Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wednesday Women: Katherine Mitchel by K. M. Hodge

This week in the Wednesday Women: I'm happy to present Kelly aka K. M. Hodge and her leading lady Katherine Mitchel. Learn all about the two of them in this character/author interview. Kelly & Katherine, thanks for visiting!

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Ask Us Anything: Author KM Hodge and character Katherine Mitchel

 I would first like to thank Barbara Winkes for inviting me
to do this guest post so that I can introduce you to my dear character,
Katherine.  Last week, I hosted an "ASK ANYTHIING" on Facebook
to some of my faithful readers. They asked my leading lady, Katherine, and I
some interesting things. Here are some of the questions that they posted.

 
First of all, who am I and who is Katherine
Mitchel?


My name is KM Hodge, but please call me Kelly. Eighteen
years ago I birthed Katherine Mitchel, the leading lady in my novel, “Seasons.”
Life happened (marriage, a cross-country move, work, and children), and
 for many years she sat alone on disks, CD’s, thumb drives and eventually
a storage cloud. It wasn’t until my youngest was in a mother's-day-out program
two days a week that I was able to dust off the handful of chapters and turn it
into a full-fledged novel. I finished the novel during the National Write a
Novel in a Month event this last November. I then spent December-March having
it edited for content, copy and proof. On March 20th, “Seasons” went live on
Amazon.


 Who is Katherine? Katherine is a 33-year-old old FBI agent
who uncovers damning evidence against a crime ring called The Syndicate. The
group, which controls the police, Congress, and even the FBI, will stop at
nothing to protect their interests. With her life on the line, Katherine is
forced to put her faith in her new and partner Alex, as
she flees from
Washington D.C. and is placed in the
Witness Protection Program.  But you can't run from The Syndicate. In what
becomes the most dangerous investigation of their careers, Alex could
ultimately prove to be Katherine's last and only hope.

 
KM, Is there a message in your writing you want
readers to grasp?


Women’s rights and issues are important to me. I wanted to
give a singular voice to women who have experienced domestic violence and
sexual assault. Before I had children I worked for a Crisis Center where I
heard countless heartbreaking stories of abuse.


I’ve read all the startling statistics about the number of
women who have been raped and how there are some people out there that still
think that there are times when it is okay for one person to force another one
to have sex. I have also been there for friends and family who have experienced
these issues.

 I wanted to get a conversation started because change can
only happen if we start talking instead of just pushing these issues under the
rug. Victims of these crimes shouldn’t ever be made to feel shame or guilt, or
worse yet, feel that they deserved it.

 f you have been in a domestic violence situation or have
been sexually assaulted, it is not your fault and there are people out there
that can help you!

 Domestic violence hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.656.HOPE (4673)

 
KM, what are you working on now?

All the things! I am working on the edits for book two of
this series, “Blue Season”, which is slated to be released September 20th. I am
also starting to outline and make notes for the third book in this series,
“Seasons Son”. Lastly, I am working on branding myself as a suspense writer,
which means getting new book covers that better match the genre as well as
getting new headshots!


 
KM, what is the hardest part of the writing
process?


Finding time! I am the mother of two very energetic little
boys. I do a lot of my “writing” in my head while I drive my kids all over
town.


 
Katherine, what was your favorite book growing
up?


As a freckled red head I was in love with Anne (with an “e”)
of Green Gables.


My favorite quote from it is: “Red hair is my life long
sorrow.” ―
L.M. Montgomery

 
Katherine, how many pairs of Louis Vuitton shoes
do you own?


Hmmm...okay so a lot. I may have a bit of a shoe addiction. I
have gone to
New York a few times to go to
the sample sales so I’ve gotten most of them at a discount. Let’s say it is
more than two and less than 30. They are the most comfortable shoes and they
look amazing.


 
Katherine, what was your relationship with your
twin brother like?


I suppose when we were very small we were close. I have seen
photographs of us playing together, but I honestly don’t remember it all that
much. He has always kept me at arm's length. When we were in school, he was
always competing against me and everyone else. Whether it was grades or track
and field, he had to be the best at everything.


 When we were in high school he was student council
president, on the debate team and was all-state in track and field. College was
no different; he got into all the top schools with full rides. I was the
complete opposite. I struggled to make good grades, was introverted and hung
out with the so called ‘bad’ kids. When I think back I may have even started to
date Charles just to make Scott angry. He always hated Charles, who was the bad
boy that got all the girls. We were too different and mostly just pushed each
other’s buttons.

 
Katherine, what are you most afraid of?

I’m afraid that one day I will slip and fall off the wagon. I
don’t know if I could get back on again.


