Friday, October 28, 2011

Life Really Is In the Details

It's my pleasure to welcome romance author Addison Fox, back to OVER COFFEE. This visit she's sharing her contemporary Alaskan Nights series. 

Her topic is one of interest--details. It's the little details that make characters all the more real to readers. The author's experiences in life also add a layer of reality to the characters.

As a writer, there are very few dreams that strike harder than the dream of being able to write full time.  It’s a common enough theme at writers conferences, with workshops abounding on “How to Quit Your Day Job,” “Writing Around Responsibilities,” and “How to Write With Children.” The imagined joy of being able to write all day fuels many an author through the long hours of doing the many things that can keep you away from the computer.

And while there are many authors who are able to write full time, I bet each and every one of them could still tell you all about the distractions that keep them from the keyboard.

The reality is, life is distracting. And being a writer (or any other profession), means you work around the craziness to continue performing at a high level. While these little ups and downs are a part of life, when you’re an author, they become fodder for whatever your imagination can conjure up. And there’s nothing more fun than taking a personal experience and twisting it to see how your characters would react to the same. Because of life’s little ups and downs, I know how my heroine feels when…

She gets rear-ended in a thunderstorm….or gets flirted with by a cute guy while waiting at Starbucks…or she has to walk up four stories because the elevator’s out in her apartment…or she watches a friend get married…or she gets a new puppy…or she loses a loved one…or she falls in love.


Whatever your “or” is, the experiences we have each day help to shape us. They make us who we are and add to the vibrancy of what we write.

So I offer up this challenge. Next time you see a butterfly on a flower or have a flat tire, chalk it up to research and file that moment away.  You never know when your characters might need it!

Come join us over coffee today and fill us in on some of the experiences that have shaped you. One lucky poster will win a copy of my new release, BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE.

Happy Writing!

Baby It’s Cold Outside

After a frantic call, Sloan McKinley travels to the heart of the Alaskan wilderness to be there for her best friend, who’s just inherited property in the small town of Indigo. The last thing she expects is to be lured by the town’s matriarchs into their annual contest to get their grandsons married off.

But Sloan can’t deny the appeal of the rugged local men-Walker Montgomery in particular. Soon she finds herself falling in love with the wild outdoors…and with one of Indigo’s most beloved residents. There’s just one question that remains: is the town’s most confirmed bachelor ready to get caught? A brief Excerpt

Addison Fox can’t remember a time when words weren’t part of her life. An avid reader, her love of the written word started at the tender age of one with The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear (a poem she could recite by heart to any family member who would listen.) Dr. Seuss, C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume and a host of others quickly followed until she discovered THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR by Jean M. Auel while writing a paper at the library in the seventh grade. Although not a classic romance, Ayla and Jondalar’s love story moved her firmly into the romance section and she hasn’t looked back!

Her paranormal romance series, The Sons of the Zodiac, launched with NAL in March of 2010. The series recounts the adventures (and path to true love!) for an immortal band of warriors, granted the powers of their astrological signs and charged with protecting humanity. 
Beginning in November 2011, Addison will have a new contemporary series on shelves as well.BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE is the first in the Alaskan Nights series. Set in the fictional town of Indigo, Alaska, a couple of city girls are about to learn that the wide open spaces of Alaska just may hold everything they’re looking for.
You can find Addison: 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


My guest is paranormal romance author, Sara Taney Humphreys. She's a debut author of the new Amoveo Legend Series of shapeshifters. What I found interesting is she published the first book, Unleashed, herself and it became a "word of mouth sensation for booksellers in a major national bookstore chain".

Sara has lead quite an eventful life. If you're a Soap fan you may have seen her face on one of your favorites, or you might have caught her in one of her A&E productions. She's been a teacher for her own after school theatre for kids and went on to be a national speaker for Monster's Making It Count. These days she's a wife, mother, and the Director of High School and Community Relations.

