Somewhere on the Writer's Road

Today I’m excited to add a personal feature to my posts here on GLIAS, one I hope to post in a regular rotation with my usual author interviews. I’ve been lucky enough, and still am lucky enough, to spend a lot of time on the road in fun places (and somber places, too) where I've learned and experienced so many things that add to my writing and my books. Naturally, sometimes my adventures distract me from my writing and I use that excuse a lot when I've procrastinated and am butting up against a deadline, but in the end, every experience helps answer the question readers ask me more often than any other:  where do the ideas for my stories come from?

People also want to know exactly what it’s like to BE an author. Even though I’m not sure they truly want the answer to that question because it scares even authors, I’d love to share some insights
now and then that might bring us as writers together with you our readers together over more than just books. Of course, we like bonding over the books—no, we LOVE bonding over the books—but even more than that we love getting to know readers better and sharing our writing lives with you.

One thing is all the rage for getting authors and readers together lately. Book signing events are being planned and held all across the country in hotels, festivals and book stores so regularly, you can  find one almost any time of year. These get togethers can be simple, hours-long signings, they can be several days long and include reader activities, and they can be expensive, elaborate parties where readers get to share lunch and goodies with a specific author.

I've recently taken part in several of these author/reader events. There’s a fun one every June in Deadwood, SD called Wild Deadwood Reads. There’s a regional one that just had its debut in Minnesota at the Mall of America. My most recent event was in Madison, WI called Mayhem in the Midwest. At each of these I’ve had the chance to meet readers—if even for a short time—and since I’m a total extrovert who gets jazzed up talking to people, I love it.

What readers may not know is just what goes into getting ready for an event that looks fairly simple and straightforward from the outside. I won’t even talk much about the actual organizers’ jobs—booking venues, arranging tables and seating charts, making a budget, sometimes choosing a charity to give proceeds to, not to mention herding the squirrels that writers turn into when allowed to congregate!They all deserve medals!

For an author, the weeks before an event are spent gathering book inventories, putting out pre-order forms, posting on reader groups, promoting, deciding on swag, making or ordering that swag, and designing a table arrangement that will attract new readers. For those of us (ahem) who aren’t the best at getting things done ahead of time—this presents a challenge and requires the equivalent of a business degree and part time job hours.

True confession:  more times than once I’ve had bookmarks delivered TO the hotel. This last time, I learned how quickly a 6-foot banner could be ordered and delivered to a hotel, and how much extra it costs to ship it rush (answers: in four days and $8.99).

It’s always hard to tell if going through the contortions of booking tables, reserving hotel rooms, paying for hotel rooms, and setting up hours ahead of the event has a good return on investment. What I do  know, is that it’s always fun for me, and I hope every time I participate that I’ll find a new reader or meet someone who’s read my books and is looking to meet me. Those moments make everything I do as an author totally worth hassles and deadline angst!

I’d like to know whether you’ve ever attended an author signing event and if so, did you enjoy it? Did you go to meet a certain author or did you go just to browse for potential new books? If you’ve never been, do they sound fun to you? How far would you travel to see a favorite author?

All of us here at GLIAS have been at book signings, and some of us have met our fave GLIAS readers while doing so. This is one of the things that’s now part and parcel of being a writer and I’d love to take you all along to my next event. Hope you’ll look one up and consider coming to say hi in person!

Check out my latest two books--the ones I'm touting at my author-reader events!

"Betting On Paradise"--Book #4 in my Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys series.  And "Missing By a Heartbeat"--my addition to the Chandler County series!

See you on the road soon!!


Through My Lens: Progression of a Sunset

Last night's sunset at Huntington Beach, CA

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Welcome Back Susan Fox

Blue Moon Harbor #3

Christmas is coming to Blue Moon Harbor, a cozy dot in the Pacific Northwest where love shines bright . . .
Bookseller Iris Yakimura grew up on Destiny Island and it’s the only place where her painful shyness doesn’t cripple her. An avid romance reader, she believes that one day the right man will come along—one who loves her just the way she is. She never imagines that man will arrive in time for the holidays, like a gift. Or that he’ll be a celebrity musician with a bad boy vibe—and a warm 
heart . . .
Julian Blake spent most of his teens on Destiny Island, before fleeing a mentor turned abuser. Music saved him. He has avoided the island, but now his injured father needs him. Plagued by unsettling memories, Julian’s solace comes from surprising places—and from smart, stunning Iris. When he feels compelled to expose his abuser, will Iris find the courage to stand by his side in the spotlight that will ensue—much less embrace a love that might take her far from home?