 
Katherine, if you hadn’t worked for the FBI,
what would you have done?


I love art and have a secret passion for graphic design. It
would be fun to do the art for an ad agency.


 
Katherine, besides gardening, what hobbies do
you have?


I love to run! I run several miles a day and had even
competed in a few marathons. There is nothing like a runner's high!


 
Katherine what are five items you have in your
purse?


Wallet, keys, lipstick, gum and a swiss army knife.

 
Where can we learn more about you, both?



Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KMHodgeAuthor

Blog: http://kmhodgeauthor.blogspot.com/

Amazon: Seasons http://www.amazon.com/Seasons-Syndicate-K-M-Hodge-ebook/dp/B00V17L29O/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Twitter: @KMHodgeAuthor

 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wednesday Women: Jordan Carpenter and Ellie Harding

After a little break, we'll kick off the Wednesday Women with Ellie and Jordan, one of my pairings in the recently released Indiscretions. And this blog comes with a giveaway! Please leave a comment and your email address, and your name will be entered into the hat--winners, as usual, will be drawn the next Tuesday, noon EST. I'm giving away an e-book of Indiscretions.

Find it here (available for Kindle Unlimited).

These are the leading ladies:
 
Jordan and Ellie lead messy lives (we’ll get to that later), but they are committed to one thing: Finding a killer who thinks women who break the rules, whose behavior he considers “immoral,” should be punished.

 Officer Ellie Harding is back at work after she was attacked on her way home. She is determined not to let the doubts and nightmares get to her. She has decided that life owes her. Before, she would have never given in to the attraction to a woman already taken. The confrontation with the fact that life is short and can change drastically in a heartbeat changes everything.

 Jordan has been in an unhappy relationship with her partner Bethany for a long time. She can’t stay, she can’t seem to get out and with the job she has to do, she doesn’t have time to figure out how to turn her life around. Ellie, eager and irresistible, fits quite well into a dysfunctional pattern.


Indiscretions…transgressions…consequences. You never know who knows.

 
This book features an excerpt of the sequel Insinuations, scheduled for November this year. Happy reading--and come back for more Wednesday Women!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Ann Mc Coy, Jordan Carpenter, Ellie Harding...not necessarily in the same book (a guest blog & a new release)


Some news to report:

In my guest blog at Women and Words "Introducing Ann McCoy" I talk about my first (and so far, only) straight main character.
There's a giveaway as well, but since this book isn't out yet, the winner may choose between my latest releases Familiar Places and Indiscretions. Thurday June 4th is the last day to enter:

http://womenwords.org/2015/05/31/introducing-ann-mccoy-by-barbara-winkes-plus-two-free-books/

And speaking of new releases: Here's Indiscretions, the first in the new thriller series featuring Jordan Carpenter and Ellie Harding


Now available from Amazon:

After surviving an attack by a stranger, rookie officer Ellie Harding decides to put herself first and make bold moves in both her career and her private life, refusing to let the traumatic incident get her off track.

Detective Jordan Carpenter faces the decision whether to remain in a disastrous, but long-term relationship or give in to the attraction she feels for her younger colleague. Her partner Bethany isn’t willing to let go, of Jordan or the case, a sadistic killer who murders women for behavior he considers immoral.

Can they find him before he strikes again?


Hope you're having a thrilling Spring/Summer! The Wednesday Women will start again on June 10th with more on Jordan and Ellie, and new guests after that.

Hope to see you!


Friday, May 29, 2015

Autumn Leaves Book Blast

Good morning! I wanted to let you know there's a book blast for Autumn Leaves today, run by Shades of Rose Media. You can visit the various blogs and enter a giveaway to win an e-copy here:

Tour Schedule

Thanks to Shades of Rose Media and all the participating blogs!



On Sunday, you can find me on Women and Words with a guest blog and another giveaway to mark the release of my new thriller Indiscretions.

Good luck & have a great weekend!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hop Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

