Friday, August 10, 2012


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It's my pleasure to have award winning historical author Amelia Grey Over Coffee today. Amelia, welcome back to Over Coffee. I'm glad to have you visiting!

Good morning! I’m very happy to be here with you at this fabulous site. Thank you for having me as your guest today.

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

This is an easy question to answer. I had just finished writing my first historical and decided to enter it in the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Contest for unpublished writers. The contest said the judges would give a critique and then finalists’ books would be read by an agent. I received the call that my book was a finalist and the awards would be presented at a banquet in Atlanta, Georgia. I was only five hours by car from Atlanta so I drove up for the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference and banquet. That night my book won in the historical category. I was hoping for a good critique and ended up with an award. I was elated. As soon as the banquet was over, the agent who had judged the contest found me and said, “I think I can sell your book.” And she did. My title of Gentle Pardon was changed to Passion’s Choice and published by Warner Books in 1990. I’m a big supporter of contest because I credit entering that contest as my lucky break.
        What was the biggest mistake you made along the way?

This question is difficult to answer—which one was the biggest! I’m not fond of talking about my mistakes and believe me I’ve made plenty concerning my career. I think it has to be that I made an agent change at what I thought was a good time in my career to do so. It turned out to be a disastrous time to make a change, and I’ve always wished I hadn’t done it.

How has being published changed your life?

I think funniest way my life has changed is that I’m somewhat of a celebrity in the small community where I live. There are a few other writers here, but none published in romance. And I feel fairly certain none of them have published as many books as I have. I’ve been asked to judge in local beauty pageants and cooking contests. I’ve been asked to speak at the community college, and to give interviews on tv, radio, and the newspaper.   People will sometime say to me, “You must be the writer who lives on the beach.” Yes, that’s me. In a larger community, or bigger city no one would blink an eye at a neighbor who had published 25 books, but where I live it’s noticed.

What do you still struggle with as an author?

This is another easy question. I want to be more successful of course. I’m sure that’s a common struggle whether you are a real estate agent, a banker, or a check out girl at the supermarket. We all want to succeed at whatever we are doing and then we want to do better. After one career goal is reached, I want to reach for another. I want bigger print runs, to sell more books, to make more money, and to hit more bestseller lists. I have to work at being successful. But to me that is part of the enjoyment of this career.

        Tell us about your current book.

This month my publisher is re-issuing one of my previous books titled A Little Mischief.  It was first published in 2003 and it won the Booksellers Best Award and Aspen Gold Award for best Historical for that year. I hope you’ll pick up a copy if you missed it when it first came out. Here’s a short synopsis of the story.

A Little Mischief

Isabella Winslowe is finally flourishing. She is gaining respectable notoriety for her ‘Wallflower Society’ until the unthinkable happens. She finds the darkly handsome Earl of Colebrooke’s sister in the back garden with a stone cupid in her hand and a dead man at her feet. The newly titled earl is formidable in looks, personality, and reputation.  He’s not a man Isabella wants to tangle with over such a delicate situation.

        Daniel Colebrooke, is juggling all that he can handle when the most alluring young lady he has ever met arrives at his door and tells him his sister never intended to kill London’s most eligible bachelor. Daniel is certain he has a beautiful madwoman in front of him.  Highly suspicious of Miss Winslowe’s story, he goes with her to the garden and finds it empty. She insists someone has stolen the body.

        Daniel decides to keep an eye on Miss Winslowe to see what kind of mischief is she up to? She might tell someone else her outrageous story about his sister. If something like that got out, Gretchen’s reputation would be ruined beyond repair. But what Daniel finds is that Isabella sets his heart to racing like no woman ever has. She’s engaging and exciting in a quiet and captivating way. But Daniel can’t give into his desire for Isabella…there’s a supposedly missing dead body standing them. Excerpt Chapter (on Amazon)

        What's next for Amelia Grey?

I’m glad you asked. I’m putting the finishing touches on the last book in The Rogues’ Dynasty Series. The sixth and final book should be out next spring. The final title and pub-month hasn’t been decided yet, but here is a teaser about the book.

