About Marin McGinnis

Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page, but she came fairly late to writing. She dabbled with a mystery in her 20s, but didn’t start writing in earnest until after she discovered historical romance a decade or so later. While her very first manuscript will forever languish under the bed, the next one, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next three books, Secret Promise, Tempting Mr. Jordan, and Treasure Her Heart, were also published by The Wild Rose Press. Check out her Bookshelf for more info. Marin lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with her family. She is represented by Margaret Bail of Fuse Literary.

New Year’s Reflections–2016

So here it is, January again, and it’s time for my annual reflection on the year past. Last January my goals for 2015 were modest ones–sort of–and I’m ready to check in to see how I did.

1. Publish my second book (fingers crossed my editor likes it!)

She did, and I did. 🙂 My second book, Secret Promise, released October 30. SecretPromise_w9701_750

2. Finish and submit two more books

Um, no. I started four books, but haven’t finished any of them, yet. One of the things that 2015 taught me is that it’s okay to go at my own pace, and that my pace is slow and meandering, like those Family Circus cartoons showing Jeff’s wandering path through the neighborhood–yes, that’s my brain.

3. Go to the RWA National Conference in New York

PCers RWA15 with AM

Me, at left, and some of my amazing HSG friends

I did! It was fun and informative, and I got to shake the hands of some of my favorite authors. Although I usually wanted to curl up in a tiny ball of introvert at the end of the day, I am glad I went. I even pitched to an agent for the first time, which was a bit demoralizing (she hated the idea I pitched, which led to the unfinished nature of one of those books above) but not quite as bad as I thought it would be (she was very nice and liked an idea for another one–also one of the books above). My husband and son came to NYC with me, so we spent hours at the end of most days, exploring the city and eating phenomenal food.

4. Go to England for *ahem* research11223860_10207368133666426_1523299708498267649_n

Didn’t make it to England, but I did make it to Paris for my 20th wedding anniversary, which was awfully nice. It did, however, involve more wandering through museums, eating amazing French food, and drinking delicious French wine than research, and I left my laptop at home. 🙂

So what’s on tap for 2016?

2016 will see me finish at least two books (really!), and hopefully more. One is very close to done, thanks in large part to my discovery of the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival. Check it out, writer friends!

I hope to make it to RWA Nationals again this year, since it’s in San Diego, which I love. I would like to query one of those books mentioned above to an agent, and see where that goes. And I still desperately want to make that trip to England.

As always in January, despite the snow and the cold (and this year, the mind-numbing sadness at the loss of so much artistic talent), I am hopeful about the new year’s possibilities.

May you reach for, and achieve, your own dreams. Happy New Year!

About Marin McGinnis

Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page, but she came fairly late to writing. She dabbled with a mystery in her 20s, but didn’t start writing in earnest until after she discovered historical romance a decade or so later. While her very first manuscript will forever languish under the bed, the next one, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next three books, Secret Promise, Tempting Mr. Jordan, and Treasure Her Heart, were also published by The Wild Rose Press. Check out her Bookshelf for more info. Marin lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with her family. She is represented by Margaret Bail of Fuse Literary.

The Romance of Autumn

It’s Autumn again here in Northeast Ohio. I adore Autumn. I love the crispness of the air, the smell of burning leaves (it’s illegal to burn leaves here, so I always wonder where that smell comes from…), fresh apple cider, pumpkin pie, hot soups and stews, warm, cozy sweaters. I love the crunch of newly fallen leaves underfoot, the rich color of the trees, and the dark, dark blue of the sky on a stormy day. It’s the season of my birthday, Halloween, the Annual NEORWA retreat, and my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.

 

I tend not to focus on the fact that fall means winter is coming. Winters are pretty harsh here–last year was really a doozy–but living in Cleveland teaches one to live in the moment, at least as far as the weather is concerned. So I enjoy the awesomeness that is Autumn, and worry about winter later.

Pumpkins 2012

 

This year I have more reasons than usual to look forward to Autumn. In addition to my 50th birthday, this October brings the release of my second book, Secret Promise.  I started to write it in during NaNoWriMo in November 2013, finished it in November 2014, and it takes place largely in the fall, so I had many of the things I love about the season in mind as I wrote.

