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Monday, December 12, 2011

Blog Tour - Billi Jean

·         Tell us about your latest book.  Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
Ohhh…I do. I am known – cough, cough – for my paranormal series, Sisters of the Moon, but this March, I'm releasing my first contemporary romance, Running Scared with Totally Ebound. I'm wicked excited about Russell and Lacey hitting the shelves. If anyone has read my work, I write some tough, alpha males who end up with some rather kick ass women as mates. Russell fits alpha to a T, or rrrrrr. For one, he's a retired Navy SEAL turned full time rancher with an occasional security job with his old team mates. Just when retired life settles in, Lacey, who he meets as Susan, moves to town. Lacey aka Susan is starting her life over after witnessing a Russian mob hit. She's tough, but after nearly dying from the mob's attempt to silence her, she's floundering. Well, the two meet and sparks fly. Needless to say, they have some issues, what love story doesn't? After several miscommunications, hurt feelings and trust issues on both sides, Russell may have blown his most vital mission: Susan. 
·         Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work? Sometimes, but I can't think of one right now. Well, sometimes news events. I've used what's occurring in the world around me, for instance, 'human trafficking' in a few books. Generally, I find my stories through songs, or by going to a movie and thinking, "man if they had just done this….or what if this had happened…." I like to think on an idea for a while, too. Let it mellow. If a song hits me, really moves me, I'll listen to it over and over and over and the story seems to flow with the song. It's a great feeling. I've written entire plot lines to one song. The story simply formed from that one melody and grew until all the different parts of the character, the setting and then other characters were filled in. Amazing, really.
·         What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
My advice is to keep writing. Write every day, read, read books you like, and then some you don't. Read advice from authors you like, read style guides, join author support groups and lurk until you find one you feel like you can belong to and then participate. Talk. Ask questions. Authors are some warm and willing people. Just remember, try to find out some of the things you're interested in first, then ask an author. They are busy. Aren't we all? The internet is a great thing, but when you feel like banging your head against the wall, you can ask someone, even if you simply post to a yahoo group, for help.
·         How did you deal with rejection letters?
Okay, rejection letters. One, you gotta look at these as an opportunity to learn. If you get a form letter, there's not much you can gain from the experience, but let's say you get in past the synopsis and three chapters doorway, and after subbing the entire story, you receive the dreaded rejection letter. Don't panic, instead, feel bad for a day, two tops, then pick yourself up and read what they wrote. Did they say why? Did they say re-write and re-submit? What did they give you? If they didn't give much, write back and THANK THEM. That's right. Thank them, and ask what you could do to improve your writing so it was 'name of publisher' material. Chances are, they will respond and give you some great feedback. Take it. Don't argue, don't use this as an opportunity to say you DON'T do what they point out you do, or argue that what they are pointing out is your style, listen to what they have to say and reply with another thank you. If you want to be a published author, and you've subbed to a publisher you want your work with, you want to take their advice and fix what they've taken the time to point out. Use each and every rejection as a learning experience. And, most of all, keep trying. Keep subbing work, keep on writing.
·         What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Must haves. That's a tough one. I think that writing is very individual and there is no one size or 'thing' each writer has to have. For me, I have to have encouragement. It's just the way I work. I can write and write and write, but to get my work out there I need my critique partner, my editor and my buddies in my yahoo groups to encourage me. I'm a needy writer – well, not writer, but author. J There's a difference. I write a l

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