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Author Archives: clroman

XX Author Interview Featuring: Olivia Hardin

CLR: Give us the deets – genre(s), length of writing career, how long you’ve been writing – all the basics.

“Women are fantastic creatures and I love writing them.”

OH: In 2011 I published my first book, Witch Way Bends, the series starter for my (currently) 12-story Bend-Bite-Shift Paranormal Romance series. Since then I’ve dabbled in contemporary romance and urban fantasy genres. I also write erotic romance as Lili Von and I’m just launching a brand new cozy mystery brand as C.H. Sessums!

CLR:  How do you feel about female characters?

OH: Women are fantastic creatures and I love writing them.  With my female characters, I tend to write what I know, focusing on the characteristics I’m familiar with. My first few stories I think there was a lot of me in those women. Devan in Witch Way Bends didn’t realize her own power and strength and had to be taught how to channel it for good. In my contemporary romance All for Family I even touched on my own body image issues by writing a woman who was self-conscious about her weight. I think as long as I’m listening to the characters and learning who they are, it is all good!

CLR: Male characters, same question.

OH: I tend to go with what I know. All the males in my stories have tidbits of the men in my life. They’re strong yet flawed and my favorite thing about writing them is revealing how they open up their female counterparts and encourage her to get out of her safe zone to grow.

CLR:  What is the hardest thing about being a female author?

OH: I don’t imagine being a female author is any harder than being a male. The business itself is tough and learning how to muddle through writing a great story, packaging a great story and then selling a great story isn’t easy. I write romance and I’d say that the greatest majority of my fellow authors are also female (and frankly the majority of my readers tend to be as well.) I have seen though, with my husband who is also an author, that he tends to be a lot more secure in his writing than I am. He’ll talk to anyone about his books and a lot of the time he’ll sell them one. And I seem to see that with other male authors too. It’s hard for me to tell a stranger about my books, to essentially brag about myself and when I’ve talked to my female author friends they say the same thing. Thankfully for me though, my fantastic man will tell everyone about my writing for me!

“I can shoot a gun and I’d step into a fight if I had to.”

CLR:  Do you make a conscious effort to include feminist themes in your writing?

OH: I don’t. The definition of feminism has been changing so I’m not sure I even clearly know what that is. In my stories, the partners—men and women—are better because they’re together, either as friends or as lovers. They have different strengths, but none of them are better than the other. Equity and not equality because in my mind equality doesn’t really exist. I’m a true southern lady (at least the hubby tells me I am.) I can shoot a gun and would step into a fight if I had to. I don’t necessarily believe I can do anything a man can do. Some women can, yes. Some men can do things just as well as women, but not always. I think we expend a lot of energy trying to bridge gaps and break through glass ceilings. Now don’t get me wrong. If a woman has a passion to do something and has to fight her way through discrimination to get there, I applaud her and will lift her up. I just don’t think we all have to do those things to prove our strength. Men and women are inherently different. I don’t “need a man” because he’s a man. I need a partner who has strengths in areas I don’t. I try to do that with my characters too when I’m writing.

Author Bio:

Olivia Hardin always realized how strange she was to have complete movie-like character dreams as a child. Eventually, she began putting those vivid dreams to paper and was rarely without her spiral notebooks full of those mental ramblings. Her forgotten vision of becoming an author was realized when she connected with a group of amazingly talented and fabulous writers who gave her lots of direction and encouragement. With a little extra push from family and friends, she hunkered down to get lost in the words. She’s also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run and is sometimes accused of being artistic, though she’s generally too much of a perfectionist to appreciate her own work. A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny, and their corgi pup Bonnie and their brand new hound Heidi.

For more on Olivia and her books, check out her links:

WEBSITE | NEWSLETTER | FACEBOOK | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS


Enough

Sunday mornings should be peaceful. Calm. Quiet. This past Sunday was the opposite, and as I watch the news reports rolling in, I want to weep and shout my anger in equal measure.

You already know what happened. Two gunmen in two different places walked into public areas and opened fire, murdering as many people as they could before being apprehended by police.

