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Come visit w/Nationally Best Selling Deborah Cooke and join our #giveaway! #Dragonfire #UF #PNR #romance

Good morning Swamp Folks! How are we doing this fine spring morning? Did you all make it past Dreamer’s SnapDragons? *wincing* Yeah, seems the seedlings got mixed with the Venus FlyTraps, hence the sharp teeth on those little puppies.

Well, now that you’re all settled in, get ready, because today we welcome the Nationally Best Selling Mistress of the hunky men of her Dragonfire series–Deborah Cooke . You may also recognize her as Claire Delacroix, the NY Times Best Selling authoress.

And because Deborah is such awesome sauce, she’s going to do a giveaway right here!

So in the comments, share with us a piece of life advice you found helpful or not so helpful and you could be our lucky winner of:

A SIGNED TRADE PAPERBACK OF THE DRAGON LEGION COLLECTION!

Dragonfire is a paranormal romance series featuring dragon shape shifter heroes on quest to save humanity 

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Don’t forget to include your email so we can reach out and gift you! (winner announced on 3/19/14)

Without further ado, I give you Deborah…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten.  Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

Well, maybe this is backwards, but I always wanted to be a writer. I was an avid reader as a kid and just loved books. I also loved making up stories. Now we’d call it fan fiction, but I used to continue the stories of characters I’d met in books. The idea that I could be someone who wrote books, who was responsible for putting stories out into the world, was just a thrilling possibility. I was told, though, that being a writer wasn’t a practical way to make a living, that I should write as a hobby and find a “real” job instead. Well, writing books isn’t a practical way to make a living, but if it’s what you want to do, “real” jobs are just too boring to endure. I had real jobs for a while and ended up scribbling books on the side. I had to follow my bliss, and I did. Even before I sold my first book, I quit my real job and I’ve never looked back. It’s been challenging sometimes but so rewarding that you take the challenges in stride.

–I did the same thing for books and movies, generally creating my own character, because, well, because I’m a writer.  I also heard the same thing about writing not being a “real” job. *snort* Shows what they know.  I’ve got a plan where the day job goes bye-bye, but we’re not quite there yet. Soon, though *rubbing hangs together*

If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?

I expect my characters would be frustrated with me for not writing more quickly. They’d accuse me of being easily distracted by shiny new ideas, which isn’t entirely unfair. Shiny new ideas are exciting! The fact is that I’m pretty prolific, but I still have too many ideas to write them all as quickly as even I’d like. I also have a tendency to create secondary characters who want to steal the book so they can have their own stories told. I make them wait, even though they’re interesting, and they don’t like it. The line of characters wanting their particular book written forms to the right, and my office tends to be pretty crowded. So long as no one fictional does injury to anyone else fictional, I’m okay with the crowd. I doubt they feel the same way – and really, if I was waiting on an HEA, I’d be impatient too. This also explains why I talk when I’m writing, but I’m not really talking to myself (although it looks like it): I’m calming the crowd. =0)

–Yep, have to watch for others listening in, they start to consider us “unbalanced”.  Explaining it, seems to make it worse!

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere?  Inquiring minds want to know: what was  your first attempt at writing and how old were you?

I made many first attempts at writing, and took creative writing classes in high school. The first full length book that I completed is the proverbial one under the bed. It’s a paranormal romantic suspense set in Venice. I loved that story to bits and revised it many (many!) times. I really didn’t have the skill to do a good job with such a complicated hybrid genre book then. I submitted it to many publishers and agents, but in 1990, there was no market for that kind of book. There still might not be a market for it, but over the years, it’s haunted me and I now have a better plan of how to write it. I might rewrite it one of these days. We’ll see. For now, those characters have joined the line in my office.

–So I’m going to ask, do you have one of those paper ticket dispensers, like a deli? “Please take a number and we will serve you as soon as we can.” =0)

What’s some of the funniest/sweetest/strangest things you’ve heard from your readers?

I’m always honoured to hear from readers. There’s something so private about the act of writing that it’s frequently a bit startling to realize that other people are actually reading my books. Of course, that’s the point of publishing them, but still, it’s very exciting to hear from a reader. The sweetest thing someone can say is “I loved your book X.” Wow! That never fails to give me a thrill. Meeting readers in person is also a treat. One of the most exciting changes for writers is the development of the internet and the opportunity it gives of interacting with readers, through blogs, emails or other social media. It’s so much fun to have that immediacy and even to be able to correspond.

