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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.

 

 

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…

 

 

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!

December 4th 2-4pm Jennie Marsland at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic Halifax NS

Today I have another guest blogger answering my questions about her book, “Shattered.”  Set around the Halifax Explosion she is appearing December 4th 2-4pm at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, downtown Halifax, N.S. and again January 10th 7pm at the Keshan Goodman Library in Clayton Park, N.S.  Jennie Marsland is a local author and part of the Romance Writers of American Atlantic Chapter.  She has other books that I’ve happily read including “McShannon’s Heart.”

Jennie Marsland on Twitter @Jenniemarsland

Jennie Marsland on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jennie.marsland

“Shattered” is available for sale at http://www.amazon.com/Shattered-ebook/dp/B005PGR1L0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1322484090&sr=8-2

 

What made the story behind the Halifax Explosion appeal to you as a romance writer?

The drama I suppose. Families were separated and spent days not knowing if their loved ones were alive or dead. There were miracles of survival and heroic rescues. As well, I can’t help feel for the returned veterans who had already suffered in the war overseas and then had to go through the trauma of the Explosion. In a romance, you have to create problems or danger for the lead couple, and the Explosion certainly qualifies. Also, I could do the research in my own back yard.

 

What did you find in your research behind the Explosion – the way people from around North American came together? How widespread a tragedy it was at that time of year?

It amazed me how quickly other countries, particularly the US and Britain, came to Nova Scotia’s aid. Many Nova Scotians had family ties in New England and in the ‘old country’, but I have to think that all the help wasn’t completely altruistic. Halifax was strategically vital to the war effort, and it was essential that the port be up and running again as quickly as possible. Which takes nothing away from the generosity of the thousands – even school children – who provided money or help to the city.

Who is your favourite character in your novel, “Shattered”?

Ask the tough ones, won’t you? I’d have to say Alice. In spite of the poor treatment she’s received from her family, she isn’t selfish or bitter. She knows what she wants and she won’t settle for less. She has inner strength she doesn’t know she possesses – until her feelings for Liam bring it out.

What is it about romance writing that you enjoy the most?

The lead couple’s journey from fear and doubt to love and trust, and the growth they experience along the way. In Shattered, Liam believes he’s too damaged to love or be loved, and Alice has to learn to believe she has a right to go for what she wants. Her unselfishness is almost a fault in the beginning, but in her circumstances, it’s hard to blame her. I don’t like romances where the couple fall for each other too quickly – I like a slower, more gradual build-up.

How long did it take to write “Shattered”?

About eight months. If there was a wishing fairy, I’d ask to be able to write faster.

Are you working on a second novel related to “Shattered”?

Yes. Alice has an older brother, Carl, who’s just come home from the front and is throwing his family into chaos. I enjoyed writing his character so much that I decided to give him his own story. So, I beat him up, put him on a train, gave him broken ribs and pneumonia and dumped him off in a small town in Saskatchewan. I fell in love with the prairies on a 4H trip when I was in high school. Carl’s story is called Deliverance, and that’s what he finds, thanks to the former Red Cross nurse who takes him in. The first chapter is included at the end of Shattered. There might eventually be a story about Alice’s sister Georgie as well.

 Anything you’d like to draw attention to at the time of this blog posting ie. events, workshops, signings etc.?

I’ll be doing a book signing at the Maritime Museum here in Halifax on Sunday, December 4, from 2 to 4 pm. I’m really excited about this. The museum has a very poignant Halifax Explosion exhibit. In one display, there’s a little china cup with ‘Remember Me’ painted on it. That cup survived in a house that was totally destroyed. It gives me chills every time I look at it. Also, I’m doing a workshop on researching for historical fiction on January 10, 1012 from 7 to 9 pm at the Keshen Goodman Library in Halifax. As for online events, I’m guesting on fellow author Julia Phillips Smith’s blog, A Piece of My Mind, on Thursday, Dec.1. I Facebook and tweet all my online and in-person events, so readers can easily keep up by following me on Twitter or FB.

