Author Interview: Traci Wooden-Carlisle

Open Book BH 2

Today as part of the Open Book Blog Hop I am interviewing Traci Wooden-Carlisle, a writer of Christian fiction and all around nice person. She has a new book coming out in 2016, so get to know her now. Enjoy!

1) What are you working on now?

I recently began working for myself. I was sure it would give me more time to work on the list of books I intend to release this year, but I am still trying to restructure my time so I can finish my current work which is the “My Garment of Praise”, the 3rd book in my Christian fiction Series, Promises to Zion.

2) What inspires your work the most?

My relationship with God is my greatest inspiration for my books. I found myself in a really dark place as a teenager. It took almost a decade of me trying to deal with my circumstances myself before I was compelled to seek a relationship with God which led me to a love affair with myself.

My love for young women who just need a little guidance is my next inspiration. Though my books are Christian fiction, the life situations could belong to anyone. My books are meant to provoke thought and entertain.

3) What is your favorite genre to read?

I love romance and almost all its sub-genres. I really like alpha males so I usually gravitate towards military/suspense romance and shifter type paranormal romance. (Shrugs) I love a good romance, but a story that keeps going even after the hero and heroine get together.

4) Do you have a day job and do you love it or hate it?

I had a job I would go to from 9 a.m. to 5:30. There were parts that I adored, but there were definitely parts I wanted to sweep under a rug (like the paperwork). Now my day usually begins at 7 a.m. and ends somewhere around 10:30 p.m., but the stress factor is a great deal lower. I am as happy as a lark. I am now a freelance graphic artist, author and jewelry maker and seller. I am just a little busier, but I have an immeasurable sense of peace. I think I will live longer too.

5) How did the cover of your latest book come to be?

I have four main characters and as soon as I knew who was being spotlighted I started looking for pictures. I like sunset and natural backgrounds so I just had to find one that worked with the model. The character I chose to place on the cover is very bold and aggressive so I had her look straight out at the reader.

6) What have you learned from having an editor, if you have one?

I was originally afraid an editor that didn’t work with my genre would try and change my voice or misconstrue some of the messages being conveyed. Now I wish I had an editor that could have talked me into using a little less Christian terms and more general words that would convey the same thing so that a larger population could understand the culture of the church in my books.

7) Your favorite kind of music?

I have an eclectic taste in music. I love everything from gospel to classic rock to smooth jazz. It depends on whether I want to dance hard, relax and let the rhythm sway me side to side or encourage my soul. I am a lover of Fleetwood Mac, everything Prince, Dave Koz, Nora Jones, Mariea Antoinette Hackley, Fred Hammond and Israel Houghton, just to skim the surface.

If I had to pick from those it would be any music I could shout/sing to in my car (with the window up, of course.)

Thank you for those great answers, Traci! If you want to find out more about her and her work, here are some links to her sites:

Website: www.tawcarlisle.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/traciwoodencarlisle
Blue HonorBefore you head off to learn more about the other authors in our little group, check out K. Williams’ book Blue Honor. I can’t wait to read it myself!

Get to know some of the other authors in the Blog Hop here!
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Up Next: Proofreading!

I finished the outline for the pirate story and have been working on the character sheets, which goes back and forth between being one of my favorite things to do and one of my least favorite things to do. I’m kind of chomping at the bit to start writing the story but am doing my best to wait until the characters and research are finished so I don’t have to go back and do a rewrite.

Scrivener is, as always, an amazing asset. The ability to move scenes and chapters around if I think they’ll be better somewhere else is wonderful, and the fact that I can have all my research and character sheets in one place is even better. I’ve gotten pretty good at navigating around it with the keyboard too! If my editor and publishing process didn’t use MS Word, I’d use the compose mode but I don’t want to write an entire novella in Scrivener just to have to transfer it to Word later and possibly lose my formatting.

As far as editing this work in progress, I’ve decided I’m going to use my editor Carly again. She’s awesome and we really clicked during the editing of Detective’s Brother so I trust her with this one as well. It’s going to be published a little differently, though, so she’ll be able to get it finished quickly with her usual sharp eye.

Speaking of Detective’s Brother, now that the edits are finished and uploaded I can get it to the proofreader for the final read. Then it’s off to formatting and finally publishing it! It really has evolved since I wrote it and I’m very pleased with the finished story. I think I’ll be able to take what I’ve learned from Carly and rewrite Framed a lot more effectively.

The book cover concept has also been approved and as soon as we get that my designer will finish it up and get it sent off. It looks really nice and I can’t wait to see how it looks stacked up on a table at a book fair. I guess I’d better practice my fancy author’s signature!