Welcome to the Hop against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in support of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. See their official website here: http://dayagainsthomophobia.org/ As it's the usual with blog hops, you can win something--2 ebooks on this blog (details below).
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My wife and I got married in 2011. We had admittedly wondered if anyone we’d meet during and on the journey toward that glorious day would act any differently then they would with a straight couple. They didn’t. From the bakery that made the wedding cake, the justice clerk, employees of the venue where we held our reception or the hotel where we later went for our honeymoon getaway, everyone was friendly and professional. No big deal, for them anyway.
And it shouldn’t be.
To be treated like this on the day of all days should not depend on luck or be a privilege—it should be for everyone. Those who argue against laws that make the world more equal often argue that not all are ready for those changes. You know what? It doesn’t matter. There will always be some who aren’t ready, and we can’t afford to wait for them, because in the meantime, lives are on the line.
Not all hearts and minds can be changed right away through a law, granted, but legal security impacts the lives of many who will be able to live more authentic lives, and become more visible. This is where protections in housing and employment must come in—it makes no sense that someone is able to marry the love of their life and then gets fired the next day. Authenticity and visibility will expose the demand for a more diverse world in fiction, and in return, fictional characters help increase those. It’s refreshing to see that the last 5-10 years of TV brought more LGBT characters into viewers’ lives and helped others to come out. We need more of this, more characters to identify with, more happy endings, and in the long run, the change will manifest itself.
Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia come from extremely rigid and misogynist views on gender, and we need to address this connection in order to make this change last. Marriage equality is a great and important step toward that goal. Our allies have always understood that what we have in common is the desire for a permanent, loving commitment between equal partners, and that we’re not taking anything from them.
Love can’t wait any longer.
* * * *
For my giveaway, I offer 2 ebooks, winner’s choice (All have lesbian main characters. You can check them out under the book tab here on this blog). Just leave a comment to enter, and an email address so I can contact you in case you won.
and more...


The hop ends May 24th late, so winners will be notified on the 25th. Thank you!
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Find a list of all participants on the main hop page and below:

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cover Reveal: Royal Partnerships by Gracen Miller




Are you ready for the ride?
Can you handle the ride?


(must be read in order as the books build upon one another)




Royal Partnerships
Road to Hell series #4
by Gracen Miller



(Cover Art designed by Andrea Kozari)
Genre:
Paranormal Romance
(aka Horroromance because it's a little horror mixed with romance)

Releasing - June 11, 2015



It’s good to be the Queen…

Having ascended the throne of Hell, Madison Wescott is finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. Though she has embraced her demonic nature, she has ensured the safety of everyone she loves. With both Micah and Nix at her side, she wields more power than she could have ever imagined.

But not even the throne is safe when you rule in Hell.

In the wake of a failed assassination attempt, Madison learns about a realm of the damned older than Hell itself. A fierce and powerful incubus vows to escape his imprisonment there and his efforts are weakening the bonds that hold him and countless other monsters at bay. With no plan and nowhere else to turn, Madison contacts an unlikely source for help. But whose side is he really on? Will he help preserve her reign, or bring about Hell’s downfall?

Choose your partnerships carefully…



(Video created by Videos by O)


“Collecting and torturing a soul is dangerous business, my sister,” Zen said.

“So was becoming Queen of Hell. What’s problematic about going with the flow?”

More of the same unblinking stare from him. “If you go rogue, Madison…”

Madison slammed against the window-wall behind her. Despite the pane’s solidness, she felt it shimmy when it received the brunt of her weight. Recognizing Zen’s new demonstration of power, she elevated her eyebrows at him. With a smirk, she rubbed her back against the glass. She palmed her dragon blade as she flung a ninja star. He leaned to the side, dodging the star with ease. Of course she missed.

“You can’t kill me.”

Only his creator could take him down.

Madison palmed her other dagger and eased away from the window. “Is this you coming for me, Zen?”

His one-shoulder shrug sufficed as an answer. The pounding on the door, followed by Nix and Micah’s yelling further answered her question. Zen had magically locked them out. That’d been why she saw his power flare for a brief second during their conversation.

She went for him. He blocked each jab and slash. Every kick and punch. She eyed him as they circled one another.

He toys with us, her demon remarked.

Of course he does, that was Zen’s way when they sparred.

“Have I not taught you anything?” He smacked her across the cheek in a whip-like move she hadn’t seen coming. It wasn’t hard enough to hurt, but the blow stung all the same. “You tire yourself knowing I’m the superior fighter. It’s like you sacrifice yourself to me. Too easy.”

They went at it again. She tripped over a rug, stumbled backward, and came up dead-footed with her spine against the windowpanes. He moved into her space. Eye-to-eye they stared at one another, her panting the only racket in the room.

“So this is how it all ends?” she asked as he elevated a hand and braced it against the glass next to her head.

“Maybe...”

The door practically throbbed from all the kicking, pounding, and magic thrown at it. 

“You’re scaring my men.”

“They should be terrified.”

Madison settled her hand on his arm. “I trust you.”

She chugged his magic harder than she ever had anyone’s, and screamed as pain slashed through her head. Zen’s eyes widened, silver bright, and he jerked away as his magic held strong, barring her husbands from the room.

Zen stumbled, his footing off, and he swayed a moment before going to a knee. Wincing as the pain receded, Madison circled him and secured her blade in its leather holster.

