Friday, 31 January 2014

In The Hot Seat With Elizabeth M Darcy today is S. E. Gilchrist

 Hi S.E,  Can you tell my readers a little about yourself?

 SE can't remember a time when she didn't have a book in her hand. Now she writes her own stories where her favourite words are ...'what if' and 'where'?
She writes in the genres of sci fi / futuristic, fantasy, post apocalyptic/dystopian, historical and contemporary rural romance. The heat level of her stories range from scorching to sweet and everything in between.
SE lives down-under, in the beautiful Hunter Valley of Australia.
She is published with Momentum Moonlight, and Escape Publishing, and is also an indie author. 

Now how about some questions from my readers?

Q:  Can you tell our readers a little about your writing? What genres do you enjoy writing? I love writing spec fiction and have written science fiction romance, post apocalyptic romance, historical with a touch of fantasy – all on the hot scale. I recently wrote a sweet contemporary rural romance and hope to write more of these also.

Q:  Do you write on a schedule or when the Muse decides? Definitely on a schedule as I work full time and my writing is squeezed into what’s left. However, I always carry pen and paper with me and scribble down ideas and notes as they occur – even during the night.

Q: Can you tell us about your writing process, for example, do you write an outline first? The first thing that usually comes to me, is an idea or event / situation after that the characters arrive. At this stage they are fairly shadowy figures. I’ll write anything from one to four chapters before I sit down and do a story outline and more indepth character sheets. I find this process works best for me.

Q:  What qualities do you instill in your heroes? Kindness, generosity of spirit, protectiveness and an ability to acknowledge when they are wrong and grow. Also, they need to be able to ask for directions.

Q. Coffee or tea? I’m a tea drinker – china cops and a brewed pot – lovely.

Q. Beach or countryside? Beach – I love early morning walks across the sand.

Q. Do you write about the places you know or prefer to take your readers to exotic places? I have written about places I know for example in Storm of Fire & Paying the Forfeit I set these stories in a futuristic outback Queensland. Dance in the Outback was based on my travels around Australia and the time I spent on a cattle station. My sci fi romances I would have to say, they are out of my imagination plus the numerous books and TV series I have watched / read in that genre.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration? Often an article I read, provides me with a germ of an idea and it flows from there after a lot of ‘what if’s and ‘whys’. My sons are great with providing ideas for my spec fiction stories and my youngest in particular is very helpful with the dash of physics I include (or dabble with until they bare no resemblance to anything possible – lol).

Q: Would you change anything in your life to make writing easier. I’d love to be able to write full time however I often wonder whether that would take the sparkle out of my passion once it became the source of my livelihood.

Q: We have all suffered submission rejections. How do you cope? Do you have any advice to other writers on coping with rejection? After weeping and railing and tearing my hair out and feeling like the worst writer in the world and off loading onto my writing mates, I accept it and move on. If I’ve been lucky enough to have received a reason / advice, I take a good look at my story and see if / where I can improve. Then I write another one and keep trying.

Q: What do you like to read and who are your favourite authors? I read a lot of crime fiction and adventure novels. Oh and mysteries and romance and love science fiction romance stories. Actually I’ll read anything apart from horror. Favourite authors – too many really but here are a few: John Birmingham, Kerry Greenwood, Elizabeth Peters, Anne Gracie, Agatha Christie, Lisa Gardiner, Karen Marie Moning....

Q: Do you write one novel at a time or do you move between works in progress? I try to stay focussed on the one novel otherwise I’d have too many on the go and never finish anything.

Q: Do you have times when the Muse is away on holiday? OMG, YES! And its often when I need her the most.

Q. What motivates you to write? Deadlines; I try to give myself deadlines otherwise I’d procrastinate and research until the cows come home.

Q. What advice would you give to unpublished authors approaching an e publisher? Be professional, courteous and treat it like a business interview. Ensure the e publisher has been around for a while and has a good reputation in the market place. See what they can do for you in relation to marketing, promotion. Take a good look at their list of authors, do you recognise their names? Do you like their covers? Buy one or two and see how professionally edited they may be – basically do your homework. Never sign anything you are uncomfortable with, don’t give away all your rights and try for a fixed term contract.

Q: Is there anything you would like to share with us about upcoming releases? Oooh, yes please. My sci fi romance Star Pirate’s Justice was released 1st February with Escape Publishing and I’m running a contest / giveaway on my blog (as well as on other lovely people’s blogs) until 16th Feb. Be sure to check it out.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your current novel? What inspired you to write this story? At the moment I’m writing the third single title book in my Darkon Warriors sci fi series (titled, When Stars Collide). Its a continuation of the external story line with more focus on the ‘baddie’ who has, so far, been mainly lurking in the background.