By most standards, the police moved swiftly. In El Paso and in Dayton, they cut short what would undoubtedly have been a much larger massacre without their intervention. The work they did was, relatively speaking, successful.

But this isn’t about the police.

One of the gunmen posted a blatantly racist screed on social media. The media is blaming his violence on a racist viewpoint. The other shooter’s violence is being attributed to possible mental illness. In both cases, the weapon of choice was at least semi-automatic, allowing more bullets and faster firing than a standard rifle or handgun. Such guns are not meant for hunting, or even target practice, though they can admittedly be used for both. Their main function is far uglier. They are human killers, plain and simple.

Regardless of the cause, these types of shootings are on the rise. From California to Florida, we are seeing mass shootings on an unprecedented scale. People are dying in terrorist incidents perpetrated by our own against our own.

Never in civilian history have so many died so pointlessly, and yet nothing is being done to prevent future incidents like those that occurred in Texas and Ohio this past weekend.

Calls for universal background checks, red flag laws and bans on certain weapons rise into the stratosphere after every one of these massacres. This time is no different, and as usual, none of them have been put into effect. The most recent gun legislation bills (HR8 and HR1112) passed the House in February, but both are stalled in the Senate and unlikely to pass. The bills extend the requirement for background checks and the time allowed to complete those checks.

How many must die before we demand action?

And while the Senate stalls, hemming and hawing with the NRA whispering in their ear and plying their pocketbooks, our people die. Our mothers, fathers, siblings, and spouses, die. Our children die.

What will it take before we demand action?


XX Authors Featuring Julie Morgan

Today, we take a look behind the scenes with best-selling author Julie Morgan. Welcome to the Pages, Julie. Let’s chat!

Best-selling author Julie Morgan

CLR: Give us the deets – genre(s), length of writing career, how long you’ve been writing – all the basics.

JM: I’ve been writing almost my entire life. I started with songs and poetry as a child, then moved into storytelling, and eventually, my first novel. The first-ever book I wrote was never published. I wrote it 14 years ago and it still sits away, nice and neat. Never to see the light of day lol!

CLR: What made you choose paranormal and contemporary romance?

JM: I’ve always had a fascination with all things paranormal. I can remember back to reading about demons and vampires as a child through our encyclopedias. Back then, we didn’t have internet so it was the big books and the library card catalog. I’ve enjoyed all things dark as far back as I can remember. As for contemporary, I love this genre as well. For me, the only difference is the universe the story is told in.

CLR: How do you feel about female characters?

JM: I love them and all of my stories focus around a strong female.

CLR: What are the dos/don’ts of writing them for you?

JM: I don’t make them weak, need to be rescued, need a man in their life. I do make them strong, make them the dragon rather than the damsel, make them beautiful. I don’t make them unrealistic. I make them relatable.

CLR: Male characters, same question.

JM: I love strong male alpha characters, but I do NOT enjoy assholes. Give me strong, focused, and fierce, but dammit, be a nice guy. No woman wants to be talked down to. Put me on a pedestal and whisper me sweet nothings!

CLR: What is the hardest thing about being a female author?

JM: Not wanting to eat all the things in my house when I write! LOL!

CLR: What is the best thing about being a female author?

JM: Having my female and male writers support.

CLR: How does being female affect your writing – or does it?

JM: It doesn’t affect my writing.

CLR: What do you think about the “strong female character” trope in literature?

JM: I don’t necessarily find it a trope. I find writing strong female characters gives you a chance to be something you’ve always wanted to see in yourself. Not having to rely on anyone but yourself, being able to walk away when sometimes it’s the most difficult thing to do, and giving your heart fully knowing the character she’s giving it to will accept it without pause… because I’m writing him/her.

CLR: How do you treat misogyny in your writing, or do you?

JM: I don’t.

CLR: Are there any special challenges to writing female characters in your genre? If so, what are they?

JM: There can be. Writing a slim female vs full-figured. Sometimes I write a character so flawed and relatable, then turn around and write someone thin, strong, and someone who needs serious redemption.

CLR: What does your writing day look like?

JM: It all depends on when I can get time. I’m married and have a daughter. My schedule revolves around them.

CLR: Do you think the industry treats male and female writers differently?