She threaded her fingers in his hair and pulled his head back. His shallow breathing surprised her, “Concede defeat?”



Gracen is a hopeless daydreamer masquerading as a “normal” person in southern society. When not writing, she’s a full-time basketball/lacrosse/guitar mom for her two sons and a devoted wife to her real-life hero-husband of over twenty years. She has an unusual relationship with her muse, Dom, but credits all her creative success to his brilliant mind. She’s addicted to writing, paranormal romance novels and movies, Alabama football, and coffee...addictions are not necessarily in order of priority. She’s convinced coffee is nectar from the gods and when blending coffee and writing together it generates the perfect creative merger. Many of her creative worlds are spawned from coffee highs and Dom’s aggressive demands. Gracen writes is multiple genres—paranormal romance, paranormal erotic romance, and contemporary romance. To learn more about Gracen or to leave her a comment, visit her website at www.gracen-miller.com.





Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/gracen.miller
Twitter: @GracenMiller









Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday Women: Maggie Anthony by Sandra Moran

Good morning! We have a Wednesday Women blog this week, and I'm happy to present Sandra Moran who will give us some insight in how she creates her characters. Find a character profile for Maggie Anthony--and thank you, Sandra, for bringing your leading ladies to the Wednesday Women table.
 
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In preparation for this guest blog, I took about an hour to read some of the previous contributions to Word Affair and let me tell you ... I was a little daunted by so much rich and beautiful writing by such thoughtful and lovely women. I fear my contribution will pale in comparison. That said ... deep breath ... here I go.

 
My name is Sandra Moran and I am the author of Letters Never Sent, Nudge, The Addendum (a companion piece to Nudge), and my most recent offering, All We Lack. By day, I teach anthropology to undergraduates and as such, am fascinated by what makes us not only different, but also alike. I find people endlessly fascinating and when I create characters, I work to make them as multi-faceted and complex as possible.



 

One of the questions I often get asked is if my characters are based on real people – particularly the characters of Kate and Annie in Letters Never Sent. The answer to this question is “no.” There may be mannerisms or certain quirks that I steal from real people, but the characters themselves are entirely fabricated. What makes them seem real (I hope) is that I spend a lot of time on character development. I create elaborate profiles about who these characters are ... what motivates them ... what has happened to them in the past that informs why they make the decisions they do.

 
I do all of this on the front end (before I even sit down to write) fully recognizing that most of what I build into their back-story doesn’t even make it into the novel. And that’s okay. Most readers don’t care that Annie (Letters Never Sent) was fascinated with/had a crush on Amelia Earhart. It didn’t figure into the story. But knowing that about Annie, I was able to take that sense of adventure and fearlessness that she loved about Amelia Earhart and incorporate that into her own bold and assertive approach to the world.


 

I do that with all of my main characters. And since All We Lack was released April 1, I thought I would share (for anyone who is interested) a portion of the character profile for Maggie Anthony, the closeted, lesbian funeral director in Seymour, Indiana, who is going to meet a woman with whom she had a brief relationship the year before.

 

As background, All We Lack is the story of four characters who are on an express bus from New York City to Boston. Maggie is a funeral director from Indiana who lives a double life. Bug is a ten-year-old boy in the Pennsylvania foster care system who is being sent to live with an aunt he doesn't know. Jimmy is a former paramedic and prescription drug addict on his way to meet a woman he met online who thinks he's a successful doctor. Helen is a Chicago insurance investigator who is leaving her marriage in search of the woman she wants to be. Seemingly, they are strangers. But in actuality, they’re not because they are tied together in ways they don’t even realize.

 

So, Maggie ... what do we know about her? Well, in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m going to share the first part of the actual character profile notes. This is the exact profile from which I worked and I have left any errors in place. If you’re read All We Lack, you might learn some new things about Maggie and if you haven’t ... well, then maybe you will find her interesting enough to want to know more.

 


Maggie Anthony:

·        Maggie Anthony is 31 and, despite being an introvert, is very successful in her career as a funeral director. She derives satisfaction from helping people through one of the most horrible times of their lives.

·        She is terrified of flying, though not because her parents died in a plane crash – which is how she inherited the funeral home in Seymour, Indiana – but rather of being trapped in such a small space. She prefers being able to see the scenery and being able to open a window and escape if need be (telling characteristic). Usually, she drives wherever she needs to go, but in this instance, she’s presenting at a Professional Women’s Conference as part of the NFDA and needs the travel time to work on her presentation. She was going to take the train, but the times didn’t work with her schedule.

