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Shawna Romkey Book Launch Tonight “Speak of the Devil”

Tonight 5pm-9pm AST at the Lower Deck Taproom Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Author Shawna Romkey reveals her debut novel “Speak of the Devil” to the public!

 

 

ShawnaRomkeyAuthorPhoto2

About Shawna:

Shawna grew up in around farms in the heart of Missouri but went to the University of Kansas, was raised in the US but now lives on the ocean in Nova Scotia with her husband, two sons, two rescue dogs and one overgrown puppy from hell. She’s a non-conformist who follows her heart.

 

She has her BA in creative writing from the University of Kansas where one of her plays was chosen by her creative writing professor to be produced locally, and two of her short stories were published in a university creative arts handbook.  She earned her MA in English from Central Missouri State University where she wrote a novel as her thesis.

She’s taught English at the university and secondary levels for close to twenty years and can’t quite fathom how all of her students have grown up, yet she’s managed to stay the same.  She’s a huge geek and fan of Xena, Buffy and all kick ass women, and loves to write stories that have strong female characters.

 

 

 

 

http://www.shawnaromkey.com/

 http://www.amazon.com/dp/1939173191/?tag=trkaz-20

 

 

 

Here’s her excerpt for you:

Rain fell, not uncommon for late spring in Missouri. “If you don’t like the weather here,” my grandfather would say, “wait five minutes.” Of course, I’d visited distant relatives in Maine once before, and they said the same thing.

Julie fumbled with the wipers while I pulled the sun visor down to check my face in its little rectangular mirror, even though I’d only left my vanity like five minutes ago. The lights on either side lit up the interior of the car. I reached into my tiny party purse to find my lip gloss, which was easy to locate since I’d only packed the essentials in my bag: phone, some cash, and make-up. As I glanced at myself, I saw Mike in the reflection, smiling at me from the back seat. I stuck my tongue out at him, making him laugh, and put on the lip-gloss, fully aware of how flirty I acted.

The windshield wipers couldn’t keep up with the sudden downpour. The pitter-patter turned to thumping. Hail came down in gumball-sized pellets. “Damn.” Julie jerked the steering wheel to keep The Whale off the curb.

“Slow down, Jules.” Mike gripped Julie’s headrest. “We can pull over until it passes.”

“Yeah.” She squinted to see the road before her.

I pressed my lips together to smooth out the gloss. “Damn is right. I didn’t bring a jacket.”

The Whale swerved to the right crunching along the gravel on the side of the road. I braced myself in my seat. Julie leaned up to the steering wheel and peered over it as my grandmother sometimes did when she drove. I squinted because of the stupid light up visor mirror. I slammed it shut, but Julie panicked and over corrected, pulling The Whale to the left and careening over the yellow dotted line in the middle of the street.

“Julie!” Mike shouted.

Time slowed and ticked out in heartbeats.

Ba bum.

Julie cringed, her hands moving up to shield her face. Her head turned away from the highway.

Ba bum.

Mike reached protectively from the back seat.

Ba bum.

The headlights illuminated the rail of the overpass.

Ba bum.

The car hit the rail on the opposite side of the road with a hard thud.

Ba bum.

Crap. We’re going over the bridge.

Ba bum.

The Whale’s nose pointed down toward the water.

Ba bum.

A jolt forward and my forehead slammed into the dashboard.

Ba bum.

The Whale flipped in the air. I’m upside down.

Ba bum.

Pain.

Ba bum.

Did my mom say good-bye when I left?

Ba bum.

Cold water rushed into the car.

Ba bum.

Is this it?

Ba bum.

I can’t breathe. Oh my God, I can’t breathe. I can’t see or breathe!

My heart quickened. It pounded. The Whale leaned on its side under the surface of the water which rushed in fast, and I couldn’t see a damn thing.

Calm, stay calm. Don’t panic. They say when you’re drowning not to panic because you use up your air faster.
Dammit, am I drowning?

I tried to get myself upright and jerked out of my seatbelt. Luckily, it gave way. I fought the latch to open the door facing up, but the pressure of the water from Black Water River held it closed, trapping me inside.

Jesus. I know this river. It’s more of a creek. It can’t be more than fifteen feet across and ten feet deep.
I pushed at the door. Opening my mouth to scream, I swallowed water.

I couldn’t see or hear Julie or Mike. My watch ticked. Or was it my heart beating?

Ba bum. Ba bum. Ba bum.

Darkness.

Silence.

Cold.

Wet.

Defying gravity.

Nothing.