–Well, let me be another one, I love, love your Dragon series (and I know Snarky is just almost speechless that you’re visiting).

What is some of the best advice you were ever given?

It wasn’t given to me specifically, but is from the writings of Joseph Campbell: Follow your bliss. You have to do what makes you happy, regardless of whether other people (or even you) think it’s a sensible choice. Another saying I just love comes from Julia Cameron and the Artist’s Way: Leap and the net will appear. That’s about trusting your instincts and following your heart (as well as your bliss). We know more than we believe we do, and need to be reminded to trust in ourselves and our own instincts.

–Instincts, we have ’em for a resin =0)

Time for our favorite things, our bullet list…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Whatever suits the character. =0)

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

I love so many, but would choose Beauty and the Beast.

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

My TBR pile is very scary. It fills an entire bookshelf in my office. On my nightstand, though, are Agatha Christie: The Mousetrap and other plays (I admit I’ve been on a bit of an AC binge this fall.)
Margo Lanagan: The Brides of Rollrock Island (This is just lovely. I’m trying to ready slowly and savour.)
Ursula K. Leguin: Voices (Recommended by a friend who reads a ton more fantasy than me. I love UKL’s work, though, and am looking forward to diving in.)

Greatest one liner of all time?

“I know.”  Hans Solo en route to his inevitable demise, right after Princess Leia cries “Hans! I love you!”

–Ah yes, Star Wars, greatest space soap opera EVER!

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Oh, I like wry humor. The deadpanned one-liner is my fave.

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

Hmm. There’s the usual clutter of books, music dvd’s, computer parts, notebooks, file folders and knitting in various stages of completion.

Favorite supernatural creature?

Dragons, of course. (Shape-shifting dragons that can become hunky heroes are even better.)

–LOL!

Much thanks to Deborah for taking time out of her very busy schedule to be with us! Don’t forget to leave your comment and email below. 

Need more…

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Bestselling and award-winning author Deborah Cooke has published over fifty novels and novellas, including historical romances, fantasy romances, fantasy novels with romantic elements, paranormal romances, contemporary romances, urban fantasy romances, time travel romances and paranormal young adult novels. She writes as herself, Deborah Cooke, as Claire Delacroix, and has written as Claire Cross. She is nationally bestselling, as well as a USA Today and New York Times’ bestselling author. Her Claire Delacroix medieval romance, The Beauty, was her first book to land on the New York Times List of Bestselling Books.

Deborah was the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Public Library in 2009, the first time TPL hosted a residency focused on the romance genre, and she was honored to receive the Romance Writers of America PRO Mentor of the Year Award in 2012.

Currently, she’s writing the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances as Deborah Cooke, and the True Love Brides series of medieval romances (with fantasy elements) as Claire Delacroix.

The current Dragonfire release is The Dragon Legion Collection, which includes three paranormal romance novellas. You can read more about it right here:
http://deborahcooke.com/deborah-cooke-books/dragonfire/the-dragons-legion-novellas/

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The current True Love Brides release is The Highlander’s Curse, which is a paranormal Scottish medieval romance. You can read more about it right here:
http://deborahcooke.com/claire-delacroix-books/the-true-love-brides/the-highlanders-curse

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Deborah has also republished a trilogy of urban fantasy romances featuring fallen angel heroes and set in a dystopian future called the Prometheus Project. There’s a new fourth book in the series called Abyss and you can read more about it right here:
http://deborahcooke.com/claire-delacroix-books/the-prometheus-project/abyss/

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Find Deborah at these locations:

Deborah’s website and blog is http://deborahcooke.com

Deborah is on Facebook as herself:
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahCookeFanPage
and also as Claire Delacroix:
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix

Deborah is on Goodreads as Claire:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12694.Claire_Delacroix

Let’s go Historical w/@maggiandersen #historicalromance #romance

(Brushing the last of the packing tape off the porch) Welcome back, my swampy friends. Now that we’re all settled in, time for us to get back into the groove. Today we welcome the talented Maggi Andersen with her historical hunks and daunting debutantes. Now, I may be an avid Urban Fantasy and Romantic Suspense fan, but I cut my reading teeth on historicals. So if you like your history with a little pulse pounding adventure, gather ’round and make Maggi feel at home. She’s come a long way from the Land Down Under…

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As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I can remember always wanting to tell stories, but I also dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer. Not a good idea as it turned out. I’m tall and broad-shouldered. It would have been cruel to expect the male dancers to lift me aloft. After reality struck, I toyed with pursuing a career as an interior designer, but while working in a shop, I discovered my ideas were too idiosyncratic to appeal to most of the customers. They all wanted beige at that time, and I was bored.
My creativity was then directed into raising three children while renovating houses and designing gardens. I worked in my husband’s law office, and attended university. I didn’t begin to write creatively until quite late.

