Author Spotlights!

I’m starting an author spotlight, featuring interviews with independently published romance writers.

My motivation is to simply connect readers with romance writers. I know how happy it makes me to find new, beloved authors, and I want to help others find new, go-to writers.

My inspiration for this idea is Cameron Hart, who does author spotlights on her Instagram and Facebook accounts.

I also want to thank Cameron for sharing her documents and process with me. She is a very caring, generous individual. Not to mention an amazing romance writer!

I plan on posting a new author spotlight every Wednesday, so be sure to come back each week to find a new romance author to love!

In the spotlight this week:

Cameron Hart, writer of sweet and steamy romance.

What is your latest release? Act With Me—available now at: https://amzn.to/31yi4aN

Here’s the blurb:

James: I get into one little fight at a Broadway play and suddenly my long list of awards doesn’t matter. So, here I am, doing a community theater play to help clean up my image.

And then she walks in.

She’s sweet, curvy perfection with deep brown eyes and a cute little blush to top it all off. She’s skittish, that much is clear, but I can’t let her walk away. Not until I figure out her secrets and why I feel the need to protect her.

Shay
I made the mistake of telling my best friend I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone after years of being afraid of my own shadow. I was thinking something along the lines of trying a caramel latte instead of a vanilla one, but my BFF convinced me to try out for the community theater play.

When I show up I see…James Cooper Haze? What is a movie star like him doing here? And why is he looking at me like that? Can I push past my insecurities and trust the bad boy of Hollywood with my fragile heart?

Now let’s get to know Cameron a little better, and find out more about how she writes her sexy, sweet stories!

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

My first few books were written by the seat of my pants, but nowadays I find that so stressful! I’m definitely a plotter now, even though my characters often laugh at my outline and do their own thing anyway.

Favorite character you’ve written:

Claire & Jax from Saving Claire will always be special to me since their story was the first I ever wrote. However, I think my favorite character is Mila from At First Sight. She’s curvy, quirky, and extremely self-conscious about her scars – both inside and out. Writing her sweet HEA with Tucker reminded me a lot of my own love story in a lot of ways.

Weirdest thing you’ve had to research for a book:

For Kept by the Mafia Enforcer, I watched several YouTube videos on how to put together porta potties! The heroine – Alessia – escaped out of a porta potty and I wanted to make sure what I wrote was at least somewhat accurate!

Most helpful resources as a writer:

So many! For publishing on Amazon & Kindle Unlimited I highly recommend Kindlepreneur (https://kindlepreneur.com/) and their tool, Publisher Rocket. Inkers Con (https://www.inkerscon.com/) has some amazing classes on every topic under the sun for authors. Some are periodically offered for free. Mainly connecting with other authors has been huge. Talking through problems and sharing resources and experience with people who “get it” is invaluable.

Do you use an editor/proofreader? What value do you think they add?

Of course I have an editor! For me, the benefit is two-fold. Not only do I have confidence that I’m putting my best work out there, but it’s another set of eyes to review my work before releasing it into the world. It’s so nerve-wracking to put your words out there, so knowing there’s someone who (hopefully) believes in your work and supports you is so encouraging!

Connect with Cameron on Instagram and Facebook, too!

In the spotlight this week:

Shaw Hart — Shaw writes contemporary romance, specifically instalove romance novellas.

What’s your latest release? Until Rex is coming April 15th! It’s part of the Happily Ever Alpha World by Aurora Rose Reynolds.

Favorite character you’ve written: I love Mischa and Indie from Mischa (the second Eye Candy Ink Book).

Weirdest thing you’ve had to research for a book? Penis piercings! That was up on my computer for weeks when I wrote the Eye Candy Ink series and it was hard to explain to my husband.

How long have you been an author? A little over two years.

What inspired you to write your first book? I’ve always loved to read and write, and my husband is in the military, so we move around a lot. I got sick of looking for a new job every few years, so I decided to try to write a book. I loved it and the rest is history! 

What advice do you have for other writers? Don’t stop writing!

How do you come up with titles for books? Research. I try to look at what similar books are using for their titles and then I try to have it connected to the book in some way.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I love watching stand-up comedies or funny TV shows. I read (of course) and hang out with my kids and dogs.

What behind-the-scenes tidbit in your life would surprise your readers the most? Hmm, that’s a hard one. I feel like I’m pretty open but maybe that I write as three authors? Shaw Hart, Rebecca Wilder, and Skye Alder.

Plotter or pantser? Plotter all the way!

Do you use an editor/proofreader in your process? Yes, I use an editor! I just need someone else to point out any gaps or holes in the story. When you’re writing it and it’s all in your head, things make sense. I need someone else to read it and be like “Uh, when did you mention this?” LOL!

Connect with Shaw!

✶ Facebook: smarturl.it/shawhartfb

✶ Instagram: smarturl.it/shawhartig

✶ Bookbub: smarturl.it/shawhartbb

✶ Goodreads:  smarturl.it/shawhartgr

✶ Amazon:  amazon.com/author/shawhart

✶ Newsletter:  smarturl.it/shawhartsubscribe

✶ Website: www.shawhart.com

In the spotlight this week:

Alyssa Milani — Alyssa writes horror, suspense, and romance-drama.

