Friday, July 30, 2010

Rachel Brimble Interview

Please welcome author Rachel Brimble here today, from the picturesque town of Bath, England. (Lucky thing.)

Tell us a bit about yourself, and why you decided to write romance.
I am married with two young daughters and live near the beautiful city of Bath, England. I started writing once I became pregnant with my youngest daughter although it was always a passion of mine. Romance became my genre of choice organically. Every story I wrote centered around a romantic relationship even if I didn’t plan it that way! I knew it was a calling.

Tell us about your new release, The Arrival of Lily Curtis, and how long it took you to write it.
This is my first historical and the story behind ‘Lily’ is different than any of my other novels. Up until now I have only written contemporary and Lily came to me fully-formed and talking. I had no idea who she was but I know she hated her current life and wanted to completely change her identity. But try as I might, I could not fit her into any of the contemporary scenarios flying around in my head.
Then while I was watching a Victorian drama on TV, I knew exactly why I was struggling with her… She was Victorian! The rest was easy and I wrote the first draft in four months.

Do you plot, or let the characters take you through the book?
I’m a plotter. Once I have the idea, I write a synopsis and then a chapter plan. Very often things change along the way but I love having a framework, something I can refer back to if I’m struggling.

I knew I liked you :) While writing, did you identify the most with Lily or Viscount Westrop?
Lily, definitely! She is like me in many ways – I don’t like constraints, I don’t like being unable to express my opinion and I certainly don’t like bolshy men! Lily is a fighter and I think she’s pretty damn fantastic.

What sort of research did you do for the book? What little treasures did you unearth about that period in history?
I carried out most of my research on the internet but as this is my first historical, I must admit I was wary of steeping myself too deeply in the details. ‘Lily’ is most definitely a romance set against a Victorian background rather than a Victorian novel with romantic elements. I was careful with costume, transport, food etc and hope this adds to the richness of the setting but didn’t delve too deeply into the intricacies of the period. I wanted the reader to ‘feel’ the time but focus their attention on Lily and the delicious Viscount Westrop.

How do you make sure the dialogue is correct for the period without it sounding stilted to a modern audience?
This was a challenge but I truly hope I have managed it well enough for the readers to have an enjoyable and unstilted read. I tended to only add the easily recognizable ‘old english’ phrases and left the rest alone.

What advice would you give to new authors about the drafting phase?
My good friend and author, Julie Cohen, gives the best advice in the world regarding the first draft – ‘Allow yourself to write crap!’
This is it in a nutshell – get the words on the page and then you can play around with them until they shine. There’s no other way to get a book written.

I'm so with you on that! Any advice on editing?
The best advice I can give, is once your manuscript is complete, go through and delete as many ‘seemed to’, ‘tried to’ and ‘began to’ – make it active!

What about promotion? What have you found that works the best?
Ah, the wonderful promotion question! I have no idea what works best but I do love interviews and I do love having guests on my blog. I think if writers share their forums and get to know each other, it reaches the readers that we are all keen to help each other and offer good products for them to enjoy.

Is there anything you know now that you wished you'd known before you became published?
That one book does not sate the craving! I thought I only had one book in me but once ‘Searching For Sophie’ was published, another idea popped into my head, then another, then another…now I have accept my writing is a compulsion and I will undoubtedly do this for the rest of my life.

Has anything about the process of publishing surprised you along the way?
How nice everyone is! I have heard many horror stories from other writers but I have not experience anything negative and I have been writing and publishing stories for over six years now. If a writer is willing to bend a little on their work, be polite and open to criticism, this is a wonderful industry to work in.

What are you working on now?
I have just finished plotting my second Victorian romance, tentatively entitled Jewel of His Heart but in the meantime, I have another contemporary romance due for release in January 2011 from Lyrical Press called Getting It Right This Time. Set in the fictional town of Foxton, England, it is the story of a young mother reunited with her first love and the struggles they face to make it work second time around.

Where can readers find you?
Thanks Rachel!

Bio: Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Having always believed there’s someone for everyone, Rachel started writing her own tales of love once her children were at school. Since then, she’s had several books published with The Wild Rose Press, Eternal Press and Lyrical Press. She aspires to secure an agent in the near future. A member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, Rachel cannot imagine her life without romance or writing!

