Friday, 21 November 2014

Dance with Deception - Regency Romance at its Finest

My guest author today is bestselling Scandalous Secrets series author Tracy Goodwin.


I’m pretty sure yours is the first Regency Romance featured on my blog. For the readers, what is Regency Romance?

Regency Romances are typically Romance Novels set during the early nineteenth century. Though technically my novels are set in the early Victorian era (Victorian Romances are set during the reign of Queen Victoria which began in 1837), Dance with Deception has been on both the Regency and Victorian Romance bestselling lists ever since its first publication. I specifically chose the 1840s as the time period of the Scandalous Secrets series because of the amenities and historical events that occurred during that particular time period – the use of steam locomotives and the first Anglo-Sikh War, for example, both of which are plot points in Enticing Eve – Scandalous Secrets, Book 2.

My writing style also falls into both categories based upon the reviews I’ve received. Descriptions like “romantic,” “lush sensuality,” “endearing,” and “emotional” have all been used in reviews and author quotes to describe my writing. I think those traits transcend Regency and Victorian Romances and that is why you see many of the same books on both bestseller lists.

How much historical research went into Dance with Deception? What kinds of research did you do?

A great deal of research goes into each novel. My office is crammed with research books spanning everything from daily life in Britain during the nineteenth century to books on English country homes, gardens, London, art, fashion, Parliament, etc. I also do online research but actual books have been a major source of research for me.

How long did it take you to write the book?

It took about a year to write the original Dance with Deception. I then spent some more time on edits before going through the pitching process and selling it to a small press in 2006 and seeing it first in print in 2007.

I see that Dance with Deception first came out in 2007 and this is a 2nd Edition. What has changed between the two editions? Why?

Originally, my publisher was going to purchase the rights to my sequel however it was during the economic downturn of 2009-2010. When that fell through, I put the sequels (both of which were completed as first drafts) aside and concentrated on my family. My husband and I had our second child and our eldest son was diagnosed with Autism. Writing was placed on hold for a very long time. When I decided to re-release Dance with Deception and publish the next two novels in the series, I decided that there were changes I could make to turn Dance with Deception into an even tighter story with more punch.

The original Dance with Deception was a critically acclaimed bestseller but I wanted to make it even better. My life had changed so much since its original publication as had my writing style so I decided I wanted Dance with Deception – Scandalous Secrets, Book 1 to kick off the trilogy with more of an impact. After my edits, I had it proofread again and a dear friend of mine (Jeannie Ruesch) helped take the gorgeous cover photos from Jimmy Thomas that I’d chosen for each book and created art that turned the three books into a full-fledged series with covers that match.

What one story would you like to share about the trials and tribulations of writing?

I appreciate every reader who takes the time to purchase/read my novels. I understand that taste is subjective. What one person loves, another may not. I have to make a concerted effort not to let that deter me. It is easy (especially for me) to question myself to the point that it is crippling. I encourage everyone pursuing a writing career to find a way to push past the self doubts. I know from first-hand experience that it isn’t easy, but it must be done. Also, don’t compare yourself to other authors. Each of us is unique with our own strengths and weaknesses and our own paths to success.

I read a quote from David B. Schlosser recently that I love: “The only writer to whom you should compare yourself is the writer you were yesterday.” That resonated with me because long before I read the quote, I re-read the original Dance with Deception and realized that I had evolved and so should the novel. That’s why it is now an “exclusive edition with never before published material” – because the novel has evolved with me. I’m using that concept with the next two in the series, hoping I can make Enticing Eve – Scandalous Secrets, Book 2 and The Skilled Seduction – Scandalous Secrets, Book 3 even better than their predecessor.

Will you be Indie publishing, looking for an agent/publisher or a combination? Why?

Indie publishing is difficult because it is all on you, the author – you must make sure the story is perfect along with the proofreading and cover art. I have hired a proofreader and have a talented cover artist in the form of a dear friend and fellow author. At the end of the day though, sink or swim, the final product is on me. That’s tough. Remember my weakness for second guessing myself? I have to overcome that on a daily basis. My goal is to publish page-turning novels that readers will adore and will feel emotionally invested in.