The dreams came. Like a good sleep you don’t want to wake up from. I felt heavy and floaty. I wore this long white gauzy gown and the wind blew my dress and my hair like in some feminine hygiene commercial. I could breathe slowly and deeply. Completely relaxed and at peace, but I was alone.

I floated along in a white space for a while. Drifting. Breathing. Relaxing. Had I gone to a spa? After an immeasurable amount of time, others appeared. They wore white clothing, too, and they floated like me, reaching out. They opened their arms as if to welcome me to them.

I stopped and frowned. I heard no sound, and I didn’t know who these white floaty people were or why they welcomed me. They smiled, genuinely happy, and held their arms out to me. I panicked.

Where’s my mom? My family? Wait, Mike and Julie were just with me, where are they? Are those wings?
I noticed the others floating with me had white feathery wings.

“Lily,” one of them called out.

Holy hell. I’m dead.

The Next Big Thing: Blog Hop

The amazing Debbie Robbins tagged me for this Blog Hop so here I am posting away secrets on my WIP.

And, guess what.  It’s a contemporary.

I’m frantically writing away as my New Jersey RWA group heads towards the finish line for Jerowrimo 2013 at the end of Feb.  So far, so good re: results!  However, this writing challenge I am working on book 2 of the fishermen characters.  These three brothers are getting into all kinds of trouble!

 

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Working title of my next book is Depth.  This is the story of Riley and his past that only Molly can help heal.

 

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
Idea for the book came from the Deadliest Catch tv show and from reading a lot of contemporary stories out there.  While the perception of fishermen can be that they are “rough and tough” I thought I’d expose a softer side and a reality check for how dangerous this job really is.  The fishermen in my books live and breathe just like everyone else in their village but as it’s a small community they have wounds now that only these two new characters (the minister and his daughter Molly) can heal.

 

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Book is contemporary which is a slight deviant from my paranormal writing as Tara MacQueen.

 

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Actors… Riley would be Scott Anthony Smith (photo attached) and Molly would be Stevie Cooper (photo attached).  These are two actors I’ve worked with before and really see them in the role.

From Camden, Maine, USA I directed this actor at Maine Media Workshops

From Camden, Maine, USA I directed this actor at Maine Media Workshops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actress Stevie Cooper has been in a few of Charlie Mac Productions' works.

Actress Stevie Cooper has been in a few of Charlie Mac Productions’ works.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
One sentence synopsis (hate these)…  Riley’s fisherman future drowned with the death of his parents until Molly Gregan moved into town to shake it up.

 

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will be submitting to small press on this one.

 

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
November has 30 days, so 30 days part of Nanowrimo.  30 long days of wondering if I was going to make my deadline.  And now, as I go through some self editing I’m glad I did that challenge.  The book has brought my writing up a level.

 

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This story feels like Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay Series with the brothers and the boatbuilding business.  I don’t claim to be Nora      Roberts but it feels like I was inspired by this even though I read it all in 2002.

 

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See #8.  Definitely the great Nora Roberts.  I like Debbie Macomber, too.  Oh, and Donna Alward.  Check out this website http://www.chocolatebox.com  for other great authors along with https://www.facebook.com/pages/Romance-Writers-of-Atlantic-Canada-RWAC/

 

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
This book also involves a community broken by the devastating loss of Riley’s parents and Molly’s father, a United Church Minister helps to bring it together.  Wounds don’t heal in silence.  This book involves pain and redemption not just by a woman helping to heal a broken man but also a village finding love again after loss.

 

 

Jerowrimo prep

In order to prep for any writing challenge it’s necessary to decide what kind of animal you are with writing.

Do you have an outline or are going to put one down on paper/bulletin board?  This could mean you’re a plotter.  You like to know how characters will develop throughout the chapters ahead of time or maybe you have an idea of the order of scenes you want to develop your character arc in…

If you don’t do any of that you may be a panster.  You just write.  Your characters are in your head knocking on your ears to get out.  Great.

Either method works and I sometimes use a combination of the two.  I did so much traveling last year that I would get dream like story ideas as I dozed away on the plane and immediately grab my iphone to write up a sentence or two of what I remembered.  These little gems are filed away in my “to do” file on my laptop and are festering in the back of my head for any writing challenge I undertake.

So.  I already have enough coffee lined up for the month of Feb.  I know when and where I need to visit family and friends.  I’m twitching to use the Twitter hashtag #1K1HR at will multiple times a day.

I also know exactly what I’m doing with Charlie Mac and my Beachbody business so I don’t feel like I can’t write each day.  I have a schedule all planned.

Time to get in the writing kitchen and put words on a blank page that I will call my own.