 

Here’s the blurb and an excerpt:

Secret Promise (October 30, 2015)

SecretPromise_w9701_750Falsely imprisoned as a blockade-runner during the American Civil War, Edward Mason yearns to go home. But when after seven years he finally returns to England, the life he expected is gone. His parents are dead, his home destroyed, his father’s legacy stolen, and his girl—his girl is now the single mother of a child Edward never knew.

Abandoned by the man she loved and disowned by her family, Anna Templeton has learned to stand on her own two feet and make a home for her son. Now the successful owner of The Silver Gull tavern, she’s not about to put their happiness in the hands of the one man who let her down so badly.

Edward is determined to regain Anna’s love and be a father to his son. But when a series of suspicious accidents threaten him and those he loves, he must stop the man responsible, or lose everything.

Available in ebook and trade paperback from The Wild Rose Press and Amazon. Also available for Nook and Kobo.

Excerpt:

She meandered back to the bar through the now empty room, scooting chairs under tables, watching Edward, who now sat slumped over his untouched drink. Lightly squeezing his shoulder, she leaned against the bar at his side.

“What’s the matter? Other than the obvious, of course.”

Edward snorted with little humor and did not look at her. “The obvious. Shouldn’t that be enough to make me cry into my bitter?”

“A different man, maybe. Not you.” She thought for a minute as she gazed at him. He was older, certainly; they both were. He was harder, more…careworn, she supposed, although the scar added an air of devilishness she had to admit was really quite appealing.

She reached out and traced the mark with her index finger before she could stop herself, feeling the warm flush of his skin. Edward barely stirred, just eyed her from beneath his impossibly long, dark lashes.

“But you’re not the same man you were when you left, are you?”

“No. And you aren’t the same woman, I imagine.” He grabbed her hand to keep it still. She could feel the beat of his heart racing through her fingertips. Hers was not far behind.

She pulled her hand away before she rushed headlong into something she wasn’t sure she was ready to do, and changed the subject. “You never did tell me how you got that scar.”

Edward rose from his stool, tossed a coin onto the bar. “No, I didn’t.” In a single movement, he pulled her to him, pressing his lips to hers. She closed her eyes, tasting. He was the same as he had been on the cliff top, or at least the way she remembered him. Salty, sweet, the slightest bit sour from his last drink, all mixed together with something that was uniquely Edward. She wanted to crawl inside him, become part of him again, just as she had seven years before.

She moaned, grasping him tighter, even as he pulled away. Her eyelids fluttered as her brain tried to understand the absence of him. He rubbed a finger along her bottom lip, his gaze burning through hers.

“Not yet, Anna. You aren’t ready to take me back. But you will.” He kissed her again, hard, then was gone. Her legs were jelly as she slumped against the bar.

“No, not yet,” she breathed into the empty room. “But bloody close.”

 

About Marin McGinnis

Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page, but she came fairly late to writing. She dabbled with a mystery in her 20s, but didn’t start writing in earnest until after she discovered historical romance a decade or so later. While her very first manuscript will forever languish under the bed, the next one, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next three books, Secret Promise, Tempting Mr. Jordan, and Treasure Her Heart, were also published by The Wild Rose Press. Check out her Bookshelf for more info. Marin lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with her family. She is represented by Margaret Bail of Fuse Literary.

Guest Post — AE Jones is back!

We are delighted to welcome paranormal romance author AE Jones back to Through Heart Shaped Glasses. AE’s long awaited fifth installment to the Mind Sweeper series comes out next week! Today she talks about one of her inspirations.

How This TV Addict Became a Writer

I am often asked what influences my writing. A great question even if my answer might be a bit of a surprise. I do have a degree in English and I love all kinds of literature, but in all honesty, television is one of the major influences of my becoming a writer. Growing up, I was a TV junkie. You name it and I watched it. And when I didn’t like the way a show was written, I imagined a different ending. Actually wrote it out, so to speak, in my head. And that was the beginning of my ‘writing’. It wasn’t until years later that I started to create my own stories. Even now when I write my scenes, I see them in my head acted out like a TV show.

Where did my love of paranormal and urban fantasy and my decision to write in these genres stem from? That started with sci-fi shows which then morphed over the years into vamps and demons when director/producer Joss Whedon set the stage. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. Shows that were funny one second and dripping with emotion the next. And the humor was smart-funny and so ridiculously sarcastic that it made you laugh out loud.