SUSAN FOX, an international bestselling author who also writes as Susan Lyons and Savanna Fox, “knows what women want in a contemporary romance” (Publishers Weekly). Her books have won numerous awards and Love Somebody Like You was a RITA® finalist.

Susan is a Pacific Northwester with homes in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia. She has degrees in law and psychology, and has had a variety of careers, including perennial student, computer consultant, and legal editor. Fiction writer is by far her favorite, giving her an outlet to demonstrate her belief in the power of love, friendship, and a sense of humor.


ANGI: What story have you gotten lost in recently?
SUSAN: I actually pretty much get lost in every book I read. Some authors are analytical when they’re reading, but I read purely for pleasure and I love to give myself over to the characters and story. The exceptions are if the characters or the author’s style just don’t resonate with me (which isn’t to say it’s a “bad” book, just not the right one for me at the time) or when the writing or editing are poor enough to annoy me and throw me out of the story.

ANGI: Favorite field trip?
SUSAN: Crete! I always loved Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense books, especially the three set in Greece. She made me want to go to Greece, which I did, and I had a terrific time. Later, once I started writing fiction, I had the urge to write a contemporary version of her type of romantic suspense. And so I did. My book “Fly Close to the Sun” is set on Crete, and a large part of it was actually written on my second visit to Greece. For all sorts of reasons, including that field trip, the book is very close to my heart.

ANGI: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
SUSAN: Snoopy. He’s a writer, and he’s the best happy dancer in the world. And I love how he hugs Woodstock.

ANGI: Daffy Duck or Donald Duck?
SUSAN: Duck a l’orange please, with Grand Marnier sauce. I’m not into either of the cartoon ducks.

ANGI: What’s your favorite thing about your book’s hero?
SUSAN: Julian Blake is such a combination of strong and vulnerable. As a teen (the victim of abuse), he was suicidal, but a stranger’s appreciation for his music made him realize he had value in the world. That helped him find the courage to not only survive but to build a relatively normal life and a successful career as a musician. Yet, deep inside, he still carried a wound that wouldn’t heal. In “Sail Away With Me,” he finds a new level of strength and he risks public censure by exposing his abuser, a prominent and highly respected citizen. In developing that courage (aided by the wisdom and support of heroine Iris Yakimura, and the love of his family), he is finally able to start on the path to finding peace.

ANGI: What’s your favorite dessert of all time?
SUSAN: A Grand Marnier soufflé at a French restaurant on the island of St. Martin – before that lovely island was devastated by Hurricane Irma.

ANGI: Got a favorite song? What makes it special?
SUSAN: John Lennon’s “Imagine.” For pretty obvious reasons. I want the world that he imagined.

ANGI: Wild Flower or Roses?
SUSAN: I’m not sure there’s a flower that I don’t like, but I do generally prefer wild over hot house. Wild roses are actually one of my favorites. So simple and beautiful, and such an amazing scent.

ANGI: Biography or History?
SUSAN: Biography. I like the more personal touch. For me, a story has meaning through the point of view of a participant.

ANGI: Favorite inspiration or Quote?
SUSAN: I’m not a religious person but I do believe in the good old Golden Rule that I learned as a child: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

ANGI: The most daring thing you’ve ever done… Care to share?
SUSAN: I’m not a physically brave person, and I’m nervous about heights, so parasailing in Mazatlan was definitely “out there” for me. But even more scary – for a shy introvert (yes, I have a lot in common with Iris Yakimura) – was venturing into public speaking. But (as both Julian and Iris learn in “Sail Away With Me”), it’s possible to face our fears and come out on the other side a stronger person.
ANGI’s GOTTA ASK:  Where is your favorite writing place & why?
SUSAN’S GOTTA ANSWER: I like ergonomic comfort, so my favorite writing place is my office. Our house was (still is!) a fixer-upper and it took a fairly long while until my sweetie got around to creating my office. The master bedroom and bathroom came first – and I did agree with those priorities. LOL. (Imagine life without a bathtub!!) But now I have my very own wonderful work space, organized the way I want it. I love the big windows and the view of nature.