Matson Brentwood has finally met the woman of his dreams. The lovely, red-haired Sophia Hart heats his blood like no other lady.  Her alluring countenance has stopped him dead in his tracks. But no matter how attracted he is to her, he can’t give into his desire to possess her in every way because she is the ward of the man he’s sworn to hate. 
        Newly arrived in London, Miss Sophia Hart is looking for a husband—for herself and for one of her twin, spinster aunts who has decided she wants a man. Sophia agrees to help her aunt by allowing older gentlemen to call on her and then come up with ways to make sure her aunt spends more time with the gentleman than Sophia does. 
        But there’s more than just an unwanted guardian and a long list of beaus standing between Sophia and Matson.  She can’t give into the maddening charms of the darkly handsome and intriguing Matson. She must deny her love for him and pay her debt to her father for costing him the love of his life.

Amelia, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit. Anything else you'd like to share? 

I love to hear from readers! Please email me at, follow me at, or visit my website 

Amelia Grey (aka Gloria Dale Skinner) grew up in a small town in the Florida Panhandle. She has been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over twenty-five years. She has lived in Alabama, Connecticut, New Hampshire and now lives in Florida.

Amelia has won the coveted Romantic Times award for Love and Laughter, the prestigious Maggie award for best historical and Affaire de Coeur's best American historical award. She has been a finalist for the Golden Heart and the Holt Medallion awards which are given by Romance Writers of America and numerous other awards. Her books have been sold to many countries in Europe, Russia and China.

Amelia likes flowers, candlelight, sweet smiles, gentle laughter and sunshine.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


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Please welcome award winning author, Leanna Ellis's, return visit to Over Coffee. Leanna writes a variety of genres from sweet romances and women's fiction, to dark paranormals such as her Plain Fear series.
What I enjoy about the Plain Fear series is it's rich complexity. The stories are emotionally intense and aren't shy about dealing with the crisis of faith, the heartbreak of betrayal, damnation and redemption, and set against a backdrop a group known for it's strong faith. They are also a riveting read.
Leanna kept me turning the pages with her latest, Plain Fear: Forbidden. You can read my 5 star review on Amazon.

Writing is like running a marathon. Now, don’t think for a minute that I’m a marathon runner, but I do know a few runners. And I’ve spoken to them about the highs and lows of running a marathon. There are times when you want to give up and collapse onto the ground in a heaving, writhing mass of quivering muscles. Those times come in writing a book too. For me, it’s usually in writing the rough draft. Writing Plain Fear: Forbidden, book #2 in my Plain Fear series, felt like I was running out of energy, out of words, out of ideas, and that I might crumple to the keyboard as I crossed that ‘finish line’ of “The End” on my rough draft. 

Before I revised my manuscript and sent it off to my editor, I scheduled a trip to Ohio to visit a friend of mine, Shelley Shepard Gray, who lives there and writes Amish novels. Frankly, neither of us had much time, just about two days, for me to do some research. We had originally talked about driving up to Holmes County but our time constraints prevented us from doing that. So, she told me about a little enclave in the southeastern corner of her state, right near Kentucky, which had an Amish community we could visit.

First, we checked into a fabulous bed and breakfast Shelley had frequented with her critique group. We had a little cabin, nestled against some woods. The weather turned against us and it rained most of the time. But that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The whole trip, early in the fall with the leaves changing and tumbling around us, the cool night air, and the dark, sinister clouds gave a wondrous atmosphere that fit my book perfectly.

Attribution: Amish on Shaefer Road
Sia McKye 
The small community of Amish huddled in the hills and dales of Ohio and Kentucky ended up being the perfect spot for my characters to have hidden. Maybe it was the time of year, not too long before Halloween, when pumpkin cannons were advertised and freshly pressed apple cider sold, but it all reminded me of The Legends of Sleepy Hollow.

That trip may have been short but it was oh so very sweet. Spending time with my dear friend, who has such a calm, giving spirit, and visiting with a couple of other writing friends while I was there, plus seeing the terrain, which planted a firm picture in my mind, gave me the energy I needed to finish my book. I rushed back home, eagerly writing all the way. I felt like a runner, turning a bend, finding a refreshment stand, a friendly face, a pat on the back, and a gulp of water before racing for the finish line.