What’s your upcoming release?

Him & I, which will release in August.

This is a daring story of one girl’s love life turned upside down. Kyle Stanford is the love of her life; they’ve been best friends since they were kids, and now have breached the surface from friends to friends with benefits. However, there’s still the aspect of Declan O’Connell, the crush Lyla’s had since she was a teenager. Who will she choose and what steamy sacrifice will she have to make in order to save herself from heartbreak? Read this three-part romance-drama novel following Lyla’s steamy love affair.

Do you have a favorite character that you’ve written?

 I have so many favorites! I would have to say Credence from my novel A Truth Be Told. She is so crazy and wild, it was fun writing her. 

What’s your funniest typo?

 The funniest typo was when I ended one of my first novels with “peaches” instead of peace. I couldn’t stop laughing after it was printed and distributed. 

How long have you been an author?

I’ve always written something; I used to write short stories and poems when I was a kid, then I ventured to novellas when I was a teenager and novels in my later teens and adulthood.

What inspired you to write your first book?

 Finally being able to take the crazy thoughts in my head and expand them further than just a short story. Lylie was the first novel I’ve ever written, and it used to be a short story. I pushed myself to take that extra step and reminded myself that I shouldn’t hold back. I should explore the characters, their backstories, the scenes should be more than “she walked into a bar”. I think that’s my motto for all my writings today — just don’t hold back.

How do you celebrate when you finish a book?

 I like to go on a long walk and listen to music, just to clear my head from being in that world…or like more recently, I just hang out with my son and listen to the crazy stories he comes up with.

What resources have you found most helpful as a writer?

 Talking to other writers most definitely has helped a lot. Everyone has a different way of going about things, which can help anyone, really.

What advice do you have for other writers?

 The same advice I give myself, don’t hold back and just write anything and everything that comes to mind. The first draft is supposed to be messy because it’s all the thoughts just spraying out onto the paper. Once you’ve finished writing the story, that’s when you go back and shape things up…but my advice would always be “don’t hold back”.

How do you come up with titles for books?

 Most of the time, this is the thing I struggle with the most and is usually the LAST thing I do, even after I’ve finished the first or second draft. For a lot of novels, I know the title as I’m writing it, for others, I sometimes just give it a title so I can call it something instead of manuscript number whatever. Titles are the only part I find hard in my writing. 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

 I try to read as much as I can. Truthfully, I’m always writing. Even while trying to relax and watch TV, a thought will come to mind and I start typing it out on my phone. We’re movie buffs at home, so to shut my brain off, we watch movies or go for walks. A good shopping day is always a great way to shut my brain off as well. 

What behind-the-scenes tidbit in your life would surprise your readers the most?

 I am nothing like anyone I write in my novels. I’ve been taught to “write what you know” but I find it so much more challenging to just step outside the box and write something you’ve never thought of, or something you’ve never experienced. It’s a lot more fun that way.

Plotter or pantser?

I just write as it comes to mind. I tried plotting, but when I did I never followed any of it. 

Do you use an editor/proofreader in your process? Why/what value do you think they add to your manuscripts(s)?

Christine Wheary is my go-to editor. She fixes all the things I might’ve missed as I self-edit my writing; I really do admire her time and work. I work with a couple of proofreaders, too, and they’re all so kind and helpful when it comes to giving me tips.

 What’s the worst writing advice someone gave you?

I wouldn’t call this advice, but someone who isn’t a writer and doesn’t know the countless hours spent on writing a piece, then editing it and rewriting. The emotions you go through while writing is something only a writer will understand. When someone who isn’t a writer tells me I chose an easy path in life because writing is so easy, I think that is the most ridiculous phrase. It is far from being easy, any writer knows this. 

Connect with Alyssa!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Alyssa21Milani

Website: https://alyssa-milani.webnode.com/

and on Instagram

In the spotlight this week:

Anne Lucy-Shanley

Mayfly Hollow blurb:

It began as a typical day…

Fiercely independent bakery owner Kate Halloran likes her life the way it is. Casual sex suits her to a T. Work hard, play hard is Kate’s motto. No strings. No demands. No obligations. The ties that bind chafe. She learned a long time ago that the only person she can depend on is herself—and that’s just fine thank you very much.

Then a fast-acting highly contagious novel virus sweeps the globe, ushering a nationwide lockdown. Violence erupts in the streets. Chaos reigns. With the population decimated, Kate’s self-sufficiency kicks into overdrive as she fears she’s the sole survivor. When the dead awaken, Kate becomes prey. Desperate and hunted, she undertakes a dangerous journey—fleeing to the only refuge she knows.

The sanctuary of Mayfly Hollow isn’t without its perils. Can the other survivors there be trusted? And what about the mysterious cowboy called Teller, who gets under her skin like no man ever has? There’s more to him than meets the eye—she can’t help but wonder how much of his aww shucks routine is genuine.

