Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Interview with Christie A.C. Gucker

Today, we meet Christie A.C. Gucker, author of The Cliff.

Can a childhood pact affect the lives of three adults?

Love and betrayal surrounds the lives of lifelong friends Lanie Rhodes, Grant Bennett, and Dane Voight. Years ago, they made a pact to remain together as friends forever. The boys also made another secret pact that same day—to never vie for Lanie’s love.

Grant and Lanie have secretly been pining for one another since they were children.

Now grown up, they finally admit their feelings for each other and what ensues is a twisted tale of deception as Dane does everything he can to stop them.
 

The story weaves around this uneven love triangle. What will happen to the pact? Will friendships be destroyed? Will lovers emerge?

How did you get into writing?

Every night when I would go to sleep this one story kept recurring. Each night it would get a little farther into the story. Eventually I started to write it all down and thus was born The Cliff. Once I wrote The Cliff other stories started to knock so I just started to write them all.

What's the earliest story you can remember writing?

Oh, I’ve been writing little stories since I was a child. I ever wrote a play in fourth grade, a musical! LOL

When did you decide to make the move to "published"?

Well, I had started writing on fanfiction and was getting such a good response. My husband told me I should just give it a try so I did. I was searching for something to leave behind for my daughters and grandchildren – a piece of me. This seemed to fit the bill for everything.

How did you find the experience of seeking a publisher?

I asked other authors and did research on the Internet.

What did it feel like when the acceptance notice came?

I think it was pretty surreal at first. You always have to worry about something you put out in the world for people to recognize. I was worried that a publisher might read my story and think it was terrible. So to get that type of acknowledgement was an amazing feeling. I think I’m still on cloud 9!

What inspired you to write the current release?

Honestly, and don’t laugh, but the love story between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. There are also a lot of life real life experiences throughout the pages of the book.

What books have most influenced your life most?

The Twilight Saga was a huge one. I couldn’t put them down. I would absorb them in a day. And ANYTHING by Stephen King. He’s just an amazing storyteller. I’m an avid reader so there are just so many out there.

What book are you reading now?

I am working my way through Insurgent right now. Love the series. I am also reading Revealing Hamilton by Sarah Carr and Phantom by Laura Deluca.

What are your current projects?

I will begin the editing process for my next novel The Purple Heart, which comes out February 22, 2013. I am just finishing up on a short story that will be releasing soon Snapshot to Destiny. Both will release thought Pagan Writers Press. I am currently a new novel called Pacifically You and am working with marine biologist, shark expert and TV host Luke Tipple on this one. I am hoping for an August release once I send it out for submission.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

To never be afraid of taking a chance or a risk.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up! Keep trying. You’ll get there.

How important is the support and friendship of other writers?

It is SO important. They understand everything that you go through and are amazing for bouncing ideas off of. I have to say I love the other authors I have met through this amazing experience.

How does your family feel about your writing career?

They have stood by me 100% of the time and are very proud of me. Too bad my two daughters can’t read my book – it’s for mature audiences and they are both way too young!

Tell us a little something about yourself that we don't know.

I like to take risks and am going to shark dive for research!

~*~
Christie A.C. Gucker lives in NJ with her husband, two daughters and a menagerie of pets. Being a mother is one of the greatest joys of her life. She has worked in the advertising industry for over 20 years as a degreed artist, but also works in the fine arts, especially sculpting out of stone or snapping photographs. Christie is also a singer and musician, and can be found singing on a few CDs.

After the death of her father, Christie searched for something to fill her desire to make a mark in this world. Her love of the arts and creativity allowed her to search for a new medium, which she found with a pen instead of a brush. Being an avid reader her whole life, and with her family cheering her on, she decided to take her shot, and began writing.

Fascinated by the supernatural and sharks, Christie studies both avidly. You’ll be sure to find something spooky lurking somewhere in her stories. Her greatest joy is sitting on a beach with her family while surf fishing, flying kites or building sandcastles with her girls.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

The Romance of the Holidays

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop!