An Unpublished Author’s Check List Re: Author Shawna Romkey’s post

As I read Author Shawna Romkey’s latest blog post (found here http://www.shawnaromkey.com) I thought – OMG!  I feel pressure from reading that.

 

The next thought I had was – I’m a *little* different as I’m unpublished.

 

1.  Write.  This is the most important one for an unpublished author IMHO.  Not only do you need to practice the craft of writing and take workshops offered through a writing group like Romance Writers of America (http://www.rwa.org) but you need to keep writing after the first manuscript is done.  Why?  So you’re writing can improve and so when you pitch an agent or editor you have a backup when they ask “What else are you working on?”  Also, markets change for books each year.  One manuscript may not sell but the other one might.

 

2.  Read.  My recommendations are:  (A) Read in your genre.   (B) Read books to help you write such as “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron and “The Writer’s Journey” by Christopher Vogler.  Pick up books or workshops online/offline on grammar, beginnings, middles, ends, story, dialogue…Another great book is “Goal, Motivation and Conflict.”

 

3.  Listen.  Find at least one critique partner.  Someone you trust to read your book (not rewrite it) and give commentary on story and grammar.  Or, find an editor and pay them to read your work plus provide a copy edit or a story edit.   I use Angel Editing http://www.angelediting.com  but there are others.  Nancy Cassidy has The Red Pen Coach at http://www.theredpencoach.com  and I haven’t used her but it’s a great place to start as she’s also an author under the name Lilly Cain and a member of my writing group.  Be prepared to mentally argue every point but reliquinsh your hold on your novel as a pristine object.  It’s time to dig in and think about the changes they all suggest.  Grammar has to be done.  Story has to unfold.  Your work can only get better.

 

4.  Travel.  Or enter contests or check out Savvy Authors http://www.savvyauthors.com  I travel to conferences to pitch my work to people I won’t be able to see and to get around being in the slush pile.  However, I also recently just entered three contests to have my work judged by editors/agents/writers to see if there’s a new suggestion I can use and see how I do.  Check out this article written by an agent http://pubrants.blogspot.ca/2012/08/68-queries-in-60-minutes.html  and realize that while this process is daunting to you it is also daunting to the people in the industry but they tackle new submissions with what fits them.  Your work may not fit an agent or editor.  Have a cry and move on to submitting it to someone it might fit.  But keep submitting!

 

5.  Make your promo list now.  You have the time and energy.  Local media, online media, radio/tv/paper, reviewers, giveaways…  Start with your calendar and learn what the peak times are for your genre.  If you know where your book will enter the market start searching and making friends on Facebook/Twitter/Blogs.  You’ll need another author’s promo on your published work and it’s easier to do it if you’ve had a conversation with that author.  Plus, for my genre, there’s outfits like Author Buzz and Eye on Romance that have specific databases that let you in to a world you can’t get into yourself:  reaching The Reader.   Also, check out Goodreads if you haven’t already.

 

6.  Write some more.  Use Twitter’s #1K1HR for support as you slave over your computer hoping for the best possible outcome for your unpublished work.

 

7.  Let yourself refresh each day with something you enjoy.  This “writing thing” that your family labels for you is a long process.  I’ve heard authors at conferences speak about the length of time it took to find an agent or editor – some are 2 months and others are 3 years.  Do not give up but treat yourself to do something besides staring at the rejection letters.  You’ll need to re-energize once a day.  Listen to music with a candle or watch a movie.  Go for a walk.

  And sometimes you just need a little wine…

 

 

Guest Julia Phillips Smith: Dragonsfyre Trilogy

Author Julia Phillips Smith has released her second book. The first in the Dragonsfyre Trilogy called: Bound by Dragonsfyre.  Check out her website at http://www.juliaphillipssmith.com

 

The book can be found on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Bound-Dragonsfyre-trilogy-ebook/dp/B0087L258O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338777718&sr=8-1

 

 

Julia says:

The fun of being an indie author doesn’t stop at writing books that are all books of the heart. An enormous source of fun for me is working on the book covers.

For book one of my new dark fantasy Dragonsfyre series, my producer and I hired a local model to portray my main character Scorpius for both the book cover and book trailer.

I set to work procuring clothing from thrift stores which my mom reworked into the costumes I designed. As always happens, the preparation for the shooting day took weeks, while the shoot itself took only hours. Yet everything fell into place.

It’s such an incredible thrill to have the physical embodiment of a character who has lived only in my mind’s eye suddenly appear in 3D before me. I look forward to that moment for all my future indie releases with breathless anticipation.

 

 

Here’s the hook:

No one is safe when the dragon glides low over the Eighth Dominion. Not the high born who plot and spill blood. Not the low born who serve with one eye to the sky and the other glancing back.