JM: Yes, from romance to non-fiction, each genre is treated differently.

CLR: Do you think the market treats male and female protagonists differently?

JM: That honestly depends on the author creating the story/world.

CLR: What outside influences, if any, do you see having an impact on your writing?

JM: Everything around me influences my writing. From a kid in a candy store to a woman praying over a headstone. Everything around us can become a story.

CLR: Favorite author? Why?

JM: I have too many to list!

CLR: Do you make a conscious effort to include feminist themes in your writing?

JM: No I do not. It’s not who I am and I don’t put anything like this in my stories, feminist or any other topics of this nature.

CLR: What themes are your favorites to include in your writing?

JM: Angst! My favorite! Steamy, romance, second chance romance, starting over, girl/boy next door, forbidden romance (also a fav!)

CLR: What advice would you offer to new women authors coming up?

JM: Find your tribe. Find people who will have your back and support you. Never be afraid to ask for help. Not everyone will have your best intentions so be careful who you give your time to when starting out. Research, get a GREAT editor, great beta readers, and people who are not afraid to tell you the truth.

CLR: What are you working on now?

JM: I just wrapped up my first story for Waterhouse Press in the Misadventures world. It’ll come out Spring 2020! Misadventures of a Firefighters.

CLR: What are your “next steps”?

JM: Next I’ll be outlining my second Waterhouse book, Misadventures with my Lawyer, plotting out Enzo, book two with Gracen Miller in our Private Dick series, and I’m starting a collaborative effort with someone new. We haven’t shared details formally yet, so look for news of this, and who it is, coming soon!

Julie Morgan is an award-winning USA Today best-selling author. Her forte is writing strong heroines who are more likely to be the dragon than the damsel. Julie reads a wide array of genres from paranormal romance to horror, and her writing reflects that variety. She lives with her family in Florida and loves playing board games and reading.

To find out more about Julie and her books, visit her website. Other places you can find Julie:

Book bub | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

Hint: signup for her newsletter and receive a free book!


The Evil Worm

Category : Musings

Worry is an evil thing.

I don’t say this because worrying will cost you sleep, give you an ulcer, break up your marriage, ruin your health and cause you mental anguish and, eventually, illness. All that is true, but that’s not why I say that worry is evil.

Worry is evil because it does all of this…and it’s useless.

Jesus wisely pointed out that worry adds nothing good to your life. It fixes nothing, builds nothing, attempts nothing, succeeds nowhere except in immobilizing the worrier. Like a great noxious mud puddle, it simply sits, a festering, seething moil, between us and our goals. It is the thing that holds our horrifically fascinated gaze so that we can no longer see our blessings.

I’m not talking about looking carefully at real possibilities and taking reasonable precautions. I am speaking of fretting, or even obsessing, over things that “might” happen; allowing the very dregs of our imagination to paint worst case scenarios in our tired minds until we become physically ill. Or even just a little nauseous.

Because even a little worry has the potential to grow into an all-consuming monster…if you let it in and feed it.

So don’t feed it. Instead, make a good plan and move forward, because “worry is rust on the blade.” (Henry Ward Hughes) And nobody wants that. If you’re having a hard time letting go of it, take Bobby McFerrin‘s advice.

Meanwhile, relax. Follow your plan, and let go of the things you can’t fix, change or eliminate by worrying. (Which is basically everything, BTW.)

Now, where did I put that margarita mix?


Fault Lines

I have a tendency to wonder about things. In general, this is a helpful habit for a writer.

Full disclosure, this isn’t me. It could be, but it isn’t.

For example,  I wonder if corporate America is really scheming to take over our educational system in order to increase profits. (Probably.) I wonder if I’m good at my job. (Possibly, hopefully.) I wonder if the person who just cut me off in traffic needs a complete attitude adjustment or just a rigorous course in the reasonable operation of a motor vehicle.  (Maybe both.) Cue half a dozen possible plot lines.

Anyway.

While I’m wondering about these things I write, and take classes on writing, and teach and grandmother and wife and friend and complain to my husband about the aforementioned bad driver. Fortunately for all concerned I usually do these things one at a time because, the usual expectations of my gender aside, I am a one focus type of gal.