Welcome, blog hoppers. Perhaps we've never met. I'm Anne Holly by name and holiday writer by trade (eight or nine of my titles are "holiday books"), quite by accident - almost.


I have written before about what I like so much about holiday romance, though I never did intend on devoting so much of my writing career to this little faux subgenre. They just seem so magical to me – especially the autumn and winter ones, with their natural beauties. To write a holiday romance is to instantly connect with a well of emotions, memories and shared myths, and that’s a wonderful thing.

I once wrote about A Christmas Carol and how it gathers up so much of what’s special about the holidays:

Christmas is the time when we have in our collective subconscious the two extremes –the optimistic Christmas lover, Tiny Tim, and the misanthropic cold hearted Scrooge, who wasn’t really a bad guy deep down. Really, he was just hurt by life. Now, most well-adjusted people fall some place in between, but those two extremes represent the spectrum of romance: Someone full of love, and someone who has had the love beaten out of them. Those are the characters to which I am naturally drawn – and the redemption that is achieved when the one overcomes the other, and the romance that pools in their bond when it all works out right in the end. This is likely the main reason I write so much about the holidays. It is a time of salvaging the human from the ravages of plans gone wrong, of love unrequited and of tragedy spilt over a life time.

I wrote that about two years ago, and I still believe it. I am an optimist at heart, but it doesn’t come easy. Anyone who retains optimism into adulthood knows that it’s a decision one makes – not to forget or ignore all the setbacks and knocks, but to push through them and not let them get you down. This is where I’m at. Refusing to let life make a Scrooge out of me.

I also believe that the magic of the holidays rests in its ability to heal up a bit of the wounds of the year, and to renew hearts and spirits. It’s no coincidence it’s at the end of every year. This is why I believe in the restoration of Scrooge, and why the ideas found in A Christmas Carol float around the edges of so many of my books.

In my first Christmas romance, Unwrapping Scrooge, I fully embraced the premise that Christmas can heal. In it, a successful yet gloomy writer must decide if he can unscrooge himself enough to woo an optimistic young exchange student before she returns to Canada – and she must decide if she can meet him halfway:
Smiling instead, he switched on the waffle iron, and considered the way she would look as she watched the snow. Being Canadian, perhaps she had a special relationship to it. He had begun to look at it differently, himself. What had previously been a cold, wet annoyance now appeared somewhat magical, blanketing them in sparkly privacy within their warm little bubble.

Of course, Molly would be a Christmas-lover—she even smelled like Christmas, all cinnamon and vanilla. For Kale, who never even really considered what Christmas meant, Molly was the human embodiment of the season. Bright, shiny, and fresh.

“I guess that would make me, what? Halloween?” He snickered at his own fanciful thoughts. “Not even that exciting—more like the August Bank Holiday.”

To this day, that book remains one of my favourites, and those characters still hang with me.

My subsequent books have been less obviously engaged with Scrooge, but I can still tell he’s there because he’s build right into the magic of the season for me. In Good for the Goose, a twice-shy professor must make the decision to risk her heart again or be weighed down by the pain of divorce forever.

My holiday erotic-romance anthology, All I Want, features six couples who have similar decisions, about happiness and pain, and the courage it takes to restore and be restored. It’s a theme I love, and one of the reasons I am such a romance fan, and a fan of holidays.

Maybe I’m naïve to still believe in the magic of the holidays, but I refuse to believe Black Friday and credit card bills are all we have to look forward to every year. If you think this way, too, or you’d like to, check out my books. And, of course, have a very happy holiday, and all the best for the New Year!


GIVEAWAY
Leave a comment on this post, and be entered to win. I’m giving away the winner’s choice of Unwrapping Scrooge, Good for the Goose, or All I Want: The Anne Holly-Day Collection. (18+) Plus, this blog hop has a slew of other great prizes along the route, as well as a pretty amazing grand prize! (Please be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win.)


Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Protocol for Making Backlist Volumes Respectable

A guest post by Gemma Coole, Publisher, CoolMain Press

In only two years, CoolMain Press, a micropublisher, has published eighteen superb books, all of them international bestsellers, including six previously published backlist books republished as ebooks. Among the other recognitions are prizes to our authors for literary quality and threats of lawsuits for truth-telling that no one else would risk.

Unfortunately, working with such long-established authors as Andre Jute Andrew McCoy means that many of the attractive volumes from their backlists that we want to republish are not available in any kind of electronic form. We must use optical character recognition to render printed books back to editable texts.

You might say, “But writers like Andre and Andrew, both from the Secker & Warburg stable, were surely superbly edited before their books were published.” Yes, they were. But optical character recognition is only 99% accurate, and that’s at best, with a truly clean, aligned scan of a page set in a font that the particular OCR you’re using just lurfs. I would love to see that fortunate concatenation of circumstances just once in my life! In practice the best and most expensive OCR (Adobe’s Acrobat) is 90% accurate. Think about it. OCR gets 10 or more out of every hundred characters and punctuation marks wrong, and of course it also gets any speck of stray ink or dirt on the page wrong, classifying it as a spurious character or, worse, an anomaly to be individually attended to.

The right way to proceed with the mess that OCR leaves one, is first to reduce the uncertainties to the maximum extent by enthusiastic use of the spellchecker built into all good word processors. Then reduce all consecutive multiple spaces to a single space. That’s the easy part but it can waste an inordinate amount of time to overlook it.

What’s left is then the most intransigent of the OCR errors, including some that are very difficult to spot unless each page is extremely carefully examined at good magnification.  Particular examples that my own eye just glides over — until the book is published, when they become knives in my heart — are reversed quotation marks, ticks for quotation marks instead of proper curliques, stops and commas  switched around at random, exclamation points turned into the digit 1, and hyphens exchanged for en and em rules. All these things matter.

After the spellcheck, it usually makes sense to find all hyphens and inspect each individually to ascertain which should remain, which are superfluous hyphens picked up by the OCR from the line-ends of the previous setting and turned “hard” when no hyphen is required, and which should be em and en rules to show broken thoughts or subsidiary material.

Next we need, for each book individually, to work out a set of algorithms which define the order in which quotation marks will be regularized. By this I mean that quotation marks should have all occurrences of straight ticks replaced by curliques, that they should all point in the right direction, and that, wherever possible, British single quotation marks should be exchanged for American double quotation marks.

This raises another question, apostrophes. In a solid pre-edited book from a classically-educated author and a leading literary publisher, one doesn’t need to look for spelling errors, grammatical solecisms, and the infuriating carelessness with apostrophes (tomato’s — aaargh!) one finds in the “books” that some conglomerates and too many indies put out. But correctly applied apostrophes can trip you up thousands of times in a single novel if you’re converting from single quotation marks to double.

So the algorithm you work out must in the first instance change all the opening quotes for each sentence which is dialogue, and observation of the text you’re working with will quickly show that there are two forms to search for, paragraph-quotation to open paragraphs and space-quotation after intervening description, in both cases right-facing curliques. Similarly, at the end of any unit of dialogue, there will be a stop, a comma, an exclamation, a question mark, or a rule, followed by left-facing curliques. You will now be left with some self-standing quotation marks which can be found as space-quotation and individually attended to. Anything else is an apostrophe or an error requiring editorial judgement.

Next, attend to the apostophes. Search for them one by one from the beginning of the volume and when you find an error, correct it for the entire volume by search and replace, then find the next error, until no more errors are found. At this point, you have reduced the errors in the OCR to the maximum extent possible by semi-automated means.

You still have a bit of a mess but at least the editor will not waste hours and days on what you can do with a computer in a few hours or even minutes if you’re organized or lucky.

