Where do I get my story ideas? Most writers have probably heard that question numerous times, and sometimes it’s difficult to answer. Some of my ideas seem to come out of nowhere, fully-formed. At other times, the birth of a story is made up of several factors that are only clear in retrospect. Many stories grow out of my own experiences, interviews with interesting people I meet exploring, or comment someone makes that stirs my imagination.
To answer the question, I’ve decided to do a series of videos on the creative sparks that have led to different books I’ve written.
Tabitha Brownlee’s journey from pre-bride jitters to true love begins with a bizarre accident and an attempt to save a life, then suddenly dumps her to a comedic version of “the other side” where she tries to negotiate a bureaucratic snarl-up that seems incapable of reversing her accidental and unauthorized death. While Tabitha’s fights a disaster-prone battle to reunite with her body, the author gradually unveils the loving woman beneath this heroine’s tough outer shell.
ACCIDENTS HAPPEN is the sometimes funny otherworld story of friendship, love, and tough choices, with a wealth of intriguing characters I hope to see in future spin-offs of this book. Good work, Sharon Karaa!
Arizona astronomer Claire Welland is anything but starry-eyed when it comes to romance. She knows her home on an isolated mountaintop observatory makes marriage to most men impossible, but that doesn’t mean she can’t have a little romantic fun. The last thing she expects when she comes home to Port Townsend, Washington, for her high school reunion is to be swept off her feet by Blake McKenzie.
Once the town bad boy, Blake is now a prominent shipbuilder dedicated to helping local teens. When he asks Claire to talk to one of his boys about astronomy, he’s only thinking she might give direction to a troubled kid. He certainly never dreamed she’d inspire him – to fall in love. Now Blake is determined to show Claire that their future together is in the stars … if she’ll only open her eyes.
I thoroughly enjoyed Karen McCullough’s romantic suspense A Question of Fire.
Reporter Cathy Bennett knows she’s out of her element filling in for her newspaper’s society editor at a party for the city’s elite, but she certainly doesn’t expect to end the evening sitting on the grass holding a dead man’s hand. Before he was murdered by a gunshot that echoed through the night, the young man now dead on the elegant lawn gave Cathy a message for lawyer Peter Lowell.
“Danny was framed. I’ve got the proof.”
Cathy and Peter are thrown together in a quest to prove the innocence of Peter’s young client Danny, surrounded by a landscape of lies and deception, arson and murder, with just enough information to expose them to the criminal perpetrators hunting for the missing Danny.
Karen McCullough has crafted an enjoyable and suspenseful quest for the truth about the murder of a young man named Bobby, a man named Danny falsely accused of arson, a mysterious private detective, and a web of crime … and let’s not forget the romantic touch of love that makes this an especially satisfying read.
E. C. Sheedy’s latest “Salt Spring Island Friends” book is a winner!
Grace is a lovely heroine, an Island girl and a delicious mix of wholesome sexiness, humor, and straight-forward wisdom. EC Sheedy drops sexy Colin Ross on Grace’s doorstep, the man who vowed he was never going to return to Salt Spring, and stirs up a hot surge of mutual lust and family baggage.
EC Sheedy specializes in blending sympathetic characters, sensuality, and very believable emotional tangles. I loved this book. Colin and his baggage-ridden family pulled at my heartstrings while the positive thread of love – and healthy lust – running through the book kept me turning pages way past my bedtime last night :).
This brand new book by E. C. Sheedy is set on Salt Spring island, one of my favorite Canadian Pacific Northwest Island destinations. I loved the authentic island setting, and especially enjoyed revisiting some of the characters from this trilogy’s Book 1 California Man, and Book 2 Man for the Morning
I liked this sexy romance and appreciated the author’s skillful handling of the paranormal elements.
Hero and heroine each begin this story with personal challenges they must overcome to achieve a happy ending. Kate is an actress, and very protective of her psychic mother. Daniel is both sexy and intelligent, but unfortunately for Kate, he’s also a professional psychic debunker determined to expose her mother. I loved Kate’s mother, a gracefully aging psychic with a strong thread of wisdom running through her deceptively innocent and trusting nature.
Blazing Nights is a sweet, sexy romance with a hero who looks like he might not make the grade, until love triumphs over his past baggage and he comes through for both Kate and her family. Blazing Nights is Book One of Linda Barlow’s Night Games series, and includes a free sample of the next book in the series – Wicked Nights.
I’ve always been fascinated by the power of certain settings to wield control over so much of our lives. When the universal themes of survival, love, and the dreams that drive human men and women interact with extreme environments, lives can be transformed in unexpected ways.
In IF YOU LOVED ME, I plunged a busy Seattle doctor into a remote wilderness in a desperate search for her son.
