Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Zane, by author Kimberly Lewis

Welcome to Zane's Blog Tour,
Meet author Kimberly Lewis
In November of 2011, author Kimberly Lewis stepped into the writing world with her first original western contemporary romance novel, When the Heart Falls.
Born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, this country girl at heart caught the creative bug at an early age, doing everything from drawing to writing short stories.
After the birth of her son, Kimberly found the inspiration to pick up a pen, or in this case a laptop, and began writing her first novel. Since then she has continued to write and credits her husband, Rob, and her wonderfully crazy family, who with their love and joking demeanor provide her with the ideas that inspire her novels.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, horseback riding, and spending time with her amazing family.

I would like to take a moment to share an interview with author Kimberly Lewis.  

Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
I am a country girl, born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Some of my favorite activities to do are: reading and writing (obviously, lol), horseback riding, anything crafty, and spending as much time as I can with my little family. I have always had a love of reading and creating stories, so I guess you could say that my journey to becoming an author stemmed from that. I didn’t take it seriously though until a few years ago when I fell in love with contemporary western romances and decided that that was what I wanted to write. When inspiration finally hits, it hits you hard :-)
Do you write full time? How much of your life is set aside for writing?
As much as I’d love to be able to write full time, that is just not an option right now. I currently have a day job, I am a mother, a wife, a home owner and a pet owner, so all of that comes before writing. Most of my writing time happens when everyone in my house is asleep :-) I’ll set up my laptop at my dining room table—my office for the time being—and work until the wee hours of the morning. I lose a lot of sleep doing it that way, but it is so worth it.
Could you tell us a little about your novel?
The story is about a woman, Kellan (aka Andi), who runs away from her abusive ex-boyfriend and finds herself in cowboy country. At first she’s just appalled by everything and everyone there, but she decides that it would be the perfect place to hide from her ex. She meets Zane in the beginning of the novel and they don’t really get off to a great start. Thoroughly disproving of one another, they both try their best to avoid seeing each other again but living in a small town makes that pretty darn impossible. There is a lot of bickering and distrust between the two at first, but the more time they spend together the more they realize that they really aren’t so different after all.
Would you take us on a brief tour of your novel and the world you’ve created?
Well the story takes place in a little town called Buford, Texas. It’s one of those tight-knit communities where everybody knows everybody, one main paved road, lots of dirt, lots of farmland and lots of livestock. Being in such a small, country town is quite a culture shock for Andi, seeing as she’s never lived outside of the city before. Zane really doesn’t have a lot of patience with her at first and tends to give her a hard time. But his family makes up for his rudeness as they make her feel welcome and make it their job to help her out along the way. The closeness and support of Zane’s family is one of my favorite parts of the novel.
Where does the inspiration for your main character and story come from?
Oh gosh, to be honest with you I don’t really think that I can target a specific thing that inspired me. I think maybe one day I was in a really bad mood and feeling depressed about something and thought about writing my feelings down in a journal. Then the whole journal idea got me thinking about this random woman and her writing down her feelings in a journal of her own. Of course then my mind starting to wonder, “Well, why is she depressed?”,“What brought her to this point?” I went through many plot ideas before I settled on the one I chose for Zane and I really like having those excerpts from Andi’s journal throughout the novel because it gives you a first person point of view in a book that’s being told in the third person. You get a chance to really feel what she’s feeling and I personally really like that.