Of course, at CoolMain, a tiny publisher, we would never have been able to publish so many hefty books in such a small period of time if it were not for the volunteer editors — currently Diane, Lisa, Lynne, and Sarah, with at least a dozen more who’ve helped on one or more books — working for the love of literature in Andre’s Editorial Menagerie on Goodreads.

I understand why the big publishers hate backlist books. It’s the cost of OCR. That makes me all the more proud of what CoolMain has achieved with very limited financial resources and the goodwill of the outstanding volunteers.

If you see a remaining error in a CoolMain book, please write to us: info at coolmainpress with the commercial extension. We will make the correction at the next edition.

***
Gemma Coole was a merchant banker until she realized her life’s ambition to become a publisher when she founded CoolMain Press with Bill Tremain. Among CoolMain’s bestselling, prizewinning authors  are Andre Jute, Dakota Franklin and Andrew McCoy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Shakshuka

A guest recipe from Coral Moore


I don’t like soup. I know, I’m a little weird that way. My husband is constantly trying to find recipes for soups that I’ll actually eat, and we’ve happened on some real gems in the process. This is one of my favorites.

Shakshuka is a North African dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. This recipe was found on Smitten Kitchen. I’ve seen roughly the same recipe in a few places so I think it’s a fairly authentic. The rich, spicy sauce is really the star of this dish. You’ll be mopping it up with every piece of bread you can find long after the eggs are gone. Very hearty and satisfying!

Shakshuka
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed then sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Warm pitas, for serving

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.

Put tomatoes and their liquid into a medium bowl and crush with your hands. Add crushed tomatoes and their liquid to skillet along with 1/2 cup water, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt.

Crack eggs over sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across sauce’s surface. Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes. Using a spoon, baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk. Sprinkle with feta and parsley and serve with pitas, for dipping.

The recipe is very flexible. Raise or lower the amount of peppers depending on your taste. Three gives the dish a nice zest but doesn’t burn. We’ve tried a few different varieties of peppers, even using canned once when we didn’t have any fresh. You can also change the cheese if you don’t like or don’t have feta on hand. We once used a sharp provolone and it came out great. I encourage you to experiment and find your own favorite variation!

Serves 4 to 6

 ***

Coral Moore writes speculative fiction with a dark edge. Connect with her via her website, Goodreads, or Twitter.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Have a Decadent Christmas!

Here's a look at what new holiday delights Decadent Publishing is serving up this Christmas, to keep your winter nice and toasty... and they're even offering you a freebie (see below)!




A Very Russian Christmas 
by Krystal Shannon

For most of her adult life, bodyguards have shadowed Ksenia Sharanov, daughter of a Russian mobster. Her one serious relationship left her broken hearted when she learned he only sought her father’s power and money.

A ski vacation with her college roommates ends on a terrifying note. Her father’s enemies have been following her more closely than anyone could have anticipated. The mistake will cost a life…but will it cost her heart? Or will she find love in the arms of a complete stranger?

Matt O’Reilly, a retired Marine, generally keeps to himself. Working as a deputy in a small country sheriff’s office, provides just enough seclusion for him to cut himself off from his family’s pity and the heartache of losing his wife. He never thought love would be in the books for him again. Will the sudden arrival of a spunky dark-haired Russian beauty change his mind?

Coming Soon!

~*~

Dillon's Gift 
by A.J. Hawthorn

Stacy hasn’t celebrated a Christmas in years and has no reason to change her ways.  Dillon can’t understand why the most giving person he knows refuses to join in the holiday cheer.  He cooks up a plan that will leave them no choice but to spend the holidays together.

Yet, he doesn’t know Stacy as well as he thinks and there is an equal chance that things could backfire. An intentional gag gift mix up, a sexy game of Truth or Dare and a blizzard bring two friends together for a Christmas to remember.


Coming December 11!

~*~

Island Bound 

Marriage has stripped their relationship of its thin, rose-tinted coating, and bared their monochromatic existence for what it was. Will Joshua and Christy get a second chance this holiday season?

