Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spending Time With Connie Wood!!!

G'day mate! Welcome back to TLN!

Too-right, you guessed it! We have an another author to throw on the good ole bar-bie!

It's none other than my good friend from the land down under- Connie Wood!

I met Connie on Trinity Blacios yahoo loop back when I was just a newborn newbie. And just like Forrest would say, "We went together like Peas and Carrots."

I'm so proud to say that Connie's romantic suspense, THE VETERAN was released just last week! Naturally, I thought it only fair that she has to spill the beans on writing to us greenhorns.

Crikey! It's a fair dinkum day! Connie is graciously giving away a copy of The Veteran to one lucky commentor!

Waa-Hoo! What away to start the day!

1) If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

Connie Wood grew up in Australia to a happy loving family, but she dreamed of magic and prince charming and happily-ever-afters. Unwilling to kiss too many frogs, fate produced her very own knight in shining armour. But fate also brought adventure and foreign lands, hardship and challenges. Her romantic dreams came true with a fairytale honeymoon in the City of Lights. Then home beckoned, and the tang of Eucalyptus trees called them back. Soon a baby boy made their family complete and happiness settled over the little gingerbread house.

But happiness comes and goes and the yearning of long held dreams whispered in the background. The craving to write, to create new worlds and tell their stories now allows Connie to participate in those adventures she always dreamed about…..but in the comfort and peace of her own world.

Will she find her happy-ever-after? She already has.

2) Using only 3 words describe your voice.

Distinctive, Australian, Minnie Mouse!!!

3) Do you have a favorite writer's reference book or website/blog that you use for assistance when writing? (which ones and why?)

I can’t do without a good Thesaurus! This stems from one of my biggest problems of overusing words so the Thesaurus is my friend. I think it is also imperative to reference the publishing company that you are interested in, most are online now so their web sites are invaluable sources of information, not only on their submission rules but also writing tips and getting to know the company. Even though it is slightly different, I believe that writing groups and/or forums online are crucial for beginner writers. They have been invaluable to me. My only tip is to be careful how much time you do spend online referencing and on forums as it can become a tool for procrastination and detract from your writing (big problem for me).

4) What has been one of the biggest obstacles you've had to overcome as a writer?

I think the biggest obstacle for me to overcome, and I am still working on it, is confidence. The process of writing is such a personal experience and it allows you to go through the process of finding your confidence as a writer. Like most writers I have read all my life, and once you start writing there was a tiny voice that said, “will this be good enough?” “Will other people want to read this and get something out of it?”

Another obstacle is the actual mechanics of good writing, the grammar, punctuation and everything that goes with it. It is something that I never really thought about until I started to write. A good understanding of the structure of writing will certainly make writing and editing a lot easier, and it is something I am still working on.

5) What's your editing policy? Edit as you go or wait until after the book is done?

I generally wait until the end of the book to edit. The reason is because in the first draft I want to get the ideas down, the body of the writing. I want to see the characters and the plot take shape and then I will go over it from the beginning and edit. To edit I try to find repeated words, overused phrases, too much passive writing and the general mechanics of writing. After that is done I will then re-read the manuscript and see if the plot works, if the characters have been portrayed properly and if there is enough emotion and action and if the story “gels well”. Mind you, I am still learning all of this and the editors I have worked with have been an incalculable help. I have recently printed out an original manuscript and then the published version to see how and why things were edited, moved or cut completely. It is important to understand why it is done, not just because it is.

6) As you're writing, what are some of the things you do to keep on track? ie- making sure your dialogue flows smoothly and you're not repeating words/phrases.

I have a terrible tendency to repeat words and it is something that I just don’t “see” until I go back to the editing stage. Sometimes I don’t even see it then and have to wait for someone else to point it out to me. I also need to keep track of my adjectives and adverbs in the same manner. But apart from that as I write I want it flow so I try not to edit myself too much in the writing stage.

7) Looking back to your first year as a writer, what was the best advice you ever received?

