This Blog’s Hopping!

This week I’m participating in the “My Writing Process” Blog Hop again. Many thanks to Annette Snyder for inviting me to join the fun.

If you’ve read Annette’s books, you know how good they are. If you haven’t, give them a try! Her book Intimate Flames was a 2011 EPIC Finalist, and her Travis Pass series is not to be missed. I am a big fan of her Fifty Authors from Fifty States, which highlights an author every Sunday that lives and writes in a different state. Annette’s website is http://annettesnyder.atspace.com and her blog can be found at http://annettesnyder.blogspot.com.

And now to the questions:
1. What am I working on?
Good news! This past Friday I emailed the manuscript of my second novel, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, to my editor at Kensington Publishing. Before long I’ll start the revisions on it. In the meantime, I am promoting my first novel, Secrets of Hallstead House, and tomorrow I’ll start work on my third novel, which will be set in Hawaii. I can hardly wait.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My books have a strong sense of place, so hopefully my readers will want to visit the places I write about. The romance is sweet and the suspense is not gory or terribly violent.

3. Why do I write what I do?
I love to read romantic suspense, so that’s what I love to write, too.

4. How does my writing process work?
I make a thorough outline before I start writing. I have a notebook filled with sections for research, characters, chronology, and plotting, among others. I refer to the notebook constantly while I write. The entire notebook is handwritten, though when I finally start writing I do it on the computer. I write at all different times of the day, depending on what else I have happening on any given day.

Now that I’ve answered the four burning questions, I will tell you where “My Writing Process” is going next Monday.

The first hop is to author J. L. Greger. She took early retirement from being a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has now had three medical thriller/mysteries published – Coming Flu, Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight, and Ignore the Pain. Her next novel, Malignancy, which is partially set in Cuba, should be out this fall. For more information on her novels, see her website (http://www.jlgreger.com) and her blog (http://jlgregerblog.blogspot.com).

The second hop is to Amy M. Bennett. Amy is the author of the Black Horse Campground mystery series, published by OAK TREE PRESS. Her debut novel, “End of the Road, published in July 2013, won the 2012 Dark Oak Mystery Contest and is the first book in the series. No Lifeguard on Duty, the second book in the series, was released April 2014. You can visit Amy on the web at http://www.amymbennettbooks.com and at http://amymbennettbooks.blogspot.com/.

And last, but certainly not least, hop on over to Vanessa Coggshall. With two children and one on the way (very soon!), Vanessa seeks to balance the mom/writer lifestyle on a daily basis. She is currently working on a memoir which focuses on life with her three year old, Emmy, who was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome as a baby. Vanessa also just helped edit and publish an anthology written by parents, friends, and family members of children with Williams Syndrome. She blogs about her life experiences with her children and husband at Williams Syndrome Smile (http://williamssyndromesmile.com).

I urge you to visit these authors next Monday, when they post their own answers to the questions in the “My Writing Process” Blog Hop. They have very different interests and experiences, and their writing reflects these differences. They’re all fascinating, and I’m proud to call them colleagues.

Until next week,

Amy

Summer’s Almost Here!

I know I said I’d be participating in a blog hop this week, but I got my dates mixed up. So stay tuned for the blog hop next week.

In the meantime, summer is fast approaching. Can you believe June is just a few days away? I spent about fifteen minutes at the beach this afternoon with my middle child, taking a quick walk before we picked up my eldest from work. The beach was a little crowded (but beautiful, as always) and I wished we could have spent more time there. The beach got me thinking of summer travel destinations. Today’s walk notwithstanding, my kids don’t generally like the beach and I have to come up with other activities during the summer. Though we spend lots of time reading, we can’t do that all the time, so I thought I’d share with you some of the websites I like to peruse when it’s time to do something fun in the summertime.

The first one is http://annettesnyder.blogspot.com. Annette’s blog is called “Fifty Authors from Fifty States” and features a different author from a different state each week. Full disclosure: Annette has invited me to participate in next week’s blog hop and I will be appearing as a sidelight on her blog in July, as one of the authors from New Jersey. Anyway, each week is a virtual tour of an author’s home or adopted state (the states proceed throughout the year in alphabetical order) and there are some amazing travel tips in many of the blog posts.

For example, did you know that Pizza Hut opened its first store in Wichita, Kansas?

Did you know that you can find the world’s largest Cheeto in Algona, Iowa?

Did you know you can learn about pigeon racing in Moline, Illinois, at the Fall Flemish Fest? If you’re not interested in pigeons, try a Belgian beer or a 12.5-inch Belgian pie while you’re there.