When Christy Inemi-Spiff discovers that the man she vowed to love and honor has no such feelings for her, she is determined to cut her losses and move on with her life. A quick, quiet divorce is all she wishes for Christmas.

However, Joshua has other ideas. He’s not ready to walk away yet, especially when he doesn’t understand why Christy wants out of their marriage. So he demands she agree to spend a quiet Christmas on a remote African Island with him, hoping they can salvage their relationship. If she still wants a divorce after these two weeks, he will let her go. But not before he’s had his fill of her.

But with the sparking tension between them, and the secrets behind the disintegration of their marriage threatening to explode, will either of them get their wish? Or will this season of good will show them what really lies at the bottom of their hearts?
The first from Decadent's new Ubuntu line, coming soon!
~*~

Hot Winter Kiss
Irish Kisses Book 4

Hot winter kisses to warm broken hearts….

Sick of tending to everyone else’s needs around the holidays, divorced barmaid and granny Sandra ferries it from London to Belfast. All she wants for Christmas is some peace with a romance story in front of a roaring fire in a remote Irish castle. What she gets is a most unexpected Christmas present from her friends at Bell’s—A 1Night Stand with a young Irishman.

Can she hack it in the real world of romance, or are life’s complications and treacherous snowstorms best left to the pages of a book?

Newly widowed Ardan Draighean owns Ballygalley castle. Once run as a hotel with his late wife, the stone building now serves as a home for him and his son. After hearing about Madame Eve’s matchmaking skills, he contacts her in search of the perfect match. Although much older than him—by fifteen years—Sandra is his ideal woman. He be damned if he’ll let a good story get in the way of his happy ever after with her.

Hot winter kisses are all this couple needs to stay warm this Christmas, but will the heat stay long after the magical season of mistletoe has finished?
~*~




And don't forget, I have a Christmas romance with Decadent, myself - my All Romance eBook bestselling novella Unwrapping Scrooge, available on ebook, Nook, Kindle, (and more!), and in the paperback anthology Yule Be Mine vol 2 along with three other Decadent holiday novellas!


Bestselling author Kale McKinnon is a modern Scrooge – eccentric, misanthropic and reclusive, made bitter by the coldness of his wealthy family. But when optimistic Canadian graduate student Molly Gillis visits Oxford and invades his space, he realizes Christmas is about to change for him forever. But can he make her stay, and force himself to un-Scrooge enough to be the right man for her?



HOLIDAY CONTEST!

To help you treat yourself right this holiday season, Decadent is offering a giveaway for this post! Comment this week and tell us how you plan on staying warm this holiday season, and Decadent can offer you 'Any Decadent Publishing holiday ebook of the reader's choice'! I'll draw a comment at random this Friday afternoon (4pm EST).

And don't forget, Decadent is also having their "Give a Reader a Reader" bloghop (on now), with a grand prize of a Nook ereader to one lucky reader along with BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fear is the Best Diet

 
A guest post by André Jute

In the last two years I’ve twice had heart surgery. The first time I was cycling again on the third day but the second time I nearly died from a stupid, minor, unforeseen complication to do with an allergy to iodine which — you won’t believe this — doesn’t kick in until the second time you have the stuff injected into your body to act as a contrast in keyhole surgery to enable surgeons to see what they’re doing inside your body. Since then I’ve lost a stone in weight without even trying: I think twice before putting anything in my mouth, and on second thoughts put it down.

But what, you may ask, has this to do with my new book, which isn’t a diet book (I don’t write diet books — or at least I haven’t yet). I have been writing the series COLD WAR, HOT PASSIONS for a quarter century, and just now the first volume, DREAMS, is being published. There are seven further volumes to follow: a series to suck you into the lives of the ten Russian and American families whose story this is, as it it all our stories.

As a young man I partook of lethal blood sports like auto and offshore boat racing, racing sailing yachts across the Antarctic Ocean and around Cape Horn, and I was a professional polo player during one of my political exiles in South America — and my politics were of the sort that causes governments to send assassins after you. Even in an office job, in advertising, I lived in such a pressure cooker that all my partners were dead of various stress-related diseases before they turned 33. Hell, it was natural for me to think of myself as lucky, a perpetual survivor, pretty near indestructible.