What is the message behind the story? Was it something you specifically wrote a story around or did it develop as your characters came to life?
I didn’t write this story with the intention of having a hidden message or deep meaning, but if had to choose one I would say that this story carries the message to never give up on love. It sounds kind of cheesy when I say it like that but I can’t really think of another way to describe it. I honestly just wanted to write a love story about two very different people who find out that they actually are more alike than they know and eventually find that special connection with each other.
Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow? If you use an outline, how detailed is it?
I kind of do both. Sometimes I just start with the idea and write. Once I get into the story and get to know my characters, I’ll go back and write up an outline of things I’d like to see happen in the story and when. But I never stick to that outline and it’s not very detailed. It’s more of like a list of ideas for each chapter (an example would be: Chapter 10 - Hero and heroine go out on a date to a rodeo and hero’s ex-girlfriend shows up). I know that’s something I’d like to see happen, but I just let the details fill in around themselves as I write the story. I may get to chapter 10 and decide that I don’t want that to happen anymore and completely toss the idea away.
What is the time span in your novel, weeks, months, years? How much research went into it?
This novel’s time span is in months (June to September). As far as research goes... The only amount of research I did was to make sure the town I created didn’t exist :-) Yes I could have chose to use a real town, but I always feel that no matter the amount of research I do to learn about that particular location that I’d never be able to do it justice. Plus it’s a lot more fun getting to create a whole new place from scratch.
How does this book differ from what you have written in the past?
To be honest? This book is a lot sexier than my previous novel. When I published my first novel, When the Heart Falls, I got a lot of reader emails telling me that they really enjoyed it but wished that it had a little more “action” in it—wink, wink, nudge nudge :-) The first draft of Zane didn’t have any actual love scenes (more of a behind closed doors scenario), but to please my readers I decided to take that step out of my comfort zone and give them what they asked for.
How have the changes in present day publishing impacted your schedule as a writer?
Well, I am a self-published author so I have the luxury of not having to worry with someone setting a schedule for me. I write as fast or as slow as I want and only when I am in the creative mood. I do try to put in as much effort as I can to produce my novels as fast as my lifestyle allows me.
How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time?
I do all the marketing myself and my husband helps out as well. I try to talk about and share stuff from my works in progress as much as I can. Then as the time gets closer to the book being published, I’ll get in touch with virtual book tour companies and fellow bloggers about doing promotions. I also use my social networks to help market my work. I would like to say I have a plan in place, but I am still very new to the writing world so I tend to just take things one day at a time and learn as much as I can.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I do and it’s actually one of my favorite quotes:
“Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.” -Meg Cabot 
Could you tell us what you’re working on now?
Right now I’m working on the second book in my McKades of Texas series. This story revolves around Zane’s younger sister, Norah, and her love interest, Chase O’Donnell.