Visit Annette’s blog to find out what an author from your state suggests for fun.

The second one is http://www.nps.gov. This is the website for the U.S. National Park Service. Here you can find information about the national parks in all fifty states plus the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Visiting a national park can be a very inexpensive alternative to other activities, and you’ll almost certainly learn something during your visit.

The third one is http://www.traillink.com. This is the website of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. You simply put in a zip code and it gives you a list of nearby trails for biking, walking, running, and hiking. It gives you the length of each trail and what comprises its surface (e.g., sand and asphalt or ballast and cinder). I’m planning at least one or two day trips this summer to try out some of the trails I’ve found on the site.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to visit the websites I’ve offered and maybe plan to try something new this summer. You don’t have to spend a lot of money and you might find something in your own neck of the woods that you didn’t know was there.

And don’t forget to take a good book. (I have a suggestion: it’s called Secrets of Hallstead House and I hope you’ll read it and enjoy it!)

Until next week,

Amy

Hop to It!

As promised in my last post, I am “tagging” people today in the blog hop. I hope you’ll visit their pages and read what they have in the hopper, so to speak.

The first is Amy Simonson, and you can find her at http://www.reluctantblogwriter.blogspot.com/.

The second is Ronnie Hammer. She is located at http://morristownmemos.wordpress.com/.

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by my blog this week and to those of you who continue to hop to these blogs!

Until next week,

Amy

Blog Hopping!

This week’s blog is coming a little early. I’m participating in a blog-hop at the invitation of Joyce Ann Brown, author of some very fun cozy mystery stories. I recommend a visit to her blog at http://www.retirementchoicescozymystery.wordpress.com.

So here are my answers to the burning questions:

1. What am I working on now?

I am currently working on my second novel, with a tentative title of Low Country Twilight. It’s the story of a restoration specialist who moves from Chicago to South Carolina with her little girl to restore an old plantation manor. While there, she discovers that the members of the household have hidden vices and secrets, and she slowly gets drawn into a web of suspicion and distrust that affect her job and her future happiness. I am enjoying the story and my goal is to have it finished by Easter. It is due to the publisher on June 1st, so I will have between April 20th and June 1st to revise and rewrite.

2. How is my writing different from others of the same genre?

My books are considered women’s fiction with a strong sense of suspense and setting. I like to write about places I know well, and I hope that the love I have for the places I write about shows in my stories. Though my books are in the genre of romantic suspense, they contain light, sweet romance and suspense that is not too violent or gory. I like to write the types of books that I read.

3. Why do I write what I do?

That’s easy, and I have already given the short answer: I write what I like to read. Growing up, one of my favorite authors was Phyllis A. Whitney, author of a huge number of romantic suspense books and my personal hero. She was a prolific author who wrote past age 100, and her protagonists were always strong women who dealt with adversity head-on and came out stronger for it.

This is not to say that I don’t love other genres, too. I am a huge fan of historical fiction and biographies. I also love thrillers. If you read some of the older posts on my blog, you’ll see that I simply love books, and my favorites run the gamut from Jane Austen to Ernest Hemingway to M.C. Beaton.

4. How does your writing process work?

I have addressed this issue in past blog posts, too. I like to plot out my stories long before I start writing them. I make up my characters and their personal histories. I like to plot out the scenes before I stitch them together. I draw pictures of the places where the action occurs. I research, research, research. I get an entire story written down before I start revising. I keep a list of things that I know need extra attention on the second pass-through, but I don’t do any rewriting until the story is completed.

I love every single minute of the writing process, whether it’s research, plotting, writing the first draft, revising and editing, writing the final draft, writing any draft in between, doing copy edits, or doing page proofs.

This blog hop didn’t ask, but I figured I’d plug my first book anyways, which is coming out in July 2014 by Kensington Publishing. It’s called Secrets of Hallstead House. It is the story of a young woman who moves from Manhattan to a secluded home in the Thousand Islands to take a job as the private nurse to an elderly woman. While there, she discovers that the people who live on the island harbor dangerous secrets that she was never meant to learn. She must face those secrets if she is to stay alive and find happiness.

I invite you to visit my website at http://www.amymreade.com or to follow my blog and leave comments on the things you read. I usually post on Tuesdays on subjects ranging from writing to reading to volunteering to things to do for fun.

I also invite you to stop by again to see who I’ve tagged next in the blog hop!

Until next week,

Amy