Book Review: The Curious Profession of Dr. Craven

Dr. CravenWhat is a poor anatomist to do? Twenty pounds, wasted, up in smoke when a beautiful young woman wakes up on the dissection table. Someone has made a ghastly error. Dr Richard Craven, an ethical doctor, has but one choice: to nurse the girl back to health and restore her to her family. She can’t remember anything, only her first name, and she isn’t even sure about that. As his household helps her to recover her strength and her memories trickle, then flood back, their mutual attraction buds into a flowing passion.

I was given a copy of this book to review, and at first I wasn’t sure about it but it really grew on me. The story was very compelling, but moved much more slowly than the books I’m used to reading. It put me more in mind of Jane Austen, whose books I read under duress in high school and college. Richard and Cecelia’s relationship was set almost from the beginning but took the majority of the book to sort out, due in large part to societal pressures and propriety.

There was a lot about British society and the early 19th Century that I didn’t understand while I was reading it, so I was grateful for the footnotes that were included but felt that they took me out of the story so I saved them all for the end. I had to look up a number of things (postilions, a pelisse, etc.) that readers of books set in this time period would probably know right away. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When I was reading the Song of Ice and Fire series I had to look up a lot of things that my fantasy-reading husband already knew about.

Cecelia’s father is the main antagonist, but my distaste for him was nothing compared to the woman he hired at the end to thwart Richard’s plan to marry Cecelia. She was thrown in as a last ditch effort to keep the two from being together and felt a lot more like a plot device than an actual character.

Once we discovered the reason Cecelia’s father is so against the two of them getting together, I felt like there was more suspense and a definite conflict that had more than just societal expectations at stake. The resolution actually made me laugh at the end, and of course there was a happy ending for almost everyone involved.

The Curious Profession of Dr. Craven was an interesting book and I enjoyed it, but I prefer novels with a little more drama that move faster. If you’re a fan of classic societal romance, I highly recommend it. It’s a nice quick weekend read.

The Detective’s Brother Backstory

Open Book BH 2

This week on the blog hop we are talking about the backstory of our novel, which is quite timely now that I’m getting close to publication!

The Detective’s Brother isn’t actually the first Western romance I wrote, it was one called Framed that I wrote on a whim. I’ve always written stories that had some romantic elements to them and decided I would give a real romance a try. I had a lot of fun writing it but I was two chapters from the end when I had the idea for Detective’s Brother and started writing it instead.

I decided on Quinn and Simon’s characters by creating a headstrong, smart girl who knows exactly what she wants and will do whatever it takes to get it, then going with a damaged and brooding man who would test her dedication every chance he got. Not exactly your fairytale couple, but one that was incredibly fun to write.

The main idea of the story itself was easy to write; I loved my characters and let them do whatever they wanted, even if that led me down paths that I hadn’t planned on, and the story and world expanded from there. I’ve always enjoyed the whole “dark secret” aspect of romance novels and writing about one was just as enjoyable as reading and figuring out one.

Writing historical fiction was a lot more challenging than I expected, because while I adore history and always enjoyed reading about my hometown’s beginnings as a teenager, things like detectives and what men wore under their clothes weren’t exactly in my history books. Thanks to a lot of internet searches and some thick books from the heritage section at the library, I managed to get a grasp on what Fort Worth was like in 1885 and now I can’t imagine setting my stories anywhere else.

Have you written a book too? Tell us the backstory of your novel and join the blog hop! If you have a Twitter handle, leave me a comment and I’ll tweet your book into my timeline as well!

Before you go, check out Lela Markham’s book Life As We Knew It!

Life As We Knew ItChaos changes everything!

Shane Delaney, a burned-out mercenary with a troubled past, returns home to small-town Kansas to heal his scars and quiet his demons, not planning to stay long enough for the townsfolk to reject who he has become.
He never expected the town to need his deadlier skills.

When a terrorist attack on distant cities abruptly transforms life as they knew it, the people of Emmaus must forge their own disaster plan to survive.

What would you do if the world as you know it ended today?

The people of Emmaus will find out.

 

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use ?#?OpenBook? when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Final Edits and New Projects

The last two weeks were really exciting for me, writing-wise. My editor, Carly, got the second half of the edits back to me when I was just finishing up the first, and suddenly I was on a deadline! I spent all my days off staring at a screen and sitting on the couch working on the edits. There were some rewrites she wanted again, and of course the usual line edits.