Where did my love of humor, sarcasm, and angst and applying it to my stories start? See paragraph above re: Joss Whedon.

But one of the biggest influences of television on my writing is that I write series books. TV shows allow you to spend time with the characters who have become your friends and get to know them along the way. It’s not a snapshot in time. A perfect 90 minute rom-com where the hero runs through the airport to find the heroine after realizing (finally) that they are meant to be together. Well, this could happen in one of my stories, but I would have to add fangs and fur and, more importantly, these characters would be seen again in other books in my series. Just as I sat transfixed watching a show and wondering what would happen the next episode or next season (daggone cliffhangers), I write my books in a way that allows me to explore the character not only in one book, but over multiple books.

In my Mind Sweeper series I follow the life of Kyle McKinley, a woman who has the ability to manipulate memories. And that’s a great power to have when you work with supernatural to hide who and what they are from humans. For me, series books allow for the exploration of all kinds of relationships. Not just between the hero and heroine, but between the secondary characters as well. And not all of the interactions are successful or happy. They can often be painful. But the point is to allow the characters to grow, whether over one book or several.

On September 21st, Sentinel Lost, the fifth book in my Mind Sweeper Series, will be released. And in it, Kyle continues to grow and change as do the characters around her. And because I’m writing a series, I am able to delve into my other character lives as well. They want their stories told. And I will oblige them. Ultimately what makes a good book or a good TV show is characters facing conflict. They might not come out unscathed, but readers (or the audience) aren’t looking for perfection. They’re wanting to see these characters, who have become their friends, rise above it in the end.

So television has played a large role in my life as a writer, and I’m proud to admit it!

Sentinel Lost
(Book 5 in the Award Winning Mind Sweeper Series)

How many supernaturals does it take to screw in a lightbulb? For this particular case, way more than Kyle McKinley has backing her up.

When she stumbles upon a dark museum, missing artwork, and a dead security guard, Kyle and her team are thrust into a new mystery. One involving demons. But not your run of the mill demons—realm demons. Tougher, scarier, and banned from earth, they are escaping from the realm and wreaking havoc in Cleveland, Ohio, of all places.

Now the Feds have shown up, and Kyle has to deal with the one person she prayed she would never see again. Dalton. How can she keep the truth of their past from him without jeopardizing the case? Especially when the Key of Knowledge is part of the mystery. The same Key that almost cost Dalton his sanity and is now threatening hers. Kyle is just starting to get her life back together again with Griffin at her side. And now the Fates are forcing her to choose. But when a demon apocalypse looms on the horizon, her only choice is to embrace the Key to save the world, regardless of what it might cost her.

********************

AE JonesGrowing up a TV junkie, AE Jones oftentimes rewrote endings of episodes in her head when she didn’t like the outcome. She immersed herself in sci-fi and soap operas. But when Buffy hit the little screen, she knew her true love was paranormal. Now she spends her nights weaving stories about all variation of supernatural—their angst and their humor. After all, life is about both…whether you sport fangs or not.

AE won RWA’s 2013 Golden Heart ® Award for her paranormal manuscript, Mind Sweeper. Mind Sweeper was also a 2015 RWA RITA® finalist for both First Book and Paranormal Romance.

AE lives in Ohio surrounded by her eclectic family and friends who in no way resemble any characters in her books. Honest. Now her two cats are another story altogether.

Find AE at:
Website: www.aejonesauthor.com
Twitter: @aejonesauthor
Facebook: www.facebook.com/aejones.author1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8190719.A_E_Jones

Find AE’s books here:
Amazon
Kobo
Apple

About Marin McGinnis

Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page, but she came fairly late to writing. She dabbled with a mystery in her 20s, but didn’t start writing in earnest until after she discovered historical romance a decade or so later. While her very first manuscript will forever languish under the bed, the next one, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next three books, Secret Promise, Tempting Mr. Jordan, and Treasure Her Heart, were also published by The Wild Rose Press. Check out her Bookshelf for more info. Marin lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with her family. She is represented by Margaret Bail of Fuse Literary.

Novel Settings

Today I thought I’d run with the ball that Nina threw out in her last post and talk about setting. Setting can be many things to a story–a backdrop, something that defines a character, or it can become a character itself. Think, for example, of Harry Potter–Hogwarts is absolutely essential to the story. Setting can also be dangerous–raise your hand if you’ve ever read a book in which the writer spends pages and pages describing the setting. I usually skip those scenes, as they bore me to tears. I tend to think of settings as a backdrop. They are integral to my stories in that I find it hard to imagine the characters anywhere else, but they don’t usually become characters themselves.

