Thursday, February 28, 2013

Shawna Thomas Spills the Beans

Hi! So glad to have you at Spilling the Beans, where we can learn a little bit about you, and your book. Grab a cappuccino and let’s chat. Unless you have another favorite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)?
A cappuccino is great. My go-to drink is always coffee and if I’m indulging, it’s coffee with a little caramel and lots of whipped cream.

Fur or feathers, petwise?
Fur! Although I’ve had birds and loved them, I’m a sucker for a feline or canine friend.

I'm the same way. :) Any pet peeves? One thing that really burns your biscuits?
LOL I have so many. I’m a very busy mom of seven so its not surprising that time management is my thing. Not being able to find something I’m looking for is a sure fire way to irritate the dickens out of me. I hate wasting time looking for something that should be Right. There.

Seven? Wow - kudos on finding any writing time! What’s your guilty pleasure?
Sitting with my husband in the evenings, watching tv and falling half asleep. (I really should be working because the house is quiet.)

What’s your ideal day like?
LOL An average ideal day or vacation-type day? Let’s see: Wake up, get the kiddos breakfast and off to school, play with baby, put her down for a nap. Work for an hour or two, fix baby lunch, play with her, get the kids from school, do homework, put baby down for a nap, fix dinner, work for an hour, eat dinner, baths-stories and bedtime, snuggle with husband on the couch... it never quite works out that way. My newest baby seems to have been born with the I-don’t-need-sleep gene. Seriously, we’ve taken her to the doctor... I’m lucky if she takes one 20 minute nap a day. An ideal vacation day? Bike riding along the coast with my husband, stopping at a dozen little stores, eating at a small café, then going back to our hotel room.

If you could live out any fantasy, what would you do?
LOL Honestly, I think the ideal vacation day above pretty much sums it up. Yup, I’m a bit boring. On the other hand, I’d love to wake up one morning to find out my books are on the NYT best seller lists.

Ah yes, The Dream. :) Beethoven, Beatles, Foo Fighters or Keith Urban (what type(s) of music makes you rock out)?
Oh Mozart, Beethoven, Breaking Benjamin, Red, 30 Seconds to Mars and yes I love the Foo Fighters. My tastes in music are pretty diverse.

Does music influence your writing? Do you have a music playlist for your book? 
Absolutely. Music gets me in the mood to write--helps me sink deeper in to character. Yes, I do have a playlist for each of the books. I recently did a guest blog about that very thing on RL Naquin’s blog.  http://www.rlnaquin.com/2013/02/music-manuscripts-and-magic/

Which of your characters would you most/least want to hang out with, and why?
I think Sara/Ilythra. It may sound odd but I’ve known her for over ten years but I’d really like to sit down with her and pick her brain. I’d least want to hang out with Bredych. I actually had a fairly scary dream about him once.

While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
I did a lot of research for these books. I studied herbal healing, warfare, watched a lot of fight scenes, but although all of it was interesting, nothing really surprised me. Honestly, the things I learned most were about me. I learned to trust my gut. I learned I can work under a lot of pressure.

Where can readers find out more about you?
I’m usually close to Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shawna-Thomas/203067763106604 You can find me on my website: shawnathomas.com.  I’m also on twitter: AuthorSThomas or on my blog. Shawnathomas.blogspot.com

