Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Lovestruck Novice Welcomes Maggie Toussiant!!

Happy Monday, TLN'ers!! Hope your weekend was awesome!

If you're pining for another day of respite, you can put the back-to-work blues aside! We've got the perfect pick-me-up to get your peepers primed . . .

Please help me welcome the magnificent MAGGIE TOUSSIANT!!

Maggie is here to chat about all things writerly and give us the scoop on her latest release MUDDY WATERS.

No need for coffee today, folks! Maggie will have you energized and ready to conquer the world--or that WIP gathering cyber-dust on your PC.

Hip-hip-YO and away we go!!

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

Intrepid southern author Maggie Toussaint writes of love and murder. Her backstory of education, career, marriage, and childrearing fuels her sense of conflict, comedic timing, and happy endings. But dark days are ravaging Maggie-land. Her arch enemies Multi-tasking and Stuff Happens are threatening a drought of words. Will Maggie persevere and triumph? Or will Multi-tasking and Stuff Happens slay her muse?

2)Using three words, describe your voice.

I’ll go with words that reviewers have used: warm, witty, and engaging.

3)What has been the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome in your writing/career?

I have a tendency to say “yes” when people ask something. Can you judge another contest? Will do you do three critiques for this conference? Will you organize a writer’s retreat and present a writing topic all in three months time? Those are things I said yes to this year, in addition to everything else already on my plate.

Learning to say no is important. Sure, I CAN do those things, but they take time and energy from my writing or promotional activities. The biggest obstacle to gaining career momentum is me. I have to stay focused on holding my writing time as sacred. It’s very important to me to see progress toward manuscript completion. Some weeks I make more progress than others but regardless, I have a sense of moving forward.

4)What are your thoughts on Point of View? Do you have preference? Any tricks to share with the novice writers out there on crafting POV?

Point of View is the most glossed-over, most misunderstood craft element for beginning writers. Early on, I realized that keeping the POV limited to one character per scene was preferred by industry professionals. And because I glommed onto that truth right away, I tended to tune out other information about POV. Turns out, deep POV is essential for leap-off-the-page characters.
If you’re getting this comment in your rejection letters, “I didn’t fall in love with your characters,” you may not be using POV to full effect. When used correctly, POV ups the emotional connection between editor and character, and more importantly, reader and editor.

Your POV character should have something at risk in the scene. Use POV to show a character’s anxiety, angst, anger, sadness, etc. If you can tap into a universal experience, such as sadness at an untimely death or joy at a newborn baby, for instance, readers will be rooting for your character to succeed.

I write in both first person POV and third person POV. I prefer first person for my cozy mystery sleuths, while I rotate third person POV among hero, heroine, and villain in my romantic suspense novels.

5)With over five novels to your credit: What's your secret to staying focused and committed to finishing an MS?

Staying focused and committed! Seriously, writing at this stage of my career is very similar to what happens when you have a new baby. Everything doesn’t get done to pre-baby standards, but the important stuff must get done. My writing comes under the heading of important stuff.

Before I signed a contract, I had more time to write. Since then, I’ve worked several part-time jobs and become my own publicist. That translates into less free time available to write. Consequently, I lowered my word count goals for each week, but I log each writing session and hold myself accountable to the goals I set each week, goals which flex depending on my zany schedule.

6)What's up next for you? Any news you'd like to share?

I have mysteries contracted to release in 2011 (On the Nickel) and 2012 (Death, Island Style). I have another romantic suspense bopping around in my head, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to that one. Currently, I’m working on the third cozy in my Cleopatra Jones mystery series, which I hope to submit to my editor by the summer of 2011. I’ve got a science fiction project under consideration with a new agent, so my career may make another lateral move.

I’m also busy promoting my recent romantic suspense release, Muddy Waters, which is set in coastal Georgia. This blog is the final stop of a three-week blog tour and the start of my signings and appearances to market Muddy Waters.

Here’s the blurb for the story:

Is someone watching her?

Roxie Whitaker is struggling to make her grandmother’s real estate business a success. When her coastal home is burglarized, her rosy worldview dims. Atlanta security expert Sloan Harding distracts her from her troubles, but is Mossy Bog’s former bad boy serious about her?

Never one to shy away from muddy waters, Sloan is determined to find his alleged missing inheritance. Sparks fly as he enters into a business arrangement with Roxie to oversee the restoration of his childhood home. With her help, Sloan resurrects old secrets while a dangerous predator stalks them.

When passion meets danger, will love win the day?

- - -
Want More?
Here’s an excerpt early in the book where Sloan is fighting his attraction to Roxie:

“We’re almost there, Mac.” Sloan rubbed his dog’s head as he turned off the busy interstate to the access road that led to Mossy Bog. He’d been thinking of Roxie all week, reliving her passionate response to his kiss.