Young Scorpius is fetched from the estate nursery, once raised to live among the nobility – claimed finally not by his family, but by a falconer to serve as his apprentice.

Scorpius soon learns that a noble hides his monstrous appetites beneath velvet and jewels, while the leathery-winged dragon is honest about his own. His master does his best to shield Scorpius from the world outside their cottage, but the falconer is merely a servant who must obey his own masters.

An attempt on the life of a young lord while on a hunt sends the falconer’s apprentice on an abruptly different path, bringing Scorpius into the service of the House of Pruzhnino. Court intrigue sinks its talons into everyone, even Scorpius–especially a former falconer’s apprentice once raised to be a lord in his own right.

 

Here’s the book trailer:

 

Here’s the book cover:

Own the words you say.

Own the words you say.

I’m not just coming into that sentence as a new writer but as someone who’s very aware of the words that I choose when I converse.

Getting into the Maritime Gift Show was billed as being a lucrative spot.  Their words influenced my decision.  That’s not going to happen again! Here’s the pic that shows how we were all lucky if we got 30 people in attendance at our booths.  Plus, Hall 2 (there were only 2) was on top of the ice rink.  Brrr!  For four days I was layered and double socked.

No one at the Gift Show day after day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Hearts on Fire event Feb 9th 2012 at The Halifax Club my tongue felt like it was choking my throat due to the nerves of how the event was going to go over.  I had other writers and guests tell me the same thing – they were watching what they said while having a great time mingling.  One of the topics was the upcoming Women Making Waves Conference happening at Mount Saint Vincent University which I missed last year but I’m going to it this year with author Julia Phillips Smith.   http://www.juliaphillipssmith.com

Here’s the people who made the Hearts on Fire Event happen:  (Watch for the RWAC writers on Live at Five Tuesday Feb 14 2012).

Trevor Romkey, Shawna Romkey, Caroline Ruyle, Shelley LeBlonc, The Halifax Club’s Edwinna.

http://www.dogwoodconsulting.com

Hearts on Fire Design by Caroline Ruyle

Had a great time at The Halifax Club!

Author Terry Spear and review of “Seduced by the Wolf”

Just read Terry Spear’s “Seduced by the Wolf.”

ISBN-13: 978-1-4022-3753-9 Cdn price paperback $9.99 404 pages

Check out her site at http://terryspear.com/

There are numerous characters but the male lead is a Red Wolf Alpha Royal Werewolf called Leidolf Wildhaven and the female lead with Cassie Roux (who is also a Red Wolf).

Cassie, we find out, has been playing a dangerous game living among regular wolf packs and using her day job as a Wolf Biologist to help them out.  She doesn’t belong to a Werewolf Pack and almost upon meeting her Leidolf wants her as his mate and co-leader of the pack he won from a corrupt werewolf.  Leidolf has several challenges: security and stability in the pack challenged by various rogue wolves who are up to no good, a possible competition for Cassie’s interests from a male were parent looking to find a mother to his children, and Cassie herself.

Oh, Cassie.  She’s Alpha female but knows when to fold when Leidolf outwits her and gives her himself not just as leader of the pack but as a partner in life.  This is the turning point that Cassie is looking for in a mate.  She doesn’t just want to be a convenient fit she wants a partner.  However, to get there involves several complex sub-plots.  The Arc is Cassie and Leidolf cementing their relationship.  Cassie has been alone for so long and her attraction to Leidolf is so great that when she’s tranquilized by wolf hunters she dreams he’s Poseideon, God of the Seas after running into him in a lake scenario.  There’s a strong attraction that runs the plot and they meet their challenges together sometimes whether they acted as a unit or not.  Cassie does try to run out on him after he helps her recover but cannot deny her feelings for Leidolf and in the end there is happily ever after.

It’s a well written look at Werewolves and pack hierarchy.  Definitely worth a read and certainly intriguing enough to look up Terry Spear, write her an email and add her books to my list of what to read during a hurricane… BTW the hurricane is here but the authorities are calling it a tropical storm so we should be ok today – let’s see what it does overnight and what tomorrow brings.

  Little fact about Terry in her bio: she’s a retired lieutenant colonel  in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University and now resides in the heart of Texas.

Remember the lizard

I’ve done it!

I eat organic food.  I exercise according to Dr. Hewitt’s exercise prescription plan developed specifically for me.

I’m following the nutritional plan having bought a bunch of small appliances (steamer, blender etc.) and use them every 2nd day.

I have less stress in my life which is why I chose Fifth Avenue Collection as my current full time job.