When the setting is remote – like the northern waters where my heroine Emma’s son Chris and his friend have disappeared, and men and women are stressed by life and death issues, there’s not a lot of room for pretence or hesitation. And when people go missing in the remote, largely unpopulated coastal forests of the North Pacific shores, everyone knows it’s a matter of life and death.
And sometimes, love.
This weekend, join me in an journey of love and adventure, in the Pacific Northwest that I love.
Today is a special day for me. Think About Love is now available as a Kindle book on Amazon!
This one is special for a couple of reasons.
Think About Lovewas the first of my books to be reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly. My editor at Kensington sent me the review before I saw a copy of the printed book. I was thrilled that to be mentioned in Publisher’s Weekly, and pleased that I got a pretty decent review. I hoped to see good sales for this title, but unfortunately, hardly anyone got to see the book because the publisher discontinued the Zebra Bouquet line, and Think About Love was published in one of the final months. The publisher printed so few copies in the line’s final month, that I didn’t even get the copies I’d ordered directly from the publisher for friends and family. I generally refer to this book as, “the one they printed 10 copies of,” although I admit that’s a (slight) exaggeration 🙂
Now, thanks to the marvels of Indie publishing, Think About Love is available in my own Indie edition. And, because independent authors get to choose their own cover artists, I’m lucky enough to have the perfect cover, designed by my daughter, Angela Oltmann of AngieOCreations.com.
And this is a marker day for another reason – I’ve now published all of my backlist (with the exception of Pacific Disturbance, my very first book. That one needs a lot of work, and I may never get to it. Just reading the first page, it’s obvious to me that this was a writer learning her craft.)
My next project is a new book, the story of a counselor named Kate, who makes a decision that throws her into a counselor’s worst nightmare and sets her on a collision path with disaster. I’m in final revisions for Kate’s book, and one of my challenges is finding a title. I love it when titles come to me while I’m writing the first few chapters of a new story. These early titles provide a focal point for my writing, and I escape the nagging frustration of trying to find the perfect title. I know almost everything about Kate, except the name of her story. Somewhere around chapter 6, I came up with the title Lifelines, but it feels too tame for the storm Kate finds herself sailing into.
In any case, I hope to release Kate (AKA ????) before Christmas this year.
The other day I received notice from KoboBooks that my new Writing Life account was ready. I’d been excited by the recent news that Kobo would be rolling out a new, writer-friendly interface for authors wishing to publish eBook editions of their books, and eager to take a look.
I went right over to find out what Kobo meant by writer-friendly. Amazon’s interface is writer-friendly, as is Smashwords. Barnes and Noble’s, not so much , but I’m hoping for improvements there now that Microsoft has invested in B&N. If Writing Life made it as convenient to publish eBooks as Smashwords and Amazon, I’d be happy. More would definitely be a bonus.
I got much more!
Signup: The signup process was easy – it took me less than 5 minutes, and that included looking up my banking information.
Distribution: KoboBooks are distributed in over 170 countries!
Payment – Yes! I was hoping for payment through PayPal rather than checks by snail mail – but I got even better. A bonus for Canadian (and I assume other non-USA) authors and publishers – Kobo pays by direct deposit to my Canadian bank account
Publishing my books – Fast, Easy, and Smooth!
This is the easiest process for uploading ebooks files, pricing, choosing sales channels, and entering the book’s meta-data that I’ve ever used. Not only was it fast to get the data up there, with easy to use forms and very little waiting – the books were available for sale almost immediately. It was easy to opt out of DRM (see my blog about digital rights management) so that my readers don’t need to worry about being locked into one format.
Information on sales – Writing Life has a beautiful “Dashboard” that allows writers and publishers to see sales numbers and estimated dollars earned at a glance, and a quick link to the publishing daqta for all books in the account.
Kudos to Kobo for a slick, convenient interface, and a system that makes authors books available in the ePUB format worldwide, on excellent terms (Kobo asks that the contract terms be kept confidential, but I found them very fair).
Vanessa Grant romance novels newly released on KoboBooks
– DRMfree, samples available at KoboBooks
I’ve been busy this week getting some of my titles up on All Romance Ebooks, and I’ll be putting more up over the next few weeks. Visit All Romance eBooks and search for Vanessa Grant.
For great romances, and people who own – or have owned – more than one format of ereader, All Romance eBooks offers a wide selection of quality romances in a variety of formats – Mobipocket, ePub, Palm, iSolo, and Rocket.
My books on All Romance eBooks are all DRMfree. Whenever I have the option, I prefer to sell my books through channels that make it possible to offer them without DRM (digital rights management). I’ve had several eReaders over the last two decades, and I always look for books that are DRM free when I buy, because then I know that – thanks to Calibre – I’ll have no trouble converting my purchase to another format if I need to.