Synopsis of Zane: 
Kellan Anderson is in hillbilly hell—or at least that’s what it feels like. After enduring endless accounts of abuse from her now ex-boyfriend, Kellan makes a run for her life and finds herself in cowboy country. Leaving her fancy clothes and expensive lifestyle behind her, she trades in her high heels for cowboy boots and changes her name to Andi Ford. With her painful past threatening to catch up with her, hiding out in this small town seems easy enough – until one blonde hair, blue eyed cowboy steps in the picture.
Zane McKade has sworn off women, determining that they are all liars and cheats—including the new waitress at the local bar. After a rather unpleasant first encounter with the beautiful brunette, Zane’s radar is set to high as he believes this woman is not who she claims to be. When his intimidation methods fail to break through Andi’s barrier he decides to turn on the charm to get her to tell the truth. But Zane’s plan begins to backfire as the more time he spends charming Andi, the more he finds himself breaking his own rules and falling for her.

Excerpt from Zane:

     Kellan saw the man coming her way and a nervous feeling began to grow in the pit of her stomach. She hadn’t noticed it when he rode up, but he was incredibly good looking. The man had to be a least six two, with long muscular legs leading up to narrow hips that angled into a very masculine upper body. He looked like an athlete. He looked…solid. And although his pale blue shirt was soaked with sweat, it somehow added to his overall appeal. He stopped at her table and glared at her. Only then did she realize that this man was not coming over for friendly chit-chat and her mood shifted.
     “Is that your red sports car out there?” Zane asked, tilting his head and jerking his thumb towards the parking lot.
     “Yes,” Kellan told him. What’s it to you? She stared up at him, waiting for him to continue. But when he just stared back, his deep blue eyes shooting daggers at her, she decided enough was enough. “Is there something I can help you with?”
     Zane’s jaw flexed. “You could have four miles ago.”
     “What?” She was utterly confused as to what mileage had to do with his apparent anger towards her.
     “I don’t look familiar to you?” He stared at her, his eyebrows coming together in frustration.
     She looked the man over from head to toe. “No, I’m sorry you don’t.”
     Zane let out an exasperated sigh. “How about now?” He raised his arms above his head and waved them just like he had done when he was trying to flag her down.
     He looked completely ridiculous and she fought back the urge to laugh at him. But the more she looked at him she realized that he did look strangely familiar. Oh my… He was the man on the side of the road next to the pickup truck just outside of town.
     “Oh,” Kellan said. “Yes, I do remember you now. I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you with your shirt on.” She loaded her voice with sarcasm and crossed her arms over her chest. If he was going to have an attitude with her, then she was going to give it right back.
     Zane’s eyes narrowed. “Well, would you care to explain why you just blew past me like that?”
     Kellan laughed, quietly as to not draw attention. “Why did I blow past you? Hmm, let me think. Um, maybe it has to do with the fact that you were partially naked and in the middle of nowhere.”
     Well damn. He hadn’t thought about that. He’d been all riled up thinking that some guy just ignored him. Now, thinking about it from her perspective, he could see why she didn’t pull over to help him. As it was though, his built up anger from everything that had transpired today got the best of him and he continued with his rant.
     “I was not half naked,” he said, his voice low as he briefly glanced around the room to see if anyone could hear them speaking.
     “Look, cowboy.” She said the word as though it were an insult and not an affirmation of what he obviously was. “I’m sorry you’re having a bad day, but don’t come over here and take it out on me. I had a good reason for not stopping earlier and I’m not going to apologize for looking after my own safety. You could’ve been a murderer for all I knew.”
     Zane knew that he should just man up and walk away, but he just couldn’t do that now after her snarky “cowboy” remark. Why’d she have to go and say it like that anyway?
     “Look, princess,” he said with the same tone she had used. “This ain’t Hollywood. Take your sunglasses off. You’re inside and you look like a damn fool.”
      Kellan’s jaw fell in disbelief.
     Zane smiled, feeling triumphant that he got in the last word. He turned and started to walk away from her.
     “Screw you, cowboy!” she yelled after him, saying the word exactly as she had before. “And that horse you rode in on.”
     And—Whoops!—now everyone in the diner had turned to look at them.
     Zane turned around to face her with amusement on his face. “Very original, princess.”

Enjoy a guest post form Kimberly
My Advice for Aspiring Writers – 3 Things You Should Know by Kimberly Lewis
Whenever I do an interview I always get the question, “What advice would you give to aspiring authors?” So today I’m going to share with you three things I feel that every aspiring author should know.
1)    Make sure you do your research before you publish.
So you’ve written a book and are now ready for the world to read it. That’s great! But, how exactly are you going to go about getting it published? Make sure you do your research before you go jumping into anything. Some people may find that going the traditional route of publishing is best for them and others may find that going the self-published way is best. What it all comes down to is what you feel most comfortable with. Don’t do something just because someone tells you it’s “the right thing to do”.
2)    You’re job isn’t not done when your book is published.
All self-published authors know what I’m talking about here, but this advice isn’t limited to just the self-published world. When you choose to write a book and publish it, the next step after that is to market your book. You can’t expect to just throw your book out there and call it day hoping someone will stumble upon it and buy it—sadly this is what I did when I published my first book. But I learned my lesson and have since looked into different avenues for marketing my work. A few of the ones I have found to be successful are: Virtual book tours, developing a hype on your social networks (you would usually do this prior to your book coming out), and free promotions.
3)    Make sure you stay in touch with your readers.
It’s a rare thing that you’ll be producing a new book every month, so make sure you are keeping in touch with your readers and letting them know what’s going on in your writing world. Share excerpts from your work in progress, etc. A good way to do this is through social networks, a blog, or a website.
I hope you have found this information helpfulJ Authors, what is the most helpful piece of advice you’ve received?

 Book Link:
*Zane is currently only available in ebook format

Author Links:
Twitter: @klewisnovels

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rebirth has a Publishing Contract!

Great Minds Think Aloud Publishing has offered me a publishing contract for my YA Sci-Fi novel, Rebirth.