Please share a book blurb and/or excerpt.
Closing her eyes, she took the salty air deep into her lungs; her breathing evened as she focused on absorbing and channeling the energy of earth, sky, fire and water. Here, water ruled, followed by sky, but the other elements were present in lesser degrees. Her senses expanded. The sounds around her became distinct. Waves teased the wooden skimmer as the wind carried it through the waters. She opened her mind further. The ocean swarmed with life. Schools of fish followed the currents of the ocean in the skimmer’s wake while slow ponderous creatures—for which Sara had no name—crawled across the ocean floor or swam in its depths. She sensed beyond the visible to the unknown creatures hidden in every drop of water contained within the ocean.
Far away, birds sailed the currents of the air and for a brief moment, Sara caught a glimpse of a greater cycle of which she was only part. Here was balance, beauty. They had always practiced meditation as a part of Shi’ia, the ancient art of warfare her grandfather taught her, but after he gave her the necklace, he explained she rode the winds of Teann. He called Teann the life-breath of the universe. It was as apt name as any to explain the experience. He admitted he didn’t understand any more than his Shi’ia instructor had taught him, but he knew there was more, much more. She agreed with him. The first time Sara had tried to meditate wearing the necklace, she’d gone so far so fast, she felt she would lose herself, but she adjusted, reveling in the abundance around her.
With her eyes closed and life swirling around her, she pictured the stone in the necklace. Dark blue and swathed in silver filigree, the jewel was beautiful and as hard as it was to explain, she understood that it was now part of her, or who she was becoming. Who am I becoming? A chill of fear shot up her spine.

You can find Journey of Awakening on Amazon


And many other ebook vendors.

Thanks for spilling the beans today Shawna!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Unnatural links


No sooner had I posted this link


last week on my Facebook page as a heads up for writers, did I find in my email a request from Best Colleges Online to remove an “unnatural” link that might be hurting their blog’s – and mine – optimization in search engines.

A link to what? Their list of Top 100 Creative Writing Blogs.

Say it with me... 

Huh?

Posting a link for a writer’s resource is an “unnatural” link? I seriously do not understand. Nevertheless, I removed the entire post because it contained links to other sites.

If you read the Problogger article, it seems geared more to blogs of professional organizations rather than individuals, but obviously anyone’s a potential target.

For what? Having Google “de-value” your blog. Don’t ask me what that means.

Here's the notice I received:

Hi Webmaster,
 
We would like to discuss an important matter with you regarding your site.
 
It has come to our attention that Google has penalized our site due to our backlink profile. Unfortunately, a link to our site on your website may be considered unnatural by Google and may be partially responsible for our penalization.
 
Because of this, we request that you remove the link to our site that is located here and says:
 
top 100 creative writing blogs
 
Since we believe this link could be unnatural, it may affect the onearch engine rankings of your site as well as ours. Removing the link will be mutually beneficial, and we hope you will consider doing so.
 
Please drop us a line if you have any comments, questions, or concerns. We look forward to your reply!

And I did reply to ask what would make the link "unnatural" but as expected, received no answer.

So now, in addition to being extra careful about what images you post, you also need to be careful about links. But honestly, I have no working criteria for what links might be viewed as "unnatural" and what constitutes a "natural" one. Do you?

Has your blog been targeted as having "unnatural" links? Do you understand what it means? (If so, please share!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Taryn Kincaid Spills the Beans - in a Blizzard!

Hi! So glad to have you at Spilling the Beans, where we can learn a little bit about you, and your book.
Thanks for having me in, Cate! This is one of the most fun blogs to visit.

Grab a cappuccino and let’s chat. Unless you have another favorite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)?
No, cappucino’s fine. I’m a caffeine freak. Must have my coffee. Early. And often.
Although, when LIGHTNING and THUNDER came out, someone turned me onto a Dark & Stormy recipe: black rum (another dark rum will do), ginger beer (not ale) and a twist of lime.

And, when FROST came out for Valentine’s Day, I shared recipes for “The Ice Goddess” and “The Fire Demon” and a reader gave me another: Chocolate Raspberry FROST Martini.

Oo, yum! Those sound soo tempting.
Fur or feathers, petwise?
Honestly? I am really not a pet person. I once lost a fish. Literally. It was a gorgeous, swishy, blue-finned beta named “Shark” that matched my living room rug. And one day it vanished, never to be seen or heard from again. No amount of pushing and pulling furniture, of dusting or vacuuming ever turned up its little skeleton. If it even had a skeleton. Not its ghost, either.