This is my first time with an editor, so it’s been an interesting experience to have someone else reading through my work and telling me what little things I needed to change. It was the first time I’d ever used the Track Changes function on Word too. Since I’d never had anyone else working in my files, I’d never had a reason to use it. It’s actually a pretty great function! I could see what she took out and her comments, both of which were really helpful. It did make things a little hard to look at when I wrote my own changes but once all the changes are accepted/committed, it’ll look much better.

She got the last of the changes to me yesterday, so I forsee myself sitting on the couch and working on them all day tomorrow. I want to get them back to her before the weekend is out but I haven’t looked at them yet to see what needs to be done.

I have to say that my story has improved a lot since Carly came on board. This is my first romance novel, so there were some definite things that needed work, but I feel that I’ll be able to take everything she’s given me and make the ones I have in reserve better right off the ground. Of course, the second is going to be one that I already finished that is in need of a major rewrite. Maybe a project for Camp NaNoWriMo in July?

Speaking of Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m glad the first session is coming up in April because I’ve got a new project to work on!

My book manager Patti – the hardest working woman I know – introduced me a little while back to some other historical romance authors and we’ve gotten along well. Thanks to their encouragement, I’m working on a new project the likes of which I’ve never tackled before!

Up until now I have been writing exclusively historical Western romances, so this is going to be a little different – it’s still historical romance but this time it’s pirate-themed! It’s going to be pretty exciting, especially since I don’t know a whole lot about pirates. That’s what research is for, right?

What does this have to do with Camp NaNoWriMo? You can set your own word count goal, and this story is going to be closer to novella length. Plus, I’ll have friends to cheer me on and word sprints to help me get where I’m going. Of course, I’ll share some snippets with you until I can announce more about the project. I can’t wait for you to read it!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go do some editing and research pirates!

Book Review: Pulled (A Flawed Short Story)

imagePulled is a short story from the Flawed universe, which I have become completely immersed and attached to. After falling in love with the characters from the main series, I knew I had to read this as soon as I read the description.

I was really able to identify with Juniper, who couldn’t control her power and was frustrated because no one believed her. All of Campbell’s characters are so wonderfully written that it’s like I know them, and the story is so rich that it’s hard to believe it’s just a short story.

Having read all three of the full-length novels, I jumped up and down in my seat when one of the villains showed up, hoping he wouldn’t do anything to Juniper. He wasn’t someone you had to know about, though, so it still worked as a standalone short.

I wish it wasn’t so short! The end came way too soon for me and I really wish it was a full novel of its own because I really want to find out what happens to Juniper and the other “specials” and see how their abilities manifest themselves.

If I hadn’t already read so much from this universe, I would be really itching for more of the Flawed series. As it is, I am pacing the floor waiting for Book 4 to come out so I can find out what kind of havoc the new villain is going to wreak.

This story counts as a book toward my Goodreads 2016 challenge, which feels a little like cheating, but it’s the only book I was able to read with all my editing craziness. I’m working on another book right now that’s a bit longer so I’ll hopefully have more for you next week!

Check out Pulled at Amazon here!

Unfinished WIPs, Part Two

Since I finally finished my edits (hooray!), I am finally about to start working on my coworker’s baby gift. Hopefully I’ll be able to show it off to you next week but for this week it’ll be another WIP post.

Lacy Shells 1

This one was supposed to be a baby gift for my friend as well, but I was halfway through it when the baby decided she was going to come early! I spent my time visiting her and the baby, figuring I had plenty of time to finish it later. Her daughter is almost two now. Oops.

Lacy Shells 2

I went with this pretty sage green because it was one of the colors my friend went with during her baby decorating phase (she’s not a fan of pastels), and I was actually a little surprised the store had this color. I do intend to finish it one day, I’m just not sure when.

Triple Wave

This second one I started when we still lived in San Antonio. I picked it because it was a simple ripple that looked a lot more complicated with all the color changes. Unfortunately it was all the color changes that made me give up on it. It’s hard to zone out and watch a movie while crocheting when I have to weave in ends and switch colors every row.Yarn and Cat

 

I chose these colors because they looked so pretty sitting next to each other at the store, and I would love to go back to it one of these days. I have all the yarn already, but I don’t know where the pattern is and I can’t remember what size hook I used. Maybe it’ll end up being a project for when I get rich and retire. I didn’t win the Powerball drawing last week, though, so it’ll be a while before that happens.

I’m all out of WIPs in my closet now, so I’ll have to get on the crocheting ball again! The Spring Bouquet crochet exchange is coming up next month, though, so you’ll get to see my attempt at squares with pretty flowers on them. I’m brainstorming right now but I hope to come up with something good!

The Chex Mix of Romance Fiction