I can’t help it. With the exception of a few special situations, I have the attention span of a Chihuahua. I am, in fact, so easily distracted that I have been known to stop mid-sentence and

In general, I don’t mind this issue. It’s part of who I am and I’ve kind of learned to live with it. I do understand that it can be extremely irritating to those around me. My husband, in particular, has experienced a colossal increase to his patience gland due to having to live with me.

My point is, I know this about myself. I understand, accept and try to take steps to decrease the effect of my attention deficit on others. But, as a person who wonders, I got to thinking about my disorder and realized that everyone, and I do mean everyone, has issues. I’m not talking about actual, diagnosed illnesses. That is a whole different kettle of popcorn. I mean just regular, everyday faults.  We all know someone who is chronically tardy, or forgetful or impatient.  Everyone has flaws.  But do we all recognize that we are part of “everyone?”

One of my biggest pet peeves is the statement, “that’s just how I am.” The implication being that a person knows they have this fault, but they aren’t willing to at least try and improve. Instead they expect all those around them to simply learn to live with it. Not cool, oh faulty one. Not at all cool.

Not that we need to get all Judgy Jean on each other. We need to be compassionate and forgiving of each other’s foibles. But we also need to work to become kinder, better, more responsible versions of ourselves. Tell you what…I’ll try if you will. Who knows, if even twenty percent of us did that…

Oh look, a kitten in a basket!


True Patriotism

Today is July 4th. Independence Day for the United States of America.

For most of us, that means hot dogs and fireworks. Maybe a family trip to the lake, or a nearby park. Plus plenty of red, white and blue bunting, balloons, and other decorative paraphernalia, in various places. All this meant to celebrate the birthday of one of the most powerful, and in my view, best countries in the world.

Not everyone would agree with that last bit. Some say we’ve lost our footing, our moral imperative. Some would say we never had one in the first place, and there may be some truth to that. Lately, I’ve seen our government do some things that made me cringe. Things I never would have envisioned happening in America. And it made me want to rage, and wail, and weep.

But I still love my country.

I love that we are supposed to be a nation of equals. I know the ideal isn’t always – or even usually – realized. But it is there, and if we hold it up long enough, support it vigorously enough, maybe we can make it the norm instead of the exception.

I love that America takes a hodge-podge of cultures, ethnicities, customs and viewpoints, and not only allows them all, but gives them a place in the greater social experiment. Whether we recognize it or not, our American culture exists, a tapestry woven together with threads of every imaginable shade and texture. Traditions and faiths from all over the Earth have a home and make a contribution here. And that is beautiful.

I love that the majority of our people tend toward generosity more than toward stinginess. Check out any crowdfunding page created by those in genuine need, and time after time, you’ll see that need filled, and more than filled. Often by those who are struggling themselves.

All these things have flip sides. There are those who routinely work the system to get over on those they consider “less” than themselves. Some of our people have an unhealthy addiction to racism, sexism, faith-ism and a host of other ugly isms that tear down and destroy rather than lifting us up. Far too often, the greedy and ruthless among us succeed financially while the kinder and more compassionate bear the burden of assisting those in need. And the blame-game is far too popular here.

There is the challenge. Love your country without allowing yourself to be blind to her faults. And then work to repair those faults as much and as well as you can. It isn’t easy.

But that is the work of a true patriot.


My Top Ten

Occasionally, in my electronic travels, I come across a list. Some are smart, others are funny, some are just plain weird. My favorites are the “Top Ten Things I’ve Learned” type. So, I got to thinking, if I were going to come up with a list, what would be on it?

  1. Things that are planned generally go better than things that aren’t. The same cannot be said for things obsessed over.
  2. In the heat of the moment, when anger presses hardest against your teeth, is when your lips should be closed the tightest.
  3. Never fight the spirit of generosity. The rewards of giving may be uncertain but regret caused by resistance is virtually guaranteed.
  4. Thoughts engender words, and words give birth to actions. Control what you think, and you’ll have less cause to regret your offspring.
  5. Pursuing your passion is not selfish. Done right, it allows you to offer your best self to the world.
  6. It costs much less to be kind than it does to be mean. Never doubt it.
  7. Choosing to forgive releases you even more than it does the offender.
  8. An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure, but an ounce of communication is probably not enough.
  9. “Knowing all the facts,” is a mythological concept.
  10. Seeing through another’s eyes is one of the hardest tasks you can set yourself. It is also one of the most necessary for an honorable life.

