Friday, August 24, 2012

Jennifer Probst : The Author Interview

I am so excited to share my interview with New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Probst!  Her novel The Marriage Bargain is currently on my Kindle and I was thrilled to be able to speak with her. Be sure to check out her links below.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I'm a busy mom of two boys and two rescue dogs. I've juggled a day job my entire life and just this year became blessed enough to be able to write full-time, which is such a gift. I love spending time with my family, reading, writing, volunteering at the pet shelter, and generally enjoying life. I also love to connect with my readers -that's such a fun relationship to write back and forth and learn about the people reading my books.

What was the querying/agent search process like for you?

Hard. Always drafting a new query with a partial or full, sending it out and waiting. When I got rejected, I'd tweak, revise, and send it back out. It's a long process and I wasn't one of the lucky ones to get bought right away. It took me a long time before I finally cracked the market, but I think I needed it because the journey made me dig deep and thickened my skin. Also taught me to believe in my work until I found the right fit for my story with the right editor.

Is there another genre you would like to try at some point?

I love writing outside the genre - it keeps me fresh. I adore short stories and have completed many in my life. I'd like to package them up into one anthology and try that for a change. I love writing about animals so a dog book may be in my future. And I run a mommy blog and would think about doing a humorous mommy parenting book..

Do you have a writing ritual or a certain way you like to get ready to write?

No. I sit down and write. Sure, I brainstorm on characters and names and certain scenes, but the blank page is what calls to me, and I need to fill it. It's the only way to keep being productive. And with my busy household, I grab any time I can!

Tell us about one of your characters you loved writing:

I have tons. I fall in love with the current book I'm working on. Everyone knows Alexa and Nick were some of my all time favorite characters, but I really enjoyed giving Maggie her story in The Marriage Trap. She was a great heroine - quite snarky with deep emotional scars she hid. I loved diving under her skin and showing readers all the aspects to her character. And the zing she has with Michael Conte - well, the sparks flew off the page!

Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? If so, what changed?

Yes. I went through many periods where I got rejection letter after rejection letter and it just seemed too hard. To start all over by querying and keep writing was a nightmare. I quit, went to bed, and didn't write for a week. Then I went right back to it, because it's a part of who I am and I decided I'd die trying. Perseverance is a very underrated quality nowadays - along with kindness. I believe in both.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Never, ever give up. If you want to be a writer there are two things to do. Write every day - butt in the chair. That's how you learn your craft. Second is keep going. Don't listen to the people who think it's a cute hobby or tell you it's impossible. Nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough.

What is your current obsession?

Writing. I've been writing nonstop all summer and very excited about the books coming out and some new stories percolating in my head! My husband says I get that faraway look on my face and he knows I'm not listening. I'm enjoying a very fruitful time in my career and am truly loving it.

Where can readers find more about you?

Stalking is highly encouraged!

Thanks again Jennifer! We will be looking forward to your next release!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top Ten (+5) Tuesday : My Favorite Fictional Bands

These bands rule! They may not be real, but they pretty much rock and that's all that matters. Sorry I couldn't keep it to just ten this week.

15. Sex Bob-omb (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World)

They rock just as hard in the graphic novels as they do in the film adaptation.

14. Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem (The Muppet Show)

This one is for my husband who convinced me a few years ago to dress as Animal so he could be Dr. Teeth. I certainly didn't hate it because we all know "Animal dance!!"

13. Drive Shaft (LOST)

 Lost was one of my favorite shows and Charlie was such an amazing character. How could I not mention "You All Everybody"??

12. Jessie & The Rippers (Full House)

 Uncle Jessie is so hot! Not only does he have The Rippers, he also jams with The Beach Boys every now and then.

11. Wyld Stallyns (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure)

"Be excellent to each other."

10. Robin Sparkles (How I Met Your Mother)

"Come on everybody, let's go to the mall!!"
Robin's deep dark secret of being a Canadian pop star makes for some of the greatest HIMYM episodes.