So, when I wrote about how the young idealists of the Bolshevik Revolution turned into the creators of one of the the most lethal tyrannies the world has ever seen, the Soviet Union whose eras are named for their Great Terrors, I often felt sorry for them, and that somehow gave me a better understanding of them.

Back in the Little Perestroika, during the Brezhnev years, I toured the Soviet Union lecturing on the applications of market-led statistics, then a new idea to Russians. You could still cut the fear with a butter knife; a decade later all my star students had been disgraced and a few shot.

In the series of eight books which make up COLD WAR, HOT PASSIONS we’ll see how people lived, and loved, and raised families even through this constant haze of fear. It is one of the most impressive things about the twentieth century, that the human side of people, of families, survived the social engineering of the best organized and most brutal dictators the world has ever seen.

We’ll also see the flip side of the coin, how American families made something positive out of the constant fear which resulted from Soviet paranoia and empire-building during the almost half-century that we call the Cold War.

If you read DREAMS, don’t let the horrendous murders of Lenin and Stalin overwhelm you: notice that even monsters have a human side. It’s just another of the weird and wonderful revelations in this series of novels, together longer than War and Peace, which are all historically true. I especially enjoyed writing of the love of the schoolgirl Nadeshda Alleluyeva for Koba, which was Stalin’s name before he became a monster.

Ah, yes, fear. It turns out, on rereading DREAMS, that I knew about fear all along. See if you agree.

***

 

André Jute is a distinguished writer of novels and of non-fiction on the arts, engineering and cooking. The New York Times described him as “wild but exciting”. He is probably the most influential teacher of creative writing in the world through his WRITING A THRILLER, the choice of most professionals, which over many editions refocussed the thriller from plot to character. There are about 300 editions of his books in more than a dozen languages. He is married, has one child, and lives on a salmon river in Ireland. André is on Facebook and Twitter, and you can join him for conversation at the discussion group ROBUST. His blog is Kissing the Blarney, his publisher is Coolmain Press, and there is more information on his personal website. His current e-books are available at Amazon. His other current project, just starting, is HENTY’S FIST 1: GAUNTLET RUN, a collaboration with Dakota Franklin and Andrew McCoy, which will be free to read on Wattpad.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Interview with Dakota Franklin


Today I welcome Dakota Franklin, an author with CoolMain Press.

Welcome, Dakota! 

What's the earliest story you can remember writing?

Before I started school, my Dad told me to tell him a story and he’d help me turn it into a game on his computer. The story I made up was about a pilot protecting the president from dive bombers. My parents gave me my own Mac and by the time I was eight or so I wrote stories all the time.

When did you decide to make the move to "published"?

It’s a sore point. I run the large engineering consultancy founded by my grandfather. Writing is how I express myself, a private thing, I thought. I didn’t really need publication to validate something so personal. But my guru, André Jute, takes a hard line on a writer submitting herself to publication as a test of quality. He threatened to drop me. I couldn’t bear to go back to the worthless wankers I hired as creative writing instructors before him, so I agreed. There was an offer on the table from a publisher in New York but I didn’t like their attitude, so I went to CoolMain Press, where André is editorial advisor and Gemma Coole, the publisher, basically lets me write whatever I want.

How did you find the experience of seeking a publisher?

I understand that many writers have difficulty. I can understand why, having seen the bullying attitude of the New York editor I was supposed to work with. I’m glad now I insisted on going with André to Gemma. It looks like I won’t lose out financially for my “obstreperous stubbornness” either, as the jeremiahs forecast, because there is already an offer to adapt my series RUTHLESS TO WIN for television and then for film.

What inspired you to write the current release?