Durham Cathedral fall 1985

Durham Cathedral

How writers decide where to set a book is a curious thing as well. I almost always think of a setting first–inspired by something I’ve done, seen, or read–and then the story follows. Equally curious is the fact that some places–beautiful, wondrous places–spark no inspiration at all. I spent some time in Nebraska last year, and in Paris this year, and neither of them, interesting and unique (and different) as they are, gave me any ideas for a story. Not yet, anyway.

My first book, Stirring Up the Viscount, is set in Durham, England. I lived there for a year in college a very long time ago and vividly remember it, and when I sat down to write that book, Durham is where I pictured it.

Tynemouth Priory. Attribution: Chris McKenna (Thryduulf)

 

 

My second book, Secret Promise, is set in Northumberland, in a town I’ve never visited, but when I found a picture of Tynemouth online, I knew the book had to be set there.

Mansion of Sylvester T. Everett on Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH, 1885. Attribution: Cornell University Library.

 

 

I am working on two books at the moment. One is the third book in the series which started with Stirring Up the Viscount. It’s set in northern Maine–a rather drastic change from Durham, and a place I’ve never been. A fourth book, completely unrelated to anything, takes place in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1880s, inspired by a talk I heard last year about Cleveland’s Gilded Age. I’ve got ideas in the hopper for books set in Pompeii and London.

If you’re a writer, how do you decide on your settings? If you’re a reader, what is your favorite setting for novels? Where would you love to see a story set? You never know–it might give me an idea. 🙂

 

About Marin McGinnis

Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page, but she came fairly late to writing. She dabbled with a mystery in her 20s, but didn’t start writing in earnest until after she discovered historical romance a decade or so later. While her very first manuscript will forever languish under the bed, the next one, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next three books, Secret Promise, Tempting Mr. Jordan, and Treasure Her Heart, were also published by The Wild Rose Press. Check out her Bookshelf for more info. Marin lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with her family. She is represented by Margaret Bail of Fuse Literary.

Summertime

This weekend marks the start of summer. ‘Tis the season of weddings (I’m sitting in the airport, on my way to Oklahoma for my nephew’s wedding, as I type this), vacations, no arguments with the kid about homework, warm and lazy afternoons spent reading by the neighborhood pool, firefly chasing, evenings on the patio drinking sangria with friends, and, hopefully, lots of writing as well.

Summer is also the season of writing conferences. I went to one a few weeks ago, hosted by my local Northeast Ohio RWA chapter. It was fun, informative, a bit exhausting. I consider it preparation for my first trip to the RWA National conference in July, which will, I expect, be like the NEORWA conference on steroids. Lots of steroids. I honestly can’t wait.

Because I’m too tired to keep writing–I had one of those nights where you wake up every 20 minutes because you’re neurotic about oversleeping–I will ask you: What’s your favorite part of summer? What are you most looking forward to this year? And if you’ve been to RWA Nationals, feel free to share some tips!

About Marin McGinnis

Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page, but she came fairly late to writing. She dabbled with a mystery in her 20s, but didn’t start writing in earnest until after she discovered historical romance a decade or so later. While her very first manuscript will forever languish under the bed, the next one, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next three books, Secret Promise, Tempting Mr. Jordan, and Treasure Her Heart, were also published by The Wild Rose Press. Check out her Bookshelf for more info. Marin lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with her family. She is represented by Margaret Bail of Fuse Literary.

Guest post – AE Jones: When the Beginning Isn’t the Beginning

Our guest today is award-winning paranormal romance author, AE Jones. AE Jones

When the Beginning Isn’t the Beginning

Writers have a number of commandments. Fundamental truths that apply to any type of writing genre or medium. The commandment I’m going to talk about today is this: a good beginning is imperative to the success of your story.

Does that seem a bit too obvious? Maybe so, but that doesn’t make it any less true. If the story does not capture a reader within the first couple of pages (some say the first couple of paragraphs) they will put the book back on the shelf in the library or bookstore. Now that digital sample chapters are one-click away for readers, this truth is even more the case. The beginning needs to draw the reader in.