 Star Pirate’s Justice
Blurb: BLURB: Carly has one focus in her life: to return home to her terminally ill younger sister. When she learns that a Darkon traitor possesses gateway maps to Earth, she uses all her skills to track him down. But capturing the charming star pirate turns out to be trickier than she anticipated…
Volkar is determined to prove his innocence to those who drove him to a life lived on the Outer Rim, and he will overcome anyone who gets in his way. But his surprisingly sweet captor has some skills that will come in handy, so he strikes a deal: the maps for her help. Neither expect their partnership to turn into more, but as dark secrets are revealed, their lives become forfeit — and the relationship blossoming between them nothing but a starburst of happiness in the deep shadow of the sky…

Here’s a little excerpt when Carly and Volkar first meet taken from Star Pirate’s Justice © S. E. Gilchrist 2014 :

Outer Reaches of the Besa System…..

Carly lunged from the chair and grasped the weapon with eager fingers. But the Darkon had moved too. He popped into her field of vision like an evil genie, gripped her hand with his larger one, tightening as she tried to tug free, her bones feeling crushed. Her screech was loud enough to wake the dead.
The stunner was wrenched from her numb fingers and tossed onto the floor. Strong hands grabbed her waist, plopped her back into the command chair and she looked up into her former prisoner’s implacable face as he stared down at her. With his hands clamped either side onto the chair’s armrests, his body looming over her cringing figure, she had nowhere to run. Couldn’t even move, as any attempt to slip from the chair would ensure she’d make physical contact with him. At the thought of colliding with that powerful form, she shrank a tad closer into the back of the chair.
“How did you escape?” she mumbled, her gaze trapped by the narrowed intensity of his stare.
Her head whirled with snippets of the back-handed whispers she had gleaned about this warrior, his feats as a re-known soldier, his dark deeds as a traitor. She waited, imprisoned, for him to strike. Strange how instead of the shoulder length locks of other Darkon warriors, he wore his hair short, in a shaggy style that gave him a tousled, just out-of-bed look.
Jumping mega bytes, where had that thought come from?
Carly snapped upright, forcing him to jerk out of the way before she rammed his chin with the top of her head. “Well?”
“I have heard of you,” he muttered, a heavy frown digging deep like war-time trenches across his forehead.
Carly shut her gaping mouth and spluttered, “Me?”
He straightened, his hands leaving the armrests and half-turned to examine the cockpit for several beats. His gaze swept back to take a long thorough look up her body and fastened onto her face. A mocking smile quirked one side of his lips and he said, tongue in cheek, “Not you. Your kind and how the Darkon males have found release from cycles of impotency. After seeing you, I find this difficult to believe.”
The man was a total dick.

Author’s links: website - http://www.segilchrist.com
Twitter - @SEGilchrist1
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SEGilchrist
Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6587665.S_E_Gilchrist
F2F writing group - http://hunterromancewriters.wordpress.com/

Monday, 13 January 2014

Sneak peek at my WIP: In The Arms of a Highlander

Lady Adrianna Beechcroft’s breath wedged in her throat. Heavens above, she had caught the deliciously handsome rake’s attention. His lustful gaze held a blatant offer of intimacy. Her face grew uncomfortably hot and she raised her fan. Unable to look away from his intense emerald eyes, she hovered at the entrance to the card room amid a bevy of chits. The stranger’s mouth twitched into a smile around the gold tipped cheroot holder and he winked at her. The group of young ladies surrounding her giggled. To her dismay, the gentleman folded his cards on the table and pushed to his feet. Adrianna examined the powerful stranger. He was the most fashionable of gentlemen. She admired tall men and his magnificently broad shoulders fit snug inside a dark blue jacket nipped at the waist and worn over breeches tight enough to enhance his long muscular legs. He wore no wig and his queued ebony hair held not one trace of powder. Entranced by his devilish countenance, she followed his progress across the room. The stranger moved toward her with unnerving arrogance as if he believed she would swoon at his feet. She fought against the desire to wait for him and turned away pushing through the crush to enter the ballroom. Her card was full  and the music had started up again. To her relief, her next partner and one of her father’s elderly colleagues, Lord Winton, strode toward her.
“I believe this is my set?” Lord Winton bowed over her hand dispersing a shower of dust from his overly powdered wig. “May I escort you to supper this evening, Lady Adrianna?”
Smiling she met his gaze. “Yes, I would like that of all things.”