The first year of writing was such a huge learning curve for me. Luckily I had the assistance and great advice of so many people, both veteran writers and people who were just starting out. I think the best advice is to find your own voice and write from the heart. It is so important because in that first year there is so much to learn about the rules, structure and business of writing that it can become overwhelming and you loose your unique voice and that emotional spark that made you want to write in the first place. Yes, it is important to learn the mechanics of writing and the publishing world but don’t allow that to block out what you want to say. Put a huge amount of emotion into your writing and hopefully it will be conveyed to the reader is also another great piece of advice I received. And write, write, write!!!

8) Give the low down on your new release, THE VETERAN? What's up next for you?

The Veteran was the first ever manuscript I wrote and I am so very proud of it. The idea actually stemmed from a writing prompt and took on a life of its own. It is a story of love, acceptance and letting go of the past in order to allow a better future, no matter how frightening that may feel. My two main characters are both carrying the physical and emotional scars of their past, but when they are thrown together and danger beckons, it is then that they must face the demons inside them and the dangers without. I hope I portrait the characters in a way that people will be able to relate to them, follow their journey and also take away the message that strength of character and love of yourself and others is truly healing.

What’s next for me??? The writing bug has really hit me and I have so many ideas buzzing through my head that I don’t have enough hours in the day to get them all down. I am currently self-editing a shape-shifter/hunter story called “Dark Moon”, I am loving the characters and the way the story is going. Then I am hoping to be able to do the sequel to my novella Fallen Fae which is published through Freya’s Bower. After that, I have a few stories to choose from that are calling my name.

Thank you for such a wonderful opportunity to be a part of this informative and inspirational site.

(Aw, ain't she sweet?!)

The Veteran is available now from Pink Petal Books.

Here is an excerpt from The Veteran

She could feel his eyes still on her. Heat flushed her face and burnt her ears; still she refused to acknowledge him. If she looked into those eyes, he would know there was much more to her knowledge then she was letting on. He was too smart, it was as if he was calculating everything you said to gauge its truth. You could see it working in his deep brown eyes.

She heard him throw his pen on the table and give a frustrated snort.

“It’s getting late, what do you say we get out of here and go get some dinner?”

“Why?” She asked, looking up at him, the question slipping out before she could stop it.

He gave her an exasperated look. “Because it’s late and I’m hungry. Besides, you hardly had anything for lunch. You must be starving.”

The man truly did notice everything; he probably did it instinctively.

“No, I’m fine thanks.” She shuffled the report papers on her desk. “I think I’ll just finish this report and then head home.”

For a moment he held her gaze. “Ah,” he said softly. “I see.”

“See what?”

“You don’t want to be seen out with a man like me.”

She looked at him in confusion, “What do you mean, a man like you?”

“A cripple, Gerri.”

“You are not a cripple! And besides what has that got to do with—”

“I am a cripple.” He stood up slowly and limped over to her as if to illustrate the point. She found herself holding her breath as he stood beside her. He positioned himself at an angle, his left side closest to her.

His gaze locked with hers. She let out a little gasp, her breathing hitching. Heat emanated from him as he bent down low over her. He was so close to her now, she was sure he was going to kiss her. Her lips parted on their own volition.

But he leaned lower still and lifted the left leg of his jeans to expose his prosthetic limb. She knew he had an injury. His limp was pronounced and his movements at times were slow and methodical but it hadn’t crossed her mind that he had lost his leg. She sat transfixed staring at the contrast between his large tanned masculine hands lying against the cold harsh metal of his leg. He grunted as he released his jeans and took a step back. His face an unreadable mask. She lowered her eyes. For a moment longer, she stared at his leg, now encased in black denim
jeans it was hard to notice the difference. She raked her eyes slowly up his legs. There, just above the knee was a slight protrusion where the prosthetic leg must connect to his leg.

Her eyes continued upward. Those black jeans certainly did fit snuggly everywhere else. A blush suffused her face. Still she couldn’t stop her appraisal moving higher up. His stomach was washboard tight underneath his black tee-shirt. His broad muscular chest made more pronounced by his all male stance with his hands on his hips.

