Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Tara's Visiting Today! Also ROW80, Blog Blitz, ISWG, Ninja Captain Alex's Giveaway, and Mini Book Reviews

Got a visitor today!

Happy to have Tara here, talking about her new book and other writing related chat:

Thank you so much for having me, Deniz, but also for all of your support over the last handful of years. It means an awful lot.

Hands-On Therapy
After yet another failed attempt at meeting a worthwhile man, in-charge businesswoman Marie Reid drunk dials a so-called sex therapist. Not one to back down from a challenge, she keeps the meeting even after sobering up and vaguely recalling some reference to spanking. When the guy shows up with endless blue eyes, sexy bare feet, and a commanding demeanor that literally wets her appetite, Marie’s reluctance vanishes in a wave of lust. But submitting to just a few deliciously sinful nights of hands-on therapy has her already falling for her very hands-off counselor.

What's your earliest memory related to writing?

The year the space shuttle Challenger exploded my 6th grade English teacher assigned the class to write a poem about the tragedy. She entered mine in a state-wide competition and it got 3rd place. That's my earliest "big" memory I guess. I was writing poetry and song lyrics before that.

Who inspired you to write?

I wouldn't say any one particular author since I admire so many in so many different genres, but my mother's love of reading was passed to me so I suppose in a round about way my mom did. And all of my incredible friends from the Books and Writer's Compuserve forum inspire me on an almost daily basis, and have been for five years.

Which scenes are hardest for you to write?

Sex scenes. There are times I'm rearranging the pantry or folding laundry, or doing some other inane chore, and I realize I was smack in the middle of a sex scene a few moments before and have no recollection of making a conscious decision to get up and do something else! I think highly charged emotional scenes overall have that effect on me, but sex scenes in particular definitely take the top spot.

What's the weirdest thing you've researched?

Good grief, the list is so long I can't even think of anything specific. I also do this for my day job, which means my history is pinging multiple bright lights off every watch list out there, lol!

Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what you think makes them believable?

All of my stories, with the exception of Hands-On Therapy, have come from dreams. I dream vividly, and lucidly, and wake up with pretty much the main characters and the basic story arc. They almost always have names already, too. If they don't, I start writing and usually just type a name out automatically. This is how my secondary characters typically get their names, too. I think changing names causes the biggest rebellion from my characters.

How's the indie/self-publishing journey been so far? Do you have any advice for others who might be attempting that route?

I've been happy with it. Formatting was far easier than I thought it would be on Amazon. And once a friend emailed with a tip for Nook that was easy, too. I have yet to figure out Kobo so I'm not sure when I will get my book up there! The support I've received here in the writer blogosphere, from forumites (see Compuserve reference), and from my best friends has been amazing. And the personal feedback I've received on the actual book so far has been astounding.

As far as advice for self-pubbing... I'm going to beat the dead horse: professional editing. It makes all the difference. If you can't afford it, use your CP's and betas to their fullest. For example, I know you are fantastic with both overall arc and grammar, so I save your beta for the last round to make sure I fixed my story arc/continuity issues and also to help me catch those pesky missing words, comma splices (of which I am a ninja master), etc. I have another beta who is phenomenal at the both small and big picture content so she gets it in the first round to save me some embarrassment from the next group reading the original trash.
[Aww, thanks Tara! *blush* I'll put in a plug for the Compuserve forum too - that place is wonderful!]

Which is the most embarrassing song, book, movie or TV show that you love?

Wow, there's a long list. I will cop to liking Barry Manilow. How's that for embarrassing?

T.L. Watson is a South Floridian transplanted to North Carolina, a wife, a lucky mom of twins, and a lover of Happily Ever After. She writes romances that range from sticky sweet to spicy, and beyond. She can usually be found scribbling hieroglyphics on the wall of her Word cave, and doesn't like chocolate, so in case of emergency lure her out with pumpkin lattes.

Blog | Purchase Links: Amazon Nook

Win a copy of Hands-on Therapy!