As you can imagine, she's a busy lady and she shares how she juggles the balls of glass and the balls that bounce.

Like many authors, I have a job and a family. Writing is a solitary activity but like most writers, I do not live a solitary life and there are times when juggling all of it becomes more than I can handle.  I write whenever and wherever I can find the time. I write because I love to create and I’ve realized over the years, that I must have a creative outlet and without one I get….antsy.

However, sometimes the writing simply has to take a backseat because of all the juggling that takes place. No matter how much I love to write, my children will always be at the top of my priority list. I’m sure that goes without saying for all of us.

I had the pleasure of hearing Mary Higgins Clark speak at a charity event and she said something that really stuck with me… “I have lots of balls in the air that I’m juggling. Some are made of glass and some are made of rubber. I try to only drop the ones that bounce.”

That really struck a chord with me. My children and family are the balls made of glass and they can’t afford to get dropped because they could indeed shatter. However, there are also balls made of glass at my job or within writing—meeting deadlines for example—that could also shatter if dropped.

So how can we do it all and keep everything in- tact?

The answer is quite simple. We can’t.

Sometimes we drop the ball and hopefully it’s a bouncy one. So which ones bounce? In my house it’s laundry and housework. First of all, let me say how much I loathe doing both. Laundry sucks. It’s always there. You do it and five minutes later there’s another basket full. I have four sons and a husband who generate ridiculous amounts of laundry. Good God. I can only imagine how much there would be if I had daughters.

Housework is equally crappy. You clean something and turn around to find a new mess five seconds later. My children do not take the sole blame in this—our dogs contribute significantly to the mess. Dog hair is the bane of my existence. It’s on everything. Ugh.

Sometimes, I have to turn a blind eye to the laundry, dog hair and dishes in order to write so I can meet my deadlines and not shatter that hard-earned glass ball of publication.  Those housework type things can be ignored because sadly…they are they waiting for me when my writing goal is accomplished.

The other day, I was beavering away on a manuscript right after I got home from work. I had finally found a way around a problem I was having with my heroine and was deep into the scene when my son Jack came over to me with a Yahtzee game in his hands. He looked at me with those big brown eyes and asked, “Would you play with me?”

How could I say no? I have to be honest. In that moment, I wanted to tell him…No..or…I’ll play with you later.  It’s tough to get into that rhythm of a scene and walk away from it but I did. The truth was that Layla and William’s scene would be there waiting for me when we were done with Yahtzee. So I saved my work, closed the laptop and rolled the dice with my son.

When the stress of juggling all of it starts to grate on me, I remember how frustrated I was when I didn’t have an agent or a publisher…and then I remind myself how lucky I am to have all of these things in my life.  I’ll take the stress of juggling it all over not having it all. I’m a lucky woman, mother, wife, and author.

  • So how about you? What are you juggling? 
  • Which balls are made of rubber and which ones are made of glass?

Dream on and keep juggling!


What if you suddenly discovered your own powers were beyond anything you’d ever imagined

Samantha Logan’s childhood home had always been a haven, but everything changed while she was away. She has a gorgeous new neighbor, Malcolm, who introduces her to the amazing world of the dream-walking, shapeshifting Amoveo clans…but what leaves her reeling with disbelief is when he tells her she’s one of them…And shock turns to terror as Samantha falls prey to the deadly enemy determined to destroy the Amoveo, and the only chance she has to come into her true powers is to trust in Malcolm to show her the way…

Get swept away into Sara Humphreys’s glorious world and breathtaking love story…Excerpt

Unleashed Book Trailer

Sara Humphreys has been attracted to the fantasies of science fiction, paranormal, and romance since her adolescence when she had a mad crush on Captain Kirk. An actress and teacher, Sara lives in New York with her husband, who is very considerate of her double life, and four amazing boys. 