–I think raising three kiddos and creating garden oasises would be challenging enough, then to take on writing? Kudos, Maggie, just kuddos…

If your character(s) came with a warning label, what would it say?

Beware: My heroes are too sexy to resist. And my heroines have minds of their own.

–got to love those independent natures, they make us travel paths we’d probably never peek down…

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys. Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting). Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape? We’re you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

I have. When I first began, I used to write without worrying about how it turned out. Consequently I ended up with an unstructured mess which required a lot of rewriting. Now, before I begin to write, I have a few lines of my concept taped to my computer to remind me of how it affects the book in every scene, and a good idea of where I’m going.

–The more I write, the more I learn how utterly wild it is I ever finished the first book, considering how much I fumbled along with out a map. Pantsing is great, but some days a few sign posts can make a world of difference…

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

I didn’t think I’d write science fiction, but I just wrote a story for my grandson, and it was fun. Probably horror. Can’t watch scary movies, so I doubt I could do that genre justice.

–I’m not the greatest at the slasher flicks either, but writing it–that works for me…However, I’ll leave the genre to those who do it well (King, Eerie…)

What is the best advice you can share with others?

Whether you’ve plotted it out, or are a panster, just write the scene. Don’t edit, and don’t judge what you’ve written until you finish and do a second draft. You can always improve on what is on the page. The more you write the better you get. And don’t be too impatient to send that manuscript out. Put it aside for a while, you’ll be amazed at the improvements you can make to it with a fresh pair of eyes.

–Great advice, unfortunately, it’s one of the hardest to follow….

And now, Maggi, prepare yourself for our Bullet List…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

All of them. They’re Regency spies.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Cinderella. The story is quite old; first appearing in Ancient Greece.

–Wow, I didn’t know that…how cool.

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

I’m reading my third, Anne Perry book, Paragon Walk.
Next, is The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan.
Then, Beyond Innocence, by Joanna Lloyd.

Greatest one liner of all time?

Oscar Wilde “The English country gentleman galloping after a fox is the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.”

–giggle

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Sarcastic witticism

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

A small book a girlfriend gave me, The Little Book of Dreams.

Favorite supernatural creature?

Werewolves.

Love historical romance? Because, let’s be honest, there’s just something about a man in a cravat. Want more of Maggi? Then check out her TAMING A GENTLEMAN SPY, from her Spies of Mayfair series…

Taming cover
John Haldane, Earl of Strathairn, is on an urgent mission to find the killer of his fellow spy. Has the treasonous Frenchman, Count Forney, returned to England to wreak havoc? Or has someone new landed on English shores to stir up rebellion in the Midlands? After visiting the young widow of one of his agents, Strathairn strengthens his resolve. A spy should never marry. And most certainly not to Lady Sibella Winborne, with her romantic ideas of love and marriage. Unable to give Sibella up entirely, he has kept her close as a friend. And then, weak fool that he is, he kissed her… Lady Sibella Winborne has refused several offers of marriage since her first Season years ago — when she first set eyes on the handsome Earl of Strathairn. Sibella’s many siblings always rush to her aid to discourage an ardent suitor, but not this time. Her elder brother, Chaloner, Marquess of Brandreth, has approved Lord Coombe’s suit. Sibella yearns to set up her own household. She is known to be the sensible member of the family. But she doesn’t feel at all sensible about Lord Strathairn. If only she could forget that kiss…

TAMING A GENTLEMAN SPY NOW AVAILABLE:

AMAZON

KNOX ROBINSON PUBLISHING

AuthorPicMaggi Andersen lives in the countryside outside Sydney, Australia, with her lawyer husband. After gaining a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing, and raising three children, Maggi now indulges her passion for writing.
When not writing she is feeding the local wildlife. Kookaburras (Australian Kingfishers) love to be hand fed.
She writes in several genres, contemporary and historical romances and young adult novels. You’ll find adventure and elements of danger in everyone.
More information on her website: http://www.maggiandersenauthor.com

Find Maggi at these popular locations…

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