As threats close in on every side, can Kate set aside her complicated past to navigate the new world order?

And now, more about Anne…

How long have you been an author/What inspired you to write your first book?

When I was in the 4th grade, I read this enchanting book called Wise Child by Monica Furlong. It was wonderful—truly lovely. I’d borrowed it from the school library and hid it under my bed when I finished reading because I dreaded returning it. I remember asking myself the first time I experienced Wise Child—what if I can create something that makes people feel the way Monica Furlong made me feel while reading her book? It was a heady notion. That started my journey as a writer. I wrote religiously from then on, but solely for my own enjoyment.

Romance has always been my favorite genre to read and write, but after high school and college, real life intervened and my creativity fizzled. Writing took a back burner to all else. Became a casual hobby. Two years ago, I decided to finally complete Meeting the Past rather than sporadically work on it every six months. It was traditionally published last summer by eXtasy Books. Meeting the Past is a second-chance-at-love marriage of convenience billionaire romance. 

I had a good experience with traditional publishing, but I decided to indie publish my second novel, Mayfly Hollow. As a perfectionist, I like having complete control of the final product. The novel was released earlier this month and is available in Kindle Unlimited, eBook, and paperback.

Mayfly Hollow is a slow burn contemporary romance set during the zombie apocalypse. Some reviewers call it a mash up of The Walking Dead, World War Z, and a love story. I consider that a compliment! Although there’s lots of action, blood, gore, and graphic imagery, the focus isn’t zombies. Mayfly Hollow explores relationships forged, and the ties that bind. In desperate survival situations, what’s vital is retaining our sense of humanity. The characters rise to the occasion and tap into inner strength they didn’t realize they possessed. There’s redemption, growth. As a lover of the genre, I’d never come across a story quite like mine. I consider it an homage to the great zombie movies I watched in my youth.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

I’m a planster, so I always know how I want the book to begin and how I want it to end, but I make up the middle as I go. I often brainstorm with my writing partners. Planning by the seat of your pants is both thrilling and terrifying. LOL.

I’ve had some requests for a sequel to Mayfly Hollow. I’m plotting it now but not rushing. I’ll begin writing soon, however I find that I have to be in the proper headspace first. The novel is tentatively called Juniper Rise, a title chock full of symbolism. I will only say—so there are no spoilers—that it’s Ben and Sofia’s story and it will be a steamier read. It’ll pick up shortly before Mayfly Hollow’s epilogue (a year after the apocalypse). There have been changes at the compound and the community has flourished. There’ll be, of course, challenges to overcome. Growth for the characters as they find their happily-ever-afters. You’ll get to see Kate and Teller and all the rest of the survivors again. Zombies will still feature but not be the focal point of the book. There’ll be a few twists—there were themes in Mayfly Hollow that I had no time to explore so this continuation will be fun.

Do you use and editor/proofreader in your process? Why/what value do you think they add to your manuscript?

The value of editors and proofreaders cannot be overstated. I believe they are vital for making a cogent manuscript. As a reader, if I find too many mistakes in a book, I’ll sometimes stop reading. With my first novel, my publishing house provided all editing. This time around, as a debut indie, I knew I’d be responsible for hiring my own pros. That being said, after competing Mayfly Hollow, I opted to hire only a proofreader. I’ll tell you why—I work with a dozen beta readers and critique partners through my writing process, so between us we scope out any issues early. I tend to write pretty “clean” too and one of my critique partners is an English teacher/copy editor. I’m lucky! But, since I understand how important professional developmental editing is, I’ll definitely utilize an editor if I feel I need to.

Do you have a favorite character that you’ve written?

It’s hard to choose! One of my friends said of the main character in Meeting the Past: “Eve is definitely you!” but they are all me and I relate to and love them all. Right now Kate is probably my favorite protagonist. She has a special place in my heart. She’s so complicated—such a mixture of strength and vulnerability. And Teller’s a close second. Talk about a swoon worthy book boyfriend!

Book links:

Meeting the Past https://www.amazon.com/Meeting-Past-Anne-Lucy-Shanley-ebook/dp/B08H1L5CTJ

Mayfly Hollow https://www.amazon.com/Mayfly-Hollow-Anne-Lucy-Shanley-ebook/dp/B08WWM7CGN

Anne’s author bio:

Quirky hermit. Crazy cat lady. Writer. Fan of the Oxford comma.

With degrees in education and psychology, Anne Lucy-Shanley is a novelist based in the American Midwest. An enthusiast of all things written, Anne dabbles in dystopian, young adult, and non-fiction writing. As a believer in happily-ever-afters, contemporary romance remains her favorite genre.

Some of Anne’s pastimes include drinking whiskey, snickering at dirty jokes, and coming up with captivating storylines while soaking in the tub. When not embracing the quiet life with a book and a cat on her lap, she occasionally travels with her husband of twenty years.

Anne loves connecting with her readers! Join the fun at her author and reader Facebook group, the Saucy Society. She can also be found at these links:

www.annelucyshanley.com

www.facebook.com/anne.lucyshanleywrites

www.instagram.com/writer_annelucyshanley