Friday, December 9, 2011

Chat With The Magical Stephanie Julian

My guest today is Stephanie Julian. Stephanie writes a series of erotic romance about Etruscan deities, Forgotten Goddesses. The second book in the series is now available and entitled, How To Worship a Goddess, the story of Lusna, the all but forgotten Goddess of the Moon and the Lady of Silver Light.  You can find more about the Etruscans, their deities, and how they've been hiding in plain sight by visiting Stephanie’s website. 

Stephanie is an easy person to chat with and has a fun sense of humor, and she has cracked me up with a well-said phrase and a look (she couldn’t write the fun romps she does without one).  I have a lot of respect for her and her hard work and determination to be published. She didn't let her rejections stop her.

Today, you’ll learn a bit more about this magical author and her road to publication, as well as some of her discouragements and triumphs. 

  • Did you try other genres before you hit with this one?

I tried for several years to break into Harlequin. As a teenager and into my 30s, Harlequin Presents were my favorite books to read. Charlotte Lamb, Violet Winspear, Robyn Donald and, more recently, Jane Porter is just some of the authors I read religiously. I loved the combination of sexy, Alpha male and feisty independent female. I never could seem to capture the tone they were looking for but I truly believe writing at that length makes you so intensely conscious of how important characterization is.

  • Who was most/least supportive of your writing career?

My husband has been the most supportive. He’s never told me to give it up and whenever I say, “That’s it, I’m quitting,” he’s always quick to say, “Of course you’re not,” because he knows quitting is the one thing I can’t do. Least supportive? I can honestly say no one in my family has been outright dismissive of my career. Sure, my parents shake their head at the fact that I write erotic romance but they’ve never once said I shouldn’t. And my dad is always the first to say his daughter is a writer.

  • What's the hardest thing you've had to face as a writer? How did you overcome it?

Getting dumped by two previous agents. It shakes your confidence to the core, much more than a rejection from an editor ever did. Why? Because the person who once believed in you had lost that faith. It makes you doubt yourself.  And that sucks. But those setbacks only made me more determined and I pushed myself harder. Today I’ve got a new, wonderful agent and we’re working together to sell books in this unsettled time.

  • What was the single best or luckiest thing that got you pubbed?

My sheer pigheadedness. My parents always said I was the most stubborn kid they knew. Turns out it comes in handy. I haven’t given up. Not when I got the first 100 rejections. Not when I got so close to being bought by my dream publisher, only to be told it wasn’t happening. I get writing. I’m still writing.

  • What does your writing day look like?

Since I work at home, I have to treat writing like a job. I answer email before breakfast. I do whatever promotional work needs to be done after breakfast then I write. If it’s a run day, I break about 10:30 and head out to the trail, where I tell myself that since I ran, I can have a snack later. In the afternoon, I write. After dinner, I try to do some more writing, if I can. Otherwise, that’s research time. Or vege time in front of the TV.

  • Describe your writing space.

My writing space is an office with bright red walls, white trim, purple sheers and carpet and a yellow chair. I love my office. It’s my space. There’s a bulletin board on the wall in front of my monitor with lots of photos of hot guys that I can look at for inspiration. Other walls are covered with books.

  • How do you refresh and recharge yourself so you can continue writing?

By reading. I consider myself a reader first and a writer second. I don’t think writers can write without reading. It’s almost like breathing. When I’m stuck on a particular story or the words aren’t flowing, I’ll sometimes pick up one of my favorite books, like Lora Leigh’s Dawn’s Awakening or Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke, and use those to clear my head.

  • How has your own romance colored how you write romance in your stories? 

Many of my heroes are quiet guys. They don’t talk a lot but when they have something to say, you know it’s worth hearing. That’s totally my husband. He’s supportive, he never tells me no (although I still haven’t gotten that pony for the backyard, lol) and he washes clothes and windows. The man is a god.

Stephanie, I appreciate you taking the time to stop by today!


Stephanie Julian--Available in stores and online bookstores.


 Lucy was once the beloved Goddess of the Moon, and she could have any man she wanted. But these days, the goddesses of the Etruscan pantheon are all but forgotten. The only rituals she enjoys now are the local hockey games, where one ferociously handsome player still inflames her divine blood...


Brandon Stevenson is one hundred percent focused on the game, until he looks up and sees a celestial beauty sitting in the third row. A man could surely fall hard for a distraction like that...EXCERPT

"Sparkles with fantasy ... and smoldering erotic scenes ... unpredictable and fascinating." 
RT Book Reviews

Stephanie Julian is the author of the Magical Seduction, Lucani Lovers, Darkly Enchanted and the Forgotten Goddess series, as well as The Fringe series. A former reporter for a daily newspaper, she enjoys making up stories much more than writing about real life. She's happily married to a Springsteen fanatic and is the mother of two sons who love her even when they don't have any clean clothes and dinner is a bowl of cereal.
Julian's erotic romances have a paranormal bent reviewers have called "fascinating," "truly fantastic," "intoxicating," "highly imaginative" and "hot enough to peel paint."

You can find Stephanie:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Insecure Writers—In Search Of Discipline

Discipline: prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior
Prescribed: to lay down as a guide, direction, or rule of action

I’m in dire need of a new prescription for discipline.

Unfortunately, this is not the sort of prescription I can go to the pharmacy to get. It’s something I have to pull out of myself and follow. I used to be so disciplined with my writing. I had a schedule that worked for me. Somewhere along the line, I lost it.