For more information, please visit:

Sara's Website 
Sara's Blog
Sara on Facebook and Twitter

Monday, October 24, 2011

MONDAY MUSINGS—Where Time Stands Still

The other night I was on my way to pick up my son from and evening class in town. As I was traveling down our paved two lane country road leading to town (7 miles away) I saw a strange sight up ahead on the side of the road. We’re smack dab in the country so there is no street lights at all, although you’ll find a few houses with lights on their electric poles. When it’s dark, it’s really dark.

I only caught glimpses of the red blinkers as I topped the rises in road and it was about a mile away when I first noticed them. I couldn't really be sure what it was—maybe a one of the farmers in the area out checking on the cattle and parked on the side of the road. As drew closer I saw it was a couple buggies of my Amish neighbors on their way home (I believe these two groups are part of a construction crew). I don’t often see the buggies at night. I had no idea they had flashing red lights on both front and back—not really bright ones, but blinkers never the less. They also had some sort of battery styled lanterns to light the road. Naturally, I slowed down to about 10 mph and turned my on my low beams. I’m sure the horses weren’t thrilled to have headlights hitting their eyes. They were tossing their heads and I could see the lead man holding them in pretty tight. I certainly didn’t want to spook them. That would be disastrous.  

There was that moment of feeling like I drove through a time portal (cue the theme from the Twilight Zone).

Horse and buggies isn’t an every day sight in most areas, unless you live in the country and have Amish communities nearby.

Did you know that Missouri has North America’s 7th-largest Amish population, with roughly 10,000 Amish? I didn't.

Missouri has attracted many Amish settlements in recent years.  We’ve added roughly two-dozen new settlements over the past two decades, averaging more than one new settlement per year.

We have a large community of Amish in Seymour, Webster County. Seymour is about 70 miles (114 km) from where I live. Any time I would go to Springfield, Missouri we’d pass through the area which has various shops the Amish sell their goods in—from foods, to quilts and of course furniture. You’ll find many a buggy or farm wagon trotting along the (deliberately designed) wide shoulders of US 60/63. Good thing the shoulders are wide considering that the traffic zips along the four-lane highway at speeds of 70-ish on most days. I admire their horses. They’re beautiful, strong and definitely road savvy—I’d be nervous walking on the shoulders of that highway.

Missouri is also home to a high percentage of small Amish communities. Closer to home, we have a small settlement in Raymondville (about thirty minutes away), established in 1985. You’ll see handmade signs advertising livestock, harness and tack makers, foods, and services offered by the Amish. There are several Amish construction crews that work in our area.

This is before the mill was completely renovated and a new
hitching post put in. 
Recently, we had several Amish families move into our immediate neighborhood and about four miles down our gravel country road. The original couple (and I believe they’re Swiss Amish) moved there about three years ago. There are now several families living there and I’m sure there will be others. I see them at our grocery store in town and know a few of the women enough to say hi. It’s not at all an unusual sight to see several horse and buggies at the hitching post at the old mill on the property next to the parking lot of the grocery store. You can almost imagine what it must have been like a hundred years ago.

My Danes set up a bit of a ruckus when one of the buggies or farm wagons passes by our house with large wheels crunching gravel—and horses of course. They pass by the house at least three or four times a week and the Danes are growing accustomed to them. But to my Danes minds, the horses belong in the pasture behind them and not on the road. If I’m out in the yard we’ll exchange waves. I’ve gotten to know some of the families—at least by sight and vise versa.

I’ve mentioned, more than once, that I live beyond the back forty—I’m not kidding when I say that. We’re far enough in the country that you don’t hear the traffic from Route 63—a main artery cutting through this part of the Ozarks—except on a cold winter night you can faintly hear the jack brakes on some of the semi-trucks. If you listen closely.

Time seems to slow down out here.

Today, with the autumn sun drenching the landscape and the wind blowing through the gold and red leaves of the trees. Birds flittering in the brush and the high-pitched call of the hawks hunting prey—it somehow seemed fitting to see a horse and buggy drive by.As they passed we exchanged a smile and wave set to the music of horses clip-clopping down the gravel road.