This week in Atlanta, he’d received pointed invitations from several women. He’d declined. That wasn’t like him. But he’d rather be here with Roxie than with another woman. Her eyes were such pools of mystery.

He parked his Jeep in front of Marshview Realty. Though it was only nine o’clock on a Saturday morning, Roxie sat in her cozy, old-fashioned office, an ear glued to the phone. She was a morning person. Something they had in common.

When he opened the Jeep’s door, his dog charged across him like he was hot on the trail of a drug lord. “Mac. Get back in here.”

Mac had another agenda. He sat at the door to Roxie’s office and barked repeatedly.

Sloan couldn’t blame his dog. The same tail-wagging joy coursed through him. In her dark slacks and a cream colored top, she glowed with vitality. Her brunette hair was pulled back in a sleek pony tail. She looked great. Just right, in fact. His pulse raced as she waved and walked across the carpet toward him.

The glass door opened, and Mac got the hug Sloan wanted. He tried not to feel jealous, but he wanted her arms around him, her smiling at him.

He frowned. He was spending his weekends in Mossy Bog to search for his missing inheritance. This thing with Roxie was supposed to be an adventure on the side.

Hug or handshake he wondered as she rose with a smile on her face.

- - -

MUDDY WATERS is available now! Buy links for Muddy Waters:
digital format at Wild Rose Press
trade paperback: Amazon Wild Rose Press

Maggie Toussaint
Author of romance and mystery

Yah-hoo! Hope you've got the pep back in your step and are ready to go forth and succeed! I know I sure enjoyed getting a hefty dose of much needed inspiration. I'd like to thank Maggie for her time and words of wisdom. Best wishes to her for tons of sales with MUDDY WATERS and a very long productive career!

THANK YOU, TLN'ers!! It's been a long two weeks battling this nasty cough. It will be so nice to have my normal voice back. Hollering at kids just isn't as effective when not all the words can be heard. LOL Have a great week and we'll see you back on Friday for another fabulous featured author! ((hugs!))


Celia Yeary said...

Hi, Maggie--your enemies, Multi-tasking and Stuff Happens? It couldn't be said any better--for you and probably for all of us.
Good solid thoughts, too, on POV. Deep POV, which of I gloss over, and yes, the editor points that out. That is a very valid point, and thanks for remindg me.
I especially liked the excerpt. Dogs have a way of knowing who's worthy of their love, and they don't hold back. If only we could learn to write our characters like that, as well as practice it ourselves.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hey Celia,

You are the early bird here! Thanks so much for your support and kind words.

I'm only a self-professed expert on POV because I've made every error in the book. But there's something cool about the lessons learned in the school of hard knocks - they tend to stick with us.

I have a tendency to put pets in my stories. At some point I should do a blog about why I think I do that. But it may be the very reason you suggested - pets know who the good guys are.

Thanks for stopping by!

Linda Acaster said...

Maggie, great post. Had to laugh about having the 'Yes' virus. Oh, do I need the jab! It doesn't help, either, that everyone in my house works from home - argh!!

But totally agree with your stance on POV. With t/scripts that come across my desk POV is inevitably the major problem. Get it right and everything else falls into place.

I wish you the best with Muddy Waters.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Maggie,

Looks like you've got a winner here! Wishing you much success and hope you feel better soon.

Jacqueline Seewald
TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS, historical romance

Cheryl Pierson said...

Hi Maggie,
WOW. You are the QUEEN of multi-tasking, woman! Don't know where you find time for it all! Muddy Waters looks great, and I wish you the best of luck with it and tons of sales!

liana laverentz said...

Multi-tasking and Stuff that's what those two devils are called!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Linda,

Saying yes is indeed somewhat viral. It gets much worse when you are in a crowd of yay-sayers, LOL.

I'm so glad you stopped by!


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Jacqueline,

I'm fit as a fiddle, knock on wood (oh man, two cliches in one sentence - don't let my editor read that!). It's Sarah the blog owner that's been under the weather. Here's hoping I continue to enjoy good health.

I'm very pleased about the reaction to Muddy Waters so far. Lots of interest and good reviews. Only thing better would be off the wall sales. Crossing my fingers for that one.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Don't look now, Ms. Cheryl, but my tarnished multitasking crown has slipped all the way off my head and I've lost it! That was bound to happen sooner or later.

Thanks for you warm wishes for Muddy Waters. Cheryl's got a great book out now, Sweet Danger. Check us both out at The Wild Rose Press.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hey Liana,

Yeah, it's nice to put a name on those two time-suckers and joy-killers. Now that I've got their number I hope to avoid them altogether. Time will tell.

Thanks for stopping in to visit at The Lovestruck Novice.


Mona Risk said...