I've read two other great books this past week, both widely different to each other but fun and intriguing in their own way.

The first was Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada The Wonders of Winter: 101 Stories about Bad Weather, Good Times, and Great Sports.

Very appropriate for the freezing cold weather we've been having lately! Featuring all sorts of essays and remembrances from various Canadians, including NHLer Vincent Lecavalier (a local boy!).

The second book was Dr. Anthony Martignetti's follow-up to Lunatic Heroes:

Beloved Demons stretches slightly further in time, chronicling early teenage and then early university-era memories. In some parts it's darker than the previous book, and yet not (can't get much more heart-wrenching than Swamp, featuring Bullfrog). But for those of you who have beloved pets, you'll love the two chapters on the love between a man and his dog (you know when you reach that point where you see your pet's face everywhere? A hippo in a National Geographic - looks like Sam!) and on a cat named (sometimes) Java (sometimes) Mocha. The eBook version comes out on Valentine's Day!

Today is also Insecure Writers' Support Group Day! Check out the IWSG Facebook page here.

I've blabbing about three promotions that'll help us celebrate fellow authors.

The first is the upcoming A to Z Challenge!

Have you signed up yet? There are over 500 of us so far. Visit the A to Z blog to meet the hosts and co-hosts and sign up on the linky list.

And help spread the word! Ninja Captain Alex is hosting a giveaway for when he reaches 2000 followers.

Leave a comment on his post here. Meanwhile, all this week CassaFire will be 99 cents on both Amazon and Alex's publisher's page!

Finally, there's our Blog Blitzes, hosted by DL Hammons!

Sign up on the linky list to become a member of the Blog Blitz team. Every once in a while DL picks a blog - and you can recommend blogs too! - and on the appointed day we all visit that blogger and leave a comment on the most recent post. I've seen bloggers get close to 200 comments in one day - what an awesome feeling that must be!

As for ROW80, my main update is that I've been moving forward on the submission front. I'd like to try submitting my SIWC-shortlisted story to magazines, and I'm going to focus on Canadian magazines for now. Got a list of ten options, and now comes the fun part - reading a couple of their latest issues to see which one might be a good fit for my story!

Which new releases are you celebrating this week?
Hope your writing projects are going well!


Zan Marie said...

Hi, Tara and Deniz! [big wave from down south...though not that far south of Tara! lol!]

It's fun to see two of my favorite Forumites in one visit. You both have supported my efforts. I have to say, Tara, HOT is as hot as it's initials. ;-) Love it! So did my hubby.

Zan Marie said...

oops. Should of caught that typo. It's its! Really, I know better. [color me red] ;-)

Tara said...

Thanks for having me, Deniz! So you're doing A to Z huh? I've debated every year then chickened out at the last minute each one. ;)

Tara said...

Hi Zan Marie! Originally the book was titled Crash Course. It wasn't until shortly before pubbing I thought Hands-On Therapy worked better (because that's the male MC's website in the book), and it wasn't until after that I realized what the initials were, lol.

vbtremper said...

Very evocative title and cover, Tara! Good luck and thanks for the advice.

Deniz, good luck with your submissions!


Carole Anne Carr said...

Thank you so much, Deniz.

stu said...

It sounds like there's a lot going on at the moment for everyone.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know I couldn't write sex scenes! My first big memory is men walking on the moon.
Thanks for mentioning the Epic 2000 and the Challenge!!

Crystal Collier said...

Whew! There's so much awesome in this post my brain almost melted.

I'm excited for Tara, and anyone who hasn't joined the Blitz team totally should. I'll be A to Z-ing too. *high five* said...

Hi, Deniz! Good luck with your ROW80 goals and your submissions process. I will have to check out Blog Blitz--don't think I've heard of it before.

Liz Blocker said...

Congratulations, Tara! The book sounds sexy and intriguing and fun - and what's better than that??

M Pax said...

What a fun plot, Tara! Congrats!

Best with your goals, Deniz! Happy Wednesday.