So – these are ten of mine. What has life been teaching you lately?


What The World Expects

What do I have to offer the World?

What have I got to say?

Is it important?

Does that matter?

Some days I don’t know the answer to any of those questions and yet, I keep talking. Because isn’t that what I’m supposed to do? Isn’t that what’s expected?

Expectation is a strange and ugly beast. Most of the fights and nearly all of the heartache in this world can be boiled down to unmet expectations.  It’s easy to forget that the world owes us nothing, and if it did, it would never acknowledge the debt.

So many of us have difficulty with the painful lesson that the world does not love us. Neither does it hate us. It simply lacks the capacity to care. We say, The World, or The Universe, in proper noun capitalization, as if either were an entity with a mind and a heart that is conscious of us. It isn’t.

A dithering head at either end with a voracious belly in between

Even society, made up of billions of minds, isn’t a conscious being. It is a hive without a mind. In fact, it’s rather like an amoral version of Dr. Dolittle’s pushmepullyou; a dithering head at either end with a voracious belly in between. Try to ride it and it’s likely to devour you, two tidy bites at a time.

It isn’t surprising that we often expect the World to care for us. All the time we are growing up we are told repeatedly what we “have a right to expect” from the World. Then we get a zapped at some point in our young adulthood with the discovery that the World had no knowledge of these expectations and further, has no plans to meet them. If our expectations or even needs are to be met, we’re probably going to have to do it ourselves.

The disappointment can be crushing.

The only way to avoid that blow is to realize that the World can do nothing for us, and it isn’t going to try. But we can, and should, do what we can for each other.

Our best shot at a good life is to put aside the childish notion that the World is obligated to give to us, and realize the beautiful truth that we are instead, created to give back. Not to the amorphous, anonymous World, but to our neighbor, our friend, the stranger we meet and find we can help.

If enough of us do that, the World will become our friend, even if it doesn’t mean to.


A Moment of Zen

Do you ever need a moment of Zen?

Just a few minutes, of cool water rippling over mossy stones, laying in the sunlight, kissed by the lightest, sweetest breeze, and the gentle thought that, Praise the great Time-Clock in the sky,

Tomorrow is NOT Monday.

No one is knocking on the bathroom door, and there are no deadlines on your horizon. Your work is, mercifully, if temporarily, finished.

I get so few of those Zen moments.

And this is not one of them.

It’s just a breath caught between steps, a pause to evade the lightning.

So breathe deep and step quick, but when the Zen moment comes, catch it in a death grip, close your eyes and let go, drift and be at peace in the cool, pristine space between rushings.

Because like Winter, Monday is coming.


XX Authors Interview: Featuring Tawdra Kandle

Category : Uncategorized

CLR: Give us the deets – genre(s), length of writing career, how long you’ve been writing – all the basics.

TK: I’ve been writing romance in multiple genres for a long time—most of my life, in fact!—but 2011 marked the launch of my career as a published author.

CLR: What made you choose romance?

TK: I started out writing young adult paranormal, but pretty quickly, I realized my favorite part to write was the love story. Once I’d completed my first four books, the King Series, I dipped my toes into adult contemporary romance and realized this was what I was meant to write.

CLR: How do you feel about female characters?

TK: I am passionate about writing female characters. I’m a woman, raised by strong women and the mother of three incredible daughters (and one amazing, perfect granddaughter!), so I can’t imagine not writing women.

CLR: What are the dos/don’ts of writing them for you?

TK: I have a strict policy about writing strong, realistic, flawed women. I won’t write women who depend on others to save them or to change their lives. It’s important to me that my women characters have courage, yet I also feel it’s imperative that they have a journey, a path to growth, that is part of the story.

Get your copy here.