Would I like an Agent/Publisher? Yes. I write for a cause, #AutismTreatment. My son’s to be precise. One in every 68 children is diagnosed with Autism according to Austism Speaks (1 in every 42 boys) – consider those numbers for a moment. Add to that insurance companies denying claims and companies refusing coverage. It is a nightmare for families touched by Autism. It is a frightening disease that you don’t want for anyone’s child. It is costly and anyone touched by Autism understands how important it is to get the children help early on – the earlier the better. I hope to earn enough from the Scandalous Secrets series to shed light on my cause and help cover the expensive treatments for my son that insurance doesn’t cover, however, I long to be able to help other children financially, not just my child. My ultimate goal is to earn enough that I can help other families in our situation. Can I do that as an Indie Author? We’ll see. Having a big press behind you certainly helps get your name and cause out there much faster than an Indie Author doing it by herself. If I can sell enough books and do that as an Indie Author that would be wonderful. It is yet to be seen.

Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life? Why?

The first is Judith McNaught. “Until You” was the first Historical Romance I ever read and I had the honor of meeting her several times. She was gracious, and treated her readers like they were family. Not only did she inspire me to write my first novel but she set the bar when it comes to how to treat your readers. I try to follow her example always. She was such a big influence in my life and I wish I could tell her that, now that I am also published and following her example.

The second is Deborah Harkness. I had placed the Scandalous Secrets series aside for years. I devoted myself to my family and there came a point that I honestly thought my creativity was gone and that these novels would languish on a computer hard-drive forever. Then I read “A Discovery of Witches” as my book club choice earlier this year and it reignited my imagination. I immediately read “Shadow of Night” and knew that I had to start writing again. I missed my creative side, creating imaginary worlds and characters I adore. I missed my novels. And I dusted off the Scandalous Secrets series because something in Deborah Harkness’s writing rekindled my dormant characters and they wouldn’t relent until I edited their stories and released them. I was fortunate enough to tell Ms. Harkness this at a Houston book signing of “The Book of Life.” Her amazing work changed my life.

The third – I can’t narrow it down to one. Honestly, this must be a list consisting of all of the talented and bestselling authors who gave me author quotes and promotion for the original Dance with Deception: Hannah Howell, Gayle Wilson, Barbara Dawson Smith. Deborah MacGillivray for her five star review on Goodreads and Lucy Monroe for allowing me to guest blog on her site years ago to promote Dance with Deception. No list of Authors who influenced me would be complete without these wonderful women. I am so grateful to them. I have acknowledged each of them in my novel, on my website, on my Amazon page … anywhere I possibly can.

In your experience, what would you say is the best formula for putting yourself “out there” in front of your readers? Why?

So far, this time around, Facebook, Facebook Groups and Twitter have been very helpful in getting word out there and increasing interest. It’s funny how times change. For my first go around, MySpace was the “it” social media. What a big difference seven years make!

Please tell us more about your family’s journey with Autism.

Autism is a frightening disease. I’ve seen my son, a happy and communicative child stop speaking, stop looking us in the eyes, scream when water touches his skin because it feels like knives on his flesh. I’ve watched our child recede within himself and with much work and treatment have watched him come back to us, to where he can speak, say “I love you” and converse with us, even tell us what’s bothering him. This disease evolves and we see it with our son. Just when you think you’re getting a handle on it, you’re proven wrong. Every time you get past one hurdle, another arises. That is hard for any family – to watch your child suffer.

Add to the physical and emotional toll the fact that Autism is costly and can all but bankrupt families affected by this disease. Insurance companies will come up with multiple excuses not to cover it. Despite the US Surgeon General proclaiming that Applied Behavior Analysis is one of the best forms of treatment for Autism, despite decades of peer-reviewed medical journal articles stating the same, insurance companies will still deny coverage. 