But hand-in-hand with the whole ‘good beginning’ mantra is another truth: beginnings are very hard to write. Well that doesn’t seem fair now, does it? So how about if we delve into some of the reasons why beginnings are hard to write. Because when we understand the why, we can then learn how to fix it.

  • Backstory. Both a writer’s friend and enemy, backstory is necessary to establish the reason why the characters act the way they do. However, that doesn’t mean that the first chapter should be chock full of what they have done in the past. With backstory we often fall into the trap of telling rather than showing. And telling equates to passive writing, which is not what we want at the beginning of our stories. Often for many writers (myself included) that first draft of chapter one is really a character analysis. If that is the case, then move that chapter into a folder marked ‘characters’ and start again. This time don’t give the reader paragraphs of hearsay or what has happened in their childhood, instead tease the reader with hints of the character’s life through dialogue and action.
  • Starting at the wrong place. This one happens a lot. Some of this goes hand in hand with backstory since as authors we have a misplaced belief that everything needs to be explained up front when it can actually be layered into the story later. Often it’s a matter of finding when the writing starts to ‘click.’ No one is going to immediately write snappy, full-developed scenes when they first sit down and start a new story. But maybe after a few pages or chapters, the story finally comes alive and starts to flow. Don’t be surprised if that’s where your story truly begins.
  • Trying too hard. There is a lot of pressure to write the perfect first line, first paragraph, and first chapter. When sitting down in front of our computer and watching that blinking cursor flash on that empty page, we panic. To help with that panic tell yourself that the first words you write, heck the first couple pages you write are a warm up. They will be re-worked or discarded before you finally have the ‘right’ beginning for your story. If you keep that in mind, typing those first words isn’t as daunting a task.

What I find often happens is that as the story progresses and the characters come alive on the pages, the beginning no longer fits with the rest of tale. Don’t be afraid to go back and rework those first scenes so that they are now in line with where your story has evolved. Any way to make those pages memorable means that you have a better chance of a reader NOT putting your book down until they read ‘the end’. And that’s every writer’s wish. Another commandment, if you will.

AE Jones’ newest release is a box set of two novellas from her Mind Sweeper series:

novellas 3d boxset copyThe Fledgling – A Novella

Vampire Jean Luc Delacroix has been alive for nearly four hundred years. Alive, but not really living. This changes when he meets newly turned vampire, Talia. Feisty and beautiful, Talia is the first female Jean Luc has been attracted to in centuries. But when he finds out she is also a bounty hunter who is interfering with his investigation of a supernatural serial killer, he pushes her away for her and his own good.

Bitten and thrust into the supernatural world against her will, Talia wants nothing more than to do her job. She doesn’t have time to deal with an overbearing, ridiculously sexy vampire. But Jean Luc and Talia butt heads on their single-minded crusade to stop a murderer. And unless they can set aside their troubled pasts and learn to trust each other, they may never have an opportunity to explore their true feelings. Especially when they face off with the killer.

The Pursuit – A Novella

Thirty years after their initial meeting, Jean Luc Delacroix and Talia Walker once again cross paths. After seeing Talia again, Jean Luc’s feelings reignite. This time he will do whatever it takes to make her a permanent part of his life. Talia learned everything she knows about love—and about being a vampire—from Jean Luc. And when she comes face to face with Jean Luc again, she wonders if her continued independence is as important as being with the vampire she still loves.

Before either can acknowledge their feelings, they are embroiled in a deadly case of a vampire draining humans. In the midst of an investigation that threatens the very foundation of the vampire nation, can Jean Luc and Talia finally find the courage to follow their hearts? Or will the killer destroy them first?

Buy links:
Amazon
iTunes
Kobo

You can find out more about AE Jones here:
Website: aejonesauthor.com
Twitter: @aejonesauthor
Facebook: www.facebook.com/aejones.author1

About Marin McGinnis

Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page, but she came fairly late to writing. She dabbled with a mystery in her 20s, but didn’t start writing in earnest until after she discovered historical romance a decade or so later. While her very first manuscript will forever languish under the bed, the next one, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next three books, Secret Promise, Tempting Mr. Jordan, and Treasure Her Heart, were also published by The Wild Rose Press. Check out her Bookshelf for more info. Marin lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with her family. She is represented by Margaret Bail of Fuse Literary.

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