9. Jem & The Holograms

Jem is the original Hannah Montana; regular lovestruck girl by day, rock star by night. And...I LOVE her pink hair!
8. 2gether

 "I know my calculus, it says U + Me = Us" 

7. The Jerk-Offs (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist)

Their drummer is a children's toy and they have an even better more offensive name...
"Fist Full of A**holes"

6. Frozen Embryos (My So-Called Life)

Try listening to Jordan Catalano sing "I Wanna Be Sedated" without wanting desperately to head down to the boiler room with him. Follow up by listening to a little 30 Seconds From Mars.

5. Spinal Tap

Theirs go to 11...enough said.

4. Stillwater (Almost Famous)

"I am a golden god!"

3. Cry Baby and The Drapes (Cry-Baby)

Though I love Cry Baby crooning tunes, my favorite musical number from the movie has Allison Vernon Williams singing "Please Mr. Jailor".

2. The Wonders/Capt. Geech & the Shrimp Shack Shooters (That Thing You Do!)

These four hotties from Eerie, PA know how to get the kids dancing.

Special recognition to their alter-egos from the movie within a movie "Weekend at Party Pier".

1. Zack Attack/ Hot Sundae (Saved By The Bell)

The band Zack Attack not only gets to play school dances but they also had a lengthy career in Zack's imagination in a great episode where we get to hear "Friends Forever" and see Zack's future love of mousse!

The short-lived girl group Hot Sundae is responsible for one of the greatest SBTB episodes of all time! "There's no time! There's never any time! I'm so excited, I'm so...I'm so...scared!!" Jessie Spano was robbed of the Emmy that year.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Anniversary Rebel Ink Press!

Rebel Ink Press is 2 years old! So many thanks to RIP for publishing The Low Notes and for being a fantastic team to work with. We are celebrating their birthday by recounting some first date disasters so here is my tale. Enjoy and be sure to check out some other rebels today via Rebel Reasoning.

First Date Disaster

The dreaded blind date. I never imagined I would ever go on a blind date and I certainly didn’t think I’d be going on one at eighteen. My high school pal told me she had a great guy for me and that he was dying to take me to a movie. I reluctantly agreed only after grilling her about what he was like. She claimed he was nice and funny and cute. 

It’s clear to me now that she was doing him a favor. He wasn’t a gargoyle or anything but she was one of my best friends and clearly knew my taste in guys and he was not it. He was much shorter than me and was a tad rough around the edges. He barely came to my front door, barely introduced himself before whisking me off to the movies. I was disappointed that we weren’t going to dinner before since you can’t exactly talk and get to know someone during a movie.

Apparently I didn’t know anything about dating this particular guy because he found a way around that general rule. A few minutes into the movie (I honestly can’t even remember the title) he started talking! And not “This movie is funny” or “I’m going to get more popcorn”…he was obnoxious! Repeating lines from the movie, asking me about myself and ripping on the people sitting a few rows in front of us. I was mortified and irritated to say the least.

I tried to give him a hint. I folded my arms across my chest so he could stop reaching for my hand and I looked straight ahead not acknowledging his chatter. I don’t mind a few quick sentences during a movie but quietly and respectful of the other people around you. He was talking in a normal voice roughly every five minutes. I wanted to kill him. I wished I had driven myself so I could just bolt.

He simply drove me back to my house seemingly without the slightest inkling that I was pissed at him. I remember him trying to kiss me and me turning my head and giving him a hesitant hug. He was so clearly not the guy for me and it felt like a waste of my time. But, hey, it’s a story and maybe there was a girl out there who loved to blab through a movie right along with him. I hope for his sake there was.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday : Vampires!

Are vampires still in? Abraham Lincoln killed a few this summer and we've all heard by now Bella and Edward are having trouble in, Forks. I've always loved vampires so here's ten to get your blood pumping.