CLR: Male characters, same question.

TK: When I wrote my paranormal romance, Undeniable, it was the first time I’d written from the male POV. I had so much fun that I couldn’t wait to do it again, and consequently, I almost always write dual POVs now. Men just have a different way of communicating and relating to each other.

CLR: What do you think about the “strong female character” trope in literature?

TK: I think of Scarlett O’Hara. Talk about a strong lady! Yet she is seldom seen as a likable, appealing character. Often, it seems, strength and relatability have been assumed to be mutually exclusive. Part of our job now as women authors is to change this perception.

CLR: Are there any special challenges to writing female characters in your genre?

TK: One of my favorite subgenres to write is sports romance. Not long ago, publishers believed that women wouldn’t read romances that involved football/baseball/hockey players, because they assumed women didn’t enjoy sports. Oh, how wrong they were! There’s a large and growing population of women who are crazy for sports romance—but while writing it, I have to walk a balance of creating female characters who are passionate about sports along with those who aren’t. I also try not to fall into stereotypes about women no matter what subgenres I’m writing. Traditionally, women in romances, be they contemporary or historical, tended to be needy and stupid in love. Often, women were depicted as manipulative, trying to trick or trap men into love and marriage. Happily, that’s changed—mostly. I don’t read or write romances with wimpy women.

CLR: What does your writing day look like?

TK: Every day is different! I’ve never been someone who sticks to a strict schedule . . . and with my husband’s calling (he’s a priest, a chaplain to the community) lending itself to a need for flexibility, I like to go with the flow. What is a given is that I work every day. When I’m in the middle of writing a book, I’ll usually make sure I have my laptop with me wherever I go. I try to write between 2500 and 7000 words a day, depending on the scene and my deadline.

CLR: Do you think the industry treats male and female writers differently?

TK: I don’t know many male authors, but my perception is that male authors are often seen as more serious than their female counterparts. However, in this new world of indie publishing, I think that’s changing rapidly.

CLR: What outside influences, if any, do you see having an impact on your writing?

TK: My family and their interests and experiences definitely influence my writing. My youngest daughter just graduated from an environmental college, and she is passionate about agricultural sustainability and protecting our environment. Consequently, many of my recent books have some element of that passion. Most of my books also include some of my kids’ real-life adventures!

CLR: Do you make a conscious effort to include feminist themes in your writing?      

TK: I don’t think I do it deliberately—I don’t set out to say, in this story, the female lead is going to be a feminist. But because parts of me end up in each character, it would be odder if the women weren’t feminists. I find that often my female characters are discovering parts of themselves, journeying to a place of acceptance and strength.

CLR: What themes are your favorites to include in your writing?

TK: Personal growth and overcoming the past in order to enjoy the future are probably the ones most often found in my work.

CLR: What advice would you offer to new women authors coming up?

TK: Last year, at a conference, I happened to lead a round table about contemporary romance. I was shocked to my core when several of the younger women who are writing con rom claimed that they won’t write strong female characters. They prefer their women characters to be submissive and needy, or so they said. Careers are not needed. Now, as a woman who was a wife and homeschooling mom first and foremost, I have the utmost respect for that choice. But I also know that it’s imperative for us to present realistic, well-rounded women in our books, and most women do have careers. I love giving my characters common jobs with a twist . . .

CLR: What are you working on now?

TK: I’m getting ready to release my 75th book, The Anti-Cinderella Conquers the World. It’s the third book in The Anti-Cinderella Chronicles, which has been so much fun to write. Kyra is a non-traditional woman who marries into the British Royal Family—and you can just imagine what challenges she faces! I’m also writing on my fall release, Sway, which is the sixth Keeping Score book (football romance).

Author Bio: Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books include new adult and adult contemporary romance; under the pen name Tamara Kendall, she writes paranormal romance, and under the pen name Tessa Kent, she writes erotic romance. Tawdra lives in central Florida with her husband, two sweet pups and too many cats. Assorted grown children and a perfect granddaughter live nearby. And yeah, she rocks purple hair. 

You can learn more about Tawdra and her work at the links below:

FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | BOOKBUB | WEBSITE

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