When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. And in the evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused…

Monday, July 26, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I love coming home after a vacation! Being a total homebody, my house is my haven, and I miss it whenever I'm away. Had a great trip, but hubby and I have agreed the next time we go away, it'll be just the two of us. That way we won't have to referee our boys all the time :)

On our way south we stopped in Portland for lunch at a Food Network Diners, Drive-ins and Dives ("Triple D") featured cafe. Our family loves that show, and hubby had scoped out places for us to try during the trip. So we ate lunch at the Blue Plate Cafe, and it was truly awesome. Had an amazing hand-carved chicken, bacon and grilled cheese sandwich with a chocolate malt shake from their full soda fountain. Then we stopped at Powell's Books, the largest indie bookstore in the US. (Katie, I went in to see if they had our books, but no dice. I tried!)

With full tummies we carried on to our final destination just outside of Sisters, Oregon. We found a real BBQ place in town and my hubby was in his glory. I think he moaned every other bite. The food was awesome, and even Little Weasel ate some of the pulled pork nachos.

In all we spent three nights at the Lodge at Suttle Lake, in the owner's private "cabin" (complete with granite countertops and a stainless steel kitchen) right on the lake. I only met the woman once when she was up here for an event with my stepmom, but she's been unbelievably sweet to me. Not only did she comp the cabin, she left us a huge gift basket stuffed with treats, and took us out on her speedboat with some of her family and a professional wakeboarder to give us lessons. Hubby and I were happy to stay in the boat, but our six year old is still talking about going tubing with Alex Scagliotti, the pro wakeboarder that just placed 11th in the men's nationals.

After an action packed day and buying us all lunch at the resort's restaurant, the owner invited us back to her house about twenty minutes away for a BBQ. When we pulled up to the house, hubby and I both said, "Holy...crap." Picture a gorgeous log home set on 15 acres with a panoramic view of 7 mountains, complete with an entire building full of arcade games, a barn and a fishing pond. Yeah. Pretty nice digs.

She cooked us all a huge BBQ dinner with her family. Not only that, she'd hired a professional fly fisherman to give the kids lessons, so my six year old (AKA Big Weasel) learned how to cast and loved every second of it. Hubby caught two fish on his first two casts, and joked "There's nothing to this sport." Then Big Weasel caught a little frog and brought it into the dining room where I was still eating my dinner--and let it go, not realizing it would run for its life. Everyone howled with laughter while BW and I crawled under the table and around the dining room chasing this frog. We ended up putting him back in the pond, safe and sound.

Our incredible hostess topped all this off with a campfire and S'Mores for the kids (who thought they were in heaven by this point) after a rousing game of soccer with the whole crew in a huge pasture under the full moon. And wow, you should have seen how many stars there were in the sky. Pretty magical, and I still can't believe the owner's hospitality. Unreal.

On our way up to Seattle we stopped at Jubitz truck stop outside Portland, but it wasn't the same as I remember from my childhood. Next I made hubby stop at Fort Vancouver, a Hudson's Bay Company trading post from the mid 1800s. I wasn't expecting my family to really care that U.S. Grant was stationed there years before the Civil War, but to my unending delight, BW got really into it. He asked a park ranger all kinds of questions and wanted to check out every building on the site, plus he showed a real interest in the cannons. You can bet I fanned that flame :) (I'm so proud!)

Next day we took the kids to the Museum of Flight, and had an awesome time. Saw some WWI bi and tri-planes, a few WWII jet fighters, the Concorde, an old Air Force One, and an SR-71 Blackbird (AKA "Jetfire" in the Transformers 2 movie, shown below.)
The museum also had an exhibit about space travel and exploration, and the kids had a fantastic time. We left with a whole bunch of aircraft models, including an Apache attack helicopter, Stealth Bomber, Chinook helicopter and a Medevac Black Hawk for me. It's perched on my writing desk right now to give me added mojo when I dig into revisions on my Medevac/PJ novel (Turbulence).

That night we met friends at a Moroccan restaurant downtown. The food was awesome, and the ambiance was pretty cool. BW even topped the meal off by getting up and performing with the belly dancer. (You may have noticed by now that he's not very shy, lol.)