We live in a state where coverage is mandated yet large companies who fund their own insurance (like my husband’s) fall under the federal law, which doesn’t include the therapy. In our case we were quoted benefits and began by trying to get a provider within a 50 mile radius within network. Five months later we were denied coverage altogether due to “lack of proof” and lack of “peer reviewed articles.” I kid you not when I say my appeal was 256 pages of proof including the US Surgeon General’s report and decades of peer-reviewed articles yet we were still denied coverage. After 256 pages of proof. How is that possible? As I learned from several workshops I attended, this is the norm not the exception and many families suffer through this.

That’s why #AutismTreatment is my cause and why every penny I earn from my book sales go to this cause. Right now, I can only help my child but I hope to earn enough to help other children and their families who are suffering. It is my deepest wish that I can shed light on this cause and help others financially.

MINI BIO

In addition to being a wife and mommy to an exquisite son and daughter, I'm also the author of sweeping Historical Romances. Not surprising since I've been creating tales of happily-ever-afters since I was a little girl. As my imagination blossomed at an early age, so did my tales of historical heroes and heroines living in magnificent estates surrounded by landscapes the vivid colors of Impressionist paintings.

What is more romantic than stories of forbidden love and redemption? What could be more touching than Mr. Darcy declaring his love for Elizabeth, Emma finding love in the familiar visage of Mr. Knightley, or Jane returning home to Mr. Rochester at last? These and so many other epic romances touched my heart and my own characters took root, their stories yearning to be told until one day my husband encouraged me to write the novel in my heart ... Dance With Deception. With that, the Scandalous Secrets series began.

The original Dance with Deception was first released in 2007. Since then, I have so many people to be grateful for, beginning with each and every reader who purchased the original Dance with Deception. Thank you for receiving the debut novel of my heart with such warmth, for attending my book signings, and for your kind words and positive reviews. It is because of you, that Dance with Deception quickly reached the top of several bestseller lists and was a best seller for my original publisher. This exclusive enhanced edition and the subsequent novels in the Scandalous Secrets series are dedicated to you, with my heartfelt appreciation. With this exclusive edition as well as upcoming Enticing Eve and The Skilled Seduction, I want each reader to know that I am grateful for your support and hope that all readers - new and existing - enjoy how the Scandalous Secrets series plays out.

To learn more about the next novels in the Scandalous Secrets series, please visit my website www.tracygoodwin.com - there you can also reach me via my Email, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter links or complete the Contact form to sign up for my newsletter. You can also like my Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/AuthorTracyGoodwin or join in the conversation at my Blog and at www.RomancingTheTV.com where I join fellow Author Jeannie Ruesch in chatting all things TV.

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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Wynken, Blynken and Nod as you've never seen it before!

My guest this week is Coral Keehn, who has just published a beautifully illustrated version of Wynken, Blynken and Nod, a classic Dutch lullaby. Her talented illustrations make for a wonderful book for the little ones in your life … like my grandson Andre.  

What inspired you to do an illustrated version of Wynken, Blynken and Nod?
There were several things in my life that collided in a very slow motion and nebulous kind of way that brought about this project.
Toni Morrison once said, “If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” The only problem was I didn’t really have a brilliant story I was just bursting to tell. I absolutely adore children’s literature but I in no way feel qualified to write it. In fact I didn’t even want to write a story – I just had this little dream of one day illustrating a children’s story. Since I didn’t have hoards of people asking me to illustrate their brilliant story, I shelved the dream for some other time. A time when I would be hit by a bolt of literary lightning and just KNOW what needed to be written.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Three Strikes and You’re Dead

My guest author today is Mike Draper, a former retirement plan specialist whose main clients were state and municipal police departments. During his forty year career, he heard a lot of police stories…

Where did the idea come from for Three Strikes and You’re Dead?

With certain baseball teams buying the highest priced players and usually dominating the sport, I wondered what would happen if someone wanted to help the little guy, the low budget teams. I also thought that with baseball being America’s number one sport, what if terrorists struck against baseball?

What genre does your book fall under?

Mystery & thrillers.