Jennie's latest book, self-pubbed this time!

 

 

 

@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/

 

Vision Board – have you made yours? Break out the glue, scissors and magazines

Recently, after a conversation with a friend about having a visual aid to focus on I realized that I needed to do the same.

I need to have a visual every 3 months that I can get to.  As a reference.

At the Fifth Avenue Collection Mini-Seminar in January 2011 we worked on our goal setting board.  Yes, we cut up magazines and put images to what we wanted to do with our business.

Vision Board from Fifth Avenue Collection

At the Highland Coaching Creative Business Retreat for the Solopreneur I did the same thing but about my Charlie Mac Productions Inc. business.

Vision Board from Highland Coaching Retreat

And, now I have one for me.  A personal visual board – that is the upcoming trip to Jamaica.  Bconnected (a local networking group) offered a great deal with Limetime Travel to go to Jamaica and I paid for it last year.  I’ve never been to the Caribbean or anywhere in that area before.

A good friend of mine had her wedding in St. Lucia in the ’90s but I couldn’t afford to go.  I need this vacation like a fish needs water.  To sit on the beach and do nothing seems fantastic.

My wishing well is now fulfilled.  I can scratch off two points off of my bucket list – I’m visiting the Caribbean and I’m taking a real vacation.

What are you doing on your bucket list? Maybe you should make a vision board…

Monsters vs Witches: Lana and Gareth

Introduction

Gareth turned in his seat as Lana came into the room.  He couldn’t get her scent out of his nose and she wore Kat Von D’s Sinner which was intoxicating with her body chemistry.  He could tell with his senses that she had just ran down the hallway as her breathing was erratic and her hair was a little out of place.  He let his gaze wander down her young body and he felt the wolf inside stir out of desire.  They’d had time to recover from their trial battle for school and now they had to listen to what the Head of the School was going to tell them.  Hopefully, they weren’t kicked out.  A werewolf kicked out could always return to his family’s pack and have a life.  A witch on the other hand would return in shame and disgrace as schooling was one step closer to their career whatever their focus was.  A witch kicked out of school was usually considered by families to only have a breeding focus and pump out children.  Gareth again let his gaze caress her body that had an hour before laid next to his, immobile not in fear but with the power of her working.  She was a true powerhouse and her potential was untapped.  However, her view of her own self-importance and subsequent ego left much to be desired.  If only she wouldn’t be such a snob he thought as she opened her mouth saying “I’m not sure why we are here!  I clearly won the battle” and she tossed her hair.

Back at it in 2010!

Due to a hiatus as my business took off and I only had spare time for my dogs and family I am back!

I’m conjuring up spells and stories for a short story publisher and ebook publisher.  I’ve been developing ideas for paranormal romance over the past year but lacked the comittment to sit down and write them out.

I’m afraid my RWA group may hate me but I’m going to self-publish my first book.  I just can’t find the time for anyone’s schedule besides my own.

Check out some great musicians:  Crissi Cochrane and Mike Bochoff on MySpace

http://www.myspace.com/crissicochrane

http://www.myspace.com/mikebochoffmusic

http://www.charliemacproductions.com for what I’ve been up to this past year besides a fantastic visual journey into New Zealand and Australia with some dubious people -ahhh! I love Contiki bus crowds. When they’re sober.

I’m also working on my MBA at Walden University in International Business.  Finished my first semester already and into the next one.

I’d like to thank Dane Sanders for telling me at a PhotoPLUS conference at the Jarvits Center last October that falling on my head is not only ok but sometimes required.  Check out his blog at http://blog.danesanders.com/

And Professor Ed McHugh – thank you so much for your continued support in our lives in motion on this planet.

Russel Cook and family – keep rockin’ it and asking me what my word count is.

xxoo Tara