After that we hit Safeco Field to watch the BoSox.
I'd flat ironed my hair and everything, but Varitek was out with a broken foot, and the BoSox self destructed in the 7th and 8th innings. Plus my kids were a complete handful. All in all, I think I saw a solid four out of nine innings. Hence hubby and I going on our own next time.

Yesterday we stopped at another Triple D restaurant yesterday on the way home. Voula's Offshore Cafe is just off the UW campus, and we waited over an hour to get in, then another forty for our food. It was okay, but I'm not sure it was worth the wait.

Didn't get much writing time on the trip, but I did work on my laptop during some of the driving. Got a synopsis and polishing done on a novella I've just submitted, so I'll keep you posted as to the status. Apart from the kids fighting it was an action packed trip, but I'm glad to be home!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What sort of romance heroine do you like?

I'm at Writers Gone Wild today, asking for your input about romance heroines. Tell me what you'd love to see in one, and what you hate. I'm working on something new, and want to make my heroine memorable so stop by and drop me a note. You never know, your suggestions might make it into my next book!

I'm out of town at the moment, but hope to be able to pop in and check the post at least once during the day. Hope everyone is having a good summer!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Road Trip

We're hitting the road Tuesday and getting the heck out of Dodge. Central Oregon is our final destination, where we'll stay three nights at The Lodge At Suttle Lake. We're all looking forward to getting away from everything for awhile, especially since we've been so busy with family for the past few weeks and my mother-in-law's funeral.

Then on Friday we're heading to Seattle, where on Saturday night we'll be watching the BoSox take on the Mariners at Safeco Field. I think we're close to home plate, and I'm praying the BoSox Captian, Jason Varitek, will be catching that night. (Mmmm, Varitek...) He's a well respected catcher renowned for studying game footage and opposing batter's weaknesses, plus he takes charge on the field and in the clubhouse, and he works well with the pitching staff. I can't wait to sit back with a hot dog and dark chocolate dipped strawberries on a stick to watch my heartthrob do his thing.

Our eldest is six, and this isn't his first time to Safeco. He'll do okay, provided there are lots of food vendors around to keep him happy. It'll be our little guy's first ball game though. He's only 4, and while I doubt he'll last the whole nine innings, I hope he'll mostly enjoy the experience. We're going with one of my best pals (a former teammate) and her man who happens to live in Seattle. My pal is great with the kids, but my hubby is well aware of my fan girl crush and already knows he's in charge of the boys if they start to whine or act up during the game so I'm not distracted from seeing my hero. Even if I only see him in the dugout. Hubby loves the BoSox too, but he doesn't love Varitek as much as I do :)

Maybe it's because I was a pitcher, but to me catchers are just plain sexy, especially him. For crying out loud, just look at him up there in the first photo! Yum. Of course when it comes to yummy catchers there's also Minnesota's delectable Joe Mauer (shown here on the left), but I'm a loyal kind of gal. (If only he played for the BoSox...)

Varitek's only 3 years older than me and we've both had ball-related surgery on our left knees, so that makes me feel even closer to him, lol. And as a massage therapist, I'd be happy to work all his knots out after the game. Purely for therapeutic reasons, of course ;)

But don't worry, I promise to behave myself should I run into him. I'm actually pretty shy, so even if I somehow met the man I wouldn't be able to do anything more than blush and mumble a hello. (When really I'd be thinking, I love you Jason! Can we play catch?)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Desert Island Keepers

Still on the promo trail, I'm over at Desert Island Keepers talking about my fantastic heroes :) Come by for a chance to win a copy of my latest release, Relentless.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Karlene Blakemore-Mowle

I'm over at Writers Gone Wild today, featuring an article by Aussie author Karlene Blakemore-Mowle about Australian rural romance. She's giving away a copy of her latest release to one commenter, so be sure to drop by :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Release Day!!!

It's the official release day for Relentless! It's book 4 of 5 in my military romantic suspense series, and it's set here in Vancouver :)

This one's lighter on the suspense than the previous two books, and heavier on the romance. And the smexin', too! (It's HAWT.) A few readers have asked me why I did that, since they really liked all the hair raising action in Cover of Darkness and No Turning Back. The answer is, I needed a break from the Middle East and things being blown up every other chapter. Two back-to-back novels about murder and mayhem made me want to switch gears, plus it allowed me to better show Rhys's emotional development in the book by focusing on the relationship between him and Neveah. Tehrazzi's still in this one, but he plays a minor role, orchestrating his next diabolical move from overseas when he activates a terrorist cell in Vancouver. It's all right though. There'll still be blood and delicious alpha maleness.