There have been some major changes in my life that have altered my time. A time intensive blog, home schooling my son, and dealing with a serious illness have all made inroads on writing. Dealing with one and two were doable, add three and poof, writing? What’s writing?

I still have to deal with the blog (which I enjoy) and home schooling (which is done in two months), but the illness knocked me down below the speed bump and it’s a bitch to crawl back up from that one.

NaNo helped. It tapped back into my imagination and reassured me it’s still working—trust me, I had some serious doubts on that score for a while. It was hard to think beyond basics. I didn’t have the energy or inclination (not to mention enthusiasm) to write when it was all I could do teach the kid and do the blog. In between I took my meds and slept—a lot. 

I’m not totally well but I’m getting there and now I’m desperately in search of disciple. Part of it is finding the motivation (and energy) to write intensively again. That’s a hard one. Then there are all the things in the house I had to let slide when I was so sick. Now it’s learning to pace myself. Balance is so important for me. I don’t do well without it but it takes patience to get life balanced when it’s been out of sync for so long and your focus is on the necessities.

Since I do my best writing in the mornings, I’m going to have to schedule time for just writing and then tackle my to do list, find time to nap (which is still very necessary), check the kid’s school work, and work on the blog. It’s getting there. Kinda.

Bottom line for me, if I don’t make the time, then my time gets squandered away and nothing is accomplished.  I don’t like that feeling.  I also need to be consistent.  Most successful writers have to be.

  • How do you carve out time to write?  Some work full time.  Some can’t write at home but have a favorite place they can write.  Some can only write on weekends, or early morning before the day starts, or late at night when the house is quiet.  The point is they have to make the time. 

  • So, what works for you?



Monday, December 5, 2011

Creativity – and Candles – Multiplied

USA Today bestselling military romance author, Catherine Mann, is my guest today. This time we are introduced to another sizzling hero, Hugh Franco, from the Air Force's celebrated Pararescue Jumpers–"The PJs"– an ultra-elite force who put themselves at extreme risk in the most dangerous emergencies so that others may live. 

I haven’t had the chance to read HOT ZONE yet, but we were introduced to Hugh in Cover Me. I’ve been looking forward to reading his story.

Aside from creating hot military heroes, Catherine also uses her creativity in other ways, decorating candles. She tells us how to go about decorating. I’m certainly going to give it a try. I love candles!

Some have a theory that creativity needs to be channeled.  Certainly I can see that there has to be focus within a creative career.  However, I’m a firm believer that creativity is like bread.  Feed the yeasty starter, knead the dough, and watch it grow.

Along the same lines, I believe my creativity needs to be massaged and fed.  Luckily, I love to do creative, artsy things beyond my writing.

Over the years I’ve tried my hand at a number of artsy crafts.  Cross stitching.  Sewing.  Singing.  Guitar.  Crocheting.  Gardening.  Calligraphy.  Baking. Am I a master at them?  Not hardly. (Especially not gardening!)  But I thoroughly enjoy myself.

While writing is obviously my primary creative outlet, I indulge my muse by trying new creative endeavors.  This month?  My daughter and I decorated candles for holiday gifts.

This was one of our easier to tackle undertakings, with only a few supplies needed and simple to follow directions…



Tissue Paper
Pattern Stamp
Wax Paper
Handheld Hair Dryer


Stamp the pattern of your choice on a piece of tissue paper.  Cut out the pattern.  Trim fairly close to the edges.  Place the inked tissue paper on the candle.  Press wax paper over the tissue paper to hold it in place.  Direct the handheld hair dryer over the pattern.  Lightly move the dryer around until the candle wax begins to absorb the tissue paper – without changing the shape of the candle.   Be careful to avoid drips.  Gently peel away the wax paper.  Aim the hair dryer at the candle again and heat until the tissue paper can’t be seen and only the pattern shows.  Let dry.

Variations: Can place more than one pattern on the candle.  Or place the pattern all the way around the candle.  Also, while wax is still soft, rhinestones or tiny rhinestones can be pressed into the pattern.  We even used the leftover ink to stamp white paper lunch sacks, making our own gift bags!

As you can see from the photo, my daughter and I made a slew of candles for gifts this year.  Most have a holiday theme, but there are also some patriotic candles.  Those are for our family and friends with a military member serving.  We’ll be keeping one of these candles in our home as a reminder and tribute to those who can’t be with their families this holiday season.  Real life heroes and heroines like the characters featured in my air force novels.

And so, that wraps up my creative outlet of the moment.  Next up?  Chocolate fondue and dipped treats.

Thank you to Sia for sharing her blog spot with me today and thank you to each of you for stopping by to visit!

·        What are some of your old and/or new holiday traditions?


He'll take any mission, the riskier the better...

The haunted eyes of pararescuemen, Hugh Franco, should have been her first clue that deep pain roiled beneath the surface. But if Amelia couldn't see the damage, how could she be expected to know he'd break her heart?

She'll prove to be his biggest risk yet...

Amelia Bailey's not the kind of girl who usually need rescuing...but these are anything but usual circumstances. EXCERPT



USA Today bestseller Catherine Mann writes military romantic suspense for Sourcebooks and Berkley, as well as steamy romances for Harlequin Desire. A RITA Award winner, she has over two million books in print in more than twenty countries. Catherine resides in the Florida panhandle with her flyboy husband, their four children and an ever growing menagerie of pets.  And yes, in a moment of creative inspiration, she once raided the pantry for the ingredients to bake homemade dog cookies for her local animal shelter!

For more information on Hot Zone and her other works, Catherine can be found online at: