Welcome to The Author’s Journal, Marilyn! We’re super-excited to learn all about you and your new story, DIRECT DEPOSIT. Let’s share your good news with the world.
1. Who the hell are you and what do you write?
I made an appearance here about eleven months ago and I’m basically still the same person. I’ll give you a quick recap though – part-time admin assistant at a family law firm, mom to two adult sons, Grammy to two adorable granddaughters and writer. I’m still living in north Alabama and I’m hoping the stars will align this year and let me buy a condo. Apartment living has been good but I’d really like something of my own. As for the writer part, I write short contemporary romance and will have two full-length books out in the first quarter of this year. My releases last year were short – a Lunchbox Romance and a novella. I’m moving up to the big leagues now.
Now let’s have a look at that gorgeous cover for DIRECT DEPOSIT.
2. Tell us what you love about your story, DIRECT DEPOSIT
Every author has the “book of her/his heart” and DIRECT DEPOSIT is that book for me. I’m almost ashamed to say it took me over 5 years to write it. I say almost ashamed because I want other writers to know that even if it takes you that long to write a book, you’ve still written a book! How many people say they want to write a book but never start much less complete one? Once I finished this book, I walked on air for ages. Then came reality. I had entered it in an online pitch contest with a major New York publisher and I finaled in the contest. I got a request for the full manuscript. Wow! Then I received the rejection letter. I tweaked the book and pitched it again at an RWA conference. I got a request for a partial and a detailed synopsis, but before I could complete the synopsis, the requirements for the line I had pitched to changed. They added 25,000 words to their minimum word count, and there just weren’t 25,000 more words to tell in this story. So I shelved it and began working on something else. When I finaled in Boroughs Publishing Group’s “What’s in a Name” contest in 2013, part of the prize was being able to submit a full-length manuscript for consideration. So I tweaked again, mostly to update technical things (for example changing flip phones to smart phones) and sent it to my fabulous editor, Jill Limber. I still remember the email I got from her. Before she had even finished reading the manuscript, she liked with the characters, loved the title and she offered me a contract.
This is a story about friends to lovers (well, the hero wasn’t exactly her friend but they weren’t strangers either), a marriage of convenience (I adore this trope) and second chances. What’s not to love about that?
I’m partial to those stories myself, Marilyn!
3. Do you prefer to read fiction or non-fiction?
I’m pretty much a fiction gal. When I was here last, I talked about Netflix being my classroom because I watch so many documentaries on it. I still do. It’s never too late to learn about something or someplace new. Last year I learned I want to visit New England. And Scotland. And Italy – again.
4. Romance/Thrillers/Historical/Horror/Paranormal/Contemporary…? What’s your favorite genre to read? Any recommendations for the crowd?
My favorite genre is contemporary romance. Recommendations? Well… there are my best writing buds Andrea Laurence, Dani Wade, Kimberly Lang and Kira Sinclair. And the fabulous Linda Howard and her BFF Linda Winstead Jones. And one of my BFFs, Roxanne St. Claire. And there are just too many others to list.
5. Any Pet Peeves about Romance?
I don’t have any pet peeves about romance as a genre, but I do have a strong opinion about the romance authors who are self-publishing without having their books edited well and proofread. I’ve been known to say that the great thing about self-publishing is that anyone can publish a book, and it’s also the worst thing. Don’t get me wrong, though. I think self-publishing is awesome. Some of the best books I read in 2014 were self-published romances. But the authors were wise enough to use a professional editor and proofreader. Give me a well-written, well-presented book with a good story and a HEA and I’m a happy reader.
6. Quick – Name the last movie you saw, and did you love it? If so, WHY? If not, WHY NOT?
Just one? I’ve seen two good movies lately. I saw Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and loved it! I haven’t read that third book yet so I don’t know how it ends. I can’t decide if I want to read it and find out or wait until next November and just find out when the second part of the movie comes out. The other good one was Into the Woods. I wasn’t familiar at all with the plot, but it was two hours of toe tapping music and a terrific mash-up of several Grimm’s fairy tales. I love musicals anyway. And can I add a third something to the list? I was lucky enough to win two tickets to every show in our local Broadway Theater League production. These are national touring companies of shows, and the local radio station had a contest back in the fall. I was a preliminary qualifier and when they announced me as the overall winner, I literally whooped! Just a weekend or so ago, I saw the musical production of Sister Act. It’s one of my favorite movies and now it’s a favorite musical. The way the creators took pop music and adapted it to use in a church setting is brilliant.
7. Favorite music to write by?
I write to instrumental music. If the music has lyrics, I’ll find myself singing along and not writing. I have two CD sets that have music for creativity and I have them both on my iPod. The first is by SonicAid and has 4 CDs – one each for concentration, sleep, creativity and relaxation. I use them all, depending on what I need to do. The second is Dr. Jeffrey Thompson’s Brainwave Music System. I had 6 CDs – one each to relax, meditate, sleep, heal, create and awaken. Both CD sets have been scientifically designed to promote creativity, relaxation, sleep, et cetera, by using tones that affect brainwaves. You might think that’s baloney. I’m not even sure about it, but I have to admit I’ve done a lot of productive writing to the creativity CDs.
I want to check those out too. Very New Age, and if it works, then why not?
8. Any advice for new writers?
Read lots in the genre you want to write. Join the national RWA organization and a local chapter if there’s one near you (shout out to Heart of Dixie Romance Writers!). RWA has too many benefits to list here but I wouldn’t be anywhere close to publication without everything I’ve learned at national conferences and my local chapter meetings and workshops. Be persistent. Set realistic goals. Treat your writing seriously and expect others to treat your writing that way too. And don’t compare yourself to other people. You are setting yourself up for disappointment if you do. Remember that contest I mentioned earlier where I finaled and got a request for a full manuscript? That was my first book and my first contest. I’d hit a homerun at my first at-bat. Everyone thought I had it made. What they didn’t know was my marriage was falling apart and I was having a really rough time writing about HEA when my own was ending. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Be yourself. Write YOUR books. Chart your path. Follow your dreams. And I will be the first one there to cheer you on.
9. Describe your project in #140 characters or less: What’s the story line?
A photographer returns after a long assignment & his friend-with-benefits is pregnant. She’s on bedrest; he offers to help. Sparks fly!
I love this premise, Marilyn.
DIRECT DEPOSIT: Family law attorney Maddie Prescott is driven to succeed. A pawn in her parents’ messy divorce, she devoted her career to representing children in court, and when her husband’s early death makes it seem like she can’t have it all, she’s ready to beat the odds by going to a sperm bank. One advantage to single parenthood is that her child will never be a pawn. That, and she’ll never have to deal with sarcastic ladies’ men or liars.
Jack Worth promised to look out for his dying best friend’s wife: a small repayment for someone who once helped an irredeemable bad boy find the path to happiness. So, while Maddie Prescott’s baby plans are questionable, duty and loyalty prompt Jack first to volunteer as the sperm donor…and then to propose a marriage of convenience. And the more he gets to know her, the more this onetime player will see that Maddie is the woman of his dreams, and that the child they will make deserves to be from a direct deposit.
It’s time to move on, Jack,” she told him. “And I think it’s time we stopped these monthly pity parties. We struggle to carry on polite conversation. I choke on every bite of food. You sit there feeling sorry for me. I’ve made some decisions in the last few weeks that will move my life in a new direction. I only hope you’re able to do the same.”
“Is that what the sperm canister is all about?”
Water spewed everywhere.
“How…” Her cheeks burned from embarrassment.
“The letter behind your phone. You aren’t seriously considering going to a sperm bank are you?”
Maddie pushed away from the table and picked up her plate, heading toward the kitchen. “And if I am, what makes it your business?” Chagrin replaced the previous awkwardness.
Jack followed, juggling his plate in one hand as he nudged open the door to the kitchen with his elbow.
“What the hell are you thinking? You’re going to get yourself knocked up by some total stranger so you can play Mommy?” He took her plate and scraped it into the sink.
“No one is knocking me up as you so charmingly put it.” She crossed her arms and leaned against the counter. “The procedure is done in an office by a doctor and—”
“I know how the hell it’s done.”
“Oh? I wasn’t aware The Playboy Channel televised medical documentaries.”
“I watch The Learning Channel, too. Surprised?” He loaded the dishwasher while she looked on in amazement. “What? I’m housebroken. I’m not Emeril, but I cook a mean meatloaf and mashed potatoes.” He squirted dish gel in the dispenser. “From scratch,” he added.
“Quite honestly, nothing about you would surprise me, Jack. What did surprise me was my husband being in business with you. You were as different as… as…”
“Champagne and beer?” he suggested as he rinsed the sink. “Caviar and hot dogs? You and me?”
“You got that right.” Maddie lifted her chin defiantly.
Sounds like Jack and Maddie have their hands full, Marilyn. I can’t wait to read the rest of the story.
DIRECT DEPOSIT releases on January 20, 2015.
Check the Boroughs Publishing Group site and get your copy now!
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Thanks for joining us today, Marilyn. Best of Success wishes for you and DIRECT DEPOSIT!
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