10. Selene (Underworld)
The only lady vamp on my list but she's hot and she's a badass!

9. Louis (Interview with a Vampire)
The tortured mate of another vampire on the list.

8. Edward Cullen (Twilight)
He sweeps her off her feet, turns into a douche and does a disappearing act, proves he can handle jealousy (sort of) and finally manages to not screw Bella to death. All in all he had a hold of me while I was reading these books. Damn it!

7. Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Between the leather, the Billy Idol hair and the British accent he's the whole evil vampire package.

6. Lestat (Interview with a Vampire)

He's crazy and hot and eventually a rock star. 

5. Eric Northman (True Blood/ Sookie Stackhouse Novels)

Enough said.

4. The Salvatore Brothers (The Vampire Diaries)

Stefan seems to be the good one from the start but as time goes on and the truth comes out it's hard to tell if either brother is completely good or bad. Personally I'm on Team Damon.

3. Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Talk about a character arc. If you've never watched Buffy (specifically seasons 1-4), you MUST! Angel was my first tortured vampire, longing for love but haunted by his past. 

2. The Black Dagger Brotherhood 

Wrath, Rhage, Zsadist, Butch, Vishous, Phury and a few others all have their own story within the series. These vampires are strong, hot and devoted to the women they fall in love with. These books are fantastic romances!

1. Dracula 

The original.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday : Questions I Get Asked (and my answers)

10. How do you come up with ideas?

I like to think the ideas come to me rather than I make them up. Sometimes it's a dream that sparks an idea, sometimes it's a twist on something I hear on TV or the radio. Sometimes I'm inspired by real life stories I hear from friends and clients. Ideas just shoot up in my brain and I tend to run with them.

9. How much did it cost you to get published?

$0.00. A lot of people assume I self-published because most people know that getting published can be very difficult. The fact is I sent emails to agents and small presses for a while and then I stumbled upon Rebel Ink Press via a good friend who is also an author with RIP and I submitted to them like I had the others. Rebel wanted to publish my work and sent me a contract.

8. Would you quit hairstyling to write?

The short answer is yes. But, where's the fun in short answers?! I keep saying, "When they pay as much to write books as my clients pay me to do hair, I'll quit." And that is essentially true. I have a plan but even the best laid plans don't always work out. My hope is that in a few years (10 or less) I can establish a decent writing career and be able to leave the salon. I love doing hair and I adore my clients but becoming an author is a dream come true and I only want to go higher and higher. I'll have to make the jump eventually.

7. Is Kevin (from The Low Notes) based on your husband?

No. Kevin isn't completely 'based' on any one person. Vague enough for ya?

6. Are you writing a sequel to The Low Notes?

No. Well, not traditionally. There will not be a continuation of Kevin and Nina's love story or life stories. I do, however, have a WIP (work in progress) that centers around James, Nina's best friend. In that eventual novel readers will get tiny glimpses into Nina's (and possibly Kevin's) life in the future.

5. Do you have an English degree?

Nope. I always excelled at English in high school and for my few years in college but I do not have an English or Writing degree. My declared major was photography but I eventually left college to attend cosmetology school.

4. Why did you write a book?

Standard answer : because I had to get it out of my head. A lot of people don't understand the concept of being overcome by the need to create art but that's exactly what writing is to me.

3. Are you writing another book?

Yes, yes, yes! I mentioned last week that I have 8 projects started. I'm trying to focus on two at the moment. One is a beach romance about summer love and love revisited. The other is a young adult romance about innocence lost.

2. How do you get paid for your book?

This question always gives me pause. It's totally understandable to be curious and to many people it's a very foreign concept (getting paid for a bunch of words rather than a service or 9 to 5 job). The thing I always like to say is this (and it's the truth), "When I wrote The Low Notes I never expected it to be anything other than a Word doc on my laptop. I didn't write it to make money so the fact that I might make some is beyond awesome."

1. Did you have a relationship with a teacher/ is The Low Notes a true story?

No. No. No. And did I mention, no? Not true, didn't happen to me or anyone I know. Do you think people ask J.K. Rowling if she got a wizarding school admittance letter from an owl when she was a kid? It's fiction y'all.