 She gave him her curtsy and laid her hand on his arm. Chancing a glance over one shoulder to the edge of the dance floor, she noticed the handsome stranger leaning with one shoulder resting nonchalantly against the wall. He smiled outrageously and raised a glass of wine to her then turned and vanished into the crowd. Her stomach fluttered in an unnerving fashion, he had woken something unfamiliar inside her. She made an effort to push his dashingly handsome image from her mind and concentrate on the complicated steps of the dance but to no avail. His handsome countenance and outrageous offer lingered in her consciousness like a forbidden confection.  

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Guest Author: Robert Fanshaw

Tell my readers a little about you Robert.

 Robert liked the idea of being a writer from the moment he saw his poems in print in the school magazine. For years he combined his employment in healthcare businesses with writing columns, articles and non-fiction. Then the writing bug took over completely, and he turned to memoir and fiction. The result has been the Shameless novels, describing the crazy romantic adventures of ‘his wife’ Caroline; and now The Catch, inspired by a sports-mad mad Englishman who met his Australian future wife at a cricket match. Robert lives in England with a wife who insists she isn’t called Caroline and wasn’t born in Australia.

Q:  Can you tell our readers a little about your writing? What genres do you enjoy writing?
My aim as a writer it to entertain and I don’t think too much about genre. My books are full of action, and contain humour, good and bad sexual behaviour, a hint of crime, and a certain amount of mystery. But at the core of the stories are relationships, loves won and lost. So I can happily say I write Contemporary Romance. The plots, characters and settings are central, and I don’t usually go into the detail found in full blown erotica. But the characters go to some hot places by accident or design.

Q:  Do you write on a schedule or when the Muse decides?
For me, writing is like running. When you start, you can only manage a few minutes before you’re out of breath and everything hurts. Writing can be really painful too. But if you keep at it, your stamina increases and it becomes a good habit. I write every day I can (like most writers I have to juggle responsibilities) and aim to get a thousand new words added to the current work-in-progress. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes less. Even now that I’ve increased my writing speed and mileage, it can still be really tough at times. And then, boom, it all comes together and the words spill out without any real effort.

Q: Can you tell us about your writing process, for example, do you write an outline first?
For me, the process starts with a contemporary subject I am interested in. It may be triggered by a newspaper article or a conversation. I start asking ‘what ifs’ and a fictional story sometimes forms around the idea. I make longhand notes and put them in a clear plastic folder which I add over a few weeks to if the idea has grabbed me. The characters start to fill out as I think about what they did before the story starts. If after a month or so the project is still exciting to me, I might write a synopsis. Then it’s just the small matter of writing the first draft which takes me about five months for a novel.
Q:  What qualities do you instill in your heroes?
My heroes and heroines have flaws like the rest of us do. They are larger than life, behaving more extremely than most people do, so their flaws are bigger too. I try to make them attractive enough to retain the sympathy of the reader, and that’s not just physically attractive. Of course they are faced with unusual temptations and challenges. Kurt Vonnegut said you have to be cruel to your characters to show readers what they are made of. I admit I find that difficult; it feels like being horrible to people I know. I want to soften the blows.

Q. Do you write about the places you know or prefer to take your readers to exotic places?
My books have a variety of locations because the main characters travel around a lot. On the face of it, Caroline, the central character, lives a high-powered, glamorous life. The second in the series, Shameless Exposure, takes place in Scotland, London, and Rio de Janeiro. In the third, which I’m writing at the moment, Caroline goes back to Rio because of the football World Cup finals. Her business trip starts at a fashion show in Italy and moves to a finance directors’ conference in Singapore. There’s always beaches and water, hotel pools, luxurious bathrooms.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
I can tell you when I get my inspiration. It arrives when I’m walking the dog, a golden retriever called Jerry (after Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead). I don’t deliberately try to think about the next scene in the story, but half way through the walk ideas pop into my mind. When I get back home I scribble notes down quickly. I rarely get ideas sitting at a desk or at a computer. Plot lines often come from contemporary events, and the characters are composites of people I met while working in business.

Q: Would you change anything in your life to make writing easier.
I would turn back the clock on Windows 8.

Q: We have all suffered submission rejections. How do you cope? Do you have any advice to other writers on coping with rejection?
I learnt about rejections a long time ago, and I’m grateful I did. I wrote lots of articles for magazines in the days before computers and began to realise you win some, you lose some, and most things can be re-shaped and re-targeted. Persistence is the key. I’m in an informal group of writers and can see what a huge hurdle sending stuff out can be. If you get any kind of feedback, even if it’s a ‘no’ with an explanation, that’s useful. I suggest walking the fine line between believing in your work and listening to suggestions. Other people have good ideas too. Rejection is a sign you have taken a risk, and it’s good to take a risk with your writing.