·        Though she is travelling to a conference to present, that’s not really why she’s going. She’s going so she can see Sarah, with whom she had a weekend fling a year before. That fling was very out of character because generally, Maggie only has anonymous, one-night stands. The reasons why she does this are complicated. She lives in a small town where reputation is everything and being a funeral director is kind of a turn-off for many women. Also, she has an aversion to relationships. Her father, Franklin, cheated on her mother with his office manager, Betty Jo.

·        She had her heart broken by Rachel (a girl in high school to whom she couldn’t commit because she wouldn’t come out. NOTE:  Rachel later kills herself after they argue.) Also, Maggie doesn’t want the pain that she sees every day when someone has to bury their spouse. It’s too hard. She cannot commit to anyone or anything aside from her career and sees these meaningless trysts as close to intimacy as she can allow herself. She goes to Indianapolis to pick up one-night stands and never uses her real name.

·        She keeps people at a distance because she’s scared of being hurt, but also because she doesn’t understand people – not really. Her experience with Rachel proved that. And then, Sarah. The fact that Sarah looked so much like her first love is part of what draws and scares her so much.

·        She chooses her clothing for the trip carefully, planning both for the conference activities and for seeing Sarah and going to the bars. She has spent the last year obsessing over Sarah and she has no alternative but to come to some resolution regarding her obsession with her. She has, over the past six months, followed Sarah online, Googled her, etc. She finds herself following  her on Facebook even as she tries not to care.

·        Her favorite color is black and her least favorite is yellow (which she thinks makes her look sallow)

·        She didn’t want to be a funeral director, but when her brother refused to take over the family business, she went through a funeral sciences program and got her license. She did it to please her father. She is unsure if she made the right choice, but accepts that it’s the choice she made and that she has to live with it.

·        Maggie has a challenging relationship with her brother, Ben. He is a “tortured” soul who struggles with his dark side and has trouble finding his way/place in the world. Despite being younger than him, Maggie is the responsible one – the caretaker. She sends him money when he needs it and is always prepared to learn of his death (months after the fact). She envies him in that he did what he wanted instead of kowtowing to societal expectations. 

·        Usually, she wears dark, somber suits and exudes a quiet sophistication. She has perfected the “soft, consoling” tone of voice to the point that she finds herself occasionally using it when not counseling the grieving. For the trip, she wears jeans, riding boots and a simple top. Her dark, shoulder-length hair is pulled back and her fingernails are French manicured. She likes wrist watches, not bracelets or rings. She likes white rather than yellow gold. She prefers black to brown leather. She carries a purse, but not on this trip. Rather, she is using her leather briefcase.

·        She fears getting old and losing her figure. She works out (running) and does yoga. She tried Pilates, but prefers yoga.

·        She eats organic and has tried several times to be a vegetarian. She likes sushi – particularly sashimi, but is scared to have it in the Midwest. She likes to get up in the middle of the night and eat almond butter and honey sandwiches, though later she feels guilty for the calorie/sugar bomb.

·        She prefers vodka – upper end (Ketel One or Gray Goose). She likes martinis but not sweet drinks. Dirty or filthy vodka martinis are her favorite.

·        She has a scar on her inside left wrist, but won’t tell anyone how she got it. (It was when she and Rachel had climbed a fence to go skinny-dipping in a pond outside of town.)

·        She considers herself an honest person, though she knows she lies to herself.

·        She can only dance after a few drinks.

·        She once stole a tube of lipstick from a department store to just see if she could do it. It wasn’t even really her color but she made herself use all of it as punishment.

·        She hates the smell of eucalyptus and lilies.

 

There are actually two more pages of notes that include her birth date, astrological sign and characteristics), the fact that she’s right handed and all her vital stats. But I think, for sake of space, I’ll stop and simply sum up by saying that I hope this illustrates about how I write and how I create characters. I’m not sure it’s helpful, but perhaps it does shed light on the character of Maggie and her relationship with Sarah and the other characters in the novel

 

For the first four chapters of All We Lack or to see examples of my other work, feel free to go to www.sandramoran.com. I always love getting emails, so also, feel free to drop me a line or ask any questions.

 
Thank you for the opportunity to visit Word Affair. It’s been an honor to be included. Thanks for reading.


 
About Sandra:
 
Sandra Moran is an author and assistant adjunct professor of anthropology at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. 
A native Kansan, she has worked professionally as a newspaper journalist, a political speech writer, and an archaeological tour manager. In her novels, she strives to create flawed characters struggling to find themselves within the cultural constructs of gender, religion and sexuality.  
She is the author of "Letters Never Sent," "Nudge," and “The Addendum,” a companion piece to “Nudge.” Her most recent novel, “All That We Lack” was released April 1, 2015.