels every chance she found, and reading turned into writing, which eventually led to her first novel, a traditional romance called Dance of the Heart.

Every woman secretly wishes for a man who is both strong and charming enough to sweep her off her feet. A man who can match her independence with just enough force to break through her guarded heart. As someone who loves to escape into the pages of love, she is dedicated to the writing of such novels filled with heartfelt romance that can be shared with every generation.

Along with romance novels, Susan has written several articles regarding social issues close to her heart and had the privilege of being a guest speaker for Together We Care, a diverse group of Puget Sound collaborators who are partnering toward achieving outstanding care for individuals experiencing chronic illness in the community.

Q: You credit chocolate bars (specifically dark chocolate with almonds) with maintaining your sanity while writing. Do you have any other suggestions for food that feeds the brain, or any foods that might kill the artistic flow?

While chocolate is my favorite writing snack, I also enjoy anything crunchy. A bag of popcorn can help me get through the worst of writers block. I have never found a food to kill my artistic flow.

Q: You once said, "Our greatest success come in the space between try and quit." What brought you to that place to be able to say that? Tell us of your greatest successes.

In life, we all have dreams. Whether we reach those dreams depends a lot on our ability to keep trying until they are firmly in our grasp. Quitting before that moment can rob you of the success. You never really know how close you are to what you desire so why stop short when with just a bit more effort, you can have all you want. My personal successes have been my ability to continue to live a normal life with a disability and keep fighting for my dreams.

Q: Dance of the Heart is your debut novel, and also the first in your Moments of the Heart series. What triggered the idea for the book and for the series? Did you see or experience something? Did a character just come to mind? Did a certain place or memory suddenly conjure up the idea(s)?

Dance of the Heart was inspired not by any one event as it was a memory. When I was younger I used to read Harlequin Romance novel with my grandmother. I just fell in love with the plots and the adventure of love. While thinking of my grandmother one afternoon, I just started writing and the character of Maggie just jumped off the page. She introduced me to her struggle to recover from the drowning death of her mother and her fear of feelings when confronted with love. The story is full of family and humor and the ending that leaves you wanting more.

Q: You call Dance of the Heart, a “traditional romance.” What is a traditional romance? What does/do romance and romance novels mean to you as both a reader and a writer?

To me a traditional romance is exactly like the first real romance novel to me, Pride and Prejudice. The story is full of real people who are facing real situations in life. Their journey includes discovering what they think love is and how it manifests in their own lives into something beautiful and enduring.

Q: What can you tell us about book two, Laughter of the Heart, without giving too much away?

The second book in the Moments of the Heart series follows Maggie and her family as they move on to a new chapter in their life. We find out if Maggie has finally healed her heart and what lengths she is willing to go for love.

Q: Tell us one thing about yourself that we would never expect (a funny story, a talent, a passion in life, etc.).

Well, one thing most people don’t know about me is I love magic. When I was little I would practice card tricks and try the out on whoever came to our house to the annoyance of my parents. I think my love of magic is part of what makes me a fiction writer. Fiction is an illusion of reality that seems real to those reading it just like magic can seem real to the observer. And who doesn’t like the thrill of not knowing how things will work out.

Where to find Susan Berry:


Twitter: @SusanBerry111



Happy Reading!!!