Today's the last day to enter the contest over at Writers Gone Wild, so drop by and leave a comment.

Since Rhys and Ben are twins and I'm celebrating today, here's the latest pics of the twins at my dad's place:

Here's the eager beaver of the two, testing his wings and almost knocking his sibling out of the nest. I love the way the other twin is cocking his head like that. It makes me think of Ben and Rhys.
Rhys jerks back and glowers at his brother. "What the hell are you doing, punk?"
Ben raises his middle wing feather and flaps harder. "Getting ready to fly, hard-ass."

Ah, lift off! Just another few days and this little guy will be feeling the wind beneath his wings for the first time. But don't worry, I'm sure I'll have more pictures for you by then.

Hope you all have a great weekend!
Kaylea :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Relentless contest

I'm over at Writers Gone Wild today, hosting a contest for a digital copy of Relentless. This one's rated HOT so you might need to turn on the fan while you read it, and trust me, Rhys is uber yummy. I'll pick the winner on the weekend, so stop by and leave a comment to enter.

Got some great news this morning. One of the girls I coached a few years back recently made the Canadian Women's National Fastptich Team, and I'm so proud of her! She was small for her age, but her heart and determination were obvious to anyone watching her out on the field. She just e-mailed me to say they took the bronze medal at the World Championships in Venezuela. Go Corrine!

Also, here's a cool picture of one of the twin eagles at my dad's place, testing its wings. Another week or so, and it's going to try flying for the first time. Will keep you posted!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Win one of my books during the Deadly Days of Summer

I'm over at Cynthia Eden's blog today, chatting about the heroes of my special ops series. Swing by if you'd like a chance to win one of my books, including this Friday's upcoming release, Relentless.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to all my Americans friends out there. Up here north of the 49th parallel we celebrated Canada Day on July 1st, but the weather's been cool and gray so it doesn't feel like summer yet. As you know, my mother-in-law passed away a week ago. My hubby's been swamped taking care of all the details for her elaborate funeral service, so last night we went on a date. It was a much needed break for both of us, and we had a nice dinner at an Irish restaurant on the beach. I know the owner, and we stayed after to watch her sing. She toured with Riverdance as a musician and singer, and she performs at the restaurant from time to time. After that, we called my mom to bring the kids down so we could attend the outdoor movie night. We bundled up and watched How To Train Your Dragon on the huge inflatable screen set up right on the beach, and though it was cold and kind of damp, it was neat to watch a movie beneath the stars while the lights reflected off the water.

Since it's the 4th of July today, I thought I'd post a picture of the "eagle cam" my dad has set up on his property. He's been building his ginormous house on the bluff overlooking the ocean for going on nine years now, and there are bald eagles nesting in some of the trees on his property. Bald eagles mate for life, and here in Vancouver the eagles migrate up to Alaska in the fall and return each spring to nest and have babies. Usually they only have one egg, which the parents take turns sitting on 24/7. But my dad is lucky enough to have a pair of eagles that had twins this spring. He figures they're about 74 or 75 days old today.

Here's a shot of one of the parents feeding a youngster. Can you see it there at the front of the nest? It's got a dark head, and won't get it's white feathers for a few years yet. World renowned eagle researcher David Hancock says they should be fledging (i.e. learning to fly) in the next eight or nine days. He and my dad are working on setting up an Internet link for the live webcam, so I'll keep you posted. I was just at my dad's place this afternoon and he put the camera shot on his big TV so we could see it. The second he turned it on, one of the adults swooped in with a salmon and dumped it in the nest. The babies are so big now that the adults leave the nest at night and roost in the trees on the other side of the house, but it's still close enough to keep an eye on their little ones.

I'll try to post more pictures in the coming weeks, and if the feed goes live on the web I'll post the link ASAP. Hope everyone is having a safe and wonderful long weekend south of the border!

I'm over at Cynthia Eden's blog tomorrow, talking about my special ops heroes. (What else, right?) I'll post a link tomorrow, so you come on by and enter the contest to win a copy of one of my books.