Her gaze reached his and the color drained from her face. She knew that look in a person’s eyes. It was what she imagined herself to look like when people stared at her scared face with a mixture of pity and revulsion.

“You are not a cripple, Roman. Cripples are lifeless souls who are not capable of doing anything for themselves. You on the other hand are more than capable.” She smiled. “More like stubborn.”

What a brilliant excerpt! If you'd like to know more about Connie, check out her lovely website!

I'd like to say a heart-felt THANK YOU to Connie Wood for being here with us today! She's the real deal when it comes to friends. Cyber hugs your way, mate!

And Thanks to everyone who clicked on over to join the party here at TLN. Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of THE VETERAN!

The Winner-Winner-Chicken-Dinner will be announced next Friday! Good luck!

To send us off into the weekend here is Men At Work with LAND DOWN UNDER. (LOL I just couldn't help myself, Connie!) I say we go get a cold tinny. It's gotta to be 5 o' clock somewhere! Before we say hooroo, who the heck is shouting for the bar? It's been a long week and this mama needs a frosty one!


Jasmine Aherne said...

What a great interview - and a lovely excerpt, too.

Lisa Griffin said...

Congratulations on the new release, Connie. I wish you many sales. :) The interview was wonderful. It's always nice to learn more about someone you've known for a long time.:)

Tamsyn said...

Congrats! Love the excerpt and the cover is not bad either. I would love to read this book.

Babyblue22 said...

Great Interview!!
Congrats Connie, The Veteran sounds great. Loved the excerpt!!

Helen Hardt said...

Really enjoyed the interview, ladies! Connie, my biggest obstacle has also been confidence. I'm the thinnest skinned wuss you'd ever want to meet, LOL. And also like you, my favorite tool is my Thesaurus. Congratulations on the release of The Veteran!


Judy said...

Great interview you two. The Veteran sounds great. Congrats on its release. I really enjoyed the excerpt.

Connie Wood said...

Hi everyone,
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read and comment on my interview with Sarah.
Sorry I haven't replied earlier, but because of the time differences, I was in the land of nod.
Thanks for all the possitive responses, The Veteran is very close to my heart and I hope it is an enjoyable read.
Helen, I too am very thin skinned, I beleive we have to be to be writers, it is what allows us to feel the emotion and hopefully portrait it into our work. The part most people tell you about needing to be thick-skinned comes when you have constructive critisims and rejections. I dont think that is being thick skinned, I think that comes with confidence in your own ability, being willing to learn from advice and persistance.
Thank you all once again,

Janice said...

Hi Connie,

I love the cover of your new book, I wish you heaps of sale mate.


Sheri Humphreys said...

The Veteran's excerpt hooked me! If I don't win it, I plan on buying it. So glad you participated in Sarah's interview. Sheri

Connie Wood said...

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on the interview. I am happy the excerpt hooked you, it is one of my favourite scenes.
Thanks for the wishes of many sales. One of the things I really hope for as a writer is to have people read my stories and take away something long lasting and entertaining.

Sarah Simas said...

Thanks everyone for popping in!

It's so exciting to have a contest on TLN! Good luck to all!

And thanks, Connie, for letting me grill you, mate! :o)

Carol North said...

Hi Connie:
Congrats on the new release. I'm betting it becomes a bestseller.
Hi Sarah:
Your questions drew out the best of Connie and her story.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Connie and Sarah,

Very enjoyable interview. So much of what Connie said rings true with me about repeating the same word and not seeing it until someone points it out. And the business end of writing and the promotions are definitely overwhelming.
Great blogging, ladies.

Connie Wood said...

Hi everyone,
Carol, the questions certainly did make me think. It was a great exercise in having a good look at my own writing process. I am really glad I did it. Sarah asks great questions. And thanks for the words of encouragement.
Rebecca, it is sometimes hard to see our overused words which is why I am so lucky to have such great critique partners and have worked with brilliant editors.
I am still very new to the business end of writing and promotions and it is a huge learning curve. I have learnt to curb my tendency to be modest, so I can get my work and name out there.
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on the interview,