All the volumes in my series RUTHLESS TO WIN are complete, selfstanding, long novels with individual, different lead characters. The lead characters in all the other books are secondary characters in any one of the novels. Because it is a character based series, regardless of the appearance of being all-action novels, the moment I have a character that will carry a big novel, most of the really hard work is done, because from the character flows her problems, and from problems follow action towards solutions, which someone resists, and that’s a story. So, when I saw this hillbilly “lady racer” in one of the lower NASCAR series bring up her breakfast before a race, and then tap the flick knife in her pocket for reassurance when she noticed I saw, I had a character. When the previous book was finished, I looked over my characters waiting to have books written about them, and this NASCAR racer struck me forcibly.

By now I was so inculcated with André’s fabulous method of letting everything flow from the characters, I just put Flicka Revere on page 1 at a crisis in her life, and NASCAR FIRST, just launching, just about wrote itself. You’ll see when you read it.

I have a part of another book also just out, on which I collaborated with André Jute and another CoolMain bestseller, Andrew McCoy, on the story of a character someone else created. HENTY’S FIST•1 GAUNTLET RUN, which is free to read on Wattpad, was a lark to write, and is a lark to read.




What are you reading now?

I have almost zero time for reading. My work is all over Europe and I live in Switzerland. I hit the road at 5a.m. every morning and return home about 7p.m. After that I give all my attention to my family (one husband, one daughter) until bedtime. So I write in the car, when the three associates who travel with me don’t require my attention. I’m the fastest driver among us, and we’re always in a hurry, so most of the time I have the wheel. Generally I dictate to the stenographer who travels with me, or to programs on our computers which transcribe what I say to text. Add in reading time for my professional literature, and that lot doesn’t leave much time for reading anything except editing my own texts. My bedside books for the fifteen minutes I read before sleeping are currently HENTY’S FIST•1 GAUNTLET RUN, to get the good bits I missed while I wrote my sections and didn’t have time to read everyone else’s, and the complete poems of Emily Dickenson.

What are your current projects?

There are nine complete novels in the RUTHLESS TO WIN series, complete in the sense of having been given over to the publishers and editors. There is a tenth novel, currently stalled because I can’t proceed until André works out how to break it up into several novels; there’s that much involving material. Yesterday I took the day off to celebrate the film offer. Today I feel refreshed and have, after weeks of shillyshallying, decided to write the story of Henry, who is in the process of becoming an English duke; he’s a racer too, of course, because my series is set again auto racing. That will be called THE LAST GENTLEMAN RACER. But Henry’s is a love story, and a story about a cruel man who beats women, and a story about the law of libel. Oh, and lots of racing, because Henry is moving up a class as a racer too. Because my books are so character-based, I write only one at a time. When I have an idea for a new character, I write a very short draft opening chapter, or some notes, and then leave it at that. That’s why the opening chapters of all my books are so dramatic, and so short, because they’re time out from a previous book!

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I’ve been writing the series for 16 years. I’ve learned how to pick the best advisors and then not to argue with them except on matters of principle. I’ve learned that what a writer does best is write. It’s a very satisfying process. I really don’t know how I would manage if I had to handle all the many elements that other writers have to take care of, if I didn’t have so many committed, ultra-competent helpers.

Tell us a some little tidbit about yourself that we don't know.

On weekends I wear my 15 year-old daughter’s castoff clothes. I’m the trendiest mum for 300 klicks in any direction!

Great! Thanks for stopping by.

Thank you for inviting me, Anne.

~*~

DakotaFranklin is a high performance vehicle engineer. Her series RUTHLESS TO WIN has been on best seller lists internationally since first launching at Christmas 2011. There are currently four books out, and the series is under offer for television and feature film. The first of the series, LE MANS, was voted the Winner, Best Action/Adventure in the Best of the Independent eBook Awards. The latest in the series, just launching, is NASCAR FIRST. Dakota is also the co-author of HENTY’S FIST•1 GAUNTLET RUN, which you can read free of charge on Wattpad. That’s Dakota’s photo on the cover of LE MANS. Dakota welcomes reader contacts.

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