Q: What do you like to read and who are your favourite authors?
I’m one of those people who have ‘the readies’. I read anything; labels on jars, newspapers, paperbacks, ebooks, and 800 page biographies. My favourite author is often the one I happen to be reading at the time. I am a big fan of Doris Lessing who died recently. I like deep stuff too. Does anyone remember Herman Hesse? Alan Watts?

Q: Do you write one novel at a time or do you move between works in progress?
I try to finish a complete draft  of the work-in-progress before I start writing the first chapter of a new project because the most important thing for a writer to do is to finish a piece, which might mean several drafts and rewrites, however long or short it is. Even being strict there is a bunch of different things going on at any one time; final edits or promoting the last book; improving the first draft of the current project; starting out on the next novel; keeping up the My Wife Caroline blog and visiting other fine blog establishments, like this one; and reviewing other people’s books. All writing counts.

Q: Do you have times when the Muse is away on holiday?
The muse went away on extended leave when I was pre-occupied with earning a living. At present, I have more ideas in the queue than I have time to turn them into books.

Q. What motivates you to write?
I like writing better than I like talking. A good story is its own motivation. I get enthusiastic about it and want to keep going to the end. Fortunately, money and fame are not my motivation (though I love having people read my books). I try to make each book better than the last one. There is always so much to learn in writing fiction, new ways of structuring a story.

Q. What advice would you give to unpublished authors approaching an e publisher?
My advice would be to take a risk and write what you want to write, even if it doesn’t obviously fit into one genre. The ebook global audience is big enough for all kinds of work, as long as it’s well written and finished.
Q: Is there anything you would like to share with us about upcoming releases?
Next year will be the year of the World Cup and the year of Shameless Corruption, which tells the story of how Caroline infiltrates a match-fixing gambling syndicate and loses everything (not just her clothes).
Q: Can you tell us a little about your current novel? What inspired you to write this story?
 My current book is a shorter work called ‘The Catch.’ It’s quite different from the books in the Shameless series, though still has the fast-paced style. Steamy at the edges, it’s a proper romantic tale of love and cricket. It was inspired by people I know, and is in many respects a true story; apart from how the England team play.

Blurb: The Catch is a sizzling romance which takes place during the five days of the Melbourne Ashes test. The rivalry between Aussies and Poms builds up on the pitch, in the crowd, and in the heart of Alana Carragher.
The rivalry on the pitch was mirrored by a raucous dialogue in the crowd between representatives of the opposing nations. The English, a mixture of tourists, ex-pats, and fanatical barmies, had turned up in sufficient numbers to make it a real contest. Daniel and Merv, Alana’s older brothers, rose to the bait dangled by the lone Pom in the row behind. Louis confidently announced that the Aussies would be out by lunch. Alana scoffed and Louis had to pay for his bravado throughout the afternoon and evening sessions as Australia piled on the runs. But the Carraghers’ jibes were water off a duck’s back. A grin remained fixed on Louis’s face. He was having the time of his life. A year in Australia doing post-grad research was, he explained to Alana, his idea of having died and gone to heaven.
“I admit your captain knows how to hold a bat,” conceded Louis soon after tea. “But we’re only letting you get a few runs to make it more interesting.” The Australian batsman illustrated Louis’s comment, confirming he knew how to hold a bat by hitting a powerful six, which soared towards them. The crowd roared, but Alana could still hear a low whistle as the ball cut through the air. Her brothers leapt up and stretched to catch the ball but it was over their heads. Louis stuck up a hand and the ball smashed into his palm. He couldn’t hold it, but he knocked it skywards.
Alana jumped from her seat, fixing her eyes on the bright red cherry. She stretched out an arm and completed the catch just before the ball was grounded. The plastic seats, vacated by her brothers, cushioned her fall. She stood up and cradled the warm hard ball in her hands for a second, running her fingers over the rough seam. It felt like a message from her hero. She threw the ball strongly to the fielder on the boundary. The action was captured by one of the many cameras positioned around the ground, and replayed on the big screen. The crowd cheered. Alana took a bow, and that was replayed too. She high-fived with her brothers and turned to Louis.
“You English guys need more fielding practice.”
“I’m seriously impressed,” said Louis. “That was some catch.”

Buy Link: www.steamereads.com.au

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