I have time to finish my MBA with Walden University and read/write more than before.  I have a pitch before an Editor September 17th in Halifax through Romance Writers of America Atlantic Chapter.

Quality jewelry earned for free or received for half price!

SO, what’s the glitch in this program?  Why do I need to remember the lizard?

That’s right.  I said lizard.  See pic below.

I need to remember this guy as he’s one of my anchors from Canyon Ranch, the Wellness Spa I visited in July desperate for heat and sunshine I made the booking at the end of May.  I had no idea that the program would be all encompassing.  That change required work and that this daily work is draining me.  Only I can help myself.   Only I can make the decisions needed to effect change in my life.  It’s been so easy living in Dad’s house and letting my grief

overwhelm me in insidious ways.  To continue the change I now know I need to make this house my own.  I need to own up to my decisions about my life and take action.  No matter how tired I get I also need to remind myself that I have to replenish the energy I put out.  I need to remember the lizard and conserve my energy when needed so I have the energy to deal with the unknowns life can dish out.  Like the flood from Canadian Springs.  Didn’t see that one coming.  LOL.

Remember me? I'm not easy to photograph with a iPhone

Rained Out at Lake Banook, Manulife Dragon Boat Race 2011

I just had the best time of my life!

It started Thursday night with advance prep of what jewelery I was going to take to the event I signed up weeks ago.  I did a search for festivals around Nova Scotia and queried like crazy sending out emails and leaving voicemails at every one I logistically could get to on a budget.

This is my first one:  The Manulife Dragon Boat Festival July 9 2011 location: Lake Banook, Dartmouth, N.S.

What a great time!  The people were hard core into their racing and got over the “is this a joke?” re: my recruiting sign for jewelery to “oh god this is really nice jewelery and I can get it for free if I host a party??!”

I also had a great prize which I’m going to draw for in about 30mins after I dry out a bit more.  The prize was a Fifth Avenue Collection coffee mug, a $25.00 hostess gift certificate to be used for any jewelery she doesn’t get for free or for a later date or web order, one book by author Julianne Maclean, author Jennie Marsland and author Daisy Piper (all Nova Scotian authors).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left side under Macfarlands’ tent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right side of my jewelry table safely under the Macfarlands rental tent (an industrial type tent – no walls).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My recruiting sign that brought a few people over to check the brand out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The view from my tent part one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The view from my tent part two

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me, soaked.

My shirt is a maroon colour and it was black from the 1.5km walk I did with luggage and table when we were told we could leave.  One of the drawbacks of doing an event by yourself is that you physically assemble everything on your own.  Also, the parking for the venue was off site meaning I had to park in a zone that wasn’t a NO Saturday Parking Zone so I didn’t get ticketed.  Besides having the fire marshall walk through the entire venue along with paramedics there were traffic police.  Not a good time to argue with them, therefore, the 1.5km walk to get a good parking spot.  I arrived at 6:15am and took my time to set up as I had until 8am.  There were vendors who came all at once at 7:45 am and missed some of the early dragon boaters who checked out my product at their lesiure before the races started.

What a great time!  Click the sentence below for a video of the rainfall we had just as the races were heating up!

The driving rain that made us all pack up and leave…

@Apieceofmymind author Julia Phillips Smith and RWAC in New York

Producing video has been always something I enjoyed due to the people I get to work with.

Working on this book trailer that can be seen at Author Julia Phillips Smith website was a lot of fun.  It was work, don’t get me wrong, and we shot weeks ago but thanks to everyone who worked on it, cast and crew plus our editor we have a finished video.

http://juliaphillipssmith.com/

Julia is also on Twitter @apieceofmymind and Facebook.  Her manuscript about vampires is one of the most compelling stories I’ve recently read in part due to the fact that these vampires don’t want to be your family pet and they don’t glitter in the sun.  We have blood (as we’re human) and they want our blood.

The story that erupts between Peredur (the main hero) and Tanwen (his love interest) is honest and tragic.

So, knowing that Julia Smith is heading to New York City this week for the Romance Writers of America Conference I wish her well.  I don’t know, much like when I first started to read her manuscript, how it’ll turn out but I know one thing – I liked her book and as a paranormal/fantasy reader I know I want to see it on a bookshelf or on an e-reader that I have paid for.

Sure there’s a lot of authors out there doing the e-pub thing.  I’m going to be one of them at the end of this year.  However, I know that this story written by Julia will be an interest for TOR and HQN publishers as I read their lines all the time and she fits into their genres.  What happens next is all up to the author and whatever way she decides to publish.

Good Luck, Julia and the other 12 authors going down from our writing chapter!  http://www.romancewritersac.com/