Aw, poor thing! Something tells me it disappeared into that rug, lol.
Any pet peeves? One thing that really burns your biscuits?
Everything annoys me.

Ha! What’s your guilty pleasure?
All of them.

Attagirl. :) Favorite quote?
“You have to throw yourself away when you write.” ~ the great Maxwell Perkins

or

“Just get it down on paper, and then we’ll see what to do with it.” ~ also Maxwell Perkins

Great advice. What’s your ideal day like?
Not having to go to work. Everything else is icing.

If you could live out any fantasy, what would you do?
I’d be queen of my own private tropical island. And have lots of coconuts and mangoes

Oh, can I come visit? I promise I'll bow. Or curtsy. Or weave lei's for your guests.
Beethoven, Beatles, Foo Fighters or Keith Urban (what type(s) of music makes you rock out)?
BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE.

You call me, baby?  

Ah, my Jersey boy. :) Does music influence your writing? Do you have a music playlist for your book?
Not at all. Although, back in the days when I listened to country on the car radio (strictly news these days), I used to think every single country song I heard was a story waiting to happen. Well, they were all stories, really. Waiting to be fleshed out, maybe.

In BLIZZARD, the heroine, Mandy is driving along in her car when she’s trapped by the snow.  She was probably listening to Maroon 5, but we’ll never know for sure. When she hooks up with Jack, Barry White’s on the radio. Who else?

Which of your characters would you most/least want to hang out with, and why?
OMG! All of my heroes, of course. They are all HOT and sexy. The heroines would not be invited.

They certainly are tempting! lol While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
With BLIZZARD, the most surprising thing was that I could write a very short contemporary, without paranormal elements.

Where can readers find out more about you?

BLURB:
Mandy Malone ditches her pharmaceutical convention and the married male colleagues hitting on her to hurry home to her waiting family. But she doesn’t bank on the blizzard that forces her off the road, into a deserted rest stop, and the rugged arms of the snowstorm’s only other road refugee.

Jack Manning is totally unprepared for Mandy’s unvarnished proposition, but intrigued by the erotic offer promising a night of no-questions-asked sex.

But when Jack notices the wedding band on Mandy’s finger, will he forego the lure of a torrid clandestine affair, or give in to the fantasy of blazing hot sex on the sly?

EXCERPT:
“Is this what you’re looking for, lady?”
Mandy glanced up, startled by the deep, rumbling baritone that seemed loud in the fairly quiet building. Even more startled by the tall, gorgeous hunk of manhood bundled into a down parka and standing next to her table.
I could totally jump him. Right here. Right now. 
From nowhere, steamy erotic images of what she wanted to do with the man leaped unbidden into her head. Beneath her sweater, her breasts swelled, her nipples hardened with need. She’d never felt such instant attraction to anyone, such a frantic desire to get naked and get fucked. Maybe it was a reaction to her frightening experience on the Thruway. Or maybe something else created the overpowering chemistry.
Besides being the most handsome man she’d ever laid eyes on, he held out a battery-operated pocket charger. Nearly alone with him in the deserted rest stop…and still she felt…safe. A sigh escaped her as he stared down at her.
“It’s not the only thing I’m looking for.”  Her voice, husky and sultry, and laden with blatant sexual innuendo, shocked her. Where had those words come from?
“Yeah?” The man removed his parka, revealing a plaid flannel shirt, the triangle of a white, cold-weather T peeping from the open neckline. As he raised his arms, thick bands of muscle rippled across his chest, beneath the layers of fabric.  He stared down at her with brilliant azure eyes, bluer than a lake under the summer’s sun. His hair, which curled a bit boyishly at his temples, resembled a wet beach, light, dirty brown, with shimmering bronze threads straggling through the locks. But this was no boy. No indeed.
God. Gorgeous did not even begin to cover it. The longer he looked at her, the hotter she became. So hot she suddenly felt she could do anything, dare anything with this man.

Thanks for spilling the beans today, Taryn! And for giving us readers another great story!
Thanks for having me!