“Sail Away With Me” is in fact my last scheduled book. I’ve had 34 published in the past dozen years, and I’m taking a break.
An anthology with Fern Michaels, Jules Bennett & Leah Marie Brown
Read a little, Buy the book

Blue Moon Harbor #2
Read a little, Buy the book

Blue Moon Harbor #1

SUSAN is giving away an autographed print copy of “Sail Away With Me.”   International contest

your host is Angi Morgan
Get Lost on Facebook   @GetLostInAStory  #GetLostStories

AND OUR NEW Facebook Group: The Readers’ Spot

SUSAN WANTS TO KNOW how do you feel about “wounded” heroes – men like Julian Blake who carry a deep, not completely healed emotional wound that holds them back from living a full and loving life?   


E.E. Burke's Best of the West: Exclusive Cover Reveal

Over the past several months, I've been hard at work putting final touches on my latest project. Today on GLIAS, I'm proud and excited to share an exclusive. You're the first to get a look at the cover of my soon-to-be-released novel, TAMING HUCK FINN.

From an early age, I’ve been afflicted with a fondness for two precocious Missouri-bred boys. These characters might've been spun from the imagination of the great American author Mark Twain, but to me they were real. I could place them in history, hear them speak, see them in my mind as well as I could see my own face in a mirror. 

As I read (and reread) their adventures, I hated to bid them farewell at a point where their stories were just taking off. I wanted to know what happened to them when they grew up. 

At some point, I began to wonder, “What if…?” For an author, pondering that question is a sure sign a book is about to be born. When I began to imagine all the possibilities, it was Huck who suggested the one that made the most sense.

The Mighty Missouri,
the longest river in North America
and the setting for Taming Huck Finn
Taming Huck Finn picks up Huck’s story fifteen years after he “set out for the Territory” at the end of Twain’s original novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

As in Mr. Twain’s novels, the river is a primary character. Only in this book, it is the Missouri River, which at the time this novel is set constituted a natural border between civilization and the Western frontier.

 Here's a blurb...

His greatest adventure is about to catch up with him.

Huck Finn lives life on his own terms, avoiding any relationship that might tie him down. Until he becomes the guardian of an orphaned boy—a nephew he didn’t even know he had! At first, he wants nothing to do with such responsibility. Then a sharp-tongued spinster shows up claiming to be Tad’s aunt, and demands the child be given over to her care.

Starched and proper, Miss Hallie MacBride hides behind her spectacles. Propelled out of self-imposed isolation, she is desperate to atone for past sins by raising her estranged sister’s son. She doesn’t expect footloose Mr. Finn to challenge her, much less up and run off with her nephew. In spite of an assortment of fears that includes fickle men and steamboats, she sets out after the runaways.

On a wild journey up the Missouri River, the stakes continue to rise, as the determined aunt and well-meaning uncle battle over the future of their precocious nephew, who has his own ideas about what’s best, and attempts to play matchmaker for two of the least willing adults in the whole wide world.

When disaster strikes, Huck comes face-to-face with an enemy who could take everything he values most. Freedom’s price is steeper than he imagined. Now, to save a woman and child he’s come to love, he must throw off fetters that bind him to the past and risk everything—even his well-protected heart.

Embark on an unforgettable adventure from award-winning author E.E. Burke in a new series inspired by two of America’s most beloved characters.

Welcome aboard the Hesperia,
where Huck's greatest adventure takes place.

E.E. Burke is a bestselling author of historical fiction and romances that combine her unique blend of wit and warmth. Her books have been nominated for numerous national and regional awards, including Booksellers' Best, National Readers' Choice and Kindle Best Book. She was also a finalist in the RWA's prestigious Golden Heart® contest. Over the years, she’s been a disc jockey, a journalist and an advertising executive, before finally getting around to living the dream--writing stories readers can get lost in.

Find out more about her books at her website: www.eeburke.com.

A word from the author...

I've undertaken this historical tale with the most profound gratitude to the man who inspired it. 

Mark Twain, more than any other author, influenced my love for the written word and my belief in the power of a well-told story.

Who has inspired you? What stories made a difference in your life?

Enter the raffle below for a signed ARC of Taming Huck Finn and an eBook copy. Winners will be announced on Oct. 23. 
Watch for more exclusive sneak peeks over the next few weeks on Get Lost In A Story, including special excerpts and snippets from my research for this fascinating story.

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