Tara said...

Thanks, Vicki. :)

Alex, don't sell yourself short. i bet you could!

Thanks for your support, Crystal!

Tara said...

Aww, thanks so much, Liz.

Tara said...

It was a lot of fun to write, Mary. Those two really just fell for each other quickly, but very silently!

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm a Barry Manilow fan too! :)

It's amazing how close we get to people we 'meet' online and how much a part of our lives they become!

Sherry Ellis said...

I can't even imagine how difficult it is to write sex scenes!

Tara said...

Hehe, thanks for the back-up, Jemi. :D

Tara said...

I admit, Sherry, there have a been a couple of my characters characters whose sex scenes were far easier than others, but still not without some difficulty.

S.P. Bowers said...

Yay Tara! Compuserve is the best!

Tara said...

It sure is, Sara. :)

Julie Musil said...

Tara, your story sounds awesome, and your cover is delish!

Lara Lacombe said...

Congrats, Tara! I'm so happy for you! :) And you should do A to Z this year--it's a lot of fun :)

Shan Jeniah Burton said...


I'm not usually one for romances per se, but I love this premise! Sounds like there's lots of room for steamy conflicts...I think I'll need to be checking this one out!


As always, it's delightful to see you. I'll be A to Zing - third time! I plan to explore a series of flash/short fiction around a common theme that's been rolling around in my head since LAST winter!

I didn't know about the Blog Blitz OR the Compuserve forum, so there's some new stuff for me to check out...hooray for new adventures!

Wishing you oodles of fun exploring your magazines, and the best of success with the submissions! =)

Carol Kilgore said...

Wonderful interview! My secondary characters get named in just the manner you described. My fingers type out a name I hadn't thought of before.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm a member of the blog blitz team. It's fun to do!

Tara said...

That's funny Carol, since we have a number of the same names! :)

Thank you. I hope if you decide to check it out you enjoy it!


That's a lot of blogging for someone who struggles to keep up with once a week!

Jennifer Shirk said...

HI, Tara! Great interview!

(I like Barry Manilow too. And ABBA.) :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deniz and Tara .. crazy you can move from a sex scene to folding the laundry ... but fascinating to see how you started out writing - and gosh coming 3rd in that poetry competition must have been amazing.

Good luck .. cheers Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks for all the support, everyone!

Still loving that HOT acronym, Tara :-)

Now to think of an A-Z theme...

Tara said...

Thank you, Jennifer! Not an ABBA fan, but Hubs is.

Hi Hilary! It was pretty exciting to win that poetry contest. :)

Deniz, thank you again for having me.