Maggie, that's one of the best interviews I read recently. I love your blurb about yourself. You explained so well in a few words how we struggle with ourselves to do it all. And yes you do it all so well. Bravo.

LK Hunsaker said...

Maggie, I was nodding along with the 'learn to say NO' bit. *sigh* That is hard, but you do seem to organize your time well. That's a true gift. :-)

Sarah, hope your cough quits soon!

Danielle Thorne said...

Good advice on learning to say 'no' more often. Love the new release premise. Good luck!

Keena Kincaid said...

Maggie, your enemies are mine. I know i need to take up arms against multi-tasking and RL if i'm going to more of those characters out of my heads and onto the page!

And I can't recommend Muddy Waters enough! It's a beautiful book, filled with the heavy, fragrant atmosphere of the South, a fantastic hero (with a great dog) and a heroine that I'd like to be.

Susan R. Mills said...

Great interview! Thank you both for sharing.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Maggie -- That inability to say "no" really is a giant obstacle, isn't it? I suffer from the same affliction.

Muddy Waters sounds like a good read, and two mysteries in the line-up for 2011 and 2012 is excellent. Thanks to Sarah for a most interesting interview.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Mona,

I'm glad you enjoyed my blurb and the interview. I tried to make the blurb succinct and I thought it would be more interesting if I put it in terms that fellow authors, and even readers, would intuitively understand.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Loraine,

I keep practicing the word "NO" but Yes seems to pop out more than I like. It is always a balancing act, isn't it?


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Danielle,

Thanks for your kind words about Muddy Waters. We all have a bit of muddy waters we wade through from time to time so I thought the title was especially appropriate.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hey Keena,

It is important to know your enemies so that you can fight them!

Thanks for the endorsement of Muddy Waters. I appreciate the kudos because I know what a great writer you are. Folks, Keena's medieval, Enthralled, will have you on the edge of your seats. Catch us at The Wild Rose Press!


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Susan,

I'm so glad to meet you. I hope you enjoyed learning more about my new release.

Thanks for posting a comment!


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hey Patricia,

I can't begin to tell you how pleased I am to have releases every year. That is like manna from heaven, LOL.

Thanks for your comment about my new romantic mystery.


Joyce Yarrow said...

I reall enjoyed your insights about the power of deep POV to reveal character and strenghten conflict.

I'm sure MUDDY WATERS will be a bit hit!

Sheryl said...

Yesss! What an upbeat end to your blog tour, Maggie. Thanks for that reminder on POV. So easy to stray. Or even go too deep into a character. Stuff pertinent to the reader is the way to go. Reel 'em in Maggie. You are a MULTI-talented woman (reminding us we all are!)

Leslie Wheeler said...

Great interview! I especially liked your new-found determination to say "no" and not let yourself become over-committed as so many writers do
(myself included!), your advice about deep POV, how you use first person for your cozies, third for romantic suspense (as I do also), and how you manage to stay committed to the important stuff. Muddy Waters is a great title, and I'm looking forward to reading the book. Nice, too, to connect a face to a fellow Five Star author, whose posts on that list I've appreciated.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Joyce,

I'm excited that you had time to stop by The Lovestruck Novice. My insights come by doing it all the wrong way first, and then having to re-engineer everything. Hopefully, the lesson will stay with me as I continue to grow my writing skills.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hullo Sheryl,

(I always feel like "hi" isn't enough when I speak to a Brit!)

Thank you for stopping in at my last big hurrah for Muddy Waters. I enjoy talking about writing craft, and I'm wondering when the world will see another Charlotte Chalmers book??? We are in dire need of one.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Leslie,

I'm always glad to meet my fellow Five Star authors, and hopefully I'll be able to return the favor on one of your promotional blogs.

It's interesting that you share the same genre conventions for POV that I use. Maybe we're the front wave of a new trend? That would be a first for me, though I've always longed to be a trend setter!

Thanks for stopping by.


Maggie Toussaint said...

It's been great hanging out here at The Lovestruck Novice. I'm glad to see old friends and make new ones. Thank you, Sarah, for doing such a great interview.

Good night all!

Maggie Toussaint

StephB said...

Maggie, your thoughts about POV are spot on. Deep POV is important to really engage the reader. And I like how you realize that sometimes you have to say "no." That's important too or you would never have time to write.

I'm looking forward to Staring Muddy in a day or two.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Steph,

Thanks for stopping by and thanks even more for picking up Muddy Waters. I appreciate your support.

Maggie Toussaint

Diana Cosby said...

:) Enjoyable blog, Maggie! Sorry I'm late! Iks!!! I'm with you, need to learn how to rework that 'Yes' word. *G* I'm so proud of you. I'm blessed to be your friend. You're amazing and inspire me daily! *Hugs* Love you!