Saturday, April 30, 2011

Welcome To Amber Leigh Williams

A huge and warm welcome to Amber Leigh Williams - fellow Wild Rose Press author and lovely, lovely lady. Here's an interview with Amber and some information about Blackest Heart, her current release. Isn't that a fabulous title?
Welcome Amber ... Tell us about your book. What inspired it and how would you sum up your hero?

Hi Judy! Thanks for having me! Blackest Heart is the first book in my western romance trilogy, the Ridges of Wayback, TX – which features the three Ridge family siblings, Keefe, Casey, and Stella. Blackest Heart is Stella’s story. A horrible accident forces her to reevaluate what she wants from life. Though she’s an actress in high demand in Hollywood, she gives it all up to return to her roots in Wayback, TX. She also finds sexy silent cowboy, Judd Black. He turns out to be the only one who can offer her to escape and solace she needs to heal.

Judd is hard to sum up in a few words because, even to me, he’s a bit of an enigma. He’s a bull-rider so I would definitely classify him as an alpha. Those alpha tendencies have been hampered by the trauma of his past, though. If you think Stella’s past is harrowing, wait until you read his. In Blackest Heart, his relationship with Stella and the strong disapproval of her big brother, Keefe, brings out all those delicious alpha tendencies and then the sparks really fly ;)

Blackest Heart was also the 1st Place More Than Magic novella in 2009! 

About Blackest Heart
America's Sweetheart, Stella Ridge has been away from Wayback for fifteen years paving her way to the top of the acting business. When a car accident leaves her physically and emotionally scarred, the only place she wants to go is home to Texas and her family's ranch.
The changes that have taken place since her departure are enough to rock her world again. She uncovers a buried tragedy, struggles with the penetrating stares and questions from townsfolk, and comes up against an intriguing and unexpected spark with the silent cowboy and champion bull rider, Judd Black. Their wounded souls draw them together and Stella begins to realize that only in him can she find the solace she sought by leaving the bright lights of Hollywood.
Buy Links…

2. When and how did you start writing? Do you have a particular process – night owl or early bird? Plotter or pantser? Do you like to get down a word count every day?

I began writing in the third grade, plays and short stories. I progressed onto young adult fiction a bit later. When I was fourteen, I read my first romance and knew instantly that that was what I wanted to write for the rest of my life. I completed my first romance manuscript (Forever Amore, LASR Best Book of 2009 Nominee) when I was eighteen. In 2006, I began writing full-time.

I don’t think I’m either a plot or a pantser. Whatever they call someone who’s in between. I am most definitely a night owl, though. Something about the dark pressing against the windows and the still quiet that comes after a certain time of night really gets my muse going.

3. Tell us your call story - and where were you five years ago with your writing?

My first call was actually an email. It was really late because my husband and I were just getting back from dinner at my parents’ house. I had this weird urge to check my email once before bed and there it was. The funny part of the story is that the next day, before I could respond, both my printer and my computer died. It was a nightmare. Luckily, my second call from a separate publisher was much more auspicious (I spotted two rainbows the day of!).

Five years ago I was just branching out into the publishing/submission world and I hadn’t learned what my writing voice was or if I even had one. I vividly remember crying over my first rejection. It’s amazing how much five years can teach you. I feel like a totally different writer.

4. Which is your own favorite heroine and why?

It’s a tie between Stella, from Blackest Heart, and Lucille from Forever Amore. I put them both through so much during the course of their stories – more than I put my average heroine through, which is quite a lot. It’s that slight guilt complex that every writer feels, I think, when they push characters to their breaking point. I identify more with Lucille, despite the fact that she’s Italian.

5 Fave authors - who inspires you and why?

Nora Roberts has always been my favorite writer. I enjoy her J.D. Robb titles, too. I’m a big fan of Roarke. She’s a natural born storyteller and I really admire how prolific she is and the fact that her writing is completely organic. She flies completely by the seat of her pants and still the book comes out smooth and flowing and the world she paints is rich and lush…. Can you tell I’m a huge fan? 

Similarly, J.R. Ward’s process is fascinating to me, too. She outlines heavily before writing the first draft of her paranormals. The thing I most admire about her is her world building abilities. I lose myself completely in her stories.

6. Fave hero inspirations - go on ... who really makes your eyes pop! Any particular hero inspirations for particular books? What are your ultimate hero qualities?

Did I not mention Roarke? LOL Roarke and Mr. Darcy are two fine members of the hero club and my idea of the ultimate hero. I tend to initially model heroines after real people. Heroes, not so much. They’re mine, all mine J

And if there is a hero club, by the way, I’d like to know where it is and how I can get there immediately! ;)

7. Advice for budding writers?

Never give up. I’ve known one or two writers who have and it’s incredibly sad. My first manuscript took five years from the time of completion to publish. I even have a plaque on my desk that says, “Never, never, never give up!” It should be every writer’s litany.

8. What are you working on next - ambitions for a couple of years from now?

At the moment, I’m almost at the end of my paranormal romance series, which my agent is currently finding a home for. I also just completed a major contemporary romance revision and it looks like we might be putting that into circulation soon, I hope. In a few years, I would love to be more widely distributed but mostly I want to still find the joy in writing I always have. Besides family, that escape is what’s most important to me.

9. Your writing community - where and who have helped you on your way?

I joined Romance Writers of America in June of 2007 as well as the Gulf Coast Chapter of RWA, and a few months later I received my first publishing contract. It’s no coincidence that one happened after the other. I credit RWA and GCCRWA for getting me that far so quickly toward my publishing dream. I also would be nowhere without the WritingGIAM community that I’m a part of online. GIAM members are all excellent writers and wonderful people who inspire me to no end.

10. Revisions - love em or hate em. What nugget of advice would you give about tackling revisions?

Ai, revisions. I don’t love them but I do think they’re necessary. My first manuscript went through no less than six revisions before it was contracted. If life has taught me anything, it’s that change is often necessary in order to move forward in both life and career. Writing is no exception.

Thanks for coming by Amber - it's been great reading about your work. And yes, a hero club ... what a great idea!!!! Count me in for membership.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Check Out My Headliner Ad

If you pop over to The Romance Studio, not only will you find a bevy of romance reading treats - reviews, tasters, competitions and more ...

If you're eagle eyed you can catch my new advert on the top of the page for Nanny Behaving Badly (you may have to refresh your browser a few times as it's a rolling ad!)

I love it and I'd love to know what you think!

Friday, April 22, 2011

I've Been To Rachel's Movie School!

If you haven't popped by the Embrace Blog already - do!

Rachel Lyndhurst is giving a helpful masterclass on how she made her fabulous book trailer! So if you've ever wanted to try ... this'll get you started.

So in the spirit of 'having a bash' and 'Go Diego Go' - voila. Nanny Behaving Badly now has a funky trailer that fits the bill.

Shake your Movie Maker people! Thanks Rachel for the tips and pointers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I Didn't Win ...

...but you know what? My friends who rallied round and tried truly rock!

Thanks so much for the support. It really means a lot.

I must also humbly apologise for the lack of progress on my April Word Count Challenge word worm. Not a lot of action! But I do have good reasons. The revisions cave; everything must stop. Plus I had some p.c. niggles that mean I've been doing written word counts the old fashioned way. Give me time to transcribe and hopefully the word worm will move soon!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Please Vote!

The Nanny Needs Your Vote - Now.

If you'd be so kind, please vote for Nanny Behaving Badly. You have until midnight SUNDAY (US EST) to do it.

Voting is open for your favourite five heart sweetheart review from last week at The Romance Studio. Vote now here.

Nanny Behaving Badly is up against some stiff competition too. If you didn't get a chance to see the review - you can also read it here.

I'd love your vote - it would make my month!! Please vote and make my wild waitress turns sassy nanny a happy bunny! Thank you.

P.S. Pssst - anyone else who can be enlisted to vote appreciated (e.g. pets, passing door-to-door salesmen - all welcome and I have no shame when it comes to splashing for votes).

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Lovely Romance Studio Review

Reviews don't come much better than this so I'm very very happy today. The Romance Studio were very very kind about Nanny Behaving Badly!

For a wee while Nanny was feeling a bit downcast as the Fireman was getting all the attention.

She's happy now! Thank you to reviewer Jay Essay. You can read it all here!

"If you like the characters you are reading about to grab you by the throat and pull you into their world, then this is a book to pick up and enjoy. Be warned, that once you open the first page, you may be reluctant to put it down until you turn the last one, so be prepared to give yourself plenty of time when you start reading. Some books you enjoy, and say 'ahh' when you put it down, some books you enjoy and pass on, and some.. like this one you add to your 'keeper' list."

Overall rating

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Someone, Handcuff My Heroine!

Well I'm cracking on with my cowboy. His name is Gabe and I like him RATHER a lot.

His heroine is Jess and she's just rather - busy. And ballsy. And getting herself tied in knots while the hero is just watching thinking - is this woman mad? Why doesn't she chill, slow down, delegate, smell the coffee?

Anyway, I'm now feeling very bad for Gabe. Because the unforeseen has reared its scary gnashers.

As usually happens when I start writing on and on (most especially I find if I plan a syno) the characters have gone AWOL and the heroine's just done something I didn't see coming at all. And it's shocked me sideways.

How VERY dare she indeed?

Bad woman. I'm going off her. But that's characters for ya!

So is it just me - or do the things you plan for rarely happen in your books? Does the unexpected usually occur when you're all synopsis-ed up? Or is it just me who gets in a pickle with the surprises as soon as I commit to a summary blurb?

NOTE TO SELF: Judy Jarvie must never sub an unfinished book! The gremlins in her brain will roast it on the bonfire of the unexpected and batter it with bizarre plot twists! Remember this! Step sloooooowly away and put the syno gun on the ground. On with the handcuffs.