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • Be Careful, It's My Heart by Kait Nolan
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
  • The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Moranology by Caitlin Moran
  • Sauron Defeated - Book 9 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert by Gertrude Bell
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Journal of Inklings Studies
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Mr. Garden by Eleanor Farjeon
  • Untitled by Claire G (poem)
  • Possum Magic by... (read by Claire)
  • The Listeners by Walter de la Mare (poem)
  • Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
  • Dark Sonnet by Neil Gaiman
  • "Birds of Passage" by Peter McArthur (poem)
  • Marilynne Robinson and Barack Obama in the New York Review of Books (conversation)
  • "Fear"by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
  • A Simple Act of Kindness by Carol Drinkwater (short story)
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter van Houten (short piece) (already added this?)
  • Sparkling Cyanide (Remembered Death) by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Les dernieres jours de nos peres by Joel Dicker
  • Spun by Catherine McKenzie
  • Jamadu: Pippa et le crocodile (a Coop storybook)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • Hide and Seek Pig: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Postman Bear: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Fox's Socks: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland (short story)
  • Tolkien's Gedling by __ and Andrew Morton
  • A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak
  • Le livre des Baltimore by Joel Dicker
  • Paddington Bear All Day by Michael Bond
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Mrs Whippy by Cecelia Ahern
  • The Story of Kullervo by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Going Back by T. L. Watson
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (abridged, darn it)
  • Emily's House
  • The Hockey Song
  • The End of All Things by John Scalzi
  • A Christmas Story by Richard Burton
  • Histoire de Founex by Josiane Ferrari-Clément (skimmed)
  • Rabbit's Nap: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson
  • Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
  • La Verite sur l'affair Harry Quebert by Joel Dicker (loving this!)
  • How To Be A Man (and other illusions) by Duff McKagan
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Pop-up Peekaboo: Farm (DK publishing) (board book) (duh)
  • Paddington Bear Goes to Market by Michael Bond (board book)
  • Emily's Balloon by Komako Sakai
  • Bible stories and puzzles (in French) (board book)
  • The Last Chance Ball (a Word Wenches christmas anthology featuring Jo Bourne, Jo Beverley, etc.)
  • Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • CassaFire by Alex Cavanaugh
  • First and Second Things by C. S. Lewis
  • Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • So Anyway... by John Cleese
  • The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
  • Slowly, silently now the moon by Walter de la Mare (poem)
  • I can't work like this by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • CassaStar by Alex Cavanaugh
  • Death of A Century: A Novel of the Lost Generation by Daniel Robinson
  • The Fly by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • Tyger, Tyger by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • The Christie Notebooks by John Curran
  • The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • secret beta 2!
  • The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
  • Chu's Day at the Beach by Neil Gaiman (reread, many times)
  • Sacred Inwardness by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
  • New Statesman issue guest edited by Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman (I don't usually include magazines in this list but I read this one cover to cover)
  • The North Star is Nearer by Evelyn Eaton
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King (loved My Pretty Pony)
  • Every Month Was May by Evelyn Eaton
  • Occasional Soulmates by Kevin Brennan
  • secret beta!
  • Smoke by Catherine McKenzie
  • In Two Aeroplanes Over the Sea by Amanda Palmer (poem)
  • Jim at the Corner by Eleanor Farjeon
  • Finding Fraser by kc dyer
  • Mother Tongue -- The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson
  • The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie
  • The Lord Fish by Walter de la Mare
  • The Going To Bed Book by S Boynton
  • The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang
  • In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
  • Subterranean Scalzi Super featuring To Sue the World (an original, very short Redshirts story available nowhere else) Muse of Fire Mallet of Loving Correction Lock In, Lost Chapters (available nowhere else) How I Proposed To My Wife: An Alien Sex Story An Election Judge Sn Goes Golfing Questions for a Soldier The Sagan Diary The Tale of the Wicked The God Engines You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop by John Scalzi
  • Emily Goes to Market by William Mayne
  • Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (reread)
  • Colours Are Nice (Little Golden Book)
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume
  • The Wars by Timothy Findley (reread)
  • The Captive Diary of Catherine Logan by Mary Pope Osborne (Dear America)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (reread)
  • The Poky Puppy (Little Golden Book) (abridged)
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (reread)
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • secret beta read 2
  • Pre-Fix: A Ciel Halligan Short Story by Linda Grimes
  • Hidden by Catherine Mackenzie
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
  • But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
  • Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James (short story) (1904)
  • Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
  • Usborne board books
  • Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson (so lovely)
  • Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico
  • secret beta read!
  • The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
  • HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner by Kait Nolan
  • This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
  • The Owl Service by Alan Garner
  • Two Caravans by Monica Lewycka
  • Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten (actually a few pages of the story, written by John Green for the film of his novel The Fault In Our Stars)
  • January Brings the Snow by Sara Coleridge (poem)
  • Kissing song by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • The Mother by Nettie Palmer (poem)
  • William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Her Ladyship's Companion by Joanna Bourne
  • The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
  • How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
  • Mes P'tits Contes, legends of Swiss cantons
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here
  • see the 2011 statistics on
  • see the 2011 list at
  • see the 2010 list at
  • see the 2009 list at
  • also in 2009 at
  • see the 2008 list at
  • also in 2008 at
  • also in 2008 at