Chased from their homes in the city by aliens bent on destruction, three teens suddenly find themselves on the run with little kids in tow. As people vanish and buildings crumble, they seek shelter and safety in the nearby Montana mountains. Survival depends on their ability to adapt with nothing more than the items pilfered from a crumbling store. Hovering in the background is the constant threat of being discovered by the aliens, adding to the pressure the teens already feel having no shelter, a limited supply of food and the well-being of three children to ensure. The teens must come up with some creative solutions before the inevitable onset of winter, while attempting to remain “invisible” to avoid capture. Being mature and responsible is no longer optional as they deal with their individual personalities, traumas, and learn to raise a baby. Unaware of the extent of the alien destruction, they cannot help but wonder if all their survival efforts are in vain.

For now there is no official cover art, but I'll keep you posted!

Feel free to join me and Snoopy in doing the Happy Dance.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Setting; Real or Fictional

Do you write using real settings, or do you create fictional ones? Do you think writing one or the other is easier?

I was helping a friend proof her novel, and came across two different spellings for the town her MC was in. I went online to find the correct spelling and was surprised to learn that the place didn’t exist. She said she did not want to use a real town because she didn’t want readers to say “that doesn’t exist in our town” and such. I laughed, because I had been spending countless hours researching the accuracy of my chosen town. For a moment I considered chucking my approach, but after 30 seconds decided I couldn’t do it. I am too… well, I can’t. I need accuracy and precise details.

Yet, I write Sci-Fi, and it’s hard to be accurate when your setting doesn’t exist. This brings a whole new set of rules into play, because you want the reader to be able to relate to the settings. Another issue I encountered was in borrowing fictional technology. I wanted to create my world, not copy-paste someone else’s into my writing, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when I came across a magazine that paralleled the technology found in sci-fi vs. that found in our reality. I was thrilled to find out that scientists had actually made a “transporter” of sorts, moving a molecule from one point to another, so I had no qualms using it. As for the technology that I had used or created, I wanted to be able to explain it in a way that was credible to my readers. Sometimes, this meant using diagrams, sketches and charts to go with bits of our existing technology, but the result was great.

We are fortunate today, to have endless information at the tips of our fingers, and yet there are authors who cannot be bothered (or so it seems) to be accurate in what they write. It’s not easy to write about a country you’ve never visited, let alone an era, but if you give it a little time and effort, you won’t regret the results. Of course there’s the added bonus that in the end, you will have learned a lot.

I just finished reading a book where the author went out on ride-alongs with the fire department, and interviewed the firefighters to be able to accurately portray both setting and characters. Hats off, she did a great job.

So, how do you do it? Which setting do you prefer? Come on, let us know.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Late at night when the house is quiet, the kids are sleeping and my husband is a few feet away sawing logs, inspiration strikes and I feel the need to record it all. The story is there in a small portion of my brain and it begins to explode through my fingertips onto a blank word document. Soon I realize that I have filled the page up. Then I have to go back and correct the places where my brain has typed the story faster than my hands ever could. This obviously leaves gaps in the stories I write. Sometimes I do not find them unless I read them aloud to someone else. 
            If no one is awake when I feel the need to do this, I often seek my online friends to just listen for a few minutes to me stutter and stammer through a story. If my husband is awake he becomes my listener. My children however will not read or listen to anything I write, because I am old. At least that is what they tell me. I however think that, if they read it or listen to it and actually enjoy it, that they think it will make them less cool than they are, so they just avoid the stories.
            What is funny about this is that I generally include something about them in each story. It could be a picture on the cover that I have taken of them for one of my art classes, or it could be that one of the background characters has their personality or look or something. They know this but still refuse to read or listen to anything I have written. I love my daughters but they are typical teenagers, nothing a parent says or does can be cool, what they do not realize is that this attitude, just fuels more late night writing and is often the inspiration behind the stories in one way or another. 


Leanne Herrera is a mother and grandmother with a BFA in ceramics sculpture. She has always loved telling stories, whether it be in the form of her art, poetry or the written word. She has a love for books and animals. She has traveled the world, first with her father when he was in the military and then with her husband of twenty years who was also in the military. Right now she lives in Florida but one day hopes to own a farm with lots of rescue animals, where she can write and throw clay.


She came home to settle her great grandmothers affairs and figure out her own life. Finding out that her grandmother left her everything including magic powers she forgot to unbind before her death. Anna finds someone to love amidst the war against the woman that was supposed to love her and her twin sister. The mother goddess helps her gain her magic. Can Anna stop her mother before her mother stops her?