There is a lesson in all of that, not just for writers but also for our lives. When difficulties come, and they will, we all need a friend to reach out to, beautiful scenery to inspire us, time to process it all (good food doesn't hurt and neither does laughter), and then we are ready to run the race set before us.

Amazon • Books•A•Million •
Barnes & Noble • IndieBound

How Long Must We Pay for the Sins of Our Past?

She blames herself for her husband's death. But for Rachel Schmidt Nussbaum, redemption may only lie in the ultimate sacrifice.

When a stranger arrives claiming only she can save him, Rachel's impulsive instincts lead her on a perilous journey, one that leads her to a battle that will decide both the fate of her soul and the life of her unborn child.

A far–from–ordinary story of love and desperation, sin and sacrifice, Amish faith and vampire lore, Plain Fear: Forbidden is an imaginative thrill ride that's like nothing you've ever read before. Excerpt Chapter

Leanna Ellis is the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award and Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award. She has written numerous books for Harlequin/Silhouette and has published four books with B&H Publishing. With her husband, two children, and wide assortment of pets, she lives in Texas. For more information, please visit, follow her on Twitter, @LeannaEllis, and “like” her on Facebook.

Photo attributions: photos are my work unless otherwise stated, or are by author/publisher permission, or from creative commons, or wikimedia.

Monday, August 6, 2012


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“I'm livin' in a world that won't stop pullin' on me
I'm not complaining but it's true

It's like I owe my time to everyone else
'Cause that's all I seem to do…” 
Keith Urban, WHAT ABOUT ME?

There are times that no matter what you do there just aren’t enough minutes in the day to get everything done. There are things you must do, a list of things that should be done (but aren’t set in stone), and then there is that list of things you want to do. Guess which list gets balled up, more times than not, and tossed across the room?

I think juggling life is one hardest things a writer has to do.

I know it is for me.

Carving out time to write isn’t always easy. There is always something tugging on me and demanding my time. Then there are the characters in my head doing the same. I’ve tried to set aside small sections of time to write and overall I’ve managed to add small chunks of words to my manuscript. The hard thing is having a workable amount of energy remaining when I’m finished with my MUST DO list. I don’t have the luxury of burning the candle at both ends if I want to remain healthy and that’s a juggling act in itself.

The past few weeks my early mornings, the time I do my best writing, has be stolen by college stuff for the kid—people to meet with or contact and a cazillion forms. I hate forms! Then there is the reviving of my online presence after being ill, books to read and reviews to write, correspondence to handle and promotion.

If I have outside appointments, as I have recently, by the time I get home from those appointments, I’m usually wiped out—remember, I live in the middle of nowhere. Other than the local grocery or feed store everything else is at least thirty-five to fifty miles away. So you’re looking at travel time, which is a minimum of an hour, but most of the time, it’s more like two hours. The cost of gas being what it is I tend to maximize my errands. That usually takes up the whole morning and when I get home my brain is already mush and all I want is peace and quiet, no people, something to eat, and somewhere to slither for a short nap. Then it’s onto the list of things that have to be done here on the ranch and then dinner and socializing with the family. I’m fortunate in that I can write nonfiction in the evening but even there, if I’m up too late, which seems to be the pattern recently, it cuts into that early morning creative writing time. A bit of a vicious circle at times.

I’ve been thinking about that. My conclusion is I need to get better organized and a better schedule. I have a window of time that I do my best creative writing. I’ve determined that I need to apply some tough discipline and set that as the focus first. Let the dog out, grab my coffee, open my word document, and spend that hour or two in the morning and write. The housework will still be there when I’m done, ditto with correspondence, Internet, reading blogs, and appointments. I need to be firm with those things.

The later part of last week I implemented part of that. This week will be the kicker. Nose to the grindstone and do it. At least I feel better knowing what I have to do. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • So, how is your writing going?
  • How do you juggle life to accommodate your writing, job, and family?

What About Me-on Youtube
Keith Urban